Saturday, April 02, 2022

The Uncertain Fate Of Bojangles

A year ago on this date, we were walking our dogs in the afternoon & a tiny animal - pictured above - wandered toward us.  He was not frightened nor threatening - he weighed less than our dog Yoko - he was sweet & friendly & he let me pick him up.  I gave him a treat & I looked around for his owner - but there was no one around to claim him.  So I walked him home & eventually we gave him a bath & fed him & I went through all the channels that I could to find his owner.  I posted on Next Door & I also posted on Facebook.

Almost immediately I got a message from someone who wanted to adopt him.  I was cautious & said I'd wait a bit.  I can't recall if I waited for twenty-four hours but that sounds like me, but I did despair that his owner(s) weren't looking for him.  But right before our afternoon walk the next day, I received a message from someone who knew who he was & to whom he belonged.

This means that he spent a day with us.  He was a sweet, sweet fellow.  Not overly concerned with food - very different from our pack - but with a need to be close to someone.  I think we made him sleep in the garage overnight so as not to either cause any issues with our dogs nor give him any sense our home might be permanent.  He was very chill.  He was cool with whatever.  Look at that sweet face!

The message was from someone who lived in a halfway house in our neighborhood.  Bojangles belonged to a woman there who was beside herself with worry.  We said we'd bring him by - & that's how we learned his name.  When we returned him to her, I knew he was home - he showed such affection to her that I was convinced this was her owner.  I was glad to see him home but sad to see him go.

One of the people who had wanted to adopt him followed up with Bojangles' owner.  She was retired military with many issues.  She was a recovering addict & believed that someone in her house had deliberately set Bojangles free.  (I should note we found him several blocks from the house - he certainly had gone a-wanderin'.)  This person attempted to help Bojangles' owner but was rebuffed until, I assume, she just gave up.

At some point, my wife & I went back to the halfway house & clipped the nails of some of the pets there.  (We had bathed & clipped Bojangles' nails when he was with us.)  But we didn't stay in contact with any of the residents & it was not on our normal dog walk path.  I have not seen Bojangles since the day I handed him back to his owner.

A couple of days ago, we happened to walk past the halfway house & it appeared to be undergoing renovation.  I couldn't see if it was occupied but there was a giant dumpster in front & people wandering about in work clothes.  Perhaps it's no longer a halfway house.  Perhaps Bojangles & his owner no longer live there.

Here's what I know: when his owner took him from me, she expressed the joy I feel with my animals.  I had no doubt he was hers, & she his.  I can't begin to imagine what she has experienced & continues to go through.  I can only hope she has Bojangles to help her, wherever she may be.

Friday, April 01, 2022

It Bit

You won't believe I took this gorgeous picture of this terrifying creature - because why would you? I've shown no talent for photography!  Even I can't believe I took it.  Or that I got close enough to take it because I am deathly afraid of insects.  I just remember that my wife wanted to touch it, & it bit her.  It did!  Her finger swelled up.  Maybe some errant entomologist will happen by this blog one day & comment on what kind of bug it is.  As it stands, I have written it a poem.

Oh biting caterpillar!
We must fetch now the painkiller.
As my wife's hand did linger
You bit her on the finger.
She still thinks you're pretty
Despite what you did - which was shitty.
Though this was awful business
She's shown you forgiveness.
Someday I'll hurt her in some manner
(Not something I'd put in a planner)
But I think of how she forgave you
So there's hope that she'll forgive me too.

Although I shouldn't show her this poem.  It's pretty much unforgivable.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Self Help Radio 032922: The Saddest

This was the saddest sunflower I ever met.

Self Help Radio this week was in its own way two different shows.  The first featured artists telling us what they thought was the saddest thing - the saddest stories, the saddest songs, the saddest words.  During that portion of the show, we also talked to guests.

