A Cheer for the Queers

The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 10.11.2019

Frank Portman
12 min readOct 11, 2019

Hello and welcome to yet another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, that thing where I produce an augmented, edited, adapted, and illustrated encapsulation of the week that was so that the things that occured therein, scattered to the social media winds that so often blow ill, may be located in future days, should such a thing become necessary. And, for fun, too, sort of. This one’s rather jam-packed, so let’s get to it.

Let’s hear a cheer for the Queers they got us here

Now we can try to steal their beers

We’ll get our kicks watching Joe play cool licks

We’ll smile and nod and steal his picks

and we’ll smile once in a while, after every show

cause the kids are here to see the Queers but we’ll still get paid…

God bless the Hi-Fives, that song’s great, still relate-able after all these years and the first thing I think of whenever we’ve got a show with the Queers. Which we do! See the FRONT BURNER below.


— MTX, the Queers, and the Capitalist Kids Go to Texas!: That’s right, folks, it’s happening December 6 & 7 in Dallas and Austin, respectively. It’s been a little while since we played with our good friends the Queers, and it’s good to be doing it again. Going all the way back to the early-ish ’90s, it was a double bill that always “worked.” And, as our booking agent said recently on the subject, “that’s good forever.”

And it’s been quite some time since we played in Austin, though it used to be one of our most-played and best cities. (Usually at Emo’s, God bless it.) Last time we were there was on the Yesterday Rules tour in 2004.

And how ‘bout that poster, yet another Matt K. Shrugg masterpiece? Here it is in full:

Plus we’ve got the Capitalist Kids, for whom there will always be a special place in my otherwise cold, dessicated heart. It’s gonna be a good time, guaranteed.

Tickets go up Friday (that is, today, if you’re reading this at post time.) Get ’em while you can.

— SHOWS: So here’s the full list of upcoming shows, including these (and this should take us through then end of the year unless something unexpected comes up):

— Saturday October 19: MTX, Sicko, and the Pathogens at the Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th Street (17th @ Missouri) San Francisco, CA 94107. Tix here.

— Friday November 22: MTX with the Mikey Erg Band, at Kung Fu Necktie, 1250 N. Front St., Philadelphia, PA 19122. Get tix here.

— Saturday November 23: MTX with the Mikey Erg Band, at the St Vitus, 1120 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222. Get tix here.

— Friday December 6: MTX with the Queers and the Capitalist Kids, at Three Links, 2704 Elm St, Dallas, TX, 75226. Get tix here.

— Saturday December 7: MTX with the Queers and the Capitalist Kids, at the Barracuda, 611 East 7th Street, Austin, TX 78701. Tix here.

Note: next up is MTX with Sicko and the Pathogens at the Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, October 19. Tix here. See you there!


— Whistle Bait: (at left) tattoo design from Hannah Blu, posted on Instagram, inspired by the MTX cover of the Collins Kids’ “Whistle Bait”.

Milk Milk Lemonade — kind words from Instagrammer Records and Fitz:

Oh hell yes, finally in my collection. I can’t say enough about this band and album. This lp is rapid fire hit after hit. Frank’s leads are on point and the lyrics, as always, are so smart and funny yet sincere. The Mr T Experience does not get enough credit for their contribution to the Lookout and punk catalogue/scene. Thanks for the hits.

It was nothing.

Billboard, really?: Michael turns up two old clippings referencing MTX from Billboard magazine, which seems far too fancy for the likes of us, even in the ’90s. I’m not surprised about the one announcing our tour of Europe with the biggest rock band of the era. That was certainly newsworthy, though we all know how it turned out. That bit about “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba” being “reserviced to modern rock radio” seems rather poignant, since, yes that did occur, but of course as well, no, in that it did so to no noticeable effect. I still have some of those CD promo “singles” that nobody ever played, I think. Well, we tried anyway.

— Revenge Is Show Business and So Are You: Revenge Is Sweet… and Show Business Is… are closely related, the bulk of the material culled from the same large batch of songs… I listened to them back in 2011 for the first time since they came out and made some comments, and then revisited them in present day. New post on Medium.

— Song for Odin: this week it was “Hello Kitty Menendez” live at Northwestern University in the Summer of 1995. Big “minor secrets” write up here. More video of this ilk may be found on my YouTube channel.

— More Song for Odin: that, by the way, was the 104th Song for Odin (though only the 89th song, because of duplicates and such)…

I made a Songs for Odin playlist on my YouTube channel, which should include all such songs posted on YouTube in the order they appeared. The “minor secrets” may be found at links in the video descriptions to the individual songs. I feel very organized right now.

