Dr Frank Weakly reader for 7.05.2019

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ello, everybody. Welcome to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, in which I once again produce an annotated, illustrated index of the Dr Frank web so its contents may be found in future, should anyone require finding it. It’s the Punkemon Plushie Edition because of the item pictured above, and mentioned below. I like it.

Since this newsletter follows a holiday, I think it quite likely that it will be read by very few people, even fewer than usual. But I do it primarily for myself anyway. If I decided what to do based on the probable size of the audience for it, I’d never do anything.

Why is it “weakly”? Well, because it’s kind of funny, but also, mainly, because that makes it easy to search for. Just be sure there’s no auto-correct, or you’re screwed.

At any rate, I hope you all had a good Fourth. The Fourth of July, that is. Baseball. Hot dogs. Apple Pie. Chevrolet. Histrionic scolding on the internet…

Mine was good, despite the latter. I just tuned out all the weirdness and just, you know, sat there thinking thoughts to myself, eating food, drinking beverages. And I watched The Incredible Mr. Limpet. The USA has its faults, past and present, of course, but I’m glad the American Revolution happened; I’m glad the US exists; and I’m very glad I’m from here and live here as opposed to being from somewhere else and living there. First Amendment, ftw. Plus all those other amendments.

FRONT BURNER

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— MTX 95: the Sounds Rad MTX 95 stuff (shirt, hoodie, skate deck) is still up for pre-order, through July 8.

— Mtx forever: as I mentioned last week, the sequence has been arrived at. We still have a long way to go before this release is a reality. I still have some alternate mixes to decide on, and I’ve been working on unambiguously cataloguing and identifying the audio that is to be used. (What we have are big files transferred from whole tapes, and sometimes you have to hunt around for the proper track — we don’t want the wrong stuff to get mastered in the end, after all that!) Chris Appelgren and I are getting in gear to finalize the artwork, which we’ve been working on for the past few months, but never till now with a firm back-against-the-wall deadline. I will tell you that it is shaping up to be quite amazing. more on that soon.

EVERYTHING’S COMING UP MTX

— Do your part for the Mr T Experience: this famous unbreakable comb is one of the silliest promo-merch items we ever came up with, but a lot of people liked it and many hung on to theirs and still have them after all these years. More on that here (in a previous Weakly Reader.)

— The Mr T Experience / the Wynona Ryders / the Rudiments / Dart Board / Cuban Rebel Girl: at the Berkeley Square, on this flier unearthed by an Instagrammer. My comments here. This was the record release show for the …and the Women Who Love Them e.p. Cuban Rebel Girl would soon rename itself the Bomb Bassetts.

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— MTX through the ages: here’s a rare photo, unearthed by Aaron’s brother Josh, of the Doctor / Aaron / Jim line-up playing live somewhere. This was the line-up that recorded the basic tracks of …and the Women Who Loved Them, but by the time the record actually came out Aaron was already playing with Samiam. I think maybe he had some time off and we did a show or two, but there sure weren’t many, and the Joel era was very soon to follow.

— An old, old homemade MTX shirt, ca. 1986, offered on Etsy for $100. “Vintage from before 2000.” And how.

— Yesterday Rules: here’s Ed Masley’s very kind contemporary review of the album for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; and here’s the Yesterday Rules tour poster. As I said (at that last link) I’m really looking forward to be able to re-vamp and present that artwork, one of Chris Appelgren’s best designs, properly when and if we do re-issue that album. The music, too, of course. It’s all part of it. Stay tuned for news on that.

— Our Bodies Our Selves: some kind words about this album from an Instagrammer, plus some comments from me.

— If it’s broke… don’t fix it! Some minor secrets concerning the 1989 “So Long Sucker” / “Zero” seven inch (Lookout #23) and its weird, failed cover. And here’s Gabe’s copy on blue vinyl, which I first heard about when I looked it up on discogs while writing the post. It exists. Who knew?

— The obligatory “God Bless America”.

