February 28, 2005

We All Get Lonely

Found in front of Art's Crab Shak in North Oakland.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:31 PM | TrackBack

I Was Trying to Find that Frontline documentary about how everything is a total disaster and how we're all doomed, when my hand slipped and I accidentally tuned in to American Idol...

... as soon as I realized my mistake, I screamed and pressed the mute button, but not before I heard the sound of a Legacy of Dissent being strangled by Corporations...

As I mentioned earlier, there has been some trauma and confusion over at Alternative Tentacles Records recently. They really want to know whether or not the Dead Kennedys' version of "Viva Las Vegas" was played on American Idol. Yet no one who works there, nor anyone they know, nor anyone they have ever actually met in person, would ever in a million years admit to having watched the show. The responses from readers of the newsletter were inconclusive (some say yes, some say no) but all contain careful disclaimers, just to make sure everyone knows that they have come by their knowledge innocently. Examples:

-- yes, it was...i remember hanging out in the living room with my kids for they dig the show (it makes me wanna barf, but hey -- being with the kids is what was important [...] i was shocked, but as i told my son -- "looks like jello's been fucked again"... and tell him that i think it sucks ass that he gets continual shit for standing up with some integrity about the use of DK material...

-- For reasons that are beyond me, my husband watches that show, so - as anyone there at AT who is married can confirm - that means I watch it too... If memory serves - and I can check it with him if no other AT newsletter subscribers are willing to 'fess up to watching the show - they played only a few bars of it, right near the end of the show. I am fairly certain there were no vocals used, because if there were I would have recognized it instantly.

-- I have a good friend who works in a partner company to the almighty FOX notwork(!) and he mailed me a few days ago to tell me that they had/have got hold of Viva...

-- a friend in the business says: Okay. American Idol did request use of the DK's version, but according to the clearance person I talked to, they never received either an approval or denial, and whenever that happens, they DON'T just go ahead and use the song. She said they swapped it out for Wayne Newton's version

Uh-oh - I wonder if Wayne Newton is aware of the attack on his legacy.

In a way, it hardly matters which version they played. I heard "Take this Job and Shove It" on a corporation-owned radio station a couple of weeks ago. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the DK's version (I'd have recognized the voice and how it was all too fast and everything) but I knew what they were up to. Corporations are very clever people, and when they want to destroy a legacy, they'll use every trick in the book. Thank God they never play DKs songs on the radio anymore. Our secret is safe with us.

Biafra suggests going to one of the Fake DKs shows ("Fake DKs" = East Bay Ray's Biafra-less Dead Kennedys) and asking them about it. Or, as he puts it:

it might be worth using your constitutional First Amendment Right to ask them...

Now even though I have always held the solemn belief that self-promotion is a right rather than a privilege, I can't resist invoking my sacred, Constitutional First Amendment Right to say that there's something kind of hilarious about that turn of phrase. I mean, asking East Bay Ray about American Idol isn't exactly marching from Selma to Montgomery. Or is it?

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 27, 2005

I'm thankyou for having a relationship with you

Here is a found Valentine, from Kesha to Ferrari.

To: Ferrari

The relationship we have is like something I've never had before, something I thank god for giving me. We have had times good & bad but we have more good than bad. I thank you for this.

You don't have to worry about me, I'm yours & your mine, what ever you go through trust, I'll be by your side going through it with you. We've grown with each and I look forward to us growing any more with.

Yes, you mean the world to me,

Yes, I love you.

Yes, I feel you


Yes, I'm thankyou for having a relationship with you.

I love you.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Always love,


Sadly, it appears that Ferrari tore this valentine card up shortly after receiving it, throwing it in the bushes by St. Leo's Church on Piedmont Avenue, where I found it a couple of days ago.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 06:23 AM | TrackBack

Don't Fight the Moonlight

Ladies: how to kiss your man if he's secretly gay; or if he's about twelve; or, if you want him to run from the room screaming.

via the president.

(title comes from this related piece of disinformation.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:15 AM | TrackBack

Better Late than Never

Maybe I should have known it all along, but I just realized that one of my all-time favorite things in this world is the way Mick Jagger mispronounces Oklahoma City in the Rolling Stones' version of "Route 66."

