Category Archives: 2009

June 30: SPECIAL GUESTS in the studio

This week’s Break Your Radio show is here WSG: a baker’s dozen helium balloons, returning co-host Jennifer Lee, hip-hop starlet One Thought, and our very quiet music director.

LISTEN (2 hours):
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We start with lots of soul, get into some old-school jams, and indulge in a few digressions. We celebrate the impending Fourth of July by reciting “America the Beautiful” over machine gun fire and the tinkling of classical piano.

Herein, also learn what Lord Buckley’s voice would sound like on helium (sped up from 33 to 45 rpm). A note to trivia hounds: Frank Zappa edited the Lord Buckley album that I found in our music library, “A Most Immaculately Hip Aristocrat.”

Artist = “Song title”, Album title. [Notes.]

Things got chaotic in the studio. This list surely lacks some trax.

1. Roger Taylor = “Future management”, Fun in space.
2. INF = “Soul check mate”, Music for crime scenes.
3. Von Ryan’s Express = “Squat pot”, Von Ryan’s Express.
4. Johnnie Taylor = “The users”, She’s killing me.
5. Luther Ingram = “My honey and me”, I’ve been here all the time.
6. Redbone = “Sweet lady of love”, Come and get your Redbone: The best of Redbone.
7. John Lennon & Yoko Ono = “Cleanup time”, Double fantasy.
8. Exusama = Baroquin, Excusez-moi!.
9. Family of God = “Watch with mother”, Family of God.
10. Elastica = “Indian song”, Elastica.
11. Family of God = “2nd touch”, Family of God.
12. Eels = “Beginner’s luck”, Hombre Lobo: 12 songs of desire.
13. Animal hours = “Submarine”, Do over.
14. TRAFFIC = “Rock & roll stew”, The low spark of high heeled boys.
15. The Guess Who? = “Maple fudge”, Wheatfield soul.
16. The Orb + Lee Scratch Perry = “Soulman”, The observer in the star house.
17. Sleepy Kitty = “THE HOAX”, Projection room.
18. Potpourri of Pearls = “Shadow on my shoulder”, Why does coco cry?.
19. Little Lapin = “Silent tears”, Little Lapin.
20. Courtney Barnett = “Kim’s caravan”, Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.
21. Hot Chip = “White wine and fried chicken”, Why make sense?.
22. Nocturnal Sunshine ft. Chelou = “Believe”, Nocturnal Sunshine.
23. Andreya Triana = “Clutterbug”, Giants.
24. INF = “Bubble gum heist”, Music for crime scenes.
25. The Sixths w/ Melanie = “I’ve got New York”, Hyacinths and thistles.

June 23

In which I realize that three squared does not equal twenty-seven.

(2 hours)
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Scattered throughout the show are a few of the bands that I caught at the NXNE music/comedy/film/etc festival in Toronto. Not included here, though worth checking out, are brilliant comedians who gave me belly laughs, namely Ashley Barnhill and Nick Thune.

[Aside: I missed this crazy choreographed event with David Byrne, tune-yards, Nelly Furtado, et al. in Toronto by a mere one day. I don’t want to talk about it anymore because it makes me sad and frustrated to have missed it. Console me.]

Stay tuned to the end to experience the mesmerizing hypnosis of found sound from a casino. JACKPOT.

Artist = “Song title”, Album title. [Notes.]

