Saturday, October 19, 2019

Preface To Illusion: My Friend Who Hates Magic

The truth is, I don't have an opinion either way about magic or magicians - I've been entertained by them but I don't know if I'd pay to see one.  On the whole, it takes quite a bit for me to actively dislike something.  But some people hate magicians.

There's that David Cross bit where he describes the magician mural at some airport - is it the Seattle airport? - & his other joke with the punchline, "Yeah, that's my card.  Can I go now?"  That seems more my style - not anger or anything, just kind of weariness, especially with run-of-the-mill types.

Maybe it's because I never learned magic as a kid.  No one ever bought me one of those kits, or one of those books.  I never even learned how to shuffle cards properly.

But I have a friend who despises magicians.  His blood pressure gets up to stroke-worthy levels when he's just near one.  He will cross the street rather than have to walk by a street magician & possibly get roped into one of their tricks.

& there was one time, at a trendy Austin brunch place, we were enjoying our meal & there was a magician there (for some reason)* & he was making the rounds, doing card tricks from table-to-table.  I couldn't see him - my back was to most of the cafe - but my friend obviously could see him & he was unable to carry on a conversation because he was steeling himself for the moment when this itinerant conjurer found his way to our corner table.

But he eventually did, & when he stopped & got our attention & started to ask, "Would anyone like to see...?" my friend exploded like the pressure cooker he was & said, loud enough to be heard back in the kitchen, "NO!!!!!!"

The magician, possibly used to such hate, smiled & went on his way, but I couldn't help bursting out in laughter.  Even if my friend had been molested by some perverted prestidigitator in his youth**, the reaction was so overblown as to be comical.

You know, I keep meaning to get him a magician for his birthday one year.  Well.  There's always next year!

* My friend also hates the musicians that play soothing guitar or whatever at restaurants.  He hates feeling obligated to tip them.
** He wasn't.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Something New To Learn Every Day

A couple weeks back, I revisited an old theme, my favorite music from the year 1969.  On that show, I played a song from Joni Mitchell's album Clouds, which was released that year.  Today, I was browsing a web site which mentioned Joni Mitchell & noticed that one of the songs on that record - it wasn't the song I played - "Both Sides Now" - is apparently so beloved it's been covered by dozens if not hundreds of people.

The song has its own Wikipedia page in which Mitchell herself is quoted as saying, "I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did."  Is it weird that until today, just by a random look at a web site, I had no idea the song was as popular as it is?

That page - the Wikipedia page - I'm linking to it again - lists ninety-some-odd covers of the song.

Where have I been?  Do I just not listen to the folky/soft rock-y types of music where I would find those covers?  I mean, I know Judy Collins' famous version, but that's about it.

What I wish was on the Wikipedia page was a guesstimate of how much money Joni Mitchell has made from that one song.  Surely it's in the millions now.  Right?  A song that popular can make one a millionaire, can't it?  It's as old as I am, & there are dozens - if not hundreds - of covers of it!

That's something I didn't know that I learned today.  It has nothing to do with anything, but it sure was jarring.

Something I already knew but was reiterated to me today: the vegan pizza game in Portland is strong.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Radio Radio

So, I've done a lot of radio recently - perhaps it's true I'm a boy who can't say no - but this week I just wanted to do Self Help Radio & Sugar Substitute & otherwise take it easy.  But.  I'm a boy who can't say no, so I was asked to sub a show Tuesday, & I did.

You know you can hear this week's Self Help Radio at the website.  Cool.

& you can listen to this week's Sugar Substitute (for the next two weeks) over at its space on the XRAY website.

But did you know you could hear me flail around on the radio on a Wednesday afternoon subbing for the show Borrowed Time on the XRAY website - oh.  Apparently I did something wrong.  So you can't listen to that show online.

Well.  I'm not sure what happened.  So.  Never mind.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Self Help Radio 101419: Comfort

(Original image here.)

The big question is, is Self Help Radio a comfort zone?  Or a discomfort zone?  Or is it, as my wife might say, a place full comfortableness, or uncomfortableness?  Or all three?  Wait, what's the third one?  This conversation is getting...  well, it doesn't make any sense.

& that's probably the nicest thing you can say about this week's show, which purports to be about comfort.  You know, consolation, solace, sympathy.  Can a radio show be comforting?  Or can it simply be about comfort?  Would I have gotten a corporate sponsorship if I had done the show remotely from a Comfort Inn?  The closest one has this recent review: "This hotel is not in the nicest area of Portland, however it is close to Interstate access."  It was a miss opportunity to be sure.

You can listen, comfort be damned, when you want at the Self Help Radio web site.  Username SHR, password selfhelp.  Lots of songs & interviews, all noted below.  Just make yourself comfortable.  Then listen.  It might be the same thing.

Self Help Radio Comfort Show
"Welcome To The Meditation (Please Get Comfortable)" Eugene Mirman _I'm Sorry (You're Welcome)_
"Comfort" The June Brides _Every Conversation: The Story Of The June Brides & Phil Wilson_
"Comfort" Makthaverskan _III_

introduction & definitions

"Comfort Me" Carla Thomas _The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968_
"Comfort You" Van Morrison _Veedon Fleece_
"Make Yourself Comfortable" Andy Griffith _American Originals_
"Built For Comfort" Willie Dixon _Willie's Blues_
"Angels Come To Comfort You" Black Francis _Bluefinger_

interview with Brad Benoit of Comfort Conformity

"Comfort Zone" The Murlocs _Manic Candid Episode_
"Discomfort" The Mess Makers _Antipodean Screams, Vol. 2_
"Rest Comfortably" Quiet World _Electric Asylum, Vol. 4: Rock Hard British Freakrock_
"Creature Comfort" Woods _City Sun Eater In The River Of Light_
"Creatures Of Comfort" Deep Sea Diver _Secrets_

lawyer Bobcat Sloan interrupts!

"Comfortably Numb" Graham Parker _A Fair Forgery Of Pink Floyd_
"Comfortably Tucked Up Inside" The Minders _Hooray For Tuesday_
"Comfort & Crazy" Guy Clark _Craftsman_
"Southern Comfortable" Ruthann Friedman _Hurried Life: Lost Recordings 1965-1971_
"Southern Comfort" Johnny Cash _The Ragged Old Flag_

interview with my friend David, who makes me very uncomfortable

"Comfortable Again" Partnerships _Double Love Suicide_
"Too Close For Comfort" Poison Girls _Statement: The Complete Recordings_
"Too Close For Comfort" Peggy Lee _Pretty Eyes_
"Mother Stands For Comfort" Kate Bush _Hounds Of Love_
"Comfort In Light" The High Violets _Heroes & Halos_

closing & goodbye

"My Comfort Remains" Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brook _Night Song_
"Cold Comfort (Deepsky Remix)" Curve _The New Adventures Of Curve_

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Whither Comfort?

(Apparently you can buy comfort in a plastic bottle, ultra-concentrated.  Image from here.)

This week Self Help radio gets comfortable.  Not really.  At core it's an uncomfortable show.  But it makes an attempt at comfort.  Will it get too close for comfort?  Yes, it will.  Will it travel very far outside its comfort zone?  No, it will not.  It will attempt to surround itself with creature comforts, but you can take comfort in the fact that it will stay mostly the same, which is cold comfort indeed.

That's tomorrow, Monday, October 14, 6-8am PST, on 90.3/89.3 fm Freeform Portland,  Come in, make yourself comfortable, it'll be two hours of comfort.  Until, probably, it becomes a tad bit uncomfortable.  Like it generally does.