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The Passionate Friar
Wednesday February 7th, 2018 with James Botte (aka Phelonius Friar)
After 8+ years, this is my last show on CKCU. Thanks for all the fish.

My first show was on December 6, 2010 as "The Dollar Bin", where I played music I found in the "dollar bins" of record stores for $3 or less. I began this method of searching for new music when I had moved from Canada to North Carolina for work (between 2003 and 2009) in part because the closest record store to where I lived was a hour and a half away at highway speeds (either east to Winston-Salem or south to Charlotte) and there was a record store in Charlotte (Manifest Disks) that had a number of tables of CDs for ... $3 or less (thus the "threshold" for what constituted a "dollar bin" find). I was very pleasantly surprised that all the CDs I pulled out, most from artists I had never heard of, were either good or very good. Over the years and hundreds of albums, I think I've had two albums in total that I just couldn't listen to (although some were only good in limited doses mixed in with other music, to be fair). So... that's a pretty amazing success ratio, and I got to hear great (or at least interesting) music that I would never have known to listen to... all with little financial risk, and much benefit. I grew up listening to CKCU in its heyday (the 70s and 80s) and it's outrageously creative output was formative for my musical tastes (a particularly vivid memory is parking on the side of Timm Road [which was dark back then] to watch the northern lights while listening to Plastic Bertrand's "Tout Petit La Planete" on CKCU). Through stuff that had little to do with radio, I had grown to become friends with one of the people (Jeff Green) who was instrumental in getting the station its FM broadcast license in 1975. When I lived in the US, he was kind of secretly doing an overnight show at the station called Big In Japan, and he would send me CDs of his shows that I would listen to on the long commutes I had (or when I came back to Ottawa several times a year to visit... 16 hours each way, but I least I had good music). I was in awe of what he was doing musically (he is a genius in so many fields), and tied with my "dollar bin" diving experience, I hatched the idea for The Dollar Bin when I was still down south. When I got back to Ottawa, and started at Carleton University (my first time at university... at the tender age of 44), I got involved at CKCU. I apprenticed with Dean Verger (owner of the legendary folk club Rasputin's) on Monday Morning Special Blend where I was terrified to talk on the air ;). Radio is good because it's a do-or-die medium and I had no choice but to overcome my reticence. I eventually pitched The Dollar Bin show concept and my first show was on December 6, 2010 and featured a broad swath of music that I had purchased in North Carolina to demonstrate what was possible with my discount medium of choice. The show was titled "North Carolinian discounts, spotlight on Hyperbubble". It began as a bi-weekly show Mondays at 2PM (scheduled after the enigmatic and very challenging/innovative show Acoustic Frontiers, a show I love to listen to), and went weekly starting with the April 25, 2011 show in the same time slot. I did a theme for the show using bits of The Flaming Lips' version of Pink Floyd's "Money" where I added my own sound effects (literally coins dropped on the studio desk and such). Because of a conflict with a key mandatory class I had in physics, on January 16, 2013 the show moved to its (before today) current timeslot of Wednesdays at 10AM (scheduled after the enigmatic and very challenging/innovative show CKCU Literary News, a show in four languages). At home, I sometimes fire up my old playlists from The Dollar Bin and I'm really proud of what I was able to accomplish. I once got an email from Jeff Green saying he had randomly tuned in to CKCU and thought to himself "wow, this is great music... this is the way CKCU should be doing radio" only to find out it was me. I certainly took a cue from Jeff in how I did my show, without following in his footsteps directly, so I am still honoured to have received such praise from someone I respect so much! It was this show: When I started The Dollar Bin, because of my shyness on the mic (I had the same problem speaking to air traffic control when I was flying), I prepared elaborate scripts to do my show from. It was great in that I did lots of research for those early shows on the music I was playing, but it was not terribly free flowing. I invited a musician on to co-host when I was doing a "funding drive" show and handed them a script to read from. It was a bad idea, and I realized that not everyone was comfortable reading on air (I had years of practice reading out loud, so I was quite good