TOAST < YOU < STAPLEGUN

The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 01.17.2020

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elcome, friends, allies, rivals, and members of the loyal opposition. This is yet another edition of the Dr Frank Weakly Reader, wherein you will find everything you missed last week, engagingly and provocatively arranged and illustrated, for your viewing and searching pleasure. If “wherein” means what I think it does.

Lots of new things — Mtx forever is upon us, theres a “More than Toast” audible Valentine plus a shirt… if you like things, you’ve come to the right point in time. So come with me on a journey, a journey to the very limits of product description. The details are below, the italics are mine, les jeux sont faites, and the crowd are loving it.

This Mtx forever business is shaping into something beautiful, the kind of record you’ll want to lick, caress, cherish, take a bath with. It sounds pretty great too.

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FRONT BURNER

Mtx forever season begins: and how. After all these years of struggle, Brooklyn Vegan broke the story, announcing the forthcoming double LP and featuring a stream of the newly mastered “More than Toast.”

Here’s the cover, by Chris Appelgren, as maybe you could tell:

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RAD-009. It’s really here. Or very nearly. The release date is 03.13.2020. The first super-limited deluxe pressing (250 copies!) on 180 gram lavender vinyl with large format poster shipped in a custom box comes first and here’s the schedule for it:

Monday 01.20.2020: “dibs” / reserve list signup begins (at this link.)

Friday 02.14.2020 : “dibs” ordering opens

Monday 03.02.2020: “dibs” orders ship

Friday 03.13.2020: street date

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Mtx forever in its natural habitat
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— “More than Toast” Valentine’s Day flexi card: There’s also a “single,” one of those cards with grooves like the Archies records we used to cut out of cereal boxes, those of us who are old enough to have done this. The picture above is the front groove side. The back looks like this:

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So you can send it as an “audio Valentine”, get it?

It’s free with the new Toast < You < Staplegun shirt or the MTX Songs about Girls shirt and it all comes in a custom box (while they last) so it makes a good gift if you want to send anyone that kind of gift. (And you can add more flexis if you like, that is, if you’ve got more than one friend.) Sound good? Go here.

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MTX: STILL A BAND AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

Yesterday Rules: hard to believe this record came out 16 years ago. Seems like just yesterday I was arguing with Kevin Army about the guitar. It was a struggle but it came out alright, and I still think it’s good.

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— Our man Will. I posted this disturbing Ronald McDonald comic panel, and Last Will upped the ante, if upping the ante means what I think it does:

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— Song for Odin — it’s the aforementioned “More than Toast” remastered Mtx forever version with a charming video made by Madeline Brownley on her dad’s phone:

I’ve been waiting for many, many months for the timing to be right for this, and now it is upon us. Here’s the “minor secrets” write-up, entitled “Clear is the color of my true love’s tears…” And I’ve put it on the Official and Semi-Official Music Videos playlist as well as on the Songs for Odin playlist.

For those who care, this is the 117th Song for Odin entry — 99 individual songs so far!

— …and your Friday morning “Disconnection”, a sweet take on it from a French guy*, Sébastien Lemieux, found on Soundcloud:

I’m quite fond of this tune, which was one of the first half-way decent songs I managed to come up with back when I was just a baby. I get a kick out of people digging back that far and I usually enjoy their versions far more than mine, as one does. (It killed me to have to leave it off Mtx forever, btw, but there just wasn’t a spot for it given … well, everything — it’s very easy to paint yourself into a corner when reducing two hundred songs to a couple dozen.)

Here’s my write-up for the song when it came up as a Song for Odin. Snip:

The moral of the story is, it’s the song that matters, and good, solidly-conceived song can withstand and survive almost any ill-treatment by inept musicians, misguided producers, or even its own writer.

As this is not on YouTube, I can’t add it to my YouTube covers playlistobviously, but if you’d like to hear other such covers found on the internet you can follow that link and find some.

