Friday, January 16, 2009

Long Weekend, Short Story

I am a sleepy man as I have been in meetings all day & also went to bed late all night. Woke up early, too, & generally did not sleep well. Dreamt of covering my hands in plaster. Or getting my hands covered in plaster. Because of touching a fellow who was covered in plaster. Who kinda reminded me of Daniel Johnston. Without the menthol cigarettes.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I'll be waking up early again tomorrow to help my friend & ex-lawyer Dick Dickenbock do another four hour shift on KVRX tomorrow. From five to nine am. You can listen online or on radio at 91.7fm. Why does he need my help? I dunno. He can't seem to do them by himself. I think he gets paid by the American Disabilities Act to do radio or something. His disability? Born without irony. It's a sadness.

Then I'll run home (on my sore ankle) & work on tomorrow's Self Help Radio, which should be on the website sometime in the early evening. I've been sleepy, you see, & sleepiness is not conducive to timeliness. Ask Rip Van Winkle! If he's awake.

Have a happy long weekend! I'll write again when we have a new president!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whither 1973?

Please note: this article was supposed to appear yesterday, but, due to unforeseen laziness (well, we would have seen it coming if we had been paying attention), it appears today. Our apologies if it still smells a little Wednesdayish.

I was five years old, officially, in 1973. My family, which had been fatherless since '72, was living in some poverty in an apartment complex on Kingsley Avenue in Garland, Texas, a growing suburb of Dallas, then numbering about 80,000 souls. My two oldest siblings were able to fend for themselves, being out of school & stuff like that, but that left my mother & me & three brothers & a sister. To this day I can't imagine how my mother managed it, although I do know the older two brothers still at home worked some.

I have no specific memories of being five. I do remember, in hazy contours like a screen-shot of a movie fade-out, the design of the apartment complex, although those memories mingle with others from my early teens when I had a paper route that brought me back there. I wish I could remember playmates, smells, actual events, but I only have stories I've been told over & over, mostly embarrassing, some outright awful.

I think you're supposed to start kindergarten at five, & if so, I definitely did not. One of the stories that I don't remember much about is that I was taken to kindergarten every day for a week & I screamed until I was taken out. It was decided (ah, the innocence of the school system before No Child Left Behind) that I could skip kindergarten if I couldn't handle it. This kind of pissed off my little brother, who had to go to kindergarten the next year when I, despite some hesitation, made it through the first day of first grade. He has never forgiven me. I think it was another in an endless supply of proof that I was valued more than him.

As noted above, these days have a kind of sepia tinge, & I do wish I could go back there & have a look around, see what things did in fact smell like & feel like & look like. I wonder if I'd be reminded of certain sensations, or if it would all seem strange & new.

Whatever else was going on the world in 1973, the five-year-old me paid absolutely no attention to.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Preface To 1973: A Year That Is Also A Prime Number Is A Wonder To Behold

You know what prime numbers are, yeah? They're natural numbers which have only two divisors, themselves & one. (A number like 12 has six: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 12. A number like 2 has two: 1, 2. So 2 is a prime number.) Human beings have been fascinated by prime numbers since they had a little leisure time to while away with mathematics. I like them for no apparent reason, which is all right by me.

In a week, my age becomes a prime number, too. I'd like to attach (for the hell of it) some numerological significance to being that age, but as I look over my life I realize that prime number years weren't necessarily the best years of my life. This last year, for example, for all of its changes & weirdnesses & what-not, was a pretty good year. & it wasn't prime, not hardly. So the "prime is primo" theory doesn't hold water.

Prime numbers get more & more rare as we count up. But there are twenty-five of them in the first hundred natural numbers. One in four is a prime number! That's awesome. Here they are:

2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, 53, 59, 61, 67, 71, 73, 79, 83, 89, 97

1973 was a pretty good year for music, something I'll explore this weekend. But it was even cooler for being the 297th prime number. (297, by the way, is not a prime number. Its divisors are 1, 3, 9, 11, 27, 33, 99 & 297.) It's really hard, by the way, to count a list of numbers. My brain now aches.

Hooray for prime number 1973! Hooray for math geekiness!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Clipped Nibbles

I woke up this morning with the Buzzcocks in my head. Wait. That came out weird. Let me rephrase that. I woke up this morning & Steve Diggle & Pete Shelley were sticking their tongues in my ear.

That's an example of a common bit of humorology that professional & unprofessional funny folk often employ when trying to make people laugh. The "punchline" (as the philosophers call it) comes from the person expecting the talker (in the above case, me myself) to weasel out of an embarrassing slip of the tongue by quickly denying the possible naughty connotations thereof. Instead - & what makes it funny - the talker (still in this case, me) confirms the more disreputable meaning & therefore thwarts expectations, creating what in many circles is called hilarity.

Unfortunately, as the boy who cried wolf will tell you, this bit of humoristics should be used with moderation. Otherwise people will spit on you. Or rip your head off & take a shit down your neck. I've seen it happen. On an open-mic night. It wasn't pretty, & it smelled awful.

I did employ this humoroid (as the Baptist ministers call it) in last week's Self Help Radio. Some time during the show. I don't have an exact time. You can use your checklist & redeem the finished sheet at any S&H Green Stamps Depot. Should you be so lucky. By all accounts one of us must. Why not you?