January 31, 2004

Er, I think he's insane and looks like a thumb

If you're in the mood for a cranky flame war, you could do worse than this exchange between the redoubtable Kathy Shaidle (of Relapsed Catholic) and a fellow who runs a "Catholics for Dean" website. It all started when the Catholics for Dean guy emailed her, suggesting that she support Howard Dean in her capacity as a fellow Catholic. Which is fair enough, though if he'd read her blog at all he probably should have been able to predict that it would be a non-starter; plus, she's Canadian, and they don't even vote in our elections. Yet. Highlights include his addressing her in one letter as "Dear Kathy, sister in Christ," and Kathy's initial response about HD, which is the title of this post. Quite funny.

(via Blog of the Hurricane.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 10:26 AM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Come Swing with Me

I never know how to characterize my politics when it comes to US domestic flim-flammery. Despite the fact that I sprang from the womb a registered Democrat, and am quite likely to remain so (owing to sheer inertia as much as anything), sometimes I think I have quite a bit in common with the South Park Republicans; other times, I feel more like a Daily Show Democrat. If I were to be honest, perhaps I'd have to come down as a Reno 911 Independent: kinda funny, kinda boring, kinda crazy, and trying a bit too hard to ridicule things that hardly even exist, except in the sense that I say they do, which is all I think really matters. What can I say? I like being a swing voter, I guess. In any situation, whatever the cost. I hang on to my swing voter identity like grim death, and though I'm sure I fail sometimes, I always try to be the best anti-partisan I can be.

All I know is, there is some show on Comedy Central that is a perfect metaphor for my dark, secret self, encompassing my entire self-consciously quirky being. There has to be.

Anyway, I love this response from the Daily Show's Stephen Colbert to an inane question about "liberal bias," in an on-line chat sponsored by the Washington Post (via Steven Rubio):

Dallas, Tex.: Why is it the Daily Show takes an overwhelmingly liberal stance when it comes to the elections and Democratic candidates? Shouldn't the Daily Show be a little more unbiased? The Daily Show can still be funny yet fair at the same time.

Stephen Colbert: First, we are not news. We are under no compunction to be fair or balanced or any other thing other than funny. Second, satire always attacks the status quo. The status quo is presently a Republican executive, legislative and judicial branch. There's hardly a liberal target left. Third, we throw hay makers at the Democratic candidates across the board. Fourth, I hope Bush loses.


"Liberal" targets abound, of course, but still: that's exactly the right response to the hectoring of the idiotic, self-appointed bias police. I (pretty much) (think I) hope Bush loses, too. Unless you accuse me of "conservative bias." Then I hope he wins by a landslide and cuts everybody's taxes but yours.

Apropos of that, the commentator who most clearly expresses the tender feelings that cower unloved and unappreciated in my heart of hearts (on this subject and, maybe, this subject alone-- there may be more, who knows?) is Ken Layne, whose comments to some other post are quoted by Matt Welch. Read the whole thing, but focus on the conclusion:

It's truly a shame that the fanatic chicken-little left has been yelling nonsense for three whole years, because a lot of swing voters are so turned off by this noise (including me!) that it took me a long time to really despise this administration. Dubya's secret commandos Michael Moore & Al Franken have done such a good job since 2000, making sure the sane voter tunes out all the "Bush = Hitler" crap. I hope Karl Rove is paying those boys well, because Christ knows they're earning it.
Hell,yeah. I despise you all, too, pretty much equally, and if I could vote against every one of you, I would. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:15 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 30, 2004

Everyone's Entitled...

Vaguely related to the apparently still-burning question "what is punk?", here are a few more random Yesterday Rules reviews that have somehow managed not to escape my attention:

Here's one from good ol' Ed Masely from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; from the UC Santa Barbara paper; another from our pal Lucid Mike somewhere in deepest darkest Connecticut; one from our Geoff; and yet another from the Ohio/midwest fanzine Neufuture (please save the humans...) Finally, there's this interview/article in the Oakland Tribune and various ANG papers, from supercritic Jim Harrington. As so often, I can't quite recall saying some of the quotes he quotes me as saying, but I think the final line, whether I actually said it or not, accurately reflects my own assessment of my relative punkness quotient.

They all seem to like it pretty well, but, as always, not everybody does. Here's the voice of "the kids", some of them anyway, on the Knock Knock Records massive "pop punk" message board. Some vote yea, some nay. Some are coyly saying yea and nay at the same time.

It's not clear whether the commenter is referring to the new album or to 1993's Our Bodies Our Selves, but I like this comment: "the lyrics tend to be more introspective than self-consciously clever... and I prefer the latter." Now there's something you don't hear every day! (Also, if you want, you can check out the thread commenting on the Love is Dead review I mentioned a couple days back. Keep your shirt on, Mr. Ramones...)

Finally here's a heartfelt lament from a former fan on the Amazon.com review section: "it seems that the days of witty lyrics & catchy beats are a thing of the past." Those were, indeed, the days.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:26 PM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

We'll show up if you will

Well, all this political mumbo jumbo is fine and dandy, but now back to what really matters. To wit, my own retarded attempt to publicize myself, my band, my band's new album, and my band's upcoming tour.

The big show (well, we're hoping it'll be pretty big) at Slim's in San Francisco is this Saturday. I don't know if it will sell out. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. But if enough people buy tickets in advance, they'll be extra nice to us in the long, uncomfortable period between sound check and stage time, so I heartily encourage you to consider it. A happy pretend rock star is an efficient pretend rock star. We'll try to make the show as rockin' as possible regardless, but every little helps. Either way, if you do show up, and you see me standing around uncomfortably, be sure to say hi or something.

The show list that follows at the end of this post is mostly the same as the previous edition, but there is one new confirmed date (Phoenix, AZ, 3/8.) 3/7 will either be in Albuquerque or Santa Fe-- more on that soon, with any luck. We were going to try to play in Las Vegas on the way back, but the club said we weren't "punk" enough. Bummer. On the other hand, because of that I'm far less likely to lose the band money in one ill-conceived shot, so it will probably prove to be a net gain in the end. Thanks, Vegans! (Maybe "becoming less punk" should be a thirteenth step or something. I'll ask my sponsor about it...)

In the meantime, here are some of the cities and venues with less exacting standards:

Saturday - 1/31/2004
Slim's,San Francisco, California
333 11th St., San Francisco, CA
w/the Phenomenauts, the Plus Ones
doors at 9pm.

