Monday, December 31, 2018

The Last Post Of The Year

Oh golly I almost didn't write here today. I think I thought it was Sunday. Having a cold all week & being mostly alone (just me & the critters, as the wife is with family in California) makes one lose track of the time.

The older I get the more I am loathe to say "good riddance" to anything but boy so much of 2018 sucked.  I lost two of my babies, one of whom I had known since she was a kitten.  I lost a radio station but gained another, although I fear Self Help Radio languishes in its current state, & I am unable to think of any way to revitalize it. Can I tell you a story?

For about two years I volunteered with a local low-power fm station here in Fort Worth.  They shall remain nameless but they wouldn't let me do Self Help Radio because their "brand" (as they described it to me) was that they only played local music. I really couldn't have done Self Help Radio the way I like to with only local music. After two years of producing a weekly events calendar there, I felt it was time to move on, & not long after I did, they proudly trumpeted the fact they had a new show - one that features non-local music. I tried not to take it personally.

The station at which I do the Tuesday Morning Blend wouldn't let me do a show on any other area station (which is weird to me - I guess I thought all noncommercial stations should stick together) but I would've left that station to do SHR live here in town.

That's 2018 in a nutshell.

& I'm not even going to get to do a show on the radio this week - my friend Carole has been helping out with the Pledge Drive on KNON so I'm letting her do the Tuesday Morning Blend tomorrow. It's the least I could do, & it's her first radio show in maybe twenty years. All day long I felt like something strange was happening in my head, & I realize it's that I wasn't preparing a radio show today. It's like I walked around all day with my foot asleep.

But Carole will do great, & I'll pretend I needed a day off.

This seems a little melancholy & maybe it's sentimental old me being wistful at year's end.  Tomorrow is another year.  I'll do my best to make sure it's fun.  Happy new year to you!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Self Help Radio 122818: Indiepop A To Z # 58

(All images from Discogs.)

The last show of the year!  Another Indiepop A To Z installment!  Like I've been doing since 2011!  Why is that?  I needed to try (even though I knew I'd fail) to finish the series but knew I'd forget if I didn't plan it regularly so, since at the time I was at a radio station at a university, I decided to do an episode of Indiepop A To Z at the end of each semester - which meant April, August, & December.  I'm no longer at a University, but I do want to continue with the series, so, voila!

Many apologies for my voice during this show.  I have had a cold all week & although I am better now, thanks for asking, I still sound like someone who needs their adenoids removed as soon as possible.  Luckily I don't talk all that much.  It's bound to be painful listening, & I'm sorry.

The show is now up at Self Help Radio's website.  Remember the username - SHR - & the password - selfhelp - so you can listen.  The show's a little over two hours long, going from The Monochrome Set to  Die Moulinettes, & I think there's lots of great songs.  But of course I would.

Thanks for listening this year & have a happy new one!

Self Help Radio Indiepop A To Z # 58

"The Jet Set Junta" The Monochrome Set _Eligible Bachelors_
"Don't Gimme Shelter" Monograph _Lorelei_
"Copan" Monokini _Mondo Topless_

"Dresden Neustadt" Monostars _Passagen_
"What Do All The People Know" The Monroes _The Monroes_
"Another You" Monterey _The Motorway 7"_
"I Couldn't Sleep, Either" The Montgolfier Brothers _The World Is Flat_
"Lovesville USA" The Montgomery Clifts _Deadwood Chronicles_

"I Was A Poor Example" Month Of Sundays _This Is Stereophonic Sunshine_
"Angel Delight" Monty _Angel Delight_
"Annapurna" The Mood Elevators _Annapurna_
"Justice & Money Too" The Moodists _Creation Soup Volume Three_
"Rise" The Moon Seven Times _The Moon Seven Times_

"Let's Sell All Our Records & Move Somewhere Else" The Moonlings _How Embarrassing To Dance Like That_
"Narcissus" Moonrace _Beikoku-Ongaku # 15: 2000 Spring 'Innocence + Peppermints' Issue_
"Allein Zu Haus, So Ist Das Leben" Die Moosblüten _Die Schönste Platte Der Welt_
"Jack" Moose _Jack_
"Holiday Right Tonight" The Mopeds _Hände Hoch_

"Listen To Your Heart" The Morrisons _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 3_
"Suedehead" Morrissey _Viva Hate_
"Vicious Games" Mosaic Eyes _There Is No End To This_
"No Winter, No Autumn" Moscow Olympics _Cut The World_
"Hong Kong Flu" The Mosquitoes _A House Full Of Friends_

"Estrangeira" Mosquitos _Mexican Dust_
"One Summer" The Moss Poles _One Summer_
"On My Mind" Most Wanted Men _One Side Up_
"Good Friends" The Motifs _Cross Paths_
"Twisting The Apple Stem" Motion Picture _A Paper Gift_

"It Tastes Just Like A Milkshake" Moto _Woosh! Little Teddy Recordings 1991-2001_
"Big Rock Candy Mountain" The Motorcycle Boy _Big Rock Candy Mountain_
"Magic" Motorhome _Pop American Style_
"Zaubervogel Barbie" Die Moulinettes _Für Eine Handvoll Moulinettes_

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Whither Indiepop A To Z # 58

Oh, you know the drill by now.  Fifty-seven of these so far & we're on the letter M.  Here, I'll do something different: I'll preview some of the tunes you'll be hearing by showing their videos on Youtube!  I hope you appreciate it.

On this week's show: the Monochrome Set!

Plus: the Monroes!

Also: Moose

& naturally: Morrissey!

Plus much, much more.  Two hours of indiepop, its influences, its precursors, mostly with musicians & bands starting with Mo.

Noon.  Self Help Radio dot net.  I will still sound sick.  I am still a little sick.  Yay holidays!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Preface To Indiepop A To Z # 58

Due to my sickness, I spent the day in bed.  Hit it, Morrissey!

Usually, when I feel a cold coming on, I try to sleep it away.  But the wife is in California with her family for the holidays & I have not one but two guests - the stray in my garage, & a sweet pup I am dogsitting.  So I wandered around town like an idiot yesterday & then took medications in the house which, because we're not sick very often, I discovered had expired years ago.  I went to get more, I took 'em, & I slept through a rainstorm or two.

& now it's time to do it all again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Happy Christmas I Have A Cold!

Happy Christmas to you!  I am out of sudafed.

The last time I was at my doctor's I boasted I hadn't had a cold in two years.  But that wasn't true - I remembered this week that last year I had a cold too.  I guess what I get for Christmas is a cold.

& the forecast calls for rain.  Ah well.  I hope you had a lovely day.  I need to sleep some more.

Monday, December 24, 2018

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like - Oh Crap It's Here!

(Fifty years ago today Apollo 8 orbited the moon & took this picture of our planet from space.  Taken from here, where you can also read the entire story.)

Happy Christmas Eve!  This is the portion of our program where I tell you that there are a ton of Self Help Radio Christmas episodes on the website if you need holiday cheer or even holiday weird for the holiday this.

There's this year's show plus!
Christmas 2017
Christmas 2016
Christmas 2015
Christmas 2014
Christmas 2013
Christmas 2012
All the way back to Christmas 2011.

Of course, I've done Christmas shows every year but one since I've been doing Self Help Radio, but those shows are not on the website for some reason.  If I had time today, I'd see if they were around & upload them.  But you're not going to listen to any of them, so why should I try to find Christmas 2004?  Eh?  Eh?

Remember, you'll need a password & username (selfhelp is the password, SHR is the username) to listen.  It's a very cheap gift I know but consider it my gift to you!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Self Help Radio 122118: A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2018

(Original image here.)

It's Christmas!  Hurrah!  Hooray!  Oh wait.  It's not Christmas yet.  Well, shoot.

But!  It's the weekend before Christmas, & all through your computer, you can listen to two hours of holiday music peppered with my usual ridiculousness (as well as contributions from my radio besties) in the regular fashion.  Seriously, it's the same way I've done it for years.  But you like regularity, right?  It's like Christmas!  New presents though!  The songs are the presents!

& boy there are lots of songs.  I think sixteen of them - more than half of the songs on the show - are from 2018.  That may not excite you.  Don't worry!  Someone's playing Elvis Presley singing Christmas tunes somewhere on the radio right now.  But you'd have more fun with this Christmas show.

