Thursday, February 23, 2017

Self Help Radio 022217: Fate

(Original image here.)

You won't believe it, but this is kind of a neat & special episode of Self Help Radio, if such a thing can be.  Not the music or me - that's the same old stuff.  But I had the notion to come up with an overarching motif that would connect all the funny people who improvise interviews with me on the show for this week.  Since one of my collaborators plays a character, I needed that character to be the lynchpin for the proceedings.  Thus was created (not by me, but by the person who plays Dr. Gently) the Fate's Ahoy Captain Of Your Own Destiny Voyage Of Self Discovery!

Every person you hear on the show came up with their own experience of the cruise, & then Dr. Gently reacts to their experiences, & of course making up some of his own.  I need to repeat: the improvisers had only the name of the cruise & their knowledge of the Dr. Gently character to go on.  I asked some questions, but everything else comes from their own demented minds.

Personally I think it went swimmingly.  We must try to do it again sometime!

As for the show, it's now of course at the Self Help Radio website.  The fateful songs I played on that fateful show have been listed below.  Will Fate bring you to this week's show?  I dunno, I'll leave it up to destiny.

(part one)

"Fate" Gordon Macrae _Kismet_
"Fate" Miaow _When It All Comes Down_
"Fate" Rocket 3 _Burn_

"The Killing Moon" Echo & The Bunnymen _Ocean Rain_
"Cast Your Fate To The Winds" We Five _You Were On My Mind_
"Fate Planned It This Way" Showmen _Crescent City Soul: The Sound Of New Orleans 1947-1974_
"Fate Vs The Impossible!" The National Pep _Citizen Gomez_

"Simple Twist Of Fate" Bob Dylan _Blood On The Tracks_
"I Believe In Fate" Papas Fritas _Buildings & Grounds_
"It's My Fate" The Sweets _Gone 7"_
"Fate To Fatal" Breeders _Fate To Fatal_

"Cheer For Fate" Mt St Helens Vietnam Band _Mt St Helens Vietnam Band_

(part two)

"My Fate Is In Your Hands" Josephine Baker _Exotique_
"It's Fate, Baby It's Fate (with Betty Garrett)" Frank Sinatra _Sinatra In Hollywood: 1940-1964_
"Senior Service" Elvis Costello & The Attractions _Armed Forces_

"Master Of My Fate" American Breed _Pumpkin Powder Scarlet Green_
"Our Fate" The Mourning Reign _Good Things Are Happening_
"Twist Of Fate" Bad Lieutenant _Never Cry Another Tear_
"Orange Light" Latimer House _Hey!_

"Seal My Fate" Belly _King_
"The Fickle Finger Of Fate" Jerry Keller _The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2_
"When Fate Deals Its Mortal Blow" Scientists _Blood Red River 1982-1984_
"Bondage Of Fate" OMD _History Of Modern_

"What Did I Ever Do To Deserve Such A Fate" The Music Explosion _Little Bit O' Soul_
"That's How I Escaped My Certain Fate" Mission Of Burma _Vs._
"Fatal Twist Of Fate" Cartridge _Fractures_

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Whither Fate?

(image from the Wikipedia page)

Dr. Fate was a comic book hero who dabbled in the mystic arts way before Dr. Strange did.  Created by Gardner Fox & Howard Sherman, Dr. Fate's powers always perturbed me somewhat - he tended to have whatever spell was necessary for solution of the plot - & his origins were vague enough that there have been half a dozen other Dr. Fates (since the powers come from the helmet, which is possessed by a being called Nabu) since then whose abilities & adventures rely upon whomever is writing the story at the time.  I still think he's pretty cool, though.

But Dr. Fate has nothing whatsoever to do with tonight's show.  Tonight's show is based around the fact that next month I'll be going on the Fates Ahoy Captain Of Your Own Destiny Voyage Of Self Discovery hosted by none other than the Reverend Doctor Howard Gently!  Not only will he be on the show to talk about the cruise, but also I'll talk to three people who took the cruise last year!  Plus, you know, tons of songs about fate.

