Thursday, April 22, 2010

Scared Of Chaka - s/t (702, 1996)

Their ten-song EP from '96. Most of the tracks clock in at under two minutes or so. Fun, spastic punk rock with a New Wave bent here and there. You could describe Chaka as a polite Angry Samoans (how fuckin' weird is that?!?!?) or a more-introspective Dickies (see last parenthetical notation). "Sexy Figure," "Submarines," and "Two In The Morning" (One of the worst times of the day...I meant night...No, I really meant day -- NOTE: These aren't lyrics to the song, just me acting drunk) are three of the key tunes represented. Cover of Elvis Costello's "Hand In Hand" fits like a tight mitten.

Eater - All Of Eater (Creative Man, 1997)

Collection of twenty-eight original recordings from 1977-78. Songs like "Room for One," "No Brains," and "Outside View" filed quite nicely alongside contemporaries like The Vibrators and Slaughter And The Dogs. Youth was definitely served in this band -- drummer Dee Generate (!) was all of twelve-years-old. And to think I was listening to Culture Club at that age...

The Slobs - Down The Tubes (Centsless Productions, 1996)

Some messy, shitfaced-as-fuck punk on their own label. Seventeen songs of Weideman-induced HA-HA-HAs for your musicalfridge. "Goin' Downtown," "Bored To Death," "Have A Nice Day," "She's A Disease," etc. are instantly glued to your brain, with pleasantly annoying vocals and sing-along refrains. Bass player Andy's basement is the Abbey Road of punk rock 'n' roll, as Nashville Pussy, The Candy Snatchers, Hookers, etc. have recorded there.

Division Of Laura Lee - Black City (Burning Heart, 2002)

Within the next several months, "Need To Get Some" will be the soundtrack of an auto spot starring The Strokes as New York City cops. Handcuffing the driver of a stolen Saab, their "Give them the truth and they just might follow" mantra is forcefully spoken after the reading of Miranda's rights. "Trapped In" shifts like the fluid transmission of Ian Curtis getting Closer to the New Order's Movement. While the bleak atmosphere clouds squeaky electronics from her 24-hour B-day party song, Miranda plaintively states, "I know, someday, things will get better/I've been trapped in this black hole for too long" from the floor of a dank cell. "Access Identity" ("You've got everything you need from it/If that's the way you wanna be, sucker") and the title cut ("Thousands killed on the Internet/Life delete/All is sent/If this is your truth/Your truth is a mess to me") interrogate the suspect using blunt techniques from the handbooks of GoF, The Fuses, and Radar Secret Service. "Pretty Electric" further examines Miranda's story in a transfer-to-D.C. van driven by J. Robbins of Jawbox ("You're not on my list/I guess you won't resist/'Cause you're leaving it all to trust/You ain't got shit"). Shoulda jacked a Volvo -- that's a car you can be believed in.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Around the time of my 13th birthday (March '85), our family went to see the Ringling Bros. & Barnum Bailey production at Hampton Coliseum. This place was located right beside one of the shittiest housing projects I had ever seen. The Coliseum was where The Rolling Stones had recorded their crappy '81 live LP Still Life. It would later become the setting of Phish's six-CD set Hampton Comes Alive (hippie humor is the worst).

We saw a bunch of clowns, freestylers, jugglers, horses, hoops, balls, bears, elephants, and lions. The main attraction was King Tusk -- "The World's Largest Elephant." Whoa! Well, "The Greatest Show On Earth" had drawn to its conclusion, so we made our way to the ground floor with hopes of seeing King Tusk up close. While the rest of us gazed amazingly at the thick-skinned mammal, my father dismissively said, "Oh, there's about 50 of these elephants that Ringling Bros. has." "Well, how many Gunther Gabel Williamses (the famous lion tamer and animal trainer) are there?" was my question to him.

The whole family (minus my dad) laughed tremendously. He called me a smart-ass; I called him an asshole (but not to his face).

Capote (United Artists, 2005)

In 1959, four family members residing in a sleepy Kansas town are brutally murdered. Paging through the morning newspaper, Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is immediately taken by the account and decides to conduct his own investigation for an upcoming article. Traveling west by train, he is accompanied by the dishy Harper Lee (Catherine Kenner), who assists with the research and acts as a babysitter of sorts. Capote realizes that the numerous events need more than a few pages' length to recount them properly, so he attempts to author a work referred to (by him) as a "non-fiction novel." Access to one of the accused, Perry Smith (Clifton Collins Jr.), is blocked at first, but Capote's charm and a fistful of greenbacks grant him entrance behind the bars. The writer is drawn to Smith and forms a tight relationship with the prisoner, but Capote isn't above telling outright lies in the name of art. For example, he assures Smith that In Cold Blood is a title made up by the organizers of an advance reading in NYC. In one self-serving moment, Capote mentions hiring a new lawyer for Smith after several appeals are exhausted. To which a listener responds (paraphrasing), "Did you hire the attorney for Smith or for you?" The prolonging gives him more grist (not to mention time) for his story, which is three-quarters finished at this point. After an extended absence where Capote doesn't visit or write, he returns to Kansas for one important reason: Smith's honest recollection of the life-changing November day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Back in 1992 or so, when I worked for my second of 3,286 telemarketing firms, I took a liking to a 350-pound woman named Diane. There was something about this lady that separated her from the others at Touch Tone. It wasn't Diane's plus-sized measurements, because such females were common in the phone-sales department. For example, Bonnie was a Navy wife from upstate New York whose husband floated on an inflatable raft in the Mediterranean. Her idea of a perfect date with "one of her six boyfriends" was to stand for six hours in 95-degree heat and watch the jets fly overhead at Oceana Air Station. This white-trash whore should have stayed in her barracks. Shirley was a dark-n-not-so-lovely woman who resembled a mix of Patrick Ewing and Mable King from the TV show "What's Happening!". By bringing her part-time catering business to work, the fellow telemarketers were oft-treated to such delicacies as bloody chicken casserole and sausage 'n' mayonnaise subs. I'd later make a T-shirt as a tribute to her efforts that read, "Shirley's Sausage Subs: They're oniony. They're mayonnaisey. They're Shirleyey!" Ummm...

