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PingWi-Fi, Same Same As It Ever Was

June 5th, 2018 · Tags: Satire · Wi-Fi

 

August 24 will be the 10-year anniversary of The PingWi-Fi blog.  How time flies.  … Just wanted to take a second and say “thank yo”  to all the friends and family who have continued to read along over the years.

Because of you, the blog will continue its goal to seek out and explore new Wi-Fi worlds … but more than that … to digress frequently, and to remain as irreverent as ever.

Whether dressed in a blingy tux or doing the long-haired motorcycle thang on the side of the road, it’s the same as it ever was — we simply just do not care🙂 We hope you feel the same same.

 

Know what I sayin?

Pitching Names For New Texas Baseball Team

June 1st, 2018 · Tags: Cities · Satire · Sports

 

What’s in a name?

I know people. And some of those people like to name things … imaginary rock bands and maybe a country band name or two. My most recent, Tire Swing … I digress.

One’s name, or brand is important … trying to exalt your name above all names (of your competitors that is).

Geez … sports teams are no different. They need a great name — strong/fierce, perhaps an animal or a bird of prey, something with geographical or historical significance. Some sports names have a sense of humor too.

Case in point, my college roommate’s intramural football team was called Vomit & The Groceries. I never heard the story behind that name, and I don’t think I want to know. I digress …

All this is leading up to, I want to name it with you (reference to an old rock band, simply called Bread) …

So … today, a lot of us are playing the name game because of a new Texas League baseball team coming to Amarillo, Texas. The team’s power brokers (Pawn Brokers is taken) decided to have an online contest to name the team. Participants were invited to visit a special Website and contribute, for a chance at season tickets, etc. When the deadline passed, the team posted the five “best” options for people to vote. Keep in mind, many minor league team names have a creative sense of humor and the most zany special events.

Conference on the mound … In my PR career, several times clients considered contests to let their customers name a product. Great idea to engage their target audience … however … however, you must be prepared to accept the results!

Please tell me this is some brilliant, guerrilla stunt … kind of like the bogus introduction of “New Coke” to draw attention away from a slight change in the soft drink’s original recipe, back in the day. (Oh by the way, speaking of guerrilla … Did you know the Trent, Texas high school mascot is The Trent Gorillas? Love that! Why!?!)

 

 

Ha … some really weak pop song playing at Starbucks now has inspired me “The GiddyUps.” I digress …

So without further adieu. The powers that be in Amarillo say these are the best they have to show for their efforts:

(Ha … perhaps the front runner) The Sod Poodles, which they say is an old nickname for a prairie dog … ANYONE ever heard that before? Anyone? It begs the question, was Prairie Dogs already taken, so they had to go with a prairie dog alias?

Then there is the Amarillo Boot Scooters … no doubt the team would run onto the field as the PA system belted out George Strait’s better-known, lesser-quality version of the old Terry Stafford hit — “Amarillo By Morning.” Hmm … morning or mourning? In the ’60s the best band in The Texas Panhandle was The Undertakers … I wonder if they would give up the rights for the baseball team to be The Undertakers. It might come in handy if the team was “in the cellar” … I digress …

Anyone ever borrow the cartoon name, The Underdogs???

Another of the “Top 5” — Amarillo Long Haulers … no comment, “Good Buddy.” Hmmm … all the real cowboys I know call it “Bull Haulers.”

By the way, if one of the final options was your entry, my apologies and I hope there is a cure for your condition.

Then there’s Amarillo Bronc Busters … I guess you break a horse, but you bust a bronc, but you can’t make him drink … and you can’t tuna fish … meh.

And last, but not least, Amarillo Jerky … I think someone just wanted to have Sasquatch as the bleacher creature mascot. (See jerky TV commercials …) Careful not to abbrev. and get in a legal entanglement with Steve Martin. Can you imagine the jerk-laden, off-color derivatives for creative hecklers?

So anywho, this name game is all over social media … and I don’t think people are “laughing with” Amarillo … if you know what I mean. This makes me sad. I love the place and especially its more-rugged Texans. But … you really wonder why the rest of the state ignores the actual north Texas?  On the other hand, in Amarillo’s defense, here in the Metroplex we have one of the world’s richest men who did excellent re-branding of the old, tired Dallas Mavericks.  The new look, color and logo are very dynamic.  One problem:  The Dallas Mavericks’ logo is now a horse, but a maverick is a young bull.  Close.

 

Could I do better? I don’t know … but I thought I did. But for me, there is “no joy in Mudville.” I was distraught that there will be no season tickets for me … “Casey struck out” so to speak. Hmmm … does minor league baseball have a Mud Daubers team? Wish I had thought of that, so it too could have been overruled.

