Saturday, December 18, 2021

Vultures Of Fort Worth, Texas

This is quite a coincidence.  I took this picture right outside our home in Fort Worth, Texas, on this day in 2017:

It's a gruesome shot to be sure, but it wasn't an uncommon one - carrion birds were always at the ready when there was roadkill.  Fort Worth to the west was increasingly rural, & doubtless those birds lived in the more unpopulated areas.

A year later, on this day in 2018, I took this picture:

It's another vulture, or perhaps the same one from the year before, it has been sitting on the pole looking for (or rather smelling for, as they hunt by scent) newly killed urban wildlife.  I happened to take the picture as it was leaving.

You don't see many of these sorts of carrion birds around Portland, although perhaps it's because the ubiquitous crows double as carrion birds hereabouts.

Lest you think I'm a bit morbid, thinking about vultures, let me point you to this site here. It tells me these are turkey vultures, it's how I knew about their scent hunting, & it's got more gruesome pictures than I took.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Forget Me Not

The image above is from the French graphic novel, "Forget Me Not" ("Ne M'Oublie Pas") by Alix Garin, a sweet & sad tale about dealing with one's grandparent succumbing to Alzheimer's.  You can find out more about it here, but I am here to announce my own delightful self-control in not posting this out of context & subtitling it, "Listening to Self Help Radio."

Truly it's a marvelous comic, though.  A remind that the form can be used for something other than superheroes & sci-fi & fantasy - & in my opinion, should be.

Oh no! Bla bla bla bla bla bla.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Self Help Radio 121421: Gary's Favorite Music Of 2021

(Most of these covers are from Discogs, but a couple are from Bandcamp.)

Do I need to write a lot about this?  I played a bunch of songs from records I really liked this year.  I probably could've gone for four hours.  Maybe even five.  If only there were enough time.  Perhaps there'll be something you like, should you listen.

The show is at the Self Help Radio website as well as the KBOO website.  The one at the Self Help Radio website will require a username, which is SHR, & a password, which is selfhelp.  What I play is below, & it's really mostly music with occasional irritating interruptions from me telling you what I played & asking you to help KBOO out during our End Of The Year Membership Drive.

& that's it!  Enjoy.

Self Help Radio Favorites Of 2021
"Right" Khruangbin _Modern Love_
"If You Leave" Angel Olsen _Aisles EP_
"(Keep Feeling) Fascination" The Catenary Wires _Mirrorball_

"Chaise Longue" Wet Leg _Chaise Longue_
"Your Fandango" Todd Rundgren & Sparks _Your Fandango_
"Change" Anika _Change_
"Francoise" Momus _Athenian_
"Upsidedown" The Mighty Project _Total Football_

"More Big Birds" Dry Cleaning _New Long Leg_
"Holy Hope" J.R.C.G. _Ajo Sunshine_
"Cut That Fishernet" Mouse On Mars _AAI_
"Sequitur" Negativland _No Brain_
"All Eyes On Me" Bo Burnham _Inside (The Songs)_

"I'm Starting To Think You Don't Even Want To Go To Space" Fightmilk _Contender_
"You're Not The Only Failure Here" The Big However _Las Vegas Amusements_
"Lockdown To Liverpool" The Hepburns feat. Estella Rosa _Architecture Of The Ages_
"Dual Lives" The Lodger _Cul-De-Sac Of Love_
"Juno" Spud Cannon _Good Kids Make Bad Apples_

"No Action (feat. Nina Diaz)" Elvis Costello & The Attractions _Spanish Model_
"Age Of Isolation" The Mommyheads _Age Of Isolation_
"Til Dawn" The Goon Sax _Mirror II_
"Bundunyabba Blue" Spearmint _Holland Park_
"Leaves Fall Again" Shannon & The Clams _Year Of The Spider_

"Monde Moderne" Pierre Didy Tchakounte Et Les Tulipes Noires _Cameroon Garage Funk 1964-1979_
"Ma'a Ibnat" Ouiness _Habibi Funk: An Eclectic Selection Of Music From The Arab World, Part 2_
"The Indian Dance" Pinky-Ann-Rihal _Naya Beat Volume 1: South Asian Dance & Electronic Music 1983-1992_
"Mujer Jaguar" Combo Chimbita _Mujer Jaguar_
"I Woke Up With An Open Heart (feat. The Hempolics)" Lost Horizons _In Quiet Moments_

"She Buys Herself Flowers" The Umbrellas _The Umbrellas_
"Sullen Leering Hope" Ducks Ltd. _Modern Fiction_
"Agitate" Kit Sebastian _Melodi_
"We Do It But Never Know Why" The Go! Team _Get Up Sequences Part One_
"Time Is On The Run" Monnone Alone _Stay Foggy_
"Rock N Roll Void" Swansea Sound _Live At The Rum Puncheon_

"Emotional Rent Control" Cheekface _Emphatically No._
"Nashville Wedding" Kiwi Jr. _Cooler Returns_
"Fake" Onetwothree _Onetwothree_
"Goodbye To All That" Would-Be-Goods _Saturn's Child_

Monday, December 13, 2021

Whither Gary's Favorite Music 2021?