It's on tonight on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington from 9-11pm eastern time.  It's also on Lexington Community Radio dot org at the same time, which happens to be 8-10pm central.  Perhaps it is your fate to listen?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Preface To Fate: Something I Found Online

There's nothing really to say about the fate show (which airs tomorrow) that I won't say tomorrow, but I did find this cool Youtube collection of the most popular songs from 1840 to 2013.  I confess I am mostly unfamiliar with the songs passed 1990, & have never really heard any of them past 2000 (I thought "Hey Ya" would make it whatever year it came out), but I am really fascinated by the early songs.  Have a listen - enjoy the presentation - it's kinda cool.

Monday, February 20, 2017

It Is My Fate To Write Crappy Blogs

Arrgh, there's no time today, I've been working on my dumb show & living my dumb life so, for your edification & probably revulsion, I have found a very old poem - I wrote it almost twenty years ago - in which I happen to mention "fate."  Enjoy?

Game Theory

stare at life, through the lens that's dirty.  i'm thirty, closing in on
older, wishing for the heart to make my mind catch fire.  moments so mired
in emotion wait, do they, to bog me down.  i'll drown, a better fate, than
slowing to statue in a haze of cigarette air.

let me see, as out of practice as out of time.  i go from salt to lime,
washed throat with alcohol swabbing, spider in a dark ditch.  but which is
which, the heart or the balls, hand to hold or body to bang.  something
someone sang resonates, something someone said i disbelieve.

whatever, i'm kept busy by being kept busy, feeding cats & bathing.  i
don't mind aging, though it's not growth.  no i don't see souls together,
just vases filled with dying flowers yards apart.  my broken heart believes
out of spite, even though so fond of the word "never."

so sign me up, eyes need eyes to make sense of chemical need.  always more
to bleed, always more blood though thin, though fading red.  what instead,
newspaper voyeurism, sexual vandalism, embracing the dirt as the blooms
fade.  no, not today, i want to scare the seconds when my time is up.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Shit, It's Sunday Isn't It?

Damn it, I'm supposed to write something in this blog today.  Well, poops.

Were you listening a couple weeks ago when there was an interview with two guys who started the world's first online dating service?  That was a little experiment I wanted to try.  Two of my funny collaborators, David & CJ, were tasked with telling their side of the story - making it up on the spot - improvising, you know - with no idea what the other was saying!

In fact, I'm not sure the two have ever met each other before - I knew one at KVRX & the other at KOOP.

In any event, I thought it was fun.  They both have distinctive senses of humor & they took their stories in interesting directions.  I thought to myself, what if I did that with all four of my current contributors?

So this week we will.  This week my show will revolve not only around songs about fate, but about a specific event that the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently is involved with, & I'll "interview" three fellows who attended the event last year.

It's going to be fun, I hope, & funny, no doubt.  I kept telling them, "Let's Rashomon the shit out of this thing!"  That's the background for this - all they know is the character of Dr. Gently & the name of his event.  What they'll experience will be entirely up to them & their demented minds.

Does that sound like fun?

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Self Help Radio 021517: Are You Ready?

(Original image here.)

How many of Self Help Radio's themes have been questions?  I count seven, if you include this one, with such probing inquiries as: Are you sure?; At what cost?; Does it matter?; What happened?; What o'clock is it?; & most recently, Who's the boss?

Oh, & I didn't mention yesterday why this theme was explored - I had intended, actually, to simply do a "ready" show.  But early on I titled it "are you ready" & as I started listening to stuff, I thought it might be more fun - & more challenging - to do a show in which I narrowed the idea somewhat to the phrase "are you ready."  (I know most people don't think this show is fun, but I gotta get my kicks somewhere.)  The result, of course, is something you can listen to now!

The show is ready for you at the Self Help Radio website.  Please remember username/password info, available on the page.  Are you ready to listen?  What?  You want to know what songs I played first?  Okay, okay.  They're below.

Now are you ready?

(part one)

"Are You Ready" Henry Wilson _Record Hop_
"Are You Ready" The Dixie Hummingbirds _A Christian Testimonial_
"Are You Ready" Sly & The Family Stone _Dance To The Music_

"Are You Ready" Dave Davies _Hidden Treasures_
"Are You Ready?" Pacific Gas & Electric _Are You Ready?_
"Are You Ready" Bruce Ruffin _Rain_
"Are You Ready" The Chambers Brothers _New Generation_

"Are You Ready" Gruppo Sportivo _Back To 78_
"Are You Ready" Crispy Ambulance _The Plateau Phase_
"Are You Ready" James _Strip-Mine_
"Are You Ready?" Fatty Gets A Stylist _Fatty Gets A Stylist_

