Crappy Album Covers #125 — More Accordions!

Album_Cover_Crap_179_Flickr Yes, the accordion is, apart from bagpipes, the instrument everyone loves to hate. Today we have a double bill. First, the duo Doug Setterberg and Stan Sorenson have this album called “Yust Try to Sing Along In Swedish”.

Sorenson and Setterberg might be Swedish by ethnicity, but all sources I have place these two in Seattle, Washington some time in the 1960s.  Otherwise, I suspect the title wouldn’t be in english.

Album_Cover_Crap_172_Flickr After Setterberg and Sorenson left the stage, this 400-pound gorilla came on stage, picked up the accordion, and started playing.

The members of the audience either didn’t notice, or noticed an improvement. “Hey, keep the Gorilla on stage! He sounds like Brian Eno, ” exclaimed one audience member.

“They Said It Couldn’t be Done”, if played at low volume, will likely qualify as the first ambient record, and certainly the first non-electric one. A sort of “PDQ Bach” for the polka crowd.

This was a 1959 release by Dominic Frontiere and his Mighty Accordion Band. Frontiere has gone on to compose well-known television themes, such as The Flying Nun, starring Sally Field; and the 70s crime show Vega$, starring Robert Urich.

Crappy Album Covers #80 — Wanna Come to My Place?

bongodate This is Jazz artist Mike Pacheco with his 1957 LP “Bongo Date”. Back then, there was the fascination with Beatnik culture. It was the Hip-Hop of the 1950s.

Guy says to the girl: “Wanna come to my place and I’ll show you my instrument?” And the pick-up line actually works! It’s a date! Or maybe the girl is saying it to the guy. For me, it works both ways in this photo. Cherche la femme, indeed!

harmonicagang Johnny Puleo (1907-1983) was a pantomine artist, dramatic actor, and in his later years, master of the harmonica. He has recorded at least two albums with “His Harmonica Gang”, and has had at least two solo efforts.

He’s the short guy in the foreground. Standing at 4′ 6″ tall (1.37 metres), he would show up on Ed Sullivan playing a bass harmonica that was almost the size of his head. He started in Vaudeville playing all of the large night clubs in the United States. His last performance was on television in 1982, when he appeared once on SCTV.

Crappy Album Covers #79 — Crappy to Infinity

album_cover_crap_105_blonde_redhead-23 Proof that the lady on Blonde Redhead’s 2007 album “23” has an infinite number of legs:

1) This woman has 4 legs

2) 4 is an even number

3) 4 is an odd number of legs for a woman to have

4) The only number that is both even and odd is infinity

Therefore, this woman has an infinite number of legs.

Tennis, anyone?

I have this one in my collection. The contents are pretty good, and the CD has had great reviews. 23 was one of the top 10 alternative albums of 2007. I’ve heard comparisons with other bands; but no — they stand on their own. They are very melodic and very listenable.

I think the reason for the crappiness of this cover is that, on one hand, it doesn’t look “alternative”, but it doesn’t look terribly normal. It’s a cover which confuses its audience. It also is not really an indication of what is inside. What’s inside is pretty consistent, well-done, and not so “weird” as this cover would suggest. The cover has since been modified.

album-cover-crap-107_-_polka_disco_franklarosa_com As was mentioned by this blogger, with this 1979 album by Jimmy Sturr and his Orchestra, we witness the union of the two most repulsive words in music.

And to make things worse, it is actually a double album. But one has to realise that this album wasn’t made to further tighten the noose on disco; it was done to popularise polka. Jimmy Sturr still makes music and has his own website, sponsored by Mrs. T’s Perogies.

Crappy Album Covers #78 — Crappy on many levels

tubby_boots I can’t resist adding this second Tubby Boots album, called “Goes Topless”.Whoa.

This one is crappy on so many levels. Recall in our first Tubby Boots record shown last week that he thought he was a hipster. Now he thinks he is a female stripper. A female stripper wearing a Roman war helmet. And pink underwear with a bearded man drawn over his crotch. And, of course, the pasties.

On the bottom it says: “For the Mature-Minded Adult”. I am unsure how many “mature-minded” adults would be seen with this record. But if you are an adult and not mature-minded, you are obviously spared from having to buy this record.

cartyparty Bill Carty’s album here is also crappy on many levels. Imagine pulling up your blinds, to be confronted with this guy staring back at you?We have already seen Carty’s head go into orbit with the last album we saw, when we witnnessed him as the world’s first suicide bomber. Now his head is landing in front of your window.