Mud Daubers update:

My actual entries:

The Amarillo Cadillacs or Amarillo Caddies (shortened if needed, to get around potential lawsuits). Let’s face it. Love it or not, The Cadillac Ranch put Amarillo on the worldwide map. Visit it sometime and just count the European tourists at the art installment out near old Route 66, The Mother Road … Ha … I almost said “Mother Lode,” the name of the first bar I ever went to … over in New Mexico … And hey, if an Argentinian ska band can be The Fabulous Cadillacs … then surely Amarillo can be The Caddies. You do know The Fabulous Cadillacs and their video “Matador,” right? Crud. Adrian, Texas already beat Amarillo to the name Matadors

Man I love this video … even though I speak little Argentinian, I understand this video better than the Amarillo name selection process:

Speaking of Mother Roads and Mother Lodes, one of my other entries was The Amarillo 66ers … like a smaller version of The 76ers … ha no … to pay homage to Route 66 … the most famous road in the world that ran smack dab through A-Town … The road where rock bands went to “get their kicks.” I delight in the fact that even The Rolling Stones covered the old Route 66 song … and I gotta tell you, no offense George, but no one sings “Amarillo” like Ol’ Mick Jagger! The trouble with this name — The 66ers — surely someone smarter and faster has already claimed it … I am Googling. Crud. It figures. There is a team in the Dodgers system called the Inland Empire 66ers … pretty catchy that first part … out in San Bernardino. Factoid — Ken Griffey Jr. played for the team briefly, when it was still called The Spirit. In addition, the team has also been affiliated with The Seattle Mariners … that explains the Griff part … sounds like a personality crisis to me, Buster.

I take some comfort in knowing 66ers was already taken. Nothing new under the …

How about The Amarillo Adobes — nickname Dobies? … NO … not Doobies … that’s a different tune. One of, if not the most famous battles in Texas Panhandle history were the two Battles Of Adobe Walls, the second pitting Quanah Parker and his tribe vs. soldiers and buffalo hunters, led by a long-ball hitter named Dixon. Good stuff … Dobies. Imagine that in baseball font … and remember The Texas Plains had few trees, so most early settlers lived in DUGOUTS (see what I did there?,) sheltered with adobe or sod brick … Sodbusters would be better than poodles, I have to think.

But like I was saying, the historic battle was a double header. Here is the story of The Second Battle of Adobe Walls:

Adobe Walls Battle

A friend pointed out that minor league baseball has a storied history of crazy names to draw attention. I am okay with that … but there is crazy creative … and really stupid. Yes, we all know there is a Mudhen in baseball lore … And I think no one will ever top the Albuquerque Isotopes celebrating the rich New Mexico history in the atomic weapons race. (Did they inspire the band name Uranium Savages?)  Hmmm … Amarillo has a piece of that history too, since “Bomb City” as many call it, is the final assembly point for U.S. nuclear devices at Pantex. What about Panhandlers … too easy? Ha … or “Manhandlers” if that is even allowable in this new, woman culture.

There is a movement afoot on Facebook to name the team The Ospreys, logically, because that innovative helicopter is also produced in Amarillo. It’s not real creative, but it makes a lot of sense.

WHO were the judges?

The Mother Road

May 28th, 2018 · Tags: Uncategorized

Brothers Of The Road, The Mother Road …

Just This, Then Moratorium On Windmills … Already

May 24th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Coffee Shops

 

I had said I would try no more windmill video tricks.  I lied.  Maybe I need a windmill support group.  After all those years of making cracks about black-velvet paintings of windmills … I tried to get out and they sucked me back in.

 

 

Little Movie Set That Could

May 23rd, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Cities

This has kind of a down-home feel about it.  A Folk Art video take on what has become a nice museum. 

Grazes With Cadillacs

May 20th, 2018 · Tags: Arts

Folk Art, Windmills Still …

May 19th, 2018 · Tags: Arts

The Answer My Friend Is Blowing In The Wind

May 13th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Coffee Shops · Music

 

In Jim Stafford’s old novelty tune, “The Wildwood Weed,” the storyteller speaks of finding his brother Bill “naked, singing on the windmill,”  after a night of home-grown revelry.  (Ha … When my brother was a young boy, he once tried to fly off the windmill wearing a cape, but I think he was fully clothed.)

Interesting to note:  various Internet sources for song lyrics differ on whether brother Bill was “singing” on the windmill, or “swinging” on the windmill. I thought it was the former, but I am terrible at song lyrics.  Could he have been “pinging” on the windmill?  Regardless, all sources agree, Bill was, in fact, naked.  I digress …

 

 

 

I have climbed a few of the old galvanized towers, either to help turn the mechanism into the wind and “kickstart” the mill … or to look at an eagle’s nest perched at the top of the tower … or to take a photo or two.

