Monday, November 28, 2011



It was at 6 AM a week and two days ago that I once again got "On The Road" and headed West toward my homemegalopolis, Lost Angels, California.

This was only a Lya Graf-sized vacation: Six-hour Saturday drive there - Sunday - six-hour Monday drive back to Phoenix, Airheadzona. I really toyed with the idea of calling my good friend General Poohregard to see if he wanted to get the Bitter Brothers together for a Bitter Breakfast Meeting, but I opted not to bring any spur-of-the-moment disorder into anyone’s already disordered life just a few days prior to Thanksgiving. So, this was going to be a short solo all the way.

My primary objective was to see if I could relocate my long lost friend Eric – you know, that bloke I told you about in my story ‘Goblins, ‘Gators And Things That Go “Who” In The Night’ - that bloke I was lost with in the Okefenokee Swamp in ‘83. The last time I’d seen Eric he was working at some very fancy Santa Monica Beach hotel, the name of which I couldn’t recall but I knew I’d know it when I saw it.

Just west of the gigantic space alien flower garden near Palm Springs, I stopped to let out and take in some fluids at Hadley’s Fruit Orchards store.

I happened to be wearing my “Robert Johnson – King Of The Delta Blues Singers” T-shirt and a woman working the cash register – Margie was her name, if I recall correctly – began asking me a lot of questions about Robert Johnson. Her husband is a fan of Blues music and after listening to me yak about the singer, she decided to get him an RJ Blues album for Christmas this year instead of the usual gift card for Home Depot.

Because of the poor running order of songs on 'The Complete Recordings By Robert Johnson' box set, I suggested she buy his two albums separately in the Volume 1 & 2 format. When she asked me to recommend one or the other, I told her I preferred Volume 2. She asked if that would be available online, as someone in her extended family has a computer and could place the order for her.

Pulling back out onto I-10, I made up my mind to buy Margie’s husband a Robert Johnson album at Amoeba Records – a massive, amazing record store on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood that I was planning to visit for the first time the following day.

Before driving into Culver City and checking into my motel room, I drove into the belly of the beast: Downtown Los Angeles. I had planned to have a drink at The Embassy Hotel on 9th and Grand like I used to do during my dark nights in 1986. Due to circumstances beyond my control, that drink didn't happen . . . but that is a story for another blog bit to be posted here soon.

However, in the belly of the beast I discovered that one of the two old “Jesus Saves” signs that long ago disappeared from the rooftop of a building at Hope and 6th Streets has been relocated to the rooftop of a building near the intersection of 9th and Hill. Like, does anybody know this?

You remember the photo I posted on this blog of me posing below one of these signs in the early ‘80s right?

I’m not even certain that it’s one of the same signs as it appeared smaller to me than I think it should have but, really, how many large “Jesus Saves” signs are there?

In the photo below, you’ll see that this sign is now near the blue/green Eastern Columbia Building landmark.

You know the Eastern Columbia Building from the end of the brilliant pilot for the brilliant “Moonlighting” TV series - Maddie Hayes hanging from the clock hands, trying to recover stolen diamonds. Remember?

1x01 - 1x02 The Pilot

Leaving the belly of the beast, I drove to my motel on Sepulveda Blvd. two blocks south of Venice Blvd. in Culver City. The Half Moon Motel  - I had stayed here once before, in the Summer of 2005, and in fact I used to live only 7 or 8 blocks from the motel. And that’s the reason I was aware of it at all; I used to drive past it all the time, coming and going, to and from adventures and misadventures.

[The Half Moon Motel on Sepulveda, looking north toward Venice Boulevard.]

As I’ve stated here previously, I once worked as a commercial sign designer and I have always had a fascination and love for old, Old School signs.

[The large yellow sign – drawn by me in 1984 – is located one block south of the Half Moon Motel.]

[Yeah, I stuck a fork in my wiener – it was done.]

There are a few things I like about the Half Moon Motel; first and foremost, of course, is that it has perhaps the coolest neon sign of all time (well, one of my very favorites at the very least) – I love the look of it, the color of it, and the alliteration of it.

Also, the motel is built in that late 1950s/very early ‘60s architectural style with rock walls and the whole thing just shrouded in a kitschy funkiness. It conjures thoughts of wispy cigrarette smoke lace floating through the air, spilled whiskey, and Ben Webster playing some low, soft-porn ballad on his tenor sax.