But as you might have noticed I asked on Twitter & Facebook for listeners to submit what they thought was the saddest song they ever heard - & I asked on air, too.  Honestly, it probably could have been an entire show.  As it happened, I just got to songs requests by Anne, Connor, Dave, two Erics, Gretchen, Hayden, Jamie, Keith, Kevin, Leah, Leslie, Michael, Patrick, Russell, & Tommy.  Except for the live requests, I completely randomized what I would play, so I just didn't have the time to play requests by Avalon, Christopher, Crystal, Damian, David, George, Jeff, Jeffrey, John, Jon, Liza, Matthew, Molly, & Suzi.  My apologies - I should've planned better.  I loved hearing all of your saddest songs!

Just a note - Conner called in to request the same song Jamie has requested, so I felt I had to play it!  & someone named Boosiph requested a Tom Waits song, which Keith also requested, so I flipped a coin, & Keith's choice one.

You can listen to the show any time at either KBOO's web site or at the Self Help Radio website. Login info for the Self Help Radio site - username SHR password selfhelp.  All the songs & what happens in-between are below.

You helped make the saddest show into one of my happiest!  Thank you!

Self Help Radio's Saddest Show
"Saddest Tale" Billie Holiday _The Legacy (1933-1958)_
"Saddest Night In The World" The Walker Brothers _The Walker Brothers Collection_
"The Saddest House In Stockholm" Marty Willson-Piper _Spirit Level_

introduction & explanation

"The Saddest Story Ever Told" The Magnetic Fields _The Wayward Bus_
"The Saddest Story Ever Told" The Charade _The Best Is Yet To Come_
"The Saddest Place In The World" Maria Bamford _How To Win!_
"My Saddest Hour" The Five Keys _The Aladdin Years_
"The Saddest Thing" Melanie _The Good Book_

interview with "Saddest Thing I've Ever Seen" columnist Cliff Turnbull

"Na Na Is The Saddest Word" The Stylistics _The Very Best Of The Stylistics_
"Goodbye Is The Saddest Word" Manhattans _There's No Good In Goodbye_
"The Saddest Snack" Matt Koff _Who's My Little Guy?_
"The Saddest Day" Vitesse _A Certain Hostility_
"The Saddest Song I've Got" Annie Lennox _Bare_

interview with composer of "the saddest music ever written" Edgar Jarvis

"The Saddest Lyrics I Have Ever Written" W-X _W-X_
"The Saddest Lullaby" I'm From Barcelona _Let Me Introduce My Friends_
"The Saddest Sentence" Hodera _First Things First_
"Saddest Quo" The Pernice Brothers _Discover A Lovelier You_
"Small Deaths Are The Saddest" Múm _Summer Make Good_

interview with Bummer, the saddest clown in Portland

"Saddest Summer" The Drums _Summertime!_
"Saddest Girl In The World" Alpaca Sports _From Paris With Love_
"Saddest Day" Brilliantine _My Life & The Beautiful Game_
"The Saddest Song" Morphine _Good_
"The Saddest Song Of All" Doug Ashdown _The Age Of Mouse_

interview with healer of the saddest people Sebastian Holder

"Drown In My Own Tears (Live)" Ray Charles _Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection_
"Long Ride Home" Patty Griffin _1000 Kisses_
"Holocaust" Big Star _Third/Sister Lovers_
"Tonight" Sibylle Baier _Colour Green_
"Alone Again" Biz Markie _I Need A Haircut_

we just heard what Michael, Leslie, Eric, Patrick, & Tom say are the saddest songs they've ever heard

"I Remember Me" Silver Jews _Bright Light_
"At Seventeen" Janis Ian _Between The Lines_
"Pictures Of You (Remix)" The Cure _Pictures Of You_
"Box Of Cedar" Marissa Nadler _Ballads Of Living & Dying_
"Suffer Little Children" The Smiths _The Smiths_

we just heard what Hayden, Anne, Dave, Eric, & Leah say are the saddest songs they've ever heard
also - conclusion & goodbye!

