Saturday, April 07, 2012

Preface To Church: What Comes Between Good Friday & Easter Sunday?

Apparently it's called Holy Saturday. That's a little disappointing, although it shouldn't be - after all, "Good Friday" is a little underwhelming as a name for a religious holiday. Often people will say things like, "Have a good Friday!" & they're certainly not suggesting that you celebrate the crucifixion of a religious figure.

However, one of the more interesting stories about Holy Saturday is that Jesus - who was of course at that point quite dead - literally goes to hell.

Don't take that the wrong way! He went there of his own accord & just to free the heroes of the Old Testament, from Adam & Eve on up. The implication - & if you weren't ever taught this, you're probably not Catholic - was that, before Jesus' death, everyone went to hell. Noah was in hell. Moses was in hell.

But Jesus only brings people from the Old Testament to heaven. Great humans of pagan faiths have to stay there. & probably no one explain to Socrates, say, why his old chess buddy Solomon just disappeared one day. Unless maybe Satan told them later, just to fuck with them.

It makes you wonder - did Jesus have that planned all along? Or did he think, right after his death, "Oh I know what I can do!" & though there's any real consensus on the subject - most Protestants utterly reject the notion, since there's nothing really in scripture about it - it's impressive how much Jesus got done on a day that for the most part he could have just taken it easy.

Did you get as much done today?

Friday, April 06, 2012


"We cannot consciously control the speed of movement between stops & during each saccade, the eyes move as fast as they can."

That's from here.

The more we learn about ourselves, the more we discover we are less & less the overt controllers of our lives & thoughts.

This reminds me of a conversation I had over twenty years ago with a girlfriend & one of her girlfriends & that girlfriend's boyfriend. I'll call them Betty, Veronica & Reggie. I am as always Jughead.

Reggie was going on & on about something something Ayn Rand something. He was a bit of a self-important douche & I had had little or no experience with Randianism at the time so when he praised "logic" & "rationality," I thought he was more or less on my side. At least he didn't go on & on about the virtues of being selfish. He was talking & he made some comment about emotions being chemical.

The two women with us gasped. "Do you really believe that?" Betty said. (Yes, my Betty.) Reggie said sure, probably glad to have the chance to debate something, since none of us really cared to interrupt his monologue. She then turned to me & said, "Jughead, do you believe our emotions are chemicals?"

I was put in a difficult situation. I am pretty much a materialist & have rarely, if ever, seriously entertained supernatural explanations for anything. But I was being stared at a woman I loved who was asking a loaded question: DID I REALLY BELIEVE THIS CODSWALLOP? DO I DARE TO LOVE SOMEONE WHO THINKS SO LITTLE OF EMOTIONS?

Interestingly, I don't remember how I responded. It didn't end the relationship at that time. When I remember it, I curse myself for not asking the more serious question in response, which is this: "If our emotions are not chemical, what are they?"

There's some irony in getting emotional about being confronted with the material nature of emotions. As a species, we're the only living things on this planet that use the results of material processes - like thinking thoughts - to convince ourselves that the things that are produced by these processes are not & cannot be material. They seem more than that. To a lot of people. Like the feeling of love seeming like more than a chemical process.

& meanwhile, "Saccades are the fastest movements produced by the human body."

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Birthday Dog!

Our old man George turns 14 today! According to this website, that makes him the equivalent of 82 human years old. This website says that he's actually closer to 69 human years old. (It also says that I am seven & three-quarters dog years old. It's so tragic when a child is older than a parent.) One more: this website suggests George is closer to 72 human years old.

Besides being a bit obdurate (which he's always been) & whiny (ditto) & a little deaf (though I might be mistaking that for him generally not giving a shit), he generally acts like he's half his age. Last night, for example, when we got home from seeing the Spooky Qs, he danced around the house like an idiot. I'm surprised he didn't hurt himself.

I wrote about George a few Thursdays ago. He is a terribly sweet dog who likes to be around me, which is fine by me: I like being around him!

Monday, April 02, 2012

100% Cotton Show

Cotton! Cotton everywhere! Hey! I did something on this episode of Self Help Radio I either have never done or may have done only once: I played all the songs in (more or less) chronological order. (I say more of less because I looked up the years but didn't really care about the month & day, so, for example, the songs from 1929 may be out of order.) How did it go? You tell me!

