Friday, July 13, 2018

Self Help Radio 071318: The Mails

(Original image here.)

Recently someone asked me if I had any episodes of Self Help Radio that were my favorites.  I don't know if I do, but I do know that I enjoy making some more than others.  This week's show, for example, was hella fun to do.  My interview guests were great, I like so much of the music, & what's more, I loved looking for songs about the postal service.  I tried to stay away from "letter" songs - that's probably another theme, & I've already done a show about love letters.  & I discovered that, although I wanted to maybe have a section about postcards, there are so many of those that they'll easily make another show.  I also should send more postcards, but that's neither over here nor over there.

Today's show was probably also propelled by nostalgia - I certainly used to write a lot of letters & I have many if not most of the letters I received stored in a closet somewhere.  I didn't get them out to look at them for this show, but I did daydream about writing letters again.

In any event, I hope it's a funformative (if that's a word, which it isn't) look at one of our country's great institutions.  There were so many songs!  I had to leave stuff out, like the Monty Python bit about opening a new mailbox but you can watch that here.  Michael Palin is amazing in this.

Meanwhile, have a listen to today's show, which (like I said) I enjoyed making.  It's of course at the Self Help Radio website & you will of course need the username & password available on that page to listen.  (It's SHR & selfhelp.)  All the songs & all the interviews on the show are listed below.

Oh!  & I'm sending it postage due!  Sorry.

the show:

"Mail" Morphine _B-Sides & Otherwise_
"The Postman Rides His Bike" Chemistry Set _Chemistry Set_
"Mailman Bring Me No More Blues" Buddy Holly _The Memorial Collection_

introduction & definitions

"Mailman" Roya _Roya_
"A Hymn For The Postal Service" Hefner _Breaking God's Heart_
"Mailman's Sack" Tiny Bradshaw _The Train Kept A Rollin'_
"Mailman Blues" Lloyd Price _Lawdy Miss Clawdy_
"Night Mail" Public Service Broadcasting _Inform - Educate - Entertain_

interview with mail carrier David Fructher

"US Mail" Olympics _Dance Floor Winners Vol. 1_
"Please Mister Postman" The Beatles _With The Beatles_
"Twistin' Postman" The Marvelettes _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 1: 1961_
"The Postman" The American Analog Set _Know By Heart_
"Mailman" The Legendary Pink Dots _Plutonium Blonde_

interview with entrepreneur Lorenzo Schwab

"The Mail Must Go Through" Roosevelt Grier _The Liberty Records Story_
"The Mail Will Go Through" Tom Paxton _Bulletin... We Interrupt This Record_
"Stealing People's Mail" Dead Kennedys _Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables_
"Romance By Mail" Scars _Author! Author!_
"Lost In The Post" The Wombats _Proudly Present A Guide To Love, Loss, & Desperation_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Postman's Knock" Spike Milligan _The Spike Milligan Collection_
"She Was Only The Postmaster's Daughter" Durium Dance Band _Listen To The Banned_
"Waitin For The Evenin' Mail" Sissle & Blake _Ragtime: 1900-1930_
"Mailman" The Primary 5 _Ave Marina: Ten Years Of Marina Records_
"Postal" Piano Magic _Writers Without Homes_

Marge Most interviews the inventor of e-mail

"Postal Blue" The Softies _The Softies_
"Please Mister Postman" Dorotea _Hit Music Only_
"Postman Song" Ratboys _AOID_
"Return To Sender" Elvis Presley & The Jordanaires _Girls! Girls! Girls!_
"Doggin' In The U.S. Mail" Mike Seeger & Alice Gerrard _Mike Seeger & Alice Gerrard_


"Mailman Blues" Sleepy John Estes _Working Man's Blues_
"Hey, Mr. Postman" Ella Mae Morse _Barrelhouse, Boogie, & The Blues_
"It's Time For The Postman Rings" Martha Davis _Martha Davis 1946-1951

post mortem

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Whither The Mails?

(Not that Postal Service, silly.  From here.)

Someone asked me last week, seeing this theme on my website, what I meant by "the mails."  Being the sort that likes to say shit like "the mails," I just thought it was a formal or probably English way of saying "the postal service" (although my friend thought I meant the US Postal Service plus FedEx plus UPS).  According to Merriam-Webster, it does mean:

the system used for sending letters, packages, etc. : a nation's postal system

However, the definition is preceded by this: chiefly US, law, formal

Not British at all!  Somehow involved with the law!  But very, very formal.  I'll take it!

This week is a celebration of a service that nowadays gets stuff that you ordered on Amazon to you but used to be far more important in people lives.  You can still by books that are the "collected letters" of an author - I doubt anyone's going to want to read "the collected tweets" or "the collected texts" of someone modern.  But don't quote me on that!

Listen tomorrow at noon sharp, it'll be up at the Self Help Radio website, it should be tons of fun & there are lots of good tunes & goofy guests.

Do you need me also to remind you by email?  Damn it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Preface To The Mails: We Could Send Letters

As I have previously noted, I didn't have many friends in high school, but I did try to correspond with some of them after I went to college.  It's hard to imagine now, when people text each other the most mundane stuff, but long-distance phone calls were prohibitively expensive in those days.  My sister, who lived out of state, often made cassette tapes for my mother, & vice versa, rather than spending lots of money on telephone calls.

In my case, I wrote letters.  I wrote lots of letters.  I sometimes felt I spent way more time & energy on the letters I wrote than I could find in the letters I received, if receive them I did.  I often did not.  It seemed a weird thing to me, that I could take an hour to write something clever & get a response that took only minutes to read.  But that was the only game in town, really.  The two summers I returned to my hometown from college, I tried to write to college friends.  Most of them didn't write back.

It's hazy but I think I had pretty much given up writing people from my past by the time email rolled around.  & that revolutionized everything.  Except the whole time writing vs time reading equation.  In fact, email made correspondents even more lazy.  I would write paragraphs & get single words in response.  At least one person I loved dearly was offended by my characterizing our email exchange in that way that she never wrote to me again.  Never again!  A letter unreturned, at least, had more poignancy.

Yet I retain a fondness for the mails, for letters & postcards, & occasionally think I'll make an effort to write to folks regularly, send them packages of silly things, attempt to share something of the magic of those early days.  People don't mail much anymore.  I haven't stepped into a post office once since I've been back in Texas.  That makes me just a little sad.

P.S. This is the 2900th post on this blog.  I don't know if I meant to make a big deal of it, but I figured I should mention it.  Hooray!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Dull Drums

Self-doubt is a weird thing.  It doesn't take into account, for example, the years one plies one's craft.  It doesn't care about a personal sense of accomplishment, or the kind words of people - sometimes strangers - about what one does, what one creates.  It simply does not give a fuck.

It's a long drive between Fort Worth, where I live, & Dallas, where I do a radio show.  I like to listen to music while I drive but it's funny, the silences that happen between songs, the silences even within songs, the distractions - oh the distractions by the shitty drivers in this metromegaplex - such small spaces of time are the perfect nesting places for self-doubt.

& you know self-doubt festers.  Holy crap, it needs so very little nutrients to grow & thrive.  What does it need?  Perhaps some smidgen of a lifetime of disappointment.  What about some random feelings of neglect?  Oh I'm sure there's space for pettiness & jealousy.  When I close my eyes right now I see a section of the highway which is always clogged because it's a short path between two major highways, & I see myself sighing, trying to pay attention, as people who could not give less of a shit about anyone else jockey to be first to an exit, & that's one of the moments where one is too vulnerable, where one is too tired, where one is too distracted to not notice self-doubt barge in like the hero at the end of the movie.

Long drives, the sun beating down - summers in this part of the world are a challenge.  I have a friend who spends summers at pools, lakes, beaches if he can get to them.  I have spent the past couple of summers remembering that season in places that have other seasons.  Texas has summer & not-summer.  That's not right.  & you know what?  That's not right is also where self-doubt lives.

It's a wonder anyone gets anything done around here.  Ah, but I forget: the same environments also foster self-delusion.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Bad Wordy

The other day or night, I was listening to some new singles on the computer, on the Bandcamp, & I came across one of them, in Spanish, that I was digging, & I used the Google Translate to Google translate the words (because I don't know Spanish) & holy smokes it was filled with bad words!  Not only that, a translation of the performer's name - you know, he called himself something other than his given name - that was indecent, too!

It seems that most if not all languages have profanity but it surprises me that some of them have analogs in English.  & not just one!  Sometimes the profanity has to do with context.

