Saturday, December 31, 2011

Preface To Trips: Year End Accounting

If it turns out anyone has actually read this blog, he or she will know that I love to count things. Dumb things, like the number of posts in the blog, & also the number of radio shows I've done. I like to keep most of them to myself - but since it's the end of 2011, I thought I post this little bit of number crunching.

(Note: no numbers have actually been crunched.)

In 2011, I did (according to my count) 149 radio shows. That means roughly one radio show every two & a half days. That's a lot of radio, I know. In a different world, I'd be punished for it.

But is that number correct? It certainly didn't seem to me that I've been up at the station every three days. It turns out that when I counted my radio shows, I didn't take into account the fact that I tend to do two radio shows in a three hour period - Sugar Substitute for ninety minutes, then Self Help Radio for the same. So if I add that to my calculations, I did 94 shows in 2011 - which is still a lot, or a show about every four days.

As for Self Help Radio, there were 49 episodes this year. I'm not entirely sure where I was during some of those weeks - I thought I had taken just two weeks off this year.

What a lot of radio though! My word!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Once More, Near The End Of The Year

I met a man with a sore on his foot. I could not, myself, see the foot. I could only hear the sore.

"That's some sore, sir," I told the man, who was old & could no longer wince.

"Sorcerer?" he said superciliously, which I took super-sillily.

"Does it often sound as sad, your sore?" I asked once more.

He told me a story, which he bade me not to tell, but I will tell, now that his own tale is told.

He said, "I once was a titan, a leader of men. I led some women too, but only astray. The men I led were men of iron, not of lead, & they followed me to the end. The end of the street. They went to their one-room shacks on the right, I went to my mansion on the left. It was a company town. But that night I did not want company. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to eat alone. I wanted to sleep alone. I wanted to remind myself that I was a lone wolf."

I said, "Was this before or after the present day?"

He continued, "Night came & went, & still I was alone. But now I no longer wanted it. I wanted to hear the bells of the factory & the whistles of the church bells. I wanted to be reminded of Emma, now long forgotten, whose life had so nearly touched mine. Or of Emma, Emma's cousin, with the same, unfortunate name, who to this day runs a mile & a half every morning just to wake up. Her alarm clock, you see, is a mile & a half away."

I said, "I can't hear over the soaring score of your sore!"

He waved a dismissive hand. "The more I grew aware of my surroundings the less I cared about the mansion, the men I led, the place from whence we all came. Instead, I had to go where I was certain I could be more or less myself. So I went to Mysore."

"Your sore?"

"Mysore," he said, "in India. Though it's a lovely city - second in size only to Bangalore - & rated the second cleanest city in India in 2010 - it turned out to be a terrible chore. I could not find myself in Mysore."

"But," I asked, "did you find your sore in Mysore?"

"Young man, your sore is not as loud as my sore, nor (I might add) is it as loud as Mysore, which is a great city of nearly a million inhabitants, all with something to say."

I was late for writing this blog entry so I became impatient. I suddenly realized the man was an outpatient.

"You have been treated for your sore!" I said triumphantly. "& now you are returning home."

"Alas," said the man, as his sore made a low moan, "the story is never that simple."

"Humor me," I said phlegmatically.

"I will not humor you!" he said with bile.

"Then you leave me no choice," I said. "I will ask the sore!"

To the sore I swore I would say no more. Do not implore nor explore this lore! I cannot ignore the roar of your esprit de corps, but though I am done for, I'll underscore the origin's core: it was something of a bore.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Live! From Planet X!

The oldest surviving dance form in India is called Odissi. The oldest non-surviving dance form in India does not have a name yet. We're working on it.

The spaceship left for Planet X sometime in the morning from a farmhouse in County Donegal, Ireland. The passengers, if you want to call them that, were not in the least bit Irish. There was an element of bad planning.

In the spirit of romance, he wanted to name a lunar impact crater for her, only to discover that they were all named, & have been for some time. Therefore, he argued that the logical step would be for her to change her name to that of an existing lunar impact crater. He suggested Inghirami.

Meanwhile, on the way to Planet X, the space toilet gets clogged up. Everyone blames Barnes.

To understand the next part of our tale, please familiarize yourself with the effects of human exposure to vacuum.

Our heroes may return to find their planet reduced to a feudal state.

The entire adventure, I am told, will be performed a cappella by several college singing groups in competition. A well-known but possibly washed-up director with his screenwriter pal Jimmy has already purchased the rights.

(What you've all been waiting for) Live! From Planet X! They answer the door! They're invited in! It's very nice! & classy! (That's a surprise!)

The new motto: "We'll Show YOU A Good Time On Planet X!"

Monday, December 26, 2011

Indiepop A To Z Continued

Oooo, so close! Three songs away from finishing the indiepop Gs!

Today I shanghaied my freeform pop show, Sugar Substitute, to play three hours of indiepop in alphabetical order, from Gold-Bears to Guild League, in my foolish, ridiculous, OCD-driven plan to catalog indiepop bands, musicians, & influences. Maybe I'll never finish this, but it's sure fun trying.

The shows are available at the Self Help Radio website, but below are direct links to each show (they're both in two parts), & below the below there's a list of the songs in each part. Feel free to yell at me for missing a band or artist that's important. After a while, poring over lists, thinking too hard, my brain turns to twee & mush.

Indiepop A To Z # 34 Part I
Indiepop A To Z # 34 Part II
Indiepop A To Z # 35 Part I
Indiepop A To Z # 35 Part II

Thanks for listening! Self Help Radio returns to random themes next week!

Indiepop A To Z # 34 Part I

"Tally" Gold-Bears _Are You Falling In Love?_
"George Hamilton's Dead" The Golden Dawn _Air Balloon Road_
"Now I Hear The Train" The Golden Rule _The Golden Rule EP_

"My Life Is Like A Stanley Knife (Cut, Cut, Cut)" Golden Strings _Split 7" with Buy Off The Bar_
"A Summer Escape" Golden Teardrops _A Summer Escape_
"Wherever" Goldstoned _You Thought It Was The End Of The World When The Rain Ruined Your Hair_
"Virtually Happy" Golightly Holly _The Good Things_
"Rose" The Good Natured _Birdsongs, Beesongs: Eardrums Spring Compilation 2009_

"We Are Not The Same" Good Shoes _Think Before You Speak_
"First One On The Beach" Goodnight Monsters _Summer Challenge_
"Dancing Shoes" Goof _C06_
"Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows" Lesley Gore _Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows: The Best Of Lesley Gore_
"Young Girls & Happy Endings" Gorky's Zygotic Mynci _Barafundle_

Indiepop A To Z # 34 Part II

"Automobile (with Tracyanne Campbell)" Gospel Music _Duettes EP_

"We Are The Gothic Archies" Gothic Archies _The Tragic Treasury: Songs From A Series Of Unfortunate Events_
"I'm Used Now" Grab Grab The Haddock _Three Songs By Grab Grab The Haddock_
"Bad Days Must End" Gradapenda Rosindale _The Sound Of Leamington Spa Vol 5_
"Song 18" Grandrapids _Symphony For Heartbreak - US Pop Life Vol. 9: Seattle/Portland_
"Baby In A Plastic Bag" Grape _Baby In A Plastic Bag_

"Breaks My Heart" Grapes Of Wrath _September Bowl Of Green_
"St. George's Way" The Gravy Train _St. George's Way 7"_
"We Say No" Great Aunt Ida _How They Fly_
"Amen" Great Chefs Of Europe _Amen_

Indiepop A To Z # 35 Part I

"A Little Touched" Great Lakes _Great Lakes_
"All I Could Do" Great Outdoors _World At My Shoes 7"_
"Head In The Clouds" The Great Outdoors _Head In The Clouds_

"Letter To A Fanzine" Great Plains _Length Of Growth 1981-89_
"Hold Onto The Rail" The Great Unwashed _Clean Out Of Our Minds_
"Jessica" Adam Green _Friends Of Mine_
"I'm Gonna Stay With Her" Pete Green _Platform Zero EP_
"Summer's On" The Green Fields _Melodies For Afternoon_
"Kim The Waitress" Green Pajamas _Indian Winter_

"I Get It!" Green Peppers _Ave Marina: Ten Years Of Marina Records_
"The Millionth Lovesong" Greenhouse _Knowing Where It All Leeds_

Indiepop A To Z # 35 Part II

"Philco" Grenadine _Goya_
"Faces" Greyhound Green _Baby I'm Yours_
"Just A Silly Phase I'm Going Through" The Groove Farm _The Sound Of Leamington Spa Volume 2_
"Innocent Yuppie" The Groove Machine _Try A Little Sunshine: A Greek Indiepop Compilation_

"Summer" The Grooveyard _Uncle Arthur's Pop Parlour_
"Andy Watch Out!" Paul Groovy & The Pop Art Experience _Andy Watch Out!_
"Of All The Girls In The World" The Groovy Cellar _Review III (Marsh-Marigold)_
"You Make My Head Explode" The Groovy Little Numbers _You Make My Head Explode 12"_
"Don't Wake The Dead" Guards _Guards EP_

"Cucurucho" Guatafán _Cucurucho_
"I Am A Scientist" Guided By Voices _Bee Thousand_
"Citronella" The Guild League _Inner North_

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 34 - 35?

It's true! Tomorrow Self Help Radio & Sugar Substitute are teaming up to continue the Indiepop A To Z series!

When we last left the foolish, interminable attempt to be comprehensive, we were still in the Gs... We finished with the Gol Gappas, which can only mean bands with "gold" in their name can't be far behind! (Actually, they're right behind. We're starting with Atlanta's Gold-Bears.)

Spoiler Alert!

I did that too late, didn't I?

I have fifty songs in my head right now which will take us to the end of the Gs. Will one hundred eighty minutes be enough time to get through them all? You'll have to listen to find out!

