Thursday, August 17, 2017

Self Help Radio 081617: Machines

(Original image here.)

Ah, machines.  Whatever would we do without them?  Whatever did we do without them?!  We hung around the savannah, hoping not to get mauled & eaten, thinking perhaps that moving from the trees & standing up straight wasn't such a good idea after all.  Damn you, machines, for making life outside the trees possible!  Also, for radio.  Damn you for radio!  I might be doing something healthy now!

Ah, well.  What celebration of something isn't ambivalent?  So too it is with every Self Help Radio.  On this show, the unwieldy topic of machines gets a brief but loving examination, with songs about machines real & imaginary, as well as a discussion about a particular machine with the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently, about the end of machines with futurist David Fruchter, & with an actual machine, the doomed love machine Maxthrob 6969.  There's even a machine that guest deejays!  As a machine myself (see the Schoolhouse Rock song I play), I took extra care not to be too critical of machines.  But you know what?  Machines can take it.

Ah, me.  Listen to the Self Help Radio show about machines on the computer machine of your choice at the Self Help Radio machine shop.  You know you'll need a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp), right?  I hope you know what those are.  The show is in two parts, & what songs & interviews are in the two parts are listed below.

Ah, machines!

(part one)

"Gene Machine" The Popguns _Sugar Kisses_
"Highly Dependable, Well Oiled, Smoothly Functioning Machine" Jamie & The Jury _Fundamental Notion_
"Time Machine" Starflyer 59 _The Changing Of The Guard_

"Rocket Machine" Opal _Happy Nightmare Baby_
"Circus Green Machine" Robert Pollard _Honey Locust Honk Tonk_
"Answering Machine" Todd Barry _Medium Energy_
"Answering Machine" Bruce McCulloch _Answering Machine & More Twisted Interludes_
"Saviour Machine" David Bowie _The Man Who Sold The World_

Interview with the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently

"Soft Machine" Drug Boyfriend _Soft Machine_
"Smash The Beauty Machine" Future Bible Heroes _Eternal Youth_
"Drum Machines Will Save Mankind" Mikrofisch _Masters Of The Universe_
"The Man Machine" Señor Coconut Y Su Conjunto _El Baile Alemán_

"Dream Machine" Gregory & The Hawk _Leche_
"Time Machine" Dante & The Evergreens _Dante & The Evergreens_

(part two)

"Sex Machine" The Flying Lizards _Top Ten_
"Death Machine" Suicide _American Supreme_
"My Little Machine" The Thermals _More Parts Per Million_

Interview with Maxthrob 6969

"Love Machine, Pt. 1" The Miracles _The Disco Years, Vol. 3: Boogie Fever_
"Lovin Machine" Wynonie Harris with The Todd Rhodes Orchestra _Best Of Burlesque_
"Love Machine" The Wedding Present _Mini Plus_
"Homework Machine" Shel Silverstein _The Best Of Shel Silverstein (His Words His Songs His Friends)_
"Body Machine" Bob Dorough & Jack Sheldon _Schoolhouse Rock: Science Rock_

Interview with futurist David Fruchter

"Bone Machine" The Pixies _Surfer Rosa_
"Tiny Machine" The Darling Buds _Crawdaddy_
"Slide Machine" The 13th Floor Elevators _Easter Everywhere_
"Simpler Machines" Shriekback _Life In The Loading Bay_

"Vending Machines" Allan Sherman _My Son The Box_
"Girl Machine" Donnie Brooks _Sway & Move With Donnie Brooks_

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Whither Machines?

(What does it do?  Maybe find out here.)

As is my fashion, I was rereading an old comic book from the 1970s a few weeks ago.  It's not one of my favorites, but the art was by one of my all-time favorite comics artists.  The comic was called "Machine Man."  The creator was Jack Kirby, & the first issue of the series came out in 1978.  Here's the front cover:

(found here)

I must've read the comic around the time it came out, back in 1978, or very soon after.  I read a shit-ton of comics when I was ten years old.  At the time, though I delighted in Kirby's style, & knew his name, I'm not entirely sure I would've sought after a comic just because Jack Kirby was involved.  I just liked the cool robot.