For example, back in my KOOP days in Austin, I for a time did Self Help Radio after a program called "The Pilot Show."  It was a show where new folks who came to the station had the chance to show the listening audience what kind of show they would do if they were to get a regular slot.  Sometimes the show would be Spanish-language, as we had several Spanish-language programs.

One day there was a group of young men who were doing something I guessed was political.  They were constantly referring to each other as cabron.  Google The Translate actually translate that as "dumbass" but I was told by the older gentlemen there (who could speak Spanish) that the word meant "goat."

Fast forward years later, I was watching a movie - darn, I had thought it was a John Sayles movie but I guess it wasn't - about new immigrants living in Los Angeles, & much of the dialogue was in Spanish, but helpfully translated for lazy viewers like me.  Every time - every time - someone used the word cabron, it was translated on the screen as "motherfucker."  From goat to dumbass to motherfucker - that's a hell of a journey.

The upshot is, I can't say this performer's name on the air, though I am going to play one of his songs on the Tuesday Morning Blend tomorrow.  What performer?  You'll have to listen to find out, you silly goat you.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Self Help Radio 070618: Sorrow

(Suloni Robertson designed the SHR logo; the cartoon tear I added is clip art.)

Things are bad.  Things may get worse.  & then there's sorrow.  I mean, there's already sorrow.  But sorrow can increase.  Sorrow can overwhelm.  Sorrow can bury.

But what can we do?  I dunno, maybe a radio show about sorrow?  I know that seems glib.  But frankly it's about all I can do.  Not the least I can do.  The most I can do.  Another radio show.  This time one about sorrow.

& maybe a radio show can help heal.  Or maybe it'll exacerbate things.  I can't say.  I'm like an alternative medicine guy when it comes to the healing powers of radio: you try to fix everything with the same thing.  In this case, it's sorrow.  But maybe a radio show about bunions can help with one's bunions.  It's not like I have faith in any of this.

So let's heal all our sorrow with a radio show about sorrow.  Or maybe just listen to it for the music & the goofy interviews & other funnies.  Don't ask me.  I'm not a psychologist.  I just started writing stuff & now I'm in way over my head.

Listen to this week's Self Help Radio over at the Self Help Radio website.  You'll be asked for a username & a password.  Those are SHR & selfhelp.  Caps sensitive.  It's a little over two sorrowful hours long.  The songs played as well as the interviews are listed below.

"Sorrow" David Bowie _Pin Ups_
"Sorrow" Nits _dA dA dA_
"Sorrow" Broder Daniel _Broder Daniel_

introductions & definitions

"Sorrow" The National _High Violet_
"Sorrow" Frankie Rose _Herein Wild_
"Sorrow" Life Without Buildings _Any Other City_
"Don't Interrupt The Sorrow" Joni Mitchell _The Hissing Of Summer Lawns_

interview with filmmaker David Fruchter

"In My Time Of Sorrow" Marianne Faithfull _Marianne Faithfull's Greatest Hits_
"Surround Yourself With Sorrow" Cilla Black _The Best Of Cilla Black_
"Don't See The Sorrow" Au Revoir Simone _The Bird Of Music_
"Sorrowful Blues" Little Brother Montgomery _Complete Recorded Works (1930-1936)_
"Heart In Sorrow" Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee _Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry Sing_

interview with psychologist Dr. Chuck Charles

"Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow)" Justin Vernon _Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows (Songs Of John Prine)_
"Sorrow's Child" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds _The Good Son_
"Sorrow Is The Way To Love" Carousel _I Forgot To Remember To Forget_
"Sorrows Arms" Honey Child _Honey Child_
"Fucking In Rhythm & Sorrow" Sugarcubes _Life's Too Good_

a discussion of literary conceptions of sorrow (interrupted)

"You Brought Sorrow To My Heart" Johnny Bond & His Red River Valley Boys _Country & Western: Johnny Bond Standard Transcriptions_
"Man Of Constant Sorrow" Bob Dylan _Bob Dylan_
"Pilgrim Of Sorrow" The Wright Specials _The Complete Motown Singles: 1962_
"Little Miss Sorrow, Child Of Tomorrow" Herman's Hermits _There's A Kind Of Hush (All Over The World)_
"Dawn Of Sorrow" The New Society _The Barock Sound Of The New Society_

closing & goodbye

"Mr. Sorrowful" Hurrah! _Tell God I'm Here_
"Sorrow Floats" Voice Of The Beehive _Let It Bee_
"Daughters Of Sorrow" The New Pornographers _Together_

post mortem

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Whither Sorrow?

(Yow! I found this picture here!)

Are you sad?  I mean, really, really sad?  What you might be experiencing is sorrow.  Yeah, I bolded that word.  & if you're experiencing sorrow (still bold), then you might need a radio show about it.

But, you may ask, will this radio show help me with my sorrow?  Probably not.  The radio show is done, as usual, by a silly man with his goofy friends, & features mainly songs about the show's theme, which, this week, is sorrow.  It's not a show run by trained professionals who work with people who suffer from depression or otherwise need help with sadness, unhappiness, or sorrow.  Really, I suggest you look for help someplace else.

However, if you want to wallow, if you really want to listen to lots of songs about sorrow, & people (mainly me) talking about sorrow, & silly skits & funny interviews (ha ha!) about sorrow, then this week's Self Help Radio might be for you!

You may have noticed in the last paragraph the word "sorrow" was no longer presented in bold type.  That's because we ran out of bold.  This show is being run on a shoestring budget.  It's embarrassing.

Sorrow tomorrow on Self Help Radio at noon.  Find your way to the very depressing Self Help Radio website (or the Facebook page or the Twitter page or even here which will lead you to the Self Help Radio website) & listen to two hours of talk & songs about sorrow.  You may find a way to bold that word again.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Preface To Sorrow: Happy Birthday America!

(I found this on Tumblr somewhere.)

Over on Facebook, where they let you relive your "on this day" memories, I noticed a pattern: for a few years there, I would say, on the Fourth Of July, "Happy Birthday, America.  You're old."  Or some semblance of that.

As this country continues to look & act less & less like I always thought it would, I feel like I should continue that tradition as long as we have a country, which may for all I know not be long.  So:

Happy birthday, America!  Wow you're old.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Low In High School

On Facebook last week I succumbed to one of those "do this & tag your friends to do it too" things that were way more popular in the early days of Facebook then they are now.  I was waiting for my wife to return from Jazzercise & didn't want to start doing something (listening to a record, picking up a book) that could be interrupted if I were really into it.

The task: "Tell us about your final year of high school."  So I did.

Year: 1985-1986

1. Did you know your spouse?
Nope. She was in California, in elementary school.

2. Did you skip school?
Probably. My mother worked so if my little brother & I didn't want to, we'd make an excuse about being sick & she couldn't check on us.

3. What kind of car did you have?
A 1976 Ford Granada. Already on its last legs, er, wheels.

4. It's FRIDAY night where are you?
Probably driving around with my pal Joe listening to music & talking about life.

5. What kind of job did you have?
I worked at a Mobil gas station for half the year, & sometimes at my family's convenience store.

6. Were you a party animal?
Ha ha ha no.

7. Were you considered a jock?
Ha ha ha no.

8. Were you in choir, band or orchestra?
Ha ha ha no.

9. Were you a nerd?
I spent all my money on records & comic books. What do you think?

10. Did you get suspended?
Nope, I was a good boy.

11. Can you sing the fight/school song?
Yes. Off key.*

12. Where did you eat?
I wasn't a vegetarian yet, so probably fast food crap.**

13. Where was your high school?
Garland, Texas. It's still there as far as I can tell.

14. What was your school mascot?
A racist Civil War Colonel.***

15. If you could go back and do it over again, would you?
God, no.

16. Do you still talk to the person you went to prom with?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha I didn't go to prom.

17.Are you planning on going to the next high school reunion?
I haven't been to any of them, & don't really talk to anyone from my high school.

18. Are you still in contact with people from high school?
Not really. A couple, one who left in ninth grade, another who was in the grade before mine. I am surprised when I look back how few people I knew back then, but I know so few people now so I guess it's not that much of a surprise.

