Friday, January 30, 2009


The Talented Mr Morrissey

Sitting here listening to the (amazing) new Moz record, I feel it's time to post this odd shot that appeared on morrissey-solo.

Yes, that's the chick from the Motels.

And the gurning bookworm in the Warhol '48 look at right is Morrissey.

Very Ripley, Steve!

Also, two decades on

I saw a dude at the Shell station just this morning in some sort of Carhartt jumpsuit, gassing up a pickup full of some sort of Tyvek-type material, but fully rocking a lid similar to those proffered by Dizzy Dean Davidson and his band Britny Fox.

Should not be shocked, I suppose, this being the section of the country where style goes to die. But the perm-iness of it all!

It's like the Mark Twain thing about when the end of the world comes, he wants to be in Cincinnati, because it won't hit there for another ten years.


Technique is 20

New Order's Technique came out twenty years ago today.

I remember this especially because I had flunked out of college; yet, being a drunken chickenshit, I went back to school and pretended to be trying to get reinstated until the head dorm res dude said enough was enough. So my poor disappointed parents had to come pick me up.

But then 1989 turned out to be fantastic in the end. So you never know.

I will say this record still holds up. I have a zillion memories, but one that stands out is driving to the little municipal airport near my college town with my then-girlfriend and some friends for some reason...I was on crutches (broken foot - drunk!) and it was a lovely fall day and "Vanishing Point" was playing, all the drying corn stalks looking 1989 cornstalks.

All is not lost, however, my sloppy sentimentalist friends! 2009 is already shaping up to be a banner year music-wise, which is good, since it will be the last year of the human race, apparently. But check it (March!):

No duh!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

But, here to banish gloom, comes

Mittens, the sled-riding cat!

A harrowing time for all

Should you ever fail to feel grateful for what you have, I would suggest a trip through the gallery of the Montgomery County Jail system, thoughtfully provided by the Dayton Daily News.

So many sad and dead-eyed people. So many of them younger than me.

I did see a girl from my elementary school.

And this is just one random month.

Okay, I give

Loveless is good. Okay? You win, world.

I'm not quite Tony Soprano yelling "I get it!" at the sunset, but it's good.

Good for a winter's day listen or three. Not quite sure why it is the Rosetta Stone to all indie-dorks with distortion pedals, but...

It's nice. How's that?

Yes, the whole bacon thing is beyond hyped, BUT

with this about to happen,:

shouldn't we all be thinking of our last meals? A correspondent forwards this from the NYT:

Blue Monday-tastic

Helping neighbor incurs Lynchian nonsense - fact!

So, yesterday, right? I'm coming in my building and this sorta-crusty 49-ish dude asks if I can help him move a recliner up to the 2nd floor, and I say sure. Why not?

His shoulder was all tore up so another guy (aka Helper Guy 2, me being Helper Guy 1) was going to help.

So HG2 and I are lifting this chair from the trunk of an American-made sedan when ol' 2 says "Waitaminit, waitaminit..." and with the recliner anxiously resting on the edge of the trunk, takes time to light a cigarette, so he can move 'n' smoke.

So, I am walking backwards up the steps with Tore Up behind me and HG2 wafting clouds of cigarette smoke at me. Both of them seemed to be on something, because they were talking but not quite connecting: "I'd never help a fat chick move a chair like this!"

"Yeah, now that's the truth. My old chair, I gave it away...needed another chair..."

We get up to Tore Up's studio pied-a-terre and he opens the door, which opens onto a futon, a couple of tables. One wall had a large navy square painted on it, with a a border of white. That's it: just a big navy square. On the opposite wall, just hanging from hooks or nails, were four different baseball caps.

And then, sitting on a little coffeetable was a single CD:

What's more, I dreamed none of this. It all happened.

Deforestation nearly leads to defenstration


So yesterday, on my snow day from the job (I'm non-essential - would you have guessed?), I'm glancing out the window to see just how bad it really is and my favorite tree was gone!

