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(Crappy album covers — sidebar) — The Shaggs: A quandry

Much of my youth was devoted to getting any info I could about the pop music culture I grew up in. From time to time, there would be the odd mention of The Shaggs, a band of four young sisters, Dorothy, Betty, Helen and Rachel Wiggin. In fact, there was (and likely still is) a strong cult following led by the likes of Frank Zappa. The album depicted here is a compilation called “Shagg’s Own Thing”, released in 1982. If anyone were to be introduced to The Shaggs, I would recommend this album first, since it is a better approximation of conventional music.

I don’t wish to go into a long diatribe about the history of The Shaggs. They are well-written about and have been reviewed, especially after the reissue of “Philosophy of the world” by RCA in 1999, in such publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker.

This second album was their 1969 debut, “Philosophy of the World”, recoded a few months before Woodstock. To quote Jimmy Guterman and Owen O’Donnell, from their book “The Worst Rock and Roll Records of All Time”: “In their insistence that technical proficiency was immaterial, The Shaggs were the original punk rockers.”

People are largely on two minds about The Shaggs. On the one hand, they don’t seem to know how to play their instruments, their instruments and their voices appear to be out of tune, and they have no consciousness about keeping time with each other. If you listen to their music, this is depressingly obvious, and you feel embarrassed for them.

One gets the feeling that these sisters probably never wanted to be in a band. That was their father’s idea, and the sisters’ desires didn’t matter. This reprint of the New Yorker article paints a picture of daughters who lived in fear of Austin Wiggin, their authoritarian father, who hated much of the popular culture that was around him, and worked hard to shelter his daughters from those influences. Yet, he wanted his daughters to play popular music, partly to make a name for himself in his home of Fremont, New Hampshire; and partly to fulfill a prediction made by his clairvoyant wife that his daughters would play in a band. Neither parent was remotely musical, the kids were homeschooled, and this separated them even more from mainstream culture. What musicality could possibly emerge from such a deprived environment?

That being said, there are those who, thirty years on, still think they were on to something. I go with my instincts, and think that this was a family run by a controlling father, and what desires really exist within them to become whole; any move toward even knowing their own feelings and desires was something that only became possible after the death of Austin in 1975. The Shaggs were an extension of Austin, and had little to do with the young ladies.

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(Crappy album covers — sidebar) Fun with Joyce (or Joyce's head pasted on other people's bodies)

Some of the photo retouching ideas are kind of kinky, but that’s part of what makes them so hilarious.

It turns out that there are some blogs that have had more than their share of fun with this photo. They have taken their talents in Photoshop to make albums with her head pasted on other very recognisable albums in order to make new and amusing combinations. Let’s take a visual tour.

First of all, here is Joyce (from the last post). Her natural self, being every bit the librarian we’ve known and loved. If she is not a librarian, she ought to be. The rose she holds as a finishing touch to the photo gets the message across that this is not a heavy metal album. I think the rose is quite effective.

Ah, yes … hangin’ out with early Bob Dylan, smokin’ weed and listening to Dylan’s poetry and song. I thought that was Joyce on the album. She’s more hip than we gave her credit.
Once again, Joyce proves us all wrong about her. Here she is as a glamourous diva, the real creative muse behind Beyonce.
For sheer technological prowess, nothing beats the retouching job of this Prince album. Prince is now the woman he always wanted to be.
Now for the ultimate, Joyce’s head pasted on Cher’s body. And there’s more …
Here, Joyce, shows us her other, darker side. She wantsssss it! She wantssss it! (The ring, that is)

And finally, Joyce is seen chillin’ out with her homies from the ‘hood at NWA, yo!

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Crappy Album Covers 7 – Courtship and Desire

The background on almost all of these albums were hard to track down if not impossible. In most cases on this installment we shall deal mostly with obscure albums. The coincidence is that these albums have some disturbing connection with the social process of courtship. Maybe they are unable to mate in captivity.

There is no information that I can find on John Bult. Just this lasting impression, the album cover to “Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday”, plastered all over the ‘net. I can’t say what hasn’t already been said about the creepy impression this album gives me, and the incredulity that an album cover like this would actually be thought to sell records.

All I can do now is to say that this blogger seemed to put it best (get your Irish accent on as you read this quote):

Julie looks like a happy birthday girl, doesn’t she? Who wouldn’t want to be the object of John Bult’s inappropriate lust?

