Monday, January 30, 2006

Look, Ma.... No Class!

Katharine Hepburn
You scored 14% grit, 42% wit, 38% flair, and 9% class!
You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the Classic Leading Man Test.

Engine Summer

Lord have mercy. Just shoot me now, please.

Then again there are other reasons to go on living. For instance, having the entire dance sequence to Mohammed Rafi's outrageously infectious fractured-funhouse surf guitar Bollywood hit "Jan Pehechan-Ho" from the 1966 film Gumnaam, parts of which I first saw during the opening credits to the equally excellent Terry Zwigoff movie Ghost World. For some idea of what I look like what I'm dancing around in the privacy of my own room when it's nobody but me and my P-Funk records, keep your eye on the woman in the gold lame' dress.

Thank you ever so much for finding this, Spidra! Damn girl, I owe you another CD, or sumthin'.

So anyhoo, in other news, mein freund Papa is on the cover of a new book coming out about hardcore porn:

Or at least his eyeball is, up there in the corner. I remember last May he told me he was doing a movie shoot in Italy and I think this is where the photographs for the book were taken. I think the book is already out in Europe but Amazon only has a pre-order page set up for it, so I suppose I'll wait until it's released in the states.

Also yesterday during a discussion about Brokeback Mountain he brought up a 1977 German flick directed by Wolfgang Peterson called Die Konsequenz starring Jürgen Prochnow. Has anybody out there seen this, and know where I can get my greasy mitts on a copy?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Impulse Items

Still trying to wrap my sleepy lil' bean around the fact that I own a house this morning. Even more miraculous was the fact that they accepted our offer of $8,000 less than asking price. I gotta hand it to my partner in crime here who for over a decade had booked everyone from Vanilla Ice to Marilyn Manson knows a thing or two about playing hardball at the negotiation table. I suppose I can count the moment when the reality truly sank in was when Joe poked his finger repeatedly at my chest and announced, "You're stuck with me now for 30 years, bay-beee!" Mother of God.

Even with the $8,000 knocked off mortgage rates will still be about the same as what we're paying here, but I don't mind so long as it's not just getting pitched out the window anymore in rent. Building equity, baby. Yep, I'll be a hopelessly broke woman until I'm over 60.

And to mark the occasion I wound up spending some more of that money that I don't have freeing up some of the used product I've had languishing in my hold bin at work...

Crazy Blues: The Best of Mamie Smith -- I was taken with her voice immediately several years ago after first hearing "Crazy Blues", her 1920 single that incidentally also made her the very first black vocalist to record a vocal blues track. And then have it go on to be a hit, which prompted many other record companies to latch onto the concept of "race records" and snap up the Bessie Smiths and others out there during this time period. This is a collection of sides that Mamie put out for Okeh Records during the height of her career.

Return To Forever, Romantic Warrior -- 1976 jazz-fusion classic made up of Chick Corea's supergroup Al DiMeola, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White. Never heard a note of this, if you can believe it. But Tracy at work has been pickin' at me to gank it as soon as possible, and I admit to having enjoyed several other similar-sounding pieces from the likes of Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra. I also take pleasure in the occasional well-made prog-rock album, and Bitches Brew is the very first Miles Davis record I ever owned and loved. Okay now I don't know where I'm going with all this but anyway I got it now so whoop there it 'tis.

And of course I couldn't let the DVD to Frank Zappa's Baby Snakes get away from me this time, especially at $10.99 used, Bucko (and then marked down 20% with my discount, woot). Also something else that I have yet to officially experience, although I do own the soundtrack, which S. and I used to enjoy together, cracking each other up singing along to the title track in unison. She had this poster on her bedroom wall for years. Oh, and Mike came into the store last night and basically threatened to yell at me if I didn't but this for myself. Of course Mike is pretty much a diehard Zappaphile anyway, but I really don't like to be yelled at, and Mike has rather formidable lungs. It really didn't require too much arm-twisting on his part.

Things are finally beginning to blow up, people. To quote Arthur Lee Oop-ip-ip oop-ip-ip, yeah!!

Now I would just to point out that I just quoted Arthur Lee. Eghads, I'm a tool.

I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass

The call came to me while I was at work tonight, and I swear about half the staff including my boss where all leaning in as far as they physically could, all eyes as tall and as wide as the Round Tower of Copenhagen as they scanned my face for any sign of reaction while I received the news that I've been waiting over 3 long years to hear.

My offer on the townhouse has been accepted.