[*Update: according to Our Man Klode, he’s a Quebecer not a Frenchman. I’d thought French because the accent and delivery sounded a lot like those of the French punk bands I know from the Chaos en France compilations — plus, what do I know of French vs. Quebecois accents. But Klode sez this guy was in a band that was “based on those France bands” so … there ya go.]

DR FRANK FOLLIES

—Out of order and full of holes is the Zeitgeist: a/k/a the War on Chronological Order.

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From what I can tell, Google Search has removed the ability to sort results by date. You used to be able to use the “tools” drop down menu to specify a range, and then choose “sort by relevance” or “sort by date.” You can still do this with “news,” but not with “all.” Sorting by date is, by my lights, the most important and useful way you’d want to sort — Google doesn’t know enough about what I want and who I am and what I am trying to do in any given situation to be able to determine relevance. It used to irritate me that this alleged relevance was the default, but now it’s, you know, the only option. I’m pretty sure this is a recent change, if it’s not a glitch. And it is in keeping with the general trend of our culture. Out of order and full of holes is the Zeitgeist.

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Am I the only person who cares about this? The powers that be seem to have decided to put everything out of order and everyone just decided to go along with it. I must admit, it’s not only that being able to sort by date is, or used to be, useful. It’s also a matter of mental health and psychological well-being for a guy like me. The chaos itself disturbs and haunts me. There’s a set of all the things, but the only way you can examine the things is to view a subset of the things, selected by unknowable criteria with things missing that are also selected by unknowable criteria, and you can’t say how you want to sort them. Just give me a straightforward list. Otherwise I spin into anxiety and depression.

Am I the only one? I’m beginning to think so. No one seems to mind an information system that fails to keep track of things and deliberately hides and manipulates them based on agendas not chosen by the user. People type thousand word essays into that Facebook window not caring that within a very short time it will have effectively disappeared without trace, utterly unfindable (until years later, unbidden, if it happens to appear in the “memories” feature, though that also hides things and puts them out of order.) That really bothers me. I like to be able to go back and check on things. If I can’t I quickly find myself on the verge of a breakdown, quite literally. And I’m not even exaggerating all that much.

That’s why I have to resort to this weekly reader round up thing. If I didn’t do it, most of my writing on the internet would be effectively unrecoverable like yours. But as far as I know, I’m the only person who does it. I must be the only one who cares. OK boomer. I just wasn’t made for these times.

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— The Love Is Dead Club. Revisit it if you like or dare. The post is on Medium.

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Millbrae Calling: “phony Green Day mania has bitten the dust…” from Last Will:

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— Dept. of bons mots:

When I was a little kid, I remember people saying, when it rained: “the farmers will be happy. This made a big impression on me. I held a vivid picture in my head of a group of old men in overalls meeting up in somebody’s field smiling and laughing and doing an ecstatic dance with pitchforks raised high above their heads, and going: aaaaay! aaaay! This is still what I think of when it rains, every time, and I hope it’s true because for some reason I like the idea of someone being happy somewhere.

The Outsider on HBO: Watched the first episode of the Outsider only realizing at the end that it was based on a Stephen King novel. It’s not gonna be a metaphor for writer’s block where all the characters turn out to be the same guy is it? From responses on the social medias, I gather that the answer is: no (ish).

— Thwacking you back for Thursday — on tour in a Shatners shirt in 1996 in the middle of nowhere. Canada maybe.

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OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC

— RB Morris — “That’s How Every Empire Falls”. I was mainly familiar with John Prine’s version, but this is the guy who wrote it and this is a rather stunning rendition:

— The Year Rock and Roll Died, per Dominic Green, was 1979, with London Calling and Bruce Springsteen’s The River working in tandem as the final act of sublime genius, after which no such Art would ever again be possible. I maybe almost buy it, though I’ve never really heard the Springsteen album and don’t happen to worship London Calling quite as much as I did as a teenager (or as much as I’m supposed to now.) Give ’em Enough Rope is and was always more my speed, and the American “roots rock” anthem elements of London Calling don’t really move me, for what that’s worth. (Though I can see why they’d move a rock critic who really, really, really digs Springsteen.)