— More MTX on YouTube: And I put up MTX Shards vol 1 and vol 2 on my YouTube channel in playlist form, and, for those not necessarily Shards-aware (such as those on minds.com) I also re-posted the Shards vol 1 story and the Shards vol 2 story.

— Three years of “balbum”: we started playing again in late 2014 (and released “King Dork Approximately” the song), and a couple of years later, King Dork Approximately the Album came into being, as a free download with the book (which it still is, and always will be.) Dina designed that website, which still looks great. (And the balbum art, which also still looks great.)

That was three years ago, evidently. More at the link, but as I said there, we tried as hard as we could to make what was essentially a vanity download self-release feel “real,” to us and to everybody. And we succeeded pretty well, no mean feat in a time when nothing feels real.

Anyway, it’s still going strong, in balbum form and on vinyl, etc. MTX FOREVER.

— KDATA the Cookie: yes, we made these, now out of print. (Actually, Dina’s mom made the cookies, and the name “world’s best cookie” is not by any means an exaggeration.)

— Maria Surfinbird does “Another Yesterday”: on the bass, on Facebook video. (My post here.) And speaking of “Another Yesterday” here’s the Song for Odin / minor secrets write-up I did for that song a ways back. These write-ups used to be a lot shorter!


Last Will took this photo at the KDATA “balbum” release show at the DNA in SF

— Important Girl at the Purple Taco Truck Update: she got “hella ass,” then she got “hella frienz,” and then she got… erased? The next (and almost certainly final) chapter here.

— Like everyone else, I just want Robyn Hitchcock to like me: in which I write of puns in song lyrics, sparked by RH’s extremely negative view of them expressed in this very interesting interview. Along the way, I managed to think my way out of knowing whether or not I actually knew what a pun is, per se, and I’m still not sure I know.

But: “I’m outstanding in my field and all I ever want to do is just get plowed.” That’s some puns there, I think.

— Dept. of bons mots:

You took Cole Porter and the Ramones and you made a baby. Or maybe, you’re the baby… and Green Day’s your baby, and they had a baby and it was Blink 182 (and maybe they should have had an abortion.) Hashtag shoutyourabortion.

— Notebook:

Howard Phillips Lovecraft serves as example to all who wish to learn how to fail in life and eventually succeed in their work…

Thus begins an arresting quotation from Michel Houellebecq’s book on H. P. Lovecraft.


— Good morning world: Pain Teens — “Pleasures of the Flesh”; Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins — “Mule Skinner Blues”: Aldous Snow and Infant Sorrow — “We’ve Got to Do Something”

— Grim Deeds: the Grim Deeds Interview: in which Deeds is interviewed by his fans and colleagues, including me.

— …and, because Grim Deeds, once again, your Friday morning “Sackcloth and Ashes”:

More covers of my songs found on the internet may be found on this playlist.


— Roman Calendar: Edvard Munch’s Madonna and child (Sanctae-Mariae-Sabbato); some Carthusians, to commemorate Saint Bruno; the Battle of Lepanto for Our Lady of Victory; Bridget of Sweden, illuminated; St Denis and his head; Paulinus of York; Divine Motherhood: Bouguereau’s Song of the Angels

— Floria Magnifico: a lady with flowers for my favorite lady with the flowers.

— Hallowe’en Action for the entire family: George Petty’s Miss October 1947; cat in hat suspended from cloud of bats — what could go wrong?; the eyes in the box; lady flees skeleton; the Wolfman; Veronica Lake en witch; Asleep, a grave-marker sculpture by Peter Shipperheyn; Bradys; and yet another sexy witch

— Unsafe and Scandalous and Very Very Bad Hallowe’en Action (do not click): belle, horns, and candle; Falero’s Flight of the Witches; Albert Pénot’s La Femme Chauve-Souris

— and plus:


— The great big brotherhood of brands in which one dead person’s post-mortem brand expresses the hope that another dead person’s post-mortem brand will experience the joys of a wonderful birthday this year:

— Free Speech Is Killing Us: The New York Times comes out against free speech. Vapid, yet atrocious.