(Original image here.)

In case you've never heard me talk about this before, I despise "best of" lists.  They are the height of arrogance & insecurity, & it's breathtaking how many people cede their own opinions to whatever authority they deem reliable & trustworthy.  It makes sense - you want to believe that what you like is the "best" - why else would you like it?  When there's something you like that one of those authorities doesn't like but you enjoy, you call it a "guilty pleasure."  But the truth is, there is no objective "best" when it comes to things like an opinion.  If you enjoy it, it's good, by definition.  If you like it best, it's the best.  But somehow imagining that that imparts on it a universal quality is foolish at best & pathetic at worst.

So too these "best of" lists come across as pretentious at best & ludicrous at worst.  Imagine thinking that in any given year, with everything that is created, you can decide what's "best" when you may not enjoy a particular genre of music or when you cannot possibly have listened to more than a fraction of what's been released.  Even if it's a magazine or website that has its own genre critics, & the list is somehow made democratically (because opinion is democratic?), the result is a mishmash that the contributors themselves don't really agree on.

Just tell us your favorites.  Don't pretend you know what's best.  You don't.  You know what you consider the best.  That doesn't make it the best for me.  Or even for the majority of people.

On Twitter recently, after Peter Jackson's Let It Be remake came out, there were thousands if not millions of posters who gave their unsolicited opinions (it's Twitter after all) about the Beatles, especially the ones who desperately needed whoever scrolled past to know that they hated the band.  One person wrote with a sniff, "Let me know when there's a seven hour documentary about the Monkees."  This person did not like the band that a majority - a vast majority - of music critics would call the greatest band in the world.  The best band in the history of rock & roll.  To me, the fact that just one person dislikes something automatically means it's not the best.  How can it be?  You have to start qualifying it - "best among top critics" or "best among fans" - but it just proves my point: it's just a popular opinion.  I find it odious that one needs to pretend it's universal & objective.

Which is my way of telling you, tonight on Self Help Radio, there's no "best of" 2021.  There's just lots of music I liked this year.  & I probably listened to a lot more new music than the average person did in 2021, but I also didn't listen to a lot of music in genres I don't really care for.  I would imagine those people would be very irritated if I called my list "best" & what they liked best didn't make it.

This has gone on too long but I also want to say that my list is far from comprehensive.  I still have several dozen albums I really need to listen to.  There's a good chance that many of those would make this list of mine.  My apologies.  Especially to me.  Apologies to myself!  I am totally missing out.

Tonight on 90.7 fm KBOO Portland, also on, from midnight to 3am, some - most? - of my favorite music of 2021.  I wish you had a radio show so you could share what you liked best.  As long as you didn't lie to the world & tell us it was the "best of the year."

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Preface To Gary's Favorite Music 2021: What A Year It Was

(You wanna ask Rate Your Music?)

This was a very busy year for me.  I made lots of radio shows - usually two a week.  I made music mixes for XRAY FM.  I subbed a few shows for KBOO.  I'll have a count at the end of the month, but it was a lot.  & while I eventually got to do Self Help Radio live at KBOO, I continue to make the Dickenbock Report from home.  It's one thing to gather material for a show, then go to a radio station & do that show, it's another thing entirely to record & edit your airbreaks & then assemble the show in an audio editing program.  I'm sure I've complained about this on the blog before, but suffice it to say, it takes way more time than you might imagine.

If it sounds like there's some complaining going on, there is.  & maybe I'm trying to make an excuse or two.  I felt like I was so busy listening to music for the radio & for my shows that I didn't spend as much time listening to music for me.  & as such, I'm not sure how representative the music I'll play tomorrow is of "my favorite music."  In many cases, it's the music I listened to most, which sort of defines "favorite" for me.  But in some important cases, it was something I only got to listen to once or twice but I really, really liked it, & hoped to make time for it later on.  It's now too late to make that time.  So I'll call it a favorite & hope it stands the test.

This is an admonition, then.  A caveat.  A disclaimer.  & I suppose I'll continue it tomorrow.