Not so much the tree as the fact that there was some sort of card on a string that fluttered in the upper branches - I actually assume it was the "mail me back to:" card from a primary school balloon launch. If they still have those, which I doubt, since the balloon nipples* can choke Canadian cranes or something. This little card would flit in the wind, flipping from red to shiny white and made it even through the Big Wind of 2008. And now the whole tree is just gone! It must have been at least 100 years old because it was tall as frig. Even the stump is about 11 feet tall!

They certainly didn't check with me as to whether this was okay.

Maybe this will clear a view to a single star or some poetic horseshit, but grrr, regardless.

* also my nickname in elementary school

Two (2) jokes from the 1960s that I love

"I went to a Chinese-German restaurant. The food is great, but an hour later you're hungry for power." - Dick Cavett


"I used to stand by the side of the road with a sign: 'Last girl before freeway.'" - Joan Rivers, pre-plastic head

Special project of mine

I've come by a "2009 remaster" of Loveless by My Bloody Valentine, so am going to listen to it all day (read: will make it maybe twice before giving up) to finally get to the bottom of why this record is so universally revered by hipster cognoscenti. Maybe the clouds will part on my perceptions and I will hear what I've been missing all this time.

Rather doubt it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

JU 6

Let me be first to say that there is a rumor that news of JU death spread like wildfire among the Twitterati to the point that the system supposedly crashed, something that Obama-mania even failed to do on Election night. If true, this will in turn launch a thousand posts everywhere how the consummate 20th century man of letters brought down the newest of media, and how that will be the last time that ever happens because no one will ever read books again, blog, blah, blahg...

You read it here first! Or maybe last.

JU 5

Hey, AP:

Updike is survived by his second wife, Marsha, and by four children.

Martha, not "Marsha." This is important, not some b.s. about some dumb war or the economy or some other inane crap.

JU 4

That Updike can die means that it's also possible for any of these folks to go:

Ralph Lauren
Bob Pollard
Neil 'n' Chris
Kelly MacDonald
Martin Amis
Mike Wallace
Nigella Lawson
the Gossip Girl kids
Nick Denton
Wallace Shawn

So: gather ye rosebuds and shit.

JU 3

No Emergency Broadcast System?


JU 2

Continuing to live-blog my reactions (?), I wonder if he realized he realized as he was dying just how close his passing would be to the annual Eustace Tilly cover ish of the New Yorker...maybe that would be a good issue to properly memorialize a man who did so much at that magazine. I would hope they would have the nuts to do a special issue, not just a section and the usual drivel from Sy Hersh on how there's an Iranian bomb ready to go off near your local Quizno's.

Some wag of an editorial cartoonist could probably do a memorial drawing of Tilly with JU's reknowned beak, but readers of the Daily Blonk would likely not even know what it signified, in these coarse times.

It's odd: I really am sort of in shock. Gonna go describe the tone of some blue object as "skyey" and says "seems" a lot until this feeling passes.


No shit, I was looking in my man-purse at books in there and I had a copy of The Centaur and thought "9 to 11 inches of snow, expected, sweet! I can read this tonight!" because it's about a father and a son in a snowstorm, of all things, and right then the phone rang and it was my friend Ian saying "Sorry, dude, Updike's dead," as Gabe chortled incoherently in the background.

I'm also bummed that he only rated a "yellow" reverse bar on CNN, as opposed to a red, because this all sort of buries petty shit like 9/11.

If temporality is held to be invalidating, etc.

Then, the opposite...

See, when I wrote this:,

I knew that the inverse was true, that I didn't really mind younger kids trying on retro dreamcoats and having a spin at 60's schlock. I listened to the new record by someone called El Goodo and figured, having seen only the cover art and read a review written in a style that cloyingly stopped just short of saying "daddy-o," that surely these were more oldsters firing up the warm tube amps for another try. But no! They're kids from Wales! And while they get a bit too Beachwood Sparks at points, they genuinely add something to the psychedelic rock canon, I think...but is their record any better that the Red Button thing, really?

I do know that all the song files I had were misnamed so that was a pain in the ass.

Speaking of Russians and parents:

Woke up yesterday wondering what Vladimir Nabokov's translating/opera singing/sports car enthusing son Dmitri looked like, so here is a pic from 1998, unveiling a plaque in his father's name. I do so hope that the tshirt says "FRANKIE SAY WAR! HIDE YOURSELF!" in cyrillic.