I can’t stay at the Half Moon Motel without feeling I’ve stepped into the 'Twilight Zone' and found myself living out some Film Noir detective story . . .

I half expect to find Philip Marlowe standing on the second floor walkway in front of the door next to mine, some clinging dame crying into the shoulder of his raincoat and a cigarette clinging to his lower lip while he tries to console her without spilling from the glass of bourbon he balances between three of his nicotine-stained fingers. He's staring at the distant flickering neon 'N' in the "Half Moon Motel" sign, trying to figure out who dun-it and whether or not he should take advantage of this grieving woman's weakened condition, knowing full well that she's Suspect Number One.

Another thing I like about the Half Moon Motel is that the place is a dump. I don’t mean that it’s filthy, just that the rooms are very old and awfully small; not the sort of place where respectable people with money stay . . .  nor even respectable people without money, for that matter.

The Half Moon is the sort of place I’ve stayed in most of my life, and to update my analogy of 1950s Film Noir to 1970s Rock, it being located in Los Angeles, the Half Moon Motel also makes me think of the Doors song ‘L.A. Woman’ and that line “motel, money, murder, madness”.

You can always catch a faint whiff of “danger” in a place like this. Stay at a Holiday Inn or a Marriott or a Sheraton or a Four Seasons and nothing is going to happen to you that you didn’t want or plan for; it’s about as uncertain and jitters-producing as a day at Disneyland. But stay at a Half Moon Motel and . . . spend all night wondering who is in that room next door. And what are they doing? And when night falls, what are they planning to do? And are they armed too? And how many rounds do you suppose they have?

The Doors - L.A. Woman Official Video HQ

I’m not interested in some homogenized, sterilized, sanitized, plasticized, digitalized, uni-sized experience; I want the authentic urban life – romanticized. Just so long as I don’t have to stick my neck out or lose a limb. (“I stick my neck out for no one, baby! Including me.”) That is to say, getting lost at night in the Okefenokee Swamp makes for a great story but you do need to survive in order to tell it.

So, I’m certainly not equating the danger factor of the Half Moon Motel with the Bates Motel – it’s not that uncertain, but . . . to be sure, you might want to pour some Smoking Loon wine into that plastic cup after dark, just to take the edge off a little and to calm your nerves.
What was THAT?!  I thought I heard something!

Damn! I love that kind of place! I’m reminded of that line in ‘The Deer Hunter’ when Christopher Walken says, “I like to starve myself, it keeps the fear up.” There’s something to be said for keeping the fear up. It reminds you that you’re still alive. The Half Moon Motel: you don’t take a nap there without first engaging the bolt lock; it’s the kind of joint where you might find blood in the bathroom sink - as I did during my stay. Except it was my own blood . . . I accidentally cut myself with my Swiss army knife. I think that’s called a Hans Owie.

I’ve told this story here before so I won’t repeat the details but, just as a glance of myself in a mirror at The Townhouse Bar in Venice Beach once inspired me to write a full-length screenplay, I think someday I may need to direct my imagination toward the Half Moon Motel and see what sort of story THAT building wants to tell me.

If THIS place has a story to tell . . .

. . . doesn’t it stand to reason that THIS place has a story to tell too? . . .

[Muddy McLoon checked into his room only to find Gideon's Bible...]

Soon after checking into the Half Moon, I drove down to Venice Beach, had a couple glasses of GraMar on the rocks at The Townhouse Bar and yakked with Bartender George; then I wandered down the boardwalk to The Sidewalk Café and ordered my usual – the Garcia Lorca Omelette – and watched the carnival as it passed by my table.

Then I rambled up the boardwalk to Rose Avenue and watched the Sun setting. Below is a picture I took as I was rambling north along the beach. Let’s stop and think about this for a moment . . .

“Venice Beach Freakshow” ? Uhm . . . HULLOooooo! Being freakishly redundant, aren’t we? I mean, c’mon, everyone knows that when you say “Venice Beach” you’ve already said “Freakshow” - the Freakshow is always implied... every... single... time!

