Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wring Out The Auld

YAY!!! IT'S OVER!!!! Away and begone with this season that was colored by a broken washing machine, outdoor lights problems, indoor lights problems (every f#%king light on the tree went out just 30 minutes before a houseful of people show up - I left 'em off), and the really discomforting fact that one third of my Xmas eve guests are gun carriers - and honestly I can only think of one of those people whom I would ever trust with a weapon (he killed a priest in his teenage years - his, not the priest's).

WHAT'D I GET??? I thought you'd never ask! I'll be accessorizing in style this winter with a fine assortment of gloves, scarves, slippers & sweaters. I got the two must-have books this season, Sleeveface and "John Lennon - The Life". And I got a robot, an exact (almost) replica of the one I had as a child. And this was unbeknownst to my wife! And it's named after me! No foolin'! And I got an iPod dock, so now everyone can hear the playlist that goes on in my head day & night. And some other stuff, too, but I'll stop here because space is at a premium.

One of the bright spots of this holiday season is that I got to spend time with my grandson, who, at 3 months of age, shows every inkling of becoming God, or at least the greatest guy on earth. His parents are kinda flaked-out, but I'll make sure he stays righteous.

So now, for those of you who are going out post-holiday shopping, here's my best-of 2008 list (in no particular order):

Vampire Weekend (my favorite of the year); Imperial Wax Solvent by The Fall; Antidotes by Foals; Partie Traumatic by Black Kids; Parallel Play by Sloan; Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds; Skeletal Lamping by of Montreal; I Was Raised On Matthew, Mark Luke & Laura by Pas/Cal; Ten Kens; Reality Check by The Teenagers; Workout Holiday by White Denim; Rip It Off by Times New Viking; The Stand-Ins by Okkervill River; Nouns by No Age; Tell Tale Signs by ol' Zimmy; and last but definitely not least: Beat Pyramid by These New Puritans.

I'll close this post with a tip of the sexy hat to Miss Earth Kitt, the Queen Diva who merged with the universe on Xmas Day. She was Catwoman in the 60's, had an affair with Orson Wells, was blacklisted, recorded some very sexy music, including "C'est Si Bon", "Cha Cha Heels" with Bronski Beat in the 80s, and of course "Santa Baby", which she hopefully dug this season. We'll miss you, Ms Thing.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Drinks are on George at Martini's

Can it be? Is it really true? Yeah I guess so. Christmas is for all intents & purposes, over. Actually, it's not over until the 25th. So enjoy the next 48 hours - this is what we all waited for.

Last I checked (mon afternoon), QVC/HSN still guaranteed delivery in time for Xmas with an extra $5 shipping and only if you paid by credit card. Who's getting that fiver?

Here's what I've been experiencing: the traffic is f#%king horrendous, but inside the shops it ain't that bad. It's like everyone's decided to do the USA waste-o-rama twist because the gas prices went down. That's their Xmas present to themselves - an anxiety-riddled road trip!

Also - what the hell is wrong with women? I think I've seen more fur coats this season than in recent history. Might this be the last arrogant display of sore loser Bush supporters? These over-cosmeticized, heavily perfumed, drastically tinted and tipped old crows (young bimbos too) thumbing their hedonistic noses at the human rights cult? Watch both ways before crossing the street, honey. Unless these are just very expensive fakes. Nah, that would take too much research. Sorry, it's a sore point with me. (what isn't?)

I think we've reached full Fa-La-La-La Lifetime saturation in my house. I'm starting to see the same lame Xmas movies come on more than once. I've decided that I really don't like Candice Cameron anymore as an adult then when she & Kimmie Gibler hung out at the Cinnabon. OH - there's one with Patrick Swayze & I think it was filmed in Canada, and everyone in his family has that slightly plastic/out of time/foreign country look - I think it's like when all your buddies shave their heads in empathy with your lice problem.

All bitching and kvetching aside, I wish for you (all, like five of you, if there's that many out there) a fantastic holiday season, and let's work together in the new year to seriously get on the good foot. After all our bellyaching we can't f#%k this up.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy 65th Keef !!!

. . . but eternally young at heart. Cheers, mate !

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not Quite Last Minute Xmas Gift Guide

Let's not hyperventilate: it isn't time for LAST MINUTE gifts just yet. What you have to wait for is the day that QVC or HSN says your stuff will NOT arrive in time for Xmas with ANY type of uber-shipping plan. THEN it's time to get your azz down to the quickie mart & scarf up those Chia Homers (so 2006).
Of course, the biggest gift idea this year is a wonderful little coffee table book called Sleeveface. Have you gone here yet? Have you perused your vinyl collection in preparation for your very own little Sleeveface photo shoot? Are you busy? You LIE!!!

Another must-have book is "Lennon: The Life" by Phillip Norman. This book got the nod and pertinent input from Yoko AND McCartney, and it gets down to the real nitty gritty. (He wanted Paul! And his own Mother !!!)

How about a MIMOBOT ( ) for the geek in your life? It's a designer USB drive that's part Transformer, part R2D2, part something else made out of plastic. Tres "Tokyo" chic!!

For those who wanna buy low/sell high: Sirius stock closed at .14 today. They're going through tough times (who isn't) but they'll snap back. Of course, grab your grain of salt, I bought a million shares of Betamax last year.

Someone you know likes the rock & roll? Here's yer best bets for the year: Vampire Weekend, Pas/Cal, Of Montreal, Glasvegas, Belle & Sebastian At The BBC, Ten Kens, Foals, White Denim, Okkervill River, Dylan (hell, collect 'em all), The Fall (ditto).

Easy-as-pie can't-fail all-around favorite cop-outs: liquor, money, sexual favors.

Hope I've been helpful. Wassail On!!

How I Spent My Weekend

Many things happened over the two day respite we call the weekend. It went like this: Escaped massive layoffs at work. participated in various phone related things, including new cell phone for me and the wife, new home phone number, five new phones for the new phone line. Completed my xmas shopping. Watched six xmas movies. Put my new Godzilla xmas ornament on the tree: perfect! TV service went out. Internet went out. Washing machine died. Resented numerous people for various reasons.

And man oh man, has here been a run on cemetery plots lately! Check out this list of recent obit column subjects: Robert Prosky, who was the old Hill St Blues cop (do it to them before they do it to you") and most recently a judge on Boston Legal; Beverly Garland, who played the newly minted wife with a precocious daughter on the last season of My Three Sons; Sunny Von Bulow, who's husband was tried for attempted murder (of HER!!); Ron Carey, who had bit roles in Mel Brooks movies & was the underachiever cop in Barney Miller; Van Johnson, he of old musical & non-musical films, and showed up from time to time on Love Boat; and, finally Miss Bettie Page - I thought she already was dead!

Consumer alert: I mentioned that I saw some xmas movies- well one was Steven Colbert's Christmas Special. I like him a lot, but here's where his over the top auto-consumerism schtick goes beyond clever: His xmas special aired just one night, and the next day it was released on dvd, never to be aired again. I thought his book (I Am America And So Can You) was brilliant. The special, however, was pure shit. I wasted $15. He should stick to reading lines behind a desk (which he does better than anybody else). The writers of this special (undoubtedly he was one of them) should get coal in their stocking. So anyway, don't buy it. You can borrow mine.

Hey, y'know what some of the best albums of the year were? You will soon enough.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ride The Midnight Special

Another great voice of the 20th century has moved on. Odetta died December 2 at the age of 77. She was one of the most important voices in the development of folk music, and in particular the musical education of Bob Dylan & Joan Baez. She studied opera at 13, then worked in Hollywood for The Hollywood Turnabout Puppet Theater with Elsa Lanchester. She acted on stage and in films. In 1974 she was in the acclaimed TV movie The Autobiography OF Miss Jane Pittman with Cicely Tyson. She was hooked up with the usual: Belafonte, Dr King, James Baldwin, Pete Seeger. Rosa Parks sited her songs as the ones that she was most fond of. One could've been the 1961 UK hit she had with Belafonte, "Hole In The Bucket". Her last husband was blues figure Louisiana Red. Odetta suffered from, among other things, Pulmonary Fibrosis. In her hospital room she had a poster of Barack Obama, and she had fought to stay alive because she believed she would sing at his inauguration.

