Archive for August 5th, 2007

They Paved Paradise and Put Up A Parking Lot

I have sorta kinda come to terms with the fact that it’s been ten years since I’ve been to Opryland.  Ten years since I rode the Wabash Cannonball, ten years since I’ve boarded the train at Grinder’s Switch…I’ve come to a level of acceptance that I will never again stand in line at the Flume Zoom and hear the sounds of Russ and Becky Jeffers warbling about that Fox on the Run across the way at the Martin Theater…The days are but a memory when I could see “Country Music USA” and “I Hear America Singing”…I will never zip around the Rockin’ Roller Coaster, go down the stairs and back up again for another spin with Chubby Checker blaring on a jukebox in the background…no more Tram rides at 10:00 at night when the park has closed…no more hearing the voice in the back of the tram say “Tram Stop B….alllllll klurrr.” 

I’ll never again get on the Sky Ride and hold my breath til we get to the other side, anxious that the cable will stop midway across like it was known to do…splash my hands in the fountain with the blue water in the New Orleans area….get a really bad cariacature done of myself…stand in line for hours at the Grizzly River Rampage and close my eyes really tight in the cave, so as not to see the scary, stuffed bear (I did this even when I was grown and rode the ride with my own kids) and then get soaked on that last dip towards the end…I’ll never put my children on the Mini Rockin’ Roller Coaster, airplanes, mini ferris wheel and cars that I rode over and over myself when I was a kid.

Really, I’ve come to a level of acceptance of these things.  Life is about change, blah blah.  I’ll never forgive the buttheads who decided there had to be a mall right in the spot where Opryland was.  No, we had to have a mall right there next to the Grand Ole Opry.  I imagine Roy and Minnie have turned a few somersaults in their graves over this stuff.

Everytime I’m at Opry Mills and can smell the Opryland Smell that still lingers, I guess, from the Cumberland River, there’s a for real sadness and just plain pissed off-ness that I can’t pretend I don’t feel.   I can deal with it though. 

I thought I had dealt with my feelings about the whole Opryland is closed thing, ok, until yesterday when we went to the Mall to go to eat for Nephew Smiff’s birthday.  (I’m not going to even go into how one should never go to Opry Mills during Tax Free weekend, even though we got some splendid bargains on clothes). 

When I saw this right here, I thought I was going to throw ugly-gaslight.jpgup all over the flower bed where me and Patrick had our prom picture made.  Somebody try to explain to me what the retards at Opryland were thinking when they decided to paint one of the few things that remains from our blessed theme park this horrendous, putred color?

Late Night Jewels

One of the best things about being a semi-insomniac is you find little jewels on the tv late at night.  I found one the other night on PBS.  I missed the first part and dozed in between, but, luckily, PBS ran it again and I was able to record it.

The little gem I discovered is a documentary called Following Sean.  The documentary is about a 15 minute sean.jpgfilm made in 1969 by film student Ralph Arlyck.  Sean was then a 4 year old living in Haight-Ashbury with his hippie parents in what was basically a crash pad.  Sean was a cute, articulate kid who had free run of the neighborhood and smoked pot. 

Years later, filmmaker Arlyck found Sean and his family and did this wonderful piece, not only on what became of his family, but, the filmmaker’s own family.  It’s just fascinating and interesting. 

Interesting in that Sean ended up being scarily normal in spite of an abnormal (or what would seem abnormal to lots of us) childhood.  I love how Arlyck parallels his own family with Sean’s family.  I don’t think he meant to do that when he originally filmed all this.  It’s really a beautiful piece of reality television.  To me, it’s what reality tv should be.

You can rent Following Sean on Netflix and it’s available at Amazon and other places.

You can see the original short film, “Sean” from 1969 here. I have watched it about 3 times today alone.  Sean Farrell is extremely engaging, both as a 4 year old and as a grown up.

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