NPR logo Welcome to Monitor Mix

Welcome to Monitor Mix

Dear readers, hello and welcome.

This inaugural post is to let you know who I am and what exactly I am doing here.

First, about me:

Name: Carrie Brownstein

Hometown: Redmond, Washington.

Current place of residence: Portland, Oregon a.k.a. the city sponsored by The New York Times.

Number of years lived outside of the Pacific Northwest: 0

Number of States visited: 48

Amount of most recent electric bill: $55.35

Items that can be found on my front porch: two chairs, a side table, and three pairs of Adidas (I am currently looking for sponsorship).

Memorized and available for demonstration: Elementary school theme song "We All Come From Benjamin Rush," certain Roethke poems, most of the Misfits catalog.

Color of all pets in household: Black and white.

Last book read: Denis Johnson's Tree of Smoke.

Instruments played: Guitar (fairly well), piano (barely), harp (imagined), triangle (air triangle only).

About the blog:

My hopes for Monitor Mix are that it will be descriptive as opposed to merely prescriptive. I would rather discuss and examine what it is that people actually consume than to tell you what you should be listening to. There are already plenty of great blogs and online resources that tell us what the best new music is or that unearth rarities and lost classics. Though I might occasionally review a piece of music, I would rather explore the contexts and the ways in which we enjoy or maybe even despise it.

The other day I was driving home and saw a boy in his early twenties walking along the sidewalk. He was wearing a gray trench coat, combat boots, and a backpack, and he had a medium-haired black cat on his shoulder. It always worries me when people carry their cats around in public. It's not as bad as the woman in North Portland who brings a mini pony with her to the coffee shop, but it still makes me uneasy; it's attention-seeking, and I am forced to spend the next few hours wondering how someone trains a cat to do that. But what kind of music does a young man who is a human scratching post listen to? I might guess Peter Murphy or Tool or My Chemical Romance, but I have no idea. These are some of the questions I want to answer. I want to find out why people are drawn to certain songs, genres, voices, or instruments.

Let's start with this question: If you carry a cat around on your shoulder when you go out, or a bird, or a lizard, what music do you listen to? Or, if you're not any of those people, ask someone who is.

Send your response using the "comments" link at the bottom of the page. I'll compile your answers for a future post.

I guess I should add that I probably won't stay on the topic of music.

It's very likely that I'll contradict myself.

I wear the same thing almost every day.

I'll post daily or almost daily, so please check back.

Comments and participation are welcome and encouraged.

Thanks for reading.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

i wonder if this is the same dude from this week's "i, anonymous."

Sent by ashod | 12:07 AM | 11-5-2007

The guys who pose with snakes on Coney Island's Boardwalk are into salsa, hip hop and reggaeton. they pose next to the weekly dance parties all summer long. Although occasionally their is a demonic graphic of a metal band shirt too.

Sent by Chris Mooney | 10:45 AM | 11-5-2007

Thanks for the blog Carrie, I was entertained by the first entry. I do not and have never known anyone who walks around with a live animal on their shoulder, but I look at it as a serious commitment- whatever this person listens to, they are going all out. I agree, a classic gothic vibe is undeniable (trench and combat boots?), so the Bauhaus/Murphy bet is what I go with (perhaps Joy Division, they are getting more attention these days with the new documentary....). Strange to be commenting on the listening habits of someone I have never met and most likely never will, but also strangely fun to imagine what prompts this person to present themselves in that manner. He could be (and maybe should be?)listening to James Brown for all I know...

Sent by Alfred | 11:00 AM | 11-5-2007

I would probably side with Industrial, maybe some goth, but Ministry down to Thrill Kill Kult. But one thing I have found I have tried to put people into categories like that, a form of stereotype, but I am continually amazed at what really lurks under.

Sent by Luis | 11:51 AM | 11-5-2007

stating the obvious(obviously):cat stevens,cat power,josie and the pussycats,etc.

Sent by stu | 11:53 AM | 11-5-2007

I worry that these people listen to Jimmy Buffett, but that could be me. I think most people who have personality traits I don't get listen to Buffett because I don't get Jimmy Buffett.