"Are You Ready?" Wire _Object 47_

(part two)

"Are You Ready" Mercury Rev _The Light In You_
"Are You Ready For It" Holograms _Night Of 1000 Ex-Boyfriends_
"Your Fucking Sunny Day" Lambchop _Thriller_

"R U Ready (R U Freddy)" Tania + Holy Worm _R U Ready (R U Freddy)_
"Are You Ready For The Sex Girls?" Gleaming Spires _Songs Of The Spires_
"Are You Ready For This" Jackie DeShannon _The Complete Liberty & Imperial Singles, Vol. 2_
"Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?" Lloyd Cole & The Commotions _Rattlesnakes_

"People Are You Ready" Prince Mohammed _People Are You Ready_
"Are You Ready To Dance?" Dirt Bike Annie _Hit The Rock!_
"Are You Ready To The Party (ft. Nicole Willis)" Mr. Comicstore _SoulShaker Vol. 4_
"Are You Ready For The Country?" Neil Young _Harvest_

"(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop" Fatback Band _Raising Hell_
"Are You Ready For This" Bill Deal & The Rhondels _The Best Of Bill Deal & The Rhondels_

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Whither Are You Ready?

(Image from here.)

Are you ready for a show with the theme "Are You Ready"?  If you answered yes, then, cool!  The show's on tonight!  If you answered no, then, well - might you be ready in around eleven hours?  If you answered yes, then, yay!  The show will be on then!  If you answered no, then, rats!  If you're not ready then, the show will have to go on without you.  I hope that doesn't bother you.  Does it bother you?  If you answered yes, then, hey!  Maybe try to be ready at eight pm central, nine pm eastern!  If you answered no, then, ah, I see, you don't care about the show, & that's all right.  I understand there's much, much better radio out there, & I am certain you at least care about some radio, right?  Do you care about some radio?  If you answered yes, then, I knew it!  It's good to care about something!  If you answered no, then...

What the hell am I doing?  This has become like some kind of "choose your own adventure" of an unwell mind.  I just wanted to let you know about the show tonight, not quiz you constantly about your motivations.  Anyway, the theme is "Are You Ready," it's not a question for you to answer but rather a question for the show to answer.  You see.

The show's on tonight from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central, airing in Lexington on the radio at 93.9 fm & online everywhere at the Lexington Community Radio website.  I hope you can listen.

Also I hope you can handle hearing the question "are you ready?" asked over & over without feeling the need to respond.  I couldn't.  I'll screaming "I'm not ready!" at myself all show long.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Preface To Are You Ready: Mercy Dash

Happy Valentine's Day!  I am done with sharing old Valentine's Day shows.  I am sure you're relieved.

If there has been a criticism of Self Help Radio I've had to hear over the years, it's that the show focuses on the theme being "in the song's title" rather than just what the song's about.  It's a fair criticism, & I have no defense - I generally wanted to make sure that the songs I play follow the show's theme & the easiest way to do so is to have it as obvious as the song's title - though if the song is called the theme but doesn't actually talk about the theme, I usually reject it.

There's just so much music!  In the gathering process I must rely upon a dumb old database & my worse old brain.  So - in my zeal to gather music related to this week's theme "Are You Ready" - I focused more on titles than on content, & I forgot about - until this afternoon - a Shriekback song I totally would have played.

But wait, Gary!  Your show is tomorrow!  Can't you play it then?

Alas, the show is prerecorded, since I no longer live in Kentucky.  I sent it to the station today, as I do every Tuesday.  I was in the shower, singing to myself, when I thought of this song, which constantly asks, "Are you ready?"

In my embarrassment I play it for you hear.  Enjoy.  & hope that one day Self Help Radio can be live again!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Day Approaches

(Original image here.)

Here's another bit of the past: a Self Help Radio Valentine's Show from 2007.  It's the second-oldest Valentine's Day show I currently have a copy of that is digitized, although I think I have the earlier shows on cassette (if they survive at all).  There was apparently no Valentine's Day show in 2006, & I have no idea why.  But I resumed in 2007 with a show about crushes.

