Thursday, November 30, 2017

Self Help Radio 112917: Magda's Birthday Show 2017

Yes, that's my wife.  She is a member of the Jazzercise cult.  The picture above is a couple of years old, taken on her birthday then.  Enjoy it, she may make me take it down later.

So, yeah, this week's show was my annual birthday show for her.  She gets a very long birthday week.  & also, since she was raised Catholic, she gets a Name Day as well.  I'm not doing a separate show for her for that, because I find that a little indulgent.  Also, there's no name day for Gary.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, I played a lot of birthday tunes for her.  None of which I've ever played on the show before.  Except I might have played another version of "The Unbirthday Song."  But not Rosemary Clooney's version!  In general only I am interested in the limitations I set for myself for my show.

The playlist for the show is below, including the silly interviews I did.  The show is of course now at Self Help Radio birthday central.  Pay attention to username/password info or no birthday cake!  Each part is a half hour long.  You might not think there were so many birthday songs & you would be wrong.

Also: happy birthday to you!

(part one)

"Birthday" Mental As Anything _Liar Liar Pants On Fire_
"Apple Gate" Godzuki _Your Future_
"Birthday" Safe Home _You Can't Undo What's Already Undid_

"Happy Birthday, Johnny" St. Vincent _Masseduction_
"Birthday" Mere Women _Big Skies_
"My Life By JR Green: My Special Birthday" The Firesign Theatre _Duke Of Madness Motors_
"The Birthday Democrats" Guided By Voices _How Do You Spell Heaven?_
"Birthday" Hazel English _Just Give In / Never Going Home_

interview with entrepreneur Lorenzo Schwab

"Happy Birthday Robo" Remington Super 60 _Indie Pop For Kids, Vol. 1_
"The Birthday" Willie Phoenix _Plastic Blues & Grooves_
"Mad Shelley's Letterbox" Robyn Hitchcock _Robyn Hitchcock_
"Birthday" Jana McCall _Slumber_
"Happy Birthday Wonder (Acholi)" Ennanga Vision _Ennanga Vision_

(part two)

a chat with my spiritual mentor the Rev. Dr. Howard Gently

"Birthday Song" Dominic _Goodnight, Doggies_
"Tomorrow's Birthday" Alaska _These Sacred Floors_
"Birthday" Kitty & The Kowalskis _Chinese Democracy_
"Groan's" Snowball II _Flashes Of Quincy_
"Birthday" Andy Jones _Letters From Uncle Val_
"Barf Day" Diet Cig _Swear I’m Good At This_

conversation with anti-birthday activist David Fruchter

"Birthday" Bobby Donnie _Bobby Donnie Plays The Bobby Donnie Songs_
"Birthday" Getaway Cruiser _Getaway Cruiser_
"Birthday Morning" Fuzzystar _Telegraphing_
"Birthday" Radial Spangle _Ice Cream Headache_

"The Unbirthday Song" Rosemary Clooney _Memories Of You_
"Happy Birthday Fungus Face" Da Yoopers _Yoopy Do Wah_

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2017?

Mom's home! Hope she brought the cake!

In 2002, around the time of her birthday, my then-girlfriend Magda picked all the songs for an episode of Self Help Radio.  It was a lame birthday present for her, but I think she was happy.

In 2003, around the time of my then-girlfriend Magda's birthday, I didn't celebrate it at all on the radio.  I have no excuse for this, as I didn't have this blog then & don't have the energy to make something up at the moment.

In 2004, on the day of my then-girlfriend Magda's birthday, I made a radio show with nothing but songs about birthdays.  I thought I was pretty clever.  Also, I was glad I didn't play the obvious Beatles song, but only a weird German cover.

In 2005, around the time of my still then-girlfriend Magda's birthday, I seemed to have forgotten to celebrate it on the radio again.  I wouldn't start this blog until the next year, so I'm not sure what my thinking was.  Did I want to come up with a better idea than "birthday girl picks all the music" or "songs about birthdays" but couldn't?  I have no idea.

But since around the time of my girlfriend-who-would-become-my-wife-in-three-years Magda's birthday in 2006, I have celebrated her birthday on the radio with an entire show about birthdays.  There are of course a finite amount of songs about birthdays, & a much smaller subset of songs I like about birthdays, but I have managed to make twelve shows of songs about birthdays, without repeating any recordings (I have played covers of the same song, & a couple of remixes).

& I will continue with tonight's episode.  2017 gave us about a dozen great birthday tunes, & there's more I've mined from the past, & you'll hear them if you listen on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington & online at Lexington Community Radio dot org from 9-11pm eastern, 8-10pm central.  There will be silly interviews too.

