Issue # 34
December 8, 2000
Shameless Self Promotion and Other Random Thoughts
By Rich Wilhelm

Shameless Self-Promotion--As you've probably heard by now (it's been in all the magazines), I recently published a book, naturally called The Dichotomy of the Dog. This book includes the first six months worth of stories posted on this website, along with four pieces that have never been posted and one that will be posted here in two weeks. I published the book through Xlibris, a publishing service in Philadelphia and they did an excellent job of putting it together. I think it's a really nice-looking piece of work. You can check the book out at www.xlibris.com.

In addition to posting the book in its own website bookstore, Xlibris has had the book posted on the Amazon, Borders and Barnes & Noble websites. If you decide to order it, I'd be inclined to go through Xlibris, as I think they'd get it to you the quickest, but you ought to check out the other websites, particularly Amazon. After finding out that the book had been posted on Amazon, I hurried over to the website to check it out and began to read the book description, which begins, "Written as a murder confession in a jail cell..." Other phrases and words that pop up in the description are "sexual frankness," "dingy bars, drug-dusted clubs and underground parties," and "bisexual." The description ends with, "Part coming-of-age story, part thriller, part erotic meditation on love, lust and modern relationships, part spiritual parable..."

I breathed a sigh of relief and thought to myself, "Wow, someone finally picked up on the subtext of "The Day Don Knotts Came to Work" and "How to Build a Gas Grill."

But seriously, the truth is that the description of another book called Black Wax is posted on Amazon as the description for my book. I need to email Xlibris and/or Amazon about this, but for now I thought I'd have some fun with the misplaced book description by letting you all know about it.

Radiation Records--In addition to finding their way into the book, certain columns on this website are going to be appearing on my nephew Keith's Radiation Records website. Keith (known to some of you as FishBone Fisher) thought that some of the music-related pieces would fit well on his site, so I'm letting him reprint them. I asked Keith what Radiation Records is all about and this is what he told me:

"Radiation Records is an organization that promotes talented and undiscovered musical artists. By way of website, Radiation Records informs the underground music audience about the best in underground music. In addition to promoting underground music, Radiation Records also promotes semi-national bands such as The Brian Setzer Orchestra, based out of New York City, and Cowboy Mouth and Dash Rip Rock, both based out of New Orleans.

"Some of the underground talents promoted by Radiation Records are regional legend John Eddie, who was well-known in the early 1980's for his band, John Eddie & The Front Street Runners, and Regina Christian, a singer/songwriter out of the Manayunk section of Philadelphia, who is one of the more active artists in the Radiation Records Warehouse.

"In addition to showcasing talent from the past, Radiation Records also features Shannon Curfman. Curfman, a 14-year-old blues guitarist with her own band, is an up and coming star who is expected to blossom within the next year.

"With all of the promotion offered from Radiation Records, it's hard to believe that all of the work is done on a volunteer basis."

That's Keith's description, but I would just like to add that I think it's very cool that he is pursuing something that is so obviously a labor of love for him. You can check out Radiation Records at www.angelfire.com/music/RadiationRecords.

So, what's THE POINT?--Philadelphia radio suffered a huge loss recently when WWDB, the city's premiere talk station, suddenly turned into THE POINT, a station dedicated to playing nothing but "Music of the '80s...and More," the "more" being music made in 1978, '79, '90 and '91. The worst part of losing WWDB is that legendary DJ Sid Mark, who has been playing Sinatra on Philadelphia radio for 45 years, was unceremoniously dumped from the airwaves. For this reason alone, I decided to boycott THE POINT.

The thing is though, THE POINT is stronger than me, at least for the moment. It's stronger than any of us who grew up in "the big '80s." In fact, THE POINT is the musical equivalent of junk food. Once you start listening, you can't stop, regardless of the quality of the music you're hearing.

Here is THE POINT's basic stategy for ensnaring unsuspecting listeners: play about 12 hours worth of songs, with minimal DJ and commerical interference. At the end of the 12-hour period, play all those songs over again. Do you like "Somebody's Baby," by Jackson Browne? If you missed the 6:00 a.m. playing, you can easily catch "Somebody's Baby" at 6:00 p.m.

The weirdest aspect of THE POINT to me is that it's making me nostalgic for songs I never cared much about in the first place. The other day, for example, I heard .38 Special's "Hold On Loosely," a song I had absolutely no opinion on during its chart run in 1981. However, as I'm cruising along in my Saturn station wagon (and, as my friend Todd pointed out, THE POINT is nothing if not a great "driving" station) listening to "Hold On Loosely," I'm suddenly swept back in time to the day back in May 1981 when I heard the very same song on the radio while making out with my girlfriend in the back seat of my very cool new sports car. Then I realized that I didn't have a car or a girlfriend in 1981, and that I was, in fact, channeling someone else's "Hold On Loosely" nostalgia. But rather than changing the station or throwing a CD in the player, I kept on listening to "Hold On Loosely," I think to find out how this other guy's makeout session with his girlfriend went.

THE POINT has only been here about two weeks, but I already feel like I'm all POINTed out. Much as I love the music I grew up with, there are so many other cool songs recorded both before and after the 1978-1991 period that I can't see myself becoming a regular listener. After finishing up this bout of obsessive listening, I'll just tune in occasionally, whenever I want to hear "Hold On Loosely."

There are other things I wanted to say here, but it's time for bed so I'll just wrap up by telling you to watch out for not one, but two, special holiday columns to be posted here over the next two weeks. We'll talk about Styx and Loverboy another time. And remember, if you cling too tightly, you're gonna lose control. So, hold on loosely. But don't let go.

(Please feel free to email to others who may be interested or to print a hard copy for them but remember: The Dichotomy of the Dog is copyright 2000 by Rich Wilhelm. If you plan on making a bazillion dollars from this piece of writing, please let me know so I can sue you or something.)

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