Some things to note about this show:

1) The show was recorded on a failing cassette player which sped up my voice because it recorded things too slowly.  But the music sounds fine, so maybe my voice was a little higher back then?
2) The show is 90 minutes long.  I think I had moved to Fridays at this point.
3) There's a special appearance by a woman named Lisa who went on the air as "Miss Novak" for reasons I never asked about.  I believe she did the show before mine, which is why she sticks around for an airbreak.  Later on, she came to dislike me because of arguments on the station's Programming Committee, so it's strange to me to hear us so cordial.  I haven't seen nor heard from her since I left KOOP in 2008, barely a year later.  (Looking at the KOOP web site, I don't see her show's name, so perhaps she no longer deejays at the station.)
4) Two features of old Self Help Radio: the "Self Help Radio minute," an attempt to be funny that I never spent too much time on, so I apologize in advance; & haikus.  I used to ask listeners for haikus (& yes, I know the plural of haiku is "haiku" but I still prefer "haikus") & didn't get many submissions, so I wrote them myself.  Eventually I gave them up, though for months afterwards people said they loved the haikus on my show.

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website.  It's in two parts, so you'll need to go there to get it.  What's in the parts are below!

(& remember, this year's Valentine's Day show (about sweethearts) & last year's Valentine's Day show (about heartbreak) are still available if you wanna listen!)

(part one)

"Crush" CJ Buchanan _Whom To Love?  Whom Not?_
"I've Got A Crush On You" Petra Haden & Bill Frisell _Petra Haden & Bill Frisell_
"The New Teller" Jonathan Richman _Beserkely Chartbusters_
"1-2 Crush On You" The Clash _Clash On Broadway_

"Crush On You" Little Girls _The Podolor-Cooper Sessions_
"Teenage Girl Crush" Angelica _Teenage Girl Crush_
"Crushed" Girlfrendo _Surprise, Surprise It's Girlfrendo_
"Nerdy Boys" Candypants _Alright, This Time Just The Girls Vol. 2_

"I Don't Really Love You Anymore" Magnetic Fields _i_
"Oops! I Did It Again" Richard Thompson _1000 Years Of Popular Music_
"You Little Fool" Elvis Costello _Imperial Bedroom_
"The Saturday Boy" Billy Bragg _Back To Basics_

"Mix Tape" Michael Shelley _I Blame You_

(part two)

"Denis" Blondie _Plastic Letters_
"Since You Stole My Heart" Saturday Looks Good To Me _Every Night_
"Crush Lasts Nearly An Entire Bus Ride" Onion Radio News _Onion Radio News_
"Grape Crush" Dirt Bike Annie _Hit The Rock_
"Bewitched" Beat Happening _Jamboree_

"Kylie's Got A Crush On Us" BMX Bandits _Life Goes On_
"Josh Has A Crush On A Femme From Reed" New Bad Things _Freewheel!_
"Crush Whatever" Manhattan Love Suicides _The Manhattan Love Suicide_
"Secretest Crush" Casiotone For The Painfully Alone _The First Two Records On One CD_

"Krush" Stars _The Comeback EP_
"Secret Crush On Third Trombone" Fosca _Diary Of An Antibody_
"Crushed" Cocteau Twins _Lonely Is An Eyesore_

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Day Past

(Original image here.)

Feeling a little guilty about a Valentine's Day show so far in advance of Valentine's Day, I thought to myself, hey!  Maybe I can share an old Valentine's Day show with you!  (Last's year's show, about heartbreak, is still available to listen to as well.)  So I dug up the oldest Self Help Radio VD episode I could find, which, it turns out, was also way too early for Valentine's Day, so I did a show not about love, but about hate.

It may be strange to listen to now; it was for me!  I don't announce the theme at the beginning of the show.  There's no background music for me to rely upon if I need to pause.  It's really just me talking off the top of my head & trying to be funny.  Listening now, I think I sound much more self-confident than I do these days.  But you can be the judge of that, should you listen.

One day I'll re-do a show about hate, but just until Valentine's Day you can listen to what Self Help Radio sounded like a mere twelve years ago, back before either of us was born.  It's available now at the Self Help Radio website or directly linked here.  You'll need to remember username SHR & password selfhelp in either case.  The quality isn't so good - in those days I recorded my shows on cassette & then digitized them.  A hiss is prominent.

