31 March 2008

Status Report

Well, babycakes - I've got my new PC, and it's a shiny beast that's quicker than hell, and for the most part I'm excited and satisfied...It hasn't been a flawless affair, however - I've got issues with my Frontpage software, and the fact that it apparently can't be loaded into a machine that isn't running MS Office. I'm running MS Works.

Oddly enough, while I wasn't able to install Frontpage 2003, I WAS able to install Frontpage 2000, which is a noticeably more primitive version of a software program that is already as Last Century as possible.

The question now is - what happens when I upload pages created in FP2000 to a site that is currently sitting on the server that was created with FP2003. Considering this is MS software, I'm assuming serious conflicts and issues will arise.

But first, I gotta be able to connect to my server host via Filezilla, and that ain't happening for whatever reason.

So, in the meantime, here's a semi-recent KIETH THE PERPETUAL TEEN strip that doesn't feature Kieth, but rather, Kieth's cats, Depardeau and Tuffy The Kibble Slayer...Ayup...

Hopefully EVERYTHINGATHON! will be running normally by the end of the week, as well as this HOT POOP blog...Until then...

Hotcha! Hank

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27 March 2008

ALERT! DEFCON 7!!!!!!!

My home PC unexpectedly crashed a couple of nights ago, and attempts to fix the problem have been unsuccessful. It was the impetus I needed to finally buy a new PC, which I had been contemplating for the past year.

Of course, this means that this HOT POOP blog and EVERYTHINGATHON! are not going to be active for the next 1-3 weeks, depending on how fast DELL can deliver my new PC, and how quickly I can get all the appropriate software programs and files onto that new PC.

So, until next time in the very near future, I leave you with this, which is NOT an endorsement by yours truly for Barack Obama. I just ran across this picture somewhere on the net, and thought it was a pretty well-done PS...

BTW - I am voting for Barack Obama this November, and I urge all other voting Americans to do the same.

Hotcha! Hank

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25 March 2008

Tuesday's Fortune: 25 March 2008

MEAL: 1 order of (8) steamed dumplings, 1 small order of mixed vegetables in hot garlic sauce = $10.02 + .98c tip

Hotcha! Hank

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21 March 2008

Something 4 The Weekend # 61

It's a good thing The Knacks' "Good Girls Don't" addresses the social and sexual life of a teenaged boy, and not that of lead singer Doug Fieger himself, because the chorus of this song contains an infamous couplet about a high school girl sitting on the face of said teenaged boy. Fieger was 27 years old at the time this song was written and recorded, and as much as many adult men might fantasize about having a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year old girl, the reality is, of course, that it's not only illegal, but just plain creepy.
This song was the second single released from this album, and as such, it got a fair amount of radio play in the summer of 1979. At first, that line about the girl sitting on the boy's face was left intact, but of course, this being America, it wasn't long before enough complaints from the easily offended to the FCC led to the line being changed from "when she's sitting on your face" to "when she puts you in your place", which made sense within the context of the song, and followed the original rhyme scheme, but ultimately does nothing but ruin it, especially for a 13 year old boy such as myself.
We shouldn't be surprised by any of this, because after all, this was the era in which the same easily offended people and the FCC forced The Charlie Daniels Band to change "son of a bitch" to "son of a gun" in their big hit song, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia", which is perhaps the lamest incident of government censorship I can think of...
Anyways, I have only heard "Good Girls Don't" once on the radio since that summer of '79, probably about 5 or 6 years ago, and thankfully, the original face-sitting lyric was back on the air. That doesn't mean we've become any less puritanical over the last 20 years, but rather that the chances of offending a bunch of middle aged folks (classic rock radio's demographic) are slim to none. We've got bigger things to worry about nowadays, like hoping and praying our kids don't die in a meaningless war, or making house payments.
Hotcha! Hank

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18 March 2008

Tuesday's Fortune: 18 March 2008

MEAL: 1 order of (8) Crab Rangoon, 1 small Sweet & Sour Chicken = $8.44 + $1.56 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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15 March 2008

Real Emotional Sideways Maneuver

So, this is the new Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks line-up soundchecking a song called "Out Of Reaches" from the new album, Real Emotional Trash. At the risk of offending the faithful, including my own damn self, it's a lackluster performance, soundcheck or not, of a fairly pedestrian Pavement/Malkmus-sounding song. Don't get me wrong, Malkmus' melodies get me damn near every time, and I've always had an affinity for his inventive 'n' unpolished guitar noodling...There's just better songs on the new album and I guess we'll hafta wait awhile for better videos...There's a live video for "Dragonfly Pie" but the audio on that one is so fucking horrid that I shouldn't have even mentioned it.

Janet Weiss. *sigh*

Hotcha! Hank

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14 March 2008

Something 4 The Weekend # 60

So, there's a wicked large lump of pompous assery two posts below about the whole "Cool Britannia" movement of the 1990's, and in particular, Britpop. I only mentioned Oasis and Blur in that post in an attempt to keep some sort of clarity and focus in my argument (as if), but as I was clacking away on my keyboard, I kept thinking about Pulp, and how I was really giving 'em the shaft, cuz an argument can and has been made by many tasteful and knowledgable people that Pulp's 1995 album, Different Class, is the pinnacle of Britpop, the single greatest album of that movement, that era..

I don't know that I have an opinion on any of this. I take great pleasure in being 95% ambivalent about Oasis, and as far as Blur goes, I like each of their albums more than the previous one, which means I liked 'em more when they went "anti-Britpop" by seemingly cashing in with their take on American Grunge ala "Song 2", and I liked their last album, Think Tank, best of all, an album released in 2003 when Britpop was long dead and irrelevant...

