Saturday, August 06, 2011

Preface To Follow Me: Don't Follow Me To Cincinnati

Do you remember trying to learn how to spell stupid English words that didn't sound like they were spelled? If you didn't, ignore this. If you did, well, you can ignore this, too, but you might sympathize with my dumbass recollections.

I remember having to figure out - not with mnemonics, not exactly - simple ways to spell words correctly when I was a kid. For example, "Mississippi" was sung in a kind of sing-song in my head that probably owes something to the Mickey Mouse Club theme. Words like "Wednesday" & "friend" were mis-pronounced in my head so that I could remember how they were spelled - wed-NES- day, or FRY-end. (That "i before e" rule came later, & was mainly helpful for words like "ceiling.") Methods like that meant that I had to remember not to pronounce them the way I said them in my head.

Worse still were the words that I mispronounced continually until some kind soul - usually but not always a teacher, who was expected to do so, but surprisingly often it was something impersonal, like a song or a television program - corrected me. I remember that I pronounced "metropolis" - capitalized, the home of Superman - as "met-ro-pol-is" rather than "me-trop-O-lis" until I saw the first Superman movie. I was also convinced that the Yo-sim-i-tee Sam in the cartoons was different than the Yo-suh-might Sam in the comics - until my sister I think told me I was stupid & I was able to see how "Yosemite" could be pronounced the proper way.

I am thinking about this because, now that I live just about an hour away from Cincinnati, & every damn time I try to spell Cincinnati, the spell-check reminds me that it has two ns & only one t, not the other way around. & as I am going to Cincinnati, & I wanted to write about it, I am being forced to correct that mistake over & over during this post.

The poor schoolchildren trying to remember how to spell this city they live in! I think there is probably a sizable portion of Cincinnati who just can't spell Cincinatti, though Cincinati is the city they've lived in all their lives. Cincinnati, not Sinsinatti.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Building Up A New Home

(The title is a Shriekback reference.)

I am going to be busy today because yesterday the wife & I signed papers to buy a house here in Lexington. As a friend on Facebook said, "I guess you're going to stay." Yes, we are.

We're officially moving in after my show a week after next so there should be no interruption of the shabby, last-minute-feel of Self Help Radio. I just wanted to say hooray!

I'll let you know when we have our first house party.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A Joke A Day A Week, Episode Six

It was not a loquacious week for the A Joke A Day crowd. The shortest "joke" was only twenty-three words long, while the longest was thrice that at seventy-six words long - the seven "jokes" averaged thirty-six words in total, which meant they were basically either one-liners or smart-ass responses. I am not an accountant, of course, though I do take a little pride in today's America that I know basic math (when so few truly do). I also know that math may have little to do with what's funny, even if what's funny sometimes follows a formula. I merely mention this because it seemed to me that the A Joke A Day crowd were being weirdly economical with their clumsy stabs at humor this week.

Here's their shortest "joke," which was probably stolen from an ex-Saturday Night Live performer's stand-up:

You know you're getting old when your best friend tells you he's having an affair & you want to know if it's catered.

Ho hum. The others just as dull, although probably guaranteed to make the average twelve-year-old giggle.

My favorite amused me because it reminded me... Well, here, here's the joke:

A customer sent an order to a distributor for a large amount of goods totaling a great deal of money.

The distributor noticed that the previous bill hadn't been paid, so he asked his collections manager to leave a voice-mail for them saying, "We can't ship your new order until you pay for the last one."

The next day the collections manager received a collect phone call, "Please cancel the order. We can't wait that long."

I don't really understand the need to add the collections manager to the joke; the distributor could have easily made the phone call & streamlined it somewhat (also, since this is the longest joke of the week, it could really have brought their average down) (since it seemed like brevity was the soul of their awkward stabs at wit this week).

