Saturday, July 10, 2021

Disaster At The Movies

(image from the IMDb)

This week's Self Help Radio was a disaster & also was about disaster & you know you can listen at the Self Help Radio website & also on the KBOO web page & when you do listen well into the second hour so you can hear another installment of the series Chuck's Happily Unsophisticated Cinema Korner.  This one focused on disaster flicks naturally.  Here are important links:

Chuck's Twitter feed - keep up with what he's watching here.
Here's his Youtube playlist of disaster films.
Chuck also wrote reviews of the movies he watched on Letterboxd.
Finally, here's the IMDb search list for disaster.

Check out what Chuck's watching!  You're bound to find something that you'll dig.

Friday, July 09, 2021

The Most Insidious Song

Might I make a confession?  In the year 1986, I began college, & although I confess I checked in with MTV from time-to-time, I watched very little television - especially dramas & sitcoms.  To this day, I've never seen a single episode of Matlock, which began that year.  Honestly, I've never seen an episode of Hill Street Blues, which ended a year after that.  I didn't watch much television drama, is what I'm trying to say.

But what's more, I didn't watch much television comedy.  I completely missed the television show Head Of The Class, despite starring Howard Hesseman, who was an early inspiration as Dr Johnny Fever on WKRP In Cincinnati.  Well, thanks to the magic of streaming services, the wife & I have been watching the show, which I find occasionally rises above its tired sitcom tropes, & shows some real heart.  Not always, but sometimes.

However, I find the theme song quite problematic.  I don't enjoy it, I use the "skip intro" function at every point, & yet - it has found its way into my headspace.  It begins with a pleasant flute/harpsichord type interaction - probably done entirely on synthesizers - & then vomits itself into the worst 1980s sounding theme possible.  I find it tiresome & toxically catchy & I hate the fact that the opening sequence has star Hesseman, as teacher Charlie Moore, trying to get to school in busy NYC, & buying a hot dog for breakfast.  Maybe it was different in the 1980s, but those guys aren't open for breakfast.  I once approached a hot dog guy at 10:55am & was not spoken to until the clock struck 11.  Sure, the show was shot in Los Angeles like every other TV sitcom but holy smokes they should've known.  No hot dog vendors peddling their wares at 7:30 am!

Which has nothing to do with the theme, which I can't get out of my head.  Still, I enjoy the show.  I plan to watch it even after Hesseman leaves.  I sometimes daydream about remaking the show in a modern way but keeping the 1980s setting & having the kids be more complex & problematic.  Like the 1980s.  Complex & problematic.

& I hope to finish the series soon because I hear its incidental music when I walk into a room.  Why does it affect me so?  It's troubling.  It's quite troubling.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Self Help Radio 070621: Disaster

(Original image here.*)

Yeah, yeah, Self Help Radio usually is a disaster.  I already made that joke! You can't hurt me more than I already hurt myself!  That's the power of low self-esteem!

However, I do want to say that I thought the show did a decent job of discussing the idea of "disaster" without spending too much time bogged down in specific disasters.  Because specific disasters could be entire other Self Help Radio shows!  My logic is a bit desperate I know.  But since next week's show is about volcanoes I think I've made my point.

You can listen to the show both at the KBOO web site & also at the show's web site.  The show had lots of guests & they're listed below.  & if you must have disaster in your life, let it be a dumb radio show & not actual disaster.

Self Help Radio Disaster Show
"Disaster" Blind Ravage _Blind Ravage_
"Disaster" Leroy Brown & His Defence Force _Prayer Of Peace_
"Disaster" The Mynabirds _Generals_

introduction & definitions

"Natural Disaster" Andrew Bird _Noble Beast_
"Natural Disaster" Sarah Bethe Nelson _Weird Glow_
"Latest Disaster" George Carlin _More Napalm & Silly Putty_
"Disaster" MC Frontalot _Zero Day_
"Disatrous" Del The Funky Homosapien _Both Sides Of The Brain_

interview with Hollywood disaster movie producer Denver Smith

"Another Day Another Disaster" Zoey Van Goey _Propeller Versus Wings_
"World Is A Disaster" Mikey Melody _World Is A Disaster_
"Wally Ballou: Disaster Prone" Bob & Ray _Classic Bob & Ray: Volume 2_
"Walking Disasters" The Wombats _This Modern Glitch_
"Disaster Strikes Again" Ferns _On Botany_

