Saturday, May 18, 2002

Word of advice to all shoppers everywhere. Do not walk into a retail establishment 5 minutes before the posted closing time and say that you're "just looking around". It's rude and presumptuous. Believe it or not, the salesperson is not your butler probably has a family, a home or at least a website to go home to. He will be polite to you, but after you leave he will curse you and your entire lineage.

Also add the House of Primates to the list of of out-of-commision sites.


On the brighter side, who likes bellybuttons? This guy sure does, and more power to him.

Finally, a decent site on Weegee, my personal favorite photographer and one of the greatest of the 20th century. His photos have this incredibly documentarian feel, like you're glimpsing something on the sly, while still retaining compassion and a sense of humor. This album of shots from the Lower East Side of the 1940's is a good example. Some great audio of Weegee talking about his techniques on this page. Enjoy.
If only this were true. Well, for anyone besides Kottke(via nedrichards)...

In other news, I finally found a decent band site for Jason & the Scorchers and a page for lead vocalist Jason Ringenberg's solo career.

For those not hep, the Scorchers pioneered the mix of country and rock known as cowpunk, and no one does it better. Both site's include Audio samples.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Hello, this is Dr. Fluggenhuffer of the Center for Mental Insanity in Bridgeport, CT. Mr McNally(who is the jonmc of which you speak) is under our care. He has been confined ever since he came upon a building with blue walls and began writing on them. When asked, he said "I'm posting" then began pounding the sidewalk with his fist saying "Refresh, Refresh" and "c'mon comment you bastards". As he was hauled away, he screamed for beings named Eyeballkid, iconomy, riffola and unclefes, who we believe to be his delusionary voices. Since he's been locked up he's been quiet except for repeated requests for pancakes. If you can alleviate the man's suffering some how, please let us know. Thank you.
Mefi may be down for the whole weekend according to some inside dope I read over at Anil Dash's. As Lloyd Bridges said in Airplane, this would have to be the week I quit smoking.

It'll be truly strange not to see MeFi and all the familiar names for a whole weekend. It's truly unique among online communities. It truly boggles my mind sometimes, the collective intelligence level over there. I sometimes wonder what we could accomplish if we collectively tried to work on something. I mean besides killing eachother. Actually compared to most places online, it's remarkably civil. Just thinking out loud, but there is a wide range of interests and aptitudes there. Quite frankly, I'm amazed it's not being scouted for talent of various stripes.
Like everybody else in America, I'm trying Vanilla Coke today. It's OK, but quite frankly there's not enough vanilla flavor to it, it just tastes like mildly flavored Coke. I also seem to have put on roughly 7 pounds over the past couple of days. That's actually a good thing for a scrawny bastard like me.

Most interesting mutation of the Kuro5hin format award goes to The Naturist Journal, whicch looks to be your typical web community, but in the altogether. Which is pretty cool, for an unabashed fan of nekkidism as me, and judging by the size of this thread over at the fray, I'm not alone.

I can hear you guys now..."Thanks for the mental image, Jon..".......
For the curious in the MeFi Swap MeTa thread here is the tracklist of the CD's I sent out:

