Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Talcy Malcy

I saw Malcolm McLaren at the Whitney Museum in 1986, just walking along with Lauren Hutton, wearing a pair of pricey black Rei Kawabuko (sp?) clamdigger-looking pants and some sort of Batali-ish proto clogs. I grabbed a Roy Lichtenstein postcard (still life of some grapes) and had him sign it and basically looked like some twerpy high school nebbish from Ohio with his tired, old parents.
(had never seen this!)

This was also the year the Mets were in the playoff and series, and the whole of Laguardia was riveted to the bar TVs and shouts were going up as good things happened for the Mets.

Glad to be alive today

Americans, for the most part = spoiled brats, right? I mean, yeah, if you want to actually think about it, the current financial mess could be frightening. But what about all the doughboys home from WWI who were all ready to settle down and try to heal their aching lungs scarred with mustard gas, when BLAMMO, here comes an influenza pandemic that kills about 1 in 10 people?

"I'm going to see Aunt Chlorys this week, let her see I survived the wrath of the Huns!"

"Not so fast, Bertram..."

So, see, things are actually good. I mean, chances are, if you look away from this screen for a second (and I wouldn't, because I am constantly doing, uh...things to make language, um, good) and peer outcher windle, I would give you five-to-one odds that no one is being murdered out there or anything. Calm down! Gratitude!


I'll let that sink in.

That memory guy who's always on TODAY

Oh, that guy sucks. Or those guys?, maybe they have two of these beardy wonders, I dunno; OH! I can't STAND IT!

Matt Lauer: Let me give you a date...

Beardo: Sure...

ML: June 17, 1976...

B: Okay, right...well, I know that that month, the movie Logan's Run came out. And on that date in 1972, they arrested the men who did the Watergate break-ins...

ML: Wow, that's amazing! You remember EVERYTHING!

BULLSHIT! I want to know news from the actual day, what he had for lunch, what he watched on TV, how he felt wistful when seeing a rabbit in his yard and was saddened that he never had a rabbit as a boy...none of this generality crap that anyone could do, with a weekend to prepare and a World Almanac.

All in all, better than watching Ann Curry climb the face of Devil's Tower, I suppose. But ANNOYING!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Take a cue from your own tee shirt, brah

Son, if you'd only eaten your spinach, you could have opened a can of whup-ass on those nautical interlopers.
The fact that the lady at right seems to be offering a box of Easter peeps shan't help you now.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Perhaps the ultimate statement:

Why this is the greatest week in the history of the universe

Watching EXTRA cats for vacationing friends!

First, our friend Mary's cat Edie, who is just amazing:

And, the less-than-three months Blinky, who belongs to Gabe and came from the crappy house on Warren Street that I mentioned months fact, in this picture, he had been picked up just moments before. It is the only picture I have of him at moment, but don't worry, I will have an update on Wednesday:

So, even in a world of a devastated dollar and when the knock on your door at 1:30 pm could be Somalian pirates (not to mention the threat of ROGUE WAVES), remember this week that these two are somewhere having a nap and don't really care about ANY OF THAT!!!


This weekend was the 45th anniversary of the passing of JFK, and there were a few observations on the web and tv...but, so far as I could tell, another week went by without a dissection of Benicio Del Toro's baffling performance as Fred Fenster in The Usual Suspects.

What I really need to know here, and I already consulted the script to no avail (either I mis-hear or he adlibbed or something), is about a particular marble-mouthed mangling du Fenster. After Yunioshi (Pete Postlethwaite, who also RULES) tells them that they are all beholden to Keyser Soze for perceived harms done, the gang sits shaking heads and pondering...then Fenster says something like...well,

See, I thought it was "peerless butcher," and it's close to that. I'm still going to walk around saying "peerless butcher," because it is a free country for now and I can misremember movie dialogue for as long as I see fit.


"Oh, and I found Dog the middle of the mall. In the middle of the mall."

Friday, November 21, 2008


No, of course I don't want an autobio/expose of the Darkness by their first-to-quit mustachioed bass player.

Course not.

A sorta-irritating Friday afternoon noo-rock roundup!

Didn't know what else to call this hodgepodge...