And - he lives partly in Switzerland, of course, but also part of the time in Palm Beach, FL! Florida? Sick!

But look at him! Doesn't he need a show on TLC or something where he goes around Florida solving murders? Wikipedia bio also says he writes books under an assumed name which he's never revealed, so maybe that could be the hook for the TV show - he solves murders and then writes a series of mysteries based on his sleuthing, then he gets an erstwhile nymphette sidekick who deduces what's up when he mentions butterflies once too often.
One can hear the promo voiceover: "A TLC Original (of Laura) Series..."

Of course, in this grim world, it will probably turn out that he's the goon who wrote The Shack.

Putin's mom drops science

Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- The best advice Vladimir Putin says he
ever got was from his late mother, Maria: “Don’t ask for anything and don’t
complain about anything.”

She's got a point.

Blue Monday Owners Club

This was brought to my attention:

Yes, it's a post-your-picture-with-your-original 12" of "Blue Monday" site...

I'm all for constructing artificial families, and if my copy is in the stack of dross I gave Gabe, I just might pull double duty by taking my pic with my copy and a pic of the cats with it and sending that to Stuff on My Cat.

The original tumblr thing said something about the 1983 Qwest single, which is wrong, natch. The original was Factory (Fac 73). I think Qwest could possibly have reput this out later, like after 1985 when they reissued Power, Corruption and Lies. What would be hot would be a separate site for, say, only people with Qwest copies (I think they have a black liner as opposed to silver) or a site for people with pictures of their cassingles of the useless and inferior "Blue Monday '88."

Still, we know that I love frivolousness, so, yes!, I do love this. I also love the site designer who put the Hacienda-style yellow stripes at the top of the home page. People are smart! Granted, people in England, but still...

The continued interfacing of "games" and "rock"

Here's what's gonna happen:

1.) music industry will die on the vine (yes, I'm super-prescient so far! Huzzah!)

2.) as no one actually buys anything and kids can't make money making rock (except those who can somehow afford to drive place to place playing to the disaffected), the natural extension of online gaming will be just the continued accumulation of cred, as opposed to money. So, bands will release their music online, then other bands will "compete" by releasing theirs, and some sort of aggregator will just list who the snarky critics say is best and and rock will effectively be subsumed into the gaming world, like any other niche-y cybersphere such as World of Warcraft. Only kids will "play" rock. A segment of people will decide who to drive to Columbus to see based solely on their aggregate gaming cred, etc.

3.) Some weisenhimer, noticing that stupid shit games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have run their faddish courses, will then come up with a flashy branding of this new, grassroots-y system and ruin that as well.

4.) I will be oblivious by then, as I am old, plus I will only come out of my subterranean base to get Cakesters and be dressed like this:

So, yeah, scoff all you want, and remember more innocent times as off we fob regret.* But as I said at the top: it's gonna happen.

* Gert Frobe anagram!

Kinks - at the halfway mark

Dead certain that the more fanatical followers of this blog are raccoon-eyed with lack of sleep, sore-knuckled from incessant wringing of hands and delirious with wonder as to when I will post how I ended up feeling about the Kinks box set I mentioned a ways back. Well! I'm through three of six CD's and there have been some stunning revelations, and some setbacks as the eternal "christ! not more rinky-dink pianos/shit! more crappy mono?" Kinks dilemmas reared their collective tetes.

So, in another week or so, when I have finally digested this thing and ruminated enough on it, I will post a list of Kinks songs that I find indispensible (sp, prob.), because the world is, of course, clammering for such a thing.

As a teaser, I will say that "Shangri-La" is amazing. There.

Quel way to go!

Someone should make a documentary about this - family getting a tombstone with Iowa carved in it, etc.
Still, sad.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Paper airplanes

With my creaky bones and rusty attitudes, I may seem to be a couple of hundred years old, when in truth I am not.

So pardon me if I fail to understand how paper airplanes, as an entity, could have been around since the 1600s when actual airplanes/gliders have not.

