Friday, August 15, 2014

Self Help Radio 081514: Normality

Who're you calling normal?  Not this radio show!  Oh, all right, just for today, Self Help Radio will be normal.  Why not?  Why not for once be a normal radio show?  I mean, really.

Show is here: Self Help Radio website.  Remember, if you have to have a username & a password, then SHR & selfhelp will probably work.  The songs played today are below.

Stay normal!

(part one)

"I'm Normal" The Emperor _I'm Normal_
"We Are Normal" The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band _Urban Spaceman_
"C'est Normal" Ceux Qui Marchent Debout _Handclapping Zone_

"Normal" Martin Mull _Normal_
"The Speed Of Normal" John Wesley Harding _John Wesley Harding's New Deal_
"Mr. Normal" Wayne County & The Electric Chairs _Man Enough To Be A Woman_

"Pronounced Normal" Wild Man Fischer _Pronounced Normal_
"Pass for Normal" Culturcide _Home-Made Authority_
"Normal People" The Members _The Choice Is Yours_
"Watch Out For The Normal People" The Boomtown Rats _A Tonic For The Troops_

"Dan Abnormal" Blur _The Great Escape_
"Crazy Kind Of Normal" The Rosehips _The Rosehips_

(part two)

"This Is The New Normal" Bubblegum Lemonade _Some Like It Pop_
"Every Boy Wants A Normal Girl" Colleen Green _Sock it To Me_
"Life Returns To Normal" Northern Portrait _Criminal Art Lovers_

"Suis-Je Normale?" Nini Raviolette _Change The Beat: The Celluloid Records Story 1979-1987_
"Total Normal" Eiskalte Engel _Total Normal_
"Normal" Astrud _Superman EP_

"The Normal Family" Andrei Codrescu _No Tacos For Saddam_
"Making People Normal" Bis _Social Dancing_
"Normal" Screaming Females _Castle Talk_
"Normality" Tania&Juan _Normality_

"Gillian Is Normal" Instant Automatons _Messthetics Greatest Hiss # 110: An Introduction To The D.I.Y. Cassette Scene 1979-1984_
"Tight But Normal Squeeze" Robert Pollard _Jack Sells A Cow_
"Normal" Bel Divioleta _Espejos_

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Whither Normality?

I have no idea what normal is.  Normal is relative, anyway.  Some people live in fear & hunger, & that's normal for them.  What was normal even a century ago would seem weird to us now - & vice versa.

I do know that WRFL is not a normal radio station.  I don't mean that as an insult, but as a compliment. Every other radio station in the world - or I should say, the vast majority of them - are owned by one of two or three corporations, & they're programmed by a few people in one place, & piped out to each station. It's apparently very profitable for them, but it's such a depressing & cynical way to use the airwaves that could be filled with so much creativity & good music & fun.  It's why a station like WRFL is so valuable.

Will Self Help Radio celebrate normality, or will it (as you probably suspect) have several songs snarkily suggesting that what is normal is dull, mindless, hypnotized, brainwashed, conservative, square?  You'll have to listen to find out.

It's on tomorrow morning from 7am to 9am on 88.1 fm in Lexington, & online at wrfl dot fm.  Of course I'll do what I normally do & put it on the Self Help Radio website after the show, if you're not normally up that early.

It's normal for me to hope you'll listen, right?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Preface To Normality: Normalcy

You can read about Warren Harding's use of the word "normalcy" in his 1920 election campaign.  Though detractors at the time believed he made the word up, or mispronounced "normality," it turns out "normalcy" had been in use for around sixty years before that.  People use it to mean "normality" to this day, probably because of the hubbub surrounding Harding's use of the term.

But according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the word normalcy was coined by mathematicians, first recorded in 1857, & used to mean a "mathematical condition of being at right angles."  It notes, wryly, "The word prefered by purists for 'a normal situation' is normality," which, it notes was first recorded in 1849 - barely a decade before "normalcy" was recorded.  Etymologists believe it came from the French.

I don't have a dog in this fight.  I like that the English language is elastic & mutable & I love that words change their meanings over periods of time.  It's sometimes sad when words like "literally" come to mean their opposite because of people who don't really know the word's definition, but if I don't mind a word like "normalcy" being used to mean "normality," I can't complain about changes in the language I don't like.  It's better than the opposite: word stagnation.

