Goats: gotten

Want. One.


As you would expect, shitlibs across the nation are drenching their Underoos over the horror of it all.

A Wednesday hit piece from NPR sought to link the license plate and the Gadsden flag to “dangerous far-right extremist ideology.”

“The state can’t claim a lack of knowledge about what this image represents to most of the public,” said a representative of the Southern Poverty Law Center quoted by NPR.

The SPLC representative linked the flag to the Jan. 6, 2021, disturbance at the U.S. Capitol. The flag has been used for decades by libertarians and other critics of government overreach — far before the Capitol incursion.

More pathetic scree-scree-screeing over at GP.

5

Neat neat neat!

So a good friend put me onto this teewee channel I didn’t know about before, not having even turned the danged thing on in about three years or so: Tubi, which has a damned near miraculous cornucopia of documentaries chronicling the rise of the first-wave punk rock bands of the late 70s. Now, I’m finding it impossible to turn the dang thing off.

For those not previously into this sort of thing, that’s one of my all-time faves, a Brit punk outfit yclept the Damned, slashing ‘n’ burning their way through one of their classic tunes*, “New Rose.” Their Tubi doc is called The Damned—Don’t You Wish That We Were Deadand it is filled to brimming with some mighty toothsome stuff.

There’s a crap-ton of these things available on the Tubi channel, featuring bands from the Ramones to the Dead Boys to Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers to…well, you name it, they got it, pretty much. Here’s a latter-day version of “Neat Neat Neat” from 2009. See if that bassist doesn’t look a mite familiar to ya’s.

Yeppers, that there would indeed be the god-like Lemmy Kilmister, who stepped in to tour and record with the Damned for a spell after OG (Original Guitarist) Brian James had left the band and Captain Sensible had moved over from bass to guitar. As much as I’ve always loved the Damned, from back in 77 up until right this very minute, I never knew that Lemmy had filled in with ’em as bassist, a tidbit I gleaned from the documentary.

An additional nugget of fascinating Damned lore: the original-original guitarist (well, kinda-sorta) was Chrissie Hynde, who would go on to great fame with a little combo called the Pretenders. According to Ms Hynde herself, she had three rehearsals with the embryonic punk icons, after which “they never got back in touch with me, I don’t know why.” Ahh, but I do: not to put TOO fine a point on it, but Chrissie never was anything much to brag about as a lead guitarist; after the band had gotten James into the slot—who IS a good lead git-fiddlist, and very much so—the lads had no real use for Miss Hynde anymore.

A pretty comprehensive record of the Damned’s long and storied career is perusable here; it reads like a who’s-who of OG punk rockers from the UK, and encompasses pretty much the whole history of first-wave punkdom across the Pond.

Another Tubi documentary I’m very much looking forward to viewing covers one Stiv Bators and his band, the forever-notorious Dead Boys. These guys are another of my perennial faves; they actually played the old Milestone Club in Charlotte in, oh, 79 or thereabouts, maybe? To my undying regret, I missed that show thanks to what felt to me at the time as if it might turn out to be a fatal case of the Green Apple Strut, dammit.

I later heard that Bators had indeed performed one of his signature stage moves that night: he would wind his way-long mic cable around his neck three or four times, toss the rest up over a beam or rafter or whatever else was handy and looked to be sturdy enough to bear his weight (which couldn’t have been much more than a buck-twenty or so, the skinny little git), then pull up the slack until he was literally hanging himself by the neck from the ceiling several feet off the stage. Which, with the creaky, decrepit old Milestone, was an act of profoundest faith, believe you me.

Tragically, Bators died in 1990 after being clobbered by an errant taxicab in the streets of Paris. Somewhere around here I should still have a photo I clipped from Creem or Circus or some other one of several 70s rock and roll mags I devoured as sustenance for the soul back in my wayward youth, featuring Bators with his pre-Dead Boys band: a Mark 1-Mod 0 Longhair, Boots, ‘n’ Spandex agglomeration hailing from Stiv’s own home-base of Cleveland, calling themselves Frankenstein. As a preview of what was coming, that pic was about as off as off can possibly get. My own sudden artistic swerve from the comparatively sedate metal/hard-rock byway and into the punk fast-lane was every bit as aggressive and extreme as Stiv’s was.

Here’s a blast of some typical Dead Boys mayhem, from 1977 at the hallowed CBGBs.

Those were the days, my friends.

* NOTE: I originally had an early live clip of “Neat Neat Neat” in this space, but decided to swap it out for “New Rose” since I definitely wanted to include the  “Neat Neat Neat” with Lemmy in it, and didn’t see the point of having two versions of the same dang song up there.

Hey lawdy MAMA!

I’ve been stuck staring at this…ummm, story…ever since Ace first brought it up the other day.

Mum trolled as boobs ‘steal spotlight’ in ‘indecent’ dress at son’s birthday party
A mum claims her own cleavage “stole the spotlight” from her son’s birthday party.

Raquel Dicuru, 37, was throwing a party for her son’s seventh birthday last month while her sister-in-law filmed her lighting the candles on the cake.

It wasn’t until the mum, from Tonbridge, Kent, watched it back that she saw her purple sundress revealed much of her chest.

Happily, the comely (and hoo boy, is she ever that, as can be seen in the several other pics included with this bodacious article) Ms Dicuru has boucoup chestage to reveal, and it looks to be well worth the revealing, bless her perfectly proportioned, shapely heart.

Tig ol bitties!

Raquel’s riposte to the juiceless, withered old killjoys who took umbrage with the inadvertent display of her succulent fun-bags was spot on:

In response, Raquel has told her followers to “get a life”.

Attagirl, you tell ’em. I could be mistaken, I admit, but I can’t help but get the distinct feeling the bluenoses’ unsolicited critique just might have been motivated primarily by envy—the males, because they ain’t got anything like that waiting for ’em at home, and the females, because ditto. Certainly, it’s a pretty safe bet that young master Dicuru saw quite a lot of those tig ol’ bitties early on, or at least until he was weaned off of ’em—one assumes under extreme, kicking-and-screaming protest—and was therefore already quite familiar with the edifying spectacle anyway.

For some strange reason, this feel-good story puts me in mind of a certain RAB classic.

Now as it happens, among a crap-ton of other artists the Stray Cays covered that one early in their illustrious career, with Setzer tacking on one of the coolest verses yet written as a bonus:

Well, I’m smoking past the filter
And it’s burnin’ my lips
Yeah, I’m smokin’ past the filter
And it’s burnin’ my lips
My whole body is a-shakin’ right to my fingertips

Yep, you go on and try and tell me that ain’t just like mama used to make. Knowing Brian as I do, and I know him pretty well, he would be extremely gratified that I’d thought to include him in this particular post, and for all the right reasons too. A little extry rockabilly twangerrifickness for ya.

Lots and lots of excellent, obscure stuff on that album, but it’s that first tune I particularly wanted to call y’all’s attention to. If you’re into it, the fifth song—”Hot Rod Baby—is another one of my all-time faves. GONNA SUCK THIS CAT RIGHT UP MY PIPES…

Update! Yes, I know, I’m obsessing here, but can you blame me? Actually, I been mulling it over trying to come up with some conceivable downside for the kid here, seeing as how all those green-eyed bluenoses claim to be upset about how his hot MILF ruined his birthday for him by the heinous, hateful sin of letting ’em breathe without malice aforethought, and I confess I’m drawing a blank on that.

I mean, the child doesn’t look to be terribly upset in the two (2) pics he appears in in the article, as far as I can discern. And honestly, why would he be? Mama made the both of ’em famous the world over because a bunch of self-righteous Holy Joes got their panties in a bunch over nothing whatsoever.

Think of it: for the rest of his life, he gets to tell his buddies the funny story about that time he and his mom made the newspapers and got everybody all in a dither because, even pushing 40, she was still a sexy, eye-catching lass. He’ll be laughing over this tempest in a teapot from now on; he’ll consider Year 7 the greatest birthday party he ever did have. It’ll be a long, long time before he has to buy his own beer once he’s old enough to belly up to the bar for a pint of stout at his local pub with a story like this to recount.

And like I said earlier, it ain’t as if he didn’t already KNOW his mom was sporting a righteous shirt-full long before now; he didn’t just learn of it after every swingin’ Richard in once-Great Britain got all frothy and fizzy-lipped over it and pointed it out to all and sundry with great outrage and vexation. If there’s any real downside to be found here, for anybody at all except the aforementioned Holy Joe and Jane—who really ought to just shut their yaps and mind their own beeswax—be damned if I can find it.

Right ho, Jeeves!

An appreciation of one my all-time favorites, the incomparable Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse.

Evelyn Waugh said of the fiction writing of fellow English author P. G. Wodehouse: “Mr. Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.”