Holy cats. I got a house.

Well of course not quite. I need to get the home inspector out there this week to give it a once over. Then we'll see.

Am I dreaming? What a weird, unreal week this has been for me. Since I've been home tonight I haven't stopped sitting hunched over my lap, staring down at the stripy socks on my feet. It just doesn't feel... tangible. The house, that is. Not my feet. No, on second thought they don't feel quite real, either. Shouldn't stand on them. Better stay here right all night, just in case.

3 years. Have I mentioned that part already?

Jesus Christ.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sunrise, Sunset

For what it's worth...

I enjoyed playing the Ellen to your Newland, the Catherine to your Heathcliff. And I adored being your starling.

Thank you for the unparalleled pleasure of letting me get to know you.

Please be well, my friend.



Friday, January 27, 2006

A Tune You're All Familiar With

It's scaring me just how close I am right now to getting this townhouse, but I don't want to jump the gun and jinx it. I should hear something definitive today.

In the meantime, a little lite entertainment for your amusement: Mark E. Smith and the Fast Food Dancers!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Fri 27: 9-5
Sat 28: 4-cl
Sun 29: 2-cl
Mon 30: 4-cl
Wed 1: 10-4
Thur 2: 2-8:30
Sat 4: 12-7:30

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

It's A Shame About Ray

So. We put another bid on a townhouse today. A two-story place out in Green Run. 2 beds, 1 1/2 baths, approximately 1,260 square feet. We did see a 3 bed one that was even bigger and pretty darn nice (and we've been aiming for 3 beds all this time), but this 2 bed place is laid out in a manner that's probably more suited to us and our lifestyle and general everyday existence. The rooms are much more blocked off, creating little pockets of privacy and seclusion all over the house. As much as Joe and I crave each other's company with an almost constant alacrity and giddiness, we are both intrinsically private, reclusive people who need our space to do our own thing from time to time. In other words Joe needs a room where he can sometimes watch his wrestling, and Melissa needs a room where she can sometimes, um, not hear it.

Afterwards we went to lunch again with Tom the realtor, and Mike joined us again as well. Over Chinese buffet we played one of those geeky music nerd games that all four of us, as music nerds, always tend to gravitate towards when we're together: We started out jokingly adding the middle name "Ray" to every blues artist that we could think of off the top of our heads (Robert Ray Johnson, Muddy Ray Waters, Howlin' Ray Wolf, Blind Lemon Ray Jefferson, Bonnie Ray Raitt) and we had come to the conclusion that it was the middle name "Ray" that truly lended the air of serious blues artist to the name itself. So we started imagining non-blues artists goin' blues and adding "Ray" to their names and just picturing what they might end up sounding like (Jacques Ray Brel, Pat Ray Benatar, Sun Ray Ra, Donna Ray Summer, Mitch Ray Miller -- which when I said it Joe immediately remarked "Now that's a Mitch Miller album cover I'd like to see!"). Then of course it got a little more ridiculous as we started branching off to actors an actresses (I'm mightily proud of my "Rae Dawn Ray Chong") and then to news correspondents (Wolf Ray Blitzer?) and Lord knows where it all went from there because by that point I was nearly face down in my plate of General Tso's chicken trying desperately not to hyperventilate from laughing too hard. I was also still deliriously exhausted from having Mike over until 4am last night making me laugh just as hard and here he was just a few hours later thumping me stoutly on the back to keep from choking on every fucking word coming out of his mouth. So yeah, I was a little loopy, and I hope my dazed state didn't interfere with my decision-making abilities when it came down to me signing off on all the standard purchase agreements back at Tom's office on this new place. I know, I' m not supposed to get excited until I know that I have it. But I can't help it. This would really make my new year, my upcoming birthday, and next Christmas 12 months from now all in one. Yes. I really, really can't wait to move. Really.

We also talked about the upcoming Waxing Poetics reunion. Tom and Mike have a gig that night so they can't make it. That reminds me, I need to look into ticket prices and whatnot. Pretty sad state of affairs when I'm buying a house and I can't even afford tickets to a freakin' local band from the 80's.

Joe and I returned home, where we watched Mad Hot Ballroom. Which was cute and all.

Think I'll curl up in the sack and pass out during The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, which I am finding enormously more entertaining than The Daily Show with Jon Stewart these days. So I'll probably struggle with consciousness throughout the duration.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Little Victories

Have you ever seen a sheep in a porkpie hat,
Ever see a lemming dressed all in black,
You might have been there but I'll tell you just in case,
Just take a walk down St. Mark's Place.