Here's what I played, though the last song fades out:

"I Hate You" Monks from _Black Monk Time_
"I Hate You" Damien Youth from _Damien Youth_
"Today I Hate Everyone" Killjoys from _Starry_
"We Hate All The Same Things" Mr T Experience from _...And The Women Who Love Them_

"Hate" Cinerama from _Va Va Voom_
"All You Need Is Hate" Delgados from _Hate_
"Hate Is The New Love" Mekons from _OOOH!_
"Let's Fall In Hate" Michael Shelley from _I Blame You_

"I Hate Myself" Anita Lane from _Sex O'Clock_
"Hate My Way" Throwing Muses from _Throwing Muses_
"I Am Hated For Loving" Morrissey from _Vauxhall & I_
"The Mill Hill Self Hate Club" Edward Ball from _Creation Records: International Guardians Of Rock & Roll_

"Love & Hate" Crabs from _What Were Flames Now Smolder_
"I Hate Milk" Air Miami from _Me, Me, Me_

Maybe another old Valentine's show tomorrow?  What do you think?

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Self Help Radio 020817: Valentine's Day 2017 - Sweethearts

(I found this image here.)

First off, I can't apologize enough for this Valentine's Show being almost a week early.  The show is on Wednesday; Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year.  It couldn't be helped.  But now the flowers will be wilted & the chocolates all eaten way before the actual day!

Still, if the show helps you find a sweetheart - or makes your current sweetheart appreciate you more - than it will have done its job.  Or if you like the music.  Or if you enjoyed the ridiculous interviews with my spiritual mentor, or the "love guru," or the two guys who started the first online dating site who seem to have had wildly different experiences.  Basically, I'm saying I hope you liked the show.  That's when it will have done its job.

Anyway.  The show will be there for you now till Valentine's Day (& probably a long while after that) at Self Help Radio dot net.  Like most sexy things, it requires a username & a password to access the site, but unlike most sexy things, they're easy to find - they're right there on the web page!  & the songs that I play in each of the hours are listed below.

Happy Valentine's Day!  You sweetheart you.

(part one)

"Let Me Call You Sweetheart" Bing Crosby with Georgie Stoll & His Orchestra _Here Lies Love_
"Sweetheart" Tiger Trap _Sour Grass EP_
"If You & I Could Be Sweethearts" The Varieteers _Night Train To Nashville_

"Sweetheart Darling" Rose Batiste _Ladies Of Detroit Sound, Vol. 1_
"Sweetheart" Suicide _Suicide_
"Say Something Sweet To Your Sweetheart" Jo Stafford & Gordon Macrae _Down Memory Lane_
"My Sweetheart Left Me Behind" The DeCastro Sisters _Teach Me Tonight_

"Sweethearts On Parade" Lillie Delk Christian _Louis Armstrong & The Blues Singers_
"Careless Sweetheart" Cindy Walker _The Swingin' Cowgirl From Texas_
"Sweetheart Waltz" Sally Timms _Cowboy Sally's Twilight Laments For Lost Buckaroos_
"Sweetheart" Kaia _Oregon_
"I'd Rather Be An Old Man's Sweetheart (Than A Young Man's Fool)" Candi Staton _Sweet & Raw Soul Music_

"Sweetheart Like You" Bob Dylan _Infidels_

(part two)

"Childhood Sweetheart" Junior Murvin _Police & Thieves_
"Keep Me In Mind, Sweetheart" Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan _Sunday At Devil Dirt_
"You Are My Sweetheart" The Bobbettes _This Is The Night: The End Records Story_

"Radio Sweetheart" Elvis Costello _Taking Liberties_
"I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart" Rosalie Allen _The Hillbilly Yodel Star Of The 1940s_
"Sweetheart" The Wave Pictures _Susan Rode The Cyclone_
"Sweethearts" Shirley & Lee _Let The Good Times Roll_

"Sweetheart" Lloyd Cole _Lloyd Cole_
"Oh, Sweetheart" Shout Out Louds _Howl Howl Gaff Gaff_
"Secret Little Sweetheart" Standard Fare _The Noyelle Beat_
"Hey Sweetheart" Nightmare Of You _Infomaniac_
"Sweetheart Rose Special" The Corn Dollies _The Corn Dollies_

"Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" The Spaniels _Hits Of The Spaniels_

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Whither Sweethearts?

(I can't remember where I found this picture.)