Shocked that the TV on the Radio record is excellent, as has been extolled everywhere. I steer clear of these guys, or have, because they look like they are going to joylessly spout polemics and/or if you met them they'd want to talk about gear or something. Guitar models, pedals, etc (shudder). I always feared Mathrock from them as well, since the people I know who love them will also praise the awful Battles in the same breath. But this record is just great and bears many listenings. "Family Tree" is particularly gorgeous... [hey! forgot to mention {typing this three days later} that these guys calling their first LP OK Calculator was hilarious and still gets the corners of my cynical mouth turning upward whenever I think of it! Okay, carry on!]

Probably the biggest surprise of the last 150+ years is how good the new Killers record is. These guys I've always thought pretty weak, and there is only one true Killers, as we know ( But whether it's hanging around the UK all the time or proximity to Neil Tennant, something has turned them around 180 degrees from the crappy Springsteen-lite of their last LP. This has all the glistening 80s-ness (and some surprising "surprise" chords) of prime PSB and is indeed the best Thanksgiving-time new release since Beauty Stab! Mind you don't step on my obtuseness!

Outta nowhere (well, Idolator) I hear of Army Navy, who's self-titled LP is of a piece with such late-eighties stalwarts as the Cavedogs, House of Freaks, Reivers and (swoon) Let's Active, with a touch of someone else (Stephen Duffy?) I can't place and some lacerating lead guitars. If it were 1988, I would sit around skipping class and playing euchre to this, and watch Geraldo getting his nose broken.

Have only heard the three songs these guys have on their myspace, but cannot wait for the January release by the Australian band the Ronson Hangup, because they are actually called the Ronson Hangup.

And, as I am a pantywaist (had you noticed?), I was so happy to learn just this morning of a new Veils record coming early in the new year, as excited as I was for the Dears record and,as we know, I loved that. Plus Finn (Fin, with one n, maybe? I dunno), the singer, is Barry Andrews's kid, the Barry from Shriekback/XTC. So, yes, I look forward to wintry walks to the deli listening to a new LP by these. Here are two oldies from their first two discs (in order below):


I always have appreciated how Warhol did those topical paintings: Marilyn dead? POW. Here's a picture. Country in mourning? ZAP! Here's Jackie with the kids at the funeral. Tuna fish poisoning disaster? Gimme an hour.

I had also said in an earlier post how I like Elizabeth Peyton; so much so, in fact that I have yet to give the book of her art that arrived a couple of weeks ago a thorough perusal (same with Eggleston tome, which arrived yesterday). But I have to say I got a Warhol-y frisson from this portrait from this just-past summer, because a.) it's SO well done and b.) it flies in the face of most other topical art in that it isn't chastening me about the world's water supply or vanishing hardwoods or whatever:

Yes, it's Michelle O. with one of the girls listlessly flopped over her lap, listening to her dad give his acceptance speech. The rendering of mom's dress here, in particular, is ORGANZIC.

Label name

Of course, it's way too late in the societal/music biz decay curve for anyone to start a label, but this name came to me the other day and I thought I would share.

PM me if you wish to buy it for releasing that stuff your nephew is working on.

Mega-nerd spotted at Gene roast!

This clip of a Gene Simmons roast:
is pretty funny, sure, but sit tight until approx. 3:20 and look at the crowd laugh/reaction shot and there's a dude sitting there in Ace Frehley makeup!

Um, what?

Such a superfan that he thought it would be a MUST to suit up for the roast? Is it Tommy Thayer? A sicky stalker who vows to dress as Ace at every Gene S public appearance on the chance that the Demon will see him in his peripheral vision and know that, yes, someone remembers WHAT HE AND PAUL HAVE DONE?

"Hey, man! The Ace Frehley roast is over at the courthouse!"

Where was PUTIN?

HA HA HA HA HA (repeat to fade)

Dude! It's 2009 AD!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prince in exile

Hey! Prince! Wasn't it you who got jeered off the stage opening for the Stones in 1981 for being so femme, wearing a bra or something?

Who was it who wrote "If I Was Your Girlfriend?"