19. What happened to question 19? Am I supposed to make something up? Okay, how about this: do you know if anyone you went to high school is dead now? ****
Yes! There's an entire web site for my school (not just my class) called "Fallen Colonels" & I occasionally check there to see if anyone I know has died. But of course I didn't really know anyone, so if I recognize anyone, it's just a name. I think we've lost ten out of 435 but I haven't checked recently.*****

20. Do you know where your high school sweetheart is?
Ha ha ha ha ha I didn't have a high school sweetheart.******

21. What was your favorite subject?
I used to hang out in the library with a couple of friends during lunch, that seemed to be the most fun I had.*******

22. Do you still have your class ring?
I would never have even thought about buying a class ring.********

23. Do you still have your yearbook?
Yeah, in a box in a closet.

Interesting?  No?  Notes on my answers below.

* It's pretty simple: "All hail to thee, to our alma mater sing, long may your power & glory ring, forever true, our hearts will be, our school South Garland High, all hail to thee."  The last "all hail to thee" was shouted with forceful pointing of the outstretched hand.  You can see it here.
** I'm embarrassed to say I spent some of my disposable income on junk food, especially Jack-In-The-Box.  If you told my seventeen year old self that in a year he'd be a vegetarian, he would've laughed.

*** I went into this more a few years back on the blog.

**** The original Facebook thing didn't have a question 19.  I don't know if the previous person omitted it or if there never was one.

***** The site is

****** My first kiss happened at the tail-end of high school, but I'm friends with her on Facebook & I think she might be a little offended if I called her my high-school sweetheart.  So she probably wasn't.

******* I was fond of English & history, though.  I went on to major in English in college.

******** My mother got a class ring thing in the mail & seemed to want to buy me one.  I told her I would never wear it & she should save the money.  I think I hurt her feelings.  I don't know if any of my siblings (four of whom graduated from the same school) ever got class rings.

Monday, July 02, 2018

A Burgh Of Pitts

That's where I was most of last week: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Why, you may ask?  The wife had business there.  I came along because it's nice to go to places you've never been to, isn't it?

Here's a picture of the town from the Wikipedia entry about Pittsburgh:

Yeah, I took a bunch of pictures of the town, but when I get around to looking at them, they'll probably be on the the Self Help Radio Tumblr page in a few months.  The pics I like.  They probably won't be too touristy.

One thing I realized is that - I should've realized this before - I am very lucky I married someone who's as much of a foodie as I am.  We ate at these places: B52 Cafe, Onion Maiden, & Apteka, to mention the three great vegan places we went to.  We found vegan options in other places, all delicious.

Mainly we haunted the museums but did manage some walks through some neighborhoods.  It reminded me a very little of Huntington (although I must stress except for mainly the hills & trees, nothing about the place felt Appalachian), a very lot of Cincinnati, with maybe some of the industrial spirit of Chicago.  I like that it's close to Columbus.  There's a part of me that wishes I had discovered the city a long time before now.

One sad thing is that I used to have a friend who lived in Pittsburgh but I lost touch with her, & very surprisingly, especially since we met online, she has almost no online presence.  But also, my last email exchange with her was like fourteen years ago.  I almost went to the address she used to live at but thought better of it.  Anyway.  It's strange to be in a place where you know (or you think you know) someone you've been friends with lives but because of stupid time & other things you've lost touch & you can't find them.  But I suppose it must've been worse in the past.

It's crazy, I'd love to go back but also there are so many places I've just never been so shouldn't I go there first?  I think so.  But thank you, Pittsburgh.  I'm sorry I never paid much attention to you.  It makes me wonder what other places I should be paying attention to.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Whither - Oh There's No Show This Week, Sorry

It's true, I'm not anywhere I can put a show together but I'm elsewhere at the moment.  Well, I'm here, because where else would I be but it's not the here that I'm usually at.  "Where you are is where you're at," right?  Or something like that?  I'm not really where I generally am, is the point I'm trying to make.  So, no show.

Also, no "whither" entry for the blog.  Except this is...  I mean, this would be...  Well, poops.

There are some things I'd like to get off my chest while you're here.  Like, air travel.  What a mess.  Wait!  Where are you going?  I have some solutions!  Wait!  Wait!


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Stop, Plug A Minute

In a few minutes, I'll going somewhere else for a couple of days (it's why there's no show this week) so I thought that I'd spend a second with a short list of links that you may use to occupy your time if you regularly expect a Self Help Radio once a week.  I know no one like that exists but if it's all right with you, I'll just pretend.

You can listen to the radio station where I deejay in Dallas, KNON.  It's a great community radio station with a lot of different shows, which you can see on the schedule.

If something there strikes your fancy, you can sample any show at Radio Free America.  (That's also where you can sample the last two weeks of the show I do.)

You may also enjoy the two stations that aired Self Help Radio in Kentucky, the student-run WRFL & the community-based WLXU.  It seems like it was only yesterday there'd be a new Self Help Radio on Wednesday nights in Lexington - but it's been like two months.

Of course, there are well over fifty old episodes of Self Help Radio (all of the shows from the past year, for instance) on the Self Help Radio website.  Remember the username SHR & the password selfhelp to listen.  Most of the shows are from the WLXU days but some shows go back way into the WRFL & even KOOP past.

It would be swell if you'd follow the show on Twitter & like the show on Facebook, & look at dumb pictures I took on Tumblr.  I imagine there would be some diverting moments there.  Or not?

That's all.  I'll miss you this week.  But I'll be back next week with a show about sorrow.  Because I feel the need to be cheery in your presence.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Emails I Delete & Never Open

Just now - I suppose it happens every Monday about this time - I got an email from Tumblr that spotlights like five different Tumblr blogs.  It says something like "The Five Blogs Of Your Future," or "Your Blog Cravings, Satisfied."  I never read it, I just delete it.  I mean, maybe I can unsubscribe from it if I open & read it?  But naw.  I just delete it.

My brain just asked me, what if your blog were on that list?  The chances that the Self Help Radio Tumblr Blog would end up on a list like that are vanishingly small, what with its 29 followers who never like any of my photos.  Maybe a Tumblr blog for a radio show shouldn't be putting up photos like it's a fucking Instagram account but anyway.

Or wait, what if it had been on that list previously, & anyone who saw it was like, "Oh shit, worst Tumblr blog ever"?  That would be an appropriate response, but again, it's so very unlikely.

It's not just Tumblr notifications I delete.  I delete stuff from Paypal, from charities I've given to (or the ones that I took surveys for that were designed to just get on their mailing lists), from newspapers I've created accounts for.  I'm certain all those have unsubscribe buttons, & occasionally I do unsubscribe, but mostly I just delete without reading.

It's funny, I don't pay attention to those emails but I do like to read the emails from my spam mailbox.  There's one spam I get regularly which says "subscribe from all our lists here."  Maybe that's why I think it doesn't matter if I unsubscribe from any lists - it's all a scam.

But confidentially, I suspect the reason that I don't mind getting the emails is that I don't really get any emails anymore.  It's nice to know my inbox is getting some action.  It makes me feel bad for all those folks I never bothered to write back to twenty years ago or more.  I thought I'd always have correspondents!  What hubris!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Self Help Radio 062218: Glitter

(Original glitter image here.)

Crap, this show is gonna get everywhere & you're not going to be able to clean it all up.  You'll be finding little pieces of it in your hair, on your skin, in the carpet, damn it, it's all over the cat.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry!  I'm sorry!

Can I just say, though, it's totally worth it?  Everyone likes to feel sparkly for a little while & glitter helps you feel that way without MDMA or, you know, fire.  The show features music about glitter, about things that glitter, & about glittering.  It's as well rounded as possible.  Plus!  A new song written for the show by Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm down in Texas as well as interviews with the owner & CEO of Glitter's Party Superstore, Elliot Kliffnerd, & with the biggest fan of the 2001 Mariah Carey movie Glitter, Mary Curtay.  Plus!  A special exposé (written by someone else but read by me) about the dark side of glitter!  I'm telling you, it's worth it.

Download or listen now at Self Help Radio dot net.  Pay attention to the username & password info on the page.  What's in the show (it's almost two hours long!) is listed below.

Have you tried a cloth?  A vacuum cleaner isn't going to worth.  Maybe a slightly wet cloth, or paper towels?  This shit's everywhere.

