Saturday, March 26, 2016


For the past several weeks, I've been running a stupid series on Saturdays that I was calling "The Gary Files," in which I featured a different famous Gary, since the name is going extinct.  In fact, I did one for Garry Shandling, which you can read here.

In many ways, I had very little to say about these other Garys, & a lot of the time, I tried to be funny rather than attempt something substantive, since I mostly copied info from their Wikipedia page.  Funny was attempted with the Garry Shandling entry, in which I pretended to have an argument about whether the names Gary & Garry were the same or different.

But in that entry, I did say he was a genius.  & I believe it.  He was an amazing stand-up, & when I was a kid, I liked it when he hosted The Tonight Show.  I confess I wasn't able to appreciate It's Garry Shandling's Show when it was on - I was too young, there were too many levels of comedy going on.  But when I saw The Larry Sanders Show, oh shit.

The first episode I saw was the one in which Elvis Costello is on & trashes the green room because Larry Sanders talks during his musical performance.  I watched it because I am a big Elvis Costello nerd - but I ended up liking the show in its entirety - I even think I thought Costello's performance was the least interesting thing on the show!

Somehow - I didn't have HBO at the time - I managed to acquire several episodes of the show.  I consumed them.  I talked the show up to friends, made them watch them.  & I evangelized up till this very day.

Also I followed Shandling on Twitter, & Bill Maher this week showed clips from his many appearances on Real Time, which I saw.  I watched all the extra interviews he did for the first DVD reissue of Larry Sanders.  I loved it when he hosted the Emmys.  I was a fan.  I was an admirer.  I kind of worshipped the guy.

As you know, he died this past week, at the age of 66.  It is so sad, so tragic on many levels.  66 is too young, & I like to believe he had some other greatness he was preparing to unleash on the world.

This is my way of saying, you know what?  With one less Gary in the world (this one spelled Garry), I think I'm going to retire my Gary files.  It might not have been much fun to read, but it'll certainly be less fun for me to do it.

Goodbye, Garry Shandling.  Thank you for being so smart & funny.  I'm going to pretend for the rest of my life that I was named after you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Self Help Radio 032216: Slow Down

(Original image here.)

Self Help Radio this week is showing its age.  Yes, at an elderly thirteen years old, it has taken to grumpily mounting a rocking chair on the front porch, a wine cooler in one hand, the other hand balled up into a fist, ready to hurl invectives at cars going even one half-mile over the speed limit on the road in front of its house.

But it isn't just speedy drivers that has irked this show.  No, it's the fast pace of the modern world - its internet, its power lunches, its frantic afternoons at the gym fast-forwarding through streaming media on smart phones - that has gotten the show's dander up.  Didn't know a radio show could have dander?  You learn something new every day!

The result is this week's episode: slow down!  An imperative sentence said again & again & again with the hopes that, maybe, just maybe, someone out there could slow down a tiny bit.  Slow down & see the world at its regular speed.  Fall back into the regular vibrations.

Once the show was over, of course, everything would naturally accelerate again.

You can relive the futile attempt to slow things down whenever you have a space two hours at the Self Help Radio website.  To slow you down, a password & username will be required.  That information is on the front page.  The show is in two leisurely parts.  The songs played are below.

Self Help Radio will now be going down slow.

(part one)

"Slow Down" Anita O'Day _The Complete Anita O'Day Verve/Clef Sessions_
"Slow Down Baby (Russell Jacquet, vocals)" Illinois Jacquet _The Chronological Classics: Illinois Jacquet 1947-1950_
"Slow Down" Lou Mac _Rockin' At Midnight At The Parrot Club_

"Slow Down" Larry Williams _Loud, Fast, & Out Of Control: The Wild Sounds Of 50s Rock_
"Slow Down" The Cochran Brothers _Eddie & Hank: The Cochran Brothers_
"Slow Down Sandy" Eddie Quinteros _Rockin' On Broadway: The Time/Brent/Shad Story_
"Slow Down" Gus Jenkins & Orchestra _Jericho Alley Blues Flash! Blues In Los Angeles 1956 - 1959_
"Slow Down Brother" Ferlin Huskey & His Hush Puppies _Out & Out Rockabilly_

