Monday, October 25, 2010

Huevos Rancheros Live

I have left Houston and great Zydeco on KPFT and my new fork truck driver friend behind and am en route to New Mexico with my load of oil field pipe and it was nice sailing out of town last night with Zydeco Pas Sale′ on the radio live...

I say "live" because I most often listen to Pacifica radio via podcasts. Pacifica is five Progressive radio stations -- Houston, Washington, D.C. New York City, Los Angeles and Berkeley, all of which are "listener supported, commercial free," as Said says. He is the host of one of my favorite shows, Arab Voices, on KPFT in Houston, 90.1 FM.

The original station, Berkeley, was begun by pacifists in the 1940s. It has grown since then to be five stations and to encompass programming that is vast and varied, but still of the Left. A couple of my favorites are by people of Arab or Middle Eastern backgrounds and it's been fun learning about those cultures and points of view. Another good one is Africa Today, from Berkeley, KPFA, 94.1 FM, hosted by Walter Turner, a professor who knows Africa very well and keeps us abreast of what's happening over there. I mean, he knows people over there, not just experts over here, and he interviews them over the phone or when they come here, like people who were involved in the liberation struggles, some of whom are in government now, and he knows people like professors and journalists over there. It's a great show.

A lot of the programming is the talk show type but there are many music shows, too, of a variety that makes your ears tingle. I found out about Pacifica about the time I got the Apple computer, which is set up to make downloading podcasts very easy, although Windows can do it too, and I assume probably just as easily, nowadays.

But when I stop at a tuck stop where they have the wifi service I just turn on the computer, open up the iTunes program, which is set up to goget my favorite shows, and I click on "update all podcasts" and within a few minutes I have every program I have not listened to. I sometimes even download them when I am just stopping to fuel the truck. Then I transfer them all into my little iPod and listen with those little ear plugs while I drive, and it's been the joy of my life, having this new, rich cornucopia of things to listen to. And it is so nice, so very nice, not being captive to radio in America as it exists today, which is nothing but commercial after commercial after commercial and when it's not that just one dismal, annoying, crass, coast to coast same few songs and same few conservative assholes that makes you want to vomit wasteland.

So it's a treat to be able to listen to Pacifica live when I am in one of the Pacifica towns, and last night they were in fund raising mode, and the old woman who hosts the Zydeco show was in great form. Her deceased husband was a Zydeco musician, she once said, and she knows all the guys who do that music. Now she has a co-host, and they usually don't talk very much, just play great Zydeco records one after another, but during fund drive they have to ask people to call in. Last night she was giving it to a caller who, she said, calls a lot but never calls when it's time to give money. Her co-host was in disbelief and she said, "Don't mess with me tonight I had three Cokes before I left home."

As for me, I have stopped here at Fort Stockton, TX, one of my favorite watering holes. I don't have to be up there at Jal until Wednesday a.m. so I stopped to enjoy the lovely huevos rancheros they serve here at one of my old favorite watering holes, an old independent, the Comanche Springs Truck Terminal -- terminal being what they used to call truck stops in this part of  the west and a couple still hold on from those days, like this one.

I'd meant to mention the guy who loaded me in Houston. When I pulled up, he gave me an expression -- I don't know just what it meant but it wasn't a smile. I wondered if it was because he saw as nothing but more work, but it looked more like the look of fear.

When he was done loading me we got into conversation and he lamented the amount of work he has to do -- six and seven day weeks. "You're probably driving a new Cadillac," I said, but he said, "No, no Cadillacs. Medical bills and two kids’ college educations."

And he did strike me as a very fearful guy when he talked about what is no doubt on the minds of many Americans. He lamented the typical laments about loss... especially a loss of civility he attributes to the loss of the things he "grew up under. Church on Sunday and then dinner at one of the family member’s houses. There was much more family gathering then," he said. And leniency by judges, and these damn lawyers finding damn loopholes..that’s the biggest problem we face, in his mind.

He told about a Houston couple coming home from a Valentines Day night out to dinner followed by some shopping, at home unloading the trunk when a young black man came up behind the man and shot him in the back of the head, in front of his wife and kids...."Some kind of gang orientation thing," my fork truck driver friend said. "I’d line ‘em all up in front of a big hole and pop ‘em."

He sounded discouraged and upset, and we were friends when we parted, because I didn’t one up him and didn’t ridicule him and I agreed with him. He’s no Republican either, did not vote for Bush or McCain. "Those are only for the rich people and to destroy Social Security." he said.

Indeed. And he's one unusual guy, I think. He might not have all the knowledge he needs to make all the connections, but even working six and seven days a week he still has the mental capacity to figure out the difference between his fear and what causes it.

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