His eyes popping out of his head could be a mirthful look, or it could be hyperthyroidism. Or it could be his forever frozen look of surprise when he found out all he needed to set off the grenade was to pull the pin.

Crappy Album Covers #77 — Big Heads II

billbarner1 Comedian Bill Barner was a comedian for a short stint in the Florida area in the 1960s. His comedy records are one of the earliest to appear. However, his career didn’t go too far, according to my informants (actually, it was from an interview between Woody Woodbury and WFMU in New York, which was podcasted).

You can see clearly this is some kind of ’60s anaesthetic aesthetic. A woman is showing herself off, and Barner seems to show his appreciation.

Barner had to travel to San Francisco to get this recording made, signing up with Arrow Records. Lots of hints that this is from SF: Recording is done in “Mirth-Quake”; and Barner is standing (sort of) on a trolley.

billbarner2 Perhaps Duo and Arrow Records are the same company, since both have the “Mirth-Quake” monacre, and both have mostly the same messages on top and bottom as a whole. Both also show the same love for excessively large heads in the album artwork.

Barner apparently plays piano, and does so live in front of a night club audience (as was the above album). They don’t say which night club allowed them to record. It would have been great publicity for the night club. But for all we know, a laugh track may have been his only audience.

He has released six other albums that I am aware of. Those lack the requisite big heads to be in this entry, but they are still pretty bad. One of them is a sequel called Trolley Bar Party II. Some of these records, depending on the condition, are collectors’ items.

Crappy Album Covers #76 — Keyholes and topless women

keyhole_woodywoodbury_wfmu1

This is Woody Woodbury’s big comedy album from the 1950s, “Woody Woodbury Looks at Love and Life”, put out by the Stereoddities label. This was one of the first comedy records ever made (probably the first), and are considered innovative. Woody put out comedy records before Bill Cosby, or Bob Newhart, or any of the other ’50s and ’60s comedians.

Woodbury was a big name, and he almost had the job of hosting The Tonight Show, except that the plum job was instead taken up by some wisecracker named Johnny Carson. Woodbury was a guest host of that talk show in the past, and thought he had the job.


album-cover-crap-100_lpcoverlover_comProving that the suckiness of album covers are never limited to English-speaking countries, we present Jacinto O Donzelo, looking into a keyhole of his own. When this name came up in most searches, it appeared without the comma.

From what I can make out, Jacinto has made what appear to be comedy records, well into the 1980s. He has sold apparently well in Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. MP3s of his comedy are ripped and traded on several websites.

I shall declare that this cover is so bad, that merely gazing upon it will make you feel as though you stepped on something warm and brown. I’ve called the cops, Jacinto. They’re on their way down.

The photo of Jacinto and the keyhole was photoshopped at lpcoverlover.com, who uses the photo as an overlay to indicate that the album cover “underneath” is X-rated. It is not so much serving as a warning, and more like an urging to “click here you idiot if you want to see some nudes”. Great system they have. Anyone who is highly moral has to put up with having to stare at Jacinto eternally pointing at the keyhole, which by itself simply forces visitors to click on the photo if they want to make Jacinto go away. Once they do, they see the album cover depicting nudes underneath. Prudishness is inherently maladaptive in the blogosphere.

My blog isn’t nearly that high-tech. I put “Adult Content” in my title as a warning, telling patrons that they should visit my site as an invitation to see a really cool posting. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? Every time I view a movie on TV that has an announcer saying “This movie may involve mature subject matter and scenes of sex/violence/coarse language” what the television folks are really saying is “whoa, this show is really cool, folks — watch this one!!” Just imagine that if they didn’t use that disclaimer and you didn’t know the movie, would you really watch it? I almost never do. And I think that the TV folks know me, since I think they make that disclaimer in almost evey movie. I think I even saw it once on Bambi. That’s for the part that when Bambi’s mother dies, I think I heard Bambi say something like “Oh, shit”. Of course you have to keep kids away from that kind of nonsense.

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.

