Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Preface To Kites: The Obligatory Peanuts Comic

Yeah, yeah, kite season is in the spring.  But I'm bringing it back for a week at the end of summer!  Get your kites ready, kids!


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Reviews Are In!

Well, one review.

KNON has a web form which you can use to send comments directly to the deejay during her/his show.  I got this comment today at the tail end of my show:

Such a nice thing to receive at the end of two hours of radio!

(You can listen again to that "good show" for the next couple of weeks here.)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Bird News You Can Use

This week the bird news you can use is about the Cassowary.  Here's one now:

(Image from here.)

These flightless birds are from down under, native to Australia, New Guinea, & nearby islands.  They like fruit but will eat anything, including leftovers.  According to the Wikipedia, "Cassowaries are very shy, but when provoked they are capable of inflicting injuries, occasionally fatal, to dogs & people."

It's true!  That's why you should always remember, should you run into a cassowary, this saying:

"Always be wary of the cassowary 'cause the cassowary is wary of you."

That's bird news you can use!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Self Help Radio 091418: Fascination

(Original image - from a website designed to help you "find your fascination" - here.)

Here's this week's show, a (hopefully) fascinating collection of songs about fascination.

Apologies again for its lateness.  I was in Dallas doing radio this morning, & although it doesn't appear that way, I do spend a bit of time putting finishing touches on the program, so the two hours I was on the air (& the time commuting, in morning drive time traffic) really did cut into the amount of tender loving carelessness I put into each episode of SHR.  I was super hungry when I got home & also I took an hour nap.  So I could be writing this earlier, but I really needed the nap.  Even though an hour nap in general is useless, like a sip of water to someone dying of thirst.  Not to be melodramatic about it.  I know naps help other people.  It's just for me, it's gotta be two hours or else I'm not going to get any benefit from it in any way.

Sorry.  I got carried away there.  I hope you dig the show.  There's plenty of music I enjoy (so maybe you will too) as well as interviews with a perfume maker (whose new scent is called, of course, Fascination) & with a traveling writer, whose "Fascinating Travel" series I discovered when I read his book Fascinating Kentucky.  Hey!  I'm trying to fascinate you here!

Listen now at Self Help Radio dot net.  Remember there's a password & a username, that's on the website, in the big block of text at the top, I think I even bolded it to make it easier for you.  The songs I play are below.  Plus the interviews.  I hope you find it fascinating.

Self Help Radio Fascination Show

"Fascination" Julie London _The Magic Of Julie London_
"You Fascinate Me So" Blossom Dearie _My Gentleman Friend_
"Fascinating Man" Eartha Kitt _Thursday's Child_
"Fascinating Baby" Sherree Scott _Hot Boppin' Girls Vol. 2_

introductions & definitions

"Fascination" David Bowie _Young Americans_
"Fascination" Everything But The Girl _Eden_
"Fascination" The Fleshtones _The Groups Of Wrath: Songs Of The Naked City_
"Fascination" The Fred Banana Combo _The Fred Banana Combo_
"Fascination" Diplomats Of Solid Sound _What Goes Around Comes Around_

interview with travel writer Percival Smythe

"Just Fascination (7" Version)" Cabaret Voltaire _The Crackdown_
"Keep Feeling (Fascination)" Baxendale _Reproductions: Songs Of The Human League_
"Fascination (The Droyds' Ghetto Mix)" Proper Filthy Naughty _Larry Tee Presents Electroclash, Vol. 2_
"Fascination" Confidence Man _Confident Music For Confident People_

interview with perfumer David Fruchter

"Your Fascination (7" Version)" Gary Numan _New Dreams For Old: 84-99_
"A Kind Of Fascination (Live)" Shriekback _Jam Science_
"Fascination Street" The Cure _Disintegration_
"The Self Fascination Ritual For Increased Power" Louise Huebner _Seduction Through Witchcraft_
"Deep Fascination" The Feelies _Only Life_