Ours are indeed irksome times, so take Waugh at his word and treat yourself to some Wodehouse this summer. The page-to-smile ratio is about one-to-one; the page-to-guffaw ratio is not far behind. It’s Wodehouse, that undisputed master of similes, who first made me fall in love with the literary device that conveys so much with so little.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then consider this my salute to the great P. G. Wodehouse generally and his penchant for similes particularly:

  • Rye believed he wasn’t at fault but, as surely as naming a daughter Alexa contributes to feelings of inadequacy in a world she feels asks everything of her, he was mistaken.
  • Like leaving a massive inheritance not to an underserved but undeserving community, Lou learned the hard way that attention to detail matters.
  • Jeff read the critic’s surprisingly charitable review of his atrocious one-act play and sensed, like a dollar-store customer in an inflationary environment, he was making out like a bandit.
  • Paisley’s news was received poorly not because it was bad in itself but, like hearing steel drums in the dead of a Montana winter, the timing was off.

As I’ve mentioned here before, Wodehouse once famously described his creative process thusly: “I just sit at my typewriter and curse a bit.” A little biographical info on the great man:

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE (1881–1975) was a prolific English author, humorist and scriptwriter. After being educated at Dulwich College, to which he remained devoted all his life, he was employed by a bank, but disliked the work and wrote magazine pieces in his spare time. In 1902 he published his first novel, The Pothunters, set at the fictional public school of St. Austin’s; his early stories continued the school theme. He also used the school setting in his short story collections, which started in 1903 with the publication of Tales of St. Austin’s.

Throughout his novel- and story-writing career Wodehouse created several renowned regular comic characters with whom the public became familiar. These include Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves; the immaculate and loquacious Psmith; Lord Emsworth and the Blandings Castle set; the disaster-prone opportunist Ukridge; the Oldest Member, with stories about golf; and Mr Mulliner, with tales on numerous subjects from film studios to the Church of England.

Wodehouse also wrote scripts and screenplays and, in August 1911, his script A Gentleman of Leisure was produced on the Broadway stage. In the 1920s and 1930s he collaborated with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton in an arrangement that “helped transform the American musical” of the time; in the Grove Dictionary of American Music Larry Stempel writes, “By presenting naturalistic stories and characters and attempting to integrate the songs and lyrics into the action of the libretto, these works brought a new level of intimacy, cohesion, and sophistication to American musical comedy.” His writing for plays also turned into scriptwriting, starting with the 1915 film A Gentleman of Leisure. He joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1930 for a year, and then worked for RKO Pictures in 1937.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, and while living in northern France, Wodehouse was captured by the Germans and was interned for over a year. After his release he was tricked into making five comic and apolitical broadcasts on German radio to the still neutral US. After vehement protests in Britain, Wodehouse never returned to his home country, despite being cleared by an MI5 investigation. He moved to the US permanently in 1947 and took American citizenship in 1955, retaining his British nationality. He continued writing until his death in 1975.

Wodehouse wrote more than 300 short stories. Many of these stories were originally published in magazines and subsequently published in short story collections. Wodehouse also contributed other works to periodicals such as articles and poems, and some of Wodehouse’s novels were originally serialised in magazines as well.

There is a well-documented and accessible collection of his published, autobiographical and miscellaneous work. There are transcripts available of the five broadcasts he made, available online, including through the PG Wodehouse Society (UK).

Prolific? I’d say so, yeah. I have a great many of Wodehouse’s novels and short stories, having been an avid collector of them ever since my Aunt Ruth gave me her battered, dog-eared copy of Laughing Gas when I was but a wee bairn. The Jeeves series entire; the Psmith stories; even his side-splitting Golf! anthologies—I’ve read and re-read ’em all, and still enjoy them tremendously to this very day. In fact, I have I don’t even know how many Wodehouse ebooks on my phone.

If you’ve never read the man, take my word for it that this is some truly brilliant writing, purest gold which will never lose its luster. For me at least, his stuff just never gets old or stale. Go grab a book or two of his from Amazon and then just try to tell me I steered you wrong. You won’t regret it, believe you me; verily, there’s never been another quite like him. A little taste for y’all:

After breakfast I lit a cigarette and went to the open window to inspect the day. It certainly was one of the best and brightest.

“Jeeves,” I said.

“Sir?” said Jeeves. He had been clearing away the breakfast things, but at the sound of the young master’s voice cheesed it courteously.

“You were absolutely right about the weather. It is a juicy morning.”

“Decidedly, sir.”

“Spring and all that.”

“Yes, sir.”

“In the spring, Jeeves, a livelier iris gleams upon the burnished dove.”

“So I have been informed, sir.”

“Right ho! Then bring me my whangee, my yellowest shoes, and the old green Homburg. I’m going into the Park to do pastoral dances.”

I don’t know if you know that sort of feeling you get on these days round about the end of April and the beginning of May, when the sky’s a light blue, with cotton-wool clouds, and there’s a bit of a breeze blowing from the west? Kind of uplifted feeling. Romantic, if you know what I mean. I’m not much of a ladies’ man, but on this particular morning it seemed to me that what I really wanted was some charming girl to buzz up and ask me to save her from assassins or something. So that it was a bit of an anti-climax when I merely ran into young Bingo Little, looking perfectly foul in a crimson satin tie decorated with horseshoes.

“Hallo, Bertie,” said Bingo.

“My God, man!” I gargled. “The cravat! The gent’s neckwear! Why? For what reason?”

“Oh, the tie?” He blushed. “I–er–I was given it.”

He seemed embarrassed, so I dropped the subject. We toddled along a bit, and sat down on a couple of chairs by the Serpentine.

“Jeeves tells me you want to talk to me about something,” I said.

“Eh?” said Bingo, with a start. “Oh yes, yes. Yes.”

I waited for him to unleash the topic of the day, but he didn’t seem to want to get going. Conversation languished. He stared straight ahead of him in a glassy sort of manner.

“I say, Bertie,” he said, after a pause of about an hour and a quarter.

“Hallo!”

“Do you like the name Mabel?”

“No.”

“No?”

“No.”

“You don’t think there’s a kind of music in the word, like the wind rustling gently through the tree-tops?”

“No.”

He seemed disappointed for a moment; then cheered up.

“Of course, you wouldn’t. You always were a fatheaded worm without any soul, weren’t you?”

“Just as you say. Who is she? Tell me all.”

For I realised now that poor old Bingo was going through it once again. Ever since I have known him–and we were at school together–he has been perpetually falling in love with someone, generally in the spring, which seems to act on him like magic. At school he had the finest collection of actresses’ photographs of anyone of his time; and at Oxford his romantic nature was a byword.

“You’d better come along and meet her at lunch,” he said, looking at his watch.

“A ripe suggestion,” I said. “Where are you meeting her? At the Ritz?”

“Near the Ritz.”

He was geographically accurate. About fifty yards east of the Ritz there is one of those blighted tea-and-bun shops you see dotted about all over London, and into this, if you’ll believe me, young Bingo dived like a homing rabbit; and before I had time to say a word we were wedged in at a table, on the brink of a silent pool of coffee left there by an early luncher.

I’m bound to say I couldn’t quite follow the development of the scenario. Bingo, while not absolutely rolling in the stuff, has always had a fair amount of the ready. Apart from what he got from his uncle, I knew that he had finished up the jumping season well on the right side of the ledger. Why, then, was he lunching the girl at this God-forsaken eatery? It couldn’t be because he was hard up.

Just then the waitress arrived. Rather a pretty girl.

“Aren’t we going to wait—-?” I started to say to Bingo, thinking it somewhat thick that, in addition to asking a girl to lunch with him in a place like this, he should fling himself on the foodstuffs before she turned up, when I caught sight of his face, and stopped.

The man was goggling. His entire map was suffused with a rich blush. He looked like the Soul’s Awakening done in pink.

“Hallo, Mabel!” he said, with a sort of gulp.

“Hallo!” said the girl.

“Mabel,” said Bingo, “this is Bertie Wooster, a pal of mine.”

“Pleased to meet you,” she said. “Nice morning.”

“Fine,” I said.

“You see I’m wearing the tie,” said Bingo.

“It suits you beautiful,” said the girl.

Personally, if anyone had told me that a tie like that suited me, I should have risen and struck them on the mazzard, regardless of their age and sex; but poor old Bingo simply got all flustered with gratification, and smirked in the most gruesome manner.

See what I mean? Now if that ain’t just like Mother used to make…well, I’m all flustered myself, albeit not with gratification.

1

Unqualified endorsements

Two notable events from good friends of mine that I have been lax in helping to promote so far, in spite of the fact that I owe both of them much more than I could ever hope to repay:

NUMERO UNO: Francis Porretto is offering free fiction at his place. I’ve heartily endorsed Fran’s amazing writing many times here before, and recommend it highly; his straight-up sci-fi stuff is more strongly reminiscent of the great Robert Heinlein I just can’t even, and would be a bargain at any price. But come now; FREE?!? Hie thee thither, without further ado.