Instead we'll get be entertained by Beyonce & Jay-Z, two slammin' niggaz that are doing their part for civil rights - setting it backward 50 years.

Friday, December 5, 2008

NOW You Know Why Cha Cha Heels!

Just a quickie for the weekend: Here's the significance of last post's title (Cha Cha Heels!) Just dig this clip from You Tube. This just oozes Christmas Spirit.

Happy Holidays, y'all.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cha Cha Heels!

I have got to get it together.

No matter how hard I try, and to be perfectly honest I ain't been trying so hard up to this point, I can't seem to get into the spirit of the season. It's this lousy economy and just the overall vibe of the world. Flash: I have a conscience!

I have a grandson that I will spoil with millions of dollars worth of stuff he can't use with any level of longevity. But I'm not sure what to do about anyone else (save it, I'm not looking for opinions) (but get back to me before the weekend). I truly enjoy giving to people, because I believe that, if the bread holds out, those who can, should.

For the past few years I have seen to it that I personally have not gone without, and that's kinda what happens at my ripe old age, but to be honest it's at the point where it seems ridiculous. F'rinstance, I have a closetful of clothes, and I will probably not get back to half of them. Yeah, I know where they can be dropped off. I think I'll do that this weekend, actually. I've got to make sure my bar is always fully strapped, and then I go a step or two further & get something I personally would never drink, but maybe it would be nice to offer guests - y'know, the people that want a Bud Light or a rum & coke. And I have dozens of CDs that I have listened to just the one time to be sure I burned them correctly. Yeah, I have everything I'm "supposed" to have, but a lot of it leaves me cold, and once again I'm running out of storage space. And anyway, it's always back to Dub & Louis Jordan & The Fall.

In trying to reason with myself over this surplus of crap, I tell myself it's "comfort food" for all the loss I've experienced in the past few years. Y'know, how long am I gonna milk that bullshit? I'm still here. And life, given everything else, is grand. You're down, you're up, just tighten up your wig and keep pushing. A great dead guy I know once said any day this side of the dirt is a good day.

I think we need to get straight with this country for awhile. Maybe I need to start with me.

OK, soon as I get back from shopping Friday.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Let's Turkey Trot

So here we are, at the beginning - legally - of the holiday season. And it's off to a non-roaring hesitant start.

Thanksgiving morning was spent watching the stupidly scripted and produced (yet supposedly wholly family oriented) pre-parade show on TV. I'm assuming this is so the youngest kiddies will be engrossed while the other family members over the age of 8 are busy googling or showering or cooking or decorating or drinking in the basement. OK, yeah I watched it, but I was doing so whilst I made breakfast for my wife, which is my weekend gift to her. Afterwards I worked on the outside Christmas lights. My wife thought it would only take an hour, but somehow I stretched it out to three point five. And can you please tell me what exists in this hyperkinetic world that transforms fully operational strands of lights to useless green cords as soon as everything is in place. As always, I escaped with an aching back & feet. BUT, as we all know, that leads to my favorite thing that begins with "V" that isn't Velvet Underground or Vampire Weekend: Vicodin.

Black Friday will be spent cleaning the castle in preparation for Saturday's holiday kickoff party - you know, the one for which more than half the guestlist has found better things to do? I want to cancel; wifey says no, screw those people. She actually said that! HA! I'm with ya, baby!

Today I found out about another corpse: Guy Peellaert, who put together a marvellous book called Rock Dreams back in 1975 died from a touch of the heart attack. He also designed the cover for Bowie's "Diamond Dogs". Check out his work here:

At the time, his blend of paintings/drawings and photos was groundbreaking, and the visionary images were mindblowing. And one of his works incorporatee a photo taken at the Gratiot drive-in. How did he get that - he was from Belgium!

Also, Jody Reynolds of "Endless Sleep" fame, died. We'll leave it at that, I'm not getting into another death trip during the holidays. That's a death trip in itself.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Music Sucks

This past week I've seen numerous TV ads for the American Music Awards. I've always thought they were out-of-touch, since their creator Dick Clark has been out-of-touch since about 1963. The winners always seemed to be his showbiz "friends": Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Elton John, Cher - people who at the time had f#*k-all to do with what was happening in the music world (except for Elton, who just sucked, but was just plain unavoidable). The AMA's started at a time when Bowie was HUGE, Lou Reed had released "Transformer", Blue Oyster Cult was massive, etc, and who gets awards? Meat f#*king Loaf. Dick Clark had the 50s all sewn up, but as far as I'm concerned, he was a stroke victim as soon as The Beatles sang "yeah-yeah-yeah".

I digress - well, not actually, because the spirit of Dick Clark appears to still be alive and, well...


FAVORITE COUNTRY ARTIST: Garth Brooks (what year is this?)

ARTIST OF THE YEAR: Eagles (Is this watch broken?)


FAVORITE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM: Alvin & The Chipmunks - no f#*king comment.

FAVORITE ALT-ROCK ACT: Linkin Park - Alt? They're Limp Bizkit's illegitimate brother!

it goes on like that...

Man, just check out some of these other winners:

Chris Daughtry (he beat out COLDPLAY). Jordin Sparks. Taylor Swift. Carrie Underwood.

Do you see a pattern here? Aren't they all hooked up one way or another with American Idol or something?

Sorry. I do NOT populate my record collection based on those f#*king morons on American Idol, or any other shows of that ilk. Never have; never will. It's despicable, and anyone who doesn't see anything wrong with getting the soundtrack to your life from clueless TV judges honestly needs to get a f#*king clue about music.

Not sorry: I am a music fascist. I have spent my entire life (except for maybe the first 2 years) absorbing music, and where someone might have spot-on financial tips or can zero in on technology or anything else, I don't half-step when it comes to music. And when I see bullshit like The Jonas Brothers getting the breakthrough act award, shit that is so blatantly commercialized and whored strictly for fame & money (and yeah I know everyone wants money, but I pride myself on music for music's sake, period), well, I just wanna puke in their face.

I just have to say that Coldplay winning NOTHING is amazing. I used to like them; I don't anymore, & everytime I see a picture of Paltrow I hate them even more. But for them to get beat in every single category is unbelievable. The AMA's are like the 2000 & 2004 presidential elections.

And Dick Clark is the whole Bush family, with a speech impediment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

May You Never Hear Surf Music Again

And it keeps going on and on ...

Mitch Mitchell, drummer for the original power trio The Jimi Hendrix Experience, died Nov 12 at the age of 61 from natural causes.

Mitchell was heavily influenced by jazz and had a rather light drumming style, which is odd when you think of Hendrix. But Mitchell provided the roll to Jimbo's rock. I often wondered what Hendrix's sides would've sounded like with one of the ham-fisted four-on-the-floor drummers that are so prevalent today.

Before Hendrix, Mitch drummed with r&b stalwarts The Pretty Things & soul/jazz ensemble Georgie Fame's Blue Flames. But being picked for The Experience provided him a life one could barely dream of. It's his drumming heard on all the Hendrix sessions, as well as the famed Woodstock gig.

Mitchell was the drummer for "The Dirty Mac", the pickup group John Lennon enlisted for a segment on The Rolling Stones' "Rock & Roll Circus" TV special from 1968. Along with Lennon & Mitchell, the band also included Keith Richard and Eric Clapton.

After Hendrix's death Mitchell helped finish tracks-in-progress for posthumous Hendrix releases, always with the approval of Hendrix's family foundation.

At the time of his death, Mitchell had just finished "Experience Hendrix", a coast-to-coast tour spotlighting (what else) the music of Jimbo and featuring guitarists Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin (Howlin' Wolf's guitar man) and David Hidalgo & Cesar Rosas from Los Lobos, among others. An autopsy showed natural causes; Mitchell was not a partier.

So Mitchell's death brings the entire Jimi Hendrix Experience together in the stratosphere (bassist Noel Redding died in 2003). If one believes spirits gather in some great beyond, then moreso than any other musical death that comes to mind, including Bird, Robert Johnson, Lennon or Trane, this one had the power to manifest something truly awesome in scope, and has completed a triumvirate so powerful that all I can say is the cosmic residents better grab something & hold on tight.