Ned Dry interviews the most fascinating person in the world

"Fascinating, Devastating Man" Eleanore Mills _This Is Eleanore Mills_
"Rage & Fascination" Cristina _Sleep It Off_
"My Fascination" Buck _Buck_
"Fascinated" The Fresh & Onlys _Play It Strange_
"Wild Fascination" Capsula _In The Land Of Silver Souls_

conclusion & goodbyes

"Fascinating Melody" Chet Atkins _Mr. Guitar: The Complete Recordings 1955-1960_
"That Fascinating Thing" Squirrel Nut Zippers _Perennial Favorites_
"Fascinating Rhythm" Fred & Adele Astaire _American Musical Theater: Shows, Songs, & Stars, Vol. 1_

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Whither Fascination?

(Apparently fascination is a cruise ship.  Image from here.)

It's very easy to tell you why I'm doing a show about fascination.  I've been digging the new Confidence Man record & I like the song "Fascination" on the album & thought it would make a good theme.  Easy peasy!

But hey I wanted to talk to you about something.  I've been asked to sub the Friday Morning Blend on KNON in the morning, which means I'll be getting back home a little late which means that the show might not be ready exactly at noon as it usually is.  I'm going to try, but I can't promise exactitude with the time.  I know it doesn't matter to you, because you'll probably not listen, but I wanted you to know because it matters to me.

At this point I want to say "It'll be on the Self Help Radio website at noon but there's a chance it might be a teensy bit late.  Just an fyi.

Hey!  Sometimes fascination is worth waiting for!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Preface To Fascination: Spock Saying "Fascinating"

So was I thinking about the internet this morning & I was like, "You know what?  I bet someone has made an edit of every time the character of Mr. Spock has said the word 'fascinating' on Star Trek."  & so I go to Youtube & type in "Spock fascinating" & viola!

You can't help thinking that this is what the internet was invented for, not making people crazy.  But oh well.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


This morning, on my KNON show, I didn't mention 9/11 once.  & I guess it was on purpose, I think I was afraid of saying something that might seem disrespectful or insensitive.

Do you know how people talk about hearing about Kennedy's assassination?  That's how I feel about 9/11.  I have very distinct memories of that day.  It was a Tuesday, I dragged my ass out of bed later than usual for some reason (I don't remember what I did the night before) & checked my email like I always did.  There was a note that said something like "the University of Texas (where I worked) will remain open despite the attacks in New York."  That seemed puzzling to me, but I went & showered anyway.

But something stuck in my head.  "Attacks in New York"?  That seemed a weird sentence.  What could it mean?  I found out soon enough what it meant - I turned the television on just in time to see the second tower fall.

In those days, I listened to music on my ride to work on a Walkman which had a radio, & for the very first time I tuned in - to NPR I think - & I listened intently while observing that nothing seemed too out-of-place - the dude driving the UT bus was listening to his top forty radio station, no one was too over-concerned, no one appeared as stricken as I was.

Maybe they didn't know.  At work, everyone was glued to the television.  It soon became clear no work was going to be done that day.  & I kept thinking about everyone who died.  Everyone who, like me, got up reluctantly on a Tuesday morning to go to their job & they just died.  Some assholes flew planes into their buildings & they died.  It was fucked up.

Over time, though, the people who should have been working toward honoring the memory of those people, they abused it.  They went to war with people who didn't have anything to do with the attacks.  They put these shitty yellow ribbons on their SUVs without any irony & would use the words "9/11" to justify anything.  Lower taxes?  9/11!  Constant surveillance?  9/11!  Less freedom?  9/11!

It quickly became apparent that that tragedy was something to be used to manipulate people, to make a profit from, to use in whatever cynical way possible to do whatever the fuck you want.  & there's me, thinking about myself in the late morning of September 11, 2001, at my computer, & all I could see as I wept to myself was the people who died.  We didn't know how many.  They didn't want to die.  They didn't want to be used as excuse to kill people in another country.  They didn't want to be used to help anyone's political careers.  They just wanted to live.

