‘We’ll be right back after this message. …’

Down time.

The question very much not on everyone’s mind is: “Whatever happened to Radio Free Dogpatch?”

My little podcast was ticking along nicely there for a while, with episodes popping up semi-regularly since the first of the year.

Then the broken ankle took me down in February, and The Bug® put the boots to me in March.

And that, as they say, was that.

A podcast, even a low-rent, one-man, half-assed model like mine, takes time. Thought. Quiet.

It’s quiet out there. Too quiet.

All those things were suddenly in short supply when Herself joined me in working from home.

If any of you have been doing likewise in lockdown, you know the drill. Zoom meetings. Phone calls. Speakerphone calls, with voices that often fail to harmonize with the ones in my head. Skypeing. Messaging. Texting.

And it all starts at stupid-thirty, ’cause Herself is an early riser. By the time I crawl out of my coffin around 6-ish she’s already brewed the coffee and fed the cat, and is two-three phone calls into her day.

Which is rigorously planned. She has a List. Items will be checked off same or she will know the reason why. Any gaps that appear unexpectedly between chores will be filled with … more chores. Herself is a Tasmanian devil of relentless functionality and accomplishment.

Me? I just, y’know, kinda, like, fuck around, an’ shit. See what happens. If anything.

Ho, ho. Too bad for me. Her gig is the one that makes it rain around here. My contributions to the general fund have become a little less laughable since I started collecting Social Security in April, but next to her mighty fiscal Niagara my revenue stream remains the dribbling of a very old dog with prostate issues and a bladder stone the size of the Hope Diamond.

Shucks, the podcast never brought in a dime anyway. In fact, it sent dimes out, in the form of dollars. Many, many of them. An essential worker it is not. Like Adolf Twitler’s “presidency,” it is primarily a cash-burning vanity project.

So if anybody is going to STFU around here for a minute, or even for months, well … it’s gonna be Radio Free Dogpatch.

I take solace from learning that I’m not the only voice to develop a little situational laryngitis in The New Weird Order.

For instance, parents who podcast are finding it tough to get their Ira Glass on with herds of unschooled munchkins free-ranging around the home studio, according to Caroline Crampton of the “Hot Pod” newsletter (scroll down).

Writes Crampton: “[F]or those who work in audio and need to edit for long periods, or record links and tracking to the highest possible standard that the moment will allow, there’s the extra challenge of finding the space and quietness to do that.”

The short version, from one anonymous podcaster: “Take after take just gets nuked.”

(Insert sound effect of Trinity atomic blast here. Oh, wait, we’re doing text now, not audio. Never mind.)

Happily, my primary distraction is not a horrifically bored, runny-nosed, ankle-biting, boundary-testing expense that a dozen or so years down the road will call me a fleshist at my own dinner table for not pledging some of my hard-earned Imperial credits to the Robot Liberation Army. She’s an income-generating asset, and right now, too.

So if Herself screams “GRILLED CHEESE! GRILLED CHEESE!”, she’s gonna get some grilled fuckin’ cheese from yours truly. We call it a quesadilla around here, but still, whatever you wanna call it, she’s gonna get it.

Radio Free Dogpatch is not the new toilet paper. It may be in short supply, but that doesn’t mean the punters are throwing hands over it at Libsyn. If I have something to say, I can always slink off to where the old toilet paper is, close the door, and squeeze out a quick blog post.

And yes, I’ll turn on the ceiling fan and wash my hands afterward.

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33 Responses to “‘We’ll be right back after this message. …’”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    What prompted that? Were you raised Catholic or somethin’? I mean, “they are all out there wondering why the fuck I haven’t put out a Dogpatch in such a long time. I better go to confessional. Is there TP in the room?”