So yeah, I gave Pulp the shaft in that previous post about a dead and irrelevant musical trend, and here we are...I also gave The Auteurs the shaft, but we won't get into that...
Clarity and focus...Clarity and focus...

Is Different Class the Sgt. Pepper of 90's Britpop? Like I said, I dunno. There's no denying the quality of the songwriting throughout, and the nimble genre-hopping Pulp nails time and again, although their basic maneuver tends towards dance/disco flavored pop-rock...There's no mistake that Jarvis Cocker has a fairly informed understanding of British life in all it's classes and flavors, and his lyrics are smart and funny and caustic. Is he better than Damon Albarn in these respects? You tell me. In the mid-90's I was listening to alot of Jazz, alt.country, and Pavement.
"Sorted For E's & Wizz" is a piss-take on the British rave culture of that era, when the kids were trudging off to muddy fields in unknown rural locales, their heads full of assorted substances. On the surface Cocker is really saying nothing more than drugs make you stupid, and therefore drugs are stupid. But if I'm reading correctly between Cocker's lines, (pompous assery here) he's also saying that ravers don't give two shits about their beloved music as long as they've got their pharmaceuticals in pocket.
But I suppose that sentiment could be applied to most musical scenes...The fans AND the artists themselves...
[deep breath]
Jazz and smack and cheap wine.
'60's Rock and LSD and weed and shrooms and wines made out of dandelions and rhubarb.
Reggae and weed.
Jam Bands and LSD and shrooms and wine and expensive hydro weed with silly names that you gotta buy from college kids with names like Trevor and Justin.
Disco and cocaine.
Rap and crack and west coast gin'n'juice and east coast Cristal and lowriding trunks full of weed rolling coast to coast like a motherfucker.
Trad Country and beer and hard liquor and plenty of speed.
Modern Pop Country and oxycontin and lite beers in cans.
Punk and smack and speed and more beer with Fear, except for the straight edgers, natch.
Heavy Metal and weed and beer and speed and stuff like Jaegermeister and blackberry brandy.
Hair metal and cocaine and Jack Daniels.
Gospel and angel dust.
Bluegrass and opium.
Grunge and smack and coffee and weed and microbrews.
Nu-Metal and Ritalin.
Techno and Ecstacy and speed (E and Wizz) and LSD and Red Bull'n'Vodka and candy pacifiers.
Classical and wine and soft cheeses. Sometimes a scotch with a splash of soda and an understated cigar.
Indie rock and Pabst.
Polka and Viagra (miss you, grampa Frank!)
Teen pop and chocolate and soda pop.
Juggalos and 2 liter bottles of Faygo soda. And probably crystal meth.
Goth and wine and absinthe and the menstrual blood of virgin wiccans.
Well, that was kinda fun...Gospel and angel dust, I shit you not...
Maybe Cocker isn't quite as clever as you or me or other tasteful and knowledgable people think he is. Maybe he's taking easy shots at big targets that others have already slain.
Maybe The Auteurs' Now I'm A Cowboy LP is the pinnacle of Britpop. Maybe Luke Haines truly is the most brilliant of 'em all.
What do I know?
I know that the new Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks album is tasty. I should, because I'm drinking Ethiopian coffee and smoking some primo kind that my guy calls "Trinity". I think I'm supposed to be falling into "bullet time", but it just ain't happening. It's all good.
Hotcha! Hank

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The 3 Fast Food Commercials I Love To Fear & Loathe

03 = Hardee's Jalapeno Thickburger

[link to the mersh]

Three firemen, the manliest of all men, sit around a table at their firehouse eating a robust Hardee's lunch while sirens and alarms blare in the background. Whenever I see this commercial, I keep expecting "Fire" by The Ohio Players to start jamming, but it never does. I kinda loathe that.

That's a Jalapeno Thickburger that the manliest of these three firemen is eating. That's 1/3rd pound of ground Angus beef, and probably another 1/3rd pound of vegetables, cheeses and sauces, including a generous helping of jalapeno peppers to heat things up to the intended intensity. Look at those eyes, clenched shut with a ravenous purpose. He better dig in, cuz he's also got about 1/4 pound of curly fries to get through as well...

But not only do we have all that heart-stopping beef being peddled to us, but the narrator keeps mentioning the need for COKE after COKE after COKE to cool those peppery-reflux fires...Our hero must drink about a gallon of ice cold COKE during this spot...

High fructose corn syrup and beef! High fructose corn syrup and beef! It's as American as that flag in the background, babycakes! Open wide and take a huge fucking bite of patriotism! High fructose corn syrup and beef!

It's as American as that apple sitting there...

Wait. What?

What's stranger than a fucking apple sitting there in half of a fast food burger ad, is the fact that a bite or two is obviously taken from it in the course of this 30 second spot.

I mildly loathe this commercial. If not the Ohio Players, maybe Kiss doing "Firehouse", would be nice, you know?

I've eaten one of these Jalapeno Thickburgers. Actually, I ate about half of it. The other half sat in my fridge for a week, and then I threw it out.

02 = Red Robin's Whiskey River BBQ Burger

[link to the mersh]

Ahh, The Department Of Deliciousness, as magically mythical and secretive as Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory, if you must know. Oh, those whimsical and clever burgermeisters at Red Robin...