He’s doing this right, though. He took her to a nice place with a piano and tablecloths, he had a mug of beer to steady his nerves, and he’s holding her hand as he whispers to her “Whatever you do, don’t tell your dad.”

What can I possibly add to that?

UPDATE: Well, it turns out that I can add something. In fact, it explains everything. Julie, you see, is the daughter of the character of the the fella singing. She’s reached her sixteenth birthday, and she’s going out on her first date. Her father spent more time at the bar getting drunk than with his family, and so he thought he would make up for it by having a heart-to-heart talk with Julie before she goes out. After hearing a small audio snippet, John doesn’t sound Irish at all, but American. From Louisiana, in fact. That said, I still think that the choice of album cover is a case of really bad judgement.


Now for this next album, I wouldn’t bother mentioning the legendary 1983 album by Joyce Drake, simply titled, “Joyce”, if it were not for the fact that it was deemed #1 on their list of crappy album cover of all time by the (UK) Guardian. This blogger says that this one is considered the Mona Lisa of bad album covers. And that is the only thing that makes the record legendary and worthy of any mention. Personally, it doesn’t grab me either way, although I admit she definitely needs a nose job.

I am hesitant to make intelligible comments on the record or the cover, for the first and foremost reason that it was most likely a vanity pressing. And if it is a vanity pressing, then it is no surprise that precious little thought was given to marketing or saleability. This album did not pass by a focus group; it also shows signs of having no makeup artist; nobody did her hair; nobody told her how to dress up. She simply posed for a photo and sang the songs on the record.

Joyce Drake, according to the most reliable sources, is a preacher’s wife, and lives in Sealy, Texas; and has not released another record after this one. We make fun of it because of its profound lack of pretense. We are so awash in Photoshop-retouched images of perfection that when confronted with a record like this, we don’t know how else to react. We recoil whenever someone is not seen to “get with the program”, and to stick to the impossibly high standards we make of all those who put a photo of themselves out to print. Face it: if a person finances their own record, they are likely not going to follow the typical marketing path that succeeded for, say, Madonna. Such a thought may never have occured to them.


On to the next album cover. It is known in psychiatric circles that if you are lacking in feelings you probably also lack empathy or remorse for those who do. This makes what is known as a “psychopathic” personality. While it would be obvious that you can’t “borrow” feelings to compensate, a psychopath would place a drain on those around him or her until they too are deficient in feeling.

I think other possible (and compelling) album titles that would go well with this photo would be: “Can I borrow a shirt?” (look at the one he’s got on), “Can I borrow 20 bucks for a haircut?”, “Can I borrow 20 bucks until I get back on my back again (I’m almost there!)?”, “Would you like fries with that?”, or “Can I get something started for you?” to borrow from Starbucks.


Some guys are poets so they can attract women. Some guys have such musical power that they can summon scantily-clad women with just a little string accompaniment with a 6-string ukelele. Such is the miracle of Dinky.

Maybe she is not being summoned so much as that she was always there and with that music he’s playing, she just can’t keep her clothes on.

No information on this album cover. I could very well have my head up my keester and Dinky might actually be the name of the female. I’ve seen both in my online searches.


I’ve also seen such women rise from harmonicas. Dick Marris has a little woman right here. It must be real, since this album was recorded before the days of Photoshop and personal computers. Those were the days of miracle and wonder, when giants walked the earth. Certainly giant harmonicas were among us back then (either Richard is blowing a giant harmonica or his head and hands are small — but then again, it has to be large enough to seat a “little lady”, if you know what I mean).

A search for Dick Marris also turned out to be unfruitful.

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(adult content) Crappy Album Covers #6 – Pleasing your partner

Xiu Xiu is a indie experimental outfit out of California. Despite its oriental-sounding name, none of its members have oriental-sounding names. A publicity photo of the group looks overwhelmingly Caucasian. One reviewer calls Xiu Xiu “the undisputed masters of introspective, creepy, noise-pop”. They have been around since 2000.

This 2003 album cover called “A Promise” shows a nude guy who wants to be your friend. He even brought you a present, look! Will you play?