Sent by Alex Rawls | 12:04 PM | 11-5-2007


In answer to your question, Ron Paul supporters walk around with live animals on their shoulders. Evidence:

Sent by DB | 12:16 PM | 11-5-2007

Well, I guess a guy who carries a monkey on his back would be listening to Ministry ("Dark Side Of The Spoon"), or anything by The Only Ones or Baby Shambles... Apart from that, I'm puzzled. Nice to hear from you, anywayz, in faraway Paris, France

Sent by Thierry | 1:05 PM | 11-5-2007

I think this guy's just seeking attention and probably listens to industrial music, it would be fun though if he listened to the pussycat dolls or something :P
Eventhough persons like this guy is seeking attention I find them very interesting. When I went to Stockholm I saw a homeless man, he pressed some sort of radio against his ear and tried to play along at his harmonica and at the same time did a funny little dance. This man is almost like a celebrity among the youth here in Sweden!

Sent by Patricia Dunphy | 1:12 PM | 11-5-2007

I know a boy who rides his bicycle with a pit bull on his shoulders. I didn't know him at all until this post. But I asked him what he listens to. His response: "anything." He didn't have time to list favorites.

Sorry I couldn't be more help.

Sent by Elizabeth | 1:12 PM | 11-5-2007

I doubt that the "cat on the shoulder" fashion style is something that will catch on with the general public. So someone like this probably enjoys something I haven't heard of yet.

Sent by Gary Drechsel | 1:19 PM | 11-5-2007

10 dollars on SNES era RPG tunes.

Sent by Brad | 1:31 PM | 11-5-2007

i wear the same thing almost every day too.

Sent by RZ | 1:39 PM | 11-5-2007

The only person I've ever met who walked around with a pet on his shoulder was a dude who owned a parrot, so he wasn't all that original. Still, the guy had a penchant for strumming songs on the guitar and the parrot would perch on the headstock and "sing" along, trying to mimick guitar solos.

Sent by JM | 1:51 PM | 11-5-2007

tom waits for sure.

Sent by hank | 1:57 PM | 11-5-2007

I'm gonna have to go with the Kingston Trio. Definitely Kingston Trio... :)

Sent by MC | 2:08 PM | 11-5-2007

That's a pretty cheap electricity bill.

Sent by JB | 2:45 PM | 11-5-2007

I thought the obvious answer would be Ted Nugent's Cat Scratch Fever. someone had to say it. :-P

How would the kid keep the cat from getting tangled up with his earphones? Seems to me this is just a step up from the old ladies who wore the fox stoles. Ya know, a series of pelts where one gruesome looking fox head would bite the tail of the next. Those freaked me out as a kid. It was like wearing a taxidermy project. At least the boy's cat was still alive.

Looking forward to more thought provoking questions.

Sent by John W Stuart | 4:11 PM | 11-5-2007

While I can???t provide musical insights for cat on the shoulder people, I can offer up the musical accompaniment of an equally disconcerting set of cat flaunters: the cats on leashes. This past summer I spent a day hanging around Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Obviously not noteworthy, except I saw no fewer than three young women with no apparent connection walking their cats on leashes around the perimeter of the green fencing that separated the paying ticket holders at an outdoor Ani DiFranco show from the scores of people splayed out on the grass enjoying the bandshell???s quality sound system for free. Bizarre.

Sent by Jill | 4:27 PM | 11-5-2007

I've only known 1 person who's done the whole carry-your-non-dog-pet-around thing and it was an iguana. He sure as heck did it for the attention, and music-wise he listened to college radio (this was about 1991) and liked Sonic Youth and Nirvana's 'Bleach' album not because he was into that, but he wanted people to think he was into that. He was a good guy all around, just a little attention starved.

Sent by Nick Cowan | 4:50 PM | 11-5-2007

anything by Kitty Carlisle-Hart's late husband.

Sent by Karen Kaplowitz | 5:34 PM | 11-5-2007

Missed pun opportunity: a person carrying a cat on their should listens to: the Stray Cats (bah-dum tsh!). Speaking seriously though, this person is a nurturer. There is a significance to this particular cat (or animal). The animal is a security blanket for this person. The animal personifies something the person had lost; perhaps never had; perhaps can never have. This person listens to classical. Something pensive and yet soothing as there may be grief playing a role with the caring of this animal. The person is sensitive and probably brilliant. Like the person to the animal, the trench coat they wear is a protective device for the person. One cares for another.

