Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Reviews Are In!

Well, one review.

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

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

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

Monday, September 17, 2018

Bird News You Can Use

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

(Image from here.)

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

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

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

That's bird news you can use!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Self Help Radio 091418: Fascination

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

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

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

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

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

Self Help Radio Fascination Show

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

introductions & definitions

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

interview with travel writer Percival Smythe

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

interview with perfumer David Fruchter

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

Ned Dry interviews the most fascinating person in the world

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

conclusion & goodbyes

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

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Whither Fascination?

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

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

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

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

Hey!  Sometimes fascination is worth waiting for!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Preface To Fascination: Spock Saying "Fascinating"

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

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

& now - if you cared - you know why.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Let's Look At Jack Kirby Splash Pages

Like this one:

Which I found on this Tumblr blog.

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

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

Friday, September 07, 2018

Self Help Radio 090718: Tubes

(Original image here.)

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

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

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

Self Help Radio Tube Show

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

intro & definitions

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

interview with head of International Tube David Fruchter

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

interview with test tube manufacturer Dodd Stillwater

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

a little story about some pranksters & a bar called Tube

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

conclusion & goodbye

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

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Whither Tubes?

(Image from here.)

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Preface To Tubes: Foot Doctor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

& finally:

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

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

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Rare Rave Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 03, 2018

This Labor Day Was Spent

...laboring to make an interesting radio show.

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

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

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Self Help Radio 083118: Indiepop A To Z # 57

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

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

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

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

Self Help Radio Indiepop A To Z # 57

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 57?

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

To Mirah:

To Misty's Big Adventure:

Into the subsection Mo with Modern English:

& Momus:

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 57: Nothing About Indiepop A To Z # 57

This is something I think about doing for/to this blog, for no real reason, except to highlight that I'm usually without any content but I keep writing anyway: I just want to crib a Wikipedia page & paste it onto the blog.

How would that work?  I wouldn't try to reformat the blog or anything, that would be too hard.  Mainly I suppose I would cut & paste, like so:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigationJump to search
Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (1970).jpg
Mantovani in 1970
Background information
Birth nameAnnunzio Paolo Mantovani
Also known asTulio Trapani
Born15 November 1905
VeniceVeneto, Italy
Died29 March 1980 (aged 74)
Tunbridge WellsKent, England
GenresLight music
light entertainer
Years active1939–1980
Associated actsDavid Whitfield
Annunzio Paolo Mantovani (Italian pronunciation: [anˈnuntsjo ˈpaːolo mantoˈvaːni]) (15 November 1905 – 29 March 1980),[1] known mononymously as Mantovani, was an Anglo-Italian conductorcomposer and light orchestra-styled entertainer with a cascading strings musical signature. The book British Hit Singles & Albums states that he was "Britain's most successful album act before the Beatles...the first act to sell over one million stereo albums and [have] six albums simultaneously in the US Top 30 in

Holy shit, that's not bad. I wonder if the links work, too.

The only bad thing that I've noticed which I don't care much about is that the spacing seems off. Suddenly it's like double-spaced or one&ahalf-spaced or something, & I don't much care for that. Also, I don't know how to fix it.

Anyway, I've thought about doing that from time-to-time.  Now that I've done it, it doesn't seem all that fun or interesting.  But at least I did it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Another Very Old Email But Not As Old As The Previous One

Here's an example of an email I would write many times in my life, desperately trying to charm a woman into dating me.  This is the last such example - I wrote this to the woman I've been with since then.  I read this to her today - I wrote this email on this day in 2001 - & she said, "I didn't understand it then & I don't understand it now."

This is not the entire email, but you'll get the gist of how ridiculous I could be when I was attempting to woo a woman.



The rain, it falls on the just & the just-so alike.  My 450 year old umbrella is difficult to handle with a cigarette in the right hand.  It is work that I am at & lunch that I am dreaming of.  Work in fact is what I am avoiding doing & a nonsense email seems just the ticket.  So I present to you, for your edification, a History Of Tickets.

I mean, A History Of Nonsense.

Nonsense was unheard of in early evolutionary times although some now-extinct species very often did ridiculous things.  It's not really nonsense, you know, as the great philosopher Rene Descartes-McGillicutty said, unless one is trying to be nonsensical.

Which brings us to Lewis Carroll.  We get a little too close to Lewis Carroll all of a sudden so we need to pull back a little.  All right.  This is just fine.

Lewis Carroll was a mathematician who liked to photograph little girls.  Sometimes naked.  Sometimes in a panda suit.  Sometimes in color, which is extremely silly, as the world wasn't even in color then.  Anyway, Lew (as he liked to be called, even though his real name was Charles) once said something very nonsensical about a John Lennon song:

 "The time has come," the Walrus said,
 "To talk of many things:
 Of shoes & and ships & and sealing-wax
 Of cabbages & and kings
 & why the sea is boiling hot
 & whether pigs have wings."

Which takes us back 400,000 years, on the rolling tundra of the Arctic Wastes.  Here, every year for as long as I can remember, huge throbbing masses of walruses (or walrusi for Latin students) gather to mate, get drunk, start fights, check their credit ratings, & otherwise play boring blues riffs till the police come & shut them down.  Darwin noted it, & Lamarck, too, although he wasn't so much nonsensical as mildly amusing.  I bring up the walrus not necessarily because they have funny faces; I, too, can play boring blues riffs till the neighbors come.  The difference between me & walruses is that I don't necessarily like to.

