Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve

According to some noodling & calculation & stuff, I did 92 (!) radio shows this year.  Technically, nineteen or twenty of those were not actually on the radio (they were podcasts), so the number is more like 72 - but surely that's still kind of impressive.  It means I was on the radio an average of every four or five days.

But that's misleading, since fourteen of those shows were my summer blues show, Woke Up One Early Morning Blues.  I did the show before Self Help Radio, so I wasn't really on the radio more, I just did two different shows in a three hour period.

So if you say I did 58 radio shows this year, you can say I was on the radio an average of every six days.  I wish I weren't so anal about making unfactual claims, especially when those claims aren't really about anything important.  Oh, fuck it.

I did 92 radio shows this year!

Of those shows:

55 were Self Help Radio shows
23 were sub shows on WRFL
14 were Woke Up Early One Morning Blues shows

How did I get 55 Self Help Radio shows in a year that only has 52 weeks?  Easy.  I made up a "Self Help Radio Week" in March & did five shows that week.  I probably won't do that again, mainly because I'll be out of town during Spring Break, &, anyway, I'd hate to ask the other RFL morning deejays to give up their time slots for me.  It was also exhausting!

For Self Help Radio:

I explored 44 new themes.
I did seven "regular" shows (my birthday, Valentine's Day, anniversary, Halloween, my wife's birthday, my favorites of the year, + Christmas)
I did four "indiepop a to z" segments.

But all of this is just me being goofy about a radio show that very few people care about.  Maybe you're one of them, & if you do, & you like my nonsense, you're someone I should thank for making 2014 a fun year to be doing my teen-aged radio show.  I do this because I have a weird compulsion, but the fact that sometimes there's someone listening - & that someone is you - makes it even more fun for me.

Thank you!  Have a happy 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Naps A Lot

2014 was the year of the nap.  At least for me.

I nap because I usually stay up late.  I stay up late because I nap.

I knew a guy who went home after work & took a thirty minute nap every day.  Thirty minutes!  It takes me a half hour to work my way into a nap!

Sometimes napping is about being tired.  Sometimes napping is about napping.

I dream a lot when I nap.  I can't be sure, but I'm guessing I'm in REM sleep for more than 70% of my nap.

That's not possible?  It feels like it's possible.

I just read this at this site:

Some scientists believe dreams are the cortex's attempt to find meaning in the random signals that it receives during REM sleep. The cortex is the part of the brain that interprets & organizes information from the environment during consciousness. It may be that, given random signals from the pons during REM sleep, the cortex tries to interpret these signals as well, creating a "story" out of fragmented brain activity.

I love the idea that dreams are the result of our brain confusing itself.

Now.  After all this.  It's nap time.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sticking Stories

I don't know if anyone is ever telling the truth.  When I tell stories, I assume I'm telling the truth, but recently a friend told me a story that I had told him two decades ago as if it had happened to him.  Both of us routinely tell each other things that we did that we don't remember doing.

Did we?  How can we be sure?

In that spirit, I don't entirely believe anything that's a personal anecdote from someone I either don't know very well or don't see enough to communicate with them regularly.  & I'm highly skeptical of the rest.  I treat them as perhaps colorful fictions, like mediocre movies you find yourself watching in an afternoon with nothing else going on.

& I assume it's going to get worse.

There's so much time in our lives to fill.  I've had so many long conversations with friends, & once the internet was invented, complete strangers, that I haven't the slightest memory of.  Most interestingly, some of those conversations happened on the telephone when long distance calling was quite expensive.  I think I can remember the contents of maybe a dozen phone calls.  Those late night conversations, especially when I was young - they are lost to the ether.

What's fascinating to me is that people who are much older - & I assume myself, come to think about it - they tend to tell the same stories over & over.  Like all the time they've lived can now be summarized in shorter & shorter anecdotes.  As we get older, it seems, many of us become a Reader's Digest version of ourselves.

I loved those conversations, I loved the feeling of connection they gave me in lonelier parts of my life.  Friendships & love happened because of those conversations.  If all I have left now is the memories of having the conversations, I allow myself a bit of self-pity to begin to dread those memories going away, too.

I know it doesn't happen to all of us.  But I can't imagine I'm going to be one of the exceptions.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Self Help Radio 122614: Indiepop A To Z # 46

The June Brides

Yay!  I finished the letter J!  Now only fourteen more letters to go!

Today's show went from Jim's Twenty-One to Kanda, & not only features the great indiepop I play but also includes a bonus visit from the Reverend Dr. Howard Gently, who uses his tremendous spiritual abilities to make some predictions for the year 2015.  Come for the indiepop, stay for the visions.

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website.  Please pay attention to login/password information.  Make sure your capslock isn't on!  The songs I played, by bands in alphabetical order, are listed below.

Thanks for listening - & especially thanks for being a part of Self Help Radio in 2014.  Let's do this again all next year, shall we?

(part one)

"Map Of The World" Jim's Twenty One _Throwaway Friend 7"_
"Wussy Void" Joanna Gruesome _Weird Sister_
"Moulted Fur From A Labrador" Jody & The Creams _A Big Dog_
"Yes, I Miss The Ramones" Johann Sebastian Punk _More Lovely & More Temperate_

"Fell Into You" Johanna's House Of Glamour _Farewell Street_
"Goodbye Flip Flap Guitar" Johnny Dee _Love Compilation_
"Bittersweet" Johnny Says Yeah! _Friends Gone By 1986-1989_
"Cranes & Cranes & Cranes & Cranes" Johnny Foreigner _Waited Up Til It Was Light_
"Ode To St. Valentine" Calvin Johnson _What Was Me_

"Museum Of Love" Daniel Johnston _Yip/Jump Music_
"In That Space" The Jordans _Katydid_
"Sorry For Laughing" Josef K _Sorry For Laughing_
"Tarde De Fiesta" El Joven Bryan _Expreso_
"El Reloj" Jóvenes y Sexys _Bruno EP_

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" Joy Division _Love Will Tear Us Apart_

(part two)

"Her Wave" The Judy's _Washarama_
"Rocketscientist" Juicy _For The Ladies_
"At The Appointed Hour" Julie Ocean _Long Gone & Nearly There_
"Sister" Jumprope _Holiday In Brazil_
"Every Conversation" The June Brides _There Are Eight Million Stories..._

"The Beery Boysclub" Juniper _I've Got It Now - A Popfest Compilation Cassette_
"El Resto De Mi Vida" Juniper Moon _Rough Trade Shops: Indiepop, Vol. 1_
"Gordie Can't Swim" The Junipers _Cut Your Key_
"Leave The Ground" Jupiter _Just A Taste: A Summershine Records Compilation_
"Violet Intertwine" Jupiter Sun _Why Popstars Can't Dance_
"Hey Boy... You're Oh So Sensitive" The Just Joans _Hey Boy... You're Oh So Sensitive_

"Catch" Kaia _Oregon_
"Go" Kaito _You've Seen Us... You Must Have Seen Us..._
"My Favorite Tofflor" Hideki Kaji _Tea_
"Last Night" Kaleida _Knowing Who Your Friends Are_
"Drink For Three" Kanda _All The Best Meetings Are Taken_

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Christmas!

I have nothing to say about today - hope you have a good one!

I'll be with you tomorrow with another indiepop a to z installment.  I think I will make it all the way through the letter J!  7 to 9am on 88.1 fm in Lexington & online at wrfl dot fm!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

Is this true about your family: would you spend Christmas with them if you had the choice?  Or, to put it another way, do you feel an obligation to be with your family during the holidays, rather than a need & affection?

I won't be spending Christmas with my family.  I haven't for a long time.  I think the last time I did, I realized that I just sat there getting drunk while people I didn't really know very well exchanged gifts.  As lonesome as it might have been being alone on Christmas, I was far lonelier among family (& probably drunker).

Being in Kentucky is a good excuse not to make it down to Dallas for the holiday, as well as being in charge of seven pets while the wife visits with her mother & sisters in California.  But I think I'd make some excuse in any event.  I long before stopped going home for Thanksgiving since, as a vegetarian, the holiday was already going to be unpleasant, but just sitting there while half the family shoved dead animal in their mouths & then spent the rest of the time yelling at a television didn't seem like it was worth the drive from Austin.

Christmas was something a little harder to give up, although probably 75% of that was my mother acting sad that I wasn't there.  I have tried to explain to her why it became no fun for me, but she's more driven by the obligation than the affection, I think.  (Though it seems unfair to say so.)

(25% was the romance of the holidays.  Also, I'll bet, getting presents was in there somewhere too.)

I keep harping on this, & I apologize, but 'tis the season.  I just don't think my siblings really want to spend any time together.  If they did, wouldn't they do so outside of mandated holidays?  Because they just don't.  Every obligatory gathering feels so strangely artificial.  Thinking about this reminded me of something from my childhood.

