Saturday, December 03, 2022


(Winston's first time to kiss Magda; the first of countless kisses I gave him.)

This is the (very long) story of an extraordinary little hound who stole my heart & whom we lost over a week ago.  That he lasted as long as he did seems a miracle, as you will discover if you read on.  If you don't, if it's a tl;dr situation, the summary is: despite some terrible odds, he lived over fifteen happy years with humans, dogs, & cats who loved him, & he charmed virtually everyone he ever met.

In 2001, when I met Magda, the woman who is now my wife, she had a dog, named George.  They had a connection I couldn't really compete with.  Which was fine, I was more of a cat person then.  He was a beagle boy, she decided she wanted to surround herself with beagle boys.  In the summer of 2004, she fell in love with another beagle boy named Ringo.  We adopted him & he & George became fast friends.

(I wrote about George after he left us here.  About Ringo here.)

But as both were rescues, Magda really wanted to get a beagle boy puppy & in 2007 she researched nearby breeders.  We lived in Texas then & she thought a place in Houston, called "Irish Coffey Beagles," was as ethical as we might find, & they had a litter with one boy, & we went to visit them.  I remember two things most about the trip - one, they were located in one of the weird rural places being slowly absorbed by the expanding city, & so had roads without gutters in areas where giant strip malls & box stores were being built - so we might not be able to find the place all that easily; & two, that I had an anxiety dream the night before - I had recently quit smoking & I dreamt that the owners might somehow know that & deny us the little dog because of it.  The place, it turned out, was easy to find - their yard was covered in beagle signs, statues, & other paraphrenelia - & the woman never put down a cigarette the entire time we were there.

(she had a thing for beagles)

Mostly it was an unpleasant experience.  She must have had thirty adult beagles, mostly in crates, which she would let out in shifts.  But it was wonderful meeting Winston.  The pictures at the top are from that moment.  He was very young & very frisky & he loved playing with his two sisters.  I guess we passed the test because we would be coming back to get him in six weeks.

(here is Winston with his sisters)

(here's one more picture of him when we met)

Something should be said about his name.  Magda had George when we met & started dating.  When we adopted the second beagle, he was called Grady - but he didn't seem like a Grady.  I thought we needed a drummer so he became Ringo.  I was thinking of calling Winston "John," but what pressure to put on a dog!  Since Lennon's full name was John Winston Lennon, we initially called him John Winston.  But eventually he settled into just Winston.  & it truly suited him.

Later on, Winston would be very anxious in cars, but he slept in Magda's lap all the way home. I took him by KOOP to show him around.  He was small & adorable.  The older beagle boys tolerated him but mostly paid him very little notice.  He was such a playful little thing that I once referred to him as a flibbertigibbet.  Magda gleefully started calling him "Flib Jib."  It was the beginning of a habit we had of renaming him every so often.  He never seemed confused - he always knew we were talking about him when we called him whatever we were calling him.

(the car ride home)

Above I mentioned that I was a cat person.  While I loved George & Ringo, I didn't spend nearly as much time with them as Magda did - she took them on long walks, they had adventures that I missed by working & by volunteering hours & hours at KOOP.  I tried to impose a little discipline on the beagles - I started feeding them because Magda would fills bowls with food that George & Ringo lunged at & before they were on the ground there was kibble everywhere - but I had a rule - no beagles in bed.  I was afraid that they would take over.  But that first night, though we had a crate for him, Winston cried & cried, & I relented.  I put him between me & Magda.  He was so tiny & so needy.  & it didn't take him long to turn me into a dog person too.

(living la vida beagle)

The first crisis: about two months after we adopted him, his back legs appeared to stop working.  I remember he was chasing after Ringo in our backyard & I asked Magda, "Is this normal?"  She contacted the breeder, sent her a video, & we received the resounding response: No.  (She did offer to give us a refund if we wanted to return him.  Even now that seems so heartless & gross.  Almost certainly she would have put him down.)