By the way, the title of this post refers to a line from Hendrix's cosmic jam, "Third Stone From The Sun". If you hear screams & howls in the sky, you'll know why.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I know death is always on the job, and it seems like the quality of corpses lately has been ... extraordinary.

On November 9, Mama Africa, MIRIAM MAKEBA, age 76, died from a heart attack after performing a 30 minute set at a human rights gig in Italy. Most people old enough to know her have dug her 1966 hit, "Pata Pata". It was one of a handful of records from the 50s and 60s that at the time sounded "weird" or "strange", but today they are considered some of the first "world music" songs known to an American audience.

Harry Belafonte helped get her into the US, and she won a grammy with him for "An Evening With Belafonte/Makeba". She testified against apartheid at the UN & had her passport revoked, unbeknownst to her at the time. Unable to return to South Africa, she was granted honorary citizenship to 10 countries.

She was married to SNCC leader Stokeley Carmichael and "Papa Africa", Hugh Masakela (he of "Grazin' In The Grass" fame, one of the all-time coolest grooves ever). She played the concert at the "Rumble In The Jungle" for the Ali-Foreman fight in Zaire. Nelson Mandala was a close friend and was instrumental in her return to Africa. She was a guest on "The Cosby Show". She has received Peace Prizes (not from the Nobel cats, though) and has been nominated for grammys. And she ranks 38th in the list of 100 greatest South Africans.

Go to You Tube. Check out the videos for "Pata Pata" and "The Click Song", among others.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Geez, Death, Take A Break Already

STUDS TERKEL - Died Oct 31, age 96. Chicago's favorite son. Author, blacklisted in the 50s, radio host for almost 50 years (Dylan was a guest at his genesis), Pulitzer Prize winner. There is just has too much to him for me to thumbnail it here.

JIMMY CARL BLACK - Drummer and "The Indian Of The Group" from The Mothers Of Invention died Nov 1, age 70, from lung cancer. He was very vocal about Zappa's shitty treatment of the band, but willfully rejoined him for awhile after being kicked out. Also lead the band "Geronimo Black" and was a member of The Grandmothers, a band made up of (you guessed it) Mothers alumni.

YMA SUMAC - November 1, age 83, also cancer. Dig her pic at the top of the post. She was an other-worldly exotic vocalist with a 200-octave range (would I lie?). In recent years she was conveniently lumped in with the ultra-lounge/exotica scene, but was most active from the 50s to the early 60s, same time frame as Martin "Quiet Village" Denny, another exotica figurehead. It is rumored that rather than Peruvian, she was really Amy Camus from Brooklyn, and that her agent or studio moguls flipped the name around for extra exotic strangeness.

BYRON LEE - He of "...& The Dragonaires" fame. What you'd probably know him for most is the song "Jamaican Ska" that ol' Annette sings in "Back To The Beach". Or maybe "Tiny Winey" if you pay any attentiion to the steel band on Caribbean cruises. Well, he was for sure a Calypso King. He started back in 1956, those pre-ska days of Mento music, and he more or less rolled with the changes all the way through reggae, all the while still doing calypso & soca. He was active up until his death from cancer on November 4 at the age of 73. He was a bad-ass cat.

MICHAEL CRICHTON - Nov 4, age 68, cancer. He's the one who gave us Andromeda Strain (not the actual strain, tho), Westworld, Congo, Jurassic Park, and he also created ER.
and finally, ...
RUDY RAY MOORE - Yeah, that's right, Dolemite! This guy's gettin' oral sex in a limo when he gets picked up from prison! (in the movie Dolemite, that is, although who knows?) He was around since the 50s, doing Redd Foxx-style standup (no, not Sanford-type stuff; this was the original x-rated deal) and he was a soul singer, too. But we know him best as the pimp/hustler/player called Dolemite. He had problems with diabetes (gulp) and died at the age of 81 on Oct 19.
OK, OK, now take five, willya?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Goin' Back To The Village Of Love

Nathaniel Mayer died Nov 1. He was a Detroit cat who released some great sides on the legendary Fortune record label, including the international hit "Village Of Love". It had the standard primitive Fortune sound, but the quality was a notch upward from most Fortune singles. Yet typical of Fortune's history of gaffe-ridden releases, the song breaks for a guitar solo that's buried so deep in the mix anyone else would've done a 2nd take, but geez, that would mean more tape. Regardless, that song is a bonafide standard from the post-doowop/pre-soul twilight world of 1962. It's way noisy (Nate screams out half the song) but still couldn't prepare anyone for his next single: "I Had A Dream". I used to imagine spear-wielding African tribespeople in the studio doing the backing track. Once, many many MANY moons ago Nate was a guest on a radio show I used to listen to, "Old & Gold". I called the station during the record-playing segment to tell the host that "I Had A Dream" was on a par with ANY punk record EVER released for chaos, energy & bollocks-out rocking. He said "wait, Nate would love to hear that". Next thing I knew, I'm talking to Mr Nathaniel Mayer hisself, telling him the same thing! He was chuffed, to say the least. And I was as nervous as a record nut having a word with Nathaniel Mayer!

And who can forget his other chestnut, "I Want Love & Affection (Not The House Of Correction)"?

In recent years Nate, with help from local musicians & Dayton's Black Keys, had a couple albums released to critical acclaim. Of course they sold next to nothing. He had a series of strokes awhile back, but his death was still a shock. Recently I saw former Dirtbomb bassist Troy Gregory who during a conversation said, "...and I won't be playing with Nate anymore...". I thought it was an artistic choice until he said, "well, he's been sick..." I had forgotten about that. And I bet Troy's glad he had the chance.


The Godfather said it in 1973, after Jerry Ford -??!?? - but today it really applies: We just got a funky new president. Even though he can't dance.
Washington has long been known as Chocolate City, and all these stupid sobriquets don't really apply, because Brother 'Rack is the whitest brother this side of Colin Powell (not that that's a bad thing).
Anyway, Daddy-"O", get on the good foot & FIX US, MAN!!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Death Takes No Holiday

I'm back after a few weeks away from Blogville. Geez, what's happened? McDonna gets divorced, gas prices plummet, and of course, death gets greedy.

Pictured above, Alton Ellis, called "the godfather of rocksteady", died at the age of 70. His best known track is "Dance Crasher", but my favorite by him is "I'm Still In Love With You". Just go check his stuff out, you should've already done so. Catch-up time for you.

Although silenced for a number of years now, one of the greatest voices in the world, Levi Stubbs, has also gone. Even though I have been thoroughly sick of Motown for quite some time, I'll be the first to admit that you would be hard pressed to find a more soulful, emotional voice than Levi's.

Edie Adams was both sultry & lucky - to be Ernie Kovacs' wife. And now that she's dead too, they can rekindle their flame, although I think it was out cold long before Ernie kicked off decades ago. Edie used to have a Muriel Cigar TV ad in which she purred, Marilyn-style, "why don't you pick one up & smoke it sometime?" Uh-huh, baby.

Jack Narz died too, and he hosted lotsa game shows in the 50s & early 60s. The one that instantly comes to mind for me is "Seven Keys", where you acquired keys for winning rounds of questions, and the key could open the door to a new car.

So that's death for you.

Now what's this I hear about Neil Young FINALLY releasing his Archives VOL 1 in January. The first 10-disc set is retailling at $450??!!?? I thought he was a man of the people? Did he CONVENIENTLY forget that no one has a job? I am not happy with him. I guess everyone's a pig at some point, even "everymen".

A word about my recent trip to Hawaii: it was fabby-poo, I spent less money than I expected, and I didn't want to leave (another Mai-Tai, mahalo!). I had the ol' iPod peppered with all kindsa Hawaiian & island-type music, but what shuffled to the top most of the time?

The Fall. Perfect.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'm Sick Y'all

The title of this post heralds a return to non-political rantings - yay! It's a reference to an Otis Redding song, and also unfortunately a declaration of my health at the moment. And I'm leaving for Hawaii in 5 days! More meds!!

I was reading some miscellaneous stuff about Pittsburgh DJ Mad Mike Metro, guitarist supreme Robert Quine (both dead btw), and James "Hound" Marshall who used to dj on my fave WFMU long before I was hip to it (back in the late 70s). Anyway, I came across some useless information (my favorite kind) that got me to thinking...

