Friday, December 31, 2010

Back, At The End Of The Year

Every time I thought about writing in this blog this morning, I wanted to just detail how horrific the experience I had over my vacation - not in Australia, which was lovely - but in getting to Australia, & getting back from Australia. My god, how awful is United Airlines? As fucking awful as awful can be. That's what I want to write. Over & over & over.

Check this:

Our itinerary was fairly simple. Lexington to Los Angeles, with a stopover in Chicago. Then a looooooong flight to the bottom of the world. We'd leave on a Friday but arrive on a Sunday, which was fine, because on the way back, we'd leave on a Monday (at 5pm) & arrive on a Monday (at 11pm). The flight home, by the way, was supposed to be a mirror image of the flight there - looooooong flight to Los Angeles, then to Lexington with a stopover in Chicago. Easy, right?

No, United Airlines was not going to make it easy. We were in time for the flight to Los Angeles, way back two weeks ago, but the crew from United was late. That's all we heard, the only explanation, given with a shrug. "The crew is late, ho-hum. I'm sure you'll miss your flights but what can we do? The crew is late. Now leave us. You bore us."

We made it to Chicago some three hours later than we were supposed to, got very lucky & were able to fly standby to Los Angeles, but couldn't fly standby on the final flight (not the one we were booked on, of course, which had left three hours earlier) to Australia that evening. We apparently were not put on "emergency standby" (a status we didn't know existed before that time) by the last United employee we talked to. We watched our names on a television screen with all the graphical magic of 1980s public access cable get jumped over by people we felt were just complaining more loudly than us. Or maybe someone was getting blown. We just stood there for an hour in disbelief.

United oh so kindly gave us a hotel room & a fifteen dollar voucher (each!) for food. Never mind that the only flights down under were in the evening, & that we had to be out of the hotel by ten a.m. Never mind that you can't really eat all day *anywhere* for fifteen dollars, let alone in LA. Ignore that. We didn't get any sort of apology from United, nor really any sympathy or expression of regret for our situation which was caused entirely by their own mistakes. To be fair, a harried but helpful employee named Lou managed to get us flights for the last Sydney flight the next night (Saturday), & a nice fellow named Marcos helped us find our bags, which they wouldn't send to Australia since we weren't on the flight, but which, we found out, might not be sent along with us the next night unless we re-checked them in.

We lost a day on our vacation & never got a single "we're sorry" nor any attempt to offer us anything in recompense.

All of this would be a frustrating but zany story about how we got to a wonderful city & had a beautiful summer vacation while our houses back home were covered in ice & snow. Speaking of, this was all before the big blizzard that swallowed the east coast after Christmas. Indeed, since none of our travels went anywhere near there, it didn't really affect us at all. I bet you can hear in my voice a "however..." Because there is.

We arrived at the airport in Sydney on our last day there about three hours before the flight, only to find that hooray! United had delayed it till the evening. Why? Because the flight from Los Angeles was late, of course. Why didn't we think of that? So, six hours later, we take off, fully aware that our connecting flights were gone, gone, gone. A United employee in Sydney informed us that there were no United flights to anywhere near where we needed to go & punted us to US Airways. They arranged a red-eye to Charlotte, then an early morning flight to Lexington, meaning we'd get home about nine hours later than we were supposed to. With, of course, a long layover in Los Angeles, although not enough to earn us fifteen dollars each in meal vouchers. (Though we tried.)

I want to interject something here which I wish could be somehow taught or otherwise imparted to airline employees before they attempt to reschedule passengers on flights. I understand they're underpaid, & pretty underappreciated, but surely they could pay a little more attention. There were four of us - my wife & me, & her two graduate students - & when there are four people, there's an astonishingly good chance - I'd say they would be the best odds of your gambling life - that they want to sit together. We had four or maybe five sets of replacement boarding passes for different flights made for us by United & US Airways employees trying to be helpful, & every time we had to say, "Is it possible we could sit together?" after they gave us our first passes. I know, it seems too common sensical. Better play it safe & assume the four people who appear to be together would rather not sit together.

Oh, & we always got seats, at least in pairs. So it wasn't like there weren't any. The helpful airline drone just hadn't thought, "I bet the married couple might want to sit together."

We arrived in Los Angeles very tired, very frustrated, although apparently the flight from Sydney to the States is shorter by about an hour & a half. Who knew? I was happy to be home, & was happy when the mustachioed Customs fellow said, "Welcome home!" That was nice. We were able to kill five or six hours until the flight to Charlotte, which was also mercifully short. We really thought we'd be home soon. What fools we were.

At 6am, in a North Carolina airport, I was the first to see that the flight to Lexington had red letters next to it that said "Cancelled." We managed to find a fellow who could book us on a flight to Louisville. (He was busy, & I am grateful for him taking the time out to help us, but he too didn't think we needed to sit together. I suspect they love randomization.) Why Louisville? It was simply the closest we could get to Lexington. We arranged to rent a car to drive home.

We wouldn't see our baggage, of course, for maybe thirty-six hours, but we just wanted to be home. The friend who was watching our pets had to go & the grad students had two Christmases to make up for. The wife bravely drove us home.

All of this, you understand, because an airline which, on all its flights, proudly trumpeted its upcoming suck-merger with Continental, couldn't be assed to actually make one of its scheduled flights. For no reason but the crew was late. They could have just lost time in their ugly person drug orgy, or they could have overslept. The airline itself couldn't have cared less. They cost us a day of vacation & needless anxiety & we were so exhausted & exasperated that the kindest word would have done us a world of good. None was forthcoming. They don't need to. I'm sure they expect that, once their "too big to fail" airline fails, the government will help them out.

If you ask me why I'll never fly United - or Continental - ever again, I will refer you to this story.

I'll talk about my radio show tomorrow. I just couldn't write anything else today.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Off To Australia!

Hey! Self Help Radio will be visiting Australia - leaving today, arriving whenever - & won't be back until the end of the year. Please excuse both the silence of this blog & the lack of radio shows. I'll bring everyone back a wallaby!

See you around the end of 2010!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Legendary 1000th Post!!!

Hooray! A thousand posts. What began with a "I Can't Begin, I Must Begin" is bookended at a thousand posts with a "Maybe after a thousand more of these someone will actually read them!"

Here's an update on my crazy accounting. You can skip to below for the important stuff.

I started this blog on September 12, 2006.
The 100th post happened on March 7, 2007. That would've been roughly 176 days later.
The 200th post happened on August 13, 2007. (158 days after the 100th post.)
The 300th post happened on January 9, 2008. (149 days after the 200th post.)
The 400th post happened on May 26, 2008. (138 days after the 300th post.)
The 500th post happened on October 14, 2008. (141 days after the 400th post.)
The 600th post happened on March 25, 2009. (162 days after the 500th post.)
The 700th post happened on September 23, 2009. (186 days after the 600th post.)
The 800th post happened on February 19, 2010. (149 days since the 700th post.)
The 900th post happened on July 23, 2010 (154 days since the 800th post.)
& post number 1000 happened on December 14, 2010 - that's today! - 144 days since the 900th.

I applaud myself for being regular in ways my bowels can only dream of.

Now, you can listen to today's show, featuring my favorite indie music of 2010, over at self help radio dot net. If you're so inclined, there's a possible treat for you waiting at the Self Help Radio Facebook page. If you visit, might you want to like the show? It will make the hair on the back of my ears tingle.

This was the last Self Help Radio of 2010. I will be visiting the antipodes starting Friday so I shan't do radio nor blog for about two weeks. Expect my return somewhat near the end of the year. Hey. Anyone know any good record shops in Sydney?

I am sad there won't be a Very Self Help Radio Christmas this year, but oh well. Sometimes you lose battles in the War On Christmas. Sometimes Christmas counter attacks. Jeez. What a violent holiday is Christmas.

Have a happy holiday & thanks for listening & I'll see you soon. Maybe after a thousand more of these someone will actually read them!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow! Snow! Snow!

It's a little weird to see the sun out while there's still snow
but boy there's a lot of snow!

I hope I can make it to the station tomorrow morning.
There's a lot of snow, you see.

How much snow? Officially almost two inches!
It seems like more in my backyard.

The sun's out - I wonder how much good that'll do.
Also, I wish I had a snow shovel.

Anyway, I still haven't finished this week's show.
I have lots to listen to.

Seriously, I marked down eighty seven records (finally)
as the most I've listened to this year.

Now I have to figure out the third of those I consider
my favorite. It's fun but also not fun.

Tomorrow morning, the last Self Help Radio of 2010:
it'll be early, you'll be snowbound.

Listen live on 88.1 fm or at wrfl dot fm.
Or later at self help radio dot net.

There is no "weather permitting" about it, yo.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Whither Gary's Favorite Indie Music 2010?

Oh man, what a year in music. Not that I'd really know, if you looked at my list of favorite music. Let me give you an example. A friend of mine (more of an acquaintance these days) works for a magazine, & this is his "best of" 2010:

LCD Soundsystem, This Is Happening; Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; The Walkmen, Lisbon; The National, High Violet; Big Boi, Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty; Yeasayer, Odd Blood; Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest; Spoon, Transference; Local Natives, Gorilla Manor; Arcade Fire, The Suburbs; Sufjan Stevens, The Age Of Adz; Foals, Total Life Forever; Janelle Monáe, The ArchAndroid; How To Dress Well, Love Remains; Menomena, Mines

I have really nothing to say about this list except - while he shares many of these artists with other writer/editors of his magazine on their lists - I share only one, the National. I don't listen to commercial hip-hop because it really doesn't interest me, & a lot of the commercial indie up there (yeah, it's really a genre, you can argue with me if you like but it's basically the grandchild of "alternative" from twenty years ago) like the Arcade Fire & Sufjan Stevens is pleasant enough, but doesn't do much for me. I guess I can say I'm genuinely surprised, with most year-end lists, that there are no genuine surprises.