The Whiskey River BBQ Burger is so utterly delicious, that it cannot even be eaten by Red Robin's own customers, and must be safeguarded behind a velvet rope, an electric fence, and a plexiglass wall.

But hey, you might not be able to eat one of these 1/3 pound burgers, complete with a huge layer of deep-friend onions, not to mention Red Robin's World Famous Bottomless™ Steak Fries, but you can visit The Pickle Room™, where you can presumably eat many pickles.

On the advise of their own commercial, I've never eaten one of Red Robin's Whiskey River BBQ Burgers. Actually, I've never eaten at Red Robin, and never will. They call their burgers "gourmet" but they're really just the same old lame mishmash of typical sauce, cheese and condiment combinations...Teriyaki, cheddar and pineapple...Chipotle sauce, swiss, and hickory smoked bacon...Steak sauce, swiss and sauteed mushrooms...Almost every last one of them with that layer of deep-friend onions...$8.49 and more, with half-assed names to boot...

No thanks, as I have blogged before, I've short-order cooked on more than one occasion in my past, and I've done my own fairly unique and absolutely tasty burgers that have better names, if nothing else.

If you don't want me to eat your burgers, Red Robin, you can go to hell. *snicker*

01 = Taco Bell's Cheesy Beefy Melt

[link to the mersh]

Listen, I refuse to eat one of these things because I simply won't say the words "one cheesy beefy melt, please" into a speaker at a Taco Bell drive-thru, let alone directly to another human being. I only eat at Taco Bell about half a dozen times a year anyways, so the potential is low to begin with...Grilled steak burrito, babycakes.

The TV commercial for the Cheesy Beefy Melt™ is surreal from the start. A young woman and man eating their gooey stringy melts on a train platform, their joyous eyes meeting as Modern English's "I Melt With You" plays. I used to kinda love that song, because it meant something between me and Pamela, my high school girlfriend...Nothing as romantic as a train platform and somewhat erotic cheese stretching out of our mouths, but it was good, you know?

Young lovers...An uppercrust couple and their teenaged goth daughter...Rival football fanatics...A balding older man, and death.


Sitting there on a park bench, gooey sensual cheese hanging from his hooded void...

But let's get a tight shot of the meaty, stringy mess...The money shot, if you will...


I loathe this commercial because of the use of "I Melt With You" - so fucking obvious and cliched, a song used a 1000 times in other lame and obvious ways in commercials and films and sitcoms...Because my memories of tongue kissing and hot chocolate at the Mill Pond warming house are fading away with every use of that song in the media...

But I fear this commercial because death is eating a Cheesy Beefy Melt™ on a park bench, and that is nothing other than Dada, and Dada destroys everything.

Cheesy Beefy Melt™ spells doom for us all!

Hotcha! Hank

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13 March 2008

Covering Covers # 2

Change was on the wind in the UK in 1994. The Labour Party had started using "New Labour" as a slogan that year, which turned into a party manifesto by 1996, sweeping Tony Blair into the office of Prime Minister...Now, I'm not going to pretend to fully understand UK politics, except to say that the Labour Party grew out of trade unions in the early 20th century, with a healthy dose of socialism thrown in, and that means it's the party of the working class.

Or at least, it should be. As I understand it, the Labour Party under Blair tended to be more conservative in nature, and actively represented the middle class moreso than the working class. This pissed off the more liberal, socialist members of the Labour Party, many of whom simply quit the party in disgust. New Labour, as they tell it, wasn't really any better for the working class than Thatcher's Conservative administration had been. What's probably most important to my rant today, however, is that New Labour promised a modernization of British life, and there was a real sense of change and progress and a bright future in the UK, which in 1994 was felt by everyone in the UK, regardless of their socio-economic status.

This newfound sense of optimism found reflection in the hip youth culture of London, which came to be called "Cool Britannia", a term that very quickly became nothing more than a slick and benign marketing slogan. This, of course, is not surprising.

Britpop was a crucial component of this whole Cool Britannia thing, and to that end, Blur and Oasis are the two biggest bands falling under the Britpop banner. But as much as Britpop looked inward at it's own culture out of a sense of nationalism, it was also a reaction to American Grunge. This seemed to be especially true of Blur, whom more closely examined more aspects of British life than any of their contemporaries, and also mined British musical history more deeply and widely. Meanwhile, Oasis seemed to content to ape The Beatles and a bit of The Rolling Stones, and not much else. Blur touched on those two bands, naturally, but also The Kinks, The Who, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, The Jam, The Fall, Stiff Records-style Pub Rock and New Wave, British Townhall music, Britfolk, the whole Madchester scene, and later on, Techno and all sorts of Electro genres, not to mention musical influences from such places as Morocco, Pakistan, India - the music of the working class immigrants of the UK. Later on, Damon Albarn explored Hip Hop via Gorillaz, and Dub Reggae via The Good The Bad The Queen, two more working class musical genres, and you can probably sense where I'm going with this.

Blur came from Colchester, originally an old Roman city about 50 miles northeast of London that is considered the oldest city in the UK. It's history has been one full of immigrants and the working class, and naturally a more socialist sensibility, so it isn't a surprise that Albarn was so deeply interested in British history, modern British life, and in particular, the working class, whether born on the island or not. It's in his bloody Colchester roots.

But Blur went to London, as any sensible British rock band would and should do, and while they found themselves at the top of the Britpop heap, they weren't always the most optimistic of bands. Albarn recognized the renewed optimism sweeping the nation, and I think he liked it, although he himself wasn't always the most optimistic of commentators on modern British life, and thus Blur were never the outright Populist band that Oasis were...

