Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Anti-Society #1991 The Last Issue

I used to write and edit a fanzine called Anti-Society. I've posted previous issues here, but I'm way too lazy to find them today so if you're curious you can go through the archives. Today is all about the last issue. It's ultra rare and ultra crummy. The front and back cover's rock - I'm pretty sure the back cover is a Robert Frank photo. I didn't feel like writing much so the issue is eat up by Situationist goo gah and a Lucy's flyer, some record reviews and an actual ad for some lame punk band. One notable about the record reviews: I review a band named Coolfork from Texas. My pal and former Dislocated bass player Shrub was playing for them at the time. They later mutated into some little band called Bowling For Soup. So I was a Shrub away from greatness once. Enjoy. As always you can click on them and make the pics bigger.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Well, I'm a middle-aged punk now. The big 40 oz malt liquor (was it Olde English or Colt 45) went upside my head. I was feeling good over the weekend, but now I'm depressed and gloomy like the goth girls that hang out at Hot Topix at the mall.

Before I ran out of dopamine I did have a wonderful weekend:

The wife threw me a roller skating party and it was a blast. DD Blank showed off his rusty roller disco skills and everybody got a piece of the big birthday cookie. I fell on my rump once, but I got props for keeping it real. My kids had a great time. Once the 21 month old Liam strapped on skates he never wanted them off. I also managed to get in over 50 miles on my Trek the last 3 days.

Tonight I'll take Double E to her basketball practice and then I think I'll clean up my music area. That should fix the middle age cobwebbs nicely. And if it is all downhill from here I always did like rolling down hills as a child.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I had an Aunt Thankful

Thanksgiving! I think about food and Pilgrims. I think about growing older since my birthday sometimes falls on the holiday. This year it's on Sunday, but I expect I'll get a birthday gift or two tomorrow. I think about what I'm thankful about. And then I think about my Great Aunt Thankful. She was a little pecan shaped lady who lived in an old house in Murfreesboro. She owned another house across the street which was filled with antiques. I don't really know much about the lady other than that various family members were always plotting to get their hands on her antiques and money since she had no direct heirs. I would be paraded around to her every 6 months or so and was told to act right. Which I never could do. I didn't care about her money or her antiques. All I wanted to do was get the heck away from her shrewish shawl covered presence as soon as possible so I could get home and watch Mork And Mindy or some other classic sit-com. I'm sure she was a perfectly cool elderly lady, but little boys as a rule tend to shy away from old ladies on principle. I guess she finally died and somebody got all of her stuff. All she left me was her interesting name that triggers her memory every 4th Thursday of November.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Punk Rock Comedian Doesn't Believe In Barter

This little old blog's content used to be full of music reviews. Then I went on hiatus and I told people to stop sending me stuff. I kickstarted back into action and I recently decided to throw my hand into the rock critic world again. So I solicited promo's from indie labels throughout this great land. I sent a short and simple request: You've got CD's that need to be reviewed. I'll review them at my Soulfish Stew blog. It's as simple as that. Once reviewed you'll get the URL to use as you see fit.

I got this response from a label today: "You've got money. Send me the money and I'll write a review of the money and send you CDs in return." I laughed so hard I think I've pulled a muscle in my back again. I can dig somebody not wanting to barter in this cold, hard cash world. Of course, you'll never see any of that label's releases mentioned here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What's Your Pleasure Trans Am?

"What's your pleasure Trans Am?" That's my favorite line from Smokey And The Bandit. The Bandit has pulled into a gas station where he's asked the question. More people should ask what's your pleasure. You just never hear it these days. Can I help you? What do you want / need? What will it be? But never what's your pleasure.

Who cares about that you say - what's up with you being a Smokey And The Bandit fan? It's part of my heritage dude. When I was growing up my role models were my hell raising uncles and older cousins. They were prototypical beer drinkers and hell raisers; redneck to the core. Feathered back mullets and muscle cars were the coolest. Then there was the General Lee, and a knife attached to a cowboy belt with a big silver or gold buckle, this was the ideal I was given so I naturally rebelled. Punk rock was the dividing line.

More random thoughts for the day:

I'm really digging Rob & Big on Mtv. "It is what it is" is the best catchphrase since "Dyno-mite!"

Leonard Pitts has an excellent column about Gerald Levert and why it's a good thing to beg sometimes.

If you're a fan of old school Nashville rock and roll circa early 80's then you need to visit this website chock full of MP3 goodness. You can even make requests.