1.Fastbacks-Under the Old Lightbulb
2.Amon Duul II- Archangel Thunderbird
3.Betty Wright- Shoorah Shoorah
4.Billy Joe Shaver- Live Forever(live)
5.Billy Childish- I've Got Everything, Indeed
6.Blue Rodeo- What Am I Doing Here
7.Bluethings- Pretty Things Oh
8.Bo Diddley- Ride On Josephine
9.Bob Dylan- I'm Not There
10.Bob Seger and the Last Herd- Sock it To Me Santa
11.New Grass Revival- Calling Baton Rouge
12.Captain Beefheart- I Love You, You Big Dummy
13.**interlude 1***
14.Cheap Trick- She's Tight
15.Chris Bell- I Am The Cosmos
16.The Clash- This Is England
17.Delaney & Bonnie & Friends(feat. Duane Allman)- Come On In My Kitchen
18.Creation- Biff Bang Pow
19.Descendents- Silly Girl
20.Dion- Looking For The Heart of Saturday Night?
21.Dobie Gray- Drift Away
22.Donnas- Da Doo Ron Ron
23.Dropkick Murphys- For Boston
24.**interlude 2**
25.Dusty Springfield- Tupelo Honey
26.**interlude 3**
27.Elvis Costello- Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood(live)
28.Elvis Costello- Radio Radio(live SNL)
29.Emmylou Harris- Two More Bottles of Wine
30.Five Blind Boys of Alabama- I Saw The Light
31.Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart- Willie The Pimp
32.Fugs- ?Slum Goddess?
33.Funkadelic- Can You Get To That?
34.Gear Daddies- She's Fucked Again(live)
35.Lisa Germano- You Make Me want to Wear Dresses
36.Randy Newman- Davy The Fat Boy
37.Gourds- Gin & Juice
38.Grim Reaper- See You In Hell
39.Guided By Voices- Chasing Heather Crazy
40.Head East- Since You've Been Gone
41.Highwaymen- Committed to Parkview
42.Jackson Browne- Rock Me On The Water(live)
43.Jason & The Scorchers- Bible and a Gun
44.Kinks- Better Things
45.Linda Laurie- Ambrose
46.Little Walter(w/Muddy Waters)- Walkin' On
47.Lorretta Lynn & Conway Twitty- You're The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly
48.**interlude 4**
49.Money Mark- Push The Button
50.Monster Magnet- Space Lord(live)
51.Morphine- Mary Won't You Call My Name
52.The Move- California Man
53.Moving Sidewalks- 99th Floor
54.Nashville Pussy- Piece of Ass
55.Plastic People of The Universe- Elegie
56.Princess Superstar(feat. High & Mighty)- Bad Babysitter
57.**interlude 5**
58.Raspberries- Overnight Sensation
59.Replacements- Bastards of Young(live)
60.Nirvana Sitar and String Group- The Letter
61.Richard and Linda Thompson- I Want to See The Bright Lights Tonight
62.Ronnie Spector(w/Joey Ramone)- You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory
63.Sister Rosetta Tharpe- Strange Things Happening Every Day
64.Small Faces- Sha-la-la-la-lee
65.Sonics- Boss Hoss
66.**interlude 6**
67.Subdudes- All The Time in The World
68.Blenders- Don't Fuck Around With Love
69.Blue Comets- Louie Louie
70.Fascinators- Chapel Bells
71.Zambonis- Hockey Monkey
72.Aislers Set- Long Division
73.Bellrays- Minds Eye
74.Bottle Rockets- Gotta Get Up
75.Zambonis- Bob Marley and The Hartford Whalers
Stripper Power!No Argument Here.(Probably NSFW, a few porn ads) Actually, this looks to be an actual insiders guide, from what I can tell. The Hustle U section seems to be the educational area, featuring tidbits like the 10 best stripper CD's(actually not a bad list). There's also links to news stories like this one about the rise of female customers in strip clubs. Interesting. Plus links to here and here to buy "gear", although it looks pretty much like the same clothes your average 16-year-old mall rat wears which is disturbing in and of itself.
Oh well, I suppose everyone needs a place to talk shop. Looks like this is Slashdot for the bump & Grinders.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

My man Kafkaesque is his usual hilarious self over at his 'blog today, doing a letter-perfect dissection of the Hammacher Sclemmer catalog that had fluids spewing from various orifices in my head.
Kaf gets extra points for managing to work Lothar and the Hand People into the conversation. L & the HP are the second runner up in the good band/horrible name sweepstakes. All time leader of course is the Blossom Toes.
My appetite has gone through the ceiling over the past day, so I'm sitting her plowing through some Clams Casino, Garlic Bread with Mozzarella, and Veal, Mozzerella and Sweet Pepper sub. Even though the cigarrettes are gone, I've gotta indulge a little. As my Italian relatives would say acqua e pane, vita da cane, gabishe?

But enough talk of cigarettes and Italian cuisine, on to weightier matters. I've come to the conclusion that women are simply the more perceptive gender, especially when it comes to the mating dance, where we Penised Americans are completely clueless.

