Saturday, July 30, 2011

Preface To Half A Show: A Story About Drugs & Drool

The boy was going to try salvia for the first time. Specifically, Salvia divinorum, often called "diviner's sage." He had never tried any hallucinogenic drugs before, not human made nor natural, & since salvia was legal (for the time being) in his state, it seemed a good idea to start (if starting is what he was doing) with it.

The boy's girlfriend was a little dyslexic, so when he texted her that he was going to try salvia, she naturally read it as "saliva" & began to worry about him. She thought perhaps he might be developing some kind of fetish, something both her mother & that psychiatrist on television had warned her about. She wondered if there were a fetish in which people liked to be drooled or spat upon.

Of course there was! So she told him she'd leave him if he tried saliva. He tried to explain to her that he was talking about a psychoactive plant, but all she could imagine, from reading up on spitting on the internet, is either him getting her (or, worse yet, another girl!) to spit on him, to suck all the saliva out of his mouth, or (she shuddered) him wanting to spit or drool on her!

They broke up; she had begun to find him quite horrible to think about. Then the salvia he purchased from a friend turned out to be the wrong kind, so he didn't get to have a first great drug experience after all.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Bill Finger's Last Days

If you're at all a fan of The Batman, you should probably know who Bill Finger is. He basically co-created the character & many of the caped crusader's villains & supporting cast, & wrote many of his early adventures, & is now virtually unknown outside the comics community.

Within the comics community, he is honored as a hero. There's even an award created in his name to honor people who have contributed great things to the comics world but were not sufficiently honored in their day. (The 2011 winners are discussed here.)

There are a few biographies of him online, & all note that he died, quite young, at the age of 59. He was fired, one suggests, from DC Comics because he asked for health benefits. Another one notes, "He died poor & without any official heirs to continue his fight for credit. Since then, in the comic book industry, being 'Fingered' has become slang for being denied credit for one's contributions to a story or character."

I assume he was in poor health, in addition to being poor (he wrote a couple of movies & also for television, so he seemed to have lots of work), but I haven't read anything about his final years. Fifty-nine seems very young. Especially in a field where some of the worst-treated creators lived into their eighties.

Anyone know how Bill Finger lived his final years? Any information out there?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week, Episode Five

I could talk, & have talked, & will talk a lot about the A Joke A Day jokes which are so monstrously unfunny that you're genuinely surprised when there's an A Joke A Day joke which actually makes you chuckle. But I think it's mainly in the telling - some of these "jokes" actually have a joke in them - they're just so shabbily constructed, it's like listening to a child try to tell a sophisticated story. They miss nuance, they have no sense of timing. It's a rambling mess.

I suspect the reason for this is that the jokes that the A Joke A Day team gets are submitted, vaguely approved (if that), & not in the least edited before the daily submission is shot out to the subscribers. It's amazing to me that there's not one person on the A Joke A Day staff who has enough of a sense of humor - & basic copy editing skills - to spend a thoughtful five minutes cleaning up a joke. As it stands, most of the A Joke A Day jokes come across as the slurring funnies a moderately inebriated person will tell to a crowd of strangers on a dare during an open mic night.

Some of the A Joke A Day jokes are jokes that have been told before (usually better), but this joke, from Sunday, sounds a little familiar, don't you think?

Joe, a college student, was taking a course in ornithology, the study of birds. The night before the biggest test of the semester, Joe spent all night studying. He had the textbook nearly memorized. He knew his class notes backward and forward. Joe was ready.

The morning of the test, Joe entered the auditorium and took a seat in the front row. On the table in the front was a row of ten stuffed birds. Each bird had a sack covering its body, and only the legs were showing. When class started, the professor announced that the students were to identify each bird by looking at its legs and give its common name, species, habitat, mating habits, etc.

Joe looked at each of the birds' legs. They all looked the same to him. He started to get angry. He had stayed up all night studying for this test and now he had to identify birds by their LEGS? The more he thought about the situation, the angrier he got.

Finally he reached his boiling point. He stood up, marched up to the professor's desk, crumpled up his exam paper and threw it on the desk. "What a ridiculous test!" he told the prof. "How could anyone tell the difference between these birds by looking at their legs? This exam is the biggest rip-off I've ever seen!"

With that, Joe turned and stormed toward the exit. The professor was a bit shocked, and it took him a moment to regain his composure. Then, just as Joe was about to walk out the door, the prof shouted out, "Wait a minute, young man, what's your name?"

Joe turned around, pulled up his pant legs and hollered, "You tell me, prof! You tell me!"

