Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cradle To Grave, Episode Twenty

From Kentucky to India.  That's the path this week's Cradle To Grave took.  I don't know if that's good or not.  I was chatting with a very opinionated someone about college radio in general last week, & he told me there were two defining characteristics of that media: the inability to read & the lack of flow.  He said, "Whenever college students have to read something on the radio, they make you wonder how they got into college at all."  He later complained that every college deejay thinks it's funny to, say, play a pretty classical music piece, & then follow it with a black metal song.  "I wish," he said, "it could be put into their brains how many people change the station in disgust."

Naturally, I have begun to worry about this show.  Since I have no control over who was born or who died on a particular day, I have to work with the material fate gives me.  One solution might be for me to do what the late, great John Peel did, & chat briefly in-between every song, but I think I speak for the universe when I say nobody wants that.

How bad could it be?  As an example, in the last set of the show, I played a rock & roll tune from the 1960s & followed it with a folky song.  I don't think it flowed all that well.  But I wanted to play both songs before the end of the show.  & I thought, "Well, they're both women singers, so..."

Please, hypothetical listener, don't change the station in disgust!

The show, which is about April 22, even though it's no longer April 22, is now at Self Help Radio's website.  It's in two parts, birthdays & death anniversaries, & what I played is below, although sometimes the musician being celebrated or commemorated is not the main artist - so you might want to listen to find out who it is!

"Trademark On What I Found" Bob Gallion _MGM Hillbilly, Vol. 2_
"Way In The Hee Hi Hoo" Lemon Nash _Papa Lemon: New Orleans Ukulele Maestro & Tent Show Troubadour_
"Wichita Lineman" Glen Campbell _Wichita Lineman_
"Black Diamond Bay" Bob Dylan _Desire_

"Better Get Hit In Yo' Soul" Charles Mingus _Mingus Ah Um_
"Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" Mel Carter _The Best Of Mel Carter_
"Sweet Jamaica" Laurel Aitken _You Got Me Rockin' (The Blue Beat Years 1960-1964)_
"Boogie'n With George" George Smith _Now You Can Talk About Me_
"Nosey Joe" Bull Moose Jackson _Badman Jackson That's Me_

"Zulu King" Cannibal & The Headhunters _Land Of 1000 Dances_
"I Can Fly" The Herd _The Complete Herd_
"Tempted" Squeeze _Spot The Difference_
"The SAS & The Glam That Goes With It" Earl Brutus _Tonight You Are The Special One_
"Confusion" New Order _Palatine, Vol. 2: Life's A Beach_

(death anniversaries)

"Hoola Boola Dance" Perry Bradford's Jazz Phools _The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records, Vol. 1: 1917-1927_
"A Monday Date" Earl Hines _Louis Armstrong & Earl Hines 1928: The Smithsonian Collection_
"Boy! What Love Has Done To Me!" Jane Froman with Al Goodman & His Orchestra_ Those Wonderful Girls Of Stage, Screen & Radio: Original Records Of The 30s_
"Love Can Change The Stars" Victor Marchese & Jane Powell _Reaching For The Moon_
"All I Have To Do Is Dream" The Everly Brothers _Classic Everly Brothers_

"Calling Jesus" Rev. Louis Overstreet _His Guitar, His Four Sons, & The Congregation Of St. Luke Powerhouse Church Of God In Christ_
"Witches Brew" Marilyn Cooper, Leslie Uggams, Barbara Sharma _Hallelujah, Baby! (Original Broadway Cast Recording)_
"Moon Over Rio" Robert Farnon _Betty Page Jungle Girl Exotique Music_
"I Only Have Eyes For You" Jimmy Bee _Los Angeles Soul: Kent-Modern's Black Music Legacy_

"Joycie Girl" Don Pullen feat. Sam Rivers _Capricorn Rising_
"High Flying Bird" Richie Havens _Mixed Bag_
"Is There Anything I Can Do" The Ashes _The Peanut Butter Conspiracy: Spreading From The Ashes_
"The Rebel Girl" Hazel Dickens _Don't Mourn - Organize! Songs Of Labor Songwriter Joe Hill_

"Bhajan In Raga Pilu" Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman _Violin_

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Self Help Radio 041916: Everything's Fine

(Original image here.)

No.  No.  Everything is not fine.  How dare a radio show tell me that things are fine when they so obviously are not.  The gall!  The cheek!  The chutzpah!  The impudence!  The insolence!  The effrontery!  How brazen!  How ballsy!  How arrogant!  How impudent!  How presumptuous!

