Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Gary Files # 8: Gary Coleman

(I found this image here.)

An explanation: Since the name Gary is going extinct, I thought it incumbent upon me to celebrate more notable Garys than myself.  This is the eighth of a series!

Gary Coleman was, according to the Wikipedia, "an American actor, voice artist, & comedian, best known for his role as Arnold Jackson in Diff'rent Strokes (1978–1986) & for his small stature as an adult."

When did you first become aware of him?  The television show Diff'rent Strokes, of course.

Did you watch all eight years of the show?  Oh no.  I probably stopped watching it around the time I went to high school.  But before that, yeah, I watched the show a lot.

Did you like it?  Here's the thing.  There was a time in my childhood when the television was always on.  You just watched it.  Only later, probably after puberty, did one start thinking, "Oh, this is good" or "Man, this sucks."  Watching television was something that I came to think critically about once I was taught to think critically.  So the clich├ęd & preposterous hijinks of Arnold & Willis in a rich white man's household were not nearly as interesting to me as, say, a situation comedy set in World War II German POW camp.  I could appreciate that sort of nonsense!

Do you remember when you decided you wouldn't watch the show?  It's important to understand that I was horrified when Ronald Reagan became president.  I wasn't a Democrat or a Republican then, but I understood he was a charlatan who was there to reward the rich people who supported him.  Plus, he was a religious nutjob who talked about nuclear armageddon in a more or less positive light.  I went to bed every night for the first half of the eighties expecting to die in an atomic bomb apocalypse.  So when his bird-boned wife appeared on a very special episode, I knew I couldn't watch the show anymore.

Do you remember when he ran for governor of California?  I do!  It was after Gray Davis' recall.  Everyone ran for governor, & of course the Terminator won.  Coleman himself received over twelve thousand votes!

Did you know his growth was stunted by a disease?  Yes, I just read that.  He suffered from "focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, an autoimmune kidney disease," & had two kidney transplants, both unsuccessful, & had to have daily dialysis.  A fucked up way to live.

Do you know how he died?  Yeah, he feel down the stairs, & suffered an epidural hematoma.  He possibly had seizures.  He was 42.  It's crazy that, during the time he was on Diff'rent Strokes, he & I were the same age.  He was born less than a month after I was.

Is his name really Gary?  Yes, Gary Wayne Coleman, though he was adopted.  I don't know if that was his birth name - it probably wasn't - his adopted parents' name was Coleman.

Do you know why he was named Gary?  I assume his adopted parents had their reasons.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Self Help Radio 111015: Turtles

(Original image here.)

Yay turtles!  Listen: turtles loved yesterday's show.  How do I know?  I know because I got zero - that means none - calls from turtles complaining about the quality of the show!  That hardly ever happens!  Which is why I need to do more reptile-based shows.  Otherwise, it's complaining, complaining, complaining from turtles, snakes, alligators - & those guys get on the phone & they're mean.  They make me cry, sometimes.

No matter!  The turtles are happy, & perhaps you will be too.  In addition to tons of turtle songs (all listed below), I interview the famous internet sensation Turtle Man, I talk to a gerontologist who studies the longevity of turtles, & I talk to the turtle-ish Mark Miller in Hollywood.  I can guarantee that for the length of the time you listen to the show, you will not get any complaints from turtles!

The show is in its shell at the Self Help Radio website.  Psst!  Pay attention to password information on the page.  Otherwise: turtle complaints!  Enjoy both parts of the show which, in played in succession in real time, approximate what the actual show as it aired sounded like!


(part one)

"Turtles" PBNJ Buchanan _SHR: Take Carapace_
"The Turtle Song" Connie Haines with the Russ Case Orchestra _The Heart & Soul Of Connie_
"Green Turtle" Burl Ives _A Little Bitty Tear: The Nashville Year 1961-1965_
"Turtles & Trees" Bobby Sherman _Here Comes Bobby_
"Turtle" Tuna Helpers _I'll Have What She's Having_

"Little Turtle" Joe Bennett & The Sparkletones _ABC/Paramount Rock & Roll Party, Vol. 1_
"Turtle" Ernie & Neal _Rock & Roll Band_
"Turtle Woman" Christopher Guest _Buy This Box Or We'll Shoot This Dog: The Best Of The National Lampoon Radio Hour_
"Turtle Crazy" Toy Dolls _Cheerio & Toodlepip!_

"The Hare & The Tortoise" Mercury Childcraft _The Hare & The Tortoise_
"The Tortoise & The Hare" Joan Gerber _The Story Lady_
"The Turtle & The Hare" The P.F. Flyers _Hollywood Maverick: The Gary S. Paxton Story_
"Tortoise & The Hare" The Moody Blues _Question Of Balance_
"Tortoise Regrets Hare" James Yorkston _When The Haar Rolls In_

"Turtle Island" Beach House _Devotion_
"Turtle Pond (feat. Mark Kozelek)" Desertshore _Drawing Of Threes_

(part two)

"Bert The Turtle (The Duck & Cover Song)" Dick "Two-Ton" Baker _Atomic Platters_
"Turtles" Professor Peter Schickele _Sneaky Pete & The Wolf_
"Tricky Turtle" Blockhead _The Music Scene_