The origin of the phrase "silent majority"

This phrase was made popular by Richard Nixon around 1968 when he attempted to discredit Vietnam war protestors as a group of vocal fringe elements, while he was secretly escalating the war into Cambodia. “The silent majority”, it was supposed by Nixon, still supported the US involvement in Vietnam.

It must be admitted, that 40 years later, the phrase still resonates with us. But as clever and smart as Nixon was, he did not come up with it himself; the phrase actually had its origins in classical literature. It was used to describe dead people. So, surely that must mean that in Nixon’s democracy, we should always respect the opionions of the dead, since there will always be more of them than of us. This need to respect their opinions is made more urgent by the fact that dead people cannot speak for themselves, and thus have no voice of their own in our political discourse. In addition, most of them are hard-working dead people who have never committed crimes.

In recent elections, however, dead people have in fact lent their weight to various political parties by voting in several recent elections in several states in the US. Dead people have also run for political office, and one of them won an election in a race against John Ashcroft. In America, dead people are full participants in the democratic process, benefitting both Democrats and Republicans.

Surely, Nixon’s phrase has resonance, not in the apologetic, hawkish, warmongering sense, but in the originally intended sense, backed by over 1000 years of classical European literature.  I think Nixon really was referring to dead people, and he may have even been invoking the spirit world.

What is the true origin of that phrase? I was itching to find out.

At first, I thought “silent majority” must have originated from Dante’s Inferno, where would likely have used it to describe the dead. It turned out to be too juicy a fact to be true. He doesn’t use the phrase.

Phrases close to this have been pointed out a few years ago by the late classical scholar James B. Butrica, who quoted several writers, including the ancient Roman writer Petronius (AD 27-66): “Abiit ad plures” or, “S/He’s gone to the majority”, a fancy way of saying “S/He’s dead”. Butrica says that the same phrase was also used some 200 years earlier by Roman writer Plautus (circa 254–184 BCE).

At any rate, all I have to say is: one man, one death. It wouldn’t be terribly democratic if one man had two deaths. And also, I believe quite strongly that if you vote when you are alive, then if you die right after you leave the polling station, then you shouldn’t be allowed to come back and vote again as a dead person before the polls close.

In closing, I must say that the constant invocation of “the silent majority” over the years whenever most discourse opposes what a politician does, is a fallacy. We only have one way to read “silent majority” (I’m talking about the living this time), which is to say that if you don’t speak up, it is because it (whatever “it” is) doesn’t arouse your passions, and thus you don’t care. If the majority of voters decide not to vote, for example (as is too sadly the case most of the time), then their silence is not seen as a vote for anyone, and their non-votes are never counted. A politician cannot “listen” to the silent majority, because there is nothing for them to hear.

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.

Writing Again

I get this inspiration to write something sometimes, and then my habit recently has been to write it on to any medium that seems to exist. I earlier purchased a hardcover journal where I think the object of it is to write some response to a quote or biblical passage. Like all of this, I could never keep it up.

I do have a main paper-based diary, which I have not entered anything in some months. As for LiveJournal, I never entered anything, it seems, for two years. That is, for all practical purposes, not even a first entry.

It is interesting that there was a time that writing flowed from me almost on a daily basis. It’s happening again, except this time it’s on WordPress. Not that there is anything special about WordPress (I have to type, which is slower), but it is just happening. Finally, it is happening.

Four Ugly Colours (or, colours not found in nature)

There is a certain set of color values somewhere in the visible spectrum that do not seem to have a category. These colors seem to go with nothing in your house, and do not seem to come from anything in nature.

The commonest of the ugly colors appear to be (by their RGB values — it seems to look different on different monitors):

149 255 183 industrial green 180 233 255 industrial blue

The colors of the “industrial” spectrum are most often found in factories and warehouses. The really good paint was probably left for head office. The colors also appear most often in low-rent housing and greasy-spoon restaurants.

226 255 187 puke green

A color favoured mostly by people suffering from red-green color blindness. Often mistaken for “moss green”. Consists mostly of canary yellow with just enough green to make you think the canary was unlucky. Associated with festering sores and infectious disease.

255 205 245 hospital pink

For similar reasons, industrial blue is also called “hospital blue”. Associated with strerility. People who decorate their homes in hospital pink or hospital blue favour what is called in interior design as the “anaesthetic aesthetic”. Enjoyed most often by people under anaesthesia.