Crappy Album Covers #75 — Big Heads I

album-cover-crap-95_lpcoverlover_com

1960 crappy album cover (CAC) maker and, oh yeah, comedian to boot, Bill Carty has a variety of albums which all fit the high standards of crappiness that gives this blog such longevity. Here, we see a standard technique for CAC making that has been imitated by many CAC makers in many countries worldwide: thoughtless photo retouching.Workers at a construction site on the other side of Pompano Beach were probably scratching their heads after it appeared that ten of their blasting caps went missing.If Bill Carty is really “Blasting Off”, it’s only his head that is blasted off. Spectators below stare aghast at this horrid spectacle. This would mean that the late 60s the audience in The Space Sattelite Motel in Pompano Beach, Florida were witness to the world’s first suicide bomber. In those days, they didn’t have Homeland Security, either.

The Space Sattelite Motel, which was located in a city located north of Miami and closer to Fort Lauderdale was the epitome of 50s kitch. Carty would have been placed on a stage in the middle of an audience and a bar which surrounded the stage. The motel does not show up anywhere I have where do i buy viagra looked in the Pompano Beach area, and it may no longer exist.

lpcoverlover.com says this is from “Stere Oddities”, but I think that on seeing another record from the same label, I think it should be “StereOddities”.

ninonanni_bighead This is the other record I saw. See? The words are closer together. StereOddities just seem to love big heads on their records. And there are more. Many more. CAC collectors even have a special section for albums depicting disproportionately big heads (or disembodied big heads) of the artist on their covers. This is true for lpcoverlover, and it is also true of another account of a curio record store in the states that I have heard about.Nino Nanni (b. ?- d. circa1991) was another comedian on the same label. Both Nanni and Carty are mentioned in WFMU’s Beware of the Blog as “Nobodies”. Nanni did in fact have a great braritone voice, and perfect enunciation, apart from his talent with the piano. The main attraction from Stereoddities will be presented later in this series.

Both of these albums are rare, and are discussed at length, halfway through this WFMU podcast, starting at about 30 minutes:

Crappy Album Covers #73 — Spicky-Boo, Daddy-O!

album-cover-crap-91_lpcoverlover_com The ’50s were a time whose memory lay in impossibly tasteless kitsch, but whose song and literary history told a different story. It was a time of Rock and Roll, Beatniks, and zoot suits as much as it was about McCarthyism, brush cuts, television, sattelites, and the banning of high school dances. It was quite possible to be “hip” in those days (even the word “hip” itself was a beatnik concept that got co-opted in the 1960s by the “hippie” generation).

It was a period of the best blues and jazz that music has ever produced. Imagine grownig up to the music of Thelonius Monk, Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and many more jazz and blues giants, all in the same decade, at the height of their powers. Books by Kurt Vonnegut, Isaac Asimov, Joseph Heller, and became pop culture classics in the lifetime of their authors. Of course we can’t forget the beatnik movement, and the poetry of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, and others, also becoming living legends for their contribution to modern literature. If you looked in the right places, it was actually a pretty cool decade to grow up in.

As for Clay Tyson digging the Beatniks, I am not sure if this is comedy or music.It would have been hard to even know the decade of the album, but the zoot suit places this record solidly in the early 1950s. Copies of Clay Tyson albums appear to be snapped up by collectors for as much as 80 bucks. Check out musicstack.com.

tubby_boots2_beatnik2 Comedian Tubby Boots is here to tell you that thin is “square, man,” and “fat’s where it’s at, daddy-o”.

The title is an old cliche, and if you dress up like a mentalcase on his weekend pass, you could still get a few laughs. And he seems to have a point. Clearly, his photo tells us that he has anorexia beat, so he has a few bragging rights there.

Crappy Album Covers #71 — Hats and Accordion Players

Apologies for this posting being over 4 hours late. I set the date on it OK, but not the time. I just checked ahead to the posts for the next couple of weeks, and fixed any time probelms there. Normally, you should see these postings on or after 6PM EST/EDT, with some obvious allowances for the odd bit of human error.

album-cover-crap-93_lpcoverlover_com1 Today, we have a double bill from the same artists. The  duo Elna Fredhoy and Rigmor Odun, both members of the Norwegian Salvation Army, one of whom is playing the much-feared accordion.