Now, I understand how one can get cranky as hits dry up. Really I do. And I am mostly on your side, staunchly! I mean, I was there in 1993 telling people that "Pink Cashmere" was good, I suffered the indignities of your taking "rappers" into your employ...hell, I even drove through an airborne toxic event ( to go see Under the Cherry Moon, and liked it! So I've been with you for a while. I even held out hope that when you slayed at the Superbowl, it was the beginning of a new Purple Era!

I sincerely hope, then, that your comments were, as you say, taken out of context. Cos you know, the New Yorker's fact-checking is among the worst (koff). But if you have nothing nice to say, kindly shut up. Many who love(d?) you still cling to the idea that the faulty hit-machine in your li'l noggin will one day reboot. But it doesn't help your cause to spew cheesy venom at a lot of folks whose lifestyles you pilfered from to your great gain.

I mean, c'mon.

Watch me increase my dad's web presence by 100%

Wasn't that fun?

"You won't see this again."

Driving to work yesterday, saw the most peculiar sky, and it only lasted about five minutes. I thought my brother would freak out at this, and thought maybe I should call him to have him take a picture. Then, in the afternoon comes an email with pics, turns out he was fishing (go figure!) and took pictures of the lurid tableau.

I had thought I'd not quite seen anything like the sky yesterday, sorta corrugated, sorta looking like stacked layers of limestone in an excavated quarry, only rosy...and I really did think to myself "You won't see anything like this again."

Which put me in mind of NC Wyeth and how he was killed with his grandson on train tracks, maybe even on purpose. He told his grandson as they left the family compound "You won't see this again," (per David Michaelis's bio) which could be read as knowing something was going to happen, or that he was maybe given to a pantheistic sort of daily carpe diem-spouting. Messy!


Will it ever end? It's close. I think.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Je ne regrette rien, BUT...

This just happened:

[cell phone buzzes]

Me: "Hello?"

[tentative old lady voice]: "Garret?"

Me: "Oh, I think you have the wrong number."

[t.o.l.v]: "Oh, thank you. [excessive amount of shuffling noise on way to hanging up of phone, as if caller was in a box of off-brand kleenex]

What SHOULD have happened, but for my slow, dimwitted ways:

[cell phone buzzes]

Me: "Hello?"

[tentative old lady voice]: "Garret?"

Me: "Oh, I think you have the wrong number...oh, wait- unless you said, did you say McGarrett??"

Youth [is] a period of missed opportunities. - Cyril Connolly.

So is near-middle age, Cyril.

So is near-middle age.


All the fruit lined up

I came late to Kiss (at left; actual artistic stature shown) fandom (23). I watched the then-latest video tribute thingy and when, during "I Stole Your Love" footage from Phantom of the Park, flashpots went off at the obvious wrong time and the tempo sped up, yes, so did my heart. In the early days of immersion, I went from knowing nothing about them and being irritated at their pervasive influence to waking up mornings and thinking to myself in Paul Stanley's voice, "Hmm, time to call Gene."

Scales have, over the years, been re-lifted from my eyes (indeed, the group's dents on my consciousness have receded; not for nothing is the first volume of my imaginary autobiography [birth through 1989] called Ralph Lauren Was My KISS) as they went from the exciting and necessary original 1996 reunion to the Real Two Plus Ace's Guitar Tech and Eric Carr's Replacement In Makeup Playing Steve Ballmer's Birthday Party Fun Band. Stop it! For the love of God.

Then, yesteday, the NME reports the non-story that Paul says they "may record new material." That the "new" Thayer/Singer-equipped lineup (been at it since, what? 2002?) was exciting! This despite Gene recently intoning that they would record no new material until Internet file-swipers were put down! Until the Internet DRIED UP! Or something.

As if, were they to have even one "anthem" that could arouse the masses (before being quickly repurposed at a princely sum for, I dunno, the NHL) they wouldn't break land speed records to get to the studio.


Now it can be told

I'M actually Trig's birth mother. I was young, etc...

True Democracy

You know what? I love this record, and have no real issue with the fact that Carson Daly said in Vanity Fair (with nail polish on; very 2003 [or whenever it was]) that this was his favorite record or his desert island CD or what have you; nor is the band's fault that they are now sort-of fixtures on the jam band/festival hippie circuit; no, this record is perfect and my favorite reggae album of all time. David Hinds's voice on this is just perfect, second only to Neil Finn to me in the Tremulous Tenor Stakes.