Saturday - 2/7/2004
Capitol Garage, Sacramento, CA
details TBA


Sunday - 2/8/2004
Meow Meow Portland, Oregon
927 SE Pine St., Portland, OR
a/a

Monday - 2/9/2004
Graceland Seattle, Washington
109 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle, WA
$7, a/a

Wednesday - 2/11/2004
Climax Lounge, Denver, Colorado
3233 Gilpin St., Denver, CO
w/Man Planet

Thursday - 2/12/2004
BottleneckLawrence, Kansas
737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, KS
doors: 7:15pm
$7/$8

Friday - 2/13/2004
Gabes Oasis, Iowa City, Iowa
330 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA
6pm

Saturday - 2/14/2004
Maintenance Shop, Ames, Iowa
Iowa State Memorial Union, Ames, IA
$8 students/$9 public

Sunday - 2/15/2004
Warehouse, La Crosse, Wisconsin
328 Pearl St., La Crosse, WI
6:30pm

Monday - 2/16/2004
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis, Minnesota
629 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN
a/a, $7

Tuesday - 2/17/2004
Fireside Bowl, Chicago, Illinois
2646 W. Fullerton, Chicago, IL
$8, a/a

Wednesday - 2/18/2004
The Shelter, Detroit, Michigan
431 E. Congress, Detroit, MI
$8

Thursday - 2/19/2004
Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
1765 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH
8pm

Friday - 2/20/2004
Club Laga, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3609 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA
$10/$12, doors: 9:15pm


Saturday - 2/21/2004
Bug Jar, Rochester, New York
219 Monroe Ave., Rochester, NY

Sunday - 2/22/2004
Middle East, Cambridge, Massachusetts
472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
$8

Monday - 2/23/2004
The Space, Hamden, Connecticut
295 Treadwell St. - Bldg. H, Hamden, CT
w/ Man Planet, Superfallingstars, Thom Dunn; 7pm

Tuesday - 2/24/2004
North Six, Brooklyn, New York
North 6 66 N. 6th St., Brooklyn, NY


Wednesday - 2/25/2004
Talking Head, Baltimore, Maryland
203 E. Davis St., Baltimore, MD

Thursday - 2/26/2004
Cats Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina
300 E. Main St. Carrboro, NC

Friday - 2/27/2004
Lime Light, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
1724 Hwy. 501, Myrtle Beach, SC
doors: 7pm

Saturday - 2/28/2004
Wills Pub, Orlando, Florida
1850 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, FL


Sunday - 2/29/2004
1213 Rock Shows, Aniston, Alabama
6216 Meadowlark Dr., Anniston, AL 36206
doors: 7 pm, a/a, $8


Monday - 3/1/2004
The Earl, East Atlanta, Georgia
488 Flat Shoals Rd., East Atlanta, GA
$7, 7pm

Tuesday - 3/2/2004
Vinos, Little Rock, Arkansas
923 W. 7th St., Little Rock, AR
$8

Wednesday - 3/3/2004
Fitzgerald's, Houston, Texas

Thursday - 3/4/2004
Emos, Austin, Texas
603 Red River, Austin, TX
doors: 8pm

Friday - 3/5/2004
The Wreck Room, Forth Worth, TX
3208 W. 7th St., Fort Worth, 817-348-8303
w/Ghoultown, 41 Gorgeous Blocks
doors 9:00, a/a

Saturday - 3/6/2004
Green Door, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
329 E. Sheridan Oklahoma City, OK
w/The Stellas

Monday - 3/8/2004, The Mason Jar, Phoenix, AZ

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:40 AM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

January 29, 2004

What life might be like if I didn't stutter and could speak in complete sentences

My hero Paul Berman seems to have the same sort of conversations that I have. And, though he does a much, much better job of expressing himself plainly and clearly in such conversations than I have done, yet somehow mine all end the same way as his.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:49 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

NPR does the Queers

I almost missed it, but thanks to commenter Ted, I didn't. Check out Heather King, Joe's sister, talking about going to see the Queers on NPR's All Things Considered. It's great in so many ways, not least because, well, "I don't wanna be a granola head" is being played on NPR. Really. How cool is that? How unexpected. How... appropriate.

I vote they adopt it as a theme song to replace that annoying circus-y theme they currently have. (You know the one: it kind of sounds like the verse from the "did she really get pinned?" song from Bye Bye Birdie. A bit like "You're the Only One," too, come to think of it. Never mind, though. I hate it, and Granolahead is better.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:45 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Another Blogging Rock Star

I learn from Jackie D. that Billy Corgan has a blog. He's blogging about the recording of his solo album, in fact.

Hi... We started a few days ago (the 15th) to get it together for my first solo album...some would argue that it's not my first, and I won't argue with you there! (just kidding!!!)...anyway, I am excited to work on this music, because for the first time in my life it will be my tunes with no compromises to anyone or anything...

Famous last words. Good luck with it, though.

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January 28, 2004

It is in the spirit of Tania that I say, PATRIA O MUERTE. VENCEREMOS

Nat Hentoff continues to hammer away at Castro's most recent crackdown on dissidents. This piece is about the 10 "independent librarians" among the Cuban dissidents, who were sentenced to 20+ years in the gulag for circulating subversive literature like 1984 and Animal Farm. At the recent American Library Association meeting in San Diego, a proposal to introduce an amendment calling for the release of the librarians was, Hentoff says, overwhelmingly defeated by a show of hands among the 182 council members.

Hentoff:

It's a shame that librarians around this country have a leadership that mocks the ALA's Library Bill of Rights, which requires its members to "challenge censorship" — but refuses to call for the release of 10 librarians among Castro's prisoners of conscience, who indeed challenged censorship.

I was unable to find the text of the report anywhere on the web. (There are several ALA Cuba-related documents here, but unless I'm mistaken not the specific one Hentoff cites.) According to Hentoff it carefully avoids calling for the release of the dissidents, though it does, rather humorously in the context of the unmentioned defeated amendment, urge the Cuban government to "eliminate obstacles to access to information imposed by its policies." The ALA's president claims the vote and the resulting mixed message "shows that people are able to work out differences of opinion and come together on a joint statement." On the face of it, it's hard to see how the "release the librarians" measure could have been controversial, but apparently it was, and the usual compromise (remain silent) seems to have been adopted.

Now the ALA is, I'm sure, a fine organization, but in my Illuminati pack they rank a bit lower (in terms of total power and influence) than the Girl Scouts of America, though a bit higher, perhaps, than the California Tomato Commission. What I'm saying is, the Masons or the Vatican they ain't. So I very much doubt they have much clout or power over any given totalitarian dictator, nor do I imagine that the contents of their yearly report, whatever they might be, is of very great import in the general scheme of things. Still, Hentoff can't have been the only one to wonder aloud: "what is the ALA leadership thinking?"

I don't know the answer, but I'd guess its position is to some degree informed by the views and politicking of anti-independent librarian activist Anne Sparanese, Hentoff's frequent sparring partner on this issue, and a member of the ALA's policy-making council. (According to this, she's also a member of the Venceremos Brigade. This organization is often confused with the revolutionary Maoist-terrorist Venceremos Organization led by Stanford professor H. Bruce Franklin in the early 70s; they're not the same, though they emerged from the same broad cultural-political milieu and though some have claimed that there were connections between them. Either way, though, VB has always been a pro-Castro organization by all accounts.)

