Saturday, June 28, 2008

Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet - 'Music For Pets' ep (1991)

Toronto's Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet were a fun,
mostly-instrumental kinda-surfy band that were around for about ten years, from the mid-1980's to mid-'90's.

◀ In the photo, from left to right:
Don Pyle, drums
Brian Connelly, guitar, keyboards
Reid Diamond, bass

They'll always be best remembered for their association with the Canadian comedy troupe Kids In The Hall; On their TV show the band provided 'transitional' music between sketches as well as the program's theme song,
'Having An Average Weekend'.

The Shadowy Men released 3 full-length albums together, presented here is one of roughly a dozen singles and EPs they put out.

After the end of The Shadowy Men era, the former bandmates went on to perform and record with an assortment of bands, including Phonocomb and Atomic 7.
Bass player Reid Diamond lost a battle with cancer and passed away in 2001.

For detailed info regarding the band and their various musical incarnations following their break-up, click over to 'The Shadowy Site On A Shadowy Web'
- - an Unofficial webpage for The Shadowy Men.

From the 'Music For Pets'
7" EP (K Records, 1991),
Listen to
Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet:

Rover & Rusty

Here Kitty

The Cat Came Back

Baby Elephant Walk

That Wuz Ear Me Callin' A Horse

Friday, June 27, 2008

Have a Franky 4th of July! (1941 print ad)

Nothing spells fun at an
All-American 4th of July picnic like hot dogs made to resemble explosives.

(Click on image to ENLARGE in a new window)

Have a safe and sane celebration next Friday, and be careful handling those Weenie Cannons; you never know when one will go off...

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 06/27/08

Another week, another batch of essential whatnot...

1. Carlin Continued: It was a safe bet that we'd see lots of remembrances of comedian George Carlin after his death last weekend.

I've found it a little shocking how much 'official' reportage seemed to really not 'get' Carlin at all - - and yet there they were, using his 1972 'Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television' as a main focus, and missing the breadth of a diverse career that began long before and stayed vital for the 3-plus decades following.

A couple of nice exceptions that I enjoyed were Jerry Seinfeld's short and sweet op-ed piece in the New York Times, and a GREAT post at WFMU's Beware of the Blog that concerns itself with Carlin's early comedy career, from his partnership with Jack Burns and early ventures in television.

Several links are provided to video clips from 1965 through 1972, including an appearance on the game show 'What's My Line', the strange sight of a Carlin introduction from Jimmy Durante, and much more.
Check it out!


2. Easily lost amid the spotlight on Mr. Carlin's exit, a moment please, to remember comic actress
Dody Goodman, who also passed away last weekend.
She was 93.

Goodman's 1950's stage roles led her to a long string of TV talk show appearances in that decade, showcasing her trademark ditsy persona.

She then became something of a 'professional celebrity' until the mid 1970's, when she played Martha Shumway, the mother on Norman Lear's TV soap opera parody, 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'.

That role led to her appearances in both of the 'Grease' movies as Blanche Hodel, the principal's assistant at Rydell High, at which point Ms. Goodman remained quite active on film, TV and stage well into the 1990's.

Looking over her credits reinvigorates my desire to finally track down and see 1964's 'Bedtime Story'.

She had a supporting role opposite David Niven and Marlon Brando in this film comedy that would be remade in 1988 as 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' with Michael Caine and Steve Martin in the lead roles.

I'll keep my eyes open for that, and (who knew?) her 1957 LP of novelty songs, too...

See also: Dody Goodman.Com

3. Meanwhile, during a recent phone conversation with
My Friend Topic, we were both multi-tasking in front our computers (as usual), which meant at least one of us was doing two or more activities poorly at the same time.

Among other things, Topic was looking at online images of tattoo art.

Sparking a shift in the conversation, she pointed me to the
Bad Tattoos Gallery at Radar Online, which shows a selection of photos included in 'No Regrets', a recent coffee-table book that collects examples of some interesting choices in body art.

Many of the images found in the book were already floating aroud online, and I strongly suggest you surf around and see what you find.

Some are brilliantly funny, bold and creative, some are unfortunate mishaps or just poorly rendered.

Many of the tattoos you can uncover might make you thankful that it didn't happen to you, and several very special ones travel WAY past the big questions of 'Why?' and 'What were you thinking?' into a jaw-dropping territory of

Not surprisingly, there are PLENTY of places to see bad tattoos online.

A couple of photo galleries that you might start with: (Watch out! NSFW)

- 'Worst tattoo you have ever seen' at grupthink
- A recurring series, 'Really Bad Tattoos' posted at Typebrighter

- - but go ahead, run your own search: "Bad Tattoos" - -
It's a great big colorful world out there...

