Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Broken Heart", The Babys

Right, I know - I didn't anticipate a Babys' song making its way into this space, either. But a fine gentleman by the name of John Marcher recently started following this blog, and when I was in San Francisco earlier this month I was fortunate enough to meet him in person at the Mission Bar. Prior to that, through a variety of on-line communiques, we discovered that, growing up in Southern California at the same time, we likely had attended many of the same concerts (confirming two for sure, I believe - Blue Oyster Cult, Pat Travers and Cindy Bullins (sp?) at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus in 1979 (the Cult were touring the LP Mirrors), and the "festival" I'm about to discuss), including this gem at the Coliseum in either '79 or '80, I think - Cheap Trick (I want to say the Dream Police tour); Journey; Black Sabbath (Dio on vocals); Molly Hatchet (not Danny Joe Brown on vocals but his replacement (although I think, later, DJB returned)); The Babys (Jonathan Cain had recently joined; later he moved up the food chain to Journey); and then a band named either Force 10 or Russia (they went by BOTH names for a time; not sure which banner they were flying this day). Anyway, as these things happen, this got me to thinking about the Babys, and the first couple of songs I heard by them (Isn't It Time and Broken Heart) which appeared on their second album, also called Broken Heart.

The pop hit was the aforementioned Isn't It Time, and like a good little 15 year old I went out and bought the single (the flip side was a song called Give Me Your Love, with the Audenesque opening lyric, "Give me your love/ooooo, I need that thing real bad."). Along about that time I was juggling back and forth between AM and FM, and started buying albums instead of singles. When I heard the FM song, Broken Heart (and still enjoying the single), I went ahead and bought the album. The next record, Head First, featured a monster FM "rocker" of the same name (this was around 1979 and I'd just started high school), and they really took off for a couple of years after that, releasing two more records (I think) - Union Jacks, a fairly solid pop/rock album (the AM hit was Back on My Feet Again; the FM Midnight Rendezvous), and then, finally, Over the Edge, which was just awful (sample lyric from Sweet 17 - "Blowin' bubbles in the parking lot/got her mouth full of sticky stuff". Cheers, guys!).

And, yes, that was WAY too much time to spend on the Babys - fair enough, I'm not going to argue. But give the song a listen nonetheless. It's short; you likely have not heard it; the drums send it along its way quite nicely; John Waite sounds like he actually gives a shit on this one; it doesn't overwhelm with keyboards or dumb backing vocals; it has a couple nice guitar pieces, especially behind the vocal on the chorus. And then you never have to think about it again!

Broken Heart...


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Croce - Slyde Croce...

I just got an e-mail from Slyde Croce. Slyde Croce wants to loan me money, and I'm almost certain he wants to loan YOU money as well. But don't take my word for it, let's hear it directly from Slyde and his pals - "we offer out loan at a low rate of 2%, both secure and unsecured". I mean, hell - with a name like Slyde Croce how could anything go wrong, you know? So, if you're interested, just send me your e-mail address and some personal information which we can discuss in private, and I'll pass the whole kit and kaboodle along to Slydesy (as his friends call him). Oh, and if you're not interested, don't give it a second thought: I'll see to it that you never get on his "mailling list"...

Just more informative shit from your financial wizards over at infection by light...


(In Which I Share Some Trivia Tidbits re: Chicago-Born American Film Actor Robert Ryan, 1909 to 1973...)

The other day I watched a Max Ophuls' film from 1949, Caught. The movie starred Robert Ryan, Barbara Bel Geddes, and James Mason. Now, I was under the impression this was film-noir, or at least some kind of thriller (I will take the blame for not researching any further than what NetFlix told me off to the right in my queue). Technically, it might qualify as film-noir, but it certainly wasn't very thrilling, and there was (at least) one fairly major flaw in the story line that pretty much ruined the movie for me mid-way through. It's just not a strong screenplay any way you look at it. But what kept me watching to the end was the presence of James Mason, one of my favorite actors; also, the movie looks beautiful - the lighting and many, many shots are pretty marvelous (cinematography by Lee Garmes). And then there was Robert Ryan, with his grim, determined, angry face, and I remembered that he'd always been one of my father's favorites, so I thought I'd take a look at his biography over on to learn a little something about him, and it is now your Great Fortune that I will share a couple of the details I learned...

First, should you not be familiar with his face, here is a shot of him from Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969)...

A drill sergeant in the Marine Corp, Ryan was also an accomplished boxer, as well as a long time champion of civil rights. He was against McCarthyism (in fact he worked with John Wayne in the early 50s and was appalled by Wayne's support for McCarthy; in truth, anybody against Wayne's politics earns a special place in IBL's heart), against the Hollywood blacklist, was an early founder/champion of the anti-nuclear movement, and close friends with Lee Marvin (earning him another tip of the IBL cap). {But wait - THERE'S MORE!} Jeff Bridges, another IBL favorite, sites Ryan as a major influence; originally, Ryan was to play Commodore Decker on The Doomsday Machine, absolutely my favorite Star Trek episode (William Windom wound up with the part); finally, because why not, Ryan lived in Apartment 72 at the Dakota in New York City until shortly before his death from lung cancer in 1973. He then rented it out to John and Yoko and subsequently his estate sold it to the couple.

Cheers to whomever manages the data over there at, and here's hoping they're fairly accurate, too (anybody with knowledge of conflicting information please feel free to let me know)...


Monday, November 28, 2011

Ken Russell - July 3rd, 1927 to November 27th, 2011

Once in the early 90s I was at a video store with Nick Jorgensen in Noe Valley, San Francisco, looking to pick up a couple of movies. One of them (I forget the other) was Whore, by Ken Russell. When I got to the counter, the guy took the box from my hand and said to me, "Look, you don't want to rent this movie. Please don't rent this movie. Go home, think about it, and if you STILL want to see it, come back another day and I'll let you have it for free, okay?" He seemed like a nice guy, so we put Whore back and picked out something else.

