Tag Archives: Ken Gage

Hitting Paydirt in Crazytown, U.S.A.

18631306by Ken Gage

It’s of no surprise that the strains of crazy in America’s culture wars are growing as 2016 approaches. The usual cast of “conservatives” and “tradionalists” are longing for the days of bigotry from America’s sullied past (and I don’t just mean the George W. Bush years!) — and, of course, they are being courted by self-serving politicians who will do everything possible to cater to the crazies and mine new sources for them.

At the top of the crazy heap is Republican Governor Mike Pence’s signing of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (set to take effect in Indiana on July 1st), an act designed to give all corporations and organizations in that state the freedom to discriminate against people based on interpretations of, apparently, any religious tenets or books. As if corporations and organizations didn’t have enough power to lord their views over us, here’s a legal truncheon painted up as religion that Neanderthals can bat around and call freedom. It proves that they not only don’t understand the essence of Jesus Christ, but also don’t understand business — why would you want to turn away potential customers?!

In Arizona, Republican Senator Sylvia Allen recently suggested during a gun debate that, in order to combat moral corruption, Americans should be required to attend church every Sunday: “We are slowly eroding religion at every opportunity that we have. We should probably be debating a bill requiring every American to attend a church of their choice on Sunday to see if we can get back to having a moral rebirth.” She’s not yet advocating a law mandating such church attendance, but how long before that can of crazy hits the can opener?

This news headline from Utah today reminds me of the true values I expect to see blossom as the crazy takes full root: Utah parents, fearing apocalypse, fatally drugged children, themselves, police say. Yes, Utah. Land where they’re bringing back death by firing squad because they so love God and the death penalty.

You know I’m all for individuals practicing — even obsessing on — their religious beliefs. Go ahead. Wave around those palm fronds! Or sugar skulls! Or go skyclad and dance around under the full moon! What’s it hurt anbody?

As usual, the people who truly screw things up aren’t the ones minding their own business, worshipping in their own ways. It’s the ones who believe in a One True Way and who are doing everything possible to reach for the legal pens to write it into law that we of the low and pluralistic misguided masses must now submit to their very limited views and biases for our own good and for their own limited insights into the mind of God. The Supreme Court fucked up big time back when it ruled that Hobby Lobby and other closely-held corporations can have religious views that affect the lives (and health insurance choices!) of the little people who work for them. The gates to theocracy are being unlocked so that more lunatics can run the asylum.

Basically, the politicians are going to be coming around asking you voters this important question, “Need more crazy or are you all stocked up?”

Please, tell them you’re all stocked up.

Ken “Who are you to think that you can change the world?” Gage

WWH Guest Columnist

e-mail: kendgage@yahoo.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/kendgage

radio: www.radiolux.es

mixcloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/kengage/

blog: http://mrkengage.livejournal.com/

Born to Hippie parents in the 1960s, Ken was raised to challenge convention and authority early. When not hosting Shock Waves & Shrunken Heads on Radio Lux, Ken writes Surrealist novels and science fiction.


Celebrating Tim McVey Day (No not that one) and More at Star World’s Arcade

q-bertby Ken Gage,WWH/CJE – Saturday night, Marie and I headed out to 1234 E. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, Illinois. That’s the address of Star Worlds Arcade, one of the very few video game arcades from the 1980s still in business and still going strong today in the United States. (This arcade was recently featured in a documentary film called Star Worlds: A Pocket Full of Tokens and I’m Heading to the Arcade.)

Although we were going ostensibly for the night’s triple celebration, Marie is a big fan of pinball machines and I have a soft spot for classic video arcade games. For Star Worlds Arcade is THE arcade I frequented as a teenager. And I have great memories of playing games there, titles like Wizard of Wor, Moon Patrol, Berzerk, Pandora’s Palace, Gorf, Satan’s Hollow, Joust and, of course, Space Invaders. Because video games have long been the interactive stories sparking the imaginations of my generation, Star Worlds is the sort of place I — and so many others, judging by the huge turnout — might gravitate to no matter what the occasion. (And as witnessed by the success of movies like Wreck-It Ralph, video gamers are yet a big part of pop culture worldwide for the younger generation as well.)

This night was, first and foremost, Tim McVey Day. (NOT to be confused with the cacophonious-sounding Tim McVeigh from the notorious Oklahoma City Bombing!) So what is Tim McVey Day?

On January 17, 1984, Tim McVey broke a world record and scored over a billion points playing the game Nibbler at Twin Galaxies, a famous arcade in Ottumwa, Iowa. He played for 44.5 hours. The City of Ottumwa celebrated by awarding him the key to the city on January 28th of that year. This was the first civic event to recognize and celebrate a video game achievement.

Tim McVey was being honored at Star Worlds for his contributions and dedication to video gaming history and culture. He started playing video games at Twin Galaxies in 1983. Of the record-breaking event, he says Nibbler and Robotron were his two favorite games at the time, but he has “never stopped gaming!” He was presented with a specially designed Tim McVey Day poster and with a photo collage.

Another video gaming pioneer at Star Worlds this evening was Walter Day. Walter Day is perhaps best known as the iconic video gaming referee featured in documentaries such as The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters and Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade. In 1981, he founded the arcade Twin Galaxies; by 1982 he had established an international video gaming scoreboard database that would soon be accepted as the model for the Guinness Book of World Records. In the gaming community, Walter Day has been called the “Patron Saint of Video Games.”

This was Walter Day’s informal going away party at Star Worlds. “Since 1999, I’ve been trying to retire from video games,” said Walter, “to go off and do my music career – if I have any music career ahead of me.” He laughed.

Walter’s catchy music can be heard in Chasing Ghosts, where it has become something of a legend in the video gaming community, along with sets of video game trading cards. Walter says he now is “ready to leave video games behind and surrender his heart and mind fully to music.”

Keeper of the Flame 150dpiPatrick O’Malley, co-owner and original founder of Star Worlds Arcade, presented a special Brent Barber designed poster to Walter called “A Day in Honor of Walter Day.” A photo collage of Walter’s past Star Worlds appearances was also presented, along with a plaque representing the “Key to Star Worlds, in appreciation for his leadership, inspiration and friendship.”

The third prong of the triple celebration was that January 11th had marked the beginning of a new year for Star Worlds Arcade.

“Pac-Man” Pat O’Malley has been running the arcade for 28 years (since Jan. 11, 1985), making this the beginning of the 29th year of continuous operation. Here with his partner Glenn Thomas and a diverse crowd made up of journalists, photographers, artists, filmmakers, radio hosts and hardcore gamers, Patrick O’Malley was going to be granted a special video game trading card designed by Walter Day. And it had been a well-kept secret.

The “Keeper of the Flame” card presented to Patrick O’Malley by Walter Day inferred a new mantle of responsibilities. Walter had written these words on Pat’s card: “Guardian of our arcade legacy, striving to keep the spirit of the neighborhood arcade alive and well.”

And judging from the smiles and the cool swag of posters, collector cards and other prizes that everyone went home with as the January 26th festivities closed, I think it’s safe to say that Pat O’Malley is going to do everything he can to live up to keeping video arcade culture fun and vibrant, that Star Worlds should be around for years to come and that the next runaway video game star you hear on the radio could be Walter Day.

Q*bert bless you all!