(The ultra-British pronunciation of St. Louis ain't bad either; on the other hand, "Saint Bernardino" is almost as great.)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:00 AM | TrackBack

February 24, 2005

I'm Still Hoping for a Miracle

This is another peek into the world of Jean, Irene, and Eric that I mentioned below. Sadly, Fluffles does not make an appearance in this document. It's a letter from Irene to Jean, and it is quite long. But the extensive examinations of Barbara Boxer's courage, the Israel/Palestine ceasefire, tabouleh salad, the price, quality, and availability of bulk bulghar, the way to handle strife in the workplace, and the challenges of mailing an envelope when you don't have enough time to stand in line at the post office, are an important part of the over-powering ordinariness that gives this found letter its subtle charm. And yet, on the other hand, there is certainly something rather extraordinary about Irene, who is apparently a grown woman whose thoroughly unironic passion for Disney, Sanrio, Valentine stickers, and Kogipan stationary is matched only by her dreams of social justice and hopes for a robust Peace Movement. And you gotta love how she manages to count her blessings and get back in the game, even while facing the abyss, right at the very end.

The tale of how tragedy struck at the Long's Mailing Center is the key element here. Irene certainly has documented the affair with exhaustive detail and precision. Over at the left hand margin of the second page, she has even provided a diagram of the crime scene:


Hinting at a tantalizing, ultimately unknowable backstory, the letter was torn in half while still in the envelope, apparently unread - that is, the envelope does not appear to have been opened, though it's possible that it was opened carefully and the flap's adhesive re-adhered.

It is written on both sides of a piece of Cinnamoroll stationary. I think it's important to have the image of the Sanrio stationary in mind while reading the letter, so here's a picture of it. Italics represent underlining.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Feb. 12 2005

Dear Jean,

Thank you for the New Year card & good wishes. Right now I'm listening to a radio program "Experiencing War, More than Love Stories." Stories of caring, tragedy, healing. The other day Sen. Barbara Boxer was interviewed on Fresh Air. I really admire her courage in the way she questioned C. Rice about tough issues concerning mistreatment of prisoners & the mistakes about going to war. The most hopeful news is the recent cease fire agreement between the Israelis & the Palestinians. If the peace movement gains momentum, there could be a bright future for the whole region.

I was re-reading your card this evening & hope the meeting with your boss went okay. You're one of the best employees an organization could hope for & I hope your job stays enjoyable & that you have good coworkers. If you ever have a problem with anyone I hope you can avoid a mistake I made by ignoring it and just concentrating on my work. Meanwhile the one causing trouble had regular meetings with the mgr & tried to make me look bad. If I had to do it over, I'd have spoken up for myself & made the mgr aware of the situation early on. But if [business acronym] is observant, they can't help but notice how valuable and organized you are and that any dept. would be improved if they had you there!

Do you like tabouleh (sp) salad? Eric calls it "energy salad" because he feels energized after eating it. On the Cosentino's on Bascom carries bulghar in bulk & the Cosentinos closer to us said they're having a hard time ordering it and keeping it on the shelves. "As soon as we put them on the shelf, we're sold out!" Bob's Red Mill grains are really good quality, but expensive. I tried his brand of bulghar & it has a good texture, but usually buy it in bulk. When in Stockton, Mom & I go to WINCO, a non membership store with GREAT prices. I usually stock up on bird seed & bulk food, orange juice etc. there. Wish there were one in San Jose.

Now - this hectic, ever changing schedule finally caught up with me. Last Mon Feb 7 I had to weigh an envelope plus get it in the mail & make some copies, so I went to the nearby Longs. I set my clear file/letter case on copier #1 ("out of order") while I made copies & then weighed one envelope on the scale, about 2 yards away. (The Mailing Center is right behind the copiers) Usually I'd just go to the Post Office, but I was already late to pick up Eric who gets off at 4:30. I left around 4:45, dropped off the letter at the P.O. (& didn't have to stand in line because I already weighed my envelope). I picked up Eric then we went to the library & to the grocery store. Early the next morning I was going to put a stamp on an envelope when I couldn't find my letter case. (It's a clear plastic case with red handles.) Then my heart sank when I realized I must have left it at Longs because I only mailed ONE letter & had several in my letter case. If my letter case was with me it would've been on the passenger seat of the car & I would've SEEN the other letters.