It seemed like every damn weekend there was some family get-together, especially in the summer, where there'd be a cookout.  Most of these - probably nine out of ten - happened at my oldest sister's house.  She had apparently decided that it was part of her responsibilities to bring family over to hang out.  I remember these mainly from my teenage years - before she & her husband moved back from out of state, the left-behind siblings simply didn't get together.  If I saw my older brothers, it was usually because my mother was making them take me somewhere.  (My other sister, who is six years older than I am, was my little brother & my de facto babysitter, so she had to put up with us most of the time.)

One footnote: my oldest brother, who is eighteen years older than I am, was out of the house & married before I became aware of my surroundings & started stumbling toward personhood.  I hardly saw him at all during my childhood; if I did see him, he was visiting my mother, or my mother was dragging me along to visit him.  As far as I can remember, he was never drafted to take me or my little brother to school, or wherever, as my other two older brothers were.  At some point during my middle school years, my oldest brother's marriage fell apart, & he moved in with us for a time, but we didn't connect.  Again, there wasn't much interest.

& jumping from that footnote that's not a footnote: that's the thing - I don't think any of us - any of my siblings - feel any sort of connection with one another.  I'm not sure why.  Well, I have theories, but I think I need to gather more evidence before I throw out a hypothesis.

To return to a point I was tripping around: my oldest sister (& her husband) threw these shindigs, & the siblings came.  I think my brothers came because my mother was there.  I think they felt an obligation.  There was basketball played & animal cooked & even (sometimes) alcohol consumed.  The nieces & nephews were young & they swam & played & cried.  As I grew older, I came to hate these gatherings.  Not because of the cooked dead animals - I hadn't converted yet - but because I simply didn't have anything in common with any member of my family.  I didn't want to play basketball or swim in an aboveground pool.  I didn't want to waste an afternoon that could've been spent reading or listening to music or (later) spending time with my best friend.

At the risk of sounding whiny, however, I must note: though I felt I had nothing in common with my siblings, they concurred.  They made zero effort to engage with me in any way.  Honestly, when I see siblings who are close, I am baffled by it.  They don't call you "weirdo" & "fag" behind your back because you don't like the same things they do?  They genuinely like you & want to know what your interests are?  That, it seems to me, is as unbelievable as unicorns.

So tonight most of the family is gathering at one sibling's house for Christmas Eve, where gifts will be exchanged & lots of dead animal consumed.  I think only one of my siblings-in-law drinks - but perhaps there'll be wine for my mother.  At some point, my mother will call & try to pass me around (on the phone), & I'll be tempted to take the call, if only for the point it makes: my siblings & their children (my nephews & nieces) will only talk to me when my mother makes them feel obligated.

I envy you if you're spending time with family whom you truly like & feel close to.  With the exception of my sisters, with whom I became friends in adulthood, I don't have that, & I wonder what it feels like.  & I wonder, if I could find out why my family is the way it is, could I change it?

Because surely there's a part of me, more like them than I ever wanted to admit, that perpetuates this too.  Would it be worth changing myself to try to change the family dynamic?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On The Fifteenth Day Of Christmas...

I don't have much to say today because I did my Christmas show last week & nothing I say here about Christmas therefore has anything to do with my show this week.

(In fact, if you're interested, I am putting up videos for bands that will appear on my show this week on my Facebook page, if want a little preview.  While you're there, you can "like" the page & make me a happy fellow for a short period of time.)

(My Twitter page would also like your likes - or follows, or whatever - while I keep putting up dumb photographs I have taken on my Tumblr page.)

(Someone asked me why I don't just do that on an Instagram page but really one has to draw a line somewhere, doesn't one?)

(& no one has to like or follow or approve or rubber stamp or whatever any of those pages to see anything.  I am not an owner of exclusive content.)

I am doing a late-night radio show tonight/tomorrow morning from 2-5am on WRFL if you're up wrapping or drinking or even if you're not up I was going to add if you want to listen but the truth is I'll do it even if you're not listening because I am like that dumb tree falling in the forest more often than not.  No one listens, I still play music on the radio.

I am alone this Christmas (as alone as a fellow with three beagles & four cats can be) though the wife keeps in touch with me by the text messaging while she navigates Christmas with her family.  For a while I was watching a neighbor's dog, which required me to do an extra 1/3 walk a day, but a neighbor of the neighbor has taken over the task, which is good - it's been raining all day & I assume it'll rain all night.  I couldn't walk my dogs but I'd feel obligated to walk the lonely dog.

I think I like doing late night radio shows for the same reason I like when the town empties for the holidays (as I spoke about yesterday).  It's just me, pretending someone's listening, & quiet streets to & from the radio station.

Also, I made myself Thai mac & cheese tonight (it has no cheese, it's vegan) & I've decided I like it better than macaroni with real cheese.  Granted, I haven't had macaroni with real cheese in probably five years but this stuff I made tonight, it was great.

In my head, I can hear my lovely wife saying what she says in ridiculous moments like this: "It's a Christmas miracle!"

Monday, December 22, 2014

I'm Dreaming Of A Zen Christmas

I think it's because Lexington, like Austin when I was there (who knows what it's like now), is a college town, the place just seems to depopulate when the students at the university go away.  I just went for a walk with the hounds &, except for main roads, the place seems deserted.  I fucking love that.

But I might be fooling myself about Austin.  Since I worked at the University of Texas, which is larger than most of the towns its students come from, I'd enjoy walking through the large, deserted campus at this time of year.  I guess I didn't get out much otherwise.

As we edge slowly toward the Christmas holiday, I look forward to wrangling my dogs on quiet walks through a ghost town (or a reasonable facsimile).

Except.  Oh no!  It's supposed to rain all day tomorrow.  & the next day.  & snow on Christmas Day?!?

I guess I'll not find enlightenment this week.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Self Help Radio 121914: A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2014

(Original image here)

Another year, another collection of Christmas tunes, some weird, some faithful to the originals.  In-between, I talk about whether Christmas really is Jesus' birthday, I talk to my spiritual advisor the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently, I talk to David Fruchter about his book I Found Santa, & Tania sends in a Christmas song just for the show.  It's like a cheap Christmas present you might like, though you wanted something else.

It's over at the Self Help Radio website.  Pay attention to Scrooge-like login & password information.  The songs I played are below.

Happy Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate!

(part one)

"Christmas Alphabet/White Christmas" Günter Kallmann Choir _Christmas Sing In_
"Merry Christmas To The Drunks, Merry Christmas To The Lovers" Ballboy _Merry Christmas To The Drunks, Merry Christmas To The Lovers_
"Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer" U.S. Arm Band _Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer_

"12 Days Of (Hipster) Christmas" Tea Kettles _Christmas EP_
"Reggae Christmas Eve In Transylvania" Count Floyd _Count Floyd_
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" Johnny Farnham _I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus_
"The Story Of Santa Claus" Sam Ulano _The Story Of Santa Claus_

"Santa Baby" The Dollyrots _A Dollyrots Christmas EP_
"The Christmas Song" Erasure _Snow Globe_
"Am I Too Old For Christmas?" The Ashes _Mint 400 Records: A Very Merry Christmas Compilation_
"Here Comes Santa Claus" Louis Aguilar _Les Meilleurs Morceaux De Noël_
"The Christmas Song" Lead Belly _Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1940-1943)_

"George & Andrew" The Boy Least Likely To _Christmas Special_
"Last Christmas" From Bubblegum To Sky _Eenie Meenie Holiday Mix 2013_

(part two)

"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" Cranes _O Come All Ye Faithful: Rock For Choice_
"Christmas Parade" Al Terry _Country Christmas_
"I Fell Out Of A Christmas Tree" Little Rita Faye _I Fell Out Of A Christmas Tree_

"Countdown To Christmas Party Time" The Three Wise Men _Thanks For Christmas_
"Lonely Hearts Club Christmas Party" The Love Machine _Spin into Christmas_
"The Little Drummer Boy" The Do Re Mi Children's Chorus _The Little Drummer Boy_
"Xmas Everyday (For My Kids)" Those Dreaded Gnats _A Dreaded Xmas - More Xmas Negatives_

 "Low Spirits" Benjamin Bearclaw _I May Be Lost But I'm Laughing_
"A Very Sorry Christmas" The New Mendicants _A Very Sorry Christmas_
"Blue Christmas" Seymour Swine & The Squealers _Blue Christmas_
"Christmas Vs. Saturnalia" Tania Rivas _Christmas Vs. Saturnalia_

"Alla Pastorale (Christmas Music)" Ottavio Dogali, Giuseppe Napoli & Giuseppe Ascani _The Italian Treasury: Calabria_
"Talking Christmas Goodwill Blues" John Wesley Harding _God Made Me Do It: The Christmas EP_

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Whither A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2014?

Yes, my annual Christmas show is happening tomorrow morning from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm in Lexington & online at wrfl dot fm.  I'll put it up later on the website, like I do.

You may think: Christmas has come early!