interview with my spiritual advisor the Rev Dr Howard Gently

"The Train To Disaster" The Voice _Nuggets II (Original Artyfacts From The British Empire & Beyond 1964-1969)_
"Disaster Area" Milt Matthews Inc. _Good To The Last Drop (Rare Sixties & Seventies Soul From The Ember Tape Vaults)_
"Disaster At Sea" Les Barker _The War On Terrier_
"Disco Disaster" Human League _The Golden Hour Of The Future_
"Natural Disaster" Fischerspooner _Fischerspooner_

our librarian friend Carole stops by to recommend books about disasters

"The Brink Of Disaster" Shirley & Lee _The Sweethearts Of The Blues_
"Brink Of Disaster" Lesley Gore _Sunshine, Lollipops, & Rainbows (The Best Of Lesley Gore)_
"How Much Time Do We Have (Disaster On A Big Scale)" Civil Defense Spot _Atomic Platters: Cold War Music From The Golden Age Of Homeland Security_
"Disaster" Died Pretty _Doughboy Hollow_
"Disaster In Motion" Robert Forster _Songs To Play_

interview with writer Tom Shade, author of My Life Is A Disaster

"Little Miss Disaster" The Damned _So, Who's Paranoid?_
"Living Disaster" Gary Myrick & The Figures _Gary Myrick & The Figures_
"Airline Disaster" Shapes _Songs For Sensible People_
"Nuclear Disaster" The Hippies _Nuclear Disaster 7"_
"Total Disaster" John Holt _Reggae Sound War, Volume One_

another installment of Chuck's Happily Unsophisticated Cinema Korner - about disaster movies!

"Disaster Movie" The Exile _Short Sharp Shock_
"Ann Disaster" Ben Kweller _On My Way_
"Mind Disaster" The Initial Shock _Mind Disaster_
"Disaster" Julian Cope _The Followers Of Saint Julian_
"Natural Disasters" Enon _High Society_
"Walking Disaster" Boy Wonder _Wonder Wear_

this airbreak is a disaster!

"Courting Disaster" How Many Beans Make Five _One Last Look_
"Small Disaster" Wilson's Prom _Welcome To The Prom_
"Tonight Was A Disaster" Casiotone For The Painfully Alone _Pocket Symphonies For Lonesome Subway Cars_
"Human Disaster" The Juan Maclean _The Future Will Come_
"Morning Disaster" L'Altra _Different Days_
"After Disaster" Safety Scissors _Tainted Lunch_

conclusion & goodbye

"Dear Disaster" This Microwave World _Love Your Zine, Let's Go To Bed_
"Headquake Disaster" Flow _Headquake_

* "Panorama of the Molasses Disaster site" by Boston Public Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Monday, July 05, 2021

Whither Disaster?

(Image from here.  The article is depressing though.)

What the what?  A radio show about disaster?  What is wrong with Self Help Radio?

Listen, I know there are plenty of disasters going around - the pandemic isn't over yet, that condo collapsed in Florida, wildfires are already burning all over Oregon - & on & on.  But I'm hoping that the show instead focuses on the idea of "disaster" - whether literal or figurative - rather than individual disasters.  Because like I said there are so many of those.

With that in mind, we have a ton of guests tonight.  I weighed them, all together they weigh two thousand pounds.  Not really.  I'll talk to a Hollywood disaster movie producer, to my spiritual mentor (I hope to ask him about how to deal with "spiritual disasters"), & to a writer whose life is a disaster.  As well, our friendly librarian will talk about books about disasters, & our resident cinephile will discuss disaster movies.  & all those songs.  Three hours worth of songs.

That's tonight on Self Help Radio on 90.7 KBOO in Portland & online at from midnight to 3am.  Usually, you know, the show itself is the disaster.  But not tonight!

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Preface To Disaster: The World Without Us

(image from here.)

It occurs to me I don't talk about books much on this blog, perhaps because I don't consume books at the rate at which I consume records, which is why I guess I play records on my show & not snippets from audio books, but the theme of "disaster" makes me think of this fascinating book called The World Without Us that posits what would happen if humans just disappeared one day.  Some folks have called it "disaster porn" but for me it was a difficult learning experience about how humans have manipulated the planet for their own gain, & how important it is for human to maintain the changes they've made.  The chapter on nuclear reactors gave me nightmares I hadn't had since Reagan was president.

Do I recommend it?  I do.  Do I recommend you buy it from Amazon or some other behemoth bookseller?  Please don't.  Find it at a local bookstore.  Or get it from your nearby library.  Please don't support giant chains that will bring a world without us sooner than we might expect.  Unless you're into that.  Some people can't pull the trigger so hope the world burns them up instead.  They're fools & cowards but they should be allowed to do whatever they want.

It's a fascinating read.  I suspect there's something in it for you.

Also, you know, happy fourth of July & shit.