Every year, around Valentine's Day, Self Help Radio has a show with a Valentine's Day-related theme.  These have included: love, love songs, lovesickness, & what love is; girlfriends & boyfriends; jealousy, hate, & heartbreak.  This year we'll be listening to songs about sweethearts.

If you don't have a sweetheart, will this episode of Self Help Radio help you find one?  No.

If you have a sweetheart, will this episode of Self Help Radio help you keep them?  No.

This show is of no practical value when it comes to love.  It is merely a repository of songs about sweethearts.  Also, interviews with silly people.  But it is something you can share with a sweetheart - or a sweetheart-to-be.

Listen tonight from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central, on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington, or online everywhere, even those places without love, at Lexington community radio online.  Self Help Radio is on the WLXU side.

Come, sweetheart.  There is a Valentine's show just for you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Preface To Sweethearts, The Valentine's Day 2017 Show: Unqualified

This Valentine's Day, like most of my last fifteen or sixteen Valentine's Days, I have a sweetheart.  But that wasn't always the case.  My first twenty-one years or so, no sweethearts.  & the vast majority of the years in-between.

Since I met the woman who was ridiculous enough to marry me, I have had a de facto Valentine's sweetheart.  But I've never really bought her candy or flowers, & most certainly not on Valentine's Day.  The candy she would hate because she would think it would make her fat.  The flowers she would hate because our cats would eat them & get sick.  If Valentine's Day had a tradition of a loved one giving his sweetheart dried mango & baingan bharta, my wife would be all for it.

When I worked at a gas station, in my senior year of high school, it was a Mobil, I worked in the Mini-Mart, we had a small display at the front, a sort of cylinder really, in which rested, in a small amount of water, a few shabby roses.  I don't think I worked at the Mobil during Valentine's Day, but those overpriced flowers were very popular on weekend nights when some half-assed swain stopped in for cigarettes & gas.  Aha! he'd think. A rose! She'll like that!  I wonder if some clever woman looked at this putz & said, Gas station flowers?  Again?!?

Navigating the whole concept of a relationship was difficult for me most of my life.  I preferred to ask, which, as you know, some women find off-putting.  I'd ask to kiss them, & I'd ask if we were going out, if we were boyfriend/girlfriend, & if they preferred it to be exclusive.  That last question, by the way, was more for them than for me.  I was never the type who had offers pouring in.

Once I was in love with a girl & I remember we met during my workday after dating (or "dating") for a couple of weeks.  We wandered around the outside of the Harry Ransom Center on the University Of Texas campus.  I very uncomfortably asked her if she wanted to be my girlfriend.  She wasn't a talker & didn't exactly say no, but she also didn't say yes, which was what her silence meant.  I felt like I had gone out on a limb & it broke & I fell like Wile E. Coyote down down down until all that was left of me was a little puff of smoke.

As was the custom in those days, I made her a mixed tape, which, because she was pretty hip, was full of songs she knew & liked.  Her response to me about the tape was, "I feel like you're ruining for me songs that I have always loved."  I should've known at that point that we didn't have much of a future.

What I'm trying to say is that I am & have always been a terrible sweetheart.  I have disdained the holiday but have also never had much of an occasion to celebrate it, except these shows.  I've done Valentine's Day shows forever on Self Help Radio.  Thirteen in fourteen years, in fact.  You can see the list here.  Some of the themes have been a bit snarky - "jealousy" comes to mind - but "sweethearts" is sweet.  Just be aware the person making this radio show has a terrible track record in this particular field.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Pass On The Left, Motherfucker

These days I'm often driving from Fort Worth to Dallas to volunteer at KNON, & when I do, I take two main highways, Interstate Thirty (known as the "Tom Landry Highway" because of some sports person who wore a hat) & Interstate Seventy-Five (known as "Central Expressway" in Dallas, & also named after a terrible U.S. President).  Most of the time, I-30 is four lanes, but often it's three & in a few places, it's five.  Almost all the drivers refuse to pass on the left.  There are the people driving way too fast, weaving in & out of traffic, whom I hope one day to see in a fiery accident, the only victims of which are them & other speedy drivers who think their lives are more important than anyone else's.  They are too impatient to pass on the left, you see.

Most of the others, however, are people driving too slowly in the left lanes who, because everyone else passes on the right, don't know they're doing it wrong.  I myself drive mainly in the rightmost lane, & will in fact move into the right lane, even if I have to slow down to do so, to make some jerkwad who's driving too fast in the right lane have to pass me on the left.  This will probably get me killed one day, so it can be said I died for an idea.  A dumb, arbitrary one which will disappear once we get driverless cars, but an idea nonetheless.