The great economist Milton Friedman is dead. Now the great director Robert Altman has joined him. I wonder who'll be next.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Toby Got Beat Up At A Metallica Show And DD Showed He Was A Heavy Metal Rocker, Too

Whilst rocking out in the car to the now old skool Master Of Puppets (a burned copy too...take that Lars!) my mind wandered back to the Damaged Justice tour and Metallica's Nashville stop on August 16, 1989. I was there with the skateboarding gang of Gonz, Toby, and Mike while DD Blank was there with his cousin Jimbo having purchased their tickets late in the game at our urging. Metallica launched into the first thunderous thrash of "Blackened" and Gonz screamed out, "I wonder how DD likes this" perhaps thinking the music was too loud and metallic for his super smart math geek tastes.

We glanced over to where DD was seated and he was on his feet pumping his fists into the air screaming at the world just like the rest of us. It was at that moment that the skateboarding gang figured out something that I already knew; that DD wasn't just some supra intelligent goodie two shoes (he was most voted most likely to suceed, not most likely to rock), but was just as depraved and human as the rest of us. Metallica were awe inspiring gods of rock that night with plenty of glory for us all just as they had been 6 months previously.

Gonz, Toby, Mike and I journeyed to Hunstville, Alabamy with banjoes on our knees to see Metallica rock the Von Braun Civic Center on February 8, 1989. It was cold and the snow capped peaks of Lynchburg were treacherous, but we all made it down while listening to New Order and Anthrax tapes (what a weirdo Wally combo pack). The show rawked in a must pleasing speed metal / thrash way (the Damaged Justice is regarded by many as Metlallica's live concert peak) and when the crowd began to mosh during the encores the security guards starting throwing people out of the show. This pissed us off to see the no necked weightlifting thugs roughing up kids so I threw a penny at the skull of a security goon who was grappling with a slamdancing scoundrel while Toby spit at the dude's gorilla cranium neither of us knowing that a second trailing concert security enforcer was following who witnessed your loogie rebellion while missing my penny assault and I nailed the bastard too.

The next Gonz, Mike, and I knew Toby was swept up into the goon's loving arms and promptly shown the door. I think Toby even had a broke body part at the time - an arm or wrist or something because I can remember talking about saying that the security guards did it? Did we bail on the encores to go check on Toby? Hell magnetically great was Metallica's pull. We did discuss it quite earnestly, but it wasn't like Toby was gonna' freeze to death in 15 minutes or so. What a night.

Monday, November 13, 2006


What to write today. A short rhetorical sentence like that one should be enough to warn you that you're in for a tedious time so I apologize in advance. A friend of mine from Texas once asked me how I kept coming up with stuff to post here and at the time I shrugged his question off humbly. It was no big deal. There was always something to impart whether it be the usual banalities or perhaps something of more substance. It was fun.

And now? It's just blah. Not just this blog either. I'm in a total state of blah the likes of which I haven't seen since I was a teenager when I'd come home from school in a total funk, slam my bedroom door, crank the stereo up to 10, and listen to Motorhead, Van Halen, and the Crue until Late Night with David Letterman came on. A shrink might tell me it has everything to do with turning 40 in thirteen days. I have been listening to lots of heavy metal again so maybe this is true, but I would think losing over 40 lbs and getting into bicycling would have defused that bomb.

So I think I will just go with the flow for a week or so. Indulge myself in this blah feeling. See where it takes me. Maybe a book will leap off the shelf and tackle me as I cross the room. Perhaps I'll think up some great new invention that will make me millions of dollars I could then blow on old pinball machines. Maybe God will decide he's bored with people like Moses and Paul and stop by for a chat. I could finally clean up all the old junk cluttering the house. I could just sit in an easy chair and contemplate nothing. Once I've done something I'll be back. So, maybe I'll see you tomorrow.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sesame Street Old School

Sesame Street made its debut today so how about a quick review of the recently released Sesame Street Old School DVD collection. It covers the years 1969-1974 with the premiere episodes from the first five seasons. It has its share of really cool moments, but the lack of Roosevelt Franklin except as a sideman in a couple of bits is disappointing. Maybe he’ll get his own DVD someday.

Disc one has a good share of things that time traveled me right back to my pre-school youth. The first episode ever is a trip with the introduction to just a few of the characters that would forever be etched in children’s hearts and minds. Oscar The Grouch is orange and Big Bird has a little head. An undercurrent of animosity seems to lurk behind Matt Robinson’s portrayal of Gordon, but I’ve always preferred his edge to the later bald Gordon.

Big Bird singing “ABC-DEF-GHI” is a classic illustration of the characters numbskull genius. “I Love Trash” by Oscar was my own personal theme song when I was a child. Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie” is on it as well as a couple of the classic Baker number counts. The original pitch film is included too.