The other musician is playing a guitar, and it does not look terribly familiar. According to lpcoverlover.com, the 6-string guitar can be identified as an Isana, from Germany. According to the website, Elvis Presley once owned an Isana.

Branches of the Christian religion have never completely gotten along: Pentacostals snipe against the other protestants; and of course almost everyone snipes against the Catholics while the Catholics feel superior to other Christians. But no one has ever had anything negative to say about the Salvationists. I’ve never heard a peep said against them. OK, so some of them wear funny hats.

album-cover-crap-94_lpcoverlover_com The hats say a lot about these ladies. To me, they say things like “we’ve never heard of The Red Hot Chili Peppers”; or “what on Earth is Jungle?” or “Peeps in your hood? I had that problem once, and they gave me some kind of medicated shampoo for it, maybe I could lend you some.”

Crappy Album Covers #69 — Creepy Similarities IV: Music from Other Worlds

album-cover-crap-98_lpcoverlover_com Now we know where This Mortal Coil got their ideas from. The thing about a beautiful woman emerging from the sky (perhaps a visual pun on the “heavenly body”) seems to be with precedent.You can’t go much further back than this 1931 album cover by Johnny Green and His Orchestra, called “Out of Nowhere”. Johnny Green (1908-1989), a former Wall Street stockbroker became a band leader, working with the likes of Guy Lombardo, and producing many jazz albums, which, along with Out of Nowhere, became jazz standards.
thismortalcoil_itllendintears_cd This multi-artist effort, led by producer Ivo Watts-Russell, was populated by personnel from bands signed on to the 4AD record label which Watts-Russell owned at the time. It is considered an ’80s alternative classic. They did covers of other artists like Tim Buckley, The Byrds, and even Emmylou Harris, but the covers were always done the same great care they give to thier original material. Anyone who saw this package knew they were expecting to hear strangely beautiful music that seems to come from another world.

This one is an obvious improvement on the design concept of this above album. The mood you see on the cover is exactly what you get inside. One track that is an exception to this eternally dreamy mood is the song “Not Me”, which is the only track on the album that borders on pop.

I still have this CD in my collection, and it had been released on vinyl. It is not listed on E-Bay, a sure sign that few people want to part with their copy.

Crappy Album Covers #68 — Bravely Crappy: The Record Covers of Bruce Springsteen

What I mean by the title of today’s blog is these covers were neither crappy to please an audience, nor were they crappy by way of poor judgement. They are here because it would appear that Springsteen would rather get out a crappy album cover if it meant it would help him get his artistic point across rather than just record whatever sells with the most attractive packaging. You have to respect that. They are not crappy for the wrong reasons, indeed they are crappy for exactly the right reasons. They are not negatively crappy. Oh, no my dear readers. They are positively crappy.

album-cover-crap-86_springsteen_1 This kind of cover would not be out of place on the cover of Sinclair Ross’s 1941 book “As for Me and My House”. Anyone having to endure a class on Canadian lit knows of the devil I speak. A story about a preacher’s wife, living on a bleak stretch of Saskatchewan prairie during the Dust Bowl days of the Great Depression. The book didn’t actually sell in its day. It was a bleak book, bleakly written, about bleak times and bleak relationships. But it has made the canon of Canadian Lit courses, and this cover with its stretch of dirt road across a seemingly endless flat plain reminds me of that.This was his sixth album, recorded with voice, guitar and harmonica, came out in between his two monster albums “The River” and “Born in the USA”. It peaked on Billboard at #3, and yielded 2 top-40 singles.
album-cover-crap-87_springsteen_2 This cover was chosen because it takes the name and rallying cry of folk legend  Peter  Seeger and pretty much puts it on a beer label.”Come to the Springsteen Bar, we have Seeger Stout on tap. You’ll love the way it gets you drunk!”But looking at this cover reminds me of how a lot — maybe most — of Springsteen’s biggest hits sound like beer commercials. Or given the weightiness of the mark Springsteen has left on Music, perhaps the Beer commercials are trying to sound like Springsteen.