& I promise I'm not being purposefully contrary - I listened to (& played on my radio shows) at least five of those artists up there, & may play a few more. But this is why I don't call my show "THE BEST OF 2010." I am so far out of synch with what the tastemakers & professional music journalists think is "best" that it seems much more affable & sensible to say "my favorite."

Besides the one I mentioned above, what are my favorite records of 2010? You'll have to wait until Tuesday to find out...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Preface To Gary's Favorite Indie Music Of 2010: I Live In The Shadows, Listening To Tunes All Night Long

Look! Since I've stopped doing the Saturday shows, I can start doing my "preface" posts again. I've sure missed them. I never get to write prefaces for books & stuff, so the idea that I can write prefaces for my blog pleases me. By the way, I still sometimes mispronounce "preface" in my head. I used to pronounce it "pre-face" instead of "pref-iss," probably because it helped me remember how to spell it, but I got corrected for saying it that way many times in middle school, so I started pronouncing it correctly. Except in my head.

I did the same thing with the word "reprise," which I thought sounded like "reprisal." Does anyone pronounce that word "re-preez-al"? I still think it's fine to pronounce the word "re-prize." But, I was corrected in middle school, so.

Also, I was corrected for pronouncing "ascertain" wrong. I didn't really know what it meant but I had a quote which used to word in a paper I wrote - I think it was Ben Franklin quote, & the meaning was pretty obvious in context - & I pronounced it "a-certain" not "ass-er-tane."

Come to think of it, the same person corrected me every time in middle school. It was my American History teacher Helen Lane. She was quite old, she's probably no longer with us. I got an award from her at the end of eighth grade & hugged her on stage when I accepted it. I caught some shit from my schoolmates from that, let me tell you.

I was going to write "my friends," but I didn't really have a lot of friends in middle school. Thinking about it, I had a somewhat close friend in fifth & sixth grades whose name was Phil Claunch, who moved away when his parents got divorced when he & I were in sixth grade, & it occurred to me I don't really remember what he looks like. That seems strange, doesn't it? We biked to school every day for most of fifth grade, & we walked to middle school together, but I don't have any idea what he looked like. I don't think anyone ever took any pictures of us together & I don't have school pictures from that time period. Oh wait! I still have my middle school yearbooks I think. He might be in the sixth grade volume. If he didn't move away before pictures were taken.

I'd go look for it, but they're in boxes upstairs. Not curious enough to go through the trouble, I suppose. Ah, well.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Silly Blasphemies

In five posts - that is to say, on the post which I will post on Tuesday - I will have reached one thousand posts on this blog. Imagine that! I should make a big deal about it but I won't.

Here's what I wrote nearly five hundred posts ago, on this blog's 500th post:

I want to celebrate this ridiculously arbitrary moment by offering you something. You can claim it by doing the following: send an email to me with an address to which you'd like me to send you stuff. What will I send you?

I will send you the Self Help Radio Self Help Love Yourself Self Pack! It will include (probably) a Self Help Radio tee-shirt, a Self Help CD, some miracle sand I got in the Holy Land (or is that for my religious show?) & other stuff. Just send me an email that says "Happy Anniversary!" & that's it. It's my way of saying, "Just like my birthday, I have to buy other people stuff to celebrate my anniversary."

No one wanted it. I can't imagine that wouldn't change now, two years & a thousand miles later. Not to mention five hundred posts! Do you want something from me to celebrate writing a thousand separate entries in this nonsense blog? Tell me before too late. I'm not waiting up.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Love Me, Love My Robot

It's that time of year again, when I play the stuff I've listened to & liked most this year - in the electronica genre, this week. I know, I keep saying this, but I want to hammer it home that don't think this is a "best of" - I'm not qualified enough to say that & I assume I've missed a lot of good releases this year - so take this collection as simply what I enjoyed best & realize that in three weeks &/or three months I'll discover something very great that I didn't know about at this time. Until every artist in the world sends me all their stuff on a regular basis, that's how it's going to be.

The show is now available for your audial consumption at self help radio dot net. I am not allowed to give away my "home made" CDs like I usually do (it's against station policy on WRFL), so instead I share some mp3s (without my airbreaks or any radio show trappings) for a couple of weeks in a zip file at this link here. It includes a lot more music - 25 songs - than I could play on a ninety minute show. Here is a list of the bands/musicians featured: Bruce Haack, The Books, Gold Panda, Four Tet, Nils Frahm & Anne Müller, Brian Eno, Oval, Flying Lotus, Mount Kimbie, Pantha Du Prince, To Rococo Rot, ISAN, Mrs Jynx, Arandel, Boy Is Fiction, Röyksopp, Faux Pas, The Flashbulb, Autechre, Baths, Grasscut, Deru, Caribou, Bonobo, & Emeralds.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Ain't That A Kilt In The Head?

Today's blog entry, despite its title, has nothing to do with Scotland or the Scottish. Whom you shouldn't call "Scotch" because, as Wikipedia points out, it is "a largely obsolescent adjective meaning having to do with Scotland & usually now considered pejorative unless related to food or drink." Obsolescent? Pejorative?

Unless, one supposes, one uses the phrase Scotch-Irish, which, it turns out, is a pretty specific description of a group of immigrants & not, as some might have been taught in high school in the 1980s, "a lot of the white people who came to America in the 1800s."

Strangely, the disclaimer at the beginning of today's blog entry has actually gainsaid itself, since the disclaimer, by being two paragraphs long, is at some level about Scotland &/or the Scottish. The same holds true with this sentence, which expresses its own paragraph-length surprise at the irony of it all while continuing to refer to Scotland &/or the Scottish.

It has been a custom of the Self Help Radio blog to have nonsensical titles in the same manner that the blog's author has entitled emails to friends or girls with whom he wanted to be more than friends. Even the occasional work email has had a non sequitur or random word or phrase or even an obscure song lyric as a title, although that proved to be counterproductive. Below are some actual email "subject lines" from 1998 which the author of this blog used as titles of emails sent to a girl who almost but not quite became more than a friend & then, suddenly, ceased even being a friend:

Hamlet, pow! pow!
Discursive Melancholia
The Surreal Blonde
Lose E Anna
pools in eyes
Up-to-the-minute minuet

Two of those are references to song titles, one is a spoonerism for a possibly made-up obscenity, & four (or more) are puns. None of them refer in any way to the contents of the emails. Which, it must be noted, had nothing to do with Scotland &/or the Scottish.

One thing has changed from those girl-chasing, goofy-email-subject-lining days (besides the obvious - the author of those emails & this blog is now married & is not allowed to chase girls, whether in real life or on the internets, under full penalty of Wife's Law), which is that sometimes the author of this blog will think of a title first & then write a blog entry about the title. This is very much how Stephen King writes his encyclopedias. As has been continually pointed out to a ridiculous degree, this is not the case with this blog entry.

No, this blog entry is simply here to announce that tomorrow morning will be Self Help Radio's penultimate show of the year. The author of this blog (who is also the programmer of the show) & his aforementioned wife will be visiting the antipodes for the last two weeks of 2010, which means, alas, & it is sad to tell you this, there will be no A Very Self Help Radio Christmas this year. It could not be helped. A vacation was desperately needed & it's summer down under.

Tomorrow's show is entitled "Gary's Favorite Electronica 2010." For reasons explained elsewhere, it is not a "best of." The programmer of the show ("Gary") is nowhere near qualified to make such a preposterous claim about his taste. Instead, it's the music he's most enjoyed in the electronic vein during the year.

It airs, as it has all these last few months, too early in the morning tomorrow on 88.1 fm WRFL, but will be archived as soon as possible later in the day at the Self Help Radio website. Further reminders will be available on this blog as well as on the show's Facebook page. The show no longer has a myspace page & of course no one misses it or has even noted its passing.

Very well then. Please listen when you can. That would be most disarming.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Whither Gary's Favorite Electronica 2010?

Sometimes listening to other radio shows makes me think I do too many airbreaks. Sometimes, though, some radio shows I listen to make me wish that the deejays did more airbreaks. Every radio show I listen to I have to listen to once the deejay is on the mic. That's true. If a deejay's talking, I have to listen, which is why I hate listening to talk radio - or even the news - in the car, especially if someone wants to talk to me while we're listening. I just can't tune out the voice on the radio if it's a noram talking voice. I have to listen to it. Um. Was this what I wanted to talk about?

Like last year, I still have tons of electronic releases that I've only listened to once, which I planned to listen to again, which is the sort of criteria for my show - "it's my favorite stuff I've listened to this year, which means I listened to it more than anything else" - I don't know why I put that in quotes, I don't believe I've written it exactly like that before - so technically because I haven't listened to it more than once, it shouldn't really qualify as "favorite electronica." But then again, there's always a chance I missed something. I am pretty sure I have.

Is it somewhat obsessive that I will try to find others' "best of" lists to see if there's something there that I missed? I suppose I am always relieved that most list-making folks don't have the same taste as I do. If I did share so many people's tastes, I might be a better fit for commercial radio, not the independent voices left of the dial. Not that I don't share some people's choices. Most electronica fans, for example, really liked Four Tet's record this year. I did too. But I don't share the modern electronica maven's love of dubstep, & I still tend to avoid dancey electronica as I always have.