When the Sun drowned in the waters off Venice Beach, I got into my car and headed for a ‘Top Secret’ Security Clearance place I know of, but if I mentioned it to ya I’d have to kill ya. However, getting there wasn’t as easy as I remembered. I found myself shouting - not thinking, but literally shouting – "WTF?! How did The Great Western Forum get here?! Who moved it and when?"

And how could I get so turned around in the city where I was born and raised and where I once ruled? Well, by the vast empty parking lot it was easy to know that UFO wouldn’t be opening for Blue Oyster Cult at The Forum. Not tonight. But there was a time, there was a night . . .

Some years ago I coined a couple of new words: “congrutiating” and “incongrutiating”. Congrutiating is when you are simultaneously involved in two or more activities that are thematically or stylistically simpatico.

For example, if you are eating a banana while playing Donkey Kong, you are congrutiating. When you are "reading Chomsky while listening to the Star-Spangled Banner" you are incongrutiating.

One of my most memorable moments of incongrutiating came in 1980 when my friend Eric (same bloke I was lost with in the Okefenokee Swamp) and I drove through the barren Arizona desert wasteland to see the Sun rise over the Grand Canyon. While driving through the desert we listened to my cassette of ‘1969: The Velvet Underground Live’. Now that, people, is incongrutiating.

But while staying at the Half Moon Motel, I engaged in some memorable congrutiating: I played some cool jazz while the neon beckoned to the night through my open door. Here’s the scene . . .

And here’s the tune . . .

Stan Getz - So Danco Samba [from 1963 album Getz/Gilberto]

[A night at the Half Moon in full bloom.]

It rained most of Sunday. I started the day by driving to Santa Monica Beach to see if I could reconnect with my oldest friend Eric. I mean, really, once you’ve been lost at night in the Okefenokee with a dude, that’s probably a friendship you shouldn’t let fade away.

I found the fancy beach hotel (re-cog-o-nized it instantly) – Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Nice place, but too “safe” for my tastes; I decided to keep my room at the Half Moon.

It didn’t take long before my old buddy Eric and I were yakking in the Loews Hotel lobby. The concierge called him and when he came to the phone I said, “Is this the same Eric who was once lost in the Okefenokee Swamp at night?” I think he immediately had a pretty good idea who was on the other end of the line.

[An interesting businessman/surfer statue stands out in front of the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.]

Then afterwards I drove east through the driving rain and visited the highly praised record store Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd. in the heart of grungy Hollyweird.

[This external shot of Amoeba Music above is the only photograph in this blog bit that was not taken by McMe.]

Impressive? Yep. How many record stores ever had a name card for ‘David & David’, let alone a second name card for ‘David & David’ in the “Used” recordings section? Yeah, that ‘David & David’, the duo who only lasted long enough to release one masterpiece album in 1986!

I spent six days looking at every single compact disc Amoeba had in stock. Afterwards, I decided that the very coolest album cover I saw in the entire store was this one . . .

Boy, was I surprised to find myself selecting that cover. I was pretty sure no album cover art could ever top The Beatles’ “White Album”.

[Dude was walking his dog in the Amoeba record store. I think they were looking for “Stray Cats”.]

Then it was down to Antonio’s Mexican Restaurant in the pouring rain (the streets were all backed up and the LAFD even had to close some sections) and I had to walk through a twelve and a half inch deep river rushing down Melrose Ave. just to get over to Antonio’s side of the street, but it was worth it, as you can see . . .

After that, I was washed away to El Coyote for one of their legendary margaritas . . .  but that is a story for another blog bit to be posted here soon.

Sunday night I decided to check out the little cocktail lounge directly across the street from the Half Moon Motel. In my L.A. daze I passed by ‘The Cinema’ a bazillion trillion times but never even noticed it. (According to one woman I met there, it’s Culver City’s oldest bar and dates back to the late 1940s.) Check out the glow of the cars’ headlights in the rainy street. Pretty cool looking, huh?

[The Cinema: L.A.’s best kept secret.]

I swear to you, I hadn’t taken more than five steps inside The Cinema before I was absolutely head-over-heels in love with the place; it is
so-ooooo my kinda bar! First off, it’s small – the size of a Klondike Bar. Seriously, it was no bigger than two and a half rooms at the Half Moon Motel put together. In one corner is a stage the size of a razor blade, and the bar hosts live bands 7 nights a week.

I got to The Cinema a little before that night’s band showed up and I left while the band was setting up, but I met some very nice people between my first and second Beefeater and tonics.