Sent by Peter | 5:37 PM | 11-5-2007

i knew a girl in highschool that carried a mouse in her pocket. it was short lived for obvious reasons. she listened to a lot of alanis morissette and sarah mclachlan.

Sent by Muna | 6:11 PM | 11-5-2007

Hi Carrie--
VERY excited for your new blog, and that's a fine-looking dog sitting over (but not on) your shoulder in the photo. I've known a few iguana and snake-walking folks through the years, and for some reason I can see a cat-walker listening to the psych-folk stuff like Devandra Barnhart (sp?) that I can't really grasp. Cats are jumpy little things--soothing sounds would keep the neck safe from scratchin'.

Sent by dan | 6:31 PM | 11-5-2007

Hey Carrie,
This seems like it will be fun. I'd like to say that I don't anybody who does this, but I did have a friend that used to walk his pet opposum and he was a huge Bowie fan (ha ha, my friend not the animal). I would imagine that these pet wearers would probably be into classical music, perhaps Vivaldi?

Sent by Alex Roman | 7:13 PM | 11-5-2007

I routinely would carry my kitten tucked betwixt my beard, hair and hoody while going to the 99 cent store, grocer, work, or just for a walk. It was NOT for attention, as i attempted to keep her hidden. She loves me and i her, and i wanted to be an instrumental force in her development. Let's see, this year some of my favorites are Dr. Dog, Battles, Kevin Drew, Apples in Stereo and Arcade Fire. Although, i think your question (if serious) has more to do with how the young man was dressed. Most people who would take out their no-canince pet like this jsut love their pet and see no reason to leave it at homoe all alone.

While the cat is too big to cruise on my shoulder anymore, she does does sleep in the old spot every night!

Sent by mark jacob | 7:14 PM | 11-5-2007

I once carried a frog. Just into my kid's school for pet day. I think I listened to NPR on the ride over. The father of a woman I know does the parrot thing. Musical preference unknown. She left my friend for a guy with long hair. No known attached pet. My mom takes her big lab with her everywhere; he (the dog) just walks beside her though: Herb Albert; Tony Bennett.

Sent by Lister | 7:25 PM | 11-5-2007

Its common knowledge that people who carry animals around on their shoulders are pirates. And, as we all know, pirates love Ludacris.

Case closed.

Sent by Tim | 7:38 PM | 11-5-2007

I would have to go with The Cure even though I could see the song, Cuts You Up, by Peter Murphy. A Cure fan would have to go with Love Cats if they are actually walking around with a cat.

Of course, I would actually be sneezing like crazy if I had a cat on my shoulder.

Sent by E | 7:45 PM | 11-5-2007

i wish i had a kitten that rode around on my shoulder. i wish i knew someone cool enough to have/be able to train a kitten to ride around on his/her shoulder. i think that there are far too many dogs parading/ showboating around this town and am all for cat nip lined shoulders, trails, and city wide curbing.

Sent by lara | 7:48 PM | 11-5-2007

I'm going to go with:
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum/Idiot Flesh, Merzbow, Autechre, Lightning Bolt, or perhaps Current 93.

Am I this person? No. But I have known people of this ilk, and this is my semi-informed hunch.

Sent by Chris J. | 7:49 PM | 11-5-2007

I'm thinking a little Souxsie and the Banshees, a little Harry Chapin, and possibly "light rail coyote."

Sent by Zach | 8:14 PM | 11-5-2007

This is awesome! Thank you for starting a blog that will tackle these kinds of questions. It's crazy because I was just thinking about this yesterday. I almost feel like people are afraid to talk about why/how music moves them or what draws them to certain songs because they don't know how to articulate it. "Oh yeah, I like this part" really isn't a sufficient explanation, and it's a terrible description. There are so many different people out there who are attracted to and emotionally involved with types of music that I probably wouldn't appreciate or understand. Sure, a few probably just listen to certain songs to fit in, but there's an allure to music that is so much more than that, a personal element that I feel like in almost nobody really talks about. Hopefully your blog can bring a lot to the table w/r/t these issues. I really am excited for this.