"In A Lonely Place" New Order _Substance_
"Soldier's Things" Tom Waits _Swordfishtrombones_
"Mad World" Gary Jules _Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets_
"The Chalet Lines" Belle & Sebastian _Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant_
"Baltimore" Randy Newman _Little Criminals_

(those are what Kevin, Keith, Jamie, Connor, Gretchen, & Russell say are the saddest songs they've ever heard)

Monday, March 28, 2022

Whither The Saddest Show?

(I don't remember where I found this image but it was titled 'The Saddest Beer Ever.')

In typical predictable Self Help Radio fashion, this week's show is more focused on songs talking about the saddest things - stories, songs, etc. - than itself being the saddest show.  However!  As I discussed yesterday, I did ask listeners & friends about the saddest songs they heard, & I got a few responses, so at least some of the show - maybe even half! - will be actual songs that someone thought was the saddest they'd ever heard.

This means that while I don't believe the typical predictable Self Help Radio portion of the show would overall make you sad, the sad songs chosen by listeners actually may.  So consider this a warning!  There may be a part of Self Help Radio tonight that might be sad - & "sad" meaning "affected by unhappiness or grief," & not, as is the usual way people describe the show as sad, meaning "deplorably bad."

That's tonight, midnight to 3am, on 90.7 fm KBOO in Portland & online everywhere at  We certainly hope it'll be the best saddest show you'll ever hear.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Preface To The Saddest Show: Requests

(image from here.)

My very first experience with radio - that is, communicating with a deejay who had a radio show - involved requesting a song.  I told that story on the blog a while back.  If you don't want to read it, here's the show version: I requested a song, the deejay did not play it, & when I called to request it again, he lied to me & said he'd already played it.

Requests have almost certainly been a part of radio since the beginning.  Early rock & roll deejays measured the success of a song by how many times it was requested.  & it certainly is something I have experienced in my many years of deejaying.  I can usually tell when the listener hasn't really been paying attention - or has never heard Self Help Radio before - & requests a song which has nothing to do with the theme.  In general, though, if I have access to a library, & if I can find the song, I will play it for a listener.

There are always caveats.  Many's the time I'm on the air during the day & can't play songs with bad words.  & I've mentioned, if the show has a theme, & the requested song doesn't fit the theme, I also won't play it.*  & of course if I can't find it, I won't play it.  Some folks will tell me "it's on Spotify" & some even send YouTube links, but I worry about quality from such sources.  I prefer to browse through a physical library, not the treacherous digital ones.

There was one listener in Kentucky who seemed so fearful I might not play his request that he referred to them as "suggestions."  "Thanks for the request," I'd say, & he'd quickly correct me: "It's not a request, it's a suggestion."  I would always wonder which deejay had hurt him so much.

The radio culture has changed since I started in 1994 & it seems that calling a show for requests is not a common thing - or maybe I should just say, not in Portland.  One listener called last week to ask if I'd played a certain song that fit the theme.  I said I hadn't, but if he'd like to hear it, I'd try to find it.  He said, "Oh no, don't interrupt your programming for me!"

That kind of humility seems to me ill-suited for the tradition of radio.  As it was, I looked for his song but could not find it.  Perhaps the number of requests has fallen as the number of fulfilled requests have fallen.  Or maybe my experience has been the anomaly - & most people, like eight-year-old me, are lied to by deejays who simply don't want to take requests.

Well, for tomorrow's show, the saddest show, I asked for requests.  I asked for them early, I asked on the Facebook & the Twitter.  I asked, "What's the saddest song you've ever heard?"  & I got nearly thirty responses.  & I'm going to devote part of tomorrow's saddest show to a selection of the saddest songs that some people have heard.  I'm going to ask again on the air.

Because requesting songs on the radio is not dead.  I'd like to make the suggestion that it become a common practice again.  As long as it doesn't hurt you too terribly much if I can't find what you're looking for.

* The most common request I get that I can't play on Self Help Radio is for a band that fits the theme, not a song.  For example, I might be doing a show about zombies & someone requests the Zombies.  But since the Zombies don't have a song about zombies, I won't play that request.