An expensive journey took us through the end of 2007.  We visited College Station for an MRI.  We got a diagnosis: Musladin-Leuke Syndrome.  It had previously been called by the racist appellation "Chinese beagle syndrome" because their little feet appear to be bound.  I can't remember the number of vets we saw but one of them, I still see her cold blue eyes & still hear her passionless tone, told us in early December, "He will be dead in a month."

At one point, driving down I-35, Magda even suggested it might be kinder to put him down.  I refused.  I said he was ours & we would never give up on him.  & after that brief moment of doubt, we never did.  More to the point, as you shall see, he never gave up either.

We stopped feeding him puppy food - it encourages growth & we needed to inhibit it.  We confined him whenever possible to keep him from possibly hurting himself - Magda remembers he was in a little crib-like enclosure next to her as she wrote her dissertation. We sent him to physical therapy, which he hated - a lot of it was in the water.  But he got better.  He didn't die like the cruel doctor said he would.  He was just as lovable & sweet as the moment we met.  Almost certainly he loved all the attention from his mother - she pushed him in a stroller on walks - & often to keep him from fussing, she'd give him pecans in the shell, which he would work to crack open & eat the insides happily.

As a regretful person, I regret not having the time or (being honest) the inclination to walk with them in those days.  But our time in Austin came to a close, Magda got a job in West Virginia, & in the summer of 2009 we prepared to leave Texas.  But then came:

The second crisis.  About a week before we left, Winston stopped eating.  He coughed up blood.  We rushed him to the vet, where an x-ray told us he had an obstruction in his stomach.  While the realtor was showing our house, Magda took the dogs to the neighbors where Winston had apparently eaten a peach pit.  The little guy had his first surgery, & we were on the road very soon after that.  Magda still has that peach pit.  At this point, Winston had been a very expensive dog - Magda used to refer to him as "her Prius."  Since, you know, he had cost as much by then.  (Magda is a bit hyperbolic.)  But you know what?  He was absolutely worth it.

In West Virginia, I started walking with Magda & the boys every day.  I feel like I would walk Winston while Magda walked George & Ringo but who knows.  We had a ridiculous three story house & Winston was healthy enough then to climb the stairs on his own.  We knew he'd always be small - a friend at KOOP had called him a "perma-puppy" - but we believed that he'd have a tolerably normal beagle's life.

(a happy walk in the fall of 2009)

It's been years so I can't remember but I don't think Winston slept with us at night.  I know he would often sleep with Magda on the sofa.  She would protest that she didn't really love him but he had a way of ending up with her in some pretty cute situations.

(exhibit A)

Speaking of regrets, my other great regret with Winston is that he hated being in a car.  He would just sit & shiver, utterly inconsolable.  Once the car stopped, he'd jump out, acting as though everything was fine.  If I could go back & do it again, I would demand he sit in our laps the entire drive.  Find some way to decrease his anxiety.  Because in a car or at the vet, he would shiver - & nothing helped.  He did not like any kind of depressive - it made him feel out of control.  But the reality was we drove a lot in those days - to cities around Lexington (we had moved there in 2010) & back to Texas to see my family.  He drove through virtually every state I've ever driven through.  & hated every minute in the car.

It was on one of those visit to Texas that we found ourselves with:

The third crisis.  It was in a somewhat sleazy La Quinta in Garland, Texas, with its beds quite high off the ground, that George, without malice, knocked Winston off the bed, & the little guy fell three feet & landed on his back.  He did not seem to be hurt, but later that day, when we went for a walk, his back legs had begun to stop working.  We returned to Lexington, saw our doctor (a lovely person named Dr. Egan who was so very kind to our pets), & she recommended we go to a place in Louisville.  The place is called Metropolitan Veterinary & the doctors there were excellent.  They performed something on Winston called disc fenestration.  We were warned that even with this surgery, Winston might never walk again.  But he had to have it.