What was the first record I bought with my own money? This is a toss-up: it was either Jackie Wilson's "Lonely Teardrops" album (unless my sister bought it for me, or the money was given to her by my mother, but I do know it was hand delivered by my sister, who had actually been instructed to buy Jackie's "He's So Fine" lp, but at the time I didn't know the more recent L. T. was out - hell, I was like 5. So she made the right choice.). OR - it was "Fingertips". In the course of my younger days, this seems rather late (9 or 10 years old), because I had a lot of records. Maybe it was just that they were all bought for me, but this one was definitely with my own money, on my own trek to the record shop. Did "Twist & Shout" by The Isley Brothers come out before that one? Because I definitely remember having that one, but I can't remember if I paid for it myself.

My all-time favorite album: "Highway 61 Revisited" by Bob Dylan, I was 12. I remember this vividly, I bought it at Sears (?!) at Macomb Mall. My friend Duane had a sister 2 years older than me (who saw both Detroit Beatle concerts, 64 & 65? she did) & on that same day she bought The Byrds' "Turn Turn Turn". We swapped albums for one day, and I kinda liked hers better for a short while, because it was more commercially pop and like I said, I was 12. But in the end, the man won out, 43 years & holding.

First concert: The Motortown Revue, Fox Theater, December 1963, 10 years old. No Beatles yet, Motown was the thing. Marvin Gaye, Smokey, Mary Wells, The Marvelettes. No Supremes or Stevie. First "rock" concert: SRC, East Detroit High School, March 1970, 16 years old.

And in the same vein, major acts (in my world) that I've seen: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Sinatra, Bill Haley, Bo Diddley, Lennon, McCartney, Dylan, Stones, Velvet Underground, Ike & Tina Turner, John Lee Hooker, Peter Tosh, MC5, Stooges, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Clash, Dolls, Bowie, Kraftwerk, Stevie Wonder, Aretha, Brian Wilson, Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Dr. John, The Who, The Fall, Ray Davies, The Faces, Sonny Rollins, Archie Shepp, Dave Brubeck, King Sunny Ade, Wynton Marsalis, James Brown, Neil Young, and then there are the tons of flavors-of-the-week and 2nd and 3rd stringers.
Who did I miss just because I was lazy & didn't want to get in the car & go & now I could kick myself: Monk. And Diz. And Sun Ra.
First real kiss: summer of 1966. First "wow" experience that didn't seem handed down from earlier times: Haight Ashbury and Golden Gate Park, December 1967 - just after the Summer Of Love. First pair of bell bottom jeans: 1968, 10th grade.
First legal beer: Lums, Roseville. First new car: 1975 Chevy Monza. First "totalled" accident: 1975 Chevy Monza, less than a year later.
Where does this end?
Here. I'm sick. y'all.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hanal To The Chief

WOW!!! Thanx for the comments, all 3 of you (it seemed like so many many more)!! Check the previous post for some top comments -including a quite legendary reply from yours truly!

But here's something that came to mind: why indeed hasn't John Waters run for president? Isn't he actually what we all want to be? Or is that just me? He lives out his twisted fantasies by having someone else act them out on film for all to see, & he can just sit back & stay clean? And in the end the common man love those fantasies & make him a multi-millionaire!! I mean, if someone's gonna manipulate me, it might as well be him. Imagine, living in a world filled with depraved lunatics & obese drag queens. Gee, how I miss going to see his work in grimy art houses half-full of questionable reprobates. The good old days.

Recently at a DC insider cocktail party it was suggested that the Democrats would be happy with the likes of Rip Taylor for president. What was really meant by that statement is that the Dems would take any fruity ol' pisser because that is their wont. Nothing could be further from the truth, I say! Rip is old & boring, and we've already had that. Plus he's messy, what with that confetti all over the place. And he's just not funny. An unfunny queen? Breeder, please. But if he's part of a nine-member cast of leaders who sit three-by-three in a box trimmed in flashing lights, we'd take him in a heartbeat. Considering the Pushing Daisies guy brings Paul Linde back, too.

Look, we gotta crawl before we walk. This election has gotten more people talking about (and acting as if they care about) this country than any time since Woodstock (the one without arson). Even though their reasons may be superficial, and they may just be extremely lucky that the guy they're (probably) backing is (probably) the best guy in recent years who's gonna step up & go for the job, at least we're (probably) not talking about Miley Cyrus or Lezbey Lohan. Let's all just pray this thing goes well because we MUST bring an end to this right-wing, bible-based, fear-nurturing regime. It (probably) WON'T stop under McCain.

ONE MO' THING: I usually never recommend anything from Rolling Stone (what a total piece of crap), but their cover story on the early days of John McCain is quite entertaining, although at times it seems like they wanted to shock but just pulled an "aw". His early days sound like another assholes. His latter days can't be much different. Use the link to read it online.

Now, go rent The John Waters Collection. It's no "Bonzo" anthology, but then what is?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Commenting On The Debate I Didn't Watch: Patriotic!

No, I didn't watch it.

I have cultivated such a strong dislike for her that I didn't want to see her possibly do a good job, because I get a perverse pleasure from hating her & that whole whale blubber clan of the cave bear circus she's part of. If she held her own, then bully for her. If not, bully for me.

I did a fair share of Thursday night quarterbacking, and it appears she was really rocking that Cowgirl-At-A-Themepark bullshit: y'all, yah know, gonna, droppin' her "g"s, ... Can't we have someone who's eloquent & can talk to people intelligently? Oh wait, we already have that: it's called the Obama/Biden ticket. And just because I'm educated and can understand big words does that make me pretentious? (I well may be, but not for that reason.)

I'm tired of folksy. Truly. And just because she drove a van to a
f#%king soccer game doesn't mean she's cornered the market on real life.

This country is supposed to be the place where any US citizen could ideally be president. But honestly, she needs to get wise. She's like some character in a second rate comedy chock full of SNL & SCTV hasbeens where they pull some poor unsuspecting "Joe Six-Pack" (another Palinism) out of nowhere to take the place of some world leader who's been shot.

I wonder if the GOP thought, "hey, this one's a spittin' image of Tina Fey. We pick her and there'll be an uptick on SNL coverage!" "But wait, Fey's not on the show anymore." "Shoot, she'll come back to the show just for this, you watch!"

Hurry, November 4, and be good to me. I'm tired of feeling compelled to post politically.

Monday, September 29, 2008


We'll get right back to "Grrrandpapa Knows Best", but for just a mo', let me go off topic and discuss my favorite train wreck, Sarah "I Can See Russia From My Toilet" Palin.

That Couric interview. I get so uncomfortable when someone so embarrasses themself that I can barely look them in the eye, electronically or otherwise. What a clueless corpse! Sure, I couldn't answer those questions, but I'm not running for Veep of the world, either.

Dig this:

"It was like I had to make up every answer," said Palin in a statement written for her by someone other than herself. "If I knew that my responses to Katie's questions were not going to be provided to me before hand, I wouldn't have done the interview in the first place."

Double WTF??!!???

86 that bitch fast!!!

But here's the scary part: who's that in the on-deck circle? Probably Mitt Romney. Talk about striking fear in the hearts of men. What about Giuliani? Nah, he can't see past "9/11". Lieberman? Hyuk, you don't really think they'd go with a jew, do you? Palin was their Angela Davis or Jane Fonda as far as they're concerned.

Have a nice trip back home. Is "Men In Trees" still on TV? Maybe she can do a walk-on.

At least it's not improv.

The World Is A Better Place

The other day I became a grandfather for the first time. This was an exciting experience, because I saw the little tyke when he was an hour old. His eyes were open for most of that first visit, quite a lot more than they were over the next 48 hours or so. He probably saw all he could take, & thought, "Y'know what - I'm going back to sleep; wake me when the new Dylan box comes out (Oct 7, btw)". Yeah, the modern world makes you jaded real fast.

