Saturday, July 03, 2021


This picture is called "Portal."  It was taken in Lexington, Kentucky, on this day in 2016, five years ago.  I called it "Portal" because I've always wanted to believe mirrors were like doorways to a different universe.  It's a strange thing to want to believe, since if you see yourself in a mirror, you're doing the exact same thing but backwards.  So it's not like anything different is happening there.  But you read a comic or a sci-fi book & it suggests that & your mind is electrified.

& then there's this, from (I believe) Breakfast Of Champions:

Trout did another thing which some people might have considered eccentric: he called mirrors leaks. It amused him to pretend that mirrors were holes between two universes.

If he saw a child near a mirror, he might wag his finger at a child warningly, & say with great solemnity, "Don't get too near that leak. You wouldn't want to wind up in the other universe, would you?"

Sometimes somebody would say in his presence, "Excuse me, I have to take a leak." This was a way of saying that the speaker intended to drain liquid wastes from his body through a valve in his lower abdomen.

And trout would reply waggishly, "Where I come from, that means you're about to steal a mirror."

And so on.

That's a Kurt Vonnegut quote.  Maybe I should've called this image "Leak."

Friday, July 02, 2021

Can't. Help. Myself.

Why do they even do it?  Why put a card that is easily erased & used for one's one purposes?

It just seems silly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Self Help Radio 062921: It's Cool

(Original image here.*)

From what I reckon, it's perhaps twenty degrees cooler today than it was at this time yesterday.  In fact, last night, there was a record temperature drop - a cooling down for the history books - & what was happening at that time?  That's right, Self Help Radio.  It was a cool show this morning.  So.  You're welcome, Portland.

But we mustn't be content, thinking the weather has righted itself after an outlier, no.  We must continually advocate for cooler temperatures until Portland is cold, rainy, & dreary like it's supposed to be!  & I suppose one way to do that would be to listen to this show over & over.  It's like having to take unpleasant medicine - you hate it but it keeps the sickness away.

Just a quick note: the show is just me & a bunch of cool songs.  It was just too hot to bring guests on. & they were in their basements anyway, pressed close to the cool concrete floor.  I promise, I keep the talking to a minimum!

Listen to the show now or anytime at either the KBOO website or the Self Help Radio website. It's the same show!  The songs I've played are below.

Okay, we can have a little more sun before the cold grey rainy days return, but let's not do the triple digit thing again, okay?

It's A Cool Self Help Radio Episode
"Cool" Pylon _Gyrate_
"Cool" Throw That Beat In The Garbagecan _The Cool Album_
"Cool" Ascii Disko _Ascii.Disko_

"Super Cool" Carrie Riley & The Fascinations _Florida Funk_
"Super Cool" Black Heat _No Time To Burn_
"Cool" Del Close & John Brent _How To Speak Hip_
"Kool Thing" Sonic Youth _Goo_
"A Real Cool Time" Ramones _Halfway To Sanity_

"You're So Cool" Colleen Green _Sock It To Me_
"Cool Places (feat. Jane Wiedlin)" Sparks _In Outer Space_
"Be Cool To The Pizza Dude" Sarah Adams _This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies Of Remarkable Men & Women_
"But I Was Cool" Oscar Brown Jr. _Sin & Soul ...& Then Some_
"Super Cool (You're Just Super Fool)" Pat Hunt _Moaning, Groaning, Crying - A Galaxy Of Soul_

"Everything Is Cool" John Prine _The Missing Years_
"Cool Water" Nellie Lutcher _Hurry On Down (27 Original Mono Recordings 1947-1951)_
"Being Cool" Kimya Dawson _My Cute Fiend Sweet Princess_
"The Gatekeepers Of Coolness" Patton Oswalt _Werewolves & Lollipops_
"Way Cool" Freestyle Fellowship _Innercity Griots_

"Ain't Never Been Cool" Lucky Soul _The Great Unwanted_
"In Kingdoms Of The Cool" The Cleaners From Venus _Golden Cleaners_
"You Seem Cool" Mike Birbiglia _My Girlfriend's Boyfriend_
"She's So Damn Cool" Felix Da Housecat _Devin Dazzle & The Neon Fever_
"Cool Blue" Eurythmics _Touch_

"Losing My Cool" The Shrew Kings _The Sound Of Leamington Spa Volume 5_
"Can't Keep My Cool" Durand Jones & The Indications _Durand Jones & The Indications_
"Blew My Cool" The Oblivians _Soul Food_
"How To Be Cool" Brian Gaar _Never Gonna Be Famous_
"Cool Brunette" The Virgin-Whore Complex _Succumb_

"Cool Dance" Rasputin Stash _Devil Made Me Do It_
"Cool Jerk" The Capitols _Beg, Scream, Shout: The Big Ol' Box Of '60s Soul_
"Relax Baby Be Cool" Serge Gainsbourg _Aux Armes Et Caetera_
"Fuck You I'm Cool" Juicy _For The Ladies_
"Yr Version Of Cool" Mad Planets _Music Makes Me Think Of You_
"Cool Kids" Shana Falana _Here Comes The Wave_