At 7 AM I went to Longs, spoke with the mgr. but he checked all over and no one had turned it in. He said it might take a subpoena to be able to review the security camera film even though there's a camera facing the entrance by the copiers. I called several times, went to make out a police report but the officer didn't offer much hope. In addition to personal correspondence, most (95%) of my collection of commemorative DISNEY, NEW YEAR etc. stamps, plus receipts and medical papers were in the blue folder. Eric & the mgr thought surely someone would return it, but I have the feeling the STAMPS and Kogipan stationary and Valentine stickers probably tempted a younger person to steal it since Longs stays open til midnight. My friend parked her jacket down for just a minute & someone stole it from her shopping cart! I'm still hoping for a miracle but feel it's a bitter lesson to be more careful. Whatever happened to HONESTY and DECENCY. Oh well, I'm thankful for what I still have! Please take care. Love, Irene

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:12 PM | TrackBack

Jean, Irene, Eric, and Fluffles

I'm aware that some people don't share and can't grasp my interest in "found" objects. But, for those who "get" it, here's another. For some reason, I've been hitting the found objects jackpot lately. This one came with quite a good letter from Irene to Jean, which I may share at some later time.

This is a Hallmark Valentine card, in an envelope with lots of stickers: Lady and the Tramp, dogs in a wagon that says "expressly for you," a Little Red Riding hood cat, and, on the flap, a smiling heart with arms and legs with the caption: "Luv Ya." Confetti was enclosed. On the card, Snoopy is sitting on his doghouse looking at a big, heart-shaped chocolate cake, while a couple of Woodstocks in bakers' hats fly around. Text: "Valentine, you're like a three-layer heart-shaped chocolate cake loaded with frosting..." Printed inside the card: "Sweet from top to bottom. Happy Valentines Day!"

Above this printed message, is written, in ball-point:

For Feb 14, 2005
Dear Jean

And below it:
Irene, Eric,
& Fluffles

On the inside facing page of the card:

I saved this card for a long time & thought you might like to have it.

Have you seen that cute Disney ad about the 2 dogs who go to Disneyland? They play "SO THIS IS LOVE" from "Cinderella" and have a scene like the one where Lady and Tramp are sharing a plate of spaghetti. Even Fluffles likes it!

(I think she likes the nice music & it's an animal ad)

Posted by Dr. Frank at 12:28 AM | TrackBack

February 23, 2005

Henry Kissinger

More found stuff.

I have been sitting on this for awhile, because (a) it's the greatest bundle of found materials I have ever had in my possession, and part of me almost feels like keeping it to myself; (b) there's so much of it that I don't know where to begin sharing it; (c) I can't quite figure out how the various pieces are related to each other (though they definitely are), so the whole collection is hard to frame it as a "story." You have a sense, looking at this stuff, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as they say, but it's kind of hard to put your finger on exactly how this is the case. That said, some of the parts are pretty spectacular.

I posted a transcript of one of the peripheral letters awhile back, a letter from November, 2000 from one Dannie to a Chris. (The name Dannie/Danielle turns up in some of the other materials, though this letter is Chris's only appearance.)

The meat of it, though, is a portion of diary of a girl named Ellie. It is on twelve closely written pages, and covers 30 days in 1975, when she was 15. It's possible that Ellie is Dannie's mother - there's some other evidence that may support that theory, though I'm not certain about that. How this 1975 diary ended up being kept with all of these other more recent documents is only the one of the intriguing puzzles here.

The diary begins:

1 - 8 - 75 pg. 3
Hi. Last night I took Mario out to dinner. It was fun. The bill came to fuckin 17 something. The waiter looked like a pirate. I was stoned, so he tripped me out. Here I am, 15 years old, & I've been already been laid about a dozen times. (which really is nothing compared to what itll be like on my wedding nite!) but just the principal of the thing bothers me. I bet you could ask anyone: what would you say about a 15 year old gettin screwed? Too young, little tramp, bitchy slut, WHAT? I don't care, but sometimes I feel so guilty. Yet I love it - Mario is a good ball. (HA HA) What a cliché. Last night after dinner we went up to twin peaks & threw down the back seat of his fathers station wagon. The first one was good (we did it twice) the second wun we almost got busted by the fuckin pigs. They were shinin the lite, but I don't think they saw cuz the windows were fogged up. I hope I get fired from my job. I hate it so much, but I love the money.