Crappy Album Covers #67 — Casting Out The Demon

Before I start, I would also like to say, that you can also access my front page when there are no crappy albums for other interesting and amusing articles. They tend to be published almost every second day starting from Sunday: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and sometimes on Friday. Right around this time, there have been articles on The Politics of Dancing, a series of 3 articles named after a song from 1983 that I knew from the band Re-Flex. This time, I try to breathe some meaning into the title. But it shouldn’t be a heavy read.

album-cover-crap-89_coverbrowser_comSomeone, somewhere, some time ago, there was an album where someone went around with a mike and recording equipment and recorded the voices of people said to be possessed by demons.

Even if this were real, would it really matter? The only evidence of demonic possession will be the voices on an album, and for all you know they could be acting in a cushy air-conditioned studio and drinking chilled Perrier during their breaks.

Now the question is, is the guy on the album the demon or the body possessing it? To me, he just looks goofy.

album-cover-crap-90_coverbrowser_com“Satan is real unless declared integer” is a twist on an old computer programmers’ joke, known to those who programmed in FORTRAN 77 and earlier. Actually the joke was supposed to settle the theological question of God’s existence: “God is real unless declared integer”. It also was a play on the idea that the default variable type in FORTRAN was floating-point, for which FORTRAN used the keyword “real”.

Charlie and Ira Louvin are stitched into Americana about as much as apple pie. They were an integral part of The Grand Ole Opry for 8 years from 1955 to 1963, recorded with Chet Atkins, and played everything from Gospel to Waltzes. Ira Louvin died in a car crash in June 20, 1965. Charlie, now over 80 years old, has seen himself and his brother mentioned in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

(Images may be disturbing) Crappy Album Covers #66 — Food On Vinyl III

You know that after all that has pased through this blog, I wouldn’t have to put up a warning like that. But I do, if you scroll down.

album-cover-crap-85_normal_vinylcoversfreefr_00338 Look at that pizza. It could easily feed a small army, but these 7 adults are having it all to themselves. Where did they get an oven big enough to fit this monster?This album is called “Pizza Party”, with Joe Biviano on accordion. He, along with two other performers, Abe Goldman and Gene von Hallberg, were the first accordionists to make it to Canegie Hall, where they apparently appeared together for a 1939 performance.He was said to have gone consistently low-brow in music, to which the theme of this album testifies. He had gone as far as any accordionist can expect to go in his career. Unless your name is Weird Al Yankovic.
eulenspiegel Kraut Rockers Eulenspygel’s first album in 1971, called “2”, had a cover with a controversial design (this one) that was soon replaced by something more appetizing.They survived long enough to do a second album in 1972 called “Ausschuss”, recorded at Apple Studios in London. After a breakup, a reunion, and several lineup changes, they made a third album in 1979 and finally broke up in 1983, and haven’t been heard from.

Crappy Album Covers #64 — Your Body is Your Shrine

album-cover-crap-83_normal_vinylcoversfreefr_00338 I haven’t checked but I am beginning to notice that there seems to be a single record label that seems to be responsible for an increasingly disproportionate number of crappy album covers: K-Tel. I guess Canadians have to be known for something other than snow and igloos. Well, we can now boast of having had a crappy record cover factory headquartered in Winnipeg.

This 1991 “Armed Forces Workout” album featuring Bill Dower comes with its own instruction poster. Sgt. Bill Dower was last known to be an American Armed Forces trainer.

album-cover-crap-81_normal_vinylcoversfreefr_00345 Time raise your hands for The Lord! Now put them down! Up! Down! Up! Down!

This record is destined to make you into a — uh — firm believer! If God is going to raise you from the dead, then make it easier for Him by losing some weight!

You know, your body is a shrine, it is God’s creation. Stay slim for Him! (the link is to a brief history of Christian dieting and exercise).

Staying fit is more Christian than you think (no, really). In fact, it is supported by many major religions. The above link suggests that it is also specified in the Qu’ran, and Catholics can pray to St. Margaret of Cortona (although this link is more into pushing product).