(here he is with his brothers in late 2011)

Within a few weeks, though, he was walking.  His back legs were very weak (the left one in particular) but he more than made up for it with his powerful front legs. He was surprisingly fast - if he wanted to book it, he could - we called it "cockroaching" & when, for example, we visited Red River Gorge in Kentucky in 2014, I was a little worried some of the trails would be a little too much for him - but he was running circles around out-of-shape old me.

As he got older, we had to put booties on his back feet because they would drag on pavement & he'd get cuts.  But the truth is, he went on a walk with us the day before he died.  He never stopped going on walks, & were he here today, he'd be going on a walk with us when we walked.

One thing I want to mention about Winston is that he was very smart but also very empathetic.  In the summer of 2012, we had taken George, who had been limping, to the vet in Louisville thinking he might have hurt his back, too.  They made us bring him in early & we dropped him off & came back to Lexington - about a two-hour round trip drive - & we decided to nap a bit.  We got a call that while he was under they discovered his back was fine, but there was cancer in his leg.  Should they amputate?  Should they start chemo?  Would we want radiation?  Magda was freaking out so she asked if she could call back & we had a very intense discussion that from the outside might have seemed like an argument.  As we were talking, Winston very deliberately came up onto the bed & positioned himself between us, shivering like he did in the car.  It made us stop to take care of him & stop being so upset.  It was remarkable.  I had never seen anything like that before.

(here is Winston at 5; he seems pretty happy)

We lost George at the end of 2012.  It was a grief I had never experienced before.  The day after, we impetuously adopted a puppy.  We named her Pauline - she was a beagle girl, not a beagle boy - it was either that or Paulette - & she helped dilute the intense grief in the house by being a needy puppy.  But it turned out she wasn't just a balm for her humans - she was a new companion for Winston.

For reasons detailed above, Winston never had much of a puppyhood.  Pauline gave him a second chance.  Pauline wanted to play all the time.  Winston was happy to oblige.  I found video of the two of them playing not long after we adopted her - Winston literally runs rings around her.  You would not have thought he had ever had back surgery watching him joyfully running around the yard.  I'm glad we have moments like that captured.  We had older Winston for so long, it was easy to forget he was a youngster once.

The picture above is from May of 2014.  You can see that Winston (on the left) is wearing a bootie on his left foot.  That was always his weakest, & it got weaker over time.  But the time period from late 2012 to 2014 was a generally stable time.  Pauline grew up but they continued to play; even Ringo took part occasionally.  There was a change in the summer of 2015 when we adopted Yoko (you can read her story here) & it took a while for them to get along but Winston being Winston it was time for:

The fourth crisis. This is one you'd probably need to ask my wife about.  It involved his stomach, & his shivers, & seemed to be solved by medication & a limited ingredient diet.  Like many beagle issues, it involved poop - his poop was weird.  It remained weird the rest of his life, but the change in diet & the regular medication meant it wasn't as - you know what?  Let's just say his poop improved.  Ask Magda if you want more info.

(Magda & the kids at Luther Lake in Fort Worth)

We moved to Fort Worth in 2016.  Winston got older & grayer - Magda called him a silver fox - but it was all over his little body, not just in the face, where Ringo showed his age.  He tended to sleep with us, usually in-between, hogging a pillow if he could.  We walked regularly, he was always happy to walk, although most of the year we had to walk very early (thanks to the Texas heat).  Our dear neighbor Jim wrote on Facebook that one of the things they loved to see was him walking by in his little booties.  He was striking - people would think he was a puppy then realize he was not.  But we were all getting older.  We lost Ringo in 2018, & later that year our cat Beatrice.  Only Bolan & Winston were left from our Austin days.  Though I grieved a great deal (you can read it here on the blog, linked above), there were still six of them in the family, & they demanded a lot of attention.  For Winston, the worst times were the vet visits, especially the teeth cleanings.  He had to be put under for those.

(a vet visit in 2014)

During one of those cleanings, right before we moved to Portland, he had a mass removed.  The vet in Texas didn't seem too concerned about it, but in the summer of 2019, a vet in Portland removed another mass.  This one was tested, which led to:

The fifth crisis. Fucking cancer.

