Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Gary Files # 11: Gary Cole

(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 eleventh of a series!

Gary Cole is, according to Wikipedia, "an American actor & voice artist."  You probably know him best as Bill Lumbergh from Office Space, but he's all over the place.

When did you first become aware of him?  Like everyone else, from Office Space.

Surely he was in other things before that?  He played the father in the mildly entertaining Brady Bunch movies in the 90s, but I don't think it was a star-making turn.  I'm pretty sure Office Space put him on the map.

But did you know his name, I mean, even after you saw Office Space?  I always read credits, but, to tell the truth, I wouldn't have been able to tell you his name even after that film.  Maybe it wasn't a big break for him after all.  What the hell do I know?

Do you like him as an actor?  One of the rumors that was going around when Office Space was in its heyday (& this might just have been in Austin, since the city was proud it was filmed there) was that he was something of a humorless person, & the reason he's so funny in the movie is because he didn't quite get how funny the character was.  I don't know if that's true - he plays very dry characters very well, so I imagine his sense of humor is close to that.

Like in Veep?  Oh, yeah.  He's great in that show!

But you wouldn't see a movie or a TV show just because he was in it, would you?  Probably not.

Is his name really Gary?  Gary Michael Cole.

Do you know why he was named Gary?  He was born in 1956, the year Love In The Afternoon came out, so if he folks were film fans, I'd say the enduring popularity of Gary Cooper had something to do with it.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Self Help Radio 120115: Magda's Birthday Show 2015

(Yes, that's really my wife.)

Hooray!  Another year of birthday songs successfully deployed!  I honestly was sure this year I was going to run out.  I am officially calling on every great musician to write some sort of birthday song.  One each.  Comedians, also!  Come up with some funny birthday routines!  I know there's not the money in such things as there is in Christmas music, but boy, if you could write the next "Happy Birthday To You," you'd clean up!  & I could play it on my show.

I had just enough songs for this year, but I kind of thought I would.  As I wrote last year in this space, "Check back with me in 2016.  I should be pretty desperate then."  We'll see.

I'm happy to report my wife had a lovely birthday.  The show seemed incidental to her overall birthday happiness.  That shouldn't have been a surprise to me - I did it for her!  Oh well.

Please have a listen on your birthday at the Self Help Radio website.  Password is on the page, please pay attention.  Songs I played are below.  Best enjoyed after lighting candles on a cake, then blowing them out.

Happy birthday!

(part one)

"Happy Birthday Polka" Red Pony Clock _Hey, It's My Birthday_
"Before Your Birthday" The Hollyhocks _Understories_
"Birthday Cake" Orchard Thief _Work +_

"It's Your Birthday!" Tall Jenny _Tall Jenny_
"Birthday Blues" Weird Dreams _Found_
"On Birthdays" Birthmark _Shaking Hands_
"Happy Birthday" The Icypoles _My World Was Made For You_
"My Birthday" The French Goodbye _Living In The End Times_

"Birthday Party" Ross Beach _Ride Theory_
"The Day After Your Birthday" The Pooches _Splitting An Omelette With My Mother_
"Unhappy" Janie Grant _Teenage Girls: Volume 1_
"Birthday Party" Jonathan Donaldson _You're So Great You're So True You're So Square!_
"Birthday Party" The Little Wretches _The Little Wretches_

"Unbirthday" Pogo _Wonderland_
"Birthday" Bob Nanna _Top 100 Of 2001_

(part two)

"After Your 65th Birthday" George Carlin _When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_
"People On Their Birthdays (Live)" Rod McKuen _Sold Out At Carnegie Hall_
"Birthday Party" Toughies _Tough Enough_

"Happy Birthday (I'm Still Sad)" Tyrannosaurus Grace _Tyrannosaurus Grace_
"Birthday" Bye Bye Badman _Authentic_
"It's Your Birthday" The Moon Is A Disco Ball _The Moon Is A Disco Ball_
"Happy Birthday To My Loose Acquaintance" Garfunkel & Oates _Secretions_
"To My Birthday Party" Adam Powell _Let's Ride Bikes_

"Happy Birthday Blue" Joni Lyman _I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself_
"Birthday Girl" Imperial Teen _What Is Not To Love_
"Birthday Cake" The Safes _Record Heat_
"The Birthday Party" Alien Skin _The Unquiet Grave_

"Answer" They Might Be Giants _Glean_
"Too Little Too Late" PINS _Wild Nights_

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2015?