"Slow Down Heart" The Temptations _Emperors Of Soul_
"Slow Down" Tammi Terrell _The Essential Collection_
"The Merry-Go-Round Is Slowin' You Down" The Surprise Package _The Other Me 7"_
"Slow Down" Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge _Breakaway_

"Slow Down" Taboo _Violators: The No Future Years_
"Slow Down" Maduu _Bombay Beats, Vol. 1_

(part two)

"Slow Down" The Feelies _The Good Earth_
"Slow Things Down" The Soup Dragons _Hang-Ten!_
"Slow Down" Blur _Leisure_

"Slow Down" Dump _I Can Hear Music_
"Hold On, Slow Down" Earlimart _Treble & Tremble_
"Slow Down" The Jordans _Katydid_
"Slow Me Down" Aberfeldy _Young Forever_

"How Do You Slow This Thing Down" Gothic Archies _The Tragic Treasury: Songs From A Series Of Unfortunate Events_
"Slowing Down" Blank Dogs _Under & Under_
"The Steady Slowing Down Of The Heart" Lloyd Cole _Cleaning Out The Ashtrays: Collected B-Sides & Rarities 1989-2006_
"Slowing Down the World" Savages _Adore Life_

"Slow It Down" The Frank & Walters _Greenwich Mean Time_
"Slowdown" Peter Murphy _Ninth_

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Whither Slow Down?

(Image found here.)

A show about slowing down, eh? Yes!  Has the show been moving too fast?  No.  Does it seem to go by in the blink on an eye?  Heavens no!  If someone has ever been asked, "Does it seem like there's not enough Self Help Radio?" has the answer ever been "Yes!"  No, never!

Yet here we have a show about slowing down.  Well, the theme is "slow down."  Perhaps the show is being bossy.  Maybe the show thinks anyone who might be listening should slow down!  Maybe even slow the hell down!  But why would the show think that?

A related question might be: is life in Lexington - Central Kentucky - more fast-paced than any other place in the United States?  Can that be true?  Does this city deserve a radio program that's asking - or even telling - its listener to "slow down"?  Moreover, are these questions the show will answer?

Damn, there are a lot of questions here.  & they were only really answered in the first paragraph.  So.  Here's a stab at some answers for the rest: Because it thinks whatever it wants.  No, most definitely not.  No, not even in its most New Yorkish dreams.  It does not.  No.

Well!  Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, we can listen to another meaningless Self Help Radio today from 4-6pm on 88.1 fm in Lexington & online at wrfl dot fm.  Yes, I'll archive it later.  If you slow down too quickly to listen.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Preface To Slow Down: Wouldn't A Better Theme Be "Slowing Down"?

Ugh, everybody prefers the gerund.

Did I ever mention I took Latin in high school?  It wasn't because I was on my way to be a pretentious twat, although certainly that road was right there in front of me.  No, I did it to spite my mother & my family.

My mother, you see, is German, & all her other kids took German in high school.  The same high school I was at, actually.  The same damn German teacher, too; her name was Frau Phillips.  I had actually had Mrs. Phillips for English in the tenth grade.  When the time came to take a foreign language, though, I chose Latin.

It might have broken my mother's heart.  Or it might just have irritated her.  Or she might have thought, well, he's a smart boy, & smart people learn dead languages.  Or she didn't give a fuck.  She never said.  But the idea that I was doing something that no one else in my family had done - that I was somehow breaking with what maybe the family felt was tradition - that pleased me.

It's no surprise that my family didn't like me much when I was that age.  I assume they like me less now, but most certainly being different, when they all worked so hard to be the same, must have baffled them.  Well, if they stopped to think about it, which they didn't.  "Gary's weird," is probably as deep as that thought went.  Mostly I don't think they noticed me.

Damn it, I didn't want to start talking about my family!  I wanted instead to talk about Latin.  Latin!  I remember impressing Mrs. Phillips by using the word celerity - she didn't know that word - in a poem I wrote for her class.  "It comes from the word celer," I told her.  "Latin for 'speed.'"  Helpfully, I added, "Like in the word accelerate."