at it), and this realization would become important. I'm not a "status quo" kind of person, so when I did a show with four classmates as a component of an activist project on mental health we were doing as part of the class WGST2801 "Activism, Feminisms, and Social Justice" (, one of the participants expressed interest in doing a feminist radio show and I took her on as a co-host on The Dollar Bin to learn how to do radio. That went on from March 13, 2013 through May 6, 2015!!! Though that period, I learned to be more free-flowing and conversational on the air and she went on to host the feminist radio show Femme Fatale on CKCU from July 8, 2013 through March 2, 2015 ( ... the playlist/topic archive is still available). I filled in a couple of times on Femme Fatale for Lilith (doing interviews was way out of my comfort zone) and the interviews I did there and my experience being more free flowing on The Dollar Bin would ultimately be key in the evolution of my radio ideas. Getting on to the middle of 2015, I was feeling as though I had said everything I had to say, and learned everything I needed to, through the format of The Dollar Bin. Cheap music was great, but I was a student and how to live life cheaply was an important survival skill for me. I know I was not alone, so I rebranded the show to broaden its scope and called it "Doing It On The Cheap featuring The Dollar Bin" (DIOTC). The first show was on May 20, 2015 ( The idea was to showcase things online and in Ottawa that one could do free or "on the cheap", while still doing "dollar bin" music because I loved it so much. I used Estero's song "Everything Is Expensive" as an intro and background music in the second half of the show while I read my list of free and cheap finds. Because of being a seriously overwhelmed student (and overwhelmed by so much of real life outside of school), it was difficult for me to keep on top of the concept. I had also hoped that it might engage a community of thrifty people, but that never materialized and I had to come up with the lists on my own. That grew tired after a while and I was thinking that maybe I was done with radio if I didn't reinvent myself on the air. I mulled upon it and asked myself why I was doing what I was doing at CKCU... the answer was because I was passionate about radio and I was passionate about music. What were my other passions? Well, I was at Carleton to get a degree in theoretical physics, but accidentally ended up also working towards a degree in women's and gender studies (it's a good story how that happened and I'm happy to share it). I am also a pilot and love to fly (I thought about doing a show that taught people how to fly and had flying adventure stories, but that would have taken more work than I had time for), I am a passable and creative cook, and am an amateur musician. Given that I was a student and the work I was doing at school was pretty much all-consuming, it made sense to tie my passion for music with my passions for my academic subjects: physics and feminism. Thus was born the idea for The Passionate Friar (based on my nickname "Phelonius Friar" which is a handle I had in the early-2000s when I started posting on Livejournal, and used when I was doing The Dollar Bin and DIOTC). The first show was January 6, 2016 ( and the first show with an interview I did on The Passionate Friar was on February 3, 2016: "Interviewing Alex Nuttal on disability tropes in comics and Barbara Gordon/​Batgirl, and an intro to citizen science" ( It got a lot of positive feedback and I vowed to do more interviews. As an aside, all of CKCU's shows are available "on demand" and the one that had the most listens since I started was on June 24, 2015 and titled "Industrial music in memoriam of Leslie Hodge (aka DJ Leslie), 1971-2015, R.I.P.". I love industrial music and knew Leslie, and was peripheral at best to the community, but I was apparently the only host on CKCU to do a show in remembrance (I know they did shows on CHUO as well). It will probably only be available to listen to "on demand" until around mid-April 2018, so you'll have to go there soon if you want to ever hear it. It's at: I would like to thank everyone over the years who agreed to come in to the studios at CKCU or allow me to stick a microphone in their face for an interview with me (doubly so since the portable digital recorders look like some kind of taser). I am humbled and awed by the diversity of experience and passions that people have in what they do every day in their lives. The Passionate Friar was really about showcasing those passions and hearing people's stories in a long-format interview show, allowing us to get a real appreciation of the people behind the work. I am not a journalist, but I am something of a storyteller, and I hope I have done justice to the stories of these many wonderful