NUMERO DOS: Big Country has been running a raffle of some pretty neat stuff he created with his 3D printing flibbertigibbet, so do go check that out too.

Catch-up ball

Been mostly staying away from the Innarnuts of late, due to way too much other shit tugging at my raggedy shirt-tail demanding my attention. In other news, I should have my old, crippled hands on the new-to-me refurb iMac by no later than July the 8th, so we all got that to look forward to, I reckon. Whilst I work on getting myself back up to speed on the haps out there, enjoy a few funnies, y’all.

Goose gate
The sign my old H-D shop bossman, Goose, has on the gate at his new place

No Fourth for you!
Another from Goose, whose premise I couldn’t support more heartily

NOT FUNNY YOU GUYS
Hey, he seems sincere, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

That last one swiped from WRSA’s Friday Meme-O-Rama.

2

Sick, boys!

One for my boy Big Country.



I’m thinking BCE might not have found that as amusing as I do a cpl-three days ago, when he was deep in the throes of I-wish-I-was-dead-itude. Now that he seems to be on the mend, though, hopefully he’ll get a small chuckle out of it.

Meanwhile, I also ran across a somewhat less recent live Social D vid, this one from all the way back in 1997. As it happens, the BPs opened for ’em on the CLT date of that tour, which took place at the long-since defunct and demolished Tremont Music Hall. After our set, we were hanging with a few buds of ours in our green room when Ness—with whom I had become good friends back when he spent a few months mastering their huge breakthrough release White Light White Heat White Trash in NYC—came crashing in to bitch at me about nobody having informed him we were the support act that night.

“Okay, well, you guys are doing support tomorrow night in Atlanta, right? And then the night after in Birmingham?” “Ummmm, no, Mike, we ain’t on either of those bills. It was just tonight, and we’re done with that already. Sorry, buddy.” He seemed to be genuinely upset at having missed us, even though he’d attended all of our shows at Rodeo Bar in NYC with my friend Kendra in tow over the months he was in residence in the Big Rotten Apple, so was presumably every bit as familiar with our act as we were our own selves.

This recording is old enough to include what to most Social D fans will always be thought of as the “classic” lineup of Ness, the late Dennis Danell, John Maurer, and a man who is probably the greatest punk rock drummer of them all, Chuck Biscuits. If I remember right, it was the first and biggest of several new-rock radio hits yielded up by White Light White Heat.



Biscuits, a real hard-hitter if ever there was one, got his start with the seminal Canadian punk outfit DOA, following that up with stints with California hardcore icons Black Flag and the Circle Jerks before landing in a little ol’ band called Danzig, a move engineered by producer Rick Rubin at the specific behest of Glenn Danzig himself.

Since I’ve put myself in mind of all that good ol’ punk stuff I used to love so much, might as well subject y’all to one of DOA’s best.



Hard to believe now that we were ever that young.

2

Hyeppeh Joomteemf ‘n’shit, yo!

So earlier on this most auspicious of several other Nigger Day! holidays we now have strewn carelessly about the calendar like junk vehicles, broken toys, and stolen bric-a-brac across the dead brown grass of a Darktown front lawn, the local classical-music station spent the afternoon highlighting the “contributions” to the orchestral music oeuvre (not so auspicious, actually) of Black Composers (if any).

I used that “if any” aside sarcastically, yes, but advisedly too. Because apparently, there are indeed a handful of uppity Neegrows who claim to be composers of symphonic music. After enduring a painfully wretched interlude of truly godawful sqwronk and blorgle, including one “composition” featuring a male singer for whom one couldn’t help but feel a certain measure of pity as the poor fellow tried manfully, but all in vain, to locate some semblance of melody somewhere in the unmusical, atonal mosquito repellent this alleged Black Composer™ dared to claim as his own. As I was desperately cramming bits of toilet paper, styrofoam packing material, asbestos swatches, and cigarette filters up against my eardrums to blunt the agony, I realized that, as a huge ST-TNG fan, I had heard this material before:



You guys may think I’m just being funny here, but I swear that’s what this crap sounded like. Seriously.

Which doesn’t mean that there are NO black classical-music composers worth lending an ear to, mind. I know of at least one: the great Justin Holland, a true-blue, gin-you-wine-article American Original of the classical guitar.

Justin Holland (July 26, 1819 – March 24, 1887) was an American classical guitarist, a music teacher, a community leader, a black man who worked with white people to help slaves on the Underground Railroad, and an activist for equal rights for African Americans.

Holland was known nationally, not only as a musician but also as a civil rights activist who worked in the same national circles as Frederick Douglass. His goal was to develop his personal growth, in order to stand as an example for others to see. As a teacher, he deliberately chose a “cautious and circumspect” bearing, keeping his relationships with students strictly professional. He chose work that was considered honorable and held high standards, and the professional respect that accompanied his position aided his civil rights goals.

A measure of his success in showcasing the admirable African American to the world came after he died, when he was given eulogies, by white people as well as African Americans, about his skill as a musician and his personal character.

…In 1845 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in the Western Reserve, where he worked on his dream of complete acceptance for African Americans by white Americans, with complete equality. Cleveland was another place where white people were sympathetic toward African Americans. He saw the area as a place that gave him the opportunity to work toward that goal. He consciously embraced education and assimilation as the best ways to overcome racial barriers and prejudices. He looked to European culture as a source of admirable standards (and hoped that middle-class Americans around him would associate him with those standards as well.) He spoke of his own music in terms of European excellence, teaching the “correct system” to fret the strings on the guitar, as done by “the best Masters of Europe.” He also wrote a 324-page treatise on subjects of moral reform.

The standout thing about Justin Holland is that, nearly unique among classical-guitar composers and performers, all of Holland’s work proudly bears a readily-identifiable Made In America™ stamp. To wit:



All of his stuff I’ve ever heard—and I’ve heard quite a bit over the years—is like this: lush, gorgeous, with all the Spanish or Italian influence sanded off to leave nothing but pure America the Beautiful shining through. If you listen close enough, you can hear the earliest stirrings of another distinctly American form in there: jazz.



Pretty, no? So here’s to ya, Justin Holland; God rest ye, and long may your beautiful music endure. You are a credit not just to your race, as they used to say, but to your art, and to your nation as well.

2

Dennis Hopper, American icon

Just so’s you know, I freely admit that I’m running this as an excuse to repost this most awesome Nicholson/Hopper duet from Easy Rider at the end.

I’ve always loved Dennis Hopper and found him to be a kindred spirit. He embodies American consciousness without a shred of sentimentality. We see in him a mixture of rebelliousness, sorrow, loss, and even grace. But more than anything, we see American restlessness. Although he is most known for his films, both as a director and actor, Hopper’s talent was also visible in his photography. After his career had a bit of a downturn in the 1960s, Hopper’s then-wife, Brooke Hayward, gave him a Nikon camera for his 25th birthday. 

Hopper’s photography oeuvre covers only the years 1961-1967, which is short chronologically speaking, but the creations that came out of restlessness transcend time. Hopper himself didn’t want to have anything to do with the pictures and put them away in a vault. “I was trying to forget…,” he said, “the photographs represented failure to me. A painful parting from [daughter] Marin and Brooke, my art collection, the house that I lived in and the life that I had known for those eight years.” Still, the photographs continue to live as artifacts of America’s past, separated from Hopper, the man, but bound to Hopper, the artist. His own view of their existence and status as photographs is almost irrelevant because of our gaze into the world he has recorded.

Hopper’s photographs, particularly in this collection, In Dreams, are a window into the soul of America during the 1960s. We see street scenes of Los Angeles: people frozen in time, sitting, standing up, looking into the distance of their own lives, or just staring at the passing dog. We see a close up of hands writing; jazz musicians in a smokey club; streets in rearview mirrors offering both a reality and an illusion of our strange world; George Segal and Sandy Dennis in 1965, a year before the release of Mike Nichols’ adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1962 play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” standing among the broken nude statues, embodying innocence not unlike their characters, Nick and Honey, in Nichols’ film.

We see Brooke Hayward in a grocery store, pushing a cart somewhat sadly, lost in her secret thoughts; a couple in a kissing booth; a girl in a rearview mirror driving to God knows where (a job? Seeing a friend? Or is she running away?); a cocktail party where a kiss between a man and woman appears seemingly from nowhere (Are they strangers? Friends? Lovers?).

We see the filming of Henry Hathaway’s 1965 western, “The Sons of Katie Elder.” Hopper does not discriminate and sees everyone as a human being, not in their respective societal or film roles. Hathaway and John Wayne are in the middle of a scene with Wayne pointing at something out of frame. There is a calmness, steadiness, and stability, but also the bubbling of creativity. I am drawn to these images precisely because they point to a time and a place when even the possibility of steadiness and masculinity was present in the culture. Things are getting done and life keeps moving forward.