You know what. Dad is a MOTHER fucker. He's such a FUCKER. Before I pretended to hate him, & I sorta did, and I wanted 2 be close 2 him again. But now, he's pullin 2 much shit, so I really do hate him now. I get my permit soon. [illegible] be jammin perhaps? Henry Kissinger. I'm writing bigger. I must NOT write big. I must NOT!!!! (He-He) I'd like to be a comedian. I like to make people laff. You know - I didn't think I could ever hear myself saying this, but I can't wait to get married! But there's a catch - I only wanna marry Mario. I would marry him right now if he asked me. I pray to GOD (or whoever) that we never split up. I love him so much. Sometimes he gets me pissed, & I hate him. But it don't last long. I want to be with him all the time. But now that I think about it, I don't. I like him better out of school. I feel more relaxed, & I enjoy being alone w/him. What is this bull shit I'm writing? Hoo noes? I'm gonna take drama next semester. Far out, I'll be acting, I love to do that...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 20, 2005

It's inevitable...

Sooner or later, and one way or another, pretty much everybody ends up writing books for young readers.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 04:02 PM | TrackBack

February 19, 2005

Julie and Kelly, continued

Last week I noted a packet of found materials from the lives of Julie and Kelly. Here are a few more items.

item 6
A receipt from Trader Joe's, dated 08/07/04, listing these items:


item 7
Christmas card, depicting a moose with mistletoe hanging from its antlers and from one hoof. Captioned "Moosletoe." Written inside:

Kelly and Julie,

Carol ask me to write this for her (I'm learn) She's sorry she didn't write sooner.

I love you both. Hope you had a great Holiday. Wish to see you.

Love, Mom

item 8
Christmas card depicting sparkly high-heel fetish-y fur boots. Caption inside: "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to boot!" Written in silver pen:

Now THESE boots were NOT made for walkin!!!

See you soon, I hope...

Will call ya when I get down to Berkeley town!


Underneath the printed caption, there is a large asterisk. Vanessa has drawn an arrow pointing to it, with a question mark.

item 9
Wedding card in purple envelope, on which someone has written in blue crayon:

Anniversary Calendar
+ 2004 Scotttland Calendar

Card features a drawing of a wedding cake. The bride and groom on top of the cake, shown from behind, are grabbing each other's butts. Caption reads: "Grab all the happiness you can! Congrats!"

Written in black sharpie:

God Blessed you + Kelly Always

In tiny writing underneath and off to the side is written: "and Eric."

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:52 PM | TrackBack

Demonology and Retribution

Well, maybe it's no big surprise, but my blog exorcism didn't end up casting out all the demons after all. Maybe I said patris when I should have said filii.

I'll keep trying. But in the meantime, a rather nasty minor demon seems to have taken up residence in my comments cgi. He or she or it will allow no comments of any kind, by anyone, including spammers. How are we going to know where to go for "gay animal sex"? This has been going on for several days now. Sorry about that. I'm still trying to figure it out.

On a barely-related note, late last night I heard a couple of people walking by my bedroom window, talking loudly and drunkly. That's a common enough occurrence around here, but this conversation was better than most.

"See," said one, slurring a bit, "there's the Father. And then there's the Son. And, finally, you've got the Holy Spirit."

"OK," said the other voice. "And which is your favorite?"

And in what I can only believe is some divine punishment for the sins of an ill-conducted personal life, a loud motorcycle sped by just at that moment, so I never got to hear the answer. Justice is a bitch.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 16, 2005

Calling All Legacy Avengers

From the Alternative Tentacles e-newsletter:

A short time ago East Bay Ray faxed Jello Biafra a proposal to sell the DK's version of "Viva Las Vegas" to one of TV's all-time worst programs on TV's all-time worst network- "American Idol" on Fox. Biafra strenuously objected, pointing out this was even worse and more against the principles of the band than the proposed Levi's commercial the ex-DK's sued Biafra for. True to form, he never heard back from Ray. Now we are getting vague e-mails claiming Ray went behind Jello's back and did indeed sell DK's music and legacy to Fox for "American Idol."