individuals and groups. THANK YOU: ----------------- From my pre-Passionate Friar days: Ottawa band Tribe Royal; Dollar Bin listeners and CKCU supporters Derek, Laksmi/Laksmini, and farrell (who were invited to co-host a show each for their support); singer, songwriter, producer, entrepreneur, and wonderful person Sadia Afreen who taught me many lessons; Karl Brown for co-hosting a full show of dollar bin classical music; Robotika for co-hosting a funding drive/Halloween show; Red Sonya for co-hosting a bunch of shows between May 2012 and October 2012 as she contemplated launching a show of her own; co-worker in the physics labs Andrew doing a "can-con boot to the groin" show; Christine McKenna the CKCU volunteer for doing a funding drive show with me; and my offspring Kurosakura and DJ Amish Contraband for occasionally deigning to join me on the air ;) [they did a bunch of other late night fill-ins with me as well along with listeners farrell and Red Sonya]. From filling in on Femme Fatale: Dr. Heather Logan on women in physics; on women in indigenous cultures with Dr. Shelly Rabinovich; Dr. Debra Graham on gender in popular culture; talking with representatives of POWER (Prostitutes of Ottawa/Gatineau Work, Educate and Resist) about sex worker's rights; Kayla of @feministtwins on "Causeplay", Pink Triangle Services, and the Slut Walk; flight instructor Kathy Fox and dispatcher Veronika Bujaki of the Rockcliffe Flying Club on women in aviation; Zahira Sarwar on Muslim women's rights, "honour killings", and ongoing violent re-colonizations by Western feminists; Carleton student Nasreen Rajani on her research about young readers of feminist media blogs; Angela Jazz on her personal experiences with victims rights and legislation in Canada; Interview with Véronique Laliberté on the notion of fixed term marriages; talking with Art History major Shelby Miles about her formal introduction to feminism; and Dr. Shelley Rabinovich on rape culture and misogyny. Interviewed on The Passionate Friar: Alex Nuttal on disability tropes in comics and Barbara Gordon/​Batgirl; Jenna from The Womyn's Centre on Carleton University's Sexual Violence Policy problems; theoretical physicist Dr. Thomas Grégoire; education innovator Dr. Ian Blokland from the Augustana campus of the University of Alberta; education innovator and US Professor of the Year, Mats Selen; education innovator and physicist Martin Williams of the University of Guelph; Tuulia Law about her course "Sexual Violence on Campus" and her research on sex work; hysicist, women's advocate, and science communicator Dr. Shohini Ghose of Wilfrid Laurier University; Seska Lee: sex educator, lifestyle blogger and coach, and former independent porn performer and webmaster; Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, co-chairs of CAN-CON 2016: The Conference on Canadian Content in Speculative Arts and Literature; Jennifer Thivierge about her work documenting women's historic contributions to STEM in Canada; Lisa Toohey on her story in the anthology "Brave New Girls: Tales of Girls and Gadgets"; Carleton Social Sciences Reference Librarian Janet Hempstead; Dr. Cindy Stelmackowich on the history of Canadian women in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics (STEM); Ashley Fleischer about undergraduate research and Carleton's awesome Discovery Centre; Matt Schaaf on "Bystander Intervention 101" and the MANifestChange project; Carleton University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Roseann O'Reilly Runte about her poetry, writing, and research; Dr. Michael Windover, historian of architecture, design, and material culture on his research, exhibits, and book on early radio in Canada; interview and live music with Xave Ruth on the intersection of math, music, and comedy; neuroscientist turned social worker Dr. Elaine Waddington Lamont; S.M. Carrière about creating characters or talking with/​about people that don't share your lived experiences (e.g. LGBTQA+ if you're not, women if you are a man or visa versa, etc.); Lori Stinson on her research which ranging from patterns of pornography consumption, to corporate manslaughter and homicide laws, to the changing federal family violence initiative; writers Lisa Toohey, Josh Pritchett, Agnes Jankiewicz, Jeanne Kramer-Smyth, and Jamie Krakover on their work in the anthology "Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme"; writers, editors, and publishers Mary Fan and Paige Daniels on"Brave New Girls: Stories of Girls Who Science and Scheme"; Ryan Couling and Matthew Johnston about their research into social media reactions to the Jian Ghomeshi trial; Canadian music legends Rational Youth; medical physicist and cancer radiation treatment specialist Dr. David W. O. Rogers; Sharon Odell on the history and architecture of the Dominion Observatory and pioneering Canadian