Speaking of which - -

◀ 4. These and other great portrait studies capturing the human condition are available for viewing at Jowlers.Com
("Where distortion is cause for celebration").
It's a huge photo sharespace devoted to shots of what they like to call 'The Jowler'.

"These fun pictures are created when the subject of a photo shakes their head really fast while the picture is taken."

This is the sort of project that should be happening on a global scale. A vast catloguing of 'jowling' faces around the globe. Just the thing to bring all the diverse nations of the world together.

For now, browse in fascination through galleries of folks who just may have all wound up with bad headaches.
Surprise - - lots of college students, lots of drunken revelry. You can also sort photos by all men, all women, groups, and shots that include flying saliva and other ejecta. Perhaps not for the squeamish. (Via People Corporation)

5. - - and also via People Corporation, it's 'The Worst Batman Squirt Toy Ever'. ▶

What were they thinking?

6.The Newsarama blog has posted a 'sneak peek' of comics and other books to be published by Fantagraphics later this year.

In addition to some predictable items, like new reprint volumes in their gorgeous Complete Peanuts, Complete Segar's Popeye and Ketcham's Dennis The Menace series, and new issues of their Mome comix anthology, here are a couple of other items I'll likely be committing to my 'wish list':

- 'Modern Swarte: Joost Comics' - - A major retrospective of the comics work done by Dutch 'clear line' artist
Joost Swarte since 1972. Long overdue, at least here in the US.

- 'We Are not Saints' - - The latest collection of Kaz's 'Underworld' comic strip. Essential reading!

- 'The Wolverton Bible' - - Later in his career, the amazing Basil Wolverton followed his unique legacy of humorous and horrific comic book work with a long period of illustrating bible stories. This collection brings that work together, with previously unpublished material.

- 'Love & Rockets: New Stories #1' - -
New numbering for another new re-boot, new material in a new annual 112-page trade paperback format.
The Hernandez Brothers can do just about whatever they please. I'll be there, just like I have since the first #1 back in the '80's...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lene Lovich - Lucky Number (Slavic Dance Version) (1979)

What a look, and what a hook; It's Lene Lovich with her perfect first hit single.

This 'extended dance mix' version loops around an extra lap or two, with just a bit of extra fairy dust thrown in to bring it in at just under two minutes longer than the original.

To most ears, the only quality that makes it 'Slavic' is Lovich's heritage on her father's side.

Born in Detroit, she was 13 when her Mom brought her back to her native England (minus Dad) in the mid-sixties.

Before long, Lene had met her partner and musical collaborator Les Chappell, and in 1968 they traveled to London to attend art school.

A staggering array of musical and artistic pursuits and exotic semi-professional avocations were to follow between then and 1978, when she found herself among the forefront of women punk & new wave artists, and on a concert tour with a bevy of fellow performers from the Stiff record label as her first hit single and accompanying LP climbed the charts.

Listen to:
Lene Lovich -
Lucky Number (Slavic Dance Version)

(Stiff/Epic 45, 1979)
(click for audio)

See also:
- 'Innovation in New Wave: Lene Lovich'
- A bio at Perfect Sound Forever

- Lene Lovich: The CREEM Profile (Boy Howdy!)

- Follow link to the 'Lucky Number' promo music video, and look below ▼ for
Lene lip-synching on the U.K.'s
'Top of The Pops' in 1981 to 'New Toy', a great follow-up hit single.
You can catch a glimpse or two of keyboardist Thomas ('She Blinded Me With Science') Dolby in the background.
He wrote the tune while a member of Lovich's touring band, or so legend has it...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just now discovering Tinkle Comics, thank-you... (1985)

So it turns out I've led a sheltered life.

I was in a thrift store when I found this copy of the May 20th, 1985 issue of India's Tinkle Comics, and for me it was an encounter with something truly exotic and odd.

Locusts, hovercrafts, historical pieces, folklore and parables, content ideas from readers - - What IS this?!? And who is this 'Uncle Pai'??

Growing up in the U.S., and not having traveled much outside its borders, I'd never seen this comic book magazine.

What I've learned is that since its first issue in 1980, Tinkle has continued to be a hugely familiar part of growing up for vast numbers of people in India and beyond.

(Click on images to ENLARGE in a new window) ▶

Tinkle's founding editor Anant Pai had previously launched the Amar Chitra Katha comics imprint in 1967, which soon became one of India's largest series of comic books, crafted to teach Indian kids more about their cultural heritage.

Like most of the ACK titles, editions of Tinkle are published in English and several Indian languages.