Sent by Nick in the Midwest | 8:18 PM | 11-5-2007

Perhaps they would listen to Cat Power? Or maybe they are pirates, but just confused with cats and parrots. I get my talking animals mixed up too.

Sent by Dante | 8:29 PM | 11-5-2007

I'm going to keep my eyes out for this kid and if I see him, stop and ask him. In the interim I would guess something sensitive. Death Cab for Cutie, Postal Service, Bright Eyes, maybe even a little Elliott Smith?

This is SO spot on, it's painful -- Portland, Oregon a.k.a. the city sponsored by The New York Times.

Sent by Setya | 8:29 PM | 11-5-2007

you're curious about the same thing i'd be...namely, how'd you train a cat to do that? i can't get my cat to not roll over spread-eagle when company comes over, let alone train him to drape himself across me neck whilst i walk.
to the point: i think walking with a cat, lizard, monkey, parrot, squirrel - or any other animal with a propensity for perching - would lend itself to a dancehall soundtrack supplied by ninjaman, or maybe super cat.

Sent by jdoublep | 8:33 PM | 11-5-2007

i have panic attacks just thinking about letting my cat escape the confines of my apartment. that dude must be evil. or magic. i envy him and all dog owners.. even thought about buying a cat leash, but i'm pretty sure lucy would not be down with that.

Sent by Lauren | 8:37 PM | 11-5-2007

If I were to walk around with an animal on my shoulder outside the comfort of my own home, I think this style should be accompanied by a toothpick in my mouth and a fascinating hat of some sort. I would listen to Muddy Waters, Leadbelly, and maybe a little Bob Dylan. I would also mumble sexual innuendos to people in a weird bluesy southern accent that was completely incomprehensible and sing to myself and my shoulder pet.

Sent by Krista | 8:38 PM | 11-5-2007

As for the Reptile folk, well my uncle used to have an iguana and carried it with him everywhere (it stank!) He listened to Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Slayer. My 2 cousins who were also fond of scaly things and happened to bring them everywhere listened to quite the same with the inclusion of Quiet Riot, Slaughter and Alice in Chains (?!?)

Sent by Dan | 8:40 PM | 11-5-2007

I had a TA who had trained squirrels on campus to climb up on his shoulder. He met his wife this way. Where his musical affections lie I am unsure. I had the class about a year ago, so my memories of it are a bit fuzzy. But if I see him again I'll ask and relay the answer back to you.

As for this cat-perch of a person, I think I'll go along with the classical guesses/answers although I've never known someone like that.

And not to get into some kind of Battle of the Bills (though it would be nice to live in a world where we all compete for who can have the lowest electricity bill), but my last electric bill was $30.

Sent by Jaime | 8:40 PM | 11-5-2007

I do hope, Ms. Brownstein, that your future topics of discussion involve something of substance. Perhaps you should examine the musical contexts of human rights, international politics, sexual identity, or THE WAR? What significant relevance does your current question possess? Unfortunately, given the self-serving tone of this post, I would suggest it situates itself within the stack of verbal garbage that constitutes the majority of contemporary blogging.

Sent by V. Lear | 9:11 PM | 11-5-2007

How about anything on the Asthmatic Kitty Label? But I would guess something that's getting mention on TV shows like Friday Night Lights or The O.C. that might lend "indie cred".

Sent by Brian | 9:34 PM | 11-5-2007

In this day and age, it's becoming increasingly difficult to locate bona fide organ grinders equipped with bona fide simian companions. The last one I encountered had sewn a glassy-eyed monkey of the stuffed [but not taxidermied] variety onto the shoulder of his coat. This, of course, proved problematic when the little fella was supposed to cadge for coins.

So what would an ersatz organ grinder deem ear candy? Certainly not organ ground music. But perhaps something a tad more bombastic, like a John Williams soundtrack.

Sent by Zia | 9:54 PM | 11-5-2007

It is fairly obvious that this catman listens to Gary Cherone-era Van Halen and various Kenny Loggins soundtrack hits.

Sent by PeteM | 9:59 PM | 11-5-2007


Sent by Jeff | 10:19 PM | 11-5-2007

Sexual Chocolate

Sent by paulb | 10:37 PM | 11-5-2007

I have been to a few protests and I constantly see people with rats.Billy Bragg tends to go down well there.In Australia it's frownd apon to take your cat in public as they kill alot of birds.