What made Diane different from those bovine creatures was that she:1)wasn't a military dependent, 2)knew how to use a bar of soap, 3)didn't pretend to know how to cook, 4)let my hands make contact with her breasts, and 5)forced me to eat chocolate pudding off her fingers. I wanted to bed this sweet-smelling piece of womanflesh!

Alas, it was not to be. Diane quit her job and married a bearded man with one eye. Over the years, I had lost touch with the big beauty. Then one day, I was reading a testicle-reattachment story in the newspaper. On the same page flashed a weight-loss testimonial from...DIANE! She had lost 228 pounds and become a counselor at said weight-management center. To celebrate "the new her," Diane and her one-eyed husband went to Hawaii for some fun-in-the-sun. However, the vacation took a slight downturn. As Diane was soaking up some rays (while listening to The Devil Dogs' song "North Shore Bitch" and fancying herself as one), she was skewered by twenty-five boys who had grown tired of using their clubs to crack open coconuts. At first, Diane's husband had been saddened by her death, but it was later explained to him that "Kill Haole Day" is as much a part of the Hawaiian fabric as Don Ho. Haole means "caucasian."

Supposedly, the cremation ceremony was nice, with lovely floral arrangements throughout the hut. When the one-eyed husband returned to Virginia, he traded me his dead wife's ashes for pipe tobacco. Ahoy, mate!


In the seven years I've been involved with self-publishing, never once has an employee questioned me about the number of copies produced from too-easily-jammed machines. Either the barely-above-minimum-wage stiffs behind the counter haven't known about my long-standing coupon-free discounts (10 double-sided sheets for the price of one single-sided page) or zine-friendly folks like Josh of Copiez fame have looked the other way when the D.I.Y. booklets were being constructed. This maverick style has enabled me to spread the gospel amongst the blissfully unaware ("Why don't you write about bands I've heard of?") and converted alike ("What page is my band's review on?"). Until a girl named Debra asked to see the contents of my folder last Friday (Hey, not on the first date, sweetie!), the sliding-scale rate had never threatened an increase.

Debra, assumed to reside in Chesapeake, VA, has curly red hair and similarly hued apple-cheeks. Her face, eyes, and lips aren't cosmetically treated. The khaki pants which mask supposedly creamy-white, thick thighs are form-fitting with an unbuttoned left back pocket. A dark-blue collared shirt is loosened just enough to reveal an outcropping of tittage. Would any self-respecting BBW admirer ask Debra to position the whole (front 'n' back) of her body on the Xerox's glass, thus duplexing a woman who'll provide after-5:00-P.M. thrills? Of course.

Unfortunately, the hands of the clock read 11:23 A.M., ensuring an all-work-and-no-play attitude from her. "These new copiers are much easier to handle than the old ones," Debra said. "Yeah," I replied; "I'd like to grab onto your handles," I thought. "You are making a lot of copies," she continued. "I guess I am," I countered; "You have a lot of flesh that's making me want to climb over the counter," spoke the voice in my head. After forty minutes of unbeknownst-to-her foreplay, I presented Debra with my tally slip and asked if she had change for a $100 bill. "Don't think we have enough tens and twenties back here. Try up front...wait, how many did you make?" she queried. "133," I bluntly stated. "Are you sure that's all you made? You had a stack that was very high," Debra interrogated. "Oh, I meant 266...forgot to multiply by two," I responded with faux conviction. "May I see your copies?" she demanded in the form of a question. "Sure," I slurred not too generously. Placed in Debra's freckled hands were approximately 250 sheets skimmed from the top of my pile. "Where's the rest of them?" she suspiciously wondered. "I had made the other copies at the Laskin Road store yesterday. Brought them with me to fold and staple," I wittily gathered. Though Debra's green eyes met my baby blues with distrust, she allowed the 266-copy figure and instructed me to pay at a register near the store's entrance. I thanked the lady and promised her a sugarloaf on my next visit. Debra: You're a child of nature and a friend of man!

As I waited behind a businesswoman purchasing a tin of Altoids to combat her six-cups-of-coffee-induced halitosis, my trusty little golf-course pencil (you know, the type with no eraser) began to spasm into convulsion. I tried to regain its focus by hypnotically streaking straight lines. After a couple minutes and a fine sharpening, it communicated to me with this lead-stained message: 111. Relaying the post, I confided in an elderly cashier. 111: The number on the slip. 6: The number of the multiplier. 666: The number of the beast. Of course, Hell, like Virginia, has a 4.5% sales tax. Total lack of repentance: $7.10. At 89% off from the total cost ($69.30), Gee-Zuz wasn't the only one who could've saved me on that day.

The wages of sin are substantially less. Ask an Office Max worker.

Electric Kisses - s/t (self-released, 2003)

A half-speed (not the drug) Weirdos raiding the wardrobe closet of Wayne/Jayne comprises the bulk of this six-song demo disque. The lipstick traces of The Brat Pack ("Are you a boy or are you a girl?/I don't know/I don't care/Let's stay up all night/Watch 'Sixteen Candles'/And do our hair") pucker with selections found at the pretty 'n' pink record store ("I like The Kids and The Bangs/Listen to the Ramones") to orchestrally maneuver in the dark. Worth the jolt if fresh breath is the priority of your life.

