Category Archives: 01 – January

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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January 31

I subbed for a sick DJ this morning. He called late last night, worried that he had not yet been able to find anyone who could take over his slot, and that he might have to trudge through the snow despite his illness. So I arrived in the morning and picked out a bunch of music and got ready with a record by a turntable…and saw Marvin there, doing the same thing. Sadly, Marvin hadn’t heard that the sick DJ found me as a replacement, and showed up to sub at 6 in the morning…

Listen for songs constructed of animal sounds. I also threw in another Filipino tune called “Prized Banana”.

(Don’t tell anyone that I accidentally played some curse words during daylight hours…)

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Local Music Show

I got a chance to help engineer a show today! This means that I set up mike stands, plugged the mikes in, helped control the soundboard in the production studio, and had a front-row seat for the local band Light in August.

I’m just starting to get into this engineering thing; Alex has been teaching me a ton about working the boards and making things sound A-OK. I’m most excited about the Local Music Show, during which local bands come in and play live. The show’s on Wednesday nights, though, which means that I may end up staying awake for quite some time on Wednesdays, given that Break Your Radio is on Wednesday mornings. I’m going to see about engineering for talk shows and such: I may end up being a regular for a show called Living Writers…which is also on Wednesdays. Wednesday is radio day.

Well anyway, I had a fantastic time tonight. today.

January 28

Another Wednesday morning, another show! Today I played around a bit with an online text-to-speech program. Non sequitur: I hope you know sign language. I had callers today! yeah!

It snowed like crazy this morning.

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As another aside, there’s something to look forward to for next week–I found this fantastic record that includes songs made entirely of animal noises. The thing is, you would have no idea that they were animal noises if I didn’t tell you. Break Your Radio next week for juicier details. and hear it from the horse’s mouth.

A note about January 21

I had a blast on the radio today. I’m pretty big on plans and having control over things in general; thus, I was a bit nervous for today’s show, since I went in with essentially no plan. Instead, I got to the station a bit early and yanked a massive amount of CDs and vinyl from the shelves, so that I’d have options and wouldn’t have to race around like a maniac during the show.

…This meant that afterward, I spent about 40 minutes putting it all back. But it was worth it! I found new music that I love, and was able to relax and enjoy myself. I got a couple calls and a request. Yes! Calls are good.

This is a rare three-hour show, as I was sitting in for the DJs who normally fill that time slot. Listen closely for the tagalog lyrics sung by a Filipina vocalist. Oh yes, and I wasn’t able to back announce at the end of the show, so at the very end, that one fabulous song that you love? That’s Lali Puna.

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As an aside: I’ve recently gotten the urge to change the name from “Break Your Radio” to “One Hand Clapping”. But I think I’ll wait on that until a later date and a different show.

January 9. biscuits.

Workin my way toward a three-hour show…I sat in on Sean Westergaard’s freeform show today, and played music for about an hour.  His weekly show happens on Fridays from 6-9 AM.  6:00 felt very early to me.  My show will likely be 3-6 AM each week.  I wonder if that’ll feel early or late.  In any case, I had a blast this morning, despite an emergency snow warning interrupting my set.  This podcast features biscuits (“no wonder he got four chins!”) and my segment of Sean’s 3-hour show.

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A note about January 4

I made it to the studio early, so that I could pick out a good list of world music to play while sitting in on Yalcin’s Dromedary Express show.  [It seems as though the Dromedary Express refers to a train that must have run (in the good old days) from Europe to Asia; thus, Yalcin plays music that spans from Europe to Asia.]  So after a few hours of listening to music and separating wheat from chaff, I sat with stacks of CDs around me and headphones on my head.  Yalcin walked in and told me the big news:  instead of world music today, he said, I’ve decided to do a special show.  In honor of New Year’s, he continued, I’m going to play drunken sad songs.  His idea manifested itself on my face, as my smile drooped to a grimace while I began to think of all the spectacular, upbeat tracks I’d have to discard…luckily, though, I just happened to have chosen a couple songs that could pass for drunken and/or depressing.  Listen to the entire hour-long show of Dromedary Express and be overjoyed with the sadness.

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A note about January 3

This is a segment of a show called Robot Pasta, which is DJed by the Dwyer Family and friends.  The Dwyers–a husband, wife, and two daughters–come in every Saturday for their show, along with friends who happen to swing by for the day.  While I was in the studio with them, there were at least eight people chatting, hanging out, and taking turns playing music.  I joined the mayhem, and the linked podcast is my little segment of the 2-hour show.

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