Two middle-aged couples and I engaged in some discussion about the weather but, believe it or not, it was actually interesting discussion about the weather. Then this character named Eric entered (not related to the Eric I got lost with in the Okefenokee Swamp). Eric was clearly a “regular” and when he told me it was his third time visiting The Cinema I responded, “I don’t think so.”

I can see how a little bit of Eric would go a long way. And maybe that explains why I was the only person who burst into laughter when he said what I thought was one of the funniest things I’ve heard in awhile (maybe the others just thought: ‘Typically Eric’).

I can’t remember how the subject of “East” came up – maybe it was the fact that two football teams back East, the Giants and the Eagles, were playing Sunday Night Football on the boob tube – but regardless, Eric half-shouted: “Fu#k everything east of Lincoln Boulevard!”

Ha!-Ha! I’m still laughing as I type this. If you don’t know the L.A. area that won’t mean much to you, so let me tell ya that 99.75% of Los Angeles is east of Lincoln Boulevard . . . not to mention the rest of the U.S.A. In fact, The Cinema cocktail lounge itself is east of Lincoln Boulevard!

I was the only one in the bar laughing, but I was laughing so hard that I made up for the silence of the two couples and the bartender. I was laughing so hard that my head hit the bar!

Just as I was walking out of the cocktail lounge, the LAPD and the LAFD showed up. It seems there was a scene at The Cinema. Everything stopped, I heard five quick shots, the cops came up for air. And then the Dogtown Gang from the Westside, they’re shootin’ up the street. This cat from Venice starts lettin’ loose but he gets blown right off his feet. And some kid comes blastin’ around the corner but a cop puts him right away. He laid on the street holding his leg, screaming something in Spanish... still breathing when I walked away. And somebody said, “Hey, man, did you see that? His body hit Sepulveda with such a beautiful thud!”

Nah, I’m just kidding. I think some homeless cat was having a medical emergency (probably dying for some of that medical marijuana).

The following morning, I checked out of my room at the Half Moon Motel and just before getting on the 405 freeway, heading to the I-10 and home, I stopped by the apartment of my friend The Flyin’ Aardvark and left a note on her door. It read: “Vote Ron Paul in 2012 / Motel, Money, Murder, Madness --  HiYa, L.A. Woman”.

On the drive home, just before getting to the gigantic space alien flower garden near Palm Springs, I stopped again at Hadley’s.

Margie wasn’t working that day but I dropped off for her and her husband Robert Johnson’s “The Centennial Collection” compact disc which I’d purchased for them while at Amoeba Music on Sunset Blvd. The employee I left the CD with asked me if I wanted to leave a note on it. I told her: “No. Just tell Margie it’s from Santa Claus”.

Nothing too interesting happened to me the rest of the way home . . . except that I suffered terribly from ‘White Line Fever’ and died in a
12-car pile-up “On The Road”, twenty-six miles west of Blythe. Had I survived, I would have told you this story exactly as it appears above.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school
It’s a wonder I can think at all

I’ll tell you one thing I did NOT learn in high school - I did not learn the correct way to make Evolution Pie. It wasn’t until I was no longer a captive of the public school system and took responsibility for my own education that I learned the really important stuffs. Like how to make a great Evolution Pie.

And now with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’m going to share this recipe with you:


Combine in one bowl, 6 pounds of Theory, 6 ounces of authoritative-sounding liquified Lies, and 6 tablespoons of powdered Bat Wings.

Mix on high until this has a whipped, loose-stool consistency.

Pour this mixture into a Conjecture Crust and bake at 666 degrees for 151 years.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then sprinkle with sugar ‘n’ cinnamon and serve. For a really fancy presentation, you can top the pie with eye of newt.

[Serving suggestion: Evolution Pie goes great with a Cambrian Explosion cocktail – shaken, not stirred, of course!]

The video I’m posting below is something that, under normal circumstances, I would post on my OTHER blog, ‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends'. But right now I have something posted near the top of that blog titled “Test Your Voter I.Q.” which I don’t want to see buried under a bunch of other posts too soon.

So, for the moment, “STUFFS” is going to take a slightly different (although not altogether unprecedented) turn.