In the collection, there are even self-portraits, in which we see Hopper’s need to be seen, a rebellious streak, and over the top self-importance. But there is also a certain sensitivity that only comes from someone who has the soul of an artist. They are the most dreamy of all. Is this how Hopper saw himself at the time? He is hovering like a ghost of America past and present. 

On one occasion, Hopper’s daughter Marin, reflected: “My father, Dennis Hopper, believed that being on the road in search of something was very American. You had to keep moving forward no matter what. Ride into town, gunfight at high noon, then off into the sunset.” Hopper represented—and even in his death, represents—not simply the one American dream, whatever it may have been or whatever shred of it is present now. Rather, he represents American dreams—lives lived on the photographic paper, on the celluloid, and in the American desert of desires. 

Okay, I take it back; the article is good enough to serve as its own justification, no excuses required for running it. Same-same with the vid, actually.



Update! So the whole Hopper trip got me to rooting around here and there, which eventually landed me on this incredible site covering all things Easy Rider. Captain America and Billy’s route to Mardi Gras is mapped out, literally; the entire movie is posted; there are then-and-now pics of some of the locations where scenes from the movie were shot, among other way-cool stuff. No foolin’, gang, this is one hella-awesome website for any Easy Rider fan.

2

Guitar heaven

Ed Driscoll reports from the Dallas International Guitar Festival, and if you’re at all into guitars, it’s pretty sweet stuff.

On Saturday, I attended the 2022 Dallas International Guitar Festival at the Dallas Market Hall, the second festival after a timeout in 2020 due to the pandemic lockdown. As I wrote last year at Instapundit, unlike the previous guitar shows in the DFW Metroplex, 2021’s show had a somewhat more low-key feel, lacking the large exhibits by the music industry heavy hitters such as Gibson and Fender. (In pre-pandemic times, a large trailer owned by Gibson would be displaying their newest and most impressive guitars, Fender usually had a large display, and Roland was showing off the latest effects in their Boss line as well.)

While Gibson and Fender were still absent in person, this time around it was nice to see a few bigger names back on display, such as…

Fender, Boss, Gretsch, Taylor, Eventide; Les Paul, Strat, Tele, Black Beauty—the names alone evoke an overwhelming nostalgia in me whose taste is bittersweet at best nowadays, seeing as how my hands have been utterly ruined by the curse of DePuytren’s Contracture, or Viking Disease. My left-hand ring and pinky fingers are curled tightly up against my palm and can’t be straightened, even by physical force; as I tell foks who ask, my once-agile fretting hand is useful mainly as a place to hang my keys, no more. The right hand is only a little bit behind, but well on its way. The sensation brought on by this condition is so intensely unpleasant it actually wakes me up at night sometimes. It’s fucking awful, is what it is.

All that aside, any halfway serious guitar slinger—by which I do NOT necessarily mean a professional musician who earns his daily bread wielding an axe onstage and/or in the studio—will enjoy Ed’s reportage tremendously. The photos alone will be enough to bring a tear of joy to your jaded eye, trust me. Although I must say the Les Paul pics run way heavy on the Tobacco and Honey Burst varieties—which, I can’t stand those ugly, dull-looking turdballs—and way light on Cherry Sunburst—which are my all-time faves. Examples:

Tobacco Burst: uglier’n homemade sin


Honey Burst: slightly more bearable

Purty!
Cherry Burst: a little bit of Heaven on Earth

Of course and as always, your mileage may etc on that. There’s no real shame in disagreeing with me; it just means your taste is in your ass, that’s all. I should maybe also mention the subspecies of the parent Tobacco and Cherry Burst finishes, such as Lemon and Tangerine. In fact, the Honey Burst model depicted above is actually a sub-category of Tobacco Burst its own bad self.

One last photo from Ed’s post to take home witcha.

TeleStrat.jpg

For the uninitiated, that two-headed beastie at Foreground Left flying Distressed White colors and decked out in its Sunday-best gold hardware is something of an odd duck: a double-necked Strat-style body, with the top half being pretty much the standard three-pickup Stratocaster deal. The bottom half, though, veers off in a decidedly different direction: one single-coil pickup, slightly beefier than those found on Strats, mounted on a steel plate way back by the bridge with the familiar, jaunty Telecaster tilt. It also sports the knurled steel volume/tone knobs and long-throw three-position pickup selector switch which typically adorn the Telecaster control panel.

TeleCP.png

Ahh, the precious memories. All well beyond my reach now, alas. As my Uncle Murray always insisted, with no little heat: Gettin’ old sucks. Wise man, Uncle Murray was.

1

Tender mercies

Greatest. Auto. Review. EVAR.

‘Suffice to say the A110 absolutely crushes expectations, and your berry hanger’
The absolutely brilliant Alpine A110 is anything but sterile to drive
You’ll have heard how the Alpine A110’s combination of lightness and rightness has earned the admiration of evo’s tillermen. And that’s all well and good, but what’s it like if you’ve just had a vasectomy? To find out, I went to a central London clinic and invited a large, medically qualified man to have a good rummage amongst my underparts, then realised with dismay that I had booked to borrow a low-slung French sports coupe almost immediately afterwards.

The first thing to cross your mind upon seeing the A110 is just how little it is and also how much your balls hurt. You can immediately sense that this is a car from which all excess has been banished, and this impression is reinforced by opening the featherweight aluminium door, which is so lacking in mass that it puts no strain whatsoever on your mangled knacker sack, unlike its low-slung driving position, which is absolute agony.

Once in, you can take a moment to admire the bespoke seats with their one-piece backs and upsettingly unpillowy cushions. You might be interested to learn that these chairs weigh just 13.1kg each, despite fine detailing including quilted leather and a grippy central section that expertly rides your jeans up into the tenderest parts of your plum pouch.

The rest of the interior is, perhaps, a little less successful, featuring a smattering of Renault parts bin components, including remote audio controls seemingly taken from the Renault 19, and the flat keyless entry card from the Laguna, though wrapped in a smart leather case that makes it both more attractive to look at and better equipped to shift awkwardly across your pocket and nudge stoutly into your tenderised clacker hammock.

Okay, that there is some truly inspired stuff. Hats off to Richard Porter for his dedication to his craft, taking one for the team and putting his boy beans in harm’s way to bring us this truly stellar article. Well done, young feller, well done.

“Clacker hammock.” I swear, I just can’t stop laughing at that one.

1

Can’t hide this decline

More Blibberin’ Biden.

Something is wrong with President Joe Biden, and everyone knows it.

Last week, Biden was asked if his administration will consider delaying the end of Title 42, a pandemic immigration restriction that allows for fast deportation of migrants illegally crossing our border in the name of stopping the circulation of COVID-19.

Biden started rambling. “No. What I’m considering is continuing to hear from my — my — First of all, there’s gonna be an appeal by the Justice Department. Because as a matter of principle, we want to be able to be in a position where if, in fact, it is strongly concluded by the scientists that we need Title 42 that we’d be able to do that. But there has been no decision on extending Title 42.”

It turned out he was talking about mask mandates on airplanes and other forms of transportation. That raises the issue of consistency: If the administration will continue to push masks on planes because COVID is still a threat, isn’t Title 42 protecting against that same threat?

But it would at least be nice if the president knew what he was talking about.

Who would seriously expect any such thing from a lifelong ProPol marionette like Howdy Doody Biden? Moreover, WHY would they? It’s not as if Gropey ever DID know what he was talking about, even back in the days before the Alzheimers had taken him completely off his chump and he’d started angrily hooting and cawing at lawn statuary out of the clear blue sky, or attempting to engage parked cars, restaurant awnings, and manhole covers in casual conversation.

This isn’t simply misspeaking. He seems fully out of it, and we’re all watching quietly.

So? What’s anybody supposed to do about it, anyway? Vote for Romney or something?

On Friday, Biden tried to comment on Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law and came out with this word salad: “There’s nothing conservative about deciding you’re going to throw Disney out of its present posture because Mickey Mouse? In fact, do you think we should be not be able to say, you know, ‘gay’? I mean, what’s going on here?”

Yeah, like you’d have the vaguest clue about that.

On Easter Monday, a reporter at the White House asked Biden about Afghanistan. As he started answering the question, a staffer in an Easter bunny costume appeared, waving her arms in front of Biden’s face and ushering him along to a different part of the event.

It’s funny, sure, but it’s also kind of scary.

But mostly funny. It’s only scary to the kind of nebbish thumbsucker who still thinks the President has anything much to do with actually running the country.

Who is really running the show at the White House? The president often makes comments about what he’s “allowed” to say, how many press questions he’s permitted to take and which specific reporters he can call on. Who is making these decisions? Is Joe Biden the president or not?