All throughout the waiting period (I think it's called pregnancy) I was wondering how this was going to affect my normal everyday lifestyle, i.e., I hate people, of which kids are a subset, and how I don't like to be infringed upon by stuff I can't be arsed with. Well, as the big day grew closer, I started thinking about the cool & crazy things I could do with the little brussel sprout, all the info and data and stuff I would pass on. Y'see, I'm pretty sure I'm the most unorthodox grandparent this kid has. The most abnormal one. The one who's closest to his age, spirit-wise if not mentality-wise. Fact is, I really kinda like kids - in their place - when they're being cool 'n all, not bratty & obnoxious & messing up your shit. I really dig a child's sensibility. I like their purity & innocence & honesty. Until grownups get their stinking hands on them.

This is a tough world in which to grow up. I don't envy him, but I will certainly help him. Right after I empty my drool cup & change my diaper. I'll live vicariously through this boy while that's still an attractive concept. I'm always grousing over the fact that at my age I can't pull off a lot of the things I see in mens shops, all these variations on themes from bygone eras. So I'll just take the kid shopping & make him a 21st century me.

But no f$%king athletic shoes or hoodies.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Heaven's Gonna Swing Now

Earl Palmer was one of the greatest drummers on the planet. People talk about this drummer, that drummer. Jump back, Jack. My man Earl played with everyone from the King of Rock & Roll - that's Little Richard - to Neil Young to Ringo to Elvis Costello to (hold on to your hats) Frank Sinatra.

My favorite Earl sides are naturally the Little Richard sessions on Specialty Records. This was the greatest rock & roll band in the world, not only was Earl there, but the mighty duo of Lee Allen and Red Tyler on sax, Frank Field on the bass, and Edgard Blanchard on guitar. Oh yeah, and Richard Penniman on piano. This band was primarily on every Nawlins record from the fifties, give or take a cat or two - Fats, Huey Smith, Fess, Shirley & Lee et al. But I'm getting off on a tangent, this ain't about Nawlins, just it's greatest drummer.

"Tutti Fruitti". "I Hear You Knockin'". "I'm Walkin'". "Rockin' Robin". "La Bamba". "River Deep - Mountain High"!! (can you imagine that session??) "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. (or that one??) "Dance With Me Henry". The theme songs from "77 Sunset Strip" and "The Odd Couple"!! The Flintstones theme song!!!! Green Acres!! I Dream Of Jeannie!! The Frikkin Brady Bunch!! The film scores to "Judgement at Nuremberg", "Mad Mad World", "A Patch Of Blue", "Robin & The Seven Hoods" and "How To Stuff A Wild Bikini" to name a few.

And he was a charter member of the legendary "Wrecking Crew" in LA. (look it up)

And there's more and more, trust me.

How great does a guy have to be to play on Lucille and the score to Judgement At Nuremberg?That's talented, to be sure. Gifted.

Sometime in the early/mid 90s, Earl appeared in a video with Alt-crap band Cracker. Leader David Lowery asked Palmer if he would be able to play along with the songs, Earl gave Lowery a look and said,

"I invented this shit."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Rick In The Wall

Yeah, I know, that was a pitiful pun. But what can I say, here I am acknowledging the passing of Rick Wright, Keyboardist for Pink Floyd for 42 years. Cancer, wouldn't ya know.

I don't like Pink Floyd. Actually, I should clarify that; I like the first Pink Floyd album "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" a whole lot. It's very English, very experimental, and at the time Floyd was led by Syd Barrett, a true visionary, an avatar, and very quickly a psychedelic casualty. After that first album, a couple singles and a couple tracks from the second album A Saucerful Of Secrets, Barrett moved onto his own planet, never to return, and he died in 2006.

Anyway, back to the Rickster. I seem to remember reading somewhere, though I can't for the life of me recall where, probably some UK monthly, that Wright did not think very highly of Syd Barrett. But I can't find any proof of that on the web. I believe I read that he more than any other of his Floydian cohorts held that opinion. So I have to be honest, when I heard that Rick Wright died, I was a little "what goes around comes around, mutha". Because post-Barrett Floyd suck the big one.

Was Wright a bad seed? Seems he also had a problem with bassist/vocalist Roger Waters, who played a major part in the composition and execution of Floyd's overblown musical wanking. He even "quit" the band in the 80s (big deal, they were dormant for 20 years). But he came back when they reformed for a few shows and a couple albums in the noughts.

SO - no more Floyd reunion tours, or albums. Guess you'll have to settle for the laser shows at the planetarium.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Motor City Maniac

I was reading a post on some blog - can't remember which one, but it was a link off FreakyTrigger, a site that humorously revisits pop culture touchstones of the past. At any rate, I was reminded therein of my first submission to the Letters section of Creem Magazine. It was March 1971, Volume 3, Number 1, and that's it at the top of the post. At the time I was very into local combo Brownsville Station, who specialized in revving up fifties chestnuts to high energy levels. About two years later they found international fame with "Smokin' In The Boys Room", and by that time had watered themselves down and turned faux-glam for fame and fortune.

I digress. Anyway, I had seen them a few times around town at the local dives, and being 17 had also started the ritual of drinking before going into the venue (they didn't serve alcohol back then). This undoubtedly made me more susceptible to their on-stage histrionics, because I sent this raving letter to Creem. And they published it. The letter was peppered with a lot of cliches, like "bees that way sometimes", which would assure them I was down with the brothers in the ghetto, if not one myself. Oh yeah, and "got to be a stone rock & roll maniac!" - that was one I remember using. Geez, how embarrassing. So this issue comes out, it's the first Creem in a new cut-page format rather than the old newspaper size version. And I see the letter! YOW! And not only do I see it, but this girl in my Econ class sees it, too. She's one of a group of girls, some from my school, that were at the ghetto ballrooms every weekend, but her aim was not to dig the sounds, but dig the band personally, if you get my drift. I seem to remember she was especially "friendly" with the MC5. She was always cool to me, tho. So on the morning after I got my copy of Creem, she sees me in class and says, "hey Bob (yeah, I was Bob in those days), I saw your letter in Creem". WOW! So did she see it at Wayne Kramer's house (see earlier post) or something? Did she say, "Hey, here's a letter written by this guy in my Econ class! He's pretty cool! Can I restring your Mosrite, Wayne?" At any rate, it was my first entry to a rock & roll magazine, the best one on the planet at the time, and it got published. But unfortunately it was prior to their policy of replying to each letter published with a smartass comment. Wonder what mine would've been?

"Yeah, we feel the same way Bob. Brownsville Station are ace!

"And you're a suburban asshole!"

Coulda shoulda woulda...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Sarah Palin's kids' names are coincidentally also nicknames for her va-jay-jay!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

People Are Funny

In the past two weeks I have started three posts and posted none. They were all politically inclined. I hesitated, and ultimately demurred, because I've already done some pseudo-political posts (If you want real political posts, go somewhere like Huffington Post). No one cares about my views on these sort of things, just like I don't care about anyone else's; I barely care about my own.

This whole political climate that exists right now has me vexed. Women in politics? Yeah, sure, do it, I'll cheer you on. But why always the wrong ones? Or else it's stupid old white men not knowing their ass from a hole in the ground - I'm becoming one of those myself. Politics for me always seems to be a case of not knowing what I want but sho-nuff knowing what I don't want.

Geez, lookit: a political post.

I need to get back to my uproariously funny, life-changing, you-better-dig-this-type posts. That's where I shine, n'est-ce pas?

I have a lot of things happening in the next couple months. My sister is visiting from Chad next week. My daughter is releasing her debut child the week after or thereabouts. I'm going to Hawaii for two weeks in October (houserobbers, take note).

And then in November I'm going to kick some dumbass cowboy motherf$#ker and his ugly ass wife out of their house. Yippee!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

La Bamba!

First off, let me say I still endorse Alfred E. Newman for president.

Predictably all the forward-thinking lefty celebs are supporting Borat - no wait, that's BARAK. Er, that's not right, either. It's BARACK. BARACK OBAMA. Yeah, that's it. Y'know if I were him, I'd plead with all them beautiful people to stay away in droves. F'rinstance there's these stupid rock bands putting on concerts in Denver during the convention, thinking they're helping their man get over. Yeah. Rage Against The Machine, pseudo-radical has-beens who mix tuneless grunge with political rhetoric, have reformed because they think America needs them now more than ever, and they're Denver-bound to prove it. Joining the act in Mile-Highville is one of the elders, or elderly, Wayne Kramer. He was - IS - famous for being 1st chair guitarist in MC5, another group (in)famous for it's (pseudo)political leanings - that is until they realized - too late of course - it was an obstacle to their shot at *pop*stardom. Fact is, were it not for their Mao- and Panther-inspired manager they would've been a mere footnote in the cesspool of anonymous 60s rock bands instead of gladly copping to the moniker "forefathers of punk".

