I had spent a miserable hour at the Lincoln Park post office, in a line consisting of nothing but miserable people waiting to be served by even-more-miserable postal workers, and pushed the exit door hard enough to rattle it against its frame, grateful to be done and out of there. At 3:15PM, traffic was once again picking up with early-shift workers and school kids leaving for the day, and I hoped to catch my bus up to Broadway before it became too full to board at all. Walking to the stop, weaving between shoppers and strollers and packs of teens giggling and smoking, I came to an alley where a lot of homeless would stand and ask passersby for money or food. When you live in a big city, you learn to walk fast and not respond to anyone calling to you…you just keep moving and look like you know where you are going. Besides, if I gave money to everyone who asked me every day – often the same people multiple times in one day – I’d be broke, too, right?

As I hustled by, my ears listening for my bus rolling and rumbling behind me, my eye caught something and I stopped to look down the alley, which was littered with fast food bags, bottles, and filthy blankets. A young woman with long strawberry-blond dreadlocks and wearing an Army jacket two sizes too large for her was struggling to hold an infant while bending to scoop up the baby’s bottle that was quickly rolling towards a storm drain. As the baby slipped lower in her grasp and pitched forward, I gasped, and jogged towards them.

“Here! Hey! Can I help you?” I instinctively reached out to grab the baby, and with only a short, surprised glance at my face, the girl handed me the infant and ran to retrieve the bottle. The baby, a girl about five or six months old, regarded me quietly with her large brown eyes, calm and alert. I held her awkwardly, one hand supporting her back and neck and the other under her bottom, feeling a very full diaper. I looked back at the young woman, who had picked up the bottle and stood about fifteen feet away, looking at me. Oh no, I thought, my heart sinking, she can’t be any more than 15 or 16 years old. Shit.

The girl seemed wary, nervous, rolling the bottle back and forth in her hands, shifting her feet, but not coming closer. The crowds passed by on Clark Street in back of me, oblivious, and an ancient passed-out drunk, wadded up in newspapers and blankets near a dumpster, was equally oblivious. The baby reached up for my glasses, and I carefully disengaged her tiny fingers from my frames. I could feel urine from her diaper leaking into my hand and soaking into my coat. Damn, that’s all I need. I walked a few steps towards the girl and tried to make small talk, ready to go.

“What’s your baby’s name?”


“Oh! How pretty!” I hesitated, then spoke again. “Um…do you need help? There’s a shelter on Fullerton for women and children. I can give you bus fare…”

She paused, staring at me hard. “No. Thanks.”

“OK, well, then, I guess…” A familiar sound caused me to whip my head around towards the street. Damn! There went my bus! Now I will have to wait at the stop in a baby-piss-covered coat for another one, jamming into some sweaty jerk, I bet. What a crap day.

And when I turned around, the girl was gone, and the baby bottle was on the ground.

“Hey!!! HEY!! WAIT!! NO! WAIT!” Panicked, I ran with the baby clutched to my chest down the alley to the next block, desperately searching for any sign of the girl. “NO! PLEASE! COME BACK!”

Later, in the same alley, disco-lit from swirling red and blue police car lights, a female officer took Azalea from my arms. The baby never cried once, but looked at me curiously when I could not help but do so myself.


I hope everyone is having a pleasant and reflective Memorial Day across the United States. Do something nice for a veteran today! When you come back from doing that, you can look at these odd things and reflect in a wholly different way. Please to enjoy!

This was on sale for TEN CENTS and STILL ended up at the thrift store.


I've been in a bit of a semi-sloth mode lately...with definite bursts of spring cleaning, sure, but I feel kinda like a lazeball. And this is just fine, I have decided. I think periods of mild hibernation and minimal productivity can be very refreshing, as we are all far too busy most of the time with dumb tasks like driving down the same road for hours every day or sorting mountainous heaps of dirty laundry. Sometimes a little sheer laziness gives one time to reflect, regroup, and relax. I bet even Einstein got his sloth on sometimes.

Anyway, in celebration of not being quite so damn busy, here are ten of my favorite songs from my own personal iTunes vault with the word "lazy" in the title. Sit down, put your feet up for a change, and please to enjoy!


I sometimes wonder what fellow thrift shoppers think of me, when I am smiling and taking photos of strange crap to show you here. Like, do they think I am checking out things that may be super-rare collectibles and worth money to an unseen buyer? Or that I am stone-cold crazy? I wonder...but I DON'T CARE! Wheeeeee! OK, please to enjoy this lot!

Salt Shaker Dog has seen all your crap before. so don't even.


Well, my goodness gracious, the hits just keep on comin'! My trip to a nearby VV this past Saturday paid off again, in STRANGENESS! Bless all you weirdos making records! An amusing extra: while I was systematically flipping through the record bins, a group of three teenage boys hovered nearby, watching.

"Oh, look! Vinyl! Cool!" one of them exclaimed.

I glanced back, and raised my eyebrows at them. "There's probably not too much you'd be interested in here, guys. Unless you like Neil Diamond and marching bands." They laughed and went back to looking at old videogames as I continued my hunt.

Please to enjoy!

OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY! The excitement! One could interpret vast amounts of dripping sarcasm in the title. GO DON!