1. Lucius = “Turn it around”, Wildewoman.
2. Hop Along = “Powerful man”, Painted shut.
3. Alabama Shakes = “Future people”, Sound & color.
4. Ava Luna = “Steve Polyester”, Infinite house.
5. TEEN = “toi toi toi”, The way and color.
6. Pins = “Got it bad”, Wild nights.
7. Matthew E. White = “Holy moly”, Fresh blood.
8. Acorn = Influence, Vieux loup.
9. Roisin Murphy = “Uninvited guest”, Hairless toys.
10. Tubes = “Muscle girls”, Love bomb.
11. Papas Fritas = “Hey hey you say”, Helioself.
12. Nick Diamonds = “Something about the moon”, City of quartz.
13. The Roots = “The seed (2.0)”, Phrenology.
14. Young Fathers = “27”, White men are black men too.
15. Justin Walter = “Western tears”, Lullabies & nightmares.
16. Andreya Triana = “Lullaby”, Giants.
17. Girlpool = “Before the world was big”, Before the world was big.
18. Prinzhorn Dance School = “Reign”, Home economics.
19. Michelle Blades = “Risk fruit”, Ataraxia.
20. Nessa = “Gigue by Blavet”, Nessa.
21. Tyondai Braxton = “Boids”, HIVE1.
22. Damaged Bug = “Grape basement”, Cold hot plumbs.
23. Nuyorican Soul = “Habriendo el dominante”, Nuyorican Soul.
24. Money Mark = “Another day to love you”, Change is coming.
25. Shamir = “Make a scene”, Ratchet.
26. Shokazulu = “Pie”, EP.
27. Adrian Rew = “Horseshoe Casino, Cleveland, Ohio”, Slot Machine Music.

We’re back online! new new new radio show

If you’ve drifted off, then WAKE UP because have I ever got a new show for you, after lo these many periods of time.

It’s not that I haven’t been playing music for you–you can Break Your Radio every single Tuesday night at 10 til midnight by tuning to 88.3 FM in southeast Michigan or streaming live anywhere on the planet via

But opportunities to Break Your Radio have been as ephemeral as the electromagnetic waves received moment by moment and emitted just as quickly through the speakers in your radio or computer, only to disappear once more into the ether.

But HOORAY, each episode once again will be memorialized on this very website for your aural pleasure.

Thanks to Chicago Alex for making this happen. THANKS, Alex, for listening all this time and for asking me so nicely to replenish your RSS feed every week. You’re not a spy from the FCC or a major record label, are you?

Please enjoy the June 2 edition of Break Your Radio:

(2 hours)
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Artist = “Song title,” Album title. [Notes.]

1. [Broadway Stars] = “Some enchanted evening,” South Pacific soundtrack.
2. Punch Brothers = “Who’s feeling young now?” Who’s feeling young now?.
3. Punch Brothers = “You are,” Antifogmatic.
4. Elaine Purkey = “Who’ll watch the homeplace,” Mountain music, mountain struggle.
5. Joan Collins = “Sleep,” The Joan Collins beauty and exercise record.
6. Stephanie Greggains = “Chariots of Fire – Cool down,” Thin thighs, hips & stomach: Aerobic shape-up III. [Contains 16 page photo instruction book]
7. Barbie Allen = “Cool down stretch – Just the two of us,” Dance/Exercise.
8. DJ Jester: the Filipino Fist = track 2, River walk riots.
9. Jib Kidder = “Lossy Angeles,” Earzumba/Jib Kidder split.
10. Bobby Troup & Trio = “That darn cat,” Original music score from the sound track of the motion picture: That Darn Cat.
11. Dean Martin = “June in January,” The Dean Martin Deluxe Set. [More than 30 of his greatest hits!]
12. Warren Covington and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra = “Orchids in the moonlight,” It takes two…to cha cha tango samba merengue mambo rumba.
13. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass = “So what’s new?,” What now my love.
14. Kenosha Kid = “Map of the universe,” Inside voices.
15. Jel = “Thnk4U,” Late pass.
16. DJ Mayonnaise = “Post reformat,” Still alive.
17. Illuminati Congo ft. Del the Funky Homosapien = “No no,” All eye see.
18. K-Chill = “Boom booms 93,” Get ya funky off.
19. Govind Bolo Gopal Bolo = “Nandbhawan Nandlal Thumak Chalan Lage,” Krishna Bhajan.
20. Frank Zappa = “Dirty love,” Apostrophe/Overnight sensation.
21. Janet Jackson = “What have you done for me lately,” Control.
22. Courtney Barnett = “An illustration of loneliness (sleepless in New York),” Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

This week was an especially auspicious time to start all this up again, as the exceedingly lovely Gina Gettum brought her brightness and her veggietables to bear during the show.