"Deep in our hearts, we know these people are not librarians," she writes, and proceeds to lay out the anti-independent librarian case. It seems to me that repression is repression, whether or not the librarians are "real." It shouldn't warm the civil libertarian heart, much, to learn that these people have been imprisoned merely because of their political views and affiliations rather than for their library activities. I agree that an organization like the ALA ought properly to resist pressure to become politicized, though the argument might have more force if it wasn't propounded in such a thoroughly political document. And I'll concede that the situation is a bit more complicated than Hentoff's summary suggests. But come on: given the choice between objecting to the repression and jailing of Orwell-distributing dissidents on the one hand, and tacitly approving of it on the other, it's hard to imagine opting for the latter, especially under the auspices of an organization that purports to champion freedom of expression and to oppose censorship. It is, at least, ironic. At any rate, this will add a whole new dimension to this year's Banned Books Week.

(In fairness,I must note that she lands at least one punch, on the subject of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay: "they aren’t librarians either, but maybe if they said they are they could get our attention." Good one.)

Like many in her intellectual tradition, Sparanese detects strains of freedom within totalitarianism which we in the west, pretensions to the contrary, are denied:

Despite the fact that we as librarians prize them highly, political rights – for instance, intellectual freedom – is only one of a constellation of human rights, some of which Cuba respects in greater measure than the United States (e.g. universal health care, universal, free education, certain economic rights.)

That's a line I used to hear quite often from CISPES types in my student days; and I'm told they used to say similar stuff by way of exculpating Pol Pot in a previous era. It's a common sentiment among contemporary Castro apologists, and not just the librarians among them. Hardly less ironically, in an even earlier era, on the basis, in part, of a similar line of thinking, the literary luminaries of the Fabian society gave their blessing to Stalin and Socialism in One Country. Never mind about all those "bourgeois rights" like freedom of speech or association. Personal liberty isn't everything. The collective utopian omelet cannot be made without breaking eggs or intellectuals or kulaks or phony librarians. I think that's the idea, and it's still quite a bad one.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:20 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 27, 2004

The Nazis would like to thank their athletic supporters

Favorite bit from the latest in the SF Chronicle's popular Bush = Hitler series:

While the German concentration camps were being built and Jews were being persecuted, in 1936 Nazi Germany hosted the Olympic Games and put its best face forward to the world. We have the Super Bowl.

QED, sports fans.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:25 PM | Comments (38) | TrackBack

January 26, 2004

Turn off your radio, part deux

By the way, we'll be doing a little acoustic set cum interview tonight (26 Jan.) on KSCU Santa Clara, CA. ("The Coctail Hour" with Nicole Coxe, DJ Twilight; 103.3FM; 6-8PM.)

Also tomorrow on KSSU, Sacramento, 1550 AM, sometime between 11am and 1pm.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 09:23 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Turn off your radio

I disagree with Atrios more often than not, but I'm in complete agreeance with him on this. Ordinarily, the chances would be pretty good that I'd never end up hearing it, but I'm about to go on tour within reach of all the radio stations in the country.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:49 PM | Comments (66) | TrackBack

January 24, 2004

You have your criteria, I have mine

Matt Welch is right that it would best serve the interests of the Democratic Party and the country as a whole if at least one more of the joke candidates were to drop out now. (So that "the overall wacko percentage would be reduced within the margin of error," as he puts it.)

However, even though I know it's wrong, I have to admit I find the whole thing far more enjoyable with wackos included. Tired of candidates who actually know what the Federal Reserve is, or at least can fake it? Sharpton to the rescue.

It certainly will be a sad day when Kucinich drops out. I can't remember who, but someone recently observed that he looks like a Star Trek villain. That's dead on, though Batman Arch-Criminal might be as accurate. You just know that if he had his way he'd wait till just the right moment before whipping off his suit in one deft motion, to the sound of trumpets, revealing the Arch-Criminal outfit underneath (a black unitard covered with infinity symbols, maybe); then he'd have all the other candidates tied to giant chess pieces, or fed through a player-piano score printing machine. Or, in response to a question by Brit Hume, he'd announce that he has developed a special germ that makes all women beautiful and kills all men over 4'6". "Only I have the antidote, Mr. Kerry. So I would choose my next move very carefully if I were you. We are not so very different you and I... more cognac?" Something like that.

I see Kucinich on TV sharing the stage with all the other would-be Presidents, and I can't quite believe it's really happening. I swear that when the camera turns to him, the frame begins to tilt slightly to one side. I am mesmerized by his otherwordliness. Then I walk outside and see all the Kucinich signs in windows and lawns with the Kucinich-mobiles parked alongside them; I realize that if my North Oakland neighborhood were in charge, we wouldn't even have to bother holding an election; Kucinich would be Our Dear Leader by near-unanimous acclamation. And part of me finds that morbidly thrilling. I know I'm applying reality tv standards to something that's supposed to be (okay, okay, to something that actually is) very serious and important. The campaign to determine the leader of the free world is about a lot more than who can best push your bizarro buttons and remind you of cherished childhood tv moments. But I can't help it. I kind of love him. I guess I am that shallow.

That debate was boring enough as it was.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:26 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Noise Annoys

The Centre for Research in Modern Philosophy is hosting a conference on Noise Theory. Not intentionally a joke, we must assume.

What, you ask, is "noise theory"? Beats me. You'll have to attend NOISETHEORYNOISE#1 to find out. If you're in London, you can go for a mere ten pounds on the day of show, eight in advance. (And that includes tea, coffee and sandwiches.) Sounds delicious.

I like contention #4:

Refusing the dualism of 'theory' as cultural form and 'noise' as sensible matter, we invite interventions that put theory and noise on the same immanent level so that noise is allowed to override theory as it tries to grasp the non-significance of the former. Instead of remaining an inert cultural artefact, the material intensities unleashed by noise should be allowed to reconfigure the parameters of theoretical possibility and catalyse new modes of engagement between thought and sound. The point is to usurp the dualism of 'Theory' and 'Noise' by means of the immanent continuum 'noisetheorynoise'.

Immanent continuum? Perhaps all will made clear by Nick Smith of the University of New Hampshire, when he presents his intervention (Why Hardcore Goes Soft: Adorno, Japanese Noise and the Extirpation of Dissonance.) But, personally, I'm betting on the wonderfully-named Julius Nil, author of Scrabbling the Lock: Accepting Failure in Lachenmann, Autechre and Resplendent (among others).

(via Crooked Timber.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:49 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 23, 2004

Now launching Classic Environment

"Love is dead, but it sure left a good looking corpse".

Also from this "classic music review" by Dom Passantino in Stylus Magazine: "the Ramones are the punk Bagpuss." (That will only amuse Anglophiles, and actual Brits or those married to them, but it's pretty funny.)

