Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Whither Wandering?

(A mythological American wanderer, taken from here.)

Ah, wandering!  Who of us doesn't enjoy it in some form or another?  & who of us, even if we don't actually enjoy it, still entertains the idea?  Okay, I've known people who hate traveling, but don't even they enjoy reading about travels, watching movies about traveling, dreaming about traveling?  All right, granted, there are types, shut-ins, homebodies, for whom the very concept of travel invokes feelings of fear & disgust.  But surely even - no, I give up.

This show, then, is for whomever likes to wander, even if they, like myself, don't get to wander all that much.  But in fact, it was actual wandering that inspired this show.  When we left Lexington in early August, & I was driving in a car full of cats with the wife & dogs in a U-Haul behind me, I got the sense that two things were suddenly possible: 1) we really could pack up & leave a place; & 2) there were lots of places to go, even in (especially in) our own country.

My wife doesn't share this vision - she hated moving, hated the whole process of finding a place to live.  & she also reminds me constantly that we have eight animals, four of them cats, & two of those who need medicine daily, which greatly inhibit our mobility.

Okay, so then we wander when we can!  For example, on the radio!

This is where I remind you that Self Help Radio wanders onto your radio & computer this evening from 9-11pm Eastern, 8-10pm Central, on the radio in Lexington at WLXU 93.9 fm & online everywhere at Lexington Community Radio dot org (if you select WLXU, of course).  It should be a fine show, & there are guests galore!

Hopefully you'll find it while you're wandering!

Preface To Wandering: A Life Spent Sitting Still

Because of this week's theme, I've been wondering about all the wandering I've done - which, frankly, isn't much.  On paper, it's maybe impressive - I've been to about thirty of our fifty states, plus the District Of Columbia & Puerto Rico.  I've taken a very slow train from Laredo, Texas, to Mexico City.  I've been to Germany twice (once when it was West Germany), to Belgium twice, to France, Switzerland, England, & Scotland.  I was awake during an entire fourteen-hour flight to Australia, & awake the entire way back.  (I don't sleep on planes.)

& yet, I've lived in Texas for over forty of my forty-eight years.  & now I'm back!

Most probably I didn't wander much for the first two decades of my life because it wasn't something that I was raised with.  Most likely I'd have scarcely left my home town if I hadn't had a German mother.  She took me to Germany when I was six, & I would remember what seemed to be endless rides to mountains & other exotic places.  When I visited again eighteen years later I was a little shocked to discover that most of the place we went to were within walking distance.

My mother doesn't drive, & the concept of a family vacation was foreign to us.  I remember just one time when we left the city when I was a kid - to visit a friend my mother had in Waco.  My mother's boyfriend Ed drove us in his Ford Bronco, & the two of them smoked like chimneys, with windows up & air conditioners blasting.  I still feel the sting of my eyes watering in the hellish, seemingly endless ride.

That's it.  I was on a plane, naturally, to get to Germany when I was six & not on another one until I was eighteen & flew to Austin for college orientation.  (If my car hadn't been broken down at the time, I probably would've driven.)  I don't know when I was on a plane again after that - maybe when I went to Germany in 1992, six years after that.

My wife's life has been the exact opposite: her family would live abroad when her father had a work assignment.  She's so cavalier about air travel that if she's not missing flights, she's the last one on them.  She boasts about this!

Since I didn't own a car after I left Garland, & wouldn't for over two decades (a real hindrance to wandering), I had to wait till I was 25 to be able to rent one.  Before that, my transportation for long distances was a bus.  I sort of miss buses - not just city buses, but the ones that take forever to get anywhere.  I once took a bus from Austin to Dallas - a three hour drive - that stopped at every other small town on the way.  It took seven hours.  It was fascinating.

My broken arm has slowed my wandering about this new city of mine, but I hope to resume in a couple of weeks.  The wandering show has made me a little self-conscious.  Anyway - I hope I have a few more years left to wander some more.