To appreciate the full impact of how crappy this album cover is, I propose the following mental exercise. You are buying the CD, or better still, the 12″ vinyl version if it exists. The seller places it in a clear plastic bag. Now you are walking out of the store where you are seen with this album in clear view of everyone else in the shopping mall. You might even walk past a biker gang hanging out at the food court, all of whom notice your new album purchase. See the problem? The only way I would buy this album, if I really had to have my Xiu Xiu “fix”, and if this were the last Xiu Xiu album on Earth, would be to mail away to whoever is selling this, and instruct them to mail it to me in a large manila-coloured envolope or cardboard envolope, so that the general public doesn’t see the ugly cover. Also, I wouldn’t play it on my first date.

This album (Music to Keep Your Hustband Happy) is one of a couple of albums I am aware of that was set up to encourage sex play among married couples.

There are some who guide you on “what women want” and the ones here are a guide on, presumably, what men want. I wouldn’t see women buying this. Men would buy it for their wives. The covers must therefore attract the male customers.

Sometimes, however, the way to a man’s heart is by tearing off his clothes. Early Hip-Hop artist Tony Tee offers us a show of his masculinity by showing himself as about to lift a barbell, buy tramadol online no prescription which doesn’t look an ounce over 40 pounds, in his 1988 album “Time to Get Physical”.

The spandex chick on the cover, going by the body language of both involved parties doesn’t look like she’s propositioning him as much as she is threatening him. Maybe he didn’t pay his share of the rent, or maybe he is hanging out too much in the gym. She is probably accepting sex favours as payment.

Now, there are of course some women who can’t stand real men, so she will date a fake one — one made of wood. And, she’ll live in her own world where wooden people and trees talk. This is the world that Nashville-based Geradine Ragan and her “friend” Ricky (who looks like “Planet of the Apes Meets Evel Knievel”) want you to get to know better.

I must say that the true essence of wooden puppets are greatly under-appreciated. They don’t talk back, they don’t verbally abuse you, they don’t come home drunk, and they are neither too tired nor do they ever have headaches.

The back cover of the album makes a big deal of the devout Christianity of her and her husband. Her husband, a real person named Dave Ragan, shares his life with Geraldine and Ricky, surely making efforts toward tolerance and a peaceful co-existence with this “other man”. Ricky barely tolerates the fact that Geraldine must give the occasional bit of airtime to that husband of hers, Dave. Ricky is probably heartbroken that she decided to marry this perfect stranger without even asking him if it is OK, first. And, obviously, what do the trees think of all this?

Now, with Oscar Zamora and his little wooden “friend” Don Chema, I have the ability to engage in what has so far been my good track record at giving both sexes equal time. That is mostly due to luck, and the abundance of crappy album covers. This Latino ventriloquist is based in the Southwestern US, and seems to be famous more with Latinos than with anyone else.

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(Adult content) Crappy album covers #5 – The effects of viagra

Alla Pugatjova (also spelled Alla Pugacheva) is legendary female vocalist from the former Soviet Union whose career goes all the way back to the mid-1960s. “Every Night and Every Day” and “Superman” are two tracks that seem to come from her 1985 album, “Watch Out!”, an album which appears to be in English. So, this is more like the cover for a 45 RPM single, and not an album.

At any rate, the actual album cover was quite tasteful. This one was by contrast cheesy in the extreme. Sometimes I can’t decide where to put certain albums, because clearly there is crossover. I could have grouped it with the Frankenchrist album because of the dune buggy, but I think viagra won out, because of the unnamed dude in the Superman costume. But I have a lot in this category. So many crappy album covers, so little time.

Now that this guy thinks he is Superman, all I can say to Alla is, “be careful what you pray for”.

You can never go wrong with albums that sport naked chicks on the cover. Clearly, Eddie is pleased to see her, and she looks pleased to see him. Fine and dandy, but couldn’t he have chose a better title than “Recorded Live at the Open Face Sandwich Club”? Do we really need to be informed that he was playing in a restaurant where people may have only heard him between bites of their steak slices on rye, and were probably chatting throughout his set? Maybe the chick on his piano could control the crowd and tell those wayward patrons to shut the f**k up and let him play.

Eddie Mack had a short career spanning from the late 40s to early 50s. Allmusic lists his genre as “Rock”. Yeah. He looks pretty rockin’ to me. But then, one must be reminded that it was the early ’50s.

As for chicks getting the guy, the Ritchie Family seem to have no problems going by this album cover. The ladies are the ones in the picture that are fully dressed.

