Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 5.24.2019
Welcome friends, to another edition of the Dr Frank Weakly Reader, wherein I have constructed my own index, annotated and illustrated, of the week’s activities so they may be found in future should that ever be necessary.
I started this experiment, made necessary by the demise of my old blog which used to serve such a purpose back in the days when people still read blogs, sometime in 2018 (though, of course, people had stopped reading blogs long before.) Originally I did these posts on my “on google” account, but I had to move the operation over here to Medium because Google’s strict rules against “calls to action” and other unspecified forbidden turns of phrase led them to delete several posts. (And when Google deletes such content, it stays deleted — I couldn’t even recover the text to post elsewhere. Which is, by my lights rather an ironic thing for a company that once promised to “organize the world’s information” to do, since deleting the world’s information would seem rather to work against that program.)
It could all go awry if Medium starts deleting or hiding this content, but for now the experiment has been a success, though it is rather labor-intensive and time-consuming. (And used to be completely unnecessary in the long past world of permalinks, blogs, archives, and search functions that didn’t hide and delete things.) I would recommend it, if you’re the sort of person who posts a lot in this scattered, fractured, information world.
And now, on to the “content.”
RIDE THE MTX-GO-ROUND
— Mr T Experience? Nein danke! Pre-orders for the limited re-issue of this shirt on black ended on Wednesday, but I suspect you haven’t heard the last of this design. I saw a mock-up of the enamel pin and it looks just fantastic. I heard from Sounds Radical HQ that they are placing the order on Friday (that is, today at press time) and that the links will stay active till that happens, so if you want to get in a last minute order that’s where to go.
— And speaking of old shirt designs, the old red one with the 1930s girls holding up letters came up in ordinary shirt rotation at Dr Frank HQ and I posted a picture of it and wrote up some “minor secrets” here. Here’s Melissa still wearing hers twenty years later. And Jeanna submitted this pic, which is one my favorite photographs quite apart from the shirt:
— Why stand against a wall when you can sit against a wall? Night Shift pose, via Instagram, see above.
— Minor Secrets of the Mr T Experience Revealed, Part XV: yes, the songs for Odin aggregate #15 went up this week on Medium, featuring “God Bless America”; “She’s No Rocket Scientist”; “Big Mistake”; “The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be”; “Ask Beth”; “Knock Knock (Please Let Me In)”.
— One little misapprehension got you, now they’re lining up around the block to watch you screw yourself up for this bitter cup that pains you the most, when it’s too late to say you’re sorry and pretend that it’s a toast… Naomi Wolf has got herself in a spot of rather embarrassing trouble on a radio program promoting her new book, leading several folks to post links to the song “Naomi.” I feel for her, and I’m actually rather fond of her continual nuttiness. The song (inspired, sort of, by seeing her on a talk show in the early ’90s being outshone by a quite elderly Helen Gurley Brown and some supermodels) will forever link us. Get well, soon, Dr. Wolf.
— Milk Milk Lemonade, the Legacy: this week marks the twenty-seventh anniversary of the release of the Mr T Experience album Milk Milk Lemonade. I learned this via a post from our friend Lauren who keeps track of such things, and offered my own Deep Thoughts on the album here. I have a complicated emotional relationship with this record and I’m still working through my “issues,” but I appreciate it a bit more and in a bit of a different way than I used to. And I agree, “See It Now” certainly has… something.
This MML write-up was, by the way, in lieu of the usual sort of Song for Odin™ post. I think it counts. I mean of course it counts, as I’m the only person in charge of what does and doesn’t count as a Song for Odin (and may well be the only person who ever sees this disclaimer.)
— …and your Friday morning “Book of Revelation.” My schedule calls for posting a cover of one of my songs on Friday, usually from YouTube, and with all this Milk Milk Lemonade talk this one seemed apt. I’ve done some good things and some bad things and I don’t know how it all adds up in the end, but at least I can say that one of my songs was once recorded by one of the greatest rock and roll bands in the history of rock and roll bands. The Fastbacks, I mean. And here it is.
I really get a kick out of my deliberately Kurt Bloch esque guitar solo being played by the actual Kurt Bloch. It’s pretty hard to play. And as you may know, Fastbacks’ singer Kim Warnick sang back-ups on our recording… the only thing that would have made it better would be if I did back-ups on theirs. But it was not to be.
The intro that is played on the faux harpsichord and then on the guitar in the beginning of our version goes way way back, something I figured out — I’d hesitate to say “wrote” — on the piano when I was a little kid as part of a greater “piece” that included a version of the chorus as well. (No words.) It was just one of those things you do fooling around, and as with a lot of that kind of thing, when I started writing songs for real I started to wonder if I could use it in some way. But it was, in the event, a good fifteen years before I was able to manage to play it on the guitar and put it on a record.
One more note: it’s pretty funny how, when this song pops up in contexts in which people don’t already know about it and kind of take it for granted, the discussion of it often centers on the actual Biblical Book of Revelation. e.g., from the comments to the YouTube video: “wonder if they know the bible changed overnite to the book of revelation? they may have change lyric.” Yeah, I’ll get on that right away. I’ve seen it linked unironically as an unexplained illustrative resource in posts about the Masonic conspiracy to use the Holy Grail to steal the keys to the White House or somesuch.
In fact, it’s … a pun. The narrator of the song has just read his girlfriend’s diary, in which he has found… unwelcome revelations. That’s pretty much it.
THE VAGARIES OF DR FRANK
— Harry Graham’s “Creature Comforts.” I quoted this bit of it, because I like it: “For years I led a dreary life. The days passed slowly, one by one. I fed the ducks, reproved my wife, played Handel’s Largo on the fife, or gave the dog a run. I neither realised nor knew the pleasures of a private Zoo.”
