Saturday, July 23, 2022

Russian House Russian Elegant Food

According to, "More than 100,000 Slavic-speaking refugees & immigrants from the former Soviet Union currently reside in the Portland metro area, & the numbers are expected to increase. Census figures show that no other place in the nation has had more of an influx from the former Soviet Union than the Pacific Northwest."

According to, "Russian is the third-most spoken language in Oregon, after English & Spanish. The Portland area is home to more than 50,000 immigrants & family members from the former Soviet Union, the largest number of which come from Ukraine, according to Portland State's Population Research Center."

On a walk on this day in 2019 - we had been in Portland for just a few months - I passed this sign on Foster Road.  The business - Russian House - had been closed since at least 2013.  According to a review on from 2009, "Nice people, HUGE books selection, great music selection. This is a great place to buy most anything from Russia or the former Soviet republics."  I am sad we didn't get a chance to pop in to have a look.

The Russian at the bottom translates as "Russian Store."  It took me forever to work out the letters in Gurgle Translate.

The sign was gone after the pandemic began.  This is what's there now, courtesy Gurple Merps:

Does it seem like they replaced the whole sign?  I guess not.  But I have no real sense of the size.  Acupuncture is not elegant food, that's for sure.

Friday, July 22, 2022

The Oldest Image On My Computer

Is this one:

It's dated October 1995. I can't recall if I scanned it from some book - which is likely, since there weren't lots of images on the world wide web in 1995 - or if I found it somewhere.  I do know I put it either on my own web page, which I had through my work, or the KVRX web page, which I maintained at the time.

The story of how that happened is a classic of volunteer-run organizations. Someone at KVRX - the student radio station at the University of Texas at Austin* - & I wish could remember his name, he was a nice fellow - he had created a web page for the station but was about to graduate.  The first website was created in 1991, & this fellow created KVRX's in 1994, when I think I read there were fewer than 50,000 web sites out there.  He asked at a meeting if there were anyone who'd like to take it over.  I said, sure.  & after learning a little HTML, I did, & I maintained it & the KVRX email list for about three years.

To give you a little background, I got my first email address in December 1994, & I discovered the Usenet about that time.  Within a year I was responsible for a radio station's web page.

The attitude at KVRX was a bit snarky.  The Program Director at the time left informative notes in our mailboxes that were called "Bobo Letters."  They might begin "Hey loser!"  I attempted to transfer the snark to the web page.  I created Directors' pages & wrote fake biographies for them.  I don't know if they are saved anywhere - I don't know if I have them anymore - although I do know that I occasionally amused myself.  On one page, I said of a director, "He sends lots of money to self-help organizations - & they send the money right back."  This would be years before I would call my radio show Self Help Radio. But perhaps that's why I remember it.

It's hard to know how many files I regularly threw away because my computer - I believe it was a Mac Quadra - had so little disk space.  The truth is, I had no real sense of any kind of permanence in the online world, & most people didn't.  It was around 1996 that I first saw a billboard with a URL on it - & I realized, oh shit this is becoming something else.  But I don't want to complain about the state of the internet.  I was just thinking about old images tonight & wondered which was the oldest.

What I really miss are two games I loved to play back then: the original Civilization & a first-person shooter called Marathon.  I don't play many computer games anymore, but I remember staying late at work on a Friday to try to beat Marathon's "maze through a space station with no oxygen" level.  That was fun.

Also I miss KVRX.  One doesn't know how much one is having at the time.  Also I was pretty emotionally fucked-up.  But that's also not what I wanted to talk about here.  Just the oldest image that's on my computer.  Good grief, how many computers have I transferred that image from over the years?!?

* Whose current webpage is & sadly, it's pretty ugly at the moment.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Self Help Radio 071922: 1986 (Continued)

(Every darn cover image from Discogs.)

Wow. I've played six hours of music (minus some of my talking) from 1986 & I'm not entirely sure I'm done.  I did repeat some artists because they had more than one release in 1986 - off the top of my head, I can say for sure I played two songs by Elvis Costello, the Smiths, Momus, the Wedding Present, Cocteau Twins, the Fall, & Felt.  Nick Cave released two records in 1986 but I only got around to playing one song.  & then there were those I didn't play!  I seriously could do another three-hour 1986 show.

But will I?  I can't say, I haven't recovered from this one yet.  However, there's plenty of great stuff to tide us over until we decide whether 1986 deserves another show. I mean, it does. It totally does. I should say whether I should make another show. I should. But I might not.

The show is available at both the KBOO website & at the Self Help Radio website. At the latter, please remember you need a username (SHR) & a password (selfhelp) to listen.  It was just me today with lots of music, so I just list the songs below.

For me it was a really amazing year in music.  Even my second choices seem excellent to me.  I hope you find some things you like here too.

Self Help Radio 220719: 1986 (Continued)
"It's You" Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers _It's Time For_
"Country Girl" The Jacobites _When The Rain Comes_
"Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness" John Prine _German Afternoons_

"Ask" The Smiths _Ask_
"Nicky" Momus _Nicky_
"Felicity" Wedding Present _The Peel Sessions_
"Oomingmak" Cocteau Twins _Victorialand_
"Hey! Luciani" The Fall _Hey! Luciani_

"Agonised By Love" Clan Of Xymox _Medusa_
"Canvas Beauty (Romance Version)" Peter Murphy _Should The World Fail To Fall Apart_
"Walking On Your Hands" Red Lorry Yellow Lorry _Paint Your Wagon_
"This Damn Nation" The Godfathers _Hit By Hit_
"Whistling In The Dark" Easterhouse _Contenders_