Turns out, another of my all-time favorite comics artists would also work on the series: the great Steve Ditko, who took over the art (but not the writing, which was done by Marv Wolfman - Kirby wrote & drew the first series) in issue # 10.  Here's the cover of that:

(found here)

(You can read the entire issue here, if you're so inclined, although it's fun to see Ditko's art in context no matter what.)

Anyway, I reread some issues, then scoured the web for info about the series, commentary from fellow nerds, trying to remember what made me like the series at the time, loving the art & being a kid again.  & so I began to think, Would machines be a good theme for Self Help Radio?

Of course, "machines" is a very general theme so I had to rein myself in somewhat, so I thought, looking over songs I might want to play, it would be easier if the songs were like, [insert a word] machine, like "time machine" or "answering machine" or "lie detector machine."  That's how I narrowed the search.  & still I had hundreds of machines to choose from!

Which ones made the cut?  You'll have to tune in to find out!  Self Help Radio is on from 8-10pm central, 9-11pm eastern on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington, Kentucky, & online all over the world (check your local listings) (no, don't, it won't be listed) at Lexington Community Radio online.  I hope you listen!  But if not, I'll save it on a machine somewhere.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Preface To Machines: My Favorite Machine

After ninth grade, a friend of mine, named Scott, left town (almost as soon as he arrived - he showed up in the middle of my eighth grade year).  He moved back to Illinois with his family.  I think the family came to Texas with his step-dad for work, but then his mother & step-dad split, & so, back home it was!  He was the first friend I ever made without my little brother - my little brother & I were pretty inseparable before then - & he was the first friend I made who had no interest in being friends with my little brother, which of course annoyed my little brother no end.

His leaving broke my heart.  The last phone call we had, we spoke very honestly about our lives.  We shared interests like comic books & Dungeons & Dragons, but we never really talked about our past. Are we allowed to rate phone calls?  That one was in my top ten.

In those days, phone calls were hella expensive & something about writing letters seemed...  Well, we must've written a few letters.  I remember I would send him comic books, although my mother told me it was too expensive after a while.  Anyway, at some point, someone told me - this would've been in 1984 - about something called bulletin boards.  For these you needed a computer.  & of course a modem.  Imagine!  Scott logged in, posted a message, or sent a private message, which I could get instantaneously. It was beyond imagining.

But.  My family was very poor, we could no more have afforded a computer than a mortgage - we were lucky we lived in apartments that weren't hovels.  No one really explained that to me, as no one really explained to me the value of money or the way money worked in the world, & so I harbored a great resentment about it.  Friends at school were able to use computers to talk to faraway buddies, & also they had word processors instead of crappy old typewriters.  Why couldn't I?

This isn't really about Scott, with whom I stay a little acquainted on Facebook these days.  (The damage of years apart means, alas, we'll never be friends like we were thirty-five years ago.)  It's about those computers.

Some ten years later, I worked in a language lab which played cassette tapes (recently upgraded from reel-to-reel tapes) for students studying this or that foreign tongue.  One person in the department - perhaps its only visionary - a fellow named Eric - somehow convinced the powers-that-be to turn the lab into (partially, at first) a computer lab.  It was equipped with Mac Quandras, & being in charage of the lab, I got one, too.  While I had previously used an old Mac SE to write papers on, & probably to play Solitaire on, I had never been connected to what I was told was called the internet.  It was late 1994.  Suddenly I was sending email, surfing the very limited web, & discovering Usenet.

It's very hard to believe it's over twenty years later, & the computer has been for almost all this time my favorite machine.  At one point I might've said it was the turntable.  But I spin tunes from my computer every day.  Maybe I might've said it was a car, but I travel farther & faster with little complication by pointing my browser someplace & clicking.  In 1994, I started deejaying, so maybe for a time the radio was my favorite machine.  But maybe more people listen online to any radio I do than capturing waves with a receiver.

Which is not to say, of course, that the computer is perfect.  But if I am honest with myself, I have to say that it's my favorite machine.  Except the living machines I have in my house with me.  But I suspect all this time we have been discussing human-made machines exclusively.  Weren't we?