Flash forward again to a very personal moment in my life: my first kiss.  It was barely a few months ago, but it feels almost like last week.  To this day I'm not entirely sure it wasn't Ray Davies in drag, but he/she did serenade me with the Best Kinks Song In The World, "Waterloo Sunset."  Then, as the night wore on, & his/her make-up gradually covered my face, neck, shoulders, upper arms, lower arms, wrists, the backs of my hands, & four of my ten fingers, I knew things were going too fast.  I had only recently left the seminary & the only thing I had unpacked in my house was my Bible.  So I quickly turned to Ray (he/she called him/herself "Dave" but I like to think it really was Ray Davies in drag) & I quoted from scripture.

Well, that ruined the night, let me tell you.  I learned that very night my First Valuable Lesson: Quoting Scripture will not get you into someone's pants.  I say I learned it, but I can't stop quoting Scripture.  It's so scriptural, you know?

I think my first single off my first record will be "Can't Stop Quoting Scripture."

People keep interrupting me whilst I am trying to be scholarly.  I don't believe we have talked about Nonsense In The Time Of Christ, so I believe I can crucify two birds with one nail here.  Bear with me.

Christ was a big flashy freak who loved the ladies, baby.  Oh yeah.  He wore crazy colors & said things like, "Blessed are the meek because they are so GROOVY Y'ALL!" while the disco ball spun & the apostles snorted coke in the men's room.  Meanwhile on the Throne, God The Father was worried.

"Am I like that dad in 'American Beauty'?" he wondered to himself.  He bit his Holy Nails & wished he had married like His dad had told him to.  He was lonely & worried & so he went to the stream to do some fishing.  It was a long stream, & cold, & the fish danced around his hook but did not bite.  He turned to his companion & said, "The fish are not biting.  Something about this stream has changed."  He companion offered him a drink & he drunk deeply.  It was good gin.  He stared into the stream at the fish that would not bite & he had another drink.

Holy shit!  This email turned into an Ernest Hemingway story!  I'm so sorry about that.  Let's get back to the business of being colloquial before it becomes too much for me.

How are you?  Did you totally have fun last night?  I got drunk & watched a movie.  Then I listened to records & played with my cats.  Yeah, it didn't rain.  It's raining now, which is a bummer because I'm hungry & I wanna walk somewhere to find food.  Gosh, I hope this email finds you well.  I hope the weather's better when we go drink beer tomorrow.  I mean, when I drink beer & you drink whatever.  Ha ha.  Well, I have to go back to work now.  I hope you have a good day with your monkeys.  Ha ha.  Write back!

xo g

Monday, August 27, 2018

A Funny Old Email

Hm, I'm not sure I can figure out when this email was written but I wrote it to my friend Carole, who's lately been helping out on the Tuesday Morning Blend, more than twenty years ago when she was Volunteer Director at KVRX.  We had to report our volunteer hours every month, & I did a lot of work for the station.  I thought you might enjoy this.  I've annotated it because I can.


From: slug@mail.utexas.edu (Die Nacktschnecke)*
Subject: Volunteer Hour Report

Hello ladies**,

I am reporting again, at the end of the month, the incredible work that my staff has done the last four weeks.  I hope that you recognize their achievements, etc.

Maintaining the KVRX love list*** - (approximately 30-45 min. @ day)
                                        .....Gary Dickerson

Maintaining the KVRX Web - (oh, he's done at least 6 hours this month)
                                        .....Gary Dickerson

Minor consulting with various KVRXers about web issues (now & then -
                            maybe two volunteer hours, maybe?)
                                        .....Gary Dickerson

Downloading porn for use at Goon Skwad**** meetings (about four hours a day)
                                        .....Gary Dickerson

I think that about covers it.  I hope that that is enough for you bloodsuckers.

Oh, wait.  There is this fellow, a cable deejay named Jacob***** who has been helping me with the Topless 39******.  It takes about an hour (or so) to do the script for the basic list, & I've asked him to also go through the web & find links for bands on the list, & that takes an enormous amount of time, like, two hours a pop (or at least it took me that long).  He's only done that for one week.  So, I figure,

 four weeks basic topless = 4 volunteer hours
 one week expanded topless = 2 hours

He may do it this week as well; I haven't gotten the script from him yet.  I don't see why he wouldn't.  But I wanted to tell you that he has been doing work for the web page, & deserves credit accordingly.



That may not have been interesting for you, but it was for me, especially the ridiculous way I pretend I have a staff (& ruin the whole vibe by actually having someone helping me out!) & also I enjoy the channeling of Groucho with the "you bloodsuckers" line.

Now I really need to go work on the Tuesday Morning Blend for tomorrow!

* Yeah, that was my email address at UT.  I had it from 1993 until 2009 when I moved away.  Some time later they retired the mail.utexas.edu server so even though I wish I could've kept it forever, I wouldn't have been able to even if I stayed.  By the way "Nacktschnecke" is German for "naked snail," which is, of course, a slug.
** Carole was Volunteer Director with someone else.
*** That was the station's mailing list.
**** The first rule of Goon Skwad is that you really don't want anyone from the Goon Skwad to talk to you about Goon Skwad I promise.
***** I don't remember this person at all.
****** That's the snotty KVRX "most played" list.  Not a top ten, a topless thirty-nine.  They still have it, you can see it on their website.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Self Help Radio 082418: Girl With...

(Original image found here.)

Detractors of Self Help Radio might say that the show suffers when the themes explored are phrases or recurring words or verbs instead of concrete things, like cars, or ovens, or smoke, or cheese.  Although I guess I did do a show about cheese.  Anyway, I disagree with that imaginary detractor (since you need a listener base to have detractors, & the show has neither) because when some element is noticed - for example, that there are a lot of songs that feature a girl with something - & that is explored, a fun & interesting show is often the result.  For example, today's show!