Did I say 'impress'?  She might have just thought me a pretentious twat.

Actually what I learned most about Latin - this is true - was how English works.  I knew all about nouns, verbs, pronouns, etc., mainly because of Schoolhouse Rock - but there were ways the parts of speech worked in a sentence that completely escaped me.

Latin nouns have endings depending on their use - they call them "declensions."  I learned about indirect objects, objects of prepositions, etc.  & of course Latin verbs conjugate much more regularly than English verbs.  Putting a Latin sentence together was kind of a puzzle, the rules of which were laid out before you if you took the time to know them.

In English class, I had struggled with the idea of the passive voice.  In Latin, it made sense because the pieces of the puzzle had to fit a certain way to make the sentence do what it needs to do to be correct.

The fact is, I learned more about English from studying Latin than I learned in English class.

Also, I almost got beat up in Latin class for saying I thought Eddie Van Halen looked "a little gay" in the video for "Jump."  But that's neither here nor there.

In any event, I don't feel tied to the idea of noun forms for my show themes.  They can be short sentences, like "slow down."  I might have thought that subjects should be nouns once upon a time, but no more.

Also, I've retained virtually no Latin.  What I remember from two years taking that language is pretty much the word "celer."  Also, "agricola."  That means "farmer."  Hence, "agriculture."

Damn, I am such a pretentious twat!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

2,301 Posts

Wow, I completely missed the three-thousand-three-hundredth post of this blog!  I would have missed it even more if I had spent the Sunday, as I usually do, posting the week's Cradle To Grave show.  So, hooray?

2301 posts is a lot of writing.  I guess it will soon be ten years - ten years! - that I have had this blog. & I still don't know entirely what I'm doing with it.

Using the internet randomizer tool at random dot org, I will share with you portions of four random posts from the blog's almost-ten years.  See if any of them make any damn sense:

(from post # 768, January 9, 2010: Vulgar Boysenberry):

Here then is a threshold parallelogram which we daresay may one day serve as a simulacrum of the course to steer to free you of the filthy waters & harsh desert nights of rejection & abjection. You may even consider this, due to the serious nature of our newly-crapped-out decade, first in a series:

1) Cards & letters are all but useless in moments of sheer decision. Learn adorable ways to hem & haw.
2) Do not rush romance unless you can afford generous quantities of moderately-priced & delicious alcohol.
3) If the partner says a tattoo is not necessary, this is an easy "out" & not as many presidents have told us in their State Of The Union messages a "dare."
4) Bleached teeth frighten thieves.
5) No one really carries around their money in bags with dollar signs painted in green on the side. Really? Really.
6) Hand holding may be a lost art, but do not imagine that foot-whipping nor thigh-tickling share the same room in the Mansion of Glorious Petting. They do not. They live in the Creepy Third-Floor Apartment Of Sado-Masochistic Awkwardness.
7) Let's return once again to the societal glad-handling called the "gentle reminder."
8) Love poetry? More like love pottery!
9) Tears should not be accompanied by either screaming or clawing. If you find it such, you also have an explanation as to why the local constable is asking you to put your hands behind your back.
10) Something about an omelet is both nasty & ridiculous. Be careful.

(from post #1336, January 15, 2011: Does The Cat Want Her Medicine?):

You were at that impressionable age when you thought every example was the perfect example, when you thought the types you met were the only types that existed. You'd hear snatches of conversation that made absolutely no sense so you'd twist them around in your head until they made your kind of sense. Like that man who made the comment about "the next door over, past the railroad tracks." You got it into your head that a town's limits were circumscribed by railroad tracks. You finally got brave enough to tell your observation another kid & he said scornfully, "What did they use before railroads? Moats?"

(from post # 485, May 12, 2008: From Dynamite To Los Angeles):

Suddenly I am regretting not beginning all of my blog entries with a salutation. What a dreadful miscalculation! Now my blog has no personality! It's just like me!

(from post # 2205, November 9, 2015: Preface To Turtles: The Hunt For Turtle Songs):

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 know one thing I can glean from this: the show's blog has become less interesting as time has gone by.  That's a shame.  Well.  Probably nothing I can do about that!  Happy anniversary!