Can anyone out there confirm this actually happened? Did anyone overcome their nausea long enough to tape the show? Please let us know. Biafra hasn't heard from Ray and does not expect to. Obviously this is the worst and stupidest thing to be done to Dead Kennedys yet in the name of a quick dirty buck, but is this true??? We are interested in facts, not gossip and blogs.

Needless to say, it is absolutely vital to protect the legacy of the Dead Kennedys' joke version of a novelty song owned by Warner Brothers. This is particularly true when the co-opting is being done by Amerikkkan Idle, a popular show that the better sort of person rightly holds in contempt, and on a network like Fox, which will, of course, be the first network up against the wall when the Revolution comes.

Sadly, the oppressors have the better class of humans in a bind, because those who regard their souls as sacred temples of taste and breeding would never sully them by watching such a program, so no one who matters has any idea whether or not this particular attack on the DK's legacy even occurred. Therefore, the better class of hipster reaches out to sympathetic souls among the popular culture riff raff who don't realize they're not supposed to watch just any old television program, and who haven't grasped that TV viewing should reflect a broader, more comprehensive political commitment. But if we can walk together, surely we can rock together. So we fight the power as one. It's a beautiful thing.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 05:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 15, 2005

MTX and the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Have you ever found yourself wondering: would a traditional Hopi be able to understand the Mr. T Experience song "Our Days are Numbered?"

Ron over at Blog of the Hurricane has the answer, in a essay he wrote for his Linguistic Anthropology class.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 13, 2005

Julie and Kelly

I guess this is Found Stuff day over here at Dr. Frank's What's-it.

Today I found a hoard of wedding cards, Christmas cards, birthday cards, and other random stuff from the lives of two people named Kelly and Julie. The were scattered all over the street, but had clearly once been kept together in a paper shopping bag.

While I wouldn't totally rule out the possibility that this is a lesbian couple, my guess is that it's a run-of-the-mill heterosexual marriage and that Kelly is a man - the wedding greetings are too white-bread and normal and there's no hint of alternate lifestyle-ness about any of this stuff. But I could be wrong.

The wedding appears to have taken place in 2003, but the Christmas cards that were bundled with them (many of which are really priceless home-computer-generated pieces of Americana) seem to be from this past year. I'd guess that Julie was the one who had kept this stuff together, because the birthday cards are all addressed to her. And because one of the items is a little folder from a pharmacy containing a prescription and an empty card that once held her birth-control pills.

There was also a TV remote control, and an empty bottle of shampoo.

I'm not going show and tell it all right now, but here are some dribs and drabs, with more to come later perhaps.

item 1:
a fortune cookie fortune that reads:

Keep your plans secret for now.

item 2:
a ticket stub from August 2003, for the movie Up Town Girls.

item 3:
an index card on which is written in ballpoint pen in a rather child-like, girlie hand:

DVD's to Own
Salton Sea
fight Club
American Psycho
Die Hard
Bad Boys
Sweet home Alabama
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

item 4:
a tag from a Cacique bra that cost twenty-eight dollars. ("sexy... sensual cacique") Size: 48D.

item 5:
two pages from a notepad in the shape of a big, purple "J," on which is written:

Things to do

Get CD's together
CD player/headphones



makeup bag
curling iron

the steps
[these three items are crossed out]

Shaving Cream
Jergens Shaveless lotion

More later, perhaps.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:42 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

I Miss My Music...

Another found item.

This is a transcription of a fragmentary letter found in north Oakland. It had been torn up, and this is one of the pieces, so one side has the left bits missing, while the other is missing some stuff on the right. It was written on lined note-paper in all caps in pencil.