It's become fashionable to slag Updike, but I call bullshit on that. Were there a search function on this blog, probably half of the posts mention him (the half that don't mention lucky John Maher of Manchester). Still pumping out a book a year, still the best writer of the last fifty years, sentence by sentence. Sorry, detractors.

That said, all I remember from Seek My Face is a detailed description of someone making tuna salad, and I put the atypically topical Terrorist away with a sigh upon realizing at one point that I was reading about a NJ high school counselor's morning reflections while looking out a window. Yes, suspenseful.

So, with a completist's obligation I cracked the unnecessary sequel The Widows of Eastwick, and hey! Guess what? It's good, at least two-thirds through! I wasn't fond of the predecessor, which seemed (ha!) to suffer from an overreliance on the blurring Joycean proto-psychedelia of Couples. But this crisp book has all sorts of good ruminations on regret and aging. If one is in the mood for that. Also, the travel sequences (characters go to China, Egypt and, um, Canada), while well-written, seem (heh) more like JU writing school themes on What He Did on his Last Three Vacations.

But who cares? The man's written 50+ books and I've done none! And until the awful, unimaginable day when his name shows up in the red reverse box across the top of, I will continue to devour his stuff (after this, I will exclusively read Babar books [?]).

Plus, guess who is ahead of the curve and ready for the NEW NORMAL? Take that, Tom Wolfe!:

[Lord, in my slavish garrulousness, I forgot the original raison debt for this post! In his chidingly nitpickish way, Updike nails something in society at large that utterly sucks:

The mailbox, one of those new squat plastic ones molded in one piece with its
post and therefore impervious to the roaming vandals who batter metal detachable
ones, proclaimed in white stick-on letters THE LITTLEFIELD'S. The ignorant
apostrophe annoyed Alexandra.

Score one for the good guys!]


One of my brothers has been to Scotland; I have not. He's threatened to move there. He came back with an imitation of a thick Scots brogue: "We could go swimmin', but there's no luffgheets." No what? "Luffgheets!!"

Oh! Lifeguards.

Anyway, in that same spirit of thick Scottishness, I have finally gotten around to listening to the band Orange Juice, after 25 years. The singer was Edwyn Collins, of "Never Met a Girl Like You Before" 1995 fame. Long before he settled into the Bowie croon of that track, however, his gurning tunelessness kept me at bay for a long time. But I am happy to say that Orange Juice rules. Sweet, tight, spastic clever XTC-in-a-way sort of songs with funky 80s bass that stops just short of Level 42 slappiness, with soppy/clever lyrics throughout! Fun. Collins's obtrusive voice becomes part of the whole shebang over the course of an entire record, like a Scots Shane McGowan.

I tend to steer clear of most radio sessions and Peel sessions and the like because, like one Pat Bateman, I'm not crazy for live music. I like studio versions, the way God intended. But a new Belle and Sebastian release needs to be inspected (and, ha! Just realized I've still never checked out the live If You're Feeling Sinister thing, which proves a.) how much I dislike live albums and b.) I stick to my guns), and I can gladly attest that the unreleased tracks on this are stellar. All four of them. Critics will yearn for the early sloppy days after hearing this, as opposed to the in-the-pockety B&S of The Life Pursuit and the present. But this just underscores how the band have quietly pulled off The Beatles Trick of a Career of Two Halves: early days and late days. Plus the cover: Isobel in a child's wading pool in the studio? NONE MORE TWEE!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Rather more complicated than something like:

Life is short

In fact, too short to read all of Philip Roth's books except the early good ones and maybe a mid-period one like Operation Shylock. And, if there's nothing else in the house, maybe that Spielberg-y The Plot Against Amurrica.

But, as I say, time does fly all too quickly, so I doubt I will ever have the time (to say nothing of the inclination) to read his latest:

unless I just became SO insanely curious that I would just have to have a glance at it to determine why the cover was absolutely cribbed from:

I mean, WHY?????!