— …and your Friday morning Mr T Experience cover band playing the Rock N Roll Camp for Girls benefit show at Uncle Lou’s in Orlando, Florida, Part 2. They’re doing “I Fell for You” and “…and I Will Be with You”.

THE NOTORIOUS DR FRANK

— I am indeed “the notorious Dr Frank” in the Love Is Dead one-sheet dug up by our friend Wes. I haven’t seen these materials in ages, and I’m not sure I ever read them. I had no role in writing them or putting them together and I have always shied away and cringed at such things. As you know, the Green Day Euro-tour happened, but only two weeks’ worth. Japan did happen. Not Australia, though. That would have been cool.

— There will always be a Punkemon: our good friend Troy sent along some pics of a customized Lickitung plush toy he recently completed. (See pic at that link and/or at the top of this here page.) This sparked a Punkemon revival of sorts in these parts. I updated the old Punkemon Story post to reflect the current state of things Punkemon. And we revisited the “Lickitung” video. I bet you forgot how great it was. I kinda did.

— A nice picture of a cat and some fine literature, but this Instagrammer appears to be missing a balbum.

— Song for Odin: this week it was me doing “King Dork Approximately” solo-acoustic in my bedroom in December of 2014, captured by our friend Julie Green when she photo-documented the KDA book release show at 1234Go! Records. More about that, and a whole lotta other “minor secrets” may be found here.

— Throwing you back for Thursday: am I using that correctly? This is a photo of Mike Dirnt and me at the Roxy in LA, mid-90s. And here’s an Instagram post where Tre Cool quotes the lyrics of “At Gilman Street” entire.

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— And speaking of “Gilman Street: Just on the heels of Warner Chappell’s release of their YouTube copyright claim on my song “Here She Comes,” a WC subsidiary claimed ownership of “At Gilman Street.” In the first instance, it seemed to be a case of mistaken identity based solely on the title, which my song shares with hundreds of other songs including one controlled by them — a mid-sixties soul song recorded by the Tymes. I’m quite certain there’s no mid-sixties soul song called “At Gilman Street,” however.

This claim was released more quickly. My sense is that these companies have robots and spiders that just crawl through platforms like YouTube making as many claims as they can, in hopes that some of them may be correct, and that those that are not correct will not be noticed. I’m trying to notice, not that it makes any practical difference. It is an annoying and tedious process, but it seems worth doing because who knows what the next step might be if you let these knowingly (or at least negligently) erroneous claims stand?

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— Self, live and blurry.

— The Ugliness of Humanity: in which I complain about twitter on twitter, as I am wont to do.

— My “I don’t care who wins” manifesto.

— An urban tale (and an Irish curse): the exigencies of E-tagging on minds.com are such that this text will be blurred unless you’re logged in to minds. Sorry about that. This is something that really happened, and the speech, delivered by a man who was really not all that crazy-looking by Oakland standards, is as accurate as I could remember. I was one of the twenty or so passengers who left the bus immediately. He just smiled at us as we filed out. And the smile, at least, did look pretty crazy. (If you’d like to join minds.com and see the unblurred post, you can use this referral link. It’s pretty good.)

— Quoting Fulton J. Sheen on the internet can still rub people the wrong way, as I learned when I shared this bit from the book Three to Get Married on the social medias. I think it is quite eloquent and if not prescient at least rather relevant, in this world of twitter mobs and senseless ideological street violence. Politics, even when it masquerades as altruism, is no substitute for love or true understanding of one another, and it’s no wonder that this approach leaves people unsatisfied and angry when it fails to heal the soul.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know why I post things of this kind. It’s pretty stupid. The aggravation is just not worth it. I should stick to self-promotion and talking about my cat, and keep my appreciation of the trenchant observations of Fulton Sheen et al. to myself, I know that.

That said, if you want to understand love and relationships, if not necessarily the perversities of the internet, this book might well help you.

— Beware of first-hand ideas! A similarly “relevant” passage from E. M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” (1909). Also, believe it or not, Hawkwind comes into it.

OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC

— Good morning world: Byrd’s Hodie Simon Petrus

— Butt slaps: I don’t know what it’s from, if anything, but I’m impressed to see this classic percussion approach in sheet music form.