Sure, I'm biased, since I picked all the music, but I liked what I played on the show very much.  You can just glance at the playlist below.  In addition, there are silly interviews & other silly things, you know, like usual, but I am particularly happy with the songs, & all the things that you'll find on the show today with the girls: sandy blonde hair & a swingin' derriere, golden braids, grey eyes, green eyes, eyes like you, the loneliest eyes, light in her eyes, cars in her eyes, gun (& specifically machine guns), guitars, a synthesizer,  a sunny smile, a curious smile, an attitude problem, a Northern soul collection, a white stuck, boys' names, boyfriends, rainbow conversation, &, well, everything!  & even the sad things they have: a past, a halo, no body, no boy.

Hey!  Having something that isn't is having nothing.  Girls with nothing still have nothing.  Think about it.  Get really high & think about.  It'll feel like first semester philosophy all over again!

The show is now at Self Help Radio's web site.  You know about the ol' username (SHR) & the password (selfhelp) by now, right?  Great.  You're really with it.  Like some of the girls on this show.

Self Help Radio Girl With... Show

"The Girl With Sunny Smile" Pale Sunday _A Weekend With Jane_
"Girl With A Past" Jimmie Heap & The Melody Masters _Release Me_
"The Girl With The Sandy Blonde Hair" The Perpetuated Spirits Of Turpentine _Aliens Psychos & Wild Things Vol. Fore_


"The Girl With Eyes Like You" The Pristines _Teen-Fraud, Pop-Whore_
"Girl With Grey Eyes" Big Country _Steeltown_
"The Girl With The Guitar (Says Oh Yeah)" The Three O'Clock _Arrive Without Travelling_
"Girl With A White Stick" Sekret Sekret _Inner City Sound_
"Blind Girl With Halo" Hefner _Breaking God's Heart_

interview with Bingham Killkid

"Something For The Girl With Everything" Sparks _Propaganda_
"The Girl With Everything" Tot Taylor _Jumble Soul_
"The Girl With The Loneliest Eyes" House Of Love _Babe Rainbow_
"A Girl With Cars In Her Eyes" Cleaners From Venus _On Any Normal Monday_
"The Girl With The Light In Her Eyes" Michael Shelley _Too Many Movies_

interview with curator David Fruchter

"La Ragazza Con La Pistola" Nino De Luca _Easy Tempo, Vol. 2: The Psycho Beat_
"Girls With Guns" Tender Trap _Dansette Dansette_
"Bikini Girls With Machine Guns" The Cramps _Stay Sick!_
"Girls With Guitars" Spearmint _Intercontinental Pop Exchange No. 5_
"Girls With Boys' Names" TeamMate _The Sequel EP_

interview with Marge Most

"The Girl With The Curious Smile" The Wedding Present _Search For Paradise: Singles 2004-2005_
"The Girl With The Attitude Problem" Dead Famous People _Arriving Late In Torn & Filthy Jeans EP_
"The Girl With The Northern Soul Collection" Club 8 _Spring Came, Rain Fell_
"The Girl With No Body" Momus _20 Vodka Jellies_
"The Girl With Rainbo Conversation (feat. Brian Scott)" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _The Girl With Rainbo Conversation_

an attempt to talk some calls

"The Girl With The Swingin' Derriere" Chubby Checker _Let's Limbo Some More_
"The Girl With The Golden Braids" Perry Como _You Are Never Far Away_
"Girl Without A Boy" The Forum _The River Is Wide_
"Girl With A Synthesizer" Rachel Sweet _Fool Around_
"Girl With Green Eyes" The Doctors Children _King Buffalo_

conclusion & goodbyes

"Girlfriend With Boyfriend" Spaghetti Anywhere _Birdsongs,Beesongs: Eardrums Spring Compilation 2009_

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Whither Girl With?

(You type in "girl with" in Google & it gives you - or at least it gave me - "Girl With Pearl Earring" first.  Image from Wikipedia.)

Boy, that "Whither Girl With" looks weird.  I was wondering if I should, like yesterday, write, "Whither 'Girl With'?" with the extra quotation marks around girl & with, but I've never really done it before & I'm kind of irritated that I did it yesterday so I said no.  No!

Anyway, you know what the show's going to be: songs that feature the phrase "girl with" somewhere prominently in this.  Like "Girl With Pearl Earring."  I hope the whole "girl with" thing doesn't seem too sexist.  I'll also try to include some "woman with" songs.  & maybe pluralize it, too, songs with "girls with" for girl power.  Woman power.  You know what I mean.

There are a lot of songs with that construction.  I wanted to see how many I could find.  My results will be available tomorrow at the Self Help Radio website.  At noon.  See ya then.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Preface To 'Girl With': That Dragon Tattoo Book

No, I've never read it.  I saw the trilogy of Swedish movies, & maybe the American version of the first movie, but I can't remember a thing about it, except I thought Noomi Rapace was completely beautiful.

But look, here's an interesting thing about that book.  The three that were written by their creator, Stieg Larsson, were all finished before his death, at age fifty, of a heart attack.  That's crazy.  I mean, think of his poor editor - how do you make requests for changes of a dead guy?

The other thing is this: there are more in the series, written by other people.  I guess when something is popular, that's what happens.  It shouldn't surprise me - I'm a huge fan of comics (some might say nerd) & of course a million people have written & drawn Superman since Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster created his first adventures.  How weird would it be to have ownership be such that only their stories were allowed?  Or what about songs - what if only the original artists could sing their songs?  Musicians who make money off of covers (like Bob Dylan) wouldn't get that precious green, nor the exposure of more-popular artists presenting their songs to a bigger audience.

