Thursday, January 26, 2017

Self Help Radio 012517: Dust

(Original image here.)

What do asbestosis, silicosis, coal pneumoconiosis, beryllium disease, hard metal disease, siderosis, stannosis, & baritosis have in common?  They're all diseases caused by dust!  So are these: farmer's lung, bird fancier's lung (!), bagassosis, mushroom worker's lung, humidifier fever, sewage sludge disease, cheese washers' lung (!!), & animal handlers' lung.  What's the difference between the two sets of diseases?  The first set is caused by inorganic dust, the second by organic dust.  (You can read more here.)

If you're anything thing like me, you're perversely glad to be living in a world that has not only bird fanciers, but bird fanciers' lung!  It serves them right.  & what can we say about cheese washers' lung?  Might it not be better for the cheese to be just a little dirty?

There was so much fun information about dust that I am very sad that I didn't have more time to talk about the subject on the show.  But I did talk to a lover of dust & a lover of dusting; a doctor who studies the fear of dust; & my spiritual mentor, who has probably read dusty tomes & maybe even shares that knowledge with us!

& so many songs about dust.  A cloud of dust songs!

The show is at the same old website, covered in dust from neglect & disuse, Self Help Radio dot net.  The dust-covered songs I played are below.  Maybe wear one of those masks people wear when there's lots of pollution when you listen?  After all, you'd hate to get humidifier fever!  Or would you?!?!

(part one)

"Dust" Bombay Dub Orchestra _Bombay Dub Orchestra_
"Fairy Dust" Mick Harvey _Four (Acts of Love)_
"The Dust Blows Forward 'N The Dust Blows Back" Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band _Trout Mask Replica_

"Dust" 13th Floor Elevators _Easter Everywhere_
"Dusted" Belly _Star_
"Doom Bot Dust" The Firesign Theatre _Boom Dot Bust_
"Dust & Lungs & Wings" The Honest Johns _Meteor_
"Tulare Dust" Merle Haggard _Down Every Road: 1962-1994_

"Star Dust" Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra _1931-1932_
"Lady Stardust" David Bowie _The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars_
"Ziggy Stardust" Bauhaus _Swing The Heartache: The BBC Sessions_
"Dust" Erase Errata _Nightlife_
"Stardust" Irene _Apple Bay_

"Dust" Julian Cope _Interpreter_

(part two)

"Dust 2..." Elvis Costello _When I Was Cruel_
"I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" Robert Johnson _The Complete Recordings_
"Dust" Deptford Goth _Songs_

"Dust Up His Nose" Larry Rand _Dust Up His Nose_
"Dusty Old Dust" Woody Guthrie _Dust Bowl Ballads_
"Dust" Love Is All _Two Thousand & Ten Injuries_
"Dust Devil" Mission Of Burma _Unsound_

"Dust" Silver Apples _Silver Apples_
"Cities In Dust" Siouxsie & The Banshees _Tinderbox_
"In The Gold Dust Rush" Cocteau Twins _Head Over Heels_
"A Brush Through The Dust" Silk Flowers _Ltd. Form_

"Dust Remains" 14 Iced Bears _Let The Breeze Open Our Hearts_
"Just Dust" Quilt _Held In Splendor_

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Whither Dust?

(This image from there.)

When was the last time the Self Help Radio studios were cleaned?  It's filthy in here!  Seriously, there's like an inch of dust all over everything!

Waitasecond!  That gives me an idea!

Could that really be how this radio show came about?  Because of filth?

But, Gary, I can hear you say, you've lived your life in what most people would call squalor.  If existing in what can be most charitably referred to as "grunge" is an inspiration, shouldn't you have explored this particular topic before?

Well, in my defense, I have done a show about dirt.  But that was a long time ago.

Can you please just let me have this explanation?  Please?

The Self Help Radio show about dust airs tonight on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & all over the world at Lexington Community Radio dot org.  It's on from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central.  It's on at 10am on Thursday morning in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, if you happen to be there.

Listen, but bring a feather duster, or maybe even a Dust Buster.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Preface To Dust: Dust Idioms

There are so many interviews on my show this week that I won't get to do one of my favorite things I do on the show, which is talk about idioms.

Many years ago, I volunteered for an adult literacy program & had one student before we moved away, & that student was only technically an adult - he was 18, a high-school drop-out, with two children already.  He said, I was told, at a third-grade reading level.  He was pretty non-communicative, & was terrible at making our appointments, so I only sat with him twice.  The second time, I had bought a giant GED prep book because his goal was to take the GED.  But he had one amazing blindspot: he didn't understand idioms.