Once you pass the half-century mark, you realize that you have an awful lot of memories banging around in your cranium, running into each other, blending, swirling, fading, changing. A few are strengthened, and many are lost. I hate losing anything that is MINE MINE MINE, so I've worked at keeping my oldest memories alive, as best I can. I often take a virtual walk through all my old residences in my mind, feeling textures, smelling scents, seeing how the light came through a particular window during the afternoon. I remember things more than I remember feelings or emotions or conversations, often the most mundane stuff, too. It's curious why some things stick in your head, while some just don't. I often wonder why this has been so important to me all of my life -- even as a 10-year-old, I refused to go back into my early childhood home when given the opportunity. I didn't want the current owners' things to interfere with my memories of my things, just the way they were. And so they have remained, frozen or fresh, take your pick.

I still have a fair amount of real things left from childhood, although not nearly as many as I would've liked to have had now. Just as well, probably -- who wants to live in a museum? I like new stuff, too! But there are a handful of things that are so important to me, and one of them is either permanently packed away in some box in my mom's attic or -- more likely -- was long ago thrown away. I don't think I've held it or seen it since about 1971. It is without question the most important gift I ever received, although I'm positive my dad, who gave it to me rather inexplicably for my 2nd birthday -- yes, that's SECOND as in still in diapers and taking naps and wearing those white hi-top leather baby shoes -- never considered at all the profound impact it would end up having on me. Who would think giving a toddler a little red plastic transistor radio would be anything more than a goof? Well, check out this timing, peoples...here's  the Top Ten for my birthday week, 1964:



Do you wonder, as I do ALL THE TIME, why people buy the things they do? The more trips I make to the thrift store, the more wonder I feel. Actually, perhaps "deep and intractable confusion" would be a better descriptor. In any case, here's more crap! Please to enjoy!

Aw, look at the adorable albino bunny! But not for too long, because his red eyes are really SATANIC LASERS!


As I prepared to write this post, I thought this: of all the concerts I've been to -- hundreds? a thousand maybe? -- none were more important than this very one, held at the Highline in Seattle last Thursday night. Our little music community here, this lovely, amazing bunch of garage punk freaks and geeks, came together to celebrate a warrior by putting together a partytime-excellent show of her favorite local bands. I don't use the term "warrior" lightly -- Betsy Hansen in her fight against cancer has shown such optimism, bravery, and strength that she deserves medals, fields of flowers, and poet laureate odes. What she and her equally-mighty husband Johnny Samra never deserved were an avalanche of medical bills so overwhelming that the couple have now closed their wonderful place of business (Radar Hair and Records), and soon will sell their home as well. Brian Foss, former owner of legendary punk dive The Funhouse and DJ of KEXP's equally-megapunk "Sonic Reducer" program, thought that a grand way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Sonic Reducer would be to generously join in on the benefit show. And so it came to be!

(poster by Derek Erdman, who is donating the sale all of his artwork currently displayed at Radar to Betsy and Johnny!)


I thought I had really done it this time.

I thought, well, that's it, it's all caught up with me at last.

I thought, I'm screwed.

It's the secret worry of anyone who has spent a lifetime in and around rock music: 

I am losing my hearing.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been experiencing some problems with my ears, including ringing, muffled hearing, and sensitivity to sound. Two visits to two doctors offered little relief and not much info, other than I wasn't sick or wax-bound. Nasal sprays and a short course of steroids and two visits to two doctors didn't solve the problem. It was time to visit a proper ear, nose, and throat doctor to get my hearing thoroughly tested.

To say I was nervous is great understatement. I have never experienced anything like this for such a long period of time, and was near-panicked thinking that I might be told that attending loud music events would further damage my hearing and that I should stop, a loss that would be profoundly sad on many levels for me as a music photographer, friend, and fan.

As I stepped in the audiologist's tiny sound-proof booth for the test, I noticed he was speaking pointedly and loudly to me. I felt like crying, but instead concentrated on the instructions he gave me for the multiple tests. I was hooked up to machines that caused a pressure in my ear, made teeeeeeny little beeping sounds, and spoke words rapid-fire at me, which I had to repeat back through a microphone. It was really exhausting. The beeps were far quieter than my own breathing sounds or the rustle of the headphones on my hair. I just had no idea if I was doing well or poorly. I was preparing myself to hear what I didn't want to hear after the tests were done.

As the audiologist was printing out my results, he asked me another question:

"Do you wear earplugs at the concerts you go to?"

"Yes," I replied, offering a sad smile. "Every time, and I have used them since I was a teenager."

He smiled, and showed me a chart. "Well, congratulations, because that has paid off for you big-time."


He continued, "Your ears are perfect. Your hearing is perfect. You don't even have the loss one would normally expect for anyone your age, not even counting your music noise exposure. You could not have had a better result."

"Really??? Oh my god. Oh my god, thank you!" I felt so grateful I could have kissed him, but refrained.

I mean, I have been to a LOT of shows since the '70s, and have been next to speakers so loud, they blew my HAIR. I thought, eventually, I would pay for it in hearing loss, no matter what I did to try to avoid it. But they worked. The earplugs worked!!!

The ENT told me to chill and to enjoy my perfect ears, keep going to shows, and keep using those earplugs. My current problems, he thinks, are just a little seasonal allergies and should recede soon.

So the purpose of me telling you all this isn't to let you know my ears are OK -- it's to tell you to also 
at concerts, or if you don't use them, start NOW. There are many different kinds, and most are very inexpensive. If they are uncomfortable or not effective, try out some different brands and kinds -- everyone's ears are uniquely shaped. Keep losing them? Buy 'em in bulk! Always forget them? Keep some in your purse or car, or ask if the venue sells them -- most do. Don't even WASTE time thinking you will look uncool or not macho or won't enjoy the show as much when wearing earplugs! Just do it, my friends. Just do it, so you never have to end up in a tiny little sound-proof booth not hearing any little beeps at all.

The Shag, "Stop and Listen"