I don't really remember much about the films except for bits & pieces.  So it would be lost on me to read any sequels.  Unless they have some kind of "previously on..." section in the books.  Books don't do that.  Television shows & some comic books do that.  Not highly acclaimed suspense novels.  Which is a shame.  We could all use a "previously on..."

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Do You Ever Dream Of Vin Diesel?

Because I do.  He finds his way into my dreams.

There has to be some kind of trigger, though.  Usually it's that some Fast &/or Furious movie is on the television right before some other show I'm going to watch, & I just catch a glimpse of him & then that night, boom, he's in my dreams.

Some dreams are banal enough.  I had a dream recently where I went to my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin & he was there, next to me, at the buffet.  I said to him, "Hey."  He said, "Hey."  He seemed impossibly tall.  But when I was eating I didn't see him anywhere, & assumed that there was a kind of Celebrity Room I would never be invited to where people like Vin Diesel ate.

But other times he's an important part of the dream.  One time I dreamt I was visiting an unnamed Eastern European country, & he was showing me around.  That was a great dream because it became cinematic & Vin Diesel was soon one of the locals & I soon found myself involved in what seemed like rebellion or treachery against the unnamed Eastern European country's dictator, although I was wholly innocent & even ignorant of what the situation there was.  After spending some time in the countryside, I had to be rushed to the capital city because of a small emergency - I hurt my foot - Vin Diesel took me - but although I had been there before, the whole atmosphere of the town had changed, & indeed, at the hospital, I saw Vin Diesel in military get-up & realized he had been framing me for some unspecified sedition & soon I was thrown in jail.  (They never treated my hurt foot.)

Listen, I know dreams are boring, but this one ended well: I came to realize I was in an actual novel written by an unnamed Eastern European writer who had escaped some dictatorship & once I did, I was able to limp out of prison unmolested.  Then I realized that the book had a series of scholarly essays at the end & I didn't want to read them, so I woke up instead.

The point is, I saw Vin Diesel in something in passing on the television tonight.  Which means I'll probably find him later in my dreams.  Will he simply be a bystander, or maybe on a billboard or television in the dream?  Or will he play a main part - like, will he & I be in a speeding car doing daredevil driving?  I hope so.

But whatever happens, I think I'll probably dream of Vin Diesel tonight.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Don't Let Me Get Too Melodramatic About It

But the Pledge Drive continues!  I'll be standing on the streetcorner at 89.3 fm tomorrow morning from 7-9am with my hat out hoping my stupid singing & dancing will get a few coins thrown at me.

Apparently a storm Saturday night knocked out the phone lines, so there's been a couple days where people couldn't call in to pledge.  Surely they could've done it online!  Maybe if you do that, the Pledge Drive can end tomorrow & we'll be done until the leaves that haven't already been burned off the tree fall.

Okay, Gary.  Get a better attitude!  You believe in this station, you believe in true community radio, in independent voices on the fm dial.  Let's do this.

See ya in the morning!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Self Help Radio 081818: Neon

(Made by these guys.)

Finally!  Holy moley!  This ridiculous show about neon took its time to get here!  Twenty-four hours from when it was supposed to show up.  & you know what?  It doesn't seem embarrassed or ashamed or otherwise put-out by it at all.  Hey radio show!  You know people don't like you, right?

However, I will say, as someone intimately acquainted with this program about neon, the show itself is a gas.  Weren't you expecting that joke?  If you weren't, I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.

Please enjoy an elemental show with silly interviews, a lot of electronica, & some minor insights into the noblest of noble gases.  It's not available for your listening pleasure at the Self Help Radio website & I'm sure it'll light up your night, like a gas you can put into a tube & agitate with electricity to produce pretty colors.

Songs played & interviews noted below.  Look on the front page for username/password info.

Self Help Radio Neon Show

 "The Elements" Tom Lehrer _The Remains Of Tom Lehrer_
"Neon" The Young Turks _Neon_
"Neon Rainbow" The Box Tops _The Letter/Neon Rainbow_

introduction & information

"Neon Sign" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers _It's Time For_
"Underneath The Neon Sign" The Kinks _Soap Opera_
"Neon Sign" Francis International Airport _We Are Jealous We Are Glass_
"Big Neon W" Permafrost _In Harm's Way_
"Beneath A Neon Star In A Honky Tonk" Tommy Duncan _Beneath A Neon Star In A Honky Tonk (1951-1956)_

interview with "Captain Neon" creator & star David Fruchter

"Neon" Neon _New Deutsch_
"Im Schein Des Neon" Vono _Dinner Für 2_
"Neon Probe" Berlin Blondes _Berlin Blondes_
"Neon Lights" Kraftwerk _The Man-Machine_

interview with male dancer Neon

"Neon City" Les Sauterelles _The Columbia Recordings 1965-1967_
"Neon Heart" The Boomtown Rats _The Boomtown Rats_
"Neon Shuffle" XTC _White Music_
"Neon Human" Felix Da Housecat _Devin Dazzle & The Neon Fever_
"Neon Hex" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _Neon Hex_

Ned Dry makes a presentation

"Neon & Aluminum" E*Vax _Parking Lot Music_
"Neon Sky Rain" Vector Lovers _Electrospective_
"Neon Psychol" Global Goon _Saint Aime_
"Neon Palms" Ursula 1000 _Galleria_

conclusion, goodbye, & a surprise phone call

"Neon, Not The Night" Marcellus Hall _The First Line_
"Midnight To Neon" The Go-Betweens _Send Me A Lullaby_
"Neon Orange Glimmer Song" The Mountain Goats _Sweden_
"Neon Bible" Arcade Fire _Neon Bible_
"Neon Golden (Console Remix)" The Notwist _Different Cars & Trains EP

Friday, August 17, 2018

Whither Neon?