Sent by Keni | 12:16 AM | 11-6-2007

Ooh, Tom Waits is a good call, but I think Ween.

Sent by PeterH | 3:44 AM | 11-6-2007

Maybe they listen to music made by animals like Hatebeak and Canninus?

Sent by DJ | 10:06 AM | 11-6-2007

Hey Carrie,
Just curious-- What are the two out of 50 U.S. States you have yet to visit?
PS I like your blog

West Virginia and Alaska.
Thanks for reading.

Sent by Rachel Michelle | 10:58 AM | 11-6-2007

Back in the early 80's I adopted a kitten from the Anti-Cruelty Society in Chicago where I was working. Her name was DeeDee. She was a Russian Blue, grey with green eyes.
She was one of those ride around on your shoulder cats. I didn???t train her to do that. She just liked to hop up and hang out, and then she would not jump off if I started walking. At the time I also had a big dog, and I was walking barefoot. The barefoot walking went on for about 2 1/2 years. I had received a skull fracture from a bike crash (no helmet), and my memory kind of went goodbye for a few years, and all my senses were greatly heightened. Walking barefoot was just part of my desire for more texture, which the skull fracture was steering me towards. Sounds also were way off the deep end. I could hear someone's air conditioner across the alley as if it were in my head.
So I was not listening to much in the way of music. Right before the accident, I was listening to a lot of music off WNUR, which had an excellent radio station, and probably still does.
Anyways, I lived next door to a cop shop, and I didn???t have a phone of my own, so I would go in there daily to use the pay phone. I would have my cat on my shoulder and bare feet and my big dog, and we would be across from the main desk staring at the cops while they stared at us. One day I was talking with a friend on the phone and we decided we wanted to see a movie, but neither of us knew when it started. I told her, wait, maybe the cops have a paper I can look in, so I left the phone hanging and walked over to the desk and asked if they had a paper I could look at. I guess this request was a bit too much, as the cop blew up at me, screaming, ???Lady, do you see the problem here? Everyday you come in here barefoot, with that cat on your shoulder, and that big dog, and now you are asking for a newspaper! DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM HERE? DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM HERE????

Sent by Vanessa Renwick | 11:05 AM | 11-6-2007

I have seen the cat perched on the shoulder phenomenon once. It was on a crowded CTA bus. People in the area surrounding said cat man seemed relatively alarmed. It never occurred to me to ask him about his musical likes/dislikes.

Sent by Cindy | 11:32 AM | 11-6-2007

In the midwest we call them end tables.

Sent by LGW | 11:58 AM | 11-6-2007

I saw probably that same kid a few weeks back near the comic book store on Hawthorne. The cat mostly just made me nervous, as I kept expecting it to leap into traffic-- how *do* you get a cat to do that? Get it all hepped up on catnip?

I think the SNES RPG tunes is as good a guess as any.

Sent by tk. | 12:07 PM | 11-6-2007

I'm just wondering what two states you haven't visited?? It's time to pull a Dishwasher Pete and get those 2 states checked off. I've seen you in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, so I know those are on the list.

Sent by bex | 12:56 PM | 11-6-2007

personally i walk around with a rat on my shoulder, feeling like flea in suburbia sometimes, as i get a pack of smokes with him tucked into the hood of my sweatshirt, and i listen to angry amputees, and black flag and butt trumpet, and of course sleater, and everything like that

Sent by Jesse F | 2:25 PM | 11-6-2007

the gossip --- careless whisper

Sent by mark | 2:35 PM | 11-6-2007

There's a dude here in Seattle who rides around on the buses with his bunny.

I can't begin to speculate what kind of music he listens to, but he gives off a faint "Jesus Christ Superstar" vibe. I am probably way off.

Sent by tabletop_joe | 2:36 PM | 11-6-2007

I would probably listen to Le Club des Chats, a french duet you can check out on my****but at the same time, I would be so afraid the cat run away that I wouldn't be able to concentrate on any music!!!

Sent by stephy | 2:39 PM | 11-6-2007

I carry rats on my shoulders and listen to Quasi. Clearly that is awesome.