Monday, August 14, 2017

That Baronet Went Extinct

Here are two things I learned today:

1) Baronets can go extinct.
2) "Intestacy" mean :the condition of the estate of a person who dies without having made a valid will or other binding declaration."

I mean, I know what "intestate" meant, but I had never heard the word "intestacy."  I shall endeavor to use it awkwardly in conversation all the rest of the month.

Also probably I could add:

3) I guess I didn't know what a Baronet was but now I do.

Baronets, you see, are whatever the least of the cream of the crop are, being "a member of the lowest hereditary titled British order, with the status of a commoner but able to use the prefix 'Sir.'"  Call a commoner Sir?  I'd rather put my rashers on my crumpets!

Please don't ask me why I found myself at this Wikipedia page (but if you guess it has something to do with the word Twizell you might be on to something), which contains this passage:

He (Sir Francis Blake, 3rd Baronet of Twizell Castle) married Jane, daughter of William Neale, in 1827 but had no legitimate children & the baronetcy became extinct on his death. His illegitimate son Frederick Blake (1835–1909) suffered severe sunstroke while serving as an army officer & was confined to a mental asylum in 1873. His father granted him a life interest in property at Seghill and also bequeathed Helen, the widow of his brother Robert Dudley Blake (1776–1860). Blake's principal beneficiary was Captain Francis Blake (1832–1861) whose son Francis Douglas Blake was created a baronet in his own right in 1907. The family repurchased Seghill Park from the Treasury Solicitor following the intestacy of Helen Blake.

So one baronet went extinct & another was created.  But how?  Awarded by the Crown, of course!  They let baronets die out because they can simply create them out of thin air.

Twizell Castle, by the way is in ruins now.  It was attempted to be renovated during Blake's father's life, but ended as a folly.

& look there!  Another word I didn't know!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Meet My Pets (Again) # 1: Beatrice


About five years ago, I used this blog to introduce my pets, of which I only had six at the time, so I thought it might be time to reintroduce you to them.  Here's what I said about Beatrice back then.  She was a wild kitten, & a mean, often stand-offish adult.  She's now seventeen years old, & more sweet than crotchety, though just to me - she doesn't really like anyone else.

She has a few places in the house she likes to be - one of them is under the kitchen table, where I took this picture.  Earlier today I saw the other three cats hanging out together on a pillow, but Beatrice never does that.  She's a lone wolf, er, tigress.  Though always happy to take some time out of her day to hang with me.  I love her so.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Self Help Radio 080917: Control

(It's a control panel, get it?  Original image here.)

Recognize impulsive thoughts.  Place time restrictions on impulsive thoughts.  Try belly breathing.  Find a healthy distraction.  Have a go-to activity.  No, these are not rejected John Darnielle lyrics.  These are the five steps to "build self-control in the moment" from the WikiHow page on self-control & how to get it.  It seems quite helpful, plus there are pictures!

Nothing so helpful appears on this week's Self Help Radio, which if anything is more out of control than normal, which is ironic, of course, but not cool ironic but annoying ironic, which was the name of my high school new wave band, Annoying Ironic.  "Annoying ironic what?" the bass player asked repeatedly before we fired him & used a Casio instead.

There's not much to say.  Maybe the show speaks for itself.  Maybe the show shuts up for itself.  Why don't you ask the show?  It's now at the Self Help Radio website.  (Pay attention to username/password info on the front page please.)  The show is in two distinct but hardly distinctive parts.  The songs & guests in the parts are listed below.

Sadly, it turns out I am easily controlled.