It's really all about me, it's true. So what else is new? The best I can say is that it was an awesome year for electronica. The worst I can say is that it's my radio show that I'll be presenting it on.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

"My Ambition's Eyes Were Bigger Than Its Stomach"

Last summer (it's always hard to believe there is a summer when, as right now, the city is covered in snow, but there is, & so there may yet be), when I left WMUL, I had no idea that we'd be relocating to Lexington as quickly as we did. I left the station, as I might or might not have said, because, as far as I could tell, no one was listening to my show. Now, there's always a possibility that no one is listening to anything I do exclusively online ("podcasts") either, but at least it's not time-dependent. I would take the time, in good weather & bad, to travel to the station - often I had to visit the "department of public safety" (ie, campus cops) first, to get a key, as the station was usually locked up by four pm, broadcasting a majority of the time automated programming - & then I would spend three hours in a lonesome studio with no feedback from anyone, putting on the best damn show I could. Then, in the middle of the night, I'd lock up, return keys to the cops, & drive home with the drunks (bars closed at 3am in Huntington, so there were always a smattering of cars on the road - what radio station were they listening to?), usually feeling empty & forlorn, wondering why the hell I bothered.

By the way, I don't really know why no one listened to or seemed to respond to my show in Huntington. I don't mean to cast aspersions on the radio station itself. The Station Manager had plenty of anecdotal evidence of listeners for various shows. The management of WMUL simply didn't appear to care whether they had listeners nor did they do anything to actively increase listeners. For my part, I would completely understand if there was simply no one in Huntington who liked the sort of show I do. It was a bit unusual, however - in Austin, I did get calls from people who didn't like my show - so why not there? I did roughly fifty shows at WMUL - some of them, it's true, together in three- or four-hour blocks - in ten months there, & I got about three phone calls total from listeners who were not people associated with the station. I'm not entirely sure that my experience there wasn't the same as other deejays - certainly every semester, among the students at least, the station seemed to hemorrhage about a third of the on-air programmers who weren't somehow associated with the station's news & sports programming.

That's the main reason I left. I had given a great deal of myself to the station, not just in radio programming, & there was little to show for it besides an in-house award, & my name on a plague in the station's usually-empty halls. When I left, I fully expected that I would stay in Huntington for the time being, as my wife had a job there & we owned a house. I knew I would never want to return to WMUL, & I thought I'd be without a radio station for a year or perhaps longer. I announced, in this blog post, that I would continue Self Help Radio as a podcast (as I had done the year before in Austin) & also continue the shows I did on WMUL - Dickenbock Electronics & Sugar Substitute - as podcasts as well. I'd also add jazz & old-timey country blues shows into a rotation to keep myself busy. & I have. I've been doing them since June.

Suddenly! Though! The wife & I decided in July to relocate Lexington! We had travelled here a lot to escape Huntington - we also found ourselves visiting Athens, Ohio, & Columbus, Ohio, when we could. My wife had a job interview here - she actually got the job so she'll be working at the University of Kentucky starting in January - & on our visits we would listen to WRFL. I really liked it, far more than anything I ever heard on WMUL. For one thing, there were actual deejays on the air. You could call them & talk to them. Another is that they truly "owned" their shows - on WMUL, you had to play music from the station's library, & that library was very limited. WRFL seemed, as I've said before, to combine the best of both KVRX & KOOP, my two alma maters, & if you've heard those stations, you know it's high praise indeed.

Not only that, but the folks were incredibly welcoming, & the listeners - again, maybe the fact that Lexington is six times larger than Huntington, & the broadcast area is so much wider than WMUL's - they responded to me. I got a show as soon as we moved here & (you might have noticed) I have availed myself of the opportunities of subbing other people's shows as well as doing my own regular shows - Self Help Radio & Sugar Substitute. Last week I subbed four shows for a total of nine extra hours; this week I subbed two shows for a total of five extra hours. It's way too much fun & I am as always extremely grateful for the chance. Plus, just this morning, I chatted on the phone with an awesome listener who had lots to say about what I was playing. To say that that never happened in Huntington is being coy about it - nothing close to that ever seemed even remotely possible in Huntington.

This is a long way of saying that I unfortunately have been just too busy to do my Saturday podcasts. It breaks my heart because I really like putting them together, gathering the jazz & country blues & electronica that I listen to during my days of musical exploration & education. But I subbed a show this morning very early & just didn't have the time to put the show together today. I feel like a lame-o but I also need to be realistic about it. It's not that I don't have the time per se - it's that when I do have the time, I put much more effort into extracurricular WRFL shows than my Saturday podcasts.

Plus, I'm never sure if anyone's listening. I have Google Analytics installed but it doesn't seem terribly reliable. I also miss the spontaneity of live radio. I don't record the podcasts in real time, as you probably have guessed. It's fun but it's not as fun as doing shows on WRFL.

I promise, when I do WRFL specialty shows, I'll put them up more regularly. But for the time being, there'll be no more Dickenbock Electronics or Tags & Tricks or The Zeke Moonshine Show. My apologies to anyone who'll miss them, if there are any, but mainly my apologies to me. I thought I could continue in this manner for an indeterminate length of time, but my ambition's eyes were bigger than its stomach.

If, you know, ambition ate radio shows. Or something.

Friday, December 03, 2010

All Is Folly!

I haven't played with the online rhyming dictionary in a while. I also haven't written a great bad poem in a while. Here are the "official" suggested rhymes for "folly" (edited for some redundancy & some wtf?):

ali (it seems like that has a different syllabic emphasis), bali, braly, brolly, cali (those three aren't real words, are they?), collie, dali, dolly, golly, holly, jolly, lolly, mali, mollie, molly, ollie, polly, poly, smalley (smalley?), solly, stolley, tolley (tolley?), volley, bengali, bialy, canale, fragale, gambale, natale, oncale, papale, quilali, somali, spinale, spitale, vitaly, zingale (I just don't really believe any of these are real words), campanale, caporale, cardinale, comunale, curiale, denatale, depascale, depasquale, dinatale, dipasquale, generali, massingale (you pronounce this "mas-in-golly"?), mexicali, parziale, speziale, imperiale, industriale, industriali, nazionale, internationale, meridionale

That's just daunting. Even after watching every episode of the Sopranos I'm not entirely sure that these are words real people use. I can try to look them up - campanale doesn't appear in any online dictionary, nor does depascale or zingale or spinale or (most disappointingly) quilali. Why you trying to fuck with me, rhyming dictionary?

My favorite folly rhyme comes from "The Money Song" by Eric Idle:

Some people say it's folly,
But I'd rather have the lolly

That is a real word.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Your Birthday & Applicable State & Federal Law

Recent studies have shown that virtually everyone on planet earth has what is commonly called a "birth day." This may include the Immortals, who, because of their long lives, have usually forgotten the day they were born & often "remember" several times a year to have more parties & get more presents. According to the Asimov Act of 2010, robots, androids, & other artificial life forms are no longer allowed to have birthdays, instead being allowed to celebrate only "dates of manufacture."

Self Help Radio, in accordance with federal laws & union policies, devotes one show a year to birthdays. This show can be celebrated by people who have had birthdays, people who will have birthdays, & both, & neither. Well, not neither. As allowed in subsection 12 of the Cake Division Act, radio shows are allowed to dedicate their birthday programs to one or more particular persons while making it clear throughout the show that it can also be understood to be about anyone's birthday in general. This represents compliance with the Hurt Feelings Compromise, which may soon be overturned by passage of the new Congress' proposed Stop Being Such A Big Baby legislation. As it stands, however, Self Help Radio has dedicated this show to one Magdalena Muchlinski, a respected academic with a big nose, whose birthday falls on the day after the show. It is believed that one or more of the hosts of Self Help Radio "has the hots" for Ms. Muchlinksi, & rumors that one or more of the hosts of Self Help Radio is married to her have circulated.

For those of you who do celebrate birthdays, the show is available online at self help radio dot net. It is advised you listen to it with friends, perhaps while wearing a colorful, pointy hat. Balloons will increase the enjoyment of the program, as will alcohol. The program is legally binding as a present from Self Help Radio &, as such, one cannot expect anything else for one's birthday this year from the makers of Self Help Radio. You're welcome.

Happy birthday you!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nearly Time For Birthday Fun!

I just said to my wife, "I'm a pretty good husband, all things considered."

I mean, I do a radio show for her every year around the time of her birthday! & here's something else - I've never repeated a song! I've played different covers of songs - most notably, the Beatles' "Birthday" - but there are enough birthday songs out there to sustain a show a year - & people keep making them!

What else does she expect from me? I should ask. She doesn't know why I'm asking. Now she's denying she scoffed at me. She insists I'm a pretty good husband after all. But then she adds, "But you'd be a better husband if you cooked every night."

Signs of discontent!

But I couldn't cook tonight because I was working on my shows, which start too darn early in the morning tomorrow on 88.1 fm WRFL. You can wait to find the shows - both Self Help Radio & Sugar Substitute - on the Self Help Radio website later tomorrow.

Will she listen to them? I bet she doesn't. Even though she's a pretty good wife, all things considered.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2010?

This is the conundrum. I love the woman I married more than pretty much anything in the world (with the possible exception of cheese fries) (which I don't eat anymore since I became vegan) but she doesn't really listen to my radio show. So why do I - why have I - for the past four or five years - dedicated an entire radio show to her around the time of her birthday? In addition, why do I crane my neck & strain my brain to make sure that show contains nothing but birthday songs?

I answered my own question, I know.

She knows, too. & she always knows. & so she gets another birthday show. As long as I can produce them, I'll make her birthday a plethora of birthday songs on a birthday show occasion. But why?

Because (as she might say, if she were paying attention): That's true romance!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Zeke You Say

Whew. As you can probably see from all the empty cans crushed on the porch, as well as the definitive lack of apple pie in the house, Zeke Moonshine was over to record his show & to try to lasso the beagles while having a blood alcohol level that makes his riding home on that pony a dangerous proposition. Still, he managed to play some nice country & blues songs & to keep the cussin' to a minimum. You wanna hear? The show is available right now at self help radio dot net.