Sent by Teresina | 2:41 PM | 11-6-2007

I was at a record shop in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC a few weeks ago when an elderly, grizzled old punk walked in... with a parakeet on his shoulder. As he perused the offerings on the racks, I couldn't help but approach him and strike up a conversation. Turns out his bird is named Eno and he's a big Brian Eno fan. In fact, he claims to own over 80 albums by or produced by Mr. Eno. So there you have it, shoulder carrying bird lovers apparently prefer listening to Brian Eno.

Sent by Hemal | 2:52 PM | 11-6-2007

Faster Pussycat, of course.

Sent by Joel | 3:24 PM | 11-6-2007

The only time I ever carried a cat around on my shoulders was when I was in college and doing drugs in the early 90's. I had a little orange kitten named "Merle" that happily rode around on my shoulders. I don't know whatever became of Merle, because he moved on to a better, non-drug using guardian. Say no to drugs, but yes to orange kittens!

At that time, my favorite things to listen to were Liz Phair's Exile in Guyville and Beastie Boys' Check Your Head.

I hope this has been helpful.

Sent by exlibriscat | 4:45 PM | 11-6-2007

I seem to recall a photo of the wonderful French writer Georges Perec with a cat on his shoulder.

I'm not sure what type of music Georges listened to, but he was one helluva writer.

Wrote an entire book with words that did not include the letter 'E' and then, having a whole bunch of E's left over, wrote another story where it was the only vowel...

Anyhow, here's the picture in question:

Sent by Ewilensky | 5:02 PM | 11-6-2007

While I suppose it's briefly amusing to imagine subcult (or not) types with various animals attached to their bodies like band stickers, the creative limits of your readers (cat, cat, lizard, cat, snake, cat, cat, bird, rat) leave something to be desired. Where are the ibex-toting sorority girls (Britney's Blackout)? The anteater-loving Rush fans? What about people who carry goldfish in bowls and listen to Dok over and over again? I suggest there's more to be done before we can say we've definitively left this perplexing quandary behind. Nice work posing the question! And best of luck on that project cataloging the "why" of musical taste. Maybe the next thing to do would be to construct a database with this information so interested parties could access their personality profiles and quit thinking about what they like and why they like it. In fact, maybe you could just help me quit thinking. My head hurts.

Sent by tatler | 10:37 PM | 11-6-2007

I do not agree that people who carry around their pets are seeking attention. I think maybe they just like the companionship. I work at a bank and there is a man who comes in occassionally and he is always holding a cat like it's a baby. The cat isn't dressed up, or anything weird; he's just carrying the cat. He just quietly uses the ATM machine then leaves. Unfortunately, by the time I realize it's him, he's usually on his way out the door, so I have never asked him about his musical tastes.

Sent by Siri | 11:05 PM | 11-6-2007

There is also someone in North Portland who walks their goat. Oh, North Portland.

Sent by SB | 12:40 AM | 11-7-2007

"Guitar (fairly well)"

you are too modest.

Sent by trish | 1:46 PM | 11-7-2007

Are artists who compose with cats on their shoulders a possible hint? Then:

Sent by Ian W. Hill | 12:35 AM | 11-8-2007

i guess i can add your blog to my list of a zillion other things i try to check/read/do weekly..
and as someone who is also from the east side of seattle (bellevue, did go to school in redmond for awhile though), where were some places you visited (and maybe still visit while in town) growing up?

Sent by azin | 4:52 AM | 11-8-2007

My cat follows me around - although much to large to ride on my shoulders. He also follows my neighbors around and gets lost and requires people to walk him home in the wee sma's. He doesn't like Industrial but is fond of the Cure. I like them both.

Sent by Ruthie | 4:00 PM | 11-8-2007

The guy here in Seattle who walks around with a possum on his shoulders really bothers me. He's at the Pike Place market a lot. The possum looks really scared and tired because he's supposed to be asleep during the day. Someone make him stop.

Sent by diana | 6:59 PM | 11-8-2007

I took in a homeless punk rocker who took one of my baby pet mice as a traveling companion. This lasted for a couple of months, but one night late in a squat, the mousie ended up taking off, never to return.