So yeah, I have mixed emotions about commemorating the date.  I thought about perhaps playing a set of songs for New York City or something like that, but decided not to go anywhere near there.

& now - if you cared - you know why.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Let's Look At Jack Kirby Splash Pages

Like this one:

Which I found on this Tumblr blog.

As someone wrote, "Jack Kirby was on some next level shit."

Now excuse me, I'm going to read some OMAC comics as I fall asleep.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Self Help Radio 090718: Tubes

(Original image here.)

Tubes!  Tubes of all kinds!  Tubes of all shapes & sizes!  Well, no.  Mainly they're tube shaped.  Tubes of all tube shapes & sizes!  That's better.

Are you a fan of tubes?  You & tubes?  You tubes?  That's pretty catchy, someone should do something with that.  Anyway, weirdo freak fan of tubes, guess what?  There's an entire radio show about tubes!  You betcha!

It's at the Self Help Radio web page!  All you need to listen is ears, a computer, & a username/password combo.  (It's SHR/selfhelp.)  & if you're skeptical, look at the songs & the guests below!  Holy smokes!  Tubes!!!

Self Help Radio Tube Show

"Tubes" The Intelligence _Deuteronomy_
"Down The Tube" Cheap Time _Fantastic Explanations (& Similar Situations)_
"We're Goin' Down the Tubes" Artichoke _Etchy Sketchy Skies_

intro & definitions

"Tube Song" Invisible Cities _Houses Shine Like Teeth_
"Tube Rider" Nona Reeves _Greatest Hits/Book One_
"Rundown Tube" Swell Maps _Train Out Of It_
"Dirty Tube Train" Hayman, Watkins, Trout, & Lee _Hayman, Watkins, Trout, & Lee_
"Down In The Tube Station At Midnight" The Bad Shepherds _Yan, Tyan, Tethera, Methera!_

interview with head of International Tube David Fruchter

"The Black Hole Tube" Negativland _Happy Heroes_
"Lumboba's Tube" Zom Zoms _Lumboba's Tube_
"Wrong Tube" Swirlies _Blonder Tongue Audio Baton_
"Lava Tube Exploration: Phosphorescent Worm Callers" Corum _Coastal Vudutronic Voyage_
"Tube Talkin'" Joan Jett & The Blackhearts _Sinner_

interview with test tube manufacturer Dodd Stillwater

"Test Tube Baby" Chronics _Test Tube Baby/Calling All Cardinals 7"_
"Test Tube Babies" Skids _Scared To Dance_
"Test Tube Baby" Zolar X _Timeless_
"Glenda & The Test Tube Baby" Toy Dolls _Dig That Groove Baby_
"Test-Tube Baby/Shoot'm Down" Morphine _Good_
"Test Tube Baby" A-Frames _A-Frames_
"Test Tube Jesus" Damien Youth _Alchemy_

a little story about some pranksters & a bar called Tube

"Red: The Tube Bar Prank Calls" Bum Bar Bastards _Tube Bar_
"The Tube" Art Bears _The Art Box_
"The Tube" Shoes _Boomerang_
"The Tube" Robert Klein _Let's Not Make Love_
"The Tube" Vivian Stanshall _Teddy Boys Don't Knit_

conclusion & goodbye

"Tubular Bells" California Guitar Trio _Echoes_
"Tubular Belgian In My Goldfield" Departure Lounge _Kid Loco: AnotherLateNight_
"Tubular Friends" Tomcats In Tokyo _Sweet Gloomy Home

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Whither Tubes?

(Image from here.)

Funny story.  I told a friend one time I was enjoying a record by the Tubes.  She mocked me.

Okay, more a sad story.  I was enjoying the Tubes.  I remember seeing them on SCTV & although I didn't like the song they played ("Sushi Girl") as much as their lone radio shit ("She's A Beauty"), I found them charming.  But I didn't listen to their records until many years later.  When mockery would be one of the responses.