Who was the wizard who first folded some parchment into a gravity-defying wedge and then said "Nope. That's good enough. This thing floats on the breeze, that's enough thought on lighter-than-air transportation for me. Grazi mille!"?

I've been wondering about this disconnect for many years. I had already thought about it, I know for sure, when I saw Planet of the Apes at age 9 at the old Cinema South (in Oakwood!) as part of their Free Summer Movies for Kids or whatever, because I can remember Chuck H making one and blowing Cornelius and Zera(sp?)'s collective monkey mind. "It's a toy that floats on the air!" she tells the canny Zaius, who crushes the suspect objet without checking out her story. I remember seeing that and thinking, yes!, someone else has spent lonely hours a-tree dithering about when paper airplane origins! and also wondering: now, seriously, what the hell? When did paper airplanes arrive on the scene? Like, two years after the Wright Brothers? Or what? Did such aeronautics just spontaneously generate at some point, like the horse collar?

The difference between the UK and the US

See, in the UK, bands like the White Lies can go right in "the charts" at Number One. And MGMT can have a record still in the Top Ten. This despite the preponderance of "drunken slags" one sees in the News of the World links on Drudge; the English are still 11 times smarter than the people you and I know.

This vid, for "Death" [!], is not the greatest thing ever, and is sort Interpol Mk VI or some such, but who cares? It's still a fairly sweet Joy Division pastiche, and the singer seems to be saying "this fing's got a hold on me," which is hot.

Bonus points to the drummer for rocking the full Shigure Lid!


I missed this at the time (Dec 14, NYT):

And yet, Mr. Blagojevich, 52, rarely turns up for work at his official state
office in Chicago, former employees say, is unapologetically late to almost
everything, and can treat employees with disdain, cursing and erupting in fury
for failings as mundane as neglecting to have at hand at all times his preferred
black Paul Mitchell hairbrush. He calls the brush “the football,” an allusion to
the “nuclear football,” or the bomb codes never to be out of reach of a
That's just amazing.
Also: when someone is obviously an unreliable narrator on their blog or tumblr or what have you, respond thusly:

"Oh, is that right, blogojevich?"

Hurry! It won't last long, this tart effectiveness! And remember how bummed you were missing out on the prime of "Calm down, JarJar!"

CatFight Club

Yeah, well, I figured it out this weekend while watching Fight Club - Biscuit, at nearly 15, cannot quite fathom why there is another cat around all the sudden at her advanced age, much less one so boisterous as Picci. So she probably thinks she's imagining Picci, indeed that Picci is a [spoiler!] malicious construct of her imagination, and that all of their scrapping up and down the hall, where the two of them go tumbling along like a hissing, fuzzy tumbleweed - it's all not really happening.
Picci, to Biscuit, is actually Tyler Furden.

Picci (r): "Look out the window! Shit's gonna blow up!"
Biscuit (l): "You're not really here."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Red Light Fever

Here is the amazing cover art to Red Light Fever by Justin Hawkins's new band Hot Leg.

Not terribly hot on the single, but it will grow on me (hey! Darkness pun!), and, anyway, I didn't like any of the singles from One Way Ticket...

This cover, though - it's like 80s Dayton also-rans Warminister crossed with every shitty Metal Blade album cover ever (Viking, eg).

Well played, lads!

"I've Met Jesus":

Hello, procrastinators!

"Tomorrow is the busiest day of the week." - Spanish proverb

John (<--strikethrough) Tom Ford

Yeah,, how come no strikethrough option?

ANYway, after looking at some Watchmen ephemera yesterday, I went to IMDB to see who it was that they had woefully miscast as Adrian "Ozymondias" Veidt. Doesn't matter, except that said pipsqueak is going to be in a movie version of Christopher Isherwood's excellent A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford!

Good hell!

Had this been mentioned anywhere? First I'd heard of it...

What a smart cookie is Mr. Ford! Branch into movies and no one will notice as the portcullis slams down on your over-the-moon expensive clothing line and store in New York! Maybe Julian Schnabel will loan you his light meter AND let you stay in his weird red building!

Maybe next a Dick Haymes biopic.

Er, zoinks!

Guess who this is:


It's Simon Lebon's daughter with Yasmin whichever!

