Friday, March 14, 2014

Self Help Radio 031414: Melt

"I'm melting! Melting! Oh what a world!"

Self Help Radio melts today, as hopefully all the ice & snow of this intolerably long winter have finally melted & will not bother us again until - well, with the way things are going, September - but let's hope it's over for now & the sun will warm us for a few more months.  The show therefore is an ode to the melting of the world that follows winter.  Or something.

Hey!  You can listen now & feel a little melty too!  It's up now at self help radio dot net!  You can also listen to the show directly from these here links: part one & part two.  Songs with low melting points are listed below.

Thanks for listening, solids!

(part one)

"Melt!" Siouxsie & The Banshees _A Kiss In The Dreamhouse_
"Melt" Guitar _Sunkissed_

"Melt Me" Lily & Maria _Lily & Maria_
"Melt Close" Section 25 _Always Now_
"Melt Against Yourself" Straightjacket Fits _Melt_
"Melt Away" Galaxie 500 _This Is Our Music_

"Summer's Melting My Mind" The Go-Betweens _78 'Til 79: The Lost Album_
"I Melt With You" The Rondelles _In Their Eyes: 90s Teen Bands Vs. 80s Teen Movies_

(part two)

"Melted Crayons" Fog _You Don't Know Ninja Cuts_
"Melting Arthur" Robyn Hitchcock _I Wanna Go Backwards_
"Let it Melt" The Mayfair Set _Young One EP_

"Melted Pat (live)" Guided By Voices _Hardcore UFOs: Live At The Wheelchair Races_
"Jennifer Meltdown" Ed Hines Band _Girls; Their Hearts_
"The Melting Wall" Golden Triangle _Double Jointer_
"Melted" Ty Segall _Melted_
"The Great American Melting Pot" Lori Lieberman _Schoolhouse Rock: America Rock_

"Ice Melts" Matt & Kim _Sidewalks_
"Ode To Janice Melt" Army Navy _The Last Place_
"Melting Ice" Ladytron _Gravity The Seducer_

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Whither Melt?

Above is the Schoolhouse Rock video for "The Great American Melting Pot," a lovely ode to immigration & its role in populating America.  It's one of the songs I'll play on tomorrow's Self Help Radio, though I don't think I'll talk about it much.

I still love it, as I love much about Schoolhouse Rock, although this particular one has some troubling elements to think about once you grow older.  (Not as much, thankfully, as the one about manifest destiny.)  For one thing, the rosiness of the song is bittersweet when you take high school American history & learn about nativist movements (not to mention just watching the news today with regards to "illegals" from Mexico).  For another, it completely ignores two important groups (although one of them is mentioned in the "recipe" that Lady Liberty thumbs through during the chorus) & those are the enslaved Africans who didn't want to come here in the first place, & the natives who were already living on the North American continent, & who were killed to make room for the predominantly white Europeans who arrived.

That's a funny thing, isn't it - how children are taught almost-mythic history until the time they can presumably grasp more complicated subjects.  I am reminded about learning about World War I in middle school - we just glossed over it - but it baffled me.  The Germans, like in the easier-to-understand World War II, were the bad guys, but they weren't Nazis yet.  For example, though they sank the Lusitania, they did it because we were supplying their enemies.  I couldn't wrap my head around why America would go to war simply because an Archduke was assassinated a couple of years before.

Chances are, no one had yet been allowed to broach the subject of "imperialism."  Nowadays it's understood that World War I was a war between imperial powers, & America chose sides when it finally (against popular support, & breaking Wilson's campaign pledge) decided to join the fray.  Nothing good came out of it, & it directly led to Hitler coming to power.

I think it's the same thing with the Schoolhouse Rock video.  You want to make children believe that this America was a remarkable place that not only welcomed people looking to make a better life, but also that America regularly celebrated them.  Never mind how the Irish & Germans were treated in the mid-19th century, or the Italians & Russians in the late 19th century, or the Chinese pretty much all the time, or the Vietnamese in the late 1970s, or the Mexicans ever since I can remember.  That'll come later.

It's a lovely little myth that I wish everyone grew up with, because it's certainly colored how I've felt about immigration.  "What good ingredients, liberty & immigrants."  Lynn Ahrens wrote that, & it's a nice (almost) rhyming couplet.

My wife tells me it used to make her happy because the grandmother in the animation has a "Kiss Me, I'm Polish" button, & her parents & she are Polish.  That's the magic of the short - it made people who were already here proud of their country, & people who identified as the children of immigrants proud of their parents.

One of the Youtube comments says that children are now taught that America is less a "melting pot" than a "salad bowl."  I wonder if that's meant to help people preserve their own cultural identity, since the components of a salad are more readily identified singularly; things in a stew do tend to mush together.  I don't know.

Children don't like salads all that much, though.  It seems a metaphor that may have some problems.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


It is snowing as I write this.  It's March 12 & it's snowing.  Winter officially ends in a week & it's snowing.  & it's not so bad here - glad I'm not in Chicago - but come on!

Here's a graphic that pretty much sums up my feelings about this overlong winter we've been having:
It's from the person who has this web site.  & she lives in Massachusetts.

I posted this to Facebook the other day:
(It was something I found on Tumblr, so I don't know who originally made it, sorry.)

A friend in Austin said, "Invert it for Texas."  It's true!  I don't know how it happened, but I went from a place where it's hot most of the time to a place where it's cold most of the time.  Is there not some place where there's a sensible winter AND a sensible summer?  It's maddening!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Oh, Tuesday

I kinda forgot about you.

My apologies.

No really, I mean it.

It was a lovely day.

You would have ignored me, too, if you had the chance.


Really.  I mean it.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who listened during Self Help Radio Week.  It's not every day an obscure show can declare its own week, & it was fun doing a show every day, but also not a little exhausting.  It will be with relief that I return to the one-show-a-week schedule.

As always - if there's a theme you explored on Self Help Radio, or you want to make suggestions for upcoming themes, you can visit Self Help Radio's website to see what's coming up & then write an email or even write something on the Facebook page.  Help yourself!

& again, much thanks.

(The image above was taken from this website.  It belongs to them.)