Though from my point of view, it seems to me I've spent most of my life just sitting still.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

One More Broken-Arm Complaint

You already know the stats: radial neck fracture, right arm.  Out of cast, mostly in sling though that does get tiring.  Both arms very weak from fall, sprained wrists also still a concern.  Exercises for increasing range of motion sullenly practiced despite the utter boredom of doing so.

But there's one thing I would've have thought would have been a weird thing to miss, & that's flossing.

Both I & my family have a history of terrible teeth.  I've probably mentioned this before, but almost half of my siblings have no teeth in their mouths, & at least of one them should be wearing his dentures but doesn't.  We were poor but frankly dental care wasn't something my mother placed too high a premium on (she had all her remaining teeth pulled when she was in her fifties & has worn dentures since) so even if there were government assistance for such things, it was never taken advantage of.

Since some scary moments involving words like "root canal," I've been serious about my teeth.  I am a champion flosser, usually flossing twice if not more a day (though you couldn't really tell, my teeth still suck).

Since the fall, I haven't quite been able to position my arms - one of which for two weeks was in a cast - to floss properly.

My loving wife bought for me a Water-Pik, that pulsing-water based flossing alternative, & I've been using it, but it's really not the same.

It's hard to teach yourself to floss lefty when you've flossed righty your entire life.  Nowadays I can almost, with only a little discomfort, floss a simple floss, followed by a Water-Pik assault.  But my teeth do not feel the way they should afterwards.

& guess what?  I have an appointment with the new Fort Worth dentist in the middle of the next month.  My teeth - which haven't been cleaned since the start of the year - are not prepared for this important first encounter.

But I should've known flossing would be affected by my recent arm-break - I mean, everything else has been, too.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What I Did Today

When we first moved to Fort Worth, I happened upon a notice that the Fort Worth Symphony were performing a concert of the music of David Bowie.  I like me some David Bowie in almost any form & it seemed cool to be able to see an entire orchestra perform his works.  Here is a web page that announces the show.

But then something happened.  That something looked like this:

(I found that image here.)

What?  The orchestra on strike?!?  But why?  The story made the New York Times.

The musicians aren't just picketing, however - they decided this weekend to split into groups (brass, strings, woodwinds) & play some Bowie at a local drinkery, The Shipping & Receiving Bar.  While I'm sure they're used to performing in much more ahem quiet surroundings - jabberjaws at the bar yapped all the way through a lovely string quartet version of "Space Oddity" - they were remarkable & it was a bit frustrating to speculate how great the interpretations would've sounded with a full orchestra.

My favorite moment was when, during a string quartet version of "Life On Mars?", the cellist's sheet of music fell to the floor, & he continued playing reading from it from there.  Here's a pic I snapped of it:


The wife & I were glad to be able to not only see them but help them out while they wait for management to continue negotiating with them.  Right now, management is refusing to talk, & has cancelled concerts for the next six weeks or so.  It's a damn shame.

Here is the Facebook page for the musicians, explaining their situation & listing ways you can help.  I hope you get to see them perform sometime soon - they're wonderful!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Self Help Radio 092116: Nobody Knows

(Original image here)

What is this week's show about?  Nobody knows!

Believe it or not, there aren't any real "Who's On First"-type riffs on the show.  Just lots of songs, interviews with trivia book writers, famous old deejays, Hollywood types, & spiritual mentors, as well as the occasional Gary interrupting to say a thing or two.  Nobody knows whether that's a good recipe for a radio show or not.  It's just this week's show.

Nothing else?  Okay then.  You may go to the Self Help Radio webpage if you're interested, or bored, or delirious, & please be aware there's password information there.  You can listen without it.  The show is two hours long, & divided in two parts, & the songs in each part are listed below.

You're expecting me to use the phrase "nobody knows" again but I am done with it.  Done!