A lot of words about not much. As usual.

McCain. Poor guy. McLame. He picks one song for his campaign, and how stupid is he, because it's "Running On Empty" by well-known lefty Jackson Browne. Does anyone else NOT know Browne is a dem-supporter? Hey, McCain has his supporters, too. Heidi Montag. Angie Harmon. Craig T. Nelson.

It's the same every four years. That's why I think celebs and musicians should be banned from publicly supporting politicians. Cuz then we get assholes like REM, or Bono, who's not even American, voicing their choice, and dispensing with their head-up-their-arse wisdom. Who cares what they think about politics? They're much too far removed from reality to know what's happening on the street. Maybe they should use their time more wisely and work on their craft, cuz their records sure do suck. And their support, in my opinion, hurts their guy. Look, we all know Hollywood & the rock world are gonna go Dem. So why bother to go all public with it? The publicity? Yeah, probably. It looks good on the resume.

At this point nothing anyone does is going to change anything about how America is going to vote. Either way. Not Biden. Not Hillary's "support" (c'mon - you believed that speech?). Not Rage or Michael Stipe. It would take a combination of Bill Clinton's cigar, John Edwards' booty call, Kwame Kilpatrick's bullshit and Charles Manson's bloodbath to NOT put LaBamba (I dig that one) in the White House.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Biden Wants Band On The Run for Campaign Song

Geez. What a weekend. Perfect weather, except I had to spend most of my saturday afternoon sleeping because I worked friday night. Everything was going fine until Sunday when I got the one-two punch of stupidity. First, I see the headlines screaming that Joe Biden has been picked for Vice-Principal. Then horror of horrors I see the Sports Illustrated cover with Pumpkin seeds-teeth in a halter top no self respecting hooker would wear. And I have decided this has to be the ugliest boy on the planet.

Truth be told, I don't know a lot about Joe Biden, but I will check him out. Not that it will alter my decision in the voting booth. I mean, come on. I don't know that Biden was a stupid choice. I just wanted someone more ... something.

But that's my opinion.

And you're welcome to it.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Hey everybody! Lookit over on the right side of your screen! I've added a list of blogs & websites that you HAVE to check out! They're in alpha order, so there's no favoritism exhibited. Take a moment and look for yourself.

BUT I must tell you if you're looking for good sounds on the web, (you knew I'd push this one extra hard) you GOTTA go to the WFMU site. You can dig archive shows, listen live and don't forget to visit their home page because they are truly orbiting elsewhere. And their blog is wildly entertaining, there are so many things happening. Shows that get the GoogaMooga seal of approval are Dave The Spazz (thurs 8-11pm - this is my favorite show), Michael Shelley (sat 10am-1pm), Fool's Paradise (sat 1-3pm), Teenage Wasteland (sun 5-7pm), and Downtown Soulville (fri 7-8pm) but there are certainly many more esoteric shows to check out. I usually listen archive-style, since many shows are going down while I'm busy doing other meaningless things.

Also the RootsRockReggae site has NO Dancehall, NO Ragga, NO Reggaeton - strictly roots! And WWOZ - well, what can I say, it's from Nawlins! And XFM is London's best modern music source, very diverse. But remember, they're 6 hours ahead of us.

OK, enough commercials - see ya soon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

I Could Use A Genny Cream Ale Right About Now

Here I am, fresh from a weekend one could describe as a very sobering experience. I went to a baby shower - shut up - and I both arrived & left sober. Then I went to a party, and I left it sober - ??!!?? - How does that happen when you bring your own boatload of drinks? Well, I'll tell you how - because I left early when one of my crosstown passengers got the rockin' pneumonia and/or the boogie woogie flu. I won't say who, but he got my daughter pregnant (you know who you are). Then after all that I broke my toe. It's the one that if you could give the finger with your foot, that's the toe you'd use. Yesterday it was black, today it's purple. Tomorrow, probably green & yellow, if this is America.

Interesting fact: over the weekend I found out hundreds of people read this blog, but they're not commenting because they're holding the laptop with one hand & wiping with the other. True story. (Fishsticks: holla back)

Another interesting thing I discovered: you can win a shitload of olympic medals even when your mouth looks like a bunch of pumpkin seeds in a squeezy change purse. Somebody better call 1-800-dentist, and by someone I mean you Phelpsie!

So I really don't have anything else to say right now, so I'll cut you all loose & as soon as I have something to say about nothing which apparently is how some of you like it, I'll post another tirade.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

All Hail The Queen

Today marks my first daughter's birthday. Presley died 3 days after she was born. He had to make way for her. The world couldn't continue to spin with both of them in it. So be it: Adios, loser!

When she was little, she was bald & beautiful. Then her hair grew in, and she continued to be beautiful. I never talked to her with that "eechi-weechi-koochi-koo" shit, and maybe that's why she never needed a diction or elocution coach.
At different stages in her life she did things I didn't understand, and while it would occasionally mess my head up, it was a valid part of life & that's kinda the way it should be. If you can read through this statement, kids should discard everything their parents do & parents should in turn hate whatever their kids embrace. Like I said, see through the cultural meaning of that statement.
There were more differences between my prior generation & me than hers & mine. Imagine life with no rock & roll or tv; sex & drugs & gay life were taboo & kept hidden in the dark crevices of life; no one paid attention to women unless they were stripping; no shopping on Sunday; no meat on Friday; no VIP sections at clubs. And all phones had cords, although phone booths apparently were a youth culture oasis.
When she was born I was in the throws of nascent Punk culture. I mean, I had a job & all that, but if stuff wasn't Punk-oriented, I didn't want to know. 1977 was year zero for Punk. I had a friend cut my hair short - SHORT - and she was dumb-founded. "You don't want it styled?" No, just CHOP THE SHIT OFF! And I remember The Clash playing on the stereo - repeatedly, since at the time all they had was one UK single. I tossed all my flairs and bell bottoms. It wasn't easy finding any other kindsa pants. But you could get straight leg jeans at Kmart, for the farmers, I guess. I actively sought out all Punk music. No one knew about any of it. Some things never change. I bought my first Punk records by mail order from New York. They arrived addressed to "occupant" - how blank-generation!

I wondered what would happen after I had kids. You certainly go through changes; you have to think differently about some things, but I was still the same person I was in most ways. And to this day, I still am. I remember back when I was single, taking my niece to the Thanksgiving Day parade, and getting her back a bit later than expected. My sister & brother-in-law were furious. They always thought I was an irresponsible hippie. "Wait till you have kids", my brother-in-law said as I walked out of their house. "not like you, motherf#%ker", I remember thinking. And I never was.
Somewhere there exists a cassette tape of me teaching my daughter how to say "rastafar-i" and "are we not men? we are devo!" She was maybe two.
So now my daughter is older than I was when she was born. And despite creaking bones and such, I'd like to think I'm the same as I was back then. I wish she could've experienced some things I did that don't exist anymore. Just like my mother might've, I guess. It's a tough world nowadays, mostly because of money and jobs. You gotta be strong. And that's certainly what my daughter is.
After all, she brought about the death of Elvis.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bad Mutha...

Here's why Chef is dead: he got all shirty about South Park. It put food on his table. And while I usually believe in biting the hand that feeds you, I gotta believe he HAD to have fun doing what he was doing. Nothing was to be taken seriously, and he had to be hip enough to know that. I think he was looking for an out, so he could revive his "Black (old man) Moses" persona. Or maybe reprise his role as Truck Turner.

AND THEN ... or actually EARLIER...

Bernie Mac, who I think is kinda funny even though he talks like he has a mouth fulla bar-b-q alla the time (he's whitey-approved) gets sick & up and dies.

Ike & Mac are co-starring with Jules from Pulp Fiction in an upcoming movie - two corpses, the negro "Dark Knight"?


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yeah, I know, two posts in one day. Sorry, I couldn't help it. I mean, here's Deborah Harry. 60-year-old Deborah Harry. Former Playboy bunny "watch me dip" Deborah Harry. Mature Deborah Harry. Or so I thought. Grandma, HELP!