It's now at Self Help Radio Christmas Central.  You'll have to "unwrap" it with a username & a password - "SHR" & "selfhelp" respectively, without the quotation marks - it's two hours long & all the stuff that happens on the show is listed below.

Happy Christmas!  This is my present to you.  You can't return it.  It's homemade.  Once size fits all.  Don't be a scrooge!  Listen!

A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2018

"Drink My Way Through Christmas" Karen Kilgariff _Live At The Bootleg_
"Merry XMas Blues" Celibate Rifles _Platters Du Jour_
"Christmas Tree (Burn Burn Burn)" The Catenary Wires _Stars_

introduction & checking on the "War On Christmas"

"It's Christmas (Let's Be Happy)" Jenny Adkins _It's Christmas (Let's Be Happy)_
"The Friendly Beasts" Slumber Party _Xmass_
"My Christmas Memory" Patton Oswalt _222_
"TV Christmas" Frode Fivel _TV Christmas_
"Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" The Beths _Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas_

interview with the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"A Ghost Story for Christmas" Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert _Ghost Stories For Christmas_
"Santa Baby" Me First & The Gimme Gimmes _Santa Baby_
"The Evil Santa" Bill Murray & Gilda Radner _The Best Of The National Lampoon Radio Hour_
"Lego Blocks" Ramoms _Merry Xmas_
"Xmas With Simon" The Fall _Shift Work_

point/counterpoint with David Fruchter

"A Winter Song" Remington Super 60 _A Winter Song_
"Xmas Song" School Damage _A To X_
"Santa's Race" D.L. Hughley _Clear_
"Xmas Rap (Un-Censored)" Treacherous Three _The Sugar Hill Records Story_
"Santa's Coming Down The Chimney" Confidence Man _Santa's Coming Down The Chimney_

interview with the Holiday Spirit

"New Year" The Darling Buds _New Year_
"What Would Santa Do" The Monkees _Christmas Party_
"Icelandic" The Proctors _Icelandic_
"Poem At Year's End" Sofia Talvik _Poem At Year's End_
"Xmas On The Isthmus" Shinyribs _The Kringle Tingle_

conclusion & goodbye

"Santa Claus Is Pagan Too!" Emerald Rose _Unearthed_
"Gotta Love Being A Kid (Merry Christmas)" Old 97's _Love The Holidays_
"I Want Christmas" El Camino _The Western Star Rockabilly Christmas Party_
"Christmas Every Day" Rosie Flores _Christmasville

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Whither A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2018?

(I found this on Tumblr last year, I don't remember where.)

That's right, it's Christmas time again!  I have been avoiding the radio & I don't really shop except for food so I've not been bombarded with holiday music at this point, which keeps me sane as I prepare one more Self Help Radio Christmas show.

This show will be fun.  Our friend Jenny has written a Christmas song for the show.  It's the closest thing to a Christmas tradition I have!  Well, except the Christmas show.  Also, the gang's all here with goofy interviews.  & oh yeah!  For the first time ever I can play songs with bad words in them for Christmas!  It won't be too bad.  But I've been wanting to play a couple of tunes without editing them & by golly I don't have to now.

So maybe this won't be a show for the whole family but no one really listens to the Christmas shows on Christmas.  I used to daydream that they did.  But they don't.  Of course not!  The show will be ready for hanging on a tree or something like that tomorrow at noon over at the Self Help Radio website.  I think I save all the other Christmas shows too?  Maybe I'll mention it Monday.

Also I'll be playing Christmas songs on the Tuesday Morning Blend on Christmas morning.  But I'll mention that later.  What I am looking forward to is the Christmas morning drive to Dallas.  I hope the highways are practically deserted.  That will be amazing.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Preface To A Very Self Help Radio Christmas 2018: Christmas Music Amiright?

Oh god Christmas music.

Just type "I hate Christmas music" in your search engine of choice & see what you get.

Scientific proof it's a natural thing to do.

Other attempts to explain the distaste.

A screed in Good Housekeeping for fuck's sake.

& of course the inevitable Reddit conversation.

It's my belief that people despise Christmas music - & I think many more people do than will even admit it - for two main reasons: a) its ubiquitousness & b) its superfluity.

Christmas music starts getting played as early as October, & yet it's the same songs over & over, from "White Christmas" to "Do They Know It's Christmas?"  I'm sure it's lucrative - most every pop star has a Christmas record, & also some indie acts.  Even 87-year-old men whose status as a cultural icon will never be in doubt find time to record a Christmas album.  (It's pretty awful, by the way, & not good-awful.  At least I thought so.)  But it takes something special for a Christmas song to break through these days - in general, I'd bet (though I don't know this for a fact) that the best way to score a Christmas hit in popcommercialland would be to do a cover.  Lots of pop star Christmas records have covers of familiar songs.

But you know what else?  There's simply too much of it out there.  Trust me, I do a Christmas show every year & I like to play new stuff & newly discovered stuff.  It is not that it's a vein that's been overmined - no, excellent takes on Christmas music like Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert's new record show there's so much more that could be done with Christmas music - it's just that people are content to, you know, cover "White Christmas."  Over & over.

Seriously, there are these records by acapella groups & harmony groups that are only Christmas records, with no new songs on them at all.  Dozens of them.  Somehow they can sustain themselves with this.

& yet, chances are the next time you're in a supermarket, you'll be subjected to Springsteen singing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town."  & - oh no - damnation! - are you singing along?

For the record, I don't hate Christmas music.  I get a little sick of it.  Which is why I only do one Christmas show a year.  Except.  Oh shit.  The Tuesday Morning Blend is on Christmas this year.  Well fuck.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Scary Caller Pt 2

This morning on the Tuesday Morning Blend on KNON, the same weird caller (I think) as last week called me again.

It's as if he's involved in a long conversation & at some point near the middle of it, he picks up the phone, calls the station, & when I say, "Good morning, KNON," he continues as though there's been no interruption & we're all on the same page.

"I'm on the run but I done no crime," he said this morning, & then he laughed.  "That's a freestyle.  I'm on the run but I done no crime.  I'm on the run but I done no crime.  I am freestylin'!"

Not knowing if I were supposed to know who this person was, or if I've spoken him on the phone previously, I simply replied, "Okay."

"I'm on the run but I done no crime," he repeated, & I began to think he either doesn't know what a freestyle is, or he's more deliberate than the average freestyler, & is editing as he goes.  "Shout out to all the KNON crew!"

"Thank you," was all I could say.

This was toward the end of the show, & the next deejay was coming in, so as he kept talking - he began to name different KNON shows he wanted to give shout outs to - I told him I had to go.  He left willingly - after all, the conversation was definitely going to continue long after he was off the phone.

Or maybe he calls other radio stations?  Television stations?  Friends from high school?

Monday, December 17, 2018

Simba's Story

This fellow is named Simba.  It's not his given name, if he ever had an owner.  It's what my wife has been calling him.  Our neighbors brought him over - coaxed him over, really - on Saturday, hoping we could hold on to him & maybe take him to get looked at by a vet.  He had an obvious gash on his forehead, something under his eye, & something behind his ear.  One of his ears was injured at some other time in his life, & looks like it "cauliflowered" over.  He's a very loud fellow but took food - my guess is he's a good hunter & a better beggar - despite a tendency to hiss when you approach him, even as he's hoping for a pet.  Food got him into our garage, where he's stayed since.

We scrambled to find some organization that might help with low-cost help - I'm not cheap but the wife is - & maybe a place for him when he recovers.  One person, from a group called Panther City Feral Cats Coalition, called us on Sunday, & let us know about an arrangement the group has with a local vet.  Little Simba - he's not that little, & he's somewhat stout - spent two days in the garage before a neighbor & I took him to the vet this afternoon.

My wife thinks I'm a sentimental fool & she's right - I could never volunteer at a shelter because I'd want to adopt all the animals, especially the ones no one wanted.  Simba was taken away, to be treated & neutered if he wasn't already, & I was told they'd need to keep him overnight.