Flash forward … In Fort Worth, planted between a new shiny Starbucks coffee shop and an even shinier Neiman Marcus store, there is a replica of the old farm-and-ranch style windmill.  But there’s a twist on this windmill.  An artist has added colored, transparent blades. When the wind blows, it is quite a light show.  Alternating colors, the sun’s glare, and shadows cast down on the bloggers below.

(I couldn’t resist shooting video of the stained glass windmill, and trying out some new skills with a video editing app.)

 

 

Today, greeting visitors to my home, there is an old, Aermotor brand  windmill vane hanging on the wall by the door — Aermotor, made in Chicago, “The Windy City,” I might add.  The art piece is complete with bullet holes from back-roads vandals, and an old stenciled inscription on the metal, stating “Adrian Mercantile.” “If that ain’t country, I’ll …” as the old David Allan Coe song goes …

 

 

Flash back … When we were kids, my brothers and sister and I would pause in the blinking shadow of the windmill, spinning on the ground down below, on a sunny day.  A fan of “Star Trek” as a young boy, I would pretend that the windmill’s strobe effect was me “beaming up” to some imaginary starship.  Fascinating!  Ha … I think “beaming up” was sort of what Jim Stafford’s brother was doing in the song mentioned above … maybe.

 

 “Star Trek” may have seemed far-fetched back in the day, but then again, now we can get photos of our old windmills from satellites in space. 

 

Pinging The Old PingFarm Place From Space

 

Windmills are so awe-inspiring … both the old relics that helped settle the plains, and the huge white monsters that are infiltrating the countryside as of late.

 

 

But, is there anything more refreshing that a drink of cold water on a hot windy Panhandle day, right out of an old windmill, direct from the aquifer beneath?

 

I’m a fan of windmills.

 

 

I’m not alone.  A simple Google search also found these lyrics, sung by one of the most sultry voices of the ’60s, Dusty Springfield.  Ha … dusty and windmills go hand-in-hand in my mind.

 

“Windmills Of Your Mind”

 

Round
Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that’s turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
Like a tunnel that you follow
To a tunnel of its own
Down a hollow to a cavern
Where the sun has never shone
Like a door that keeps revolving
In a half-forgotten dream
Or the ripples from a pebble
Someone tosses in a stream
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind
 
Songwriters: Alan Bergman / Marylin Bergman / Michel Legrand
 
I like windmills.
 
Know what I sayin?
 

Dallas International Film Festival … The B-I-G Idea

May 9th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Cities

 

Anthony Pedone

If you go to The West Village in Dallas — or “Big D” — you will see these two large, blue (probably concrete) letters that spell out “B_G” … No, it is not a tribute to a falsetto disco group.  The “I” is missing.  But you don’t have to “buy a vowel,” when you can “be a vowel.” … So there are instructions on a mat on the sidewalk, with a graphic, showing where you should put your feet, between the B and the G, inviting you to stand there and complete the word.

You don’t have to “you do you” for a second or two.  You can “be the ‘I.’”  BIG idea.

A few feet away, the creative folks at The Dallas International Film Festival have planted big red letters that spell out their hot hashtag #DIFF … however, the DIFF letters are not made of concrete.  I know.  I leaned on the not-so-tenacious “D” last night and just about knocked it to the ground.  Ha!  Yes, I did that thing where, as soon as one regains their balance, I looked around to see if anyone witnessed.  No one did … not even the diminutive gentleman who was almost man crushed on the other side of the big “D.” Ha! I almost inserted an extra “I” in the DIFF hashtag.

 

Around the corner from the big letters, I saw the Tesla demo automobiles, mentioned in the previous blog.  I had to get to the bottom of this. “Señor Tesla,” I called out to the promo person.  “If Tesla is cool enough to orbit the earth, do the cars also have Wi-Fi?”  Nyet. But, he said they do have cool LTE wireless technology.  Meanwhile, the specs on the Tesla site list Wi-Fi … more research required.

In other news … another great night of shooting the up-and-coming on the red carpet.

Just two days left for the festival, btw:

DIFF 2018 Schedule

 

Daveed Diggs

Last night, I suppose the biggest “stars” on the red carpet were Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal.  Diggs — as most people on the planet other than me know — won a Grammy and a Tony for his role as Jefferson in “Hamilton.”  Casal starred in HBO’s “Def Poetry.”  Well I won’t give my thoughts on “Hamilton,” but Diggs became an instant favorite of mine when I watched him interact with a special-needs child (Make-A-Wish?) off to the side, beyond the red carpet activities.  Diggs and Casal co-wrote for the film “Blindspotting” — perhaps destined to be a DIFF festival favorite.