Albarn not only had a good view of the bigger picture, but his lyrics could often show a fine eye for detail, and the reality of Cool Britannia wasn't necessarily too cool, especially for immigrants and the working class.

Let's not forget that the title of their 1993 album is Modern Life Is Rubbish.

But this is about their 1994 follow-up LP, Parklife.

Stylistically, it's probably their most varied album, jumping through many of the touchstones and genres I mentioned above, and lyrically, it also examines modern British life from several different perspectives, but yes, most notably from a working class perspective.

As I understand it, Albarn was most influenced on these songs by London's East End, which is decidely working class, and distinctively multi-cultured.

But enough! This is supposed to be about the album cover...

Plenty of experts will tell you that Greyhound racing had it's origins in the UK - Wales in particular, but what I think is relevant to this blathering rant of mine is the idea that dog racing is a decidedly working class "sport", whereas horse racing is more popular among the middle and upper classes.

Put simply, dogs are more plentiful and cheaper than horses.

So, I must say that Blur couldn't have used, wouldn't have dared used, a picture of a horse race. It would have betrayed the band and the narrative of these songs, taken as a whole. An actual ALBUM, a thing of rare beauty these days.

No, it had to be dogs racing, and here we are.

Aside from any deeper meaning, this is simply an amazing, intense, and beautifully captured photograph by a man with a the remarkably working class name of Bob Thomas. When we see the photo for the first time, the image becomes permanent. We never need see it again, and in that respect, it's a rock solid marketing decision by Stylorouge. Add the band's recognizable logo in high-contrast yellow in the blurry foreground, and maybe I'll call it a stroke of genius.

The deeper meaning?

Working class dogs. Working class dogs chasing a fake rabbit around an enclosed dirt track, and damn it, at least horses get to run on grass alot of the time. Not dogs. Dogs always run on dirt, and the best they get outta the deal are meals and a warm place to sleep. That's if they're halfway good. If they ain't so good, they're more expendable, and more likely to get abused, you know? Yeah, that sounds alot like the working class. East Enders and immigrants. Dirt and grime and cheap vices. Gambling at dog tracks, you know?

But hey, it's not all gravy for the horses, you know?

I mean, horses run because they have to...They mostly like to stand around eating grass, and so they've got predators, like wolves...Like dogs.

Look at the teeth on that black dog. Those teeth will fuck up the neck of a slow horse just as easily as a fake rabbit, and if you don't agree and believe that the working class would ever rally and bark at demonstrations, and riot and revolt and attack if they got hungry enough, abused enough, oppressed enough, arrested enough, sent to war enough, made to run around in circles repeatedly and endlessly for a meager living, but never ever able to actually feast...If you don't agree with any of that, you probably haven't read this far anyways...

For those of you still with me on this - I'd simply mention the metal muzzles on those dogs. Their masters know what I'm talking about here.


It all comes down to the eyes, as it always does. The windows into the souls of dogs as well as mankind, if yr inclined to believe in such things as souls...

More than the teeth, this photograph is indelible because of those eyes...The intensely dark orbs of the brown dog on the right, two white points of raw, fierce hunger staring straight back into our own dark lives. I dare say, like a canine freight train coming round the mountain, bearing right down on us like an inevitable and bloody disaster.

But ultimately, it's that right eye on the black dog on the left that freezes me in my tracks. Not only is it the glare of carnivorous hate and contempt, but I sense a fair and measurable amount of pain and struggle in that dog's eye as well. And maybe it's nothing more than seeing a bit of the white of that eye, but I also feel as if that dog still might have some hope.

Maybe it's me that's hoping. Hoping that dog eventually gets a bit of what he wants, and not just what he needs. Hoping the working class gets a fairer share. More comfort, more security.

Hoping I get some of that too. I'm a working class dog, after all, and chances are, so are you, and from what I hear, a working class hero is something to be, so let's all "hold thumbs" as my grandma liked to say.

Hotcha! Hank

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11 March 2008



15 = LUCIANO PAVAROTTI John Candy portrayed Pavarotti on several occasions throughout SCTV's history, and it's an easy fit for Candy, in much the same way Orson Welles was...Candy played Pavarotti as a soft-spoken glutton with a lust for wine, cheese, sausage, women and song, of course...Like many SCTV characters, regardless of the actor underneath, this one is as much about the costume and wigs/beards as Candy's portrayal.

14 = JEAN PIERRE YANG -as- HARRY WOK Harry Wok was the central character in an SCTV Movie Of The Week called Wok On The Wild Side. The character was a television cooking show host and private eye, and he solves the murder mystery while cooking chicken and mushrooms with brandy. Again, this character is as much about the fu manchu moustache and eyebrows as it is Candy's portrayal of a half-French, half-Chinese chef-detective.

13 = BEAVER CLEAVER SCTV did a parody episode of Leave It To Beaver back in the early years, and Candy played the Beav', who borrows a handgun from Whitey and kills Eddie Haskell. In the end, nobody learns anything, and the Cleavers live happily ever after.

12 = JULIA CHILD Candy played Julia Child on two or three occasions throughout his years on SCTV. In the above screengrab Julia is boxing Mr. Rodgers in the Battle Of The PBS Stars. Fred defeats Julia by hitting her over the head repeatedly with a King Friday puppet. Classic.

11 = MR. MESSENGER That's Andrea Martin as Mrs. Falbo, on a childrens show called Mrs. Falbo's Tiny Town, a surreal and scary kids show that brings to mind Wonder Showzen and the like. That's John Candy as Mr. Messenger. Nuff said.