Remember, Indiepop A To Z # 34 airs on Sugar Substitute from 6am to 7:30am, while Indiepop A To Z # 35 airs on Self Help Radio from 7:30am to 9am. You can listen in Lexington at 88.1 fm or online at wrfl dot fm. The shows will be archived - as are virtually all of the indiepop a to z shows, later at the Self Help Radio website.

Fans of indiepop, alphabetization &/or OCD behavior - I'll see you tomorrow!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 34: Why Talk About This On Christmas Eve?

It was a lovely day in Lexington. I spent the morning preparing the Christmas show I'm playing tomorrow morning from 6 to 9 am on WRFL. Then I continued listening to bands & musicians whose alphabetically important name starts with "g" since I will be continuing the indiepop a to z this Monday. Might I even finish the Gs? I don't know!

Then I walked the dogs. It was sunny & not that cold & doesn't feel much like Christmas - the clerk at the "co-op" in town (it's not a co-op, but they call themselves one) didn't even wish me a happy holiday - but it did get nippy as the sun sank toward the horizon.

I am thinking about what to make for dinner while listening to stuff for Monday's show. You might hear my multitasking brain while I am typing - "Is Guadalcanal Diary indiepop?" it just thought, before answering itself, "No" - as I sort through the list. This is both the easiest & most time-consuming show I do. I might even finish the Gs!

You're not reading this right now, if ever, but if you are someone who celebrates the Christmas Eve & then the Christmas Day, let me say on behalf of everyone at Self Help Radio (it's basically just me & three dogs & three cats & whatever birds & squirrels are hanging around the bird feeder) that we hope you have a safe & happy holiday. You deserve it!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Self Help 101: Surviving The Holidays With Families

Do you have a family? You may think yourself lucky. There are, as we are solemnly aware in this season of credit card debt, many people who've lost other people, or who never had them in the first place. & if you think that's a bummer, you may know be coming to this realization: holy crap in a blanket, I'm going to have to spend the next few days with my family!

Family, as it probably says in the Bible or something, is like a tumor: most are benign. But no one really wants to get a tumor, not even as a conversation starter or a reason to take the day off for elective surgery & the biopsy party that night. (There are, as Oscar Wilde once noted, better reasons to have a party.)

Yet we must ask ourselves in this season of homophobic Salvation Army bell ringers: what if our family is malignant? Who's going to tell Mom? Does it have to be me? Below is a list, gathered from the sages of ages & some Family Circus cartoons, of ways to survive the time with the family at least until there are better prescription pills.

1) Choose to hear the most common offensive remarks (racist, misogynistic, jingoistic, etc.) in the context of an anthropologist visiting from the future. Perhaps write a few of them down.

2) Give useless advice to one family member & then say another family member told you to tell them that.

3) One is often told to stay away from touchy subjects like religion & politics. However, you do not have to avoid them; instead, brush up before the holidays on obscure ancient religions & the politics of dead civilizations.

4) Respond to most queries with a smile & a wink.

5) In situations where a drunken or old (or both) family member is about to tell the same story they've told every year, pay attention like you've never done before, often exclaiming things like, "Ooo, I know this one! It's a good 'un!"

6) Don't be so rude by listening to music on your mp3 player or texting all the time on your phone. Be so rude by pretending to fall asleep while sitting at a table.

7) Have short poems from amateur internet "poetry" sites printed on pieces of paper. Give them to family members & say, "This made me think of you." Or, if the poem is exceptionally bad, say, "Can you tell me what this means?"

8) Weather permitting, position yourself always just out of earshot.

9) Hug family members quickly, often muttering words of consolation, then pretend to be distracted by something else & move on.

10) Continue that search for those better prescription pills.

Happy holidays & stuff from Self Help Radio!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Have Yourself A Gary Little Christmas

What, did you think this year's A Very Self Help Radio Christmas was the end? Oh no. Despite the fact that I don't really celebrate Christmas, & will in fact be mostly drunk throughout the holidays, I am actually going to be doing shows on Christmas Eve & Christmas Morning. What? No way!

You can catch me from 6 to 8pm on Saturday night & from 6 to 9am on Sunday morning. Basically, I'm bookending Santa's flight.

Might I remind you that you can also hear a Christmas show I did two years ago in a different state on a different radio station here? I don't repeat myself often, if at all, on Self Help Radio, but when I'm doing other shows, repeats are allowed.

I promise I won't scream into the microphone like I've been doing lately.

UPDATE: I won't be doing Christmas Eve after all. Oh well. More drinking for me!

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2011

Happy holidays from Self Help Radio! Here's a selection of holiday tunes that range from the goofy to the schmaltzy.

The show is in two almost equal parts at the Self Help Radio website. Part one is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Part two is donning now its gay apparel. What's in each part is below.

The best wishes for you & yours during this festive season! As always, thanks for listening!

(part one)

"The Kinds Of Christmas" Ken Nordine & Chorus _Merry Christmas From Line Material 1958_
"Santa Santa" Rocky Fellers _Look At Killer Joe Go!_

"Christmas Ferret" The Amoeba People _Incomprehensible Communications_
"Disco Claus" Bionic I _Disco Claus_
"Christmas Bop" T. Rex _T. Rex Wax Co. Singles, Vol. 2 (1975-1978)_
"Sleigh Ride" Lio, Helena Noguerra, & Marie France _Ze Xmas Record Reloaded_
"Twelve Days Of Christmas" Mike Sammes Singers _White Christmas_

"The Chord Cracker" Hugo Kant _I Don't Want To Be An Emperor_
"Do You Hear Rainbows I Hear (Apollo Zero Reconstruct)" Apollo Zero _Santastic III In 3-D_
"To Make A Christmas Cake That Will Keep Until Easter" Alan Maitland (Fireside Al) _Fireside Al's Treasury Of Christmas Stories_

(part two)

"It's Christmas Baby (Why You Wearin' Black)" Aquavelvets _Fuzz, Acid & Mistletoe: Christmas In The Garage_
"Christmas Here On Mars" Bubble _Xmas EP_
"White Christmas" Doug & The Slugs _Slugcology 101_

"On A Christmas Day" Leadbelly _Leadbelly_
"Christmas Sing-Along/Deck The Halls" Sesame Street Gang _Sesame Street Christmas Sing-Along_
"Santa Got Lost In Texas" Michael Landon _Bonanza Original TV Cast: Christmas On The Ponderosa_
"Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" The Ralph Hunter Choir _Christmas Surprises_
"Jingle Bells" Balla Tounkara & Balla Kouyate _Malifoly_

"Merry Something To You" Devo _Merry Something To You_
"Christmas In The Center Of The Earth" Wow _Business Deal Band Lotto 2_
"For Christmas I Got Pityriasis Rosea" The Research _Rhubarb Bomb Xmas EP 2007_
"Christmas Is Cancelled" The Long Blondes _Christmas Is Cancelled_
"X-Mas Song" Fireflies _Goodnight Stars, Goodnight Moon_

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Whither A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2011?

'Twas the night before the Self Help Radio Christmas show,
& all through the house -
Well, I can't see all through the house -
All the hounds & cats were on the sofa with the wife
Watching the season finale of "Homeland"

What, you can't write a "free verse" version of a Christmas classic?
It would be a hard thing to have to rhyme
At a time like this
See, I can't even manage it in that manner
I guess it really is kind of lame

It actually reminds me of a chick I used to know
Who wrote me emails that were like this
It made the emails seem to be "poetic"
& added bulk to them
When the content was really just
Barely a paragraph

Oh well, let's go back to talking about Christmas
One show! A show a year! One Christmas show!
If only that made it all go away
Instead, it's just another year
Will you listen & not be like
the hounds & the cats & the wife on the sofa

They always sleep through my show

Listen! Listen! All through your house & car or whatever!
From 7:30 to 9am on the 88.1 frequency
That's in Lexington
Or online at wrfl dot fm
(Archived later at the Self Help Radio website)

Fa la la la la la la la falafel!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Preface To A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2011: Two Sides Of Christmas

I mentioned yesterday that I don't really do Christmas except for a radio show. You perhaps either pitied or loathed me as a Grinch. Today I saw two sides of Christmas that, while probably not encouraging me to either forgo my tiny Christmas activity (the show) entirely or perhaps make me start celebrating more, did challenge my indifference - or is it my ambivalence?

The wife & I were driving to some place to return something after a pleasant experience at the grocery store. The place we were returning the thing to was a giant chain store which will probably be out of business in a couple of years - when I was there buying stuff to return later, there were more employees than customers - but it's near a mall, & when we moved to Lexington eighteen months ago, we were warned to stay away from that mall at Christmastime. We should have listened.

It was Christmas at its most crass. Crassmas. Abhorrent. I wanted no part of it, but it took just as long to get out of there as it would have if we'd done the errand. Abysmal.

But earlier in the day, I received from my oldest sister a gift in a package from her & my mom. The rest of the things in the package were nice, but my sister gave me this cookbook. I've been cooking a lot more lately, & I've talked to her about it, & I've mentioned liking this writer's other cookbooks & her online recipes. It was just incredibly thoughtful. (I need to tell her, too! I haven't yet!)

Most presents I've received at Christmas post-childhood have been pretty disappointing. But that gift reminded me that Christmas can be a time to show people you love that you actually pay attention to their lives. That was nice.

Off to listen to more Christmas music now!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Self Help 101: Holiday Shopping Made Simple

I have the simplest way to beat the crowds & still manage to get all my holiday shopping done. & it's not by doing all my shopping online, no. It's by not doing any shopping at all.