[o]wn. I miss my music not being able to play [i]t enough. Not being [able to] listen to it is [killing] me. You know how [...] [mu]sic? That's one of [...] I must fix upon [...] from a phone [...]ng I have some [...]t at Jennifers. [...]o more. I am [w]earing 5X shirts right [...] just sitting in here I'll work out daily I've never been so [...] [in my l]ife. I'm sort of [...] at myself [...] about

[other side]

to reach you for [...] weeks. She is m[...] right now. Guess [...] after tomorrow [...] weeks to go m[...] are the same. [...] and over. No sex [...] here is finall[y] [...] an end and I [...] the anticipation [...] a release da[te] [...] even though I [...] "home" when th[e] [...] home. Ha. I d[...] an address to [...] supervisors if [...] to give [...] com[...]

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

February 12, 2005

We'll Always have Pyongyang

I've had occasion to comment on Neil Clark's unique brand of totalitarian nostalgia before. While I doubt he will ever again meet the standard set by his groundbreakingly perverse "Milosevic, Prisoner of Conscience," I still keep rooting for him. Perhaps something like: "Mugabe: Hard Worker, Loyal Husband, and All-Around Fine Person." You can use that one for nothing, if you like, Neil.

Clark seems to inhabit a kind of Addam's Family or Fungus the Bogeyman world. You know, where the through-the-looking-glass people say something is ugly, or horrible, or dreadful, but they mean it in a positive sense. "That's a dreadful hat you have on my drear." "Thank you darling. You're so awful."

Or rather, since Clark is a political writer, it's more like:

Straight man: "you know, [fill in the name of any random mini-Stalin or contemporary totalitarian dictator] has killed a lot of people and turned the lives of those left standing into a living nightmare."

Clark: "yes, what a dreadful man - isn't he dreamy?"

Or words to that effect.

There was a column by Clark in Thursday's Guardian, and while it's no "Milosevic: Prisoner of Conscience," it does have its moments. Tim Worstall critiques the column's topsy-turvy economics here; but the basic spirit of the thing is that the wrong side won the Cold War and it's really a shame that 1989 ever had to happen. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, life in eastern Europe's police states was spectacularly horrible. And that's "horrible" in the sense of "like some joyous, delicate dream."

"All is not lost," however, according to Clark. With any luck, a concerted effort by "popular fronts against the tyranny of neo-liberalism" may well be able to bring back that swell iron curtain and plunge half the world into darkness once again. What a dreadful idea, darling.

UPDATE: the New Statesman charges for content these days, so I replaced the link, which was originally to the NS version of "Milosevic: Prisoner of Conscience," to the Pravda version. Have at, shadies and gentle-devils.

UPDATE II: Harry's post on the Clark article is worth checking out.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

With a little pet dog and a little pet mouse

Well blow me down and call me Willie. I've just learned that Dan Treacy, who is as "back" as I suppose anyone can ever be, has a blog.


i worked for swansong records..the led zepp dudes in 1977 after leaving school.

it was almost on my doorstep in the kings road,i lived at 355 they were at 484 i think..

next door of the site of the famous sixties boutique granny takes a trip.
it was a bizarre job cos there was little to do. the label was not very active but it was pleasant to meet some of th artistes.

The only one i knew was maggie bell who was singing solo. she used to be in stone the crows..

i knew her from her doing her laundry at mums laundry.. which i think was number 402 kings rd.

she was very sweet and friendly.i really did not have a clue about zeppelin or bad company...

There follows an anecdote about how Jimmy Page saw a copy of the "14th Floor" single, found out Dan Treacy was in a band, and invited him up to his office to "jam."

There's also a new TVPs mp3 floating around in the internet: "I Hope He's Everything You Wanted Me to Be." (It's at the bottom of this page.) Very cool song.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:46 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

"A real move-on.org bummer fest..."

Long-time confidante and all-around great gal Tristin reviews the Manchurian Candidate remake, summarizing the film's "message" thus:

they are mobilizing against us, fellow boomers, we must re-subscribe to the Nation RIGHT AWAY

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 11, 2005

Malleus Maleficarum

Thanks to Michele and her formidable horde of webette associates, I have learned that the posting problem is most likely a bug in the preview function of my Movable Type. It works fine if I don't preview, which is what I'm going to have to do. Any mistakes or infelicities, then, are not mine but rather those of the weird, ungodly spirit who has decided to haunt my blog. I reported the bug, and I'll be performing an exorcism as well, just ot be on the safe side.

