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!