Back in August, I opined about how and why I established accounts on Twitter several years ago and Facebook this year. Since then, there’s been a few things I wanted to opine about those services. First, some broad thoughts about the 140-character universe that is Twitter. Well, I should correct that to 280 characters. Back in September, the geeks at Twitter “launched a test” so that some users could “express themselves easily” in a tweet whose character limit was double what it had been before. It turned out to be successful enough, according to the geeks, that Twitter expanded everyone’s limit from 140 to 280 in November. The belief is that the longer the tweet limit, the more engaged users will be on Twitter.
Hard to believe that it’s been a month and a day since I stepped out for the very first time as Allison in the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally. To be honest, it feels like it was only yesterday that I dressed up and marched with my fellow members of the trans community, our supporters, and folks from the broad LGBT+ community in the Madison area.
While I try to keep the euphoria of that Sunday afternoon lingering in the top of my memory for a while, if not longer, I wanted to bring up a few leftover items from the day. First off, the security. In the days leading up to the parade and rally, the organizers felt concerned about something sinister happening that afternoon, a concern escalated since it fell just days after the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia. With that, they had announced on Facebook that they were working with the Madison Police Department to step up security for the event, just in case… you know…
Before I go any further, a couple of things: First, this is a story I originally posted on a previous journal site, and I wanted to tell it again here with a few embellishments. Also, this may seem to you that I’ll be going off in multiple directions in this post, but they all tie in to this story. Anyway here goes:
As I’ve hinted/mentioned/downright owned up to on here, I am indeed a child of the 1980s. And if you recall the 1980s, that decade had a number of clothing styles to remember. Leather outfits were one such style; in my opinion, leather skirts are an ubiquitous classic that, when tastefully styled, will never go out of style.
But, let’s admit it, the ’80s also produced several fashion styles that did not withstand the test of time, among them:
- Leg warmers (“Just coming back from dance class, I see?”)
- Noticeably wide shoulder pads (“So, you trying out for the football team in those?”)
- Members Only jackets (something I didn’t see a lot of in my small town; it must’ve been a big city-only thing).
Times have changed for sure (oh, sorry, “like, fer SURRE!”), and you’ll likely find these old outfits in a vintage/retro shop. If you’re like me and you come across them, you’ll think one of three things:
- “This is still a classic”
- “Oh, boy, this look did not age well”
- “I think I may snap this up for some real or imagined retro dress-up party I may or may not attend at an indeterminate time in the future.”
I wanted to make note of a couple of things I discovered during last weekend’s trip to and from my class reunion, which I highlighted in my previous post. Both of these have to do with two old apartments I had lived in during my 12 years in the Green Bay area. (Yes, you non-Wisconsinites, that Green Bay.) The first tidbit concerns the last apartment I lived in up there. Actually, I take that back somewhat: This isn’t about that apartment itself so much as it is about the plot of land kitty-corner from it. On that 1-acre plot was a little red farm house along with matching garage and small barn, all closely situated within each other.
Before I get to the main purpose of this post, a side thought: Whoever said that change is the only consistent thing in the world certainly knew a little something about the business world. Case in point: The team I’m on at my place of employment, which will soon undergo a reorganization and shifting of duties. While I understand management’s need to “serve our customers” in an effective manner, no longer having a chance to perform a cool task you really enjoy doing can be the pits. Oh, well. The good thing is that I do still have gainful employment, and there’s always the possibility that another cool task may be coming my way (I love having a bit of variety in my daily work routine).
Another thing about this move that’s the pits is that some of the people I enjoy working with won’t be on the same team as I. One of those people serves as inspiration for this post. This afternoon, he went to the wonderful world of endodontics and undergo a root canal procedure. Yeah, what fun, huh?
I’ve been away from WordPress for the past couple of days and I’m wanting to get back into the writing swing of things. Trouble is, I had been wracking my brain about something to write about. Then I came across an A.V. Club article about a certain Chicago television institution — Bozo the Clown. Oh, sure, Bozo may have had a presence in other towns (he was not so much a character as he was a franchise, and I’ll circle back to that term later), but to many in Chicagoland, he was as much a part of the city as the Cubs, the Field Museum, and whatever they call the Sears Tower these days. I imagine many natives of the city still believe this 16 years after Bozo’s show was cancelled by WGN, Channel 9 (another Chicago institution in some circles).
But this post isn’t about Bozo or Chicago. Rather, this is about a little something A.V. Club included in its article from way down deep into the Wikipedia wormhole (their term): In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was something called TV Powww, and it was literally a video game played over broadcast television. So what, you say? Well, the premise was this: A contestant watching TV Powww would be on the phone with the station, either as a random caller or as a name drawn from a barrel of entrants, and play some sort of a “target shoot” variant of video game they saw onscreen. Special prizes were the reward if they were the top winner of the day, reached a certain score, or whatever rules the station set.