Sent by SMB | 7:15 PM | 11-8-2007

I used to put my cat Poppie on my shoulder, sometimes like a parrot but more often the way people hold babies (one hand on the back and the other holding the bum) My cat was very fat and old at the time (I can be honest now she???s dead) She also liked to be stretched out in the style of an accordion. At the time I listened to lots of sad rock music. Now I have ipod shuffle I realize how much boring music I???ve got so I can say ???shut up Will Oldham??? and keep on skipping until I get to something that makes me ride my bike too fast and sing or laugh. Today I went to the library and got Aerosmith.

Sent by Charles Redmond | 12:06 PM | 11-9-2007

can i just say, i haven't been this excited for a new blog maybe ever!!!

Sent by Elastic Waist | 2:25 PM | 11-9-2007

I couldnt tell you what they listen too... But I can tell you this... He did not train his cat to sit upon his shoulder... the Cat trained him ;)

Sent by MadTIGERmaN | 10:24 PM | 11-9-2007

my brother has been known to carry his chickens around on the back of his bike (no car, sometimes, apparently chickens need to go places. who knew?). I know he doesn't bike while listening to music, but if he did, it would be Weird Al, Jewel, or Richard Cheese.

Oh, North Portland.

Sent by christi | 11:12 AM | 11-10-2007

Oh, whoa... Cats on shoulders. Well specifically I don't "carry" my little girl on my shoulder, especially not in public. Around the house, well... yes, some times actually. See the thing is she ;)thinks she's a Tiger, and I won't break it do her that she is in fact not. As I do have large shoulders, maybe the perch is just easy for her. For example, if I'm bending over at the dish washer, unloading it, and she is on the counter, I'd better brace myself for the typical "hop up and sit." I am fairly tall so I guess she likes to see a different perspective of the lay of the land, so-to-say. Okay, brushing my teeth. While I bend over at the bathroom sink to rinse my mouth, again.., 'what's that weight on me?' As I pitch my head up to look in the mirror, "Briea!" Guess who it is. As she proudly sits on the left side, or right while checking us both out in the reflection. Here is one more for you. The living room. She likes to sit high atop a shelving unit looking out the big window. The TV, and stereo are kept here btw, so if I'm over doing something to one of them you can bet she'll see the opportunity. C'mon girl, sure, do it. Perched and chattering, I'll walk over to the fan for her. I live in a loft so the fan hangs from a high ceiling, and the "pull chains" hang down. Let me tell you, something so simple brings pure enjoyment for little furry ones to bat at. She can get to them so easily..., on my shoulders.

Music. Varied, and wide tastes. Would you believe I've listened to some band called Sleater-Kinney since 'Call the Doctor', maybe you're familiar. Hmm, no big deal if not. How about Lois? Though some of my faves are her 45's back when she was called "CL". Some others include, PJ Harvey, Bj??rk, Beat Happening, Pavement, Cat Power (Chan use to live down the street), Sonic Youth, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Kaki King, Margot & the Nuclear So & So's, The Spinanes, The Frumpies, The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers, John Frusciante, Gorillaz, Minnie Driver, Miles Davis, No Doubt, Ataxia, Foo Fighters, The Halo Benders, Micheal Hedges, Outkast, Rose Melberg, I know I'm leaving some out, so I'll leave it at, various and sundry unknown artists, and many, many more known artists from different genres, and styles. I could go on, but space may be an issue. Oh, I did really like the groove, and tone on a collaboration some guitarist did for a project, I/E, called, 'the skin', kudos to her. So, if you're interested in a story about a squirrel on a leash that I saw a guy carrying, none other than, yeah you guessed it, on HIS shoulder in a local coffee shop. I mentioned leash right? Well, that will have to be another submission. Let me know via the site. I was amazed to say the very least. It was quite a surreal moment.

Sent by Brian | 12:58 AM | 11-11-2007

my cat has sat on my shoulder since she was a kitten, she won't make it to the shops or anything but quite likes making a tour of the garden or wandering round the house while I look for things. Her name's Yoshimi but she doesn't hang round when I listen to the boredoms. My little brother thought the flaming lips song was about her for awhile. I think bad motorcycle by the storey sisters would be her cup of tea, but thats just speculation really innit. My fave music this five minutes is the black lips, comus, bila (versatones) and melissa nadler.