"I Have Always Been Here Before" Roky Erickson _Gremlins Have Pictures_
"Girl On A Swing" The Cleaners From Venus _Living With Victoria Grey_
"If You Were A Priest" Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians _Element Of Light_
"Oblivion" The Mekons _The Edge Of The World_
"Valerie" Richard Thompson _Daring Adventures_

"Happy Hour" The Housemartins _London 0 Hull 4_
"My Biggest Thrill" The Mighty Lemon Drops _Happy Head_
"Love Is The Slug" We've Got A Fuzzbox & We're Gonna Use It _Bostin' Steve Austin_
"The Rain Fell Down" Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes _Billy The Whizz_
"Truck Train Tractor" The Pastels _Truck Train Tractor_

"Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz" Biz Markie "The Inhuman Orchestra" feat. T.J. Swan _Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz_
"Eric B. Is President" Eric B. featuring Rakim _Eric B. Is President_
"My Mike Sounds Nice" Salt 'N' Pepa _Hot Cool Vicious_
"Ego Tripping" Ultra Magnetic M.C.'s _Ego Tripping_
"South Bronx" Boogie Down Productions _South Bronx_

"Bonzo Goes To Bitburg" Ramones _Animal Boy_
"Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely" Hüsker Dü _Candy Apple Grey_
"People Ain't No Good" The Cramps _A Date With Elvis_
"No Reason To Complain" Lyres _Lyres Lyres_
"The Good Earth" The Feelies _The Good Earth_

"Sad?" BMX Bandits _Sad?/E102_
"I'm The King Of Joy" Bill Drummond _The Man_
"Ballad Of The Band" Felt _Ballad Of The Band_
"Freaky Dancin'" Happy Mondays _Freaky Dancin'_
"Boy" Book Of Love _Book Of Love_

"Absolute Beginners" David Bowie _Absolute Beginners_

Monday, July 18, 2022

Whither 1986 (Continued)?

Self-Portrait With Facial Hair, 1986

The reason for this show is being eighteen years old. It's discovering a world of music one didn't know existed. It's leaving home for the first time, living on one's own for the first time, clumsy & dumb. It's lonesome & anxious, excited & fearful. It's thinking one had an idea about who one was & discovering that that simply was not the case. It's so long ago & so close one can touch it, in every song that was loved in that incredible year.

My birthday is in January.  Around that time, on Self Help Radio, I play songs from a particular year of my life.  I started with music from the year I was born, 1968, & this past January I made it to 1986. Which was a very important year for me. I graduated high school & in the fall I went to the University Of Texas At Austin for college. Sometime in-between, I got my first kiss, & the first real taste of heartbreak. I had become disillusioned with music that I heard on the radio & discovered a whole new world existed outside of it. For the first time in this series, I believe, I am playing more of the music I was listening to then than I was playing of stuff I discovered since.

& there was just too much music from 1986 that I love to fill one episode of Self Help Radio. So tonight I am going to play some more.  It has become painfully clear I won't get to play all my favorite music from 1986. & that there is favorite music from 1986 yet to be discovered. But I'll do my best.

Listen from midnight to 3am on 90.7fm in Portland & online at  If you live in 1986, you will not be able to listen online. Sorry about that.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Preface To 1986 (Continued): Idea For A Podcast

(image from here.)

Says the Wikipedia, "At Last The 1948 Show is a satirical television show that brought Cambridge Footlights humor to a broader audience.  The show starred Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Marty Feldman, & Aimi MacDonald. Chapman & Cleese would later be among the founders of the Monty Python comedy troupe, & several of the sketches first performed in At Last The 1948 Show would later be performed by Monty Python in various formats." It aired in 1967, & of the thirteen episodes, most of which were thought lost, eleven have been recovered.

What the hell has this to do with 1986, music, or podcasts? Jeez, why so impatient?

A word about podcasts: everyone has a podcast. Almost no one these days has an iPod, but everyone has a podcast.  I don't have a podcast, but I do have two radio shows, & sometimes people say to me, "Do you have a podcast?" & I say, "No, I have two radio shows," & they say, "Where can I listen to them?" & I tell them when they're on & they make faces because Tuesdays midnight to 3am is way too late & Thursdays 8 to 10am is a little too early & I have to say, "Oh, but you can download them on my website at Self Help Radio dot net" & although they have no intention of actually downloading them, they say, "So you do have a podcast."

Which is one way of saying even if you think you don't have a podcast, you almost certainly do have a podcast.

In the way people used to talk about radio shows, they now say podcast.  As if they believe all the radio does is air podcasts.  Maybe it's because it's very obvious that most of the shows they hear, since the pandemic, are recorded instead of live.  Also, I know people here in Portland who did radio shows so they could basically use the studios to make a podcast.  One time, at one of the stations here, the internet went down, & the show wasn't able to stream, which meant it wasn't recorded to be archived, & one programmer just decided to not come in to do his show because it wouldn't be saved on the computer.  I thought, "Does he not know it also goes out on the air?"  That wasn't his concern - he needed a recording for his podcast.

The truth is, I don't have a lot of time nor much of a desire to make a podcast.  It's just that I've spent the weekend looking at all the incredible music that came out in 1986 & I confess I've heard only a fraction of the releases & I wonder what I've missed.  So I thought I might take a moment every once in a while & talk about & play songs from records from 1986 - both ones that are familiar & ones that I've recently acquainted myself with - & I'd call it "At Last The 1986 Show."

Ha ha! You were wondering what all that nonsense at the very beginning of this was all about!  You thought I couldn't tie it all together!  What you didn't expect was that I could, & I did, & ultimately it makes no sense, & I was shabby about it all the way through?

Will it happen?  Maybe.  If it does, I'll tell you.  I'll put it on my website like everything else, though. No need to make it available wherever podcasts are sold.