I've been singing that song to myself all day today. No reason, really. Just puttin' it out there.

Also just putting this out there, as little interest for anyone else but myself, but I was at this concert. Don't know if you can see me in the audience, though, and I haven't seen the DVD yet myself. Heck, why should I? I was there! And I was probably doing what I always did at every show at the Boathouse; standing out on the pier and throwing beer cans at the jellyfish.

And finally, after, whoa, how many years?... I think at last I can recite this entire song verbatim out loud without the aid of music.

Alphabet Aerobics - Blackalicious
(m4a file/up for 7 days)

I haven't been this excited since "Subterranean Homesick Blues". Or that R.E.M. song that I can't seem to remember anymore.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Locals Only

Anyone remember my post back in August about legendary Hampton Roads 80's band Waxing Poetics? There will be a reunion March 11th at the Tap House Grill down on 21st & Colley Aveune in Norfolk.

I don't know what night of the week that is, but I plan to try and take it off from work and attend. I haven't seen them since their last reunion at Peabody's several, wow, years ago, and I haven't even had a chance to talk to David Middleton since I visited him the last time I was in NYC. And I can imagine that everybody from the old scene that hasn't had the smarts to bail outta this hickville will bound to be there as well. A real reunion, in a sense. Or at least for me, seeing as how far removed from the local scene I've become over the years. Who knew that would ever happen, considering how immersed I was in it at one point.

Hm. That sorta bums me out.

Anyway, thank you for the info, Sonny! I hope to meet you there, too. I'll be the tall, curly-haired brunette that's not drinking. Probably the only one, too. Unless half those other girls from back in the day are in rehab, of which I wouldn't doubt.

Friday, January 20, 2006

So Smile For Awhile And Let's Be Jolly

This week I've been going out of my mind with stress. And to make matters worse I haven't a single good excuse to feel the way I do. Because it's everything that I have been wanting for almost 3 years. I haven't any right to complain. And yet. And yet.

My boss is showing more and more initiative to get me promoted, and she has discussed the issue of moving me about the store more to get more acclimated to the departments that I am less familiar with, which I can understand and am willing to fully cooperate. But the one department that she is most eager to put me is not only the department where I am naturally the weakest and less effective, but I've been getting the hint that this dreaded department is the one where she would prefer to not only move me but to manage, and this makes so little sense because she knows that my strength in this store is my knowledge of the actual product -- one of only 2 or 3 out of the 30-some employees that have any at all. But I do know that the manager of that dreaded department will be leaving soon and it will need to be filled. I have a hunch she wants that to be... me.

I am hoping that she will take a more experienced person from my department and move them up, and then let me take their former manager position. But this doesn't quite sound like what she wants to do, and that terrifies me. It's not that I probably couldn't do it. It's just that it involves the money aspect of the company and accounting just isn't my strong point. I mean you see how poorly I manage my own finances. Why take me away from the music and waste my skills sitting at a desk with an adding machine? People are going to keep knocking on my door every 10 minutes anyway with some 16-year-old associate asking, "Uh...Melissa? A customer wants that "Teenage Wasteland" song by The Who and I just can't find that song title on any album anywhere." which is pretty much my entire day at work in a nutshell right there. Yet it can't make any sense to take me away from that. It's why old farts like me aren't moved up in this business. The more knowledgeable people are always kept in the trenches. And those that can't do... well, they ring up the customers and say have a nice day. Or they manage the money. Or the manage the company. See what I mean?

I guess what stresses me the most is the worry that my potential promotion might lie entirely on how well I do in this department. A more paranoid person than I would possibly perceive this as {{gasp!}} sabotage, and luckily I am not that paranoid a person. But a part of me can't help flashing back to that episode of Little House On The Prairie where Nellie Oleson makes a little girl with a stuttering problem read a tongue-twister before allowing her entry into her exclusive club. Surrrrre we'll promote you, Melissa. Just, ah, do a whole lot of these things that you were never good at and the job is yours. But no, I'm not being paranoid. I'm just not.

But damn if my hair's not falling out from all the stress. And I hardly have much to spare anymore as it is.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Wilson Pickett

"Land Of 1,000 Dances" was one of the very first records that I ever owned when I was a little squirt. Thanks for helping light the way.