Harding, by the way, is known as one of the most corrupt presidents in history.  That might not be entirely true - but he did seem to surround himself (mostly friends & contributors from Ohio) with awful people.  For no real reason, here's a picture of him:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Woke Up Early One Morning Blues, Episode Twelve

Gladys Bentley

I loved encyclopedias as a child, & I have a mind that loves to categorize & alphabetize.  This week's episode of Woke Up Early One Morning Blues starts something I might never finish - a list of the great female blues singers of the 20s & 30s.  When people think of the blues, they often don't think of these women - but they were among the most popular blues performers of the time.  I go from Ora Alexander to Susie Edwards (of Butterbeans & Susie) on this show, but since I only have two more episodes of the show, I might not return to the list for a good long while.

In any event, you can listen to the show at the Self Help Radio website.  Pay attention to the password info there.  & enjoy the songs I played, which are listed below:

"You've Got To Save That Thing" Ora Alexander _Them Dirty Blues_
"St. Louis Blues" Mildred Bailey _The Ladies In Blues_
"Don't You Make Me High" Blue Lu Barker _The Chronological Classics: Blue Lu Barker 1938-1939_

"Worried Blues" Gladys Bentley _Maggie Jones & Gladys Bentley: Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order Vol. 2 - May 1925 To June 1926 & August 1928 To March 1929_
"West Indies Blues" Esther Bigeou _Esther Bigeou (1921-1923)_
"The Pawn Shop Blues" Lucille Bogan _Lucille Bogan (Bessie Jackson) Vol. 1: 1923-1930_
"Evil Mama Blues" Ada Brown _Territory Singers Vol. 1 (1922-1928)_
"Song From A Cotton Field" Bessie Brown _Down In The Basement: Joe Bussard's Treasure Trove Of Vintage 78s: 1926-1937_

"Peddlin' Man" Liza Brown _(Original) Bessie Brown (1925-1929) & Liza Brown (1929)_
"Mean Eyes (Too Late Blues)" Kitty Brown _Female Blues Singers Vol. 3 (1923-1928)_
"Aunt Hagar's Children Blues" Alice Leslie Carter _Female Blues Singers Vol. 4 (1921-1930)_
"Everybody Does It Now" Martha Copeland _I Can't Be Satisfied, Vol. 2_
"Give Me A Break Blues" Ida Cox _The Blues 1923 To 1933_

"Blind Man Blues" Katie Crippen _Fletcher Henderson & The Blues Singers Vol. 1 (1921-1923)_
"Winter Blues" Madlyn Davis _Paramount Jazz_
"He Likes It Slow" Butterbeans & Susie _Louis Armstrong & The Blues Singers_

Monday, August 11, 2014

Come In, Orson

Words fail.  Words are all we have.

As a child, I was a huge comic book nerd.  I read them & re-read them all the time.  I loved reading other things, but comics were the first thing I read, & I loved them so much I would read them most - even the ones, like war comics, I wasn't terribly interested in.

I loved when things comic-book-y showed up in places other than those little booklets.  I loved Star Wars - a comic book movie if there ever was one.  I loved Star Trek - each episode like a different issue, with recurring villains, revisited plotlines.  & I even loved the silly stuff - like an alien showing up in a television show (Happy Days, of all places) & then getting his own show.

That's the first time I saw Robin Williams, & he made me laugh.  Laugh, laugh, laugh.  Later, in films like Dead Poets Society & Good Will Hunting, he showed a depth that his manic stage persona (his real persona?) didn't hint at.  He seemed human, humble, ridiculous, wise, caring, strong, & devoutly strange.  A comic book character come to life.

Of course, he was more than that, he was like me & you (or at least like you - I could never hope to be so talented), he had problems.  More information will come out in the next few days, but for now I'm going to spend the evening watching YouTube clips & laughing.  Laughing because Robin Williams was really so goddamned funny.

"Mork calling Orson, come in, Orson.  Come in, the Incredible Bulk."  He couldn't help constantly making fat jokes to his space superior.  Oh god, so funny.