In this episode, after a six month podcasting hiatus, Johnny tries out a new format, provides an explanation for all but leaving social media, showcases some new music, and reads some Untweeted Tweets.
It’s Wednesday, February 21st, 2018, and I am coming to you from Seattle, WA where it is snowing outside as I record this. It’s been about 6 months since I last released a podcast, cuz I couldn’t handle talking into a microphone and I’ve been second-guessing myself and not really liking the sound of my own voice or what I had to say, and I’ve generally just been feeling down. I’m not totally out of that funk just yet, but I’ve got the urge to pod, so I’m BACK! Uh, besides, I’ve still got 20 unused podcast theme songs, so I’ve got to do at least another 20 episodes…speaking of theme songs, let’s hear one now:
(Theme song number 8 plays)
The Johnny Unicorn Show is happenin’ now
Don’t ask why and don’t ask how
You’re gonna love whatchya hear, you won’t shed a tear
By the end of the show, you’re gonna say “wow”
It’s the Johnny Unicorn show (3x)
Welcome to the Johnny Unicorn show, my name is Johnny Unicorn and you are listening to the Johnny Unicorn show! A lot of interesting stuff has been happening in the news lately, and I thought you might like it if I shared with you some of the stories you may have missed, so here we go:
Good news for animal lovers: a new Swiss law will go into effect next month that will make it illegal to boil lobsters live.
Now, this is a big deal for the Swiss, because up until now they’ve been neutral on this issue.
But seriously, officials are saying the humane way to kill a lobster will be to submerge it in saltwater to sedate it, and then stab it through the head with a knife/screwdriver/tweezers/bottle opener
Okay, now, uh, here’s some science news out of the U.K. – maybe you’ll like that – a student at Oxford won a science prize by taking a photograph of a single atom with a standard digital camera.
Oh, he gets a prize for that? What about me? Just the other day I took a picture of like a billion atoms.
Alright, more animal news: A species of vulture in India has tragically lost nearly all of its population in just a few decades due to ingesting a veterinary drug that was used to treat livestock but is fatal to vultures.
On the bright side, though, when they die, they won’t be torn apart by vultures.
Alright, what else have we got? Uh, earlier this week, a carnival cruise became unbearable as a series of shipwide brawls broke out over the course of a few days. When asked what may have been the catalyst for the fights, one cruise-goer said,
“What’s it to you? You wanna piece o’ this? Yeah, you better run!”
And finally in personal news, I bought a map. More on that as it unfolds.
Alright, on to the next segment, which is tentatively titled “What Have I Been Up to?”
Number one – this is the most important thing about this podcast. If you’re gonna take away anything from this episode, it is this:
I am deleting my facebook accounts. Both my personal account and my artist account will likely be gone by the time you hear this recording. I don’t feel like I’m getting out of it more than I’m putting in. The way I figure it, Zuckerberg is getting a bunch of personal data about me that he then turns around and uses against me in the form of advertisements and who knows what else, and I get what? To communicate with my friends and family? I’ve got a phone, they can call me. Or text me, because I barely ever answer the phone.
Uh, and as for Twitter, I will stay on Twitter, but I will drastically reduce my usage of that platform. Most likely I’ll delete the app from my phone, and, uh, go on it on a non-phone device once a week-ish. We’ll see. But my plan is to move the majority of my Tweets to this podcast. So at the end of this podcast I’ll read off a bunch of Tweets that I did not Tweet on Twitter. Uh, for now I’m calling it…Untweeted Tweets…I might change – might change that later. And if you want to engage with my untweets, feel free to send me a message, and we can get a conversation going. I’ll give you the info at the end of this episode.
I feel like I should point out here that, uh, the goal is not to withdraw from society or anything like that. I know I have that tendancy, but this is more to participate in a way that makes, ah, more sense to my sensibilities, you know? At least for now.