You probably won't hear the Tubes on the Self Help Radio show about tubes.  I don't play bands whose names fit the theme.  But wait, you say!  Because you're a fan of the Tubes, you know: The Tubes have a couple of songs that namecheck themselves.  It's true.  "Tube Talk" & "Tubes World Tour."  I could play those, right?  Yes, I could.  I might play one of those.  I don't know yet, though.  The show is far from finished.

But it's not a show about the Tubes.  I'm not sure, actually, just why I wanted to do a show about tubes.  Maybe because tubes are ubiquitous.  Maybe because I was certain it would be difficult to find two hours of good songs about tubes.  Maybe I knew & forgot because I am old.  But I do know there will be a show about tubes & that it might feature the Tubes, even if my friend, with whom I haven't spoken in quite a while, mocks me for playing them.  She might even contact me for the first time in ages just to say something snotty.  But I'm still doing a show about tubes.  That might feature The Tubes.

Tomorrow.  Noon.  Self Help Radio dot net.  The internet is a series of tubes, you know.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Preface To Tubes: Foot Doctor

Just got back from the podiatrist.  I went there not because I hurt my foot or even because my foot is hurting but because I occasionally get heel pain & thought I should get it checked out.  I did.  I got some exercises.  I got to see the results of fifty years with flat feet.  Also, I got a big ass bone spur.  Crazy.

But what was most interesting was the waiting room.   Even though I am now fifty years old, I was the youngest patient there.  So many foot injuries!  Here are some things I observed:

1. The world's most patient nurse.  You know, that wasn't an intentional pun.  But it could be the title of a new show this Fall on CBS: The Patient Nurse.  She's the best nurse out there, but she's dying of an incurable disease.  So when she's not looking after you, she's checking herself in.  Coming September, some young actress is The Patient Nurse.

Shit, I went off on a tangent, sorry.  Let me start again.

1. The world's most patient nurse.  One patient, who brought his entire family, apparently had to get the fuck away from them, & went missing.  When he was called, his wife (maybe mother) had to call him to say "they're ready for you."  But he took like five minutes to get back.  & the whole time, the nurse stood placidly at the intake door, holding a folder, smiling & staring off into space.  She really didn't move until he showed up.  It was like watching something in slow motion.

2. Blabbermouth.  One guy, sitting across from his wife (maybe mother, but probably not) who was in a wheelchair-like contraption with her leg supported at a right angle to her body, he kept talking to her in a very thick Southern accent & she did not appear to be listening.  At one point, he just started saying, "Doop doop doop doop" to the same non-reaction.  He began to chew on his finger & she sprung into action, pulling out a nail file & taking care of his fingernail situation.  I lost track of them because of...

3. Forgetful elderly gentleman.  Also, somewhat hard of hearing.  This nice old man made repeated but slow & deliberate trips to the front desk as he was filling out paperwork.  He got the clipboard, went back to his seat, then realized he didn't have a pen, rose to get a pen, almost left the clipboard at the desk, made it back to his seat, filled it out to the best of his ability (I presume), returned it, went back to seat, was called back as he was returning to give an ID & an insurance cared, went back to give one, was called back because he forgot the other (the receptionist or nurse calling him back was very loud because he was nearly deaf, it appeared), & finally was able to sit until it was his time to see the doctor.  If you had a video of a turtle walking in circles, stopping occasionally for no discernible reason, you might get a sense of how mesmerizing this process is.

& finally:

4. Guy who read something about politics in a copy of Vogue & needed to talk to his wife about it.  Boy, was he disgusted.  I'm not sure what.  Several things.  Lots of things.