The Hunches - Yes. No. Shut It. (In The Red, 2002)

Not exactly The Stooges of Mudhoney and Chris Farley from the film "Black Sheep." This is more like John Belushi starring in a "Blooz Brothers" prequel with Iggy Pop, as the two light stages on fire and play a set list composed entirely of toonz from Open Up And Bleed and the unmixed, Bowie-free Rough Power. Add some skronk and a refrigerator to keep soon-to-be-flung chocolate pudding cold (both gifts from Clevo's Electric Eels), and pretty faces doing the alligator will soon to go hell before being turned into handbags for a jive-talkin' Florence Henderson. Much more than a hunch -- Stiv Bators and Divine need Mrs. Brady's polyester lunch.

Northern Liberties - Erode And Disappear (Worldeater, 2003)

The bass 'n' tribal drumming of Killing Joke, the bleak undercurrent of Joy Division, the inspired "Whoa whoa!"-ing of Naked Raygun, the uneasiness of The Stranglers: Philly's Northern Liberties might be the double-naught's answer to Proletariat (Soma Holiday is one of the essential '80s HC albums). No guitar player within 50 miles of the Rocky statue, but the instrumentation jabs like Ivan Drago on an Everlast bag. Melodic touches from Adrian, however, absorb the repeated right hands to the face. Best round: the strapped glove of "Suction," which (vocally) waves a Pink Flag at Three Imaginary Boys in the squared circle.

Jimmy Dean Pre-Cooked Sausage Patties

Had me two sausage-and-cheese sandwiches on sourdough English muffins one fine morning. Washed 'em down with a tall glass of Luzianne iced tea. MMM MMM!!! I ate the same thing for din-din as well.

The Jimmy Deans continued my streak of six straight days eating sandwiches for dinner. Roast beef, ham, German bologna, chicken breast, turkey, and sausage -- YUM YUM!!! Put some of them crunchy Wahoos on the side, too. CHOMP!!!

Man, you can cook these Jimmy Deans in the microwave (110 seconds for 4 patties), and they'll taste nearly as good as from the skillet. Swift Premiums, while scrumptious, can't really duplicate the sizzled goodness from the hot spatula.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Welcome to the first edition of "Rate-A-Record." Yeah, I know Dick Clark'd had this feature on "American Bandstand," but since he's a friend, Dick said it was OK to borrow the title for this column. Let's meet our first contestant. Originally from Rhode Island, he possesses the world's-largest collection of Bjork merchandise. Besides collecting, his other hobbies are competitive solitaire, light-contact kickboxing, and writing fake Judas Priest songs. Please give a nice round of applause for Brad CZR. Now Brad, the rules are fairly simple. After each song is played, give us a critique of what you heard. Ready? The first selection is "Heartbeat" by Epic recording artist Don Johnson.

Brad on "Heartbeat": "The thing I noticed initially were the overproduced backing tracks -- so slick, they make Debbie Gibson sound like Teengenerate. Vocals were nearly unbearable (imagine a post-rock Richard Marx singing Frank Sinatra, and you're almost there), with only harp strings providing minimal relief. The lyrics were of the pussywhipped, heart-on-your-sleeve, poodle-haired, no-offensive-terms, contemporary-music, ass-smooching variety ('Heartbeat/I'm looking for a heartbeat' -- repeat 443 times or until your larynx ceases operation). Give Johnson half-credit for being honest with his words, because this had absolutely no pulse. Perhaps what Don should be looking for instead is a new nose and mouth. He looks utterly ridiculous with that hole in the middle of his face."

A five-minute break is requested by Brad, and that gives us time to cue up the next track. "Respect Yourself" from Motown sensation Bruce Willis.

Brad on "Respect Yourself": "Now, this was more like it! Man, Bruce Willis?!? I used to roll dice with this motherfucker outside the Apollo Theater a long time ago. I'd wondered why he'd stopped hanging around Harlem, but I guess this answered my question. I knew the boy was destined for stardom, when he popped off a tune called 'Seagram's Golden Wine Cooler.' Shit, Bruce'd gotten hustled for $250 and a case of Richard's red, yet he started singing as if everything was A-OK. I'd thought that acapella performance had been a gem, but I was more amazed by this. Done up in the same soulful style as 'Seagram's,' but better. Amid the awesome power of the blaring horns and thumping bass, Bruce offered up this rhyme-of-reason to those would-be masochists: 'You cuss around women and you don't even know their name/Then you're dumb enough to think that it makes you the big fucking game.' This song had everything a great soul tune should -- beautiful brass section, fabulous female backup vocals, spectacular swearing, and the word 'ain't.' Can't wait to hear more from this cat! Yo Bruce, S'up man? Can isa borrows $250 from yous? Me parched wif thirst and isa dyin', jack! Please? Puh-leez? You no me ain't tryin' play yoose, cool..." Uh, thank you, Brad CZR.

Contestants not appearing on stage will receive: Not So Hot Pockets. From the makers of the original microwaveable pastry snack. Try our new Lamb and Limburger flavor. Whaddya gonna pick? Not So Hot Pockets. Michael Jordan Styling Mousse And Gel. Proven 23% more effective than Dark And Lovely. Works great on corn rows, too. Free steel-wire brush with every $30 Michael Jordan hair-care purchase.

Join us for another edition of "Rate-A-Record."


Checking on eBay for prices on Husker rarities and the like, I noticed that someone had paid $735 for the Necros' "Sex Drive" EP. Of course, it's an original, mint-condition pressing from Touch And Go. But would the guy have any less of a connection to the band, had he opted for a later pressing/bootleg?

