Saturday, May 08, 2021


This is a photo I took on the high on the way to Moab, Utah, on this day two years ago.  The wife & I were in two cars, we were in the process of relocating to Portland from Fort Worth.  I actually wrote about the trip here on the blog, & you can read what I wrote about the drive from New Mexico to Utah right here.

That part of the world is so beautiful & I wish I could visit it more often.  In a couple of weeks I'm going back to Dallas for my mother's memorial & I am taking a plane but part of me toyed with the idea of driving - it takes four days.  I couldn't have done it without being incredibly exhausting but I am certainly glad I hadn't looked at pictures of Utah I took two days ago before I booked the flight - I might have chanced it just to see that lovely place in person again.

Friday, May 07, 2021

Blanketed By Film

(image from the IMDb)

This week's Self Help Radio was about blankets (you can listen here & here, if you are so inclined) & the show's resident cinephile stopped by in his regular segment Chuck's Happily Unsophisticated Cinema Korner to talk about films prominently featuring blankets.

Here is the list of the movies he made.
Here is the YouTube playlist featuring movies he talked about.
Here are the Letterboxd reviews of the films he watched.
& as always, you can check in with what Chuck's watching at his Twitter account, @robotmonkeycat.

If you enjoy film, you'll enjoy Chuck's recommendations!

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Self Help Radio 050421: Blankets

(original image here.*)

What a comforting show that was.  No, really!  As one listener texted, "thanks for the very cozy show."  & shouldn't radio in the middle of the night be somewhat cozy?

Self Help Radio this week explored blankets both literal & figurative.  & almost everyone involved with the show - certainly the fellow making it, possibly the guests, & maybe the listener(s)(?) - were under blankets at the time.  Sometimes more than one blanket.  Seriously, how snug & warm was everyone during this show?  It was completely pleasant.  Zzzzzzzz.

Climb under the blankets of the show at either the KBOO website or the Self Help Radio website.  Lots of things happened on the show besides all the songs about blankets.  It's mentioned below.

Now, where was I?  Oh yeah.  Zzzzzzzz.

Self Help Radio Blankets Show
"How Many Blankets Are In The World?" Saintseneca _Such Things_
"Your Love Is My Blanket" Super 8 _Turn Around Or..._
"Blanket Of My Love" The Troyes _Rainbow Chaser: Complete Recordings (1966-1968)_

introduction & definitions (featuring the Definition-O-Tron 3000)

"Black Sky Blanket" Jennifer O'Connor _Surface Noise_
"Sushi" Films On Song _False Starts EP_
"Security Blanket" Tizzy _Pop American Style_
"Let's Cuddle Up In My Security Blanket" Napoleon XIV _They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!_
"The Blanket Of Night" Elbow _The Take Off & Landing Of Everything_

Self Help Radio librarian Carole recommends books about blankets

"Blanket (feat. Imogen Heap)" Urban Species _Blanket_
"Take My Blanket & Go" Joe Purdy _Take My Blanket & Go_
"Blanket" Gurf Morlix _Diamonds To Dust_
"I Need A Blanket" Horowitz _Frosty Cat Songs_
"Pillows & Blankets" Kid Auto Races At Venice _Summer Escape_

interview with Hollywood MyBlanket Guy Denver Smithell

"Blanket On The Ground" Billie Jo Spears _Blanket On The Ground_
"Whip The Blankets" Neko Case & Her Boyfriends _Furnace Room Lullaby_
"Blanket Show" The Gourds _Haymaker!_
"Green Blanket" Peter Case _Full Service, No Waiting_
"From A Buick 6" Bob Dylan _Highway 61 Revisited_

our resident cinephile Chuck recommends films about blankets

"Beach Blanket Bingo" Donna Loren _Hey, Beach Girls! (Female Surf 'N' Drag 1961-1966)_
"Blanket On The Beach" Bill Courtney _Teenagers Forever_
"On A Blanket On The Beach" Tommy Leonetti _The Early Side Of Tommy Leonetti_
"Blanket Of Weeds" Meat Puppets _Sewn Together_
"Blanket Over The Sky" The Verlaines _Way Out Where_

Self Help Radio has the Hard Answers to Hard Questions - featuring Ned Dry

"Blanket Roll Blues" Scott Walker _Climate Of Hunter_
"Old Woman Tossed Up In A Blanket" Ashley Hutchings, Richard Thompson, Dave Mattacks, John Kirkpatrick, & Barry Dransfield _Morris On_
"Blanket" Ygdrassil _Pieces_
"Blanket For A Sail" Nilsson _Knnillssonn_
"Electric Blanket" Peter Rowan _Dust Bowl Children_
"Electric Blanket" Log Across The Washer _PDX Pop Now!_

idioms with the word "blanket"

"Wet Blanket" The Chills _Brave Words_
"Wet Blanket" Evans The Death _Evans The Death_
"Wet Blanket" Metz _Metz_
"Wet Blanket" Metric _Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?_
"Blankets" Sarah Silverman _Songs Of The Sarah Silverman Show_
"Isigqumza (My Blanket)" Xhosa: Mpondo _The Nguni Sound: South Africa & Swaziland 1955 '57 '58_

conclusion & goodbye

"Newspaper Blanket" The Cowsills _The Best Of The Cowsills_
"Found Under Blankets" Tompot Blenny _Found Under Blankets_
"Seven Blankets" A Weather _Everyday Balloons_
"Blankets" Craig Finn _I Need A New War_
"Waking Up On A Picnic Blanket" Lullatone _The Sounds Of Spring_

*"beautiful blankets" by mararie is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Monday, May 03, 2021

Whither Blankets?