And journalist Jesse Singal comments here, noting the shallow nature of this and other such rhetorical attempts to knock free speech down a couple of pegs in the name of improving the world. These pleas for various sorts of therapeutic censorship are raised with a great deal of emotion — think of the children — but not thought through very far; and the lessons of an ordinary high school civics class (do they still have those?)could easily puncture most of them. Inevitably when this stuff comes up on-line, people start posting that idiotic xkcd comic about free speech, which is a sort of emblem of the vacuous “speech has consequences” trope. I’m sure you’ve seen it. I prefer this edit:

The article concerns itself with what “we” should do to address the dangers of unfettered free expression. But who is this “we”? “We” don’t agree on everything, or anything. There’s an almost touching faith here that the “good people” will always be in charge (even though by any measure they’re not, even now, even ever); and if only we have the strength and vision to give them, that is, us, the proper tools to sort everything out, they, that is, we, will sort everything out. And like many such sentimental idealogues, the NYT writer seems to find it beyond the limits of his imagination to consider the possibility that the power to control the expression of ideas he dislikes might well, once established, come into the hands of people who disagree with him, perhaps even into the hands of the very people he’d quite like to silence now, who would doubtless sort everything out using these very tools in a way not so much to the NYT writer’s liking. Or, as has occurred in so many revolutions as to be something of an axiom, such tools could pass into the hands of people who do agree with him, that is, his fellow idealogues, who might take the nobly-intended program to such radical extremes that it encroaches on speech, ideas, or art that he might think valuable, that he might find it crucial to preserve. What happens then? Well, consult your old high school civics textbook, or read up on the French Revolution, etc. It’s actually rather simple. It’s free speech for all, or for nobody. There isn’t any other way. We’ve known about this for literally hundreds of years now.

So that NYT article is flimsy, half-baked, and silly for all the reasons mentioned by Singal and a few more as well. But it is genuinely alarming that fancy people like those who write for the New York Times and who have Ph. D.s and, most of all, who are “young people” are saying stuff like this, asserting that free speech as a liberal value is obsolete and cavalierly discussing ways we might kill it off for good for the sake of bettering society. The fact that this undertaking is one hundred per cent guaranteed to come back to bite them on the ass is not much consolation. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, the rhetoric of incipient totalitarianism, “thought-through” or not. And it portends a dark future, should it continue.

We’re fortunate to have, in this country, a Constitutional provision that — theoretically at least — forbids the state from rounding up and punishing people for, e.g., infelicitous tweets (cf. the UK). But once again, the words of Learned Hand are apt:

Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it …

Liberal values are important, and as I see it, far, far better than anything else going, but we could, as a society, cavalierly argue our way right out of them. As many now seem to be trying to do.

— Homer. Herodotus. Sophocles. Plato. Aristotle. Demosthenes. Cicero. Vergil: Fixed that.

—On reading only improving books written by morally upright citizens: here’s another article on purging university courses of the work of writers accused of being immoral and to my slight surprise and guarded relief, NYT commenters, at least, are having none of it.

— Repressed Memories Are Back, Baby: Foucault, “Theory,” identity politics, grievance culture, moral panic, bourgeois pseudo-Marxism as spirituality, trauma-as-sacrament, political correctness, speech policing, witch hunts, vituperative self-help, neo-neo-Puritan prudery… all the terrible, most ludicrous and damaging ideas popular in the ’80s, most thoroughly debunked, disavowed and, one thought, buried forever, are being exhumed and brought back to life, one by one.

Now we can add to the list Repressed Memory, the psycho-therapeutical swindle most responsible for the society-wide spasm of madness we now call Satanic Panic, rebranded as “traumatic dissociation” and coming soon, no doubt, to an auto-da-fé near you.

— Fokkers: not sure if this anecdote about RAF flying ace Sir Douglas Bader addressing a girls’ school is true (and I’m skeptical, based on what I know of British behavior and decorum in such contexts.) Probably it is just a joke, but it’s a good one. To judge from my correspondence, many Brits think of this as an “old Stan Boardman joke” because of this telling of a version of it with Des O’Connor in the 1980s, but it’s gotta be far older than that. Researching that kind of thing is the kind of thing I very much like to do, but it’s been a busy week and it’ll have to wait. (Probably it’ll have to wait forever, because another thing I like to do, once I’ve put off or postponed something, is never return to it.) Also, judging from the comments to the video, telling this joke on TV was the death knell of Boardman’s show business career, which may well be true, as I follow British comedy a bit more than idly and this is the first I’ve heard of him.

— Grey Havens, i.e., this week’s obituary pictures: Ginger Baker, and Rip Taylor, and Diahann Carol (about whom as well, here’s a tribute from minds.com friend David Gasten.)

— Epilogue: that’s about it for this edition of the Weakly Reader, but for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s a witchy lady with a torch:

See you next week.



Frank Portman

I am Dr. Frank. I write books and songs. Mtx Forever.