—Name checking: I posted the Benjamins’ “Dr Frank Was Right” with a brief egomanical comment. Hecubus over on twitter raised the issue of Dr Frank “name-checks” in songs, mentioning Vista Blue’s “I Don’t Know Where Dr Frank Lives”, and the Riverdales’ “I Don’t Wanna Go to the Party.” and asking if there were others. (The latter includes the name Frank but I’m not sure it refers to me — anyway, there’s no way I’d ever go to a party, just to be clear.) I mentioned Grim Deeds’s “Frankly Doctor Portman”, but we both forgot the Queers’ “Punk Rock Girls” which is surely the best of them all.
— Dept. of bons mots: “Listen buddy, the only reason I’m not suing you right now is because I know you’d win.”
—There’s hope: via twitter, I learn that an English prof is teaching both King Dork books and the “balbum” and that his students dig MTX. Maybe they’re just being polite. But politeness counts. A’s all around!
— Dr Frank Frets about the Internet:
[a] Facebook appears to have changed — i.e., tightened — its visibility standards and restrictions on who is allowed to see what, and I posted this about that;
[b] “I Hate the Zeitgeist” is a little essay I posted about, in effect, what does and does not constitute “explicit” or NSFW in an atmosphere of neo-Puritanism saturated with hardcore pornography;
[c] here’s a kind of Modest Proposal for a better, more comprehensive and effective social media shadow banning system, but I’m not at all sure it’s not what is actually happening already;
[d] and finally, here are some more thoughts on the subject, in the form of a Help & Support post on minds.com, along with some comments.
Now, as you can see, I do a lot of complaining and worrying about the emerging parameters of moderation and policy enforcement on the minds.com network, but it’s still the best thing going on the internet at the moment, and here’s an example of why, posted just yesterday by the minds COO:
Here is what will get you banned from Minds: — Illegal content (terrorism, paedophilia, extortion, fraud, revenge porn, sex trafficking) — Personal and confidential information (doxxing) — Spreading malware — Token manipulation — Impersonation — Inciting a true threat of violence — Spam
Here is what won’t get you banned from Minds: — Everything else
That’s a policy I can get behind, and it is an aspiration worth supporting, even if it’s not, in reality, quite as easy or straightforward as it sounds. The site as it is has got many issues and bugs, and, as I said above, it could all go wrong as things tend to do, but, they don’t hide your stuff or put it out of order or make it difficult to find, and that’s worth a lot. They are explicitly dedicated to transparency and non-censorship, and it is all open source. Here’s a referral link if you’d like to join. It’s much better than Facebook, except that Facebook, as of now, has all the people. Here’s hoping that will change. It will be a better world when it happens.
— and speaking of art and nudity, are we “pruder” than Queen Victoria?
— Behold: Happy Birthday Linda, sweet sixteen; Scarsellino’s Martyrdom of Venantius; death to all but rock; the Brotherhood of Hamm’s; Yeoman Rand and Lt. Urhuru; This. Is GK Chesterton; Frederic Willian Burton’s Dreams and Hellelil and Hildebrand (aka Meeting on the Turret Stairs); the sex generation gap of 1946, from Esquire; the Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill come downtown to take in the human zoo; The Nude Wore Black; Rita of Cascia; Kafka-esque ecstasy; Julia of Corsica by H. Bosch; three butts, not nude so presumably okay; Fern Andra.
— Oh so mature and unsafe for work (if you work in a nunnery or on the internet): the Beat chick has an artistic excuse for going the Kerouac route…; a nude bacchante’s nude back, hot or not, er, I mean explicit or not?; this is just an elephant from a medieval bestiary, E-tagged just to test what is and is not blurred out in the world (but the experiment was inconclusive); does a ball-point pen drawing of a “side-boob” count as “nudity”?
— …and finally, Raquel Welch dancing ftw:
IN THE NEWS
— Herman Wouk died, and I posted this picture. I well remember The Winds of War TV adaptation, which turned out to be substantially faithful to the novel when I finally read it. I can’t think of a better novel about World War II. In a perfect world I’d re-read it and re-watch it now, but it’s never going to happen, is it?
— Power and volume and tinnitus: I posted this pic in honor Pete Townshend’s birthday.
— Thought for the day via twitter posted here: "Never ceases to amaze me when people who repeatedly engage in virulent online bullying against people who are somewhat more moderate than them act all astonished when they are viciously online bullied for being somewhat more moderate than someone else.”
Agreed, and yet I must confess, it has in fact ceased to amaze me.
— Post-post-modern logic from the LA Review of Books, concerning a photo of a gay presidential candidate and his gay-married male spouse:
…this photo is about a lot of things, but one of its defining features is its heterosexuality.
Heteros means “other,” and refers in this context to the other/opposite sex. This is two guys, even if you don’t like their trousers or the gate they’re standing on front of. I suppose “heterosexuality” has, in the subculture that birthed such rhetoric, come to mean, through an unrecoverable chain of meta associations among various cultural tropes and stereotypes: “that which is ordinary, plain, banal, and just not weird enough.” Maybe there’s a word for “gay but too normal to count” to be found or constructed, but “heterosexuality” means something else, and is already taken.
— I found this interview with Paul Coates (Ta-Nehisi’s father) fascinating.
— Two things about the Calvin Klein robot kissing controversy: (a) the story turned out to be even stupider than I expected; and (b) that looks like a pretty good robot.
— Reddit Commenter’s Fight for Anonynmity Is a Win for Free Speech and Fair Use. Good call.