I just worry a little that there is not an even share of guys for the girls. There are 5 guys in the photo for 3 women. That’s one and two-thirds guys for each woman. My theory is that they got one each with two guys acting as “floaters” in case they have one of those “emergencies”. Maybe one of them might get sick. Maybe two of them. I hope the guys wear condoms.

Now we get to see an album where both sexes are in the buff. This is an obscure Various Artists compilation, but it appears from some (unreliable) sources that it was released in 1971. Arranged around their photo like signs of the zodiac are line drawings of people in various sex positions. The title is “The Sensuous Black Woman with The Sensuous Black Man”.

Some advice: premarital sex is only fun until you make the girl pregnant. Then, it’s not cool anymore. The late 60s and early 70s was an era of something called “free sex”, which seems in hindsight not to have been that sensible. Albums like this will tell our kids: “See what we were like? We had all kinds of sex and thought somehow we would never get the girl pregnant.” It’s the magical thinking of teens with adult levels of hormones.

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Crappy Album Covers #4 – Bodily Functions

I don’t particularly wish to discuss heavy metal album covers all that much. They are meant to be ugly, disturbing, and sometimes even hard to look at. It goes with the territory, and the fans expect it and want it. However, the AC/DC tribute band “Boned” produced a 2005 album cover that pushes the boundaries of artful dissonance clearly into the realm of good old-fashioned bad taste. In the heavy metal arena, you have to work pretty damned hard to make a cover that doesn’t merely disturb and annoy; it just sucks.

But being disgusting is not without its rock-and roll history. Jim Morrisson of The Doors fame showed his willy at several concerts and got arrested for it. Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper were biting heads off small animals at one time. The audience wanted it, they delivered.


Ever notice that on some of the best paintings in classical art, how we can never tell if the woman is smiling or frowning? In this album (see right) we can’t be sure if the expression on Millie Jackson’s face is one of pleasure or pain. Does this qualify the album cover for display in The Louvre?

So, while we are on the topic of eating, masturbating, and other base functions of the body, we may as well discuss this album cover, the one R&B legend Millie Jackson made famous, an album released in 1990 called “Back to The Shit”. According to The (UK) Guardian, Millie’s BTTS album is #2 on their list of the worst album covers of all time. The #1 album will be in this series, so not to worry.

Millie is no relation to “that other” Jackson clan (as far as I was able to tell), but for a while I had her confused with La Toya Jackson, whom some people referred to as “La Toilet” Jackson. I thought they were referring to this ghastly album cover, but I was thinking of the wrong Jackson.

Notice how, in this album cover, the bathroom decor, the hairdo, and the clothes she is wearing do nothing to rescue the photo from its overall repulsiveness. Not sure at all why she is holding a shoe in her hand. Maybe she was about to throw it at the photographer, who is obviously too obsessed and won’t leave her alone to do her business in private. Track titles include “Muffle that fart” and “Love Stinks” (a cover of the J Geils hit).

Millie Jackson has appeared in a video singing alongside Elton John (see below) for a 1985 single “An Act of War”.


And I nearly forgot to include Jazz legend Dick Hyman’s album Moon Gas in this post. I can relate to this title. I get something that can be called “Moon Gas” whenever I eat baked beans.

The album was likely made before the first Apollo landing, since we now know the moon has no gas at all. But perhaps he had in mind what I had in mind. Who knows? So, is this poor lady sitting in her own gas, or is she having to endure someone else’s?

But in any event, I would be clearly remiss to leave this out of the bodily functions category.

Hyman has been going strong since the 1940s, and has over 50 albums to his credit. Allmusic.com indicates that this album has been re-released in 2003, and I could not find an indication of the original date of release.

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Crappy Albums #3 – Creepy similarities

From the “You Can’t Be Serious” department: I have found an album cover that has a creepy resemblance to the Dead Kennedy’s Frankenchrist album.

I imagine the album designers had every intention of making this a fun record. I may not understand the language of the album, but I see children riding toy cars, a clown and a giraffe. How can that not be fun?

Well, you have to be me, you see, and have my point of view. I had, in my sordid past, been into a number of musical genres, including punk rock. Years after Sid Vicious announced the “death” of punk rock back in 1979 (it had barely buy tramadol cod gotten started, but admittedly had a limited artistic range), the Dead Kennedys from California had the following album cover for the 1985 album, Frankenchrist (see right):

Yes, indeedee…  All  them be’s middle-aged dudes driving  toy sedans. I would imagine the children above who seem to wield lighter sports cars and crash helmets can now have a race against those fez-toting Freemasons, and see who really rules the toy car circuit. I don’t think those Shriners will give up their toy car dominance without a fight, what do you think?