Responding to my message-board posted interrogative was Matt Puke: "Agreed. The only record worth spending that much on is something you can sell for more later. With Napster, bootlegs, and re-issues, there's very little music that isn't available at a cheaper price. I'd have trouble paying over $10 for a re-issue or bootleg of any Necros recording. Is that EP a 12"? If so, I think I saw it in Indianapolis about five years ago for around $50. I guess I should have bought it and sold it to this geek!"

Doing some quick mental math, the total per song that "geek" paid was $183.75. "A handful of nickels used to keep the jukebox goin' all night long." (Toby Keith, 10-10-220) Back to the classroom, to hear those four Necros songs at a dive near you would loosen your pockets by 14,700 nickels.

"I'd hate to be that guy." (Terry Bradshaw, 10-10-220)


After six unfruitful years on the Junior Putters of America (JPA) circuit, the son of a much-maligned professional golfer finally tasted victory, with a record-setting performance at the Janaf Invitational.

John Daly Jr. shot the round of his career during the first 18 holes; a blistering 7-under-par 29 achieved under less-than-ideal conditions. The course, which was moist due to the previous night's rainfall and littered with debris, played tougher than normal. Also contributing to the difficulty were strong winds (25-30 mph) that made routine putts seem like bunker plays.

No mulligans were necessary for the twelve-year-old whippersnapper, however, as he taught lessons in calmness and patience that the senior Daly has yet to learn. Said caddie The Square Root of Willis, who had become an infamous part of local golfing folklore after being arrested in 1993 for harassing Curtis Strange ("Whacha talkin' 'bout Curtis?"), "Whacha talkin' 'bout Daly?"

Not much, actually. The lone entrant in the Norfolk JPA stop was laconic throughout, quietly registering only two bogeys in follow-up rounds of 34 and 33, good for a 54-hole total of 96 (12-under-par).

Attempts to interview Daly at match's end proved that the golf ball does not fall far from the tee. One reporter's inquiry about course management was met with, "I managed it fine, just fucking fine. Where can I get a goddamn drink 'round here?"

Travel SCRABBLE Game Folio

With its interlocking tiles and lightly colored bonus squares, this is a cute version of the SCRABBLE Deluxe rotating board. Housed in a convenient zipper bag, the game's entire contents fold up quite nicely when space is at a premium. Unfortunately, it takes many tries for the board to snap properly in place. Also, the tiles sometimes refuse to fasten into squares and go airborne on these failed attempts. Such lack of obedience can lead to missing letters, which in turn spouts four-tiled expletives from the players. Serious competitors should spend the extra twelve dollars for the Deluxe. Still, if you wanna get your SCRABBLE fix while traveling, visiting the eye doctor, or having a hideous growth removed from an embarrassing body part, this scaled-down model will maintain your wordy prowess. But be sure to take a dictionary along for the ride. Wouldn't want you to go apeshit upon learning that RAGE can't be added to ROAD.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


While some Clashoholics have been drinking to the strains of Joe Strummer's newest little audio firecracker, the ones with taste have avoided the B.A.D. brew by launching tried-and-true bottle rockets like The Clash, Give 'Em Enough Rope, and London Calling. For these fire-starters, Epic/Legacy's decision to upgrade and remaster the entire Clash catalog (sans the Mick Jones-less Cut The Crap) should've set the July night sky aflame. Instead, the manner in which Epic chose to set one prime bomb adrift backfired with the alacrity of a cap gun.

As many of you know, the first Clash album was released in 1977. Since the label felt that the record would be met with American indifference (i.e., "too British"), The Clash was only available in the U.K. as a domestic offering. As an English import, the album sold roughly 150,000 copies in the United States. Two years later (the band was on record #3 at this point), The Clash washed upon American shores as a refurbished vessel. With slightly altered cover graphics, the U.S. version contained five songs ("Clash City Rockers," "Complete Control," "White Man In Hammersmith Palais," "I Fought The Law," and "Jail Guitar Doors") not found on the U.K. release. The American overhaul also subtracted four cuts ("Deny," "Cheat," "Protex Blue," and "48 Hours") from the original U.K. pressing. Though there existed a 10-track overlap between the two albums, The Clash saw the U.K. and U.S. items as two completely different things. Therefore, when The Clash remasters came out earlier this year, the band decided to reissue its first album in both English and American editions.

"The band's thinking was, 'This is the way we made the album for the U.K., and this is the way we made it for the U.S., and that's it,'" reissue producer Bruce Dickinson, pointing out that it was The Clash's and not Legacy's decision, told ICE MAGAZINE #160.

Such a cut-and-dry response rang hollow to many a Clash enthusiast. One concerned "career opportunist," Eric Levy of Illinois, expressed his displeasure in this E-mail to ICE: "I went to buy the newly re-released Clash albums, and was disappointed at how they chose to release the band's first album...Wouldn't it have been preferable to put all the songs from both versions on a single CD, with the song sequence explained in the liner notes? That way, people could program the disc however they wanted...I'm saddened that they felt they had to resort to this kind of rip-off tactic."

Back to Dickinson: "If you took either one of those first albums and put the other's songs on as bonus tracks, it would sort of conflict with their reasoning for not putting bonus tracks on any of the other releases -- which they could've done. But they felt it would've taken away from the total effect of what each album was."

Preserving the original vinyl statements may be seen by purists as a sign of integrity ("what The Clash have always been about..."). To those unadorned with a "punk-rock security blanket," however, The Clash's decision was more in keeping with AOR geezers Pink Floyd or Yes (that "total effect" comment could've easily been said by Roger Waters or Jon Anderson) than with anything anti-establishment. And why not? They've acted like Chicago in the past by forging Sandinista! (a huge mess of a triple album whose worthy tracks would've made a decent EP) on an unsatisfied public. Maybe it's an English thing, but most Americans have a hardy appetite and would happily chomp on bonus-track morsels. The Brits can be so dainty when it comes to consumption ("I'll have just the tea and not the cookies."), whereas Americans forever have hunger pangs ("Gimme the tea, the cookies, the pastries, the fruit, the cake...and a dozen of them there doughnuts!"). Past catalog reissues from notables like XTC, Motorhead, Joan Jett, Cheap Trick, and Motley Crue have kept a few extra treats in the refrigerator cold, much to a bedtime snacker's delight.

As such, the missing sweets from the U.K. album would've been a flavor enhancer to the U.S. record (and vice versa), creating an overall tastier recipe. Still, if you choose to partake in either as-is portion, nibble on this Clash crumb from VH1 Online: "But there are far worse ways to help turn rebellion into money. You could buy a Limp Bizkit record, for instance."

American Hi-Fi - The Art Of Losing (Island, 2003)

Why isn't "The Breakup Song" (not to be confused with Greg Kihn's beery-eyed anthem from two decades prior) #1 on the charts? With a radio-friendly hook and similarities to "Flavor Of The Weak" ('specially in the chorus) from its first album, A Hi-Fi's so-long-you're-gone statement should have spirited teens all 'round singing, "It's over/We're over/Just like in 'Crimson And Clover.'" But alas, the chances of that happening are equal to an ex-girlie returning borrowed music ("One more thing before you go/Would you please give me my records back?/My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies, Cheap Trick, and Back In Black"). The dude must've loaned her Trick's self-titled, because "Built For Speed" is shaped like Zander and friends' "He's A Whore." "Save Me" and "This Is Sound" suggest that the girl's hoarding a forgotten-about copy of Smashing Pumpkins' Gish. The title track cops some lyrical feels from the 'Mones and Kim Wilde, reminding both of the fun times in their relationship. Will the kids in America warm to American Hi-Fi's quality brand of above-ground pop-rock? Hey ho, let's hope so.

The Strap-Ons - $4 Whore (Naked Jain, 2003)

More twisted thoughts from the mind of Tidewater's most outgoing calculus teacher -- Brian D. Diederich (known to shiftless, SOL- challenged drunk punks as Idle). The ginch who's "pulling tricks and doing hits at the dollar store" on the title track is later found making change inside the "OV Love" shack ("Kneeling in piss, just a little kid with lipstick and tights/Ocean View -- they're only dudes in dresses wearing spikes..."). Having saddled his/her last Trojan horse minutes earlier, the tranny doesn't take chances and gets a "Glad Baggy" across the next piece of raw hide ("I had no rubbers, honey/It was after two/I said, 'look girl'/I think I'll go home with you/
Slide my jockey in"). While counting post-coitus pennies (all 400 of 'em), the TV shows a bit of a political side on "Replace Me" ("Only cloned from good genes/Generations much more clean/History for what it seems now/Drone-like workers happy now") and "Johnny Jihad" ("A Toyota truck just got stuck/Someone call the CIA/Try to change the human race/Someone blew up the USA"). Not to worry, though -- the pre-op's CNN broadcasts around-the-clock Circle Jerks and Sloppy Seconds. Group sex. Wild in the streets. "Traci" will be the one wearing a Paula Zahn wig. See you on Chesapeake Blvd.

My Dad Is Dead - The Engine Of Commerce (Vital Cog, 2003)

One might attempt lumping MDID with The Strokes and Interpol as wunderkinds offering dated-yet-fresh approaches to post-punk. Though Mark Edwards drives a '96 Saturn with similar horsepower as the aforementioned's rides, he's been renting company cars from Factory Records since '84. On MDID's eleventh (judging by AMG's vehicle history) release, Edwards once again turns on the radio and tests the transmission. "All We Want" downshifts Ian Curtis' spoken-not-sung vocalisms with fluid contemplativeness. "Stories Left Untold" is Mission Of Burma in fourth gear while Edwards strips an honest admission ("What I've learned/After forty years of living/Is I've got a lot to learn"). "Physical Fitness" wonders if the loaner from Hertz has "the right equipment." Like autos serviced by Jiffy Lube, MDID is a well-oiled machine.


On April 9, 2001, radio station 93.7 The Coast had an interesting three-song lineup for its "Theme Park." Since you asked, that's a segment where the DJ plays a trio of selections. Then, the listener has to determine how all of the tracks tie together.

This particular merry-go-round had The Who's "Who Are You?", Alanis Morrisette's "You Outta Know", and Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" as horses waiting to be saddled. With the rotation complete, caller #1 thought the cuts were found on each band's respective first album. Think again. The second guesser was closer to the mark -- "They all have the F-word bleeped out." Actually, only Morrisette's number was censorship-shaped ("Are you thinking of me when you ---- her?"). The Who ("Tell me, who the fuck are you?") and Pearl Jam ("Seemed a harmless little fuck") penetrated the FCC walls with relative ease. This fact was pointed out by the on-air personality. Nevertheless, she deemed caller #2's conjecture to be acceptable, and the prize of two tickets for Edwin McCain And The Ultimate Spiral Fries was soon in the dialer's hands.

FCC's thoughts concerning "Theme Park" were saved till later on.

