Friday, September 19, 2008

As Promised, Heartbeats & Funk

The weekend is here. My dog Ringo turns six, my mother turns 79. September turns its head & coughs. & two things are happening this weekend that concern you which you cannot & surely shall not miss.

First, this month's Self Help Radio Extra is a premium blend of what scientists call "funky soul." I found myself listening to some slightly obscure funk earlier this month & it led me to some other places, & this mix is a result of my exploration. Please enjoy. The playlist is on the page.

Second, this week's Self Help Radio will take the focus away from your broken mind to discussing & playing songs about heartbeats. I'll have the show ready for the doctor to see tomorrow afternoon exclusively at You know all about it.

Have a safe weekend. & remember, bringing Self Help Radio along might not make your weekend safer, but at least you'll know you were enjoying something before a random doom descends upon you. As it always seems to do on a Sunday afternoon. Why is that?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Funky In Here

This is what some people would call a "teaser."

The Oxford English Dictionary, that old bastard, defines a "teaser" thusly:

One who or that which teases, in various senses:
- One who teases wool, cotton, or the like; or, an instrument or machine for teasing wool, etc.
- One who teases or annoys.
- A woman who arouses but evades amorous advances; a ‘cock-teaser’. colloq.
- A strip-tease act; a strip-tease artist.
- Something that teases, or causes annoyance; something difficult to deal with, a ‘poser’.
- An introductory advertisement, esp. an excerpt or sample designed to stimulate interest or curiosity. orig. & chiefly U.S.

I mean the last definition. By the way, there are some weird-ass definitions for "teaser" (besides the one about wool - what the hell?) which I have neglected to include, a) because I don't want the OED suing me, & 2) because they're weird-ass. Like:

- An inferior stallion or ram used to excite mares or ewes.
- In elephant-hunting: "When we find them, the teasers, who are the most courageous of the hunters, begin to tease the leaders of the herd. The bulls soon become angry and excited and give chase to the teasers."
- In Cricket, a ball that is difficult to play. (possibly obsolete, since no one talks to anyone who play cricket, wisely)
- A fisherman's device (orig. live bait) for attracting fish.
- A kind of toy pipe with a coil (of paper, etc.) at the end which shoots out when one blows down the stem.

Really? That's what those toys are called?

Crap, I've quoted a lot of the definitions. The OED Legal Team is going to be teasing me in court for years to come.

Anyway, the point is: I am just saying that I am putting the last touches on this month's Self Help Radio Extra, which (it isn't ready yet, hence the tease) should be full of funky soul. I ran out of time today because I had to get a shot. Then I had to freak out because I got a shot. Then I had to get another shot to keep me from freaking out. Then another. Then another.

Those, of course, were shots of whiskey. Boom!

Tomorrow, then. Self Help Radio Extra. Be there or your freed ass won't be able to explain anything to your mind.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Whither Heartbeat?

A few weeks ago I saw something somewhere (funny how context eludes you, even when alluded to), possibly in a nature show or something like that, which suggested that we have a finite number of heartbeats. That, with corrections of course made for use & things like accidents (although wouldn't it be weird if you died early but you heart had to fulfill its contractual obligation to beat for the amount of time for which it was programmed?), our hearts will pump as long as they are supposed to pump. & the implication (or at least the meaning I took away from the television show/article/podcast/whatever) was that pretty much all mammals have the same number of heartbeats per life. Thus, little critters whose hearts beat way faster live shorter life spans, while behemoths live longer. That got me thinking about heartbeats.

Is it true? Here's an excerpt from a quick web search looking for that answer, in a silly article about human longevity:

Mice and elephants lead very different lifestyles — one ponderous, the other manic — yet rodents & pachyderms share the same pervasive pattern of aging. Individuals who survive the perils of daily life, from disease to predators, inevitably begin declining after finishing about half a billion heartbeats. Elephants live much longer than mice, but their hearts also beat far slower, so the total allotment stays remarkably similar. Few mammals live to celebrate their billionth pulse.

...[T]hat billion heartbeat limit that seems to confine all mammals, from shrews to giraffes [is] a pretty neat correlation, till you ponder the chief exception.

Us. Most mammals our size and weight are already fading by age twenty, when humans are just hitting their stride. By eighty, we've had about three billion heartbeats!

Of course we're the exception to the rule. We invented Accupril, Lopressor, Vasotec, Cardizem, Anacanapanasan, Vaxadrin & the rest. Duh!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preface To Heartbeat: A Sadness, Not In Verse

Briefly, then, we overlook the mammalian heart, to seek some sort of solace instead where the heart may beat more fierce, in smaller so-called lesser orders, where something called love is never the order of the day - the week, the month, the year, should we live so long - where, indeed, clothed far more ostensibly fragile in crumples & mossy armor, a heart concerns itself mainly with the day-to-day & not with lofty chemical pursuits, where hearts attack due to dysfunction & not self-inflicted misfunction, & there we stay, letting the level, amoral lessons of nature steel us in a kind of organic & counterintuitive resolve, not remaining long, though we long to stay, to be settled in the soup, sludge & dew of wayward ago, for it may slow down the relentless beating, not of heart, which we shall learn to ignore, or learn to respect for its tireless work, but the beating instead of our tumble-down thoughts, our frightening, pulse-racing imaginings, which we know are not real, but which afflict us as we could create phantoms to haunt & hurt us, but not here - never here - we shall not stay long enough here - just a trifling in the exhausting span of our unappreciated lives, but hopefully, like the mud on the soles of our feet or the dampness gathering around us as we breathe & sleep, maybe enough time to stay & absorb & forget, not asking why the broken heart is brought back at all, but asking why it keeps beating regardless, & knowing our love songs & our love stories & our jealousies & whimperings & our orgasmic exaltations & our deep sweaty nerves affect it only incidentally - till we understand truly what the heart beats for, & take that knowledge into our better years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

There's Nothing Like A Salt Lick

It's true. Except another salt lick. This is mainly important for all my friends who happen to be birds in cages. Salt licks go a long way with them - even if there's no iodine & the birds get goiters.

Oh god is he still talking about salt? Wasn't he done with that dumbass salt show last week? I guess we should thank god he's not talking about Hurricane Ike.

Salt licks are however incredibly unimportant during this terrible hurricane season.

Oh christ!

I'm not just talking about hurricanes in the traditional "Ike" sense, but also in the non-traditional, non-western "typhoon" sense.

Great. Now he thinks there's something different about a typhoon. Next thing you know, he'll mention tidal waves & tsunamis.

For example, while your standard western hurricane creates tidal waves, typhoons produce what scientists call "tsunamis" (it rhymes with a video game manufacturer whose name escapes me).


Hey, it just occurred to me that this is sort of like that "The Word" segment on The Colbert Report!

Oh god, you're right. Look, this whole blog thing - not to mention your own show - is derivative as all hell anyway - why not just plug last week's show & get the fug outta here.

You got it. Hey! Hurricane survivors & everyone else! Go listen to this week's Self Help Radio, which is about salt, yay! over at! It's good for you in exactly the same way a hurricane is not!

Excellent. Wanna get a drink or something?