10 = GROGAN That's John Candy as Grogan, a Japanese monster movie star who is appearing on the Tim Ishimuni Show to promote his autobiography. Candy plays Grogan straight, and the monster remains quite calm even after Ishimuni unleashes a fighter jet on Grogan in the television studio.

09 = BILLY SOL HUROK Billy Sol Hurok and Big Jim McBob were hosts of the Farm Film Report on SCTV, on which they would discuss hog futures, weather conditions, and modern cinema. The conceit here is that they initially come off as a couple of uneducated rubes, but then discuss serious films with thoughtful insights and an academic vernacular. Then they would have a celebrity guest, such as Meryl Streep, and these guests would literally "blow up real good" during their interviews. Yeah, blowed up real good.

08 = HARRY, THE GUY WITH A SNAKE ON HIS FACE Harry is the owner and proprietor of Harry's Sex Shoppe in downtown Melonville, and he appears in numerous commercials on the SCTV television network. I don't think anything more needs to be said. He's the guy with a snake on his face.
07 = WILLIAM B. WILLIAMS One of the shows broadcast on the SCTV television network was The Sammy Maudlin Show, the conceit here being that these guys were the "Rat Pack" of the SCTV/Melonville universe. Joe Flaherty is Sammy Maudlin, on the right, who is probably best described as a Joey Bishop-type talkshow host. John Candy is on the left, as William B. Williams, Maudlin's sidekick, and he's played as a slick showbiz phoney, constantly sucking up to Sammy and all his guests. The guy in the middle is Bobby Bittman, a stand-up comic -cum- serious actor/singer who royally sucks, a fact that only he himself, and possibly William B., don't realize. Here he is reacting to a violent heckler.

06 = YOSH SCHMENGE Yosh Schmenge and his brother Stan were better known as The Schmenge Brothers, a polka act that had their own variety show on SCTV. Words cannot describe the delicious midwesternish goodness of these guys. Of note is the very large growth on Yosh's forehead, another costuming touch that really adds to the character.

05 = THE #5 GUY IN THE 5 NEAT GUYS The 5 Neat Guys were a singing sensation, and favorite of teenagers everywhere. They had a ton of hit songs, but my favorite has got to be "Patsy Has Got The Largest Breasts In Town".
04 = MAYOR TOMMY SHANKS Tommy Shanks was the mayor of Melonville, the fictional city in which the SCTV television station broadcasts. As mayor, he would give frequent fireside chats in which he would talk to and attempt to feed treats to his dead, stuffed dog, and ramble incoherently about random subjects. In the above screen grab, he is giving his State Of The City Address, which is 20 seconds long and consists of the mayor saying a few words about a chipped tooth. Mayor Shanks was institutionalized, but that didn't keep him from being re-elected mayor of Melonville, at which time he was released to give more incoherent fireside chats.

03 = GIL FISHER Gil Fisher was a genial and heavily-bearded man who hosted a show called The Fishin' Musician. Gil Fisher was that fishin' musician, and every episode a famous musician or band would visit the Scuttle Butt lodge to go fishing, or hunting, with Gil. Gil and his guests would watch video footage of those excursions, like this one, where he took Jimmy Buffett fishing from a hot air balloon. And each episode wouldn't be complete without a live performance and plenty of mishaps.

02 = DR. TONGUE One of the great regular shows on SCTV was Count Floyd's Monster Chiller Horror Theater, and Count Floyd would often show films starring Dr. Tongue. Films such as Dr. Tongue's Evil House Of Pancakes and Dr. Tongue's 3-D House Of Beef. Yes, most of his films were in 3-D, which consisted of nothing more than the actors in the films moving objects in and out from the camera. Dr. Tongue spoke with an attractive lisp, and became easily flustered by his deformed assistant, Igor.
01 = JOHNNY LA RUE The Johnny LaRue character was at the core of SCTV from the very beginning. The SCTV television station was the focal point, the main conceit, of the SCTV show itself, and it was the station from which all the other shows and "skits" were broadcast. Shows like Gil Fisher's Fishin' Musician, The Sammy Maudlin Show, Mrs. Falbo's Tiny Town, etc...At the SCTV station, Don Caballero was the president of SCTV, Edith Prickley was the program director, and Johnny La Rue was the main "talent" - writing, directing, producing and acting in made-for-tv-movies broadcast on SCTV, as well as hosting a live talkshow called "Street Beef", appearing in countless TV commercials for products such as Johnny LaRue's Speed Drinking Program, and LaRue's Fish Flakes. Yes, the LaRue character itself was larger than life, louder than you, a drunk, a flirt, half-charmer, half-bore, and in the end not quite the successful star he thinks he is, his self-branded products all failures, and a bigger glutton and drunk than he cares to admit. In high school, my nickname was "LaRue" among a few of my friends.

Hotcha! Hank

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Tuesday's Fortune: 11 March 2008

MEAL: 2 vegetable spring rolls, 1 small Kung Pao Chicken = $7.33 + $1.67 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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08 March 2008

Seize The Sideways Rainbow Maneuver

This is the Sonny Sharrock Band, doing the song "Fourteen" from the 1987 album, Seize The Rainbow. That's our man Sonny on the left - the big black dude in the white shirt, playing the black Les Paul.

Hotcha! Hank

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This Maneuver's Gotten Outta Hand

The name of this band is Les Savy Fav.