Also check out the new sticker on the window in our FM studio. It provides a pep talk every time you look up from the microphone.

hugabug 15: Nonhuman animal love

from Pietsch 2005 (Journal of Ichthyological Research)

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Music in this show:
1. Destiny’s Child, “Girl”
2. Zap Mama, “Son subano”
3. Spanglish Fly, “Let my people bugalú” (Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite remix)

— — — — —

Love is delicious.

And it comes in three flavors: Friendship, Romance, and Family.

Vampire bats share blood meals with friends.

Vampire bats eat blood and only blood. But some nights, a vampire bat has bum luck, hunts for blood, and fails. This is a big deal, because a vampire bat can go without food for only about two days before it starves to death. So it begs.

It asks other bats in the roost to share the blood they ate. If the hungry bat is a good friend–in other words, if the bat is known to be generous; if it shares its own meals when other bats in the roost have come home hungry, reduced to begging; then it gets a favor. A friend reciprocates by regurgitating its own dinner into the hungry bat’s mouth.

from Wilkinson 1990 (Scientific American)
(Click the pic to view a larger version)

These bats live by the familiar philosophy: You scratch my back, I’ll vomit blood into your mouth.

Meanwhile, in the deep sea…

A male anglerfish shows his desire for a lady by sinking his teeth in her body. The male is teeny tiny, and he lives in a vast, deep, dark ocean. It’s rare for anyone in the ocean to meet anyone at all, because the ocean is so big, and the anglerfish is so, so small.

from Pietsch 1976 (Copeia)

His loneliness, the emptiness–it’s intolerable. So the tiny anglerfish uses giant nostrils to smell for ladies in the murky darkness. If he finds one, he bites her. Hard. And he does not let go.

Above: from Pietsch 1976 (Copeia)
Below: from Pietsch 2005 (Journal of Ichthyological Research)

The male becomes a permanent fixture on the female fish. Their bodies literally fuse together, and the couple becomes a single body for the rest of their lives. From then on, any food the female hunts, she shares, because all nutrients flow to both of them by their connected bloodstream.

The love between parent and child often involves poop.

A mother gives the gift of poop to her baby elephant. Mom’s feces make a healthy snack, actually, for the baby. It’s not the poop the baby is eating, really–it’s the microbes in the poop.

The baby is born without any microbes in its belly at all, which is a problem. Microbes are essential to eat and digest grass. But a wise, wonderful elephant mother has a developed digestive system, microbes included. And through poop, parents pass important microbes from generation to generation. In this way, little elephant babies can eat grass, grow…make friends, find romance, and feed poop to their own babies.

from van Geel et al. 2011 (Quaternary Science Reviews)

Love is disgusting.

— — — — —

This show was a contender in the Third Coast 2013 ShortDocs Challenge. Click here to hear more submissions from all over the world.

And talented wonderwoman Olivia Walch created a comic based on the puking bats you heard about here!

from Olivia’s Methods comic series

hugabug 10: Velvet worms

from Mayer & Harzsch 2007 (BMC Evolutionary Biology)

Velvet worms do it headfirst.
Listen to find out how and why.

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Music in this show:
1. Pizzicato Five, “Baby love child”
2. The Supremes, “Baby love”
3. Spanglish Fly, “Let my people bugalú” (Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite remix)

New! Leave a voicemail for hugabug:
(734) 707–7750

A velvet worm is not really a worm. It’s not quite an insect, either. By any measure, velvet worms occupy their own special category of little creatures. If you find one in the dark, moist crevice of a rotting log, you might think it looks like the love child between an earthworm and centipede that was made into a stuffed animal.

photo by Andras Keszei

Under a microscope, you’ll see something different. Check for spikes or other unusual features, like claws or tusks, on the heads of the males. Even what looks like a pit between their antennae can flip inside-out to reveal something like a thorn on their forehead.