Not so!  The folks at University Animal Hospital fixed him right up, & we were told that the Panther City folks would cover it, but at a discount rate it was reasonable so we footed the bill.  Simba was groggy & quiet on the ride home, but perked up & is back in the garage right now, & let us hold him to apply ointment to his wounds.  He no longer has his manhood but he's had a good run - the vet says he may be eight or nine years old!  I had thought he was picked on, but nope.  He's a tough guy who's probably dispatched many a rival tom.  We think he might have found his way here because another stray we're trying to catch is in heat.

It's too easy for me to fall in love with cats & I had already thought about adopting him, but I don't think at his age he'll take to domesticity too well, so the plan is, in a week, after the wounds have healed, to let him loose.  The vet thinks his home range will shrink without his testicles telling him what to do, & we'll continue to feed him if he's around.

He is so lovely & sweet.  "All hiss & no bite," is how a neighbor described him.  I feel a little bad about his confinement - I'm glad it's not hot out! - he sits at the door & meows at the other strays around him - but I don't want him to die from a stupid infection - not when he's survived for so long against all odds.  Tough critter.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Self Help Radio 121418: Gary's Favorite Music 2018

(All images I believe came from Discogs.)

It's that time again.  It's a little scary, I think, to put stuff out there, for criticism - you liked that? really? - but it's also a time-honored radio tradition, & one I've done on Self Help Radio for most of the show's run.  (I started in 2004.  I suspect I didn't do it for a couple of years because I was hesitant to repeat themes.)

Hey, feel free to share your faves of the year here on the blog or on the Facebook page.  I'd love to see what you like & especially find something I may have missed.  Because I'm pretty certain I missed a bunch this year.  I have like two dozen records I haven't listened to yet as well!

The show is at the Self Help Radio site.  The list of songs is below.  The username is SHR & the password is selfhelp if you don't already know.  It was a good year for music.  I hope you like listening to what I liked.

Self Help Radio's Favorites Of 2018

"The Club" Hinds _I Don't Run_
"A Beautiful Cog In The Monolithic Death Machine" Chemtrails _Calf Of The Sacred Cow_
"Still Alive" The Spook School _Could It Be Different?_

"Eiffel Tower" Alpaca Sports _From Paris With Love_
"Love Lost" The Goon Sax _We're Not Talking_
"Relativity" Virginia Wing _Ecstatic Arrow_
"Happy Unhappy" The Beths _Future Me Hates Me_
"Estanquero" Axolotes Mexicanos _Salu2_

"Americans" Shemekia Copeland _America's Child_
"Oh Sweet Thursday" Herman Dune _Sweet Thursday_
"Memphis Never Falls From Style" Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis _Wild! Wild! Wild!_
"Rang Tang Ring Toon" Mountain Man _Magic Ship_
"Downhome Girl" Swampmeat Family Band _Too Many Things To Hide_

"The Great Curve" Angelique Kidjo _Remain In Light_
"Hlala Nami" Hot Soul Singers _Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth Boogie In 1980s South Africa_
"Kala Mukhra (ft. Ali Sethi)" Red Baraat _Sound The People_
"Better Sit Down Boy" Confidence Man _Confident Music For Confident People_
"Lockdown" Soft Regime _Hard Feelings_

"Untitled In D" Spector _Ex-Directory EP_
"It Can't Be Love Unless It Hurts" Tracyanne & Danny _Tracyanne & Danny_
"I'm So Depressed" Insecure Men _Karaoke For One_
"Golden Days To Come" Last Leaves _The Official Matinée World Cup EP_
"The Smile On Your Face" The Liberty Thieves _The Sound Of Leamington Spa, Vol. 8_

"Popular Music" Life _Popular Music_
"I Hope You're Very Happy Together" Art Brut _Wham! Bang! Pow! Let's Rock Out!_
"Feelings" Bloods _Feelings_
"Isn't Easy" School Damage _A To X_
"Marblemouth" Math & Physics Club _Lived Here Before_

"Famous Last Words" Eternal Summers _Every Day It Feels Like I'm Dying..._
"Calling Out" Remember Sports _Slow Buzz_

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2018?

(Original banner here.)

Yeah, yeah, the year end lists are coming now.  I've noticed that has started writing "Favorite [Genre]" instead of "Best Of," which is a welcome improvement, but the majority of them, alas, continue to tout their opinions as "best."

Here's the thing: I don't begrudge anyone their opinions.  I just don't really agree with a lot of them.  & I still insist it's weird to rank records in distinct genres as in competition with each other other.  For example, I really liked Angelique Kidjo's retranslation of Remain In Light but I also really liked Robbie Fulks & Linda Gail Lewis's collaboration, but could I say which one is better?  How would I decide that?  It's silly, then, to rank music or whatever on any other scale than what is best-liked.  That's all.

One thing: I see bands & musicians on Twitter genuinely pleased to be put on such a list & I am glad that they get that recognition.  I just wish we could admit that just because we like something doesn't make it "the best."  Maybe for us.  But boy did I try to listen to some of the records on the "best of" lists coming out now & boy did I not enjoy them.  & I listen to music all the time, so I don't feel my opinion is "wrong."  Opinions can't be wrong.  Ergo, there's no such thing as "best."

Anyway, my favorite music of the year is simply the music I listened to most.  It's something of a hodgepodge but also not all that surprising.  My tastes haven't changed a whole lot over the years but I think I was genuinely surprised at some of the music I kept returning to.  Find out what I liked &, hey! share you lists with me over at the Self Help Radio website starting at noon tomorrow.

Meanwhile: anyone who's released a record since around November that will eventually become one of my favorite records in the world: I'm sorry.  There are only so many hours in the day.  & I do enjoy spending time with my pets & my wife.  & oh yeah playing music on the radio!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Preface To Gary's Favorite Music 2018: Time To Share My Old Screed Again

This is a repeat of a post - something I don't really ever do except around this time of the year - that I wrote a couple of years ago about "best of" lists.  I repeat it now with my intro from last year:

If you've ever read this blog around this time of year, or heard any of my year-end shows, you know I absolutely hate the whole concept of "best of" lists.  It's arrogant in the extreme, & is nothing but a list of the opinions of one or more people, representing some magazine or other organization.  It no more determines what is "best" than sales or awards do.  Here's why I don't think anyone can say what is "best" in a list form:

1) No one has listened to every album or single or ep released that year.  Sorry.  You may think you have, but it's impossible.  If all you're listening to is major label stuff, you are most definitely not listening to the best music out there.  You've fallen into the trap of believing that commerce determines what is "best" like the Grammys.  But it's almost guaranteed that half of the commercial shit you think is best will be forgotten in a few years.  Anyway:

2) Fuck popular culture.  Music is not about heavily choreographed events.  Music is not about moments created by publicists & teams of "songwriters" whose contributions are focus-group-tested.  Radio, as it always has, caters to the moneyed musical interests & plays the same shit over & over, but that no more makes something great now as it did in the past, where there's a graveyard of "successful" & "best of" records that no one thinks about anymore.  & even imagining that you as a critic free yourself of the influence of the corporations that send you shit for free, there's the fact that:

3) You can't compare "best" albums through different genres.  This may sound like somewhat fatalistic, but can you really say a hip hop album is better or worse than a bluegrass record?  Even if you have an unusually broad taste in music, you surely have a favorite genre, & you're going to prefer one over another.  In the end, when the jazz gal likes a record by some other genre, it's peer pressure & good ol' familiarity, it being played constantly around the office.  & those sites that let every critic have a vote & somehow tally those votes?  How fucking stupid is that?  Because:

4) Nothing is "great" because of popularity.  I repeat this for emphasis, because this is something that just baffles me.  Why does anyone think something is good because a bunch of people like it?  Perhaps I am genetically disposed to dislike something because of hype, but I most certainly don't believe something is great because of the money it makes or the fans it has.  & when it comes to critics, listen: people usually like critics that agree with them, or challenge them, but if you believe that just because someone can write or talk eloquently about things they love or enjoy, you're dealing with an artificial insecurity, because:

5) No one opinion is better than another.  At best, you can call an opinion better informed.  For example, if you said you hated Bob Dylan because you didn't like his voice, I wouldn't put much stock in your opinion about his records.  But that doesn't mean you're wrong that Bob Dylan isn't your cup of tea - it just means that you're wrong if you think his music is bad & music you like is good.  That's just a personal opinion, & as I've said, that means you can never say what is "best" except for what you like & think.  & therefore:

6) Everyone should retire stupid year-end "best of" lists.  No one knows what's best.  They can't.  It's impossible.  They can say what they like, & they can back it up with information & opinions & pretty words.  But that no more makes it "best" than album sales or popularity or awards or the consensus of critics.  What makes it "best" to you is personal to you.  You see:

7) Opinion is always & forever subjective.  Just say it's your favorite music of the year, or something else that isn't a statement that suggests it can be prove right or wrong.  Because you don't have any clue whether something is the best of the year any more than any other person.  Maybe in time - hundreds of years later - we'll know who stood the test of time.  But a few months after it was released?  Give me a break.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Scary Caller

This morning as I was doing the Tuesday Morning Blend on KNON, I got one of those calls you kind of expect in noncommercial radio.  Perhaps I should explain.

