Can’t Stop Not Knowing Why I Never Don’t

The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 09.16.21, incl.

Frank Portman
8 min readSep 16, 2021

Welcome, friends, to another edition of the Dr Frank Weakly Reader, that thing I do where I assemble the week’s internet activity into a searchable document, adding notes, comments, and illustrations, as well as news and updates, as appropriate. Except that this, time, due to an unprecedented stretch of slacking, we’re covering four weeks rather than the usual one. (Thus, the “incl.” in the sub-head.)

I do it mainly for my own use, in case I ever want to find something in the future, as in, say I want to locate my posts about “You Today” for Song for Odin: I might the enter “frank portman” “you today” “Song for Odin” in a search box. It works. And that’s something you could do as well, if you ever feel like it. Unlikely as it may be that anyone will take me up on that invitation, or even read this at all, I find it helpful to operate under the conceit that I’m presenting this to a reading public rather than just to myself. Hence this introduction (which is stuff I already know.) But feel free to read along if you like — I’m going to type away into the void like this either way.

And now, with those formalities discharged, we move on to the weaks that were.

But first…


— RAD-018–01: MTX Shards vol. 3, that is. Here’s the latest.

The special “dibs” copies all went out, meaning that until the third pressing comes along the only way to get the vinyl release is to find the retail version in a real or virtual shop (at Amazon for example.) Sounds Rad currently has CDs and some Shards 3 shirts (inset left.)

It’s also on those streaming services. You know the ones I mean.

— It’s even hotter on MTX Island now that the Hot on MTX Island enamel pins have arrived:

— RAD-020: i.e., the Sounds Radical re-issue of Revenge Is Sweet and So are You. The mastering and lacquer-cutting has happened, and the word is we should have test pressings in a matter of, well, several weeks. Release will happen some time in the next year, though it is difficult to be precise with the long queues and waiting periods for vinyl production these days. Stay tuned for updates. You can sign up for the “dibs” list here.


— Distressed: Alcatraz looks great with ringwear, etc. From Instagram:

Also seen on the internet: Night Shift (Rough Trade, 1988).

—From the archives: "Mr. T Experience got delayed because Aaron Rubin forgot his bass and had to run home to get it…”

— The Weather Is Here…: Chris Appelgren has been working on the re-construction the Revenge… artwork for the revamped Sounds Rad re-issue, and I was struck anew by how well these lyrics can be construed as complete sentences. I’m not sure it was a thing worth doing necessarily, but I believe it is at least a bit unusual. If nothing else it makes all that text easier to fit on a page.

— Odin, Song for: we had the Shards vol. 3 re-master of “New Girlfriend”:

“Minor secrets” here.

Then, a month later, “You Today” live, October, 1997 in Toronto (“minor secrets” here):

Between which we revisited “Love Is Dead”, “So Long, Sucker”, and “Our Love Will Last Forever and Ever”:


— Defending hearth and home with an enormous fantasy sword: a memorable tale. I remember it, anyway.

— Graffiti on masking tape shows a lack of commitment, perhaps, but hey I’ll take it.

— The horror of being confronted with reality not tempered by delusion: chatted with John Jughead about art and life and such. It was announced. Then it was released. (It’s a podcast.)

— From King Dork through The Communist Manifesto: staff recommendations from Walden Pond Books in Oakland (via B. Skaught.) Sounds about right. On the other hand, Mein Kampf is a bridge too far.

— Reading room: in the course of skipping several weeks’ worth of weakly reader, we re-visited: The Love Is Dead Club; Donna Reed Is Not My Mom; Writing about Music Is Like Dancing about Architecture; Yes, Darling, but Is It Art?

— Mr. T Experience / Crimpshrine / Isocracy / Sweet Baby Jesus / Operation Ivy: a flier for a 1987 Gilman show. (Inset left.)

— Dept. of Recycled yet Still Relevant Anecdotes: The guy who sold me my first electric guitar gave me 3 pieces of advice. Never go lighter than 10s. Always pay cash. Never ask her age.