At one time there was a company in Baltimore, Maryland called Praisercise Fitness, but unforutnately their website does not seem to exist any longer.

Crappy Album Covers #62 — The Dance

album-cover-crap-76_lpcoverlover_com This one is from Michelino and his Cha Cha Band. The color scheme of the album obfuscates the black lettering near the bottom. Something about “Cha Cha Cha” and secretaries. This whole thing gives me an understanding as to why lpcoverlover.com headlined this as “Banging The Secretary“.There is the secretary there with her typewriter. Either he is playing bad music and she wants Michelino to stop, or he wants to dictate a letter to her using drum signals, and she can’t keep up.
album-cover-crap-77_lpcoverlover_com I have discovered that the “Cha Cha” has within it a nearly endless goldmine of crappy album covers. Look at “Dracula Cha Cha Cha”. Well, of course one problem I have, and it goes without saying, that the cover looks like it was done in pastel by a 14-year-old.But even the mere idea of doing the “Dracula Cha Cha Cha” is quite another topic. Gone are the images of warm Spanish climes, where you dance the Cha-Cha or the tango, or to any of the many other Latin rhythms that make travelling to Spain or Latin America a treat. Instead, you the Cha Cha, done with an element of fear. Fear that you might get caught, I’d say. Some things can never be forgiven.I guess, then, I would consider this Cha-Cha album where the themes are non-standard, a kind of “alternative Cha-Cha” album to please, say, the punks and the skinheads. Imagine punks and skinheads doing the Cha-Cha. Just imagine.
album-cover-crap-63_badhair2 It seems that everyone had tried their hand at disco during the seventies. Here, the late Danish pop-rocker keyboardist and heavy metallist Tommy Seebach (1949-2003) wants you to believe that he can do disco, with his album “Disco Tango”.It is rather surprising that in the seventies, a person like Seebach could wear his mustache and hair like that and probably still get laid. It sure was a different decade. Those who lived through those decades must admit: in the 70s, we all thought we were something. We all thought that up to that point in modern history, we had the coolest clothes, and the coolest hairstyles. I mean having a blowdryer was a cool thing, as was having one of those hair brushes with the bristles that go all the way around, so that blowdrying your hair could get you that puffy head of hair that made your head look bigger than it really was. And you felt so cool when you wore it! Now, you guys have to admit that if that was the deal with you and your immediate clique, then you didn’t look too different from Seebach over here. If you were on a date, you wore a sports jacket and one of those shirts with pointy collars, and you made sure that you left the top button undone so that the girl can see your necklace and possibly some chest hair. And since ties weren’t cool, you never wore one. Therefore, we must conclude that this album is only crappy in retrospect.This blogger seems to have dicovered in those multiple heavy metal videos he did, that they all seemed to be the same shots of the same riffs of totally different music. Even the images of the drummer hitting the cymbals were in different time with the music. The same girls were dancing the same dance out of the same forest, regardless of the music. On different songs, I saw the same shots of the same guitar riffs; the same shots of the same bass riffs, not even bothering to change the camera angle.
album-cover-crap-73_coverbrowser_com While we’re on the topic of clothing styles, I’m afraid that these guys, The Drifters, have a clothing style that is like nothing in the history of the universe.Tracking information on these folks was next to impossible. There is a polka tune called “Drifters Polka”, which seemingly everyone covered — even Roy Clark. But A band called “Drifters” and an album called “Polka ‘n’ Fun” only led to other crappy album blogs, short on straight info.

Crappy Album Covers #61 — Cool Religion

album-cover-crap-68_karate_preacherNow this is real cool. Wouldn’t you just like to go to church, and instead of those boring sermons and homilies, you instead get a preacher that knows karate, and uses it to show the power of God?

Well, Mike Crain the “Karatist Preacher” must have been packing them in, by striking down the devil every chance he gets, going by his 1975 album “God’s Power”. HIIIYYYA! He’s gonna wup some Satanic ass!

False prophets, idolators, usurers, prostitutes, dittoheads, and propagandists haven’t got a chance, as he cracks their skulls for JAY-sus! Crain looks like Mike Myers with a bowl cut.

album-cover-crap-78_zonicweb_netIt gets better. In between Crain’s homilies, David Ingles would come in and sing songs which paralyze Satan. This has the benefit of holding Satan still while Crain gives them a Karate chop, you see.

Trust me, with these two on the same bill, you would never miss a Church service again. David Ingles has his own website, and claims that God speaks to him.

He now has a daily radio program on a radio network which he owns, called the Oasis Network, and still gives regular church services in his local church Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa.

album-cover-crap-61_bad_santatAnd during can i buy viagra online in america Christmas Season, Swedish singer Eilerts Jul can fill in for Ingles as he returns to his loved ones for a break from sermons.

During the rest of the year, when he is not relieving Ingles of his duties, Jul is a furniture salesman for The Lord with television ads that play every 10 minutes, featuring talking dogs, jugglers, and magicians. After grabbing your attention with the circus performers, he gets on-screen yelling the store slogan and telling you at 300 words per minute where his store is located, and that he will not be undersold.

As part of his publicity, and to keep the local churchgoers from falling asleep (how is that possible?), he buys some of the furniture of his competitors, brings them into Church, while Mike Crain whacks them into splinters, calling them the work of Beelzebub. If you’re going to buy furniture, it must be blessed by Crain and identified by Jul as the work of the holy hands of his furniture suppliers.

You will not get Jul and his ads out of your head. He will be in your dreams. This is all good, since what is good for Jul is good for The Lord.

Crappy Album Covers #59 — Stick Figure Neighbourhood

Welcome to the world of stick figures. In today’s blog, our crappy album cover collection will focus on the world of stick figures.

album-cover-crap-72_spoonsThis blog entry was named after a 1981 album from a band from Burlington, Ontario called The Spoons. I spent a while deciding whether this album cover met my standards of crappiness for inclusion into this collection of album covers. Well, here it is.

The Spoons had no hits from this record. The hits came later. The band members have changed names, and have broken up and reunited, and performed as late as 2007, but two personnel that have remained in their lineup from the beginning was Sandy Horne and Gordon Deppe. The two knew each other since since attending Aldershot High School in Burlington. The album was recorded in Hamilton. I can relate to the title. Parts of Burlington, and come to think of it, Oakville and Mississauga (these places are all close to where I live), can be thought of as stick figure neighbourhoods. Nothing like songs from the heart.

Little did The Spoons know, that their allusion to stick figures carries forward a tradition of stick figure albums that came before. To wit:

album-cover-crap-69_thriftstoreart_com

There’s nothing like stick figures to get you in the dancing mood (yeah, right). While the late Lester Lanin (1907-2004) played the proverbial “weddings, debutante balls, and bar mitzvahs” routine, he was no ordinary contract band leader. He had also played for Queen Elizabeth II, he palyed at the wedding of Prince Chuck and Lady Di, and more than one or two sitting U. S. Presidents.

So, how is it that a person with such impeccable connections couldn’t get decent album art? It could be that the album artist the company had, quit and the manager had to step in.

But I think the truth is far worse. There was a time I remember, where can u buy viagra looking at books published in the late ’60s and early ’70s, which had stick figure drawings, and usually it was found on self-help books or books with a sociology/anthropology bent. In other words, this was part of an aesthetic trend at one time.

album-cover-crap-71_thriftstoreart_com… like this one. Paul Harvey was a radio announcer for KVOO in Tulsa, Oklahoma, his place of birth, and another fellow who had impeccable credentials, winning many honorary degrees and medals, up until 2000.  He has also been given numerous awards and continues to broadcast to this day.

Once again, a legendary talent with an artless album cover. In the context of the title and some samples I have heard, at least it gets the point across.

If you look closely, these are very special stick men. They are the ones found on Male restroom doors.

album-cover-crap-70_thriftstoreart_com… and these are the ones found on the female restroom doors. Well, not quite. These are more like paper doll cutouts. Maybe as a pastime, you can count the figures to see if there are really 60 of them in the illustration.

Can 60 French girls be wrong, if they all agree on the same thing?