Unless.  Unless I misunderstand the nature of media.  Maybe media is not by definition in opposition to me.  Maybe media is just a viewpoint that exists, as so many do, that doesn't threaten mine at all.  Maybe taking things like radio, television, films personally belies my own insecurity.  Am I so unassured, do I have such a lack of confidence, that something with which I disagree needs to be silenced instead of accepted in a society that values the free exchange of ideas?

But wait!  People on the radio have a different platform than most of us.  I can say "Everything's not okay!" but the only people listening are my cats & someone who might be driving by with the windows down!  A person on the radio can reach more people!  Therefore my opinion doesn't have the exposure theirs does!  Their ego is by definition more successful than my ego!

This is unfair & should be stopped!

Oh hi!  That above is an excerpt from an unfinished one-act play I wrote because I disagreed this one time with something Roger Ebert wrote.  He was only a good writer, you know, when he & I liked the same things.  Otherwise he just made me mad.

Why did I share it with you?  Who knows!  I might have cat scratch fever.  Meanwhile, this week's show, with the theme, "Everything's Fine," is now available for listening at the Self Help Radio website.  The show is not an endorsement of everything, nor is it an actual description of "everything," which, as we all know, is demonstrably not fine.  It is simply another in a long line of exercises in futility which, you may have guessed, is the only real exercise I get.

Still - let's hope everything's fine for as long as you listen.

(part one)

"Everything's Fine" The Saints _Wild About You: The Complete Saints 1976 - 1978_
"Everything's Just Fine" The Waltones _Deepest_
"Everything's Just Fine" Earwig _La-Di-Da...  So Far..._

"Everything's Just Fine" Ronderlin _Wave Another Day Goodbye_
"Everything Is Fine" Numbers _Now You Are This_
"Everything's Fine" Minks _Tides End_
"Everything Is Fine" Teen Suicide _DC Snuff Film_

"All Is Fine" Tall Dwarfs _Fork Songs_
"Fine" James _Pleased To Meet You_
"Fa-Fa-Fa-Fine" Julian Cope _Jehovahkill_
"Feeling Fine" Class _First_

"I Feel Fine" The Beatle Barkers _The Beatle Barkers_
"Feel So Fine (with Patsy Todd)" Derrick Morgan _Moon Hop (Best Of The Early Years 1960-1969)_

(part two)

"Guess I'm Doing Fine" Bob Dylan _The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9)_
"Tonight Will Be Fine" Leonard Cohen _Songs From A Room_
"That's Fine" The Legendary Bang _Big Bluff_

"You Know I'm Fine" The Orchids _Unholy Soul_
"Seems Fine" The Concretes _The Concretes_
"Closer To Fine" The Smittens _Love Record Breaker_
"Fine" Burnt Palms _Back On My Wall_

"It's A Fine Day" Jane _Scared To Get Happy: Story of Indie Pop 1980-1989_
"One Fine Day" David Byrne & Brian Eno _Everything That Happens Will Happen Today_
"One Fine Day" Madness _The Liberty Of Norton Folgate_
"It's Gonna Work Out Fine" Cherokees _It's Gonna Work Out Fine_

"It's The End Of The World As We Know It (& I Feel Fine)" R.E.M. _Document_
"Doin' Fine" Groovie Ghoulies _Short Music For Short People_
"Thursday Feels Fine" Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes _Cabinet Of Curiosities_

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Whither Everything's Fine?

(I'm sorry, I have no idea where I found this image.)

Irony lovers take note!  This week's show has the theme "everything's fine."  But it turns out that today took a turn toward the awful, & although technically everything is okay now, it could've gone much, much worse.

A little backstory: I put the show together on my computer.  I edit my dumb "comedy" bits, I rip CDs into digital files, I digitize vinyl when I need to, I have some stuff on mp3 or mp4 or whatever.  It's more convenient to have them in a few places than carrying a bunch of records & CDs up to the station every week, like I used to do (like so many deejays, bless their souls, still do).  I am not saying my way is better, but since I am in front of a computer all day long anyway, it's just easier for me to work this way.  & I spend Tuesday mornings listening over everything, making notes in my head how I should organize the show, etc.

This morning, around 10am, the power went out.  The neighbors were milling around outside looking confused, so it was obviously an area-wide event.  One neighbor claimed to see a transformer blow.  Eventually, calls to the power company informed us that like "4,000 families are affected" or something.  Everything was, in fact, not fine.  At all.

