Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Electric Razors Warned: Beware the Beard!

Electric Razors, Beard Trimmers and Personal Groomers worldwide were warned today of the hazards of facial hair. "Beards cause battery corrosion!" echoed throughout lavatories on both sides of the Atlantic.

Says Groomer, an electric razor from East London, England, "Me 'charm and flattery' went all wonky when that bloke's roughage hit me blades!"

That's his battery, he's saying.

The Union of Follicle Eradicators (UFE) ordered a general strike against all forms of shaving, including sideburns, chests and backs.

Stubbly and whiskered gents were said to be in talks with union organizers this evening at Page Barbershop on Long Island, NY.


Friday, March 24, 2006


There's been a bit of controversy brewing in Portland over the last two weeks. Portland, Oregon, I mean. Not Portland, Maine. I don't know what those gobshites are doing out there.

In the Fall, a coed academy, specifically the Academy of Character and Ethics, will be opening on the Jefferson High School campus.

Controversy #1 is that the head of the ACE program is a reverend from one of the local churches. So right away, separation of church and state appears to be violated.

Controversy #2 is said pastor's church's donations to the Defense of Marriage Coalition, a group that opposed the gay-marriage efforts of 2004 (Measure 36 sought to amend the Oregon Constitution to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman -- it passed).

(Apparently, many people [not me -- I'm all for it, especially when it involves Portia de Rossi] become enraged at the thought of individuals of the same sex marrying. They innaccurately cite that old, old book as the touchstone for their fallacies and begin to foam at the mouth. This is the same coven of ignorami who can't conjure up the initiative to go to the library or read to their children. I know I'm being insensitive to the spiritually sensitive, so easily shattered by the words that might hurt the baby Jesus, but, you know, fuck 'em. They'd just as soon piss on you than to practice the very same tolerance Jesus preached all those years ago. Before he died.)

Controversy #3 is, perhaps, a personal one. The aforementioned church is a predominantly African-American church, and also possibly the first Baptist church in the Portland area. So therefore, I feel guilty criticizing a black church. The guilt is irrational, I know. (I feel like Alvy Singer's father in "Annie Hall" when discovering the family maid has been accused of stealing something: "She's a colored woman, from Harlem! She has no money! She's got a right to steal from us!") But this is a temporary sting of guilt, easily overcome by what I consider both the ignorance and hypocrisy of followers of Christ, who never said anything about gay marriage. In fact, here's a fella who never married, wore a dress, and hung around with a dozen other fellas all the time drinking wine.

The real corker is that this alternative school is called the Academy of Character & Ethics. I don't know how Character and Ethics neatly entwine with discrimination and intolerance, but maybe the good reverend does. Of course, ACE claims that GLBT students would be accepted without question.

GLBT stands for "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender." When I first moved out here, I thought it was a sandwich. It's not.

Character & Ethics. Is there anything more subjective? How do you teach that?

Anyway, this is all a very hot topic on the local blogs. Of which I suppose, I am a contributor.

Next up: My favorite Ernest movie!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

My Five Favorite Albums of the Early 90s

Icky Mettle (1993) - Archers of Loaf
Gentlemen (1993) - Afghan Whigs
Bee Thousand (1994) - Guided By Voices
There's Nothing Wrong with Love (1994) - Built to Spill
Tastes Like Chicken (1994) - Meices

Not quite post-Nirvana nor pre-Weezer, these five albums nevertheless stand alone in my mind as a clarion call of what great rock could be. No radio standards, of course, and not much play on MTV, which had not quite completely sucked yet, these albums represented the zenith of my early-90s listening experience.

Icky Mettle saved my fucking life one day. Gentlemen darkened my heart, which was a bit too white anyway. Bee Thousand blew up my mind. There's Nothing Wrong with Love taught me just that. Tastes Like Chicken reminded me that louder doesn't always mean dumber.

