Saturday, December 01, 2012

Preface To Worry: It Takes A Worried Person

Thirteen years ago - it was another century - I happened into a men's room in an unfamiliar building at the University of Texas at Austin.  I was walking across campus &, you know, had to use the facilities, like you do, & wandered into the nearest building.

It was a nice old restroom, dating - like the building - from the early 1960s.  The building was mostly deserted - it was afternoon, it was summer, there were no classes - so I had the place to myself, which is how I prefer it anyway.

I used to carry a notebook with me to write stuff down, thoughts & ideas, impressions, even (god help me) poetry & prose.  But I wasn't going to be composing on the crapper - I just needed to "do my business" & get out of there.

I am glad I had the notebook, though, because there was a sort-of haiku on the wall, & commentary, which delighted me so that I had to write it down.

Someone wrote:

"No matter how beautiful she is
 Someone, somewhere
 Is sick of her shit."

Underneath, a different person wrote:

"We should have such worries, you and i."

That building - & therefore that little bit of bathroom poesy - no longer exists.  There's another building in its place, & I remember thinking about the graffiti when I watched workers tear the building down a few years later.

Over time workers built something new there, & I walked past it often as I walked around campus, but for the life of me I can't think of what that new edifice looks like.

But I can see the scrawled words of wisdom - & the pithy response - on the back of a men's room's stall's door as clear as day.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Gag Writer

Did anyone call for a gag writer?  There's a gag writer at the door.

He's a nervous chap, with a crooked smile, & he's holding a small box which appears to contain a lot of differently colored index cards.

He speaks so softly!  Bernie said he had a kind of feminine giggle.

You wouldn't think it - this is an old neighborhood, there are so many retirees here - but he says that, yes, he often gets calls from folks who want a joke here & there.  Many jokes, he says, are started by the person who requests him, but they can't think of a punchline.

Tanya asks him if he sings, & he blushes & says, Oh no.

It's not hard, he says, to think of funny things.  What's hard is that people find different things funny.  We make him a cup of tea & he sits down, keeping the box of index cards on his lap.

He's very polite, Bernie notes, & though he appears ill at ease, he smiles & listens intently to our comments, & answers all of our questions.

He realizes he got the address wrong - we're a road & he was looking for an avenue - & he is apologetic, hoping he did not put us out in any way.

He gives me his card, & I can't help thinking that if he had a hat - well, not only would it cover his bald spot - but he'd tip it as he left.  He seems like that kind of guy.

He gets into his beat-up Ford Fiesta, backs into our driveway to turn around, & chugs off down the street.

It's funny, Tanya says.  We had a gag writer here & never even asked him to tell us a joke.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gasp! First Ever Blog Post Written On My Phone!

It comes as no surprise that I am somewhat behind in technological advances - I still don't know what Instagram is - so as I was sitting here in a boring meeting, it occurred to me I could write in my dumb blog instead of paying attention.

I wonder, will it say "posted from my iPhone"?

That always annoys me.

I don't think it's something I'll do regularly. It's hard to type on the phone, especially since I didn't grow up with texting. Also, I have fingers like sausages.

Still, it's neat. Now if I could just learn how to send pictures with my texts...

Content? What content!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another Birthday Down The Drain

Hey people!  Do you have a person with whom you're madly in love?  Also, do you have a radio show?  If so, one way to celebrate that person's life is to make a radio show every year around the time of his or her birthday & play a lot of birthday songs!  You will average a 41% rise in goodwill which will make your next year very happy!

What?  You don't have a radio show?  You can use mine!  Just go to Self Help Radio's website & listen to this week's show, which is about birthdays!  (You can see the song list below.)

Hey!  I know what you're thinking!  This is about someone named "Magda."  (See picture above.)  Sure, but the songs aren't all about her.  & anyway, for a short time, you can still listen to last year's birthday show for her.  All those songs!  About birthdays!  41% I said!

(For this year's show, you can listen to each part by clicking here: part one | part two.)