(A picture from three years ago of Magda with two creatures she loves much more than she loves me.)

Every year around the day of her birthday, my wife gets a radio show birthday present from me.  What a cheapskate! you say.  Indeed, the time I spend working on the show is time I could be spending with her!  But our life doesn't really work that way.  She's content in her downtime to be on her favorite sofa with her favorite people in the world, who happen to be dogs & cats.  Four of each, actually, in our house, & a game she likes to play with me is "Guess How Many Dogs I Have!"  That's when I try to decide how many of our hounds are under the blanket she has draped about herself.  When the answer is four, she squeals with glee.

The first radio show I did for her featured music she loved.  If I had continued to do that, you'd hear the same Magda-approved songs around her birthday every year.  She would be fine with that.  I am a bit more restless.  I began to use her birthday as a chance to play songs about birthdays.  There are a lot of them, but of course the majority aren't very good.  I've been doing this birthday thing for eleven of the thirteen years I've done Self Help Radio.  (I don't know why I skipped two years.  Those early days are something of a blur at this point.)  Ten of those years have featured birthday songs.  I am not entirely certain I can keep playing unique recordings of birthday songs into the near future.  But this year I have enough to make a solid show.

This is how much I love the silly woman who deigned to spend her life with me.

Maybe it's your birthday too?  Maybe soon?  Maybe we just missed it?  In any case, unless you find birthday songs as annoying as Christmas songs, the show today is a birthday show & it's on from 4-6pm on 88.1 fm WRFL in Lexington + online at wrfl dot fm.  I'll archive it tomorrow like I do unless I eat too much birthday cake tonight.

Wait - I won't - the birthday girl will!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2015: The Inexorable March Of Time

There are some phrases you'll hear from old & older people - that I hear from my 86 year old mother, for example - among which are versions of these: "Life is short."  "It all happened so fast."  "It was all over in the blink of an eye."  I understand why they say this.  I sympathize, but don't entirely feel the same way.

Perhaps what is missing is a lack of perspective.  Imagine listening to a fourteen-year-old tell a story, maybe a simple tale of excitedly seeing a old friend at an unusual place.  The teenager will tell the story - even if she's telling it well - with a lot of unnecessary details.  Superfluous description.  Possibly whole remembered snippets of conversation.  & most assuredly the story will lack any background, asides describing shared experiences between the friends, even historical or social context.  At fourteen, you haven't lived a great deal of life.

The same story told by a forty-four-year-old would be a completely different affair.  Indeed, the meeting would be mostly a pretext to discuss what had transpired in life between their last meeting - if it could be recalled - & the circumstances that brought them to the unusual place.  Dialogue wouldn't be recounted - a summary of topics discussed would be more the order of the day.  Not to disrespect the narrative skills of your average high school freshman, but this older person's story would be much, much more fleshed-out.  & it would probably be a better story.

The obvious difference between the two storytellers is, well, thirty years.  Somewhere along the line, I believe, our brain learns ways to keep us from going crazy from years of memories.  We simply can't store the minutiae we experience every day, so our memories are bundled into stories, stories that we often forget, stories that we tell ourselves to give ourselves definition.  We learn to distill time as a way, perhaps, to keep ourselves sane.

Our perception of time is affected by our passage through time.  Days that are much the same blend into one another.  It takes a kind of will - & it's not entirely pleasant - to try to remember the tedium one slogs through during a regular twenty-four-hour period.  As I often tell my mother, "It seems like time has sped right by because you're not thinking about the long, boring, uninteresting moments you've spent, which may have been the majority of your life."