women mycologists; War Amps Safety Events Co-ordinator James Jordan; CAN-CON 2017 organizers Kate Heartfield and Evan May; live interview with ESL/​EFL teacher Sonya Weatherbee in Shanghai, China (a technical first for me); Dr. Elizabeth Pollitzer, founding member of Portia and co-convenor of the international Gender Summit; South African microbiologist, L'Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science laureate (2004), and international women in science advocate Dr. Jennifer Thomson; social psychologist, artist/​researcher, and activist Eden Hennessey; round-table interview with 4 of 5 NSERC Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering about their amazing scientific research and outreach efforts (Dr. Tamara Franz-Odendaal, Department of Biology, Mount Saint Vincent University; Dr. Eve Langelier, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Université de Sherbrooke; Dr. Annemieke Farenhorst, Department of Soil Science, University of Manitoba; and Dr. Lesley Shannon, School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University); erge Villemure, Director of the Chairs for Women in Science and Engineering (CWSE) Program, and Director of the Scholarships and Fellowships Division at NSERC; RSC Alice Wilson Award winner Dr. Swati Mehta about her research on delivering innovative mental health services to persons with spinal cord injuries; RSC Alice Wilson Award winner Dr. Mélanie Guigueno about her research in the fields of behavioural ecology, neuroecology, and ecotoxicology; and CPAC for allowing me to re-broadcast the audio from a panel discussion with major Canadian business leaders on creating more diverse and inclusive workforces recorded at Gender Summit 11 in Montreal (Manjit Sharma, CFO of GE Canada; Martine Irman, Vice Chair and Head of Global Enterprise Banking of TD Securities; Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of Via Rail; and Paul Smith, Vice-President of Xerox Research Centre of Canada). A huge thank you to everyone who listened over the years, especially those that let me know they were "out there" and cared about what I was doing. A special thanks to my wonderful friends farrell, Laksmi, and Red Sonya who were there at the start and listened (and interacted online) through the whole process. I am deeply indebted to Lilith for breathing much needed spontaneity into the show, forcing me to loosen the heck up, making it a lot more fun to do and listen to The Dollar Bin, and for being such a good friend. A big thanks also to Lilith's mom who listened in while her daughter was on the air, and kicks all kinds of ass! And, of course, thanks to the staff of CKCU: Matthew Crosier, Station Manager; neo-Dave, Dave Aarvark, Program Manager (and paleo-Dave, Dave Sarazin, former Program Manager); Dylan Hunter, Production Manager; and Lindsay Morrison, Volunteer Manager! It's amazing how much world-class radio is done at CKCU with so few permanent staff, but it's the hundreds of dedicated volunteers, and the communities of listeners that support and encourage their work, that make it all happen! There is no CKCU without U. Fyi, the first song on today's show was the first song I played on The Dollar Bin, way back on December 6, 2010. The rest of the songs were chosen because I wanted to listen to them and they had something relevant to say :).
Come On Inside
Magnapop - Rubbing Doesn't Help
Dirty Vegas - Dirty Vegas
Slow Marching Band
Jethro Tull - Broadsword
Interactive CKCU
Missy Matters
Thank you Passionate Friar for this enlightening CKCU FM radio show. We will miss your voice!

10:03 AM, February 7th, 2018
Today is the end of your radio journey and the beginning of something new that will soon come your way, as things tend to do. I'm sorry that you're leaving, I'll miss hearing your show no matter where I am in the world. Thanks for all the awesome programming and all the time and energy that went into it. CKCU won't be the same without you.

10:31 AM, February 7th, 2018
Robotic Tree
Good luck dad! CKCU will miss you.

10:32 AM, February 7th, 2018
All good things must come to an end and I'm really doing my best to think of this as a positive time for you Friar. You've had a great run, a show which I have enjoyed tremendously. I've heard lots of new music, I've enrolled my daughter in music camp, I laughed, I cried, I wondered... May your future projects be as creatively successful!!

10:38 AM, February 7th, 2018
I am sorry to see you leaving the has been a nice slice of the airwaves here on CKCU. Thanks for all the wonderful stuff you have shared here. I will miss it! Posted from the Big Apple!

10:38 AM, February 7th, 2018
James Botte (aka. Phelonius Friar) (host)
Thanks so much everyone for tuning in. It means a lot! <3 <3 <3

10:48 AM, February 7th, 2018
<3 <3 <3

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