Most men are completely unaware of the signals and scents that women put out and walk through life feeling lonely and frustrated. There is a ,male subspecies that takes the opposite tack, approaching every female they meet on the off chance they'll stumble on the correct one. Basically, a woman has to leap into a mans lap and smother him with soul-kisses before he'll even think Maybe she kinda likes me, huh?

True story, I managed to make all the way through high school without going on a single date or getting so much as a peck on the cheek. Of course what I lacked in the sex slot, I made up for in spades in drugs and rock 'n'roll, but that's another story. Anyways, first week in my freshman dorm, me this chick and this other guy spent the evening hanging out. The guy was kind of obnoxious, cracking bad jokes and winking and nudging all over the place, but he finally took off around 10:30 or so leaving me and the girl alone. I looked at her nervously. She looked back at me and said,
"He was awful pushy."

"Yeah, I try not to be pushy." I answered, confused but projecting a worldly front.

"Oh, you can be pushy" she said and we spent the next couple hours playing championship tonsil hockey.

I also remember reviewing the evening in my head for clues and realizing that I could've "hooked up" as they say with several women I had met in the past. I didn;t know whether to be happy or pissed that someone hadn't told me sooner. My perception is still off and I bet most guys are evn more clueless than me. You ladies really need to work out a system of hand signals or dialog boxes or something other wise we men are lost forever....
One of my co-workers decided to quit. This ordinarily wouldn't bother me except that would leave me here until closing time, and I'd have to close solo, and I'm stressed enough as it is.* Thankfully they talked him into coming back by calling his wife and now everything's back to abnormal.

Earlier today, I was surfin' around, and I musta been thinking of Blogger and Google at the same time, cos I typed Boogle.What I got was pretty neat, and just what I needed to lighten things up a bit.

*coming up on 24 nicotine-free hours! woo-hoo!
Irritability has begun to set in. When I stumbled over a tree root earlier, I told it to go fuck itself. I have some gum, chips, and peanuts stashed at in my drawer at work, so I should be OK. Had a real test a few moments ago, though. I went over to the gas station to pick up a snack, and this bingo-queen grandma in a pink sweatshirt was buying roughly 500,000 quick pick tickets and paying for them with nickels and dimes. This made me want to scream, "Listen you old bat, you will NEVER win the lottery and buying those tickets is only making you poorer, So outta my damn way, OK, sister!!"

But, I now have the strength of ten because my heart is pure, so I didn't. What I did do is tap my feet and stare at the gigantic stack of Marlboro cartons behind the clerks head and feel like Pooky in New Jack City. But I am proud to say that still no tobacco smoke has passed my lips since 6:00pm yesterday. They say the craving wears off after 24hrs, so here's hopin.
I am happy to report that I made it through the night without smoking. I wasn't anywhere near as irritable as I thought I would be, but then again, I had the day off. Work today should be ineteresting. I should have my boss hang a sign around my neck: "Warning:Quitting Smoking, Do Not Bust Balls." Should be fun.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

For all those who haven't heard KVRX in Austin is broadcasting a live streaming tribute to G.J. Charlet aka mefi's own COLDCHEF!! as we speak. I e-mailed a request and MeFi has been mentioned on the air, and the DJ's are having a feild day with the name ColdChef. They referred to me as "Jim from MeFi" though...strange.

Damn, this quitting smoking thing is making me extremely prolific tonight.

I'm taking metrocake's advice and blogging rather than smoking. I've plowed my way through two bags of salted nuts and 3 Schaefers and Lisa, bless her heart is in the kitchen cookin' me up a mess of steak & eggs.

So, howzabout some more music blogging? I'm gonna talk about another underrated and misunderstood outfit, the J. Geils Band. Most people know them as the guys who did the 80's nugget "Centerfold", but that song, nifty though it is, is not at all representative of what the Geils Band was all about. This site has some history and some terrific photos. Formed in Boston in the middle of the hippie era, the guys found themselves to be misplaced greasers putting out the last great blast of blue-eyed R&B. Vocalist Peter Wolf was a former radio DJ and a born showman-his opening rap on the live version of "Musta Got Lost" is the stuff of which legends are made. Their version of the Show Stopper's "Ain't Nothin' But a House Party" is a gauranteed floor-filler at any party and "Give It To Me" is probably the only credible stab at white reggae I've ever heard.