Or you may think: I'm sick of all this Christmas music already!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Christmas

If I don't seem to take the Christmas holidays terribly seriously, it's because I don't really celebrate them.  I think it's wonderful there's a time when family comes together, & I think it's wonderful there's a time when children get presents they've been anticipating for a while.  But I'm not a Christian, so the religious aspects of the holiday are lost on me, & I don't have children, so there's no emphasis on gift-giving.

In fact, I live when a cheapskate who, if I were to buy her something she didn't want or need, would snottily say to me, "You spent money on that?"

As for family - well, she goes home to be with her family, while I long ago stopped going home for Christmas.  My family unit is basically organized around my mother.  Virtually none of my siblings speak to one another or spend time with each other outside of events involving my mother.  So, her birthday, Thanksgiving, & Christmas.  Otherwise, we simply don't communicate with one another.  I have literally not spoken to any of my four brothers in years.  (My two sisters & I communicate pretty regularly, however.)

I do like Christmas music, though.  Much like experiencing adventure or romance through a movie or a song, I experience a kind of emotionally-heightened fictitious Christmas through its music.  Imagine a world with peace & love!  Imagine a family that loves one another & enjoys spending time together!  What a beautiful dream!

I've probably talked too much about my family here.  I'm not saddened by our lack of closeness, but I think I understand it.  My mother somehow inculcated in us a belief that we were the best thing that ever happened in the universe as well as a certainty that we were in competition with the world, including our own siblings.  How can you be close to someone who is basically your foe?

In this sense, there's a part of my siblings that believe they're like the stock Ayn Rand hero: perfect & right the way they are, & waiting for the moment when the world comes around to realizing their greatness.  That the world hasn't should be troubling for them - but so far, it doesn't appear that way.

It was troubling to me, so early on I called bullshit on it.  (To be fair, my sisters were never much that way with the brothers, but to this day, they compete with one another, mainly for my mother's stingy, judgmental affection.)

In any event - I stress about Christmas because I know it makes my mother sad that I don't attend.  I am saddened that she must be aware - is she? - that when she's no longer around, there'll be no apron strings to keep the family together, & there'll be no more family gatherings.  I often note that the next time I'll see my brothers will be at my mother's funeral.  & that that will be the last time as well.

But I do like Christmas music, so I do a Christmas show!

Should I have saved this for tomorrow?  Ah well.  I was up late doing a radio show in the wee hours & I'm loopy from lack of sleep.  Time to nap a bit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Not only are they anagrams!
According to this article, Georgia pastor Edward Carothers, who runs the church in the photo (do pastors run churches? what's the proper verb?), "Santa Claus is robbing Christ of his glory."

"It's [Jesus'] birthday, it's not Santa's birthday," he says.

Of course, December 25th isn't really Jesus' birthday.  Pastor Carothers surely must know this, as the bible doesn't mention what date Jesus was born.  It would be nice, actually, if he were curious about when his savior was born.  Rather than put up a ridiculous sign designed entirely to irk people & get himself on the local news (which it did), he could have just used an online search engine to find articles like this one, which uses actual scholarship to show how, for example, early Christians didn't actually celebrate Jesus' birth until centuries after his death.

That's a better read - the article here - than the sensationalism of a desperate clergyman.  But provocative is fun!  Especially during the holiday season!

Monday, December 15, 2014

'Tis The Season

I know Christmas is nearly two weeks away, but my show this week is the only show I'll do before the holiday, & it's going to be another Very Self Help Radio Christmas.  It should be pretty damned embarrassing.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Self Help Radio 121214: Gary's Favorite Releases 2014

(if I were cool, I'd link all these records to places for more info)

My favorites of the year, as of right now.  Who knows?  In ten years (ha! like I'll be alive then!) I might find a dozen better records.  But.  I like all these a lot.  I love some of these too much.  A smattering of comedy & lots of music.

The show's available at Self Help Radio the website.  Pay attention to the login/password info.  It has to be there, or dumb bots programmed by douchebags attack the site.  The music I played is listed below.

Thanks for listening!

(part one)

"Sad" Bo Burnham _What_
"Witness" Eno-Hyde _Someday World_

"There But For Fortune" Phil Ochs _Live In Lansing 1973_
"Lisa Says (2014 Mix)" The Velvet Underground _The Velvet Underground: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition_
"Cling To Me" Cleaners From Venus _Return To Bohemia_
"My Oh My" Leonard Cohen _Popular Problems_

"Neal Cassady Drops Dead" Morrissey _World Peace Is None of Your Business_
"Wet Dream" The Piers _Secretly In Love & Everybody Knew EP_
"Sadness Is The Rich Man's Drug" The Ropes _Sadness Is The Rich Man's Drug_
"Second Empire" My Favorite _Second Empire/Dance With A Stranger_
"San Francisco Patrol" Robyn Hitchcock _The Man Upstairs_

"The Monkees" Bob Odenkirk _Amateur Hour_
"Crickets In The Rain" Allo Darlin' _We Come From The Same Place_

(part two)

"World I'm From" Haircut _Sweatshop_
"Babies" The Icypoles _My World Was Made For You_
"Archie, Marry Me" Alvvays _Alvvays_
"Upper West Side" The Smittens _Love Record Breaker_

"Planting The Seeds Of Insecurity" Sarah Silverman _We Are Miracles_
"Bamboo" Deers _Demo_
"Dull Boy" The Growlers _Chinese Fountain_
"The Boring Friend" MomusMcClymont _Two_
"Uncomfortable" Mega Emotion _Uncomfortable_

"Germany" Patton Oswalt _Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time_
"Dare" Heathers _I Know_
"Black Holes In Stereo" King Tuff _Black Moon Spell_
"Buses Splash With Rain" Frankie Cosmos _Zentropy_
"I Knew You'd Understand" The Hobbes Fanclub _Up At Lagrange_
"The English Softhearts" Literature _Chorus_

"Case Study: Don Dimello" Superego _Superego Volume 4:2_

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2014?

In addition to my issues with the word "best," it occurs to me that I am going to play recorded comedy tomorrow morning.  So should it be "Gary's favorite music"?  Should it be "Gary's favorite releases" instead?  Oh my god, isn't it easier to just say "best of" & be done with it?  OH MY GOD.

The show tomorrow will feature lots of music I listened to a lot this past year (plus something I liked a lot from late 2013).  Almost none of it is going to make the big lists you'll see anywhere else, & that's not because I'm cooler than everyone else - it's because I'm kinda out of touch.

But maybe there's something you'll like?

It's on tomorrow morning from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm & online at wrfl dot fm, & later on I'll stick it on the website, Self Help Radio Online.  I hope it'll be fun.  I hope you listen!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

One Of Those Days

You can't be prepared for bad news, unless you've been worn down by expecting it.  & then there's the shock when you realize you weren't prepared for it at all.

Two years ago today, I lost a beautiful dog, a dog who, when I met him, I didn't think much of, & didn't know I'd come to love.  But we became good friends, our relationship was one I don't often experience with humans, & his loss shook me more than I could have imagined.  Two years ago, on this night, I drank a lot of whiskey, & didn't get drunk.  That's how I learned how powerful grief really is.

I'm not superstitious at all - my mother is, & was taught how to be cripplingly so by her own mother - but I have sloughed off that dangerous nonsense.  Still, anniversaries are celebrated & remembered, so perhaps this anniversary was in my mind, & affected my emotional defenses.

Sober now, I'm working on a radio show I'll do tomorrow.  I've been called in to sub.  I want to talk about things, I want to try to deal with this news, but everyone's asleep, except for the cats, who are not the most empathetic creatures.  So I'll struggle through the night, say goodbye to this anniversary, & steel myself (futilely) to the next one.

Until such thing as it's just another sad scar on my hurt, & I am used to its pain.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

A Place To Put Yourself

This might be the imaginariest conversation you've ever had:

I want an imaginary conversation.
Don't you?
Don't I?
I knew it!
Is it nighttime where you are?
It's not even Thursday here.
Didn't get much sleep.
Have you tried counting cheese?
Yes, but the counting keeps me awake.
The cheese keeps me awake.
Iron the cheese? Are you mad, woman?
Am I mad at whom?
I don't know.  You tell me.
I'm mad at Whom. William Whom.
Are you a boy or a girl?
What are you doing now?
Writing down everything you say.
You don't say...
Neither does a chair.
It does.  Right at the top.
I'm usually under the chair.
I'm usually in the right mood.
I'm usually in the passing lane.
The left hand path is dodgy.
Are you a Zen Buddhist?
I am not a Buddhist.
Are you just Zen?
I am just, & one of many.
Do you use a wood-burning stove?
I don't need to.
Do you have microwave fingers?
I have a mind of my own.
Where you pop your popcorn.
Yes or no, have you ever tried scallops?
Yes or no, I have never tried scallops.
The cake was a lie.
The owls are not what they seem.
The penguins are what they don't seem.
The seams are not what they seam.
Are they the aliens?
The snakes are eating mice & skin.
They know how to party, snake-style.

This conversation, though imaginary, may have lasted forever.