Remember: most of my show is on a computer.  I panicked.  I despaired.  I decided that I would scrap the show, & just play music miserably (including miserable music), & I realized it would be the first time I had skipped a theme in favor of a freeform show because of circumstances beyond my control.  I despaired more.  I self-hated.  I was grumpy with the wife on the morning dogwalk.  I was rude to my poor dogs.

At the end of the walk, as we came back around to the house, however, the traffic lights in our neighborhood were back on, & everything was returning to fine.  My blood pressure would take a little longer to level out.

& now, as I write this, I am scrambling to get the show done.  I am ridiculously backing up everything every few minutes.  I am lugging out CDs & vinyl in case I have to take them up to the station.  So - you know - everything is not fine in my head.  I am preparing for something that already happened, assuming it will happen again & again.  I get that from my mom.

Will everything be fine?  Find out today from 4-6pm on 88.1 fm in Lexington & online at wrfl dot fm.  & blame the weirdos in Lexington who turn their A/C on when it's a paltry 80 degrees outside.  In Texas, we call that "early spring."

Monday, April 18, 2016

Preface To Everything's Fine: Alarming Information About Fines

This is a haiku about fines:

My library fines
Don't make me feel very fine
Unlike fine wine

Here is a haiku about taxes:

Choose: taxes or fines -
One's down, the other rises!
Shh! That's a secret!

Here is a haiku about parking tickets:

I used to daydream
I'd love a fair meter maid -
Dumb parking ticket!

Here is a haiku about haiku:

Too many people
Call what they write a 'haiku'
Without counting syllables

Here is a haiku about the previous haiku:

That's not a haiku!
You did what you pointed out!
Oh, now I get it.

Here is an apology for all the haiku:

Sorry about all the haikus I wrote.

Here is a link which will tell you that the plural of haiku  can be either haiku or haikus.

Here is a final haiku to people who don't like that I add an 's' to the end of haiku to make it plural.

A living language
(Like English is) also lets
Foreign words evolve.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Me & My Backyard

On the show's Twitter account today - which really should be about the show, but since the show doesn't always have a lot to say, & usually only has something to say from four to six pm on Tuesdays, so I will often fill it with my mundane thoughts & embarrassingly obvious observations - I tweeted about my backyard.

Damn do we have a big backyard.  I didn't really want the house we live in, actually.  It's too big for us, even when us is two humans, four dogs, & four cats.  But my wife wanted the house, & she wanted it much more than I didn't want it.  Honestly, I guess I didn't care.  But I wish, when I was thinking about this house,  I had thought about mowing.

Mowing the backyard - this is just the backyard - takes me about ninety minutes.  That's a hell of a time commitment.  Plus, I don't apparently get better at mowing - I don't appear to be able to learn new mowing strategies that can shave minutes off my average mowing time.  If there were some "mowing skills plateau," I reached it pretty quickly.  It takes an hour & a half for me to mow my backyard.

It takes me longer to mow the front, but that's the wife's responsibility, since she also wants to do insane shit like blow excess grass off the sidewalks & edge.

If there's a reason why I'm not good at mowing, it may be because I lived in apartments for the first twenty years of my life.  The only time I mowed was when I was paid for it by my older siblings & it was their yard(s).  & I worked cheap.  Probably did a terrible job too.

When I rented houses or duplexes in Austin, the owners paid to have the yards done "professionally." I had to buy a lawn mower only when we bought our first house, in 2005.

It's been downhill from then.

& yet.  I don't think I would be comfortable with a "riding mower."  You know who uses a riding mower?  The seventy-something-year-old man next door.  He looks so happy on it.  & perhaps that's one of the reasons I resist: who wants to be happy mowing a lawn?

Would I feel better about mowing the backyard if I had grown up being required to take care of our own back yard?  It's hard to say.  My mother never made me & my little brother do chores when we were kids - I doubt she would've made us mow a lawn.  More than likely, she would have done it.  The reasons why are more complicated than I have time to go into.  But infantilizing her sons has made it difficult for them to move away from her, which is why most of them live within a few miles of her to this day.

Okay, I went into it some.

Anyway, that's why I was talking about my backyard today.  I should probably mow it once a week, but I said that last year.  & the year before that.

Through it all, my backyard, mowed or unmowed, wet or dry, green or brown, it mocks me.  All day long.

Let me check.  Yes.  All night long, too.