I just wish he wouldn't build a fire in the front yard. It'll be glowing like that all night long.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Way Too Many Radio Shows So I'm All Worn Out

I know I didn't say anything, but I spent a lot of time these past three days on the radio, mainly subbing other people's shows on WRFL. To wit, I did the Crunkadelic Funk show on Wednesday, covered a free-form shift as well as the awesome "classic rock" show The Belfy on Thanksgiving Day, & then covered the Friday morning shift which included one hour of surf music on WRFL Surf!, which is the funnest show on the radio. So I am a little tired & dreaming of eating every pizza in the world tonight instead of writing on this blog.

Tomorrow there'll be a new Zeke Moonshine, but I am trying to be radio-free for at least twenty-four hours. This should coincide with me being whiskey-full.

Also, it snowed last night. How awesome is that? As I luxuriated in the deepening cold, my lovely wife the Magda adds, "I hate snow." She's lucky we get to winter in Australia this year!

I also want to say that Self Help Radio is not on Twitter. That is all.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Family, My Space

I didn't talk much about my family on this week's show, which was my annual "Dysfunctional Family Holiday" show. I probably should, next time. If there is a next time. If I still have a family then.

I should also mention that I had the most amazing teeth cleaning of my life today. The hygienist was awesome. Even though I was running on less than two hours of sleep & could barely string two words together. Or maybe because of that.

So the show is up at self help radio dot net for your listening plistening. There's also a new episode of Sugar Substitute. I don't have anything more to say about that.

I do want to mention that I deleted my myspace account. I personally like the fact that myspace lets me preview music from tons of bands, but I don't think the visitors to the Self Help Radio page went there for a "taste" of the show in the same way. Most were probably looking for playlists. Those are available elsewhere. Recently, the site's redesign - especially the fact that I was bombarded by ads for music & movies I don't like - made it difficult to visit, & it timed out a lot when I was trying to post playlists. It just didn't seem worth it, & I figured I'd kill it before it died of neglect, like some kind of tamagotchi.

My Facebook page is much more easy to keep track of & contains everything that the myspace page did. I also started a Tumblr blog a while ago just to showcase music videos & other nonsense - maybe that would appeal more to you?

Enjoy the show & the limited ways I attempt to reach out. & have a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A New Dentist In A New Town

I'm obsessed with teeth, with my teeth specifically, with the idea of losing my teeth. For the longest time I didn't take very good care of my teeth. I grew up poor, which may not necessarily be an excuse - I recently talked to someone here in Kentucky who grew up poor but has perfect teeth because she had parents wise enough to take advantage of whatever health care was available for low-income families - & they made their kids brush & floss. But I don't want to blame my upbringing too much - as embarrassed as I was about having awful teeth, I was much more afraid of the dentist.

I finally got my teeth fixed during college, & mostly people don't remember my awful teeth. (Some people probably do, but they probably weren't ever really my friends, & if they remember me at all, they remember an ugly fat kid with bad teeth.) I have become pretty great about visiting the dentist regularly since then. I was sad to leave my long-term dentist in Austin - he was apparently quite rough with folks, but he was always nice to me (my first dentist in Austin was, however, a douchebag) & I trusted him. The dentist in Huntington was a little smug, but otherwise pleasant. But now! There's a new dentist over the horizon!

The bad thing is that it's tomorrow morning - & my show is on quite early, so I'll have to stay up later than usual, & will probably fall asleep during the cleaning. I bet there's a bit of anxiety in my voice (more than usual) while I discuss dysfunctional families on my show tomorrow morning. It's on really early on WRFL - both online & at 88.1 fm - but I'll put it online soon enough on self help radio dot net. Also, it'll be clean. For the next six months at least.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Whither Dysfunctional Family Holiday 2010?

I've been celebrating the holidays with songs about fucked-up families since 2006. This will be my fifth anniversary show. I still am not spending any of the holidays with my born-into family, although I am spending it with my chosen family, the wife & the six fuzzy children. & also - with you! I'll be subbing lots of shows on WRFL this week - including, Wednesday at 2, the Crunkadelic Funk Show; Thursday at 4, the Belfry (WRFL's classic rock show); & Friday at 8am, WRFL Surf!. The deejays involved have kindly let me sit in their places while they sit with their families for the Thanksgiving.

So you're sort of like the family I'm choosing to be with this week. You can chose not to be with me by not listening. Which you can choose not to do on the fm dial at 88.1 or by not clicking the WRFL link above. You know.

Five years of shows like this! Do I come from a broken home or what?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Day, It Got Away

So I didn't have a chance to do the Zeke Moonshine show today. You'll have to forgive me.

I will reschedule for next week, although I *am* subbing three shows over the Thanksgiving holiday, so let's hope I'm not too frazzled.

One of the reasons the day got away is that I wasted thirty minutes waiting for take out from my favorite Chinese restaurant tonight. I was all set to be really pissed, but then it was so delicious that I forgave them.

Maybe if I make sure there's an extra-special Zeke Moonshine show next week it'll be so delicious that you'll forgive me for not being able to complete it today.

What are the shows I'm subbing next week? A funk show, a classic rock show, & a surf rock show. Why do you ask?

Really, I should be able to get Zeke Moonshine in next Saturday to do the show. It's not like his still blew up or anything.

All righty then. Thanks for being patient.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What A Situation!

I am reading (for the first time, although I did know of its existence & I think had to read portions of it in class when I was in college a million moons ago) Greil Marcus' "Lipstick Traces" & it is making me realize how much I love music all over again. Not that I forget, but often I am reminded & I swoon.

Like this:

"In Chicago, in 1957, trying to cut 'Little Village,' bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson & his white producer get into an argument over just what, exactly, constitutes a village - an argument resolved only when Williamson shouts, "Little village, motherfucker! You name it after yo' mammy if you like!" As a footnote, this explains why Williamson proceeds to take up much of the song with a discussion of what distinguishes a village from a hamlet, a town, or a city; it also explains a great deal about the evolution of the master-slave relationship. In Memphis in 1954, guitarist Scotty Moore responds to a slow, sensual early take of 'Blue Moon of Kentucky' by calling nineteen-year-old Elvis Presley a nigger; three years later in the same spot, Jerry Lee Lewis & Sam Phillips engage in an hysterical donnybrook over the question of rock 'n' roll as music of salvation or damnation. These moments explain most of American culture."

Just amazing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Destroy All Radio

In what some might call irony, I almost destroyed my computer today while trying to save a copy of this week's episode of Self Help Radio, which was about destruction. I am sleepy, you see, & it was being very unhelpful. However, my cats explained that I couldn't write to you if I destroyed the computer, & they hid my hammer, & after a few happy pills from Mr. Xanax, I was able to put the show on the website like promised & dance naked with the unicorns in the warmth of my bathroom floor.

Self Help Radio's highly destructive show about destruction (which was entitled "Destroy!") sits precariously at self help radio dot net. Please handle with care. Don't let it out of your sight. Nothing is safe around it. But it may be enjoyable to listen to. I wouldn't know. I was in a soundproof bunker while the bomb squad spent all morning trying to defuse it.

Please enjoy responsibly.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Destroy, He Said

This radio show is not an advocate for violence in any way, shape, form or deed. This radio show simply seeking to explore the concept of "destruction" when it uses the imperative "Destroy!"

Therefore, anything destroyed during the course of the show is not the responsibility of the show. This includes (but is not limited to) musical playback devices, other equipment, personal property, impersonal property, dreams, ideals, closely-held beliefs, illusions, misconceptions, currency, fluency, animals not personally favored by the deejay, humans same, humans who are not the same, & other "things" as covered in the previously document of indemnifications as approved by both corporate & state laws & regulations.

In other words, listen at your own risk.

That's tomorrow morning on Self Help Radio, live too early for your own good on 88.1 fm wrfl dot fm or archived sooner than you'd think on self help radio dot net.

This also applies to this week's episode of Sugar Substitute, but that show's safe for the entire family.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Whither Destroy?

Also, why not "Whither Destruction"? That sounds better.

Whether it's destroying you enjoy or just plain destruction, boy is Self Help Radio the show for you!

I mean, Evelyn Waugh might have said, "Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct & to refrain from destruction" (& I'm pretty sure he did) (it's true! his name was Evelyn & he was a dude!) (but I think to keep from being beaten up he pronounced it "eve-a-lynn" not "ev-a-lyn") but then Pablo Picasso said, "Every act of creation is first an act of destruction" & then IT WAS ON.

I actually don't know if the two of them even knew each other, although Picasso was alive the entire time Waugh was. Though Waugh was only alive a fraction of the life of Picasso. How much? Waugh lived 62 years, Picasso 91 (!) years. That means that Waugh lived about 7/10ths the amount of life Picasso did. In years. He might have lived more in, say, alcohol, but I really doubt it.

Anyway, the Marquis De Sade, who is often called in to break ties like this, said, "Destruction, hence, like creation, is one of Nature's mandates." & De Sade took a lot of men out on dates, so he knew something about mandates.

That's a horrible joke, but I was destroying your perception of my ability to tell a joke & it worked!

Expect Self Help Radio to be like that this week!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Jazz In The Brain Pan

There was another flash! of jazz in the Self Help Radio universe today as the fifth episode of Tags & Tricks magically appeared, after I played a bunch of songs & talked very little. Seriously, it's a nice show today featuring such artists as Sonny Criss, Yusef Lateef, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, & Joe McPhee, & many more. I kinda played really long songs today, so there are fewer artists than I regular play, but I more than make up for it by the amazingness of the music.

