Thursday, September 21, 2017

Self Help Radio 092017: Lightning

(Original image here.)

First of all: sincerest apologies for all the lightning in Lexington last night.  I had no idea my radio show about lightning would cause intense electrical storms all through the WLXU listening area.  I am told there were no fatalities, but still: the power of radio is not to be denied.  My upcoming radio show about big fiery things falling from the sky has been shelved for the time being.

But I hope it was a good show!  In addition to music that worked as a lightning rod (again, sorry about that), you heard some interesting interviews: I talked to children's educator Mr. Weather; to documentary filmmaker Allen Shariaty; to a man who has been struck by lightning fifteen times, CJ Buchanan; & to my spiritual mentor the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently.  So much information!  I can only hope that some of it was actually true.

The show is crackling now at the Self Help Radio website.  Please pay attention to username/password information - that's on the page, though.  The show is in two parts, & what's in each part is listed below.

Did you hear that?  It sounded like - naw, it couldn't be.  The show's over!

(part one)

"What Makes The Lightning?" Tom Glazer _Weather Songs (From Ballads For The Age Of Science)_
"Lightning Strikes" Planning By Numbers _1: Catch The Beat_
"Heat Lightnin'" Tuscadero _The Pink Album_

"Zig Zag Lightning" Little Johnny Taylor _The In Crowd: The Story Of Northern Soul_
"Lightning & Thunder" The Tidal Wave _Lightning & Thunder_
"Lightning" The Popguns _Another Year Another Address: The Best Of The Midnight Years_
"Twin Layers Of Lightning" The Go-Betweens _Liberty Belle & The Black Diamond Express_

interview with Mr. Weather

"White Lightnin'" George Jones _Ragged But Right: The Starday Years Plus_
"Smokestack Lightning" Howlin' Wolf _Chess Pieces_
"Greased Lightnin' (Single Version)" John Travolta & Jeff Conaway _Grease OST_
"1952 Vincent Black Lightning" Mary Lou Lord _Live City Sounds_

interview with spiritual leader Rev. Dr. Howard Gently

"Lightning Frightening" David Bowie _The Man Who Sold The World_
"Thunder & Lightning" Tooter Boatman _Rockin' Tooter Boatman_

(part two)

"Lightning Strikes (Not Once But Twice) (live)" The Clash _Clash On Broadway_
"Lightning Rod, Run" Deerhoof _The Runners Four_
"Lightning Strikes" Klaus Nomi _Klaus Nomi_

interview with documentarian Allen Shariaty

"Lightning Strikes The Postman" The Flaming Lips _Clouds Taste Metallic_
"Baby Lightning" American Death Ray _Smash Radio Hits_
"Remember The Lightning" 20/20 _20/20_
"Flash Lightning" Tom Verlaine _Tom Verlaine_

interview with lightning strike survivor CJ Buchanan

"Lightning Bug Blues" The Allen Brothers _The Complete Recordings, Vol. 2: 1930-1932_
"White Lightnin'" Sheb Wooley _MGM Hillbilly, Vol. 3_
"She Steers By Lightning" Richard Thompson _You? Me? Us?_
"Lightning Strikes" The Grenadines _Cables To The Ace_

"When Lightning Starts" The Three O'Clock _Sixteen Tambourines_
"White Lightning" The Monochrome Set _Dante's Casino_

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Whither Lightning?

(Image from here.)

The idea for a radio show about lightning came to me in a flash.  It just struck me as a bright idea.  It was enlightning, you might say.  Like a bolt from the blue - you might be shocked to hear this - I felt positive that I wouldn't be charged with plagiarism or imitation - it felt like it would be current & would spark people's interest.

Ohm sorry about that.  I have little resistance to puns!

& promise!  Very few if any lightning puns tonight.  Just lots of songs & lots of interviews: the educator Mr. Weather, my spiritual mentor Howard Gently, documentarian Allen Shariaty, & lightning-strike survivor CJ Buchanan.  The show, I think, will be electrifying.

Tonight!  On 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & online at the Lexington Community Radio website.  From 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central.

& perfectly safe.  Even though lightning rarely strikes in the same place for two hours.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Preface To Lightning: Storm Chasing

Do you remember the movie Twister?  I don't.  I think Philip Seymour Hoffman was in it.  & Helen Hunt.  & either Bill Paxton or Bill Pullman.  Did those guys ever make a movie together?  How would we know?

This is a line I like, which I will probably read on this week's show: "Lightning seeks out the shortest route to something with a positive charge."  The shortest route.  If you are struck by lightning, not only was it because you were positive (better to stay negative), but it was because you were the nearest to wherever the lightning began.  Let that sink in.  You were closest to where the negative side of the lightning was, & you completed the circuit.  Maybe write that on your tombstone?