The band's secret weapon? Hirsuite Harpist and Sax man Magic Dick, probably the best harmonica man since Paul Butterfield.

Wolf left the band acrimoniously in 1983 and the group disbanded shortly after, and it's a damnable shame. With everyother bunch of balding, beer-bloated '70s dinosaurs doing a reunion tour, it would sure be great to hear Pete and the boys fire up "Southside Shuffle" from the stage again.
Update folks, I just said "screw this procrastination" and handed my pack to Lisa. My last cigarette. Mark the time, sports fans.
Thank goodness, I still have a 12-pack of Scahefer in the fridge. One bad habit at a time, ya know...
I'm not sure how to feel about this. A sign that Dell has become an unstoppable juggernaut(bad) or a sign that they are desperate to extend their brand and are just getting stupid(good)? We'll see.

BTW, down to 7 cigarrettes....

*begins to twitch and sweat uncontrollably*
That last pack is down to 11 cigarrettes. The countdown begins. I've stocked the house with peanuts, Sunkist Fruit Gems and beer to ease the transition. If this is successful sell you RJR/Nabisco stock.
OK. I am embarking on a dangerous adventure here. My current pack of cigarrettes is going to be my last. At Lisa's urging, I am going to make my first serious attempt at quitting. If over the next couple days you hear of a man in Connecticut sniping passersby from a rooftop, you'll know who it is.

This is gonna be very weird. Since age 14, smoking has been almost a physical extension of my personality. If any of you guys are ex-smokers with any good tips, let me know. I'm not afraid of gaining weight, since I could use a few pounds, anyway.

I've been rereading All Souls by Michael McDonald,(excerpt here) a family memoir set in the benighted Boston neighboorhood known as Southie. The historically minded,(and Bostonians) among you may remember that back in the 1970's Southie was the epicenter of a rather ugly battle over busing in schools. Sadly, since then Southie has often become shorthand for "blue-collar bigot" by those who need to delineate "good guys" and "bad guys" very neatly in their political outlook.

McDonald's book, while pulling no punches on either side does a great job of puncturing this kind of thinking. He also leavens the book with enough goofy humor and poignant family memories to keep it from becoming a dry treatise. It is also a look at a type of urban culture that, for better or worse, is slowly vanishing forever.

Almost every major city has an area similar to southie. In NYC, think Bensonhurst or the old Hell's Kitchen, in Chicago, think Bridgeport or Uptown and Portland, OR, St.Johns. McDonald's perceptiveness and compassion give this book a resonance far beyond the Boston city limits. Give it a read.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

I've been drinkin' some excellent beer from the Elysian Brewing Company sent by the redoubtable mr. bmarkey and it's got me in kind of an oompah-oompah mood.

And, yes, I do mean oompah-oompah as in accordions, those big honkin' instruments which give us listeners wild sounds and the players, immense upper body strength. To be honest, though the accordion has undergone a much-deserved image rehab over the last decade or so and the Web has been there to document it. Despite what Lawrence Welk hath wrought, the humble squeezebox has been involved in some terrific music over the years. It's a conerstone of Celtic music, the countrified Mexican sound known as conjunto, the Louisiana zydeco sound exemplified by Clifton Chenier and carried on today by Bruce Daigrepont and yes, Polkas(click here for the King of the genre). Even the Beatles and heavy metal can benefit from the accordions presence.Still other groups are taking the instrument in new and exciting directions. And if you'd like to join the fun yourself, this is the place.

Not too shabby for an instrument most people have written off. Next time, the Moog synth and the Theremin...stay tuned...

Over the past week three separate 60+ aged customers have come in shopping for laptops, who live full-time in RV's. I remember when I drove down to Florida, there were RV camps dotting the side of the higways, but I figured they were all vacationers. Not so, apparently. Looks like there's a huge tribe of elderly nomads roaming the highways. And it's growing every day.