However, I like this joke because it reminds me of a wonderful Marx Brothers routine from Animal Crackers. The script in detail is here:

But in particular it's this exchange, with Chico being Ravelli & of course Groucho being the legendary Captain Spaulding (Mrs. Rittenhouse is Margaret Dumont):

Mrs. Rittenhouse: You are one of the musicians? But you were not due until tomorrow.
Ravelli: Couldn't come tomorrow, that's too quick.
Spaulding: Say, you're lucky they didn't come yesterday!
Ravelli: We were busy yesterday, but we charge just the same.
Spaulding: This is better than exploring! What do you fellows get an hour?
Ravelli: Oh, for playing we getta ten dollars an hour.
Spaulding: I see... What do you get for not playing?
Ravelli: Twelve dollars an hour.
Spaulding: Well, clip me off a piece of that.
Ravelli: Now, for rehearsing we make special rate. Thatsa fifteen dollars an hour.
Spaulding: That's for rehearsing?
Ravelli: Thatsa for rehearsing.
Spaulding: And what do you get for not rehearsing?
Ravelli: You couldn't afford it... Heh... You see, if we don't rehearse, we don't play... And if we don't play... That runs into money.(*)

You can see the resemblance. Chico Marx would cancel an order because he knew he couldn't wait the length of time it would take for him to pay the previous order. But, come to think of it, he'd probably find a way to get them to send him the order even though he hadn't paid. He was pretty smart for a dumb fellow.

(*) If you haven't seen the movie, you should keep reading past this. The punfest that follows is amazing.

Monday, August 01, 2011

How The Other Half A Show Lives

"Half a show is better than none" - proverb uttered by someone who never heard Self Help Radio.

Look, don't go off half-cocked. I have half a mind to tell you what I think, if only I weren't half in the bag. Or a half-hearted half-wit. Look, if you give me half a chance, I will prove to you that getting there is half the fun. Though my better half tells me the show is half-baked.

Both halves of the Self Help Radio "half a show" are now available at self help radio dot net. Half number first is right here while the second half is sitting here. The two halves have been fleshed out below.

Is the show half empty or half full? It depends on your attitude, dude.

(half one)

"Half As Much" Hank Williams _The Complete Hank Williams_
"You Can't Go Halfway (& Get In)" Bailes Brothers _Roots 'N' Blues: The Retrospective, 1925 - 1950_
"Meet Me Half Way" Arbee Stidham _Chicken Shack Boogie Vol. 6_

"Halber Mensch" Einsturzende Neubaten _Halber Mensch_
"England, Half English" Billy Bragg _England, Half English_
"My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe" Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band _Cornology_
"Half A Century High" Phil Ochs _Tape From California_
"I Cut Myself In Half" Kleenex Girl Wonder _Ponyoak_

"Alexander The Swoose (Half Swan Half Goose)" Doris Day _The Complete Doris Day With Les Brown_
"Halfrabbit Halfdog" Deerhoof _Halfbird_
"Half Man Half Mole" Chris Knox _Songs Of You & Me_

(half two)

"Half Breed" Ricky Nelson _The American Dream: The Complete Imperial & Verve 1957-1962_
"Half Angel" Jack Moore _Teen Town USA, Vol. 2_
"Half A Boy & Half A Man" Nick Lowe _Basher: The Best Of Nick Lowe_

"Half A Person" The Smiths _Louder Than Bombs_
"Half A Life" Love Spit Love _Love Spit Love_
"Half Dead" The Mountain Goats _Get Lonely_
"Half My Heart Beats" Smittens _The Coolest Thing About Love_
"The Origin Of Love" John Cameron Mitchell _Hedwig & The Angry Inch_

"Half Dead" Louis CK _Chewed Up_
"Can't Go Halfway" The Harmonettes _Cult Cargo: Belize City Boil-Up_
"Half The Time" Flashing Lights _Where The Change Is_
"Half The Time" Bohemian Vendetta _Enough_

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Whither Half A Show?

Important questions asked about tomorrow's show!

1) Will the show only be half as long?
2) Were you ever a halfling when you played Dungeons & Dragons in high school, you geek?
3) Is it six of one, or a half dozen of the other?
4) What is your half-life?
5) When you say "halve" does it sound like "have" or do you pronounce the l & the v & sound particularly pretentious?

The only answers I know!

1) Self Help Radio is on tomorrow morning (August 1st) from 7:30 to 9am Central Time on 88.1 fm WRFL Lexington.
2) You can listen with any old radio in the city, but if you're not in Lexington, you can listen online at wrfl dot fm.
3) I will put the show up later in the day of course at self help radio dot net.
4) If you're up early, my pop show Sugar Substitute will be on from 6am to the start of Self Help Radio.
5) All of the above!