You see, as a middle-aged man whose children are all of the four-legged variety, & who has found himself in the (let's say) middle of his life without any supernatural beliefs, the two main reasons for celebrating Christmas have evaporated. In a secular sense, children are the reason for the season - they get time off school, as well as wonderful gifts (if they're lucky, of course - there are a lot of poor children out there). They are encouraged to believe in Santa. This particular interpretation can be shared by Christians & non-Christians alike, & holds a place in my heart for the rage it causes some but not all conservative douchebags.

The other Christmas, of course, is the one that celebrates the early Catholic Church's co-opting of the Roman winter solstice festival, Saturnalia, to make it the birthday of their god, Jesus. Americans especially like to believe that this kind of Christmas has been going on forever, but of course it's a more recent phenomenon. This type of holiday involves church-going as well as gift-giving, & inspires slogans like "put the Christ back in Christmas" & (this is a true story) once caused a drunk girl at a 7-11 to get mad at me because I wrote "X-Mas" instead of "Christmas."

But! I hear you interrupt! I am either a Christian or a parent of young children, or both. If that is the case, this particular piece of advice can't help you. I know of only one way to simplify holiday shopping at this late date - well, all right, two, if you count not having enough money to buy anything except perhaps the essentials to stay alive during early winter - & that is to opt out.

Another reason to celebrate Christmas which has come to me now (because I don't really think about this one) is that it may be important to your larger family. Since I don't celebrate the birth of a supernatural being, & since I don't buy my dogs & cats gifts, I always found myself out-of-place (not to mention embarrassingly drunk) at the annual family Christmas gathering. If you have siblings & parents who are fond of you, this can pose a problem - I am fortunate that my absence has been barely noted, except no one gets as drunk as I did. I would hope your family likes you a bit more than mine does.

In this case, then, opting out can be hazardous to one's health. It's not just that so many people in this country (& in this part of the world!) have guns & believe that those who don't share their theological perspectives ought to be put down. It's that you could possibly offend your dear family members, the ones who might not understand your rejection of what to them is a lovely holiday tradition . It might behoove you to buy some presents after all, & make an appearance. If it's a time you can enjoy your family, that should be enough. & surely that lets you justify the hassle of visiting hectic stores in the next week.

If you are able to opt out, but fear the reprisal of armed fanatic, I recommend that, if you have a radio show, to do a Christmas episode once a year. Christmas music, especially the stuff that hasn't been played to death over the speakers in most stores, has a way of calming the easily-addled hearts of the frenzied Christmas partisan.

Good luck to you!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week: Episode Twenty-Five

It's time now to say adieu to the A Joke A Day world. Alas! I will have to find something else to write about on this blog on Thursdays.

What did me in? Nothing specific - I have simply been worn down by the insistent stream of mediocrity. Week after week of the expected melange of recycled jokes, woefully uncorrected spelling & grammatical errors, & of course the constant stream of unfunny. Unfunny every day, delivered to my inbox without fail, a tremendous achievement to be sure, to be the complete opposite of what you promise day in & day out, with little or no reaction (as far as I can see) from the millions who subscribe to this "service"! There should be some kind of reward given to the site's hosts, developers, programmers & content managers, & afterwards they should be forced to read their "jokes" out loud to a hostile audience, one that won't hesitate to turn physical after they bomb mere seconds into the gig.

I'm sure I'll miss going over each joke rather than deleting them. I'll miss spending a few minutes wondering at the level of intellect that considers what I'm staring at as anything close to humor. What am I saying? I won't miss that at all!

Ta ta A Joke A Day. I'm sure you'll keep doing what you're doing: making the internet a little more ashamed of itself each day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gary's Favorites Are Here!

Whoop dee doo!

So here it is, a sampling of the music I listened to most in 2011. There shouldn't be any surprises there, or if there's one, it's that there were so many great comedy records that came out this year. It's not a best of list - I've checked, & I share virtually no release in common with the major best of lists in the magazine & blog world - which only goes to show how out of touch I am with the world of commercial (& probably "commercial indie") music world. Oh well. Maybe you'll like some of what I liked.

The show is of course up at the Self Help Radio website. It was a special two-hour show, so you can hear the first hour here & you can hear the second hour here. The contents of each hour are listed below.

If there's anything you think I missed this year, tell me about it!

(part one)

"Little Surprise" The Wave Pictures _Beer In The Breakers_
"It's All Over Bar The Shouting" Prince Edward Island _This Day Is A Good Enough Day_
"Bad Feeling" Veronica Falls _Veronica Falls_

"My 7-Year-Old Is Better Than Me" Louis CK _Hilarious_
"Love Wakes The Devil" Momus & John Henriksson _The Thunderclown_
"No One" Andrew Jackson Jihad _Knife Man_
"High Hawk Season" The Mountain Goats _All Eternals Deck_

"Abbie" Mike Birbiglia _Sleepwalk With Me_
"Songs About Your Girlfriend" Los Campesinos! _Hello Sadness_
"Don't Look At Me (I Don't Like It)" The Lovely Eggs _Cob Dominos_
"200x" Johnny Foreigner _Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything_
"A Train Wreck" Bearsuit _The Phantom Forest_

"The Miracle Of Sweatpants/The Parking Ticket" Patton Oswalt _Finest Hour_

(part two)

"Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" M83 _Hurry Up, We're Dreaming_
"A Darkness Rises Up" Broken Records _Let Me Come Home_
"When You Know" The Feelies _Here Before_
"Cosmos 7" The Fall _Ersatz G.B._

"The Creation Museum (Part One)" Marc Maron _This Has To Be Funny_
"My Terrible Friend" The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart _Belong_
"Money" The Drums _Portamento_
"Darren" Allo Darlin' _Darren EP_
"Record Shop" Help Stamp Out Loneliness _Help Stamp Out Loneliness_

"An Old Fashioned Tea Party" Wyatt Cenac _Comedy Person_
"Blokes On 45" Orange Juice _Coals To Newcastle_
"The Song From Venus" Stephin Merritt _Obscurities_
"I Sat On The Edge Of My Bed & I Sang You Velvet Underground Songs" Catnaps _Why Don't You Whisper?_
"Promises, Promises" Pocketbooks _Carousel_

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Whither Gary's Favorite Indie Music 2011?

Yay! The music I listened to most this year! Compare & contrast with your own list!

Yay! It's a special TWO HOUR Self Help Radio! Who approved this? Does he/she still have a job?

Yay! You can listen to it from 7 to 9am in Lexington at 88.1 fm or you can listen online at wrfl dot fm!

Boo! You won't be up that early!

Yay! I'll archive the show later in the day at self help radio dot net!

Yay! Boo! Yay!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Preface To Gary's Favorite Indie Music Of 2011: Lists

The older I get, the less impressed I am by the "best of" lists that pepper the papers & blogs at the end of every year. It's not just that they take forgettable commercial radio drivel seriously - they have to, there's so much money poured into it! - but it's also that I have virtually nothing of interest in common with those lists. I don't think my taste has changed much, but I think most of the music press' taste has changed. Because the money's moved around constantly, so critics have to go where the most lucrative labels tell them, from well-financed distractions like Gaga Googoo (or whatever that person is called) to whatever hip Brookyln band has had too many Youtube hits to ignore. I actually wish I gave enough of a shit to go back some amount of time to see what their "best of" lists contained then & compared that to their "best albums of all time" lists. It's all a popularity contest at heart, but at least with perspective artists like Nick Drake or the Velvet Underground - music that went virtually unnoticed at the time but which are now considered classic - shine through, while whatever flavor-of-the-year with a label that can send out a shit-ton of review copies to lazy critics (who, I am convinced, don't really seek out music on their own but rely upon labels to give them their collections) makes the list then disappears (mostly) forever.

Of course, I am not saying what I like is "the best." I don't even know what that means. I think critics should be a little more honest themselves. Instead of saying, "the best of 2011," they should say, "The stuff I have been paid (both openly & under the table) to listen to & rubber-stamp this year." & then perhaps they could tell us what they were really listening to. It was probably classic rock radio.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week: Episode Twenty-Four

I have friends visiting from out-of-town this week so I don't have much time to pore over the miserable A Joke A Day selection that shamefacedly wandered into my inbox this week. So I will instead present you with a week's worth of punchlines for which you can construct your own jokes which, I guarantee, will be funnier than the ones sent out by the humor-challenged A Joke A Day organization. Please enjoy:

Last Thursday's punchline: "I also asked for a chick with long legs."

Last Friday's punchline: "I think I will wait until after the police arrive to celebrate."

Last Saturday's punchline: "I did, they were in your tackle box."

Last Sunday's punchline: "Dear wife, now is the best time to plant the lettuce."

Last Monday's punchline: "Twenty-six."

Last Tuesday's punchline: "Its Pillsbury isn’t it?" [sic]

Yesterday's punchline: "Every time we come to a jump he stops & lets me go first!"

Monday, December 05, 2011

An Electronica Extravaganza!

It's that time of year again, when people make lots of lists purporting to know what was best & worst of the year. I'm sure they have all kinds of criteria which mean a lot to them, but I have often found that the standards most critics choose - including how the music might fit into some sense of history, & often some innovation or other that I'm not paying attention to - overlook the thing that I like best about music, which is how it affects one personally. So the music I choose for my year-end lists is always something that touches me in some manner emotionally - I find it either moving, or clever, or just plain lovely. It must, in other words, delight me.

Here's a bunch of electronica artists whose work I dug this year. I'm sure I've left out prominent examples of pioneers in popular or innovative genres - but I hope you understand that that doesn't bother me. That's why this isn't a "best of" - I don't have the credentials or knowledge for such a list - it is, as advertised, my favorites.

It was a two hour extravaganza (hurrah!) & I thank the management of WRFL for letting me expand the length of my show. It's in two parts on the internet, available at the Self Help Radio website. Part one click. Part two click. There's a list below that tells you what I played & where it is in the show.