(Image from this helpful video which I actually didn't watch.)

All right.  My apologies for this show being a day late.  It's possibly also a dollar short.  But the show loses money anyway, so that's nothing new.  Someone told me today not to worry if the show isn't on time, but I don't feel that way - even if it's not technically on the radio, I like that it appears as regularly as on the radio.  Anyway, it'll happen tomorrow.  I promise.

So, why a show about neon?  Funny story.  I was drinking cough syrup & driving one night many months ago when I accidentally (on purpose?) drove into a shopping center & into the parking lot of what appeared to be a head shop but was really an Olive Garden because I just loved the neon sign.  Well, I thought it was a neon sign.  It was a Dodge Neon.  Which really looks like neon when you've downed a six-pack of Robitussin.  Yes, they sell Robitussin in Fort Worth in six-packs!  I'd feel weird buying them in forty ounce bottles.

Anyway, some time later after hiding for what felt like weeks from the police, I apologized to my sister about taking her car (& her cough syrup) for a joy ride, & told her that snitches get stitches, & also to explain that my fingerprints were there because I am her brother, I got to thinking about that Dodge Neon, which was empty, I swear, parked, even.  Or parking.  It looked empty.  It looked, frankly, beautiful, & who wouldn't want to own a beautiful American automobile like that?  Not me, but I did think that, if it were made of neon, I could totally drive through it, neon being a gas & all.  Silly me, I forgot it was an inert gas.

& if there's anything I've learned from this experience, your honor, it's that sisters can't be trusted, & that it's important to remember things you should've learned in chemistry class when you were playing with the Bunsen burner, & that I'll never ever make the same mistake with a Dodge Neon again.  The result was that the judge sentenced me to something, I think he said community service, which I assumed meant that I had a do a radio show about neon!

So I shall.  Tomorrow at noon.  Self Help Radio dot net.  Bring your own cough syrup, I barely have enough for me.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Nobody Cares, But...

Due to circumstance only slightly out of my control, but not worth the hassle, I'm putting off this week's Self Help Radio till Saturday at noon.  It's no emergency, it's just that the time I would normally take to put the show together has been taken by other activities this week, & I'll need the extra day to work on the show.  I hope you don't mind.

Or, well, I hope you do mind, because it means you care.  Although I know you don't.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Preface To Neon: The Periodic Table

This is something I was about to write: "When I was a kid, I was a huge comic nerd."  But really, I'm still a huge comic nerd.  I don't read comics regularly these days, & don't buy new ones, but if someone suggests something to me, or I am reminded of something, I'll grab back issues or digital issues & waste an afternoon re-reading them.  For example, I recently finished the Netflix Punisher series & it's taken all my power not to go back & read Garth Ennis' run on the comic.  Fortunately I have had other things to do or I'd have been in the middle of sixty issues by now.

How do comics relate to the subject of neon?  Just wait!

In tenth grade or so, I went to my first comics convention, & I met some folks there who published a fanzine in nearby Richardson.  This led to me meeting a bunch of people who were as nutty about comics as I was.  (It was also the first time I'd met anyone who was fiercely loyal to a comics company.  I tended to like whatever I liked.  That kind of baffled people who thought the other big one - whether Marvel or DC depending on your choice - was nothing but bad & also evil.)

& in those days, I really wanted to write comics.  I wanted to do that fundamentally because I couldn't draw well, or else I would've wanted to write & draw comics.  The trouble was, I had never really written a comic before.  Or anything, really.  Maybe dumb poems that were trying to be funny.  Some song parodies like Weird Al Yankovic.  But if I started a comic - & I did start dozens of them - I never really finished it & I never really got around to such things as "plot" or "story."

What I loved doing was coming up with a concept.  Most of my concepts were incredibly derivative, a space agent who was a lot like Han Solo, a mystic master who was basically Dr. Strange.  When I met the folks in Richardson who were comics nerds like me - if there were any in my high school, I never met them - & surely they would've known me, I wore comic tee shirts & buttons! - a couple of them claimed to be artists & agreed to collaborate with me on something.

That was exciting!  The trouble was, my ideas were not - shall we say - traditional.  & this is where we come to neon.

For the longest time, there have been characters who have "elemental" powers.  There's Metamorpho, also known as "The Element Man."  There's Element Lad from the Legion Of Super-Heroes.  There's the various robots in the Metal Men.  & that's just from DC Comics!  In the 1960s!

But I was aware there were lots & lots of different elements - I loved poring over the Periodic Table.  Just look at all these damn elements (image from Wikipedia)!

I thought, wouldn't it be weird, fun, & challenging to have a superteam called "The Elements" that had, like, 118 members?  A large number of them (in my estimation) would just be metals who were super-strong.  A few of them would be mainly gases.  Some of them - the radioactive ones last of the table - might only exist for seconds at a time.

What shenanigans would they get up to?  Why would they be fighting crime?  What had happened to make them that way?

Unfortunately, I never got past the concept, because the comics nerd who was an artist who wanted to collaborate with me threw up his hands at having to design 118 different characters.  Also, he thought it was stupid.  & I never really revisited the concept.

For the record, he also hated my other idea: Animal/Vegetable/Mineral-Man.  His powers were - oh, never mind.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

It Went Okay

Today's Pledge Drive show, I mean.

It wasn't a success by any means - I am way under my goal*, for example - but seven people called & made pledges & that was nice.  Thanks to them - nice folks who are called Brent, Connie, Eric, John, Kara, Lena, & Natasha - & thanks to my friend Carole, who helped out.  Listen for her - she's going to be programming music on the radio for the first time in over a decade next week, whether there's a Pledge Drive show or not (let's cross our fingers & hope for not).