If you do a show at a college or community radio station (this probably doesn't apply to Christian non-commercial stations nor to NPR stations which don't give out phone numbers, letting you know their programming is from somewhere else & not local or is local but can't be affected by listeners), any listeners can call up & talk to the deejay.  Sometimes (like at KNON) there are others in the studio who help the deejay & answer the phones, but in my case it's just me.  It's amusing when people talk about me in the third person, expecting someone else to answer the phones.  Nope!  It's just me.

Anyway, in such situations, people who are - we can't say crazy anymore but perhaps we can say troubled - become aware that they can call & talk to whomever, they will call.  This has been my experience at most every station I deejayed at.  (The one exception was WMUL in Huntington, West Virginia, & I think it's mainly because no one was really listening to the station.)

In Lexington there was a fellow who may have been the only person listening during my many late-night sub shifts.  He wasn't well, but I would try to talk to him.  I forget his name now - Jeff, maybe? - but I remember when the station got caller ID, I would not answer the phone when I saw his number - it was obviously his mother's name - if I weren't in the mood.  In Austin it was a person who seemed to call the same time every day - I noticed this when I subbed shows that were in the same timeslot as my show was.  Deejaying on KNON in Dallas, there have been a couple - one of whom I heard was recently institutionalized (naturally, he called the station to talk about it) - but this caller today was someone I have never - maybe I have but I didn't know I had - talked to before.

It was my first caller of the day.  He said, "I just wanted to let you know that those guys, those guys that were messing with me, they're all facing charges."

Having that weird feeling of becoming involved in a conversation that has been going on for a while, I simply said, "Good."

"You can't mess with me," he said.  "That's the lesson.  They wanted to mess with me, now they're facing charges."

He went on for some time in this vein, & at some point I said, "I guess the lesson here is that crime doesn't pay."  What else could I have said?

Whatever he was expecting for me to say, I don't think it was for me to actually agree with him.  He said, "That wasn't why I was calling.  I was calling to make a pledge."

Now, KNON needs all the help it can get.  We have four Pledge Drives a year, & I would gladly have accepted a pledge from this fellow.  So I asked him, "How much are you thinking about pledging?"

He said, "Tell me about tickets, man, concert tickets."

"The pledge drive isn't going on right now," I told him, "we don't have tickets but there are premiums at the website, KNON dot org, if there's something you'd like."

"I'll make a pledge there," he said, & hung up on me.

Someone else who's had experience dealing with people with mental illness can probably explain what happened there in some other detail, but in my telling, I had someone who needed attention, I respectfully allowed that person to state their case, & when I tried to end the conversation or turn it in a direction the person wasn't interested in going, they took the opportunity to leave.

Is that fair?  Is that how it is?  I wish I knew.

Monday, December 10, 2018

One Last Queen Of

As per usual, I found a cool pic of something related to the week's theme after I've done the show.  Here's a great pic of Gina Lollobrigida as the Queen Of Sheba in Solomon & Sheba.

The Tumblr blog where I found it did not have any information where it found the picture, but I noticed many stills & stuff from the film over on Pinterest, if you're interest.

& yeah, I look forward to find even more songs & stuff about this theme now that it's done.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Self Help Radio 120718: Queen Of

The Queen of WHAT, Gary? England? Denmark? North Carolina? South Ipanema?

Let this program demonstrate to you that there are queens always among us. Hereditary issues mostly don't even factor in - one minute you're talking to someone, the next you suddenly realize she's the queen of the moon.  Why not just break into song?  You know you wanna.

That's what happens on today's show: we meet the Queen of Night, the Queen of the Underworld, & the queen of Nevada in succession, all inspiring some dopey musician to compose for them a tune. It keeps going. Plus, you know, I talk to some silly people as well. As if I weren't silly enough!

The show is now available for your regal listening at the Self Help Radio website. There is password info on the front page, don't say I didn't tell you.  Every song played is listed below, as are the interviews.  & yes, the Queen of Radio shows up.

Self Help Radio Queen Of...? Show

"Oh Moon, Queen Of Night On Earth" Jonathan Richman _Oh Moon, Queen Of Night On Earth_
"Queen Of Spades" Darwin Deez _10 Songs That Happened When You Left Me With My Stupid Heart_
"Queen Of The Underworld" Jesse Malin _The Fine Art Of Self-Destruction_

introduction & definitions

"The Queen Of Ur & The King Of Um" Wire _A Bell Is A Cup... Until It Is Struck_
"The Queen Of Seville" The Clientele _God Save The Clientele_
"Mary Queen Of Scots" Monty Python _Another Monty Python Record_
"Dime Queen Of Nevada" Albert Hammond _Albert Hammond_
"Queen Of The Silver Dollar" Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show _The Best Of Shel Silverstein (His Words His Songs His Friends)_

interview with historian David Fruchter

"Queen Of The Minstrels" The Eternals _Studio One Soul_
"Little Miss Queen Of Darkness" The Kinks _Face To Face_
"Queen Of Pain" The Cramps _Big Beat From Badsville_
"Queen Of The Moon" Jerry Lynn _The 'D' Singles Collection, Vol. 1_
"Queen Of The Barley Fool" Great Lakes Myth Society _Compass Rose Bouquet_

interview with anthropologist/adventurer Cosmo Wild

"Queen Of The Savages" The Magnetic Fields _69 Love Songs, Vol. 3_
"Queen Of The Sea" Steve Miro & The Eyes _Objectivity: Object Records Singles Album_
"Queen Of The House" Mrs. Elva Miller _Wild, Cool, & Swingin': The Artist Collection - Mrs. Miller_
"Queen Of The Mopeds" Tochigi _A Crow So Large It Blocked Out The Sun_
"Mary Queen Of Arkansas" Bruce Springsteen _Greetings From Asbury Park N.J._

speed interviews with several Queens

"The Arrival Of The Queen Of Sheba" Swingle Singers _Swingle II Baroque_
"Queen Of Sheba" Danta _Electric Asylum, Vol. 1: Rare British Acid Freakrock_
"The Queen Of Sheba" Kathleen Jamie _Poetry Please: The Anniversary Edition_
"Queen Of Sheba" Nick Lowe _Nick The Knife_
"Leila (The Queen Of Sheba)" Dolly Dots _Leila (The Queen Of Sheba)_

conclusion & goodbyes

"Pop Queen Of The Teen Scene" Brandon Can't Dance _Graveyard Of Good Times_
"Queen Of The Rummage Sale" Bishop Allen _February EP_
"Queen Of Eyes" The Soft Boys _Underwater Moonlight_
"Queen Of Summer" Spray _Children Of A Laser God_
"Queen Of All The Tarts (Overture)" David Bowie _Reality

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Whither Queen Of?

(Oh look it's Mary Queen Of Scots! They should make a movie about her or something. This picture is from here.)

You know how this works, surely, by now.  Rather than do a show about "queens," which would allow for a greater diversity of music (perhaps) plus be able to have songs about unnamed queens (definitely) as well as other meanings of the word queen (oh yeah), I have decided to limit the scope of this week's theme to songs that are called or are about a "queen of" something.

There's precedent for this.  Many moons ago, when I was doing the show at WMUL in West Virginia, I did a show with the theme "King Fill-In-The-Blank."  I didn't simply want to do a show about kings.  My disdain for monarchs, as a child of America, doesn't allow me to be expansive in their celebration.