(part one)

"Nobody Knows The Way I Feel Dis Mornin'" Alberta Hunter & The Red Onion Jazz Babies _The Ladies In Blues_
"Nobody Knows (How Much I Love You)" Johnny Thompson _Fats Waller 1927-1929_
"Nobody Knows But Me" Jimmie Rodgers _The Singing Brakeman_

"Nobody Knows You When You're Down & Out" Bessie Smith _Empress Of The Blues_
"Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares" Sister Rosetta Tharpe _The Original Soul Sister (1943-46): Singing in My Soul_
"Nobody Knows I'm In Love With You" H-Bomb Ferguson _The Ace Blues Masters, Vol. 1: Sing My Blues Tonight_
"Nobody Knows" James Brown _The Singles, Volume 4: 1966-1967_

"Nobody Knows Where You've Been" The State Of Mickey + Tommy _Rubble, Vol. 8_
"Nobody Knows It" Plastic Penny _Two Sides Of Penny_
"Nobody Knows What's Goin' On (In My Mind But Me)" Tammy St John _British Soul, Vol. 1_
"Nobody Knows" John Lee Hooker _More Real Folk Blues_

"Nobody Knows" P. Rufus King _Fading Yellow, Vol. 10_
"Nobody Knows & Nobody Cares" Phil Phillips _The Complete Singles_

(part two)

"Nobody Knows" The Raspberries _Fresh_
"Nobody Knows" Destroy All Monsters _Bored_
"Nobody Knows Me" Richard Barone _Clouds Over Eden_

"No One Knows I'm Gone" Tom Waits _Alice_
"Nobody Knows" Breathless _Behind The Light_
"Nobody Really Knows Anything" Ballboy _A Guide For The Daylight Hours_

"Nobody Knows (But I Do)" Mary Weiss with the Reigning Sound _Dangerous Game_
"Nobody Knows" The Feelies _Here Before_
"Nobody Knows" Seapony _Go With Me_
"No One Knows Nothing Anymore" Billy Bragg _Tooth & Nail_

"Nobody Knows" The Len Price 3 _Nobody Knows_
"No One Knows You're A Dog" Blacktop _I Got A Baad Feelin' About This (The Complete Recordings)_

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Whither Nobody Knows?

(original image here.)

About a year ago (last October to be more or less exact) there was an episode of Self Help Radio with the theme "Everybody Knows."  While I was listening to a record recently - this one - it occurred to me that it might be fun to do a radio show with the opposite theme - that is, nobody knows.

Is it too soon? I asked myself.  Nah, no one will care.

Will you do it the same way, I asked myself, with all the songs on the show entitled "Nobody Knows"?  Nah, I'm over that.

So why don't you do it? I asked myself.  Okay, fine, I will!

& so, this evening, at 8pm Central, 9pm Eastern, on 93.9 fm in Lexington, & online here, one can listen to a radio show with the theme "Nobody Knows."  It's this week's Self Help Radio.  I would say "nobody knows if it'll be any good," but if you're heard the show, you have an idea.

P.S. You can still listen to the Everybody Knows show.  Available at that link.  Should you be so inclined.

Preface To Nobody Knows: Broken-Armed Update

Man, I wish I had some jpegs of my broken arm!  That would be cool to put on the blog!  But I don't.  I have some x-rays from my ER* visit, but am too lazy at the moment to scan them.

So: an update.  I went to the bone doctor today (she was a resident, about twenty-five to twenty-seven years of age), where I got more x-rays & also the cast off.  OH MY GOD.  First of all, I am fortunate the cast was only on for a couple of weeks - I honestly expected it to smell like the worst deli you've ever visited.  Second of all, my poor arm!  Even now it's hella sensitive.  I never ever want to ever ever have a cast on any limb ever.  Why are casts used comedically in sitcoms & movies?  All I will think when I see them now is, "Oh man, that person has a 4-6 week recovery time!"**

Because the break is at the end of my radius in my right forearm, & because it's not too bad, there won't be surgery, & in fact they just require that I use a sling & do exercises to strengthen the arm.  Which is much, much weaker than I thought - it was feeling pretty good the past few days.  But, you see, the cast limited movement, so...  I'm an idiot.***

However, I do feel much better & am committed to making sure I can return to two-armed life sooner than expected.  I am, for example, typing this blog entry with two hands, although still somewhat laboriously.  My left hand is sooooo grateful.  It didn't know where any of the keys actually were!