    Gotta commiserate, though. My blog has been feeling ignored lately. After eight hours of looking at other people’s bad writing and searching for possible violations of The Rules, the last thing I want to do is get back on the computer and compose anything. Even drivel. Back when I was an actual lab scientist instead of someone doing a Bartleby the Scrivener imitation, messing around with the blog was fun. Now its just work.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Aw, sort of a public-service announcement, I suppose. Nobody’s been clamoring for the podcast, but as a reader, I always wonder what’s up if, say, James Fallows hasn’t written anything for The Atlantic in a while.

      Also, with the heat wave in full force, I’ve been wandering around the house mornings opening doors and windows, one of which is in the podcast studio. Every time I do that I glance at the desk with all its tech and think, “Hm, been a while since I did a podcast.” And then I go do something else.

      Reading that Nieman piece about parental podcasters was the trigger, I think. “Oho, someone else is gnawing on his/her liver. Yay!”

      • khal spencer Says:

        The heat doesn’t help and lately, The Bug related shut down has started to make me want to read Friedrich Paulus’ memoirs. I’m starting to think that The Bug has us encircled and the relief column ain’t gonna make it.

        Pass me a chunk of that frozen horse, buddy.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Me, I mostly want comedy. We watched Hannibal Buress on YouTube last night. Not bad. Talk about things that suck — it must be a bitch to be a standup stuck at home without an audience to help hone the tight hour.

        My friend Chris Coursey recommended a fine book the other day: “The Thrill of It All,” by Joseph O’Connor. It’s the fictional history of an Eighties rock ’n’ roll band that Chris — a fine scribe himself, it must be said — called “a word salad full of wonderful creative language, and a pretty fun story too.” It’s worth a read if you can find it.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’ve got to try Bill Maher again. We watched a couple of his episodes done from his home sans audience and they fell pretty flat for us.

        Meena listens to endless podcasts. I’ve been digging out weird sci fi on the Innertubes. There was a British series “Out of the Unknown” I found at Dailymotion.com and the screenplay made out of Mordecai Roshwald’s Level Seven is there. I read that in high school and it came up the other day in a Twitter conversation between me and a pen pal somewhere in Arkansas, a former JAG lawyer. So at 0-dark thirty, I’m watching this.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    What you need is an exhaust fan, not a ceiling fan. Meanwhile, my current throne room reading is “The Giant Book of Insults” compiled by Louis A. Safian. I got it for 25 cents at the used book store and it was copyrighted in 1965 so some of the insults are pretty dated. That is how far I have fallen.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ho, good point. The ceiling fan is an exhaust fan. It just happens to be in the ceiling.

      Ever read “Pissing in the Snow & Other Ozark Folktales,” by Vance Rudolph? That’s some good outhouse reading. But as a musician and a bog-trotter you owe it to yourself to check out Joseph O’Connor’s book first.

  3. Hurben Says:

    Hey, PO’G

    You enjoyed ‘Once were warriors’, this is being released next month.

    NZ has a complex issue with gangs.


  4. Hurben Says:

    I’ve just started enjoying the NZ version of Social Security & your description “I just, y’know, kinda, like, fuck around, an’ shit. See what happens. If anything.” pretty well describes my enforced retirement so far.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Retirement is hard on a lot of people. My old man didn’t know what to do with himself, other than drink, so that ended quickly and badly. Then Mom rotted away with the Alzheimer’s. They had been in a comfortable financial state after years of hard work but never took advantage of their leisure. Maybe they didn’t know how.

      Now me, I would like to be moseying around and about, seeing a bit of this, that, and the other. But The Bug® sez ixnay. Anyway, someone has to cook for the boss. So I’ll just hang around here, turning over rocks, hoping to find something interesting underneath.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      My dad laster 6 months in retirement. He told me, “I was stuck in a factory for 30 years. Now all I want to do is work outside and be healthy. Otherwise I will start drinking again.” He took a job as a laborer at a golf course and started by digging holes to plant trees. He ended up being an in demand greens keeper with a month off in the winter. He was and expert at mowing the edges of the fairway and the rough. He loved it and never looked back. Hell, he even learned a little Spanish.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Now that’s what I call original thinking. Well done to the auld fella.

