Yeah, the UnScience Never Fails (And Hardly Changes)

This reminds me why I stopped doing pieces debunking pseudo-science in that the journalism exposes aren’t going to change anybody’s mind. The believers take such comfort and identity from their convictions that they are immune to persuasion. But I do think a vehement “What the fuck color is your car?!?” is a good tactic to shake up the faithful.

R.I.P. Milos Foreman

I agree with the nay-sayers about Cuckoo’s Nest in that Nicholson is terrible in the top-hero role (unfortunately, James Dean was dead) and agree with the plus-note people that Louise Fletcher redeems the foul, dated sexism of the concept of Nurse Rached. (Kidz, it was this: stuffy, norm-obsessed, perfectly domesticated women were holding freed spirits and wild men back. Like they had that power.)

So I gotta get on the bus again.

But gotta admit those were interesting times.


Sweat Soundtrack #6: From the Deep Files

  • Brain Failure, Turn on the Distortion! (2003). Clashoid Chinese punks. The spot-on band name is only the beginning.
  • Burial, Street Halo/Kindred (2011)
  • The Sway Machinery, The House of Friendly Ghosts, Vol. 1 Featuring Khaira Arby (2011). Hot and humpy traditional Jewish music meets dry and driving African performers at the Festival in the Desert. Remarkable.
  • Youssou N’Dour, Dakar Kingston (2011).  I like this more than Bob Xgau, but there’s no question it’s a sidelight for a master.
  • Stephen Kalinich & John Tiven, Shortcuts to Infinity (2012) Oddball long shot that nails the target. Forgotten supergroup that worked.
  • The Muffins, Chronometers (1993). You don’t know the Muffins? Take a bite.
  • Various, That’ll Flat … Git It! Vol. 2 Rockabilly From the Vaults of US Decca Records (Bear Family, 1992). Again and again, Bear Family smacks you upside the ear and reminds you that you haven’t heard shit.
  • The Flaming Lips, Embryonic (2000). I loathe so much other stuff  by this group it amazes me how much I get kicks out of this release.
  • Various, Freedom Principle: Acid Jazz & Other Illicit Grooves (1989). Starts off with an ace by David Toop and includes the James Taylor Quartet (no, not HIM).
  • Shades of Brown, S.O.B. (orig. 1971, Dusty Groove reissue 2008). One of the top five soul records lost in the Chess catalog. Highlight: “Garbage Man.” (no, not THAT ONE).
  • Roswell Rudd, The Incredible Honk (2011). So glad to chance across this in the wake of his passing.
  • The Psychedelic Furs, Should God Forget: Collector’s Edition (1997). Lotta fun, but about all I need.
  • Shalabi Effect, S/T (2000). Haunting electro-prog outfit from Montreal. You have to at least check out this release:
  • Stone the Crows, Ode to John Law (orig. 1970, reissue 1996). Best album by one of the sadly least-known Brit rockers.
  • Gasolin’, Gas 5 & 6 (1987). Absolute tops of Swedish rock bands. Production by Roy Thomas Baker helps enormously. Their debut was the masterpiece, but this convinced me to order a box that includes everything they did. I mean, seriously down to the details rock and roll feeling.
  • Fantomas, The Director’s Cut (2001). I find everything else by this outfit poke-in-the-ear annoying, but these strange, strange, strange reworking of movie themes are a horror-hoot.

Expert Witness Comment for the Week

My copy of the new Superchunk is on its way. If only to cheer on insight and assertions like these:  “He calculates that youthful Reagan voters greatly outnumbered Reagan Youth fans who thought they were so smart. “We were awful bored,” he recalls; “too late we find our feet,” he realizes.”

I’ve been horrified by the couple anti-King Donald albums I’ve heard that try to destroy him by treating him as a joke. Laff him out of office. Yeah, sure.

The Frail of Comics Is a Fail

Because I bought a rare comic that is physically almost like a regular-issue comic book (Kramers Ergot, Volume One Issue Two, if you must know), I was stunned by the realization that I had not acquired a normal-format comic book in, well, several years anyway.

The fragility of comic books is a key part of their history, of course. Before the collectors’ market really took off in the ’70s, the artists and publishers and sellers all assumed that nobody would want the pop-junk after a month and the unsold issues were destroyed. That’s why, as a general rule, the older something is, the rarer it is. (Sheer number of outlets contributed to more issues of later comics being available.)

I liked using my comic-book collection — reading them, that is. I never picked up anything because it was marketed as a collectible. And I treated comics like regular books — you don’t get them wet or dirty and you keep them away from direct sun, but otherwise just keep them in order.

This business of the cardboard backing and the plastic bag sealed with tape drives me banay-nays. Makes the comic into an investment, not a source of pleasure. So the solution for me is serious paperback or hardback anthologies, which I’m glad to see are around for more titles than ever.

I do have one investment-collection. Years ago, when I took my hundreds of ’60s Marvel comics out of storage I discovered (with a flinch) that they meant nothing to me — I had absorbed them and somehow the shoddy movies had spoiled them for me  in some fundamental way.  But I’m actually glad I have failed to set up a way to sell them all at once (which is the only way I would do it) … because the price estimates keep going up and up and up …