Dog And Pony Show

Looks as if my all-time favorite former Daily Show correspondent/new wave bassist/Mr. Bill nemesis is plotting his next big television endeavor, and this time he's got his younger, lesser-known sibling in tow:

AKA The Vance DeGeneres Employment Project

Ellen DeGeneres and her brother are developing a show for the WB.

I used to say that this was a sure sign it would never see air, but after "Pepper Dennis." anything is possible.



PASADENA, CA (January 16, 2006) ─ Ellen DeGeneres, the multiple Award-Winning Comedienne/Actress/Author/Talk Show Host, will bring her comedic vision to The WB Network with a pilot script for a new half-hour, live-action comedy, it was announced today at the Television Critics’ Association Press Tour by The WB’s President, Entertainment, David Janollari.

Ms. DeGeneres will team with her brother, writer Vance DeGeneres, to write the currently untitled script, which will depict family life from two different perspectives: both the people and the pets will have a voice in the series. Ms. DeGeneres will also voice the family dog.

“Joining forces with my brother has long been a dream of ours. Of course, that dream used to involve world domination. But a show on The WB works, too,” said Ms. DeGeneres. “I'm really looking forward to working with Vance on a project that doesn't involve a late Mother's Day gift for our mom.”

Vance DeGeneres is equally excited about the project. “I think it’s great that Ellen and I are finally getting a chance to create a show together,” he said. “Over the years we’ve talked about creating something together, but it didn’t work out until now with The WB. The good thing about working together is that, although she’s a big star, Ellen is also my younger sister, and I think you know what that means ─ our mom settles any creative arguments. Mom is tough, but fair. And she makes us soup.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Thur 19: 10-5
Sat 21: 4-cl
Sun 22: 2-7:30
Wed 25: 10-5:30 (I)
Thur 2-8:30
Fri 27: 9-5
Sat 28: 4-cl

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's Expected I'm Gone

We appear to be having electricity issues. We as in my entire neighborhood, that is. The other night during a mild snow storm the power kept flickering on and off, and finally went out right before midnight, then cut back on again at 3am. This morning it flickered on and off around 8am, went off until around 10am when it came back on, then went back off again until it returned at about 20 minutes to 11 o'clock. Needless to say it's pretty irritating.

If for any reason you folks getting in touch with me via my blog, myspace, or email and I can't answer back right away, or if posting becomes erratic (or more so than it usually is) then you might wanna assume that I'm just sitting here in the dark twiddling my thumbs.

Sigh. At least that bill's been paid. I think.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

I'm having such a swell time with your book, Brett. Hopefully if I make it back to L.A. this year we can go hit up Louie's again and reminisce about... well, I suppose about the last time we ate there. I've been fiending for that Chicken Parmesan ever since we scarfed ours down together. Good times, my friend. Good times.

And speaking of online friends who are writers that I have met only once in the flesh, Phil Freeman's new book Running the Voodoo Down : The Electric Music of Miles Davis is out and the reviews are in! Gaaah, so much good schtuff to read these days! At least that's a good thing.

Okay, funny story... er, well not haha funny, really. But I think it's pretty cool anyway.

Back in the last decade I was a huge fan of the short-lived zine Subliminal Tattoos, published by Robert DuPree, which as it proclaimed on the cover featured articles and reviews on "comics, music, video, books, and obscuro culture" with submissions from the likes of Harvey Pekar, Poppy Z. Brite, Ed Sanders, and numerous others. It was this zine that initially introduced me to the likes of Django Reinhardt, Strangers In Paradise, and most interestingly a brief but very effective article on Keiji Haino entitled "Keiji Haino Is A Sorcerer" that made me rush right out to procure a Forced Exposure catalog (this was 1994, before the internet, y'know) and order off for his CD The Milky Way which at that time in my life I don't think I had ever heard anything, ah, quite like it. That article, brief yet so passionate about its subject matter, stayed in my head for years.

Over the past few years I have been hanging out with an extremely learned and lively bunch of music geeks online, and a good portion of what I have been listening to during these years have been through their influence and recommendations. One of these was Phil Freeman, a freelance writer and magazine editor who struck up a conversation with me about Keiji Haino. I told him that I was introduced to the artist by an incredibly moving and influential article I had read almost a decade ago, and soon talks were in the works to make CD trades with each other. I couldn't locate my copy of The Milky Way to send him, but he managed to still mail me some marvelous Keiji Haino and Fushitshusha burns from his own extensive collection. And the last time I was in NYC I managed to met with him and have lunch together. A brilliant guy, and very passionate about what he loves when it comes to music.