Anyway, he knows words like “precipitating waves of Plutarchian lamentation,” so you know it’s gotta be good jam.

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PICTURE BOOK

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— Roman calendar: Theodosius the Cenobiarch; Durer’s Christ Among the Doctors; the Baptism of Our Lord from a medieval Armenian illuminated manuscript; Felix of Nola; Paul the Hermit; Refugium Peccatorum; Pieter Coecke van Aelst’s Temptation of Saint Anthony

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— Behold: Complaints booth; V…O…D…K…A…; Martha Vickers in The Big Sleep

— Far too sexy for your neo-Puritanism: a girl and her pinniped— who amongst us hasn’t felt, on occasion, in some sense, like one of these figures in relation to the other?; spinning back to the beginning; 38/26/34; a stretch; just a girl on a bike; looking through you; girl in a van with dream catcher; three gals with four strategically-placed LPs; sweater kittens; Sandra Dee in Take Her, She’s Mine; Devil Soul; La Jocande update

— and finally:

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IN THE NEWS

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— It’s Complicated: From Kat Rosenfield, a lucid and even-handed examination of the convoluted Romance Writers of America bust-up that I’ve noted previously. For which see this Weakly Reader edition — scroll down to “Wokeness comes for the Romance Writers of America (but not for David Sedaris)”.

The title of the article is “Love Is Dead” — which is kind of funny, but: no relation!

Jezebel goes further into the weeds, from what I interpret as a slightly pro-Implosion standpoint. (And if you don’t know about Stud Planet and Chuck Tingle — as I certainly did not before this story exploded all over twitter — well, you will know if you read it. It’s a funny old world.)

Though there were clearly more wide-ranging underlying fissures and issues in the background, in the immediate case it all began through a guilt-by-association chain that can be followed back to a person found to have “liked” the wrong tweets. Whether or not the agitators have a point beyond the “high school” drama evident in their twitter feeds (as they arguably seem to here) is beside the point. In this dynamic the destruction happens regardless of who does or does not have a point, and it’s irrevocable, permanent, with no resolution available or desired. It’s coming to an org near you, most likely, so be careful what you “like.” And high school never really ever ends.

— Roger Scruton died. He was a contrarian’s contrarian in a world that really cannot abide contrarians. His critiques of the postmodernism cult spoke to me. He survived an attempted “cancellation” at the end, but only just. A powerful writer and a fascinating man. RIP.

— Christopher Tolkien, J. R. R.’s son, editor of his father’s many post-humously published works and a scholar of Old and Middle English in his own right, dead at 95.

— Neil Peart: I remained silent about this milestone event (he died) sort of out of respect for the dead but mostly because I couldn’t think of the right thing to say or how to say it in a way that wouldn’t make me look like a jerk.

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In fact I like Rush the band quite a lot, but that is in spite of his actual drumming and his role as a cultural icon, which was a great force for evil in the world. It’s hard enough to convince drummers to play a simple steady beat, and he sure wasn’t helping. His was a malign influence, a sinister spirit always hovering, always whispering:

“you need more drums, hundreds more, thousands more, and you need to hit them in an over-complicated and unpredictable pattern that has almost nothing to do with the song the rest of the band is playing… then you’ll be the center of attention at last and everyone will notice you and like you…”

Okay, I admit: I am probably a bit of a jerk. Sorry (Canadian pronunciation.) RIP, and I hope you’re annoying the hell out of the guitarist in whatever band you’re playing in up in heaven.

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nd that’ll just about wrap it up for this Weakly Reader. It’s been sort of fun. For those who have made it this all the way down the page, here’s Cabanel’s Birth of Venus:

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Now that’s art. See you next week.

Written by

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

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