It's hard to believe that album is getting so close to being ten years old.

(thanks to Kathy Reemes, who left the url as a comment in a previous post.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:42 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

January 22, 2004

I'm only a person whose armbands beat on his hands, hang tall.

If you're weird in just the right way, you'll enjoy this massive list of palindromes from Jim Kalb. (via George Wallace.) I read each one, enjoyed them all thoroughly, even all the NASA-based ones. There were even a few good ones I'd never seen before.

I've spent way too much time trying to compose palindromes of my own. The best venue for the activity is in the back rows of large university lecture halls, and since I rarely find myself in such circumstances nowadays, the work has suffered accordingly. Still, old interests, particularly the pointless ones, persist. There has even been a time or two when I have listed "palindrome composer" when some form or other asked for "occupation." (The palindrome business is fiercely competitive, but if you want to break in to it, I'd recommend picking up a copy of Palindrome Market, where you'll find contact information for all the major palindrome publishers, and a few of the minor ones, and tips for how to present your work so that it looks more publishable.)

The most satisfying palindromes are those which are short, self-contained, catchy little bits of poetry that almost make a kind of sense. Or at least, where a credible narrative background or scenario can be imagined with a little effort. Lisa Bonet ate no basil. (Entirely plausible at any particular moment.) A daffodil slid off Ada. (Difficult but possible under certain circumstances, and quite intriguing, at least if you're thinking of the same Ada I am.) Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas. (A frequent, though rarely granted, request, I imagine.) Rats live on no evil star. (Well, they don't, do they?) And so forth. They're kind of hard to come by, and the good ones are justly famous and celebrated.

Next come those which are really, really, impressively long, especially if they're not derived from or based on some of the well-known ones. (You can always slip a few more into the man, plan, canal construction-- that's cool, but it's a second order coolness.) The rule is, I think, that the greater the length, the more they are forgiven for failing to make sense. Some longer ones actually still kind of make sense. Sort of. A famous one: "T. Eliot, top bard, notes putrid tang emanating, is sad. I'd assign it a name: gnat dirt upset on drab pot-toilet." Well, I've read less cogent pieces of literary criticism in my day, I can tell you that.

It's all gibberish, though, and the longer they get, the more gibbery they sound. But I love the sound of gibberish. In fact, there's a certain distinctive palindromey syntax, structure and failure to make sense that you can even hear in non-palindromic sentences sometimes. (Mostly in the lyrics of psychologically-damaged rock stars, or those feigning or copping the style of p.-d. r. s's, or from those for whom English is not quite their second language.) When things fail to make sense in that certain palindromey way, it adds a certain something, don't you think?

The longest one I ever came up with was:

Pure wolf, as we slam in a star bed, under a worm row, a red nude brat's animal sews a flower up.

I doodled this on one of the panels of the CD artwork for Show Business is My Life, confusing practically everyone who bothered to try to read it. Total confusion = palindromic success.

One of my favorite short ones was the hardly-working title of an ultimately abandoned solo project:

Flesh to mama: I am a moth self.

They even see me under call. We under all, we awful, awful, crawl. To hear my hour, come see me cry...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:52 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Mascara Meltdown - Hysteria-a-go-go

I suppose it's impossible to do long strings of interviews as a musician and avoid coming off like a big dummy sometimes. At least, it seems to be impossible for me.

Is that really me in there, claiming to be "misunderstood"? Yep, it is. Poor baby. I sure don't remember saying that, exactly, but I had (probably) had a few. (I realize that one cannot continue to use that as the sole excuse for everything, forever. One cannot, yet one somehow does. Life is mysterious.) In the interview situation, cliches seem to form of their own accord, take shape effortlessly, emerge without warning, and quiver uncomfortably in the air before they are conveniently forgotten; but then, having been caught on tape, they are transcribed and splattered on newsprint by rock critics. And I mock them for going around saying how everything is "seminal" all the time. Jeez. Note to self: must learn to express entirely justified self-pity and persecution complex in more original ways.

I was five years ahead of my time about four years ago; now I don't know.

All that aside, it's a nice, generous piece. I like how it mentions this here weblog's songwriter-audience dialogue experiment, and there's some good stuff about songwriting and recording in ideal and reality, even if some of it is in the form of clumsy quotes from an insufficiently circumspect yours truly. As in so many situations, anxiety over whether you look too fat in that dress is basically counter-balanced by a sense of relief that anyone is even bothering to check out how you look in the dress in the first place. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to make more effective use of your brief time on the radar. Bad Frank.

Remember the Prefab Sprout song from a few years back? "Electric Guitars"?

Had a dream that we were rock stars
and that flash bulbs popped the air
and girls fainted, every time we shook our hair.

We were songbirds, we were Greek Gods
We were singled out by fate
We were quoted out of context-- it was great!


(The title of this post is also from that song. OK, so in my situation it's probably a case of too much bloody context, perhaps, but I've been looking for an excuse to quote that song for some time. What a great tune. You've really got to hear it.)

Anyhow, as I remarked to Matt Welch at the gig last night, many things have changed since the last time I put a record out, not the least of which is the fact that you can now keep up with your press clippings by means of google news alerts. It's a bad habit, but I can't help it. So here are a few more random, kind reviews/blurbs/mentions of the album: from Billboard (from which I learn, to my relief, that I have managed somehow to avoid having become a pathetic novelty; result!); from our own Todd Anderson; and from Glenn Reynolds. And I don't know what feels weirder: that this extremely kind "CD Pick" review appeared in the Boston Globe; or that it got reprised/re-linked on the front page of the Kiribati Post. Crazy.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:20 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

January 18, 2004

Finding the third face of the Trinity, or something...

Here's a lengthy and fairly remarkable stream of ruminations sparked by the new album. (Scroll down to "My Stupid Life as an MTX Fan.") Or, more accurately, sparked not by the album itself, but rather by the experience and process of acquiring it. I think it touches on a much more general truth about the way pop music "works." Snips of lyrics, when they "work" on you, begin to feel like references to your own experiences; you fill in the unspoken blanks with your own details; eventually the words themselves become shorthand references for certain aspects of your own life, which is, in these song-echoing areas, eventually no longer quite separable from the song. You make the song your own, often almost without realizing that it has happened. But even when you do realize it (as this guy certainly does) it happens anyway.

I could easily write the same kind of thing using snips of Robyn Hitchcock, Dan Treacy, Bob Mould, Ray Davies, or Peter Townshend. But the lyrics don't even have to be especially fine or brilliant for this to take place. (Is there a word for it? "Reverse Inspiration"? Or would that be, "expiration?" Some kind of non-temporary mimesis? Maybe with a "meta" in there somewhere? No idea, really-- I'm no good at naming.) In a sense the lyricist himself plays only a tiny, minor role in the whole process.