Only maybe less than a year ago I was rooting through one of my old comic book boxes and came across ST#3 which I haven't looked at probably since it came out in 1994 and, remembering that it was the issue with the Keiji Haino article that galvanized me so long ago I turned right to that page with "Keiji Haino Is A Sorcerer" and... I stopped. And for the very first time I noticed the name of the man who wrote that article all those years ago: Phil Freeman.

Now you see what I mean about funny? Or maybe the word I'm searching for here is ironic. No, no. Definitely funny.

Anyway, here's one of Phil's reviews for a live Haino performance dating back to 1999. You can find his work all over the web. He also contributes to Wire, Jazziz, Alternative Press, and Spin.

I guess you can see now why I'm pretty jazzed about the new Mile Davis book.

Friday, January 13, 2006

After The Fall

Am I the only one somewhat nonplussed to see that the first Klaus Nomi album is still available on CD these days? As an import, that is. I was wondering if they were going to release it domestically again since the DVD to The Nomi Song came out a couple of years ago, which by the way I most highly recommend.

This was his first album, wasn't it? It's been awhile since I saw the movie. Well, if you count last summer as awhile.

Did anybody out there ever own it back when it came out in the early 80's? I suppose my question is, is it worth owning on CD now? I reckon only if operatic synth-pop is my bag. Thing is, I'm not sure if it is my, er, bag or not. But ever since I saw the film I can't quite get that... that voice outta my bean.

I know I have the old Saturday Night Live appearance with him and David Bowie somewhere in tape. But I'd love to find a link online. Anyone know a good SNL archive? Yeah, a good one? One that doesn't just have a bazillion downloads for the already played-out Narnia rap?

For those who may not remember, or just need a bit 'o remindin', here's Wikipedia's write-up on Klaus Nomi.

Also, check out this animated tribute. You get to absorb a smidge of Nomi's must-be-heard-to-be-believed tenor acrobatics. Click on each individual Klaus for the full-on in yo' face KLAUS NOMI EXPERIENCE!!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Color Me Schadenfreude

A remarkably satisfying instance of turnabout-is-fair-play reported over at Ye Olde Fandom_Wank.

Frankly, I think they are both being more than a a bit childish. But that's what keeps me tuning in for this kind 'o thing every freakin' week, iddin' it?

eBaum's World, apparently known for it's creator Eric Bauman's blatant theft of other people's content, in which he then watermarks and makes reported phat loot featuring on his site, has finally pushed things a touch too far by sabotaging SomethingAwful and sucking up all their bandwidth.

So it seems many users from these victimized forums, including SomethingAwful, Fark, and several others have joined together and within the last 48 hours have made the things very, er, uncomfortable for those over at a eBaum's World.

Last night Wemblee emailed me this precious little nugget 'o comedy gold . Turn on your volume to better appreciate the full benefit of the indignancy. Good heavens. Just exactly how old is this Mr. Bauman anyway?

Anyway, check it out. I'm gonna go make popcorn. Loves me some scrappy wank first thing in the morning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Quartermass & The Pit

Another unsuccessful afternoon of house hunting. Even though the market has finally flattened out and we stand a very real chance to winning a bid, we only had one house to look at today, and as nice as it was it's in this neighborhood that we keep coming back to that I just don't know about. The way the neighbors keep up, or rather, not keep up their properties concerns me. If and when I finally try to sell this place in the future I want it to be somewhere where the property values of the entire 'hood will increase, not decline, as it is obviously apparent in this one area.

Plus finances right now... ho boy. Things are looking grim. I need to check on the status of my loan before I even think of making another move. My standing could very well have... um, changed. In fact I can bet money on it. If I had the money to bet, that is.

And the Dallas Hack continues.

Yeah. Things could be better right now. A whole lot better.

But lunch today with my realtor Tom was nice, and Mike came to join us. Yes, the stripe down his head has grown back. And the sushi there was quite good.

I know I'm in no position to buy comfort items at the moment. But I couldn't resist a used copy of Once Upon A Time In America.

Utterly astonishing to look at. But I still can't buy into that ending. Talk about far-fetched. But there were several instances of true loveliness in this picture, especially during the flashback-to-childhood scenes, that are just too spellbinding not to own.