She's probably got some good stories about when Roger Taylor was "crazy," as well! And I wonder is she also things Pops should have gone "siiiiing blue silver!" as opposed to "sinnnnng blue silver!"

"Good hell!"

Reading a profile of MFK Fisher from a Gourmet magazine collection last night,

[and maybe I should just stop there, for extra-special pretension points? Nah!]

there was a part where she let fly with this mild oath: "Good hell!"

Let's get this mild-ass imprecation into the big leagues! Say "good hell!' exasperatedly this weekend! It's doubtless never going to reach the lofty climes of, say, "goddamn", but, with care and nurturing, it could be new, I dunno, asshat.

A hip hangout this town needs

For ages now I've felt a yearning to open some sort of a record store, where the cool people can just come and hang out. Have coffee, ace playlists compiled by me, maybe a some esoteric classic movie on TV with sound low (Rebel Without a Cause, > My Life as a Dog, > Manhattan, > Quadrophenia and that would just be today!)...but, see, record stores are obsolete.

Then I thought for a while - a barber shop! With hip dudes and chicks cutting heads...but then, bits of hair can get in the coffee and there would probably be employee drama when Seth and beau break up, or Mindy would be coming in drunk all the time and would need a stern-yet-tender talking-to. No thanks!

Now, in my nigh fifteen years of pet ownership, no fuzzy kid of my acquaintance has ever needed a medicine not readily on hand at the vet's office, until just Monday when the hyper-thyroid Biscuitmarie* needed some nostrum from the actual CVS. Then it occurred to me - a pet pharmacy. Hip tunes, movies, UK magazines, coffee...who wouldn't want to come pick up labradoodle salve at a place such as that??? Maybe seven customers a day, the rest of the time sitting around talking about the sizeable legacy of Jellyfish, Francois Truffaut, 70s baseball and the like...

Why didn't I think of this before??

* Day three of meds and she's already stopped barfing everywhere! So far!

People have a lot of time

Thursday, January 22, 2009

While I await some new Mew,

this album at left by the New York band Cymbals Eat Guitars absotively slays.

Like, kids who dig their proggy wigouts yet never forget to have a melody. Who'd a thunk?

2009, I tells ya...2009...

Sorry, nothing more badass than this, ever, really

Suck it, Sobol

We have a copy of this (not this cover - of which [covers] more shortly) laying around the gaff, and on occasion I take it up and torment The Mrs with it. My brother says there used to be a daily Two Minute Mystery space with the puzzles in the paper, but I was too young to know of that. Old Sobol created the mighty Encyclopedia Brown, but just may have overplayed his hand with these foul trifles.

They all have the basic same conceit: a crime of some sort, a couple of characters (as many as can fit in 200 or so words) and the cagey master detective Haledjian*, the kind of erudite detective guy who knows that silver bowls reflect things upside down, that deer get up back legs first and at what humidity a cake will not rise. Brain-teasers, really.

One thing that's so galling are the weird names of the characters: "Joy April, a musician" or "Robert Tyle" or "Don Bay." No, wait - it's actually the way they all incessantly introduce themselves:

"I saw the body in the headlights on my car. By the way, I'm Tom Hub."

Anyway, you can "do" about five of these before tossing the book across the room. Memory is a tricky mistress, howevs - there inevitably comes a day when a "bit of Haledjian" somehow sounds fun, and it's all downhill again.**


An Encylopedia Brown book should look like this:


NOT like this***:

(Hello, Leroy! And how are things in 2005?)

These were also awful:

(done in the overly illustrative Then Again Maybe I Won't school, aka "books that children of divorce would be allowed to read while Mom is out on a date [eww!]" style)

* what is the nationality of the name Haledjian? Perhaps he's Assyrian, like Yossarian
** maybe the fact that I'm minutes from forty indeed means that I shouldn't be reading Two Minute Mysteries and finding fault with them?
*** God only knows what Agatha Christie books look like today - probably have Miss Marple in sweatpants...

Cool book cover from ages ago

Tahiti 80

Of course you remember where you were the first time you heard Tahiti 80's 2000 LP Puzzle.

Of course you do.

