Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Little Weird by Andrew Goldfarb


 (http://www.theslowpoisoner.com/index.html, year unknown) This is a t-i-n-y, yet somehow squarebound, collection of creepy creatures that is crazy, kooky, courageous and visually cacophonous. Cool!

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Pepsi Peeps


(PepsiCo) I wanted to try this but couldn't find any of the marshmallow flavored cola, and it's almost Easter. So instead of a review I changed it to pee-flavored Pepsi Pees. I'm HILARIOUS!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray


(Dr. Browns, 1868-present) I don't really drink much pop at all, let alone corn-syrup-infused gentile pop, but when Passover rolls around it is a great reminder that our Jewish-est pop (at least according to Jewish deli stock) is not only Kosher for Pesach, but comes in this delightfully unusual celery flavor, which you could not reproduce if you had all the celery and seltzer and sugar in the world. It's afi-un-commen!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Glide Pro-Health Comfort Plus Floss

 

(Proctor & Gamble, 2020) That's some smooth floss!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mel Tillis "M-M-Mel Live"

 (MCA, 1980) Tillis didn't hit until later in the 60s, so seeing an early 80s record in the thrift isn't as iffy as seeing a 50s or early 60s artist's MTV-era outing, but I was till skeptical. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this live album which is about 20% Branson-style comedy bits with some select stutters, but mostly slick Branson-style showband versions of his hits, of which "I got the Hoss" (with her, subsequently, getting the saddle) is gonna be a banger when Pam Tillis'  grandchildren retire to Branson. Worth every dollar (one) I spent!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Mexican Coke

 


(Coca-Cola Company) It has sugar, not corn syrup, so it's Passover friendly, and for some reason the bottles looked totally different this week (I think they recycle bottles vigorously and we just got a shipment of bottles we've never seen before), and it's fun to drink out of a bottle. 

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels


(Trader Joe's, 2021) Obviously Trader Joe's is the superstore of snack porn, but most of the stuff is copies of better known stuff, like a classy Aldi's situation. But these freaking things are just amazing and original and weirdly light even though they are combining three heavy snack faves. Bravo you snack pornographers!

Monday, March 22, 2021

El Ranchero Chipotle Tortilla Chips


 (El Ranchero) Purple bag...yes! Design easily moves this up near the top of  the Chicago chip pile!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

The Love Witch


(Anna Biller Productions, 2016) The Love Witch is a masterful film that gorgeously recreates the look and energy of an Italian 1960s sexploitation horror film, but then plays the male gaze against a feminist eye cast upon conceptions of love and sex, doing it all with a viciously funny sense of humor. There is a feminine hygiene callback bit that is as funny as the  best joke in a Mel Brooks film, with better timing.  This movie looks so good and is so successfully sexy and weird and satirical that it is hard to categorize, impossible to forget and certainly should be a really famous movie that everyone watches over and over forever.


Monday, March 15, 2021

Roy Head "One More Time!"

(www.sunsetblvdrecords.com) Here it is, the first proper career spanning collection on The King of Blue-Eyed Soul (though it's a toss-up between him and Wayne Cochran. They're both Kings). The album kicks off in fourth gear with the original "One More Time" (the better known version was a remake) and nine other sides of his T.N.T. Records output, from 1958 to 1961. These tracks are all rough and raw Rockabilly and Rock'n'Roll with a proto-garage aesthetic. Standouts include an out of the ballpark party stomper, "Live It Up," the wild shuffle of "My Baby's Fine" and the tempo topper, "Night Time Blues." From there, we get into his early flirtations with R'n'B, like Ray Sharpe's "Linda Lu" (a working band had to know this song to survive in Texas at the time), a rockin' raveup of the Muddy Waters staple, "Got My Mojo Workin' ," and Head's hot version of James Brown's hot version of "Night Train," plus the hip-shakin' original, "Get Back,” and "Boogie Down Sunset,” a jet-propelled variation on John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillun' ,” in which he recalls seeing The Hook tearing up The Whisky A-Go-Go to the tune of some fiery fretwork. There's even an early version of his biggest hit, "Treat Her Right,” but in this case, he's "Talkin' 'Bout a Cow,” advising the listener to give that cow extra loving care if you want milk, cream and butter. It'd be right at home on "Green Acres." From there, we flash forward a few years to 1970s Huey Meaux-produced album, "Same People (That You Meet Going Up, You Meet Coming Down), a Funked-up Soul and Blues excursion, presented here in it's entirety (good thing, too, my copy has seen better days), and there's not a dud track to be found. From the stompin' title track to the uncut Funk of "I Was Born a Free Man" and his buddy, Doug Sahm's "She's About a Mover'' to a song that promises "I Don't Want to Make it Too Funky (In The Beginning),'' but reneges on that promise from start to finish. Other highlights include great versions of "Neighbor, Neighbor" and Junior Parker's "Driving Wheel" (another song every Texas Blues and R'n'B band had to learn, if they aimed to live). Roy's voice is in top Soul form here, a far cry from those (admittedly great) T.N.T sides. Moving on down the line, we have "Soul Train,” a name-checking mover (Joe Tex, James Brown, Chuck Berry, Wilson Pickett, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Bobby "Blue " Bland, Aretha Franklin, Rufus Thomas and The Supremes are all present and accounted for). Roy also turns out three great Bo Diddley covers, a barnstormin' 'Who Do You Love,” awash in heavy brass, the fuzz bass-driven hard R'n'B of "Bring it to Jerome" and a Texas ballroom sendup of "Before You Accuse Me" with some tasty Blues Guitar licks. Then there's The heavy rockin' "Operator,” a tuff version of Lee Dorsey's "Get Out of My Life, Woman,” and the breezy Psych of "Easy Lovin' Girl,” backed by Johnny and Edgar Winter and The Great Believers. All in all, this is a tasteful collection, annotated and produced by Chicago's own Bill Dahl (who also did the liner notes for "Scotty McKay Rocks”) with help from Len Fico in the production department. A dollar from every unit sold goes to the Plano, Texas based Minnie's Food Pantry, which provided (surely an error, here.) "2.1 meals to families in North Texas,” so the buyer gives as well as gets their soul food fix.