"Glitter" Pinkshinyultrablast _Everything Else Matters_
"Glitter & Twang" Tullycraft _Beat Surf Fun_
"Glitter & Gold" The Turtles _It Ain't Me Babe_

introduction & definitions

"Love & Glitter, Hot Days & Muzik" Helen Love _Love & Glitter, Hot Days & Muzik_
"Mark & John (Bring On The Glitter Kids)" The Secret History _Desolation Town_
"Glitter" Eddie Gossling _Fresh Brewed Eddie_
"Glitter Freeze (feat. Mark E. Smith)" Gorillaz _Plastic Beach_
"Glitter Gulch" Elvis Costello _King Of America_

interview with Elliot Kliffnerd of Glitter's

"Different Glitter" The Inquisitions _Different Glitter_
"Mekong Glitter" Insecure Men _Insecure Men_
"Glitter In Their Eyes" Patti Smith _Gung Ho_
"I Saw The Glitter On Your Face" Denim _Back In Denim_
"Glitterships" Sunbutler _Sunbutler_

special report: the dark side of glitter

"Glittering Prize" Simple Minds _New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)_
"The Glittering Prizes" Television Personalities _They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles_
"Glitter" John Heffron _Good Kid, Bad Adult_
"Glittering Girl" The Who _Sell Out_
"Glittering Dream" The Minders _It's A Bright Guilty World_

interview with Mariah Carey fan Mary Curtay

"Glitter (& Not Gold)" Big Joe _High Explosion: DJ Sounds From 1970-1976_
"All That Glitters" Hi-Life International _Travel & See_
"All That Glitters Ain't Gold" Spinners _Pick Of The Litter_
"Everything That Glitters (Ain't Always Gold)" DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince _And In This Corner..._
"All That Glitters" The Blow Monkeys _If Not Now, When?_

conclusion & goodbyes

"Glitter Parade! (feat. Rahim Quazi)" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _Glitter Parade!_
"Glittery Joe" Bentcousin _Everybody's Got One_
"Glitter & Be Gay (from Candide)" Barbara Cook _Smithsonian Collection Of American Musical Theater, Vol. 4: Shows, Songs, & Stars_

post mortem

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Whither Glitter?

(Image from here but don't be a dick & use that website please.)

An entire show about glitter?  What?  How?  It's true!

Look, I know what you're thinking: Gary's not into arts & crafts.  He's never been to a rave.  & that one time he wore eyeliner it was disastrous.  But this show isn't all about me, you know.  Sometimes it's about what it's about.  & I think that's pretty deep.

As I've doubtless said before, anyone can do a radio show about broad topics, like cars or dogs, but when you've done a theme-based show for as long as I have, you find yourself needing a challenge now & then.  A show about something you just can't imagine people would have written many songs about.  Like cheese fries.  Or the Periodic Table of the Elements.  Or glitter.

& yeah, it's not just going to be about that kind of glitter, the one in the photo above.  No, we'll be exploring the verb "to glitter" as well as its adjectival version "glittering."  & all that glitters, I've discovered, does not make a gold record.  But there are some awesome glitter songs.  You'll see.  Or hear.  You'll hear.

The show will be available tomorrow at noon.  Friday at noon.  That's tomorrow.  At the show's website.  Like usual.

Do not, I repeat, do not send people glitter.  It's mean!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Preface To Glitter: Dental Problems

Today I had my tooth prepared for a crown.  It's not a king, it's in bad shape.  The crown is supposed to protect it.  The experience lasted for two hours, mainly because dentists see other patients in a staggered manner to maximize their time & make themselves more $$$$.

The people helping - all of them female - I want to say there were three of them - they were pretty indistinguishable.  I know one of this helped the dentist - she might also have been the one who made the temporary crown - & another one took x-rays & another one actually scanned my mouth.  Like, scanned it to a computer.  I took a picture but I'm too lazy to upload it here.  Also, my teeth are terrible.  I know you'd judge me for that.

Anyway, I told a couple of jokes.  My wife says they're "Dad Jokes."  I prefer to think of them as more Groucho Marxian.  Like, at the end, I told one of the women (the dentist split as soon as he was done), "I don't want to alarm you, but I will not be giving this spa a good review in Yelp."  She then told me she went to an actual spa the past weekend.  She reported that it was nice, but weird.

This wasn't my first dental surgery nor my first crown.  But I never forget how weird it is to:

1) Have people constantly put their hands in your mouth.
2) Have someone stick needles into your gums.
3) Wait for your mouth to un-numb & then just be sore.

But the weirdest thing was, in my alone time - to wait for the gums to numb, to wait for the temporary crown, to wait for the dentist to get back to me - I started thinking about weird sexual practices.  Bear with me.  I was thinking, there are people who get off on pain, right?  & there are people who - even if it's not entirely sexual - I mean, I never made it through that J.G. Ballard book Crash, it made me kinda sick to read - anyway, some people like to be injured & probably like to have surgical procedures done on them, so surely there are people who find a visit to the dentist to be erotic.  Right?

My brain said to me, "Sexual dentistry," & I started giggling.  One of the assistants walked in & asked what was so funny.  I couldn't say.

But I think it would've made a great Marvin Gaye record, or something.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ways To Help

On the Tuesday Morning Blend I spoke today about organizations helping the children & families being separated & detained under this administration's "zero tolerance" policy, & listed some organizations who are trying to help. Here are the ones I mentioned:

The Refugee & Immigrant Center for Education & Legal Services (RAICES)
The Texas Civil Rights Project
The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project
Pueblo Sin Fronteras

I also mentioned that it may be worth it to reach out to your representatives & let them know how you feel.  If you live in Texas, your senators are:
Ted Cruz & John Cornyn.

If you don't know who your representative is, you can find him or her at this link.

I did not mention this, but noticed it later: a way to contribute to many organizations at once, with links to their websites so you can see what they do, it's
at this link.

Tonight I see the AP has found the places where they're keeping the youngest detainees.  It just keeps getting more & more awful.

So maybe we can help in some way.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Is There A Word...

...for someone who needs their opinion to be accepted in such a way that it's taken as fact?

An English word, I mean, not a German word.  Of course there's a German word for that.

It seems to me this phenomenon is getting worse & worse.  Your reputation will actually lower in someone's estimation if you don't share their opinion.  Indeed, they'll cite other people's opinions - usually by linking to some online opinion piece - as evidence of the unimpeachable nature of their opinion.

Except opinions can't ever be objectively true.  That's the nature of opinion.  At best (I feel like I've said this before, so I probably have) an opinion can be more informed than another, but if you like something, how can I say it's not good?  In the case of art, music, whatever, ratings are a democratic process.  Hell, it's because of the weird sense that people have that the things they like aren't appreciated that we get the term "guilty pleasure."  If you like something, you shouldn't feel guilty for enjoying it.  I for one have reasons why I like all the things I like.

Why am I talking about this today?  Because someone told me that if I didn't like soccer (you know, the World Cup is going on), I didn't like sex.  What the what?

Apparently a common complaint about soccer from people who enjoy other sports is that there's just not enough scoring.  That was the background for the comment.  It was assumed that I didn't like soccer because of low scoring.

When I brought up the fact that it's actually baseball, not soccer, that people use as a sports metaphor for sex (you know, getting to first base, etc.), the person had to concede but said, "They score more in baseball though!"

The point is, why do you need your liking of a sport to be such that anyone who dislikes has to have some issue - not liking sex? - which makes their dislike of it a problem?  I don't pay attention to any sportsball.  Anyone who listens to music as much as I do can't imagine spending three hours watching anyone do any one thing.  (Well, I guess if it's a superhero movie - but, you know, nerds like me don't watch sports as a rule anyway.)

If there's a word for this, I'd love to know it - it's such a crazy thing that humans as a rule desperately need their opinions validated.  It reminds me of a certain podcast host who, every time he has a musician on, he always asks them if they like records or artists he likes.  I guess it's great when someone you admire approves of your taste in music or movies or whatever, but the truth is, it doesn't make your opinion more correct or objectively true.

Like I once tweeted: "You have good taste in music = I like the same music you like."

Friday, June 15, 2018

Self Help Radio 061518: Vibrations

(You do know Suloni Robertson designed this logo, don't you?)

Oh my!  I've been vibrating all week & now I think I can vibrate through anything!  Like walls!  Or time!  Or...  What's something else I can vibrate through?  Think!  Before I stop vibrating & move on to another radio show!

One hopes this show isn't too vibratory for you.  People these days like to be a little calm.  But you know, inside this show, you'll discover how vibrations work, what they do, how they're used (for naughty & not naughty purposes), & you'll get to hear lots of songs about different kinds of "vibes," from good & positive to bad & negative.  You may even enjoy yourself!  Which I know is a tall order.

Listen to the show now at the Self Help Radio website. You can find it directly at if you're impatient.  You'll need a username & a password, that would be SHR & selfhelp.  Want to know what's on the long (120 minute!) show?  It's noted below.