First, I want to publicly thank my brother Mr. VizFact for making me aware of this video by posting it on his own blog. Although Viz and I might not exactly look like we’re related, the fact that his Father and my Father is one and the same Father (capital "F") means we are indeed “brothers”.

So, when Mr. VizFact’s most recent video posting - “100 Reasons Why Evolution is Stupid” by Kent Hovind - showed up on my Blogger dashboard I checked it out and, dang, was I entertained!

Hovind’s dry wit and rapid-fire ridiculing of Evolution’s pseudo-scientists made me GOL (Guffaw Out Loud) more times than I can count. God knows I loves me a smart smart-aleck . . . as Kent Hovind is. Oh, yeah, Hovind is a man after my own heart style.
And funn-eeeee!

I have only one negative remark to make about this presentation:

Mr. Hovind – to steal a question asked by Cheech Marin in the comedy sketch ‘Sergeant Stadanko’ - "Who cut your hair?

Yeah, I’m afraid Dr. Hovind has "Christian Hair", more commonly known as “Helmet Hair”. I don’t know if there’s anything more damaging to the reputation of Born Again Christians than their hairstyles.

But . . . I’d be afraid to say anything like this directly to Mr. Hovind because, if this presentation is any indication, he’d probably kick my arse and take my nickel for milk in a knock-down, drag-out, roll-around-in-the-gutter contest of schoolyard insults. In other words, despite cutting my taunting teeth and honing my ad hominem debating tactics while fighting for years against Commies and other loony Leftists over the Senator Joseph McCarthy issue, I’d be a-skeered of trying to mix it up with Mr. Hovind. That ‘Christian Hair’ Cat’s got game!

I’ve done quite a bit of reading on the Evolution/Intelligent Design debate, and I gotta tell ya, when Kent Hovind calls Evolutionary Theory “stupid” he’s being “Christian-y kind” because, truth is, it’s even dumber’n that – it’s retarded!

For sure, ‘Evolutionary Theory’ is nothing more than a cockamamie fairy tale for adults intent on fooling themselves into beLIEving they have no Creator that they’ll ultimately have to answer to. It’s NOT “science” and it’s NOT for intellectually honest objective thinkers!

Two books on this subject that I particularly enjoyed were . . .

THE CASE FOR A CREATOR: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God
By Lee Strobel


TORNADO IN A JUNKYARD: The Relentless Myth Of Darwinism
By James Perloff

Another one I certainly found informative was . . .

By Jonathan Wells, Ph.D.

And if you want to really get on down with yer bad self and investigate some serious science - deep, technical, nitty-gritty stuffs - then don’t miss reading this 600-page tome:

SIGNATURE IN THE CELL: DNA And The Evidence For Intelligent Design
By Dr. Stephen C. Meyer

Obviously there’s a whole lot more to know than what is presented in Kent Hovind’s nearly two-hour video program. Nevertheless, there were a couple of points made in the video that I don’t even recall having encountered in all my book ‘n’ article readings on the subject.

And Kent Hovind’s humorous, fast-talking, “nicely smart-alecky” demeanor alone makes this worth watching. What could be better than laughing while you’re learning? (Although Hovind and I do not see eye-to-eye on all of our Biblical interpretations, I still enjoyed his little bit of Christian proselytizing at the very end of the video presentation; even THAT was funny!)

Here it is – laugh 'n' learn:

100 Reasons Why Evolution is Stupid - Kent Hovind [Full Length]
To see an enlarged-screen version of it at YouTube, click this URL link:

~ Stephen T. McCarthy


Kent Hovind’s ‘Doctor Dino’ Website

Incidentally, Mr. VizFact posts some good stuffs and sometimes adds some humorous, smart-alecky commentary of his own, so you really should sign up to “Follow” his blog too. Here’s a link . . .

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

Monday, November 14, 2011


[From the STMcC archive; January 1, 2007]

DVD Released In 2006

In a sense, VAN MORRISON has figured prominently in my life and in an indirect way he saved me from a life of great regret . . .

I was a huge fan of VAN THE MAN in 1986, and one day I returned home practically giddy from having just located what was, at that time, a few hard-to-find Van Morrison vinyl LPs. As fate would have it, just as I got out of my car, with my new used albums tucked under one arm, Kelly “Andy” Anderson - a loyal old “superfriend” of mine - pulled up to the curb in his battered old pickup truck.