The fact that this essay appears on a theologically-tinged blog dedicated to pro wrestler the Hurricane is just one of those things that makes life and the blogosphere weird and even kind of great.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:18 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 17, 2004

"A quiet and uninteresting life," he says.

Maybe I'm the last to know about this, as about so many other things, but up until a few minutes ago I was totally unaware that Bob Mould has a blog. Really.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 10:42 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Come and watch us sing and play

Here's some updated information on the upcoming MTX shows.

Besides filling in some details, there are two major changes/additions:

--we've added a show in Sacramento on 2/7, Capitol Garage

--the 3/3 show has been moved to Fitzgerald's in Houston, TX

We're still working on a few shows at the tail end after 3/6. More on that soon.

Shows:
Sunday - 1/18/2004
Chain Reaction, Anaheim, California
1652 Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, CA 92801
w/A Futile Xistence, Third Day Promise, Redlight Sting, Fingers Cut Megamachine (ex Osker).
doors at 7pm, a/a

Monday - 1/19/2004
Casbah San Diego, California
2501 Kettner Blvd., San Diego, CA
w/Visqueen, the Prids
doors at 9:15 pm.

(I'm really looking forward to seeing Visqueen, Kim Warnick's current band.)

Tuesday - 1/20/2004
The Troubadour Hollywood, California
9081 Santa Monica Blvd, Hollywood, CA
w/Number One Gun, This Holiday Life, The Scotch Greens, The Dollyrots
doors at 7:30 pm, a/a

(This show is one of those crazy deals where they ask you who you're there to see when you go in, and they keep a tally of what people say-- the bands get paid according to this tally. You can use this information any way you choose, and play it as you like for your own personal reasons, but if you say you're there to see the MTX it would be a big, big help. ;-)

Saturday - 1/31/2004
Slim's,San Francisco, California
333 11th St., San Francisco, CA
w/the Phenomenauts, the Plus Ones
doors at 9pm.

Saturday - 2/7/2004
Capitol Garage, Sacramento, CA
details TBA


Sunday - 2/8/2004
Meow Meow Portland, Oregon
927 SE Pine St., Portland, OR
a/a

Monday - 2/9/2004
Graceland Seattle, Washington
109 Eastlake Ave. E, Seattle, WA
$7, a/a

Wednesday - 2/11/2004
Climax Lounge, Denver, Colorado
3233 Gilpin St., Denver, CO
w/Man Planet

Thursday - 2/12/2004
BottleneckLawrence, Kansas
737 New Hampshire, Lawrence, KS
doors: 7:15pm
$7/$8

Friday - 2/13/2004
Gabes Oasis, Iowa City, Iowa
330 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA
6pm

Saturday - 2/14/2004
Maintenance Shop, Ames, Iowa
Iowa State Memorial Union, Ames, IA
$8 students/$9 public

Sunday - 2/15/2004
Warehouse, La Crosse, Wisconsin
328 Pearl St., La Crosse, WI
6:30pm

Monday - 2/16/2004
Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis, Minnesota
629 Cedar Ave. S, Minneapolis, MN
a/a, $7

Tuesday - 2/17/2004
Fireside Bowl, Chicago, Illinois
2646 W. Fullerton, Chicago, IL
$8, a/a

Wednesday - 2/18/2004
The Shelter, Detroit, Michigan
431 E. Congress, Detroit, MI
$8

Thursday - 2/19/2004
Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
1765 Coventry Rd., Cleveland Heights, OH
8pm

Friday - 2/20/2004
Club Laga, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
3609 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA
$10/$12, doors: 9:15pm


Saturday - 2/21/2004
Bug Jar, Rochester, New York
219 Monroe Ave., Rochester, NY

Sunday - 2/22/2004
Middle East, Cambridge, Massachusetts
472 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA
$8

Monday - 2/23/2004
The Space, Hamden, Connecticut
295 Treadwell St. - Bldg. H, Hamden, CT
w/ Man Planet, Superfallingstars, Thom Dunn; 7pm

Tuesday - 2/24/2004
North Six, Brooklyn, New York
North 6 66 N. 6th St., Brooklyn, NY


Wednesday - 2/25/2004
Talking Head, Baltimore, Maryland
203 E. Davis St., Baltimore, MD

Thursday - 2/26/2004
Cats Cradle, Carrboro, North Carolina
300 E. Main St. Carrboro, NC

Friday - 2/27/2004
Lime Light, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
1724 Hwy. 501, Myrtle Beach, SC
doors: 7pm

Saturday - 2/28/2004
Wills Pub, Orlando, Florida
1850 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, FL


Sunday - 2/29/2004
1213 Rock Shows, Aniston, Alabama
6216 Meadowlark Dr., Anniston, AL 36206
doors: 7 pm, a/a, $8


Monday - 3/1/2004
The Earl, East Atlanta, Georgia
488 Flat Shoals Rd., East Atlanta, GA
$7, 7pm

Tuesday - 3/2/2004
Vinos, Little Rock, Arkansas
923 W. 7th St., Little Rock, AR
$8

Wednesday - 3/3/2004
Fitzgerald's, Houston, Texas

Thursday - 3/4/2004
Emos, Austin, Texas
603 Red River, Austin, TX
doors: 8pm

Friday - 3/5/2004
The Wreck Room, Forth Worth, TX
3208 W. 7th St., Fort Worth, 817-348-8303
w/Ghoultown, 41 Gorgeous Blocks
doors 9:00, a/a

Saturday - 3/6/2004
Green Door, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
329 E. Sheridan Oklahoma City, OK
w/The Stellas

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:12 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

January 16, 2004

Random Notes

Sorry for all the bulletin board-style posts, but I've been kind of busy this week.

Here's another couple of items:

We're playing tonight on KALX in Berkeley (90.7 FM) on the Rick Sylvain show. "Full" electric rock combo rather than acoustic this time. The show runs from 9-12pm, and I'm told we're playing at the beginning. Live on the web here. What should we play? Let me know if you have any ideas.

Also, it looks like Lookout has put up another mp3 from Yesterday Rules: "Sorry for Freaking Out on the Phone Last Night."

Finally, thanks to everyone who showed up at our in-store things over the last few days, making the whole thing a bit less Spinal Tap than it would otherwise have been.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:30 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

January 14, 2004

NB

Hey, thanks Michele!

So I'm going to be doing another radio interview/acoustic song thing today on KUSF at around 2pm. (With Carolyn; 90.3FM; 2PM. Live performance, interview. Broadcast live on the internet at: kusf.org.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:13 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

No Title, Just Click

The best Onion headline in quite awhile.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:39 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 13, 2004

My thoughts exactly

Michele explores the mystery, sings the praises, of "Strawberry Letter 23." Sublime nonsense. And that's the best kind.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What, this old thing?

It's the official Release Day, and Ken Layne has commemorated it by posting a real sweet review of Yesterday Rules on blogcritcs.org. God love him.