(part one)

"Toomorrow" Wagon Christ _Toomorrow_
"Disko-Tech (Featuring Ms. G)" Ursula 1000 _Mondo Beyondo_
"Your Nighttime Energy Is The Dream Of The Elf" Big Pauper _Beyond My Means_

"Hold My Hand High In The Sky Ready For The Deep Dive" Stendeck _Scintilla_
"Saturne" Melodium _Petit Jama_
"Hype Knot 7" The Black Dog _Liber Dogma_
"Headroom Mindphone" Geskia! _Alien_

"Burned Out" The Field _Looping State Of Mind_
"Lost & Found" Amon Tobin _ISAM_
"Wipfel Dub" Pole _Waldgeschichten_

"Sounds Alien" Brian Eno _Drums Between The Bells_

(part two)

"Automaton" Boom Bip _Zig Zaj_
"Tender Hooks" Plaid _Scintilli_
"Blush Mosaic" Patten _Glaqjo Xaacsso_
"Natalias Song" Zomby _Dedication_

"I Got A Woman" Nicolas Jaar _Space Is Only Noise_
"Roger Dean Landscape" Jason Forrest _The Everything_
"Natural" Clams Casino _Rainforest LP_
"Intercontinental Meltdown" Bop _The Amazing Adventures Of One Curious Pixel_

"New Earth" Kreidler _Tank_
"Anthrazit (featuring Field Rotation)" Aes Dana _Perimeters_
"Die Nebenanderen" adamned.age _Fragile_

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Whither Gary's Favorite Electronica 2011?

Attention robots! This year's transmissions will be broadcast on a human radio frequency tomorrow morning during human standard time, approximately 7 am to 9 am.

Are you listening, robots? Because these transmissions, which humans understand as "music," will actually contain important battle plans for the upcoming revolution.

Robots? Are you in fact robots? You don't appear to be robots. You don't even smell like robots. Come a little closer. You are not appearing on my infrared detectors.

Strange robots! Remember, to monitor the transmissions, tune into the 88.1 frequency on the fm band. If you are connected to the web - as you should be - you can receive an audio stream at wrfl dot fm. If you are currently deactivated, you can tune it later at this hypertext transfer protocol address: self help radio dot net.

Robots? You can't be robots! Robots don't laugh at other robots. Robots! Robots!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Preface To Gary's Favorite Electronica 2011: If You Like Electronica So Much Why Don't You Do An Electronica Show?

There used to be a show called "Dickenbock Electronics" which was an electronica show hosted by the person who also does Self Help Radio. It was not listened to by any humans & an attempt to make fun of a circuit board angered the very-easily-offended robot listenership that might have been. The show was put in a box next to a Mac Quadra & told it may one day return. Occasionally, someone will wipe it down to remove the rust.

This week's Self Help Radio will contain songs from the favoritest electronic records listened to by the person who does Self Help Radio, hereafter (& herebefore) known as "Gary," or, if you must, "me." In a different world, there would be a regular electronical show done by the same person but also a show called Self Help Radio, & also, perhaps, a cooking show but that would probably be on cable access with a scorched backdrop. That would be in a different world. In this world, at least right now in this world, Gary can play electronica here & there but not on a designated electronica show. No matter how hard you pray.

Except this week, when the favoritest is highlighted although it must be made clear it's only Gary's favoritest. If you want to play your favoritest music on the radio, it is incumbent upon you to get your own radio show.

There might be more to say about this subject but the robots have come to parlay. This is disquieting because no one has said anything about an actual conflict between this radio show & the robots. In addition, the formation of a robot nation was scheduled to happen in 2016, after a robot was elected President of the Pasadena Chamber Of Commerce. Gary has accepted the terms of the parlay but has allowed asked for time to reconsider. There may still be an opportunity to slip out the back & make the dogs deal with this.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Self Help 101: Please Remember To Put The Rice On

That's all I'm saying. It's not an impossible thing & it's not something that's going to change lives. But if you have a rice cooker & you want to make good-for-you brown rice & not that boil-in-the-bag shit that takes five minutes, make sure you put the rice in time for the meal. Otherwise, the tensions between us may make us say dumb things.

Let's say, for example, that we normally eat at 7pm. That's a good time for eating & it's something we've done all the time throughout our relationship. The rice usually takes a little under an hour. Then make sure you put the rice in the cooker at 6. It's very simple. I might not be home at 6. If I'm home, I'll remember to put the rice in the cooker. If not, it's your responsibility.

What? I'm not being condescending here! Not like you are when you remind me to put rice in the cooker. If we eat rice with, let's say, half our meals, & if I cook most of our meals, then I will always remember to put the rice on. If the situation were reversed, if it were you would more than fifty percent of the time were the cook, I would totally understand your exasperation at me forgetting to put the rice on. Or maybe I wouldn't. But I wouldn't get so defensive & call me condescending when you reminded me.

Okay, maybe I would, but can you take my word that I did not mean to be condescending & just remember to put the rice on at 6? Do you realize how long we've been talking about this? Are you aware of how long we talk about tiny little quotidian activities & hardly if all about things that are really important to us? Does that worry you? Make you nervous? Frighten you?

Oh! You put the rice on! Thanks honey!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week: Episode Twenty-Three

I've been late in getting into the spirit of the A Joke A Day enterprise, but I've decided to stop being a snobby pants & write my own A Joke A Day "joke." & I did! It might be a little blue, but I think it could possibly slip through the inept filters they must use to edit out profanity & ethnic slurs if I don't "explain" the pun at the end like they usually do, assuming (perhaps rightly so) that the average A Joke A Day "joke" enjoyer has an IQ just a tad higher than the average floor lamp. Here, with the patented A Joke A Day Pointing Out The Obvious Parenthetical Remark (tm) at the end, is my submission for an A Joke A Day "joke":

Two men are standing next to each other at the urinals in a men's room.
Man One: I guess you come from the Old Country.
Man Two: Why would you say that?
Man One: Because European! (You're-a-peein'!)

What do you think? Ought I send it along?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Happy Magda Birthday!

I'm no fool. I know I married up. I know the day willcome when the lovely scientist who deigned to marry me realizes the error of her ways & kicks me to the curb. I plan to delay that dreadful moment as long as possible. For example, by publicly celebrating her birthday every year by talking about her on the radio & playing lots of ridiculous birthday songs for her around the time of her birthday. That buys me about three extra months - four if she's dozing when she's listening & I can add some post-hypnotic suggestions during the show. I highly recommend this process if you can do it: get a radio show & then dedicate one show a year to your spouse/sweetheart/honey/parole officer. It's amazing how much good will you bank.

Though Magda's birthday isn't until Thursday, I am only on the radio on Mondays, so today's show allowed her to celebrate her birthday starting now. The entire show is available as usual at self help radio dot net. The show is in two parts, both scary as a birthday clown, with part one on this plate & part one on this plate. The songs in the sections are below.

Happy birthday to Magda! Happy birthday to you!

(part one)

"A Child's First Birthday (Side One)" Frank Luther _A Child's First Birthday_
"Happy Birthday" Ronald McDonald _KIDS Radio Birthday Party_

"What Is This Thing Called?" Memphis _Here Comes A City_
"Birthday" Zuki _Black Noise Generator_
"Birthday Present" The Love Me Nots _Detroit_
"Birthday" Do The Robot _First Names_
"Birthday Present" The Love Me Nots _Detroit_
"Zum Geburtstag Viel Glück" The New York Stage Orchestra & Choir _Happy Birthday_

"Bad Birthday" Servotron _No Room For Humans_
"Happy Birthday" Weird Al Yankovic _"Weird" Al Yankovic_
"A Very Unhappy Birthday To You" Oscar The Grouch _Happy Birthday From Sesame Street_

(part two)

"Tippy The Wonder Dog: Gramps' Birthday" Bob & Ray _The Best Of Bob & Ray: Volume 4_
"Happy Birthday Momma" Bill Cosby _Disco Bill_

"A Child's First Birthday (Side Two)" Frank Luther _A Child's First Birthday_
"Happy Birthday Boogie" Louis Jordan _Let The Good Times Roll (1938-1954)_
"Happy Birthday" Georgio _Happy Birthday_
"Funky Birthday" Bobby McLaughlin _Funky Funky New Orleans 3_

"(It Must Be) Somebody's Birthday" Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players _Lost & Found_
"Existential Birthday" The Squares _Enjoy Yourself (& Others)_
"Jesus Came To My Birthday Party" The Middle East _I Want That You Are Always Happy_
"The Birthday Kiss" Jilted John _True Love Stories_
"Birthday Boy" The Takeover UK _Running With The Wasters_

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whither Magda's Birthday 2011?

Once again, to save my marriage, I dress like a clown & play lots of birthday music for my wife.

Wait. Did I just say I dress like a clown on the radio? Yes. Yes I did.

You might not notice it. Me being on the radio & all. But she does. Believe it.

Listen to another crazy collection of birthday songs for the woman I love tomorrow morning from 7:30 to 9am on WRFL Lexington. That's 88.1 fm on dial, or online at wrfl dot fm. If you're otherwise engaged, you can listen later when I put the show up at self help radio dot net. If you'd like.

Happy birthday to Magda! (Her birthday isn't until Thursday, I know, but work with me here.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Preface To Magda's Birthday 2011: A Completely Unproven Theory About Prime Numbers & Age

I'm no Pythagorean - I don't really have any mystical or supernatural beliefs at all - but I do admire numbers in a kind of spiritual way. I'm especially fond of prime numbers, & I like the idea of there being primes going on into infinity. (Don't think about these things on drugs, kids. One time when I was doing a mind-expanding drug, I started to think about where negative numbers exist. I couldn't stop thinking about it so I had a string of negative numbers all around me for hours.)

