Friday, February 19, 2010

Holy Wow! 800 Blog Posts!

It's true, this is the 800th entry for the Self Help Radio blog. That's more than the number of Self Help Radio shows I've done! & I started this blog after I had been doing the show for several years as well.

My first post was September 12, 2006. I don't know why I started it then - or really what I was going to do with it. I suck at promoting this show. Some might also say I suck at doing the show, but even if it's true, I can't admit that to myself. It's like, I know this dude who does Christian radio & it's all he has, & sometimes he wants to argue with me about my lack of belief, & I know three things about why that's a bad idea: 1) Neither of us can be convinced the other is wrong, or can convince the other of his correctness; 2) It ends up making one or the other or both of us kinda angry & frustrated because, you know, at some level saying what someone "believes" is not right is a little insulting; & 3) Even if I allow myself the egotistic fluffery to imagine I could get him to realize his highly-cherished beliefs are simply sad little lies he tells to himself, it would take away the one thing that both defines him & gives his life a semblance of meaning, & it's not Christianity - it's his radio show. He has so much Christian music, it would be one giant monument to his wasted years if he suddenly found himself bereft of faith. Though I guess there's always eBay.

My point, of course, is that it seems pretty evident that I'm not terribly good at this radio show stuff but what else would I do?

Let me tell you something about this guy: A few years ago, I had to play a character in a dumb video play which was improvised so that faculty at the University of Texas could learn how to edit video for pedagogical purposes. I "played" a groundskeeper at the University (they call the department "Physical Plant") who was a little slow, & they were interviewing my character about something miraculous that had happened, & I delivered a funny line when I was asked, "Do you believe in the supernatural?" I said, "No ma'am, I don't believe in nothin' supernatural. I believe in Jeezus!"

About four weeks ago, the Christian radio guy was trying to talk to me about his faith & I told him I wasn't a Christian. He was puzzled by this (in West Virginia, what else could you be?) so I said, "I don't believe in anything supernatural." "Oh, me neither," he said, "I just believe in God."

Which reminds me of that hilarious Van Morrison line in the song "In The Garden," where he sings, with painful earnestness,

No guru, no method, no teacher,
Just you & I & nature,
& the Father & the Son & the Holy Ghost
In the Garden

But I guess it's nice that Van Morrison doesn't think the Christian god is a guru or teacher, & that none of the things he asks you to do are a method. (I still like the song.)

Where was I? I'm a little sleep deprived & I need to get shit done before I leave for New York tomorrow. There won't be a Self Help Radio this week, or at least not one hosted by me. A nice kid named Brian will host it if you're listening. But I was talking about anniversaries.

Back in September, I calculated when the 100 post anniversaries were. I reproduce part of that here, & add new data:

The 100th post happened on March 7, 2007.
The 200th post happened on August 13, 2007. (158 days later.)
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.) (Also, at this point, Self Help Radio had become a show without a radio station.)
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, & my longest interval ever.)
The 800th post has happened now on February 19, 2010. It's been 149 days since then, & that's pretty close to average. Whew! Glad to be back!

I also once tried to give away something for this anniversary, but not enough people read this blog to actually care to get something special from me. Even dear old Mom, who these days just asks for money.

I may check in during the week but please miss me while I'm gone please. I'll be back the week after with Self Help Radio & Sugar Substitute. Maybe you'll listen to some old shows while I'm away? Pretty please?

All right. 800 down. Let's get hammered.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Late Reminder Remains Unlit

Ack! I forgot to remind you that this week's Self Help Radio, which was all about mud, & which is as much fun as playing in the mud, & which unfortunately will require you to bathe afterwards, is now available where it always is at You don't have to enjoy mud to enjoy the show, you know.

Also, this week's episode of Dickenbock Electronics is available for listening to too at the Self Help Radio website. If you're into that sort of thing. I like it. That's why I do it.

Did you know physicists are totally fucking with what we know about the universe these days? No, I didn't understand it easier.

Oh, & I did a show on Saturday which for some reason I'm calling "Saturday Night Rock & Roll" which may or may not be a regular thing & it's on the website as well. I know, you can barely stand the sight of me & here's six hours of radio. Just feel lucky it's not more!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Here's Mud In Your Eye!

That's an odd toast, isn't it? I'll mention it on the Self Help Radio show tonight, which is happening at midnight on 88.1 WMUL FM here in Huntington (archived later on the previously linked web site) (oh, I linked it again), but did you know that no one's sure of the phrase's origin, even though it's barely ninety years old? It's true!

The Word Detective hasn't tackled it, alas, so I looked around sites like The Phrase Finder & I found four possible origins.

The most unlikely (in my mind) is the one you'll find in this sermon, which suggests it's connected to the Gospel of John, where literal "mud in the eye" is used to heal. "When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, & made clay of the spittle, & he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, & said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. He went his way therefore, & washed, & came seeing" (John 9:6-7, King James Version - modern versions use "mud" instead of "clay"). I doubt this because drinkers, even a century ago, are probably not big Bible readers. But of course I'm not an etymologist, so what the hell do I know?

One person suggested that it comes from horse-racing, where the winning horse will kick mud into the losers behind it. As well, someone posited that it had to do with farmers raising their glasses to the "mud" to wish for fertility in the soil in the planting seasons.

A convoluted origin is that it relates to trench warfare in World War I, which, when a shell landed near you & all you got was mud in your eye, was a lucky thing indeed.

The one I like the best is the one that seems simplest: it may have something to do with the dregs or debris at the bottom of a wine glass - being a whiskey drinker, I wouldn't have thought of that - & if you drink it all down, as you do with a toast, you may get some of the "mud" in your eye.

It doesn't have to mean anything of course. In our time, people will say "here's shit in your eye," which sounds awful.

What won't sound awful is Self Help Radio tonight (well, I can't actually promise that...). Please listen!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Whither Mud?

Ah've been a big ol' fan a mud pert near mah entire life. Hell, ya could say Ah was born on mud. Mud's all what surrounded the broke-down shack where mah momma gave a-birth ta me an my seventeen siblins, all by her lonesome ceptin for the crazy Gypsy midwife what lived deep in the swamp. Mud is what Ah got ta play in for the first eight long years of mah life, an mud is what we buried half mah brothers an sisters in when they couldn't stand ta live round the mud no more. Mud is all Ah got when mah momma died givin birth ta my last brother and daddy took ta drinkin hisself to death. Mud is what Ah worked on steada goin to school for an education an mud is where Ah brought the only woman what ever loved me home ta when the preacher said "Now git."

Of course, none of that is true, & furthermore I am not sure that's even a real accent. It certainly sounds like someone trying to be vaguely Faulknerian while also trying to remember how the Beverly Hillbillies sounded. (Busted!)

I hate mud. I hated it when I was a kid. Among the slightly neurotic dislikes I have is getting stuff like mud caked on my hands. I don't care if it's on my knees or in my hair, but man it's annoying when it's on my hands. Same thing with oils, or lotions, or anything that slightly caky or greasy that in some way affects (I think) my hands' ability to touch things. I'm convinced it's the sensitivity of my hands that makes mud & stuff on them something weird.

One truth supersedes all in this matter: pigs love mud & I love pigs & therefore mud is a good thing.