Saturday, July 04, 2015

Self Help Radio 070415: Flags

(Original image here.)

Hooray for Independence Day!  Hooray for flags!  But oh!  I'm exhausted.  All that flag waving this morning - I might have to get my forearm repaired.  But!  If you like flags, here's a show for you!  Flag songs out the wazoo, wherever that is; plus I talk to Mark Miller in Hollywood, & to a descendent of Betsy Ross!  Man, those exclamation points are exhausting me too.  I need a nap.  Wake me with fireworks.

The show is now at the Self Help Radio website, where it'll be all Fourth Of July long.  There's a password + username, pay attention.  The playlist is on the site, but also below.

Enjoy the holiday! Thanks for listening.

(part one)

"Betsy Ross & The Flag" Stan Freberg _The United States Of America_
"Rally 'Round The Flag" The Weavers _The Weavers' Almanac_
"Your Flag Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore (live)" John Prine _The Singing Mailman Delivers_

"You're A Grand Old Flag" James Cagney & The Warner Bros. Chorus & Warner Bros. Studio Orchestra _Yankee Doodle Dandy_
"The Ragged Old Flag" Johnny Cash _The Ragged Old Flag_
"Face The Flag" John Wayne _America, Why I Love Her_

"Pink Flag" Wire _Pink Flag_
"I Am Your Flag" The Beat _Wha'ppen?_
"Flag Night" The Passage _For All & None_
"Under The Flag II" Fad Gadget _Under The Flag_

"From The Flagstones" Cocteau Twins _Sunburst & Snowblind_
"Flag Day" The Housemartins _Live At The BBC_

(part two)

"Empire" Eddie Izzard _Dress To Kill_
"The Red Flag" Billy Bragg _The Internationale_
"Let Your Freak Flag Fly" The Hummingbirds _Va Va Voom_

"Gimme Back My Flag" Julian Cope _Jehovahkill_
"Red Flag New York" The Bartlebees _What Is It All About?_
"Flags Of Freedom" Neil Young _Living With War_

"This Is Not My Flag" The Dentists _Behind The Door I Keep The Universe_
"They'll Hang Flags From Cranes Upon My Wedding Day" Ballboy _Club Anthems_
"Flags" Sons & Daughters _This Gift_
"White Flag" Guided By Voices _The Bears For Lunch_

"Waving Flags" British Sea Power _Sea Of Brass_
"Wave The White Flag" Boat _Pretend To Be Brave_
"A Flag In The Court" Thee Oh Sees _Help_

Friday, July 03, 2015

Whither Flags?

I kinda explained yesterday* why I am doing a show about flags.  I mean, Fourth Of July!  Flags!  Hurrah!

Now, to dispel some rumors my cats have been spreading.  I will not be burning a flag on air during the show.  That would be a fire hazard.  I will not be undressing & wrapping myself in a flag so it touches my naughty parts.  That would also be a fire hazard.  & finally, I will not wipe my ass with the flag.  That would be disgusting & anyway that's what my flag-decorated toiler paper is for.  I don't know why my cats like to promulgate falsehoods about me nor why my dogs enjoy re-tweeting such items but suffice it to say that while I know it's perfectly legal to do any of that, I'm not going to, & even if I did you couldn't see me do it because I'm on the radio!  Good grief.  Use your heads!

Tomorrow morning: flags on the radio from 7 to 9am on 88.1 fm WRFL Lexington.  Online at wrfl dot fm.  Archived in time for fireworks at .  I hope you'll wake & listen!

* Why do I link it?  It's right below this entry!

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Preface To Flags: I'm Not Used To Being So Topical

Sometime in the last month, or maybe in May, when I realized I was going to be doing a show on Saturdays, I had a look at the calendar.  I looked at the June calendar (that was when I'd start doing the show again).  Then I looked at the July calendar.  Uh oh!

(calendar courtesy of time & date dot com)

Do you see what the first Saturday in July is?  It's the frickin' frackin' Fourth Of July!