Those kids look threatening. They look like they are ready to wup some Freemason ass.

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The Crack Spider's Bitch

A funny YouTube video, satirizing those 70s and 80s Public Service Announcements from the Canadian Government regarding Canadian wildlife. It was a great series of PSAs, but they got curtailed in the mid-80s. If you don’t remember them, you can still get a kick out of it. One thing I hadn’t realized previously — the original You-Tube post this is linked to had received over 15 million views of this short film:

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Crappy Album Covers – #2

The moment I saw that movie poster for that upcoming film “Step Brothers” (Sony Pictures), my first thought was about that crappy album cover from Trazan and Banarne, from way back.

Members of the Swedish children’s pop music group Electric Banana, Trazan and Banarne had this as the photo for their album cover, self-titled. I’ll spare you the bias involved in a white person’s view of life in an African jungle (there will be other opportunities in this series), but I guess the photo gets across that life in the jungle involves merely swinging from tree to tree and eating bananas. Of course, you have to share your bananas with the local primates, in order to live in harmony buy tramadol online without a prescription with nature. Trazan presents himself as a good citizen of the jungle by sharing his banana with his companion Banarne. Trazan, by the way, and not “Tarzan”, is the proper spelling for the artist here.

I don’t know why this picture came to my mind when I saw a poster for a soon-to-be released major movie: Step Brothers (Starring Will Ferrell and John Reilly)? I am sure they have nothing to do with each other. I don’t think these guys live in a jungle or anything. They probably don’t wear argyle sweaters in the jungle. I think it’s more to do with that Mutt-and-Jeff groove both pictures have.

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Crappy Album Covers – First Post

A generic "bad" album cover. I know nothing about the band, good or bad.

I am not here to say what is the worst cover, exactly. That would be too difficult to judge.

Many album covers look truly ugly but must be given leeway, since the lion’s share of them are low-budget enterprises, purchased by buying public who know the local artist. Perhaps many of the people who have purchased the album, the album appears humourous, since they may know what the artist was trying to say.

So, even going through a site such as this one, we find some idiotic “worst album submissions” (who would criticise the album cover to Supertramp’s Breakfast In America?), and submissions simply because the album cover looks disturbing. But sometimes that makes the cover a good one, since it serves as to a warning as to what to expect in its contents. I think some people would be greatly misled if they bought an Iggy Pop record because it had a cute buy tramadol online no rx bunny rabbit on the cover.

“Passion in Paint” is one wretched album cover whose artwork is short on both passion and paint. allergy relief. In this case, it wasn’t necessary to even have bad artwork, since as you can see by the subtitle “Famous paintings set to music”, they could have easily picked a famous classical painting, most of which are now in the public domain, and cost the record company (RCA Victor, in this case) nothing.

There appeared in the 50s and 60s to be a whole slew of sexless and artless book covers, photos, and record albums that made you wonder why the artist bothered at all. Thus, all bad art will have a story behind them, including the social , historical and economic forces which make them suck so much.

There will be more to come about crappy album covers in the following weeks.

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Sleeping with Martha

My wife persuaded me to sleep with Martha. She said that it will make me feel good, and that it was good to have her in bed with us. When I tried to do it with Martha I was spoiled for anything else, and my wife wasn’t even jealous. However, I noticed, that while Martha was good in bed, she kept my head up a little more than made me comfortable, and I wished it would stop. But after a while I got used to it. I told my wife that these were the best Martha Stewart pillows she ever bought, and I had to have more.

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Getting My Teeth off My Chest

Don’t put me down for writing this, for if you are reading this, you are counting yourself in the equal company of bloggers who do not have a life. I just want to get this off my chest.

I never thought about being passionate about flossing my teeth, but dog-gone it, there are standards. For one thing, nothing beats the old-school floss that consists of a thin thread of wound unwaxed nylon (or whatever can you buy viagra without a prescription in the usa they use). It is easy, it is a strong thread, it gets the job done.