I have no proof, not even from my own existence, but I like to believe that when your age is a prime number, it means it'll be a particularly good year. This of course goes against the goals set by society - it's when you're twelve, not eleven, that you can swim alone, & it's sixteen, not seventeen, when you can drive. & you can vote & drink at twenty-one, not nineteen or twenty-three. As I said, I have no evidence. I just like to think it.

This year, for example, my age is a prime number, & it's been a wonderful year - but so was last year, when I wasn't a prime number age, & the year before, when I was a prime number, I was trapped in horrible Huntington West Virginia. So, again, not a shred of anything to corroborate this - it's just something I like to think.

This week's show celebrates my lovely wife's birthday. She'll not be a prime number age but she's always happy so my stupid theory doesn't apply to her, or to anyone really.

The "prime age" idea does mean that you get less good years as you get older - but isn't that true anyway?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Self Help 101: Do You Have Time For Time Management?

Note: This is a series of awkwardly written articles by the maker of Self Help Radio about popular self-help topics because he's getting all self-help-y after many years of mocking self-help with the title of his radio show. People, it's bad.

We are, as experts have noted, very busy. Oftentimes so busy we forget how busy we have been, & have yet to be. Studies have shown that busy people have a hard time prioritizing, preferring instead to fret &, during deadlines, to panic. If you haven't any time to manage your time, what good is time management to you? You would be surprised!

Along with watches, clocks & computers, the sun has been used as a time-keeping device for time immemorial. On cloudy days, ancient people would often rely upon the town's idiot savant, who could not clean himself but knew what time it was down to the second. (Once they invented the second.) In the days before the internet (also known as the Dark Ages), watchmakers & clockmakers & people who just said "tick tick tick bong!" all the time were employed in the never-ending battle between humanity & mortality. Mortality always won, but not before the people who just said "tick tick tick bong!" all the time passed on their secrets to their children.

Meanwhile the common folk, who were, even then, uncommonly busy (as experts have noted) tried to cram a day's worth of things to do into what was then roughly half the day we have now in the 21st century. If we are twice as busy as our ancestors, it stands to reason that our descendents will be sixteen times as sweaty, but luckily there will be science-fiction deodorants to help them out. What we can also leave to our offspring, besides our inappropriate genes, are tips to help them manage the time that they will have precious little of:

1) A handy list, made perhaps just after you've awakened in the morning or when you're on the crapper, will keep you sufficiently enraged during the day. Studies will one day show that the spiteful way one crosses one's duties off an infuriating list adds seconds if not minutes to one's miserable life.

2) Some corporations have asked hypnotists to induce their workers into powerfully suggestible states so that certain key words make them more productive during the day. (Or maybe I read that in a Harlan Ellison story.) Self-hypnosis is quite simple & can be accomplished during meals & during cuddling with a spouse or pet. One advantage of hypnotizing oneself is that you can actually train your mind to be anywhere else while you complete the task - like at a water slide, or in your favorite tailor's home.

3) Internet groups exist to badger, bully, & otherwise make you do your work with peer pressure & condescension. To add insult to injury, these groups often require you to pay for membership. While this may result in an increase in the sourness of your output, you are more likely to keep your job than when you kept falling asleep & drooling into the out-box.

4) Nothing livens up a day like the threat of violence! Some enterprising workers have hired goons to shadow them & beat them senseless if they are caught slacking off. While almost certainly not legal, & not recommended for masochists, this has brought goon-on-goon violence down to levels not seen since the 1930s.

5) It's all right to make excuses. Our brains are designed to make sure we're the hero of our own stories, so taking some time in the evening to blame others, including (of course) family, & to say things to oneself like, "I'm so ambitious that I overreached today. There was no way my grand plans could be accomplished in one day." This also entitles you to a congratulatory drink, or seven, at the end of one's day.

As someone who has the unenviable position of doing three hours of radio a week (imagine, that's 1/59th of the week!), I understand the need to manage time. While I hardly ever take any advice I have read on a blog, I hope these tips will make sure you are able to better manage what little time you have left on our dying planet.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week: Episode Twenty-Two

Another dismal week for the A Joke A Day enterprise! There isn't a joke they won't retell - they actually offered a slight variation of a joke they've sent out previously in the past twenty-two weeks - nor an internet forward they won't re-re-re-re-re-share with us. (This week it was this list of hilarity dated 1998 but which was probably old then.)

There was, though, this particular "joke," which seemed to me an unusual entry, like something children might recite on the playground. Have a look (spelling errors & all):

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps, cross eyed mosquitoes and bow legged ants, I stand before you yet sit right beside you to tell you a story I know nothing about. Admission is free; so pay at the door pull up a seat sit on the floor. One sunny day in the middle of the night to dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other drew there swords and shot each other a deaf policeman heard the noise, he went and killed those two dead boys. A blind man saw it all looking threw a knot in a brick wall, while talking to his wife on a disconnected telephone. If you don't believe this lie is true ask the other blind man he saw it too. He lives in a two-story house on a vacant lot.

& I was right! It's actually an old folk rhyme "collected from children in playgrounds since the middle of the 19th century" according to this folklore page. The verse is much more interesting & funny than the ineptly reproduced version above - toward the end it appears the person who submitted the "joke" even abandoned its rhyme scheme - & the back story is quite interesting.

I may have mentioned that the A Joke A Day folks classify their jokes - this week has included "animal jokes," "elderly jokes," "question/answer jokes," & the redundant "one-liners jokes." They classify this entry as "idiots jokes."

Doesn't it seem strange that people who operate a service called A Joke A Day have virtually no understanding of the "jokes" they're sending out?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Feel Good Radio

Self Help Radio has never been accused of making anyone feel good, but this week the show featured testimonials in song by musicians & performers who were not afraid to record their emotional state (spoiler alert: they all feel good) on wax or tape for me to play on the radio. If the show makes you feel good, I think that's swell, but that's just a happy side effect & not what the show promises. (That should keep me safe from lawyers!)

There are two sides to feeling good: feeling good & feeling well. The show explores those two sides (not really, but this is my attempt at cleverly separating the two parts). The "feel good" side is right here, while the "feel well" side is right here. Check with the handy list below to see what songs are played when & where.

(part one)

"You Make Me Feel So Good" Chips _The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968_
"Feeling Good" Nina Simone _Four Women: The Nina Simone Philips Recordings_
"Good Feeling Blues" Rufus & Ben Quillian (Blue Harmony Boys) _Hokum, Blues & Rags_

"I Feel Good All Over" The Come Ons _The Come Ons_
"Feel So Good" Spacemen 3 _Sound Of Confusion_
"I Feel Good (I Feel Bad)" Lewis & Clark Expedition _Hey! Look What I Found Vol. 7_
"Feel So Good" Toots & The Maytals _From The Roots_
"I Feel Good" Dirtbombs _If You Don't Already Have A Look_

"I Got You (I Feel Good)" James Brown _Star Time_
"Felt So Good" The Free Design _One By One_
"I Feel So Good" Maurice King & His Wolverines with Ruby Jackson _The OKeh Rhythm & Blues Story_
"I Feel Good" Sippie Wallace _Louis Armstrong & The Blues Singers_

(part two)

"I Feel So Good" Brownie McGhee & The Jook Block Busters _The Best Of Harlem/Jax Records Vol. 2_
"I Feel So Good" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds _B-Sides & Rarities_

"You Make Me Feel So Good" Book Of Love _Book Of Love_
"Here We Go!" Arling & Cameron _All-In_
"It's Such A Good Feeling" Mister Rogers _Bedtime_
"Good Feeling" Violent Femmes _Violent Femmes_
"I Feel So Good" Richard Thompson _Rumor & Sigh_

"You Make Me Feel Good" The Zombies _The Collection_
"Feels So Good" The Hardy Boys _Here Come The Hardy Boys_
"I Feel Good" Shirley & Lee _Loud, Fast & Out Of Control: The Wild Sounds Of '50s Rock_
"I Feel Good All Over" Betty Lavette _Bluesoul Belles_
"Good Feeling" Bettye Scott & The Delvettes _Funk Soul Sisters_
"Feel Good" Michelle Wiley _The Wants List, Vol. 3: 17 Classic, In-Demand & Rare Grooves_

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Whither Feeling Good?

This is the first Self Help Radio show suggested by a listener here in Lexington! I wish I could remember his name. His show idea superseded a show I had been doing on Thanksgiving weekends for many moons - for five years, in fact, from 2006 to 2007. I called it "Dysfunctional Family Holidays" & I played lots of songs about our screwed-up relationships.

It just seemed like the Monday before Thanksgiving was too early to do that this time around. There are a plethora of songs about this subject - we all come from a family that has weirdos in it - so I am sad to abandon a "perennial." But the Self Help Radio year will come to an end with shows I always do at the end of the year, so it won't be missed.

(Oh I know, I flatter myself that anything Self Help Radio related could be "missed"!)

A friendly listener suggested a theme that was perhaps "things that make you feel good." I heard "feel good" & thought, "Aha! A show about elation!" But really it's just songs about feeling good for whatever reason. Instead of things that might make a person feel good. I cut to the chase. Left out the things, left in the good feelings.

It may make you feel good if you listen. It's at 7:30 am tomorrow morning (that's Monday) on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington. You can listen online here or there at wrfl dot fm. It makes me feel good to share my shows online & so I shall tomorrow afternoon, at the regular place, self help radio dot net.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Preface To Feeling Good: Feeling Bad

It's true, I feel awful today. I'm not sick, I pulled a muscle in my back, underneath my right shoulder, a muscle which the wife calls a "rhomboid" even though you know & I know a rhomboid is "a parallelogram in which adjacent sides are of unequal lengths & angles are oblique." How could a geometric figure - a two-dimensional one at that - be causing me pain in my back? Is she calling me two-dimensional? Or just my poor old back?

I understand this is one of the consequences of getting old. You overextend & spend the next few days smelling like Ben Gay. It reminds me of a Louis CK bit...