I've done a July 4th show before, this one about America.  (I also apparently did a show on July 4th last year about limes, which makes no sense*.)  For some reason, my brain said to me, "Let's do a show about flags."

Flags!  Of course!  People in my neighborhood have some group come by before Memorial Day, Independence Day, & Veteran's Day, & put flags on their lawn.  I never see the flags being erected & they're gone the next day, so I can only assume this weirdly patriotic group works in darkness.

So - yeah, flags.  I guess I was supposed to talk about this tomorrow, but that's the origin of this week's show.  I thought I'd do a show about flags because Self Help Radio happens to fall on Independence Day this week.  Um.  Spoiler alert?

But holy smokes, have you been paying attention to flags in the news?!?  Here's a cartoon by Jonathan Schmock to give you a taste:

That's right!  In the weeks before I was going to do a show about flags, flags are in the news!  Confederate flags disgraced at last!  Gay rights flags flying triumphantly!

Flags are on the tip of everyone's tongues!  I was in a Shell station somewhere in southeastern Kentucky - a Shell station with a Schlotsky's (not unusual) but also an entire, weirdly immaculate supermarket in the back (very unusual) - just buying a soda - & the clerk yelled back to someone in the grocery aisles, "Keep it up, I'll burn every gay pride flag I see!"

It's almost like I'm up to date on current events!

It's freaking me out.

* Here's what I wrote on my blog in regards to my Fourth Of July show about limes:

"Yes, I know it's the Fourth of July & you'll be in bed, but I couldn't be bothered to do an America-themed show.  Anyway, there's a parade & stuff later.  You can go to that.

Limes!  What was I thinking?"

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Things Change More

I guess I can announce this…

You know there's this excellent radio show on WRFL called Black N Blues.  It describes itself (quite correctly) as "hip shakin' rhythm & heart breakin' blues."  It's almost a damned institution!

Well, the host, Dan Black, is relocating down south - appropriately to Nashville.  & the Program Manager has asked me to move Self Help Radio to that timeslot.

What?  Hunh?  How in the world can I even hope to live up to that?  I play some old blues & some r&b & love pretty much everything Dan played, but - well - I don't know!  It makes me queasy just thinking about it.

But. Boy! the idea of not having to wake up so early in the morning appeals to me.

So I said yes.

It's in a couple of weeks.  July 14th, actually.  Bastille Day.  For Pierre's sake!

I'll still do Self Help Radio this Saturday & the next.  It means that there'll be one week with two Self Help Radio episodes.  I apologize in advance.

I'm also very sorry about all this moving around.  I heard that Dan Black himself commented on the decision: "I'm glad he got it," he is reported to have said, adding, "Bastard."

What do you think?  Can Self Help Radio be an afternoon show?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Private Eulogy

My oldest sister died last week.  She had pancreatic cancer.  It happened very fast.  I was very fortunate, since she lived a thousand miles away, to have visited her about a month ago (before anything was diagnosed) & to have spoken to her a week before she died.  I loved her very much.  I went to her memorial this weekend (which is why I didn't do my show) & stood in the house that was so much hers - her favorite place to be, the place she was happiest - & told my younger sister, "She's still here.  It's so hard to be here because everything is telling me she's still here."

I have dreamt about her pretty much every night since it happened.  I remember when I was told the machines turned off & she was no more.  I said, "I held out hope."

In a hotel room in Memphis last night, I wrote a letter to someone I haven't spoken to in many, many years.  I didn't send it.  Here's what I wrote:

It's a stormy night in Memphis.  I've been here four times in a month this year.  It's halfway between Lexington & Dallas.  I like the city, we stop here, we forage for vegan food here, we rest our weary heads here after eight hours driving from Lexington.  I'm sort of by myself.  Magda is in Spain.

