Tag Archives: therapy

Hello Caller. How Can You Help Me?

11 Aug

August 10, 2018

Radio is intimate and personal. There’s a live voice on the other end of the speaker. You close your eyes and you see him or her, not as they want you to see them, but as your imagination wants you to see them. Radio fosters a sense of community that television is simply unable to.

Art Bell, founder and former host of Coast To Coast AM had a fantastic rapport with his listeners. Five nights a week, from 1am to 5am Eastern Time, he took callers on a journey of the weird. UFO’s Big Foot, time travel, all of it was on the table, and none of it was laughed off and no callers were insulted. Listeners came to know Art Bell. He spoke to them about his life, his family, his daily chores. And he listened to callers when they spoke to him, really listened and cared. To millions of people he was a friend, or even an extended family member.

So when Art’s wife died in 2006 it hit hard.

Art’s wife Ramona was not a presence on the show. She was rarely on the air, even though she was often in the studio. Art broadcast out of a studio he built on his own property in Nevada. One year on New Year’s Eve Art posted a photo of the two of them celebrating in the little homemade broadcast center, both wearing party hats, she sitting on his lap as the ball dropped. Listeners knew her through Art, and when she died, swiftly and unexpectedly at the age of 47, Art took it hard, badly, and the listeners took it hard too.

Art had taken a step back in the previous years, becoming the weekend host of Coast To Coast AM while letting someone else take the bulk of the week’s shows. Anyone would be forgiven for taking some time off the air to grieve, to work out what comes next. Anyone else.

Art had been a broadcaster his whole life. And if he suddenly left the air now, it would be a double loss for him; first his wife, then the thing he loved almost as much. He needed to be on the air, to talk to the audience, to share his grief, and theirs. Those shows in the days and weeks after his wife’s death were therapy for him. But as entertainment they were awful. Painful to listen to at times.

Art would have guests but he was woefully distracted. He talk to them and listeners could hear that Art was not really committed. His mind would wander and he’d ramble off topic. Each show began with a monologue, but during this time Art would not talk about the events of the day. Instead he’d wonder aloud how he could go on. He decided that he no longer needed two cars and tried to sell one over the air. He asked listeners if anyone was interested in an old blender or other things around the house he figured he no longer needed. He asked callers who were in the area to come over and take things off his hands. He debated the best way to dispose of his wife’s clothes. He considered selling his house and asked callers to send him offers. He was talking into the microphone, but he was really talking to himself. He was working things out. He was mourning.

During this time he had a guest who was blind since birth. She began to describe a car accident she was in during college. Art was clearly somewhere else. He truly tried to give his attention to his guests, and when he was on top of his game he was one of the best interviewers on the air. But on this night there would be long pauses when Art didn’t realize the guest had stopped talking. He asked questions he’d already asked. And when the blind guest talked about the car accident, after a long pause, Art asked “were you driving the car?”

There was another pause, an uncomfortable one. The guest finally said “no, I’m blind.” And then another pause, followed by Art murmuring an apology. The whole exchange, the whole show, in fact the whole month or so following his wife’s death were all cringe-worthy listening. The producers of the show never should have let Art on the air. The shows were terrible. But in a larger sense, it was the right thing to do.

It was therapy. Live on the air, real self-help. Over the course of each five-hour show, the listeners would be witnesses, and through their calls and offers of love, support, and advice, be part of, the therapeutic journey of one man coming to grips with the loss of his true love.

It eventually worked out. Art gradually came to terms with his loss, and he even found new love with a new wife. And the listeners haeard every bit of that journey too.

But as radio goes, and as entertainment goes, those shows were both powerful and awful.



American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior: Communication Breakdown

24 Oct

October 24. 2011

The problems in the Teutul family were always serious, but from a viewer’s point of view, they were fun. No matter who was at fault, most people tuned in to see the fights and the screaming. Now that the fighting has ended and the war has become a cold war of silence, the show is not as much fun to watch. It has become more serious, less fun, a lot more sad, and a bit pathetic. While the characters are the same, the fun is gone from the show in most respects.

