Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 5.10.2019
MTX STARSHIP TRACTOR EDITION
That’s our friend Josh Price, some twenty years ago, who asked if and when we were going to revive the MTX Starship shirt. In fact, Sounds Radical did do it as a “pop up” fairly recently, but as is the way with “pop ups” it popped up and then popped back down again. You snooze you miss out, that’s the rhyme. So keep your eye on the flow, by which I mean my internet presence, embodied in this very document, and, more importantly keep your eye on Sounds Rad. We’ll probably do it again one of these days, you never know.
And, speaking of which, there’s a new “Mr T Experience Nein Danke” slated to pop up any time now.
But more about that below. I’m getting ahead of myself, and I need to introduce the Dr Frank Weakly Reader to those for whom an introduction may be necessary.
This is something I do every week. The internet of 2019 provides no index. Everything is ephemeral, scattered, and basically unrecoverable in any systematic way five seconds after it leaves your screen. And worse, the “platforms” on which the “content” briefly stands contrive to manipulate, hide, delete, censor, disorder, and otherwise mess with said “content.” So when you place “content” on a “platform” you have no idea whether or not it will be visible to anyone even before it is unceremoniously kicked into oblivion a few seconds later. And no one thinks to look anywhere other than on the “platform” when they want to see or know something. If it’s hidden, it might as well not exist. And a whole lot gets hidden. This gives “platforms” and their unaccountable, often unscrupulous proprietors great power. I don’t trust them. So I make my own index, week by week. Then, at least, I know where to go to find my own stuff.
And here, he says conspiratorially, it is.
— MR T EXPERIENCE? NEIN DANKE!: As mentioned above: it’s back, in black, for the first time, starting Monday May 13. Further details to come soon.
Here’s some background on this design, one of our most deafening misfires. Quoting myself:
Like so many of the things we’ve done over the years, the “Mr T Experience? Nein Danke!” shirt design was a bit of a misfire. A parody of a seemingly ubiquitous anti-nuclear power campaign logo, it seemed funny, slightly mischievous, maybe even almost clever. Once we’d printed them up, though, it soon became apparent that we’d misjudged our audience (or something.) As Aaron succinctly put it: “nobody gets it.” (Which was something of a de facto MTX motto. They should put in on my tombstone, really.) Turned out the original wasn’t quite as ubiquitous as we’d imagined.
Nevertheless, we persevered in trying to unload them, one by one, to a bemused public. Years and years later, we succeeded in doing so, and turned our attention to other things nobody was going to get.
If no one got it back then, even fewer get it now. But, clearly, not getting it is the new getting it. Get it while you can, unless you don’t get it, in which case, well, you won’t.
— Josh posted this recent photo of an English version of the original, snapped in Canada:
I’ve honestly never seen one in English till now. Way back when we all showed our sophistication and superiority to the great unwashed by mispronouncing everything in European…
THE EARTH-SHATTERING MAGNIFICENCE OF THE MR T EXPERIENCE
— Brewer’s Association display, seen on Instagram— a moment of poetry, or something.
— “Hey Emily”: someone named Emily posted a link to this song on twitter, saying: “My high school friends said that this was me and listening to it as an adult idk whether I should be flattered or insulted.” (When this song is requested there’s around a 80% chance it will turn out to be by someone named Emily, or someone whose girlfriend or daughter is so named.) I don’t know about flattery or insult, but I was rather surprised at all the love for this song manifest in the comments on the various social media places I posted about it. I’ve always felt pretty sensitive and, I don’t know, worried about this song. It’s beyond my abilities to perform it properly, and the recording is very stark and naked, covering up very little. I’ve come to terms with it but I also wince a bit when it comes on, or when I anticipate that it is going to come on. Anyway, it’s nice people like it so much. That’s new.
RADIO FREE DOCTOR FRANK
— Age of Intolerance: not exactly a Dr Frank item, except insofar as I am a free speech advocate and anti-authoritarian type person, but Rowan Atkinson’s remarks in this video (and quoted in the comment here) are well-stated and worth a listen, as well as being a convenient occasion for re-posting my song.
— That is my voice you hear, reading the opening paragraph of H. P. Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu” in the introductory track of the new Capgun album, the charmingly-titled At the Mountains of Radness. Pop punk meets eldritch horror. It’s good! Check it out.