Ken also informs me that it's also supposed to go on Cleveland.com, for some reason. "It's also supposed to go on Cleveland.com, for some reason," he writes. (See what I mean?) "... and shouldn't all rock reviews go on Cleveland.com?" Hell yeah, they should. EnglandCleveland rocks. See you in the HoF. (Brau, that is.)

UPDATE: Compare and contrast.

Layne:

Then there's "Fucked Up On Life," a tune that manages to sound exactly like MTX and nobody else while also sounding like the secret track from an early Elvis Costello & the Attractions album. Chiming guitars and high-keys piano, swooping Byrdsy-Beach Boys harmonies ...

Aversion.com:

“Fucked Up On Life” dips the farthest into the punk formula, as the band calls on frantic guitars and sweat-it-out tempos to carry a tale of shirking responsibility that made the foundation for the ’90s output of bands like Guttermouth and The Vandals.

It's almost like they're talking about two different songs... I think that's the first time anything I've ever done has been likened to Guttermouth. There's no accounting for head versions...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:28 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

January 12, 2004

I Believe in Babies

I've never quite got around to mentioning the MTX website. Ted just revamped it to reflect the new album and all, and it looks pretty great.

We've never been very good at the whole band website thing. That is, we haven't been very good about maintaining a continually updated website of our own. That's all going to change starting now. But that's what someone who isn't very good at something always says.

The hardest part about it, once you've got it, is thinking of something to put on it. That has always been the stumbling block for me. "Hey everybody, my band is really great! Check us out!" Seven months later: "Sorry for the lack of updates." Silence. Darkness. Oblivion.

Ahem.

So as for content, here's something. We've got a page for mp3s of covers of MTX/Dr. Frank songs. Over the years I've received quite a few home made tapes and so forth. Some are quite good. Some are just hilarious. Some are a bit of both. We thought it might be cool to set up a central repository, to document this particular variety of madness among today's aging youth.

The undisputed king of this kind of thing is without question Ethan, who goes by the "band" name of Dynamite Ham. I believe he has done home studio arrangements/recordings of just about every MTX song, of which I've only heard a fraction. He's working on a concept album, called I Believe in You, which is meant to contrast the songs of Dr. Frank with those of Frank Loesser by means of quirky imaginative covers.

I believe they're all still works in progress, but we have put up mp3s of three of his recordings: "Together Tonight," "I Believe in You," and "I Feel for You." Check 'em out. And send in your own, and tell your friends, if you've got any.

Here's Ethan's account of the story behind the "Together Tonight" cover:

I've been doing covers of Dr. Frank's songs for a couple of years now. As an avowed musical dilettante, I approach the songs in a wide variety of styles (country, polka, bossa nova, big band, hip hop and bolero to name a few). I usually had to reduce the tempo of the songs to accomodate their new genre, and I ended up with a batch of relatively slow songs. So I was looking for an uptempo tune to do.


I was listening to "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge one day, and for some reason I started to sing the first few lines of "Together Tonight" to it. And it fit! I've always liked the song, particularly the three spondees in each chorus (e.g. "go by," "know why" and "phone lines"), and I decided that the song would be a great candidate for a discofication.

After I recorded the basic tracks, and added the horn section samples, I realized how fun the song sounded. So I went a little nuts with the sound effects in the fills, figuring I might as well keep having fun. Of course, in classic Dr. Frank style, the fun sounds belie the bittersweet tenor of the lyrics. Especially in the final verse/chorus, which starts out as an almost conventional pop love song until Frank throws in the word "pretend" and monkeywrenches all of our good time.

Well, I hope all you MTX fans don't hate me for what I've done to Dr. Frank's little gem. I swear, it was a labor of love.


Thanks, man. I love you, too.

So send us some stuff. We like stuff.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:45 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Treacher Missed the Deadline...

...but he and Parrott came up with some belated ideas for that moveon.org Hitler thing:

instead of a rubber duck in the hot tub, [Bush] has an Osama Bin Laden doll which he hugs and kisses like a little girl hugging a baby doll.

"I wuv woo, 'Sahmmy!"

The Osama Doll is dressed like Mrs. Beasley.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:00 PM | TrackBack

Sometime people call it "magic lubricant". Some times "Power Bottle"

So last night I was on Live 105 FM with Aaron Axelsen. We did an interview, or rather, he asked me questions and I babbled some semi-coherent non-sequiturs as though in response. It was like one of those Democratic debates in that regard, though I did learn from Dennis K's example and resisted the urge to break out the pie chart. So it was all sound (well, between the uncomfortable pauses) last night at the swank KITS studios.

Aaron A. was a totally nice guy. He confessed that he had stolen a MTX CD from Rasputins long ago-- I told him to say 10 Hail Marys and an Our Father and granted him absolution (though I'm technically not qualified and I'm pretty sure the absolution doesn't count.) In other words, a fairly typical radio interview.

I had my acoustic guitar and I played "Jill" and "Sorry for Freaking out on the Phone Last Night." I've done that sort of thing so many times that you'd think I'd be able to take it all in stride, but I was actually pretty nervous about playing. It's probably because of the gazillion watts of power, hundreds of thousands of listeners situation. It was kind of like the first time I ever got undressed in front of a woman, the main difference being that, this time, I didn't get kicked off the bus.

He played "She's not a Flower" from the CD. Hearing your song on the radio, even when you're standing right there and it has all been arranged beforehand, is totally different than just hearing it on a stereo. Not just because they use all sorts of compressors, and what-not. There's a psychological angle, where you're thinking "wow, this is really on the radio" and somehow that makes it sound better. It just feels different. Anyway, when he turned it up in the studio after announcing it, I thought, "wow this is really on the radio." And it sounded better, and it felt different.

Tonight we're gonna be doing an acoustic ensemble sort of thing plus interview on KDVS at UC Davis. 90.3 FM, 6-8 pm, with Marnie. I believe it's going to be broadcast live on the internet at www.kdvs.org. Uh oh, now I'm starting to get nervous again...

The rest of the schedule is still here, if you're interested. I hope to be able to fill in some of the details in the next couple of days.

See you on the radio.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:48 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 09, 2004

Like so many tiny lesions on the vast media epiderme

I'm not sure, but this, by one DJ Pusspuss from the San Francisco gay magazine SF Spectrum, may be the first published blurb/review of Yesterday Rules. It's the first one I've seen, anyway. And here's the second. College-rock tones, dude.

UPDATE: One more. If I'm not mistaken, this is based on an email interview for a school project. I'd give Heather an A for the article; the web page layout guy gets an A+ and a "see me after class" for the accompanying photo.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 11:52 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

January 08, 2004

Back to Business

Well, here's some band/album release info. for a change. Updated tour info. follows at the end.