Was it the upcoming Saorise Ronan movie that inspired this show?  No.  I just saw movie posters for it while looking for pictures of queens.  It is the reason why I chose a picture of Mary Queen Of Scots though.  I just hope it's as good as the radio version!

What inspired this week's show?  It's funny you should ask that.  I was about to make something up that would have amused you greatly but then apparently the jet planes being manufactured by the nearby Lockheed Martin plant decided to have war games above me & I've been hiding under my desk for the past fifteen minutes with my cats.  Fear has a way of making one forget everything.

But I do remember that the new Self Help Radio with the theme "Queen Of" will happen tomorrow at noon over at Self Help Radio dot Net.  Listening will make you feel like royalty.  Or at least royalty-adjacent.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Preface To Queen Of: The Queen Of Tumblr Dethroned

This is a picture of my dog Winston.  I regularly post pictures of my pets & other things I encounter & remember to take pictures of on the show's Tumblr page.  You might not know what Tumblr is, or you might use it in a dramatically different way than I do.

Maybe you haven't heard what's going on with Tumblr but many of the people whose Tumblr blogs I like are pissed off, so maybe Tumblr is going away.  None of the pictures I take are ever anything anyone could perceive as pornographic, although I suppose the awfulness of the photos might be seen as offensive in that way, so I don't suppose I'll be leaving the site soon.

But in any event, I figured this was a good opportunity for my periodic reminder that Self Help Radio has a presence on Tumblr even though it's more like my personal Instantgram page than anything having to do with the show.

That's all.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Two Jokes

Today on the Tuesday Morning Blend, I celebrated National Sock Day with a set about (what else?) socks.

A caller rang the station up to tell me a "terrible joke" (his words) about socks.  It was this one:

Timmy went to school wearing two unmatched socks - one red, & one blue.  A teacher, trying to draw attention to his mismatched pair, said sarcastically, "Nice socks, Timmy."  Timmy said, "D'you think so?  I have another pair just like it at home."

I responded by telling the caller, "Oh man, Bob Hope from all the way in California is rolling in his grave toward the awfulness of the joke."

The caller said, "I want him to turn back around.  Can I tell another?"

"Sure," I said.

"Why did the chicken go to the seance?"


"To get to the other side," the caller said.

Bob Hope, alas, kept rolling.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Earth Is Not Good For Queens

Because this week's show is sort of about queens - it's going to be full of songs with titles like "Queen Of _______" which yes means I'm not playing Bowie's "Queen Bitch" - I started looking around to see how many queens were still around, in charge of places.

& there are a lot of queens still around, although they're not really the rulers, just the wives of monarchs.  Nope, there's only two queens who are in charge themselves: the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, & the
Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II.  Technically, of course, they're not monarchs in the way their predecessors had been.

If I seem disappointed, it's because I am.  I was going to make my first Twitter poll in ages & ask people to pick a favorite queen.  But there are only two!  & I don't want to have to go find out, you know, if the King of Sweden has a Queen or whatever.

Look, I know that monarchies have been traditionally one of the best places to find patriarchy, but I thought in the 21st century we'd have more queens out there.  Nope!

That's the last time I look for progress in useless, anachronistic institutions!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Self Help Radio 113018: Magda's Birthday Show 2018

(Original image here.)

For today only, you get a birthday!  Unless of course, it's already you're birthday, but if it isn't, it is!  This is the day when Self Help Radio celebrates all birthdays by celebrating one person's birthday (Magda) by playing loads of songs about birthdays.  Even if it isn't your birthday today (it's not Magda's - hers is tomorrow), if you plan on having a birthday this year - or you've had one already - you qualify for today's extra birthday!  Wear a funny hat!  Eat a bunch of cake!  Put candles on things!  Go wild!

This birthday offer does not extend to beings who are infinite or who were created with the universe, since time didn't exist then & we can't be sure which "day" you were "born" on.  Beings from other dimensions & planets please check conversion tables to understand your birthday in Earth calendar terms.

Do I keep doing this because it makes Magda happy?  Nah, she barely knows I'm still doing this show.  But happy birthday, you!  Go listen to a show about your birthday!  & other birthdays!  Make someone buy you a present!  This is my present to you!

You can listen now at Self Help Radio's web page.  Username & password info is there.  The songs played & the interviews happening are listed below.

Did I say it?  Can I say it louder?  Happy birthday!!!

Self Help Radio's Birthday Show 2018

"Happy Birthday Magdalena (You're Getting Old)" The Birthday Band For Old People _Happy Birthday (You're Getting Old)_
"Birthday" David Weinstone Presents Music For Aardvarks & Other Mammals _Grumpy_
"Happy Birthday" Ada _Meine Zarten Pfoten_


"Happy Birthday" Alex The Seal _Alex In Wonderland_
"Happy Birthday Girl" The Equals _Equals At The Top_
"You Are Allowed 20 Birthday Parties" Patton Oswalt _Werewolves & Lollipops_
"Birthday Song" The Greeting Committee _This Is It_
"Happy Birthday" Art Paul Schlosser _Live At MarsCon 2007 & 2008_

interview with birthday party specialist David Fruchter

"C.O.O.L Party" Confidence Man _Confident Music For Confident People_
"Happy Birthday" The Bhundu Boys _True Jit_
"The Birthday Party" George Carlin _When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_
"My Birthday" The French Goodbye _VROOM!_
"Happy Birthday" Freedy Johnston _The Way I Were: 4-Track Demos 1986-1992_

interview with Fulfill A Wish Corporation CEO Perb Rochester

"Happy Birthday" JD & The Longfellows _Happy Hour Again_
"Happy Deathday" Ron Gallo _Stardust Birthday Party_
"Birthdays" George Lopez _Right Now Right Now_
"Birthday" Raymond & Scum _Suck_
"Don't Say Happy Birthday" Christopher Dale _Songs I Know The Words To_

a statement from Magda about the show

"Happy Birthday" Eddy Howard & His Orchestra _The Best Of The Mercury Years_
"Happy, Happy Birthday" Wanda Jackson _The Complete Singles As & Bs 1954-62_
"Happy Birthday" Loretta Lynn _The Honky Tonk Girl Collection_
"Happy Birthday" The Birthday Massacre _Violet_
"Birthday" Parlor Walls _Opposites_

conclusion & goodbye

"Birthday" Hard-Ons _This Is Bad Taste, Vol. 5_
"Birthday" Here Kitty Kitty _This Is Broken_
"Birthday" Crazy & The Brains _Let Me Go_
"Birthday" Snowglobe _Snowglobe_

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2018?

(Image from here.)

My golly, I've been doing a birthday show for my wife since before she was my wife.  Since before I thought we would even get married even!  Does she appreciate them?  I have no idea.

Is this the part of the birthday post where I complain about how there aren't many good birthday songs?  Nope!  I won't even complain that there weren't as many birthday songs to be found this year as there were last year.  I was just more diligent in finding birthday songs this year.  & also I'm sort of going to cheat a little.  Since the show is a podcast & can play naughty words, I'm going to play a couple of comedy bits that I had to edit to play the first time.  They're funny.  I hate to repeat myself but this is worth it.

The biggest birthday song disappointment of the year is that there wasn't a demo version or another mix of the Beatles' "Birthday" on the giant White Album reissue.  Just a "take 2/instrumental backing track version" that's sort of enjoyable in its own way but won't make it on the show.

What I wish is that someone would recommend birthday songs!  Or write me birthday songs!  Because I might have to get a frickin' ukulele & start writing birthday songs myself!  & no one wants that.

The Birthday Show 2018 is tomorrow at noon.  Self Help Radio Dot Net.  If you have a birthday this year - or have had a birthday this year - or if it's your birthday - this show is for you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2018: Surprise Parties

It's been a while since I've spoken to my brothers - I have four of them - at least two of them I haven't seen in over two years - one of those brothers is having a birthday soon, & his wife - with whom I also haven't spoken in years - has invited me to his surprise party.

To be clear, she didn't call me or text me to invite me.  It was a Facebook invite & I was one of dozens invited.  I doubt I was specifically chosen, but just happened to be in her address book.

Now, I don't like surprise parties, be they for birthdays or what-not.  It's not just that I don't like to be surprised, but I also don't like the deception required to pull it off, & I don't think it's a good idea to conspire with people you barely know to deceive someone you love.

& I'm not the only one who thinks so.  Read this article.

However.  I confess.  I have thrown a surprise party.  For my girlfriend, the woman who would later become my wife.  She enjoyed it.  But I had a sense she might.  She had told me as much.  But I told her in no uncertain terms that I would not.

Then she threw a surprise party for me, for my fortieth I believe.  I was miserable.  She had made special treats but I was so upset that she had done it that I didn't get to enjoy any of them.  I remember wanting everyone to leave so I could watch the episode of The Wire that I had saved to watch that night.  It took a lot for me to pretend to be happy.  It took forever for everyone to fucking go.

Now I'm thinking the world is divided into two kinds of people & two other kinds of people.  People who enjoy & don't enjoy surprise parties thrown for them, & people who enjoy & don't enjoy throwing surprise parties.  I'm sure there's some overlap, as there are sadists who are also into masochism.  & yet, on the scale of morality, those who resist throwing surprise parties, & those who find surprise parties thrown for them repellent, these people are in the right.

It's not the reason I won't go to my brother's party, of course.  I haven't technically been invited personally, & he won't care if I'm there or not.  But if I had actually been invited, I wouldn't go.  Because I don't believe in surprise parties.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Nice Phone Calls

If you call me on my radio show on KNON, especially if you're going to tell me you like my show - even if you're trying to butter me up to play a request - you're going to make me happy.  I'm going to tell you - or I'll say on the air - that I have such damaged self-esteem that such things just totally elate me.  & it's one hundred percent true.

This morning I got a lot of nice calls, but two stood out.

One was a fellow who told me his kid was going to college & was going to be involved at his college's radio station & he told me, "I want him to do a show just like the Tuesday Morning Blend!" The funny postscript is that his kid is going to the University Of Texas At Austin so the station he was going to be be deejaying at is KVRX - where I started out.  That was cool.

The other was a woman who was definitely not my target audience.  She told me she & her husband (whose name was Gary) were retired but listened to my show every week.  She asked me questions about stuff I played.  & she was convinced that the "Gary" on the air was way too busy to answer the phone himself & didn't quite believe me when I said I was that guy.

The truth is, I spent the early part of the week bummed about bad interactions with my family.  These two calls - & the others I got today - turned my mood around.  I appreciate that.

Also I got treats from a new vegan bakery in Dallas called Sugar Fang for the wife & myself after lunch.  That too was nice.  That area of Dallas - Deep Ellum - is so strangely deserted during the day, while traffic rages all around.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Three Thousand

(This image from here.)

This blog was started (maybe even created) on Tuesday, September 12, 2006, when Self Help Radio was almost four years old.  I don't know why I created it.  I have never been very good at promoting the show, & truthfully the show's never been good enough for me or anyone to want to go on & on about it.  But maybe I thought there was someone out there who wanted to read things I wrote about the show, & maybe also I thought I had something to say about the show.  The answers have turned out to be: not so much, & not so much.

You can read that first blog entry by clicking here.

Two thousand, nine hundred, & ninety-nine entries & a little over twelve years later, here we are.  Man, I have tried so many things to make this enjoyable - a random sampling of the blog posts might find me attempting to be funny, to talk about people named Gary, to write poetry or short stories - but I guess the one thing I've done most consistently is, the day before the show, I try to explain why I've chosen that particular theme.  Also I post the show.  The two things I've done most consistently.  The rest have all been failures & abandoned as such.

One thing I wanted to do for the I think two-thousandth entry was to write a two-thousand word post with the first words of each entry.  It was amazingly tedious & nearly every one of my first posts began with the first-person pronoun "I."  So, here, this would've been the beginning of that entry:

Hi this when here's but this quick I in I we why Halloween amazingly as before hey I I do oh you what normally I I I

You can see why I stopped.  Also, you may notice when I first noticed that I stopped starting lots of paragraphs with the first-person pronoun.  I try so hard not to do that!

I really do!  Fuck.  Did it again.

One thing I did notice is that I write much more in this blog now than then.  I try to write five days a week - even when I have nothing to say or it's the end of the day & I'm like, fuck, I forgot to write in the damn blog!  Especially then, as that's more common than not.  It's why I didn't reach one thousand till 2011, but I got from 2000 to 3000 is a little under four years.  I try to have structure in my life.

Self Help Radio languishes when it's not actually on the radio, but I will keep doing it until it finds a place somewhere again on the air.  Maybe by the four-thousandth blog post.  I'll probably write that one like this one, right before I feed the animals & go to bed early because I have a different radio program to go to in the morning.

Thanks for keeping up, if you do, occasionally.  I'll try like always to make this some place interesting to spend a second or two.  But man this blog is getting old.  Is 3000 eligible for like Medicare or something?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Self Help Radio 112318: Paper

(Original image here.)

Before you ask: yes, this show about paper is paperless.  Not one tree was harmed in the making of this show unless you count the trees used for the tray cards & record covers of the songs contained herein.  There's probably other incidental uses of paper for the show, but the intention of the show was paperless.  It's a paper show of paperless intentions.

& there's so much paper!  A celebration of paper!  A radio show that's like champagne confetti when it comes to paper!  & again, no paper was wasted - the show features things like paper airplanes & paper dolls & paper hats but there was no real paper in any of it.  Can songs be made out of paper?  Or can you just find them paper-thin?

You don't have to write any of this down.  Just click around the screen where I tell you.  The show is over at the Self Help Radio website.  <--- a="" amp="" any="" as="" below.="" but="" can="" computer="" down="" ell="" find="" hat="" i="" if="" incidental="" inus="" is.="" is="" it="" link="" must="" n="" nbsp="" on="" one="" ot="" other="" ou="" p="" paper="" password="" place="" punctuation.="" s="" selfhelp.="" show="" shr="" site="" that="" the="" to="" username="" ve="" well="" where="" write="" written="" you="">
Self Help Radio Paper Show

"Paper" Talking Heads _Fear Of Music_
"Paper" The Nits _Malpensa_
"Papers" Ty Segall _Ty Segall_

introductions & history

"Papier, Papier" Joe Raphael _Mir Scheint, Du Hast Geweint_
"Paper Boy" The Marvelettes _The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 6: 1966_
"Put It On Paper" Mike Birbiglia _My Secret Public Journal Live_
"Like Paper" Big Red Bus _Big Red Bus_
"Paper Song" Lou Christie _Glory River: The Buddah Years 1968-1972_

interview with Dudley Warrington, paper specialist

"Paper Wraps Rock" Momus _Circus Maximus_
"Fish & Chip Paper" Elvis Costello _Trust_
"Toilet Paper" John Pinette _Making Lite Of Myself_
"Paper Tigers" The Chameleons _Script Of The Bridge_
"King Of Piss & Paper" Wolf Parade _Cry Cry Cry_

interview with Madge Tollhurst, pop culture blogger

"Paper Thin Hotel" Close Lobsters _Nature Thing_
"Paper Thin" Betty & The Werewolves _Tea Time Favourites_
"Newspaper Death Notices" George Carlin _When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?_
"Pen To Paper" Giant Sand _Heartbreak Pass_
"Plenty Of Paper" Eisley _Room Noises_

Ned Dry shows you how to make the perfect paper airplane

"Paper Plane" The Mad Scene _A Trip Thru Monsterland_
"Paper Planes" The Lucksmiths _Happy Secret_
"Paper Airplanes" The Glasses _Birdsongs, Beesongs: Eardrums Spring Compilation 2009_
"Paper Aeroplanes" Pocketbooks _Flight Paths_
"Paper Aeroplane" Angus & Julia Stone _Memories Of An Old Friend_

all kindsa paper idioms

"Paper Bag" The Cannanes _A Love Affair With Nature_
"Paper Hat" Ed's Redeeming Qualities _Big Grapefruit Cleanup Job_
"Paper Doll" Lisa Germano _Lullaby For Liquid Pig_
"Paper Cuts" The Boy Least Likely To _The Best Party Ever_
"Across The Paper" Math & Physics Club _In This Together_

conclusion & goodbye

"Paperhouse" Can _Tago Mago_

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Whither Paper?

(Image from here.)

According to Dictionary dot com, "paper" can mean anything from writing paper to newspaper to money to an article or essay to documents establishing your citizenship to money to rolling papers to wallpaper to - well, anything that is made from paper or looks like paper.

& how long have humans been using paper?  If you count papyrus (& why wouldn't you - it's where we get the word, after all!), then it goes all the way back to the Bronze Age - an estimate might mean since 3100 BCE.  That's like five frickin' thousand years ago!

Isn't it about time it got its own radio show?  I thought so too.  It'll happen finally tomorrow at noon at the Self Help Radio website.  See you there.

Meanwhile, hey!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Preface To Paper: Paperless

This is being written on a computer.  My fingers are tapping a keyboard.  I'm doing it in my head, I wrote nothing down before, I am thinking thoughts & typing them out.  (I expect I'll make mistakes but I can just delete them & start again.)  This is just to say that at no point in this process was paper used - not for rough drafts, not for doodling, not for anything.

Which is both sad & a little weird, because I always had paper around when I was a kid.  I loved to draw & of course in school I took notes on paper.  I didn't have a word processor or a typewriter in college so most of my papers I wrote were by hand.  (I kind of lost my ability to write cursive for that reason: my cursive became about as comprehensible as shorthand, so when I wrote essays & stuff I simply wrote the opposite of cursive, which I just now read is called "printing."  I need to qualify that because "printing" means something different when it comes to word processing.)

One of my favorite times of year when I was in school was the very last day, when people would throw their spiral notebooks into the air in glee & the hallways would be littered with half-empty notebooks & folders & scrap paper of all kinds.  I collected them & I filled them up - with diary entries, lists, drawings, etc.  I still have many of those notebooks, actually - I threw away a lot of them when we moved from Texas, but I saved lots.

& now I remember I used to write lots of letters.  By hand.  On paper.

But for the most part, since around 1995, everything I've written - like on this blog - has been electrons on a computer screen.  I have tried to save my old email - but they're in computer files, not printed out.  It's crazy & strange.

Because by all rights I should have boxes & boxes of decades of writing.  But nope.  About half my life ago, there was a fundamental shift in how humans kept records, wrote mail, even illustrated.  The only paper I have around me now is in a printer.

What do I write anymore?  I think just grocery lists.  But check this: I make a grocery list on scrap paper, then I type it into the computer & print it out.  It's neater.  It's better organized.  & I can actually read it.

Yeah, I guess I miss paper being such a central part of my life.  I do sometimes go to the stationary section of stores & daydream about buying a binder or one of those black & white composition books.  But it would never be filled up.  It would be better bought by someone who would use it.

That's not me, not anymore.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Pledge Drives

Since Self Help Radio, the live version, left the Lexington airwaves in 2016, far fewer people have listened to the show.  Since Self Help Radio, the prerecorded version on the air, left the Lexington airwaves earlier this year, the number of people who listen regularly to the show has dwindled to single digits.  I am not saying this because I care too much - or to whine - as Self Help Radio has been ignored & forgotten before (I did the show in West Virginia for fuck's sake!) - but I note it because it means that not many people find their way to this blog.  Here, for example, despite linking some of these pages on the show's Facebook page & its Twitter page, is the number of folks, according to Blogger, who saw the past five entries:

That means less than thirty people have visited the blog in the past week, & some of the visits might be from folks who come more than once.

Again, this is not an invitation to today's pity party.  I do all those alone, I don't want to share my whiskey.  No, I wanted to throw a question out to people who are involved at college, public, or community radio stations & have to do pledge drives like I have to do a pledge drive at KNON, where I do a show called the Tuesday Morning Blend.  Unlike WRFL, which was funded by student fees, KNON gets most of its operating budget from four pledge drives a year.  & if you've ever listened, you'll know: I am terrible at these.

& a thing I'd love to do is talk to people from different stations - preferably people I've never met - about their experience with pledge drives.  I had to do them at KOOP in the early 2000s, & early on discovered I had no skill with them.  Yes, I sat with other folks at the station & listened to people from successful non-commercial stations & took notes about best practices for raising money on-air - & still I got no better at it.

Before the last pledge drive in August, I read many web pages about raising funds on public & community radio stations.  I tried to tailor my pitches to strategic subjects - & I raised less money during that pledge drive than the two before.

The dilemma is this: since no one reads this blog, because no one listens to Self Help Radio, I doubt I'd get any response from anyone about their experiences with pledge drives.  But I'll go ahead & ask because I had a fucking brutal experience this morning.  I talked what felt like an hour (it wasn't) & I got one call.  One. Fucking. Call.  & maybe no one's listening.  & maybe they don't feel like supporting the show I do because they don't like it.  & maybe only a small fraction of people who listen to noncommercial radio stations actually donate to them.  & feel free to add all the other excuses that I've read & that I try to tell myself to keep my already fragile self-esteem from breaking into pieces.

Because ultimately I don't think it's fair to the station that I get to play on the radio every week & I give so little back.  The listeners don't want to support the show, obviously.  I told the Station Manager last week that if he knew he could get someone to do the Tuesday Morning Blend who could raise more money, I would gladly give the show up to her or him.  That was no lie.  I feel so shitty that I can't raise the two grand that is my required goal every pledge drive.  Most of the time I can't even raise half of that.

Anyway, enough of my out loud self-loathing, I'll just ask: if you're involved in noncommercial radio & somehow you have stumbled onto this obscure blog post for a podcast almost no one listens to, & you have experience with pledge drives you'd like to share, send me an email at & let me know what your thoughts are, how you've done, what you've learned, best practices, worst practices, stuff like that, & whether you'd be willing to chat about it.

Because before I give up or am forced out, I'd love to learn more.  I think it might be something one could get better at.  I just simply don't know how to go about it.  & the process, over time, is so damaging to me that I don't know if I want to do it for very much longer.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Spam Bait

It seems like I've always been fascinated by spam - by the weird emails telling me I've won lotteries in other countries, or someone needs my help to transfer money, or even some woman wants to communicate with me desperately - but I have to say with disappointment that it seems those days are gone.  The only spam I get these days - & yeah, I check my spam folder regularly like a weirdo - are those emails that say, "Please respond to unsubscribe!" in as many different ways as possible.

Yes, you have to confirm your unsubscription requests, that's true, but I have never received such forceful emails in regards to unsubscribing.  Furthermore, do these spammers think that everyone has signed up for so many email lists that they don't remember which ones they're in the process of leaving?  It's like the (now much-missed) spam I used to get that tells me I have a package waiting.  I would have to order things non-stop & willy-nilly to be excited about getting a package that I might have forgotten about ordering.

But these sad emails - I just got one! - they pale in comparison to the - what do you call them? - spam telephone calls I get.

Now, lots of people nowadays don't answer their phones if they don't recognize the number, but I'm not as assiduous as some people about noting people's numbers in my phone.  & I've gotten calls from people at the radio station which I'm glad I've answered.

But the spammers call me from Austin or areas around Austin, because I have the same phone number I had when I was in Austin.  & no one from Austin really calls me.  When I have answered, I got some cruise ship scam, but a couple of times they've thrown a curve ball & called from a city near to Austin but I'm not sure where it exactly it is, & I've answered, the call just drops, as if to say, Ha ha just checking to see if you're answering.

Is it wrong to long for better spam?  To want a call from a human who's trying to rip me off instead of a bland recording?  I remember I used to get emails from China asked me to buy industrial equipment.  That was good spam.  These days, I don't want to encourage them by actually clicking to unsubscribe.

If Jordan Klepper's show was still on, I'd want him to have one of his protestors in the credits to hold a sign that read "Better Spam Now!"  Or I'll make such a sign.  & wield it proudly.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Self Help Radio 111618: Sheep

(So many sheep!  Original image here.)

Sheep smell sheepy.  There were a lot of sheep in the studio this week.  I think it's not sheepist to comment on their sheeply smell.  Some people might get sheepful about it, but I've been with many more sheeping sorts & they're hardly ever offended.