This week is promoted as another one where Mikey tries to get Senior to go along with a lot of rules, conditions, and restrictions before meeting with him. As I’ve said before, I am on Senior’s side. He has reached out, he has seen a therapist, he did everything Mikey asked but Mikey always made up another excuse not to see him. Mikey needs to man up. He is totally unable to live in the real world and one day when there is no show and no brother to pick him up, reality is going to slap him in the face. He has a rude awakening coming.

Anyone ever watch the Chopper Aftershow? I never bothered.

This week, PJD continues the DeKalb corn bike and OCC starts a build for U.S. Biker Law. It is a web site of lawyers that specialize in motorcycle cases and they want to commission a 9/11 bike from OCC. You might remember, I showed you PJD’s 9/11 bike right here. OK, PJD and OCC both do trikes, both do builds for corn companies, and both do 9/11 bikes. Coincidence?


And I had a laugh when Senior showed up at the firehouse with the Fire Bike that Paulie designed.

Mikey visits, yet again, a therapist and what does he want? He wants things for his father to do. Not any help for him, but for Senior. Mikey keeps trying to get his father to change instead of trying to learn how to get past it and help himself. I am losing respect for him by the second, and I didn’t have much to begin with.

And what kind of therapist is this guy? You can’t diagnose a man sight unseen. He should ethically not be involved. And he said that Mikey was “well” and “has tremendous strength.” Where, his stomach? He is a mass of denial with no coping skills. Anyway, the doctor agrees to do a three-way therapy session with Mikey and Senior over the phone. I’m sure his medical degree is printed in crayon.

Senior, wisely, says no. Hey, he already did that! Remember, Mikey? No matter how much Mikey says he doesn’t want to talk about the past, he keeps bringing up the past. Senior never has. Mikey is still running from it.

Senior tells Mikey he wants to talk face to face, no more texting. But Mikey likes texting. It is safe. He can tell his father what he wants without talking to him, without hearing him, without seeing him, without dealing with him in any but the most impersonal way. It is cowardly.

Senior thought back to the old times with Mikey and (he’s not a good actor so this was real) got a little choked up at how much he missed his son. He called Mikey to set up a meet and only got the voice mail. Was Mikey screening? I wouldn’t put it past him.

Oh, wait, after the commercial break we see that Mikey was screening. Coward. And he called that a small step forward because they were “communicating, at least.” Well, no, not really. Senior was trying to communicate, Mikey was avoiding it. I swear, I am a better therapist than the hack Mikey went to. But probably so are you. And your dog.

At ten minutes after nine, we see the new lunatic, Jason Pohl, helping to lift the bike onto the lift. No hard feelings after last week, I guess. And again, Jason’s design has nothing to do with reality. He blames the client, but as Senior and Mike told him, it comes down to geometry. As usual, he knows nothing about bikes. Get rid of that guy! And now this is Mike’s week to get pissed at Jason because Jason was acting like Mr. Know It All. And worse, he ran his mouth in the shop and Jason got pissed at Mike!

“He better learn this ain’t Jason County Choppers.”- Mike
“Jason’s getting touchy about his designs.”- Jim
“There’s always an issue in the 2D to 3D transition.” -Rick, on the problems of turning a flat picture into a three-dimensional bike.

Time to fire this guy, Senior, before you give him 20% of the company too.

The bike has an odd, three-piece split tank with strange (but pretty cool) mounts. I just wonder what made it a 9/11 firemen tribute? It had nothing in the design to relate to it. That must be why the Fire Bike got so much screen time this week.

As for the PJD DeKalb bike, as usual it is Nub’s paint that is making it really work. It looks old-fashioned, with faux-wood paint and dark a green tractor colored frame. There is a real 1950’s vibe to it. Plus it runs on corn ethanol. When Paulie took it out on the street and I got a good look at it, I really liked it. Nice job.

Next Week, American Chopper takes  a break for Halloween.

American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior
Top Ten Bikes
Senior and Junior reveal their all-time  favorite bikes including OCC’s St. Jude bike, PJD’s first ever client build for  Geico and a shared favorite between father and son.  

%d bloggers like this: