Sunday, February 10, 2008

One Thousand Episodes Approaching (part two)

As of today, we are fifteen episodes away from number 1,000, to be devoted to the life and writing of Stanley Huntley!

In the process, I have gathered more information than anybody else has in the last 100 years on Stanley Huntley. So far, we have posted sixty Spoopendyke stories, and about as many other pieces by Huntley in the Basement. I believe I may be able to come up with at least a dozen more Spoopendykes, many of which have not seen the light of day since the 1800s! There are at least some that were never collected in any of the Spoopendyke books. While Huntley died in 1885, his books remained in print and were popular well into the twentieth century.

His wife Florence died in 1912, and their confused estate probably left no one to care about re-issuing the books, and the characters fell into obscurity. Needless to say, the influence of Huntley on modern comedy is widespread, either directly or indirectly. 

If you haven't heard any of his stuff yet, go listen to some of the SUNDAY SALAD episodes in the Basement. You'll be glad you did.

I do want to thank all the thousands of listeners to the Basement. Very soon now, I hope to update the statistics page, which I haven't done since last April. Remarkably enough, I have been averaging close to 3,000 downloads every day, seven days a week, for years now, from listeners in every corner of the globe! 

All this has been done with very little publicity -- mostly by word of mouth -- and almost no help from Apple's iTunes. Mister Ron's Basement was picked up by iTunes the day it started carrying podcasts, and has never, as far as I can tell been spotlighted there. I understand that there's just a few overworked people who do all the choosing for the Top Podcasts, and what I have been doing has probably flown over their heads. It's easy to see that what I am doing is not their cup of tea. While Mister Ron's Basement offers (IMHO) unparalleled entertainment and a high degree of scholarship and research, it isn't "explicit" and doesn't offer imitations of the same old stuff you hear every day on television and radio, and doesn't feature modern celebrities hawking their latest piece of pop culture. It is not produced by a major corporation, so there's no need to butter me up.

Additionally, there are ferocious problems with iTunes updating Mister Ron's Basement's main menu. Subscribers get the latest episodes easily every day, but sometimes the main menu will update daily for weeks in a row, then not update at all for weeks in a row.

Undoubtedly, the suggestion of the programmers there would be to stop clogging up their RSS pipes with a thousand episodes. But it has been my intention to create a massive, easily accessible library of timeless classic American humorous writing, and I'm not about to let latecomers to Podcasting dictate what a Podcast is or isn't to me. Their main menu scrolls by the latest 100 episodes, and the subscriber menu makes all of them available. If they can't figure out how to grab my RSS feed in a reliable manner, either they're not too competent at this, or else they figure what I am doing is not worth their effort (I suspect it is the latter that is the case).

Anyway, I don't want to get the iTunes Gods angry at me and have them ban Mister Ron's Basement, so I do want to say that I am actually quite grateful for iTunes for helping to popularize Podcasting, and I hope they continue to do so.

While I am at it, I want to thank Roger Strickland, who runs Mister Ron's Basement's hosting service, Slapcast ( He provides a terrific, low-priced podcast hosting service that offers unlimited bandwidth at a remarkable price. You can even post three episodes totally free to try it out. Tell 'em Mister Ron sent you!

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