I reposted my Whole Foods follow-up below. Have at.

Thanks, again Michele. You rule.

Now as for the unclean spirit who haunts my cgi: the power of Christ compels you...

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:33 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

God Made us Special, take 2

Thanks for all the comments on my cranky Whole Foods/organic homily. I hadn't realized there would be such strong opinions on the whole thing.

There's another comments-thread on the subject of Whole Foods and my post over at Matt Welch's place - some people really don't like it when you criticize their supermarket; and then again, some people really do like it when you slag other peoples' favorite supermarket. Identity Grocery Shopping. That's not two buck chuck: that's genocide! I might have known.

Well, I guess like most of my posts, we should look at it as an unfortunate by-product of being drunk on the internet.

In Matt's comments, Thomas Nephew wasn't too impressed:

Dr. Frank's whole thing was basically a little culture war without any substantive point -- i.e., a series of cheap shots.

Now I admire and respect Thomas Nephew, and he runs one of the best and smartest blogs out there. But if he is looking for anything other than cheap shots, he's really coming to the wrong guy - cheap ones are the only kind of shots I'm familiar with, as you'll find out if I ever buy you a drink some time. And those who know me well know there's probably not a "substantive" bone in my body.

But he's right about the culture war. It doesn't actually have that much to do with Whole Foods, or Trader Joe's, or the Berkeley Bowl, or organic food, or whatever. Maybe I should have made that clear. It's more about the Bay Area Snob Situation that I've harped on before.

I love living here. The weather's great. I like the tolerance for eccentricity (though I often wish people would just get on with being all tolerant and everything without having to make such a big deal about how great it is that they're so tolerant, and how you don't find such top-notch tolerance just anywhere, and how you haven't really experienced true, cream-of-the-crop tolerance till you've seen it in action amongst the best people in the Greatest Place on Earth.) I probably couldn't survive anywhere else. But there is a drawback, and that is that everyone is so self-impressed. The narcissism in the air is so thick and plentiful that it's sometimes hard to breathe normally. Which is annoying. Because you know, and this is a point that I've learned just doesn't compute when expressed to the average Identity Bay Arean, we actually aren't all that much better than anybody else. Sorry, but that's how I feel.

On English trains they have First and Second Class cars. The First Class cars are pretty much identical to the Second Class ones, except that they cost a lot more, and are, accordingly, less crowded. In fact, you hardly see anyone in one of them ever. But what you get for paying extra is the satisfaction of dissociating yourself from the riff raff. I think the Special Food Culture is kind of like that, though it's more a matter of social and psychological, rather than mere physical, proximity. In a way, though, it comes down to the same type of thing.

And I understand the impulse. I'm a native San Franciscan after all. Bay Area Exceptionalism was cultivated in me from at least the zygote stage, and drummed into my head constantly throughout my erstwhile and continuing childhood. I guess I get my San Francisco kicks out of being into obscure rock bands and so forth, which I suppose can be just as annoying. Everybody does it. So, as everyone ends up saying in the end about the Organic People, even me: more power to you. God made you special.

Of course, the Whole Foods Experience isn't just a San Francisco thing. But I suspect it is more extreme here. You take a dubious marketing gimmick ("organic") and turn it into a Lifestyle. Then you turn that into a kind of cult. Whatever else that is, it's extremely Bay Area.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:19 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack


Test 2. another test, without using preview.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:10 AM | TrackBack

February 10, 2005

Drunk on the Internet Again

Hey, sorry for the weird, truncated entry below. For some reason, my MT set-up isn't allowing me to include links. It just cuts off everything after the first

well, since it's being cut off, I can't type it or the rest of *this* message will be lost. It even seems to happen when I just type the letters themselves, without any format tags or whatever.

Try this:

There is this thing you type to add a link, which is: test

wow, it cut that off, too. (I tried to symbolize the letters using the alpha-bravo code. Is that possible? Here they are backwards, just in case that helps: foxtrot echo romeo hotel.)

What in God's name is going on around here?

Any MT geniuses have any idea what I'm doing wrong? Also, while I'm complaining, I don't seem to be able to delete posts, either.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 02:05 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

God made us Special

Thanks for all the comments on my cranky Whole Foods/organic homily. I hadn't realized there would be such strong opinions on the whole thing.