(part one)

"Set The Controls" DJ Me DJ You _Rainbows & Robots_
"I Wanna Lose Control" Gary Wilson _You Think You Really Know Me_
"You're In Control" Greg Horn _Das Funk Ist Verboten_

"We R In Control" Neil Young _Trans_
"I Am Controlled By Your Love" Helene Smith _Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label_
"The People Who Control Our Lives" George Carlin _When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_
"Control" Mikal Cronin _MCIII_
"Control" La Sera _Hour Of The Dawn_

Interview with the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently

"I Can't Control Myself (Live)" Buzzcocks _Spiral Scratch EP / Time's Up_
"Complete Control" The Clash _Clash On Broadway_
"Out Of Control" Wayne County & The Electric Chairs _Rock N Roll Cleopatra_
"Uncontrollable Urge" Devo _Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!_

"Arms Control Poseur" The Fall _Popcorn Double Feature_
"Control Chem Chem" Tania + Juan _Control Chem Chem_

(part two)

"Control Tower" U-Roy _Rasta Ambassador_
"Don't Lose Control" Material _One Down_
"They're Controlling Our Minds" Misty's Big Adventure _Misty's Big Adventure & Their Place In The Solar Hi-Fi System_

Ned Dry reports on inside the SHR control room.

"Totally Out Of Control" Babes _Untitled (Five Tears)_
"Out Of Control" Lush _Blind Spot_
"Remote Control" The Lucksmiths _First Tape_
"No Controles" Stereo Total _Baby Ouh!_

Interview with "Out Of Control" exercise guru CJ Buchanan

"She's Lost Control" Joy Division _Unknown Pleasures_
"Creature Out Of Control" The Dentists _If All The Flies Were One Fly: A Collection Of Rare & Unreleased Dentistry 1984-1995_
"The Dog Who Controls People's Lungs" Masters Of The Hemisphere _I Am Not A Freemdoom_
"Til I Gain Control Again" This Mortal Coil _Blood_

"Control" Ratboys _GN

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Whither Control?

(Image from here.)

Aggh!  I have no control over my life!  I meant to write this up like four hours ago to remind you/warn you that Self Help Radio's show about control is on tonight.  Now it's like less than three hours away!  How did things get so out of control?

Aggh!  I can't even control my own damn show!  Guest cancel, records get lost, I trip over something at a Costco because I'm trying to be nice & then I'm stuck in line with an overweight woman in workout clothes right in front of me who refuses to empty her basket to help the cashier so the cashier & the floater have to take the time to empty the shopping cart before they ring things up & I'm sitting there wondering who the fuck is so entitled they stand there like an overstuffed puppet while other people do something they could so very easily have done themselves & have helped those of us in line behind them get through the stupid check-out experience faster!  I'm so glad I didn't lose control there.

Aggh!  The show is on its way!  I'd best get myself under control.  It's on tonight from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central on WLXU in Lexington (93.9 fm) & online at Lexington Community Radio dot org.  Silly guests, tedious airbreaks, great music - the usual.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Preface To Control: Poll Results, Radio Conundrums, & Glen Campbell

There are three things I want to talk about today, if you don't mind.

1) Last week I asked on Twitter & Facebook about which version of the Joy Division song "She's Lost Control" I should play on tomorrow's show.  One person responded on Twitter (my worst poll yet), one person on Facebook, & two of my friends weighed in personally.  The resulting song will be played on tomorrow's show.  But I kinda hope one day more of you will join in!

2) People have accused me of being fond of overly narrow themes, but there are times when I fear that my themes are too general.  For example, while looking for songs for this week's show, I found a lot of songs with the title "Out Of Control," or variations thereof.  It occurred to me that I might actually be able to separate the theme "out of control" from "control" & explore it later.  There would certainly be enough songs.  But I reined myself in.  I decided that I should simply let this one go.  There are a finite number of Self Help Radios in the future & an infinite number of themes.  Best that I recognize that.

3) It saddens me that Glen Campbell has died.  The first song that I ever requested on the radio was "Rhinestone Cowboy," a story I related here.  I will endeavor to find a way to celebrate his life on the show at some point, although I am happy I played him with Bobbie Gentry performing "Little Green Apples" on my apple show earlier this year, a show you can listen to here.

Tonight I played "Wichita Lineman" for my wife.  She probably didn't find the song as lonesome as I do, but she did like it.  It's a marvel.  I can't imagine I'll make anything as wonderful as that in my life.  I am so glad it exists.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Something I Like Also As Well On Tumblr

(This handsome fellow's name is Charlie Schuman.)