A couple of pointless lists

1. Three records I bought in one fell swoop at Renaissance Records in Dayton OH one Saturday in the fall of 1986:

(l-r Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill LP, Smiths "Ask" 12" single, Egg Hunt "Me And You" b/w "We All Fall Down 7"... just saying - what an amazing time to be alive! "Hey, Geoff! What's new?" and this is the haul for a random week. I mean, I do enjoy the fact that music is basically free now, and the attendant moral ambiguities thereof. But there was something very wonderful about the pre-internet days of being excited about a record's impending release. Also hot was spring '87, getting Louder Than Bombs and Sign O' The Times the same day.)

2. Three books I have actually thrown across the room whilst reading:
How Soon Is Never by Marc Spitz (no, not the swimmer); this book was about a devoted fan's effort to get the Smiths back together and fails utterly both as fan-tome and novel. It doesn't get rock-geek enough for rock geeks and the narrative and writer's style both fail just hard enough that, and I may be misremembering here, when the narrator actually meets up with Johnny Marr for drinks, I was moved to actually heave this bodily (librarily?) across by then-boudoir with a repulsed "Goddammit!"

Smashed by Coren Zailckas: This autobiographical tale of a "drunken girlhood" made me nuts, especially when she gets to the end of her tale and just quits drinking. I wonder all the time if she's still dry. She goes to a bldg where there is an AA meeting, freaks at the people standing around smoking, then goes home to her drummer boyfriend. Maybe twice; I forget. BUT, where I was driven to throwing was in the acknowledgements where she thanks Pete Doherty and Carl Barat from the Libertines and (prepare, you just may throw your keyboard out the window) "Windows '95." She thanks Windows 95.

In My Blood by John Sedgwick - this guy is Edie's cousin and his book purports to be a look into "six generations of madness" in one family, and I bought it for cheep on Alibris hoping for additional Edie dirt, as one does.

Every thing he says re Edie Sedgwick is cribbed from THE Edie book, that is the Jean Stein one. But everything. He merely moves the sentence order around and uses phrases such as "A friend said..."

I have to admit I didn't have very high hopes for this because I had tried to read his novel The Education of Mrs Bemis a couple of years ago and had to let it slide from my hands when coming across an author intrusion-intensive reference to a character parking her car while listening to Counting Crows. I could just picture old JS calling his 23-year old daughter to see what was hip and old SkiDaughter McBigHips saying "I dunno, Dad...Counting Crows?"

I spilled some aftershave on this moving, which is how it happened to move to the top of the to-be-read stack. SO this is a very recent development. And for the sake of verisimilitude, I will now [pause] throw the book.

"Song of the Lark"

My pal Chooch says this painting is his current favorite!

Plus it inspired a Willa Cather book of the same name.

He says it speaks to the Czech in him, to which I can only say:

DobrĂ½ den!


Dictionary shenanigans


"Meh" was selected by Collins after it asked people to submit words they use in
conversation that are not in the dictionary. Other suggestions included
jargonaut, a fan of jargon; frenemy, an enemy disguised as a friend; and
huggles, a hybrid of hugs and snuggles.
Rich Hall wept! Aren't these just sniglets?

Barring "meh," which I use all the the time.

Still, I feel I could make these up. Huggles? Dumb!

What about IMbush, which is when a friend pounces on you via instant message before your desktop icons are even populated? How meh-ta!

Holy mother of god

Keep it together, world, we need to still be here in March:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Neil Kash'n'Karry's mic etiquette

MEMO TO ASST. TREASURY SECRETARY NEIL KASHKARI (aka the guy "managing" the bailout $$$): Dude, if you are going to be on the national stage, learn to use a microphone. Back off your P's, man:

(via gawker, which just isn't as funny in these trying times, is it?)

An open letter to the President-Elect

Dear. Mr Obama:

I understand you're busy and am grateful you are taking time to read this. I am flattered you like my blog. If you like the music I talk about, then maybe when you and the girls are installed in the White House, I can come visit with my 80g external hard drive full of tunes and we can swap. Just don't tell the Justice Dept how I came by so many songs (ha ha)!