One of the old gent's was asking me if he could get online wirelessly. I told him, he sure could, with a cellphone and a global/cellular modem. He said that sounded good, but that sometimes whe he was at this lake in Arkansas, his cellphone wouldn't work. I told him that would sometimes happen, and got a vivid mental picture of this guy flycasting with one hand and bidding away on Ebay with the other. Neato. These folks make me wanna ditch work of any form and just go ahead and retire now. Tell you what though, If I was the owner of an RV park, I'd get smart and invest in a T1 line.
On the way to work today*, I passed this wooded lot. Nailed to a tree facing the road was a sign reading, "Free Firewood!" I looked but didn't see any stacked wood anywhere, so I can only assume he meant the whole forest. Very enterprising, yes, but isn't this a bit like finding a cow pasture and putting up a big sign saying, "BURGERS!"?

*What a weird road this guy drives I can hear you all saying. You ain't whistlin' dixie..

Monday, May 13, 2002

The more record-geeky among you are probably familiar with the Nuggets box sets from Rhino, which document the overlooked gems of the garage bands of the '60s which proliferated like rabbits. In the late '70s and early '80s a similar infestation occured worldwide only this time with metal bands. For a while it seemed like every pimply faced hesher with a couple buddies and a Marshall Amp was forming a band, cranking the amps to 11, and spraying his hair into an electrocuted haystack. Now I'll freely admit that 80% of what was produced in this ejaculation of music was crap, but there were some beauties in the pile if you dug deep. I am not being ironic or goofy here, I genuinely love this shit. I also realized that this musics hidden history has never been compiled. Sure, there are those cheesy "Rock of the 80's" collections with Poison and Ratt on 'em, but that's for the tourists not the real bangers. So allow me to show you the way, so to speak.

(NOTE:Whenever possible I tried to find a direct audio link for the songs and a weblink for the artists, if I couldn't I linked to a CDNow page with the audio, if that didn't exist well...)

Without further ado, here's:


Manowar--"Carry On"
Loincloths, swords and a former member of the Dictators on lead guitar. Highest testosterone level of any band in history.

Raven--"All For One"
Wacko Hunter rules!!

Girlschool--"C'mon Let's Go"
The original Riot Grrls. Tough babes in Black Leather. Motorhead with breasts. A beautiful thing.

If you have to ask..

Mama's Boys--"If the Kids are United"
A metal band from Northern Ireland! Made up of Brothers! One of Whom plays fiddle! Covering Sham 69!

Raging Slab--"Don't Dog Me"
Metallica crossed with Skynyrd. As grisly as it sounds, but in that good way, ya know? Killer slide guitar.

Political metal from France! Vive le headbangeur!

Grand Prix--"Shout"
Sorry no audio or links. The great lost metal single of the 80's. I have an mp3.

Rose Tattoo--"Nice Boys"
Vintage Aussie aggression. Comapred to these guys AC/DC is Barry Manilow.

Tokyo Blade--"Unleash the Beast"
One of those bands that had a fixation on all things Japanese. Kick-ass riffs though(again, I have mp3s..)

Diamond Head--"Am I Evil?"The missing link between Black Sabbath and Metallica. One of the best bands from the fabled New Wave of British Heavy Metal

Faster Pussycat--"Bathroom Wall" A lead singer named Taime Down.Secret ingredient:humor.Sample lyric-"Got your number on the Bathroom Wall/Good thing I din't use the other stall" Best. Hollywood. Sleaze. Metal. Ever.

Twisted Sister--"The Kids Are Back"They Rule. Fuck You.

W.A.S.P.--"Animal(F**k like a Beast)"--We Are Sex Perverts. Buzzsaw Codpeices. The band that scared the living shit out of Tipper Gore.

Anthrax--"I'm the Man(Uncensored)" Where rap-metal began. And probably should have ended. But that's another story. Right now, We're Anthrax and we take no shit...

...and to see us out:

Van Halen--"Ice Cream Man" An obvious band choice, perhaps, but this is their best tune IMHO and I'm the only one who seems to think so.

I'm sure I'm missing a bunch and you'll all chime in with your favorites. Included in this box set would be a black Bic lighter and a leather wallet on a chain. So feather your hair, drag that dusty bottle of DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps off the shelf and boogie, my freinds.
I was reading this old blog entry of Metrocake's last night and all I gotta say is, Me and her fiancee really need to get together and go bowling. I am the proud owner of not one, not two, but three Raven albums, including Live At The Inferno. They really weren't half bad. How can you not love a band who's drummer wears a hockey helmet? Although, even I half to admit that the duet with Udo Dirkschnieder(yes, I know the lead singer of Accept's name, yes I am a geek) was pretty bad. This whole confluence has given me a great idea which i will blog later tonight. Stay tuned.
Apparently, my weblog is the #1 google hit for: Solar Flares music "Birmingham".

Yay, me! Although I would love to know what the hell that person was looking for.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Man, where is everybody tonight? Awful quiet online this evening. Maybe everybody's entertaining their moms or something. iconomy's done a neat ascii art based redesign, so she's occupied there although she's a mom so her offspring should be catering to her every whim.

But, who am I to talk? I'm just sitting here draining a bottle of whiskey and listening to three different versions of "I Want You to Want Me." It's amazing how much the sensory experience of a song can change based on who's singing it.

Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan version is basically an excellent articulation of the age-old rock and roll theme of male hormonal torment. The way Robin Zander sings it, he sounds like he's gonna explode if the girl dosen't start wanting him right now. The shouts of the girls in the audience merely add to the atmosphere of testosterone-stoked frenzy.

Dwight Yoakam's country remake is a whole other kettle of fish. He somehow turns it into a very effective weeper. If Dwight's gal dosen't start wanting him, he'll simply wander into a saloon and cry into his beer for all of eternity.

Then there's Letters to Cleo's version. It does change the context when it's a female singing. Musically, it's a slightly less frenetic version of Cheap Trick, but kay Hanley has one of those sexy(and I mean grown-woman sexy, not Britney-lolita bullshit) voices that adds an unmistakably erotic air of sexual tease to the proceedings. If the strip club DJ's ever discover this recording we may have a phenomenon on our hands.
Just got back from Mother's Day visits to our respective Mom's. These visits are great in that they remind you why you moved out. OK, just kidding*. We had some burgers and dogs with Lisa's family then zipped over to deliver card and flowers to Moms McNally. They had a couple gifts for us from they're recent trip to Ireland. My Italian-born mother has visited the Old Country numerous times but this was my Irish-American Dad's first trip to the Auld Sod. They seem to have had a blast. They gave me a pin with the McNally Family Coat of Arms on it. Our coat of arms appears to be a Battle Axe and six birds, for what it's worth. And my surname means "Son of the Hound of Ulster" according to the little pamphlet with the pin. They also got me this wonderful gift set of Clontarf Irish Whiskey which I am dipping into as I type this. If my blog entries or MeFi posts begin to seem incoherent, you'll know why.

Mmmm, this stuff is smooth. My Hibernian ancestors may have been kicked around mercilessly by every other nation in Europe, but they make some great booze.
Those of you who recieved discs from me in the MeFi CD swap were introduced to the wonderful ditty "Ambrose" by one Linda Laurie(audio here) one of the weirdest peices of music ever recorded. Many is the night I've sat up wondering how this thing ever got committed to wax. Unfortunately, even among my community of dedicated music geeks very little is known about this record.

A little Googling this morning offered some more elucidation. First of all, the actual title of the record is "Ambrose(Part 5)" although Parts 1 through 4 do not exist, of course. The first entry on this oldies page offers some background and the tantalizing information that there was a SEQUEL called "Forever Ambrose." The mind boggles.If you see a 45 of this sequel record anywhere, pounce on it and bring it to me.

The second entry on this page(just beneath the "Records" banner) offers something of a follow-up. It's written by a man who claims to have dated Linda Laurie.

If there's any justice in the universe, Ms. Laurie is currently retired and living in Sheboygan with Michael Brown, the man behind "The Woolworth Manager's Work Song". Or maybe not. Oh, well.

Just Keep Walkin....

It's Mother's Day. Go do something nice for Mom. And it's Metrocake's birthday, go to her site and send a fellow MeFite some birthday cheer.