Sure he is, for the time being at least. But he’s exactly the kind of “President” The Power always wanted for itself, and finally has: a shambling, stumbling, biddable meat-puppet who goes where he’s told to go, does what he’s told to do, and says what he’s told to say. He knows his part in this theater production and is content to play it, leaving him no reason to offer the Men Behind The Curtain any resistance or grief about it except maybe when he’s having one of his “episodes,” or coming out from under the reanimation drugs.

A half-century spent assiduously licking Deep State ass; learning every twist and turn in the Swamp there is; and enlisting his entire family in building one of the most brazen and barefaced influence-peddling, baksheesh, logrolling, and out and out bribery operations the world has ever seen prepared one Joe Robinette Biden, hack of all hacks, to do the bang-up job of pretending to govern the nation while lining his pockets, rewarding his friends, and punishing his enemies we’re now witnessing. The soulless, witless empty suit is certainly no statesman. He isn’t admirable, honorable, nor particularly personable, at least from what I’ve seen and read of him. What he IS, though, is infinitely malleable, unimpeded by any of the usual traits that would tend to cause a normal person to hesitate, hold back, or stay his hand: ethics, empathy, dignity, basic human decency.

Is Joe Biden the President? Of course he is; as a senescent figurehead guiding a senescent country gently into That Good Night, he’s one of the very best fits for the job there could possibly be in America’s twilight years. It’s just that some of us old dogs need to let go of the archaic notions concerning what a President is supposed to be and to do which we had hammered into us all these years and get ourselves right with contemporary reality, that’s all.

4

“Satanic vector of disgrace”

Wh-eeeelll DOGGIES, but I sure wish I’d come up with that one myself.

The go-to lever of concerted mind-fuckery has been the term-of-art misinformation, applied especially to things and propositions that are truthful — thereby confounding the public’s ability to discern truth in anything, or to discover how they are being misled in matters of life and death. We’ve allowed the worst in human nature to disgrace ourselves. Satan, Father of Lies, is Western Civ’s paragon of disgrace, and so American life appears more and more Satanic and disgraceful.

All this was epitomized in the operation of Twitter, the cheerful little bluebird of social messaging which evolved in a very few years into an instrument of coercion, punishment, deception, and lying, until it became clear that Twitter’s misinformation was misinformation itself. Half the nation doesn’t believe anything it is told by those in authority and the other half revels in its reckless abuse of authority.

And so, it’s refreshing to see one Elon Musk act to seize control of this Satanic vector of disgrace. Mr. Musk appears motivated to defeat the culture of lying by restoring open debate in the ubiquitous online public arena. It’s a heroic deed. But, you see, it’s not merely Twitter’s management or its biggest shareholders that Mr. Musk is messing with, but malign forces in the US government, which have surreptitiously taken control of Twitter and other social media to work its will on events. If you don’t know that Twitter, Facebook, and Google are proxies serving the US Intel Community, then you have not been paying attention.

Which only serves to underscore Musk’s most endearing trait: his devil-may-care nonchalance, his flat refusal to be intimidated by anything or anybody—even on those occasions when he probably should be. Musk is a man driven to spit in the eye of the Devil himself, then dare him to offer a single murmur of complaint. Even better, you can easily see that, far from being afraid, Elon is thoroughly enjoying himself. Love him or hate him, the man is a 100 percent, bona fide badass, of a stripe America used to be quite damned adept at churning out, but seems frightened half to death of now.

What the heck, having obliquely mentioned the Clampetts up yonder, here’s a clip Buddy Ebsen would probably rather everybody would forget about if he was still around. Take it, Jed:



Forget? Hell!

What’s in a name?

Hey, I don’t call ’em Demonrats for nothing, you know.


Heh. Nice catch, Kev.

1

Are you are as impressed as I am?

No, not in the least.

800-Volt EV Charging: The Other Palliative for Range Anxiety
Taking 18 minutes to charge to 80 percent makes top-up pit stops suddenly more palatable

Not to anybody who remembers that the last time he gassed up his current ICE vehicle it didn’t take him even five minutes, it ain’t…and that was filling his tank completely, not stopping at 80% and then calling it a “top-up.” Not to even mention that said ICE vehicle cost him around thirty-forty grand to buy, considerably less than the hefty 56k-and-up tariff the little Green Weenie windup toys bring along for the ride.

“Range anxiety” has been a headline concern for electric vehicles. Some automakers keep trying to soothe it with ever-larger and heavier battery packs, so that consumers can go farther between charges.

The problem is that lithium-ion cells remain expensive, heavy, and in critically short supply around the world. And battery bulk alone, especially in monstrously powerful trucks, can be a short route to a relatively inefficient and prohibitively expensive EV.

The Hyundai Ioniq5 and Kia EV6 that I recently tested—a pair of wildly impressive, high-design EVs—take a different approach to solving range anxiety: an 800-volt battery architecture that delivers some of the fastest charging in the EV game, and unheard of at these price levels. These handsome crossover SUVs might not be able to cruise for 7 hours on the highway, like the 500-mile-range Lucid Air. But their ability to charge to 80 percent capacity in as little as 18 minutes shows how EVs might circumvent the problem of battery overkill and still be fully viable as interstate cruisers.

The Hyundai, especially, left fellow drivers doing double takes and whipping out phone cameras.

But not their checkbooks, one may have noticed. So far at least, the only proven way to move EVs off the showroom floor and into peoples’ garages is for goobermint to mitigate the heart-stopping sticker shock with a nice subsidy package—or, to put it more honestly, a bribe for swallowing the multitudinous downsides of these Loser Cruisers, at the government’s (taxpayer’s) expense. (HINT TO LIBTARDS: Having to resort to bribery to sell a products is NOT an indication of said product’s popularity with consumers. Quite the opposite, actually.) We won’t even go into the many other disincentives that add up to make EVs a very hard sell indeed. Like, say, the very real and serious risk that your shiny new EV strugglebuggy might explode and/or spontaneously burst into flames, taking down your house along with it.

TITLE BACKSTORY: Back in the middle/late 70s I had an interaction—an abbreviated one, for reasons which ought to soon be apparent—with the manager/salesman of one of CLT’s perennially cellar-dwelling music stores, the name of which I don’t remember. I had wandered in there out of sheer desperation in search of a pack of whatever semi-obscure guitar strings I was enamored of back then, kidding myself that I’d be more likely to find off-brand strings in an off-brand store—a hopeful hypothesis which the science would invalidate posthaste.

Music Store Dude’s idea about my quest for cheap but effective guitar strings did NOT concur with my own, oh no no. According to his professional Music Store Dude expertise, what I really wanted was a brand new, all-chipboard-no-tube, cheaply made, sounds like the worst cheap-beer-and-Indian-food morning-after diarrhea-dook you ever took smelled like, Peavey guitar amplifier. Having one of those crimes against rock and roll all plugged in and ready to befoul the air long before my entry into the shop had made the little bell hung over the door go “ding,” MSD leapt into Sell! Sell! Sell! mode, turned the offensive thing on, and began idly strumming the guitar he had been holding in his lap. After each chord, the guitar’s melodious tone curdled into a gnarly, muddy mess courtesy of that sorry-ass Peavey. Then Music Store Dude would beatifically roll his eyes Heavenward as he repeated the corny mantra that had clearly been drummed into him in the Salesmanship 101 course he had flunked out of in community college: Are you as impressed as I am? Are you as impressed as I am? ARE YOU AS IMPRESSED AS I AM?

There was but one answer to be made to this increasingly aggressive query, to which I immediately resorted in self-defense: I muttered, semi-sotto voce, something along the lines of Sorry, gotta go, I think I hear my friends at Reliable Music shouting for me. Which is where I kicked up my heels and hurried off to without further delay, and bought the stupid pack of strings that had so nearly brought a strange doom crashing down upon my head—Death by Shitty Guitar Tone. I should’ve just gone to Reliable in the first place. I don’t know why I hadn’t, but it was a mistake I would never make again. In every city I played in, I kept strictly to the music stores I was familiar with when I needed one, shunning all the weird-looking, down-at-heels ones as if they had leprosy.

Yeah, yeah, I know: Skynyrd used and endorsed Peavey amps, as did pretty much every other ’70s Southern rock hit factory you could name.

And so what? I’ve always been pretty sure the second part of “used and endorsed” explains the first adequately enough: those Southern rockers played ’em not so much because they liked ’em, but because they were being paid to look as if they did. Myself, I hated the damned shitburgers back then, and I still do now. But hey, if Peavey handed me a big enough wad of cash, I’d try my best to pretend I liked the useless boat anchors too.