As for me, like I said, my feet are okay.  I got a big ol' bone spur & flat feet.  I hope to continue walking into my old age, so I'm glad I went.  I didn't get orthotics.  I wasn't hoping for it, but when the podiatrist said orthotics wouldn't help my feet, I was a little disappointed.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Rare Rave Review

Not really.  No reviews at all.  I do write reviews, sort of, for records for radio stations.  & lots of my reviews are raves.  I really dug, for example, the new record by Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis.  But I don't write those reviews for the public, but for deejays who might want to know what I think the band or performer sounds like, what the record's about, etc.  At some point at WRFL, the management wanted me to share my reviews on their Tumblr page or something, but, again, the reviews were for deejays.  So I didn't share them.

Reviewing CDs is how I got involved in radio, actually.  I saw a sign one day in the summer of 1994 about KVRX, & went to the station & asked if I could help.  I had no intention of deejaying.  The Music Director at the time, a nice fellow named Andrew, gave me a stack of CDs, & I've been pretty much reviewing them ever since.

The first reviews I wrote on sticky labels which were then stuck onto the CD cases.  They're mostly lost to time (unless some of them are still in the KVRX library) but after a while I wrote them in Microsoft Word files & just tapped them onto the CD.  The printed copy is probably long gone, too, but I've saved the files.  Would you like to hear one of my earliest saved reviews, from the summer of 1996?  Here's one, for the self-titled debut of a band called The Tender Idols:

"Like Austin’s Stretford, this Georgia band has a British transplant who's appeared & brought something from his country with him, in music form.  That Stretford guy likes punk & his band is pretty much The Jam in Austin; this limey brought the Stone Roses, the Charlatans, even a little bit of Blur.  He's got a whiney poppy voice, he's got jangly guitars, & if every song isn't about love or heartbreak, they sure sound like that.  So, no, this isn't a very fresh or new CD.  No, it's not a sound that's going to blow you away with its innovative quality.  Heck, it's not even (in the end) too terribly interesting.  So caveat emptor.  A transplant, a little energy, sometimes even a clever lyric or two.  But pop needs a certain ingredient, a voice or a sound that lifts it above the limitations of its genre.  This band sounds like a British pop band.  Maybe, being from Georgia, they think it's their strength.  Whatever."

Okay, I was a bit of a snot back then.  My more recent reviews have less attitude.  This one is from twenty years later, for the long-delayed release of the Robert Bensick CD:

"In the summer of 1975, a Cleveland-based musician & artist named Robert Bensick took some of the city's soon-to-be-legendary musicians (including members of Pere Ubu) into the studio to record his debut record.  It was never released – deemed too uncommercial by record company hacks of the time.  & maybe you can hear why: it’s almost an outsider classic, with hints of jazz, glam (track 11 sounds like a Sparks imitation, complete with a Mael-ist lyric like “Oriental thou art mental”), folk (track 13 sounds like a Nick Drake outtake), Broadway musical (track 11), & outright oddity (really, all of it, but for a sample, how about track 1? or the title track?).  This is a record both profoundly of its time, & amazingly outside of it.  Bensick’s arty side shows through with ridiculous metaphysics like track 9, a spoken word piece, & the Bowie-meets-Yoko-Ono hypnosis of track 14.  Mainly it’s just a fascinating, sometimes unsettling, trip, ambitious but unfocused.  & if I haven’t made it clear, utterly utterly brilliant.  It’s hard to imagine someone being unselfconscious enough to make a record like this today.  Which is why I celebrate it now!  You should too."

Oh look!  This post contained reviews after all!  & whaddaya know!  A rave review too!

Monday, September 03, 2018

This Labor Day Was Spent

...laboring to make an interesting radio show.

But what will make it more interesting I think is we'll have a guest tomorrow, a fellow named Brian who's invited me & Christian (who does the Friday Morning Blend on KNON) to share a record with the Tuesday Night Record Club.  He'll come on the show & he'll play some tunes since he's been so kind to ask me to play music for him & his club.

The Texas Theatre has a link to the event, too.  Should be exciting.