& no, I've never been anywhere near struck by lightning.  I have been very close, because I know how to count after a lightning strike to figure out its proximity.  Here's a children's website to teach you how to do that.  In case you didn't know.  I don't remember when I learned that, but it's something I've known for a long, long time.  Long enough to know, when I barely get to "five Mississippi," that I need to say, "That was close!"

Thinking about it, I don't remember many thunderstorms in Kentucky.  There was more rain than in Texas, but less storms.  Here, every rain event is a fucking storm.  Perhaps because Fort Worth is on the edge of the plains & storms roll in from the west.  Or maybe because Texas weather is like an eleventh grade thespian - or an eleventh grader period - everything is heightened.  Texas weather is like an eleventh grader relating to a song by the Cure.  It's all hyperbole & superlative.  & I thought that before Hurricane Harvey!

Here in Fort Worth lately it's been hot - not over 100 degrees Fahrenheit hot, but hot - & there's no rain in the forecast at all.  I can't say the same for Kentucky - I believe you guys got Irma rain & it's definitely cooler.  But it doesn't look like there'll be lightning for the show tomorrow night.

But of course I once did a morning show about sunrise in the winter when the sun didn't rise until late in the morning.  Self Help Radio has never claimed to be immediate or even relevant; when it appears it is, it's mostly accident or coincidence.

What do you want?  I don't own an almanac or anything!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Do People With Nervous Disorders Object To Animated GIFs?

Because I sure do.

Can you stop an animated gif?  I know that you can (most of the time) stop an embedded video, but, especially on Tumblr, an animated gif will just loop & loop & loop.  & it might have been delightful at some point, but now it's mainly annoying.

& speaking of, what about those pages - it seems like there's a few on otherwise reputable news & opinion sites - where there are more than one embedded video that plays, one after the other, impossible to find & therefore impossible to close or stop?  Can that be good for the advertiser?  Who in a rage trying to shut the damn page up is going to say, "Oh wait.  I need this product?"

& let's not even talk about the more illegitimate places on the web - not the Deep Web or the Dark Web or whatever - but the places were illicit things can be found - in my case, it's usually mp3s from a web page stored on a third party site - where just clicking anywhere on the page causes a cascade of open windows, some of which say dumb shit like "your computer has been infected - please call this number for help."  Who falls for that?  I guess some do.  But how irritating!

I understand this is the model that exists to help pay for online content.  It doesn't mean that I have be okay with it.  So enough with the looped animation, please!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Meet My Pets (Again?) # 6: Pauline

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker that says "Who rescued who?"  It looks like this:

(found here)

It's a sweet & apt sentiment, although grammatically incorrect (it should read, "Who rescued whom?").  Many of us who adopt animals from shelters find ourselves far more rewarded than the animals, & that probably has as much to do with the fact that humans & canines have co-evolved for millennia as it does with the personalities of the animals involved.  But it's very true that Pauline, whom we adopted the day after our beloved George died in 2012, saved our lives.

As I wrote about here, George's death was as traumatic an experience as I've ever had in my life, & the night he died, I drank & drank & never got drunk.  Grief would not let me.  I had suggested to my wife that we might adopt another beagle by & by, & the next day she told me there were beagles puppies at the Lexington Humane Society.  The house had not felt the same since George had gone.  We were uncomfortable in our own skins.  We saw him everywhere, we looked for him everywhere, we felt lost & alone despite still having two dogs & three cats.  He took up that much space in our house & in our lives.

We went to look at two little beagle-ish girls (it was obvious even then they had some hound in them) & although if I could do it again I would've adopted both of them, I picked the one who looked most like a beagle & we brought Pauline home.  She was the last of the Beatle beagle names: George, Ringo, & Winston (which was John Lennon's middle name) were taken, but she was a girl, so she had to be a feminized Paul.  A puppy in the house brought it back to life, she distracted us from our loss, she needed food & love & attention & giving it to her was the best grief therapy around.

Of course, Pauline has grown up pampered, spoiled, & bratty, & she's very jealous & very demanding.  She's also, as I've said before, the first dog we've ever had who just loves being a dog, so nowadays, when it isn't too hot, she spends her time in her backyard - which my wife claims was a big reason for buying the house we live in now - just let that sink in: we bought a house partially so Pauline could have a good backyard.  That's how much she means to us.

She loves people & loves dogs & loves eating (that's the beagle part of her) & in general loves life.  She isn't much of a cuddler, but loves kissing.  She has only slept in our bed at night a fraction of the time the others have.  But after Winston, she's my favorite.  I'm so grateful to her, & I think she knows.  & takes advantage of the fact.

She's the one pet we have who'd be happier meeting you than vice versa.