— I hadn’t been previously aware of the legend of St. Stanislaw, wherein the saint, to settle a land dispute with the Polish king who would later go on to murder him, raises the deceased former land-owner from the dead to testify on his behalf in court. But now, I am aware of it.
— An awesome picture of Tom Henderson from a middle schooler, via twitter.
—The Smoking Popes are doing another Live from the Rock Room fest in Chicago and posted the video of me doing the Buzzcocks’ “What Do I Get?” with them last year. It was indeed a magic moment, and here it is (on video) if you missed it. I did an extensive write-up of it at the time.
— indulging in the felicity of unbounded domesticity.
— The New Left and Me, Part 2: for my Medium post this week I presented reviews of two ’60s terrorist documentaries, on the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army. From my old blog, with new introductory remarks. (Part 1, on the Baader-Meinhof gang, is here.)
— of interest only to minds.com people, if that, but since I’m committed to providing a full index, here I am trying to figure out the ins and outs of the minds boost system for sidebar channel boosts. There must be some reason all these platform companies roll out undocumented changes and leave users to fend for themselves and wrestle with the blindly. I guess they want to beta-test in real time with real human subjects? Though that’s, basically, illegal? Anyway, it causes lots of confusion and frustration. A simple “here’s what we changed since yesterday, by date” log would help a lot, but none of them ever provides one. (That said, minds is better than the rest, and promises to get better and better. If you’d like to join, you will help me out if you use this referral link.)
— Who’s that handsome devil? Me, actually. This photo was taken at Gilman, by Marisa I believe.
OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC
— Good morning, world: Vom — “Electrocute Yer Cock”; Teach-In — “Ding-a-Dong” (English); Teach-In — “Ding-a-Dong” (Dutch); 10cc — “Rubber Bullets”; Roger Miller — “My Uncle Used to Love Me but She Died”; Roger Miller — medley on the Muppet Show; William Shatner — “Common People”; the Partridge Family — “Together We’re Better”: Ann-Margret- “The Swinger”; Mozart — Piano Concert № 21, Andante.
— Foghat — Stone Blue (full album): because someone posted it on minds. I turned 14 in 1978 when this album was released and I remember each and every one of these songs being in rotation on the AOR FM stations. Also in the mix on those stations (though possibly not as heavily): the Stranglers, Squeeze, Devo, the Fabulous Poodles, the Clash. It was a weird, weird time. I lived via the radio, mostly. Which is why just hearing “Stone Blue” evokes so much more than just Foghat.
— They can’t ban all of us: Snoop Dogg / Led Zep mash up (Led Snoopelin):
— Look: walking on the beaches, looking at the peaches; digital art from Casimir Lee; Chauncy Bradley Ives — Undine Rising from the Waters (detail); sit down, Ronnie; what to do if you wake up at 3 AM and there’s a cowboy standing in your room; yet another proposed Notre-Dame de Paris glass roof monstrosity; not responsible for accidence; a perfect sacrifice; Angel O’Day, the cynosure of all eyes; my name is….
— Ann-Margret promo still from the 1966 film, The Swinger. Posting this sent me down a bit of an Ann-Margret rabbit hole, if rabbit hole means what I think it does. The theme song, written by André and Dory Previn, is great (see above); and the whole movie happens to be watchable on YouTube at the moment. It’s really something.
… and finally: it was Karl Marx’s birthday this past week (5 May) which is as good a time as any to repost this fresco from a Montenegro church depicting Marx, Engels, and Marshall Tito burning in Hell.
IN THE NEWS
— Deep Sleep: how an amateur porno set off a massive federal witch hunt. Fascinating story from the Daily Beast. Here’s my post. The guy went on to make Alice Sweet Alice, one of the crazier examples of the “slasher” genre and a minor classic.
— Bonus: a scene from the Odd Couple TV show episode “Felix Makes a Porno Movie”. I remember this episode very well from childhood and it was the first thing I thought of when I read the account of that Deep Sleep guy and his friends (above.)
— It’s time to break up Facebook, says Chris Hughes, the FB co-founder who destroyed The New Republic a few years back. Unfortunately, he has some awful, dangerous ideas about government regulation of speech. Whatever happens, this won’t end well.
— "Every VC funded online publication became a woke clickbait mill for a simple reason: the metrics told them this was the best performing type of content.” Intriguing twitter thread from Wesley Yang.