The name of this song is "Patty Lee", and it's off their most recent album, Let's Stay Friends.

The word on the streets is that's teen Punk Popper Ashlee Simpson dancing around in this video, but streets is often wrong, and Pete Wentz and Papa Joe could not be reached for comment. I mention all this for no other reason than perhaps tagging Ashlee Simpson and Fall Out Boy will drag some eyeballs to this blogforsaken outpost of Hot Poopery and whatnot.

If I can find the proper motivation, I'd like to hunt down the band's performance of this song on a recent episode of Conan's show, cuz it may just restore yr faith in rock'n'roll, if yr faith in such happens to get shaken from time to time...like mine.

Hotcha! Hank

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A Thoroughly Modern Zombie

07 March 2008


My 10 Favorite Little Pete Put-Downs

The Adventures Of Pete & Pete was a children's show on Nickelodeon for three seasons back in the early 1990's, and for me, it's quite simply one of the greatest television shows of all time, whether it was made for kids, or not. The show is odd, oftentimes outright surreal, but never outlandish in the wrong kind of way, and what I mean is that not only is the show consistent in it's strangeness, but the strangeness always feel perfectly normal if we consider it as the perceptions of a very imaginative child. The weird characters and crazy adventures actually make sense when considered in this way.

Big Pete, a high schooler, is the narrator of the adventures, and yet the stories themselves are typically from his younger brother's, Little Pete's, perspective. It's almost as if Little Pete's life is so crazy busy that he doesn't have time to sit back and tell the tales himself, and even if he did, we probably wouldn't believe him anyways. We do believe Big Pete though, not only because he's a bit older, but because he's arguably the most level-headed character in the whole town of Wellsville. He's our anchor to reality, the calm voice telling us that no matter how unbelievable the adventures may seem, they are indeed happening.

If Big Pete is the calmer voice of reason, Little Pete is the brash iconoclast, meeting life with guts and gusto and a fair amount of idealism. He calls 'em like he sees 'em, and he's the one unafraid to stand up to bullies, adults, and the laws of physics. One of my favorite parts of the show is when he yells put-downs to the enemies and obstacles trying to keep him from living his life on his terms, as offbeat as those terms can sometimes be. He does this once or twice per episode, and while they might not seem so good or funny being read on the monitor screen, out of complete context, they are good and funny nonetheless.

Besides, this post is just an excuse to mention the show. Why, this would be nothing more than Hot Poop Filler if I weren't doing some actual ranking. Add yr own if yr a Pete & Pete fan...

10 = "Hey, Blowhole, wherever you are - in 45 minutes I'm gonna be famous, and you know what you're gonna be? A blowhole!"

09 = "Out of my way, sash-boy!"

08 = "You lose, cheese log!"

07 = "Suck chowder, musclehead!"

06 = "Deal with it, dipwad! Now take us home!"

05 = "Hey! Sebaceous bloody sputum-eater!"

04 = "Shut up and throw, drool cup!"

03 = "Read it and weep, fungus-lick!"

02 = "Bite my scab, blowhole!"

01 = "It's for time-travelling, you cheese plug!"

Hotcha! Hank

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Netflix Notes: 07 March 2008

