Happy Friday Eve

The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 12.06.2019

Frank Portman
10 min readDec 5, 2019


Welcome, friends, to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, a snapshot and summary of the week’s internetities with some extras… it’s mostly so I know where to go to find stuff in the future (because social media destroyed the searchability of our once more or less searchable digital world) but it’s also a kind of newsletter.

I usually post these on Friday. Last week’s edition had to cover two weeks in one because rock and roll duties required me to skip the previous week.

We’ve got shows again this weekend, but this time I’m doing it on the Thursday. Friday Eve, that is. It hardly matters anyway, as very few if any people ever read it. I do it anyway. Which is how I do most things I do. Anyway, I mean.

We’re headed to Austin and Dallas for shows with the Queers and the Capitalist Kids. (See below.) We’ll see you there, maybe.

So read on for: Mtx forever forever, MTX and the Queers in Texas, MTX-mas offers, our man Klode, Gilman Street, who killed the blues, who killed punk rock, what killed the New Atheism, plus Odin, Ramones, ELO, Dickey Lee, Fulton Sheen, “porch piracy,” plus shows, news, updates, sexy pictures, a whole lotta Christmas and Epstein didn’t kill himself…

Let’s do this.


— Dr Frank in Oakland: in a late-breaking addition to the show schedule, I have added myself to it. That is I’m playing solo acoustic at Kon-Tiki in Oakland on December 19, with the Hinky Dinks and the Satan Sisters. 9PM. Free. 347 14th Street, Oakland, California 94612. What could go wrong?

— (M)TX: Mtx in Texas, that is. See what I did there? Coming this weekend, Friday and Sat. I like this “old school” flier someone made, very much like the fliers we all used to make for shows and then suddenly stopped making at some point for some reason.

Anyway, Friday 12.6 is Dallas at Three LInks and Saturday 12.7 is in Austin at Barracuda. Go here for tickets.

So here’s the full list (and that’ll wrap it up, shows-wise, for the rest of the year unless something weird happens — we’re already discussing stuff for the new year though so stay tuned):

— 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.

— Thursday December 19: Dr Frank, plus the Hinky Dinks and the Satan Sisters, at the Kon-Tiki, 347 14th Street, Oakland, California 94612. 9PM. Free. Details here.


Mtx forever forever: as I mentioned last week, test pressings of Mtx forever have arrived. Justin Perkins (who did the mastering) has some comments here, and Dave Polster (who cut the lacquers) chimes in here.

It certainly has been a long, weird “journey” if it’s not too corny to say, tracking down the tapes, organizing them, getting them into shape for usable transfers, navigating the process of turning a vague idea into a physical object. Not to mention choosing a suitably apt and representative selection of songs in the first place, which was kind of a nightmare. As I mentioned in my initial post way back when announcing the album, the roots of this project goback all the way to 2011, if not earlier. It’s still rather stunning to me to be actually holding the discs in my hands. It has seemed so far-fetched for so long.

Anyway, I have listened to it, and it sounds rather incredible. Everyone involved did a great job in something that is far more challenging to execute than you probably think. (It’s certainly more challenging than I ever imagined before doing it.) There are sounds on this that I never knew were there before, and I think you’re gonna be surprised.

As for the “content,” well: this is the sort of thing guaranteed to disappoint nearly everyone, if not literally everyone. The subtitle is “a history of the concept of the Mr T Experience,” and the odds are we left off your favorite song in aid of being comprehensive and representative like that. It’s an inevitability. The track list will be revealed in due time, but for now I’ll say that it does include at least one track from each major release (meaning the albums and EPs) and that most popular mid-period albums (you know what they are) are slightly disproportionately represented, but only just. We’re trying to “sum up” this weird band and its weird material in single double-album form. It works for me.

And as a major goal of this project was learning by doing, that is seeing what happens when we try to make new records out of old “information” — well, that, in my eyes, was a big success. We learned a lot, and it will indeed be quite helpful when we start on the re-issues we have planned for the new year. More on all that soon, that is to say, later.

Thanks to everyone for helping and for just, you know, being interested.

— Give the gift of MTX: Sounds Rad has some Mtx-mas gift ideas and deals and a new Mtx forever ornament for this year of grace.

As near as I can figure this is the item that got last week’s newsletter banned by Google so let me state here for the record, in re, what you may or not purchase for Christmas presents for your alleged family and friends: I don’t care. We don’t care. Nobody cares. Not about you, not about your sad little holiday. It’s all futile. (How’m I doin’ guys? Negative and discouraging enough for you?)

— Our Man Klode:

— Odin: this week’s Song for Odin was “At Gilman Street” live in Hamburg, Germany, July 1992. For some reason, YouTube videos are not embedding in Medium as of today. In a possibly related but possibly coincidental internet failure, the preview image failed to load on Facebook when I tried to post the video link there as well. (Facebook eliminated embedding of the YouTube player long ago, during their sad and pathetic attempt to compete with YouTube as a video host.)

Anyway you can click on the link above to go to YouTube and watch the video there. Here’s a screen shot to make this entry look a little less text-y.