Where's all that jazz? It's where every radio show I do ends up, at self help radio dot net. Didn't you know? Well, you do now.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lazy & Amazing

She snaps her fingers, & wishes she had had the prerequisite typing lessons. But as the supervisor passes, she fakes it, she hunts & pecks.

It reminds her of her ridiculously codependent cat, who only enjoys eating if she is petting her. Seriously. She had had obese cats who will eat everything left out for them within minutes, but this cat - let me tell you, a feast could have been laid out by the most preeminent caterers in Europe & she would only have deigned to begin mastication once a sympathetic hand brushed against her fur.

What the fuck?

She never thought she'd join her cat on what she believed was the 13th level of unhappiness. Because even if her cat, at state zero (0), believed that she was happy (which was not state zero [0]), there was some other element that increased pleasure beyond happiness (state zero [0]), which existed when someone pet her, which must've been amplified when she ate, which was why she was petting her while she ate.

There were, she believe, twelve levels of unhappiness greater than that delusional level of happiness she - & her cats - lived at.

She sighs to herself, & says, later, on her blog, "Getting a job in 2010 - what're you gonna do?"

Her cat is insulted, but, luckily, is not allowed to have a blog.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Wings In Stereo

See, there are two wings, so they're in stereo - get it?

Not only that, but archived Self Help Radio shows (starting with this one) are stereo now. It also helps that I record it in stereo. I have this nifty device (as seen on televisions Law &/or Order) but it only records in mono. I use something else now, that captures the station's stereo output. So it's real stereo. Not that fake 1950s shit. Christ, that stereo was bullshit. Anyway, the files are larger but I had heard some grumbles from one or two porpoises so I thought, what the hell.

The show - & this week's episode of Sugar Substitute, which is also in stereo - is at self help radio dot net. The theme is wings, & the show may well reveal to you the secret of flight. If, you know, it was still a secret & not something humans as well as birds & insects & mammals like bats & some fish do all the damn time.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Our Overweight Sexist Media

Self Help Radio takes wing tomorrow by featuring a show about wings!

Here are the following kinds of wings which probably will not be featured in song tomorrow:

1) Paul McCartney's post-Beatles back-up band.
2) A folding section, as of a double door or of a movable partition.
3) The unseen backstage area on either side of the stage of a proscenium theater.
4) A section of a large building devoted to a specific purpose
5) Either of two groups with opposing views within a larger group; a faction.
6) Any of the meanings referring to anything in the military.
7) Any of the meanings referring to anything in sports.

Here are the following kinds of wings which will most probably be featured in song tomorrow:

1) Things that help creatures or human-made devices fly.
2) Metaphorical forms of the word that means the above.

Here are as many words I can make from the word "wings" so I can win at Boggle or whatever game that is:

I, is, GI (is that allowed?), gin, win, sin, wig, gins, wins, wigs, swig, wing, wings, swing

Here is when the show is on tomorrow so you can listen:

A little too early. Seriously, it's on at like 4:30 am.

Here are three ways you can listen:

Live in Lexington on the radio, 88.1 fm.
Live anywhere on the computer at wrfl dot fm.
Archived later (sometime tomorrow) on self help radio dot net.

Here is something you might not know:

The show on before it is called Sugar Substitute & it's a pop show I do. It's also archived later because it is in fact on too damn early.

We hope you listen in one way or another!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Whither Wings?

- Wither wings, so I shall fly no more!
- Why so unhappy, friend bird?
- Did you know, my bones are hollow, & I must eat so much every day, just to fly!
- It seems so unsafe here on the ground.
- Yet you hibernate in winter! I must fly vast distances, to keep warm.
- We admire you down here. We wish we were free as you.
- Free! I am cursed by my wings to endlessly soar!
- Seriously, that sounds awesome. Not a curse at all.
- While I may have wings, there are others that have wings, too.
- Others?
- Bigger others.
- Bigger mothers, you mean.
- They swoop down at me, they want to eat me.
- Dude, it's no different down here. Bigger mothers want to eat me too.
- Maybe being bound to the land is a curse as well.
- Maybe life is a curse.
- Wither life, so I shall fly no more!
- Or you could just stand right there, something will come by & eat you soon enough.
- Is that clock right?
- Which one?
- On the bank there.
- Oh, yeah. We had to "fall back" last night, we're not on daylight savings time anymore.
- Oh dear, I'm late! I gotta jet.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

How Cold Is The Metal You Love

Fellow lovers of our future robot overlords, let me beseech you, in this cold, cold times, press the coldest metal to your face, grip it tightly in frostbitten hands, lay with it, learn to prefer it to warm, imperfect flesh. Because in the process of our obsolescence, we will find our only consolation with the cold alloys of our robot paramours.

& the music they shall sing to us will be the music you can hear on Dickenbock Electronics, my (usually) every three week or so electronica showcase, a new episode of which is available for your listening pleasure at self help radio dot net.

Produced as a public service for the Committee to Replace Organics on Planet Earth, or CROPE. CROPE is pleased to announce that it now has a human on its Board Of Directors.

Go! Listen now! While you still have a choice!

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Face In The Furor

Aw, did the season start too soon for you? Here are handy tips for making sure you don't catch cold & miss out on the wonders of winter:

1) Keep it in your pants. Whatever it is, if it's not in your pants, it's colder than when it is in your pants, & when whatever it is is cold, it can lower your immune defenses, to let a dreadful cold sneak in & lay you low.

2) Eat plenty of healthy. Yes, healthy often suffers at the hands & feet of unhealthy, which is available in most stores, but surely you can find healthy wherever it is sold & consume more of it. Studies show eating a lot of healthy often keeps you well.

3) If you must exercise, make sure it's your brain. Too many famous people who once were alive & fit are now dead but did they think the right things? I'm not so sure. Reading is good, but also just pondering is worth your while.

4) Perhaps you should also be in love. While nine out of fourteen doctors find love to be distracting unless the sex is good, researchers are fixing the data to show a connection between love in your life & physical well-being. Look it up!

5) Your pets need to go for a walk. This applies mainly to dogs, who carry loads of diseases, but who, when you walk them, spread those germs outdoors & not in the confines of your lovely home.

6) I find alcohol to be delicious. Not so much if it's in medications, like that awful one that you take just so the alcohol in it will make you sleepy. But if that's all you can get - sometimes in the middle of the night, it is - salut!

7) Friends don't let friends get sick. If your friend is sick, you have not been a good friend & it means you probably don't respect him or her very much. Plus, that friend being sick may make you sick. Goodbye, friend!

8) Snow is more cold than soft. It does not make a nice pillow for cold winter sleepytime. Even if, in this tough economy, all you can afford to live under is a bridge. People have been known to make this mistake, or maybe it's just me.

Well! The staff & homemakers at Self Help Radio hope you enjoy this winter in the same way you didn't last year, & we hope these nine simple rules will force you to stay well all through the season & only get the flu perhaps in early spring when you least expect it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

But Did You Vote?

Sure, sure, this week's episode of Self Help Radio, which is about hunger, or being hungry, is now available for your listening pleasure at self help radio dot net, but that seems so unimportant. Don't you think? Because there's this crazy election going on! You should have voted. Did you vote?

Some people think it's foolish. Some don't care. Some think it's buying into a corrupt system. All I can say is, there's probably some truth to the negative comments. But it sure feels nice to vote. Even if it's voting against someone.

& who knows? Maybe one day we'll not get to vote anymore. You might at least want to say you did something so quaint - & desirable - once in your life.

Or maybe you'd rather listen to Self Help Radio?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Oh, You Already Know What's Important About Tomorrow

Yes! & it's not my stupid radio show. It's that you vote! Even if it seems ridiculous or hopeless, even if you haven't really cared in months, even if the media have already told you who's won - VOTE!

The choices aren't so great, I'll grant you. But at least you have something like a choice, right? One time, on KOOP, there was this inane show - it's probably still on - where the host, a simple but amiable fellow, was interviewing some high muckety-muck from Cuba during one of their "elections," & he asked him, "What's voter turnout in Cuba?" The man said proudly, "Ninety-nine percent of the population votes!" The host gosh-wowed about that & then tsk-tsked the low turnout in the United States, all the while never asking the most important question, which is: but aren't they voting for a single party? If that's the case, could there be another reason they go to the polls - perhaps because they might be punished if they don't?

Perhaps we should punish Americans if they don't vote. But then again, there is a punishment - have you seen the people who run our country? I don't think a one of us could stand to be in a room with a random sampling of any of them.

Vote! Vote! Vote! I say. It feels nice.

& if you're up early enough, listen to me tell you to vote on 88.1 WRFL fm! Don't wait to listen to it later when I archive it on self help radio dot net. It won't make any sense. But actually, you can listen to my shows any time. That'd be great.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Whither Hungry?

That sounds like something a pretentious waiter might say instead of "What can I get you?"

Billions of people in our world live in a state called hunger. Batman might have told members of the Justice League, "Hunger is good for the soul," but that just means he thinks starving children are more soulful than well-fed ones. Which is terrible logic, for both me & him. But it sucks for the Batman since he has a better reputation than I do.

Self Help Radio explores hunger this week because it realized that, about halfway through most of its shows, it could really use a snack. & not something junk food-y, like chips or nuts or whatever. A substantial amount of food, like a sandwich perhaps, or maybe one of those things that other cultures make which aren't really sandwiches but emulate sandwiches in a delicious manner, like a burrito, or a samosa, or even pizza, folded over like they do in New York. Mmmm.

Of course, Self Help Radio is also proud to explore issues of lasting import, like hunger, which has become more prevalent in this country during our Great Recession, & will probably continue to increase, since Self Help Radio expects the worst. & boy, does the worst deliver.