Alright, moving on. I Released 3 Zorznijor albums so far this year. The first one I released January 2nd. It’s called “Animated” and the story about that album is this: uh, last year I made a Tweet asking for replies in the form of an animated gif, which I would then translate into an original piece of music. Uh, I got 25 replies, and I made 25 songs, plus an intro and outro. Check out this one that I wrote about The Big Lebowski. This one’s called “The Mirror of Time”
(“The Mirror of Time” plays)
In the waiting room of the important man
I glanced into the mirror of Time
A did a double take when I saw the name
And realized that the name was mine
It occured to me that “chill” is just
Another word for “icy cold”
When the important man insulted me
I was reminded who was in control
The path we take is determined by
Our circumstances and community
Oh, the life we make is conditioned by
The secret dances of the powers that be
I saw myself in the important man
As we were both controlled by an invisible hand
There are limits to what we can choose
To stave off these American blues
I chose booze and he chose to abuse
Uh, secondly, uh, later that month I released an album called “Sequence.” Now, I’d been wanting to do an all instrumental album for a while, and, um, this is it. This is the album. It’s 35 upbeat fun instrumental tracks that are perfect for listening while working on something that doesn’t require you to pay attention with your ears. “Sequence” by Zorznijor:
(“Sequence Manifesto” plays)
And then, a couple weeks ago, I released a third album called “The Most.” Now this album was an accident, and here’s the story with that: I’m currently in the middle of a project where I’ve taken the top 99 English words and made songs based around them in which the only lyrics are the words themselves. So initially, I had used the list that is on Wikipedia, ah, which only includes the headwords, which means that, uh, when they count the words “is” “are” “were” “was” for instance, they are all put under the headword “be” – does that make sense? – uh, because that’s how it is in dictionaries, you know? You look up a dictionary, there’s no dictionary entry for “is.” There’s just an entry for “be” which includes “is”, “was”…uh…you know. I didn’t know that, though, when I went into this thing, so, uh, I didn’t pay too close of attention to what words were on the list and, uh, what wasn’t being included on the list, uh, because it didn’t occured to me that it would be that way. So I recorded about 40 songs of this 99 song album, and then I got to wondering why… how come “is” isn’t on this list? Uh, and that’s when I found out these were headwords. So now I was in a bit of a pickle, because in order to make this work I would have to include all the different versions of the words under the headword. So I had two choices: either re-record some of the vocals to include other versions of the word, uh, so as not to leave them out – which would make the album a little bit unweildy, cuz it would…just be kinda weird – uh, or the other option would be to find a different list, and, uh, see where I can go from there. So if you know me, you know when I finish a piece of work, I want to get it out as far away from me as possible. I don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t even want to promote it, really. I just want to get it out there so people can listen to it. Um…I’m done with it! But on top of that, this presented an opportunity. Because I knew that if I found a different list, it would most likely bump a bunch of my completed songs off the album, which means I could release them on a separate album, which means I can make another album cover, and album title, and put out something before this album was finished. So I searched for a new word frequency list. There’s a bunch of different lists. There’s a list from Project Gutenberg; there’s a list of all the words used in the Simpsons. Uh, but I needed – I needed a list that was gonna include ALL WORDS, not just headwords, uh, so ultimately I picked the list that was compiled from contemporary fiction. So using this list, I found that 8 of the songs I had already recorded would not be on that list, so I could take those 8 songs, remove them from that album, and put them on a new album. And those 8 songs included the two longest songs, which meant that I almost had a full length album. So I added an intro and outro song, and put a song in the middle called “Wiggling” which is a response to a late entry for the animated gif album. And those 11 songs are now called “the Most.” And you can listen to it now. I highly recommend the nearly 10 minute long title-track called “Most”
Most (repeated over and over)
Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been up to. So, um, stay tuned for my 99-song, 4 hour album, called “Words.” And later this year I plan to release a cover album, and maybe even another Johnny Unicorn album. That one will be called “Spritclaw.”
Alright, so let’s move on to the next part of this podcast, which is called “Listener mail” for lack of a better name.