"Three Cool Cats" The Coasters _The Best Of Burlesque (50 Original Club Classics)_
"Cool Chick" Comateens _Comateens_
"Cool Guitar Boy" Heavenly _Heavenly Vs Satan_
"Cool Cool Girl" Fightmilk _Contender_
"Cool Guy" Todd Glass _Thin Pig_
"Cool For Cats" Squeeze _Cool For Cats_

"Real Cool Time" The Stooges _The Stooges_
"Cool It Down" The Velvet Underground _Loaded_
"We're So Cool" Au Pairs _Playing With A Different Sex_
"Cool" The World _First World Record_
"Cool N' Out" Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros _Global A Go-Go_
"Cool Meditation" Third World _Journey To Addis_

"Through Being Cool" Devo _New Traditionalists_
"Cool Hand Luke Main Title" Petra Haden _Petra Goes To The Movies_
"Cool Sound" The Smittens _A Little Revolution_

* "Cool City Limit" by jimmywayne is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Monday, June 28, 2021

Whither It's Cool (aka The Cool Show)

(I found this image on the Willamette Week website.)

It's probably pretty obvious that I wanted to do a "cool" show at some point during the summer.  It's one of my rare attempts to be somewhat topical.  Usually I am topical by accident.  But I remembered it got warm in July so I thought the theme "It's Cool" might be fun - especially if it were still a bit chilly, as it was in early June.

Ha ha ha no.  It turns out the week I planned for the show was a nightmare hellscape here in Portland.  The last three days have been the hottest days on record in this town.  It is currently 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  When I was out & about earlier - who knows why - I saw bank signs reading as high as 116 degrees.  It has been very, very hot.  So it's strangely appropriate Self Help Radio would try to be cool this week.

Of course there are other meanings of cool & we'll cover those, too.  I have three hours to fill.  & though I'll be doing the show in the comfort of my air-conditioned home, I know that others are truly suffering.  They had to shut down the rail service in town because of the extreme heat!

Anyway.  Self Help Radio tries to be cool & help you cool down tonight on 90.7 fm KBOO & from midnight to 3am.  It won't really help, but I can pretend, can't I?

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Preface To It's Cool: He's Cool

("Is he cool?" "Yeah, he's cool." From this.)

For the purposes of this story I'm about to tell, I need you to know my father was an alcoholic & his drinking destroyed his marriage.  It also meant I basically grew up without a father.  When I did see him, he was invariably drunk.  & it was unpleasant.  So I grew to hate drinking &, because my young mind didn't really see much difference, drugs.

The weird thing is, drugs were everywhere in my youth.  Two of my older brothers were big potheads & I recently discovered that they were dealers at the time, too.  They had bongs & rolling papers everywhere.  I'm not sure I knew what they were - I guess I thought they were for tobacco or perhaps were some kind of trinket or knick knack.  Or I knew they were for marijuana & secretly scorned them.  I just know I took the anti-drug stuff in school quite literally.  I swore to myself I'd never drink or do drugs ever.

In the apartments where we lived there was a sweet fellow named Bubba.  He was a tough kid, he took a liking to me & my little brother, he would often stand up for us when my sister Karin's friends messed with us because we were in fact little pests.  In his own way, Bubba was cool like the Fonz.  He was gentle, soft-spoken, but obviously would get into a scrap at a moment's notice.  I liked hanging out with him because he was nice to me.  His best buddy Bobby - it's true, it was Bobby & Bubba - he hated us & I think Bubba enjoyed irking him by having us around.

One day I was in Bubba's apartment - I'll bet I was in sixth grade at the time - just hanging out & listening to Bubba tell stories - probably wildly exaggerated stories about his adventures, when a group of teenagers - & let's be clear, Bubba was probably just sixteen or seventeen years old himself - came into the apartment & had something with them.  It was a bag of grass.

Little me was entirely unaware what was going on.  As they opened the package on a table & took to preparing it for use, one of the teens - whom I'd never seen before - said, "Is he cool?"  Bubba didn't even look at me.  He said, "Yeah, he's cool."  I got side-eyed a bit after that.  & I figured out they what they were doing.  & what it was all about.

By & by I made an excuse to leave, obviously before the drug-doing would commence.  I was so incredibly angry.  I knew what "being cool" meant!  I didn't want to be that kind of "cool"!  How dare Bubba - who I thought was the coolest guy I knew - call me that kind of cool!  If that was cool, I never wanted to be cool, ever!

The truth is, I lost a lot of respect for him that day, & didn't really want to hang around with him any more after that. I never knew if he made any connection - he remained kind to me until he moved from the apartments.

As for me, I broke my promise about drinking & doing drugs at some point later.  I have however kept my word about being cool.  I have never in my life been cool.