Disc two unveils some more classic Muppet sketches. Cookie Monster sings “C Is For Cookie” and has the starring role in The Great Cookie Thief. Yep, yep, yep; the Martians land in Martian Telephone. The Mad Painter attempts to paint the #3 using picnic condiments.

Johnny Trash; I mean Johnny Cash sings “Nasty Dan” to Oscar on disc three. The Count makes a couple of appearances, ah ah ah. Bert gets angry about his Lost Paper Clips while John John looks on. I always thought John John was Gordon’s kid. The fabulous Jim Simon’s Wantu Studio’s Bread, Milk, & Butter cartoon is a most pleasant way to spend around a minute and twenty seconds. Fat Cat with Bip rocks and Super Grover tries to save a little lost girl, but Bert steals the show with “Doing The Pigeon.”

I don’t remember which disc, but I also was captivated by an animated bit about the changing of seasons with a little boy with an oddly pig shaped nose and the “Everybody Sleeps” song – I wonder where that baby is who was asleep on the train. It’s a great nostalgia journey for me and a wonderful introduction to youngsters of a time when Sesame Street was Elmo free, a far superior time in my eyes. They used to churn out over 100 episodes a year too compared to the 26 they make per year now.

If you want the thrill of classic Sesame Street without having to fork over your dough you can visit Folded Space for plenty of Youtube Sesame links. There’s still lots of great clips at Youtube, but who knows for how long. If you can't get enough of hearing about Sesame Street Old School you can go to Muppet Central and visit the forum.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Rex In '08!

I really thought Rex L. Camino was gonna' pull it out. I had imagined the newspaper headlines this morning: blogger wins governorship and senatorial bid or perhaps Camino shoots ultimate political smack, but alas it wasn't to be. Perhaps the voting public realized that jobs like governor and senator would be beneath someone of Rex's talents. There's only one position deserving of Rex's greatness - as future President Hillary's First Man. I'm sure Rex's present missus won't miss him for 4-8 years and I bet the former President William Jefferson would like to be completely free. Heck, that Britney girl will be single again really soon. So Rex in '08!

Monday, November 06, 2006

This Is A Political Survey...

There's just one more day I'll have to hear that recording, "This is a political survey, please hold on the line." One more day of finding my mailbox stuffed with Bob Corker, Harold Ford Jr., Mae Beavers, Bob Rochelle, Frank Buck, and Terrie Lynn Weaver ads. One more day I'll have to avoid the news networks and their talking heads prattle on about the Democrats chances of winning the House and Senate. Tuesday will come, the people will vote (I voted early), and then we'll wake up Wednesday and "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" while the Talking Heads sing, "same as it ever was."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Big 4-0 Vulture Gets Ready To Land

Black Belt Holmes recently mused to me, "Remember when 40 was old? I do." Now the big 4-0 vulture is set to feast on me like I was a Black Plague victim come November 26. I can't say that I dread the day. I'm more perplexed and slightly vexed at the onset of official middle agedom. How can I be hitting 40 when I still act so childish. The woefully underrated Anthrax - Sound Of White Noise came roaring from my car speakers yesterday as I turned on to a side street where an elderly guy sat waiting behind the wheel of a truck. Thoughts came fast as I wondered if I would still be cranking metal or punk rock when I reached 70 and would it be silly if I did. I suppose I will have to crank anything up to hear it, so the question's real heft comes from the sociological side. Will a 70 year old headbanger be silly and would this person even care what anybody else thought. To paraphrase Shakespeare, old age begins one's second childhood. I'll have more on this subject suddenly so near and dear to me as my last month of being 39 proceeds.

Wally's World Of Work Part 6

Wal-Mart model courtesy of Emmy.

This installment of Wally’s World Of Work brings me to the couple of years I spent at Wal-Mart as a sporting goods/automotive associate. Because you’re never an employee there; you’re an associate. Such euphemisms for employee are just dumb to me, but there probably are some people out there that buy into this psychological claptrap; most likely the higher ups in an organization. I don’t know what Wal-Mart currently does, but I even had to pass a Wonderlich test to get hired in 1993.

There was no real thought to where I was placed. I didn’t know anything about guns and hunting, but there I was selling rifles and hunting licenses. I know very little about automobiles, yet I helped customers install batteries. I also got to make keys and sometimes I got to venture down to the paint department and mix paint. If the toy department guy wasn’t around I got to dip goldfish out for folks. Finally, I would have to sometimes go up front and be a cashier.