I usually save any “Throwback Thursday” posts for the actual date, Thursday. But even though it’s Tuesday, I don’t want to wait until Thursday, even though the subject in question is, sadly, not going anywhere. Back in October, I talked up in this post Mallatt’s Pharmacy, which has… er, rather, had two locations here in Madison, the older west side location on Monroe Street and a more generally recent east side location on Williamson Street. Mallatt’s had a couple of locations outside the Madison city limits, but they were no national chain, that’s for sure. Since it was established in 1926, Mallatt’s had been a nice, convenient corner pharmacy, one who’s much more intimate than those national chains (like, say, Walgreens) whose stores are sterile, antiseptic clones of each other.
I want to devote this post to something that completely escaped my attention last month, and it’s about that “intersection” of two things I’m so cool about: LGBT support and the sporting world. Over a year ago, I wrote a post about this:
Yes, that’s rainbow tape covering those stick blades. Or as it’s officially called, Pride Tape. It was launched in December 2015 by the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies & Services (ISMSS) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Not long after it was first unveiled, the Edmonton Oilers became the first National Hockey League team to use Pride Tape (or at least a prototype) in an on-ice event. Not too long after that, Pride Tape started being sold through an informational and transactional website (PrideTape.com), with portions of the proceeds going to support the ISMSS as well as You Can Play, an organization “dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation and/or gender identity.”
“Skip! Skip! Can you maybe make it next week? I hate to miss Brian’s birthday; and Friday, the transvestites are back on Donahue.”
– the title character, speaking to one of his alien brethren in a 1986 episode of ALF
I want to start this post with the definition of “crossdressing,” as found here: “the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society.”
Why do I use that word? Well, I first started dressing in women’s clothing back when I was 11 years old going on 12. Even back then, I knew that putting on women’s undergarments or anything else feminine was considered taboo and against societal (and more immediately, familial) norms. But while I knew the definition at the time, I didn’t know of the word. To me, it was nothing more than “putting on clothing that belonged to my mom or my sister or, before that, what was found in that spare bedroom where we lived.”
Before this cruddy year finally expires, I thought it would be best to briefly mention a “bummer” moment here in Madison that actually has a bright ending, one I perhaps should’ve brought up sooner but at least I still can and am still happy to do so.
As you may recall from this post in May, I told you about Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know? The 2-hour show was a longtime mainstay on Wisconsin Public Radio and syndicated to many public radio stations across the United States. Hosted by Michael Feldman, Whad’Ya Know? was (or is, as I’ll get to in a moment) a mix of comedy, interviews, music, quizzes, and above all else, people just being who they are and showing what they know. Whad’Ya Know? and Wisconsin Public Radio seemed as inextricable as Friday nights and fish fry dinners. That is, until the end of June, when the show aired for the last time on traditional radio, this after WPR announced in March it would drop the show.
Now, 2016 being the year it has been, one would be pessimistic and think that that was the last time anyone would get to enjoy a new Whad’Ya Know? episode. But one of the (very) few good things about 2016 is that it’s part of the 21st century. What I mean there is that this is an era when copious amounts of media are being produced and consumed. And if the stale ol’ radio dial isn’t to your satisfaction, there are a wide, wide range of audio and video goodies where anyone and everyone can be creative or inquisitive, enlightening or whimsical as they can.
And heading to the internet is what Michael Feldman did, setting out to create lemonade from the lemons WPR gave him. As Whad’Ya Know? was about to leave the traditional airwaves, a fund drive was set up to keep the show running online. Yep, it was successful. And on the afternoon of Saturday, September 3, Whad’Ya Know? produced its very first non-radio show. Call it Whad’Ya Know? 2.0, if you will.
The revived show is a mix of the Whad’Ya Know? of lore with the realities of a smaller, internet-based operation. Yes, there’s still Michael Feldman. There’s the on-air crew that was with him at the end of his WPR run (announcer Stephanie Lee and musicians John Thulin and Jeff Hamann). There’s still the jokes, the interviews, and the occasional live musical guest. And, yes, there’s the quiz. Oh, and you can’t forget the live audience enjoying every moment.
But since it’s Whad’Ya Know? 2.0 (okay, that “2.0” part in the name is an unofficial add-on), there are some differences. For one, the show is no longer at Monona Terrace, its longtime home on WPR; it now calls the intimate High Noon Saloon home. Also, the show has its own live YouTube channel, so you can not only see but hear the action if you can’t be there in person. And, since they are no longer constrained by radio’s schedule, Michael and his cohorts can take a freewheeling route; two 40-minute episodes were recorded their first Saturday back, and the show has recorded episodes of various lengths since then on a mostly once-every-other-week basis. Oh, and since there’s still production costs, and not every internet show has a benevolent radio-style benefactor or sponsor, Whad’Ya Know? still solicits and accepts online donations to help defray the costs.
But no matter the cost, and no matter what the format, venue, or length it may be, it’s good to know that there’s still a Whad’Ya Know? Here’s hoping Michael Feldman gets to continue this quirky bit of Wisconsin media culture for many more years, not just to his devoted audience of old but the younger, internet-bred audience hopefully looking for a bit of whim and merriment that’s not so crude. You can hear and read about the new version of the show at its new website here. You can also read this article from Isthmus about the show’s September resurrection.