Thursday, November 16, 2017

Self Help Radio 111517: Gas

(Original image on this page.)

Quick!  What's the most popular elemental gas?  Do you know?  Here's the ranking:

1) Oxygen (for obvious reasons)
2) Neon (it's just so bright)
3) Helium (because it makes you sound like a cartoon)
4) Krypton (because Superman lived there)
5) Chlorine (something about swimming pools)
6) Hydrogen ("it's the bomb," they say)
7) Nitrogen (the gardener's fave)
8) Xenon (gassy warrior princess)
9) Radon (confused often with a cousin, Ray-Don)
10) Fluorine (they put it in the water to make us communist!)

We didn't quite get to rank the gasses on this week's Self Help Radio because we were actually playing mostly songs about gasoline.  Kind of a bummer, really.  I wish more musicians would write more songs about gasses in general.  But.  I danced with the ones that brought me.  Which was mostly gasoline.

Maybe there's a gas song you'll enjoy on today's show.  Maybe it'll remind you of huffing gasoline & cause you to relapse.  I don't really know.  I just do the shows & hope there's time later for a nap.

The show is at the Self Help Radio website right now.  It's not made of gas so it won't float away or dissipate.  There will be a prompt for a username (it's SHR) & a password (it's selfhelp).  The show is in two mostly equal parts, about an hour long, & the songs & played in both parts - plus the interviews - are listed below.

(part one)

"Solid Liquid Gas" They Might Be Giants _Here Comes Science_
"Mr. Gas" The Parachute Men _Earth, Dogs, & Eggshells_
"Gas Converts To Star Energy" Drug Boyfriend _Gas Converts To Star Energy_

"At The Gas Station" Luise Pop _The Car The Ship The Train_
"Malibu Gas Station" Sonic Youth _The Eternal_
"Wind Up Workin' In A Gas Station" Frank Zappa _Zoot Allures_
"Gas Station Recipes" Maria Bamford _Ask Me About My New God!_
"Gas Station Women" Phil Ochs _Greatest Hits_

interview with "fossil fuel poet" David Fruchter

"Gasoline" The New Year _Newness Ends_
"Caffeine - Nicotine - & Gasoline" Bill Royal _The Big Itch, Vol. 5_
"Gaslite Street" Herman's Hermits _The Best Of Herman's Hermits: The 50th Anniversary Anthology_
"Beautiful Gas Mask" The Mountain Goats _All Eternals Deck_

first interview with chemist Allen Shariaty

"President Gas" The Psychedelic Furs _Forever Now_

(part two)

"Ethyl In My Gas Tank (No Gal In My Arms)" Jimmie Heap & The Melody Masters _Release Me_
"Out Of Gas" Floyd Robinson _Floyd Robinson_
"I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)" Howlin' Wolf _Moanin' In The Moonlight_

second interview with chemist Allen Shariaty

"Gasman" The Gargoyles _Steamflapper_
"Choirboys Gas" Bad Dream Fancy Dress _Choirboys Gas_
"Your Love Is Like Petrol" Client _Command_
"Mr. Science: Gas Refrigeration" Bob & Ray _Classic Bob & Ray, Vol. 1: Selections From A Career, 1946-1976_
"Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" David Bowie _Let's Dance_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"Life's A Gas" T. Rex _Electric Warrior_
"Life's A Gas" Joey Ramone _...Ya Know?_
"It's A Gas" The Wedding Present _It's A Gas_
"Gas" The Dentists _Behind The Door I Keep The Universe_

"It's A Gas (Part 1)" The James Brown Dancers _The Singles, Volume 4: 1966-1967_
"It's A Gas" Alfred E Neuman _It's A Gas_
"Gasoline" Shovels & Rope _O' Be Joyful_

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Whither Gas?

(This image from this place.)

Really, dude?  A radio show about gas?  That's just gross.

Not necessarily!  You think I am talking about this kind of gas, but what if we're talking about this kind of gas or especially this kind of gas? Then we're not talking about stinky-stinkies (as my cats call them) or booms! fol-de-rol! (as my mother called them), but instead elemental substances & mixtures & also the petrol products that power our vehicles.  Why do you naturally think of the worst thing?

Of course, someone will mention farts at some point, so I have no real moral high ground.

It'll be a gassy show but I suppose you've known it all along.  It's on tonight from 9-11pm eastern on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & online at Lexington Community Radio dot org.

Your flatulence jokes are welcome.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Preface To Gas: Wind Up Working In A Gas Station

(I guess it kind of looked like this.  Image from here.)

It's true, I've worked at gas stations.  In high school.  & I believe the Seven-Eleven I worked at in Austin in 1989 had gas pumps.  But in high school, in 11th & 12th grade, I worked at a Mobil in Garland, Texas, one at the corner of Jupiter Road & Buckingham Road, & one a couple of miles down the street at Jupiter Road & Forest Lane.