And yesterday while loafing around B&N waiting around for my Tussionex prescription I picked up a copy of Philip Roth's The Dying Animal.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I have never read any Roth, but a friend recommended this one to me as a sort of introduction (if not, perhaps, initiation?) into his style and prose. Reading always takes me out of my woes, no matter how bad they can escalate. And right now they're getting there. They are getting there.

That's it for this month's indulgence. I need every penny now. Every penny I can make for myself, however possible.

I can see this hole. And the hole just keeps getting bigger.

I see it close by. Out in the marsh, just over this side of the banks. Somewhere in the gray reeds I hear the vicious sounds of raccoons fighting. Or it could be foxes. I see them both often creeping in the night.

And the hole is expanding. It's heading this way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Thur 12: 10-5
Fri 13: 9-4
Sat 14: 10-5
Sun 15: 12-6:30
Mon 16: 11-6:30
Wed 18: 11-6:30
Thur 19: 10-5
Sat 21: 4-cl

Monday, January 09, 2006

9 (1/2?) Inch Nail

Another round of kudos for my "Papa" Steve Holmes for winning Best Foreign Male Performer of the Year at the 2006 AVN Awards this weekend.

And I want to personally thank you for a splendid year of, er... stimulating correspondence. For your sweetness, your indulgence, the lovely gifts, and um... being kind to my physical mistakes. {{{blushes}}}

Here's to another year. Keep bringing that A-game.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Can You Hear The American Sound?

How many out there can lay claim to owning a vinyl copy of the Bachelor Party soundtrack personally autographed by Peter Zaremba of The Fleshtones? And who on God's green earth would be fool enough to make such a boast?!! (fool pictured on right).

By the way the signature reads: This movie is very very BAD! BUT I wish we did more! -----> Peter Zaremba and all the Fleshtones ----> 89-90-9-...etc ----> Hamton VA (click pic to make BIG)

The Fleshtones, for those whippersnappers too young to give a shit remember, where sort of this 60's garage rock revivalist band that in a sense became my initial gateway band into the world of more hardcore punk, but none the less dangerous, IMO. I can remember the summer of 1983, the summer that I ironically acquired MTV, and they used to show the video to "American Beat" nearly every hour on the hour. I had these three best friends -- sisters from Boston, MA who would visit their grandma who lived next door to me every summer, and their mother was heavy into the Boston punk scene and they told me that this band played at a party that their mother had taken them to some years ago. So basically every time that song came on all four of us would scream and jump up and bounce up and down on my mother's couch, but only when we'd start doing the "Flintstone Flop" (a dance we picked up on from an episode of The Flintstones where you leap off the couch, do a flip in the air, and land flat on your back) did my own mother insistently intervene. But to this day I just can't hear that song without thinking about the Summer of 1983. And, er, all that potentially serious spinal chord damage that's bound to catch up with me later in life (if it hasn't already).

Oh, and I still have the flyer that I drew for this gig way back when, which I posted on my old blog once, and Maggie was swell enough to spruce it up a bit for me and sharpen the whole image considerably. Always in your debt, Mags!

And here's the temporary 7-day file of The Fleshtones "American Beat 84" from the Bachelor Party soundtrack. I hope folks were able to download yesterday's file okay. I'm still learning how to do things, so please bear with me here. Again, it's an M4a, so let me know if you have any trouble with it.

"American Beat '84" - The Fleshtones


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Test Pattern

If you guys can help me out I'd appreciate it.

The following is I believe an M4a of the Otis Taylor track "My Soul's In Louisiana", but I'm not certain. I don't know how to convert M4a's into MP3's, and it may have already been converted for all I know since what I know about computers amounts to a hill 'o nada. I've tried putting music samples up in the past but I never got any feedback if they were received or not so if any of you chose to download this file (it's from so it will only be up for 7 days) please leave me a comment and tell me whether or not you were able to hear it okay or not. I'd hate to keep putting things up that nobody can access.

"My Soul's In Louisiana" - Otis Taylor

Man, this has been one shitty day, and it's not even noon yet. But I won't bore everyone with the details. I promise a more chipper post in the near future.

Thanks, you guys.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Dust In The Headlights

Although I no longer have my {{cough cough}} former journal to guide me any longer for such details, I think it may have been around this time last year when I bought this copy of Otis Taylor's White African CD from my store, but it's just now a year later that I am truly beginning to absorb and appreciate what an incredible piece of work this really is. I only sort of played this sporadically throughout 2005 but for some reason when I pulled it out to play on January 2nd driving to work on a cold and sloggy afternoon the music really took a fast hold on me, leaving me with a strange after-aura that felt like I was trickling the album's eerie gray ectoplasm over wherever I walked and whatever I touched. I haven't been able to stop listening to it since.