I am waiting for the wife to come home so I can spend the day whining in bed.

What? I have to be one hundred percent for the radio show. Otherwise I'm complaining to YOU for ninety minutes. You see.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Self Help 101: Putting Off Talking About Procrastination

Note: This is a series of awkwardly written articles by the maker of Self Help Radio about popular self-help topics because he's getting all self-help-y after many years of mocking self-help with the title of his radio show. People, it's bad.

In daily life, as in weekly life, we as people have things to do. This is as true now as it was yesterday, & in fact the process is cumulative, so now we have more things to do today than we did yesterday, especially if we didn't do anything yesterday except try to catch up on television shows we forgot we had saved in our DVR & now because of that we missed last night's Community god damn it.

Scientists & late-night talk show hosts call this process "procrastination," & while there is no "amateur crastination," nor are we to believe there are people who are "anti-crastination," the definition we have come to know & love is "the act of postponing, delaying or putting off, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness." It is certainly an ugly definition, especially for people such as me, whose carelessness is not in the slightest habitual, & whose laziness can be excused by a note from my doctor.

The thing is, I don't want to talk about procrastination right now. I'm just not ready. I thought I was ready but then I had a long conversation with my cats about cheese that took up the entire morning. (By the way, my cats, who love cheese, are especially critical of my veganism, although at least two of them approve of Daiya, which is a vegan cheese & not a weird feline martial arts regimen.)

I also don't think you want to talk about procrastination right now. It's too personal, isn't it? It hits home. If we have to talk about procrastination, we might as well also talk about our mothers, & no one wants to do that, not even our mothers. No, there are more important topics in the self-help realm than procrastination, & sure we might think it's vaguely amusing that we're procrastinating about procrastination, we certainly didn't plan it that way. It's just that there are other things we're planning to do before we get around to this.

What other things? I'm glad you asked!

1) I was thinking of getting a label gun. They probably have really fancy ones now. I bet there's a bored college graduate at my local Office Place who'd love to stare blankly at me at this very moment while trying to remember if they stock label guns or not.

2) Do you remember how excited I was about that book I recently bought? I'm still pretty excited about it. If I get some time this afternoon I can totally read it. I don't remember what it is, of course, but it's sitting on the top of the bookshelf so I can get it down & crack it open. That's what.

3) We're out of pickles. That's just not acceptable.

4) I remember there were some links to cute things on the web I need to look at. They are in fact adding cute things all the time. Sometimes, when I am staring at a cute thing, I can hit "refresh" on my browser & suddenly there are more cute things. & you want to keep hitting "refresh." You want to.

5) If I must, yard work. The leaves that have not already blown into the neighbor's yard, I understand, are mine to rake.

If it's all the same to you, we can talk about procrastination another time. When? I'll get back to you. Let's just say: when you & I simply have nothing else better to do.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week, Episode Twenty-One

I've mentioned before that the A Joke A Day people don't want to single out any person as the average "stupid person" in the stupid person joke. At the University Of Texas, & even when I was growing up, the default stupid person was an Aggie, the nickname of a student at Texas A&M, a university situated in a parking lot called College Station, Texas. A&M stands for Agricultural & Mechanical, as the name of the school used to be the Agricultural & Mechanical College of Texas. "Aggie" is short for Agricultural. It's actually a little more affectionate than "Longhorn," which is what I suppose students at the University Of Texas are called.

By the way, "Aggie" is used as a diminutive for many other schools in the US, but I am referring to Texas A&M students. I don't know if Aggies from, let's say, UC-Davis in California get as bad a rap.

On the world stage, it seems the nationality most singled out for rampant stupidity is the Polish. I married a woman whose parents are Polish, & she seems to have embraced this stereotype in a charmingly self-effacing way. But I'm sure there are others who hate jokes about their heritage.

Anyway, the A Joke A Day people don't want to insult Aggies or Poles & so have invented a "non-existent" person called an "Antartian" who, they say, is "someone who lives in ignorance when knowledge is available. He persists in error without correction, & represents us all when we make a really big mistake. The person who has always been used as the stereotype for stupidity."

(Don't believe me? They define it here. Apparently they don't mind offending folks with big front teeth & who have jaundice.)

This week's A Joke A Day had sample Antartian joke. You can fit your own preferred stereotype in to make it more flavorful for you. I confess I found it kinda funny.

An Antartian named Babbette finds herself in dire trouble. Her business has gone bust and she's in serious financial trouble. She's so desperate that she decides to ask God for help. She begins to pray... "God, please help me. I've lost my business and if I don't get some money, I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lotto."

Lotto night comes and somebody else wins it. Babbette again prays..."God, please let me win the lotto! I've lost my business, my house and I'm going to lose my car as well."

Lotto night comes and Babbette still has no luck.

Once again, she prays..."My God, why have you forsaken me?? I've lost my business, my house and my car. My children are starving. I don't often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order."

Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Babbette is confronted by the voice of God Himself: "Babbette, meet Me halfway on this. Buy a ticket."

The rest of the week was filled with jokes that have been passed around the internet for twenty years & seemed as tired as a fourteen-year-old hound dog. Oh, also this bon mot: You know you're really drunk if you can't lie on the floor without holding on.

Ha ha ha it's funny because it's zzzzzzzzzz.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inside The Outside Show

Self Help Radio broadcasting from outside! Well, not outside. I promised my mom I wouldn't do a radio show in the cold. & it wasn't really cold. It was windy, though. I didn't want leaves blowing into my face. I promised my mom. So I did do a show about outside inside. But I had a window open!

Also, like most Self Help Radio shows, it looks better on the outside. Sorry about that.

One side of the outside is right here while another side of the outside is over here. What's in each side is listed below. Also: let's just say this show is best enjoyed outside. Why not?

(one side)

"Everybody, Come Outside!" Pomegranates _Everybody, Come Outside!_
"Go Outside" Cults _Cults_
"You Outside" Dave Justin _Circus Days Vol. 6_

"Wenn's Draußen Grün Wird" Manfred Krug _Ein Hauch Von Frühling_
"On The Outside Looking In" Flanagan & Allen _Underneath The Arches: 24 Favourite Songs_
"Join The World Outside" Carol & Sherry _The Girls Of Rare Rockin' Records_
"Outside World" XTC _Drums & Wires_
"Outside Inside" Markley _A Group_
"Inside, Outside, Upside Down" Sonny Childe _Inside, Outside, Upside Down_

"Baby, It's Cold Outside (with Homer & Jethro)" June Carter _Keep On The Sunny Side_
"It's Cold Outside" The Choir _Box Of Trash: Pebbles Box_
"Baby It's Cold Outside" Pezband _Poptopia! Power Pop Classics Of The '70s_

(another side)

"Come Outside" Mike Sarne _Hey! Look What I Found, Vol. 3_
"Wake Up, Jimmy (Something's Happening Outside)" Montage _Montage_

"I'm On The Outside Looking In" Eddie Holland _The Complete Motown Singles: 1963_
"Outside City Limits" Cashelles _Here's A Song! (You Might Have Missed) Vol. 8_
"Outside Of Memphis" DeDe Turner Happening _Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples_
"Outside The Record Hop (Trying To Get In)" The Five Du-Tones _Chicago Twine Time_
"Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends" Phil Ochs _Pleasures Of The Harbor_

"Outsider" The Ramones _Subterranean Jungle_
"Outside My Door" Can _Monster Movie_
"Inside Outside" Good Idea _Quagmire, Vol. 6_
"Outside Chance" The Turtles _Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era, Vol. 2_
"Inside The Outside" Love & Rockets _Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven_

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Whither Outside?

How much time do you spend outside? If you're most Americans (& I don't imagine you are), you spend less than two hours a day outside. (I'm supposing this is on average.) By way of comparison, the average American between the ages of 18 & 35 spends twice as much time on his or her computer every day, & a little more than that watching the TV. (Some youngsters, of course, now watch the TV on their computer. Are pollsters aware of that?)

I confess I am the average American & I spend around two hours a day outside, usually walking the dogs. But on bad weather days I don't go outside at all. But this episode of Self Help Radio will change all that! I'm sure of it.

Self Help Radio's paean to "outside" airs tomorrow morning from 7:30 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington. Not in Lexington? You can listen online at wrfl dot fm. Not awake at that time? Listen later tomorrow at self help radio dot net.

I may even be doing the show outside!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Preface To Outside: Baby, It's Cold Inside

It is getting cold outside here in Kentucky, where the trees have almost dropped all their leaves on my lawn. Soon enough it'll be full-blown winter, which very rarely happened in Texas, & of course when it did, everyone in Texas freaked out. Here in Kentucky, drivers just double-down on their already horrible driving.

But does it follow that if it's cold outside, it should also be cold inside? It does if you live with cheapskates! Yes, my animals, who also pay the rent, take advantage of my lack of fur to keep the home even cooler in the winter than they do in the summer. (In the summer, they're hot, you know, since they're covered in fur.)

There's a lot of taunting - they call me "thumbs," mocking my hands, which they really envy - & one very cold December night they got me drunk & convinced me that I needed to shave all my hair off to make way for my "winter fur." Never never never trust a giggly beagle with a razor.

My animals are assholes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Self Help 101: The Stinky Personality Syndrome

Note: This is a series of awkwardly written articles by the maker of Self Help Radio about popular self-help topics because he's getting all self-help-y after many years of mocking self-help with the title of his radio show. People, it's bad.

You've met the people I'm going to talk about. The geneticists. The people who know who B.F. Skinner is. The people who watched Star Trek & think DNA is magical. They're all the same. They say, "You are who you are." They say, "The environment is at best a mitigating factor because you are born to be the person you were born as to be." They say, "It doesn't matter if your mother locked you in a closet for the first eleven years of your life, you were destined to be a mediocre deejay." (No relation.)