Hey, even though it's technically a birthday show for my wife, the songs are about birthdays, anyone's birthdays really, so if you've had a birthday this year, or you will in the next month, this show's for you!  Happy birthday!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2017: The Birthday Girl

Hey! Don't tell anyone, but I googled my wife today.

Now that sounds dirty but you know it just means I searched for her online.  & no, I didn't think I would find out something about her that I didn't know.  I just wanted to know what the internet said about her.

The first web page that comes up is her profile at her current place of employment, the University of North Texas Medical School.  I do love that picture, though.

The next two are "Rate Your Professors" pages rating her teaching skills.  They are unbearably positive, both at UK, where she taught in Kentucky, & at the University of Texas when she was a graduate student.  "She was a total spaz," one student review begins, & nothing has changed.

Ooo, but look at her Google scholar citations  She's serious & shit.  Thank the non-existent deity that she doesn't bring this work home!

You can find this page about her with Google but I promise, that is not a picture of her.  I've asked her, no one knows who that is, or why that picture is there.  "I haven't done anything about that," she says, uninterestedly.

Most of the pictures of her, actually, on Google image search are not in fact her.  For example, this is not her:

That's a fellow named Sam.  I know him.  I've seen him in the same room as my wife, so I know (or have reason not to suspect) that they are the same person.

Mostly I am disappointed there's not more about her online.  I need to do that, write more about her online.  I am toying with the idea of writing a blog post about her once or twice a week.  Maybe Google will find them?  I can fill them with images like this one:

Here she is in New Orleans with her old mentor/colleague Carl Terranova.  Seriously, I have dozens of these pics.  I can flood Google with them!

But first I need to get her permission.  I am not suicidal.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Last Birthday Party

It's an illustration: a table with plastic forks & paper plates, some still holding half-eaten pieces of chocolate cake.  A candle has fallen to the floor.  There's a dog eating something, you can't see what, that the animal has gained by pulling the tablecloth down.  & there's shredded wrapping paper, & no more presents to be seen.

It's a promise.  When people are around, you drink too much, you don't notice how drunk you are & then you think you can drink yourself to the other side.  & you hate surprises.  & you hate people, if you're being honest with yourself.  Especially these people.  People you've even called friends.  They can barely see.

It's a moment of recognition.  After everyone left, you struggled to sweep up but you should've asked for help.  It was so kind of your children to come see you but you wish it weren't an obligation based on occasion.  It doesn't matter anymore.  You aren't getting any younger & soon enough you won't be getting any older.

It's a matter of forgetting.  Something someone might have celebrated sometime before, maybe before you were born, was just worn down by time, like the etched writing faded on a centuries-old tombstone.  You want to ask someone about it but nobody seems to know, or remember, or ultimately, to even care.

It's the last birthday party.  Because everything has to have its last, because, of course, nothing lasts.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Trouble With My Knees

The problem is a low threshold of pain.

A threshold is, "the sill of a doorway," or, "the entrance to a house or building," or, "any place or point of entering or beginning."*

When a couple get married, traditionally, the male half of the male-female pair, & perhaps the stronger of the male-male & female-female pair, is supposed to carry the other over the threshold.  Many theories exist about this practice, but that isn't important for the purposes of this meditation.**

The question is this: can one be carried over the low threshold of pain?  What sort of marriage does one have, then, with one's body?

Which brings us to knees.  No one crosses the threshold on their knees, do they?  That would be a remarkable thing.  & taxing.  Perhaps if one is a prodigal child, as in the parable***.  Coming home, expecting to be punished for being wasteful, it might behoove one to adopt a begging posture.

Is much begging done on one's knees?  Or is that also for pleading?  Interestingly, one proposing marriage is traditionally supposed to go down on one knee to ask for the other's assent to marry.  Do note it's only one knee, so as not to be perceived as begging.  One knee is perhaps just asking.

Which brings us to my knees.  They have been feeling weird all day.  I am trying to remember a time when my knees ever felt weird.  I have fallen to my knees before - not merely as a dramatic gesture.  I have also been kicked in the knees before, which I remember as being quite unpleasant.

So what is wrong with my knees?  I did not ask the internet.  I am not asking you.  How would either of you know?

Ultimately, however, I am happy with my low threshold of pain, despite my knees recently carrying themselves over that threshold.  A high threshold for pain seems a dangerous thing, making one feel better when one is perhaps in need of medical assistance.

But I never said my knees hurt!  What could possibly be the point of this discussion?

The answer, alas, is on a kneed-to-know basis.

* According to
** You can read some of them here, however.
*** Which you can read here, if you don't know it.