[Insert weird vibration noises here.]

"Vibration" Dorothy Collins _Experiment Songs (From Ballads For The Age Of Science)_
"Vibrations" The Royal Jokers _Swing For A Crime_
"Vibrations" Lancelot Link & The Evolution Revolution _Lancelot Link & The Evolution Revolution_

Introduction, definitions, & the Science-O-Tron 7000

"Good Vibrations" Langley Schools Music Project _Innocence & Despair_
"I'm Sending Vibrations" The Webb People _The Detroit Funk Vaults_
"Sweet Vibrations" Latimore _Hit The Rhodes, Jack_
"Sad Vibrations" The Second Summers _Psychedelic Archaeology, Vol. 6_
"Positive Vibrations" The Soft Boys _Underwater Moonlight_

Interview with vibrator designer Rosco Sunday

"Vibration (featuring Jon Auer)" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _Vibration_
"Negative Vibe" Barnabys _Augustus Loop_
"Yawn Vibes" The Bats _The Law Of Things_
"I Got The Vibes" Jo Armstead _Do The Crossover Baby_
"Killin' The Vibe (Feat. Panda Bear)" Ducktails _Killin' The Vibe EP_

Interview with Sri Dr David Fruchter

"Vibrations" Zap Mama _ReCreation_
"Sweet Vibe" Rasputin Stash _The Devil Made Me Do It_
"Bad Vibes & Evil Thoughts" Sonny & The Sunsets _Tomorrow Is Alright_
"Vibrating Vegetable" The Rip-Off Artist _Open Up & Say...@<%_|^[!]_
"Vibrate On" Augustus Pablo Meets The Upsetter _Lee Scratch Perry: Arkology_

Interview with Mr Vibrato

"Radiation Vibe" Hem _No Word From Tom_
"Love Vibrations" Kim Weston _Kim Kim Kim_
"Smell The Vibe" Beardyman _I Done A Album_
"Vibrate" Mr. Scruff _Trouser Jazz_
"Vibes & Stuff" A Tribe Called Quest _The Low End Theory_

Closing & goodbyes

"New Vibration" Damien Youth _The Man Who Invented God_
"Bad Vibrations" The Crimea _Tragedy Rocks_
"Bad Vibes" Brilliant Colors _Walk Into The World 7"_
"Where's The Vibe" 10 Cents _The Patio Collection, Vol. 2_

Post mortem

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Whither Vibrations?

(Image from here.)

Why in the world is this week's Self Help Radio about vibrations?  Come with me on a journey of despair & inspiration!

You may recall that I also do a show on KNON in Dallas called the Tuesday Morning Blend.  You may also recall how the delightful station it's on must needs raise money on the regular because we don't got no corporate overlords.  You may not recall but you may suspect that I am terrible at raising money.  All of this is true, true, true.

One of the ways I attempted to encourage people to donate during the most recent pledge drive was to try to make themes à la Self Help Radio.  (That didn't go well.)  But one of the themes I thought might resonate in folks was playing a tribute to David Bowie.  Forgetting all about the disastrous pledge drive (which I can't), I was charmed again listening to the Langley Schools Music Project's recording of "Space Oddity."  It prompted me to revisit the entire record.

When I got through it, & was mulling it over, I thought about their version of the song "Good Vibrations" & wondered if there were a lot of good songs about vibrations.  & when I do that, it means I am thinking about a theme for a show.  & then I started actively looking for songs about vibrations.

& here we are!  Or here we'll be - the vibrations program will be available tomorrow at noon central.  Full of mostly good vibes.  I mean, it's me, there will be some bad vibes.  It's why cats love me.

Tomorrow! Noon! Self Help Radio dot net! Watch this space!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Preface To Vibrations: Never Been In An Earthquake

Yeah.  I never been in an earthquake.  No.

& never been in a hurricane neither, nor a tsunami as well.

These days there are volcanoes & there are floods, lotsa floods, never been in neither or either.

Yeah, there was that time, driving through New Mexico, a cop made us pull off the highway & park in some truckstop parking lot & wait out a dust storm.  It was pretty intense.  So.  Been in a dust storm sure.

The car didn't vibrate though.  It got dusty.

& yeah, there was a time I drove through Kansas in the summer when butterflies were everywhere & when we stopped the grill of the car was covered in butterfly carcasses.  Pretty wings flapping gruesomely in the mild breeze.  That was almost biblical in its awfulness.

Never been trapped in cold & almost froze to death.  A blizzard, that's the word I'm looking for.  Never been in a blizzard, nor an avalanche.  Wasn't ever at the foot of the mountain & an avalanche came tumbling down.  Bet that would vibrate!

What have I survived?  If you wanna call it survival.  Heavy rains.  Some hail.  Mild discomfort.

When I was a kid, I am told, I don't remember, we pulled off the side of the road when a tornado was spotted.  I don't remember seeing a tornado.  But I guess I survived.

There'll be a time when I won't survive, that's true.  But it'll probably be as unexciting as my life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018


Like many fanciful people, I once imagined I had talent as a writer.  Here's a fun fact: last year someone asked to read something I had written.  I sent this person a short story I wrote like twenty-five years ago & they never spoke to me again.  That's some terrible writing right there!

Boy I sure liked to pretend though.  In ninth grade I had a small group of friends - Scott, Mike, & Robert were their names - I was closest with Scott, I was friendly with Mike, & Robert did not like me & just wanted to hang with Scott - but to make them laugh I wrote a series of stories - chapters, really, in a novel I would never finish - in which we were superspies in a James Bond-like world.  The "novel" was full of inside jokes, & people we knew in school - people who probably had no idea I existed - were cast as foils or villains or such things.  I remember that Mike's older sister was some kind of sinister malefactor I called "Ms Death."

It's crazy I can recall even that - I have the pages, written in pencil so probably illegible, saved somewhere, but I have no idea what it was really about.  I do remember why I stopped writing it: Mike burst my bubble.  He told me it was terrible & it would never be published.

There was certainly a part of me that knew it would never be published, in the same way I knew the silly tapes I made with friends pretending to be doing radio shows would never actually become comic albums or whatever, but part of the thrill was the pretending.  I was trying to write this fantasy where all my friends were something else, I was writing it for them, I was hoping to charm & amuse them.  Mike didn't possess a fanciful bone, however, & when I mused about publication, he didn't mind raining on my parade.  He actually laughed out loud at my folly.

It was at that point that I just lost interest.  & it was fine that he made me realize that actually making a book was hard work, he didn't have to tell me it was terrible.

No worries!  It didn't deter me then from pursuing a writing career.  It would take me, realizing later that in fact my writing was pretty awful, to leave that path.

Still.  Wow, I didn't know until this past year that my writing was so bad it would make someone stop talking to me.  Seriously - that's some fucking terrible writing there!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Might I Recommend?

One of the nice things that happens when you do community radio is that other community radio folk listen to your shows, because, you know, you're part of a community.

As for me, I don't get to listen as often as I wish - I spend a great deal of time listening to music on my own, lots of it for the dumb show I do.  But one of the coolest things is Radio Free America, especially (of course) the KNON portion, where I can hear shows I'm either not awake for or too busy to listen to.

For example, I really like Roulette Radio.  (Here is their Facebook page.)  It's pretty great freeform radio, & they often do "sets" that will please the Self Help Radio listener.  Like, this week's show was all bands whose names were initials, stuff like that.

During these unbearably hot Texas summers, we wake early to walk the dogs, so I can't be up Sunday nights/Monday mornings midnight to four to enjoy a show like Roulette Radio.  But I can put them on during the day thanks to their Radio Free American stream.  So, hooray!

Might I recommend the show to you?

Friday, June 08, 2018

Self Help Radio 060818: Style

(Stylish old Italian dudes originally found here.)

Style! Can you learn it? Can you borrow it? Can you buy it? Can you sell it?

Style! Is it worth it? Does it hurt you? Does it change you? Can it save you?

Style! What is it all about? What does it mean? What is going on? Who the hell are you?

Yes, none of the above questions - & more! - are answered on today's Self Help Radio, a show about style.  There are guests, lots of songs, & probably twelve to fifteen percent more nonsense than usual. & you will agree, that's an almost intolerable amount of nonsense.

Listen now or when the mood strikes at the Self Help Radio website.  Use the password "SHR" & the password "selfhelp" (without the quotation marks) to download.  The show is two hours long but it will probably feel like four.  The songs played - as well as the noted guests - are listed below.

