Saturday, August 06, 2022

Three Snapshots Of August 6, 2017

Five years ago, I was living in Fort Worth, Texas.  Summers in Texas are brutal.  Possibly on our morning walk, I took this picture, which I titled, "It's Hot."

At some point that day, a ruckus in the backyard (ie, my dog Pauline barking like crazy) alerted me & caused me to come take a look.  I found a possum which I thought might be dead but also, it might be - that thing they do - when they pretend they're dead - I know we call it "playing possum" but I forget what they call it.  Anyway, here's one of them completely fooling Pauline:

Yes, I checked later - it was gone.

Finally, on this very hot day - according to the internets, the high was 99 degrees that day - but weather in Texas was quite volatile - I took this picture from our front window as the sun fell.

It's lucky to have these pictures.  August 6, 2017, was a Sunday & I have no real memories about that day.  These remind me of something at the very least.

Friday, August 05, 2022

Fire On My Street

Behold! A page from a neighborhood newspaper called The Bee, which is online here, reported on a fire that happened ON MY STREET it's true, on July 1, over a month ago.  The report in the print version is reproduced above, & my wife told me she couldn't find an online version.  She didn't look around enough, because the web version is here.

When it happened, I was a little hungover & chose to sleep through it all.  I regret it now - but in my defense how could I have known it would be the most exciting thing to happen on my street in years?  I mean, even with the fire engines & ambulances?

At this point, I'd like to focus on the fellow who wrote the article - David F. Ashton.  There is surprising little about him online.  There's a Twitter page - with no content - just this alluring photo:

Holy shit, why don't we know more about this news legend?  I regret missing him as he grilled the fire people & the local folk for his article!

Recently a moving pod thing has appeared in the driveway of the house - the garage is basically a mosaic of boards - the aluminum cans have been removed - maybe redeemed? - so it appears the renters must leave.  It's a shame.  They have a grumpy rottweiler I always wanted to befriend.

But more importantly - can I get David F. Ashton on my show?  Does he search himself on search engines?  Wouldn't that be excellent?

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Self Help Radio 080222: The Middle

(I tried to get the bear right in the middle...)

Thinking about the middle things that are not represented on this show - the Middle Way (in Buddhism), the Middle Passage (in the horrors of history), the Middle Ages (maybe not as horrible as we were led to believe?), I realize that this week's show, an exploration of "the middle," might not have done too terribly good a job.  But what can we do now?  It's already happened!  & in the middle of the night!

Best be satisfied with middle schools in the middle of the road, middle names stuck or caught in the middle, the middle class finding themselves in the middle of nowhere.  I even managed to sneak in a song about the Mediterranean Sea, whose name (Mediterranean) can be understood to mean "the sea in the middle of the world."  But what we focused on most were middle children - all the guests on the show were middle kids!

You can listen to the show - maybe you should start somewhere in the middle - at either the KBOO website or at the Self Help Radio website.  As always, if you choose the latter, remember the username (SHR) & password (selfhelp).  Everything that happens on the show is below.

Now! To take a nap in the middle of the day!

Self Help Radio The Middle Show
"Welcome To The Middle" The Grates _Secret Rituals_
"Bump'n From The Middle" Act 1 _Act 1_
"Sad Middle" Islands _Ski Mask_

introduction & definitions

"Smack Dab In The Middle" Ray Charles _Genius & Soul: The 50th Anniversary Collection_
"In The Middle Of A Kiss" Julie London with Pete King & His Orchestra _London By Night_
"Middle Is Gold" Mates Of State _Team Boo_
"Middle Of" Melkbelly _Nothing Valley_
"Game Is My Middle Name" Betty Davis _Betty Davis_

interview with former child actor Oliver Castle, star of "The Middle Child"

"Both Ends Against The Middle" Jackie Moore _Crème De La Crème Two_
"Monie In The Middle" Monie Love _The Message - The History Of Rap_
"Lost In The Middle" Secret Shine _Under The Bridge_
"Middle Of The Road" Denim _Back In Denim_
"Middle Of The Road" The Pretenders _Learning To Crawl_

interview with middle child Tabitha Little

"Piggy In The Middle" The Rutles _The Rutles_
"Stuck In The Middle" Astropupees _You Win The Bride_
"The Message In The Middle Of The Bottom" Chaka Khan _Chaka_
"In The Middle Of It All" Arthur Alexander _Arthur Alexander_
"Middle Man" John Prine _Common Sense_