All the cotton pickin' songs I played are listed below. The show is divided into two parts & much easier to pick & sort than cotton. Part one is behind that link. Part two is behind this one. The entire show (& many other shows just sitting there hoping you'll visit) is over at the Self Help Radio web page.

(part one)

"Land Of Cotton Blues" Lucille Hegamin _The Ladies In Blues_
"Cotton Field Blues" Charlie 'Dad' Nelson _The Paramount Masters_
"Cotton Field Blues" Henry Thomas _The Easin' In: Essential Recordings Of Texas Blues_

"Make My Cot Where The Cot-Cot-Cotton Grows" Red Nichols' Stompers _That's What I Call Sweet Music: American Dance Orchestras Of The 1920s_
"Song From A Cotton Field" Bessie Brown _Down In The Basement: Joe Bussard's Treasure Trove Of Vintage 78s: 1926-1937_
"Mississippi Boweavil Blues" Charley Patton _The Complete Recordings 1929-34_
"Cotton Mill Blues" Wilmer Watts _1929_
"Price Of Cotton Blues" The Allen Brothers _The Complete Recordings Vol.1 1927-1930_

"Cotton Mill Blues" Lee Brothers Trio _Hard Time In The Country_
"Serves 'Em Fine (Cotton Mill Colic No. 3)" Dave & Howard _Black & White Hillbilly Music: Early Harmonica Recordings 1920-30's_
"11 Cent Cotton, 40 Cent Meat" Bob's Boys (Bob Miller) _Songs For Political Action: Folkmusic, Topical Songs, & The American Left 1926-1953_
"Cotton Mill Blues" Daddy John Love _Oh My Little Darling_

(part two)

"Floatin' Down To Cotton Town" Fats Waller _1936_

"Cotton Patch Blues" Tommy McClennan _Big Joe Williams & The Stars Of Mississippi Blues_
"Cotton Eyed Joe" Adolf Hofner & His San Antonians _Roots 'N' Blues: The Retrospective (1925-1950)_
"Cotton Pickin' Blues" Robert Petway _Broadcasting The Blues: Black Blues In The Segregation Era_
"Pick A Bale Of Cotton" Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee _Blowin' The Fuses_
"Boll Weevil" Lead Belly _Sings For Children_
"Old Cotton Fields At Home" Odetta & Larry _The Tin Angel_

"Cotton Picking Hands" The Dukes _Lost Dreams: The New Orleans Vocal Groups_
"Cotton Picker" Wortham Watts _The 'D' Singles Collection Vol. 1_
"Cotton Head" Leon Peels _It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Beat!_
"California Cottonfields" Merle Haggard _Down Every Road: 1962 - 1994_
"Mississippi Cotton Picking Delta Town" Charley Pride _Country_
"The Backbone Of America Is A Mule & Cotton" Abner Jay _The Backbone Of America Is A Mule & Cotton_

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Whither Cotton?


Cotton is not, as one might think, a terrifying metal which can "learn" from those it maims or kills. The American Cotton Industry has made this very clear through an ingenious if not desperate series of advertisements on television & the radio. Also fat people wearing sandwich boards, although that was just as a tax write-off.

Cotton is also not "home to a race of mildly intelligent, though small, horticulturists" to which it is rumored that 30% of the male population is allergic. Widespread fear of horticulturists who are not necessarily clever but still rather competent continues after the Home Garden panic of the 1990s but this canard, which haunts tee shirt manufacturers everywhere, continues to be passed on as knowledge wherever garden tools are sold.

Cotton will never "come between you & your man." The last time cotton caused such a fuss became the American Civil War & it still feels really awful about it. So if you are a person who enjoys a close relationship with a man but have some insecurities, it is vehemently not cotton you should be worrying about. Have you taken a look at devious old fleece lately?

Finally, cotton does not want nor should it ever be a controlled substance. People who delight in growing cotton in secretive places - like hydroponically, or in secret sections of National Parks - need to be aware that it is perfectly legal to grow cotton anywhere. Sure, cotton has the classic "bad boy" image, but that's just a character it played in angsty teen dramas. People associating with cotton for its illicit qualities are totally missing out on naughtier plants.


Listen to Self Help Radio's show about cotton, which will be on the air Monday (April 2nd) from 7:30 to 9 am on 88.1 fm WRFL Lexington & online at WRFL dot FM. There is a direct link to the audio stream & this is it.

For those of you who move at slower, more cotton-like, pace, the show will be archived sometime later at the Self Help Radio website.