Style! Okay, I'll shut up about it now.

"Style (with Bing Crosby & Dean Martin)" Frank Sinatra _The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings_
"Style (Peter Gunn Theme)" Grandmaster Flash _Style (Peter Gunn Theme)_
"Style" Cameo _Style_

introductions & definitions

"Putting On The Style" Lonnie Donegan _More Than 'Pye In The Sky'_
"Cramping My Own Style" Jacobites _God Save Us Poor Sinners_
"I Dig His Style" Jackie Ross _Jerk & Twine: The Complete Chess Recordings_
"He's Just My Style" Lennon Sisters _Today!!_
"Love American Style" The Cowsills _The Best Of The Cowsills_

interview with designer & "Straight Eye For The Queer Guy" host David Fruchter

"What Are You Wearing" Kahimie Karie _K.K.K.K.K._
"The Wildstyle" Time Zone _Beat Freaks_
"Style It Takes" Lou Reed & John Cale _Songs For Drella_
"No Style" Vic Godard & The Subway Sect _Songs For Sale_
"I'll Change My Style" Jimmy Reed _The Vee-Jay Years (1953-1965)_

a visit from Dr. Idiom!

"Lifestyle" Elektric Music _Esperanto_
"Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous" Momus _Don't Stop The Night_
"Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous" Beatnik Filmstars _In Hospitalable_
"Experimental Lifestyle" Brilliantine _My Life & The Beautiful Game_
"Rock & Roll Lifestyle" Cake _Motorcade Of Generosity_

a moment of reflection about the show

"I Like Your Style Of Making Love" The Cleftones _The Best Of The Cleftones_
"I Like Your Style" Lee Shot Williams _Hot Shot_
"I Like Your Style" The Originals _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 10: 1970_
"Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)" The Temptations _Emperors Of Soul_
"My Own Style Of Loving" Wilson Pickett _Hey Jude_

closing remarks

"Revolt Into Style" Bill Nelson's Red Noise _Sound On Sound_
"Back In Style" Felix _You Are The One I Pick_

post mortem

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Whither Style?

(Ooo, look, cancer of the mouth from cigar smoking is back in style, according to these guys!)

You may be thinking, how can someone like Gary, who basically only has a beard because he's too lazy to shave, how can he do a show about style?  That would be like the Pope doing a show about foreplay.  Or a cat doing a show about compassion.  Or a salt shaker doing a show about berbere spice.  Or a...  You get the idea.

You may be thinking that (or you may be surprised there's still something called "Self Help Radio"), but have you ever heard of research?  Just because a do a show about something doesn't mean I'm an expert in it.  Maybe I just wanted to do a show about style to immerse myself in all meanings of the world.  After all, isn't that the style of Self Help Radio?

Aha!  I gotcha there!  You were all like, "Ha ha, Gary dresses like a beat-up store mannequin after a blackout," & I was like, "Can't a poorly-dressed mannequin still be curious about the better-dressed mannequins in the store?"  & then you were all like, "Oh shit, we just p-owned or pawned or powned whatever that weird thing people say on the internet is but they never pronounce it so when we pronounce it we're at the mercy of people who think they know it's pronounced."  & then I was like, "Damn, you're as insecure as I am, maybe you didn't mean to be so dickish when you insulted my personal look & you were just lashing out in frustration & sadness."  & then you were all like, "Oh go fuck yourself you touchy-feely piece of shit, you still have no style & we're never going to speak to you again."

This is going to be a very complicated show, I can tell.  In any event, the Self Help Radio exploration of style in music & chatter is happening tomorrow at noon at Self Help Radio dot net.  Frankly, I don't care what you wear or how you act while you listen.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Preface To Style: The Style That Is No Style

Anyone who's ever looked at me knows that I don't really have much style.  It might be concluded that I don't care very much about how I look, but it might also be concluded that there's a part of me that wishes I could care about my look but a) that seems like a hell of a lot of work & 2) have you seen how I look?

When I was younger I took a kind of spiteful sort of pride in not giving a shit about how I dressed.  I remember saying something of the sort to my German teacher in college & he said, "What are you talking about?  You have a definite style!  Those ratty tee shirts, the same old pants?  People recognize you right away?"

It was a bit deflating.

Years later, someone at KOOP, totally unsolicited, said to me when I walked into the station, "Oh god you dress like a thirteen year old boy!"  I told her I was uncomfortable with her referring to me as "god."

There have been women in my life who liked to dress me up, but that never lasted too long - again, I never had much patience for it.  Tee shirts are comfortable, you gotta wear pants, I never liked wearing sandals or flip flops so it's basically tennis shoes, & that's pretty much it.  The faithful ensemble.

One thing that I might have discussed before is the liberation from style that leaving high school brought me.  Who knows how I was judged in high school but I remember realizing when I first lived alone that no one gave a shit about what I was wearing.  In college, people would drag their asses into class barely out of pajamas.  I remember in eighth grade these guys I was sitting next to making fun of some kid who wore the same pair of pants every day - they checked because they made chalk marks on his leg or something - & that made me make sure to change pants every day.

In college?  I pretty much owned two pairs of pants for four years.  No one gave a shit!

Or they did, I guess, but I didn't hang around those kinds of people.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

In Dreams

Searching online, I couldn't find a study that tried to figure out how many people remember their dreams versus how many people don't.  My sister Karin, for example, tells me she never remembers her dreams.  My wife rarely does.  The check-out person at Sprouts told me...  Well, I didn't ask him.  He was too busy doing that thing where he pretends he really likes what I bought.  I think that's weird & very off-putting.  It doesn't reinforce my shopping behavior one bit.  Stop that!

As for me, I remember many of my dreams, & usually wake confused that I'm no longer in the dream or disappointed it's ended.  Sometimes I can even return to my dream once I've been awakened.  Here's something interesting: According to this article, "People who remember their dreams more often are more likely to wake up during the night. The processes that store memories are generally 'turned off' during sleep. Waking up after a dream would allow the brain to encode it into memory."

That's interesting to me because I am a pretty light sleeper, if I haven't overindulged in whiskey the night before.  (Though I still remember dreams when I have had a drink or two.)  (In fact, if I've only had a drink or two, enough to get a little buzzed, my dreams are more intense.)  Last night, for example, my dog Winston woke me about two hours after I fell asleep to let him out.  He does this by sitting up & whining.  He knows either me or the wife will wake up, he doesn't care who.  The way my wife sleeps, I know I would've been the one to always get up when the baby cried if we had had kids.  Anyway, maybe because of this, I remember a few of my dreams last night.  They were exciting!

There's a part of me that thinks I've dreamt like this my entire life.  I remember telling friends about a particularly vivid dream I had in twelfth grade.  It affected me then as dreams do now.  & I fucking love to dream.  I hardly ever have nightmares, unless somehow replicating similar frustrations I experience in real life is nightmarish.  But since I've never really believed in supernatural things, I don't dream in supernatural subjects, although sometimes superheroes show up.  Like they do.

Which reminds me: when I used to do acid, many moons ago (it's been two decades now), I never had those religious experiences that people claim to have, whether it's seeing their deity of choice or experiencing a oneness with the universe or really anything supernatural that the experience might confirm for you, like telepathy.  I guess I knew that there was a drug fucking with my brain & nothing I was experiencing was unnatural in any way.

But I was listening to a podcast recently (I'm tying these threads back together now) discussing Michael Pollan's new book & he points out that we remember our acid experiences far better than we do our dreams, & I wondered out loud to the podcast that maybe it's because we have those experiences while awake.  (The podcast did not give a shit about my insight.)

Ha ha, you thought I was going to talk about a particular dream, didn't you?  Nope.  It's no longer allowed on this blog.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Poem Generation

It's true, I shouldn't like this but I kind of do.  It's an online poem generator.  It's basically a Mad Libs-type set up, but I am delighted by it.

Here's the haiku it wrote for me for this week's theme of "style":

Squeamish afternoon
A stylish partner cackles
before the armchair

The only words I didn't provide the generator were "a," "before," & "the."  So basically I wrote it, bitch.

Oh, & I got it to write a sonnet, too.  Appropriate to this week's show, of course:

Ode to Style

My trendy style, you inspire me to write.
I love the way you convince & trap,
Invading my mind day & through the night,
Always dreaming about the ruthless caps.

Let me compare you to a slick buffoon?
You are more caring, fatuous, & glib.
Proud sun heats the daring peaches of June,
& summertime has the glaring ad-lib.