In fact, they were positively ecstatic to have a show dedicated to them.  They had very few demands - keep the mutton references to a minimum, have a pasture nearby to enjoy the show in, going fifty-fifty for all the wool shorn & sold - it was, all in all, a very nice arrangement.

Though it's really hard to get rid of that "visiting sheep" smell.

The show is in the verdant pasture called Self Help Radio dot net.  Username is SHR, password in selfhelp.  It's one big ol' file, two hours long, & what's on the show is below.

Please enjoy.  Enjoy like a baby lamb in the springtime learning how to gambol!

Self Help Radio Sheep Show

"Sheep" The Living End _Sheep_
"Sheep" The Housemartins _London 0 Hull 4_
"Sheep" Zoe Lewis _Folk Playground_

introduction & explanation

"Mary Had A Little Lamb" The Three Peppers _1937-1940_
"Mary's Little Lamb" Otis Redding _The Otis Redding Story_
"Tuned Sheep" Stan Freberg _The Best Of The Stan Freberg Shows_
"Black Sheep" Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs _Pharaohization_
"Black Sheep R.I.P." The Playboys _Black Diamonds: Singles From The Festival Vault 1965-1969_

interview with urban shepherd David Fruchter

"Black Sheep" Ferlin Husky _Chronogical Classics 1958-1960_
"Black Sheep Boy" Scott Walker _Scott 2_
"Black Sheep" SRC _SRC_
"The Black Sheep's Song" Julian Cope _Black Sheep_
"Black Sheep" Mutual Interest _Better Than I Expected_

interview with Dr. Magdalena Muchlinksi

"Swingin' Shepherd Blues" Ella Fitzgerald _Jukebox Ella_
"The Shepherd" Culture _International Herb_
"The Shepherd" MomusMcClymont _Two_
"Flying Sheep" Monty Python _Monty Python's Flying Circus_
"The Lost Sheep" Adrian Munsey, His Sheep, Wind, & Orchestra _The Lost Sheep_

interview with my nephew Allen

"I Wanna Count Sheep (Till The Cows Come Home)" Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra _1931-1932_
"All The Sheep In The World" Elaine & Derek _All The Sheep In The World_
"A Tiny Sheep" Robbert Bobbert & The Bubble Machine _Robbert Bobbert & The Bubble Machine_
"Live Lambs" Longmont Potioncastle _The Best Of Longmont Potioncastle_
"I Prefer Sheep" Ross Beach _You Make It Look So Easy_
"Sheep May Safely Graze" Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds _B-Sides & Rarities_

idioms & stuff

"Sheep Go To Heaven" Cake _Prolonging The Magic_
"The Sheep Look Up" Fad Gadget _Under The Flag_
"Sheep" Toy Love _Cuts_
"Fergus! The Sheep!" Rote Kapelle _Big Smell Dinosaur EP_
"Schaf Um Schaf" Bazooka Cain _Here Come The Days Of Bazooka Cain_

conclusion & goodbye

"Dirty Deeds Done With Sheep" AC/DC _Hell's Best_

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Whither Sheep?

(Sheep are cute sheep.  Image from here.)

Yesterday, on a dog walk, I was talking to the wife & saying something about sheep.

"Why are you talking about sheep?" she said.

"Oh," I said, "because that's what this week's show is about."

"Your show this week is about sheep?" she repeated to me but in the form of a question.  I nodded, & she added, "That's fun!"

"It is?" I said suspiciously.

"Yes!" she said.  She began to list the things she liked about sheep.  That was a bit unnerving.  I didn't know she was that fond of sheep.  Then she said, "Why did you want to do a show about sheep?"

I thought about it & said, "Hm, I don't know."

& the truth is, I don't know.  I don't know why I started gathering songs about sheep.  There are a lot of them, especially if you include songs about lambs & shepherds.  & ewes & flocks.

Maybe it makes you as excited as my wife is?  She wants to talk about sheep on this show this week. How can I stop her?  Serious replies only.

Tomorrow, noon, at the Self Help Radio website, Self Help Radio explores sheep.

There's no promise of it being any good, but an awful good chance of it being baaaaaaaaaaaaaaahd!

God I hate myself right now.  But I'm not going to bleat myself up about.  I lamb what I lamb.

This is so embarrassing.  I shear am feeling sheepish right now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Preface To Sheep: I Once Dated A Shepherd

Anyway, that was her last name.

Last names are strange things.  There was a time when most people didn't have last names.  As this website says, "Tracing the origins of surnames can help us gleam more insights into the lives of our ancestors. Early last names were often linked to occupations, geographical features, nicknames, or even a combination of their mother’s & father’s name."

My last name - which is Dickerson - according to this site - is basically the same as "Richardson."  But check this:

"This interesting surname is a patronymic form of Dick, itself a pet form of the given name Richard. Richard originated from a rare Anglo-Saxon name 'Ricehard,' meaning rule-hard. An 8th Century English Kinglet of this name died at Lucca, in Italy, on his way to Rome, & is there still venerated as St. Ricardo, but it was the Old German Ricohard that was spread by two pre-Conquest Dukes among the Normans, & brought by them to England. A Ricard is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086; but the softer French Richard prevailed, with several short forms, such as Rich, Rick, Dick, Hick, Dickie, Richie, etc.. The surname is first recorded in the mid 14th Century. One, John Dykonesson, is noted in the register of the Freemen of the City of York (1388). In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings including Dickenson, Dickinson, Dickeson, Dickison, Dickason, etc."

Just taking a brief moment to emphasize this sentence, which I promise this is a coincidence I did not know this when I started yammering about last names:

"On November 9th 1629, Dorithy Dickerson married William Sheapheard at St. Giles Cripplegate, London."

Boom!  Connection!  It concludes:

"The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Dykounson, which was dated 1366, Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111, 'The Father of the Navy,' 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to 'develop' often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling."

If you can tell any disappointment from me in any of this, well, there is.  The German word for "fat" is dick.  German has the -er ending (I suppose English took it from there) to indicate comparative adjectives, so "dicker" can mean "fatter" or "thicker."  The German word for "son" is Sohn, so I kind of assumed that - possibly because I have German relatives on my mother's side, even though my last name is my dad's name - the name had Germanic roots.  Therefore, my last name could be translated as "fat man's son."  Or even better, "fatter dude's kid."

But nope.  At some point some ancestor of mine was named Richard, possibly referred to as "Dick," & I'm descended from one of his kids.

Not coincidentally, my father, whose first name was Everett, was called Dick by everyone, including my mother.  So in a very real way, I am the son of Dick.

This has nothing to do with sheep.  Except that weird bit where a Dickerson married a Sheapheard.  It was just a rabbit hole I found myself in just now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Holy Spit! I'm About To Reach 3000 Posts!

It's kind of a milestone, yeah? Or is it a millstone?

Today I had another pledge drive show for the Tuesday Morning Blend, which was only successful because a friend made a big pledge. That was amazing. Even my wife pledged, although not much, & she later apologized for being so cheap. She was raised by a man who was wealthy because he never spent any money if he didn't have to. My wife is one of those people who will buy something for $9.99 but not for $10.00 - one is a bargain, the other is overpriced.

Still, I tried to be positive about the show & I'm not letting my self-esteem get damaged by something over which I have not very much control. I still maintain people should naturally support the things they want to, they shouldn't need to be guilted into it, or lured by gifts. But that's not the way the world works, & I'm probably never going to be good at selling anything, even something I value as much as community radio. Hell, my wife knows that I believe in community radio more than most anything & have given more of my heart & soul & time to it in four different cities & at more than six different stations, & even she was like, eh, it's not worth that much.

Speaking of the wife, she visits with her surgeon tomorrow to find out how much longer she needs to wear her hard collar (she had spinal surgery in the neck region) & what her allowed range of motion will be.  That will hopefully be a good thing. It may also take some pressure off me - she might not have been the perfect patient, but I've not been the perfect caregiver.

Tonight I'm going to drink whiskey & catch up on my comic book shows. The wife is already asleep, hooray for muscle relaxants! & I'll try & think if there's something (anything) I should do to celebrate taking the time to write three thousand of these blog posts. Probably not. Mostly they were worthless. At best they conveyed a little information. At worst - which was most of the time - I had nothing to say. & still I said it. Over & over.