Wheels Within Wheels

WHEEL OF FORTUNE has always been one of the dumbest game shows out there. You spin a giant, colorful wheel for a dollar amount and then guess, guess, guess, until the word-puzzle before you comes clear. That’s it. Just by being alive, just be being sentient and possessing the appropriate senses, we know the basics. It seems like something our cave-dwelling ancestors made up. I picture grunting cavemen chalking up rock walls, buying vowels.

Um…I can buy a vowel can’t I?)

I don’t know how, but over the many, many, many years (thirty-six and going strong) of its seemingly infinite run, it’s become a cultural touchstone. EVERYBODY knows what WHEEL OF FORTUNE is and EVERYBODY knows how it’s played.

Pat Sajack and Vanna White have the best jobs ever. And they’ve been doing them forever. And if they are as smart as I think they are (for sticking with it all of these years), they’ll ride the Wheel right into the grave. (Note: I must add that they are both extremely likable personalities. Whereas most talk show hosts are interchangeable – I actually think Pat and Vanna bring something to the show.)

(You know it’s rigged.)

Okay, okay, this post isn’t actually about Wheel. That’s how it begins, and that’s how it’ll continue for another paragraph or so, but don’t worry, Loyal Reader, we will move on to something worthwhile. The thing I wanted to extract from this Wheel discussion is big $$$. Out of all the game shows, I have the most respect for how Wheel handles paying their contestants. All three players, win or lose, get to take home the money they earned by shouting out random letters. If you earn a respectable 16,000 bucks, but the Autistic Savant to your left racks up 25,000 in cash and trips, you still get to keep your cash. Rainman moves on to the final round where he or she could take home more cash, or more trips, or a car, but you still get to keep your sixteen large. How cool is that?

I’ve seen complete losers – the wheel brutalizing them with the thorny LOSE A TURN, or the money-sucking beast, BANKRUPT – walk away with five grand! Five grand for guessing, poorly! Where do I sign up? It was way cool doing the BIG BROTHER live taping, but something tells me it’s much, much harder to become one of the three, daily, Wheel contestants. If you know somebody who knows somebody, hook a brother up! And don’t worry – I won’t be wasting anybody’s time buying any stupid vowels. There’s no way I’m wasting money and giving up precious bits of the puzzle to my fellow competitors. I’ll leave the vowel-buying to the cocksure idiots to my right or left. Recognize!

What a world, Loyal Reader!

Anyhow, this looong Labor day weekend has been really, really nice. I got to visit with family (my niece and twin nephews are too cute for words), hang with my wife (always nice), and do some serious sleeping in. Michelle and I even hit Target and grabbed some new music. Last haul’s discs have been wearing out our CD changer and we needed to change things up a bit.

(Oh my, what blingy teeth you have!)

MY MORNING JACKET (Circuital), ARCADE FIRE (Funeral), RADIOHEAD (The King of Limbs), and BAD MEETS EVIL (Hell: The Sequel) have made lasting impressions and will definitely be back. Each album has a number of songs that worked their way under my skin. Circuital’s The Day is Coming and Wonderful, Funeral’s Crown Of Love (which sounds exactly like a Bright Eyes song, The King of Limb’s entire second half, from track five’s Lotus Flower, to track eight’s Separator, and Hell: The Sequel’s Living Proof, keep wafting through my mind. Check this hook from Living Proof:
When them bottles stop poppin’ / and them dollars start stopping
Do what you did to get it and don’t stop
I made a promise to my momma / I’mma out live her
How can I be a quitter when haters don’t stop?
I’m living proof nigga / it’s pretty safe to say
God giveth and God taketh away
It’s the Worldwide American way / I’m living proof nigga

Awesome, huh? Sorry about the expletives (I  struck those suckers as not to offend). No harm meant. The flow is just sooo tight (you gotta hear it to appreciate it). I’ll try to tack a version of it at the end of this post.

The new stuff – Watch The ThroneKANYE WEST and JAY-Z‘s recent collaboration (Kanye is at the top of his game and Jay-Z rarely disappoints – I have high hopes for this one), Turtleneck & Chain by THE LONELY ISLAND (Andy Sandberg and co.), and Tha Carter IV by best rapper alive LIL’ WAYNE – promises more audio gold. I’ve only listened to a little of Tha Carter. So far, so good, but Wayne has a whole lot to live up to. Surpassing Tha Carter III is an impossible feat. That album was one of those rare birds. It’s a stunna from beginning to end. It reminds me of Dre’s The Chronic, Dogg’s Doggystyle, Biggie’s Life After Death, and Wyclef’s The Carnival – seminal albums that rock a house party from track one on.

(Bow Wow Wow Yippi Yo Yippy Yay, the sounds of tha Dogg bring you to another day…)

Still, it took me a number of listens to get the genius of Tha Carter III, so I’m not writing the new disc off just yet. These songs will surely infiltrate my psychosis. The question remains? Will every track work its way in? Here’s to hope, Loyal Reader.

I’ll keep you posted. If I hear greatness, you’ll definitely hear about it.

Well, there you go. A little Wheel, a little new music, Labor Day fun! Now, back to work! I’ve got minds to mold and stories to edit. It’s September, sir… and madams! Deadlines are approaching! Here’s to productivity!

Here it is! The most exciting, compelling song out there at the moment…


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