(from the Sunday Peanuts strip, April 3, 1955.
taken from The Complete Peanuts Vol. 3)

This is something I reflect on a little too often: I now live in a place where it's cold most of the time.  You see, I grew up in the Dallas area, in Texas.  We have something like a winter there, it probably lasts three months or so, it gets pretty cold a few days but mostly it's just grey.  W don't have much of a spring or fall.  In March, it starts getting warm, & stays that way until maybe the end of October.  That's roughly two-thirds of the year where it's potentially very, very hot outside.  In the summers - this is true of Austin, too, of course, where I lived for over twenty years - it can be over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit for months.  No matter how much you crank your air conditioner, you don't ever really feel cold.

That changed when we moved to Appalachia.  They have a summer that lasts maybe three months, with usually only a week or two that they feel like is too hot - & even then, it's just in the 90s.  I guess I knew things were different when we were planning a benefit show for WRFL & it would happen at the end of September.  I suggested maybe doing it outside, & someone said, "Oh no, it'll be too cold by then."  The Austin City Limits festival happens in October, & it's still hot as fuck in Austin at that time!

We got to experience the misery of "hot most of the time" Texas when we returned in 2016.  During the summer we walked the dogs early in the morning because in the evening the concrete was just too hot for their poor paws & of course the day was too punishing.  Even that early, it would be 85 degrees out - yes, at 5:30am!

But here in Portland, the reverse is true.  Two mornings ago I went for a walk around 9am with the hounds & the way I dressed you would've thought it was a brisk Autumn day.  It's the middle of Spring!  It's 64 degrees as I write this, but 86 degrees in Fort Worth.  But wait!  The weather site I just glanced at assures me it "feels like 92 degrees."

Being back where it's cold most of the time has given me a renewed appreciation of blankets.  Thinking about blankets made me think about doing a show about blankets, & that's happening tonight at midnight on 90.7 KBOO Portland, simultaneously online at  There's a good chance someone listening will be under their own blankets at the time!  That's a nice thing to think about.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Preface To Blankets: Blankets In My Childhood

(Here are some blankets.  I found them at this site.)

Thinking about blankets, I remember two blankets I had - not as a child, but maybe as a tween - but also into my teen years.  One of them was blue, the other was kinda orange.

My memory suggests that they were supposed to be blankets for me & my little brother.  Which is to say, one of them (I think the orange one) was supposed to be mine, & the other one (the blue one?) was supposed to be his.  My mother is no longer with us, but I wish I could ask her if she remembered the blankets.  It seems entirely like something she might remember.

For reasons too complicated to explain here, my little brother spent a great deal of his time while in high school living at my oldest sister's house.  This meant that his blanket - which might have been the blue one - was often on his bed - we shared a room - & left unattended.  I loved blankets, I loved being covered & smothered by blankets, it made perfect sense I would take his blanket & make it my own.

This is not something I am ready to talk too much about, but I did give the blankets names, & even though I was a teenager who shouldn't have invented fantasy scenarios before he fell asleep, I did involve my blankets in stories that I invented as I dozed off.  I will not share the names I gave these blankets nor their role in my imaginings.  Just please don't think they were incredible flights of fancy - at best, they were echoes of things I consumed in the comic books & sci-fi novels I was reading at the time.

What became of these blankets?  I do not know.  There is a very good chance I brought at least one of them with me to college.  But I have no proof.  What I do recall is that there were two pillows - my mother told me they "came from Germany," which might have meant they were gifts from my grandparents - which my brother & I slept on throughout our childhood.  Because my brother was never at our place, I took both of them to me to Austin in 1986 when I moved there.  I knew I was taking my little brother's pillow.  I don't know if he ever noticed.

The life trajectory of those pillows was kind of incredible.  They stayed with me for years & years.  At some point - I think this was in Kentucky, so somewhere between 2010 & 2016 - my wife told me that the pillows had degraded to the point they were a health hazard.  I had to say goodbye.  & I did.

The pillows had names, too, & no, I will not share that.

As for my blankets - I don't know when that orange & that blue blanket left me.  I'd hate to think it was an afterthought.  Almost certainly, if I brought them with me to Austin, they were rejected by the first woman with whom I shared a bed.  & that was that.