Otis plays banjo, electric banjo, and mandolin with a kind of pared down to its essentials that does sort of remind me of some of the minimalist early stuff that I've heard from John Lee Hooker. His producer Kenny Passarelli plays bass while Eddie Turner puts in some lead guitar work on only 4 of the album's 11 tracks. There are no drums, which is pretty much how Otis rolls with it. But it's his plaintive moan, sometimes accompanied by his daughter Cassie's phantom background whispers and wails, that fleshes out what has to be some of the darkest, most truly downright depressing lyrics I think I may have ever heard. And this coming from a genre that specializes in, well, bringin' the blues.

Each song is a story of the downtrodden -- poverty, hunger, racism, injustice -- there isn't a single track on this disk that doesn't threaten to break your heart. On "Saint Martha Blues" Otis tells the story of how his great grandfather was lynched and cut up into pieces, and how his great grandmother walked the streets of town searching for where he was discarded, dragging a bag behind her to take whatever was left of him home. "3 Days And 3 Nights" is about a homeless man who's infant daughter is dying from illness. "I went to the hospital/The doctor wouldn't even let us in/I went back home to my cardboard box/And laid my little girl down/I said don't worry, don't worry/'Cuz Heaven will let us in." Even the standard blues thump and cadence of the bassline brings to mind the image of a quietly frantic man pacing the floor, trying desperately to stay awake because he doesn't want his baby to die alone, though he assures her that Jesus will be there to hold her hand if her daddy can't make it by her side.

I wanted to put up a temporary music file for the track "My Soul's In Louisiana", about a train-hoppin' hobo who was gunned down for allegedly murdering a railway worker. The song, with an upbeat, almost optimistic-sounding rhythm, has Otis singing as if he were the ghost of the hobo returned to tell us all defiantly that he never killed anyone. And yet the music itself seems to just keep rolling along as if the listener were in that boxcar himself, feeling the sun on his face and wind in his hair (this sense of freedom smacks of irony considering the injustice of the hobo's execution, basically for being black in the wrong place and time). I cannot put this track up right now since seems to have crashed as of yesterday. But check out some MP3 files online if you can find them. Or better yet, get the album (locals, we sell it at my store). Musically, lyrically, structurally... it really is an album too potent to ignore.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Thur 5: 3-10:30
Sat 7: 2-9:30
Sun 8: 3-cl
Mon 9: 4-cl
Thur 12: 10-5
Fri 13: 9-4
Sat 14: 10-5

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

When My Left Eye Jumps

Having utilizing the last of all my Christmas money/gift cards/whathaveya it was a pleasant surprise to come home from my shopping trip to Borders Books to find my Amazon package of holiday booty waiting for me and it was, like, wow, Christmas all over again and whatnot. So collectively here's what came to me yesterday:

Black One by Sunn 0))). Boy, these guys sure don't sound happy. Two guitarists Stephen O'Malley and Greg Anderson eviscerate their instruments into stretches of shredded droning noise while not so much singing but croaking out clusters of indecipherable phonics, and the whole experience leaves you with the feeling of falling very slowly into a dark pit where something unspeakably evil lies at the bottom waiting for you. I don't know why but the fact that the booklet's "liner notes" are just 6 pages of blackness where it looks like lyrics should be just cracks me up. Oooo, spooooky!

Life's A Bitch by Roberta Gregory. I actually have almost every single issue of Naughty Bits as well as pretty much all of the softcover collections, yet I still bought this 271-page compilation just for the new never-before published story "Daddy Dearest" concerning Midge's famously irascible father and her "lost" years during the 1980's. Gregory ended the Naughty Bits series this year, so if you haven't had the opportunity to check out this absolutely hilarious and often poignant series now is the time to seek these books out and follow them to their wonderfully rewarding end.

I also snagged two Hayao Miyazaki films...

