Warmed up to Ought on Monday; that was nice. Went to the office. Wondered if the Walkin’ Dog guy would be slinging franks, since it was a holiday of sorts, and the temperatures were so low he might think there wasn’t a point. But he was there. Said he’s taking two weeks off in March when the police accused in the Floyd Matter are put on trial. Said he’s heard that a lot of the Gov building staff has been advised to work from home, because no one knows what’s going to happen.

His face mask said “Birds Aren’t Real” and I started laughing. “You know about that?” He said, and yes, I do, and I’m not just laughing at that, it’s the fact that it was 15 below this morning, downtown is even more extra-super deserted, m there’s no one left in this food court except you, and you’re wearing a Birds Aren’t Real face mask.

This was not something I could have predicted a year ago. Now it’s normal. I also did not expect that the lobby would start to play Muzak. But they are playing Muzak - in the sense of "easy-listening soft-rock with an even blander arrangement than the original."

Did they always play it, and no one noticed because there was always a low thrum of conversation and noise from the adjacent coffee shop? Strip a place to the bones, and it turns out it’s channeling the soul of an elevator in 1976?

The song, by the way, is some yacht-rock yecch; a fresh No-Prize to the first who can name it.

NOTE: the office monitors just said the temperature had climbed to 1, which is like the moment in the sub movie where they’re at the bottom of the sea, and the gauge is all the way to the left, but then it twitches and jerks up a notch, and hope floods into the boat. Like that.










Amazon tossed up a recommendation from the depths of its strange, cobwebbed, idiosyncratic vaults: a documentary on Louis Prima.

Usual extravagant claims: he invented rock and roll! Well, no. Lots of old interviews that suggested the doc was from the VHS era; the clothes and fonts on the titles certainly suggested it. The people interviewed praised his ability to deconstruct songs and turn them inside out, take an outsider’s posture to the song’s rote romantic cliches.

Proof: Louis in Vegas with the band, doing Old Black Magic, refusing to take anything seriously.  WHY IT'S ALMOST POSTMODERN

No. They're goofing on it for a midnight audience that’s half in the bag, Louis playing up his happy Goombah schtick. They’re amusing themselves, because they're years past being bored by the source material.

What makes the bit work, of course, is Keely Smith’s deadpan reactions, and the way she steps in, casually, and just soars. She’s the wife who knows all her husband’s moves and excuses and foibles; everything about her performance is “long-suffering” plus “not suffering in the least.” Whatever she wants out of this, you sense, she gets, and she has all the strings gathered in one hand. She just doesn’t see the point in yanking them. At the moment.

Ah, a different bygone era, almost completely gone. The doc has Sam Butera, Louis’ sax man; he died in ’09. Keely died in 2017; I don’t remember noting it.

  I first encountered the Prima-Keely-Butera combo when Capitol Records brought out their Lounge series, which I used as bumper music for the Diner.

I’ve mentioned this before here - there was a 90s vogue for “cocktail” music, “lounge,” the swank sounds of the 50s and 60s. This stuff was cool again. It coincided with a retro-vintage appreciation for the Atomic-age design, the exuberant space-age vibe, and I was all in for that. It was the last surge of specific nostalgia until the recent interest in the 80s (which I am watching with interest.) The lounge resurgence was heartening, because the era it revived was grown-up, swank, broad, tipsy, stylish, and confident. I loved it. Not so much where I bought the furniture and star clocks and hung around the house in a bowling shirt, but I loved it, and the Bleat design reflected it.

Then we tired of it, as we always do. We gorge on the cream, get a sugar rush, crash, and cast about for something else. The Lounge / Googie / Space-Age aesthetic was specifically wedded to a time and a culture, and it was impossible to inhabit it again without feeling like you were playing dress-up - which, of course, you were.

I miss the era, and I miss the respect paid to it. Anyway, God bless Louis Prima, who rode through several eras with a big broad grin. And to think I heard him as a kid in a cartoon movie, and never knew. None of the kids did. All of the parents did.

One more thing: that tune in "Back to the Future"? All Sam.



It’s 1977. Prepare for the worst.

If you ATE A PAGE you were an ACTUAL VAMPIRE!

I remember this. I remember rolling my eyes.

Snopes: “A subsequent rumor maintained that, due to a mix-up at the printers’, the batch of red ink containing the blood of KISS members was actually used for a print run of Sports Illustrated magazine and did not end up in the Marvel Comic as intended.”

The blood was drawn on Feb 21, 1977, so mark your calendars to celebrate.


Obviously we’re in a rock mag here - Hit Parader. This ad was so very 77 - all stoner and stupid.

You’ve heard this thing in use.

Question is, did he want to thank us? Was that what Peter said?

Everyone had one of these or knew someone who did. The only thing was . . .

. . . no one believed them. Didn’t take long before you felt stupid thinking it ever worked. Refinery29 says: “So yes, mood rings are undoubtedly reflecting real-life changes in your body temperature, which can occur in response to your emotions, but they're never going to tell you something about your emotions that you don't already know.”

Right. But perhaps they were a means of broadcasting this erroneous information to others.


More than you ever wanted to know about Flanging, here.

Or you can buy one and start experimenting. Man, they’ve really worked hard to keep the graphics up-to-date!

This is bring back unpleasant dorm-room flashback memories. The cool serious intense people had to have one of these.

It’s a wonder every hippie-hole didn’t burn down.

When your marketing team is a bunch of guys in their fifties with comb-overs who haven’t noted any shifts in the vernacular:

Ah, these guys. Song-poems. My old favorites.

They still have a website!

I don’t remember the Starcaster.

Fender itself says:

Often considered one of the more esoteric novelties in the history of Fender guitars, the Starcaster—with its uniquely offset semi-hollow body and curvaceous, divisive headstock—arrived in 1976 as the company’s first new electric model in three years. It proved unpopular at the time and was discontinued by the fall of 1980.

Gee,  with an ad like that, I cannot imagine why.

That will do today, I hope.




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