PICTURE BOOK

— Behold: a falling over blonde; the Case of the Tapping Heels; nunday funday

— The less safe for work it is, the more beautiful it is likely to be: scandalous; shocking; simply disgraceful (yet somehow… important.)

— The Fourth: our Arnold; Be Prepared; the image I used to test whether Facebook’s images were fixed; the lovely and talented Barbara Eden in go-go boots sitting on a ladder with a great big firecracker

— …and finally: G. K. Chesterton, What I Saw in America:

America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence; perhaps the only piece of practical politics that is also theoretical politics and also great literature.

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IN THE NEWS

Blackadder, Series 5: there has been a meeting.

— A triumph of the vulpine spirit.

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— You Love to ‘Hate to See It’: The New York Times has become literally incomprehensible to me, like it’s written in foreign. Fortunately, I only have to be mystified by such esoterica ten times in a month before the rest hides itself behind a paywall and ceases to trouble me. What a relief!

— Orchestra starts playing the wrong concerto in piano competition nightmare: I hate it when that happens.

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—Iconoclasm redux: That New Deal era Arnautoff mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco will be destroyed. (Cited, by me, with a rather shocking quote from a school board member, here.) Evidently, though, there are still save-the-mural options, including possible legal action based on the notion that ownership of a WPA funded work of art may not rest with the city or the state. I don’t know what to make of that claim, though it’s interesting, but here’s the Living New Deal website if you’d like to look into it.

I retweeted, and agreed with, Katha Pollitt’s comment:

people who can’t tell art that critiques from art that approves — and will spend 600,000 to enforce their confusion — don’t belong on a school board.

But of course, it’s not a matter of telling the difference or not telling the difference between criticism and approval. I’m sure these board members are quite capable of understanding the distinction, and indeed, of realizing that they are, rather inarguably it seems to me, in the wrong. And I expect they can also grasp a well-remarked irony: that the outlook on American history of the mural’s communist artist and that of the very same board that must decide to destroy it are quite likely in essence identical. None of that matters. What matters is the currently paramount ethic of therapeutic politics that equates ideas to violence and in which certain kinds of rhetoric are averred to do literal physical harm to those who witness them and to their communities. Given this inarguable article of faith, the decision in favor of the therapeutic erasure of art that is deemed offensive is effectively mandatory. What ideology demands, ideologues will do, or they remove themselves from the community of the righteous and join the ranks of the enemy, an unthinkable state of affairs.

This view of art and language and their potential harms invites, even impels, censorship, and can, it seems, as here, descend quite easily into iconoclasm; and it is of course not only school boards that are susceptible to it. It is a widespread and growing feature of our time, liable to pop up wherever there is art, or words. As one for whom art, ideas, and history are very important, I find it all quite disquieting. As for this mural, though it is certainly very interesting, as art and as history, I don’t particularly care for this sort of art, per se. But that’s not the point. Destroying art and erasure of history should be anathema to civilized people, whether it happens to be something you like or are comfortable with or not. This liberal view of art, which I once thought irrevocable, now feels downright naive. There is a “post-liberalism” hovering. It worries me.

Speaking of iconoclasm, here is a photo I took a ways back at St. Margaret’s church in Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, one of many saints’ images in that church whose faces were viciously scratched out by rampaging sectarian “church reformers” in the 16th Century. And I’ll admit there’s a paradox in my outlook here, as the iconoclasm is itself an important part of history that shouldn’t be “whitewashed.” I wouldn’t want these images painted over. They are a chilling reminder of what can happen to the cultural heritage when society descends into ideological madness. I shudder to think, should they come, what our contemporary “wars of religion” might look like. And I don’t want to lose any more art, even if it’s of the “harmful” sort.

History will judge us by the art we have destroyed. And if not: well, that’s how I’m judging us.

nd that will about wrap it up for this edition of the Dr Frank Weakly Reader. But, for those who have managed to make it all the way to the bottom of the page, here’s… well, I guess it’s pretty self-explanatory:

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See ya next week.

Written by

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

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