RECENTLY ON TOL:
- A tumblr site dedicated to the people and places that make up Oregon and Southwest Washington.
Here at Think Out Loud, the staff has been arguing for a while about the fate of our Behind-the-Scenes-Blog. Since you're here now, you've likely visited before but, frankly, many people have not. No matter how much we tweeted and facebooked and talked about it, just not too many people checked it out. They all flood to our website (which we appreciate!) but these extra stories just didn't get a lot of traction. So, the time has come for us to retire the blog.
In many ways it is too bad. We've had the blog since the show started back in January of 2008. Our first post was written by Dave (that's when he was the online host.) He wanted people to use their real names when commenting on our website. He said:
It's not going to be fun for me to come on the air saying things like "We got a great comment from Beaverfan1997, who wrote that..." or "ZarkonFOREVER couldn't agree more." I'm guessing it wouldn't make for great listening, either.
Over the years we wrote about wearing pink in Pendleton, Dave's friend's bad dreams, Sarah's sense of closure, and our staff picks — including Allison's in free verse. We showed you our new editorial calendar and let you know when we were hiring a new producer. We posted pictures (ours and yours) and shared some "after the show ended" conversations.
If you were a regular reader of the blog, I hope it allowed you an opportunity to get to know us a bit better. That is something that is very important to us and we will continue to strive to provide those opportunities, just in different ways. Look for us on Facebook and Twitter and, perhaps, one day Tumblr. Until, then, thanks for visiting!
The idea for the check-in on the Portland composting program came from one of our producers who said she'd been overwhelmed recently in a social setting with people talking about their responses to the city's new program which involves less frequent trash pick up and curbside composting. When we aired the segment yesterday, we had a similar response. On Facebook page and our TOL webpage, listeners flooded us with positive, negative, and ambivalent responses. As we do for all our segments, we read as many of these responses as we could, bouncing the comments off our guests and taking calls as well.
Many of those who were frustrated with the new program said they felt they were paying more for less service and some highlighted the messiness of collecting food scraps in the kitchen before taking them to the curb for pick up.
Jeff V said the change was a failure in his eyes, since his family of four had to upgrade to a bigger can (which is more expensive).
Some who liked the program seemed to be avid recyclers and partial composters already, while others were previous skeptics who were won over having found the inconvenience wasn't nearly as bad as they had initially feared.
Dealwithit said that it's only fair that if you produce more trash you should pay more for it.
Angie Monday said people need to keep in mind the bigger picture and that "we will all end up paying more costs and fees in the future as we run out of landfill space."
All in all, there were SO many responses (160 on our site at last count!) that went unread on air that we just wanted to say, thanks again to everyone who posted!
And if have specific ideas for follow ups in the future, don't forget about our Suggest a Topic space where you can do just that!
Yesterday I spent some time going over comments on our shows of the past week. There was lots of great stuff there, but one thing in particular caught my attention. Last Friday we did a show with Elizabeth Hovde. I wrote the show post before my holiday and began it like this:
Oregonian columnist Elizabeth Hovde has been a friend of Think Out Loud for a while now.
In the comments from the program Jimbobilly had some concerns about the show and, among other things, said:
to have it happen to one of the friends of someone at this station does not make it more relevant
Especially since I also used the expression "friend of the show" when writing about Rob Ingram earlier in the week, I thought I should take a moment to explain. Being a "friend of the show" does not mean that person is a friend of someone on the program in the traditional sense. It is someone who has become friendly with Think Out Loud. Usually they have been a guest on the show, but more than that, they let us pick their brains when we're looking for guests.
Here at Think Out Loud we are only a few producers with a limited number of contacts and connections. These friends pick up the phone when we call and flip through their contacts to help us find people who might be good for the show — people we might not otherwise know of. As we mature as a show, we are fortunate to grow more and more friends. Andrea Paluso helps us find people affected by family issues. Rob Smith helps us on business stories. Bill Lunch assists us with politics. These are just a few of our many, many friends.
And as for the more traditional friends — actual, social friends of the producers and staff of this show — it is actually very rare for them to be on our air. And, if they are, they have gone through a rigorous editorial process — always vetted and pre-interviewed by someone else on the staff.
So, all that to say, you too can be a friend of the show! Just pick up the phone when we call!
I have been trying to keep my consumption of addictive TV shows to a minimum, and I blame host Dave Miller for turning me on to PBS's Downton Abbey. I just want to mention I'm not usually susceptible to the lure of British TV and only an occasional viewer of Masterpiece. But there's that certain realism that's created by the show that was totally captivating for me — something in the relationships between the wealthy aristocrats who live in the sprawling estate called Downton Abbey and the service staff that make the place run. The worlds mix in some ways and in some ways are totally separate. For people who have time (not me) there's also themes to reflect on about wealth and class in a way that I haven't seen in a lot of other shows. And there's Maggie Smith, who plays the Dowager Countess (Violet) to the absolute hilt.
Season Two, I notice, starts next week on OPB TV. Cheers.
In one of my final acts before departing for this holiday weekend, I just wanted to share one of my favorite kids' books from the year: The House That Mouse Built, by Portland artist Maggie Rudy. My almost three-year-old daughter's Nana and Pawpa bought her the book when they visited from Fresno during Thanksgiving. It has been Francesca's bedtime book pick nearly every night since. She has also memorized most of it, which is one of the sweetest recitations I have ever heard. Am I sick of it yet — having read it one, two or three times a day since Black Friday? Surprisingly, not yet.