I drove to a pet store around the area near the airport because I am with a chihuahua.  She was named Chica but in our normal tradition, since we're adopting her, we wanted to rename her.  Unlike our normal tradition, Magda named her, & from afar: she wants to call her "Yoko" because, as she says, "she's breaking up the beagles."

Yoko belonged to my sister Pat.  Pat adopted her last year, though she swore she'd never get another dog after her last dog, Sarge, died.  Sarge was a sweetie.  Pat seemed to be struggling with depression of some kind & Yoko/Chica would visit her from another family's house where, according to Pat, there were pit bulls who wouldn't let the poor thing eat.  So Pat fed her, &, as she was Pat, she fed her bad food.  Wet food, human food.  The little girl is fat like a sausage.

Pat died of cancer a few days ago.  Before she did - when she had just found out there was a tumor on her pancreas - she worried about the fate of Chica/Yoko.  She said, "Could you take her?"  I said of course.  What's one more dog in our hoard?  She's a sweet thing.  She just needs better habits.

Anyway, what sort of heel refuses what surely was a dying wish?

Pat's memorial was in Dallas yesterday.  I couldn't not come.  Afterwards, I took Yoko to my hotel room, drove to Memphis today, & I make sure she's always with me.  I hope she'll be better when she's part of a pack, but right now I bet she needs to poop + pee & it's raining like crazy.  Ridiculously warm summer rain, I bet.  Rain like you'd find in a swamp.

Pat was a generous big sister but over the last decade we had become friends.  I loved to listen to her gossip.  Last night, exhausted, I finally got Yoko to calm down in bed, & I asked myself questions for Pat & answered them in my head in her voice.  At the memorial, I saw my brothers, all of whom I haven't seen in four years or so, plus lots of people I might not have seen in decades, old school friends of her son's, friends of the family she kept in touch with that I had all but forgotten.  I wanted to call Pat & listen to her impressions of everything & everyone there.  But I can't.  Not anymore.

She leaves behind a husband & a son, both of whom are acting like they're in control.  I don't for a second think it's true - her son was there when they turned the machines off, for Pat had a DNR - & no one's a fucking Vulcan.  All I could do is say, "Before you compartmentalize this in such a way it explodes all over you, please talk to me, let me listen to you."

My brothers & my other sister are writing about Pat on their Facebook pages but I've never done that.  I will write something on my blog.  I will tell my closest friends personally, or privately.

I'm reminded of a Bob Dylan lyric that I once associated (since that was his intent) with lost love:

I'm going out of my mind
With a pain that stops & starts
Like a corkscrew to my heart
Ever since we've been apart

That sounds like grief to me.  But everything sounds like grief to me right now, as I am grieving.

I hear her voice.  I see her face.  It's stupid, strange, horrible that she's gone.

I'll see if the rain has stopped.  Again, apologies if this is inappropriate or an intrusion. I hope all is well with your family & with you.

Never sent.  Just needed to write it, I guess.  You can pretend I wrote it for you.

When my sister joined Facebook, for a long time she left out her profile picture.  I said, "Do you not know how to put a picture up?"  She said, "No, I just don't like any picture of me."  So I sent her this picture, which I said reminded me of her:

It's Medusa, from the Inhumans, as drawn by Jack Kirby.  It's been her profile picture ever since.

It's strange, she still has a Facebook page.  One more thing you can't take with you.

It's sad that I now live in a world without my favorite sibling.  Here's the thing about Pat: I think she was every one of my brothers' & my sister's favorite sibling.  That's how amazing she was.  Kind & generous to a fault.  Stubborn but loving.  & probably the best mother I've ever known.  She was pretty much one-of-a-kind.

Tomorrow, I go back to work on my radio show.  Tonight, I'll watch Yoko learn about her new family & hopefully we'll all get a little rest.  Pat sometimes listened to my radio show, something none of my siblings have ever done.  I think she was doing it to be nice.  But of course I appreciated it.

I hope she understood how appreciated she was.  I owe her so much.  I miss her so much.