Sent by ema | 7:56 AM | 11-11-2007

Years ago, back in the early eighties, I carried a cat on my shoulder to a friend's house, from whom I'd gotten the cat, so that she could play with her brothers and sisters. Well, the two that were left. I remember being conscious of the line in Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone," about the guy "who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat," for the entire three-block trek, both there and back. (No, it wasn't a Siamese cat.)

What was I listening to at the time? Bob Dylan, obviously. As well as Patti Smith. I'd named the cat Sheba, after a line in a version of "Radio Ethiopia" on a bootleg album that I have. And the Ramones, and Iggy Pop, and such local bands as Nikki Corvette and Destroy All Monsters. Actually, it's not all that different from what I listen to these days.

Sent by Don Handy | 3:54 PM | 11-11-2007

So Carrie,my question is, why aren't all comments reviewed and edited by you? I hate cats but I like your writing. My kids and I have been watching old Abba videos on you tube.These days my music is pretty much defined by whatever my kids can dance to.I have been able to exert some influence because my son knew all the words to Life on Mars when he was three.

Sent by TerryThompson | 4:01 PM | 11-12-2007

WAIT! How could you just drop the line, "the woman in North Portland who brings a mini pony with her to the coffee shop" and not go into more detail a PONY???in a COFFEE SHOP!

(Sorry about all the caps, but that's insane.)

What does she listen to? If I had to guess, I'd say she probably brushes her mini pony while enjoying some precious music.

Sent by JJ Hellgate | 1:14 PM | 11-16-2007

Wow. What a wave of posts.

I think someone with a cat on their shoulder probably lost or outgrew their security blanket. Also, something that's alive can facilitate the kid's internal monologue to be reciprocal. The kid's alone guys! Maybe he could use some company. Why don't ya pull over and ask him if he needs a ride.

Sent by Pranay | 5:55 PM | 11-16-2007

so, not really about cats, but can i give a BOOYA for the misfits? you go girl!

Sent by jbonez | 1:06 PM | 11-20-2007

I do not, at present, carry a cat or any other living creature around on my shoulder, but did back in the early seventies when I would hitch back and forth from my hometown to the university I attended. I had shoulder-length fro-style hair and a very full beard a the time, and Echo, my tabby cat, would blend right into the brown curls. This practice elicited quite a few startled (our outright terrified) reactions from unsuspecting motorists who picked me up, only to discover two amber eyes peering out at them from the depths of my huge hairball! Anyway, at that time, I was listening to the Allman Brothers, Captain Beefheart, Zappa, Little Feat, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Dylan, Ry Cooder, a hundred others...and I still am.

Sent by Michael McBride | 5:13 PM | 11-21-2007

I have an ex girlfriend that carries a bird on her shoulder a lot. Strangely, the artist she listens to the most is Tool. That was really strange that you mentioned that. I never knew I had so much in common with a stranger across the country.

Sent by Kevin R | 5:03 PM | 11-23-2007

A friend of mine sent me here, as I am one of the aforementioned walker-arounder-with-pet-on-shoulderers.

...well, was.

I had a cockatiel a few years ago named Roper. Truthfully, she was my girlfriend's bird, but that doesn't change the fact that Roper spent most of her awake life either on my shoulder or my girlfriend's shoulder. What did I listen to? Hip hop mostly. Although Roper tended to like the "Classic Soul" Comcast radio station more often than not. It's like the "my car, my radio" rule. I never let other people touch my radio. And I torture them with my vast collection of one-woman shows by aging Broadway madams. "Elaine Stritch: At Liberty," more often than not. But those are the rules in my car.

But back to the pets on shoulders. I believe most people who walk around with pets on their shoulders have an internal soundtrack. Mine is always the theme song to Shaft. So much so that my last cockatiel, Frank, was lucky enough for me to have written entirely new lyrics to the Shaft theme song, specifically about Franks rubber lobster-humping ways.

At the moment, I'm shoulder pet-less, and it hurts a bit. My pit bull is much too large to put up there and my cat has no sense of rhythm. But it's a hobby that makes you look like a crazy person until you try it.

Sent by AimeeG | 7:50 PM | 12-17-2007