(on our way to the vet in 2019)

Up until this point, the veterinarians in this tale have been great - kind, often heroic, never less than smart & capable.  We generally managed to connect with good people who truly cared.  This has not been the case in Portland.  There have been a couple of fine & capable doctors to be sure, but the worst of the worst were the veterinary oncologists.  I'm not interested in naming names but I will just say, do not trust them.  They simply don't know enough about cancer in dogs.  They take wide swings & hope they'll hit something.  & loving pet owners like me & Magda are just marks for them.

Because we loved Winston, we wanted him to have the best care possible.  We agreed to spend a princely sum to get special "genetic testing" to more accurately match the chemo to the cancer.  The test came back inconclusive.  Did we get a refund?  Oh no.  They recommended standard chemo.  We wanted to prolong his life, so we agreed.  & while Winston sat shivering in the clinic - shaking really, just utterly terrified - they refused to listen to us, they prescribed a sedative that we told them didn't really work on him ("we'll give him a stronger dose"), & they patronizingly & condescendingly took him into their operating area to put a catheter in.

& Winston died on the table.  No one was fucking listening to him & he said "Enough is enough" & he coded.  I had told them before the procedure that if it happened, if he heart stopped, you bring him back.  & they did.  & the quack oncologist was so shaken that she wasn't going to try the procedure again.  Hey, you know what?  We don't fucking want you to.  We had to pay them for killing him & reviving him, too.

She told us his prognosis was a few weeks.  We decided we would take as good care as we could of him & make his last days his best days.

That was November 2019.  Winston stuck around for three more years.

My guess is the cancerous mass had all the cancer.  Not that the money-grubbing oncologist con artists had the skill or wherewithal to test for that.  They got their money out of us.  They had other desperate pet owners to swindle.

(ready for a walk, December 2019)

One of the things that happened when we moved to Portland is that we felt really, really guilty that we had deprived our dog Pauline of a beautiful backyard - the one in Fort Worth was her favorite.  So to make up for it, we began walking the dogs twice a day.  It's my opinion that this regular exercise - & we have walked all over this town in the last three years - helped Winston's legs, which were getting weaker.  He always loved to walk, & we discovered he loved walking in the rain.  We had never really walked in places were puddles were common - Winston delighted in splashing through them.

The other thing that almost certainly helped Winston after his twelfth year was the pandemic.  I loved Winston, & maybe he liked me, but he adored his mother.  I'm sure he thought that she was staying home for two years just to be with him, & he was the happiest he could be.  I confess I was never quite convinced he beat the cancer, & so I lived thinking some remarkable downturn was just around the corner, but he remained active, he continued to eat well, & he definitely enjoyed the attention he got from Magda, who has a thing for geriatric dogs.

(on some walks, though, Winston might need a little help)

These were good times. I took lots of pictures of him - I thought about making him an Instagram page so the world could follow his journey - I even thought of calling it "Winstongram" - but I had a sense - almost a dread - that the minute I did that, he would get sick & die.  So he remained our sweet secret - although he affected people like our neighbors without us really knowing it.  The couple two doors down once donated to an organization in Winston's name!  The funny thing was, it was KBOO - you know, the radio station where I - not Winston - have a show.

We were beginning to think he might live forever.  & don't get me wrong, every second we had with him from that cancer diagnosis was a gift.  I have nothing but gratitude for that extra time.  But in the fall of 2021 we had:

The sixth crisis. A melting ulcer.

(December 2021)

Again, you'd be better off asking Magda the details of this, but it involved his left eye, I believe.  Though the specialist we saw insisted his right eye still had a light reflex, Winston was for all intents & purposes blind.  He had been losing his hearing for a while, so all he basically had left was his magnificent sense of smell & his quite good sense of taste to help him along.  Despite a little difficulty adjusting, he continued to walk with us & he discovered he could order us about with a loud & resolute "bark!"  We determined it could either be to go outside, to get some water, or for sometimes other more subtle demands - he would bark, for example, if we didn't happen to walk when we regularly did, or, more insidiously, to order me to get to bed because he preferred we all slept at the same time.