Fantastic Voyage won two Oscars in 1966, for Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects, and imagining the cinematic landscape of that year, it's pretty easy to understand why the film won those awards.
The problem is, the passage of time is so often so very cruel, as it is with the set designs and special effects in this film. What we have here really, are Star Trek sets and effects with a bigger budget, and yet, that extra cash doesn't really improve upon anything we've seen in Star Trek, and in fact, in many instances the props and effects are downright laughable - here we have huge computer banks with dozens upon dozens of lights and buttons and dials, and yet, there's not a single word/label to be found anywhere on those consoles. That doesn't stop the technicians (hello, James Brolin!) from pushing and twisting and tweaking like they're directly jacked into the system like it's cyberpunk circa 1986. Here we have a submarine that looks like a ski boat with some plastic wings fused onto it, and then when it's shrunk down, looks like a really cheap Matchbox/Hot Wheels toy. And here we have computer monitors that actually display actual fucking drawings on their screens, instead of anything even remotely "real".
But perhaps I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.
The story is - both the USA and USSR (the cold war is raging hard in 1966, babycakes) are developing the science of miniaturization, and when the Soviet scientist who makes the big breakthrough tries defecting to the West, an assassination attempt leaves him in a coma with a blood clot in his brain.
The problem is - the comatose scientist's big breakthrough allows miniaturized people and things to remain small for long periods of time, because at the moment, the smaller something or someone is shrunk, the quicker it returns to normal size.
And so a team is assembled in the USA to be minaturized along with a nuclear-powered submarine, and injected into the comatose scientist's body to remove the blood clot with a sophisticated laser weapon.
Two problems - they only have an hour to get the job done, and wouldn't you know it - there's a double agent amongst the miniaturized crew!
It's an interesting story idea, I'll admit. Interesting enough that Isaac Asimov was willing to write a novelization of the original screenplay for Bantam Books that ultimately hit the streets several months before the film itself, with Asimov's name and reputation really helping to market the movie...The problem is, it's an interesting story rather poorly told (Asimov's novel is much more complex and speculatively possible than the screenplay itself), and again, alot of really cheesy props and effects don't help.
And I'd be more than willing to overlook those lame props and outdated effects (mostly background green screen stuff) if the screenplay and direction were actually any good. But they aren't, and so it's not until minute 38 of a 101 minute film that the crew and their submarine are actually miniaturized and inside the comatose scientist's body. Again, that might not be such a problem if those first 38 minutes weren't so absolutely fucking slow and undramatic, full of a whole lot of dialogue that essentially tells us no more than what I've already told you - the leading miniaturization expert is in a coma, needs a brain operation, so we're sending in a crew, rather than actually doing a, you know, normal brain operation with normal-sized doctors.
At minute 20 the sequence begins during which time the crew and submarine are going to be miniaturized and injected. You think to yourself, "finally, the doctors and military officers are done arguing and explaining and slide-ruling, and there's gonna be some good ol' fashioned shrinking!"
Except, it's a four phase operation that will take another 18 minutes to accomplish, during which time there will be alot of long quiet scenes in which the crew members do nothing more than look nervously at one another as they get shrunken down, dropped inside a syringe with the world's tiniest forklift, and finally shot into the patient's carotid artery...
The patient, with his shaved skull mapped and numbered for no good reason, and a big red X magic-markered onto his neck...And the tiny radars...All the tiny radars! So many tiny radars!
Ahh, minute 38 and the shrooms and/or acid should be kicking in right about now, and I'm not really kidding because our first look inside the patient's body is the bloodstream, which looks pretty much like a lava lamp, or those acid-washed projector shows that were all the rage in the hippie age...One can't help but believe this film was made for the druggie subculture, and while I didn't eat any shrooms or drop any acid for this, I did smoke up the kind for my viewing of Fantastic Voyage, but as you can tell, it didn't really help me enjoy it all that much.
So, like I mentioned, there's a double agent amongst the shrunken crew, and hey, Donald Pleasence is in the cast. At the 30 minute mark, when he's already shrunken down and inside a submarine inside a syringe, his character has an attack of claustrophobia and desperately tries to escape the sub, and one can't help but think, "If he's got claustrophobia, how did he get vetted to be one of the shrunken crew, and why would he want to be there? He wouldn't be there unless he had a damn good reason to be there."
Near the very end, Pleasence's character is attacked and engulfed by a white blood cell, a white blob made of nothing more sophisticated than laundry detergent. "And the winner is..."
Speaking of the ending - As long and slow and drawn out as the beginning of this film is, so the ending is amazingly abrupt.
There is six minutes left before the crew and their submarine begin growing back to normal size, and they have yet to fix the blood clot and deal with Donald Pleasence. Of course, the crew spends two of those minutes standing around inside the submarine talking, but this is a drug-addled sci-fi script, so no worries. The crew exits the sub, laser-gun the clot back to good health, but when Pleasence meanwhile commandeers the sub and crashes it into some grey matter, where it is attacked by laundry detergent, the remaining crew is forced to swim in their underwhelming scuba gear for the tear duct if they're gonna make it out of the comatose scientist's body in time.
Which they do. Where they are scooped up on a microscope slide by a general (not a scientist or doctor) and then quickly grow back to normal size, and are greeted with many hugs and handshakes by all the technicians and military men.
The end.
No word on whether the comatose scientist survives or not, which kinda sucks cuz there's a dead Donald Pleasance and a submarine made out of a ski boat still inside of him, after all, and wouldn't they grow and explode out of his body?
Nope, just the camera pulling away and all those handshakes and hugs.
Oh, and did I mention Raquel Welch is in the cast, looking a bit like the original Eva Mendes and actually doing more acting than just looking all hot and chesty for the drug-addled sci-fi geeks?
3 out of 5 cuz the passage of time is a cruel bitch, and Raquel Welch is chesty anyways...Otherwise it woulda been a 2, cuz c'mon, the blood clot was made outta attic insulation!
Hotcha! Hank

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Something 4 The Weekend # 59

Here's what you need to know about this week's S4TW:

Sonny Sharrock is my fifth favorite guitar player.

Ask The Ages is one of my ten (#8) desert island discs.

"Who Does She Hope To Be?" contains my favorite guitar solo/playing of all time.

This song is pure, unadulterated loveliness from beginning to end. Melancholy, hope, wistfulness, longing...Expressed by a saxophone that sounds like an electric guitar, and an electric guitar that sounds like a saxophone...
Sonny Sharrock..."A horn player with a really fucked up axe," as the man himself liked to say.
Hotcha! Hank