 

Diggs, Rafael Casal

Diggs

As for the intense, ongoing PingWi-Fi one-on-one coverage … ha … I corned the man of many hats — co-writer and director, Anthony Pedone — of the film “An American In Texas.”

Pedone’s film is a coming-of-age story of a punk rock outfit in Victoria, Texas of all places. Wonder if the band hung out at Moo-Moo’s Chicken and Ventura Mexican Food … I digress …

 

Pedone “had me at ‘punk,’” so our conversation soon turned to The Clash.  He is a fan too, although he is about 10 years younger than me and what’s left of that band.  BUT … get this … one of his colleagues from the film played in Joe Strummer’s solo band (not The Mescaleros).  Well, “rock my casbah!”

American In Texas

Next up, Pedone said no more music films for now … but he has a really interesting unsolved, true Texas murder mystery in the works.  Can’t wait.

Know what I sayin?

GunsUp But Shooting Nikon At Dallas International Film Fest

May 8th, 2018 · Tags: Arts · Cities · Wi-Fi

 

It’s time for the annual pilgrimage to Big D for the DIFF, The Dallas International Film Festival … does that make me a film pilgrim?  I digress, (with assonance, I might add) …

It’s great fun … and sometimes I actually get to see a film or two, but a lot of the time is spent on the carpet … the red carpet.  The other night I rushed over to meet, greet and Nikon-ize the directors and talents paraded through the reporters/photographers’ gauntlet.  

But before all that, I spotted the festival’s Artistic Director James Faust and stopped by to surprise him with a big Texas Tech #GunsUp hand gesture and greeting … pretty neat that one of the coolest events in Dallas has a Red Raider overseeing the content.

In a brief outtake, Faust seemed to agree with my assessment that the DIFF has gone the way of social media, so to speak … “a more compact, energetic” iteration of itself.  This year, the festival is centralized at the Landmark Magnolia Theater, which puts the activity in the heart of Dallas’ oh-so-swank West Village.  Man!  That little restaurant/retail area has exploded … with many a street cafe table to view the stars and near-stars.  Great atmosphere, beautiful people and you don’t have to rush across town to get to your next screening.  I like it.

DIFF

Ha … shooting many up-and-coming talents and young directors, I spend most of my time trying to identify the people I photograph. (Yes, there is a tipsheet available, but me trying to be organized would take all of the fun out of it, wouldn’t it?)

But meanwhile … as I sift through all of the still photos, it seemed I needed some type of graphic content for this blog.  Thus the video.  If you’re interested in the “how to”: I opened about a hundred photos in Photos, and as I scrolled through them on my computer, I shot the screen images with my iPhone.  Then I took that raw video and edited it in iMovie and added a zippy little tune from the Garage Band app.  Kinda fun.  A poor man’s collage.  Red Carpet Noir, I call it.

Earlier in the week … I missed Director Rob Reiner on the carpet … my big chance to throw out a pithy, bigotry-laden, tongue-in-cheek one liner to Reiner … yes, call me “Meathead” for missing out on that.  Even I would know Reiner …

OH … did I mention I was way early for the Red Carpet event?

 

Tesla

Walking around, I had a chance to check out a couple of Tesla automobiles strategically parked to show off their beautiful technology for all of the film festival traffic.  No one offered, but I would have said “Nyet” to a test drive … still nursing a wounded wing from my two-wheeler incident.  

Hmmm … I should have checked to see if the two Teslas offered Wi-Fi … but I gotta wonder if Wi-Fi would eat up too much battery … you know for life support systems on all those trips into deep space … I digress.

Tesla

Still waiting, prior to the event, I walked around West Village then scoped out a nice bench in the shade, as the afternoon sun was slipping away, but still a factor. Ha! As I approached the bench, I saw another long-haired, bearded, gentleman … much younger than myself.  As I sat down, and I quipped, “They told me that ‘the longhairs were all supposed to sit over here.’”  He smiled a little, uncertain about me, this conversational old “Wavy Gravy” guy with a camera.

Nice.  Later when I took my assigned spot on the carpet — lo and behold — guess who was stationed right beside me?  Yes.  “Us longhairs gotta stick together.”  Nice guy.  Get this.  He was covering the event as a freelancer, and was still in high school.  High school! I couldn’t have grown a beard in high school even if VHS would have let me … 

Know what i sayin?