Hardee's Chicken Filet Biscuit

A friend of mine I've never met named Shawn once wrote that McDonald's should close their doors after 12 noon, for he felt the breakfast choices were the only edible items posted on the menu board. By and large, this suggestion is agreeable to me, though I've been known to scarf down late-night snacks of Quarter Pounders and fries when they've been priced right at 99 cents. On the other hand, I've avoided dinner time at Hardee's ever since my mom and a friend's madre had gotten extremely sick upon finishing roast beef sandwiches. Until I furnished a "Buy One Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Get One Free" coupon last Thursday, it had been over four years since I'd darkened the doorway amongst the lunch 'n' dinner crowd. Besides tainted meat, two Hanson brother-lookin' (think "Slap Shot," not the MMM... Boppers) jack-offs who had worked at the Kempsville Road location weren't exactly Emerils BAMMING to serve you a meal. From overheard conversations between the two at nearby computer terminals, the Hansons had been:

1)Living behind a dumpster at Woodstock Elementary,
2)Planning a trip out of town to "bang some bitches,"
3)Avoiding court-ordered child-support payments to their exes, and
4)Wondering where they could "score some weed."

Well, they must have acquired new-old beds, married some Jefferson Avenue hookers from Nippert News, paid their kiddies in Fixin's Bar annuities, and sucked on fat doobies, because I haven't seen the bros for damn near 18 months now. Their welcomed absence was my cue to order some "bretfast." Waving yet another 2-for-1 paper slip, I did exactly that.

Unlike the clucker sandwiches I'd resigned myself to intaking, these were carefully prepared by cooks who somewhat give a damn about what they're dishing out. Guess if you have to report to work at 5 AM, you're more likely to take pride in your tasks than two hockey goons passed out drunk on their Mattress Discarders. The chicken pieces were generous and had a pleasing spicy flavor, while the biscuits were warm and flaky. Every bite was an enjoyable one. Surprisingly, they were better tasting than the last two counterparts I'd had at Chick-Fil-A (different poultry stock from their most-famous creation?). I'll oftentimes add a dollop of mayo on the chicken, but I decided against doing so in order to capture the true flavor. With the last several bites, I was satiated, smiling, and ready to go about my day. Not at all a bad deal for $2.41; however, that total was computed with the coupon and sans beverage (I'd brought my own Deer Park water from the homestead). No way would I've forked over $4.38 (plus 10% food a resort town!) under normal conditions, but I had no problemo with my adjusted-figure meal. As far as Hardee's P.M. chicken offerings go, stick with those found at the "Never on Sunday" establishment.


Thanks to the 3,650,000 televised hours of these Oh-Limp-Ick Games, I now have an obsession with a sport previously unwatched by me.

Curling could be described by the casual observer as a hybrid of darts, horseshoes, hockey, and custodial engineering. Each four-person team has eight tries per end (similar to an inning in baseball). One person (whom I'll call "the stoner") pushes a 42-pound chunk of finely shaped granite across the sheet (what the playing area is referred to as) without going over the hog line. As the stone makes its way to the bulls-eye, two teammates with brooms (known as sweepers to me and many others) follow alongside. Their function is to either smooth the ice in front of the rolling rock (which increases distance) or let the stone travel uninhibited (mainly as a defensive strategy for positioning). The fourth individual (also holding a broom) stands around the target and brushes the surface to guide offensive boulders or misdirect defensive rolls. After each side has passed eight rocks, points are scored by the team whose stones in the target are closest to the center (I've seen teams score as many as four points an end). Often, an entire end is scoreless because a team will knock an opponent's rocks outside the circle (where the horseshoe comparison is most apt). When ten ends are completed, whichever side has the most scoring stones is the winner.

As of 2/16/02, the Ewe Ess curling dudes have defeated Sweden (a power in the sport); lost to Canada, Germany, and Sweden; and stomped Switzerland. Those in the know say we'll have to sweep (HA! HA!) our remaining four matches to get any chance at a medal. If the Ewe Ess Aye fails to bronze, I'll move to Minnesota and be joined by fellow curler Tim Willig. Once there, we'll spend hour after hour sweeping and stoning the 10,000 available ponds. When not training, Tim and I will aggressively promote our new passion via innuendo-laced bumper stickers ("Curlers...Do It From End To End!"), impromptu sponsorships ("You're damn Skippy Peanut Butter we're gonna bring home the bronze in Oh-Sixx!"), and Jesse Ventura ("These two gentlemen of sound body, sound mind, and sealed spirit represent everything that is so great about Minnesotans"). Paul Westerberg, Bob Mould, and Kirby Puckett ("great Minnesotans" all) have promised a third-place party upon our if-successful-but-not-too-successful return home. Billing themselves as The Twin Twins, Minneapolis' favorite sons will play any of Tim's or my requests ("as long as they're not Grant Hart-penned numbers," Puckett warns). Also, the two long-legged femmes from the TV show "Let's Bowl!" told us they'll be ours for Return-To-Minn night, providing that they can wear our medals.

Hey, ladies: We'd like for you both to have a bumper sticker.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Now that one of the most unpredictable NFL campaigns in recent memory has come to a close, the need for rabbit-ear antennas is about as necessary as another season of "Beverly Hills 90210 -- The ITT Tech Years."

In case you've just now resurfaced from an underground bunker, here's the scoop. Since January 1st, FOX 43's programming has been unavailable on the Cox Cable System. The network affiliate had sought a lower-numeric position to gain increased ratings from channel surfers, you know, the kind of people who can't even program their VCRs. Cox Communications held their ground, citing neither room nor desire to move existing channels in order to satisfy FOX 43. Because Cox needs permission from the individual stations (like 43) to carry programming, Calista Flockhart has looked slimmer than usual to local TV mavens these days.

Of course, the real losers in this FOX/Cox fracas have been viewers of shows like "Ally McBeal," "Greed," "Party Of Five," etc. Though some would consider these people "losers," dispute or not, it has been their choice to fill trash-compacted minds with such unintelligent garbage. Until this matter is resolved, FOX fans will have to indulge themselves in secondary entertainment such as reading books, cleaning bathrooms, and talking to their children.