They were the last of what I can remember of non-ironic indie rock. I hadn't been so affected by what I saw as a musical movement since the Second British Invasion of a decade earlier. Perhaps it was only marketing or coincidence that group these albums under one heading in my mind.

Or just being in the right place at the right time. And the right space. And the right mind.

And there's a chance that things'll get weird.
Yeah, that's a possibility.
Although I didn't do anything,
No, I didn't do anything.

- "Web in Front" by Archers of Loaf

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Farewell, Beutel!

In an episode similar to how I heard of Chris Penn's death, my brother called to tell me Bill Beutel had died. But I was way ahead of him, already surfing the internets for background info, and also flipping through the 3 TV Guides I have from the mid-70s for an image to scan.

And here it is...

Bill co-hosted a new morning show for ABC News called AM America, which was replaced after 10 months by Good Morning, America.

It's doubtful I was watching this in early '75. In fact I'm sure I wasn't. I don't know if I was even awake yet. But if I was, it's obvious what I was tuned to.

Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz.

Mostly, I remember Beutel from WABC's Eyewitness News (that was Channel 7 in the Long Island area). I had forgotten the theme song until I watched to clip above. (Curiously I've learned -- if the internets' anything to trust -- the theme is from the soundtrack to Cool Hand Luke).

That clip looks like it's from 20 years ago! Oh wait, it is...I'm sure I thought the news was shitty back then, but compared to now, it's gold!

So farewell, Bill Beutel! Another forgotten memory of my past now made immortal.

Good luck, and be well.

The footage of Eyewitness News is from a great site called TV Ark The Television Museum. They have clips from dozens, maybe hundreds (do I have to tell you everything?) of programs.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ask Me Bollix!

Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Ooh she gave me Hong Kong Flu
Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Put me on a breeze to Katmandu

- from "Sayonara" by The Pogues

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Lantern Fishworks!

Listen to "Red Roses for Me."
Watch "State of Grace."
Read "The Third Policeman."
Drink "Guinness."
Eat a slice of "Pat the Baker."
Snack on an "Aero."
Listen to "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash."
Listen to "If I Should Fall from Grace with God."
Listen to "Red Roses for Me" again.

Tog go bog e,

P.S. - Yr Da's a tinker.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What this Country Needs is Another Miles Kendig!

Last night I watched Hopscotch, starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson, and a terrific supporting cast featuring Ned Beatty (in his prickiest role ever), Herbert Lom and a young Sam Waterston. I can't get it out of my head. A "comedy-thriller" best sums it up. Matthau plays Mile Kendig, a CIA field agent benched by his tight-ass section chief (played by Beatty) for not objectively following the rules of the company. So Kendig splits to write his memoir, exposing all of the CIA's dirty secrets of the last 25 or so years. Hilarity and intrigue ensue.

I'll end the synopsis there, because I don't explain things too well. But it's brilliant and more than timely in our newly heightened world of surveillance and espionage.

I give it four stars on the MO'SH movie review scale. Of course, I give every film either four stars or no stars. It's so much easier that way.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bragg & Brew

If I had my druthers, I'd live on Billy Bragg's third album "Talking With the Taxman About Poetry" and 8 pints of Guinness a day.

Listen to "Levi Stubbs' Tears." However you can.

When the world falls apart some things stay in place/Levi Stubbs' tears run down his face

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A None Too Subtle Editorial from Google

As of this posting, if you go to Google, type in "asshole" and click "I'M FEELING LUCKY", you'll be taken straight to this site, and treated to an educational filmstrip.

Like in school.

Modern American Heroes 1.0: Harry Belafonte

"I call President Bush a terrorist. I call those around him terrorists, as well: Condoleezza Rice, Rumsfeld, Gonzales in the Justice Department, and certainly Cheney. I think all of these men sit -- and women -- sit in the midst of an enormous conspiracy that has been unraveling America for the last eight years -- six years. It is tragic that the dubious way in which this president acquired power should have begun to unravel the Constitution and the peoples of this country."