This one comes from Karen, in response to my World Motern Day episode where I complained very whinily about the Massachussetts turnpike.
“Dear Johnny of The Johnny Unicorn Show:
Hello. Longtime listener first time commenter anyways a little unsolicited advice regarding tolls and rental cars my husband and I do: take a picture of the license plate and then go back and Google the stretch of tollway. Generally one pays the toll through the plate number so it helps to have it on hand from Day 1. Thanks for the show!”
Uh, you’re welcome, Karen. Uh, just so you know, I did call the rental car company. And I didn’t complain to them or anything, I just asked them what was going to happen, and they were very nice and they told me there was gonna be a $10 fee…ah, but then they just waived that and, um, said they would apply the toll charges to my rental. Um, so it’d just appear on my credit card statement. Anyway…so it wasn’t a big deal. Uh, the only real hardship I suffered related to that rental car thing was that I had bought a used copy of Pearl Jam’s “Vitalogy” for $5 the previous day, and I accidentally left the CD in the CD player of the car. So now I just have the artwork, and, uh, it’s very sad.
Also, I feel like I should apologize for not releasing more episodes, Karen, um, cuz I…I…I’m seriously self-conscious and I really feel like I owe it to everyone to get this thing right, especially if there are people, uh, like you out there who are actually going so far as to call themselves fans. It took me this long to feel like I was confident enough to make an episode. So, hopefully there’ll be more.
Uh, so, if you’re out there listening, still, even after six months hiatus, uh, thank you.
Uh, anyways, that wasn’t really mail, that was a public post, but it was something I’ve been wanting to address on this podcast for the past 8 months, so…there it is…that’s Karen.
And if you’re listening to this and you want to give me some unsolicited advice, um, I’m here to let you know that it’s…it’s not unsolicited. It’s solicited. I’m soliciting it! Uh, tell me whatever you want, ask me a question, start an argument, insult me and my work, I honestly do not mind ANY kind of feedback, whether it’s positive, negative, honest, or filled with lies. I really like working with prompts, so any feedback I get helps me out. So please send all feedback to email@example.com (that’s j-u-n-i-c-o-r-n at johnnyunicorn dot com). You can write me a message, or send me, uh, a piece of audio. I’ll put it on the show. And, um, now that I’m off social media mostly, I think I will have time to do this show a little more regularly, so…this will kinda be my social media, for, uh…you know what I mean? Like, a, you…we can ta…we can have a…we can have a conversation. There can be engagement. It can happen right here on this show. So…that’s that. Um…(laughs) that’s all I got for Listener Mail.
So now on to the final segment, which I’m calling, for lack of a better name “Untweeted Tweets.” These are Tweets I decided not to Tweet. It’s hard to explain why I’m doing this, um, so perhaps I will explain it in a future episode once I figure out the right words to describe my feelings on the issue of Tweeting, but for now, here are this week’s Untweeted Tweets:
Tweet number one: I keep buying records even though I don’t have a record player.
Tweet number two: Just so you know, I’ve run the numbers and I’m more prolific than Frank Zappa at the same age.
Tweet number three: Here’s a video of 33 year-old Donald Trump from 1980 explaining that after he had two sculptures destroyed, he had them appraised and they weren’t worth much.
(Woo! that was a mouthful)
Okay, Tweet number four: Oliver Stone should make a biopic about himself.
Tweet number five: Of all the sci-fi casino scenes I’ve seen in the past 3 months, Black Panther’s was the best.
Tweet number six: Arm the teachers…with books and pencils!
Alright, that’s it for the show. Please feel free to reply to any of these Tweets by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can get a thread going! If you’re a podcaster, you can “retweet” by reading one of these aloud on your show! See how it works? This is engagement. This is social media. This is social media in real life…but recorded. Sort of, uh, parallel to real life, but not…it’s hard to explain. But basically, we don’t have to be among all the, um, the cesspool part of it, you know? So that’s good.
Thank you so much for listening, this is Johnny Unicorn saying “good night.”