Monday, December 08, 2014

"Best Of"

Can we get rid of "best of" lists?

I know that some people are professional critics, & I know that some knowledge in the specific genre is helpful in appreciation, but surely we all agree that no one's opinion is better than anyone else's.  At most, one's opinion may be more informed than another (which doesn't always affect whether or not someone likes something, you know).  Critics are fine, it seems to me, to perhaps give perspective if one can't be found, but for them to say something is the "best" is ridiculous.

Already best of lists are coming out, & what never surprises me is that most of them make concessions to artists/groups who are commercial & made a lot of money.  Anyone who imagines that commercial success equals artistic brilliance isn't all that bright.  On the Rate Your Music chart (which is more or less democratic; obviously, not everyone votes on it, which is good - most people don't care enough about music to have an opinion about it) of the all-time best albums, the third one made zero money when it was released.  That was 1967.  The best-selling album in 1967?  More Of The Monkees, which only made it to 241 for 1967 in Rate Your Music's polls.  & which, I think virtually everyone will agree, was nowhere near as important to music (since it was popular because it was copying a popular band that had moved on from that sound) as The Velvet Underground & Nico, which would change music forever.

There's too much music out there, & most of the critics who make these lists feel a need to be more representative, so they'll toss the best-selling pop in with the best-selling hip hop & the most obvious indie thing.  Oh, & electronica!  & what's the newest thing?  "Indie r&b"?  All right, there's bound to be something a record company sent the critic for free he or she can add to the "best of" list!

& I don't mind the lists - I like to see what people claim to enjoy - but can we just stop being so ridiculously self-important & give up the word "best"?  No one at this point in time can say what the best was, & awards shows aren't the proper place for that determination either, since they represent probably less than 5% of any of the music that comes out in a given year.

Be honest & say this was the stuff you liked most from whatever music you listened to this year.  There's no way that's the "best."  In ten, fifteen, twenty years, most of what you thought was "the best" will have been forgotten or relegated to More Of The Monkees status in history.

For the sake of fuck!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Self Help Radio 120514: What A Waste!

The waste of time that is Self Help Radio celebrates all kinds of waste, including but not limited to wasting time.  & guess how much time you've wasted just reading about wasted time?  Life is a recursion, it's true.

Radio show!  You have more time to waste!  You can listen to it now & whenever you want at Self Help Radio dot net.  My gosh, there are a lot of shows there.  Why not carve off a piece of your life & dedicate it to some musical time-wasting?  You can't possibly waste as much time as I did making the shows!

(Pay attention to the username/password combination.  What I wastefully played is below.)

To paraphrase Thoreau, "How can you waste time without irking eternity?"

Thanks for listening!

(part one)

"Why Do You Waste My Time?" Tiny Grimes & His Rocking Highlanders _We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll_
"Wastin' Your Time" Bob Gibson _Where I'm Bound_
"Wasted" Wanda Jackson _Right Or Wrong_

"I Just Wasted The Rest" Bobby Goldsboro & Del Reeves _Bobby Goldsboro: The Complete United Artists Records Singles_
"I'm Wasting Your Time & You're Wasting Mine" Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton _Porter Wayne & Dolly Rebecca_
"What A Waste!" Ian Dury & The Blockheads _The Stiff Records Box Set_
"Beautiful Waste" The Triffids _Australian Melodrama_

"Wasteland" Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys _La Dee Dah_
"Wasteland" The Jam _Setting Sons_
"Wasteland" A Frames _2_
"Wasteland (In A...)" Erase Errata _Nightlife_
"Baba O'Riley" Guided By Voices _Who's Not Forgotten: FDR's Tribute To The Who_

"Wasted" Blancmange _Happy Families_

(part two)

"Wasting Away" Jim Jiminee _Welcome To Hawaii_
"Wasted" Pere Ubu _Story Of My Life_
"Go To Waste" Nothing Painted Blue _Emotional Discipline_
"A Summer Wasting" Belle & Sebastian _The Boy With The Arab Strap_

"Youth Is Wasted On The Young" Chain & The Gang _Music's Not For Everyone_
"Wasted Moments" Shermans _In Technicolor_
"Wasted Daylight" Stars _The Five Ghosts_
"Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me" The Pipettes _We Are The Pipettes_

"Wasted On You" Robert Francis & The Night Tide _Heaven_
"Another Month You've Wasted" Shy Camp _Another Month You've Wasted_
"Why Waste Time" Caramel _Punkpopgaragemods_
"Wasted Away" Dum Dum Girls _Only In Dreams_

"Don't Let Our Youth Go To Waste" Galaxie 500 _Today_

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Whither Waste?

I've already done a show about trash, including songs about garbage.  It's about time I tackle one of trash's synonyms (that's not garbage) & deal with waste.

But waste!  I mean, but wait!  Waste can mean so much more than trash!  It's true.  We waste time, often by getting wasted.  What a waste!  & not, as you might have suspected, what a trash!

The word comes from the French & appears to have originally been used with land that was uncultivated.  Flash forward a few centuries & hipsters in the 1950s start describing themselves as "wasted" - & maybe they meant they were too drunk to even appear cultivated.

I haven't been wasted in a long time, though I'm pretty good at wasting time, especially on the radio.  Don't believe me?  Listen tomorrow from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL Lexington.  It'll stream online at wrfl dot fm, & I'll put it up later on self help radio on the web net.

If you're up early, I'll also be doing the 5 to 7 timeslot.  Freeform radio.  Just sayin'.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Preface To What A Waste: Wasted Days & Wasted Nights

Talking to mother, she says, "Times goes by quicker when you're old."

But she never says, "Don't waste a single moment."

It never occurs to her.

What is a life full of unwasted moments like?

It sounds exhausting.

Is life about using up all the time allotted to you?

I live in a house with eight animals, not counting me, but counting my wife.

My animals (also, not counting my wife) sleep most of the time.

Are they wasting their lives?

According to this article, "feral cats sleep less & are involved in more high-intensity activity than house cats."

But feral cats live on average four to five years, while a house cat can live three times that.

Better to live a short, meaningful life than a long, wasted one?

When I was younger, I felt bored a lot of the time.

I was keenly aware that I was wasting time by the bucketful.

As I got older, as life piled on, I found I barely had time for the things I had to do, let along the things I enjoyed.

But it seems older people need as much sleep as younger people.

I have no idea where I'm going with this.

Just scribbling thoughts out loud.

& no, I probably won't play that Freddy Fender song.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Where Does Human Waste Go After We Flush?

The show this week is about waste & wasting but probably not much about human waste.  Still, if you're as juvenile as I am, you naturally think about poop & pee when someone says the word "waste."  Here's a great vid from the cool kids at Sci Show that tells the story:

(I need to find out if our house has a septic tank!)

Monday, December 01, 2014

Holiday Season

Someone on Tumblr wrote today, "I can't believe it's already Christmas 1."

I don't really celebrate Christmas.  While I like the music, I don't exchange gifts with anyone, & as concerns my family, I don't enjoy the forced nature of the holiday.  I have a pretty large family, four brothers & two sisters, & while I am pretty close with my sisters, whom I genuinely like, I haven't spoken to any of my brothers in years.  & the reverse is true: they haven't spoken to me, or made any attempt to, in years.

I marvel at families who really seem to like each other, to be around one another.  The only thing that keeps my family sort-of together is our mother - mainly my family gathers for her birthday, for Thanksgiving, & for Christmas.  It also helps, I guess, that most everyone in my family, except for me & my oldest brother, live in the Dallas area.  Most, actually, live in the same town as my mother.  Which should say something about her apron strings.

I've told my mother that I don't imagine I'll speak to my brothers again after her funeral.  She characterizes that as me "hating" them.  I tell her, "How can I hate someone I don't really know?"

There's a scene in the wonderful movie "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" in which the older brother of the main character comes home from college.  The older brother is a college sports hero, while the little brother is emotionally troubled.  The older brother takes the time to sit with his little brother & ask how he's doing.  They couldn't be any different from one another, but there's a love that comes from being family that's their bond.

I'm not being self-piteous when I say that that scene was utterly alien to me.  I can't imagine any member of my family - my sisters & mother included - caring that deeply, that openly about me.  I have been through some awful emotional moments, & the most sympathy I ever got was the advice to "man up."  Indeed, when one of my brothers was being what I considered emotionally abused by his spouse, & could have used counseling & a good amount of empathy, that was the advice my mother continued to give him.

It's the lack of any kind of warmth that keeps me away from family gatherings.  I feel like I did my time - I probably attended every Christmas until I was forty - but the sheer claustrophobic unpleasantness of the holiday - basically an evening spent around virtual strangers - in which, in later years, I made sure I had some whiskey to make it at all bearable - I began to excuse myself.  & of course now being hundred of miles away makes it easier for me to stay away.