He wasn't in any pain, but of course he couldn't play with Pauline anymore.  Pauline was very confused by his blind stumbling in the backyard & house & would sometimes mistake it for aggression - a couple of times she outright attacked him.  I wish I could have reminded her of the weird little beagle who basically brought her up & taught her how to dog.  On walks they were the same old pals, though.  & like I said, he continued to walk with us.  Twice a day.  Every day.  Rain or shine.

His eye situation under control, his new needs being met, he surprised us all by turning fifteen in July of this year.  Here he is with the cake:

(sweet fifteen)

When I posted that picture to Facebook, I felt a little guilty.  He actually can't see he's being photographed, & he didn't know he had a cake in front of him until he caught a whiff of it.  But it's a cute picture to be sure.  & he had a grand day.

The truth is, I never expected him to live so long, but I also didn't expect that his end would be dramatic or sudden.  As always, Winston decided to circumvent whatever expectation that was pressed upon him.

These last months with him have been such a joy, really.  When Magda had to travel, I waited on him hand & foot.  People who talked to me, or who were in meetings with me, would often hear me say, "Hold on, I need to see what Winston wants."  Though he stopped sleeping in bed with us - he actually did not prefer to be on furniture above the ground, the only exception being (of course) sleeping with Magda on the sofa - he slept in the room with us, & he was in my room for lunch & his afternoon nap.  We got a sling to carry him on walks as he would get a little tired - but there was never a walk where he didn't walk some appreciable distance, & many of them he walked almost the whole route.

(a rare moment earlier this year with all the dogs in my room)

The last crisis came quite unexpectedly.  It was late on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  I was up finishing my recorded show for Freeform Portland.  He was in the dog bed next to me.  I heard a noise, thought he was simply stretching, & quickly realized he was having a seizure.  I woke Magda up & she took him & held him.  He was very confused by what had happened - it took a while to get him to sleep.  & he slept longer that morning than usual.  When Magda & I woke Thanksgiving morning we gingerly peered over the foot of the bed, to where the little circle he slept in was, to make sure he was still breathing.

About thirty minutes after he woke, he had another seizure.  This one lasted twice as long.  We needed to see a doctor.  It being Thanksgiving, our options were limited.  We found a place in Tigard & took him.  One last uncomfortable car ride to one of those places he hated: a vet clinic.

They pretty much told us what we knew.  They said we should say our goodbyes.  I did not want him to die in the sort of place he never liked.  We called an organization called Compassionate Care & found out they could come to our house in the late afternoon.  We took him home.  He would die at home.

& he did.  He fell asleep (after sedation) eating pretzels & beggin' strips around 5pm.  He began to snore, actually.  & then he was gone.  This little creature that had just about crowded everything else out of my heart just ceased to exist.  The love boils into pain & that's how grief is made.

& I know this is too fucking long & probably dull but at least there are pictures.  He was a photogenic hound, & even more fun to look at in real life.  Magda reminded me that he was never mean, he was utterly guileless, he wanted most to be loved by his big brothers & by his mom.  My friend Kevin said, "He had a great personality" & that was true too.  He was so portable.  I picked him out & kissed him more times that I've kissed anyone in my life.  I doubt I will kiss any creature as much as I have kissed him.

(I so miss kissing that face)

Writing this is not me saying goodbye, though I know I'll never see him again.  I'll dream of him, yes, I have already started doing that.  Writing this is my way of expressing out loud how much I adored & loved him & how he changed me - he turned me into a dog person! he turned me into a guy who walks dogs twice a day! More than anything, I felt I needed to tell his story before I could return to the other stupid things I do - sharing the clumsy pictures I take, posting nonsense on the internet, focusing on my (ugh) dumb radio shows.  What I needed was some time for the grief to stop sloshing around & unbalancing me.