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05 March 2008

Covering Covers # 1

In the song itself, Roger Daltrey growls "Who the fuck are YOU???" and he's definitely asking a direct question. That is not the case with title of the song and album, however.
There is no question mark. There are no questions. The band isn't posing there, behind their wall of amplifiers in a sea of cables, and wondering WHO WE (you and me) ARE?
No, they're saying WE (you and me) ARE THE WHO!
(The) Who Are You (period)
They're us! And we're them!
Waking up in Soho doorways, brokenhearted and drunk...Swaying about on mass transit and spitting epithets at all the strangers around you - "Who the fuck are you, you, you, yeah YOU!"
Who hasn't been there?
So there they are, The Who, posing amongst all their equipment like a gang of roadies, except Entwistle's the only one who really looks the part...
Townsend looks like he just got done with a shift as a croupier at a low-rent casino...
Moon's about to go fox hunting...
And Roger...
I'm not exactly sure what Daltrey's outfit is saying...Cuffed jeans, white sox, suspenders, striped shirt...Is he supposed to be gay? A sailor on shoreleave? Simple rebellious youth?
The point is, taken together, the four lads represent a decent cross-section of society.
They are us, and we are them, or at least one of them. For example, I'm John Entwistle, the blue-collared bassist from suburban Chiswick. You might be the weary croupier.
I've known a couple sailors in my day, though I've never gone fox hunting.
My point is, the point of this cover is - off the stage, behind the stage, anywhere but ON the stage, these four enormous rock'n'roll superstars are just like you and me, and isn't that just loverly?
Anyways, this whole communion between the band and its audience is reflected by the songs on the album itself. In 1978 Townsend was finally moving away from the complex rock opera lumpen (Tommy, Quadraphenia), and back to the kind of radio-friendly rock songs so beloved by the hoi polloi...The more casual kinda rock fan that is content with what radio delivers, and to this day, on the classic rock station in your city, at least one of the three hit songs from this album is played every day. Now that's populism!
Finally, I couldn't blather about the Who Are You album cover without mentioning Keith Moon and the chair he's sitting on in the photo.
NOT TO BE TAKEN AWAY, and of course two weeks after this album's release, Moon died of a drug overdose...
What's funny/ironic about all this is that the drug Moon overdosed on was Clomethiazole, taken to help wean him off alcohol, but the only reason the chair is backwards in the photo, exposing that fateful text, is to hide Moon's weight gain from his alcoholism and general high-classed gluttony.
Such seemingly random events conspired to turn a rather unremarkable album cover into one that is nothing less than legendary.
Hotcha! Hank

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Maneuver B Sideways

This is a really interesting video for at least a couple of reasons...

First, I don't know who that white singer is, and it shames me to admit that for some reason, but it seems like he's slightly pissed when big ol' Buddy Miles starts singing the second verse...


The second interesting thing is that none of the guitarists are sure who's supposed to be taking that first solo...It ends up being Carlos Santana taking the lead, which leads me to the third interesting thing about this video...

Jeff Beck fucking smokes Carlos within the first six notes of his follow-up solo, and even more interesting than that, Carlos KNOWS it, and you can see it in his eyes! There is awe and fear in Carlos eyes, as if Beck is gonna wholly expose him for the second rate noodler that, c'mon, Santana really is...But hey, Carlos is a cool dude, and how can ya not love that huge grin he's got on his face...I saw him twice at Summerfest back in the early '90's, both times in the first ten rows, and I gotta say, no matter what I think of his playing, he and his band put on one helluva great show, and I gotta respect someone who loves what he does...

But I'm not here to once again proclaim the Jeff Beck Godhead (fuck you too, Clapton fans), or to outright ridicule anybody who's a whole lot better a guitarist than I will ever be, and I'm certainly not here to completely ignore Steve Lukather...

(How did he end up on this particular stage in Japan? And hey, is that white singer from Toto?)

No, this particular sideways maneuver is a final tribute to the passing of Buddy Miles, funky drummer and soul provider that he was. Rest in peace.

Hotcha! Hank

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04 March 2008


New month, new EVERYTHINGATHON! podcast over at my website of the same name...
This month is a cheap'n'easy hour of RUSH...Specifically, four rather long (some might say "epic") songs, plus an itty bitty ditty to finish things off right...
Now, I'm not a huge RUSH fan, but there are those times when nothing hits all the right nostalgia buttons like the Fly By Night album...Memories of playing ping pong in the basement with my friends...Or the memory of the time I puked up half a quart of blackberry brandy out on the middle of the ice on a frozen Milwaukee River...Or the time I met this Cedarburg girl who insisted I call her Bunny, and about an hour later insisted I suck on her tits...There was alcohol involved in that memory too, but it wasn't blackberry brandy...
Mostly, RUSH reminds me of Bolts, one of my best friends through most of my childhood and well into adulthood...I'm not exactly sure how we drifted apart, except to say that our friendship became more a function of longevity than any sort of commonality or connection...One day I realized we hadn't talked to each other in almost two years, and there was only the slightest twinge of sadness...
RUSH is probably Bolts' favorite band to this day...
Hotcha! Hank

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Tuesday's Fortune: 4 March 2008

MEAL: 1 pork egg roll, 1 small pork lo mein, 1 fried sweet bun = $9.13 + $1.87 tip

Hotcha! Hank

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The Dream Is Still Alive!


Lemme tell you, babycakes, yesterday was an emotional trainwreck of a day for yours truly...

Early in the day, it was announced around the blogosphere (is it still okay to use that word?) that Winona Ryder had become engaged to boyfriend Blake Sennett, guitarist for the indie rock band Rilo Kiley.
This was devastating news for me, as I've had an enormous crush on Winona for approximately 20 years now...So enormous that she's been #1 on my Laminated List for all those years. Oh, other able-bodied starlets have come and gone from that list, but Winona, bless her heart, has never budged from #1, even whilst dating Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum.
But then, later in the day, Winona's publicist issued a statement indicating that Winona and Blake WERE NOT, I repeat, NOT engaged to be married.
You can imagine my relief, which sounded alot like the the hydraulic lift at my mechanic's garage.
Anyways, it seems to me that where there is smoke, there is fire, and even if yesterday's announcement was false, I won't be as surprised when a real and true engagement announcement is made in the near future. Until then, I will hold on to hope as tightly as I can, because c'mon, it's completely within the realm of possibility that Winona and I could meet someday, and she would instantly recognize that the two of us were soulmates, destined to spend the second half of our lives together, smoking weed and stealing luxury cars from Park'n'Ride lots, just like that re-occuring dream I have.
I just wish I wasn't ambivalent about Rilo Kiley. Man, that band does absolutely NOTHING for me, aesthetically or emotionally.
Hotcha! Hank

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