& really I still have no idea how to do this Pledge Drive thing properly.  What I want is just to do a decent enough radio show that some people might be moved to support the station that gives me the opportunity & freedom to do that.  It's too bad that's not enough.

But today?  Hell, three months ago I did a show & no one called.  This is much better by any metric you want to pick.  So I'm going to breathe easy now, wipe away the worries of today, & get to work on this week's SHR.

*Every show has a goal, the amount of money they're supposed to raise per Pledge Drive, to justify their existence.  I'd be surprised if I managed to take in a third of what I was supposed to.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Growing Up In A Convenience Store

Here's another reason why I might be a terrible salesperson: I grew up in a convenience store.

My mother worked in a convenience store from around 1976 until 1987 or 1988, which doesn't seem like such a long time but that's basically most of my adolescence. From 8 years old to 20.  & I spent a good deal of time working or otherwise helping out - for a time, to give my mother & her boyfriend (who owned the store, although he acted like we owned it) time off, I'd open the store on Sunday mornings & work until 3 or so.  That was when I was in high school!

The thing is, you don't really have to try to sell anything in a convenience store.  People come in to get things they want - soda, smokes, snacks, whatever.  You may try to upsell - you know, ask if they need a lighter if they're buying cigarettes - but you hardly ever have to try to get them to buy something - that's why they're there!  No one goes into a convenience store to browse!

Now, imagine that being your training in the ways of commerce.  Wouldn't you imagine that that would be difficult for begging to people who can listen to your radio station for free?  They're there to consume but not to buy.  & I don't think I ever got any real instruction on how to sell something to someone who's used to getting it without paying.

Of course I'm thinking about this because I have to do it all over again tomorrow for KNON.  If you've listened to the Tuesday Morning Blend & you'd like to help, you could just go make a pledge online & forgive all the on-air pleading.  I don't enjoy it.  I wish people had the habit of coming to the radio expecting to pay a little for it.  All I know is it would be cheaper than the money you spend on soda, snacks, booze, whatever.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Self Help Radio 081018: Cindy's Show

(I found these images courtesy of Google image search.  Virtually none of these Cindys are on the show, though.)

Do you know anyone named Cindy?  I don't think I know anyone named Cindy.  Do you think you can enjoy a show about Cindys if in fact you're not a Cindy?  Of course you can!  Why couldn't you? You enjoy songs with other people's names in them, right?  So stop being weird about a show about Cindys!  Must you always make this so difficult?

Despite the lack of Cindiness in my life, I found that Cindy has been a fertile subject for many excellent songs, & not just that folk song of which there are a thousand versions.  I also manage to talk to three neighbors about their troubles with a fourth neighbor named Cindy, & our resident Kabalarian talks about the power of the name Cindy.  Entertaining & informative.  But especially if your name is Cindy.

Wait!  I didn't mean that!  It's for everyone!  Maybe more for a Cindy than for you, but still!

Listen now or at your leisure at Self Help Radio dot net.  Make sure you know about the username (SHR) & the password (selfhelp).  The songs played are listed below, as are the interviews in-between.

It's true, though: Cindys are hard to charm.

"Cindy's Show"

"Cindy" The Temptations _Wish It Would Rain_
"Cindy" Gary Wilson _You Think You Really Know Me_
"Cindy" Bruce Springsteen _The Ties That Bind: The River Collection_

introductions & definitions

"Cindy (feat. Nick Cave)" Johnny Cash _Unearthed: Redemption Songs_
"Cindy" Ola Podrida _Ola Podrida_
"Cindy" The Weekend _The Weekend (The Pink Album)_
"Cindy" Connections _Private Airplane_

interview with my neighbor David

"Cindy Melody Yeah" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _Cindy Melody Yeah_
"Cindy's Been & Gone" Harvey Williams _California_
"Cindy & The Barbi Dolls" Big In Japan _'The Zoo' Uncaged 1978-1982_
"Cindy Is A Crybaby" Visiting Kids _Visiting Kids_
"Cindy's On Methadone" Screeching Weasel _My Brain Hurts_

interview with my neighbor Jeff

"Cindy Tells Me" Brian Eno _Here Come The Warm Jets_
"Cindy Of A Thousand Lives" Billy Bragg _Don't Try This At Home_
"Taste Of Cindy" Jesus & Mary Chain _Psychocandy_
"Indie Cindy & The Lo-Fi Lullabies" Lemon Demon _Dinosaurchestra_
"Indie Cindy" Pixies _EP1_

interview with my neighbor Mrs Padalevski

"Snow Song, Pt 1" Neutral Milk Hotel _Everything Is_
"The World At Large Alone" Stephen Tin Tin Duffy _The Ups & Downs_
"Pictures (Of Cindy)" Josef K _Young & Stupid_
"Cindy Sherman" The Shermans _Happiness Is Toy-Shaped_
"Cindy+Me" Caged Animals _In The Land Of The Giants_

interview with our resident Kabalarian

"Lou Cindy Lou" Walter Brown _Confessin' The Blues_
"Cindy Lou" The Flairs _She Loves To Rock_
"Cindy Lou" Dick Penner _Your Honey Love_
"(Ah Ha Who?) Cindy Lou!" Keith O'Conner _Teen Town USA Vol. 5_
"Cindy Lou" The Gay _You Know The Rules_

conclusions & goodbyes

"Cindy Gal" Carolina Chocolate Drops _Genuine Negro Jig_
"Lookout For Cindy" The Belmonts _Tell Me Why: The Very Best Of The Belmonts_
"Cindy & Kathy" Mirrors _Another Nail In The Remodeled Coffin_
"Love Song For Cindy" Hard-Ons _Hot For Your Love, Baby_

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Whither Cindy's Show?

