Thursday, June 25, 2009


Despite what my previous blog posts may suggest to some folks, I've never hated Michael Jackson. But I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of those who, upon the minute of the announcement of his death, were suddenly declaring themselves devoted fans.

I saw the kid perform with his brothers on The Ed Sullivan Show when I was just 7 years old (1969), and from that point on, I just wanted to sing and dance. The dancing part was soon replaced by guitar playing, and later on, folks like the Clash, Dead Boys and Ramones made me decide what kind of music that I wanted to play.

Around the same time as the Jackson 5's Sullivan appearance, I had read a Classics Illustrated version of Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs.

Michael Jackson, by my estimation, grew up into the Gwynplaine of our time. His remaining fans, the ones who stuck with him through all of the embarrassment and ridicule, are now a personification of Homo, Gwynplaine's faithful companion wolf, staring mournfully over the railing and instinctively acknowledging his drowning, sight unseen.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Back when I was a lil' brat we had a local store just three or four blocks away from my childhood home called the Melrose Drug Center. It was sort of a proto-Walgreens for the area, which sold, besides drugs, candy and the usual fare, kinda weird knickknacks and novelties and closeout books with the front cover torn off (I scored a copy of Patti Smith's Babel there as a young burgeoning punker kid) and really cheap records and tapes.

One day, at the age of 10, I had a slightly fat pocket (for 1972 dollars at least, and for being a kid back then) from birthday money and blew a whole dollar on a "mystery box" of sixteen 45 RPM singles. This was an interesting collection. There was a single from Welcome Back Kotter's Marcia Strassman (who played Mrs. Kotter) of a tune called "The Flower Children", a Roy Orbison number, "Breaking Up Is Breaking My Heart", and a sorta creepy sounding release from 1969 by a now-obscure act called Coventry, the sides of which were entitled "Let Me Off At The Next Town" and "Around The Corner There's A Man (He's My Friend)"(mmmm...okayyy).

The one single that truly kept my interest, however, was a sorta mysterious looking record by a band called The Rogue Show. It was a song titled "Make Me Over Again", released on the Paula Records label, with a label that looked like it was typeset with a retail kit from Woolworth's (and influenced the cover design of my 1990 Think album). The song was a pretty catchy lil' garagey number, and apparently it was a promo copy, as "Make Me Over Again" was on both sides, totally identical to each other.

I played the shit out of this single through my pre-and early teen years, but it ended up in one of my "lost" vinyl collections. Still, I had always wondered about who the Hell the Rogue Show was, and their history. As recently as a few years ago, there was absolutely nothing that I could find about these guys.

Of course, this is now 2009, and as we all know nowadays, you can find just about everything online if you search for it long enough (and know how to use Google). Finally, after 37 years, the mystery is solved, at least somewhat.

So here, for your viewing and listening pleasure, is the Rogue Show from 1971 with "Make Me Over Again". (And as an added bonus, after viewing, check out this blog where a collector posts a pic of the label and the Rogue Show's drummer posts some memories and facts about the group. It's actually pretty interesting stuff. Click Here, Pilgrim

(Update - 6/20/09) I received this link to yet another site in which someone had posted the news that Rogue Show drummer Ellis Starkey, whom I had mentioned earlier, had died on June 1, just a few weeks after I posted this. Strange timing, and sad to hear nonetheless. Well, my condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Starkey, and here are some more extensive memories of the Rogue Show (and his band previous to them, the Back Alley) which he had submitted for Click Here, Pilgrim

(Yet One More Update - 6/20/09) Further adding to the weird coincidence surrounding this record: apparently, the day after I posted about the Rogue Show, somebody put the exact same record on Ebay. Here's a chance to reclaim a relic of my childhood. But, ninety nine bucks? I'll settle for the memories for now. If I could, I'd offer to trade up two copies of Think, but alas, I don't have that record anymore either.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


So, I've updated my Twitter message (and by message, I mean lonely ol' solitary message).

Already I've had to 86 a a few fuckers who have "followed" me because they're selling shit. When I say "don't fuckin' follow me", I mean it. If you're just following me because you know me, apologies, but I'm on a mission G. Don't take it personally if I nuke you.

But feel free to read it nonetheless: Click Here, Pilgrim

Friday, June 12, 2009


Two things are clear after all of this David Letterman vs. Sarah Palin hullabaloo.

First of all, David Letterman was very irresponsible with the joke in question.

What he should have said was,

"...during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by the Yankees bat boy."

We wouldn't be having this conversation today.

And the second thing that this tempest in a teapot points out is that, quite obviously, Sarah Palin thinks that the American proletariat are a bunch of gullible idiots. Todd Palin reinforced that sentiment by saying: "...these sexually-perverted comments are outside the acceptance of mainstream America."