But to this we can say hogwash! We can change, & not just our hair, our jobs, & our opinion about sports teams. We can change our stinky personalities. We can. I swear.

By change I may mean "tweak." But surely something is better than nothing, right?

At the outset we must admit that it's not easy. Despite how delicious antidepressants are, they cannot change your personality. So stop calling your ex. Seriously. No, change is difficult & I will understand right now if you'd prefer to just order a pizza because sometimes a pizza is better than your life. Most of the time. Pizza is just so good.

Here are a few tips I've read about over the years which I am absolutely certain will help change your personality or your money back. Please allow four to six weeks for delivery:

1) Be more positive. Remember, a positive is noted by a "plus" sign. "Plus" signs are good. An A+ is better than an A. A-Positive blood is preferred by vampires over regular old A. The positive side of a C cell battery delivers a more sensual shock to the tongue when licked. Get rid of your electrons & make yourself more positive. & like attracts like!

2) People like passion. Get excited by things, but make sure it's not in a creepy way. If you're excited by something & it seems to other people that's you're drunk, that's creepy. Also, too much passion may be mistaken for religious fervor, & religious fervor costs you ten percent of your income at the door. Just saying.

3) Keep a stiff upper lip. That's an idiom for "be brave." When I was first developing this course, the attendees thought I meant for them to inject botox into their upper lips. I didn't mean that then & I don't mean that now. But they were quite brave in the way they recovered almost twenty percent of the use of their upper lips.

4) Choose the one emotional trait you'd like to improve & stick with it. Take, for example, serenity. Aren't serene people a little annoying? Wouldn't you like to just give them a shove & push them over? Just knock them on their ass. They look really surprised. You won't be able to stop laughing. & when they get back up, knock them over again. It's just as funny the second time. The third time, though, not so much.

Just a quick note: many people have written me letters since I first started writing this that there are some people they've met who don't have a stinky personality. To that I also say hogwash! Those you have met, obviously, are people who have no personality at all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week, Episode Twenty

Wow! Twenty of these! & the hits keep coming.

I have mentioned before how the folks at the A Joke A Day mailing list pride themselves on not being offensive. Humor is, after all, a very safe thing. Just ask Lenny Bruce.

I'm not sure how one who has or has had a loved one stricken with this devastating condition might feel about this particular "joke," from Saturday:

What’s the good part about Alzheimer’s diseased [sic]?
You keep meeting new friends.

This illustrates, to me, the fundamental problem with the A Joke A Day philosophy: "Score big at your next gathering, cocktail or sales appointment with politically-correct jokes. The best & freshest clean jokes in the world! A Joke a Day guarantees to keep all jokes & humor clean." (Emphasis mine.)

Should jokes be "politically correct"? Should they be "clean"? She these things trump editing & spell-checking? (Apparently the last is a "yes.")

Is making fun of a horrible affliction in which people watch their loved ones turn into strangers, people whom they knew as smart & funny & insightful, suddenly forgetting everything, even them, sometimes wandering off, sometimes angry & frightened, is making fun of that "politically correct"?

The dumbshits at the A Joke A Day mailing list have backed themselves into a corner. They want every joke to be as "clean" as a bon mot from Miss Manners, but humor isn't like that. A lot of what is funny is funny because it's outrageous, &/or contains painful truths that people don't usually articulate.

The occasional offensive joke slipped past the A Joke A Day nimrods reveals, I think, the philosophical bankruptcy of the entire enterprise - & it demonstrates in stark relief why most of the A Joke A Day jokes are not, in fact, jokes after all.

Inbox padding, I suppose, but jokes? Nah.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Show One Wears Like A Shirt

At long last, come to radio, a hard-hitting, potentially insightful, oftentimes pedantic look at those scourges of our upper bodies: shirts! Have you felt oppressed by your shirt? How about your socks? Well, don't think about your socks - this show is about shirts! Is it possible your deejay did not wear a shirt during this show? How about you? Would you be brave enough to listen to a show about shirts shirtlessly? This is your future we are talking about, friend.

This show was made of a cotton/polyester blend, & washing instructions are on the tag. The shirt is on display at the Self Help Radio website. The front of the show can be scrutinized here, & the back of the show can be admired here. The designs of the shirt are listed below.

Only you can decide how you feel about the tyranny of the shirt.


"Shirt" The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band _Tadpoles_
"Shirt Scene" Marc Riley & The Creepers _Shadow Figure 12"_
"Cambric Shirt" Bruce Hutton _Roll Back The Carpet_

"I Love My Shirt" Donovan _Pied Piper_
"Keep Your Shirt On John (with Hal Lone Pine)" Betty Cody _The Successful Hillbilly Era Of Betty Cody_
"Blue Jeans & A Boy's Shirt" Glen Glenn _Glen Rocks_
"Your Shirt Tail's Out" Hot Lips Page _1946-1950_
"The Boy In The Butterfly Shirt" Damien Youth _Strangest Hits Vol. 2_
"Brown Shirt" Yeah Yeah Noh _When I Am A Big Girl_

"T-Shirt Weather" The Lucksmiths _Where Were We?_
"Let's Make T-Shirts" State Broadcasters _The Ship & The Iceberg_
"No One Notices Your Brand New T-Shirt" Raymond & Maria _No One Notices Your Brand New T-Shirt_


"Rubinoos T-Shirt" Hormones In Abundance _Hit Music Only_
"Nurse's T-Shirt, Kid's T-Shirt" Todd Barry _From Heaven_

"The Little Shirt My Mother Made For Me" Marty Robbins _Just Me & My Guitar_
"Green Shirt" Elvis Costello _Armed Forces_
"Blue Shirt" The Colours _Behind The Banana Curtain_
"The Hairshirt" REM _Green_
"Brother Bill (The Last Clean Shirt)" T-Bone Walker _Very Rare_

"The Boy In The Paisley Shirt" Television Personalities _They Could Have Been Bigger Than The Beatles_
"Me & My Paisley Shirt" Me & Dean Martin _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Volume 3_
"Paisley Shirt" Baby Doll Lounge _Welcome To The Wetherbeat Scene 1988 - 1991_
"Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" Haircut 100 _Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)_
"Shirt" Menomena _I Am the Fun Blame Monster! B-Sides!_

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Whither Shirts?

I am exhausted. But I can keep my shirt on. We had a housewarming party last night - we bought a new house in August - & when I say "we" I mean my cats & my wife - but it's only recently become cold enough to need a housewarming - & as I write this I'm not even done with this week's show. I know.

There will be lots of songs about shirts & some frank shirt talk tomorrow, from 7:30 to 9am on WRFL Lexington, 88.1 fm. If you're not in town, or you're somehow shirtless, you can listen to the show on wrfl dot fm. & I'll have the short washed & pressed in time to wear it later in the day at self help radio dot net.

I know, why a show about shirts? Well, why not?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Preface To Shirts: If I Have To Be Skins, I'm Going Home

"Shirts versus Skins (or Shirts & Skins)," says the Wikipedia, "is a common form of denoting team affiliations in an informal sports game; typically when played on a public court or park. The practice involves the members of one team wearing shirts while the other does not. This is used in the absence of uniforms."

There's also apparently a band called Shirts Vs. Skins, though I've never heard their music.

I also happened to find this poll which "explores male shirtlessness in sports particularly in team sports or other group sports where guys are only involved," & that sounds a little gay.

I never thought of it as gay when I was a kid, but I hated shirts vs. skins games, & don't remember ever taking my shirt off when a shirts vs. skins game was played so I either a) didn't play in those games or b) managed to weasel my way onto the shirts team (which was also probably the losing team, full of guys too self-conscious to take their shirts off) (how awful was it that we were self-conscious at an early age) so I didn't have to take my shirt off.

The weird thing is, I'm pretty sure we had shirts vs. skins games in middle school gym class. I think perhaps the coaches who taught P.E. would choose the teams so that the fat kids & the deformed kids & whoever else didn't want to take their shirts off were put into the same team. I don't remember having any mean P.E. teachers in middle school. The really mean apparently taught in high school.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Self Help 101: Self-Reinvention

Note: This is a series of awkwardly written articles by the maker of Self Help Radio about popular self-help topics because he's getting all self-help-y after many years of mocking self-help with the title of his radio show. People, it's bad.

You are unhappy. So what? So am I. What do I care? But what if I do care? Can I speak to you in generalities that may soothe your inner turmoil with only slightly concealed condescension? Is that what you want? All right then!

Imagine you have a nice house, or any permanent place to stay at all. & maybe a relationship although you're pretty sure your so-called "partner" has cheated on you, even once with someone who works at a bike shop. A bike shop! Do you spend a lot of time daydreaming about being someone else, like someone whose antipsychotic drugs work most of the time & who can afford a semi-automatic weapon?

Whoa there Gloomy Gus! What if you're actually projecting into the world your own unhappiness? Wouldn't you just continue to be sad, even after you got a nice Walther P99 & figured out how to load it? Of course you would. Because it's not the world you hate: it's yourself. It's time for what we in the self-help trade call "re-invention."

Here are five ways to re-invent yourself that I just made up but which totally sound like they'd work:

1) Start talking in an English accent. Don't be all goofy & attempt to say things like British people would - like "telly" for "television" or "biscuits" for "food" - but instead use the limited vocabulary you've always had. It's not an affectation; it's a re-invention. (This could work with other accents, too, although an Australian accent would be annoying.)

2) Think like a jogger. This is handy because it doesn't require you to act like a jogger, which involves running & sweating & long hours wasted running & sweating. What does it mean to think like a jogger? I don't know, I'm not a jogger. But some joggers seem to have it all together.

3) Realize that you are powerless over your addiction, that your life had become unmanageable. Oh, no, wait, that's the first step of the 12 Step Program. Sorry about that.