This magazine should be called "WTF" !! Here's Kate Hudson looking like a Patrick Nagel drawing, that is, like a Duran Duran lp cover, that is, like a cheap piece of "art" in a furniture store.

That's all, just wanted to show you this ridiculous thing.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

But Enough About Me...

Sigh. This stupid world of blogs. I think about it and, I mean, what is this really but just an avenue for my opinions on stuff & a way to make people read them rather than listen to me tell them. Nobody wants that. Because if you do THAT, people glaze over & drift off & start thinking, "who cares? wonder if there's any chip dip in the fridge? I need to pee..." But given the fact that no one actually reads anymore except for the internet, blogs give people a chance to reply to one's tirades with a thumbs up, thumbs down, or an entirely different opinion that is or isn't related to what they're replying to.

And unless you're Bai Ling (look it up), who's actually responding to your blog? Your friends, if you have any? Your family, if they can be arsed? Maybe blogging is just another form of keeping a diary, but a bit more random than "day 13: today I finally pushed away from the dinner table..."

I don't care. Did I figure everyone would tell everyone else about my fab blog site, & people everywhere would read it, and somehow Dave Berry or David Sedaris or somebody would catch wind & start commenting back to me. To ME. And, y'know, the page wouldn't have to change because it's MY blog and the reason they're all reading it & commenting is because it isn't themselves. But maybe they can relate. Or the total opposite. Any reaction is better than none at all. Isn't that right, Bill O'Reilly?

I had a pretty involved post going in draftland, about how Lindsay Lohan isn't gay (she isn't, y'know) and how her friend is a Pete Doherty wannabe and the sister of "gee I'm lucky, I hope no one finds out how talentless I really am" producer Mark Ronson, then I started thinking "does anyone even know who Pete f#*king Doherty is? or Mark f#*king Ronson?" It sucks when no one gets what you're writing about. And that's not a comment on people's intelligence, it just means most stuff really doesn't mean anything to anyone. Like I'm surprised I even know who Bai Ling is, except I she was popping up in some of the stuff I read online (indicative of what?), & I felt the need to look her up (she seems enigmatic. also she's fairly stupid and shallow. I like that, but I don't actually like her).

Blogging is the 21st century t-shirt. Way back when, the t-shirt was the way to let people know you were pro-Foghat. Before that it was the bumper sticker - "Vote 'yes' on 'C'". But now, we have become such complex beings that it takes a whole series of promotional shitfests to get people to get us.

Back in the punk days it was so much simpler, I honestly didn't care who got me. I got me. Maybe my friends got me, grudgingly. Now my friends who got me are dead, and there isn't enough time for new friends to get me. That's why we have blogsites. You can get me at your leisure, that is if I'm telling the truth.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Found Freedom In Suburbia, ca. 1964-65

The see-saw ride that is "yay summer" / "boo hiss summer" continues. This is a "yay" post; not that the last one was a "boo hiss" one, but it DID deal with death. This one doesn't. It's very much about life.

Without fail, my summers always resurrect memories of summers gone-by, and most always two years in particular: 1964 and 1965.

The summer of '64 is very special to me. My father died the previous March. It was my first summer out of the lower east side ghetto that made up my first 10 years. Also The Beatles had exploded onto the US scene just before spring. You may not think their arrival is such a big deal considering the way stuff happens now, but there was literally nothing happening since 1959; Neil Sedaka, Bobby Vinton and Del Shannon. Dire. Five years of crap (because Phil Spector was just getting it together). The British Invasion added to my other new beginnings and you have an importance on my life that you couldn't believe.

My mother and I spent 2 weeks visiting relatives in Pennsylvania that summer. Week two was spent at an aunt's cottage and it was there that I met the first girl I had a crush on, I can't remember her name but her brother was a DJ at WNEW in New York. They had a shitload of records at their cottage. He gave me a DJ copy of The Beatles' "And I Love Her", probably to stop me from hanging around him & asking questions. I clearly remember playing some card game for matchsticks at their cottage alot & they repeatedly listened to "The Womenfolk" lp (early folk singers ), especially "Little Boxes" (yeah, from "Weeds") Anyway, I got sympathy from a lot of those relatives 'cuz I was single parented. Whatever.

That first summer, using directions from my neighbor I walked, by myself, to Eastland, an "outside" mall like they try to "niche up" nowadays (they didn't go indoor until the mid 70s). It was a little over a mile away (remember, I was 11). Such were the times, nothing to fear as long as you weren't totally stupid. When I got there, I went straight to the record shop and bought two singles: "Tell Me" by The Stones and "The Girl From Ipanema" by Stan Getz. Why at 11 did I buy that one? One could say why at 11 did I buy any? That's me. Then I had no more money & lots of time to kill, walking around with that bag.

The following summer, 1965, I got a brand spanking new bike for my birthday, a 3-speed racer that I kept in my room for quite awhile. I rode that thing everywhere, and if you remember from a previous post I mentioned how I rode it to Eastland (same place) & it was stolen. Again with the record shopping, too (My Generation).

I could go just about anywhere within reason. My friend across the street and I used to ride to school playgrounds & play with matches, smoke cigarettes we stole from parents, and make up dirty rhymes & songs (He had a favorite: "Goddamn motherf$*ckin' blue-balled bitch/ Hang around me you'll get your big ass kicked" - claims he heard that from his older brother).

We had a drug store on the corner that carried everything a 10 or 11 year old boy could want: candy, model cars kits (paint too), sunglasses, comic books (and then of course Beatle magazines and even for a short time "Rave" - which was like a British "Tiger Beat"; they ran really ace color photos of people like Small Faces and The Pretty Things - fantastic!

When Beatle collector cards came out (like baseball cards), we'd buy them all the time, at a nickle a pack.

Then right around the corner the mother of the drug store owner had a little grocery shop with a penny candy counter. A few blocks away was Anderson's, all I remember them selling was stuff like trick matches, onion gum, whoopie cushions - like the back of a comic book. Kid heaven!

Every saturday and sunday we talked someone's parents (or my sister - my mother didn't drive) into dropping us off/picking us up at the movies. Two or three movies that ran continuously until about 5pm. There were about a half dozen theaters we'd go to, and on weekends during the day they were ruled by kids. Absolutely no adults coming in to catch a flick, now that I think of it. Can you imagine what that was like? It was the precursor of going to the mall, and for me & my ilk it was the precursor to going to rock ballrooms every weekend six years later or so (we didn't hang out at the mall).

After those first two summers in the suburbs I entered junior high, and grudgingly welcomed self-consciousness, self-doubt and self-loathing. All the fun kid stuff I was wrapped up in was now closely scrutinized and a very extreme "keep/discard" system was applied. And from that point forward the opinion of the opposite sex was always a factor. Gone were the days of "can I eat all five of these snickers", or "I can belch the theme to The Flintstones", or even "I can pretend this tennis racket is John's Rickenbacker and when I put this Beatle wig on I'm him".

Girls don't dig that stuff.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Death Haunts My Summer

This middle month of summer has not been kind to the world of celebrity. Let's have a quick glance at this corpse-strewn planet of ours:

July 3: BOZO!!! Bozo (legally Larry Harmon) is DEAD!!!! Awww no!!!! Who's gonna raise Butchie-Boy now (except he's about 50)? Bozo is dead, and now WGN has to fill two hours of Sunday morning programming. I vote for vintage Meet The Press outtakes, with Tim Russert (d. 6/13/08).

July 4: Jesse Helms. Shit-for-brains self-described redneck politician from North Carolina. Racist. Moron. Anti-integration. Anti-civil rights. Anti-abortion. Anti-gay rights. Glad you're dead, you piece of shit motherf*#cker. Only wish you'd have taken about 5,000,000 of your ilk with you.

July 11: Chuck Carbo. A Nawlins music staple since the 50s, when, as a member of The Spiders - with his brother Chick - he had a national hit with "Witchcraft" which Presley (d. 8/16/77) covered (and once again made more money from). But if you really wanna hear Chuck kick some soul grooves, search the web to stream "Can I Be Your Squeeze" (actually you can listen to it here ). This is one funky-ass jam.