Recently I made the mistake of purchasing that fancy-dancy floss they have these days which consists of some kind of flavour-coated teflon. The teflon slips past the teeth, and the plaque. Nothing sticks to it. Not the plaque, and nothing else. It’s crap. Expensive crap. There. I’ve said it. OK, you can go to another blog, now.

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Getting away from it

At a Tim Horton’s, we ordered coffee, I ordered a doughnut. Denise wouldn’t have doughnuts. She seemed a little upset. I later found it was because she had visited her mother and became victim of her latest insensitive remarks.

“Why do you bother visiting your mom if all she does is hurt your feelings,” I ask. This always seems to happen, almost like a weekly routine.

“Well, she is my mother, and I am the only daughter, so I am seen as the only one who can do certain things for her once in a while. But when she says something hurtful, what I normally do is go home, think about it, write my feelings down somewhere, and then try to go about my life again.”

She went on, mostly elaborating. I was silent as she was explaining this to me. I could say that buy viagra canada us script writing is only a temporary measure. It helps you to figure things out, but it doesn’t solve your problems. It might be a way of licking your wounds, but it alone doesn’t heal them. As I saw it, the only way she could heal was to not visit her mother, and to stay away from any other source of hurt.

I don’t think she wanted to hear that. There was a sense of security she seemed to feel about the rut she was in. She was, in her mind, coping splendidly. She would be hurt by people in the world around her, she’d retreat home, lick her wounds, then do the same thing again. With all that hurting and healing, there was no room left for anything positive. Certainly no room to make a positive contribution to society in general.

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The rule of "2"

When I was a student on a limited budget, I had some idea, a hunch, that on average, I spent $2 on an item of food at the supermarket. By counting the number of items I purchased, including more than one of the same item, that I would have a fairly accurate idea of the grocery bill before I reached the checkout.

But to apply this rule, I found I had to apply it to every item, including each of the many 33-cent bags of Oriental noodles, each can of soup, each apple and orange, and so on. It saved me a lot of mental effort in having to compute the real total, and I found that I could always stay on budget with this rule.

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Mileage on my moped

I refuse to engage in the trend for “hypermiling”. I found a way that beats all of my attempts to squeeze even more mileage out of my BMW: Don’t drive the car. For $1200 I got a used moped, and I expect it to pay for itself within 4 months.

On this moped, I have travelled about 160 km (100 mi) and have used up 3.34L of gasoline (0.8826 gallons). My mileage is thus around 113.3 miles per gallon. In metric, that is 2.09 liters per 100 km. In human terms, that means I can go about 213 kilometers on a tank of gas. The 4.47 L tank costs about $6 to fill with the cheap gas, and about $6.60 to fill with the high-grade fuel. Since the cost is trivial, I always use high-grade fuel. Compare this with my BMW: It costs $95 to fill it with cheap gas, and its mileage hovers around 17 miles per gallon.

My moped. Notice

The specs on a website I visited for this bike says that with the reserve tank, it can hold 1.18 gallons of gas (about 4.47 L).

It is a Tomos LX moped, from 2006. And, while my bike does not say “Targa” on it, I have seen identical bikes from American websites and they say “Targa” over the gas tank, while mine says “Tomos”. I am given the impression that the 49 cc engine is standard on all mopeds. My moped had been fitted with an upgraded muffler, but it does not have any adjustments made to the governor. So, my top speed on this bike with me riding on it (I weigh 220 pounds) on level ground would be about 60 km/h (about 38 mi/h).

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Getting rid of the cell phone

Cell phone contracts are easy to get. Companies these days make cell phones very affordable. They are eager to sell you value-added services that you never needed to use prior to the purchase, and you are hit with a bill that can go upwards of $45 per month.

But what if you are like me? You have the cell phone, and now you realise that it is a ball and chain. I don’t just mean the contract; there is also the fact that you can be anywhere and people can get in touch with you. Well, what happened to concepts like privacy? Are there still places left on this planet where people won’t be texting me or phoning me, or emailing me? I need space; I need quiet time. I need a little freedom. I need to get rid of the damn cell phone.

Getting rid of the cell phone takes real mental discipline and concentration. The first time I tried this, I had to get past Emily, the automated Bell Telephone Fairy. The fairy could grant me three wishes, but cutting my cell phone wasn’t one of them. It didn’t understand me when I gave her a voice command to “BUG OFF!” so she sent me to a human.