That's a big difference (among many) between my mother & me.  I can recall some moments where the nothing in my life threatened to smother me.  Long hours in a room reading as the light dimmed, or lonely times waiting, staring at a wall & unable to make a positive move.  I remember vividly long drives where a sign might say "next town 52 miles" & I felt an hour had passed before the subsequent sign read, "next town 50 miles."  I have lived forty-seven years & it hardly ever feels to me like it's gone by too fast.  In fact, this past year, with its disappointments, its deaths, its seasons acting out like spoiled children, has felt like two years to me, even possibly three.

This is not something I'll immediately share with my wife, who's having a birthday tomorrow, & whose birthday I will celebrate on tomorrow's show.  I've done it eleven times before, a birthday show for her, & have not repeated - & will not repeat -  a single birthday recording.  (I have played - & will play - cover versions should they be good.)  It's getting more difficult as the years go by, & maybe I will eventually recycle the shows.  But not tomorrow!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Cradle To Grave (Episode Two)

The second episode of my ridiculous new show, called Cradle To Grave, aired last night on Lexington's community radio station, WLXL.  In a two hour block, I celebrated the birthday (first hour) & the last day (second hour) of several artists who either arrived or left this crippled world on November 28.  I hope it went well, but how could I possibly judge such a thing?

As happens with some of my other radio shows, you can now find this episode for a time at the Self Help Radio website.  The show is broken into two parts - listed below - the first part where birthdays are celebrated, the second part where deathdays are mourned.

The site requires a password, which you can find on the site.  Why in the world would I make it difficult to listen to one of my radio stumbles?  It's bound to be hard enough as it is!

I hope you like.

(part one: birthdays)

"By The Beautiful Sea" Ada Jones & Billy Watkins _By The Beautiful Sea_
"How Come You Do Me Like You Do No. 2" George Wettling Rhythm Kings _The Complete Commodore Jazz Recordings, Vol. 2_
"Capri" Donald Byrd/Gigi Gryce _Complete Jazz Lab Studio Sessions # 2_
"Midnight Tango" Gato Barbieri _Ruby, Ruby_

"I Wish I Could Sing" George Coleman _Bongo Joe_
"Come Softly To Me" The Fleetwoods _The Fleetwoods Greatest Hits_
"The Love Game" The Mudlarks _The Hits Of 1959_
"Help Me Somebody" The "5" Royales _All Righty_
"You Don't Have To Be A Tower Of Strength" Gloria Lynne _The Birth Of Soul, Vol. 1_
"Whiter Shade Of Pale" R.B. Greaves _Atlantic Unearthed: Soul Brothers_

"Tyger Tyger (Dub Mix)" Jah Wobble _Glitters Is Gold_
"Cousins" Vampire Weekend _Contra_
"Grey Cell Green" Ned's Atomic Dustbin _God Fodder_
"Important Dates (with Stephen Colbert)" Jon Stewart _America: The Book_

(part two: death anniversaries)

"Old Folks At Home" Jules Levy _Old Folks At Home_
"Ohio" Rosalind Russell & Edith Adams _American Musical Theatre: Shows, Songs, & Stars, Vol. 3_
"Won't You Be My Baby (Jimmy Rushing, vocals)" Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra _1929-1930: New Moten Stomp_
"Blue Lights" Papa Lightfoot _Blues Harmonica Wizards_
"Stormy Monday Blues" Bobby Blue Bland _Here's The Man!!!_

"Loving You Has Made Me Bananas" Guy Marks _Loving You Has Made Me Bananas_
"(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" Elvis Presley _Elvis' Golden Records_
"Fight Fire With Fire" Frances Nero _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6: 1966_
"One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" John Lee Hooker _The Best Of John Lee Hooker_
"Dust My Broom" Koerner, Ray & Glover _Blues, Rags, & Hollers_
"Apache" The Shadows _Feelin' Fine: Gems From The Columbia Vaults_

"Chicken" Jack Starr _I Hate CD's: Norton Records 45 RPM Singles Collection, Vol. 1_
"28" Steppenwolf _Steppenwolf The Second_
"Heyday" Mic Christopher _Skylarkin'_
"Sriram Bhajo Sukh Mein Dukh Mein" KC Dey _Sriram Bhajo Sukh Mein Dukh Mein_