No information was found on The Djinns Singers, although there are many albums out there, some of them being sold on E-Bay. So, while links to this and other of their records are plentiful, it is difficult to know if there are 60 of them or 6 of them. Oh well…

Below is a stick figure animation for your amusement. These days, all kinds of people are doing stick figure animations. Don’t know if they are really popular, but they seem to have comic potential. See below, courtesy of YouTube:

[media id=102 width=400 height=300]

Crappy Album Covers #58 — Family Bands

album-cover-crap-67_familyI was going to name this blog entry “family style”, but then I remembered that was the name of a 1990 duet album by brothers Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan. It would have been an insult to SRV’s memory, I thought. So, I changed it to a straight title.

Now they say that the way to raise a family is to run a tight ship. Now if you can have your family live on a real ship on the high seas and in shark-infested waters, then you have it made. You can rule the roost and threaten to make the kids walk the plank if they misbehave.

According to my reliable secret sources, this “vanity press” album hearkens back to around 1974, and Captain Hook, whose name does not appear to be revealed as otherwise, really does have a hook for a left hand. He lost a leg and an arm in a motorcycle accident and was “born again” while in hospital. Hook became a tele-evangelist in Indiana for over 20 years after he “became Christian”. He also performs ventriloquism as part of his act.

album-cover-crap-66_family_the_macksI was going to place The McKeithens in the Bad Hair entry, but it was only the hair of one person, the mother in the foreground, that I was concerned about.

The McKeithens’ self-titled LP, likely from 1976, likely marks the start of a ministry of singing and fellowship that began in 1976, and lasted until 1991. I can’t say for sure where they hail from. There is a Myspace blog about them, but it is unlikely that the family had anything to do with the blog. I mean, would a family like this make virtual friends with people with usernames such as “Lady Stinky Puss”, “Chris Crocker”, or “Phat Gurl”? Don’t think so. Clearly, the blog is set up to make fun of this record cover. However, there is almost no original content in the blog, and it appears to have been abandoned.

This would have been a plain album that would have been ignored, but for the Winebago-sized hairdo the mother has.  I think it’s a wig. A wig that large could serve a purpose, you know. You could use it to store food, prescription medication, house and car keys, a change of clothes, photo ID, passports, train tickets, the King James Bible, sheet music … all the things you need to go on an evangelical singing tour.

album-cover-crap-62_family_st_heitt

The Heitt family are a study in obscure, small Saskatchewan villages that are little known even inside Saskatchewan. If you blink as you drive past these places, you might not see them, so be careful.

Most of the family belonging to the Heitt Orchestra are natives of Revenue, Saskatchewan, consisting of not much more than two crossing roads, about 200 km west of Saskatoon, as the crow flies (more like 230 km by highway, going by Google Earth). If you look for it on Google Maps, Revenue is where the low resolution area begins.

The Heitt family consist of Brothers Larry (drums), Blaine (electric bass), and Glen (banjo); their father Frank (accordion) and mother Adeline (guitar).

The only non-family member is vocalist is Donna Boser (holding the tambourine), who lives one hour’s drive deeper into Google’s low-resolution area, and closer to the Alberta border, in Fells, Saskatchewan. Although if you ask Donna, she’ll probably tell you she comes from Reward, Saskatchewan, which is a larger community close by. The “Where the Hell is Fells, Saskatchewan?” T-shirts must be selling like hot cakes over there. Boser still sings in the same part of the province.

Donna now lives in nearby Unity. At least they paved the main highways over there. Unity is still a small town where someone spent an idle afternoon counting the houses, and Unity has 960 of them (population is about 2500). And the deal is that Fells and Revenue are much smaller than Unity. Unity boasts its own website. And here is a virtual tour of Unity, where you can see how flat it is (should take about a minute).

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.

Completely believing people's wildest stories

I’m into totally believing every story people tell me about themselves. Sometimes, when people tell me their problems, it’s complete horse-crap, with only the flimsiest relation to reality. But I sit in wide-eyed fascination of these artistic bullshitters. I’m just along for the ride, and sitting and listening to these tall tales aren’t really going to hurt me. So I believe it. All of it. With all my heart. It has nothing to do with me, so who cares? I even offer to help out with their “predicament” (which they fabricated of course). And it never amounts to anything anyway.