July 16: Jo Stafford. A singer of pop standards in the late 40s/early 50s. Best known for her hit version of the WWII ballad "You Belong To Me". She was also half of the spoof musical duo "Jonathan & Darlene Edwards" (she was Darlene), in which she sang standards (again) calculatingly off-key while her real life husband, Paul Weston (d. 9/20/96), accompanied her on piano in a decidedly hack fashion. These songs were featured on 60's Detroit horror show "Sir Graves Ghastly" between film segments, with Sir Graves (d. 4/24/07) miming to the songs in drag as "Tillie Trollhouse".

July 21: Roy Shirley. A Trenchtown native, he was a part of Jamaica's first golden age of music. Back in 1967 he had the first big rocksteady hit, "Hold Them", produced by Joe Gibbs (d. 2/21/08).

July 22: Estelle Getty. Probably struggled many years as an actress, but became most famous as the Golden Girls' sassy octogenarian Sophia. She knew how to deliver the lines written for her character, one would only hope she was that tart in real life.

Now on to the wake!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Everybody's Entitled To One

I have a few trademark sayings - rejoinders may be more accurate; sure sounds spiffy - that make me me. For all I know, they may piss people off, but then any reaction is better than no reaction at all. One of my favorites is my response to visitors' farewell: "thanks for having me/us"; I say: "Thanks For Being Had". I absolutely love that one, don't let me catch you using it. Another fave, and this really isn't a rejoinder, just a real honest-to-goodness saying, is flexibly used with varied verbiage, but the gist of it is this: "heart attacks - everybody's entitled to one."

Recently I have applied this last bon mot to the 21st century version of the pacemaker, the iPod !!!

Everybody's entitled to one - nay, it's de rigeur!!!

I am sceptical of all technology when it first arrives on the scene. That's because I've worked in the technology field for the past 372 years, and have come to know that once all the saps have spent their money on "X" the very day it hits the shops, "X v.2" will be out in one or two months with all the bugs fixed. Common people are such lemmings.

My thing is: I just like stuff. Yeah, I know, that's brash & it rather smacks of gross consumerism, which I would appear to be against (but all the same, it's kinda Warhol-ish, too). But I am still really selective in my "stuff". And I just thought it might be time to have an iPod, regardless of the commercials that make me wanna learn how to pull a trigger.

So I got one for my birthday, and in my own fashion, it took me a week to even take it out of the box for real. And that was prompted by an impending visit from my son-in-law, who is a tech freak and can probably make one, McGiver-style.

I really got into loading it. That process is just as cool as actually listening to it. I have 1500 songs on it so far (it says it will take 3.5 days to run through them all), and it's always in shuffle mode. I have deleted & added songs here & there, & currently have the best summertime mix imaginable.

I don't "buy" songs from iTunes: f%$k that. I own 34,847 cds, no one has much of anything I want & don't already have (except maybe crazed James Brown-flavored African music from the 70s, and guess what, I just downloaded that today!). I just add selected tracks to the iTunes software I downloaded to my PC and keep a central playlist therein. Then the whole shebang gets transferred by dragging-and-dropping and, Bobs-yer-uncle, a 1500 song playlist no radio station in the world can match!

I use it in the car instead of a radio (which I never use anyway), and sometimes at work (when I'm not listening to my fave shows over the web), and I sleep with it most nights at the lowest possible volume. Obsessive? I guess. But I'll tell you this: I'll never be without one from now on.

How's that for an endorsement?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chin - and batter - Up!

There's really no reason for this brief, useless post. It's just that this photo, and a few others taken from the same event, have been nagging at me the past few days. And now I've finally figured it out...

Here's Norma Desmond, accompanied by hack writer Joe Gillis, played by William Holden stand-in Guy Himbo. She's ready for her close-up, but don't get too close, because her face may melt.

Whatever happened to the unibrow slut from Rochester who ran off to the Bronx so she could be a club kid?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Would You Believe It, I Have A Cold

A great opportunity to use the title of an obscure Huey Smith & The Clowns single. Yes, the one and the same Huey Smith who is one of the Apostles of Nawlins music.

Yes, I do have a summer cold.

They say they're the worst, summer colds; I don't think that's due to their severity level. It's just that it's SUMMER. A cold is for February, so you can call in sick & get under the covers & eat soup & watch Road Runner cartoons.

Whatever. I'm still going to drink mojitos.

I've been sleeping alot. I don't even know if it's mojito-drinking weather or not.

I must be sick. It doesn't have to be a certain kind of weather to drink something.

This is turning into an extremely boring post. I think I'll close out for now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Moondog, it's all your fault

So I got the stupid bike. Actually, I like it alot. I'm not gonna say love, not just yet. But I'm in love with having it. Isn't that just so 21st-century-american-consumer?

I visited Cleveland this past weekend. What a nice city, from a tourist standpoint. (You never see the shitholiness of a place until you have to work & pay bills there) I went to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, and found numerous errors in the information they bring to the unwashed masses. What a surprise. I was really moved by parts of an inductee film they showed. Great performances/artistry/music can choke me up. I was reminded of the fact (which I forgot) that The Ramones, The Clash, Elvis Costello and The Velvet Underground have all been inducted! But I was equally dismayed that The MC5, The Stooges, The New York Dolls and, geez, OK let's say Mitch Ryder have NOT. Other than ol' Mitchy-poo, the others were trailblazers, originators, and just plain super-duper. But you just can't deny Mitch's importance; I mean, the Rascals are in; the Righteous Brothers are in; what, no more blue-eyed soul? Maybe someone should play the jurors "Jenny Take A Ride" again. Oh well. that's my life in a nutshell! Oh yeah, another groovy thing from that inductee flick (which spotlit the gang from each year since 199?) was at the end of the 2006 segment, they just displayed the letter of response from The Sex Pistols, when they refused to be inducted and refused to participate. The place was silent, no soundtrack, no nothing, just enough time to read the letter; I applauded; my wife slapped my hands down.

And my visit to this bunker of rockroll big bizness reminded me of the Michael Shelley radio program (WFMU, what else) I listened to this past week. He was doing a 20 questions/actors studio thing with my favorite DJ, Dave The Spazz, & he asked Dave who the most overrated band was. Dave said "Beatles". Well, OK, I wouldn't totally disagree, because they were shitty musicians, but walking through the R&RHOF I was reminded of more obvious answers: U2, REM, Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, Eagles, Police ... they're just dire, yet they seem to evoke hushed tone reverence.

BUT - the weather was great, had a near-perfect pizza in Little Italy, and got to visit with my daughter & son-in-law. And summer is still going strong!

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Y'know that bike I've been waiting for? The one I alluded to in my last post so aptly titled "hot fun in the summertime"? The one I've been surfing the net reading about until I got to know it as well as it's manufacturers, getting into the "bike groove" searching for pictures of vintage bikes like the ones I had throughout my childhood, looking for boss accessories to enhance my biking experience...Well - I don't have it. The store - which, by the way, initially made quite an impression on me with its knowledgeable and friendly staff, their "hey-I'm-almost-white, dude" black staffers, their stock of really gassy rides and spiffy bells, seats, carriers and all the other crap they could've talked me into buying - well they dropped the ball completely. Customer service: zero. I was waiting for delivery from another shop. I had to call to see if it came in, every day, for three days. Then I had to call, for two days, to see if it was assembled & ready for pick-up. Then I had to call, again for two days, to see if the paint job that was botched would a)reduce the price and if so, I was OK with that, or b)when Electra - YEAH THAT'S RIGHT ELECTRA BIKES THE MAKERS OF MY "TOWNIE 3" (in red) - would get another bike to them. They never - NEVER - made any effort during any of this. And to top it off, every time I was talking to them, they asked if I was calling about MY WIFE'S BIKE WHICH WAS SITTING IN THE GARAGE!!! Needless to say I had to "pull Mr. Prick out of the box", which I don't really like doing because the older I get the more comfortable I get doing that which actually makes me more un-comfortable but hey I'm keeping it real.


Anyway, Saturday night I'm out with my brother-in-law (etc. but that's not the point) and I tell him I'm getting a new bike (ahem), and he says, "yeah, I got one, too - ever hear of a "Townie"? I went wacky!

I hope it snows.