This Week's Obsessions is a regular feature that touches on what has us buzzing in Eye Street.
You can laugh if you want, but my main obsession lately is Hot Wheels. See, my grandson is almost 3, and he loves these things. So now my favorite thing is to take Oliver to the store to buy Hot Wheels. They're still dirt cheap -- about a buck apiece. There's a bunch of websites that let you really go nuts; they have tens of thousands of them for collectors. But I'm pretty sure I'm not a collector. Every single one I've bought gets raced -- a lot -- even my "expensive" cars: a '64 AC Cobra I paid $3 for and a Ferrari 599FXX, which cost me $4. We've pretty much turned our extra bedroom into a Hot Wheels playland. They even have tracks that you hang on the wall now to save space. Ours even has an elevator that takes the cars to the top of the track automatically. Pretty sweet. And there's nothing like having a 2-year-old around to keep one's toy collection from looking creepy. And Oliver gets to grow up in the car culture. He knows his '69 El Camino from his '71 Cuda, and he knows that his Lotus Evora will never outrun his Porsche 959. That's just cool. So is being able to kill 45 minutes at Target while my wife shops, then rushing home to race the cars we bought. Plus, I know what the kid will want for his birthday for the next few years. The only problem is, when he grows out of his Hot Wheels phase, how am I going to explain why I keep buying cars?
Waylon still wailin'
Though it's been a few months ago that I got my copy of a CD that boasts the last recordings of the late country superhero Waylon Jennings , for some reason I've been playing it nonstop this week. I guess it's a mood thing. Waylon's son, Shooter, along with his original band, took the tapes Waylon had made in his home studio before he died and turned them into a finished product. Most great songwriters record at home. They do stuff that they love, as opposed to what record companies think is most marketable. The result in this case is "Goin' Down Rockin': The Last Recordings." If you're a fan of real country music -- heck, if you can't even remember real country music -- you will love this record.
Being generally uninterested in the current state of TV, I find myself loading up on boxed sets of stuff that I love and watching as time permits. The one show I can't seem to get enough of is "Deadwood." In fact, I never actually stop watching it; I just take a break after the end of the final season only to jump back in when I start to miss it. "Deadwood" is the story of the settling of the gold-rich mining camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota, but it could just as easily be set in anyplace where there's quick cash to be made. It's classic storytelling, with a lot of actual history blended with equal amounts of fiction. Yes, it's full of violence and profanity, but so is the history of the West. You can get it on Netflix or, better yet, just buy the whole three-season boxed set. It's about $100 for the Blu-Ray, and it's the best gift idea ever for anybody who likes westerns.