I am fascinated why my family is this way.  (& by the way, I know I have much of this in me.  I don't have many friends, & I don't long for that, & I don't reach out to most of my siblings.  I also married a woman who has a distinct lack of empathy.)  I came into the family when most of my siblings had gone
through puberty, & I also arrived at the tail-end of my mother & father's marriage.  So they were there most of the time, while I was raised mostly by my mother & I was generally left alone (something for which I'm grateful).  Being a child, I wasn't really able to pay attention to what was going on, & in fact, it's taken me most of my adult life to even notice all of this.

What I'd like to do is ask my siblings - who doubtless don't dwell on the past the way I do - to maybe Skype with me for an hour & let me ask them questions.  I wonder if they'd do it.  I'd like to record the sessions & maybe make them into some sort of narrative, if only just for me.  The energy it would take might be too much, as would the possible resistance.  But if it's true, as I think it is, that I won't speak to any of them once my mother dies, this might be a good idea.

I'll let you know what I do.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Self Help Radio 112814: Magda's Birthday Show 2014

(Original image here.

Every year I do a birthday show for my lovely wife.  (You can look at the playlist for all eleven shows I've done linked in this section of my "themes index.")  I try not to repeat myself.  There are far more awful birthday songs than good ones, but I think I've found another set of good ones.

The show can be listened to now & whenever you have a birthday at the Self Help Radio website.  Please pay attention to password/login info.  The songs I played are listed below.  Thanks for listening, & please enjoy Buy Nothing Day!

(part one)

"Cicero Pig (December)" Mel Blanc with the Sandpiper Chorus & Orchestra _Bugs Bunny Songfest_
"Everyone Likes Ice Cream" Sesame Street _Happy Birthday From Sesame Street_
"Birthday Polka" Pete Seeger _Song & Play Time_
"Birthday Song" Marcia Berman _Activity Songs For Kids_

"You Can Find Me In Da Birthday" The Zvonimir Boband _I Don't Think You Understand Just How Long Eighty-Four Minutes Actually Is_
"Birthday Song" Frankie Cosmos _Zentropy_
"On Your Birthday" Jim Boggia _Misadventures In Stereo_
"Birthday" The Mars Volta _The Bedlam In Goliath_

"The Unbirthday Song" Jerry Colonna, Ed Wynn, & Kathryn Beaumont _Disney's Alice In Wonderland_
"Birthday Present" Mirah _The Old Days Feeling_
"Girlfriend's Birthday" Paul Gilbert _King Of Clubs_
"Bobby's Birthday" Kensington Market _Bobby's Birthday_
"Birthday" The Fall _Sinister Waltz_

"Seymour Gutkin's Birthday Party" Woody Allen _The Night Club Years 1964-1968_
"Planet Birthday" Beverly _Careers_

(part two)

"Birthdays" Jim Gaffigan _Economics II_
"16 Candles" The Pixies Three _The Pixies Three: Our History_
"Birthday" The Stereo Bus _Brand New_
"Birthday" Stephen Wright _I Have A Pony_
"Happy Birthday, Dear Dad, Wife, Daughter" Rosemary Clooney _Memories Of You_

"Birthday" Paul Weller _Birthday_
"Billy's Birthday" Romeo Void _Instincts_
"To Die A Virgin" The Divine Comedy _Victory For The Comic Muse_
"Birthday Movie" Rank Strangers _I Only Fear That We Are Modern_

"Birthday" Ben & Amy _Science_
"Broken Hearted Birthday" Barbara Chandler _Girl Talk_
"Birthday" Easter _We Have Such Straight Teeth_
"Next Sunday Darling Is My Birthday" Gene O'Quin with Boots & His Buddies _The Guys Of The Big "D" Jamboree_
"Happy Birthday" Technohead _Happy Hardcore_

"Uncle Josh's Birthday" Cal Stewart & Ada Jones _Uncle Josh's Birthday_
"Feliz Cumpleanos, Dulce Dieciseis" Neil Sedaka _Boppin' Sedaka - Hits & Rarities_

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2014?

I'll do a show tomorrow celebrating not only my wife's birthday, but all birthdays in general.  It's on tomorrow from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm in Lexington, & online at wrfl dot fm, & archived later at Self Help Radio dot net for those of you sleeping off all the food you eat today.

But here, for you, is a Tex Avery Thanksgiving cartoon!  Enjoy & have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2014: So Many Birthdays Later

The Magda in the "Magda's Birthday Show 2014" is my wife.  Yes, that's her real name.

As I mentioned in last year's blog about this annual event: "I am contractually obligated by a deal I made before my marriage with my wife's lawyer to celebrate my wife's birthday on the air every year on the closest date to the actual birthday date (December 1)."

Who signs contracts like that?  It's worse than working for Clear Channel!

I have also complained about the fact that, since I don't repeat shows, I'm probably going to run out of birthday songs before too long.  I wish people who listen to my show would write birthday songs for the show.  A few musicians I know, I have begged for them to do so.  But they understand that it's simply not worth it - they get very little out of being on my dumb radio show, while I of course derive all the benefit from their talent.

Do you know any selfless but extremely talented musicians who want to write a birthday song for the show?  It helps also if they don't know that no one really listens to the show.

I'm thinking of having a "classic" set or two during the show next year, to re-play some of the songs that I've previously played.  But I have enough for another show this year.  Maybe for two years.  If more people would make more birthday songs!

This will be the tenth or maybe the eleventh birthday show I've done for my Magda, with the only "repeats" being covers of the a popular song, like the Beatles' "Birthday."

There are actually a lot more birthday songs than I could ever play, but a lot of them just suck.  They're really awful.  They share that trait with Christmas songs.  You could probably play unique Christmas recordings for 24 hours a day for 365 days & never have to repeat one.  Birthday songs might fill a week.  Or maybe a day.  Two days.  But most of the songs of that day (as with the Christmas songs for the year) would be awful.

Check back with me in 2016.  I should be pretty desperate then.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pogo Birthday Special

In honor of a show about birthdays, here's the entire Pogo Birthday Special from 1969.  Apparently, Walt Kelly hated this after it was done, & I confess I haven't watched it all yet, but I didn't know anyone had actually tried to made a Pogo cartoon.  Let's watch it & talk about it tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Ice Bombs!

What do you believe?  What don't you believe?  It seems like some people take the things that they take on faith very seriously.

Like, I used to work in a building called Batts Hall at the University of Texas at Austin.  There was a prankster who, about once a month, wrote, in the building's only elevator, in Sharpie, sometimes large but usually rather small, on the inside elevator door, this budding graffiti artist would write, "Jesus was gay."

As someone who doesn't really believe in anything supernatural, I was not in the least offended.  Of course, this was in the 1990s, when calling someone gay was considered an insult.  When I told my ex-sister-in-law Julie a few years ago that her husband at the time (& my brother) Steve told me when I was in seventh grade that she thought that I was gay, she apologized to me profusely & said she never had.  She believed that I thought she had insulted me.

The point of this story is that, however strong your faith is, it seems like a three-word sentence written in magic marker on the inside of an elevator door would be the least of your worries.  But every time I saw that, I could be certain that the next time I used the elevator, someone would have taken another magic marker (or a pen, or a nail) to violently scratch that little bit of graffiti out.

I'm sure that person who wrote it - who had to arrive before me, probably for an early class, since I had to be there at eight - checked on his or her work afterwards, & was probably amused as hell.

If you think that someone having an opinion about your deity/holy person/prophet is offense - well, I don't know why you're here -  but in case you are, ignore the next paragraph & please don't try to scratch my blog out with magic marker or a nail - you'll just hurt your monitor!

But if you're not offended - & in fact find things every shade of delightful - you may enjoy the Tumblr blog Christian Nightmares, from which I got the above image.  I recommend it for fun & information.

Also - "The Coming Ice Bombs?"

Friday, November 21, 2014

Self Help Radio 112114: The World Of Self Help Radio

(Original image here)

Today's Self Help Radio was an exceedingly ridiculous affair which embarrasses us all.  Still, there was a great deal of good music shared, as well as a poem by Sir Archibald Von Poesy & an interview with Mr. Professor, whose show World Of Science delighted & confused me as a child.  But such things hardly make up for a show with the theme "world of Self Help Radio" in which there's very little about that world & a plethora of material about other words, from a world of one's own to a world of liars.  Which actually might also be a world of one's own.

The songs that were played are below.  The show is available wherever in the world you are at the Self Help Radio website.  Please pay attention to password information.  This is a world of cyberdouches, & they like to pick on dumb websites like my own.

As always, thanks for listening!  To me you are a world of joy.