You must know I love dogs.  I love cats, too, but right now I'm talking about dogs.  I'd love to have rabbits & pigs & many other kinds of animals in my house but for the moment I am talking about dogs.  I have four dogs myself, & love them more than anything (except maybe my cats, although currently I am just talking about dogs).

There's a sweet Tumblr blog, from which the above picture comes, called The Dogist, which features photos taken by the blog's owners of dogs everywhere they go.  I am amazed at the bravery of the person who asks to take the dog's pictures, although I've been asked before if someone could take my dogs' pictures, & I was flattered, so perhaps it's easier than, say, walking up to a stranger & asking if you could take their picture.

There are also little quotes the owners say about the dogs - anyway, just go have a look if you never have.  It's a delight & sometimes, like this one, it's also a happy story.

Suddenly it occurred to me that there's no equivalent "Catist" (though I haven't really looked) because people don't take their cats around on walks.  But maybe there is, & I haven't found it yet.

Though, let's be fair, it's not like there's a dearth of cat pictures on the internet!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Things That Bother Me But Only A Little # 1: Parentheses In Song Titles

This is, I know, a very, very minor thing.  Please do not think this bothers me more than, say, a hangnail, or someone at a traffic light who, despite dozens of cars behind them, thinks their phone call is more important than actually moving when the light turns green.  But.

One thing that bothers me, but only a little, is how people treat parentheses in songs.

You see, the parentheses are thought to be optional.  So people should call the song "(I'm) Stranded" by the Saints simply "Stranded."  Or the song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," which most people call "I Can't Get No Satisfaction," is supposed to just be called "Satisfaction."

Sometimes, it's true, there are songs that have extraneous parenthetical titles, most famously James Brown's "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine," which no one (not even James Brown, in the single version) called "Get Up Sex Machine."

On the other hand, no postpunk connoisseur calls the Stranglers' song "(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)" "Grip."  They just don't.  It's stupid.

There's a reason I am thinking about this.  The theme of the show this week is "control," so I will definitely play the Joy Division song "She's Lost Control."*  But for some reason - & this is before there was a film called Control, about Joy Division - people began referring to the song as "Control."  Like, one time, I asked a trainee at KOOP who wanted to do a postpunk show what her favorite Joy Division song was, & she said, "Control."  I had never heard the song "She's Lost Control" referred to as "Control."  & that song doesn't even have parentheses!

Were we suddenly allowed to shorten songs to sound-bite length?  I know some songwriters - I'm looking at Morrissey here - that sometimes have songs with titles as long as their lyrics, but does anyone refer to "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" as "Light"?  Nope.**

So stop.  Don't encourage bullshit songwriters.  If a song has parentheses, just assume all the words are the entire song.  & don't shorten long song titles.  It's dumb & disrespectful.  You think you sound cool but you really sound like a dumbass who doesn't really know the song or the band.

Because that sort of thing bothers me, but really only a little.

* Which version?  You can vote on Twitter!
** Props to Morrissey for never using parentheses.  At least, I can't think of any example.  Wait.  I found one.  "(I'm) The End Of The Family Line."  Well, it wouldn't be Morrissey if he weren't somewhat contrary.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Self Help Radio 080217: Seventeen

(Make a dumb magazine cover for your radio show here.)

An apology may be in order, as I've just discovered that this show is not about element number 17, chlorine.  Many aficionados of the Periodic Table of the Elements are huge fans of that delightful yellow-green gas which remains the second-lightest of the halogens.  They love it for its disinfectant charm (you're welcome, it says to you after you get out of the pool) & its role in the creation of plastics.  So beloved is chlorine that its role in chemical warfare in the early twentieth century is often downplayed as "youthful mistakes" & "gases will be gases."

Naturally, most people would think a show about "seventeen" would be about chlorine.  I most certainly thought that, & had to deal with angry fluorine & bromine fans who wanted to know when their gas would get the Self Help Radio treatment.  Alas, when I turned on the show, I was disheartened to know it was about that abject little number, 17, as well as that depressing age, 17 years.  Not a single song about chlorine!  As one caller asked me, "Are we living in Communist Alabama?!?"

Please forgive this show's blatant disregard of propriety & custom & force yourself to listen to this week's show.  My guess is there are some charms, although none chlorine-related.  The show is at the Self Help Radio website, & can be accessed if you know a username ("SHR") & a password ("selfhelp").  It's in two parts, & what's in each part is noted below.

Understandably, a future radio show about the rare earth elements has become even more vital.

(part one)

"Seventeen" The Ames Brothers _Sweet Seventeen_
"Seventeen" The Sex Pistols _Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols_
"Seventeen" The Sugargliders _Seventeen_
"17" Loose Change _Shreds, Vol. 2: American Underground '94_

"Seventeen" Love Spit Love _Love Spit Love_
"Seventeen" The Lovelies _The Tuff Of The Tracks_
"Sonnet 17: Who Will Believe My Verse In Time To Come" David Tennant _The Best Of The Sonnets_
"17" Stephen Duffy _I Love My Friends_
"Seventeen" A Giant Dog _Pile_

interview with father of three seventeen-year-olds CJ Buchanan

"Seventeen" Dealership _TV Highway To The Stars_
"Seventeen" Ladytron _Seventeen_
"Seventeen" Youth Lagoon _The Year Of Hibernation_

special dramatic reading of a classic rock song: "edge of seventeen"

"17 Summer" The Guild League _Speak Up_
"Channel # 17" Plus-Tech Squeezebox _Messer Für Frau Müller_

(part two)

"17 Berlin" My Favorite _Love At Absolute Zero_
"All Of Seventeen" The Eames Era _The Second EP_
"Only Seventeen" Beatle-ettes _Girls With Guitars_

interview with alleged seventeen-year-old Allen Shariaty

"It's Two-Thousand Seventeen" Jenny Adkins _It's Two-Thousand Seventeen_
"Just About Seventeen" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers _It's Time For_
"(He's) Seventeen" The Supremes _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 2: 1962_
"She's Sexy & 17" Stray Cats _Rant N' Rave With The Stray Cats_
"Club Seventeen" The Trade Winds _New York's A Lonely Town_

interview with the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently

"No. 17" New Bloods _The Secret Life_
"Seventeen Wives" The Limeliters _The Complete RCA Singles Collection_
"Seventeen Seconds" The Cure _Seventeen Seconds_
"Seventeen" Drug Boyfriend _Drug Boyfriend_

"At Seventeen" Janis Ian _Super Hits Of The '70s: Have A Nice Day, Vol. 15_
"The Year I'm 17" Soda Fountain Rag _Sometimes I Wonder If You Have A Heart_
"Passage # 17" The Glass Family _Electric Band_

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Whither Seventeen?

(Found this image here.)

When I first thought about doing a show about the number seventeen, I imagined I would have a diverse & oddball pick of songs about seventeen things: seventeen birds, seventeen raindrops, seventeen goodbyes.  I have in fact begun writing those songs in my head - "Seventeen Good-byes" will be a funny & sad tune - but there's no way I will ever have them finished by tonight's show.

Anyway, what I was getting at is this: it turns out that the vast majority of songs I could find were about being seventeen, the age, the years old.  At some point during the show tonight maybe you & I can have an epiphany, figuring out why that's such an important age.  Because right now I'm a little confused about that.

The show airs tonight from 9 to 11 pm eastern, 8 to 10 pm central on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington, & online everywhere at LCR online (please choose WLXU).  It would've been fun if I had planned something like only playing seventeen songs, or anything seventeen-based.  But it'll be mainly the same old thing.

Hope you'll listen!

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Preface To Seventeen: When I Was Seventeen

(At the top of this page I was going to post a picture of myself at the age of seventeen from my high school yearbook but the yearbooks are in a big box under lots of big boxes in the back of a big closet where spiders also live.  So, maybe next time.)

As a rule, I don't think anyone enjoys their seventeenth year, but I don't remember enjoying my seventeenth year terribly much.  I turned seventeen on January 20, 1985, when I was in eleventh grade - a pretty bleak time for me in a pretty bleak high school experience - & was that age until the middle of my twelfth grade year.