How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love your blessed coercion & sadness.
Wanting your conformity fills my days.
My love for you is the staring gladness.

Now I must away with a toothless heart,
Remember my great words whilst we're apart.

But I know I could do better.  Not right now, but I certainly could.

But check out the free verse poem!


Why would you think the beauty is immanent?
The beauty is the most transient visual aspect of all.
Now temporary is just the thing,
To get me wondering if the beauty is passing.

The tone is not lovable!
The tone is exceptionally unlovable.
Never forget the spiteful & unlovable tone.

Pay attention to the elegance,
The elegance is the littlest quality of all.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the elegance,
Gently it goes - the miserly, the wee, the runty.

Flair is brainwashing.
Brainwashing is flair.
"Ahem," said the flair,
& "ahem" then "ahem" again.

Now I quite like that!  Maybe I'll share some of these on my show!

Friday, June 01, 2018

Self Help Radio 060118: Hollywood

(Original image here.)

My gosh!  It's opening night!  & aren't you dressed fancy!  Strange that one should go to such trouble for a silly radio program.  But it's a show about Hollywood!  & everyone knows Hollywood loves a party.

But isn't Hollywood in trouble now?  Sexual harassment, gender inequalities, stars & producers discovered as rapists - who wants to throw a party in that atmosphere?

Self Help Radio is here, not to party, to turn a cold, sober eye on the dream factory known as "tinsel town."  & when it says eye, it means mainly lots of music plus a couple of interviews & maybe one segment which features a Bob Seger song.  Will Hollywood recover from such scrutiny?  Will Hollywood even notice?

Of course not, & you probably won't either.  But if you'd like to descend in the Hollywood Babylon that is this week's Self Help Radio, you can listen whenever you'd like at the Self Help Radio website.  Use the username "SHR" & pass the password "selfhelp" to get the same access celebrities do.  The show's about two hours long - like the length of a movie - & you'll see some credits below.

Believe me, you got the makings of a star!

"Hooray For Hollywood" Johnnie Davis & Frances Langford _American Songbook Series: Johnny Mercer_
"Hollywood Or Bust" Dean Martin _Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis At The Movies_
"Welcome To Hollywood" Asylum Choir _Look Inside The Asylum Choir_


"Green Tennis Visor" Luxuriator _Green Tennis Visor 7"_
"Big Sister In Hollywood" The Lil' Hospital _Heavy Metal_
"The Hollywood Golden Guild Awards" Superego _Superego Season 4, Episode 5_
"Hollywood Squares" Seth Bogart _Seth Bogart_
"Hollywoods Decision" Bitter Springs _Best Bakers On The Island_

interview with Hollywood agent David Fruchter

"Hollywood Swinging" Kool & The Gang _Wild & Peaceful_
"Holly Wants To Go To California" Funkadelic _Uncle Jam Wants You_
"When Hollywood Goes Black & Tan" Cleo Brown _Here Comes Cleo_
"Hollywood Tailswinging" Dr. Octagon _Moosebumps: An Exploration Into Modern Day Horripilation_
"Burn Hollywood Burn" Public Enemy _Fear Of A Black Planet_
"Grouch & Chico, Hollywood Agents" The Marx Brothers _3 Hours 59 Minutes 51 Seconds with The Marx Bros_

classic replay of Mark "High Over Hollywood™" Miller interview

"High Over Hollywood" Idha _Melody Inn_
"Hollywood" Codeine Velvet Club _Codeine Velvet Club_
"Hollywood, We Did It All Wrong" Bleached _Welcome The Worms_
"Tinsel Town Rebellion" Frank Zappa _Have I Offended Someone?_

Dramatic Readings Of Classic Rock Songs: "Hollywood Nights"

"Madame Hollywood (featuring Miss Kitten)" Felix Da Housecat _Lektroluv (Mix'd By Dr Lektroluv)_
"Hollywood" Secret Rooms _Solution Disillusion_
"Theme From Hollywood" Megapuss _Surfing_
"When I Get To Hollywood" The Monochrome Set _Spaces Everywhere_
"Hollywood Affair" The Honest Johns _Meteor 1986-1990_


"Somewhere In Hollywood" 10cc _Sheet Music_

post mortem

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Whither Hollywood?

(Image from Wikipedia.)

Oh crap, I was in my trailer all day - these location shoots are tough - & I didn't get to write about this week's show (which will "drop" {as the kids say} tomorrow) but it's kind of crazy because this week's show is about Hollywood!

& where am I?  I'm in Death Valley, California wrapping up four grueling weeks of shooting for the newest project, which is of course Self Help Radio: The Movie.  Except it's been going through rewrites & now may be entitled Self Help Radio: The Podcast: The Movie.  In any event, it's got everything that you love about Self Help Radio without all that Self Help Radio.

They've hired me on as a script consultant but after I did some consulting they gave me a Co-Associate-Producer title & made me sit in a trailer playing video games all day.  Did I mention the cast?  Clooney! Streep!  Hanks!  Bumstead!  Schicklgruber!  It's amazing.  Not that I've met them.  They put my trailer about two miles from the actual site, & as far as I know, it's not technically about Self Help Radio anymore.  But wow, what an experience!  I hope they can get my air conditioner working again, it gets hot in here.

Anyway, I'll be back in time tomorrow for a show about Hollywood which should be great because I am now a movie veteran.  Noon tomorrow at Self Help Radio dot Net.  I'll have stories!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Preface To Hollywood: Have I Ever Been To Hollywood?

Have I?  I've been to Los Angeles, but have I ever been to Hollywood?

Looking online, I'm pretty sure I have.  I haven't seen the Hollywood Walk Of Fame or other landmarks, but I've driven in the area.  Did I know it was Hollywood?  Nope.  Did I care?  Not really.

At some point in my youth, I thought I wanted to act.  In ninth grade, I auditioned for two of my high school plays & took a semester of "theatre arts."  I felt like if I could memorize stuff - & I could - I would be a good, if not great, actor.

Heck, I even got to go to another high school to do improv!  But I did terribly.

& then, when I got a small part in the second play, I was unable to come to rehearsals because the teacher/director couldn't keep to the schedule.  I probably wrote about this here.  In frustration, I quit the play.

In twelfth grade, my friend Terri encouraged me to audition for a production of The Crucible.  I don't know what I expected - I'm sure many of the best parts went to people who had been involved actively in the Thespian Society for their entire high school careers.  & who were, of course, much better actors than I was!  They did give me a part with a few lines, & I declined.  I was too old to relive my ninth grade experience.

But still I thought I might be good at "acting."  I daydreamed about doing it, but never really followed through - at best, when I discovered radio, I found I could sometimes over-emote or ham it up for comedic effect.  Once I even "emceed" a friend's performance art show, in which I guess I played a role.  But time went by, I never actively pursued any type of performance except on the radio - no stand-up, no improv, no plays.

In my first or second year in Lexington, one of the deejays I knew at WRFL took me aside & said, "Hey, we're making a movie, & we think you'd be great in the role of the main character's father."

Oh yeah, I thought.  I'm old enough to be playing fathers now.

The part had only a few lines, but it took a long time to shoot them.  I had to continually eat slices of tomato & it made me a little ill.  But I thought it was fun.  Until.

Though the movie was never released, the kids making it did show it, & put it online (protected) for us to see.  It was a very long movie & I confess I didn't make it all the way through it.  But I did see my part.  & man, was I bad.

Not adequate, not mediocre.  Downright bad.  & I realized then I had no chance of being a good actor.  Not now, of course, but also not then.  I didn't want it enough, I didn't try.  I let inconvenience deter me.  I thought myself better than small parts.  & I don't even know if I would've enjoyed the life.  But I didn't try.  So I would never know.

But I'm not sad about it!  I never really had much of an interest in being in Hollywood.  Everything's fine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Should I Share?

There's a story I have to tell but I have to be careful about how I tell it because I don't want to betray confidences & I don't technically have permission to share private emails.  But I think I can be vague enough that it won't be obvious whom I am talking about.

The chance of Self Help Radio airing in Dallas pretty close to zero.  There are simply no outlets & there's not any space opening on KNON any time soon.  So someone I know suggested someplace else.

This would not be "syndication."  The station would operate much like WLXU, I would send prerecorded shows, the same thing.  Why would I do that if I left WLXU, you wonder?  Well, the WLXU decision had to do with the timing of the show in relation to my Tuesday show here in town.  I didn't feel comfortable with the idea that I, as a non-community member of a community station, could demand a different timeslot.  & I think I mentioned that it had been increasingly uncomfortable to me that I didn't live in Lexington anymore.