(part one)

"World Of Glass" Neil MacArthur _She's Not There_
"I'm In A World Of Trouble" Sweet Things _Best Of Soul Time: A Selection Of Northern Soul Classics From The Archives_
"My World Of Dreams" Mary Wells _Looking Back: 1961-1964_

"Wonderful World Of Children" J.P. Rags _Wonderful World Of Children_
"A World Of Our Own" The Seekers _All Bound For Morningtown (EMI Recordings 1964-1968)_
"A World Of My Own" TV Smith's Explorers _The Last Words Of The Great Explorer_
"World Of Your Own" The Skeptics _Snallygaster_

"In A World Of Pretty Faces" The Models _Bend Me, Shape Me_
"Questions In A World Of Blue" Julee Cruise _The Voice Of Love_
"World Of Love" Gentle People _Soundtracks For Living_
"World Of" Tania & Dave MH _World Of_

"Wonderful World Of Sound" Monty Python _Monty Python's Previous Record_
"World Of Whisky" Robin Laing _One For The Road_

(part two)

"World Of Trouble" Big Joe Turner _The Rhythm & Blues Years_
"World Of Trouble" Lou Rawls _Anthology_
"World Of Darkness" David Ruffin _My Whole World Ended_

"The World Of Broken Hearts" Elvis Costello _Imperial Bedroom_
"Rosemary Davis World Of Sound" The Jazz Butcher _Waiting For The Love Bus_
"World Of Your Own" The Mayfields _World Of Your Own_
"The World Of Professional Golf 1994" The Lucksmiths _Get-To-Bed Birds_

"World Of Her Own" The Wake _Here Comes Everybody_
"You Do My World A World Of Good" Harvest Ministers _You Do My World A World Of Good_
"World Of Light" Ivy Green _Dreaming Of You_
"World Of Crime" Cinnamon _Vertigo_

"World Of Liars" The Apartments _Apart_

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Whither The World Of Self Help Radio?

It's nearly six o'clock & I'm not done with my show.  What does "done with my show" mean?  It means gathering all the component parts (songs, background music, stupid "comedy" bits I make) & putting them in a rough running order for the show tomorrow.  Why a "rough" running order?  Because inevitably I make changes.  & sometimes people call with requests.  & sometimes I remember something that would fit perfectly & try to find it to play it.  The show's really not finished until it's finished, around 9am on a Friday morning.  As much as I wish differently.

This week's show kind of reveals a flaw in my method of finding themes for the show.  I'm a contrary sort, & I know there are many radio shows that are theme-based (there appear to be at least two more on the WRFL schedule right now, for example).  So I tend not to opt for "easy" themes.  I've never done a show about cars, or women, or rain, & I confess I tended to be a little snooty when I looked at the (to me) generic themes on Bob Dylan's old themes show.  I want my shows to be odd, & somewhat challenging, & they tend to be, whatever you might think of the results.  It nearly broke me, for example, finding enough songs about mummies to do a mummy show for Halloween!

So: I am listening to music, I am noticing a pattern, I start collecting songs.  I probably heard three or four songs a few months back that had the phrase "world of" in the title.  I thought, "Ha! "A World Of Self Help Radio!"  & then started collecting songs.

But there's nothing really to discuss about this theme.  What sort of interviews do you do with people about that theme?  It's downright silly, is what it is.

I think I've been dragging my heels with this show because I'm pretty certain it won't be that good.  I'm sorry about that.  I should've probably ditched this theme like I do so many others.  I could probably put a show about "rain" together pretty quickly.  If I had a mind to.

But no.  The show will go on.  At 7am, lasting till 9am, tomorrow.  On 88.1 fm in Lexington, online at wrfl dot fm.  & later on the website.

"The World Of Self Help Radio."  What a dumb theme!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Preface To The World Of Self Help Radio: Really?

The World Of Self Help Radio.  What world is that?  It's obviously a very small fraction of the World Of Radio, which is, of course, the terminally sick member of the World Of Media.  So why would anyone make a radio show called "the World Of Self Help Radio"?  Is it just that it's on a show called "Self Help Radio"?  Isn't that - nepotism?

According to the Wikipedia, nepotism is "favoritism granted in politics or business to relatives. The term originated with the assignment of nephews to cardinal positions by Catholic popes & bishops. Nepotism is found in the fields of politics, entertainment, business, & religion."

Can I add - radio?

But wait!  Is it nepotism if a radio show is promoting itself?  Isn't a radio show its own promotion?  Do I have to coin a new word: autonepotism?

Perhaps.  But probably not.  One person (perhaps the only person ever) who has listened to Self Help Radio has commented (one imagines), "At least 50% of the show is music I think, which means it's not always the Gary show.  Which could also be called 'the World Of Self Help Radio'!"

Indeed, this seems to be a naked ploy to make the show entirely about Self Help Radio.  It's a scandal & it's a disgrace.

& I am writing this as someone - indeed, the only one - involved in the show.  If I am offended, who is to blame?  Who made the decision, if not me, to have a show entirely about itself?  & if there is no one to whom I answer, who besides me exists to stop me from promoting Self Help Radio inside an episode of Self Help Radio?

Tomorrow, in the blog, I talk to a radio show lawyer about what options I can take against myself & my show to stop this travesty from happening.

(P.S. Is a radio show lawyer a lawyer who appears on a radio show or, as I am beginning to suspect, a person who pretends to be a lawyer on the radio?)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snow Day

Can a blog take a snow day?  It's fricking cold out there.

Plus I'm doing a late night show tonight.  From 2 to 5 am.  Gotta gather stuff.

Gather music like firewood to keep the airwaves warm.

I should probably nap too.

Is it cold where you are?  The low tonight is supposed to be 12.

The low tonight is a "tweenage."

The wife was complaining that we had no autumn.  She may be right.

Monday, November 17, 2014

It Was Cold Today

I took that picture, of our backyard, this morning.  It's been very cold today & continues to snow, although it probably won't stick or stick around much.  But it has very much affected my mood.  Snow in the middle of November?  Where do I live, Siberia?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Self Help Radio 111414: Seasons

(Original image here.

I feel like I've done a couple of shows about summer, & at least one about spring.  A guest deejay a couple of years ago did a show about autumn, but I've never done one, nor a show about winter.  But who cares?  I did a show about all the seasons!  & I did it on two hours sleep!

It was fun, because in addition to playing lots of music, I got to talk to my Spiritual Advisor, the Reverend Dr. Howard Gently, & to Our Man In Hollywood, Mark Miller.  Plus, Tania called in & sang a song!  All that & tons of great music!  Look at all these exclamation marks!  I need to get some sleep!

The show is available for you to listen at your leisure at Self Help Radio Dot Net.  Please pay attention to the login information.  The songs I played are listed below.

Thanks so much for listening!

(part one)

"Let's Wander Thru The Seasons" Marais & Miranda _More Nature Songs_
"Each Season Changes You" Bob Ensign & The Stump Jumpers _Pickin', Grinnin', & Singin'_
"Queen Of The Seasons" Gordon Terry _Lotta, Lotta Women_

"Turn! Turn! Turn!" Pete Seeger _The Bitter & The Sweet_
"Like The Seasons" Lyme & Cybelle _Follow Me_
"Four Seasons" The Carnival _Fading Yellow: Timeless Pop-Sike & Other Delights 1965-1969, Vol. 6_
"I Love You For All Seasons" The Fuzz _Soul Hits Of The '70s - Didn't It Blow Your Mind? Vol. 4_

"Time Of The Season" Ippu-Do _Radio Fantasy_
"Seasons" Hearts On Fire _Dreams Of Leaving_
"Season Cycle" XTC _Skylarking_
"Girl For All Seasons" The Orange Peels _So Far_

"In Every Season" Pullover _Holiday_
"Seasons" The Ettes _Do You Want Power?_

(part two)

"A Reason For Every Season" Girlfrendo _Surprise, Surprise It's Girlfrendo_
"Whatever Season" Sambassadeur _Sambassadeur_
"High Hawk Season" The Mountain Goats _All Eternals Deck_

"Seasons In The Sun" Black Box Recorder _England Made Me_
"In A City Without Seasons" The One A.M. Radio _Heaven Is Attached By A Slender Thread_
"Seasons" Ian McCulloch _Slideling_

"Seasons" Earth & Fire _Earth & Fire_
"Seasons Change" The Proctors _Everlasting Light_
"When Seasons Change" Curtis Mayfield _There's No Place Like America Today_

"The Seasons Of Love" Ed Ames _When The Snow Is On The Roses_
"Seasons Of My Heart" George Jones _Country Song Hits_

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Whither Seasons?

I think I say this too often: I grew up in a place without seasons.

I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, & occasionally it got cold & snowed, but in general, it was hot.  It got hot around the middle of March & stayed hot until the middle of October.  There were no promises that you wouldn't be experiencing 90 degree weather in December.

It was worse in Austin.  I used to joke that Austin had two seasons: hot, & not so hot.  The truth was, the winter was mostly mild (there might be some bitter cold for a week or two, & god help the town if there were ice), & there were always a couple of weeks of spring & fall - those were the times I loved Austin the best.  It was a beautiful city those times, & then it would grow oppressively hot, oppressively humid, with the leaves on the trees always the darkest green.

Moving to Kentucky was a strange revelation.  I tell this story a lot, too:

At a planning meeting at WRFL, the discussion was about perhaps doing an outdoor show in late September, at night.  It was nixed immediately - "It would be too cold" was the immediate concern.