Said guitar may be seen in that kinda well-known photo by Murray Bowles (taken at Club Foot in San Francisco), wherein yours truly is unfortunately shirtless:

— Population: Us (art by Kepi):


— Roman calendar: Death of the Virgin, Apostles Gathered Around Mary as She Waits for Death — Dutch, c. 1500 (Vigil of the Assumption); The Assumption, illuminated; Saint Roch, late 17th century, Hungary; Saint Hyacinth of Poland, Spanish Colonial / Cuzco Peru; St. Helena (with Emperor Constantine) by Cornelis Engebrechtsz, 1458; Saint Sebaldus by Sebastiano del Piombo in Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice; Bernard of Clairvaux with little demon, from the workshop of Fra Lippo Lippi, 15th century; Sidonius Apollinaris, in glass

The Martrydom of Saint Symphorian — Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (inset left); Rose of Lima, early 18th c. by Juan Rodriguez Juarez, New Spain; St. Bartholomew gives a scourge to St. Guthlac as he is tormented by demons in ‘The Guthlac Roll’ manuscript, ca. 1210; Saint Louis IX, St. Louis, MO; Feast of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa; the Altarpiece of the Seven Joys, by the anonymous painter known as the Master of the Holy Family, ca. 1480 (now in the Louvre, and above); the baptism of Saint Augustine, in basalt relief; The Decollation of John the Baptist, a Coptic icon; Pammachius in the Catacombs; Aidan of Lindisfarne, giving his horse to a beggar, in stained glass; Saint Giles and deer, with Christ Triumphant over Satan and the Mission of the Apostles — Miguel Alcañiz, ca. 1408; Justus of Lyon, reliquary; Hieronymus Bosch — The Mass of St. Gregory; the Machine of Saint Rose (of Viterbo); from fragments of shutters from the the St. Bertin altarpiece: The Soul of Saint Bertin Carried up to God — Simon Marmion, ca. 1458 (National Gallery, London); Saint Eve of Dreux; Saint Regina with lamb; the Nativity of Mary, illuminated; Saint Audomar (Omer) of Thérouanne, illuminated; Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, saving a ship; Felix and Regula, of the Theban Legion, holding their heads in a 12th century ms. illumination; Botticelli’s Magnificatio for the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary:

with: John Chrysostom; the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, illuminated; Our Lady of Sorrows, Cuzco school; Saint Ludmila of Bohemia, reliquary

— Other: a girl in a swimsuit holding a cat with the number “13” on it; free razor with breakfast entree; IX — L’Ermite (cat tarot); lady looks through shattered glass, by Helmut Newton; the invention of photography (for whom? against whom?) from Le Vent D’est by Jean-Luc Godard; the poster for Naked Under Leather (the title of the expurgated US-only release of The Girl on a Motorcycle); bayonet pierces heart, postcard art by Adolfo Busi; the less you know, the better; the Curvesome Angler (from Co-Eds: Fun on the Campus, a monthly journal); Skylark, by Pál Szinyei Merse, 1882; Claudia Cardinale feeding spaghetti to cats; come friends, let us go away from this dumb place; she and her shadow; a lot going on in this schema of robot lovers and their human counterparts in this graphic from Cosmopolitan, ca. 1971; … it’s the Queen of Eyes; and now it’s: Madonna of the Wasps; a fishy trompe-l’œil; a long way down; a groovy chick by McGinnis; isn’t it Romantic?; bubbles of darkness; a ménage à backgammon; Eva Koťátková, Controlled Memory Loss, 2010; Tina Aumont and friend, 1969; a Norwegian back office; hypnotic eyes; revenge of the plants; Anita Ekberg with Jerry Lewis; why Art has so many Nudes; I Married a Dead Man; la femme intérieure; vacuuming the bridge; a Foucault dependent’s always ready to go; by Sarah Bahbah — from the series “For Arabella”:

— … and finally: not sure whose photo this was originally, but our man Klode made it his own in his inimitable way:


— Obits: Nanci Griffith; Don Everly; the uniquely irreplaceable Charlie Watts; Ed Asner; Lee “Scratch” Perry; Jean-Paul Belmondo; Norm Macdonald

… speaking of whom, I shared my favorite NM joke, heard on TV ages ago and not documented anywhere but in my head as far as I can determine.

Maybe it is partly because all these deaths are stacked up over the past four weeks of recapping, but it’s hard to avoid the feeling that we have reached the point in the calendar where all the very important people are beginning reach the end. That’s the way life is, and I’m not usually very sentimental about such things, mourning people I don't know, etc. However, a world without Charlie Watts and Norm Macdonald in it will certainly take some getting used to.

— Chekov’s gun: from Wesley Yang, on twitter.


And that’ll just about do it for the Weakly Reader for 09/16/21 incl. But, for those who’ve made it all the way down the page, some sunflowers:

See you next week.