(Image from here.)

Now, I suppose at this point you're thinking, "Who is this Cindy person & what is she to Gary that he's doing an entire show about her?"  Also: "When his wife finds out, he's gonna get it!"

Oh, relax.  I did a show a couple of weeks ago about mail carriers & I've never worked for the Post Office.  As I explained yesterday, I don't really have any Cindys in my life.  Doesn't mean I can't do a show about people named Cindy.

But it does mean that doing a show about people named Cindy is kinda weird, if you don't know any Cindys, right?  To which I respond, "Have you heard Self Help Radio before?"  Earlier this summer I did a show about glitter.  Next week the show is about neon.  There's neither really rhyme nor reason when I comes to this show.

In fact, that's a comment that was shared with me early on.  At KOOP, we had peer reviews, & another programmer said, "I just don't know why he explores these arbitrary topics."  I suppose it would have made her more comfortable if my show conformed to events that happened on the date of the show, like holidays or "National Pull Your Own Tooth Day."  But that never seemed much fun to me - when would subjects like glitter or neon come up?  Not to mention Cindy?

Okay, there's a Saint Cynthia (Cinthia), who could probably be called Saint Cindy if you have a hip, young priest who's trying to get in with the cool priests.   & her feast day is February 8.  So that wouldn't be arbitrary & it would please the programmer above as not being inexplicable.  But to her, I would ask, "Have you heard Self Help Radio before?"

As usual, I noticed I was listening to a bunch of songs about someone named Cindy.  I thought it might be a fun show.  After a few weeks I figured I had enough songs.  I thought I might meet a Cindy before the show, but I only came close: a neighbor who walks his dog that we see regularly (I don't know his name, but his sweet hound's name is Blue), he mentioned just yesterday that his girlfriend's name is Cindy.  & as I was driving my wife to the airport I noticed a place in town very close to where I live called Cindy's Hair Design which has apparently been in existence for decades but which has virtually no online presence.  I shoulda took a picture.

If you know a Cindy, tell her there'll be a radio show about her or people with her name tomorrow at noon on Self Help Radio's website.  It may turn out there are more Cindys than even I know about.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Preface To Cindy's Show: Do I Even Know Any Cindys?

Or is it Cindies?

A long time ago, I knew someone named Cynthia.  She didn't like to be called Cindy.  She was very religious, & didn't like me reminding her that she had "Cyn" in her name.

Years after that, but many more years before now, I knew a woman named Cindy who was my landlord, or she & her husband were my landlord.  I forget his name now.  I sort of remember what he looks like, kind of doofy, in a Mike Birbiglia type of shape.  He seemed harmless but he was sitting drunk on the porch one night (I lived in the apartment above their house) & he hit on my girlfriend.  But Cindy, who was a scary redhead, was never anything but pleasant & businesslike with me.

My wife worked with a woman named Cindy who was deeply conservative, but I never met her. I just heard my wife complain about her a lot.

Nope, there is no one named Cindy in my world at the moment.  I definitely don't know any famous people named Cindy.  Holy crap that's a long list!  Where the hell have I been?  I need to make more friends.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

One Last Post About How Much I Suck At Pledge Drive (Until The Next One)

Have you ever heard of Grit?  It was this "family newspaper" they advertised in comic books to get kids to sell door-to-door.  You can read about it on Wikipedia.  There used to be comic ads they ran featuring none other than Richie fucking Rich in which his father said they got rich because he sold Grit!

(I knew I didn't dream it.  I found this here.)

You can probably see where this is going.  As a kid whose family didn't pay much attention to him - whose mother was working most of the time - I thought, "Wow, if Richie Rich can do this, so can I!"

At the time I lived in an apartment complex & we were rather poor.  As were our neighbors.  When the first stack of Grit arrived - there were like fifty copies, a giant stack of newspapers, & I seem to remember them being a tabloid format - I made a very half-hearted effort to sell them door-to-door.  I think I got to maybe five doors before the whole process began to seem hopeless.  I tried a few more, getting weird looks from the people who acted at though they never saw me before, & getting no one to buy a copy.  I didn't finish going through the apartments.

Back at home, I read an issue all the way through.  It promoted itself as being positive & even the very young & not at all cynical me seemed to think that was a bit saccharine.  At some point my mother told me to take them to the trash, so I did.  & then next week another stack came.  & another the week after.  & the little envelopes telling me I had to send them money to pay for the stacks of home-town newspapers they were sending me.

What could I do?  I was never going to sell all those copies, never going to be as rich as Richie Rich's dad.  & I didn't have any money.  I was probably in sixth or seventh grade.  Maybe even younger.  Were they going to sue me?  Would they end up writing my mother?

At some point, the newspapers stopped coming.  Then the letters stopped, too.  They were entrusting children with their business, it wasn't like a newspaper boy who reported to an adult.  My guess it happened all the time, & probably more & more as time went on.  A business model from the 1950s was not going to survive into the 1980s.

(Grit still sort-of exists, but as its website shows, it's nothing like the newspaper with 'good news' stories & comics that I failed to sell in my childhood.)

But more than that, I came to realize that I was not designed to be a salesperson.  A different me could easily have tried to try more doors in my apartment complex, to walk up & down the streets in my neighborhood.  I am guessing they gave me fifty issues, it could've been more, but I'll bet if I had just tried a little harder, I could've sold half of them.  I lived next door to a shopping center, I could've tried to hawk them in front of the Minyard's.  But I didn't.  The initial rejections were too much for my fragile self.