Well, I don't watch Letterman much nowadays, since, as a member of so-called Mainstream America, I have to get up early just like most of my fellow Mainstream Americans and tend to be dozed off by 11 PM (when Letterman airs in Sacramento). However, anyone who has watched his show, oh, at least once or twice or so, can figure out that David Letterman's opening monologue has always been about this corny ol' Midwestern dude making these kooky borderline off-color jokes and like wow, dude, you just don't expect a dude that looks like that to say those things, maaaan!

Unless, of course, you've been watching him for years and years, just like, y'know, most of Mainstream America who can still keep their eyes open at that time of night.

Sarah Palin can make as many "statutory rape joke" accusations as she wants, but Mainstream America quite easily figured out that the joke was about the Palin daughter who fucked her boyfriend out of wedlock and under the age of 18, and Mainstream America also realizes that the joke's object was the Palin daughter whose Baby Daddy walked from the shotgun wedding, so, nice try but uh-uh, it's not going over.

And besides, as any of us in TV-watching Mainstream America knows, A-Rod seems to prefer older, powerful famous women, like Madonna and ladies of that type. If anything, he would have tried to scam on Governor Palin, not any of her daughters.

Enough is enough. Mr. Letterman, Governor Palin and family, assorted commentators, associates, bloggers et al:

On behalf of Mainstream America, I respectfully request that all of you shut the fuck up about this incident. Right now. No more apologies, no more accusations of perversion, no more extended analysis. We're already sick of hearing about this shit.

As a way of walking my talk, I will promise to never address the subject again. Trust me, it will be too easy.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Usually, when the deaths of famous people are covered in the media, I'll tend to react with a typical mixture of disinterest and detachment. No matter how much the dearly departed in question accomplished, in almost all cases, I simply could not give a shit.

When I saw the morning news crawl concerning the death of David Carradine, it was a different story. It's been a while since I've felt this sorry to hear of the passing of someone whom I didn't know personally , although in a sort of indirect way, I feel like I did know this guy.

I remember when Kung Fu was on the air back when I was a kid, and like a lot of my generation growing up back then, I was sorta sucked up into the martial arts fad of the time. I even watched the latter day revival Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, which was on the air in the 1990s, well into the era that Carradine's abilities as an actor were considered by many to be (falsely) a punchline to a joke of mediocrity.

I was pretty much over Tarantino's films by the time that the Kill Bill movies were made, but Carradine certainly deserved the revived recognition. My personal admiration of his talent will always be his larger-than-life portrayal of Woody Guthrie in Bound for Glory, which helped to earn a Best Picture nomination for the 1976 Oscars. I consider it to be the best Depression-era film since The Grapes of Wrath, and a big reason for that opinion is because I feel that Carradine completely wraps himself around his role of Guthrie, transforming into a character straight out of one of those Steinbeck novels.

I've also never been ashamed to admit that I was impressed with, and actually went out and purchased, Carradine's Tai Chi and Chi Kung instructional videos. Carradine technically took the lead in these videos but the real expert was a gentleman by the name of Arnold Tayam, an instructor with over 30 years of experience. These tapes triggered my interest in both forms and I expanded my knowledge of them on my own, moving my interest past these tapes. I do a mix of Chi Kung and Tai Chi stretches and motions every morning before my weights, and I am convinced that it has kept me from transmorphing into a pear shaped stiff limbed hunchback, as is the case for many cubicle-trapped proles at my age. I feel that I will be eternally grateful to Mr. Carradine for this positive change in my lifestyle.

I am going to refrain from any commentary on the circumstances regarding Carradine's death. I will leave the discussion of certain speculated causes to folks like Larry King and Rush the Donut Worshiper.

I consider David Carradine to be a True Original and, personally in my life, an inspiring figure who seemed to do some things in his chosen career that he didn't quite want to do, but got to live some great life in between. By all eyewitness accounts, he was a rare mix of integrity, wisdom and joie de vivre who was liked and respected by so many that got to know him and work with him. The man deserved a much better closing scene to the later years of his life. Dammit, I want to hammer out a re-write and to re-shoot an updated ending, pronto.

Monday, June 01, 2009


Hey kids, remember when Kevin Johnson's campaign and his supporters were harping on about the city of Sacramento's skyrocketing crime rate, and how electing KJ for mayor was gonna fix all that up and make public safety real copacetic and shit?

Well, whaddaya know! Less than half a year into Johnson's term, the FBI has just released statistics showing that violent crime actually dropped in Sacramento!

In 2008.

In Heather Fargo's last year in office.

Excuse me. I can't type right now because I'm having trouble controlling my laughter.

Read the story yourself. Click Here, Pilgrim