A few years later I was in Michigan and it was 2 for 1 night and so I thought, well, maybe now it's time to see Whore, as it will sort of be "for free". And that is how Whore made my top 3 worst movies I've ever seen list, which also includes, sadly, Nicholas Roeg's "Cold Heaven" and Baby Lynch's "Boxing Helena" (and, yes, there are likely worse movies than these three out there in the world, but these movies were TRYING to be good; I'm sure The Rock starring in The Tooth Fairy is worse than any of these, but a) I obviously didn't see it and b) just based on the trailer a person would be pretty clear about the fact that they were not trying to make a serious movie (but I digress)). However, Whore is NOT how I will remember Ken Russell. How I will remember Ken Russell is -

  • Lair of the White Worm - Fantastically silly and campy and scary (based on a lesser known Bram Stoker).
  • Salome's Last Dance - Just a fine fucking movie.
  • The Devils - Ditto (and Vanessa Redgrave as the most beautiful nun I have ever seen).
  • The Music Lover - Richard Chamberlain as Tchaikosky!
  • Crimes of Passion - Just almost impossible to describe if you haven't seen it, but Kathleen Turner is an architect by day and a prostitute named, as I recall, China Blue by night, and then Tony Perkins shows up with a rather large dildo (kids don't try this at home).
  • Women in Love - sure, Alan Bates and Oliver Reed nude wrestling, but so much more too!

At any rate, he made some movies that didn't work for me (Gothic, Tommy) but, in general, you knew if it was Ken Russell he'd thrown himself into the thing completely, hit or miss, and it would almost always have something in it that you'd say to yourself, "Well, haven't seen that before..."

Cheers, Ken...


Sunday, November 20, 2011

And, when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown...

So before I left San Francisco the first time, for Michigan (say summer of 1993), I was staying with Paul Romano and Nick Jorgensen up at the top of 22nd and Grandview for a few days (weeks?). One evening Paul and I sat down to watch some late night TV, either Carson (is that possible?) or Leno, or MAYBE Letterman. Anyway, one of the guests that night was Pat Benatar, who was promoting her recent Blues (!) album...

Then, lo and behold, for reasons that I don't recall, and unprompted by the host, Pat Benatar starts talking about Thomas Pynchon. Now for Paul, after Dostoevsky, Mr. Pynchon might be his favorite writer, or at least VERY near the top of the list. I don't know if moments like these are deemed "epiphanical" or simply "jaw-dropping", but Paul stared at the screen in shock and awe (tm) and then turned to me and said, in essence, "If you had told me that Pat Benatar would be on this show promoting a BLUES album AND THEN would start talking about Thomas Pynchon, well..."; and in my mind's eye (or verisimilitude?) he simply shook his head at the wonder and splendor of our modern world. Or, to put it another way, Paul did NOT see that coming...

I have now left San Francisco a second time, June 2011, for the state of Washington. Danielle and I finally made it to Green Lake, Seattle as of 11/1. Our local tavern is a country western bar called The Little Red Hen (link attached) and, to be perfectly honest, the LiReHe (as Bid Daddy might call it) is one of the main reasons we moved to Green Lake - lovely people, both customers and staff; good to really good music most nights; free dance lessons; tasty and inexpensive food (check out the extensive menu); a two minute walk. On Thanksgiving night (doors at 7 and, yes, we HAVE booked a seat at the bar, thanks for asking) we will be seeing Knut Bell and the Blue Collars, local favorites who get PRIME evenings at the Little Red Hen- Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve, etc.

A couple of nights ago we were sitting at the bar and met a bartender, Lila (about my age, give or take), for the first time. In the course of conversation, she told us she'd grown up in Green Lake - elementary school, high school (a cheerleader), family still lives close by in the neighborhood. Then, and I'm not exactly sure why, Lila started singing a childhood bedtime song to us ... in Norwegian. She went through it once (very lilting, I must say), then a second time, providing us line by line translations of the content as she went (vocabulary word of the day: "rumpa" is "booty"). She then indicated she could teach us Norwegian if we were interested (!). To which I said, "You mean to this day you speak Norwegian fluently and could, for example, hold an extended conversation with a Norwegian speaker if they came through the front door?" To which she said, "Of course"; then added, "in fact I will this weekend when KNUT BELL COMES TO PLAY." (Emphasis mine.) "He's from Norway."

And, I mean, of course he is, right? "Knut" (Ka-Noot). At any rate, our sudden immersion into All Things Norwegian (ATN - childhood BEDTIME songs?) at our local country western bar? No, I certainly did NOT see that coming.


Fictional Lesbian Pairings (I)

Eva Destruction hearts Betty Rubble. Betty is cautiously optimistic.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

November Poem (In Which I Shamelessly Promote my Poetry Chapbook, "Big Cotton Sun")

So it's November, and Danielle and I have actually moved to Seattle, the Green Lake neighborhood, and boy do I like it here. At any rate, things have been hectic so not much activity on the blog, but I did manage to update November's poem to an oldie but goodie, Shooting Up Jesus. Should you take a shine to this poem and develop a longing and yearning for others like it, there is a 30 page chapbook of poetry called Big Cotton Sun which I published with Main Street Rag Press out of Charlotte, NC, in 2003. As the holiday season is approaching, this could be JUST the gift for all your Friends of Faith. The link below will take you to their website and I think he does have a few copies still available -

Main Street Rag On-Line Book Store...

If this all seems to0 busy somehow and you want to contact me directly at, I may be able to track down a copy for you in one of our moving boxes...