“Just Keep Your Fingers Crossed” is a Double Entendre…

The Doctor Frank Weakly Reader for Saint Valentine’s Day, 2020

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ou knew that, right? About crossed fingers? Also that the “don’t” in “if the world don’t end and the sky don’t fall” is simultaneously customary blues-rock-and-roll vernacular cliché and also a kind of archaic subjunctive? (As in “till death do us part”…)

Anyway, friends, it’s that time again, by which I mean Friday, on which day I do this self-indexing thing that doubles as a sort of newsletter that no one reads. Well, a few people read it, I suppose. You are the special ones. Happy Valentine’s Day, to you and only you.

Okay, here we go…

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out on this limb…

FRONT BURNER OF LOVE

Mtx forever: “Dibs” emails containing buy links for the special limited 180 gram first press of this double LP are scheduled to go out today at Noon EST (which is to say “just now”). The details of the process are explained here. If you’re on the main list, congratulations; if you’re on the waiting list, good luck.

Yes, this is really happening.

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— Valentine’s Day: It’s Valentine’s Day, about which I do not have a whole lot to say, beyond this:

Oh, and I guess this:

Or maybe:

And, of course:

It occurs to me that I don’t have a lot of straightforward love songs, or any, despite my, er, reputation. There’s always a bit of a twist that screws it all up. That’s intentional, but also, I doubt I could do a straightforward one even if I tried really hard. I’m just not a straightforward kind of guy.

And, speaking of things that are not straightforward: as everyone who ordered one of the Valentines boxes from Sounds Rad knows, there was a glitch in the “More than Toast” card flexi schedule. Though the test pressings were fine, the actual flexis that came from the factory were unplayable and had to be re-done, delaying them beyond the promised target date. Sounds Rad sent the boxes and shirts anyway and will be sending the flexis on to everyone when they get done properly. Everyone is being a good sport about it (and thank you) but it does rather undercut the whole “audible Valentine” concept, which was the whole reason for doing it.

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But it couldn’t and can’t be helped. These things happen. It does call into question whether time-specific releases like this can be reliably done in this unpredictable boutique/specialty small-run production environment where in hand delivery dates are always only approximate, even when it comes to digital items in imaginary hands. Schedules don’t mean a whole lot in such a world, though time continues to march on and the calendar continues to keep track of it. (Thanks, Pope Gregory XIII.)

Indeed, it happened last year, and I quote:

When I wrote up the announcement for the release, I added a parenthetical “God willing” to the date, because one of the curious features of our slick new all-digital hyper-sophisticated, lightning-fast, eminently efficient technological information structure is that dates and times don’t mean what they once did. Scheduling a release for a particular date doesn’t necessarily mean the files will populate to the services on that specific date. It’s more of a ballpark estimate, a hope. A prayer. Sometime around the date, God willing, this imaginary, non-physical item will appear to appear.

And even when it does manifest, the manifestation will not occur at any specifiable date or time. It will be “just now.”

All that said, we did put the Mtx forever remastered “More than Toast” up as digital single just for the hell of it, and it did go up, just now (e.g. on Spotify here.)

And maybe you noticed the “ingredients”:

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or Casey:

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Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day once again to those reading this (but no one else) and many happy returns. Let’s promise once again and keep our fingers crossed…

MTX FOLLIES OF LOVE

— I want to tie you to a post: in honor of Mtx forever “dibs” being live, and just for the hell of it, I posted a video of the test pressing, track A1, “Love American Style.” For something to, you know, tie to a post.

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— If you don’t end up drunk, naked, and broke: you’re playing it wrong.

In which I reveal that there’s an actually sort of playable board game in the inside gatefold of the Mtx forever LP. We alpha-tested a home made mock up of it (and were going to beta-test it but got too distracted.) Verdict: it’s great for couples.

— Hello Dr Frank, we found something we think you might want: I get emails from Amazon.

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— What is “toast”, Alex? Playing Jeopardy with greetings cards found in the wild:

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— Appeasement and mockery: The Mr T Experience — “Ska-nic Reducer” live at Emo’s in Austin TX, November 1995. Yes, it’s a (slightly embarrassing) Dead Boys cover, of whose misguidedness I was well aware at the time, but sometimes you gotta give the drummer some.

This is the 121st Song for Odin entry, and the “minor secrets” are here. More about this show may be found in my write-up of “My Stupid Life”. Here’s the Songs for Odin playlist. And here’s my YouTube channel. Smash that like button, murder that subscribe button and then ring the bell, and then save the url in a tab and check it manually (each Wednesday, basically) because the YouTube delivery system is rubbish and purposely hides the precise things you deliberately subscribe to.

— … and your Friday morning “Our Love Will Last Forever and Ever” from Rob on YouTube. (I’ve posted this before, but it seemed apt considering our theme today.)

My covers playlist is here.

DR FRANK CORNER OF LOVE

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— Wadding down the classics…: revisiting this essay on bowdlerism and silent censorship by way of a meaningful mis-hearing in the ’70s.