Too cold!  In late September!  I believe that that's when ACL Fest happens in Austin & it's still hot as a furnace around that time!  What a difference a few lines of latitude make.

So I pay attention to seasons.  It got cold today.  It's going to be a long winter.

Self Help Radio's show about seasons will air tomorrow morning (when it'll be 25 degrees out) from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm in Lexington.  It will also stream live on wrfl dot fm.  & later on I'll stick it up on the website.  You know how it is.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Preface To Seasons: Garage Door Replacement

This is something I never thought I'd ever say: we're having our garage door replaced.

Who has garage doors that belong to them?  Who thinks to themselves, "When I grow up, among the things that I will own will be a garage door"?  I guess when I was a kid, I might have imagined that I might one day own a house, or at the very least a car I slept in as I kept a few steps ahead of the law, but a garage door?

The home we currently live in, my wife, my beagles, my cats, & myself, this house which we can say "we own" even though we owe way too much money on it to use the word "own," this house we live in was once owned by a person who was apparently a "slumlord."  We have discovered, piece by piece, the corners he cut to get the cheapest possible things to keep the house warm, dry, not on fire, up to code (but just up to code).  One of those corners was a (possibly self-installed) garage door opener that had been, in its years of use, so poorly & cheaply put together that it was curving & about to split.  It made a horrible racket whenever it opened.  When its innards went bad & we had to get someone in to fix it, the garage door specialists (because there are such things) said that it needed replacing pronto.

Luckily, I was in no way involved in the purchasing of a new garage door.  Frankly, anything having to do with the house, I let the wife choose.  I have no aesthetic opinion about the color of walls or the arrangement of furniture or whatever choice one has to make about garage doors.  (For the record, she chose sandstone.)

Why don't I care?  Because there are far more important things to argue about.  I save my energy for those arguments, not ones about the color of garage doors.  In high school & in college, I put things on the wall - mainly music-related posters - as a way to inform the rare visitor that these were my interests.  I don't care to do that anymore.  It's probably a relief to the wife.

We also have no photos, professionally made or otherwise, of us or the animals on the wall.  I find those weird, like you need to remind yourself that these people are, in fact, related or married to you.  We put pictures on the fridge, but really, if we didn't have them, I wouldn't care.  Time already buries us; one doesn't need peripherals like photos & mail & stickers & magnets to weigh down the already suffocating memories.

As I write this, & listen to music for Friday's show, there's all kinds of knocking & banging noises.  They're almost done.  I'm a little worried, myself - the old, falling-apart garage door was noisy as hell.  This one probably won't be.  & while I'm not a guilty person, & I can't imagine what I'd be doing that the wife can "catch me" at, I did like the noise that indicated she was returning.  That will probably be gone.

Maybe I should make her wear a bell around her neck.

Update: it's a pretty quiet garage door.  Damn.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Croup

Before the internet, & with no dictionary handy, one had to guess what the hell people were talking about by trying to understand the context.  I guess one could interrupt & ask, but they didn't always seem to be proper or polite, no matter what kind of annoying child or person you were.  When I was a teenager, I would keep a dictionary handy to look up words I didn't know, but often I was so caught up in the reading that I just let it pass - again, trusting in context.

Naturally, many words I thought I knew I didn't really know.

Just now, lost in my dumb thoughts, I remembered being told that a schoolfellow had "the croup."  I must've been very young but also impressionable, because it stayed with me - I think I recall that word in a strange, familiar way.  My childhood reasoning went something like: "Croup sounds horrible.  It sounds like a horrible soup.  A horrible hot soup that burns your insides."

Come to think of it, maybe I had the croup.  I should ask my mother.

Today - as I was saying - I was thinking about "the croup."  Immediately my brain said, "That's a made-up thing if I ever heard one!"  It did sound like something someone would say in fun.  My high school history teacher characterized all colds as "the epizootic."  As in, "Hey, Paul's not here today."  "No, bet he's got the epizootic!"

But croup is for real.  As it says in the Wikipedia,

Croup (or laryngotracheobronchitis) is a respiratory condition usually triggered by an acute viral infection of the upper airway. The infection leads to swelling inside the throat, which interferes with normal breathing and produces the classical symptoms of a "barking" cough, stridor, & hoarseness. It may produce mild, moderate, or severe symptoms, which often worsen at night. It is often treated with a single dose of oral steroids; occasionally inhaled epinephrine is used in more severe cases. Hospitalization is rarely required.

Croup is a relatively common condition that affects about 15% of children at some point, most commonly between 6 months & 5–6 years of age. It is almost never seen in teenagers or adults.

Before the advent of vaccination, croup was frequently caused by diphtheria, & was often fatal. This cause is now a historical one in the Western world due to the success of the diphtheria vaccine & improved hygiene and living standards.

Yay vaccines!

So there's a fifteen percent chance I had the croup when I was a kid.  Sorry - that I had laryngotracheobronchitis.  That doesn't sound like bad soup.

As a postscript: if I had read that definition above in an encyclopedia, I would've had to go get a dictionary to look up the word "stridor."  Never heard it before.  But luckily I just had to click on it.  & I discovered:

Stridor (Latin for "creaking or grating noise") is a high-pitched breath sound resulting from turbulent air flow in the larynx or lower in the bronchial tree.

Though I still wish I had a giant set of encyclopedias.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Autumn Sweater

Do you have a problem with excessive sweating?  Why do people sweat anyway?  The internet says (here):

Sweating is an essential & natural biological process that starts soon after we are born. Sweating, or perspiring, is the body’s mechanism of keeping us cool & preventing us from overheating in a warm environment or during exercise or exertion. Our body also produces sweat when we experience strong emotions or stressful situations, during hormonal changes, & it helps to play a role in fighting infections.

Normally our bodies produce almost 1 liter of sweat per day; however most of this evaporates as soon as it is produced, so we don't notice it. The body produces more sweat during exercise or in warmer environments in order to help cool us down. If a person exercised very hard in the heat they could produce up to 10 liters of sweat in a day.

10 liters of sweat a day?!?  If I knew the metric system I might be horrified!

Oh yeah, so then why do I sweat so much?

Sweat's pretty gross.  Speaking of gross, why do men sweat more than women?  Why do I sweat more than men & women combined?

Checking the Self Help Radio "kind of a table of contents page", one will discover that Self Help Radio has never done a show about sweat.  & this week's show isn't about sweat.  I was just thinking of the song "Autumn Sweater" by Yo La Tengo & my brain, in its dumbass way, imagined for a second that the song wasn't about a piece of clothing but rather about someone perspiring in the fall.

But if there were a show about sweating what songs might we hear?  Of course "Cold Sweat" by James Brown.  "Coldsweat" by the Sugarcubes, sure.  "Sweatbox" by the Wolfgang Press, yes.  Maybe that Jonathan Richman song with the awkward title "The Lovers Are Here & They're Full Of Sweat"?  Not "The Lovers Are Here & They're Covered In Sweat," Jonathan?  "Full Of Sweat"?  Really?

No, I'm not ready to tackle a show about sweat just yet.  It gives me the sweats thinking about it.  I'm not going to sweat it, though - & even if I did, & I was too sweaty, it doesn't matter!  It's cold out!  I just sweat inside my sweater & no one notices.  Except maybe the smell.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Self Help Radio 110714: Saws

I know, right?  A radio show about saws?  I'm not even a crafty guy!  Ask my wife.  She wishes I would take up carpentry or something like that.  The most sawyer I am, alas, is Tom.  & I have a fence to paint.

Still, I managed to rustle up a couple hours worth of saw songs.  The show only aired ninety minutes, because I gave the last half hour to my trainee, Ethan, who did wonderfully.  At home, later, I added thirty minutes of music, to bring it to the full two hours.  So if you heard the show this morning - there's bonus content!  Suddenly I feel like a Blu-Ray Video Disc!

The show is listenable (arguably listenable) at the Self Help Radio website.  Please pay attention to passwords & such, available on the page.  The sawsy songs I played are listed below.

As always, thanks for listening!

