Saturday, April 10, 2010

Preface To Melons: No, Not That Kind Of Melon

If one wants one's mind cleared up about difficult definitions, one could do worse than to visit the Urban Dictionary. Here, for example, are five of its entries for the word "melon."

1. n. cranium, skull, brain case, brain box
I slipped my hat onto my melon today in hopes of keeping my scalp from getting sunburned.

2. n. A single breast. See melons.
One melon was larger than the other.

3. n. someone stupid or someone performing an activity with seemingly no intelligence; shortened form of "melonhead"
He just ran into that fence. He's a melon!

4. n. A round & juicy fruit that is usually about the size of a football. It is commonly sliced up & de-seeded before serving. There are quite a few variants of the fruit including the popular watermelon.
Might there be some watermelon in your fridge?

5. v. The act of smacking another's forehead as a sign & act of derision.
That wicker fool done gone swiped my pewter so I gone & laid a melon on him.

Definition number 4, of course, is the one Self Help Radio will be focussing on & of course the most common use. But wow! I totally forgot about calling one's head a melon! Bugs Bunny would be mad at me.

& definition number 2 is inappropriate for the radio.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Courtesy Call

When Mr. Phobe got his courtesy call at six o'clock in the morning, he let his eyes slowly adjust to the blue darkness in his room before edging off the bed & trying to remember where the bathroom was. Every hotel had a slightly different arrangement, & he was always in a different hotel. He had forty-minutes for a shower & all his other morning ablutions, & then he would have to go outside, determine what city he had found himself in, & begin his day.

As he was shaving, he remembered something strange about the courtesy call. His mind was always foggy up until he shaved; he believed it came into focus so he wouldn't slash his throat or something similar, since he used a straight razor. Always had, just like his father always had. & the use of the straight razor did focus his mind, woke him up actually, much as folks who needed a cup of coffee used the caffeine to sharpen their thoughts. He actually sharpened his thoughts with a steel blade. He said that aloud to himself & chuckled.

Was it something the woman said in the courtesy call? Usually it's a short sentence, something like, "Mr. Phobe, this is your courtesy call, it's six o'clock in the morning." The bigger chains had automated the process, which is why he tended to favor smaller hotels, or bed & breakfasts if he could find one. This morning, it had been a peculiar female voice - therefore it wasn't a recording - but she hadn't stuck to the script, she had said something unusual. What had it been?

He knew a thought like this would torture him for the rest of the day if he allowed it to. After he had dressed, he went downstairs to the small breakfast nook in this small hotel & got hot water for his tea. He saw an idle hotel worker & asked him pleasantly who made the courtesy calls in the morning. But the worker was unhelpful, even a little insolent, so Mr. Phobe left unsatisfied, even a little embarrassed to have asked. Yet he knew the unclear recollection would gnaw on him for the rest of the day, & he went to the front desk.

"Good morning, sir," said the young lady there.

"Good morning, young lady," said Mr. Phobe. "I have what might be an odd question. Who makes the courtesy calls in the morning?"

"Courtesy calls?" she asked with a smile.

"Yes," he said, "the courtesy call, to wake me up in the morning."

"Oh," she said, shaking off the confusion, "we don't call those courtesy calls. We call them 'wake-up calls.'"

Mr. Phobe didn't know how to respond.

"A courtesy call," the young lady at the front desk went on, "is what telemarketers commonly call their solicitations, to sugar-coat or otherwise obscure their intrusions. There's also a diplomatic courtesy call, which is probably where telemarketers & other salespeople got the term. But of course the 'courtesy call' in the telemarketer sense is the exact opposite of courtesy. It is, in fact, incredibly discourteous, often made at hours when one wants most to be with family or to relax. The calls made for the purpose of getting the consumer's money, not to help them in any way."

Mr. Phobe could not think of any sort of reply. He said, "Thank you," & turned away.

But now he had a bigger problem. He had been calling his wake-up calls "courtesy calls" nearly his entire life. What exactly, then, were his wake-up calls?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


That doesn't sound too threatening, does it? Not like when LOVE turns to HATE! That sounds awful!

If you like Self Help Radio, I hope that this week's show, called "What I Like," doesn't make you dislike it. However, if you dislike Self Help Radio - & seriously, who could blame you? - maybe this show will make you like it. Probably not, but hobos spring eternal.

It's in its usual place (the show, not the hobo) (didn't Emily Dickinson say that hobos are the things with feathers? maybe she meant after being run out of town with tar & stuff) which is I would like it if you listened to it. I would like it more if you liked it.

However - it may soon turn to DISLIKE - so listen fast!

(How does one listen fast?)

Monday, April 05, 2010

The Difference Between 'I Like' & 'I Love'

Is there one?

Perhaps 'I Like' is meant to mean that you spend a great deal of time & attention on the object of your liking, but 'I Love' means you have something like an obsession. For example, "I like cheese & I like potatoes, but I love cheese fries!"

Not to imply that there needs to be a correlation between the likes & loves. Another example could be, "I like traveling to Ohio but I love getting Swedish massages!"

In any event, strong feelings or no, there will be many things listed that are liked on tonight's Self Help Radio. It will air at midnight in Huntington, West Virginia, on 88.1 fm WMUL, & then will be placed on a dusty shelf for you to stare at on the Self Help Radio website.

Perhaps many secrets will be revealed! Or perhaps further confirmation of my utter dorkiness will be provided. Either way, I hope you listen.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Whither What I Like?

Daniel Falsename of Winner Lakes, West Oregonia writes,

Dear Self Help Radio,
I see that your upcoming show is entitled "what I like." This disturbs me. I'll tell you why.
I and my grandmother Sam, who doesn't like your show because she can't understand what a radio is, we always assumed that whatever you played on the show was what you liked. I understand that other deejays at commercial radio stations have to play things that they don't like, but never Self Help Radio!
But if you now are presenting a show called "what I like," what am I and my grandmother Sam to think except that everything previously had been not at all what you like, and now you are finally, after forty years on the air, playing what you like.
Can that be? If so, what am I and my grandmother Sam to do?
Yours etc.
Daniel Falsename

Thanks for the letter, Daniel. I understand your concern but unfortunately, you're partially correct. As you might have read in The Wall Street Journal or perhaps Auto Trader, Self Help Radio, formerly a cooperative entity owned by all its employee, has been acquired by a wealthy multinational based on Easter Island (or rather a houseboat floating somewhere nearby - apparently the multinational is really creeped out by the big head statues) & the former host, Gary, has been replaced by a new host, Gary (me). To distinguish myself from the previous Gary, I am beginning my tenure on the series by stating obviously what I like. After that, I will be forced to play what the multinational likes.

Remember! The old Self Help Radio answered your letters! The new one, well, maybe not so much.