Anyway, a whole rant was brewing inside of me about what the law was & how there's scientific data to back up the fact that people driving slowly on the left causes traffic jams, but someone else beat me to it (by nine years), & has links to some info.  Read her far more polite rant here.

This reminds me a friend in Kentucky who used to complain about the traffic there.  I miss the traffic in Kentucky.  Although if the average Kentucky driver had to navigate Texas highways, they'd be killed instantly.  Or they'd kill someone instantly.  Of this I am certain.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Communal Things For The Outsider To Enjoy

While I am writing this, the Super Bowl is happening.  My wife is in California.  We spoke on the phone & I mentioned that the dogwalk tonight was peaceful because everyone was at home, or at a party, & she was confused.  She didn't know it was Super Bowl Sunday.

Frankly I only know because Bill Maher mentioned it on Friday, although I'm sure with all the hype around it - mentions on Tumblr, Twitter, & Facebook - I would've sussed it out sooner than later.  It occurred to me that I probably haven't watched a Super Bowl - or even an entire ball game - since I was a kid, & even that last time I probably was too impatient to sit through the entire thing.  Whenever the Cowboys were last at the Super Bowl in the 1970s is around that time, although I have a vague memory of angering my brothers, for whom football is the closest thing they have to a hobby, by leaving to go out & play on a grey winter day.

Please don't get me wrong - I understand why people enjoy such things.  But they hold very little interest for me, be they Super Bowls or college bowls or world cups or world serieses.  I'm just not the sports kind of guy.  It goes a little further than that, of course.  I have very little interest in the halftime show, about which some people on Facebook are tonight celebrating or lambasting.  You can probably understand why I don't care for it: it's mostly people from commercial radio, not the sort of music I like to listen to.  I don't remember halftime shows being a very big deal when I was a kid, so the fact that some people tune in to watch them is a triumph of the sports/entertainment industry.

& the commercials!  Someone on Facebook said he didn't like the sports but he'd watch the commercials on the internet tomorrow.  I can barely watch commercials even if they're clever, so expensive commercials designed for a sports match seem a weird thing to want to look forward to.

By the way, I am doing something I don't really like to do.  There are people who feel they need to inject their opinion into everything.  I for the most part don't feel the need to comment on things I don't like.  Or when a musician/actor/whatever I have either a negative opinion or no opinion about, I don't feel the need to advertise that.  There are many artists who died last year, but if I didn't write about them on the blog, you may assume I didn't feel their loss was something I should note.  Again, that didn't mean they had no affect on music or movies or whatever, just that they had no affect on me.  I don't believe there's an objective good or bad out there when it comes to opinions.

Anyway, sorry about doing something I don't normally do.

But I'm doing it because I was trying to think of "shared experiences" that I do enjoy that are on or near the level of a Super Bowl.  & the only thing I could think of is awards shows.  But not all of them.

The awards shows I watch are the Emmys, the Oscars, & the Golden Globes.  In general, commercial movies tend to have a better chance of having some excellence in them than commercial music.  I don't watch the Grammys, the People's Choice Awards, or the Tonys, the latter because I pay very little attention to Broadway. The Grammys & the other one I don't watch because, like Super Bowl halftime shows, they feature commercial artists which I pay no attention to.  (You can read why I don't watch the Grammys here.)

But that's all I can think of - I watch a fair amount of television, & I see a fair amount of movies, some of which win awards.  I find awards shows nice because I like when people win, & I occasionally find the stuff the hosts/writers do to be funny.  (I don't generally like Jimmy Kimmel, for example, but I did find his Emmys Bill Cosby prank quite funny.)

Oh, & yeah, I know there are a lot more awards shows, I just thought of the ones that are bigger.  I think MTV still gives awards for the music videos they no longer play on MTV, for example, but, again, those awards are full of commercial artists winning because they are successful, not because their videos feature actual innovation of any kind.  Though I guess people who like the commercial artists would differ.  Really, it's fascinating they make music videos at all anymore.

Have I missed something?  Are there shared American experiences not based around sports or awards shows (or television) that I do take part it?  Am I not really much of an outsider after all?