Vanitas vanitatum

The Dr Frank Weakly Reader for 09.25.2020 (inclusive)

Frank Portman
6 min readSep 25, 2020


Still Life with Books and Manuscripts and a Skull, 1663, Edwaert Collier

Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities; all is vanity… Hello and welcome to another Dr Frank Weakly Reader, that thing I do where I construct my own index to my own content to aid in finding it later; and, additionally, to remind us all of our mortality, the transience of life, and of the worthlessness of worldly goods and pleasures.

This edition covers two weeks of material rather the usual one because I just couldn’t manage the task of compiling one for last week. But now, I’m back on the horse, if being back on the horse means what I think it does, assembling links with cute little comments and illustrations, and typing up this introduction.

Let us, then, remember the words of Tennessee Williams, if it was him, who once said, sort of: “There comes a time when you assemble the links of the past week’s web content, illustrate them, and write up a cute little intro to them, only to realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or, you kill yourself. Or, you stop assembling links, illustrating them, and writing up cute introductions to them.”

Or, you just skip a week. Then you get back on the horse. Read on if you like.


i.e., still, RAD-013, The Mr T Experience… and the Women Who Love Them re-issue on Sounds Rad…

You can still get it (the tail end of the second pressing if I’m not mistaken) from Sounds Radical, or, theoretically, from other purveyors. I’m told, however, that the usual supply chains and infrastructure is a little rocky these days, what with the continuing end of the world, so expect some… idiosyncrasies. Going straight to the source (at the link) seems the best way to go from what I can tell.

— LK 106, LK 273, RAD-013: via Frank from the band Goin’ Places, the three generations of The Mr T Experience… and the Women Who Love Them. Look it up on discogs.

And Lance got his RAD-013 box:

Records are great.

— Also, Mtx forever: still a thing.


— A weirdie but a goodie: Mark Murphy reaches LK 80, Our Bodies Our Selves, in his Lookout Records release by release post series on the FB fan group. Here it is on discogs.

— Some nice posts about records on the Lookout Records FB fan page: the “perfect” Love Is Dead; and Alcatraz, denoted “one of the best LPs the label ever put out…” A minority opinion, to be sure (though I’ve heard it before) — fans are nice.

— And a flier, also posted on that FB group, for a free noon “concert” at lower Sproul, Berkeley campus, Feb. 1991.

I remember this “concert” very well. Here’s what the “concert” looked like:

— Odin nods: what with one reason and/or another I was unable to manage a new Song for Odin entry for one week, and then another. No one cares, particularly, I know, but I’m sorry anyway. (Well, at least one guy cares — ed.]

I’ve been doing this each week for nearly three years, hardly missing any weeks other than those for which Wednesday fell on a couple of major holidays, till now. 149 entries so far, covering 119 songs.

What’s to “manage” you may be asking yourself? The answer is, the “minor secrets” essays take quite a bit of time and effort, and I really don’t want to phone it in as that would defeat the whole purpose, which is to provide interesting commentary, eventually, on every song in the “corpus.” So I’m going to have to wait till I’m able to give it my full attention, and let it lie fallow till I can do so. I hope it will be next week. We shall see.

In the meantime, I posted my fingerpicked “You You You,” which was the 16th Song for Odin in February of 2018.


— Once, and twice again, I am cast, via pod:

by I Wanna Party with Bob:

and by Punk Till I Die:

— My Dad, the Clash, and Me: re-posted this old essay in lieu of a Dr Frank Weakly Reader last week. One of my most-read, most-requested stories.

— Critic’s Corner: just a brief comment on ’80s thrillers, Phil Collins, and saxophones that popped up as a “memory.”


— Toots and the Maytals — “Take Me Home Country Roads”:

Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert, RIP.

Dave Kusworth, another musical icon, passed on to the Grey Havens last week. Best known, probably, as one half of the indescribable 1980s band Jacobites (with the Swell Maps’ Nikki Sudden), he had a long career of very interesting, little-known music. This is the first Subterranean Hawks song I ever heard, on the first What a Nice Way to Turn 17 compilation, and it has stayed with me ever since:

Birmingham ftw. RIP.


— Roman calendar: the Battle of Muret, victory over the Cathars, illuminated; John Chrysostom, reliquary; the Exaltation of the Cross; Sorrows of Mary; Andrew Kim Taegŏn; illuminated miniature from Hildegard of Bingen’s Liber Scivias; Joseph of Cupertino; procession of Saint Januarius underneath the eruption of Vesuvius; the Vision of Saint Eustace; Saint Matthew, illuminated; Maurice of Thebes, in stained glass; Saint Adomnán, illuminated; Our Lady of Walsingham; Hermann the Cripple

— The oddest odds, the endiest ends: The Deadly September; in memory of Erin O Keefe, eaten by mountain rats in the year 1876 (a hoax alas, or at least a tall tale, but a good story nonetheless); gothic romance by the sea; keep a Sony close at hand (and this girl will want to make out with you); art vs. factory work; extras on set, Cleopatra; space shot; Nils Forsberg’s Studio Interior with the Artist’s Son; Kay Francis, from the film Mandaley; some art, words for which elude me; Franz Sedlacek’s Twilight

— …and:

Pier Francesco Cittadini: Vanitas-Stillleben



And that’ll wrap it up for the Weakly Reader. But for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s Elaine Stewart posing with a tenor guitar that has only one string on it:

See you next week.



Frank Portman

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