Self Help Radio will be full of depressing facts this week, like this one:

36.3 million people - including 13 million children - live in households that experience hunger or the risk of hunger. This represents more than one in ten households in the United States (11.2 percent). This is an increase of 1.4 million, from 34.9, million in 2002.

Luckily, Self Help Radio will accompany these facts with awesome music to offset this gloomy information.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Correcting The Unfairness Of Holidays

Living in West Virginia for a year did some damage, it's true. For one thing, it was such an awful place to live (& really, I just lived in Huntington, so I will freely admit that I can't say anything about any other town in West Virginia except I'm certain it's probably better) that it makes every other place look wonderful by comparison. I mean, after living in Huntington for about ten months, I visited Dallas & thought to myself, "I'd prefer living here." Dallas. Dallas, Texas. How awful must a town be to make Dallas look attractive?

One thing that happened around this time last year - & one of the neighbors scolded me for this lack of knowledge, as I didn't read the paper or watch the news - is that the town simply rescheduled Halloween. Halloween, you may recall, fell on a Saturday last year - a perfectly respectful day of the week for a perfectly respectable holiday. But the Thursday before, kids knocked on our doors tricking & treating. Why? Because the city decided Thursday was a better day for Halloween. Thursday!

I did wait for the rogue child, possessed of independent thought & an anarchic spirit, to come on Saturday, but no luck. I suppose they knew the rest of the city had given all its candy away on Thursday. Thursday! The kids had to sit at home on Saturday knowing full well the entire rest of the country was out trick-or-treating that night. Absurd.

It was burned into my Texan brain that that must be the case in Lexington, too. After all, it's just a hundred miles to the west. Of course, it's also two decades into the future here - so I was fooled. Someone told me - I don't remember who - or even if it were some delusion fostered by a thought-stunting year in the backwards world of Huntington - that Halloween would be on Saturday in Lexington.

The wife & I took the dogs for a late walk last night & I made her bring candy along with us to give to the trick-or-treaters I knew we'd meet out & about.

Of course there were none. Halloween is tomorrow. Lexington exists in the real world. I need to get used to that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Unhappy Is Your Zombie

I can't go to the Jon Stewart rally this weekend, which makes me sad. It's because of my dumb animals, who are my best friends & who I love more than anything. But still. Seriously, dudes?

I'm still not going to do a show this weekend. I'm going to watch the rally on television. So there.

I did do a show yesterday - subbing for two nice people named Katie & Travis - all about zombies. A nice caller asked me to put it online so I have. It's here: at the top of the page. That means, by the way, that you have three Self Help Radio shows for your Halloween pleasure, if you'd like: the aforementioned show about zombies, & the show I did Tuesday about haunted houses & last year's show about werewolves. What a punishment of screams!

I need to go sulk now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Think This Blog Is Haunted


Be wary, intrepid traveler, for Self Help Radio today emanated eerily from a haunted radio station, with many songs about haunted houses & not a single song about a haunted apartment or condominium. Really, not even one about a haunted hotel room or a haunted spare bedroom in the back with access only to a bathroom, no shower. Ghosts & other malevolent spirits need their space, I guess.

Also: boo!

Here's a trick: the show, which aired this morning, is available for listening now at any time at self help radio dot net . Here's a treat: you can download the songs from the show in mp3 form by clicking here to get the zip file . Over ninety minutes of fright, featuring some things you didn't hear on the show! Get them now! They're only available until the morning of November 1!

Did I mention: boo!

Would you prefer a show about werewolves? That's so last year - but you can listen to that show to right over here.

Thanks for listening & have a happy Halloween!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Especially Self-Conscious In My Dreams

It seems. I had a dream where, when I stepped onto a bridge, it slowly, as if made of elastic, dipped into the water. What do you do when your own dreams call you fatty?

You soldier on. For example, early tomorrow morning you'll get to hear Self Help Radio's Halloween 2010 show, which is about haunted houses. If you perhaps become a "fan" or "like" (whatever the case is) Self Help Radio on Facebook, you might be able to get haunted house music to play yourself. Or maybe you can just look at the page - it's located right here & if it's not a trick & truly a treat, it'll last until Halloween.

They like Halloween around here. I may have to walk through several graveyards to get to the station tonight. I hope it's not too ghoulish.

So if you can listen tomorrow, it's on 88.1 fm WRFL too early in the morning (4:30 am in fact) on the radio & online. Or I'll have the show up at the Self Help Radio website some time tomorrow. In time for Halloween!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Whither Haunted Houses?

Every Halloween Self Help Radio does some sort of Halloween show. I can't help it. I started out thinking I could do "general" holiday shows, you know, with a song about a ghost then a song about a vampire then a song about a zombie, but I started thinking, you know, Self Help Radio specializes in specific themes. The only holiday that I somewhat celebrate with a more or less general theme is Christmas, & that's because it would just be weird to do an entire show about mistletoe (for example).

So, my first Self Help Radio Halloween was of the generalest kind. The next year (Halloween 2003) was about ghosts. Morrissey was supposed to come to town around Halloween 2004, so I preempted my Halloween show for a Smiths show, but, terrifying as it was, he cancelled the concert. My 2005 show was about vampires, my 2006 show was about monsters, my 2007 show was about zombies, my 2008 show was about witches, & last year's show was about werewolves. It may seem as though I am exhausting all the major characters in the Halloween storybook, but it's not true! This year's show is about haunted houses. Ha ha! Didn't see that coming, did you? Ha ha!

Except, you know, in the title of this entry.

By far one of the most embarrassing things that ever happened to me happened in a homemade "haunted house" in my childhood. I even once wrote a short story about it. Hey! Maybe I can find it & put it here tomorrow! Except I'll edit it for length. Possibly even make sure it's at least readable. Many of my old short stories fail the "readability" test. & not because I wrote them in my completely made-up language called Garyrag. I only translate great books into that language.

"Haunted house" in Garyrag is "griffdo eeks." Just in case you were wondering.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weekends Incommunicado

Perhaps you've read this blog. Perhaps you're someone who gives a hoodley-hoo about the radio show this blog is arguably about, or the radio show programmer who writes this blog & also does the radio show. According to Google Analytics, you are about one-quarter of a person, because that's the average number of visitors this blog gets a day. I hope you didn't have a weird accident or anything!

As a regular reader (or irregular, if there's three-fourths of you missing) of this blog, you might have previously heard that the next two weekend I will have other engagements which will keep me from my regular Saturday shows. This will also mean that I probably will not be writing in this blog on those days. Whatever shall you do? It's not like there are other, more interesting blogs out there, are there? Of course there are! I read some of them more than this blog!

This week is my Halloween show, which is about haunted houses, & I will be listening to haunted house songs all the way to Missouri, where my friend LeAndra is getting married, & usually I give away Halloween CDs to people who call in to win them during the show. I can't do that this year - WRFL has a no-giveaways policy - but I can give them away on this blog & on my Facebook page, where you should also totally "like" me.

So if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, don't worry! I'm driving to Missouri. Then driving back from Missouri. The show will go on as promised!

Unless I have a weird accident or something & am reduced to one-fourth of a person.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Been A Long Day; Or, I'm Exhausted

If you're the sort of person who can only read one sentence because of ADD & then has to find another blog, then let me tell you this week's episode of Self Help Radio is available for your audio enjoyment at self help radio dot net. The theme is "this or that," & there's also a new episode of my pop show, Sugar Substitute, as well. Wait, you're the sort of person who, because of your ADD, can't get this far in a paragraph. My bad.

I do have an excuse for the tardiness in putting the show up, however. Some working dudes were repairing or updating or reinstalling or doing busy work on a power line & my electricity was off for about three hours in the middle of the day. True story! I decided, after waiting two & a half hours, to take a nap, & then, as I was dozing off, I woke to the hum of refrigerator starting up.

Which is better, it's true, than being awakened from a nap, as I often am, by the tap-tapping of annoying beagles who just want to go outside to chase chipmunks.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This Week In Media Manipulation

Hey! If you're reading this right now, & "right now" is defined as "six to eight pm Eastern time," you can listen to me play electronical music on WRFL 88.1 during that time. If you're not in Lexington (where it's been a lovely autumn day), you can listen online at

If you are reading this later, & "later" is defined as "sometime between Monday night & Tuesday morning," be aware that, mere hours from now, after I've left the deejay booth cold & alone on a Monday night, I will return cold & lonesome early Tuesday morning for a new Sugar Substitute & a new Self Help Radio. Sleep? Who needs sleep?

Actually, I'm craving pizza. I'll probably eat pizza in the next forty-eight hours, Then I will fall asleep on a pizza. That's my promise to you.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Whither This Or That?

Sometimes, while I'm doing Self Help Radio shows, I think of this dude I sort of knew in Austin. He was one of those loud-mouthed know-it-alls who would call the show all the time & ask questions he knew the answers to so that he could remember the answer the second after he asked. He seemed to like my show & I was always nice to him, & he knew other deejays at the station so often showed up to talk & talk & talk. Anyway, he once sent me a list of themes he thought I should do - themes I'm sure he had plenty of ideas about it.

Now, I can be pretty snobby - & I certainly don't want to be "obvious" about themes. Still, I've picked some easy ones. But his - well, they were both extremely general & generally banal. They were things like "rain" & "cars" & "crying." It's not to say I wouldn't one day do shows with those themes - in a way, they're "gimmies," easy shows to do because of the wealth of material.

But the fellow's personality & the utter unoriginality of the themes made me sniff & say, "Oh, those themes - thank you for suggesting them - but I'm looking for more challenging topics for my show..."

The truth is, sometimes I need a "gimmie." So that explains this week's theme, "this or that." How easy to find songs with the title [insert word here] or [insert other word here]! I'll be able to sleep more this weekend.