interview with therapist of middle children Maury Rovitch

"Middle Class Revolt" The Fall _Middle Class Revolt_
"Middle-Class Heroes" The Divine Comedy _Casanova_
"Middle Class Hero" Dave Derby _Even Further Behind_
"In The Middle Of The Night" Ben E. King _Seven Letters_
"Love In The Middle" Ruthie Foster _The Truth According To Ruthie Foster_

interview with middle child Christopher Bridger

"Caught In The Middle" Alex The Astronaut _The Theory Of Absolutely Nothing_
"The Loneliness Of A Middle-Distance Runner" Belle & Sebastian _Push Barman To Open Old Wounds_
"Hotel Marquis De Sade" Momus _Monsters Of Love: Singles 1985-90_
"Middle School/Quiet Coyote" Andy Beningo _Quiet Coyote_
"Middle School" Ting Tang Tina _Love Is Trippy_

interview with middle child Jeff Jarvis

"In The Middle Of The House" Alma Cogan _Hello Children Everywhere_
"In The Middle, In The Middle, In The Middle" NYS Department Of Safety _TeeVee Toons: The Commercials_
"In The Middle" Lavender Diamond _Now Is The Time_
"Middle Of Nowhere" Brothers In Law _Raise_
"Middle Of Nowhere" Hot Hot Heat _Elevator_

conclusion & goodbye

"My Middle Name Is The Blues" Abner Jay _Last Ole Ministrel Man_
"Middle Child" Sallie Ford _Soul Sick_
"Middle Of Life" Eleanor Underhill _Land Of The Living_
"Middle Of The House" French For Rabbits _The Overflow_
"Middle Eastern Potentate" The Cannanes _Witchetty Pole_
"Middle Of Next Week" The Rosehips _The Rosehips_

Monday, August 01, 2022

Whither The Middle?

(image from here.)

Tonight's Self Help Radio on KBOO has the theme "the middle."  What might that mean?  Middle of the road (as pictured above)?  Middle school?  Middle age - or the Middle Ages?  Middle children?  (Yeah, definitely that one.)  Middle names?  The Middle East?  (Probably not a lot of that.)  The middle of the night?  Caught in the middle?  Stuck in the middle?  In the middle?

All this & perhaps more, although one doesn't want to overpromise.  The middle is the average, the middle is not the extreme, so we'll play it safe & say it will be a middling show.  Fair to middling.  In fact, the show is on in the middle of the night!  & that's where the idea for the show came from.  Someone asked me if it was hard to do a show in the middle of the night & then suggested "middle of the night" would be a good theme.  & I said, "Maybe just middle?"  & the seed planted then bears fruit tonight.

In you're in Portland, it's on 90.7 fm - not really the middle of the dial, sorry - & online at - which might just be in the middle of the world wide web.   It's on midnight to 3am - hey! I said the middle of the night didn't I?

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Preface To The Middle: Middle School

(My old middle school is no longer a middle school. Image from Gurple Marps.)

Memorial Middle School was my middle school, which I attended for three grades, 6th, 7th, & 8th, from I think 1979 to 1982.  I've talked about some of my experiences previously on this blog, I think you can search "middle school" to find those posts if you want.  I know you don't want.  I also don't want to link to those posts.

When I was in high school, I was sort of friends with my American History teacher sort of.  Ultimately I don't think he liked me much, nor understood me, & he definitely hated lots of aspects of my personality.  He took a couple other students under his wing & changed their lives - mostly I think in religious thought - but he never tried that with me.  Around the time I started at Memorial, it had recently changed the nature of the grades there.  According to this historical report:

In the 1970s the educational trend to combine grades sixth, seventh, & eighth into a middle school was instrumental in the first name change for Memorial. As a result, ninth grade students were moved to the high schools, & grade six was moved away from elementary schools. Subsequently, the name for the school became Memorial Middle School.

The reason I brought up my old American History teacher is that he hated that decision.  He felt that ninth graders - you know, fourteen years olds - should emphatically not be in high school.  They were too immature.  They were still being tossed & turned by their hormones.  I guess he was happiest when middle schools were grades seven through nine.

My own memories are that seventh grade was a particularly awful year for me.  But on the whole I don't know if I had any really good years at Memorial.  I know only one thing: teachers who choose to teach at middle schools seem to me either incredibly brave or incredibly masochistic.  We were awful, all of us.  To a child.  Our bodies were changing, no one was explaining anything to us, & even if someone had, most of us couldn't have really understood it.

When I have met middle school teachers, I always ask them, right away, "Are you okay?"  I assume they're suffering from PTSD or something.

There will be middle school songs I think on the show tomorrow.  But it won't be my focus.  It was just that the first "middle" I thought of was school - when really, you know, it should be "middle age."