Sunday, March 14, 2021

La Florentine Almond Nougat Candy

 

(Cento) I don't know exactly what nougat is, I am not sure who these fancy Italians (?) on the little candy boxes are (opera stars? opera characters? There is an anti-opera writer from the 17th Century named Ferrante, but vthat can't be this dude), and I am not even sure I totally enjoy the light yet substantial airy sweetness and chewiness of this classy confection. But I feel like a special man when I eat it, and I deserve specialness!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Bee Gees "2 Years On"

 (Atco, 1970) This is the 7th best album ever made.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Whozeewatzit

 

(Hershey's) This  is a Whatchamacallit with peanut butter instead of caramel, so it's good, but not as good, and it's name is not quite as good (sorry, Lisa  M.), and the design is a little worse (but still eye-catching). So it's a Whatchamacallit, but worse, but OK. Is it the same as a Thingamajig, the retired Whatchamacallit companion? Maybe, I can't remember exactly how that tasted. But unlike the Thingamajig this is not a variant on a Sharkula AKA.








Thursday, March 11, 2021

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnamilk

 

(Nestle)  This does taste just like the milk left in the bowl after you finish Cinnamon Toast Crunch, so I  am satisfied with the honesty and the quality of my purchase. However, their are at least 200 readily available beverages I would choose over the milk left in the bowl after you finish Cinnamon Toast Crunch, including chocolate milk, tap water, bourbon, Yoo Hoo, dollar store fruit punch in little plastic barrels,  any La Croix other than Key Lime, Malort, Tahitian Treat, mango nectar, Soursop, Mogen David, Hi-C, anything coconut flavored or with actual coconut water in it, any Jack Daniels except cinnamon or apple (or any combination of the two for an "apple pie shot"), Ting, Cel-Ray, and many, many more. So this is good, but unless the gas station is down to Cinnamilk and Key Lime seltzer I have drank my last non-natural bowl occurring version of this.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Original Guacachip

 


(El Sabroso) "The dip's in the chip," they claim, but it's not. It is apparently really hard to synthesize avocado flavor - I mean half the actual avocados you get don't have it, and the other half don't have it before or after their mini-window of ripeness. So why even claim to have this flavor? Is it to get me to buy this once and then be disappointed? If so, mission accomplished. I'm the dip who got into these chips.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Love, Corn

 

(lovecorn.com) These are super vegan, non-GMO spiced corn nuts that have most of the copy on the packaging addressed to the eater like it was a mash note. These are smaller kernels than your common corn nut, but that makes it seem more natural, and they are crunchy and tasty and good. Love, It.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Pringles Scorchin' BBQ

 

(Pringles) Not even vaguely scorchin'! Obviously scorchin' should be hotter than flamin' hot, and this is not even in FH's neighborhood. Maybe my tube was broken, but if this was being judged in a Hot of  Not situation, this would be a thundering Not. But let's talk about the redesign of the mascot: I get that replacing the hair with eyebrows allows for a lot of eyebrow-action mood changes and expressions, but I am not sure about the solid mustache over the textured mustache. I figure that the way the chips spoon together in-tube is represented the harmoniousness invoked by a barbershop quartet member, thus the old timey guy. ut losing the mustache hairiness now makes it seem extra artificial, which is accurate, but they should shy away from that. So: new sleek look is slightly less old-timey (less harmonious) and more unnatural, but in exchange, the character is more expressive. Not taking a stand here, but not excited about the change. But moreso, hiw the f-word is this scorchin'?