Personally, I wish FOX 43 would return to WTVZ-33 and reclaim their 1980s glory with syndicated classics like "Carter Country," "Three's Company," "B.J. And The Bear," "Bosom Buddies," among others. Such fare challenged your intellect and tickled your funny bone. This would, in FOX's words, "enable them to better serve the community."

UPDATE: On Feb 4, 2000, Cox Communications and FOX 43 reached an agreement that returned FOX's programming to its original spot on the dial. Roughly a month later, Cox switched FOX's channel position with Animal Planet's (14). FOX got their wish, but adverts for "FOX 43" still run seven months after the change- over. Where's Al Bundy to explain the ass-backwardness of this situation?

Diesel Boy/Goober Patrol/Lostribe/Kill Ratio @ Virginia Beach Skate Park, Va. Beach, VA (8/11/97)

Suhgurim from Va. Beach and The Drapes from Portland, OR had also been slated to play, but they didn't make it. Also, Ensign from New Jersey experienced van troubles that would render them absent. "20/20" should do a story on the mechanical condition of bands' vans from the NY/NJ area (Jack Black, L.E.S. Stitches and Blanks 77 have also missed shows here for that reason). Admission paid, my next order of business was to search for loose tapes by the British metal band Quartz. Using my NWOBHM detector, an oddly shaped instrument resembling Joe Elliot's arm paired with Bruce Dickinson's face, the quest for Quartz turned up nil. Just as well, because fifteen guys in NOFX shirts had been giving me a "What the hell is that guy doing?" stare. Who knows what would've happened, had my Quartz find been in the black?

Kill Ratio from Va. Beach (I think) went on first. Their sound was of the Victory/Revelation school, with heavy rhythms and angry vocals. Have seen their stickers on numerous stop signs and telephone poles. They really got people moving, when a member of the crowd sang the final number. A cover, I assume, since twenty or more up front knew the words and were clamoring for the microphone. Yeah!

Lostribe followed and were truly in their own element. These skate-punks delivered with the tightest performance I'd seen from them. Their melodic-hardcore sound with sing-along choruses reminded me of Face To Face's Don't Turn Away album. Skaters on the ramp took advantage of the live soundtrack, and they pulled off an insane arsenal of tricks (sorta like a skate video come to life). Lostribe saved two of their best for last -- "Life Sentence" and "S.C.F.B." Thumbs up!

Next, Goober Patrol from England entertained with their humorous style of pop punk. If you'd taken a Lagwagon album and meshed it with the in-between song banter of Peter And The Test Tube Babies' Pissed And Proud, you would've gotten something similar to Goober Patrol's set. They had the best T-shirt for sale -- a black one that goofed on Motorhead's No Remorse album. The oft-covered "Spiderman" theme closed things in a fun,
goofy way. Jolly good!

Diesel Boy outta Santa Rosa, CA were the last band of the night and played fast pop-punk songs about Drew Barrymore, their ex-drummer, and, of course, jerking off. By far, the number that had the biggest response was "Titty Twister" from the Fat Wreck Chords sampler Survival Of The Fattest. Sounded like everyone in the building was singing, "My pants are falling down..." Way to go, but if you'd wanted to disguise beer, ya'll should've used an A&W Cream Soda bottle instead of a Coke one. Just ask Mitch.


No, you're not the only one who has noticed Mr. T's increased visibility on the tube lately.

During its "Revenge of the 80s" week, Nick At Nite showed him in re-runs of "Diff'rent Strokes" (where Mr. Drummond agreed to let "The A-Team" crew film a scene in his penthouse) and "Silver Spoons" (as a bodyguard hired to protect Rick from a school strong-arm). Also, T appears in two hilarious 1-800-COLLECT commercials (as "Inspecta Collect") and a Lipton Sizzle & Stir spot with the likes of Loni Anderson (who serves up T a kiss, in addition to dinner), Mary Lou Retton, and George Hamilton.

Haven't seen this much of the man since the early '90s. Anyone remember his role as a private investigator on "T And T"? How 'bout T's unbelievable appearance on "The Jerry Springer Show" (at a birthday party for kids with progeria -- they had no idea who he was)?

NBC or some other network should give Mr. T another chance at prime time. Even something simple like "The Mr. T Show" could work, as long as the producers "let T be T" and don't try to complicate matters. Who could be a musical guest on T's show? Well, certainly not Sting, as was evidenced by T throwing Murdock's radio out of a window, at the same time a Police song chimed through the speakers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Basketball legend Julius Erving is known the world over for his high-flying, acrobatic style demonstrated with the Virginia Squires and Philadelphia 76ers. A household name even to non-hoop aficionados -- I mean, who hasn't heard of Dr. J? Well, there was one.

Not long after Erving's retirement, he visited Norfolk for a homecoming of sorts (the long-defunct Squires had played visiting teams at Scope) by appearing on a local call-in show. My mother, who had befriended the host of said talk-radio program during her days selling Dodges, was invited to see the question/answer session in person and meet Dr. J before hand. She accepted the offer, more to see the inner workings of a radio station than to mingle in the presence of a famous athlete. Also, my mom felt entitled to a well-deserved break from the 9-to-9 world of car sales, having made a hefty commission on a van purchased by (unbeknownst to her) former Oakland A's/New York Yankee great Jim "Catfish" Hunter.

Twenty minutes before scheduled on-air time, the excited host introduced her to Mr. Erving. "Hello, my name is Susan," my mother said softly to the tall gentleman, whose hand was the biggest she had ever grasped. "I'm Julius Erving. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," the NBA Hall-Of-Famer responded in kind. Usually, a celebrity of Dr. J's caliber would've been bombarded with questions concerning accomplishments in his chosen field. However, my mom's knowledge of basketball was restricted to knowing what one looked like. Thus, her conversation with one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players was along the lines of, "Nice weather we're having today, huh?" Mr. Erving -- who sensed that my mother was more familiar with an Orange Julius than he -- pointedly asked her, "You have no idea who I am, do you?" Without missing a beat, my mom replied, "Well, you have no idea who I am, do you?" Feeling thwarted with the same force of a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar block, "The Doctor" spent the rest of his stay in Norfolk taking "house calls" from people who needed no proof of his "license to practice."