With Hanukkah in full swing and Christmas quickly approaching, it may not be surprising to see a holiday theme running through the 9:06am photos!
It has been a truly illuminating experience to see where we reach our listeners. From Bend to Lyle, WA, each photo shows the deep diversity that comes to inform and enrich every program we do. So, thank you for the photos and for continuing to tune-in and build our show!
In October, we asked listeners to capture photos of their lives at the time our show starts — 9:06 am. We had an amazing response. We received pictures of our listeners in coffee shops, cars, homes and airports from all over Oregon, and the world!
With the holidays in full-throttle, we thought there's no better time to check back in!
So, pull out your phone, or grab a camera, and snap a photo of your life at 9:06 am (we won't tell if it was actually taken at 9:08 or 9:09....) Then, please, share it with us. There are three ways to do that:
If your picture takes our breath away — or makes us laugh or cry —please know we may republish it on our site (with credit of course!)
2011 saw the deaths of two fascinating, brilliant, and —many would argue — mean men: Steve Jobs and Christopher Hitchens. Obviously, Hitchens' death is still the subject of numerous stories and obits. Slate and The Atlantic have flooded their sites with articles remembering Hitchens, and many of them turn a blind eye to the unfavorable aspects of his personality.
The same thing happened when Jobs died. There's something seemingly natural in us to sand down the rough edges of a person's personality when we memorialize them. Part of me likes that — it seems to speak well of us as humans that we want to remember the good parts of a person and forgive the bad. But it's also, let's face it, dishonest.
My favorite Jobs obituary was by Ryan Tate at Gawker and it was titled, "What Everybody is Too Polite to Say about Steve Jobs." Rather than focus on the "individuality" that Apple puffed its chest about, it focused on Jobs' growing penchant for censorship. And instead of harping on the brilliant minimalist aesthetic Jobs cultivated, Tate criticized the cruelty with which Jobs dealt with his coworkers and friends and family. Most importantly, while many stayed mum about the international labor concerns at the Foxconn factories where Apple had its products made, Tate drew attention to the issue.
Now we're still soaking in the sunny glow of Hitchens obituaries, where his ironically dogmatic secularism and lacerating bitterness are treated as, at best, charming, and, at worst, tactless. James Fallows offers a take that considers the negative aspects of his genius.
I like these more brutal memorials. And I think they are honestly more memorable than the glowing remembrances. I can understand why those closest to these men would momentarily forget and forgive their more brutal sides, but for those of us without a personal connection, it's important to see all sides of a character. Saints are few and far between, and knee-jerk canonization of those with deep flaws simply because of the gifts they gave our society feels cheap.
Greatness, fame, and celebrity often come with baggage, and force people to make sacrifices. When a great person dies, it provides an opportunity to tally up those sacrifices and estimate the true measure of a man or woman, in talent and influence, and also in deeds and character. It prompts us to think about what greatness really is. But only if we have the whole story.
Scott Poole's poem "By Way of Explanation," is about finding yourself on the side of the highway, and you're not doing too well. Like most of The Sliding Glass Door, the poem is evenly zany, succinct and self-deprecating. Poole offers a glimpse inside his writing process by sharing "By Way of Explanation" in three drafts.
I was driving up the freeway exit ramp
and a cardboard sign
in a man's hand
read: "Please help, Scott."
First, I thought
you're kind of limiting your options.
I mean how many Scotts
could there be
that might drive by?
What if your name
and you had raging case of altruism?
But then I thought
this man's name is Scott
and he just wants you to know
who you are giving to.
A personal touch.
This guy is a pro.
But then it occurred to me
he might be asking for help
for me, Scott.
And I thought
that's really, really nice of him.
Nobody asked him to collect help for me.
And I suddenly realized
that maybe I could use a helping hand
and I didn't even know it.
I looked up to the heavens
and thanked them
for bringing this special soul
into my dismal day
when I accidentally
ran him over with my car.
Ode to a Staff Pick Blog Post, as yet Unwritten
Oh, Blog Post, you have been calling to me all day saying:
Write me. . . WRITE ME!
And I have said, wait, wait little blog post, little Staff Pick Blog Post. Wait, while I make just one more phone call.
OK, I lied.
Just 17 more phone calls, to people who recommended people that I should talk to about the thing that I originally called about. It might be a few more minutes.
OK, hours, before I can possibly do something as fun or light or amusing or imitative but hopefully in a good, imitation-is-the-highest-form-of-flattery kind of way as write a little Behind the Scenes Staff Pick Blog Post
in which I recommend this tremendously unique and outrageously surprising poet who made me laugh out loud and groan (alternatingly and often) while reading the stuff in his new book: The Sliding Glass Door
on my beat-up black leather couch late last night after the kids had finally been talked into sleep and which made me think,
this is kind of the poetry equivalent of watching one of my favorite sit-coms on Netflix, something like Parks & Rec or The Office that makes you laugh but then all of a sudden sometimes, makes you go, oh wow, yeah. That.
So with apologies for the delay, I hope you are happy now, little blog post. You exist.
Surely that's better than not. Yes?
ps Scott's poems are way better than this
ps2 For instance, Scott's poems do not have post scripts. That would be ridiculous
ps3 You may know Scott Poole from Live Wire!, the OPB Variety show on OPB. He will be on Think Out Loud on Monday, December 12th. But you wouldn't know this yet because — I haven't written the show post yet.
Update 12-9-11: I finally wrote that post — you can read it here.