February 06, 2005

An Organic Experience

I've never been an "organic" kind of guy, even though I live in a place where everyone is always falling over themselves to be as "organic" as possible at all times. It's not that I'm hostile to the organic people. My wife is one, and more power to her. But I just don't want to join in on their little self-congratulatory "look at how great I am because I eat special food" party if I can help it.

That said, I'm not totally convinced that "organic" actually means anything other than: this item will cost three times as much as the non-shriveled alternative that the regular people can afford to eat. I know it's supposed to be all hand-planted, and hand-harvested, lovingly hand-shipped and neatly hand-arranged and hand-priced at the Whole Foods by precious little pixies. I know it is cultivated and nurtured using the honest, redemptive, time-honored methods of the sturdy German peasant. I know when all the other organic people see you picking it out they think: wow, if only everyone would be as fabulous as we are and reorient their priorities so that their diet would include twelve dollar a pound arugula - then everyone would be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. I know the government is supposed to have certified that the shriveled, ten dollar designer cauliflower you've just put in your shopping cart really does prove that you are better than everyone else. But honestly, I just don't completely buy it. I guess I am part of the problem, after all. And I'm pretty sure that there are some special glasses provided to the Whole Foods board of directors; and if you were to go to Whole Foods and put them on, you would see, right below the price on every hand-administered item, the word "suckers!"

So I avoid Whole Foods as much as I possibly can, not only because of what they have there, but because of what they don't have. I mean, they don't have normal stuff like mayonnaise or ketchup or regular breakfast cereal. True, you can go in there and spend $200 on a bag containing eight tiny items, among which is a jar full of a funky substance from somewhere in the Andes that is "better than mayonnaise" because the simple, honest, lovely, gentle people of the rainforest have "really good food" and don't need our rapacious Western ways. But it costs more per ounce than aged single malt, tastes kind of weird and smells like ass. Sometimes you just want some regular mayonnaise on your sandwich. Is that so wrong? Plus, I can't stand the self-satisfied expressions on all the Whole Foods shoppers' faces when they're caressing the tiny jar of Andes-mayonnaise and doing their little "yay! yay! it's organic!" dance. I know that's unworthy of me. But they irritate the hell out of me.

Nevertheless, I don't mind it as long as the Whole Foods depravity stays safely in the Whole Foods compound. Like the hyenas at the drive-through Safari. Lately, though, I've noticed the organic-ness seeping out from the Whole Foods and starting to poison the rest of the world. It's really a bummer.

Now, I'm the kind of guy who likes a cheese sandwich every now and again. The supermarket in my neighborhood is, I admit, a bit frou-frou and pretentious, but they have always had a "normal food" section for people like me who haven't adjusted to the New Organic Order or who can't quite afford to buy individually-wrapped lettuce leaves or free range Bolivian salsa. They frown at you when you buy stuff from the riff-raff section, but it's great that it's there.

Or it was. And here we come to the point, because now, everything has changed. I used to be able to get a big brick of utterly ordinary Monterey Jack cheese for around four dollars, and it would last weeks. Now, however, they have entirely eliminated the normal cheese. If you want to buy Monterey Jack, you have no choice but to get the "organic" stuff, which costs nearly $10 per pound. Honestly, I'd rather spend the money on liquor. Which is what I end up doing, usually.

Maybe I should just bite the bullet and buy some of the precious, special, aren't-we-fabulous organic cheese. But honestly, "organic"-ness has no appeal whatsoever for me. In fact, it kind of pisses me off. I don't like organic stuff. It sucks. I'm going to have to find a Lucky's or something.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 07:27 AM | Comments (52) | TrackBack

February 02, 2005

Bloggus Interruptus

Well, once again rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. Still working on the book, which is occupying most of my mental energy - high volume blogging seems to work best when you don't have anything better to do, like a job. Or when you want to escape or avoid something. Like a job.

I've also been working on some songs, some to go along with the book, and some for a potential next MTX album. I'll let you know if anything interesting happens. I also may be able to manage a frivolous post on a trivial topic here or there. We'll see.

Posted by Dr. Frank at 03:24 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack