The most annoying sound on radio

Related image
This picture was shot at Square One … no, in Vaughan, no, in Scarborough, … Edmonton?, … oh, well… they all look alike.

Why do jewellery commercials have to be so tasteless and annoying? I single out jewellery commericals, since they are more annoying even then furniture commercials, their main competitor for the gold standard of tastelessness.

But no. We have sharpers like Russell Oliver, and others who will go on TV and radio and in the most garish manner known to man, tell you how you can trade in your jewellery for cash, in a way that seems to rob your most prized possessions of all the dignity and memory they once had. But I don’t believe he is the worst.

On the radio station I listen to, which doesn’t play a lot of ads, I admit, there is that infernal commercial from Spence Diamonds. Oh, that Scream! I didn’t know that it has been dubbed the “Spence Scream”, and even hashtagged #SpenceScream since at least 2014. It has even attracted some imitators, and an attempt had been made to vote it out of existence (Spence didn’t listen and it still persists to this afternoon). Since it was Spence that initiated the vote, I believe that maybe they thought it was too memorable, and couldn’t come up with a less annoying idea.

I am annoyed because I am already married, been there, done that. Having been through it, it is a tad degrading to hear it. The marriage (mine, at least), was about love. Clearly, Spence is agaisnt this idea. They want it to be about their diamonds.

Curiously, the comment sections of the YouTube videos of Spence promos have curiously well-worded and lucid critiques of Spence’s advertising practices. These are not your normal trolls. These apparently well-educated and erudite people seemed to have a lot of time on their hands, and are gravely preoccupied with dignity and class.

I think: look, the couple sounds very much in-character on the radio, just get rid of the scream.

Trump is alright, except …

From several news sources, we’ve heard that the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts (home to both Harvard and MIT), has voted nearly unanimously to call for an impeachment to Donald Trump. One article from here gives a synopsis of the event. I chose this website because of one awesome commentator who only goes by the name of “CSB365”, who replied to a Trump supporter who says that Trump has done nothing wrong. CSB365 then replies there is no reason to impeach Trump or accuse him of illicit ties to Russia, …

  • except for the Flynn thing
  • and the Manafort thing
  • and the Tillerson thing
  • and the Sessions thing
  • and the Kushner thing
  • and the Carter Page thing
  • and the Roger Stone thing
  • and the Felix Sater thing
  • and the Boris Ephsteyn thing
  • and the Rosneft thing
  • and the Gazprom thing
  • and the Sergey Gorkov banker thing
  • and the Azerbajain thing
  • and the “I love Putin” thing
  • and the Donald Trump, Jr. thing
  • and the Sergey Kislyak thing
  • and the Russian Affiliated Interests thing
  • and the Russian Business Interests thing
  • and the Emoluments Clause thing
  • and the Alex Schnaider thing
  • and the hack of the DNC thing
  • and the Guccifer 2.0 thing
  • and the Mike Pence “I don’t buy online tramadol know anything” thing
  • and the Russians mysteriously dying thing
  • and Trump’s public request to Russia to hack Hillary’s email thing
  • and the Trump house sale for $100 million at the bottom of the housing bust to the Russian fertilizer king thing
  • and the Russian fertilizer king’s plane showing up in Concord, NC
  • during Trump rally campaign thing
  • and the Nunes sudden flight to the White House in the night thing
  • and the Nunes personal investments in the Russian winery thing
  • and the Cyprus bank thing
  • and Trump not releasing his tax returns thing
  • and the Republican Party’s rejection of an amendment to require Trump to show his taxes thing
  • and the election hacking thing
  • and the GOP platform change to the Ukraine thing
  • and the Steele Dossier thing
  • and the Leninist Bannon thing
  • and the Sally Yates can’t testify thing
  • and the intelligence community’s investigative reports thing
  • and Trump’s reassurance that the Russian connection is all “fake news” thing
  • and Spicer’s Russian Dressing “nothing’s wrong” thing

so there’s probably nothing there since the swamp has been drained, these people would never lie — probably why Nunes cancels the investigation meetings. All of this must be normal; just a bunch of separate dots with no connection.

 

Alex Jones and his nutty ideas

As you may have known, I have a thing for loonies in that I find their stuff so entertaining. Alex Jones is neither a lefty, nor is he right-wing. He’s nothing more than a conspiracy nutjob, pure and undiluted by rational thought, although there is the occasional flash of bright light which gets quickly clouded over again by the next whacky conspiracy theory or statement which is unsupported by any document or fact that exists outside of the world Alex Jones’s imagination. And on it goes. Alex Jones has been head of InfoWars since before 9/11, and he has only gotten crazier with age. And the one thing about nutjobs — they cannot be parodied. Their heads are so far up their ass, they are already enough of a spectacle in that their own words are enough. I already said the same thing earlier about Rob Ford.

What follows has appeared before on the Perry Logan website. It is mostly reproduced here, stripped of commentary, since I think that Alex Jones needs to be best experienced without comments of any kind, since that would clash with rational thinking. Here goes:

  • Israel microwaved a hundred thousand of its own children.
  • Your cell phones are watching you every moment.
  • The main source of meat in North Korea is executed prisoners.
  • SWAT teams are being taught that Christians are evil.
  • The government can control the weather.
  • The Mafia was started by Julius Ceaser’s grandfather.
  • Vaccines are killing our children.
  • Texas is run by the Masons.
  • Masons can commit murder.  They make a secret sign to the judges and are immediately set free.  This has been solidly confirmed.
  • They sacrifice babies at Bohemian Grove.
  • “Cell phones have been proven in hundreds of major studied to cause brain tumnors.  There’s no debating it.”
  • The NRA are gun grabbers.
  • There are government-run white slavery rings.
  • Columbine was a government op.
  • Wal-Mart is a Defense Department front.
  • Illegal aliens get to go to the front in emergency rooms.
  • They put mercury in your vaccines to brain-damage your children.
  • The Aztecs would take hallucinogenic enemas and cut their penises off.
  • Alex Jones has correctly predicted everything that has happened in the last 10 years.
  • FEMA has a giant private army.
  • Illegal immigrants get free tuition and discounts on their Twinkies.
  • There’s a worldwide takeover going on, perceptible only to dumb white guys… …but everyone is waking up. 
  • The ruling elite of the world worship Moloch.
  • During his inauguration, President Clinton openly gave the sign of Satan for all the world to see.
  • The secret rulers of the world can live forever.
  • The elite have openly announced can you buy tramadol online that they want to kill 80% of us.
  • Jacques Cousteau wanted to kill 80% of us.
  • You can’t succeed in academe unless you agree that 80% of the population has to be killed off.
  • Dick Cheney writes papers saying terrorism isn’t real.
  • The U.S. Government went around Italy blowing up school busses full of children…& admitted it.
  • There are little wires in dollar bills that keep track of what you buy.
  • Vicente Fox can morph into a green devil.
  • The Communist Chinese Army has taken over the Massachusetts Port Authority.
  • Noam Chomsky is a mongoloid idiot.  Also an agent.
  • There are Illuminati symbols on Starbucks coffee cups.
  • Exits on tollroads are 50 miles apart.
  • There are live AIDS viruses in the corn.
  • 91% of Americans are Nazis.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is a known Nazi.
  • All of Clinton’s cabinet were Jewish.
  • Devil-worshipers run the country.
  • The United Nations goes around Africa, sterilizing women at random
  • The Founding Fathers were basically stupid
  • All throughout history, governments have always been Evil.
  • Power outages are government plots.
  • Illegal immigration is a government plot.
  • The counterculture is a government plot.
  • Vaccines are a government plot.
  • Thumb scanning is a government plot.
  • Environmentalism is a government plot.
  • The National Seat Belt Initiative is a government plot.
  • Feminism is a government plot. (and Gloria Steinem is a CIA operative.)
  • Toll roads are a government plot.
  • The drug culture is a government plot.
  • Cell phones are a government plot.
  • Wal Mart is a government plot. 
  • Sports are a government plot.
  • Antidepressants are a government plot.
  • All domestic terror attacks are government plots.
  • The government keeps “giant, honeycombed hives full of toddlers drugged on lithium”
  • The government brings in all the drugs.
  • The government is spraying us with EVIL CHEMICALS contained in the cone trails of planes
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger is part of an Austrian plot to take over America.
  • Skull & Bones is part of an English plot to take over America.
  • The United Nations is part of a (very slow) plot to take over America.
  • Children’s cartoons are part of a government plot to brainwash us.
  • Organized religion is brainwashing us.
  • The secret ruling elite of the world are putting up buildings that look like owls.
  • Most major police chiefs are CIA operatives.
  • The voting-machine companies are openly run by the CIA.
  • The Quakers are communists.
  • Lyndon Johnson had John Kennedy killed.
  • The UN has sold thousands of children into slavery & for snuff films.
  • Gays are actively recruiting in our schools.
  • The United Nations goes around Africa, sterilizing women at random
  • Every soldier who died in any war since the Civil War was a chump
  • 9-11 was only the beginning; there are going to be lots of even bigger domestic attacks
  • They only hire people with IQ’s below 100 to become police officers. 

Crappy album Covers #120 — Plastic Surgery Disasters

Album_Cover_Crap_177_Flickr Just before work ended, there was this explosion at the Red Rubber Coating factory, and this poor fella couldn’t escape in time.  This is Tripping Daisy’s 1995 offering, called “I Am An Elastic Firecracker.”

What seems a little more worrisome is the skin tone of the fellow underneath the read paint.

Album_Cover_Crap_176_Flickr This is the 1991 single from Aphex Twin, called Window Licker. Aphex Twin is the brainchild of Richard James, a Welsh artist who has been making records since 1991.

My experience with AT is that there is not much about them that is danceable, but this one has its moments. The video generally centers around the theme of picking up whores in some undisclosed location.

I couldn’t understand the first part of the video. It seems that for about the first 2-3 minutes the dilogue is it safe to buy viagra online yahoo answers cosnsisted of two coloured guys in a car repeating the word motherf***er over and over with a few extra words thrown in to make it sound like they were speaking English to each other. When the prostitutes were encountered, the words varied a little more, but the hoes saw through them, and didn’t believe that they had any money.

The tranny groove on this single comes from something that happens part way thru the video where the second customer, who is of the sort that drives a stretch limo with a bazillion windows (namely, our hero Richard), gets out of the car and starts some kind of a mating dance requiring a suggestive use of an umbrella. That’s when the prostitutes start growing beards, and looking like Richard. Creepy.

Crappy Album Covers #103 — My Bruthas' Johnson (more phallic symbols)

album-cover-crap-58_philipharland_com The funk/disco/R&B duo The Brothers Johnson’s 1980 recording, “Light Up The Night”, was the high water mark in their career as  a duo. Rolling Stone listed this record as #48 in the top 100 records of the 1980s.Looks like George is using his Johnson to light up Louis. Probably didn’t help sales, which went to #5 on Billboard’s Top 200 despite the album cover.

The record did not release any pop hits, but likely had at least one dance club hit, “Stomp!”. The Brothers Johnson were probably best known for their mid-70s pop hit “Strawberry Letter 23” (peaked on BB as a single at #5 in 1977).

album_cover_crap_136_zonicweb_com Now we have a guitar as a phallic symbol. But they always kind of were. The drummer never gets the girl. It’s always the guitarist. Lead guitarist? Even better. They are the alpha do i need a prescription to buy viagra males in the group (if you want to carry the analogy to apes).Chicks also dig motorcyles. And motorcycles and guitars together? SCORE!!!! Evidently, Ray Nelson’s invention of a guitar-shaped motorcycle never quite caught on, except as novelty. Nelson rode around the country in one which he built himself in 1980.

He also recorded this record 10 years earlier with a few colleagues of his. The idea stuck in his mind to build a motorcycle that had a guitar motif, from the drawing on this album cover. If the drawing was followed exactly (it probably wasn’t), they would probably find that the fretboard was blocking the headlight.

Nelson has made several selefless contributions to society, through his “Guitars not Guns” campaign aimed at wayward youth, and also by being a foster parent.

St Patty’s Day Matinee

This is a humorous kid’s animation that tells the story of  St. Patrick.

[media id=37 width=400 height=300]

On a raunchier tone, comedian Mark Day offends several nationalities equally with this send-up to St. Patrick’s Day, and describes sainthood as divided into the A-list and B-list.

[media id=38 width=400 height=300]

Crappy Album Covers #56 — Self-Help for the Helpless II: A Gallery

In today’s blog, I am experimenting with another method of presenting these album covers. I am finding that doing it this way prevents me from looking at the covers directly as I am discussing them. But to see an enlarged image, just click on the ones you want to see.

But from memory, I recall I have three albums on how to stop smoking, one album on avoiding probate, and one on touch typing.

The three non-smoking records appear to promise a painless way to kick the habit, proving that no one has ever lost a dollar by promising the listener that the cessation of bad habits involves some hypnotic hocus-pocus or some other easy way out.

A record about touch typing? I’m not sure how that is supposed to work, unless it comes with a booklet.

“Probate” is a service a court provides to prove the validity of a deceased person’s will, allowing all involved parties to settle the affairs of the estate of the deceased, according to Wikipedia. This can be expensive, and the real beneficiaries to the estate could be the lawyers. Wikipedia says that establishing a living trust is a way of avoiding probate, so that is probably what is being discussed.

All album covers come from thriftstoreart.com. Another side effect of having this kind of  a gallery is that I can’t link the photos to the website. So just click on the aforementioned link, and you’ll get to these albums, and many others.

Crappy Album Covers #55 — I don't need no STIIINKING album cover artist! — I'll just do it myself!

album-cover-crap-45_zonicweb_netGood evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the amateur hour, as our guest Manfred, presumably Manfred Voss sings you the love songs of song meister, Arthur E. Werlang.

We have to be fair here. These albums are definitely as low-budget as you can get, and it wouldn’t surprise me if  the photo of “Manfred” was scotch-taped on the cover, and the lettering was hand drawn directly on to the cover.

As is true of all of the albums in today’s entry, this album is very likely from back in the days when cutting and pasting was an act that involved xacto blades and glue, rather than a computer and Photoshop.

I just worry that our hero Manfred is singing these love songs “with a new accent”. His old accent was too obvious, so he had to make up a new one? Is that how that works?

album-cover-crap-46_zonicweb_net“Gongs: An Audio-Mystical Trip to the Orient”, by Nesta Kerin Crain claims to be “an excellent aid for meditation”. I know of few meditation aids involving gongs that I would call excellent.

This is another scissors and glue effort with more pen work than “Love Songs”.

What’s the swastika doing there in the lower right-hand corner? Creepy.

I now wonder what this album will instill in you as you are meditating while the album is playing.

I also have a certain paranoia about playing records and meditating, outside of all talk about swastikas and other nonsense: what if the record skips?

album-cover-crap-57_showandtellmusic_comThis is by a fellow named Gary Baker, who in 1982, penned an album entitled “Why?” This time, there is no cutting and pasting, just pen and pencil.

Too much is made of this existential question. Much ink has been spilled trying to pursue the meaning of the question, and then trying to formulate an answer.

One essay writer in a university-level Philosophy exam answered it best: “Why not?”

The album is supposedly Christian, but the question and the artwork seems to convey a mood of Elton John’s “If There’s a God In Heaven (then what’s he waiting for?)”, a 1976 song from his Blue Moves album. So, maybe that’s healthy.

album-cover-crap-47_zonicweb_netWhenever a title is misspelled, such as “psychodelic”, (should be “psychedelic”) you get the impression that the mistake is intentional, and that Jr. and His Soulettes are merely taking artistic license.

All fine and dandy, and if that is the case then that really changes the meaning of the word. Perhaps the album is more “psycho” and less “delic”. Hard to say.

Crappy Album Covers #53 — With all those Santas, Kids will start asking Questions: A gallery

album-cover-crap-38_lp-cover-lover I guess I might have figured sooner or later that Santa would get sick of the North Pole and would want to go to Hawaii, get on a surfboard, and take in a few rays.

Looks like Santa took a few rays too many. Also, his red suit is now going to be a little too warm. If this is his new way of travelling the globe, I think that there will be a few problems.

First of all, if you live in places like Saskatchewan, Montana, Utah, or South Dakota, Santa definitely won’t come to your house, because all of those places are land-locked. Same goes for entire nations like the Czech and Slovak Republics.

album-cover-crap-34_lp-cover-lover Perhaps there are humorous possibilities in Santa being played by a drunk negro. There is no indication on the album as to who the comedian is, being billed on the cover as the “Clown Prince of Comedy”.

The cover, as you might notice, is rated “XXX” and “FFF” (Fabulous, Funky and Funny).

lpcoverlover.com has this album listed under the category “Black Comedy”. This must be a new definition, since I always thought that this was black comedy (the audio below is by Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)):

[media id=88 width=400 height=24]

This is not the most extreme example, but it could qualify as part of a suite of tragedy skits dressed up as comedy. The folks at lpcoverlover seems to think that “Black Comedy” is comedy performed by black people. They might have to find another name for it.

album-cover-crap-37_lp-cover-lover Santa is thinking to himself, “If I find out where this thing folds up, I could get it into the chimney!”

A reader contributed that the shepherd’s staff is a throwback to the days of Saint Nicholas, who was a bishop somewhere within the third and fourth centuries. He used his inheritance to help the poor.

But few know Saint Nick as a bishop. People mostly know Saint Nick the way Coca-Cola depicted him in the 1930s, which is the way he is seen here. The photographers put a staff (called a crosier) in his hand to make the imagery more religious.

Either you’re going to emphasize the materialism of Christmas or its spirituality. There is nothing wrong with doing either one. But when you mix the two, you just confuse people.

album-cover-crap-35_lp-cover-lover Another black Santa. Well, I guess no one can accuse me of having a color imbalance in this posting, since this entry now has two white Santas and two black ones.

If we are to take this posting as a gauge of how blacks prefer to depict themselves, it seems as though they are seen as either drunk or womanizing. Great way to bash those racist stereotypes!

Crappy Album Covers #52 — Sorry Individuals

album-cover-crap-33_lp-cover-loverTalk about Mission Accomplished! Now that a black dick is in the white house, attached as it is to a black body, I think that this album has achieved its object.

Most of Obama’s economic advisors who will set the scene are the ones who accelerated the long slope downward under Clinton. It looks as though the people telling him who to appoint are Obama’s version of Uncle Tom. Some things will never change.

Thaddaeus Martin’s “Black Dick for President” is basically the same joke spread out over all three of its volumes. This is a 3-record set, all spoken word, and containing a sprinking of  profanity.

Very little other information on Thaddaeus Martin or the album is available.

album-cover-crap-41_lp-cover-lover“Cook’s Tour of High Fidelity” is really a “sound check” record, or maybe even a sound effects record.

The guy in the picture is clearly more interested in that reel-to-reel tape deck he has there than the chick in the polka dot bikini. This can only create tension here, since all the lady now has for company is the puppet in her hand.

Perhaps instead of sound effects, it is a recording of pretty women cracking up as they are being ignored by their male partners who instead fall in love with their stereo systems.

Guys and their gadgets… I’ll tell you…

album-cover-crap-21_lp-cover-loverWhile we are on the topic of sick relationship guys have with their stereo systems, I don’t know what comedian Dave Ketchum thinks he is doing, but obviously, his lady has long left him, and he is getting lonely.

What is even more pathetic, however, is that the turntable is pretty dinky looking. I just hope he cleaned the tonearm. I mean, you don’t know where that tonearm has been.

Ketchum has been a character actor throughout the 60s and 70s in shows such as The Odd Couple and Happy Days. There has been no open admission of whether this is the same Dave Ketchum as the one associated with this album, but the photo sports a strange likeness … hmm.

Crappy Album Covers #51 — The International Language of Bad Taste II

In this virtual tour, we go to what seems to be outer space’s Latin Quarter, then back to China.

album-cover-crap-42_lp-cover-lover This album, “en el espacio”, by Los 4 Amigos, is another obvious competitor to the Devo album cover lookalike contest.

We can learn a lot from pictures of aliens. As you can see, they are aliens with tiny bodies and large heads. On their planet, they seemed to have found a way of playing instruments that are merely printed on their space suits. This enables them to play while floating in deep space.

“Los 4 Amigos” appears to be a common phrase that on a Google search I got everything from restaurants to art exhibits. The group also doesn’t show up on allmusic.

album-cover-crap-43_lp-cover-lover Jalaito Sabroson and their album, “Los Ases del Ritmo”. I almost read that as “Jailbaito”. Where is my head?

Translated, this title seems to be saying “The Pace of Aces”. No info available. Probably another Latin-inspired dance record, by that title.

album-cover-crap-39_lp-cover-lover
Red China Rocks was a band, that, by all accounts, attempted to play in China in the early 1970s. They succeeded in playing most of the way through one gig, then were immediately deported.

The Chinese shouldn’t have been so harsh. See this cover? Doesn’t Chairman Mao-Tse Tung (in this decade, I’ve seen his name commonly spelled “Mao Zedong”) look dapper, dressed for a night on the town? It is likely Mao’s head could have been pasted, Oswald-style, on someone else’s body. But clearly, the photo retouchers of this album could have done worse.

album-cover-crap-40_lp-cover-lover Here, a more conventional-looking Chairman Mao meets Richard Nixon. I have no idea what this album is about. Any Chinese translators out there? Or does someone have this album?

But I just thought you needed to see these two leaders in the same picture.One supplied arms and personnel to the South Vietnamese, while the other supplied arms and personnel to the North Vietnamese.

While it is true that Nixon was bombing the crap out of Vietnam and Cambodia, the war ended soon after Nixon left office.

Crappy Album Covers #50 — Christmas Records

album-cover-crap-27_xmas_bizarrerecords_comImages for this blog entry came largely from the Amy Oops blog.

The song “All I want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” has been around as a recording since at Daryl Gardner penned it in 1946. The one I remember most was one sung by a kid I don’t know the name of, who whistled all his S’s due to lack of said front teeth.

I sometimes think of that kid. He got so famous for not having front teeth that when they did grow back, he probably paid someone to punch him in the mouth so that he could be without them for the rest of his life and stay famous. He probably grew up to be Norberto de Frietas, a crappy album cover maker from another entry.

It was probably not sung by the kid depicted in this photo.  As you can see, he clearly has his front teeth. But what is more worrisome, and what he really needs are corrective lenses.

album-cover-crap-26_xmas_amyoops_com1If I have to spend Christmas with Rico, I will pay him to take off the costume. And what makes him think that colouring his eyebrows blue makes him into any more of a Santa Claus?

You get the feeling he has a screw loose. Santa is supposed to be cheerful and jolly; Rico does not appear to be smiling. I think I remember seeing a guy like that lined up at a soup kitchen once.

I hope his eyebrows grew back into their proper colour.

.

album-cover-crap-28_xmas_bizarrerecords_com1In the last post, comedians Joe and Bill were wrestling a rifle from a cockeyed farmer. There seems to be a trend with comedian crappy album makers that they just go by their first names.

Here, we can see Swedish comedians Stan and Doug adding the comic conclusion to the saga begun by Rico.

The house looks so bare and dishevelled, that it looks like these guys are breaking into it and stealing everything in sight. They appear to have even stolen the family photos from the walls. You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch!

Crappy Album Covers #48 — Couldn't hit the broad side of a barn …

album-cover-crap-25_lp-cover-loverNot clear on this idea of double-barreled handguns.  Especially guns that use actual wooden barrels to guide the bullet.

Some guns are not made for actual shooting, I suppose.

Dave and Ansel Collins put this reggae album out in 1971. The title track of this album peaked at #22 on Billboard back then. It was a bigger hit in the UK, where it topped the singles chart.

If that’s double-barrel, then it’s a trigger and a hammer short.

album-cover-crap-2_lp-cover-loverThere’s farmer John with a rifle. And there’s the broad side of a barn. I think he missed.

After farmer John’s 10th attempt at seeing if he could hit the broad side of a barn with his shotgun, Joe and Bill come on the scene, trying to take the gun away, because he is getting dangerous with it.

And, during the ensuing struggle, the damned thing goes off again.

Crappy Album Covers #47 — I don't get this

album-cover-crap-6_lp-cover-loverDonnie and Joe Emerson’s 1979 offering, Dreamin’ Wild, is classed in some blogs in the psychedelic rock genre.

So, then I if I look at this picture and think that I see two heads growing out of one body, then I suppose that it’s because I am on acid?

If this is not the case, then, is it Donnie fretting the strings on the guitar or is that the hand of Joe? Am I still tripping on acid?

Also, the background of this photo looks like it was rented from the same outfit that shot their high school photos. Soul-Sides.com has found some actual digitized tracks from this album for your listening pleasure.

album-cover-crap-4_lp-cover-lover“Sterling Blythe Sings” is one of those crappy record album covers with crossover appeal. I don’t know whether to say that it fits in as a “crappy cliche checklist” album, or as a “crappy-by-ambiguousness” album. The background for this album cover could also have come from some kind of background used in high school photos.

On the empty cliche checklist:

  • Cowboy hat? Check.
  • Tight pants with rhinestones? Check
  • Cowboy boots with fancy stitching and dye work? Check.
  • Sitting on a … uh….

… and that’s where the ambiguousness comes in. What the heck is he sitting on? A long branch with his legs dangling in the sky? Or a fence (with his legs still having nothing to rest on)? Looks like he could easily topple over and fall down, and that could be the end of his career.  What we do know, and what the artwork appears to show, is that his right heel is off-camera.  So, if that is the case, then he is sitting on a fence with his feet on the ground. With his legs allowed to rest at that angle, the fence can’t be more than 2 feet off the ground, and so the fence can’t be of the type to keep animals (horses, cows, sheep) out, if this were a real farm. In fact for all we know he could be sitting on a fence in a suburban part of Los Angeles or Boston, the only purpose of the fence being to keep the neighbours off his lawn.

The TI-Inspire is not what it is cracked up to be

84_pad_max192wThis is the TI-Nspire, the calculator that promises to foment lazier minds in students than ever before. I teach math, and I look at all these new calculators with jaundiced eye. Ever see the new caclulators these days (non-graphing) which can come up with exact answers to sum and difference functions of trig angles? This is stuff I want my students to do. Those calculators are banned from tests in our school.

But, OK, I’ll pull in my horns for the moment. This next-generation calculator, which has an interchangeable keyboard so it can also emulate a TI-84+, does most of the TI-84 operations with better graphics, but with more menus and steps, with some new features thrown in.

But there is missing stuff in the Inspire which the TI-84 makes obvious. For one thing, there is no “startup” program. That seems trite, but it is not. In a school setting, a startup program can put an image on the screen which can identify the calculator number and the school name. It is hard to change or erase, which makes it a good addition to a physical marking on the calculator (an etched serial number on the case, for example) to identify the calculator and keep easy track in case a student may carry one of these things and it gets mixed up (this happens sometimes). My personal graphing calculators can do this (TI-84+ and TI-83+), all except the TI-Nspire. The TI-84+ “personality” of the Nspire can do it, except that it flashes the image on for only a split second. It doesn’t wait for a keypress.

But what is more pressing is that the Nspire has no way (yet) to find the intersection of two graphs. The method I am using to find this, and the x-intercept does not seem like a surefire method, and does not seem as intuitive.

The programming language with the Inspire is more sophisticated than with that of the TI-84. It allows for user-defined functions, for example. But it does not have an “INPUT” command to my knowledge. The TI-84 has one, but not the Nspire. The NSpire has an I/O menu, and the only selection there is “DISP”, which is like BASIC’s PRINT command. Without a means for input from the keyboard, the programming functions are pretty useless, unless you want to call up one of their spreadsheets and fill things in manually. In the TI-84, I would be prompted for a number of different inputs and I would allow the calculator to figure out which row/column my input could go in. With the TI-84, I could program statistics commands, fill in tables, and do row/column calculations, all inside my program. I would often use the last row in the table after the program executed to give a bar chart of that data. This has been very useful to get a picture of class mark distributions, for example.

I have to amend what I have said earlier that there is no way to run the code. You can run the code in calculator mode, but without an INPUT statement, you need to pass parameters to it as if it were a function. Of course, I would guess the NSpire’s functions (which are new to the NSpire) work the same way, meaning there is probably little syntactic difference between calling functions versus programs in my view. I have written my first function and ran it in calculator mode, and it works as advertised. But no input.

So far, they are making customers wait for a long time before they put out these new features. And so far, I consider the lack of programmability make the NSpire less useful than the TI-84. The Nspire has been available to the mass market for about 2 years, and it looks like we are going to be made to wait a lot longer for features like these. What is the reason they put out a $200 product that is only half-finished in many areas? I purchased it expecting it to be at least as complete in itself as my other TI calculators. But I have come to the conclusion that it is still a work in progress.

For now, I am not shelving my TI84+ just yet, and am still doing most of my math on it. And for the record, I don’t feel totally ripped off. After all, they do update their operating system and allow us to update our calculators with new firmware upgrades. And some of those upgrades will change the way you do things before the firmware upgrade. Maybe one of these days, one of those changes will be the inclusion of an input statement, and the making of a more genuine programming language.

I attended a conference on the TI-NSpire recently, and one thing I heard teachers say is that kids pick up on the technology a lot faster than us. But of course, there is a motivator. The calculator just hands you the answers, which relieves the student of all the bother of having to think. Well, if you’re a kid who ought to be learning the concepts, that must feel REALLY motivating. Thinking is hard. Pushing buttons is easy. The kids that they had there helping us out at the conference were as stumped as I was when they were presented with my NSpire, having only worked on the CAS. Eventually, I got it to do most of the things we were doing. I hope they were being paid to be there. Looks like they were there as cheap, untrained labour.

At any rate, as for us teachers, we are really focusing on the concepts. My concern is whether this new gadget will deliver the concepts to them better than if I worked examples out by hand on the board. My focus is not on the calculator, it’s on the curriculum. We can change questions to make people think about what the calculator is doing and why, but we are moving away from doing the algebra. The question “why” is a good one, and I make sure I get people to think about things like “what does the log of a number give us?” and so on, every chance I get. But people always need to be drilled on algebra, all the time, every day. Letting a caclulator do this work for us can give the impression that it isn’t as important as it used to be. Algebra is important, even if you will never use it again, because it helps kids develop analytical skills needed in everyday life.

Crappy Album Covers #45 — Teenagers

Teenagers are a difficult demographic to reach, unless you don’t know anything about them. If you know nothing about the demographic, then it does’t pose a difficulty for you. I know that’s kind of like saying that if you don’t know anything about painting a portrait, then slashing the brush in any direction or color at random poses no problem to the painter. It seems that way, with the covers below. If your album overtly suggests that “This album is for teenagers”, I will guarantee you teens won’t buy them. On the other hand, if you say this is “R-rated”, and contains cuss words and sexual suggestions that would put a blush on a two-dollar hooker (you know, like Rap), and that young people shouldn’t buy them at all, then they will fly off the shelves and teens would be the biggest part of the market.

album-cover-crap-19_bizarrerecords_comCase in point, this realistic portrait of teenagers having a good time. I bet you already knew they were listening to this very record, recorded by Bobby Krane and His Orchestra, and distributed by Bravo! Records.

Look! The young lady in the foreground is saying it too! — Bravo! Bravo! At least that looks like what she could be saying.

Look at the photo and indulge in the fantasy that there is still a world where young teen girls don’t dress like sluts; the guys stay straight and sober (by “straight” I meant drug-free, but I guess it could also be taken the other way) and don’t dress like plumber-butt pimps. And the guys even ask the girls “may I have this dance with you?”

And then there’s Tex Ritter. Tex Ritter? And that’s when I woke up.

album-cover-crap-20_bizarrerecords_comThe TOPS record label, which previously warned us about the world ending, are shown here producing records of “12 Top Hits” so you can party like it’s 1999, or more to the point, like it’s 1959.

You have to admit that the one thing that stands out most about this cover is that the lady who is dancing is wearing argyle socks. I thought there was a law passed by Joe McCarthy’s HUAC banning women from wearing argyle socks. It was supposed to be a guy thing. It totally clashes with the pink blouse.  If this is a fashion statement, then she should be arrested by the fashion police for bad fashion grammar.

Once again, the cover consists of the tamest teenagers you’ve never seen. And I don’t think they existed in 1959 either. Even in 1959, teens got drunk, and they had sex. Perhaps the only worthwhile thing that the photo realistically illustrates, is that in 1959, the guys didn’t have the bad taste to wear plumber-butt pants or hoodies, which would have made the chick in argyle look like Elizabeth Taylor (I mean Liz Taylor in 1959, not in 2008).

To anyone born after the 1960s: HUAC = “House Un-American Activities Committee“. It’s sort of like Homeland Security against commies and hippies.

album-cover-crap-18_lp-cover-loverThese seemingly adult-age folks may as well be adolescent, since they are depicted in the way their parents would approve. “I Love Music” was a sampler sent to radio stations across North America from Capitol Records back in 1958. The album cover gives every indication that the HUAC would have approved of this album. Going by the cover, for instance, it is obvious that these two folks are not planning the overthrow of the proletariat, and of taking over the means of production.

The artlessness of these depictions are a sure symptom of the McCarthy era. I recall when I began collecting old issues of Mad Magazine (digested in paperback form) going back to the 1950s, the most boring and least funny issues were during the period of 1958-1963. It couldn’t have been a good time to be a satirist.

And there was one more I forgot to add:
tammy_casual-slack-080726Yes, this 12″ LP of hits, which by the cover seems to treat teenagers as younger than they really are, may not have been headed for any kind of landmark success.

A toy doll with a toy record goes to a toy jukebox to pretend to play music on it. And, what’s left? You can only sing along to the music you are pretending to play.

I must say that much of the advertising I see today parallels the kind of mentality depicted on all of these albums in today’s blog. There is a certain advertising these days that points to a certain clientele, or a certain lifestyle as we would like to see it. But it is made to look artsy, so that you can’t accuse advertisers of appealing to people that don’t really exist. Instead, it can look naive, even idealistically so.  Sticking to album covers, the Putumayo Collection, discussed earlier, is an example of album covers that are like this.