Later, my mother told the host that she'd thought Julius Erving was a local disc jockey who went by the on-air handle of "Dr. J." Long before this day, my mom had met a true Norfolk radio legend (2WD's Dick Lamb) at Plaza Theaters. While movie-goers surrounded Mr. Lamb for an autograph, my mom noticed thousands upon thousands of dandruff specks clinging to his wool jacket. Dr. Flake?

Tears On Sunday - Seduction (self-released, 2002)

When Columbus Movies in Vaaa Beeech played pre-film music from artists like Bryan Ferry, Matthew Sweet among others during their early-90's "Dollar Days," the feature presentation often would be a huge letdown compared to the piped-in programming of an imaginary DJ who had been spared the noose. "Dum And Dummer" vs. "Divine Intervention"? You get the picture. "Cinema Song," a "psychosexual paranoid fantasy in A minor," says one who knows that his first name is, like a Baldwin brother, Stephen, crunches popcorn with the hallucinogenic emptiness of Galaxie 500 standing in the ticket line and eating their Twinkies ("Don't wanna be your boyfriend/Just wanna give you head/Don't wanna take my medicine/Just wanna die in bed"). "I Hope You Stay" keeps me in my seat to witness the drama of a lost Stone Roses video trailer ("How can I change the fate that binds me to this place/Illusions fail reality/Kicks me in my face"). "Tokyo" horrifically finds Godzilla attacking a broken heart with "no subtitles beneath (his) tears." "What Luna Sees" fringes amongst bird noises and bar flies ("Hey, you're pretty cute" is overheard in the darkened theater). Extra footage: In 1991, Luna performed at the Boathouse in Nawfuck with The Sundays. I was there. What Luna sees, she tells me. I saw Luna, and I'm telling you. What Luna sees. What lunacies.

Wondermints - Mind If We Make Love To You (Smile, 2002)

Having served as the backing band for Brian Wilson's 2000 "Coming Out Of The Sandbox" (not the official name, but Good Humor me, popsicle!) tour, the reclusive Beach Boy says thanks by contributing background vocals to "Ride" and "So Nice." All the expected components of lush, orchestrated pop are present: piano, cello, harp, quiet annunciation, and "ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba" (courtesy of the wonderfully drippy "Out Of Mind"). In this age of nouveau metal where the intent is to out-anger (does the ink from tribal tattoos seep into the blood and boil it at toxic levels?), it's a pleasurable diversion when music is so unapologetically strawberry-sweet and
seemingly innocuous. For contemporary listeners whose record collection begins in 1989, think Oranges And Lemons/Nonsuch/Apple Venus-era XTC sharing rehearsal space with Ben Folds minus the Five.


"Act It Out" was a Christian talk show aimed primarily at teenagers and young adults. It was shown Saturday nights at 11:30 on Cox Cable (channel 40) between 1993-95. As the title implies, (pre-recorded) skits were used to guide viewers from sin to salvation. Each program's opening credits pictured a girl running away from home. While walking "the streets," she is confronted by a group of up-to-no-good kids. They attempt to steal the girl's purse and chase her into a dark alley. Suddenly, a large and scary gentleman with a Jerri-Curl appears. His name is Alfonzo, and all of the kids are obviously intimidated by his presence. Troublemakers are gone in a flash, but the girl remains (leaning on a fence and gripped with fear). Does he want her purse? Does he want her? Amazingly, Alfonzo offers a blanket and a shoulder to cry on. Tears are wiped away. They talk things over coffee at a two-bit diner and he convinces the girl to go back home, where her parents are waiting with open arms. Before he speeds off in a Porsche 924, Alfonzo and the girl exchange goodbyes. The car is evidence that he is not only in touch with God, but also with DMV authorities. The Porsche has decals from '88, while the license plate reads ACT IT OUT (8 letters instead of the maximum 7). Guess being chosen does have its advantages!

One of which was hosting "Act It Out" -- a position where Alfonzo excelled. Adopting a "You can be Christian AND be cool" approach, the show pushed the envelope further than most. Comments from Alfonzo like, "I'm gonna jackslap you," "Why you this way?" (to a homosexual guest), and "You ball?" (he asked that of nearly everybody), in addition to dated El Debarge and Fat Boys references, showed "Act It Out" formed comedic angles that even Letterman had never protracted. Dr. Miller, the show's resident psychologist and second banana (not just because he wore the same damn yellow sweater every week), must've had a hard time getting his P.H.D. His answer to any proposed question was invariably, "Because the Bible says so." The equally omniscient audience was responsible for brilliant statements like, "God didn't create Adam and Steve," "He O.D.-ed on alcohol," "I from E.C. Glass," and "Why you rode the pie?" (For those not fluent in Pig Ebonics, that last interrogatory can be translated, "Why do you ride the pine?" in jock-talk; "Why do you sit on the bench?" in plain English.). "Act It Out" had Jerry Falwell's stamp-of-approval and showed him in self-promotional spots extolling the virtues of Liberty University. "We have a fantastic... coliseum," and "Baseball... coached by... former New York Yankee great Bobby Richardson" were the two main hooks.

This "Act It Out" viewer has two inquiries for Rev. Falwell, Dr. Miller, and Alfonzo: 1) Who the hell is Bobby Richardson and 2) Did he rode the pie?