And you remember hearing "Heartbeat" at the Gap. And "A Love from Outer Space" once on some reality show.

But LPs 2 and 3 were weak. Sorry, 's' true.

And now comes the frickin' fantastic Activity Room (not released in the States as I type). Just what spring 2009 will need: relentlessly upbeat, super-tight, effortless-sounding pop! You know the band in your town that is ridiculously better than the rest? They play like that. Plus the slight, slurry drag of vocals done in English as a second language, adding a soupcon of coolness...

Between the new Morrissey, Franz Ferdinand and PSB right around the corner, 2009 may compete with 1989 as the greatest year in POP HISTORY!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Piling on

Gawker has this pic of Anne Hathaway in the Open Caption thingy - my commenter password has long since evaporated, so it is here I must say "Doesn't Marc Jacobs look great as a chick?"

(click on pic to enlarge, if you dare/must)


Should probably mention here I've never seen all of Grease, not that I care. I was at Lake George, NY, with my parents in 1977 (age 8) and we went to see this movie (after an Italian dinner where I had for an aperatif a cocktail of grape juice and ginger ale, a libation I still enjoy to this very day!) and my parents made us leave! Too much making out, I would guess. And they weren't prudes, really. So I don't know. What was Grease rated? My first R movie was Creepshow.

ANYway (and a parenthetical note here, before we move on, that Didi Conn was hot!), Britpop four-piece Kenickie took their name from Jeff Conway's character and they ruled for a couple of reasons (or maybe four, let's see how many I think of): 1.) they weren't like super-hot in a conventional sense and yet refreshingly seemed to not give a shit; 2.) they reached a level of success not even a third of that achieved by Elastica (who the guy walking by your cube has never heard of, either); 3.) their male drummer had the sort of blurry features of a young Truman Capote 4.) frontwoman Lauren LaVerne (now a Radio 4 personality, I learn) vowed in Select to remain "tight with age" and 5.) I've had this song stuck in my head all day:

Old dudes and rock

See, here's a dilemma - rock music is for the young. Rock is an art form wherein as one ages one's powers wane, for the most part. In classical music, painting, writing, etc, this is not necessarily the case; indeed, even in dance, a ballet person can continue to choreograph long after they are too wrecked to dance themselves and can then sit on the edge of the stage, slumped over a cane, going "No! No! No!" at the young, lithe drug-addled Uzbekis making such a mess of all their hard work.

But rock - one gets to a certain age and it just looks pathetic.

So, then I came across a record by someone/thing called the Red Button. I listened to it knowing nothing about them other than that Jack Rabid liked them. And, wow! Talk about sixties AM radio hits that never were! Amazing.

I dutifully wiki'd them to see what they were about and it was these two guys, both of whom are LA music pro types, one of whom had even written hits for Taylor Dayne (!).

My dilemma is that I cannot enjoy the record as much now, knowing that it was these two guys who did this (and more power to them - it's a great record) and not some skinny young 23 year old wunderkinds who sprang Athena-like from the Zeus-head of some Fayetteville, AR, record shop counter (for instance).

Aren't I, then, being ageist? That these guys made such a great record should be applauded, not scoffed at just because, I dunno, they probably played one show for a record release party with studio-hack buddies forming the balance of the band and their friends all came out, the girls all Lana Clarkson-types (god bless her) and guys who look like Robert Fripp saying, "Man, you guys are the best thing I've heard since The SHOES!" etc. All the hackneyed old guy shit...that's not their fault!

I had the same reaction when I found out that that Army Navy record was not an organic "new" band but rather some old guys "givin' it a try", all hootenanny style (Pete Thomas from the Attractions plays drums!).

That the Red Button LP is also some sort of touchstone for dorks who rave about Outrageous Cherry and Myracle Brah and other such pop-fan convention standard bearers also just makes me sad.

I dunno, I'm a conflicted mess. Gonna go lay down...

Books - there for a reason

The main purpose of personal reading is, of course, for the collecting and subsequent mental gleaning of potential pet names. On reading ...Chatterley, I was given a great gift: appellation for a male cat to-be-acquired. In the spirit of those "serving suggestions" on food boxes, here is an artist's rendering of sorts of one