Porco Rosso, which I watched last night, is about an Italian WWI pilot who is cursed with the face of a pig, although what I found most fascinating about that is the more you go deeper into the story the more I kept wondering if he really was cursed or if the predicament that he experienced during the war left him feeling so guilt-ridden, so inhuman, much like a pig that not only did he begin to see himself that way and live his life that way that everyone around him began to visualize his own inner hatred as well. Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind is an earlier film by Miyazaki of a war-torn Earth inhabited by giant insects (yeah, it's not gonna be an easy one for me to see) which supposedly incorporates elements that Miyazaki will use in later films like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. I may try and watch this one Friday when I get another day off.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Collision Girl

Yeah, I make resolutions. I'm one of thooose people. Although unlike those people I am often pretty good at keeping a large percentage of them successfully even all the way to the end of the year, if that is I can still remember what I had initially resolved to do by then. Which is why I write type them down, naturally. I find that seeing them in print lends them a certain sort of indelible potency, a rule carved deep into stone that must be obeyed like the Ten Commandments. Then again who even remembers what those are those anyway. All I remember is something about coveting somebody's ass. Oh dear, I think I may be going to hell. Eh, whatta ya gonna do. So anyway...

The Job Thing. Allocate a generous chunk of my energy this year to getting the promotion that I appear to be getting groomed for over the past few months. The good news is that I have just learned that there is a position opening up very soon, or rather it's pretty much open now and just waiting for the right applicant to step in and take over. The bad news is that it's in the department where I least want to be and where all my natural weaknesses will be called upon to keep the department in service. It also takes me away from the music department which my boss knows is where my real strength lies. But the important thing I need to focus on is working on my abilities to lead others, inspire others, and (gulp) communicate with others. I am getting better at communication, I think. All my FW sales reports have been wonderfully accurate. And Boss Lady really likes my new ideas for boosting sales in all departments. Cripes, I've been here long enough to know all this even at entry level. But if I don't budge soon I gotta bail. I love what I do, but I cannot be taken advantage of for one more year over there.

The Diet Thing. I'm extremely proud of myself for the goals that I've reached just in this year alone considering where I was and how little I have left to achieve. But in the last two months or so I have backslid. Rather recklessly. And of course that kind of thing is expected during the holiday seasons, but it has really, really depressed me deeply. The 20 or so pounds that I've gained has made me feel even more like a monumental failure than the success I've felt over 140 that I've lost in the last 2 1/2 years. As of January 1st I have resolved to maintain my Weight Watchers regiment and eat only 24 points a day every single day without fail, and to have at least one "indulgence day" a week to utilize my flex points if need be. One must have a reward system for these kinds of endeavors, I know, because in the past I haven't been rewarding myself and I think that is the reason why I tumbled off the wagon so completely. One lesson that I have learned more than anything else this past year is that you simply cannot deny yourself pleasure for too long or you're bound to end up in a position where you will wind up doing something dangerously out of control. I know I can do it. It's just... doing it. Right now I gotta tell ya this Tussionex that I'm still taking really takes the edge off the hunger pains (and everything else!) so I've already hit the ground running.

The Mental Block Thing. Draw. Every single day. I don't care what it is. A doodle, I dunno. Draw with your finger in the air like you do sometimes when you're bored at work. I don't care. Just do it. And Don't. Ever. Stop.

The Shit-I-Can't-Believe-I-Missed-X Thing. See more concerts this year. If, and only if, they are within my budget range. I only saw two concerts last year -- Elvis Costello and Fall Out Boy -- and they were both free. Well, one cost me my punk cred as well as a precious sliver of my mortal soul. But maybe I am being a little too hard on Mr. Costello these days.

The Wanderlust Thing. If I can afford it, this year I will either holiday in CA, PA, or FL. One way or another it shall end up becoming the resolution that may be the hardest to achieve in 2006 considering my ongoing financial status. Unless of course I do get that promotion. And a new house. Oh, balls. This one gets to simmer on the back burner for awhile...

The New Obsession Thing. Most folks that know me well know that every few years I find a new thing to obsess over and then ride it hard and furiously, picking it apart until I have absorbed its every aspect. I am currently floating dormantly in Obsession-Free Limbo at the moment and it's pretty dang dull to be sure. I need a new thing. Something musical. Something literary. Something smothered in gravy. I am Melissa of Borg and resistance, ah say, resistance is futile.

The Organization Thing: I WILL find my missing DVD box set of Kieslowski's The Decalogue somewhere in this house!

And Finally... I resolve never to have to listen that godawful "My Humps" song for the rest of my life the year.

Anybody else out there have any resolutions? Maybe if you and I have several matching goals we can buddy up and be an online support group or sumthin'.

Oh wait, quitting support groups is another one of my New Year's resolutions.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

10 Minutes Before The Worm...

Happy New Year.

Jackass by Melissa Pittman, c.1988.