It turns out, of course, that the more general themes have so many more songs that it's actually harder to do the shows. I've been listening to songs all day & am nowhere near done. So. I deserve it for being such a snot. A more obscure theme might be more time-consuming in the search for songs to satisfy it. But general themes - even if they're easy - I have to spend the time. I want to pick the best songs to play, don't I?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Howdy! It's Zeke Moonshine!

As promised, here's a Pony Express missive letting you know that this week's episode of the Zeke Moonshine Show - starring Zeke Moonshine - as well as old timey country & blues musicians like Wilmer Watts, Ken Maynard, Casey Bill Weldon, the Girls Of The Golden West, Patsy Montana, Skip James, Bukka White & much, much more - is now available for your listening pleasure at self help radio dot net.

If you're not interested, might I suggest you stare at this lovely photo of the Girls Of The Golden West until you find yourself in the mood?

Please remember, though Zeke has his own still, he starts drinking & playing records long before you get there. Bring your own!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Caps Lock On!

I'll probably be talking about this more as we get nearer to the time, but the Saturday shows I do - Dickenbock Electronics, Tags & Tricks, & The Zeke Moonshine Show - will be postponed - not preempted - while I am busy the next two Saturdays in a row.

NOT THIS SATURDAY! Tomorrow will be the Zeke Moonshine show as promised!

But the Saturday after next I'll be at a wedding in (of all places) Missouri, & then the next week - if the creek is willing & the Good Lord don't rise - the wife & I will try to attend Jon Stewart's Rally To Restore Sanity. (Actually, I want to go to that one - the wife wants to attend Stephen Colbert's March To Keep Fear Alive.)

This means that the Saturday shows, bless 'em, get pushed ahead a fortnight. Will you ever forgive me?

I'll mention it as the time draws ever so near. But tomorrow Zeke will be here. I PROMISE!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hap-py An-ni-ver-sar-y!

The 8th Anniversary show is now up for listening & stuff at self help radio dot net! You will have to bring your own cake & party hats. I ate it all when the show aired this morning.

On the show I gave shout-outs to all the nice people who subbed over the years but can I do it also on this blog so I will be able to read about it later when I am sober? All right then!

Big thanks & much love to Little Danny, to CJ Buchanan, to Lisa & Jay who kept the show warm while I was on a winter vacation to Europe, to Art who took the helm on Tax Day 2007, to Justin whose excellent show I miss a great deal, to my apprentices who graduated into programmership after they took over my show for a day: the lovely & whip-smart Erin, the lovely & smart-alecky Stephanie, & the lovely & grizzled Gary, who I miss & whose tattoos appear regularly in my nightmares. Finally, a big thanks to Delaney, who didn't have to make a big deal of subbing SHR but did.

I don't think I missed anyone, but maybe I did. You should tell me. I calculated that I've done over four hundred Self Help Radio shows, so I hardly gave others a chance, but I should thank the nice folks who let ME sub THEIR show over the last few years too: the Jennifers &, later, Lace, for letting me sit in the sweet seat at the late, lamented Ear Candy; Scott for sharing his noisy space at Stronger Than Dirt; Jason & Joanna, for letting me babysit their baby Pot Luck before they flew the Austin nest; Andrew, whose Heliocentric Hootenanny is very much missed; Tracy & Smokehouse who did two great blues shows on different stations on the same frequency; Little Danny who trusted me twice to handle Soul Sauce; Taylor whose Queer Waves was always better when he did it instead of me or anyone else; Mark who let me dabble in the prog without being too nerdy about it; Lisa for the Clear Spot & Jay for the Lounge Show & Art for Jamaican Gold - how kind for you to trust me to do your excellent shows; & Justin for letting me sit in on the House Call as often as he did. Like I said, I miss that show a bunch.

There are others, too many, not to mention the shows I've subbed recently on WRFL for programmers I've not met yet. In most cases, I tried to follow the programmer's style & musical genre; insofar that I came anywhere near their standards of excellence, it was because I listened like a good pupil to their tutelage. Thank you all!

I may not get to sub any Austin shows ever again, but I hope that, when my sixteenth anniversary stumbles around, I'll have many different people to thank.

Happy anniversary Self Help Radio!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Whither The Counting Numbers?

As you may or may not have guessed, this is my eighth anniversary show. My first show as "Self Help Radio" (a name that took forever for me to come up with) was October 9, 2002. (I had done two or three other shows at a different timeslot, but though they were "themed," the show wasn't guaranteed the slot, & the name hadn't been attached.) By my count, I've done 402 Self Help Radios, though that doesn't mean 402 themes. If you eliminate the "regular" shows (my end-of-the-year favorites, my Christmas shows, the indiepop a to z shows, guest shows) (but you must leave in the "year" shows for my birthday, since they are a specific theme, & also the Valentine & Halloween shows, since they, too, are about specific aspects of the holiday) (I'm torn about shows dedicated to an artist, especially the ones where I play covers of the artists instead of all the artists - I'm leaving them in!)...

I count 337 separate themes. Wow.

Not only that, & not counting "The War On Sailing," which I don't have good records of anyway, I also subbed or covered at least 174 other shows on four different radio stations plus podcasts.

(This of course doesn't count any radio I did prior to Self Help Radio. I deejayed lots of time on KVRX in the 1990s.)

It's been a busy eight years! & I'm not stopping any time soon! So please listen to the anniversary show - airing very early tomorrow on WRFL 88.1 fm in Lexington & all over the world on computer, & then archived later (I'll say when) at self help radio dot net. Self Help Radio is eight! Does that mean we're in second or third grade?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Preface To The Counting Numbers: The Last Preface Ever?

When I was young, I made the mistake of mispronouncing "preface" in a public situation: a dumbass debate in eighth grade history class. I pronounced it "pre-face," not "pref-iss," & remember the gentle correction by my teacher, Mrs. Lane, & the class's ridicule, in the same memory pod. I should've looked at my Mirriam-Webster. What a fool was I.

On my second blog entry, I started the idear of the "preface" to the week's theme. I had some leeway then, as I did one show a week. Not now. Now, when I should be doing a preface, I'm doing an electronica show, or a jazz show, or an old timey country/blues show. It makes the blog entry where I explain the upcoming show the same blog entry where I have to say, "Hey! Listen to the show!" I've been uncomfortable with that.

You don't care, I know. But I do. & I'm the only person who regularly reads this blog.

So, from now on, no prefaces. This is the last one. I know, this could be an internal memo, but, seriously, no one's reading this but me, the person who writes it, so who gives a fuck? I am buzzing from tonight's Dexter, I could give half a shit what some random person who's googled "buzz" & "Dexter" thinks.

But yay! I've been doing my radio show for eight years! Yay! & I'm the only one who cares! Yay! Hooray!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

More Tags, Less Tricks

That doesn't make any sense, I know.

But hey! There's a new episode of Tags & Tricks, the jazz show I do, featuring such jazzy geniuses as Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Ornette Coleman, Billy Harper, Lester Bowie & more! available for you now to listen to at All this & Jackie Gleason gets slightly trash-talked too!

Aw, he's a big boy, he can handle it.

You should go listen! It's jazztastic!

Too much? Yeah, I know.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Done Declared

Are you telling your stories again? Did you bore and or offend someone with your constant chatter? I told you so. I told you so.

Some of those stories you tell are unwelcome, friend. People need to be receptive. You can't just start talking.

I know you want to tell the stories about the not-very-good radio station from which you so recently escaped. There's a good story or two there. Maybe. You need time to tell the story, though. Just jumping in - well, most people haven't been to that place, or been involved in non-commercial radio like that. You need to build up to the craziness, the small-mindedness, the wasted opportunities.

Oh, & recently you've been reminded of the story about the man deranged by his battles with a crooked board of directors at another tiny radio station. That's an awesome story, because it's got a main character that's both repulsive & sympathetic. But, again, you just jump to the end. You need a patient audience on your side, & their attention & interest.

I know the stories you want to tell. They can be very entertaining & thought-provoking, & some of the characters are colorful & comical.

You should get a blog!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Yay! Hooray! A Brand New Show Today!

While it's nowhere as interesting as an actual carnival, Self Help Radio's show this week is the next best thing: ninety minutes of songs about carnivals! True, there are no rides, but there are also no carnies trying to grift you, neither. So close your eyes, relax, go to... Wait, open your eyes. Now, go find the show at self help radio dot net - it should be at the top of the page - download it, & then, on whatever device you're playing it (it won't work on turntables, but you can try!), start the show - NOW you can close your eyes, relax, & imagine you're in a slightly squalid, previously abandoned lot near the highway, now occupied with creaky motorized rides, creepy people calling for you to try your luck at "games of chance" that seem a little dishonest, & the smell of the port-o-potties fighting with the smell of overly fried food.

Yay! Hooray! You're in a carnival in your head!

Have fun! Be careful! Thanks for listening!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Whither Carnivals?

I was just telling the wife how much I loved riding amusement park rides when I was a lad, & that's what'll always be a "carnival" to me - but that's not really what carnivals were.

Carnivals are supposed to have rides but also booths where you win stuff & then stages where freaks & magicians & odd people do odd things. If they have a main stage or places where people perform ("rings") they become a circus. Did you ever see the HBO series "Carnivàle"? That's what a carnival's supposed to be. & carnies are wiser & craftier than us regular folk.

Speaking of, a quote from this week's "The Mentalist": "There are two kinds of people, carnies & marks." That's a paraphrase.

The show happens tomorrow morning, you know, way too early for you to listen. But if you must, it's 4:30 on WRFL 88.1 fm. Sugar Substitute is on at 3. But if you're a normal person & you're asleep, I'll but it on the Self Help Radio website some time tomorrow.