But enjoy your day off.  Just listened to the Tuesday Morning Blend tomorrow & come see us in Dallas at the Texas Theatre that evening!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Self Help Radio 083118: Indiepop A To Z # 57

(I believe I found all these images on Discogs.)

& here it is!  The fifty-seventh installment of the million part series "Indiepop A To Z" featuring musicians & bands from the Minders to Monobird.  Thirty-two songs!  Not a lot of me!  It's bound to be a good listening experience.

It's been a while since someone's been snotty with me about this but it's important to note that a) I'm not just featuring indiepop but musicians & bands who I believe have influenced indiepop & 2) this whole endeavor is entirely my opinion, it's not supposed to be authoritative.  I might also add, iii) it's also not meant to be exhaustive.  I don't own everything.  That really would be exhausting.

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website & can be listened to at any time.  You will need a username & a password, in case you didn't know.  Try "SHR" & "selfhelp".  That should work.  The songs in beautiful alphabetical order are listed below.

Self Help Radio Indiepop A To Z # 57

"Hand Me Downs" The Minders _Cul-De-Sacs & Dead Ends_
"Fantastic Cat" Takako Minekawa _Roomic Cube_
"Loveless" Minema _Minema_

"Heading For Honey" Miniskirt _Woody Allen Likes Guitar Pop_
"New Broom" Minisnap _Bounce Around_
"Funeral Song" Minks _By The Hedge_
"Time Flies" The Minnows _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 4_
"Engine Heart" Mirah _You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This_

"Borbeck Riots" The Mirror Images _Carl 7"_
"Into The Heart" Mirrors _Lights & Offerings_
"Different Girl" Mirrors Over Kiev _The Sound Of Leamington Spa Vol. 6_
"Green Fairy" Miss July _Hey! Where'd The Summer Go?_
"Macrometric" Miss Mend _Macrometric EP_

"Click & You're Mine" Miss World _Waist Management EP_
"You Don't Care" Mission Impossible _Mit Sonnenschirmen Fingen Wir Den Bl├╝tenzauber 12"_
"Fashion Parade" Misty's Big Adventure _Fashion Parade_
"Never Find Time" The Mixers _Whaam! Bam! Thank You Dan! A Whaam! Records Compilation 1981-1984_
"White Mice" Mo-Dettes _Rough Trade Shops: Post Punk 01_

"You Don't Know Me" Mocca _Colours_
"Tom No Uta" Mocket Chick _Babble Dibble: Beikoku-Ongaku # 17, Winter 2001_
"I Melt With You (7" Mix)" Modern English _After The Snow_
"Girl Friend" The Modern Lovers _The Modern Lovers_
"Theme From Uranium Girl" Modesty Blaise _Uranium Girl_

"I Am A Kitten" Momus _20 Vodka Jellies_
"What Do You Want From Me" Monaco _Music For Pleasure_
"Say It Isn't So" Dylan Mondegreen _While I Walk You Home_
"Who's Holding You Tonight?" The Mondo Crescendo _Young, Naked, & Very With It_
"After We Were Drunk, But Before We Were Dead" Money Can't Buy Music _The Universe For Beginners_

"Cartas De Amor" La Monja Enana _Verano Del 99_
"Bats" The Monkey Run _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 8_
"When You're Happy You Won't Understand" Monnone Alone _Together At Last_
"Exploding View" Monobird _Who Is Who/Exploding View_

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 57?

It's another collection of things I consider indiepop or influenced by indiepop.  We should go from the Minders:

To Mirah:

To Misty's Big Adventure:

Into the subsection Mo with Modern English:

& Momus:

(Okay, that's him playing with Kahimi Karie, but he's not really an indiepop artist, & the song I'll play is a song he wrote for her & I wanted all of these to be live because I'm not playing any live songs tomorrow so this is him actually playing music & singing which he doesn't really do live anymore.)

To - well, I don't know where we'll end up!  I just know we probably won't find the letter M tomorrow.

It's tomorrow at noon.  It should be fun.  I hope it's fun.