"Turtle Bait" The Jazz Butcher _Cult Of The Basement_
"Data For The Turtle In The Maze" Kleenex Girl Wonder _Graham Smith Is The Coolest Person Alive_
"Turtle Songs Of North America" They Might Be Giants _Podcast Highlights_
"Turtle Shell" Cloud Cult _They Live On The Sun_

"Turtles Have Short Legs" Can _Radio Waves_
"Turtle" Artery _Into The Garden: An Artery Collection_
"Turtles" Moustache _Moustache_
"Who Would Understand A Turtle?" Lemuria _The First Collection_

"Turtle Beach" Eric Von Schmidt _2nd Right, 3rd Row_
"Turtles All The Way Down" Sturgill Simpson _Metamodern Sounds In Country Music_

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Whither Turtles?

(This image - & many very cute others - are here.)

Hmm, didn't I tell you yesterday why I'm doing a show about turtles?  Someone asked me to.  Someone I know who, I might add, does not have a turtle as a pet.  But I guess you can just like turtles.  That's cool.  I loved cats for like twenty-six years before one befriended me.

Maybe also I told you I was gone all weekend, so this show is going to be a shambling mess.  I spend a great deal of time on my shows - not that you can tell - but I had to cram three or four days of listening, rearranging, planning, fretting, into a little over twenty-four hours.  I am a bit frantic & ill-prepared at this moment.

Please come watch me stumble & flail about & fall!  All in the name of turtles!  That's 4pm today on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington, & online at wrfl dot fm.  I'll archive it tomorrow at self help radio dot net but don't worry!  I'll leave it as big a mess as it happened.  I am terrible at polishing turds.

See you then!

Monday, November 09, 2015

Preface To Turtles: The Hunt For Turtle Songs

This is going to be a boring discussion (if you can have a discussion with yourself) about a dumb dilemma I sometimes have with the radio program I do.  It's about certain themes.

Themes will happen when I least expect them, & they'll often happen without a cursory glance about to see if there are enough songs to populate a radio show about that theme.  In the case of turtles, it was a suggestion from a friend.  "You should do a show about turtles," she said.  "Okay," I said, & put it on the calendar (I will often program requested shows sooner than the ones that spring from my poor imagination), without checking first if I have in my ramshackle music collection enough songs for two hours of turtle music.

The short answer is, I do.  The issue I had is, many of them are instrumental.

Of course a radio show that's all instrumental is fine.  I have programmed electronic & jazz & surf shows which featured predominantly non-vocal music.  But something about Self Help Radio makes me want to make sure that the songs at the very least mention the theme, or something relating to the theme.  I wanted to play the Sundays last week, on the poetry show, not because the word "poetry" was in the title of the song (it wasn't, the song was called "My Finest Hour"), but because I liked that singer Harriet Wheeler repeatedly sang, "Poetry is not for me," throughout the song.

Instrumental tracks can have the show's theme in their titles, & I usually play such tracks under or behind my voice during airbreaks.  But during the show?  Something about the song needs to speak to the show's topic that week beyond the title.

There are great jazz tunes with turtle in the title.  Ditto electronica.  What I discovered is that there aren't really all that many songs, period, about turtles.  Not even children's songs!  Rest assured, there are enough turtle songs to populate tomorrow's show, but I like to have a lot to choose from.  There weren't a lot.  Alas.

Don't worry about me - I think it'll be a good show.  & I think I shouldn't worry about such things, you know, because it's just a dumb radio show.  But still.  It's something I do fret about.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Okay, I'm Back - What? Sunday's Nearly Over?

Let me tell you, the worst thing about having eight awesome animals is that you miss the hell out of them when they're not around.  Of course, they didn't go anywhere - my friend Ben watched them - & I have to be honest, it was nice to not have to worry about them while I was in Texas.  So glad to be with them again though!  Four days away was rough.

Now I have to work on a show!  I should probably get some sleep.

Any thoughts about Texas?  Look, I've complained about this before: there's not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant within sixty miles of Lexington, & places that have vegan options (of which there are maybe five) seem to have them begrudgingly.  Going to Dallas, you have not only amazing Ethiopian food (Lalibela), but possibly the best all-vegan diner in the world (Spiral Diner), among other treats (like vegan donuts at Glazed Donut Works, which has a vegan donut choice every damn day*).  Then we went to Austin for a day, where we discovered an extraordinary vegetarian (many items vegan!) food truck called Shhmaltz (the Reuben is divine, the Bob Dylan is a revelation), & I had breakfast (vegan pancakes, yum) at the same old Kerbey Lane (now twice its size) that I went to twenty-seven years ago, & pretty much all the time until five years ago.  Gah!  So much food!

Also I got to see dear friends whom I never really ever get to see.  That was better than all the food in the world.

Oh no!  Look at the time!  Radio show!  Sending tee shirts out!  Maybe even getting sleep?

* I called a hip new donut place here in Lexington & asked if they served vegan donuts.  The person on the other line said, "Why would we do that?"