Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 5.31.2019

In mediaeval bestiaries, the caladrius bird is an allegorical diagnostic tool for the sick. It would be brought to the sickbed of the afflicted, and would settle in to perch on his chest. If the bird turned its face away, it was certain that the patient would die. However, if the caladrius directed its gaze into the patient’s eyes, the prognosis was better. If the caladrius then took flight, carrying the illness away with it, the patient would recover.

You may have noticed I haven’t been quite myself this week. I’ve got some kind of flu. As far as I can tell, the caladrius bird perched on my chest is still looking into my eyes, but it hasn’t quite taken flight yet. I have faith that it will in the end, and as of press time it feels very much like its departure is imminent, but it could go either way, I suppose. I’ve been more or less bedridden for the week, and the posts have been, accordingly, a bit thin and, arguably, gutless. Nevertheless, I did post them, and now I’m making an annotated index of the posts as usual. The index must go on.


— The Mr T Experience — “Alternative Is Here to Stay” live at Nessun Dorma, Genoa Italy, 10.28.1996. Song for Odin™ video on YouTube. And here are the “minor secrets,” in which I ruminate through the flog of influenza on what makes an out-of-date song out of date, and on the antecedentw or this particular out-of-date song. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here, if you’d like to help me out.

— On the song“Semi-OK” and the strange method for setting the lyrics by scrawling them on notepaper the minute before the vocals were to be recorded.

— …and your Friday morning “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba”, found on the internet with the following description: ‘“The year is 1997. It’s the third annual Shanestock that takes place on the last day of school. My band at the time, “The Feds” are playing a cover of MTX “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba”’. Added to the covers playlist.


— Posing with Cynthia Weil, because I’m just that cool and I have an interesting brain.

— Dashiel Hammett, Agatha Christie, Judy Blume, Van Halen: I couldn’t manage a new Medium post this week so instead I re-posted this essay likening pernicious, superficial edits in books to brown M&Ms. And the difference between posting new material and re-posting old material appears to be utterly negligible, by the way, in terms of “engagement” or notes and comment, or anything really. Old is the new new, and not mattering is the new mattering.

— A ways back I did a rambling interview on “punk rock politics” for Aaron Ross Powell’s Free Thoughts podcast, and he reposted the link saying it was his favorite episode because “MTX has been my favorite band since I was 17.”

— Just a bit of minds.com housekeeping commentary, on how they should have been more transparent about what was happening when they went back on their Google boycott pledge and agreed to put a censored version of the minds app on the play store. It was the right thing to do, but it left everybody confused, and hanging.

— Dept. of bons mots:

So everything I did today so far has been 100% “problematic” which is a technical term for awesome. (FB told me I said this four years ago today…. still at it. Not okay is the new okay.)”

‘”There is no time, sir,” said Dirty Jeeves, “when butts do not matter.”’


— good morning world: Ananda Shankar — “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

— Lio: I posted the video for the breezy throwaway French pop song “Les Brunes Comptent pas pour les Prunes” and marveled at the impressively crafted rhymes and composition. Also posted “Amoureux Solitaires” which also has really compelling, excellently conceived and composed lyrics:

— The “Bittersweet Symphony” legal wrangling seems to be at an end, twenty years later, with Richard Ashcroft finally getting the song’s credit and ownership… but probably not a whole lot of money, since it only goes from this point forward. It always struck me as odd that the sample used, which is from an orchestrated version of the Rolling Stones song released on the “Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra” album, should have been judged to have been written by Jagger-Richards and not the orchestrator, whoever that may have been. The figure sampled appears nowhere at all in the Rolling Stones recording, and is basically 100% unrelated to the song per se (unless you want to hold the chord progression itself to have been infringed, in which case the whole Rolling Stones songbook itself would be at risk.) But of course publishing being what it is, I’m sure it was “work for hire” and all that, and even Jagger-Richards probably didn’t fully own their own publishing. As it stands, the big guys take all the money, as usual, and only then magnaninously grant a ceremonial indulgence to the little guy. These things happen, over and over.

— Our old friend, comrade, and fellow Kinks fanatic Ed Masley explains why “Some Mother’s Son” is the “perfect Memorial Day song.”


— Gaze upon: do you have enough meat?; Frederick Leighton’s Solitude; guitar disaster scene; embalming self-taught; Holy Smoke! How am I going to get out of this?; Betty Page with monkey; we’re turning into nothings.

— and, faster pussycat

— …and finally:


— The “happiness expert” cited in this article is actually a London School of Economics Professor of Behavioral Psychology who appears, like Naomi Wolf last week, to have based a substantial part of his book’s conclusions on a misreading of the terms of a longitudinal survey question. The pull quote about about women saying they’re happy when their spouse is in the room and can overhear, but then admitting to being “fucking miserable” when he leaves the room went viral and got a laugh from me when I saw it. But it appears to have no basis at all in the data, and is a rather embarrassing faux pas for the professor, who seems to have been too pleased with its ideology-confirming implications to bother to check it very carefully. That got a laugh from me too.

— Leon Redbone died, and I posted a photo, as one does.




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