Oh, also, I should say - I made this week's show with one arm, too, but I promise, it'll sound like I screwed it up with any number of limbs.****

* Hospitals call them "EDs" or "Emergency Departments" now.  Thanks, Anthony Edwards!
** From now on I will assume every bone injury I see, no more where it happened, is just like mine.
*** I'm a little worried about sleeping.  The cast made it impossible to roll over on my broken arm.  This will no longer be the case.
**** This lame ending sounded funnier in my head than it does written out.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Exhausting Day

Because I have to have the show ready by tomorrow noon - I am going to the bone doctor tomorrow afternoon - I have been working like an unlazy hound on my show all day.  It should be fun but it's left me little time to say or do anything on this blog.  So I'll instead share with you two things that please me.

One of them is temporal.  It was a Bill Cosby prank at the Emmys last night.  I have never used this word to describe Jimmy Kimmel (& never thought I would) but this was genius:



The other is a comic strip published online called Poorly Drawn Lines.  It's so smart, ridiculous, & funny.  Click on the name to visit the site, & enjoy today's strip below:


Now I'm going to crawl into myself & gather strength for the morrow.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Struggle Continues

Just in case you want an update about my broken radial neck on my right arm...

Oh you do!  Don't you?

It's been over a week since my fall & subsequent banishment to the world of casts & tramadol.  My left arm, which is doing double duty for me, remains quite sore.  When I have to do what one could hilariously call bathing, I have my right arm covered by a trash bag, so my poor left arm, which was barely asked to do anything prior to nine days ago, is responsible for keeping most of me clean.  It's quite exhausting, & no fun at all.

The swelling in my right arm that made my right hand look like it was made entirely of marshmallow sausage went away after lots of "keeping the arm above the heart" & Alleve.  I stopped taking the Alleve - & the tramadol - after a few days, but have resumed taking the Alleve for the sake of my poor left arm.  I might not have mentioned that I sprained both my wrists as well, so there have been delightful moments where I am not strong enough to open particularly difficult doors or even pull them closed; getting in a car & trying to close its heavy passenger-side door often looks like something out of silent film comedy.

The sling I wear still most of the time, although on dog walks - because I really must get out of the house! - it becomes way too hot - & I sweat like someone walking dogs in 90 degree temperature with a large heavy cast on his arm.  & oh it itches!

Speaking of my wonderful cast: Tuesday is the day I see the orthopedist.  I imagine I will lose this current cast & get a new one.  I imagine there will be more x-rays.  Frankly I expect the worst.  But that's usually what I do.

Otherwise, I'm in tolerably good spirits.  The wife, who naturally thinks I'm a shirker, occasionally rolls her eyes at my discomfort, but if it were up to her, I wouldn't have gone to the emergency room at all.  A friend tells me that women suspect this of all men, so I'm not offended, but I am certainly glad I convinced her that I needed to go - it would've been a more difficult week than I've had.

Now!  I need to take a bit more time than usual to put the show together this week.  Last week almost destroyed me.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Self Help Radio 091416: Bending

(Original image here.)

As one gets older, more & more parts of a person stop bending (he's going to talk about breaking his arm here) (shut up he isn't!).  It's something we'll find out.  Well, not all of us.  Some of us die before we get old, unlike Pete Townshend.  Whether that's a good thing or not, I can't say.  Would Jimi Hendrix have enjoyed prostate exams?  Would Kurt Cobain have continues to embarrassingly dye his hair like Ringo Starr & Paul McCartney do?  Why won't William Shatner just take off that goddamn toupee!?!?!