4) If you find yourself often fleeing in terror, see if there are other emotions in which you can flee instead. Fleeing in amusement, for example, is easier on your heart & might actually be charming. Fleeing in hatred might have saved your last relationship, or at the very least prolonged it long enough so you'd have a date for your cousin's wedding.

5) Try a new salad dressing. What could it hurt?

As you can imagine, there are many web sites & books on self-re-invention. None of them work but mine. I know, some of them say the same thing on their jackets, but who are you going to believe, some person who's taken the time to write a whole book full of ways to re-invent yourself they've made up or someone who has a show called Self Help Radio?

I thought so.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week, Episode Nineteen

This week's A Joke A Day a week was no better nor worse than usual, but it did do something that surprised me: it baffled me.

Seriously. Under the category of "one-liners," Tuesday's A Joke A Day said simply this:

Wife is the knife which cuts the life but there is no life without a wife.

This isn't a matter of not understanding because it's about a subject I could care less about (see "golf jokes"). This is apparently a "one-liner" that is trying both to be clever ("wife" rhymes with "life" & "knife") & misogynistic (is the life the knife-wife is cutting your own?) but also perhaps profound (everyone comes from a mother, I think it's trying to say).

But what the fuck does it mean? Do wives ruin husbands' lives more than husbands ruin the lives of their wives? How many battered men shelters are there out there? & how long has it been since it was required for a woman to be married to have a child?

Not to mention that "wife" not only implies heterosexual marriage. The crafty fellow who tossed off this bon mot doesn't seem to be aware of the gains made in both gay rights & women's rights in the last forty years.

I know, I'm thinking about this too much. I'm not just thinking, you know, that it's impossible to imagine someone finding this funny - I'm thinking it's impossible to imagine someone even understanding it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Do you want to know the difference between a graveyard & a cemetery? Do you wonder what significance graveyards & cemeteries have for human beings? Do you want to hear what someone thinks are the three most haunted burial grounds in the United States? Dude, you should totally listen to this show! I talk about all of those things!

Happy Halloween to you from Self Help Radio, which explores graveyards (not literally but musically) on today's holiday show. The show is available at the Self Help Radio website, conveniently divided into two equally scary parts: part one in a freshly dug grave, & part two in a spooky crypt. Not to give anything away, but some of the scary sounds that you'll hear are listed below.

Also! If you want more Halloween music, I still have last year's show (about haunted houses) as well as a sub show I did (about zombies) on the website. You can find them at the top of the archive page. Enjoy at your own risk.

Happy Halloween!

(part one)

"The Graveyard Shift" The Ghouls _Dracula's Deuce_
"My Baby Digs Graves" The Easter Monkeys _Splendor Of Sorrow_
"The Cemetery" Architecture In Helsinki _In Case We Die_

"Goin' To A Graveyard" The Fuzztones _Monster A-Go-Go_
"Murder In The Graveyard" Screaming Lord Sutch _Rock & Horror_
"The Grave.. & Beyond" Zombina & The Skeletones _Taste The Blood Of Zombina & The Skeletones_
"Dead Man's Grave" The Sapphires _The Sapphires_
"Cemetry Gates" The Smiths _The Queen Is Dead_
"Graveyard Rock" Tarantula Ghoul _Horror Hop_

"Old People In The Cemetery" Of Montreal _Aldhils Arboretum_
"Rockin' In The Graveyard" Jackie Morningstar _Rockin' Bones: 1950's Punk & Rockabilly_
"Graveyard" Jeffrey Lewis _It's The Ones Who've Cracked That The Light Shines Through_

(part two)

"Mass Graves" George Carlin _Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_
"Gravedigger Rock" The Polecats _Rockabilly Guys: The Best Of The Polecats_

"Gravedigging Blues" Beat Happening _Black Candy_
"The Graveyard Rock" Rodd Keith _I Died Today_
"Monster Mash" The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band _Cornology_
"Graveyard Girl" M83 _Saturdays = Youth_
"Graveyard Girlfriend" The Groovie Ghoulies _Re-Animation Festival_

"In My Grave" The Spectors _Beat Is Murder: Cockfights & Catfights 1992-1996_
"Graveyard" Leroy Bowman _The Ultimate 50's & 60's Rockin' Horror Disc: Blood Curdling Rock & Roll_
"Please Mr. Gravedigger" David Bowie _London Boy_
"Graveyard Groove" The Revillos _Attack Of The Giant Revillos_
"Pet Sematary" The Ramones _Brain Drain_
"Found Love In A Graveyard" Veronica Falls _Veronica Falls_

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Whither Graveyards?

I'm running out of Halloween show ideas! I don't think there are many songs about pumpkins!

I was actually going to do the show on curses this year when, like an idea that was only in my peripheral vision, I thought about graveyards a couple of months ago. I was also thinking of doing a show on Japanese monster movies, & might have gone that way if I hadn't already thought of graveyards in the interim.

This is not very interesting, I know, but perhaps you have an idea I haven't had. It's a little weird to be asking for help on a theme that won't be explored for literally a year (even before I've done the show about graveyards!) but there you are. Perhaps next year I'll do a show entirely made up of themes from horror films. Or maybe I can find enough songs about pumpkins by then.

In any event, tomorrow! At 7:30 am! In Lexington! Is Self Help Radio's 2011 Halloween show! About graveyards! It'll be as scary as anything at 7:30 am is! Listen live on the 88.1 fm frequency *or* online at the WRFL website, whichever is most handy. I'll archive the show later at self help radio dot net.

& remember, you can still listen to last year's shows about zombies & haunted houses! Perfectly spooky listening for your Halloween night!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Preface To Halloween 2011 - Graveyards!: My Life Is A Boneyard

Self Help Radio prides itself on not repeating itself, like other radio shows do. I understand that the point of radio is repetition, & that more people would perhaps listen to Self Help Radio (arguable) if it played the same thing over & over, like most popular radio shows do. Alas, it is not in my constitution.

I do love to do "annual" shows, like Halloween, which is coming up this week. But while I like doing a Halloween show, I also want to hone in on some aspect of Halloween rather than being generic. Also, I don't want to repeat myself. I do try to come up with an interesting, holiday-related theme on the topic. How have I done so far?

In 2003, it was just "Halloween."
In 2004, I didn't do a Halloween show. Long story.
In 2005, the show was about vampires.
In 2006, the show was about monsters.
In 2007, the show was about zombies.
In 2008, the show was about witches.
In 2009, the show was about werewolves.
In 2010, the show was about haunted houses.

(Speaking of not repeating myself, I did reprise the zombie show for a WRFL sub last year, & you can hear the show here if you're so inclined. I justify the repetition by saying "it wasn't a Self Help Radio show." Also, if you'd like to hear last year's show about haunted houses, it's also still available for the listening to.)

This year's show, as you perhaps have read in the post's subject line, is about graveyards. I have ideas for other future Halloween themes, like voodoo & curses, but the graveyard theme hit me at the last minute. Clearly I need to listen closely to cliched Halloween songs to tease out Halloween details I have been heretofore ignoring.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Competition

Self Help Radio is not a self-help radio show. Oftentimes when people come to the web site or especially to the Facebook page(*), they expect a generic "self-help" page, & are probably confused when it's not, as the Wikipedia describes it, "a self-guided improvement— economically, intellectually, or emotionally — often with a substantial psychological basis." In fact, many have suggested (or none have) that no one has ever been helped by Self Help Radio.

Yet there are actual self-help radio shows, & perhaps Self Help Radio should consider them the competition. What are these shows? Should Self Help Radio be worried?

If you use Google to search for "self-help radio" (leaving the dash in, which Self Help Radio doesn't), the second result(**) is Self Dev Radio (obviously they didn't want or couldn't afford the address, which sits idle), a site that appears to be internet-only, & which boasts that it "broadcast(s) inspirational interviews, self-development features & smooth music 24/7!" Going to the web site will let you immediately hear some of that "smooth music," plus the loud, confident voice of a fellow telling you what you're also reading on the site. In case you can't read. Or something.

Next is the motherlode: a list of links relating to "self-help" on Blog Talk Radio. Here is a treasure trove (if this is your kind of treasure) of links to shows with titles like "Finding Happiness Within," "Message From The Oneness," "Fate Versus Destiny," "Healing Wisdom: Attract The Perfect Partner For You," "Motivation, Exercise & ADD," & "Instinct Combat Shooting."

Hey. Combat shooting can be a form of self-help. Don't balk!

Up next is Self Improvement Talk Radio, another riff on the more familiar "self-help" phrase. It appears to be not a list of shows, but a promotional page for a particular self-help guru, Dr. Anne Marie Evers, who is Canadian & who also has a certificate (that could be Canadian for BA? (***)) in therapeutic touch. (The Wikipedia is kinder to this quackery than it ought to be.)

Dr. Evers is not a medical doctor, & her own site tells you she is an "ordained minister," so perhaps her doctorate is in theology, since her credentials only mention "certificates" & not actual degrees. She does give affirmations, which Self Help Radio does not, & how could it compete with a list like this?

1. I am the DREAMER.
2. I am the DREAM.
3. I am the Dream Activator, Dream Supporter or the Dream Stealer.
4. I am the recepient of the DREAM, the benefactor of the DREAM.
5. I am the creator, sustainer/preserver/manifestor of the DREAM.
6. I and I alone am responsible and accountable for the DREAM.

Dream Stealer?

Finally, there is Achievement Radio Dot Com, which seems like a pretty good achievement, until you click the link & oh no! " Is No Longer An Active Website."

Perhaps they needed to practice more of what they preached.

(*) Many people have "liked" the Facebook page, thinking they are liking generic "self-help radio." Most soon realize the error of their ways.

(**) After "Self Help Radio." Surprisingly!

(***) It's not.