The station in question is internet-only & had people (a couple of whom I know) who do shows there who live in different parts of the country.  One of these people recommended me, actually.  It was a very kind thing to do.

& yep, I got the response today.  The show was rejected.  Oh I wish I could quote the entire email, it's a magnificent rejection letter, with the compliments at the beginning, & the blade coming down at the end.  The person in charge told me the reason for the rejection was (& this is the key phrase) "too consistently unthrilling [musical] choices."

Wow, I feel like someone just threw a ball at my head & made a big cartoon bump grow comedically!  But I confess I won't take this opinion too much to heart because the person also wrote, "I'm sure you are a well-loved radio person. I can HEAR that you are a well-loved radio person."

For the record, I've barely been a "well-liked" radio person in my many years stinking up the airwaves.  I can't imagine what would make someone think I was "well-loved"!  The person's judgment is therefore faulty & it makes sense that I shouldn't take this rejection too personally.

As if!  I will be unable to sleep tonight because of this!  But I'll be fine.  I hope!

Rejection just isn't any fun.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Sinking In

This is a good John Mulaney joke:

"I was a very nervous kid, I was anxious all the time when I was younger, but what's nice is that some of the things I was anxious about don't bother me at all anymore.  Like I always thought that quicksand was going to be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be. Because if you watch cartoons, quicksand is like the third biggest thing you have to worry about in adult life behind real sticks of dynamite & giant anvils falling on you from the sky.  I used to sit around and think about what to do about quicksand!  I never thought about how to handle real problems in adult life, I was never like 'Oh, what's it gonna be like when relatives ask to borrow money?'

"Now that I've gotten older, not only have I never stepped in quicksand, I've never even heard about it!  No one's ever been like, 'Hey if you're coming to visit, take I-90 'cause I-95 has a little quicksand in the middle. Looks like regular sand, but then you're gonna start to sink into it.'"

Where I found that, by the way, was not on John Mulaney's web site (you, when a comedian would normally have transcripts of his jokes, sheesh), & I didn't transcribe it from the track on YouTube.  Nope, I found it on a song lyrics site.

That's weird, isn't it?  I can understand wanting to understand the lyrics of songs.  I am listening to Before & After Science as I write this & I never know the entire lyrics of "King's Lead Hat" no matter how many thousands of times I've heard it.  & hey, lyrics sites!  If Eno has never published his lyrics, then let's agree that the line "draw bananas on the bathroom walls" is nowhere near as great as the line "draw my manners on the bathroom walls," which also makes more sense in a sense.

Anyway, I've noticed this one site, Genius dot com, not only has transcriptions of comedians' routines (like the John Mulaney bit I quoted above) but also entire books.

You wanna read one of my favorite books, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson?  It's there.  You have to look for separate chapters, but hey!  Someone you don't know nor trust has annotated it!

Is the book already in the public domain?  & why hasn't someone awesome made it into an awesome movie yet?  Life is such a disappointment, & I'm saying that having not seen Solo yet!

Here's a last confession: I contribute to a lyrics site.  I've commented on songs & I've added lyrics, often transcribing them from the songs like I'm in tenth grade trying to desperately figure out Elvis Costello lyrics ("Is he saying Alka Seltzer the occasional?!?!?").  I've actually thought I knew all the lyrics to a song & had to give up.  I won't tell you which one though.  No one really likes my comments on the songs.  One guy even insulted me!  It's the internet!

These are the things I think about while preparing my Tuesday morning show.  I really should go back to listening to music though.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Self Help Radio 052518: Humming

(Original image here - which will also teach you how to hum!)

Here we are again.  Humming to ourselves while listening to music, while passing the time, while waiting or staring or wondering or trembling.  Humming, always humming.  Did I read somewhere that the earth hums?  I did!  For some reason I never got around to talking about it on the show.

& it's because there were so many songs about humming!  I thought I might have to play songs about hummingbirds or humbugs or humdingers but nope!  Too many damned songs about humming.

You can listen to the show now at the Self Help Radio website.  I guess this is the direct link.  Username is SHR, password is selfhelp.  It's one giant file almost two hours long, please look at the songs I played below & also the extras therein.

& I hope to one day get this damned hum out of my head.  Here's how the show goes:

"Darling, I Hum Our Song" Eddie Holland _The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 2: 1962_
"Uh-Hum-Mm" Sonny James _A Capitol Rockabilly Party, Pt. 3_
"Hum & Strum" "Doc" Cook & His 14 Doctors Of Syncopation _That's What I Call Sweet Music: American Dance Orchestras Of The 1920s_

intro & definitions

"Humming Forever" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _Humming Forever_
"Wayward Hum" Vashti Bunyan _Lookaftering_
"The Humming Song" Martin Mull _I'm Everyone I've Ever Loved_
"Humming" Pete & The Pirates _Little Death_
"Hummin' To Myself" Connee Boswell _Sammy Fain Songbook_

interview with "The Hummer," David Fruchter

"Hum A Song (From Your Heart)" Lulu _From Crayons To Perfume (The Best Of Lulu)_
"Hummin" Cocoanut Groove _Madeleine Street_
"Seven Days (The Humming Song)" Hank Locklin _Please Help Me I'm Falling_
"You Got Me Hummin'" Sam & Dave _The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968_
"Can You Hum A Tune" L.A. Carnival _Would Like To Pose A Question_

interview with Dr. Zap Beepsman

"Just Humming Along" Al Bowlly with Roy Fox & His Orchestra _Just A Bowl Of Cherries_
"The Humming Song" Gorky's Zygotic Mynci _Spanish Dance Troupe_
"Hum With Courage" Tenniscoats _The Theme Of Tenniscoats_
"The Humming Wires" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Downside Up_

interview with Hum For Change founder Jessica Pleader

"Hum Along & Dance" The Temptations _Emperors Of Soul_
"Humming Waters" Vic Damone _Strange Enchantment_
"Hummin'" Majic Ship _The Complete Authorized Recordings_
"Hum This Song" Marlena Shaw _From The Depths Of My Soul_
"Je T'Aime Hum Hum" Les Bel Canto _L'Histoire Des Groupes Des Années 60_

conclusion & goodbye

"Humming Blues" Joe Linthecome _Hokum, Blues, & Rags_
"Walkin' & Hummin'" Ferlin Husky _Chronogical Classics 1953-1954_
"Hummin' The Blues Over You" Brenda Lee _The Very Best Of Brenda Lee_
"Hummin' A Heartache" Clarence 'Frogman' Henry _The Complete Singles_
"18 Wheels A Hummin' Home Sweet Home" Red Sovine _20 All-Time Greatest Hits_

post mortem

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Whither Humming?

(Image found here.)

Stop the presses if you've read this story before:

In the late 18th century, or maybe it was the early 17th century, a seventeen-year-old whose name was sadly forgotten penned a treatise, also now lost, about humming, connecting it to both the Enlightenment & also the Disillusionment.  How do we know about this treatise, if it is, as I said, lost?  Because before it was lost, it was circulated & people talked about it, duh.

People also copied bits of the treatise into their own treatises, sometimes to argue against it, sometimes to use it as support for their theories.  So we know what this forgotten seventeen-year-old thought about humming: he thought it was better than almost anything.  Not only that, he thought it had spiritual & curative properties.  He thought people should hum to stay well, he thought that you could hum sickness away from the ailing, he thought that humming kept one young.

For years, this intriguing bit of writing, known as the Hum Manifesto, has been sought after by people who seek things like that.  & earlier this month, an intact copy was found in a warehouse in San Bernardino, in a crate of spoiled fish, in the back where the crate had been misplaced.  Initially thought to be an exceptional forgery, scholars have determined it may well be the original & shipped it to the Smithsonian for further study.

But, alas, Trump was doing weird things with postal rates & the manuscript never made it to the archives.  There are rumors it ended up at a bed & breakfast in Lawrence, Kansas, where it sits under a copy of Guns & Ammo, waiting for its moment.  Some say they saw it hitching a ride to Reno on Highway 50 somewhere between Ely & Eureka.  Others claim it defected to China, where it could hum with impunity, having never learned their language.  But wherever it is, & especially where it isn't, I think it would be proud to know it inspired this week's Self Help Radio, a show about humming.

The episode will be available Friday May 25 at noon (central) on the Self Help Radio website.  You will like it, especially if you don't know the words.