That was interesting to me.  He had never heard "raining cats & dogs."  He didn't quite understand the concept of a "bad penny."  We took a test together & he would just look at me, kind of dead-eyed & confused, as I tried to explain why a phrase meant what it did.

That's one reason I enjoy talking about idioms on the show.  I have been doing it pretty much since the show's beginnings, but having this experience with this young man only made me want to showcase idioms more.

Without further ado, here are some idioms using the word dust that I'd talk about tomorrow if I had the time which I won't.

When something collects dust, it's been sitting there unused for a long time.  Figuratively & literally. (You can also say it gathers dust.  If you want.)

If you leave someone in the dust, as in a competition, you have far surpassed them & are way ahead. I think I've even seen a couple of racing movies where the triumphant one yells, in an unsportsmanlike, taunting fashion, "Eat my dust!"

Speaking of movies, there are westerns in which I've heard someone say, "Kiss the dust!"  Meaning, of course, fall, after being struck or shot.

If you're waiting for the dust to settle, you're being patient until things calm down.  The idea being that great activity makes the dust fly.

I haven't heard this one before: charge it to the dust & let the rain settle it.  You apparently say this when you don't want to pay for something, presumably because the service was poor or the thing was of bad quality.  It appears to be an American idiom.

Dust itself can be used as a euphemism for "kill," so it makes since that when someone bites the dust, they die.

If you need to be dusted off, you must pick yourself up after some setback or defeat & begin to try again.  (It's also a baseball idiom, is dust off, & can be also used to mean "to kill.")  A dust-up however is a fight.

That should be enough.  My airbreak feels too long & this is a blog post!

Monday, January 23, 2017


My wife recently had the strep throat.  (Is "strep throat" supposed to have the article before it?  It sounds more rural to put the article before the ailment.)  It's the second time in several months.  The doctor gave her antibiotics & told her she'd be "contagious" for several days.  She feared that she would give it to me, you know, because of all the smooching we do.

But she didn't give it to me.  You know why?  Because I've never had strep throat.  Members of my family have - I think my mother has - possibly one or more of my siblings - but not me.  I've had sore throats before, but the strep throat that was a great excuse for skipping middle school - "Where's Joni Martin?" "Didn't you hear? She has strep throat!" - I never got that kind.  (Which meant of course that there were no rumors about me making out with someone & getting strep throat that way.)

There's a scientific reason for it.  But you know what?  I ain't chancing it.

Sure I might seem way secure - I did say "she didn't give it to me" up there - but tonight my throat felt a little sore so I started sucking cough drops.  When I was a smoker, & got a cold, I'd suck cough drops while I was smoking so it wouldn't aggravate my throat too much.  What a moron I was.  Anyway, this time it's preventative.

Anyway - who wants to stop all that smooching?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Please No More 1981 Stories

But wait, I have one last one.  I remembered this while talking to my wife on the dog walk today.  She was probably not listening, as she is a sensible woman.

My friend Gus, at whose house my little brother & I passed most of our summer days in 1981, was the first person I met whose family owned a microwave oven.  I can't tell you much about it, but if I google "1981 microwave," this is the image that comes up:

(I found the image here.)

Not as gigantic as I might have imagined - I suppose I thought microwaves were like televisions & radios, their early models being enormous - but truly a wonder.  Gus would make us nachos - meaning he melted cheese on tortilla chips - it was something I couldn't have imagined one could do at home.  (& we must've eaten too many of them - at some point he told us sheepishly his mom wouldn't allow him to make nachos any more.)

But here's the memory I wanted to tell: because I was such a comic book nerd, & because in every Marvel comic, the heroes get their powers from radiation, I toyed with the idea of turning the microwave on, opening the door, & bathing myself in the mysterious heat rays within.  I never did it, of course.  For two reasons: one, I was afraid; & two, microwaves, of course, turn off when you open the door.  It's a standard safety feature.

What was I afraid of?  Well, getting burned, of course.  Plus, Marvel comics also had stories about people trying to replicate the ways that superheroes got their powers & being deformed - or worse, turned evil! - by the attempt.

Anyway, that's dumb, funny memory from 1981, my last I hope.  What a dumb kid I was.  Thirteen years old!  & still daydreaming about super powers.