(That got weird.) (At least he didn't talk about breaking his arm.)

This show, then, can be seen as an acknowledgement of my own growing lack of flexibility (oh no!) (shush!) as well as a kind of fond farewell of a youth I squandered by not really caring if I were agile or flexible or even in a modicum of good health.  The potential bendable me, the potential bendable all of us.  Would that I had bent as much in my heyday as the show this week does.

Also, I did it with a broken arm.  (motherfucker!) (all right, all right)

You can listen to the show over at the embarrassingly rigid Self Help Radio website.  The song about bending are below.  Be careful!  Maybe do some stretches before listening!

(part one)

"Bend" The Icecream Hands _You Can Ride My Bike: The Best Of The Icecream Hands_
"Bend" Jen Wood _Getting Past The Static_
"Bend" Grover _My Wild Life_

"Bend A Little My Way" Nat King Cole _To Whom It May Concern_
"Bend Down" Ernie Smith _The Best Of Ernie Smith_
"Bend Me" Space Ghost _Yeah, Whatever_
"Bend Me Shape Me" The Outsiders _In_
"Bend It" Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich _Greatest Hits_
"Bend To Break" Twin River _Should The Light Go Out_

"Bent Out Of Shape" The Teardrop Explodes _Wilder_
"Bent Out Of Shape" Young Rival _Interior Light_
"The Metal Benders" Dark Day _Window_
"Bending Halos" Drinking Flowers _New Swirled Order_

"Bend Over Backwards" Archie Powell & The Exports _Great Ideas In Action_

(part two)

"Bent Backwards" Mrs. Kipling _Sunny Sunday Smile_
"Hell Bent On Death" Bogshed _Step On It_
"Hell Bent Suicidal Over You, Baby" The Rainyard _Just A Taste: A Summershine Records Compilation_

"Bending Spoons" Oval-Teen _Ten;Ten_
"Hump From Bending" The Hidden Cameras _Awoo_
"Fahr Mit Mir Un Die Welt (Up Around The Bend)" Bernd Spier _Pop In Germany Vol. 6_
"Just Around The Bend" Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs _You Can't Buy A Gun When You're Crying_

"Mind Bending Cutie Doll" The Revillos _Attack Of The Giant Revillos_
"Kneebending" Cowboy _A House Full Of Friends_
"Alexander Bends" Butterglory _Downed_
"Halo Bender" The Halo Benders _Don't Tell Me Now_

"Train Round The Bend" The Velvet Underground _Loaded_
"She's So Bendable" The Bravery _Stir The Blood_
"Bendable Poseable" Hot Chip _Made In The Dark_

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Whither Bending?

(Original image here.)

Oh how I wish I had had the good humor & cleverness to think of doing a show about bending directly after my lack of flexibility caused me to break a bone!  Alas, that is not the case.  Also, if I'm talking way too much about my current condition, I'll apologize but one of my limbs is not functioning so I think it's understandable that it's on my mind constantly.

Sob! Only the tramadol understands me!  Let's hang out together this afternoon & nap, friend tramadol!

Did I mention that I get like three robo-calls a day from the Trump campaign? I just got one now. They're really creepy. Not just because of Trump's voice bellowing out of my phone the Friends theme song: "I'll be there for you!!"  But also because they're voice-activated, so if I say nothing, the recording (which says "give generously" with the same tone of voice a serial killer says "tell me you love me") won't begin, so I have played robo-call-chicken, just seeing which of us will hang up first.  For the record, the robo-caller will disconnect after a minute, but I usually just hang up or worse, don't answer.  But my outgoing voicemail message will trigger the robo-call, so I get three or more "messages" from the campaign a day.

Does anyone have any idea how much a call costs?  I'm sure they're cheap, but hopefully after weeks of this, I'm costing the campaign a few bucks.  This is not the proper ground for his poison seed.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, a pill & a nap. But! Self Help Radio's show about bending airs tonight in Lexington from 9-11 pm Lexington time, 8-10 pm Fort Worth time, on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & on the WLXU website everywhere.