In searching about the web for more background, what comes through in abundance are the fond memories people have of reading this comic book, being entertained by it, and learning from it.
Heart-warming stuff.

As a 40-something American, the particular passion of that response is most reminiscent of memories I and my peers have of growing up with titles like Classics Illustrated, Archie and MAD magazine in the 1960's and '70's.

- - But it was fun and refreshing to find myself approaching Tinkle as a truly unknown quantity.
Certainly I've seen tons of comics in my time, so it wasn't TOO alien, but still it smacked of something different.

To digress for a moment, the experience reminded me just a little bit of an elementary school memory; When I found a severely tattered copy of - 'Zap Comix' #5 under a bush in the park (no doubt left there by some filthy hippie I suppose).
I'd never seen an underground comic book, or half of the things this one depicted.
I could barely recognize it as being the same 'species' as the comic books I knew, and yet the experience was indelible.

Finding Tinkle was strange and other-worldly, too, though not as sensational as discovering Zap as a 7-year old.
(Tinkle also didn't immediately fill me with a sense that I was 'in trouble', and sure to be punished.)

At first I found Tinkle's format and artwork a bit
off-putting, but guessed that maybe that comes from it being outside of my experience.
It's just different, not 'wrong'.

Soon my feeling was that it all seemed to be doing its job with precision and economy, which seems appropriate for a comic that's printed fortnightly.

In posting about Tinkle, I realize that for many it's a very mundane thing to see some of these old pages.
Maybe worthy of a little bit of nostalgia, but no big deal.

But those folks will just have to bear with the rest of us for a moment while we pause to take in something outside of familiar territory...

(click on links to open pages in a new window ▼)

▲ As shown above; ▲
- A message from 'Uncle Pai'

- 'The Pledge' ▲▲

- 'Hovercraft' ▲▲

- 'The Flexible Cap', page 1
- 'The Flexible Cap', page 2
- 'The Flexible Cap', page 3
- 'The Flexible Cap', page 4

- 'Bagging a Seat'

- 'Shield Meets Spear'

- 'Raghu' & 'Readers Write...'

- 'Singing Out a Secret', page 1
- 'Singing Out a Secret', page 2
- 'Singing Out a Secret', page 3

- 'Indifference'

- 'Purse Farce' & competition results

- 'Mooshik' & 'To Our Readers...'

- 'A Son-In-Law Comes To Dinner', page 1
- 'A Son-In-Law Comes To Dinner', page 2

- Ad: 'Tuffy the Tortoise'

- Back cover ad: 'Maggi Doodle pens'

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

78s fRom HeLL: Al Lentz and his Orchestra - How Could Red Riding Hood? b/w Elsie Schultz-En-Heim (1926)

The song 'How Could Red Riding Hood (Have Been So Very Good)?', written by A.P. Randolph in 1925 and published in 1926 currently holds the distinction of being the first song known to be banned from the radio (except in instrumental versions), due to possible sexual connotations. +

According to a few sources, it may have begun with radio Station WFAA (Dallas/Fort Worth) declaring that bandleader Jan Garber's '26 recording of the song was "improper and suggestive".

Supposedly, slightly differing lyrics included in assorted recordings of the song made the difference as to whether or not it was deemed objectionable.

The Jan Garber recording and a SUPERB 1926 version by The Yacht Club Boys contained the verse purported to be the culprit:

'They say that she was a maid most discreet,
'And there's no doubt about it, she must have been sweet,
'But you know, and I know that even sweet girls must eat.
'How Could Red Riding Hood, Have Been so Very Good
and Still Keep the Wolf from the Door.'

Versions that escaped the ban include one by Harry Reser's Six Jumping Jacks, and the version by
Al Lentz and his orchestra presented here.

They don't contain the above verse, but do have in common the following verse:

'They say that she found a wolf in Granny's bed,
'A big sun-bonnet pulled over his head,
'But you know and I know what she found instead!
'How Could Red Riding Hood, Have Been so Very Good
and Still Keep the Wolf from the Door.'

- - Which was not viewed as possessing as many prurient possibilities, apparently.

Band leader Al Lentz was known back in the '20's for providing hot and fast dance music at his orchestra's live dates, but if he's remembered at all today, it tends to be for novelty numbers like these...

Dig those scatty throat-'tromnet' solos!

Listen to:
Al Lentz and his Orchestra -
How Could Red Riding Hood?

(Columbia Records 78, 1926)

(click for audio)

Listen to:
Al Lentz and his Orchestra -
Elsie Schultz-En-Heim

(Columbia Records 78, 1926)

(click for audio)

- For more versions of 'How Could Red Riding Hood' (and TONS of other material as well) click over to The Red Hot Jazz Archive.
Using their 'Search' feature and plugging in 'How Could Red Riding Hood' will produce dozens of results. (May require Real Player) Enjoy!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Selections from George Carlin's 'Sometimes A Little Brain Damage Can Help' (1984)

Still processing the news of George Carlin's passing.