Happy birthday to Magda!  Again!

& thank you for listening!

(part one)

"Peter's Birthday (Black & White Rainbows)" World Of Oz _Muffin Man_
"A Cat Had A Birthday" Sesame Street _Hot! Hot! Hot! Dance Songs_
"Happy Birthday" So Many Wizards _Warm Nothing_

"Happy Birthday Lisa" Jens Lekman _Live From Stora Teatern_
"Born" Beloved Binge _Pockets_
"Happy Hippie Birthday" SoKo _I Thought I Was An Alien_
"Happy Happy Birthday Baby" Sandy Posey _Sandy Posey: Born to Be Hurt - The Anthology (1966-1982)_
"All The Birthdays" The Apartments _The Evening Visits... & Stays Forever_

"Jest's Birthday" Kimya Dawson _Knock-Knock Who?_
"Birthday Reminder" The Smittens _Believe Me_
"Envelope" The Phantom Six _Plastic Rain_
"Happy Birthday To Me!" Luv Clowns _Love Clowns!_
"The Happy Birthday Song" Andrew Bird _Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production Of Eggs_

(part two)

"Magdalena" Alan Vega _Jukebox Babe/Collision Drive_
"Romance In Durango" Bob Dylan _Desire_
"Oh Magdalena" George Baker Selection _The Complete Collection_
"Magdalen Sky" Mark Gardener _These Beautiful Ghosts_
"Birthdays" Max Bollinger _Easy Russian For English Speakers, Vol. 1 & 2_

"Keep Your Hands Off Of It (Birthday Cake)" Jerry Lee Lewis _Jerry Rocks_
"Happy Birthday To You" O.B. Jackson _Hollerin'_
"Birthday" The Sensational Alex Harvey Band _Considering The Situation: Anthology_
"Happy Birthday, Mr. President (James Hardway Remix)" Marilyn Monroe _Greatest Hits Remixed_

"Happy Birthday" Bernadette Carroll _Touch The Wall Of Sound, Vol. 3_
"Special Birthday Person" Space Ghost _Yeah, Whatever..._
"Happy Happy Birthday To Me" Colin Clary _One Hundred Decembers_
"The Birthday" Hospitality _Hospitality_
"Can You Keep A Secret?" Lotus Eaters _No Sense Of Sin_

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Whither Magda's Birthday 2012?

Let's get the important stuff out of the way: there is a woman named Magda, whom I married (although it might be more appropriate to say she allowed me to marry her) & with whom I fell madly in love with over a decade ago.  Such is my clumsy attempt at showing my love to her that I do a birthday show for her every year.  I play songs about birthdays.  If I played songs about her, I might get in a little trouble.  I play it safe by celebrating all birthdays by virtue of the fact that it's the birthday of the love of my life.

That's all well & good. Here's what I want to say: it's getting harder & harder to find good birthday songs.

I'm serious.

Well, I hear someone who doesn't know me very well say, why not just play the best birthday songs every year?

I know that's the modus operandi of your average radio show.  Tune in on Halloween, they play "Monster Mash."  Most radio listeners want to hear things they find familiar, which is why there's a lot of money in classic rock & "jammin' oldies."

I believe that one of the main reasons that not too many people listen to my show is because I don't play the same stuff over & over.  That used to bother me.  It doesn't really any more.  Without listeners, I am free to play what I like.  & what I like is not to play the same stuff over & over.

If that's the case, & if I am to continue to celebrate my love's birthday every year with wonderful birthday songs, can I please ask the musicians of the world: can you make more & better birthday songs in 2013?  If every band I loved just made one really great birthday song, I'd be set through 2020.  & let's be honest - by 2020, she's probably going to realize she made a mistake by marrying me & I can celebrate the divorce date with songs about broken hearts.

There's a lot of those.

Hey!  Come celebrate Magda's birthday with me tomorrow morning from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington &/or online at!

I'll archive it as a birthday present for her - & you! - at the Self Help Radio website before her birthday.  Promise!