I'm going to be a guest on the Aaron Axelson "Soundcheck" show on Live 105/KITS on Sunday night. (105.3 FM, January 11.) The show runs from 8pm -10pm, and I'm not sure exactly what or how much I'll be doing, but I do know I'll be playing some acoustic songs live and something from the album. Probably some kind of interview, too. Still no idea what I'm going to play. "Fucked Up on Life" is probably out, but otherwise I guess it's wide open.

Plus, this stuff. Some of these are going to be acoustic, either solo or with some or all band members, some will be with the full, loud, annoying electric band. We're still kind of figuring it all out:

Monday - 1/12/04 RADIO STATION VISIT Davis, California
KDVS Davis, CA "Pop and Circumstance'' with Marnie; 90.3FM; 6-8PM. Live performance, interview. Broadcast live on the internet at: www.kdvs.org

Tuesday - 1/13/2004
IN STORE PERFORMANCE Sacramento, California
Dimple Records 2433 Arden Way Sacramento CA 95825 5 pm For more info call: 916-925-2600

Thursday - 1/15/2004
IN STORE PERFORMANCE San Jose, California
Streetlight Records 980 S. Bascom San Jose CA 95128 6 pm For more info call: 408-292-1404


Friday - 1/16/2004
RADIO STATION VISIT Berkeley, California
KALX Berkeley, CA "Live with Rick Sylvain" with Rick Arroyo-Silvain; 90.7FM; 9-12PM. Live performance, interview. Broadcast live on the internet at: kalx.berkeley.edu

Monday - 1/26/2004
RADIO STATION VISIT Santa Clara, California
KSCU Santa Clara, CA "The Coctail Hour" with Nicole Coxe, DJ Twilight; 103.3FM; 6-8PM. Acoustic live performance, interview.

And here's the current run-down of the tour dates. The dates after OK City are still TBA, but they'll be between OK and CA. I mean, obviously:

Sunday - 1/18/2004
Chain Reaction Anaheim, California

Monday - 1/19/2004
Casbah San Diego, California

Tuesday - 1/20/2004
Troubadour Los Angeles, California

Saturday - 1/31/2004
Slim's,San Francisco, California, w/the Plus Ones

Sunday - 2/8/2004
Meow Meow Portland, Oregon
a/a

Monday - 2/9/2004
Graceland Seattle, Washington
$7, a/a

Wednesday - 2/11/2004
Climax Lounge Denver, Colorado

Thursday - 2/12/2004
Bottleneck Lawrence, Kansas
$7/$8

Friday - 2/13/2004
Gabes Oasis Iowa City, Iowa
6pm

Saturday - 2/14/2004
Maintenance Shop Ames, Iowa
$8 students/$9 public

Sunday - 2/15/2004
Warehouse La Crosse, Wisconsin
6:30pm

Monday - 2/16/2004
Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, Minnesota
$7

Tuesday - 2/17/2004
Fireside Bowl Chicago, Illinois
$8, a/a

Wednesday - 2/18/2004
The Shelter Detroit, Michigan
$8

Thursday - 2/19/2004
Grog Shop Cleveland Heights, Ohio
8pm

Friday - 2/20/2004
Club Laga Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Saturday - 2/21/2004
Bug Jar Rochester, New York


Sunday - 2/22/2004
Middle East Cambridge, Massachusetts
$8

Monday - 2/23/2004
The Space Hamden, Connecticut
w/ Man Planet, Superfallingstars, Thom Dunn; 7pm

Tuesday - 2/24/2004
North Six Brooklyn, New York

Wednesday - 2/25/2004
Talking Head Baltimore, Maryland

Thursday - 2/26/2004
Cats Cradle Carrboro, North Carolina

Friday - 2/27/2004
Lime Light Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Saturday - 2/28/2004
Wills Pub Orlando, Florida

Sunday - 2/29/2004
1213 Rock Shows Aniston, Alabama

Monday - 3/1/2004
The Earl East Atlanta, Georgia
$7, 7pm

Tuesday - 3/2/2004
Vinos Little Rock, Arkansas
$8

Wednesday - 3/3/2004
Sin 13 San Antonio, Texas

Thursday - 3/4/2004
Emos Austin, Texas

Saturday - 3/6/2004
Green Door Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:24 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Put down that cigarette, and drop out of BU

Remember when "sex -- even when not so great or someone got their feelings hurt -- fell under the category of experience, rather than injury and trauma" in the university world? Neither do I, but I've heard about it. Laura Kipnis's recent piece on professor-student dating is a report on the current state of affairs, so to speak, from someone who presumably knows what she's talking about. If nothing else, it will be appreciated by anyone who has ever been herded into a sensitivity course. Bottom line on professor-student flings: it's always risky, but you can technically do it as long as no one ever feels vulnerable, controlled, hurt, nervous, anxious, or needy, and you can't tell any jokes. In other words, you might as well forget it, as no such relationship has ever existed in the history of the world, not even one. The article is amusing, though, especially the account of the mutinous faculty at the brainwashing session. NB: smoldering glances are apparently out.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:25 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

A Kill is Mandatory

I lost track of how I arrived at the link (sorry), nor do I know how long its current form will last, but this is pretty weird.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:09 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

The Mustache is the Massage

A good column from Jonah Goldberg on the ubiquitous Bush = Hitler topos. Of course, this comparison reflects poor judgment and willful (we must assume) ignorance of history; and propagating it is of questionable merit as a political strategy on behalf of any Democratic candidate (with friends like these...) Does it also amount to a kind of Holocaust revisionism or denial, as Goldberg and the Wiesenthal Center say? Only in a sense, and the seriousness of the charge is almost totally undermined by the frivolity of the entire matter; but it's an observation that should (yet probably won't) give these people pause.

Those links to the moveon.org clips come from rnc.org, and moveon.org has complained about the Republican Party's use of them-- a good illustration of how such presentations have practically no other function than potential use as propaganda by the other team. Well-done, fellows. The clips were submitted by individuals, and were not among those selected from a pool of 1500 submissions for consideration as a moveon.org TV ad. The spokesman for moveon.org conceded that they were "in poor taste" and should have been "filtered" out, and he "deeply regretted" that they had "slipped through."

One might have hoped for a disavowal of the substance rather than the mere aesthetics or propriety, but never mind. The point is, if you keep saying it, some of it is bound to slip through. Our world will never lack for folks, of all persuasions, who believe that a stylishly-packaged lie is justified in a good cause; and there certainly is a thriving market for Bush/Hitler iconography.