(part one)

"Cross Cut Saw Blues" Tommy McClennan _Big Joe Williams & The Stars Of Mississippi Blues_
"The Great Big Saw Came Nearer & Nearer" Spike Jones & His City Slickers _...And The Great Big Saw Came Nearer & Nearer & Nearer & Nearer & Nearer!_
"Saw Funny Rug" Hajime Sakita _Musical Saw Songs "S"_

"Chainsaws" Drew Hastings _Farmageddon_
"Chainsaw" The Cut-Outs _'No More Of Your Fairy Stories': An Indiepop Loveletter To The Ramones_
"Chainsaw" Fat Tulips _Starfish_
"Chainsaw" Miss Alex White & The Red Orchestra _Miss Alex White & The Red Orchestra_
"Chainsaw Charlie" Angry Johnny & The Killbillies _Hankenstein_

"Buzzsaw" The Turtles _The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands_
"God's Buzzsaw" Ya Ya Choral _Can't Stop It! II : Australian Post-Punk 1979-1984_
"Radial Arm Saws" The Styrenes _It's Still Artastic_
"Pavement Saw" Big Black _Songs About Fucking_

"Saw Mill" Buck Owens _On The Bandstand_
"Son Of A Sawmill Man" Osborne Brothers _Up To Date & Down To Earth_
"The Day The Saw Mill Closed Down" Bobby Bare _A Bird Named Yesterday_

(part two)

"Saw Mill River Road" Chet Atkins _Mr. Guitar: The Complete Recordings 1955-1960_
"Sawmill" Miles Davis & John Lee Hooker _The Hot Spot_
"Sawmill Holler" Watermelon Slim & The Workers _The Wheel Man_

"I Broke My Saw" Love Tractor _Themes From Venus_
"My Buzzsaw Baby (Really Cut Me Up)" Johnnys _My Buzzsaw Baby (Really Cut Me Up)_
"Not Track Five, Not Chainsaw Juggler" Mitch Hedberg _Mitch All Together_
"The Saw-Playing Musician" Utah Phillips _Fellow Workers_
"Saw & Calliope Organ On Wire" The Music Tapes _Mary's Voice_

"Sawing On The Strings" The Mayfield Brothers _Vintage Recordings 1948-1956_
"Saw Fiddle Saw" Red Steagall _It's Our Life_
"Chainsaw" Little Gold _Weird Freedom_
"The Black Country Chainsaw Massacreee" Pop Will Eat Itself _CD86: 48 Tracks From The Birth Of Indie Pop_
"Bury The Hatchet, The Chainsaw, & Whatever Else You Got" Hair _The Magic's Gone_

"Buzz Saw" Xiu Xiu _The Air Force_
"Sawed Off" Dub Narcotic Sound System _Out Of Your Mind_
"Chainsaw The Horse" The Dentists _Dressed_

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Whither Saws?

In the beginning, there was a song.  Or two.  Both of them had the word "buzz saw" in them.  It seemed promising.  An idea had begun.

An idea that got lonesome.  Because there were so few "saw" songs forthcoming.  Maybe a song about a chainsaw here.  A song about a sawmill there.  More often there were the temptation songs.

The songs about "see-saws."  There are a lot of us see-saw songs, they's see-sing in a sing-song voice.  & they were right.  There were a lot of see-saw songs.

But in the back of your head, you said to yourself, The saw in see-saw is just the past tense of 'see.'  It refers to the experience on the playground toy.  It's not a saw like a buzzsaw or a chainsaw!

The songs about "jigsaws" were next.  We're actually named after a type of saw, they said in rumbly-mumbly way, like pieces of a puzzle poured out of a box.  There are loads of us, boxes full of us!

But in the back of your head, you told yourself, The jigsaw may be what is used to cut the puzzle pieces but the songs are about the puzzle itself.  They aren't really songs about an actual jigsaw.

& many weeks passed, & you would think about the saw show, & the songs that inspired it.  & one day, in a fit of pique, you said out loud, to the universe, I will do a show about saws!  & I will find songs about saws to fill an entire show!  & if there are not enough saw songs, I shall write & perform enough for the show!

The universe is indifferent, but thankfully it turns out there are plenty of songs about saws, enough to fill an entire show.  Anyone interested will be able to hear them tomorrow morning on Self Help Radio.

It's on from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington.  It'll stream simultaneously on wrfl dot fm.  Later in the day, it'll come to rest on self help radio dot net.  Where it shall sleep, & dream of a log being sawed, which will emulate its snoring.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Preface To Saws: Call Of Duty

I asked the wife if we'd seen more than the first "Saw" movie, which was very successful & spawned seven or so sequels (including one called "The Final Chapter," although I'm sure there'll be more of that cash cow, even though there are diminishing returns which each Roman numeral after the title), & she assures me we saw at least the first two.  I have no memory of them - even reading the summary on the IMDb, it doesn't sound familiar to me.  IFC did a marathon over Halloween & I'd swear in court I never saw any Saw movie.

That's just age, though.  I've forgotten more movies, perhaps, than I'll see in the rest of my life.

I had to sub a show on RFL tonight so I am a little discombobulated.  Also, I want to watch Arrow but the wife wants to finish last night's Sons Of Anarchy & then watch American Horror Story.  But I want to watch Arrow!  & drink a lot of wine.  But I don't have any wine & I don't get to watch Arrow.  Unhappy face.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Musical Saws

On this depressing election night, I am retreating into my show, which this week is about saws.  One of the things I plan to play are people using the saw as a musical instrument.  So here's a fellow playing my favorite Beethoven piece, the Moonlight Sonata.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Something I Like

I spend a lot of time bouncing around nonsense on the internets, most of it being amused, some of it educating myself, & a few times I find stuff that really knocks my socks off.  Today, I discovered these paintings by Gill Rocca, a sample of which is above.  Socks were knocked off.  Why?  I like the fogginess, the blurriness, the way the absence or lack of light is so impressionistically captured.  The link has more of this artist's moving paintings.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Self Help Radio 103114: Halloween 2014 - Mummies!

Original image here

It was hard but rewarding to find two hours worth of songs about mummies but find them I did & that was today's show.  I did have to break into a pharaoh's tomb to get some of the music, but you & I know that those curses are a bunch of hooey, right?  Right?  Oh no.

The show can be listened to at the Self Help Radio web page now & well past Halloween.  Hey, & if you want to hear some of my previous Halloween shows, they're at the top of my Self Help Radio archive page for today - shows about hell, haunted houses, graveyards, nightmares, & zombies are there - in addition to the mummy show I did today.  Maybe perfect for your Halloween party?  Probably not.

Have a safe one & thanks for listening - the mummy songs I played are below.

(part one)

"The Mummy" Bob McFadden & Dor _Songs Our Mummy Taught Us_
"The Mummy" Marshmallow Overcoat _The Very Best Of Marshmallow Overcoat_
"The Mummy's Bracelet" Lee Ross _Bomp In The Night_
"The Mummy" Uncle Vin _Boo_

"The Mummy" The Naturals _The Mummy_
"Homemade Mummy" Aesop Rock _Skelethon_
"The Mummy's Ball" The Verdicts _These Ghoulish Things: Horror Hits For Halloween_
"When I See Mommy I Feel Like A Mummy" Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band _Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)_

"Me & My Mummy" Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & The Crypt Kickers _The Original Monster Mash_
"Mummy Beach" Hot Lava _Lavalogy_
"My Mummy" Mel Calvin & The Kokonuts _My Mummy_
"My Daddy Is A Mummy" Richard Thompson _RT: The Life & Music Of Richard Thompson_
"The Mummy" Benji Hughes _A Love Extreme_

"The Mummy Piece" William S. Burroughs _Best Of William S. Burroughs: From Giorno Poetry Systems_
"Sarcophagus" Telephone Company _The King's Surprise?_

(part two)

"Mummies" Toyah _The Blue Meaning_
"The Mummy" Jad & David Fair _26 Monster Songs For Children (A-Z)_
"Mummy Walk" Bo Diddley _Hey! Bo Diddley_
"The Mummy's Monkey" The Eastsiders _Halloween Oldies But Goodies Of The '50s & '60s_

"The Mummy" The Slackers _The Question_
"The Way Out Mummy" Bob Ridgely _Lost Treasures! Rarities From The Vaults Of Del-Fi_
"The Mummy" Black Time _Midnight World_
"Mummy's Curse" Luna Vegas _Second Shot_

"The Mummy" 4Corners Crew _Show Me The Lighta EP_
"Bad News" Spooklight _Spooklight_
"Mummified" Future Clouds & Radar _Peoria_

"King Tut" Steve Martin _A Wild & Crazy Guy_
"Tutankhamun" Dynasty _The Electric Asylum, Vol. 3_
"The Mummy's Revenge" Wade Denning & Frank Daniels _Monster Mash (Sounds Of Terror!)_

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Whither Mummies?

I have a hell of a thing going with these Halloween shows.  I don't like to repeat myself (well, except for anniversary shows); even the shows I do every year that are about the same - like the Christmas show - I try to play stuff I have never played before.  So if I'm going to do a different Halloween show every year, at some point, I'm going to run out of Halloween icons, right?

Here's what I've done so far in my twelve long years on this show:

2002: general Halloween songs
2003: ghosts
2004: (no Halloween show)
2005: vampires
2006: monsters
2007: zombies
2008: witches
2009: werewolves
2010: haunted houses
2011: graveyards
2012: nightmares
2013: hell

I've complained about this before - I'm running out of scary things!  With mummies, I believe, I've finished off the golden age pantheon of movie monsters.  What can I do next year?  I don't know!

Please listen to my ridiculous mummy show tomorrow from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington, & online at wrfl dot fm.  & I'll put it up in time for Halloween if you so desire at the Self Help Radio website.