& there were surely lots of dumb adventures I could recount, which I will save (memory willing) for when I recount my life for my 1985 birthday show, which is just in four (!) years.  But there is one thing I want to talk about which I think about now, more than thirty years after I was seventeen.  Which is friendship.

Recently I stumbled onto a Facebook page for the thirtieth reunion of my high school class.  I never cared to go to any of the other reunions, but what was most interesting was the fact that Facebook had a list of folks invited or interested - & I knew virtually none of them.  What a strange realization - that I knew almost nobody in my class at high school!  I mean, at least three or four of the people I liked a lot weren't on the list - I wasn't on the list! - but still, shouldn't I at least recognize three-fourths or two-thirds of the names?  Nope.  I did not.  They were strangers, as they probably were in high school.

From eleventh grade, I have managed to keep two friends in my life, both of whom I talk to regularly even now.  One of them I went to high school with, the other I met outside of my high school in a comic book club.

What is common among both is that I pursued the friendship.  If you were to go back in time & count the number of times I called them versus the number of times they called me (if you were keeping count), you'd find I called them to talk to them many more times than they ever thought to communicate with me.  One of them even told me, probably in my seventeenth year, that I wore them down, I keep calling, after school, & eventually he relented, acquiescing to be my friend.

By the way, both of these people were male.  I had virtually no contact with girls at this age.  What would I talk about?  Why would they talk to me?

The truth is, one of these two has stayed my friend only on the flimsiest of connections.  It pains me in my sad middle age to note this, but he was only my friend as long as I liked the same things he did, agreed with his attitudes about the world, refused to challenge any of his ridiculous ideas.  Once I did, he distanced himself from me.  & what's worse, he rationalized a tremendous betrayal of our friendship by his utter disdain for me at some point in the future.  Not to be a tease, but really, that's another story.

Why do I even talk to this person?  I think it's because I sometimes think I should be a better person than I am.  He & I have very little in common these days, & in fact, he's kind of afraid of me - when we talk, if I disagree with him - something I didn't really do in those early days - he often seems a little fearful, a little timid, as if he's still clinging to a time when he had a sycophant & not a friend.  The number of substantial conversations we've had in the last ten years is so small I am forced to wonder if we ever had any real conversations, if, in fact, when we were young, I just wanted so badly to have a friend that I endured his self-important baloney despite my misgivings.  Because I did love him, & love forgives.  He didn't love me so much as disdain me.  But!  Like me, he had very few friends.  & until he did find friends independently (he often became friends with my friends), he kept me around.

Why in the would do I still talk to him?  That is a good question.  Luckily, we don't talk too much.  & probably, as time goes on, we will talk very little.

By the way, the other friend with whom I was close in my seventeenth years continues to be a friend & appears as often as possible on Self Help Radio as my spiritual mentor the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently.  We've had our rough patches but we're doing all right.  & I am so fucking grateful that we're still friends & he gives so much to my dumb radio show!

Monday, July 31, 2017

One Tired Dude

Why do we need to sleep seven to eight hours a night?  & how can I get a bit of this action?

Seems like these days I am always exhausted, & I know one of the reasons: dog walks.

You're like, "What?  It's exhausting walking the dogs?"

No, it's exhausting because it gets too hot in Texas to walk the dogs during the day when there's a heavy-handed sun in the sky, so one must wake in the mornings when it's as cool as it's going to be that day (usually around 80 degrees, often paired quite sadistically with 90% humidity) to walk them.  Waiting isn't an option.  It's the number one tip on this website, but we intuited it.  If it's coolest just before the sun rises, walk the damn dogs then.

So we're up around 6am each day to walk.  & I like napping but for some reason the post-dog-walk nap doesn't do it for me.  Today I napped through lunch.  I mean, I had lunch later, but that seems a weird thing for me.  Who naps when there could be eating?

This means I'm going to go to sleep now.  I have much work to do on this week's show but it would be nice to get eight hours of sleep tonight.  I don't think I've done that in many, many years.

You know what?  I probably slept a lot more when I was seventeen.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

One Of Those Legendary "No Content" Days

Here's something I found online:


It's a bear eating from a hummingbird feeder!  The image was entitled "hummingbear.jpg"!

Honestly, I can't do better than that today.