The point is, I've been sucking at selling things for a long, long time.  & I'm sorry.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Once More Unto The Breach

Yep, tomorrow is the seventh day of the 2018 KNON Summer Pledge Drive.  It will be the first day of the drive for the show I do there, the Tuesday Morning Blend, & I am none-too-excited about it.  Why?  Because I'm terrible at raising money.

& it's not it's something I can't learn.  I have been reading website about proper pitches.  But I don't have the instinct for it.  You've met salespeople, haven't you?  Could sell coals to Newcastle?  Yeah, that's not me.  Ultimately I feel weird about capitalism, maybe because I grew up poor.

Really, I feel it would be nice if folks just had a sense that they should support a station like KNON as a matter of course, but instead you know how it is: you have to beg, to cajole, to entice with gifts.  I've done it myself, at stations I've been involved with - I look for the good premium before I make a pledge.

So I am gearing up for trying, trying again.  If you want to support me on the radio in Dallas - I know, I wish it were Self Help Radio, but this is the only place I can deejay in town - think about calling tomorrow morning or perhaps making a donation at this place on the web.  Make sure you mention me or the Tuesday Morning Blend to get me some credit.

& think nice thoughts.  I'm so going to suck at this.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Self Help Radio 080318: Everything's Gone Green

This was such a fun show to do!  More than forty people told me their favorite green songs, & I was able to gather around thirty-six plus add a couple of my own picks (as I can't help myself) to make a show.  The show itself was a request by a listener named Anne & I wonder how she'll feel that her show was the result of ideas from over three dozen people?

Some folks are going to be disappointed, though.  Of course some people had the same favorite green song, & in that case, if they asked for more than one song, I picked the one that wasn't requested by another.  Some folks requested instrumentals - alas, I used most of those to talk over, as music beds.  (See below.)  That's going to irk those people.  & lastly, I couldn't accommodate three kind folks.  One requested an entire album that didn't have an obvious green song on it, one requested a cover when the original was more requested, & one asked for a ten-minute-long song which I just didn't have the time to play.  My apologies.

This is something I've never done before, basically letting a bunch of other people program the show (eighteen of which are current or former deejays, naturally).  In at least four cases, they picked songs I never would've played, either because I didn't know about them, or because I generally don't care for the artists.  But you know what?  It didn't matter.  Once I asked, the show stopped being all mine.  & that in itself was super neat!

You can listen now at the Self Help Radio website.  You'll need a username, which is SHR, & a password, which is selfhelp.  The show is about two hours long, & what's on it - including the instrumental beds I spoke over - is listed below.

Thanks to everyone who helped!  I am totally going to do this again!

Self Help Radio 180803: Everything's Gone Green

"Green" Ken Nordine _Colors: A Sensuous Listening Experience_
"Bein' Green" Kermit The Frog _A Sesame Street Celebration Vol. 2_
"Green" Laura Freeman _Color Wheel Cartwheel_
"Optimistic Voices" The Debutantes, The Rhythmettes, & The MGM Studio Orchestra _The Wizard Of Oz: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack_

(bed music) "Blue In Green" Miles Davis _Kind Of Blue_

"Everything's Gone Green" New Order _Substance_
"O Green World" Gorillaz _Demon Days_
"Pretty Green" Mark Ronson & Santogold _Version_
"Green Gucci Suit" Rick Ross _Green Gucci Suit_

(bed music) "Green Onions" Booker T. & The MG's _The Very Best Of Booker T. & The MG's_

"Green Door" Jim Lowe _Songs They Sing Behind The Green Door_
"Green Green" The New Christy Minstrels _Ramblin'_
"Green Eggs & Ham" Marvin Miller _Fox In Socks/Green Eggs & Ham_
"Green Green Grass Of Home" Tom Jones _The Golden Hits_
"Green Tambourine" The Lemon Pipers _The Best Of Bubblegum_
"Little Green Bag" George Baker Selection _Super Hits Of The '70s: Have A Nice Day, Vol. 2_

(bed music) "Collard Greens" Freddie McCoy _Lonely Avenue_

"Green Is The Colour" Pink Floyd _More_
"Little Green" Joni Mitchell _Blue_
"I'm So Green" Can _Ege Bamyasi_
"Green Earrings" Steely Dan _The Royal Scam_
"Another Green World" Brian Eno _Another Green World_
"Green Shirt" Elvis Costello & The Attractions _Armed Forces_

(bed music) "Son Of Mr. Green Genes" Frank Zappa _Hot Rats_

"Green Fingernails" Gene Marshall _The American Song-Poem Anthology: Do You Know The Difference Between Big Wood & Brush?_
"Green Children" Kathy & The Lawnmowers _Experiments in Destiny_
"Green" Throwing Muses _Throwing Muses_
"Green Isaac" Prefab Sprout _Swoon_
"Dark Green Energy" Robyn Hitchcock _Greatest Hits_
"Pale Green Things" Mountain Goats _The Sunset Tree_

(bed music) "Greensleeves" Jimmy Smith _Organ Grinder Swing_

"Ladybird (Green Grass)" The Fall _The Infotainment Scan_
"Green Thoughts" The Smithereens _Green Thoughts_
"Green Mind" Dinosaur Jr. _Green Mind_
"Shades of Green" The Mission _Singles A's & B's_

(bed music) "Green Jeans" Grant Green _Matador_

"Green" Drug Boyfriend & Holy Worm _Green_
"Green Grass Of Tunnel" Múm _Finally We Are No One_
"Dye The Water Green" Bibio _The Green EP_