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.