Please appreciate that it's a radio show made with only one hand.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Preface To Bending: This Is Not The Time Or Place To Complain About A Broken Bone

Here's something cheery to read: the heat death of the universe.

When I was younger, things like this really disturbed me.  Maybe I was a morbid kid.  I remember realizing that I would one day die about the time I was 10 or 11.  It made me very, very sad.

What's sad is a ten-year-old concerned about death, or being sad about some future he read about where all books are being burned, or, you know, stuff like Neal DeGrasse Tyson tweeted recently:


That shit used to keep me up at night!

Not anymore, though.  The longer I live, the less I really care about the fate of the planet, the human race, its creations, time, eternity, all that.  I do feel exceedingly lucky to have lived in a time when I have clean drinking water, recorded music, modern medicine, the Internet, & vegan diners.  If I had been born a hundred years earlier, I would probably have already died from cholera after watching half my children die in childbirth.  That doesn't sound like fun.

What changed?  I think that as I lost my youthful self-absorption, which carried with it a healthy serving of self-importance, I came to find that humans are not nearly as interesting or important as we think we are.  Furthermore, we just destroy everything - look at our planet!

Luckily there are some nice humans that one can spend time with.  Unluckily, they never seem to be in charge of anything.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Common Complaints About Casts (for broken bones)

Casts are confining.
Casts are hot.
When you sweat in casts (because they're hot), you itch.
You itch under the cast.
You cannot scratch an itch in a cast.
Casts come with slings.
Slings are confining.
Slings hurt your neck.
Casts should be signed by friends.
But sometimes you're new in town & have no nearby friends.
Unsigned casts mock you.
Casts can't get wet.
But you get dirty.
Even in a cast, you need to clean yourself.
You have to cover a cast when you shower.
Covering a cast in the shower is deliriously inconvenient.
Casts are terribly inconvenient.
Stupid casts!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

What Becomes Of The Broken-Armed?

(Selfie with sling, taken in the ER.)

It's true, I tripped & fell on sidewalk & broke my arm.  According to my wife, who, among other things, is an anatomist, I broke the neck of my radius.  She says my radius, not my ulna, is the support in situations like trying to stop a fall.  Good job, radius! I wish I could fall better.

Oh, & yes, it's my right arm, & I'm right-handed, so these past few days have been slow-going.  Luckily we as a society are not as reliant on writing by hand as we were, so I can use my left hand to hunt & peck things like this blog post.

But. Will there be a Self Help Radio this week?  I have been taking a lot of Tramadol.  However, I am acting as though that will indeed by the case.  This week's show, with the them "bending," will air as scheduled.

The irony isn't lost on me, though - a show about bending almost waylaid by my lack of flexibility.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Self Help Radio 090716: Knives

(Original image here.)

Hopefully this is true: no one listening to this week's show got stabbed.  If so, my work here is done.

If not, it's probably not my fault.  There was definitely an anti-stabby vibe that pervaded the show.

But my heart goes out to victims of knives everywhere.  They should probably not listen to this show; it might just be one long trigger.  So: trigger warning!

Otherwise I think it went as well as could be.  The show is available now at Self Help Radio's knife drawer.  The songs I played are listed below.  The interviews - with knife experts, as well as friends in Dallas & Hollywood - are not listed below.  You'll have to listen to get that content.

& be careful!