Crappy Album Covers #44 — Ye Are Used

If you click on the graphic, you will be sent to the page featuring this album, “Jesus Use Me” from The Faith Tones, from LP Cover Lover. The comments were so hilarious that I feel that I can’t add any original humour, except to say that it appears that they either are wearing wigs, or they have used up a truckload of hairspray. (OK, so that’s more of an observation and not exactly funny). The commonly-held suspicion that these are actually guys in drag has been bandied about so much in so many blogs, that I won’t add to that aspect of the discussion either. But I, along with thirty Helens agree, that they would not be out of place in a scene from Kids in the Hall.

In looking for information about these young ladies, who they are, where they are from and what they’re doing now, I came up empty-handed. However, I do believe I can make a blog regarding all the attempts to parody this album cover.

They have drawn comparisons to fellow crappy album cover makers “The Braillettes”. Except that The Braillettes have blindness as an excuse for bad hair. At any rate, a recent LP of “Jesus Use Me” has been rumored to have sold on E-Bay for $21.00. I see that as utterly exhorbitant.

Consider this blog entry to be the reverse of the “Joyce’s Head Pasted On Other People’s Bodies” post. Click on the graphic to go back to the original blog where these graphics originated.

In this post, it will be the heads of other people pasted on the Faith Tones’ Bodies. Sometimes they take liberties like they are doing here and not keep the hair. I would buy tramadol hydrochloride suppose it would not be Sarah Palin without the hair.

Once again, so much has been made out of Palin’s fanatical Christian views, ignorance about aspects of governing applying to the national scene, and her support of the gun lobby, and so on, that it is hard to add anything original, so I won’t. I think the picture says it all. I have to admit, however, it seems as though having Sarah replace the one in the middle is a surefire way to reduce hecklers and bring up ticket sales. Whether Sarah can actually sing is another matter. Note the similarity of my reasoning to our conventional reasoning about Palin in general: Sara is sure to get more people to vote Republican: whether she can govern — or even understand her role — is another matter.

Here is an attempt of three young ladies who go by the names of Becky, Lisa, and Emily to take a crack at fame and fortune by riding on the coattails of The Faith Tones.

Here, total respect was given to the trademark that makes the original Faith Tones famous — or rather not that famous: the hair. In photoshopping this photo, they were careful to preserve the hair.

I get the feeling that these ladies enjoy Jesus using them a bit more than is, uh, Christian.  The next album cover takes this idea to its ultimate futility.

Of course, pasting other people’s heads on their bodies is not the only possible modification to the album cover. You can also alter the title.

Just think of the possibilities of them praying for Jesus to bring along the Astroglide when he uses them. Just think of the possibilities….or not.

Crappy Album Covers 43 — The International Language of Bad Taste I

For this part of our tour, we go to France and across the ocean to Mexico.

So, I know a bit of French. The Brothers Jacques (a literal translation of “les freres jacques”) consists of, as the cover would suggest, four members, much like The Brothers Gibb, except that these folks are less well known.

The Brothers Gibb were better known by the name “The Bee Gees”. So, by that metric, that would make The Brothers Jacques what … the Bee Jays?

Let’s not go there. But of course to state the obvious, “Frere Jacques” is also the name of a child’s French nursery rhyme. Unlike the Brothers Gibb, none of these guys are named Jacques.

These much-mustachioed mavens of vocal music have the quality of essentially a barbershop quartet. Except, they often parody classical pieces, or offer humour and satire along with the occasional sad song.

In Mexico, even the females can be one-eyed bandits.

I suppose that some guys get turned on by a sexy female holding a gun. I think she would be a whole lot sexier without the gun. Also, it would help matters if she took a hairpin and moved her hair away so we could see both eyes.

Information on this record or on Los Bandidos was hard to pin down. It seems as if it is a popular name for some recent punk rock bands.

There is some evidence that this album might actually be either Spanish or Brazilian. I just can identify some Spanish words, and have taken the mention of bandits to be an attempt to play on a Mexican stereotype.

Crappy Album Covers #41 — Jackdaws II

And that’s all I have, folks! I have to take a break to prepare for work when September starts, and I will be taking a few days off of posting. I will likely fall back into my infrequent mode of posting as I have done in the past, since my work absorbs most of my time.

But it was enjoyable, and your response in terms of comments and hits to my site have been, in terms of my own experience, tremendous. Since I have started this series in the last week of July, I received more hits than in all of the months since February when I started my blog.

Crappy Album Covers #40 — Jackdaws I

I refer to anything I could not put into any specific category as a “Jackdaw”. I am aware that jackdaws are also a species of bird (C. monedula), but I have heard them use a lot by libraries to refer to uncategorizable books, and on the other end of the spectrum, primary source documents. In modern usage I see that the word “jackdaw” is used by some libraries to describe or give a name to their how to buy viagra in usa search engines.

We’re only down to a few crappy album covers, which I either felt little inspiration to comment on, or were just pushed aside in the search for an album cover that suited the theme of the day. That is not to say that these are obscure. Some are, but others have remained as common fodder by crappy album cover web pages all over the net, just as was the case in previous posts.