Andy and I’d had something of a falling-out over some inconsequential issue and we hadn’t seen or spoken to each other for some time. But I was in such a good mood - having just acquired long-sought-after Morrison music - that in that very moment, I buried the past, forgave Andy for whatever slight I’d been holding against him, and I greeted him as the true friend of fifteen years he really was. We spoke briefly and then parted as the good pals we’d always been.

That was the last time I saw Andy – truly one of the greatest friends I have ever had. Not long afterwards, I learned of his suicide in California City.

Many times in the subsequent years I’ve revisited that day in my mind and shuddered to think, “What if I hadn’t just found those Van Morrison records and hadn’t been in such a magnanimous mood? What if, instead, I had given Andy the cold shoulder? Treated him like a dog? How would I have ever lived with that last memory and the tremendous remorse I would have carried with me all these years?”

Fortunately, I haven’t had to beat myself up over a regrettable event that might have occurred twenty-one years ago. In a way, I owe the music of Van Morrison much gratitude for changing my life in an unexpected way!

This last Christmas, I received the DVD, ‘VAN MORRISON LIVE AT MONTREUX 1980/1974’ from my friend, Kevin, “The Kansas Kid.” Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He’s currently wanted in seven states for crimes ranging from bank robbery and train robbery to shooting innocent zoo animals . . . with a camera. Kevin’s a good buddy and he knows how to please ol’ Stephen T. Even though on the scale of Life’s important “stuffs”, a Van Morrison DVD isn’t going to rate real high, I treasure this 2-disc set because Van’s music is understandably meaningful to me.

I’ve seen Van perform live about four times in my life. When he’s in the mood, he’s a compelling entertainer. At the Montreux Jazz Festival, he was definitely in the mood and his band – as always – consisted of nothing less than the finest musicians. You know Van: if a musician can’t please the man, they’re out on their can!

Both discs in this set are excellent. The June 30, 1974 performance is shorter and more Blues-dominated. I prefer the July 19, 1980 show. It contains some of Van’s more extended Jazzy pieces which are rarely if ever played live anymore – particularly those long, meditative works from his underrated ‘COMMON ONE’ release. Van’s looking pretty trim here (you know, for Van, I mean), and we get to see him with his outrageously talented horn men, Pee Wee Ellis (tenor sax) and Mark Isham (trumpet).

Some of the performance highlights for me include:

‘TROUBADOURS’ – I always considered this to be one of the lesser tracks on what is easily one of Van’s greatest sets, ‘INTO THE MUSIC’, but here, Isham and Ellis are blowing as if to save their lives, and when the audience broke into applause at its conclusion, I very nearly did the same thing right in my own living room!

During the intro to ‘SPIRIT’, John Allair locks into such a spirited, funky groove that he can’t remain seated at the organ – the music itself demands that he stand!

‘SUMMERTIME IN ENGLAND’ – The song moves from a meditation to unrestrained exuberance, where Pee Wee Ellis nearly blows the roof off the place, until the song downshifts back into a meditation just prior to launching into a “fantabulous” rendition of Morrison’s ‘MOONDANCE’ masterpiece.

‘HAUNTS OF ANCIENT PEACE’ – This gives us a tremendously soulful solo from Pee Wee.

There’s a wonderful little moment early on in this ultimate version of ‘TUPELO HONEY’ where Isham and Ellis simultaneously play their respective horn parts and then as they back away from their mics, they glance at each other and exchange self-satisfied smiles. Here is two fine musicians in their prime and immersed in the joy of their art. There’s no competition; there’s no race issue (even though Isham is White and Ellis is Black); there’s no time; there’s just this NOW, and the knowledge that supreme artists are combining their talents in the act of creating something very beautiful!

On the downside, despite the quality of musicianship, ‘LISTEN TO THE LION’ never comes close to matching the studio version from the ‘Saint Dominic’s Preview’ album, but then how could it? That is one of the most introspective and intense pieces of music ever recorded. Morrison could tap that depth only once. (His version on 1973’s ‘IT’S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW’ – unquestionably one of the greatest live albums ever released – never came close either. ‘Saint Dominic’s’ ‘LISTEN TO THE LION’ was just too roaringly glorious to ever be replicated even by Van, the man himself. That was a once-in-a-lifetime performance!) But when Van sings “I believe I’ve transcended myself, child” in the encore, ‘ANGELOU’, for a minute there it almost seems as if indeed he has!