Above: from Tait & Norman 2006 (Journal of Zoology)
Below: from Rockman et al. 2001 (Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution)

Only males carry extra anatomy on their heads. Which raises the question: Do those head structures have something to do with gettin’ some?

The answer is yes. Velvet worms have at least two unparalleled methods of sex.

The first involves going in headfirst. Lord only knows how a male gets sperm from one end of his body to the other, but he does. He makes himself a sperm hat, then approaches a female and pushes his head into her vagina. He’s wedged securely, and the female keeps his head steady with her feet.

The second mode of copulation involves neither the head nor the vagina of a velvet worm. We’re talking insemination through the skin.[1] Here’s what happens–one or several males place one or several sperm packets on a female velvet worm’s skin, all over the place. On her back, her sides, anywhere along the length of her body. The female’s own cells dissolve her skin under a ball of sperm, and a blister forms there. The bursting blister tears her skin and the sperm packet. The sperm swim into the female through her muscle, her tissues, her blood, eventually reaching her ovaries.

The beautiful part of this process is that the empty sperm packet sticks to the female over the wound that formed in her skin; it’s like a natural band-aid. Her body heals the hole, and the next time she sheds her skin to grow, she’s good as new. And pregnant.

Thanks to Andras Keszei for sharing the image

By the way, some velvet worms may not even need a guy’s help to have babies. But that’s another story.

For now, tip your sperm hat to these innovative velvet worms and their creativity when it comes to sex. I hope this gets you in the mood.

To hug a bug.

photo by James Wood

— — — — —

All that, not to mention the gooey cannons used by velvet worms to hunt:

“Two pistols that fire sticky ropes…slimed!” from National Geographic

After a bit of perambulating with its “soft, slumpy legs”, the velvet worm entangles prey with glue shot from the modified legs on its face, and then “reclaims its glue by eating it.” from Mr. Attenborough

Mesmerizing mini-videos (a.k.a. gifs) of the sticky cannons from F@#$ Yeah! Biology!

from Dias & Lo-Man-Hung 2009 (Journal of Arachnology)

Furthermore, these videos do not depict that some velvet worms hunt in groups. And we didn’t even talk about the female-dominated social hierarchy of some velvet worms, where an “alpha female” gets the privilege of nomming all by herself. When she’s finished, other females pick apart the carcass. Finally, male worms are allowed the scraps.

Something like 200 different velvet worm species crawl all over the world using their little hydrostatic-powered legs. mm, diverse-looking.

— — — — —

[1] ^ A detailed description of dermal-haemocoelic insemination, in all its jargony glory, with BONUS untranslated French and German excerpts: Manton 1938 (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B)

hugabug 2: Turtles cry

Mr Andrew Murray kindly shared this photo

Turtles cry, and butterflies lick the tears.
Listen to find out how and why.

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Music in this show:
1. Monster Rally, “Chaska beach”
2. Monster Rally, “The new optimism”
3. Arif Sağ, “Osman Pehlivan”
4. Prince, “When doves cry”
5. Elvis Costello, “Deep dark truthful mirror”
6. Spanglish Fly, “Let my people bugalú” (Clay Holley and Jeff Dynamite remix)

— — — — —


A sea turtle may need a hug from you. Because why? Because sea turtles cry.

The poetic explanation for turtle tears is that females laying their eggs on the beach can’t bear to abandon their eggs in a nest of sand, forcing their babies to grow up alone in this harsh world of sharks and ships and desiccation. Yet they must. Thus, they cry.

OK, it’s an unlikely scene. But we can’t really exclude the sentimental possibility, because who are we to say how a turtle feels? But there may be a more likely reason why turtles cry.

For one, the moist, viscous lubricant of turtle tears could protect the eyes of females as they dig immense piles of sand to lay their eggs.