I guess one of the things that saddens me about losing Carlin is that he was still performing good material, and as was the case over so much of his career, it seemed that his style was still evolving.

Beginning in 1997 with his book 'Brain Droppings' Carlin found new success in essentially committing his stand-up routines to paper.

I didn't read the books, because I knew I'd really enjoy hearing his voice on all the audiobook versions.

I continue to find the difference between those audio 'performances' and the live stand-up shows really interesting, especially as the past few years took his shtick further and further into the realm of spirited crankiness and bile-spewing.

In comparing the complimentary shades of darkness between his last live CD and the audiobook version of his last book, 'When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?' there's something informative there that I think points to the brilliance Carlin had as a performer.

One book of his that I do own, however, is his first, a slim volume printed in something close to a glossy magazine format back in 1984.

Truth is, it's not a great book.
It's fun, but it's pretty half-assed in its presentation.

Like his later books, much of it is drawn from his stand-up comedy act - - in fact, some of the same material in 'Sometimes A Little Brain Damage Can Help' got recycled a bit and wound up in
'Brain Droppings' and maybe some of the other books.

Still, he did something just a little different with his humor in this book, and looking over its various little lists and 'Carlin-isms', his style shines through.

You don't see this one around much anymore; hope you enjoy peeking at some of its pages.

At this point, should I bother mentioning that it may not be suitable for those who are easily offended?

(Click on images or titles listed below to ENLARGE pages in a new window)
- Acknowledgements & Table of Contents

- Tonight's Program

- Misc. B.S.

- The Book Club

- People I Can Do Without

- A Salute to Famous Bands

- Things You Never See

- Tumors & Food, Tumors & Sports

- Advertisements

- Milwaukee Obscenity Complaint

- (back cover) Tie Champion

Lainie Kazan - selections from 'Right Now!' (1966)

A previous post here about actress & singer Lainie Kazan continues to get a fair amount of attention - - some of it no doubt generated by her recent supporting role in another
Adam Sandler film
, but certainly also due to ongoing interest and curiosity about this talented and singular entertainer.

- - and then there are those who are still just now 'discovering' her.

Time for a follow-up post; Here are tracks from another classic mid-1960's Kazan album!

(Click on liner notes image ▼
to ENLARGE in a new window)

From Lainie Kazan's
'Right Now!' LP,
(MGM Records, 1966), Listen to:

Blues In The Night
Blue Skies
Joey, Joey, Joey
House of Flowers
Black, Black, Black
My Man's Gone Now
I Cried For You
Feeling Good
Don't Like Goodbyes
I'm Shooting High

(click for audio)

- - OR download all 10 tracks in one 27.1 Mb zipfile.

See also:
- Lainie Kazan listed at IMDb

- Lainie Kazan listed at the Internet Broadway Database

- Lainie Kazan's
Official Website

- Follow link for a '60's TV solo performance clip of 'What Now My Love?'

▼ Below, a video clip of a typically casual performance from one of Lainie's 26 TV appearances on
'The Dean Martin Show'.

Well golly gosh darnit, George Carlin fucking died.

According to his obituary in The International Herald Tribune, comedian
George Carlin died of heart failure in
Los Angeles on Sunday evening, June the 22nd, at the age of 71.

I wish it wasn't so, but of course it isn't up to me.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Illustrations from McGuffey's Fourth Eclectic Reader, 1896 edition - - by _____?

Beginning publication in 1836, the McGuffey series of readers became the predominant textbook used in American elementary schools throughout the rest of the 19th century and the early part of the 20th.

Having scanned some images from an 1896 edition of the Fourth reader, I began trying to get some more info.

Looking around for some background online, there's plenty of information available about them; from their history and that of their creator
William Holmes McGuffey, different viewpoints regarding their Christian values (and how that relates to their continued publication - -

- - You can also read the text of various editions of the series at Project Gutenberg - -

- - All of which is well and good, but one piece of info I'm still not finding is reference to the artists who provided the illustrations.

It's not surprising that the illustrators went uncredited in the pages of original versions of the texts, but shouldn't that have been rectified at some point?

Maybe I'm just not looking in the correct place, but it's The Internet - - it shouldn't be that difficult...

Some of the illustrators' signatures visible in these scans are fairly legible, others are not.

Any one out there who can shed some light on who these illustrators were?

Leave a comment, drop a line, your help is appreciated. Thanks for sharing!

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