He was worth all the kisses & all the tears.  He was so damn strong.  He was smart & empathetic.  He started out as John Winston then became Winston which led to Winnie.  He was Flib Jib for a while.  One day he got so dirty (he was so close to the ground!) that I started calling him Schminston.  Which of course became Schminnie.  & my favorite, Schmoo.  Magda called him Schmoo-Moo.  He was Schmickles for a while there too.  Most recently he was called Nugget.  There were doubtless other names I'll remember & say out loud from time-to-time.  He knew every name we called him belonged to him.

He dealt with every problem life devised for him until he couldn't any longer.  He defied every prediction anyone - especially the so-called experts - made about him.  If it was something in the brain that finally betrayed him, well - it'll probably be something like that which takes most of us down, too.

Oh how I loved you little Winston & how I love you still.  Thank you for being in my life for the fifteen years I was unbelievably lucky enough to have with you.  I wish I could do it all over again.  & maybe I am, a little at a time, in my weepy brain & broken heart.  My sweet prince.  We will never see the likes of you again.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Almost Ready

Almost ready to tell the story of this little guy.  He had a strange & wonderful life, I hope I can tell it well.  Give me another day.  I miss him so & can't bear that he's gone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Self Help Radio 112922: Magda's Birthday Show 2022

(Original image here.*)

The love of my life has a birthday this week so as has become my habit, I played a collection of birthday songs over three hours.  They were mostly not songs I've played before - & if they were songs I played before, they were cover versions.  I make dumb rules for my dumb show & it makes it hard to find new birthday songs I dig every year.  But she's worth it!  I wonder if she listens to the show?  I don't think she listens to the show.

But if you had a birthday this year, or will have a birthday this year, or if by chance today is your birthday, this show is also for you!  So enjoy it at your birthday party!  I hope you like me don't celebrate alone.

You can listen to the show in two different places: at the Self Help Radio website - where it is downloadable but where you need a username & password (which are SHR & selfhelp) - or at the KBOO website.  Either way it's the same show, with lots of birthday tunes & some people talking about their favorite birthday parties.

Happy birthday to you!  Have a great year!

Self Help Radio's Birthday Show For Magda 2022
"Happy Birthday Dear Human" Edith Whiskers _Stop Stealing The Covers!_
"Happy Birthday To Me" Glenn Yarbrough _Honey & Wine_
"Birthday" Underground Sunshine _Let There Be Light_


"Birthday Party" Porridge Radio _Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky_
"Miss Your Birthday" Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers _Pretty Good For A Girl Band_
"Birthdays" Craig Finn _A Legacy Of Rentals_
"Happy Birthday Forever" Tess Parks _And Those Who Were Seen Dancing_
"Happy Birthday Who" Shovels & Rope _Manticore_

Georgie Ross tells us about his favorite birthday party ever

"Baby's Birthday Party" Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians _The Best Of Guy Lombardo: The Early Years_
"What Can You Give A Nudist On His Birthday" Gracie Fields _Comic Cuts 1928 To 1936_
"When's Your Birthday, Baby" Johnnie Ray _Yes Tonight Josephine_
"On My Birthday" The Junior Five _Laurie Vocal Groups: Lost Masters & Hidden Treasures, Vol. 5_
"Unhappy Birthday" Ike & Tina Turner _Delilah's Power_

Cletus Charts tells us about his favorite birthday party ever

"Happy Birthday" Stevie Wonder _At The Close Of A Century_
"It's My Birthday" Hot Chocolate _The RAK Singles_
"Broken Hearted Birthday" Mystery Rose _Socially Distant_
"Birthday" The Bird & The Bee _Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future_
"Birthday" M. Ward _Birthday_