Here’s how you play: you completely, without holding back, believe everything a bullshitter tells you. If they falter, help them out in order to get their story right. In order to win the game, you have to “land on your feet”, and neither player gets hurt. Those are the rules.

OK? Ready to rumble?

I saw Karen again, and this time it was in the Student Building on campus. She asked me if I remember bumping into her a month ago near the Harbour Front with her mother. I vaguely remembered, and said so.

She said if I could clearly remember this, that she wanted me to testify that in court, because she thought the police were giving her trouble. I was not able to find out what kind of trouble. She was evasive. I didn’t want to pry, but my naturally supportive self wanted to jump in and help her out. I told her so. But, funny thing, none of it amounted to anything. The conversation about court just evaporated. Living in fear of the police didn’t seem all that important, all of a sudden, and I never heard about it again.

It was just like the day later on when she spoke about the fact that her parents were Nazis. She was in her 30s when she spoke to me on this (and that would make her parents, what, oh 50 or 60 years old when they gave birth to her)? She went on about how they used to operate the torture chambers in some part of Poland. She lived in mortal fear of her parents, apparently, because they ruined the livelihood of her brother and set his house on fire. She was now living in fear of them coming for her.

Now did I react and say “Come off it, Karen”? Nooooo. I was the proud picture of gullability itself. I listened to her for hours, in fascination of her and this incredible story. The next day I ran to the university library and took out an atlas of Nazi prison camps. There were hundreds of small camps dotting Poland. I laid it out for her to jog her memory. She pointed at one called Treblinka, but she was no longer going into the same level of fine detail that she was regaling to me earlier with.

The subject was dropped, and never pursued again. For some odd reason, the topic of her parents about to kill her any day now did not seem to inspire as much fear and was no longer important, and she never brought it up again.

My Geo-Trig Poem

You take tan b and ×
sin(cos(q+y))
and just to make it more complex
÷ cot(Δx)
And so then by csc(Θ)
× angles π, ρ, η
and show that they continue on
by proof with δ – ε.

Once tidied-up you then inspect
and find the answer incorrect
So then you do the question over
Once it’s right you then discover
You were to do the even ones
and not the odds, which you had done.

You give it up and say you’re leaving
Geo-Trig for basket weaving.

— something I wrote back in Grade 12.

Are there unused icons on your desktop?

Nothing brings Windows to its knees more than unused icons on your desktop. It must be so, because every so often whenever I use Windows, I get this annoying message on my toolbar (one of those balloon things) saying that there are unused icons. This must be some kind of important message, otherwise it wouldn’t be bugging me so much about the icons. I imagine that it must be the reason Windows is so slow. All those icons are just gumming up the works somehow. Pretty soon, I imagine that the icons will cause a fatal crash and bring on the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death. And you know, in cyberspace, no one can hear you Blue Screen. I will end up as roadkill on the Information Highway, with packets of information whizzing past me, with not one of them stopping to help. Perhaps some of them will slow down to stare at me like I was some kind of spectacle, and then you know what will happen next… the entire network will slow down to accommodate the rubberneckers on the Information Highway. This will ultimately bring networks to a crawl, and ultimately, the entire Internet will slow down, and it will all be my fault, because I didn’t clean up my desktop. That will probably be my final thoughts as I lay dying on the Information Highway’s “Slow” lane. And as I rise to go to heaven to meet St. Peter at the gate, he will know about my slothful and slovenly ways and take that into account as he figures out whether I should wind up in heaven or hell. I imagine that there must be a special place in hell roped off for those who commit the egregious sin of not removing unused icons from their desktop.

Of course, there is an answer to the cancerous scourge of unused icons on the Windows desktop. It is a signal, my friends, that Windows is no longer useable. It is time to rip it out and install Linux. I guarantee, my friends, that Linux will not give a hoot about your icons. You can cover your whole goddamn desktop with them and the operating system will not complain. That has got to give you peace of mind. Sure, there is a bit of a learning curve with the new operating system, but at least St. Peter will be pleased with you, and you will have one more reason to remain in heaven. And as a bonus, you can take the passing lane on the Information Highway.