My brother Ralph got me the job I believe in the summer or spring before 12th grade.  He was working at a place which had a Sikh man as manager - my first Sikh.  He called himself Rob, & was thoroughly Americanized.  Though he wore the turban, he had no accent, & he was quite a horn dog.

The summer before my senior year, I loved working there.  At some point, my brother Ralph no longer worked there.  I never figured out what happened.  There might have been some accusations of petty larceny.  Who knows?  I doubt he remembers - he had many jobs around that time.

The Rob transferred to the station at Forest & Jupiter, & I went with him.  & then, for some reason, he disappeared.  No one told me anything in those days.

Two things of note happened at that Mobil.  I listened to classic rock radio all the time - I remember I was working in the summer of 1985 when Live Aid was happening, & the American half was being broadcast on the radio (so I missed Elvis Costello, not knowing he just did one song).  One time - I
seem to remember this being on a Sunday morning, around Christmas time, possibly the only day I worked, there was a quiz on the radio about the John Lennon/Yoko Ono song "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."  The question was about what Lennon & Ono said to each other at the beginning of the song - most everyone thinks they're saying happy Christmas to each other, but I knew they were saying it to their respective children.  I made customers wait while I answered - the first customer was understandably irked - but then, when I got the question right, she turned to the person behind her & said, "He won!"  I got a vinyl copy of the Shaved Fish best of collection, which I already had, but it was cool to win something on the radio.  It's why I love to give stuff away on the radio.

Not very long after that, after Rob was gone, the new manager, who was something of an oily type who liked to quiz me about history - I guess he wanted me to know he was smarter than him for some reason - asked me to train someone new.  & when I did, I thought I was doing the new guy a favor by showing him some shortcuts he'd inevitably use when he started working.  The new guy reported me to the new boss - apparently he was upset I wasn't doing things by the book or something - & he called me & fired me.  I knew I was being fired - he would never call me at home - & yet I hesitated quitting before he fired me.  Afterwards, of course, I told everyone I quit.

Some time later, Rob the former manager contacted me.  He had become a manager of an Exxon station down the street & offered me a job.  This was in the last few weeks of high school & I wasn't all that into it.  Plus, the shifts were like twelve hours long.  The Exxon station was larger, there was more opportunities for shoplifters & people running from their bills (this was way before pay-at-the-pump), & I don't think I worked there more than three weeks before I either quit or Rob quit & asked me to quit out of loyalty.  (Or the new manager didn't trust anyone Rob vouched for.)

Like I said, I'm sure the 7-11 I worked at a few years later had gas, but I can't remember it ever being a big deal or a problem.  It's still there, here's the place earlier this year:

Can you imagine, not only has nearly thirty years passed since I worked there, but there was a time when I, during my 11pm to 7am shift, would have to go out & change the trash bag by the pumps &, in the middle of the night, I would trying to wash the grease off the parking lot!  Also, I was robbed there three times, but that's a story for later.

The other two stations no longer exist.  The Mobil at Forest & Jupiter is now a Texaco, but it does look like they tore down the original Mobil building to make their newer, Texaco-ier one:

The Mobil at Buckingham & Jupiter is gone, & has been gone a long time.  It has suffered a worse fate than replacement: it's now a fucking bank!

All images from Google Maps.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tumblr Blog I Like # 2

Do you like birds?  If so, maybe you also like pictures of birds?  What about absurd birds & their other woodland friends?  If so, you might enjoy False Knees.  I do.

Here's a sample:

That is certainly a Tumblr blog I like!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Back Again, There There

Where have I been? Was it a secret? Can I tell you that I'm a little paranoid so I often don't say where I am going because I imagine someone might use that information to break into my house & steal one of my cats. Not all of my cats. Probably just one.

Anyway, that's one of the reasons I don't usually announce where I am going in places that people might read like a blog or a supermarket (well, I know that's not a place that people read things like verbal announcements but it does remind me I do sometimes tell people in the soda aisle all about my plans & that usually ends with me being escorted out by a low-paid security guard who's just mad I've interrupted his "standing outside smoking" time), & it's also one of the reasons I don't do that "check in" thing people do on Facebook.  Again, one of these days I'm going to come home & find some ne'er-do-well has made off with one of my cats & I'll only have myself to blame.

What was I talking about?  I can't remember & I'm too lazy to read what I've already written, but I did want to say I was in Portland for the past few days & enjoyed it quite a bit despite the fact that I never once actually saw the sun any of those days plus it pretty much rained the entire time.  I wish I had some great stories about Portland but mainly it seems we drove around & ate a lot of great vegan food.  So much vegan food.  People often make jokes about overweight vegans - Patton Oswalt has one in his new special on Netflix - but I think there's something to be said about vegans being thought of as scrawny because there hasn't been a lot of great vegan restaurants & vegan options in the world.  Portland is correcting that.  Maybe overcorrecting.  I mean, there's a vegan cheese shop in Portland.  & it's fucking great.

Meanwhile.  Back to Self Help Radio.  A show this week about gas.  That's not a secret.