Obligatory disclaimer/confession: I DID play a Peavey Bandit for a couple-three months in the earliest days of the BPs; it belonged to one of the guys I had originally conceptualized the band with, an old-school purist who just could not abide the Marshall JMP half-stack (ie, the King of Rock, long may he reign—one of the very best amps ever produced, by anybody) that was helping me work through my rage issues back then. I make no apology for my brief lapse into the Shame of the Peavey; after all, none of us is without his own skeletons in the closet, right?

The moral of the story? Never let yourself be taken in by a hustler (the gooberment) trying to pressure or swindle (or legislate) you into settling for an inferior solid-state counterfeit (EV) of the tube-driven (ICE) real deal. You’ll be throwing away your money (your money) in the end, it won’t work out as promised (your house will burn down), and the only one who will end up happy with the whole deal will be the salesman (goobermint).

Oh, one more point to be made: If your product is good enough you won’t even have to sell it, it will sell itself. In contrast to the Peavey band-endorsement hustle, do note that Jim Marshall kept strictly to his principle of not paying for artist endorsements, the lone exception—until 1991 and the release of Marshall’s JCM Slash signature-model amp—being Jimi Hendrix.

According to an old book I have chronicling the amazing history of James Marshall’s world-beating amps (Marshall, amusingly and ironically enough, was actually a drummer his own self, and had enjoyed some local fame playing jazz in London nightspots), their names partially explains the Hendrix exception. Jimi was introduced to Marshall at the small London music store and amp-repair shop James owned and ran—and where his iconic amps had originally been created, at the request of Pete Townsend, probably the most famous of several other shop hangarounds that would later become rock stars themselves—and was blown away by the coincidence of their names—James Marshall Hendrix, guitar god, and James NMI Marshall, immortal guitar-amp legend. The two became close friends, Jimi switched to Marshalls for good, and the rest is rock and roll history.

Some good stuff from the previously-linked article, for any gear-geeks that might be reading:

You’d think that a guitarist of Slash’s stature would have a warehouse full of amplifiers at his disposal. As it turns out, though, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist only has a handful of trusty heads, which were discontinued in 1989, and they’re all just about ready to be retired. “I’ve been using the same Marshall Jubilee heads at every gig and session since I got them in 1987,” says Slash. “A bunch of those got badly damaged at the riot we had in St. Louis in 1991. After that, I was really nervous about my amplifier situation because I knew that if anything happened to the Jubilees I had left, I would be totally screwed.”

It was in the aftermath of the riot (which was prompted by an abbreviated GNR set) that Slash and Marshall began discussions that would ultimately result in the limited-production JCM Slash. And while Marshall amps have been associated with many of rock’s legendary guitarists, this is the company’s first endorsement deal-not to mention its first signature model.

“I’m totally honored that Marshall is doing this,” says Slash. “I’m the first person ever to get a free amp from them-except for Jimi Hendrix. And from what I understand, the amps he had were just on loan.”

The new amplifier is an exact replica of the Silver Jubilee 2555. However, unlike the Jubilee, the JCM Slash boasts the guitarist’s “smoking snake” logo and comes complete with a pimpin’ snakeskin cover.

The all-tube, 100-watt head boasts a quartet of Russian EL34’s in its power section and a trio of ECC83’s driving its two-channel preamp. There’s also a handy, front-panel-mounted half-power switch that allows you to drop the amp down to a more manageable 50-watt triode mode perfect for smaller venues. Slash admits that even he runs his amps on half-power much of the time. “If you have a singer who’s sensitive to loud backlines like Axl is, having a half-power switch is a godsend. It’s the only I way I can get the power tubes to work as hard as I need them to.”

I got chills here. Honestly, reading stuff like this makes me miss playing more than just about anything else, it really does. Nothing sweeter or more satisfying than the spine-tingling yowl of a Model 1987 50-watt Plexi reissue firing a pair of Celestion G12T-75s, the rig I happily ran for many years. Never have I owned a setup I liked better than this one, and I’ve owned ’em all. I never liked GNR, but I do like Slash just fine. He’s an excellent player, and I envy him his guitar/amp setup.

Update! If you can’t bribe ’em, try extorting ’em.

Pete “Just Buy A Tesla” Buttigieg Buttplug (FIFY—M) Says To Get Used To Price Hikes Until We Have Energy Independence Based On Clean Energy
Just another reminder that the higher gas prices you are suffering under are intentional.

Ever since the Obama Administration, the left has made it their goal to make gas so unaffordable that the American people will dump the convenient and plentiful fossil fuels the entire global economy is based upon for “clean” energy sources.

Here’s Mayor Pete telling Americans that the beatings will continue until morale improves:

Here’s the thing to remember, even if all the oil we use in the USA were made in the USA, the price of it is still subject to powers and dynamics outside of the USA.

Which means, until we achieve a form of energy independence that is based on clean energy created here at home, American citizens will still be vulnerable to wild price hikes like we’re seeing right now.

Gay Mayor Pete and the Biden crew will never admit that gas prices were low under Trump and that it was because of his energy policy.

But now that Biden has made it impossible to drill in the US, then all of a sudden all the drilling in the world won’t help the United States. It’s a global market.

Forget the four years under Donald Trump, those never happened.

There’s nothing that can be done, except buying electric cars, building more windmills and solar panels, and keeping the serfs at home forever.

Never mind that Biden’s Energy Secretary even says that they are using the Ukraine crisis and rising oil prices to transition America off gas.

It’s all intentional. It’s meant to cause pain.

Yep, t’is. There must be some way we could return the favor and cause them some right back, don’tcha think? Gee, I wonder what it might be

OBEY update! When bribery and extortion have failed, you might then try a little judicious legislation removing the serfs’ ability to choose for themselves.

Last week, the current Democrat Governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, signed a bill into law that aims to ban the sale of most non-electric vehicles in the state by 2030.

This legislation follows the lead of other deep-blue states like California and New York that recently announced bans on gas-powered vehicles in a move to end sales of these vehicles no later by 2035.
.
The Post Millennial reported that Inslee signed the “Move Ahead Washington” package into law stipulating that all publicly owned and privately owned “passenger and light duty vehicles 2030 model or later that are sold, purchased, or registered in the state” must be electric.

This legislation comes with a $16.9 billion price tag and will receive funds generated by taxes on gasoline.

Ummm, I believe I see a tiny little problem with this Supergenius!™ idea.

Inslee claimed that the package would help “combat climate change,” but the state of Washington will be reliant upon its residents and visitors continuing to fill their cars with gasoline in order to fund reach this green goal.

So here we are then, where every socialist tyranny eventually winds up: using the wealth only capitalism can create to fund their adolescent fantasies, feeding off the very host that sustains them until they’ve killed it.

1

Sweet Baby Jesus!

Artwork pulled down from the internet, what with me sucking at it. All I drew were the mouths and eyebrows. See what I mean about sucking at it?

2
Posted in Art!   

The crowning accolade

Ronnie D gets another feather in his cap, courtesy of some legendary fellow denizens of the Sunshine State.

Johnny Van Zant, lead vocalist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and his brother Donnie Van Zant created a song to celebrate freedom and Florida, thanking Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership over the past few years.

As Governor DeSantis heads into a reelection campaign, he mentioned to Van Zant it would be great if they created a song for Florida in the same genre as their famous hit Sweet Home Alabama. The two brothers took the challenge and wrote and recorded “Sweet Florida.” It’s a catchy tune.

Governor DeSantis joined Johnny and Donnie Van Zant this morning on Fox & Friends to discuss.

Catchy it most certainly is, a stirring Southern rock anthem in the true old Skynyrd style. Dear departed big brother Ronnie would be damned proud of his junior siblings, I think. Sundance includes vid of DeSantis promoting the Skynyrd tribute on Fox, as you might expect. Meanwhile, have yourself a taste of the song itself.



As if all that weren’t enough rich, buttery goodness for even the greediest gourmet, the song has its very own website, here.

Yeah, we’re free down in Florida; our governor, he’s red, white, and blue. Hott-O-Mighty DAMN, but I love it. Big ol’ Southren-fried hat tip to Barry.

Update! Just watched it again, and the song not only has the same key signature—D Major—but the exact same 1-7-4 (D-C-A) primary chord progression as Sweet Home Allybammer does. God bless Florida, the South, the Van Zants, Ron DeSantis, and good ole Southern Rock.



Ahh, the 70s. What the hell, since we’re well down the rabbit hole at this point, let’s just dive a little deeper so’s I can share with y’all what always was my own personal favorite Skynyrd tune.



Smash ’em up-date! And the hits just keep on coming.

DeSantis broaches repeal of Disney World’s special self-governing status in Florida
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed on Thursday the suggestion of repealing a 55-year-old state law that allows Disney to effectively govern itself on the grounds of Walt Disney World, following the company’s public opposition to a controversial parental rights law in Florida.

“What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday.