WHY do I think this live concert DVD is so good? Well, sure I could talk about the various camera angles, the clear picture, the crisp sound. I could explain why Pee Wee Ellis is a saxgod. I could discuss in greater detail the topnotch, eight-piece band and the Jazz explorations of one of the world’s great songwriters and his Irish muse. Or I could simply quote from one of his own songs:

“It ain’t why, why, why.
It ain’t why, why, why.
It ain’t why, why, why.
It just IS!”

Hopefully, you have learned two things from this review of mine:

1) You can purchase ‘VAN MORRISON LIVE AT MONTREUX 1980/1974’ with complete assurance that as a Morrison fan (or just a person who appreciates exceptional musicianship) your money will be well spent. And . . .

2) You should always treat your loved ones very good because you just never know when you are seeing them for the
... very ... last ... time.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Relevant Music Links:





OL' ‘55


YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

Sunday, November 6, 2011



See, this is what happens when there aren’t enough public funds to house them all in the loony bins. Some of ‘em get turned loose on society and they create cartoon books.

Lonnie Millsap’s second cartoon book is titled “I Hate My Job”, and, really, how many of us can’t relate to that? However, this book is not for everyone. Some may find it crude, rude, distasteful and . . . Well, let me put it this way: If you like 'The Simpsons' but think it’s a little too sanitized; if you dig 'The Far Side' but think it could use some bodily fluids; if you love 'The Venture Bros.' and think that porridge is “just right”, then you are gonna go ‘Screwball Squirrel’ over “I Hate My Job”.

“I Hate My Job” essentially takes up where Lonnie Millsap’s last cartoon book, “My Washcloth Stinks”, left off. ("I Hate My Job" is a book of all new cartoons; there are no repeats. I repeat, "No repeats!") You could even think of this new book as “My Washcloth Stinks 2”. However, it seems to me that perhaps "I Hate My Job" includes a bit more blood, snot ‘n’ vomit than its predecessor had. I guess Millsap found “My Washcloth Stinks” to be a quart low. ...Nah, I’m jus’ kidding. (No, I wasn’t!)

To be semi-serious for a moment (I promise it won't last long), Lonnie Millsap’s cartoons have a lot more than just blood, snot ‘n’ vomit to offer. There are zombie waiters, worm comedians, spider moms, hot dog prostitutes, and hitchhiking giraffes. (“Boy, giraffes are selfish!”) And there’s also God. Yeah, Lonnie Millsap is insane enough to portray God in his cartoons! I’m sure Millsap will be struck by lightning before his third book is published. (Giraffes got nuttin’ to worry about now, ‘cause the lightning’s got Lonnie’s name on it.)

Did I mention that some of Millsap’s cartoons are laugh-out-loud funny? I didn’t? Well, too late now, we’re past that paragraph.

If I had to pick a favorite cartoon in this collection it might be "The Y And W Anti-Discrimination Trial" (talk about yer political correctness running amuck!), or the 'dinner surprise in the oven' (always choose your words carefully!), or “Generational Issues In The Fly Community” (I almost choked to death yesterday while thinking about that one and trying to swallow my meds at the same time). But the blind victim of an April Fool’s Day prank is a personal best new low for Lonnie; if there’s a God in heaven, Millsap will never top that one... uhm, fall below it, I mean.

Being one of Millsap’s oldest enemies, I am in possession of the personally autographed ‘Bitter Deluxe’ version of “I Hate My Job”. But I’ll bet if you contacted the lunatic he’d sign a copy for you, too. Ahh, we “little people” - he loves us!

Overall, I may have liked “My Washcloth Stinks” better’n “I Hate My Job” but the very funniest cartoons in the latter might be even funnier than the funniest in the former. So, which of the two books should you get? I’d say it’s six o’ one, half a dozen of the other. (“Holy Trite Expression, Batman!”) So why not buy both? All of his stuffs, the entire Lonnie Millsap collection – “My Washcloth Stinks” AND “I Hate My Job” – would make a crazy gift for the wacko in your home, office, or insane asylum.

You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. You’re a sick man, Lonnie Millsap!
Get some help! I’d willingly pay more in taxes to have you put away... again.



~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.