If it sounds a little familiar, it's because it's something of a riff on the famous "Do You Know Who I Am?" urban legend. (You can read about it here.) In it, a student outsmarts a professor who doesn't know who he is by sticking his blue book in a stack of them & leaving.

This joke attempts to recreate that urban legend but fails, as the student will. Why? Because the professor can either identify the student by his crumpled-up exam he threw on the desk, or he can simply fail everyone who didn't take the test. The student made the grand gesture for nothing. He would have been better off trying to take the test. Especially if the other students were as confused as he was & he was graded on a curve.

(& by the way, if you'll allow me to overthink a dumb joke, you might have some idea of a bird's species by its size. Also, what a gruesome idea for a test. All those dead birds!)

There was one joke I thought was actually funny this week, so, credit where it's due, I present it here, unedited, as it appeared in my inbox on Tuesday:

There were two guys working for the city. One would dig a hole - he would dig, dig, dig.

The other would come behind him and fill the hole - fill, fill, fill.

These two men worked furiously; one digging a hole, the other filling it up again.

A man was watching from the sidewalk and couldn't believe how hard these men were working, but couldn't understand what they were doing. Finally he had to ask them.

He said to the hole digger, "I appreciate how hard you work, but what are you doing? You dig a hole and your partner comes behind you and fills it up again!"

The hole digger replied, "Oh yeah, must look funny, but the guy who plants the trees is sick today."

Monday, July 25, 2011

You May Already Have Won!

Or, you may already be winning! What have you won, you ask. What are you winning? This week's Self Help Radio! A show entirely about winning!

It's such a winning show that it can be hosted by a loser like me. How's that for "winning the day"? No? Ah well, you can't win 'em all.

The show is above "place" & "show" at I have lovingly divided it into two exciting halves, the first half of which is here while the second half is looking at itself in a trophy over here. The songs in each half are below.

Congratulations on being a winner! I wonder what that feels like.

(part one)
"The Winner" Gregory Isaacs _The Winner: The Roots Of Gregory Isaacs 1968-1978_
"We're A Winner" The Impressions _The Very Best Of The Impressions_
"Let's Win!" Alex Ebert _Alexander_

"I'm A Winner" Diana Ross _I'm Still Waiting_
"All Right OK You Win" Mikki Wilcox _Memphis Belles: The Women Of Sun Records_
"A Winner Never Quits" The Elgins _The Golden Era Of Doo-Wops: Lummtone Records_
"Can't Win" Richard Thompson _Amnesia_
"Win Your Love (For Me)" Sam Cooke _The Man & His Music_

"Charlie Sheen Winning (Awesome Vatican Assassin)" Ithinkimessedmyself _Charlie Sheen Winning (Awesome Vatican Assassin)_
"Gonna Keep On Tryin' Till I Win Your Love" Marvin Gaye _That's The Way Love Is_
"Give In, You Just Can't Win" Tammi Terrell _Come On & See Me: The Complete Solo Collection_

(part two)
"Can't Win" The Invincibles _The Best Of Loma Records: The Rise & Fall Of A 1960's Soul Label_
"You're A Winner" Harold Andrews _Moaning, Groaning, Crying: A Galaxy Of Soul_

"Win" David Bowie _Young Americans_
"You Have Yet To Win" Holly Golightly _Truly She Is None Other_
"A La Fin Tu Gagneras (You'll Win In The End)" Jocelyne _C'est Chic! French Girl Singers Of The 1960s_
"I Won" The Sundays _Reading, Writing & Arithmetic_
"The Boy Who Can't Win" Three Finger Cowboy _Hooray For Love_

"You Win Again" Hank Williams _The Complete Hank Williams_
"You... Win!" Beardyman _I Done A Album_
"The Winning Team" Patton Oswalt _Feelin' Kinda Patton_
"You Just Can't Win" Them _The Story Of Them Featuring Van Morrison_
"A Quitter Never Wins" Larry Williams & Johnny Guitar Watson _Right Track: The Best Of Okeh Northern Soul_
"Everybody Loves A Winner" Dandy _The History Of Trojan Records Vol. 1_

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Whither Winning?

Because Charlie Sheen kept saying the word, & I kept hearing it on The Soup, & it entered my brain & I thought, "That'll be a good theme!"

Will it? I dunno. You be the judge. Tomorrow morning at 7:30 am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington, online everywhere at wrfl dot fm. I'll archive it of course later at the Self Help Radio website.

(If you're up earlier, listen to Sugar Substitute from 6 to 7:30. It's good!)

You're a winner if you listen. That's how it is.