RIP Wally

So this happened.

I have many memories of KDOC.  Channel 56 on the pre-cable dial, it broadcast out of Anaheim (home of Disneyland, the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim or whatever the hell the baseball team is called now, and (technically speaking) me from about 3-18 (although culturally I was a native of neighboring Placentia, due to odd school-district gerrymandering)).

As I recall, back in the 80s their programming consisted of:

  • Reruns of Combat, an early 60’s WWII show starting Vic Morrow, who John Landis later beheaded with a helicopter, presumably as a sacrifice to some eldritch deity.
  • Reruns of Dark Shadows, later murdered by Tim Burton.
  • Request Video in the afternoon after-school hours.
  • Vietnamese programming all day Sunday
  • (possibly some non-Vietnamese Jesus shows late Sunday night as well).

And then the channel’s highlight, produced at their own studio: Hot Seat with Wally George.

Hot Seat aired every Saturday night at 11pm.  Basically, Wally was a hardcore Republican talk show host (though mostly it was for show; I’m not sure anyone knows how much his actual political beliefs tracked with his stage beliefs).  Some of the show’s more interesting guests included GWAR, The Mentors, and Rick Dees (Los Angeles area DJ and artist behind the smash 1976 hit Disco Duck), who broke* a chair across Wally’s back.  Mostly, though, he had a number of recurring guests; the Reverend Bud Green, who advocated smoking pot for Jesus (or something like that) was a mainstay, as was a college professor who my dad recognized, as he had taken his class on the History of the American Presidents**.

Wally would whip the audience into a frenzy, yelling at his guests while the audience cheered and chanted “Wally! Wally!” or booed and chanted “Sick! Sick! Sick!” after Wally called a guest sick, one of his favorite put-downs.  Later in the show Wally would give the number to call for free tickets to be in the audience; giving the area code 714, he would then repeatedly yell 999, to which the audience would respond 5000!

Needless to say, it was a great show to watch while high and/or drunk.

For a while, Wally also had a half-hour call-in show on weekdays.  It ran in the late afternoon, conveniently providing all the local high-school kids enough time to come home from school and get high before crank-calling*** him.

Anyways, Wally George is dead and KDOC sucks now.

* This was totally fake as fuck bullshit.

** According to my dad, the semester consisted of anti-war rants, anti-capitalist rants, pro-communism rants, and occasionally turning all the lights out and listening to rock music.  At the end of the semester, the professor said, “I have to give you a grade, so turn something in.”  My dad’s 20 page paper on John Quincy Adams, which I cribbed from heavily for my own high-school report on John Quincy Adams, earned him an A.

*** I haven’t gone through all of these videos, but I’m sure some of the calls are either from me or people I know.

USA Use Of Rods (Not As Dumb As You Think)

caduceus

caduceus

The Caduceus is the staff with two snakes and wings. It is mostly known as the symbol of commerce, but is also attributed to alchemy and Mercury, not medicine. It is also known as the Rod of Hermes and more commonly as the Herald’s Staff, the Greek of which lends etymology to the word caduceus.

asklepian

asklepian

The Asklepian or Rod of Asclepius is the rod of medicine. It is the mythological Greek rod wielded by the healing and medicine deity, Asclepius. The rod has only one serpent entwined on it.

Take note as you pass hospitals, parked ambulances, or visiting with your friendly cold-sweaty-palmed practitioner. The rods are mixed up as symbols of medicine in the United States. In fact just over three quarters of all commercial organizations in the US use the commerce symbol over the traditional medicine.

The confusion is attributed to a Colonel Hoff, whom in 1902, helped the U.S. Army Medical Corps adopt the non-medical staff. It was adopted on uniforms almost fifty years prior by hospital staff. Workers that balanced accounting books, records, and management. In this scenario the herald’s staff was not out of place. This caused an association with medicine for years to come. Concurrently, in the 1850’s, the official symbol used by the Surgeon General of the United States was the correct medicine logo the rod of Asclepius.

In 1902 this wasn’t adopted lightly. It was argued, the prior Surgeon General had been against it, and the service branches had grievances printed. Those opposed to it were predominantly medical staff. Hoff did not chose an icon to represent medicine, but rather the entire medical corps of the service, “the rod represents power, the serpents stand for wisdom and the two wings imply diligence and activity, qualities which are undoubtedly possessed by our Medical officers.

Emerson wrote, in the Encyclopedia of United States Army Insignia and Uniforms, “Hoff was far too scholarly and intelligent a man to commit the blunder of ‘confusing’ the caduceus with the serpent staff of Aesculapius. The sign of Mercury was deliberately adopted, as I have heard him state, because it was the emblem of the merchant and hence the emblem of the noncombatant.”

Additionally, the herald’s staff is sometimes used as the name for the Staff of Moses from the Book of Exodus in the bible. The two are sometimes believed to be one and the same. This is false and the two are from separate mythologies and cultures. The Topkapi Palace in Istanbul currently claims to have the staff of Moses on display. The brass snake staff known as the Nehushtan is also not related to the caduceus or the asklepian.

Bibliography:

Friedlander, Walter J (1992). The Golden Wand of Medicine: A History of the Caduceus symbol in medicine. Greenwood Press.

Emerson, William K (1996). Encyclopedia of United States Army Insignia and Uniforms. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 181–182.

Thanksgiving Prayer

By William S Burroughs

“To John Dillinger and hope he is still alive.
Thanksgiving Day November 28 1986”

Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shat out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and
danger.

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin’ lawmen,
feelin’ their notches.

For decent church-goin’ women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for “Kill a Queer for
Christ” stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody’s allowed to mind the
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories– all right let’s see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.