From then on, I had to endure an onslaught of sales pitches as to how I can improve my cell phone experience by changing my package selections. But they didn’t see the main point: I have a land line, which in effect means that Bell dings me twice each month. I pay them $100 a month just in phone bills. They could not see that this was entirely unacceptable. They also didn’t see that this was my sense of rational decision-making and rational budgeting at work. That wasn’t allowed to enter the conversation either, no matter how rational I tried to sound. Then, they asked me for my password to get into my private account (all this was over the phone after all). I vaguely remembered making this password 6 months or more previous, but I had no idea what it was, and told them.

So, I was told that the only way I could cancel my account was to show up at a Bell shop, and show them some ID. So, weeks passed until I thought once again to go through with it, and when I did, I had to endure yet another sales pitch similar to the telephone ordeal, and finally we got down to business, and I showed them my ID. I brought my cell phone with me, but they weren’t interested in looking at it. They told me that I had to complete the billing cycle, and in 6 weeks, I would be free.

Of course, this 6 weeks did not go by quietly. I got brochures telling me to come back, we’re sorry, we didn’t mean to piss you off; I got a “courtesy” call asking me to reconsider, and after fighting them off bravely, I reached my summit, the top of the hill: NO MORE CELL PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Categories
alternative music music oldies pop music Rock

(Cocteau Twins) Lyrics to Fotzepolitic — NOT!

These lyrics to Fotzepolitic (or a close facsimilie) had appeared on a newsgroup some years ago. The approximate lyrics are below. I was convinced that these were the actual lyrics, but recently I have looked at some “lyrics” websites, and they all post more or less the same “approximate” lyrics, but to my knowledge, none of them are like the one I have here.

If you had not heard the song Fotzepolitic, I recommend you give it a listen. Seriously, I thought it was a cool song (click below).

The Cocteau Twins had this strange style of singing, which could only arguably be called “the English language”. I think they invented a few words and used some non-words also. But of course, we were all charmed by Elizabeth Frazier’s singing and music and bought their recrods anyway. It didn’t matter what she was singing about; it was how it was sung. Their style was atmospheric and ethereal. But Fotzepolitic was more on the “pop” side.

Maybe these are the lyrics, maybe they’re not. But you can play the above video and sing along with these words anyway. They are as good a guess as anything out there.

My dreams are like a chemist
Must be drugs
They're a young girl's dreams

True some drool
and shoot like a baby with stones
But I'll use just rouge

Not like the scary hairs on other singing groups
Like the scary hairs on other singing groups
Big boobs

Family food its you like a stone inside me
Sit on my face

I am stoned; 
I am drowned, now
I'm bleached to blonde
Now I'm empty-headed.

See and saw bounce me back to you, will you?
See and saw bounce me back to you, will you?, 
Will you?
Categories
Famous Quotes inspiration religion Renewal Sprituality

Quote (Nelson Mandela)

Our deepest fear is not that we’re inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that’s within us. It is not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I had to think about that one for a minute. Product Statement Common use The primary element of Viagra is Viagra Citrate. Viagra Citrate buyviagraed.com affects the greeting to sexual input. It book by enhancing silky hooligan tranquillity using nitrogen pollutant, a chemical that is usually free in activity to sexual stimulant. This prettify musculus loosening allows hyperbolic murder rate into positive areas of the phallus, which leads to an erection. I found it at an AA site. I hope that people see there is much in these words that go way beyond therapy for alcoholism. It is a quote for all humanity, for all time.

Categories
babbling computers geekdom geeks internet Linux media QOTMFD ramblings usenet

USENET: Death of the Alt.* Hierarchy

The Usenet has been, and continues to be, a great source of information, where technologies that push product can easily be pushed aside using filters. There are more than 10,000 newsgroups on nearly every topic that delienates our human existence, all hierarchically arranged. The major hierarchies are known as “The Big 8”: comp.*, humanities.*, misc.*, news.*, rec.*, sci.*, soc.*, and talk.*.

The one hierarchy which has been the bastard child of the usenet has been the alt.* hierarchy. Like all technologies, they start off with good intentions. According to one follower of the Big 8:

The alt.* hierarchy was begun, in part, as a reaction against the management principles of what came to be known as the Big-8. It is an “alternative” approach to creating newsgroups

This meant that, in reaction to certain sites placing a “veto” on certain newsgroups and due to the political influence certain site maintainers had, why not make it possible for anyone to make any newsgroup they want, without the need for a vote? That was the idea behind “alt.*”

Most people who maintain USENET sites will freely admit that much of the alt.* hierarchy has become a moral and technological toilet. It carries nearly every nutty newsgroup bounded only by imagination, including groups no one has ever seriously posted to, as well as long-dead newsgroups that also have no posts (unless you count spam). Examples are

  • alt.swedish-chef.bork.bork.bork
  • alt.n (where “n” = monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, sunday)
  • alt.sex.extraterrestrial
  • alt.food.pez

… you get the idea. This led the folks carrying these newsgroups to decide that: OK, maybe we’ll make the carrying of the alt.* hierarchy optional. Thus, the carrying of the alt.* hierarchy has been considered optional since its inception. I don’t know of any universities that carry it.

There is another problem with the alt.* hierarchy. It has been used as a vehicle for carrying child porn. If we censor ONLY these newsgroups, that would only mean that people can create others within alt.* that do the same thing. This is also the same for newsgroups that carry ISOs of complete software suites, mp3s of complete albums, and DVDs of movies. None of these activities are what I would call “legal”, and is easy justification for axing the whole hierarchy for reasons of freedom from liability for the ISP. That still leaves the “big 8”, which are mostly safe from illegal activity (unless it’s spam).

Verizon will be cutting alt.* from its offerings, and Time-Warner will no longer offer USENET at all later this month. It must be stated that alt.* carries a lot of worthwhile groups that are active, with their own FAQ maintainers. In light of this, many ISPs have taken the middle ground of not carrying the alt.* binary groups, leaving the text groups intact. What Verizon has done would be considered extreme by the standards of most ISPs.

There are hierarchies that are not part of the “Big 8”, having to do with gaining inexpensive (free) tech support, such as microsoft.*, corel.*, borland.*, linux.*, and so on. These are even more worthwhile, and I hope they are keeping them. They typically are relatively free of spam and have more wothwhile posts. There are knowledgeable people there who can answer your queries in a relatively short time.

Freedom of speech has historically been limited by the understanding that “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.” For the Internet, the argument is specious, since it was taxpayer’s money that built it in the first place.

That means that even the attempt to privatize it to various companies (Time, Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, Bell, and so on) constitutes a form of corporate welfare. The questions seem to come down to: who really has the right to decide what newsgroups I can and can’t read? I suppose someone has to manage alt.*, but who gets to do this, and in who’s interest? These are really the questions that need to be explored.

Categories
comedy entertainment humor parody Pop Culture racism satire

A NatLamp article at a White Supremacist site

I have been a fan of the National Lampoon since I was a teen in the 1970s. One of the most shocking articles for me to read in the mid 70s was P J O’Rourke’s “Foreigners From Around The World”, which appeared in the National Lampoon in May, 1976. The article is really a heap of ethnic jokes strung together, formulated to piss off all minorities equally. Maybe some more equally than others.

Even in my teens I realised that the humour is meant to be taken in irony. Problem is, O’Rourke dropped few hints that he was actually joking, outside of the fact that the entire article was totally outrageous. It is an orgy of stereotypes said without much apology. I felt at least a little disturbed by the article for that reason.

The reason I am bringing it up now, is because for the first time since I disposed of my NatLamp collection, I found the article using Google. Problem was, it was found at a White Supremacist site. Like most racist sites, you never actually know for sure you are at a racist site until you do some poking around. Then you begin to stumble on actual hate literature. For reasons of my own sense of ethics, I won’t post the link, but anyone can still easily Google to that site and find it easily enough if they really want to.

Now I am wondering if my willingness to be entertained by the article was actually an acceptance of hate literature, and was O’Rourke an earlier version of talk show hosts such as Ron Imus or Rush Limbaugh? O’Rourke does rescue himself, however, by lampooning his own ethnicity, which by his surname appears to be Irish. The illustration for the Irish is one of a nasty-looking lerperchaun, describing the Irish as “Pie-faced, neckless, bandy-legged sots who almost never fuck.” Maybe that gets him off the hook. For my part, I didn’t keep a scorecard.

But in addition, there is a larger idea that he appears to lampoon that is easy to miss among all of the sniping about individual ethnic groups. The United States is composed almost entirely of the ethnic groups he is making fun of. Ultimately, if we follow the logic to the end, it is America itself, his own country of residence, which he lampoons.