(part one)

"Knife" by Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians _Queen Elvis_
"Jack Knife" by Dangtrippers _Days Between Stations_
"Get A Knife Between Your Teeth" by McCarthy _Banking, Violence, & The Inner Life Today_

"Mack The Knife" by Lotte Lenya & Louis Armstrong _Lenya Sings Weill: The American Theatre Songs_
"Drac The Knife" by Gene Moss _Dracula's Greatest Hits_
"Bowie Knife" by Frankie Laine _Hell Bent For Leather!_
"The Randall Knife" by Guy Clark _Better Days_

"We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives" by Los Campesinos! _Sticking Fingers Into Sockets_
"Little Dagger" by Smack Dab _Majestic Root_
"Knives On The Table" by California Oranges _Souvenirs_
"Smiler With Knife" by Morrissey _World Peace Is None Of Your Business_

"100 Knives" by Mirah _You Think It's Like This But Really It's Like This_

(part two)

"My Life Is Like A Stanley Knife (Cut, Cut, Cut)" by Golden Strings _Split 7" bywith Buy Off The Bar_
"My Valuable Hunting Knife" by Guided By Voices _Alien Lanes_
"A Knife For The Girls" by The Long Blondes _Someone To Drive You Home_

"Silver Knife" by Monster Movie _Everyone Is A Ghost_
"She's A Knife" by Looper _The Snare_
"Knives" by Jen Kirkman _Hail To The Freaks_
"Knife Set" by Tochigi _Tochigi_

"Six Inch Gold Blade" by The Birthday Party _Junkyard_
"Nife Fight" by Coachwhips _Get Yer Body Next Ta Mine_
"Dull Knife" by Milkshakes _The Billy Childish Native American Sampler: A History 1983-1993_
"Dancing On A Knife's Edge" by Bill Nelson _The Cocteau Club Singles, Vol. 1: 1982-1983_

"Knife Slits Water" by A Certain Ratio _Sextet_

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Whither Knives?

(Original image here.)

Okay, that's a good question.  Why a radio show about knives?

It's not like Self Help Radio hasn't explored other cutlery before.  While still not daring to examine the elusive fork, a healthy discussion about spoons was attempted almost seven years ago to this day.  What makes the dining table such a difficult subject?

Indeed, one can argue that knives themselves transcend the mere act of eating, for they are used for other things - cutting things, killing things, being thrown, among others.  Should this show be lumped in, therefore, to the cutlery category?  Wait, is there a cutlery category?

& isn't "cutlery" one of those words that, if you say or look at them too much, stops to seem less like a word & more like a collection of nonsense syllables?  At some point I started to believe it was spelled "cutlerly," & then I started to imagine what actions one might do in a cutlerly manner.  At times it felt like a knife was carving away vital segments of my brain.

Honestly, the "knife as metaphor" proved too attractive one fateful night.  I was still in Lexington, I believe.  The lights were low, which turned out to be a bad idea, as I was chopping onions.  Two or three seconds later I was covering my newly-sliced finger with a paper towel & trying to figure out when the wife had hidden the band-aids.  Even then, I didn't settle upon the theme, no.  It was later, when I accidentally wrote a poem on the back of iPad (it was still dark) in which I said, "My life is a knife that never cuts what it's supposed to cut."

While I was cleaning the nail polish off the back of my iPad (don't ask), I recognized the words I had written in the middle of the night.  Did I say out loud, to the waiting world, "This shall be a theme for another episode of Self Help Radio?"  Did I frighten my cats & dogs by holding the iPad high above my head & exclaiming, "The show is saved for one more week for We. Have. A. Theme!!"  Did I rush to find a bottle of wine to drink a toast to the Muse, who for whatever reason can't just be direct but has to speak to me in symbol & circumstance?  Did I do all three?

Probably not, but I did think it'd be a good theme.  Will it?  You can decide yourself if you want by listening to tonight's show on from 9-11 pm EST (8-10pm CST) on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington or online at Lexington Community Radio dot org.  I'll tweet along.  Wanna listen?

It's perfectly safe!  All the knives will be in the music!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Flipping The Days

Ooops.  Today should be called "Preface To [Name Of Theme]."  Not yesterday.  My bad.  I'm still not used to this "show on Wednesday" business.  I'll get the hang of it shortly.

It's probably important to point out that no one makes me write in this blog five days a week.  That's a task I set for myself a while back when I thought, "I have this dumb blog, I should write in it."