That’s what you’ll see if you go to the link, except it’ll be moving and will make noise.

“Minor secrets” write-up is here. Songs for Odin playlist is here. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel while you’re there.

— Throwing you back for Thurs: Yesterday Rules.

— and throwing you back for Thurs. again: when Sounds Radical posted this image last Christmas, someone commented: “punk rock is truly dead.” Merry MTX-mas.


— Who Killed the Blues?: re-posted this old thing from Medium. I still don’t know the answer, but I maintain it wasn’t the Ramones.

— The Naked Time: a. k. a., the mother of all Christmas ornaments.

— “Now that You Are Gone”: reposted on FB as a test to see if the preview would load (it did.) As above if you want to see this screenshotted preview move and make noise you must go to the link.

— the view from Dr Frank HQ:


— Good morning world: Dozzi — “Ramones T-Shirt” (same deal as above: embedding won’t work, you have to click the link, which I recommend doing because we almost live in the future, it’s pretty weird, and this is a glimpse into it.)

— also: Dickey Lee — “9,999,999 Tears”

— Song cover suggestion, from my old pal Joe King, and it’s a good one: ELO’s “The Way Life’s Meant to Be”


— Behold: Black Friday; sleep is what you need (Swanbones)

— Roman Calendar: St. Andrew refuses to worship the idol (Lluís Borrassà); Dominica prima Adventus; Bibiana, invoked against hangovers; the death of St Francis Xavier; Saint Barbara with cannon; relics of Sabbas the Sanctified

— It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas: the boat; the Christmas starts now; a very Avengers Christmas; cat creche crash

— ..and:


— What killed the New Atheism? My duties as a professional rock and roller preclude writing a “thing” on this now, but I’m noting it here because it bears on recent topics raised in this space. I may well return to it when the rock and roll dies down, but for now, here are some links.

I stumbled on Ben Sexsmith’s recent “New Atheism: An Autopsy” on Arc Digital, and thence followed links to a couple of old Slate Star Codex essays (“New Atheism: the Godlessness that Failed”; and “How Did New Atheism Fail So Miserably.”) And thence I followed to “New Atheism’s Idiot Heirs” and “Village Atheists, Village Idiots” from, of all places, The Baffler.

(I most recently addressed these matters, cursorily, in last week’s Weakly Reader: IN THE NEWS/Welcome to Culture War 2.0, the Great Re-alignment — scroll down; and in this post.)

Scott “Slate Star Codex” Alexander articulates something I’ve noted myself and marveled at a great deal. Internet atheism, the brights, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. etc. were once (and not so long ago) a massive, unavoidable, characteristic feature of the internet and its culture, a complex of tropes and attitudes and rhetoric that seeped into just about everything including my own blog. It was literally everywhere. That’s weird enough, but the really weird thing is: it’s totally gone now and seems to have left very little trace. Fascinating subject for a future essay: an exegesis of the thing that isn’t there.

That first article, by the way, references a bizarre recent twitter thread from Evergreen College faculty refugee and “intellectual dark web” guy Bret Weinstein (whom I quite like) in which he urges Christians, as Christians, to abandon their belief in Christ as the son of God and other “supernatural claims” in the interests of fomenting a generic social “common ground” on the basis of which society can move to address problems like global warming and such. He seems to have been truly surprised by the pushback and ridicule this occasioned among Christians and non-Christians alike. It’s really weird that a guy of such eminence and education can have failed to grasp the rudiments of what makes a Christian a Christian before being instructed by a random horde of twitter riffraff — the clue is in the name, surely. But I guess it only goes to show that even smart people can have really huge, really strange blind spots.

A subsequent tweet asked the twitter riff-raff to propose some hasthag-commonground beliefs to begin building this new non-religious religion on. That’s not how “commonground” beliefs and values develop, obviously: it places the cart way, way before the horse. I suppose it’s a tale as old as time, though, the desire on the part of a certain class of fancy modern person to re-iterate Christian ethics in a euphemized, less embarrassingly religious-sounding form, and he is certainly arguing in the classic old new atheist style. But to judge from the response of twitter riffraff here, that rhetoric just doesn’t appeal like it used to to random web denizens.

I watched this unfold more or less in real time and found it fascinating.

— Uh oh: Rochester is trying to cancel Fulton Sheen.

— That time when twitter went to war over Indian food.

— Well-stated, Doctor: seen on twitter, from one Dr. Geoff Clegg:

People … on Twitter completely forget the concepts of boundaries, friendship, empathy, and caring. They’ve replaced it with enforced, mechanical simulations of all those things. It’s a weird psychological shift that’s going to set us back as people.

—Stealing people’s mail on a Saturday night: A very engagingly-written report on “porch piracy” in San Francisco’s Protrero Hill. My post with pull-quote here.

— On the first day of Liz-mas…: not sure what to make of this other than to note that it is some kind of parody of something other but it was too weird not to link.

— Dear Abby: “re-minded” just for the punchline really. I’m shallow like that.


And, well, that’ll about wrap it up for this Friday Eve Dr Frank Weakly Reader. But for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s some Christmas for you:

See you next time.



Frank Portman

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