And this here is the perfect time to review one of the major rules of being shipwrecked: If you find yourself lost at sea, do not drink the saltwater, no matter how thirsty you get. If you become so parched that you throw all logic to the wind and gulp down the salty water surrounding your life raft, you can damage your brain and go insane.


Sea turtles, however. Sea turtles drink saltwater! Not because they love salt, but because sea turtles can get rid of all that extra salt, which is so harmful to their bodies. Similar to humans, turtle kidneys are useless for the purposes of drinking saltwater. Their kidneys can’t produce pee that is concentrated enough to excrete the enormous amounts of salt acquired through drinking saltwater and eating very salty foods like algae and jellyfish.

To compensate for their useless kidneys, sea turtles have giant modified tear glands, one behind each eyeball. These glands are rather large. They’re much bigger than the turtle’s brain. These are salt glands; they cause turtles to cry salt.


(Click the picture to enlarge)

Other animals in the sea have their own ways of getting rid of excess salt. The salt glands in other animals are similar, but certainly different. Snakes have salivary glands, and crocodiles have tongue glands. Snakes and crocodiles thus drool to get rid of salt. Sharks have rectal glands; their salty wastes exit through the butt. Lizards have nasal glands, giving them salty snot. Some birds, too, have salty runny noses, but some birds also cry, like sea turtles, with modified tear glands.

You know what’s even more weird? Butterflies and moths drink the tears of other animals. A bee was spotted hovering around a turtle in the Amazon, maybe doing the same thing. You can see beautiful pictures of insect tear-drinkers all over the internet.

When butterflies hover around a turtle’s face, they may be gathering minerals that they can’t find anywhere else. Male butterflies sometimes give these extra minerals to females as an incentive to mate.

So the turtle is not crying because it is sad. Its eyeballs are just dripping salt after the turtle has gulped its fill of thirst-quenching seawater. Hug a turtle anyway.

And better yet, hug a bug. Bugs don’t get much love.

— — — — —

There’s more to see:

A butterfly and a bee commandeer each eye of a spectacled caiman, probably to imbibe extra minerals: Youtube it!

Talented wonderwoman Oliva Walch created a comic about turtle tears:

from Olivia’s Methods comic series


In revamping this interwebsite of joy, I came across two shows that were unaccounted for. Here they are, in full. Oh, the nostalgia. Oh, the pleasure. Oh, oh, oh.

Aired April 13, 2009:
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From January 14, 2009:
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December 23: Christmas semi-Extravaganza

I didn’t think I’d make it a Christmas show, and so I grabbed the usual motley assortment of musics from the shelves before going on the air…but our Christmas collection drew me in like a fat man to a chimney.

The show begins with a Calypso-Reggae Hanukkah/Christmas/Other theme. Then RuPaul leads us into the blues with her rendition of a Grinch song. Ohemgee you can never have enough Destiny’s Child, especially during the holidays. And Patti Smith puts the creepy in Christmas.


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December 9: Voiceovers

A DJ named Andrew does a show after Break Your Radio: Voiceovers. He invites poets and short story writers to the studio to read their works on the air. He chooses music to accompany their words. I thought that he should read his own work during his show. He thought so, too. Here it is.

We collaborated: I chose music for a couple poems, he chose music for the rest. He manned the mic, obviously, and I womanned the soundboard. I’ve got a new respect for him. It wasn’t easy to manage mic levels, music, words, simultaneously. The show was pretty well choreographed, well planned, totally fun.

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December 9

Taste the Philippines. A brief trip to France. What does Christmas in the Congo sound like? Hear a garage band from Arkansas. Eat some blues. Listen to the show!

I also stuck in there a track from Cavalier Rose. I went to see them perform in town. Magnificent. Their album, I think, doesn’t entirely reflect the power of their performance. Think blues hardcore. During the last song, the vocalist screamed. Yes. screamed. I couldn’t even speak to the drummer after the show. Just made faces and gestures. I think she got the message. They were fantastic.

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