        My buddy Chris keeps retiring, but somehow always stumbles into some new position. In the 45 years or so we’ve known each other he’s been a newspaperman, a PR guy, a city councilman, a mayor, and a county commissioner.

        I don’t know that he’s ever taken up greenskeeping but I wouldn’t put it past him. The man is a fool for work.

    • SAO' Says:

      Father-in-law is having open heart surgery next week. He’s 85, still farms full time, and harder than woodpecker lips. So no doubt he’ll survive the surgery, but everyone’s worried about the mandatory six weeks off afterwards. His dad died at 94, inside the cab of a John Deere, and that’s how he plans on going out

      The VA will tell you that the most lethal five years of a soldier’s life are the five after they retire. If you can survive that, good chance you’ll go all the way. But those first five, heart attack and divorce rate look like today’s COVID infection charts.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Oof. Some of these folks is rough ol’ cobs. Herself the Elder didn’t retire until she was 82. Not from farming, mind you, but still.

        My old man retired in 1972 and was stone dead eight years later. Sixty-two. Survived his war, but the peace got him.

  5. Carl Duellman Says:

    speaking of grilled cheese

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ooo, that looks Gouda. Yum.

    • Shawn - Gouda times in the Gorge Says:

      Well sheet ! You mean the dog didn’t get any of the Gouda stuff?

      and who takes a single slice cheese grater with them? Well ok, those ladies have got class. But I’m a leatherman kind of person so my cheese would be sliced and laid out MacGuiver style on the bread.

      Oh, and the bread. If you’re ever passing through Whitehorse, Yukon, perhaps on a long haul bike road to the northlands, check out the Alpine Bakery. Bread from there would make a heavenly grill cheese sandwich. Ymmm !

  6. B Lester Says:

    On a completely unrelated tangent…

    One in a while I get a song stuck on constant replay in my head. Drives me nuts. This morning it’s “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations. I bit too on the nose, eh?

  7. SAO' Says:

    Interesting to see how different demos are handling this. There are some very counter-intuitive results out there. Eg, podcast listening is way down. I thought we’d all have free time to deep dive into something new and visit the back catalog of our faves. But turns out, we listen to pods during our commute and to drown out co-workers. Hard to catch Ira Glass’ pithy comment when a spouse or kinder is asking, “when’s lunch?”

    Some motivational speaker type tried to point out that if you haven’t invented cold fusion or written an opera during these last four months, then you are some sort of loser. Here’s my counter-argument: Whilst homeschooling a 4th and 2nd grader, I typically hit 10k steps, 5+ miles, and 20+ floors climbed … all before noon, and w/o leaving a 600 sf section of our home.
    Which totally explains the dizziness

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeh, I may not be podcasting, but I don’t lack for chores to fill the lonely hours. I wouldn’t call ’em creative, necessarily, but that doesn’t mean they can be ignored.

      NPR says its broadcast ratings have taken a pounding from The Bug®, too. Samey same as podcasting. No commute, no listeners. And they’re not turning on at home.

      Sheeeyit. We have KUNM and KRCC on here pretty much all the doo-dah day, over the air and streaming. Give ’em moneys, too.

      I think my blogging output is down, but I don’t track that, or any other stats, not really. I don’t want to rant and rave about Adolf Twitler and his Brown Noses all the time, which really takes a lot of possibilities off the menu.

  8. Dale Says:

    OK I get she is a type A, and you are uh, well, uh not. Cheer up, this has worked for quite some time now.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Sheeeyit. It’s worked for more than 30 years for us. She’s always had some sort of a job. I’ve been making it up as I go along.

      Thank God she manages the money, though. Hoo-boy. The male O’Gradys have a legendary ability to turn a silk purse into a sow’s ear. And then they swap the pork for porter.

  9. SAO' Says:

    Your thoughts (and everyone else’s) on Bicycling’s new $40/year membership model?


  10. Clubbed | Mad Blog Media Says:

    […] Steve-O raises an interesting question: […]

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