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— Slow clap for my eight-year-old daughter: I posted this eight-year-old daughter anecdote parody on social media a few years back, long before I started doing this self-indexing thing. And it is an object lesson in the need for the self-indexing, as I have tried in vain to locate it several times over the years, till it popped up in the Facebook “memory” thing.

To wit:

Yesterday at the local Starbucks, some Nazis were throwing their weight around, causing trouble. My eight year old daughter looked up at me, her eyes suffused in a deep sadness that soon turned to steely resolve. “Not on my watch,” she muttered. We all looked on in astonishment as she crept up behind the rear-most Nazi, knocked him unconscious with a deft blow to the neck, and dragged his lifeless body to the restroom. Moments later she emerged wearing his uniform, pulling the SS cap low on her brow and winking as she fell in line with the Nazis as they filed out of the Starbucks and into their land transport vehicle, none the wiser. An hour later the news came on the wireless. The Fuhrer was dead, killed by an attache-case bomb carried by a brave, unknown eight-year-old girl disguised as a member of his security detail. The silence was deafening. Then, a lone barista began a slow clap. Soon it turned to thunderous applause, ending as we all sang a tearful “America the Beautiful.” She was a good kid, but now it was time to rebuild.

At least now it’s indexed and searchable. Social media broke the internet, and I’m just doing what I can to organize my little corner of the rubble. Tra la.

— Seven years of G. K. Chesterton: also wrote this on the social medias, seven years ago:

G.K. Chesterton is terrified of paper. G.K. Chesterton burrowed into a pile of laundry and emerged with a sock on his head, momentarily neglecting his customary abiding interest in string. Just got a new cat and named him G.K. Chesterton just so I could say stuff like that.

This still works, though he seems to have got used to paper since then. He is, however, quite terrified of ice.

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If we ever get another cat, and it’s a boy, I intend to name him Cardinal Newman and refer to him as “His Grace.”

PICTURE BOOK OF LOVE

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— Roman Calendar: Carducci’s Return of San Juan de Mata; Saint Apollonia and her mystic tooth; close-up on Saint Scholastica; a couple of gallons of Lourdes water; Julian the Hospitaller with a great sword; contemporary period Japanese painting of the twenty-six martyrs of Japan; a St. Valentine valentine

— Too Sexy for Your Shirt: Doctorship has its privileges; chess champions; Clara Bow in Her Wedding Night; it’s complicated; there’s a right way and a wrong way;

— and plus: in Hell, baby; it was painted by Bob Haberfield — beyond that, you’re on your own…

— … and:

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IN THE NEWS OF LOVE

— Straight talk from mastering engineer Justin Perkins on today’s lacquer blanks situation in the wake of the Apollo Masters fire. tl;dr: beware of “direct to metal mastering” and carry on… The whole thing is in a pdf at this dropbox link. Bottom line, for us, is that we should basically be okay, but things could get a bit more expensive and unpredictable in the greater market, which could well effect us. We shall see.

— Orson Bean died, and I posted an iconic pic from the Twilight Zone episode, “Mr Bevis,” the first thing I thought of when I heard the news, despite the fact that he was much better known for his game show appearances in the 1970s. He was 91, but his death was still sudden, tragic, and dramatic, as he was struck by two successive cars on the street in LA. He starred in Subways Are for Sleeping, which is rather under-rated. RIP.

— and Robert Conrad, star of The Wild, Wild West, died as well. The theme music to that show, by Richard Markowitz, is a tour de force of American composing, especially coupled with the show’s unique intro graphics. It fascinated me as a kid, and taught me the magic of well-placed modulation — and it still plays in my head regularly. The show itself was… well, pretty silly, but Conrad was a true star, the best cowboy secret agent that ever was. Sad, but an opportunity to re-visit the glorious music at any rate:

— The Death of Art History: and much else. Heather Mac Donald’s rueful, dyspeptic dissection of Yale’s cancellation of its famed history of Western Art course (along with other “curricular cancellations”) teases out the entwined absurdity and dreariness and is worth a look if recoiling from the absurd and the dreary is your bag. And it is very well-written.

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Of course, the course will be replaced by a less “problematic” one centered on questions of “gender, class, and race.” Of course it will, like what everything else is being replaced with these days.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this approach to a subject. But it’s certainly not the only legitimate approach. Nor is it necessarily always the best way towards understanding every single matter there is to be considered under each and every circumstance. Art, like everything else, can be profitably and edifyingly studied from many different angles, including, as I say, at least arguably, even the intensely ideological-political one that is now so fashionable. (Though I’m sure I’m not going out on a limb in suspecting that the old, cancelled approach made for a better course than what will replace it.)

But it does occur to me to wonder about the wisdom of producing a generation or three of graduates who, rather than knowing a whole lot about a great many things, will know only that one specific thing about a great many things. If that’s what we’re doing, as it seems.

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Les Oceanides Les Naiades de la mer. Gustave Doré, 1860s

CODA OF LOVE

That’ll wrap it up, then. Happy VD, once again, to those who’ve made it this far.

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See you next week.

Written by

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

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