I quickly learned you didn’t want to go up front. You’d end up stuck on register and that did not make for a fun shift. So when I’d get called to go up front I would just tell them I was swamped with customers so I’d get to stay put. Most of the time it was a fun job, which will sound horrible to all the Wal Mart player haters out there, but it was true. I wasn’t asked to work off the clock. I was always given the required work breaks. I suppose I was lucky enough to land in a store that was well managed.

Not that I didn’t clash with management from time to time. I got yelled at a few times. Once because I walked away from a customer after he asked me a question. The reason I walked off was because I needed a ladder to get the truck box down he had asked about. I guess the dude was hard of hearing since I clearly said, “Cool. Let me go get a ladder.” The store manager heard my side and he took my side.

So I won that one, but I lost the gun one. A lady came in wanting to get her hubby a rifle for Christmas. By this time I had learned quite a bit about guns and the rifle she was describing had nothing to do with the one she wanted to purchase. I told her she would be getting the wrong gun and I didn’t want to sell it to her if it wasn’t going to make her husband happy. I also didn’t want to be stuck with the paperwork if the gun was brought back. So she went crying to the store manager about how this mean boy wouldn’t sell her a gun. I hadn’t flat out refused to sell it to her; I had just tried to talk her out of it, but the store manager made a big deal about it so she went home with the wrong rifle. I got to do the paperwork for its return the day after Christmas.

The most exciting thing that happened while I was there was a bomb threat one Sunday afternoon. We had to evacuate the store for an hour or so while the police went through it with bomb sniffing dogs. We milled around outside in the garden department area wondering if there really was a bomb and who had called in the threat. There was no bomb and I don’t know if they ever figured out who had phoned in the threat.

Catching shoplifters would enliven an otherwise boring day. The store had this unassuming little old lady that patrolled the store. She looked like just your average grandma shopping, but she was tough. She’d find some suspects, trail them, and if she saw them grab the goods a special code announcement was made and then the bigger male employees, oops associates, would exit the store armed with Polaroid cameras. When the shoplifter left the store with the goods they got to say cheese. There wasn’t any dollar cutoff that I knew of; the store prosecuted shoplifters with a vengeance.

I don’t know why you’d want to shoplift when you could get stuff for free if you hollered loud enough to the home office. An elderly man brought in a battery that had fizzled out on him wanting to exchange it. No problem; I’d just pro-rate the item and he’d pay the difference for the new one. That wasn’t happening for this dude. He wanted an all new battery for free. He started cussing up a storm so I got the assistant manager who backed me up. He left grumbling. A half hour later the assistant manager came up to me and said the home office had called and that we were going to have to refund the guy all of his money. We had to also give him core charge money since we were taking his battery back without selling him a new one. So if you want free money; call Bentonville, Arkansas.

Back in 1993 they would take anything back. The front service desk would always holler at us over the PA to come get our returns. They’d get really snotty too if we didn’t come running as soon as they finished their announcement. I made a girl at the service desk cry one night after she got on the PA multiple times calling me out personally to come get the sporting goods returns. I really had been with some customers and I didn’t like my name ringing out like I was some lazy chump. So I told the girl off in a most emphatic, but polite way which made her cry.

Wal-Mart is a cruel jungle of personal and professional relationships. People were always dating, mating, and then breaking up. It was like being in school at times with cliques formed up between areas of the store. We played softball against rival stores. Part-time people clashed with the full-time crowd. Lifers grumbled about the direction the company was headed. There was an internal controversy when Wal-Mart changed the dash to a star in their name. It didn’t bother me; all I knew was that the elderly lady in the fabrics department was mean as hell and should have been beat with a stick since she never helped us zone at the end of the night.

I got to work for a Wal-Mart that didn’t stay open 24 hours so we had to do something called zoning at the end of our night shift. Zoning was a euphemistic way to say straighten the merchandise up on the shelves. Maybe there’s something to this euphemism thing. Zoning might take 10 minutes and sometimes it would take hours. I’d try to just hang out in my area. You didn’t want to end up zoning toys or soft goods unless there were pretty girls in those areas.

It was a good job for a single college student to have. I don’t know if I’d have dug working for them full-time, but most of the full-time people seemed to like it and many of the part-time people were hoping to become career Wal-Mart associates. I liked the discount I got on merchandise. There’s not much more for me to say about the monolith that is Wal-Mart. It was a j-o-b. The only reason why I left is because I got a better one.

The next time I drag this tired carcass of a series out I’ll spring some more wisdom about what it was like to be a record store clerk at Phonoluxe. Until then, stop eating that Halloween candy!