Most of the time, of course, I have nothing to say, which hasn't stopped anyone online ever, & therefore shall not stop me.  In fact, when I have nothing to say, I sometimes (often?) spend (i.e., waste) time explaining whatever dumb rules I might have for writing on the blog, guaranteeing two things: 1) that I have something to talk about for that day; & b) that I have less & less people reading the blog.

Anyway.  There's a show about knives tomorrow.  Why knives?  I guess that's what's scheduled for tomorrow.  If I remember this time.

Preface To Knives: Three Short Knife Anecdotes

# 1

My mother worked at a convenience store in Garland, Texas, from the mid- to late-1970s.  Because Garland was "dry" - you couldn't buy any kind of alcohol in the city, you had to drive to Dallas to get your beer, wine, or booze - the convenience store made its money with pornography, which was kept on a magazine stand in view of everyone, though on the top racks, away from tiny hands, & with mildly expensive items in a glass case along the front counter like bongs, cheap jewelry, & knives.  Lots of knives.

Not cutlery, of course, but small hunting knives, jack knives, switchblades, so-called "butterfly knives," stuff like that.  I remember they went for prices like 10.95 on tiny handwritten tags connected to the knives by little loops of white thread.  At the time, it seems, all different kinds of blades were so popular that my older brothers - who were about as dangerous as the gang members in West Side Story, although less likely to break into song - carried knives in their pockets.

When I was allowed to rummage through that cabinet, I went to one particular knife, a special switchblade.  I would open it again & again.  But there was no knife in it!  There was a comb!  I would've like to have carried that knife in my back pocket!

# 2

At some point in my childhood I, like many other boys, was given a Swiss Army Knife.  I almost never used it - in particular, I wondered at the corkscrew.  Maybe when the Swiss Army Knife was invented, there were adolescents who might need to unscrew the cork from some bottle or other, but by the time I had gotten one, the only use for a corkscrew would've been a wine bottle.  & frankly I couldn't see the situation where adults needing to open a bottle of chablis but unable to would turn to the dumb little kid & the room & say, "You!  Can you help us?!"

No, the main thing I did with my Swiss Army Knife was open up, in as many ways as possible, all of its components: all the blades, the little scissors, the phillips-head screwdriver, the nail file, the corkscrew.  I liked the contrast between the little red oval of potential & the spazzy result of all its parts out, uselessly, for the world to see.

I understand that children were not the intended customers for the Swiss Army Knife, but I never, never saw an adult with one as a child.  They were generally given to children.  & as a child, I thought the thing was supposed to be a toy.

# 3

I'm a middle-aged man now, although I think I'm probably way past the mid-point of my life, & one of the things I've come to enjoy as I get older is cooking.  I doubt I'm very good at it, but it makes the wife happy & I have come to an understanding with food that lets us both do our jobs without too much time wasted & too much misery & injury.

Except of course you need knives for food preparation.  & I can count the number of times I've cut myself while chopping things many times over on the fingers I am very fortunate I still have, despite my clumsiest efforts.

In fact, I keep a first-aid kit in the kitchen now, because I will bleed like a motherfucker when I cut myself.  My ritual behavior is to first be shocked coupled with self-loathing & anger when it happens, followed by the inevitable holding of a paper towel on the affected area (usually a finger) for a number of minutes to stop the bleeding all the while cursing myself for a fool, & then, once the bleeding seems in control, the dipping of the finger in alcohol or hydrogen peroxide & the delicious sting that comes along, & finally the application of the band-aid.

Here's a confession: I am very queasy when my blood is taken at the doctor.  I sometimes come close to passing out.  But I have no qualms about a bleeding finger the tip of which I've inadvertently sliced off instead of part of a bell pepper.  It doesn't faze me.

Here's another confession: while I won't say I like it, that it tastes good or anything, I do like to taste my own blood at those times.  I'm glad I know how my blood tastes.  I don't know why that is.