I want to say how I appreciate your taking on the onerous task of the Presidency in this seemingly dark and painful stretch for our country's history. However one voted, both you and Senator Biden, and Senator McCain and Governor Palin, deserve to be patted on the back for such willingness to attempt to lead us now.

I understand that you are going to have a heaping plate full of tasks to attend to, what with the bailouts and the wars and the 28-days-later bug probably escaping the CDC even as I type, but I wonder, since we are cyber-chums, if you could see fit to slip an executive order under the doorjamb for your old pal Nick.

I'll just say it:
Do you think it would be possible to get someone to remix and remaster the 1994 Suede album Dog Man Star?

This is the one where Bernard Butler left, yes, before the whole thing was recorded and Brett Anderson supposedly played some of the guitar to finish it and it is sort of thought of among rock congonscenti as a flawed masterpiece, dark like The Empire Strikes Back?

But, you see, Senator, even when I first bought this (on cassette!) it sounded way too sloppily bottom-heavy, and the vocals are flanged in some dumb Ed Buller way and it just sounds lousy. "Mastered lousy," like Todd Rundgren would say. The end result is, when I occasionally try to listen to it, going in thinking surely it was me who was wrong the other 100 times over the years I have stuck it in the player, I still end up going, "Oh, man, this record would be so much better if you could hear it!"

Even in the Lost in TV Suede video comp, when the commentary track is on, the band members say of "New Generation," "Why does this sound so bad?" as if they had never even believed it themselves! And "It's that way on the record!"

Surely one person's government issued healthcare benefits could be spent instead to right this wrong? You can choose the person, even.

Remember: History is the sum total of the things that could have been avoided.

The The

Does Matt Johnson have enough money? I always wonder/worry about people who were sort of mid-level successes music career-wise when they are off the public radar, perhaps because I always hated the story about how Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory were driving rental cars back to their original stalls for money to live on during XTC's "strike" from depressing. Do the guys from A House have to work in a Marks and Spencer? Does Michael Quercio (sp, prolly) from the Three O'Clock manage a coffee shop? I want all faded pop stars to have enough money to read all day.

Herewith, though, is a video I never knew about, for a song I've always loved from The The's 1993 LP Dusk:


Nikki Eddy and her girlfriend Dawn Miller comfort each other during a Proposition 8 opposition rally at the San Diego Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center November 5, 2008 in San Diego, California. Proposition 8, which bans same sex marriage, passed in yesterday's California election. By Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images.
(note to dude second from right - the Andrew Sullivan lookalike contest starts at 10pm sharp!)

Brakes Forever!

A local brake repair place I pass nearly every day has a sign with specials listed, ie "BRAKEPAD SERVICE 29.99" and the like. Then, at the bottom, it says:


Which was, I thought, a very nice way for the business to convey just how excited they were about their article and the implementation thereof..."We love brakes! They help you stop, they keep you from hitting kids on skateboards...running into walls...they're FANTASTIC!"

After a day or so of thinking exclusively on this, I realized it was probably just a lifetime brake service deal being offered, as in "buy a complete brake service now and it's guaranteed for life of your car." Indeed, it wasn't actually a burst of overexuberance at the concept of brakes and braking at all.


Free Me

Click, if you dare.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The other Sunday I was driving down a leafy street and saw a squirrel in the road dragging an entire ear of decorative corn! Just as fancy as you please, pulling his trophy by the decorative tassel doodad...

Here was a squirrel who had had enough!

Enough scrounging for acorns! ENOUGH patiently waiting for the trees to drop their bounty, all manna-like!

He saw an opportunity on a neighborhood porch and he took it.

Later that day I saw a crow dragging a bale of hay across a highway ramp...

I also wonder if the squirrel went back into the underbrush and through some hedges into a subterranean cavern where he was met by some smiling, beneficent harvest deity, someone like this:

(semi-relatedly, I also hope, on a trip we hope to make soon to Chicago, to find a inexpensive but great-quality large no-stick frying pan at a neighborhood kitchen supply shop, and to dither with myself about whether to buy a microplane or a mandoline, then, that night to decide, yes, I should have bought both; but on returning the next day to purchase these items, to find a vacant lot, just nothing, where the shop had stood. The shop had never been there [eerie wind noise]..!)