DeSantis’s comments comes after Florida State Rep. Spencer Roach tweeted that he has met with legislators to discuss repealing the self-governing law in response to Disney’s recent actions.

“Yesterday was the 2nd meeting in a week w/fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government,” Roach tweeted. “If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County.”

While I’m viscerally against any flexing of government muscle in the private sector just on general principle, it’s clear we’re way beyond the point where stubbornly standing on principle can help us much. This is a war we’re in here, and out-of-control Woke mega-corps who think to dictate to state governments what they may and may not do is a bridge too far for me. As DeSantis has said:

“This state is governed by the interest of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives,” DeSantis said. “They do not run this state. They do not control this state.”

Nor should they, nor should they be allowed to summarily act as if they do. With the announcement that “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts…” Disney declared war on the very concept of self-government. Fine then, motherfuckers. You want a war? You got one—with Ron The Knife as our commanding general. Let’s see how that works out for ya.

Disney’s wildly mistaken notion of what their “goal as a company” should be needs to be corrected, badly and most ricky-tick. DeSantis and his like-minded cohorts in FLA government just might be the perfect teachers to straighten Disney’s ass out but good, seems to me. It’s absolutely imperative that US corporate execs, whatever their employer’s field of endeavor, are reminded of the proper role, priorities, and boundaries of American businesses. Given their own outsized power, influence, and reach, this reminder must be firm, unequivocal—even painful, if that’s what’s required to force them back into their own lane again.

1

Above their station

The Wokester punk-ass cockholsters dare to dream of cancelling Tchaikovsky now? SRSLY?!?

I see poor old Tchaikovsky is getting canceled by world-renowned ensembles such as the, er, Cardiff Philharmonic because he has stayed silent when he should have been noisily distancing himself from Vladimir Putin. As our friend Laura Rosen Cohen has pointed out, Peter Ilyich was quite the Ukrainophile: he used to summer there every year, just like many American politicians and money launderers. Nevertheless, his boots were on the ground far more often than Lindsey Graham’s: There are statues of Tchaikovsky and museums to him in at least two northern Ukrainian towns, as well as in Kiev.

So I thought, as compensation for disappointed Cardiff Phil customers, we’d have a little Tchaikovsky for our Sunday musical selection. Of course, ours is a department of songs, so you’ll have to suffer the great Russian with an American lyric – and, indeed, with a British lyric.

Our story begins in 1939. Well, actually, it begins in 1869. That’s when Tchaikovsky’s fellow composer Balakirev proposed Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a subject to young Pyotr Ilyitch. The resulting “fantasy-overture” uses the Bard’s characters and themes for a series of musical contrasts, starting with the reflective clarinet-and-bassoon melody representing the star-crossed lovers’ pal Friar Laurence, next a stormy passage for the feudin’ an’ a-fightin’ Montagues and Capulets, and then the famous soaring love theme…

As it happens, Pyotr Ilyich is a long-time favorite of mine, and the Fantasy Overture one of my favorites among his works, although I must point out that I like Tchaikosvky well enough that I can’t really think of any of them I find off-putting. The FO stands out in the Tchaikovsky catalog, with its strangely ominous and dark opening section:




Yep, we have ourselves another brilliant SteynMusic post here, folks. Incredibly, Mark missteps slightly with the next bit.

In the context of the full piece, it’s as if the composer is either too cool or too serious to let rip with the theme and blow the roof off.

Think so, do ya? Well, I don’t know what we’re to make of the thunderous close-out, then.




If that don’t blow your roof off but good, then I’d say you got yourself one hell of a stout roof. When Tchaikovsky’s signature drumroll begins its thunderous, crashing announcement of the final bars it’s some truly stirring stuff, and no mistake.

The story of What Happened Next takes some truly wild twists and turns from there, even by SteynMusic standards. Highly, HIGHLY recommended, people.

A night in Hell

BCE posts on his stay in one of THOSE hotels; most of the saltier old road-dogs among us will need no explanation of what I mean by that, I trust. Naturally, BCE’s nightmarish and all-too-familiar story put me in mind of one of the single most atrocious dumps I can remember staying at: the Admiral Benbow Inn, in Memphis Tn. Regrettably, I made the mistake of DDG’ing the God-forsaken pit and wound up falling into the dreaded Search Engine Sinkhole, hitting links like a blow-junkie lab rat fiending for another sweet, sweet hit, sucked in by article after article chronicling the poor old Benbow’s rise and fall. Never woulda thunk it, but there’s some truly interesting history there, great gooey gobs of it. The backstory:

Dear Vance: Who the heck was Admiral Benbow, and what happened to all those motels here that were named after him? — J.F., Memphis.

Dear J.F.: Just like Colonel Harland Sanders with his Kentucky Fried Chicken empire, John Benbow (1653-1702) was a real person, an admiral in the British Royal Navy. During a long career at sea, he served as the commander of several vessels against various enemies, ranging from Barbary pirates to the French fleet, and I don’t have the time or energy to go into that here. Benbow died from injuries received in battle, with a biographer noting the cause of death was “the wound of his leg, never being set to perfection, which malady being aggravated by the discontent of his mind, threw him into a sort of melancholy.”

The admiral was buried in Jamaica, and his fame was so great that Robert Louis Stevenson, author of the 1883 classic, Treasure Island, named a tavern in his book the “Admiral Benbow Inn.”

Many years later, another enterprising gentleman in Memphis would do the same.

Allen Gary was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1913. Somehow he ended up in Memphis, as so many men and women from the Magnolia State do. In the mid-1930s, he attended Central High School and Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College). At some point, he met up with a business partner, George Early, and together they converted a nineteenth-century stable on Bellevue into a popular eatery called, quite naturally, The Stable. When it opened in 1941, it might be considered one of this city’s first theme restaurants. Not only was it decorated, inside and out, like a rustic barn, but the menu for this “Dispenser of Southern Horse-pitality” included such dishes as the Stagecoach, Hack, Hansom, Buggy, Surrey, and Sulky.

By all accounts, the Stable, located at Union and Bellevue, was a success, and quite a few readers have asked about it over the years, remembering good meals and good times there. But Gary and Early decided to branch out, forming other enterprises. Gary had befriended two of this city’s leading “hospitality men” — motel king Kemmons Wilson and drive-in operator Harold Fortune — and after serving for a time as manager of Fortune’s Belvedere, one of the chain’s largest and fanciest locations, Gary worked out an arrangement with Wilson to open restaurants at Holiday Inns around the South.

This wasn’t quite enough, though. In 1950, Gary and Early converted a brick cottage at Union and Willett into a cozy restaurant that they named the Admiral Benbow Inn. So the first Admiral Benbow in Memphis, or anywhere else for that matter, wasn’t a motel. Newspapers admired the new venture, noting that “its interior furnishings are completely modern in contrast with the fifteenth-century atmosphere.” Even though the tiny building sat just 20 feet from Union, “in the Terrace Room, eating pleasure blends with the busy traffic scene.” Just like in the fifteenth century!

At some point, it seems Early dropped out of this enterprise; I don’t know why. By 1960, Gary was operating 18 restaurants, an accomplishment that earned him a place in American Restaurant magazine’s Hall of Fame. A story about Gary in that publication — perhaps you saw it? — observed, “A restaurant operator whose receipts his first day in business totaled $7.10 [they are talking about the Stable] is today doing a business volume that exceeded $2 million in the fiscal year that just ended, operating restaurants in hotels in six Southern states.”

That still wasn’t enough for Gary. He next conceived Benbow Snack Bars, free-standing diner-type establishments, which often had little more than a counter and 12 stools, much like the nationwide chain of Toddle Houses. These were designed to be erected near motels that had no restaurant of their own, you see, but I was never able to determine how many Benbow Snack Bars were actually constructed. American Restaurant magazine, packed with helpful information, does say that Snack Bars “have been added in Memphis and in Laurel, Mississippi, and Gary is currently studying sites in 10 states” but didn’t say where, exactly, the Memphis locations were.

In 1960, Gary returned to his roots. He tore down his first venture, the old Stable, and erected the first Admiral Benbow Inn — this time a motel — at Union and Bellevue. The modern styling was certainly eye-catching, with lots of white concrete, bright colors, and suspended walkways linking what was considered this city’s first two-story motel. Of course, it included a restaurant along with a lounge called the Escape Hatch. He soon opened others — on Summer, next door to Imperial Bowling Lanes, and on Winchester, close to the airport.

As you can see from the images here, the Admiral Benbow Inn was certainly a nice-looking place and stood out from most of the hum-drum motels being constructed at the time. During its first years, it boasted occupancy rates of 100 percent. But for reasons that I don’t fully understand (since the Lauderdales never frequented such places), the motel developed a bad reputation. In fact, by February 2000, Admiral Benbow had declined to the point where my pal Jim Hanas wrote a Memphis Flyer cover story about his brief stay there. With a title of “Broken Palace: The Last Days of the Admiral Benbow,” you can tell it’s not a flattering portrait.