Janice Green tells us about her favorite birthday party ever

"The Unbirthday Song" Freddie & The Dreamers _Freddie & The Dreamers In Disneyland_
"Birthday" Brian Vogan & His Good Buddies _Born To Wiggle_
"Birthday" Wooze _The Magnificent Eleven_
"Unhappy Birthday" Janice Whaley/The Smiths Project _Strangeways Here We Come_
"Birthday Wish" The Companies _Keep Me In Mind_

a brief discussion of birthdays

"Happy Birthday Yesterday" Mark Mulcahy _Love's The Only Thing That Shuts Me Up_
"Your Birthday Song" The Underground Youth _Sadovaya_
"The Night Before Your Birthday" Andrew Bird _Inside Problems_
"Happy Birthday" Zuzu's Petals _When No One's Looking_
"Birthday" Dolores Haze _Songs About Our Past (Part 1) "The Other Side Of Sunday"_

it's Giving Tuesday! help KBOO out by going here or texting KBOO to 4-4321!

"Next Sunday, Darling, Is My Birthday" The Stanley Brothers _The Early Starday/King Years 1958-1961_
"Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby" McGuinnes Flint _Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby_
"It's A Birthday Party!" Dust Of The Saints _Oh I Wish_
"Birthday" Alex Grubard _Let Me Teach You How To Distill Gin_
"Birthday" Side Hug _Wasted Summer_
"Birthday Cake" Sir Bobby Jukebox _Friendship Gift_

conclusion & goodbye

"Cake Time" The Rip-Off Artist _The Kids Are Alright_
"A Birthday" John Gielgud _The Voice Of Poetry Volume II_
"Weird Little Birthday Girl" Happyness _Weird Little Birthday_
"Happy Birthday" Reliant Tom _Bad Orange_

*"Turntable Cake - Small" by The Cake Engineer is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Monday, November 28, 2022

Whither Magda's Birthday Show 2022?

(no frickin' idea where I found this one, sorry)

The woman I love, the woman I married, gets a radio show every year around her birthday.  My show is on a Tuesday, her birthday is Thursday.  I'll celebrate it starting tonight.

How do I celebrate it?  By playing lots of birthday songs!

What birthday songs do I play?  Never the same recording twice!  (See yesterday's post.)

Why do I celebrate it?  Because I love her!  Also, I hope it wipes away all my stupidity from the past year.

Does that work?  It does not!  But she appreciates it anyway.  I think.  I don't know if she actually listens.

You can listen & hear a whole lot of birthday tunes tonight on 90.7 fm KBOO (online at from midnight to 3am.  Plus winners of the "Favorite Birthday Party" contest!  & maybe some cake!

Oh no!  My wife has eaten all the cake!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Preface To Magda's Birthday Show 2022: Digging

(wish I knew where I found this!)

Since almost the beginning of this show, I've played birthday songs on my wife's birthday.  Except when she was my girlfriend.  & I think I missed a year or two.

One of the things I wish I could do is play the same songs every year.  I just can't.  According to my web site, I've done 18 of these shows - in twenty years!  (I missed 2003 & 2005 for some reason.)

The first birthday show, she chose all the music.  If ot had continued that way, I would have been playing the same songs over & over.  Again, it's not something I could bring myself to do.  So on the second show (in 2004), I started playing birthday songs.

My rule (I always have a dumb rule) was that I would never play the same recording twice.  I would play covers of songs - like the Beatles' "Birthday," which has many covers - or perhaps live versions of some songs - but you wouldn't hear the same recording again.  I only broke that rule once, when I did my first Portland birthday show in 2019.  I made it a "best of."  I was feeling lazy.

Here's a count, then, probably not accurate, of the birthday songs I've play since 2004: 425.

That number doesn't include the instrumentals I talked over.  & like I said, I have played different versions of some songs.

It's getting harder each year, no lie.  There aren't enough birthday songs that I like released every year.  & yeah, that's the thing - it has to be a song I like.  I know there are more birthday songs out there that can fill a birthday show.  But I have to like them.  The nice thing about making a radio show on a community radio station is that you get to pick what you play.  & why would I play anything I didn't like?

So today I've spent the day digging around for birthday songs I've never played & that I like.  What I've found will be on the air tomorrow night.