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!