It was here, in fact, at the Admiral Benbow in Midtown that a fellow named Malcolm Fraser woke up one morning in 1986 to find himself without clothes, luggage, or money. Now this would be disconcerting for anybody, but Fraser just happened to be the former prime minister of Australia, in town for a business visit, and was supposed to be staying at The Peabody. The whole matter was never sorted out, but it’s typical of the decidedly unusual events that seemed to plague the Admiral Benbows in Memphis over the years.

So what happened to them?

Okay, so far, so…well, so dull, honestly. Aside from the mysterious Fraser saga, it’s the sort of dry, aggressively mundane stuff only a Memphian with an obssessive local-history fetish could find interesting, or maybe somebody who was being paid to act as if he had such a fetish. Hang in there though; we’re just about to hit the motherlode.

Memphis celebrates, occasionally even enshrines, its motels. The Lorraine has been encased for future reference as the National Civil Rights Museum; the Heartbreak Hotel, once a mere metaphor in the spiritual neighborhood of Lonely Street, now stands in literal glass and stone on Elvis Presley Boulevard; and the success story of Kemmons Wilson and Holiday Inns Inc. is eclipsed only by that of Fred Smith and Federal Express in the local mythology.

Even the dutiful Gideons have abandoned the Admiral Benbow at the corner of Union and Bellevue, however. There is no trace of either testament in the several drawers in room 245, one of which has had its front torn off and placed neatly inside it where the Bible ought to be.

The television is cockeyed from a failed attempt to rip it from its security mooring, although it doesn’t work so well anyway, and like most everything else in the room, it is rutted with burns from careless cigarettes and/or crack-pipes.

Seven doors down, a man was once stabbed with such a pipe by his so-called boyfriend, or so he said when, out of breath, he waved down a police cruiser at the corner of Madison and Cleveland. The boyfriend told a different story. He himself had been savagely beaten with the room’s telephone by the first man, he said, who had then stabbed himself with the crack pipe. He was only giving chase, he explained, so he could help.

The phone in 245 looks as though it may be the veteran of a beating or two. The plate over the keypad has disappeared, and much else in the room has been either picked clean or otherwise rendered useless. The cover of the heating duct leans beneath the sink. The bathtub faucet leaks hot water and cannot be made to stop. Pee-colored formica peels from the sway-topped sink and the flesh-colored stucco walls crack indiscriminately. The door’s security latch is no longer secure (nor any longer technically a latch, really), the hidden workings of the light switch are not hidden, and the peephole — the one you’re supposed to look through before, ever, ever opening the door — has been plugged with a tiny piece of cloth.

And not a Bible in sight, here when you really need one.

Unlike Memphis’ celebrated motels, the Benbow does not represent anything prized about the city or its history, anything people actually draw paychecks promoting. It is not a monument to the civil rights movement, the birthplace of rock-and-roll, or Memphis’ role as a universal crossroads.

Instead, the Benbow represents another side of the city, a side people draw paychecks keeping quiet, a side that’s as old as the city’s days as a rough river town and crime capital of the known universe.

It’s here that Little Pete, a 19-year-old gangsta from South Memphis, got pinched for shooting a man just off Elvis Presley Boulevard. Where a man once celebrated Valentine’s Day by flying into a drunken rage, trashing his room, and slapping his girlfriend around, all before 10 a.m. Where guests have occasionally tried to off themselves with excess anti-depressants, detergents, and razor-blades.

If, as everyone seems to agree, the Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of The Peabody, then it just might end somewhere in the tomblike parking lot here at the Admiral Benbow.

The Benbow’s seediness comes only in part from its dilapidation. Part of it is a matter of architecture. The elevated rooms, once a clever parking solution, create a claustrophobic above-ground subterrain ricocheting with shadows and echoes. A series of catwalks connecting the motel’s four buildings makes you feel as though you may already be in prison, so, well, what the hell anyway. In urban planning lingo, these effects might be described pathologically, symptoms of a property that is “sick.”

Once, when the Monkees stayed here, the parking lot and catwalks were overrun by screaming, teenaged girls.

A half-naked woman lies bloody and motionless beside the bed. G-men let a tabloid photographer into the room to snap some shots of the corpse, of the spectacle of blood and breasts and the 9mm cupped in a cold hand.

Nothing serves to verify the Benbow’s status as a dive — with all the campiness that implies — quite like this scene from The Sore Losers, the burlesque allegory from local cult filmmaker Mike McCarthy.

Mid-scene, there is an establishing shot of the motel’s neon sign and marquee, and audiences are expected to get the joke. “Cheap applause for the local crowd,” McCarthy explains.

Everyone knows you haven’t slummed until you’ve slummed at the Admiral Benbow.

Although McCarthy had his car vandalized while filming at the motel, it didn’t keep him from putting out-of-town talent up here during the filming of his latest movie, SuperStarlet A.D., at least for a night.

“The surreal charm wears off when we realize the doors are broken,” co-star Gina Velour writes of the place in her diary of the shoot, which appeared in Hustler’s Leg World last year. “The moldy ceiling is hanging like fog, and there is a single, bare 60-watt bulb, just like in the movies. It’s the worst night I can remember in all my travels. I can’t do this for the next three weeks.”

And she doesn’t, demanding from McCarthy better digs in the Red Roof Inn up the street.

“They didn’t share my sense of humor,” McCarthy admits.

Evidently camp has its limits, even for aspirant B-movie starlets.

I have to say, Ms Velour’s Admiral Benbow experience closely corresponds with my own.

Even more fascinating Admiral Benbow lore at the linked articles—some of it amusing, some of it terrifying, none of it in the least shocking or too far out for Benbow survivors. And we are legion, because some years back just about every bar, theater, or other mid-level and below music venue in Memphis, as well as independent bookers and promoters, made it their practice to book hotel rooms for bands on tour at the Benbow. The place was filthy. It was dangerous. It was run down, literally falling apart in whole sections. And it was positively crawling with drunks, junkies, crackheads, hookers, johns, flim-flam men, muggers, and other fascinating specimens from every strata of Memphis lowlife, criminality, and dysfunction. There are roaches crawling up the walls of the rooms as big as your thumb—bigger, even. Go ahead, ask me how I know.

But for promoters and venue owners and such, the Benbow wasn’t entirely without its charms nonetheless. It was dirt cheap, and for people working that side of the music-biz street, cheap trumps all else. Especially when you know you don’t have to spend the night there your own self.

The first time a promoter tried to shoehorn us into the Benbow box, we took one look at our assigned room, looked at each other in horror, and agreed immediately that we would NOT be staying at this wretched shitpit after that night’s show, taking it upon ourselves to speedily flee to someplace fit for human habitation and just foot the bill ourselves, even though our contract rider called for two double-occupancy hotel rooms, comped. If I remember right, we ended up at a Red Roof not far away, likely the same one Gina Velour wisely decamped to.

Our next time in town, the guy who had booked us met us at the venue seeming quite pleased with himself at having procured our two rooms already, saving us the trouble of checking in. We pounced without delay: might these rooms happen to be at the Benbow, perchance? Sensing there was trouble afoot, his cheery face fell as he admitted that it was so. We informed him sharply that no, we would NOT be staying at the Admiral Benbow, neither tonight nor ever again. As a compromise measure, we WOULD be willing to hold off on starting the show until he got us rooms at an acceptable hotel, so he wouldn’t habe to miss anything.

It’s common knowledge in the rock and roll universe that when two touring bands hit the road together, even if only for a few days, there is a kind of accelerated bonding between the two camps which takes place, formed initially around all the experiences they have in common: days on end eating nothing but horrible food and the inevitable distress that comes along with it; hot, easy women in specific cities; crippling hangovers and how best to deal with ’em; where the closest liquor store might be, and who’s going to have to shag his ass over there after sound check but before downbeat to fetch a jug for the green room, and such-like topics. Included among these topics: the Admiral Benbow, and how incomprehensibly skeevy it was.

I mean, ALL of our peers knew the place; everybody had a horror story, each more grisly than the one before, and not a one of us doubted for a moment that every word was gospel truth. No one that had actually been there doubted, at any rate. Those who had lived to tell the tale KNEW the truth, having survived the trauma, learned the lessons, and earned the scars. The rest? Well, they’d be finding out soon enough, poor things.

Any hard-touring band that’s put enough miles under their asses can tell you that there are indeed places dotted all across the American road atlas which no normal person knows about, nor will ever see. We’ve all spent our share of sweaty, sleepless nights tossing, turning, and scratching our fresh insect bites in hotels and motels Normals wouldn’t even believe exist. But they do. Those squalid dens are indeed out there…WAITING.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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