Listen, or I'll get the freaks to come after you!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Preface To Carnivals: A Sweet Childhood Moment

I'm not entirely sure when this happened - I was in middle school, & it must've been seventh or eighth grade, as I don't believe my mother gave us lunch money when I was in sixth grade - but at some period of time, probably in the fall or the winter, a carnival came to Garland, Texas, & set up shop in the parking lot of the Ridgewood Shopping Center, right in front of the Minyard's. It was a small affair - maybe five or six rides, nothing fancy, & a few games in shabby wooden booths - but there was one ride, which was called "The Tilt-A-Whirl," which I just loved. If you don't know what the ride is like, this Wikipedia article shows a picture & a description. To me, the ride was somewhat like a game - it approximated merry-go-rounds, which I loved & missed a great deal* - & the trick to master was to get the car in which you sat to just spin & spin & spin**.

Every day for the week or two that the carnival was there, I would take the money I saved by skipping lunch & spend it on rides on the carnival's Tilt-A-Whirl. Tickets were a quarter, or maybe fifty cents, & in those days my mother gave my little brother & me a dollar each for lunch. (I think the school lunch was 85 cents with fifteen cents for a carton of milk or juice.) So I'd get either four or two rides - seriously, barely ten or fifteen minutes worth of fun - but it meant the world to me. The carnival was around the corner from where I lived, so I'd run there after school, ride the ride (I don't think there was ever a problem of my age or height - most probably the carnies didn't care), & then run home, dizzy & happy.

I wish I could remember my reaction when they finally packed up & went. I'm sure I've ridden Tilt-A-Whirls since, but I know I've never enjoyed them as much as that time. It may seem a lonesome memory - my little brother had no interest in going with me, & probably "told" on me to my mother, to whom I doubtless promised I'd never do it again - but many of my happiest childhood memories were just me & my mind discovering what we loved in the world.

* I talked about my love of merry-go-rounds on this page here.

** Usually the carnival was deserted so I was the only person in a car, but a couple of times I had to ride with others, & usually they made the ride more crappy. I had figured out how to get a decent spin started, but others had not. & some, of course, were scared of getting sick.

Bonus! Here's a picture of a Tilt-A-Whirl!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Okay, That Last Entry?

I changed my mind. I've posted this week's Dickenbock Electronics where it ought to be on a Saturday like this over at self help radio dot net. Moody robots all over the world would rejoice - if only they had emotion chips. But if we gave them emotion chips, what would happen next is - well, you've seen the Terminator movies. Or at the very least, Knight Rider.

Go & listen! It's ninety minutes of delicious electronica. & very little me. I was sleepy when I made the show.

This Week's Dickenbock Electronics...

...will be posted tomorrow. The day was lovely & I was lazy. Also, a little hungover. Though that's never stopped me before!

I bet you thought I was going to say it would be pre-empted for a week. That's if you thought about it at all. Which you didn't. Well, I didn't. I am delaying it temporarily. I have other things to do.

I must go shopping now. For soda & socks. I'll let you know when the show is available for your listening pleasure. Or, as the case may be, for your shunning pleasure. I understand both. Sometimes the most fun thing to do is to shun. In a sense, I am shunning now. Although "shirking" is more what I'm doing. Shirking my work. When shunning is fun.

Something like that.

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Best Phone Calls

Any person who's spent more than four hours on the radio - especially if those four hours are at night - will tell you that you get some interesting phone calls when you do a radio show. I can only speak as someone who's done non-commercial radio - I'm certain that there are screeners for commercial radio call-in shows who have great stories to tell, too - but the types of listener feedback one gets ranges from the sweet to the scary.

I will share one that happened this week during Sugar Substitute. If you've heard my shows - & I wouldn't expect you to have, especially if you like good radio - you may note that I do take requests. I like phone calls. I like to know someone's listening. So Tuesday morning - this would have been very early, before 4am, I get a call. It goes something like this:

"Hey, I'm sitting here trying to make love to my lady & she wants to hear something by the Magnetic Fields."

I ask if it's anything specific - mainly because I really don't think of the Magnetic Fields as "sexy." "Sad" & "romantic" do come to mind...

"I know," he says, "some of their songs are sarcastic but if there's anything you can play that will help my seal the deal..."

I promise to do what I can. I have the first disc of "69 Love Songs" & am thinking about playing something sad but lovely like "All My Little Words" when the title of the ninth track just leapt out at me. So, when I could, which was about two songs later, I played "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits."

He didn't call back. I assumed it did the trick.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eep! New Show!

Yes, this week's episode of Self Help Radio (as well as this week's episode of Sugar Substitute) are now available for listening at self help radio dot net. Consult your local augurs for ramifications. & be good to yourself!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 29?

This is in no wise a complaint, but I am now involved with a radio station which (rightly) reports its charts to chart-compiling authorities, but that means that, for the pleasure of doing Self Help Radio with impunity (ie, ninety minutes without requirements) I do have to fulfill the station's "playbox" directives whilst doing Sugar Substitute. This is sort of a bummer, because the previous radio station with which I was involved - well, their focus was not on music at all, & their music department was in disarray, not having had a real music director in almost a year. (&, well, the one they got was more interested in sports anyway) - so I could easily play whatever I wanted & that meant this:

When I did the Indiepop A To Z, I could "spill over" into Sugar Substitute so I tore through the list faster. But, alas! No more!

Yes, I will have to slow to a crawl again, for Sugar Substitute (which is of course new tomorrow) must needs also prominently feature new WRFL playbox material as well as my own pop choices, & there'll just be ninety minutes of Indiepop A To Z tomorrow. We're still in the Fs, but we are making a dent.

Listen! Tomorrow morning! 88.1 fm! Very early! Sugar Substitute at 3am! Self Help Radio at 4:30am! Online at! Archived sometime later at!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 29: Did I Just Plan This Because I Was On Vacation?

Maybe. But it wasn't really a vacation. I was visiting the family.

But it's true, since the "indiepop a to z" process is simply creating an alphabetical list & following it, it's not really as challenging as, you know, coming up with a theme like "serial killer sonatas" - & then having to find an ample amount of songs that cover the theme.

No, I'm not doing a show about "serial killer sonatas." There's no such thing.

I did daydream on the plane about two things. One is that I might find myself living, in a few years, on a planet without frogs & bees. That describes every other planet in our solar system, but it's a little disturbing for this particular planet.

Also, I have lately wanted to write two particular novels. ("Wanted" is a strong word.) One is a sci-fi novel about people living inside human brains. The other is a fictionalized version of some somewhat exciting stuff that happened at a radio station I used to be involved with. It occurred to me while I was trying to fall asleep on the plane ride home that I could combine the two. Beings in brains sabotaging a non-commercial radio station's pledge drive?! Now that would be gripping reading!

I actually finished a novel (reading) on the plane, Lorrie Moore's new book. It was (as expected) rather sad & amazingly funny & I wish I had more of it to read. Did I ever tell you, I wanted (a long time ago, after I read her book "Anagrams") to write her a gushy fanboy email but couldn't find an address for her online? It turns out that she teaches somewhere - the University of Wisconsin at Madison I think - & all I discovered was an office phone. So I waited until the middle of one afternoon & called her up. When a woman answered, I just quickly said "I love you!" & hung up.

The last part of that isn't true. I never called her. Long ago I stopped wanting to chat with people I admired. Somehow they're uncomfortable with my wide-eyed love of their work. They expect me to be cool or something. Like regular people do.

I've missed talking to you! Okay, I'm back now. What were we going on about?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Morning's Worth Of Mambo

There were ninety minutes of mambo madness this morning on Self Help Radio. Did you miss it? Don't worry! The show in its tireless entirety is now available for your listening pleasure - hip injuries notwithstanding - at self help radio dot net. If you're just feeling poppy, there's also a new episode of Sugar Substitute. So much goodness, such an old-school website.

I will be visiting family in Dallas for the rest of the week so you won't hear hide nor hair from me until Sunday at the earliest. That means this week's Dickenbock Electronics has been delayed for a week, so it'll happen next weekend. Self Help Radio will be on next Tuesday though, so don't fret. Just have a wonderful week!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Whither Mambo?

4:30 in the morning may seems an inappropriate time to discuss a dance & musical style that was popular over sixty years ago. You are wise to suggest that. I have however become painfully aware of certain (shall we call them) rogue elements in our fair city who are determined - nay, resolved - to not march to the beat of the same civic & cultural drum we ourselves use to keep time. I've heard of early morning screenings of late-night talk shows; of impromptu Jazzercise sessions; of kids taken to school in the early evening & made to endure home room at dinner time; & of course, mambo.

They mambo whenever inconvenient: in the line at the jewelry store; in the corner of your eye when you're enjoying too much Chinese food at a buffet; on national television during the news or any car commercial after ten p.m.; with friendly police officers who don't know any better; on a Thursday night in the privacy of their own backyards.

You see, 4:30 am may be the only time to expose these anarchists, these agents of chaos, these exceedingly silly folk.

& I shall. Tune in to Self Help Radio tomorrow morning at 4:30 am on 88.1 fm WRFL. You can listen online. You can also enjoy the show later that day on self help radio dot net.

It will be part exposé, part cultural commentary. But a lot of it will just be mambo.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Preface To Mambo: Can YOU Mambo?

I can't. In fact, at this late date, mere days before I do a radio show about the mambo, I still am not quite sure what a mambo is. There just seemed to be, you know, so many songs about mambos - or songs that were mambos - out there. I figured I'd catch on at some point.

I haven't done any research yet - really, I don't do much research at all, but even so - so I wonder if the "mambo" as a dance is related to the "mamba" as a snake. Or if the two of them have a similar origin.

Can you imagine this fellow dancing to Latin rhythms?

(I can!)