Hyperbole, I believe, has a legitimate place in political discourse. Comparing Amerikkka to Nazi Germany is a venerable tradition on both bi-polar fringes of American popular culture. There's nothing new about Bush = Hitler, nor anything particularly surprising or novel about those clips-- you've seen it all before if you've had the slightest contact with any of our various counter-cultures over the years. People get a kick out of it, for reasons of their own. But if such clips/tshirts/stickers/etc. really do undermine, by association, the effectiveness of the more legitimate anti-Bush arguments (and I think they do, slightly), "sell it now, filter it out later" won't work. Bush may well be a Bad President, and his domestic policies may be unwise, and the Iraq war may have been a bad idea, but everyone knows, really, that he isn't any kind of Hitler. It's so fun to say it, though, that some people just can't help themselves. They should cut it out. There is not even the slightest chance that they will. So expect more "own goals" of this type, more argument-by-drawn-on-mustache, more leaky screens, and more deep regrets in future.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:43 PM | Comments (44) | TrackBack

Dissolve the People and Elect a New One

Are you among those sophisticated souls who have, after a great deal of serious thought, reluctantly reached the conclusion that the only possible explanation for GWB's 50% approval rating is that 50% of the American people are simply too stupid to be able to figure out that they are wrong and you are right? Then you'll appreciate this guy's deep thoughts on the subject. Unless it's a parody. Who can tell anymore?

He proposes an IQ test to "earn the right to vote." (But not a literacy or English-comprehension test. That would be elitist and wrong.) He also, rather ironically if you ask me, derides the Stupid People for being "perplexed by issues comprising more than two sides"; and, even more ironically perhaps, proposes a "three-significantly-stupid-behaviors-and-you're-out law." Strike one, dude.

(via Andrew Sullivan.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:23 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 05, 2004

And speaking of unfavorable reviews of trivial things

Ally came across my weblog, and she's not too impressed:

I am incredulous at how someone so incredibly boring (about a 9.8 on the richter scale of boredom...off the charts, almost) could come up with cute, funny lyrics like "i love you more than toast but less than a staple gun".

Ally, it's a gift...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:32 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

Twins, Max. Sixteen year old twins. Think of the mathematical possibilities.

So there's this Mazda commercial that invokes the age-old Twins Fantasy. (Two slick beautiful cars you will never be able to afford, but imagine how it would be if you could: they would be kind of the same, yet different, and you'd come off like a heck of a guy if you could pull that one off...) I had read about the commercial here and here (both are unfavorable reviews), but it wasn't till last night that I actually saw it. Personally, I found it rather tame, not much more risque or "edgy" than a Doublemint commercial, really. If it hadn't been for Jackie's post, I probably wouldn't have even noticed anything about it. But that's okay. Boycott Mazda all you want. It's a free country, and if freedom means anything it includes the right to be offended by whatsoever you choose, especially if it's on TV. That's the American way.

But here's what interests me in my capacity as a word geek. Both Jackie and Gwen use the word "incest" when they characterize what offends them about the commercial and (presumably) the Twins Fantasy itself. But even granting the offensiveness, does it really "count" as incest when sisters make out with a guy? I don't mean in a legal sense, but rather as a matter of one's own internal intuitive system of semantic categories. Maybe it's just that my phallocentric retrograde intuitive semantic categories need to be updated (though that can be easier said than done), but frankly it would never occur to me to class that particular scenario as "incestuous." Implausible, maybe. (OK, OK, certainly.) But for some reason, using the word "incest" for the "I'm Terri and this is my sister Sherri and we like to party" scenario feels... inapt. Brother+Sister = a shocking tale of incest and depravity. Obviously. Sister+Sister(+/- some random dude) = a smashing film about something else entirely. Though I may just be from Mars or Venus or Neptune or however you say it...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:27 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

January 03, 2004

The Case of the Abandoned Turban, the Missing Nuts, and the Anti-Aircraft Missile

Surrounded by upturned chairs and an abandoned turban, Sabah Al-Kaisey surveyed his ransacked office yesterday.

The American troops who burst into his mosque on Thursday morning had smashed down the front gate, broken the air conditioners and ripped up the carpets. They had also thrown several Korans on the floor and allegedly punched the man giving the call to prayer in the face.

"They even took our nuts," said Mr Kaisey yesterday, opening the door of the mosque's empty fridge.

The troops who raided the Ibn Taymiyah mosque, used by Baghdad's Sunnis, appear to have been looking for weapons used by Iraq's resistance. They recovered a couple of AK-47s, hand grenades and an anti-aircraft missile, US military officials said.

Abdul Sattar, the mosque's imam, said the weapons were used by its guards. "They were there to protect ourselves."

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Dr. Frank and the Marginalized Subjectivity of Demo(li)tion

via Emily, I discovered the PoMo English Title Generator.

And of course I had to try it (and not only since every time I hot-link this, I get a few more orders):

Dr. Frank, Eight Little Songs, and The Proletariat: Sectioning Racist Perversion

Feminist Tongues and the Diaspora of Polyvocal Community in Dr. Frank's Eight Little Songs

Otherness and Fragments in Eight Little Songs: Dr. Frank Penetrating Unitary Hybridity

Dr. Frank, Eight Little Songs, and The Bourgeois: Encoding Anal Artifacts

Consuming Savagery: Encoded Attraction in Dr. Frank's Eight Little Songs

The Outrage of Penetration and the Deaf in Dr. Frank's Eight Little Songs

The Exploited Exhuming The Queer: Dr. Frank, Eight Little Songs and Influence

Fetishing, Dismembering, Speaking: Spirit in Dr. Frank and the Marginalized Subjectivity of Demo(li)tion in Eight Little Songs


Am I crazy, or does this one almost kind of make sense?
Heteronormative Concealment and the Diaspora of Oral Fuzziness in The Mr. T Experience's Yesterday Rules

Well, maybe not. But I'm calling my next album The Diaspora of Oral Fuzziness unless anything better pops up.


Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Give Elevenses a Chance

Emily Jones has a new url. The theme is LotR-derived, but the posts remain more or less in the grand Hawk Girl tradition.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:33 PM | TrackBack

Way to beg the question...

Start with a caricature (the Bush administration always eschews diplomacy, seeks unilateral military solutions to every problem, and wants to invade everybody); point out some illustrations of the caricature's inaccuracy; call this a "policy shift." Offer sober analysis. (Of interest only if you really thought the plan was to invade North Korea, Libya, Palestine, and Iran in the next few months.)

(Incidentally, while pawing through the Guardian, I came across another great Guardian moment in the midst of a windy op-ed on immigration policy, the pros and cons of open borders, the history of the early Church, the joyous holiday season and "the deep-rooted dualism between body and soul, spirit and matter, which permeates western thinking and is alien to the Jewish and Christian bibles." Among other things, not necessarily relevant to one another, but awfully nice nevertheless. Anyway, I presume it's at least partially tongue-in-cheek, though it's so hard to tell with Brits:

according to the nativity story, Jesus's parents took refuge in Egypt in order to save him from Herod's henchmen. Presumably, if tougher immigration laws had been in force at the time, Jesus could have been killed as a child, and Christian history could have taken a quite different course.
Rather an iron-clad argument for or against some thingummy or other, what?)

UPDATE: I had intended to comment on this one, too, but Norm Geras has covered it. What he said.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:28 PM | TrackBack