Saturday, March 6, 2021

Robert Dayton "Someone is out to KILL ME"

 

(https://robertdayton.bandcamp.com/releases, 2021) Sometimes I wonder why so many smart, weird, original, funny, strange unnerving artists are not as successful as their talent and wofk deserves.Then I realize it is because they are smart, weird, original, funny, strange unnerving artists. This EP, a solo work from half of the should-be-legendary Canned Hamm, is produced by his former Hamm-mate and is basically a creepy, kooky, one man show about a man in  bloody peril. The music is a fitting soundtrack to   a man grappling with anxiety that is partly in his head and perhaps in all of his own blood that is covering everything. How is that not as intriguing as Harry Styles?

Friday, March 5, 2021

The Fleshtones "Face of The Screaming Werewolf"

GUEST REVIEW BY  
GENTLEMAN JOHN BATTLES
(Yep Roc, 2020)   Well, it's hard to believe I've now been listening to The Fleshtones for 40 years, and they've never failed me (though I never really warmed up to "Beautiful Light”). I can safely say this is their strongest album in years. All the fuzztone and Yardbirdsian lead guitar, cheesy organ, Blueswailin' harmonica, pummeling beats and jet propelled bass lines of past efforts remain intact, and that's the fact, Jack. Sixties' influences still run strong, here, but this is no nostalgia trip. This is 21st century Rock'n’Roll as it SHOULD sound. An explanation of the title track is in order: ''Face of The Screaming Werewolf" is  a B(Some would say "Z")-Horror/Comedy picture from Mexico that was originally released as "La Casa Del Terror" starring Lon Chaney, Jr. and legendary Mexican comedian, Tin Tan. Jerry Warren had the film translated into English, with all of Tin Tan's parts removed. The story line, as it were, concerns Chaney, Jr. as a dormant mummy who comes to life as a rampaging werewolf (Solo en Mexico).  The song is not an exact replica of the movie's bizarre premise, but it's still one of the greatest Horror Rock songs Roky Erickson never wrote.  "Alex Trebek " is an enthusiastic tribute to the recently deceased host of "Jeopardy," which was written while he was still alive. It answers the musical question with a question, "Who is Alex Trebek?" "Violet Crumble, Cherry Ripe" is the "Waiting For The Man" of Australian candies (which make an ass out of our own), Violet Crumble being a breakable chocolate toffee bar and Cherry Ripe a delectable gooey candy made from real cherries and coconut and coated in real chocolate, made with cream instead of milk. The song is delivered from the point of view of the understandable addict, dying for another taste. The album also contains two boss Instrumentals, "Swinging Planet X," in which Bo Diddley is fused with Joe Meek, and the rambling "Somerset Morning," which evokes Duane Eddy and The Shadows' guitar sounds, wrapped around the melodic harp sounds of frontman Peter Zaremba, who throughout this package plays some of his finest harmonica melodies since "Roman Gods," their debut album. Zaremba and Guitarista De Plata, Keith Streng, trade off strong R'n'B fueled vocals all through this full slab of Super Rock sounds, while drummer Bill Milhizer and bassist Ken Fox hold down the fort in their own inimitable way. ''Manpower Debut" and "The Show is Over" blaze at breakneck Punk Rock tempos, while a faithful reading of The Rolling Stones' Psychedelic B-Side "Child Of The Moon" is a pleasant, if temporary, diversion from all the raw rockin' fury presented here. Record prices have been soaring as of late, but The Fleshtones are quick to give you your money's worth, and they've sweetened the deal with not only purple "Spin art" vinyl, but a cardboard Hallowe'en werewolf mask that even comes with an elastic band for easy wear. Like X, The Fleshtones have NOT mellowed with age, but like fine wine, they still have plenty of kick, and Kicks are never hard to find.  


Thursday, March 4, 2021

Under The Grapefruit Tree: The CC Sabathia Story

 (HBO, 2020) I am not sure who pitched this to me, but despite not being next level documentary craftsmanship, I definitely dug the movie. I enjoyed/hated watching Sabathia pitch against the White Sox for two decades, and my fascination with him was not that he was a powerhouse pitcher, or that he was as big of belly as the Chicago fans in the stands, nor that he was one of the few star Black players from the U.S. in the league since baseball fell behind football, basketball and even soccer in  the eyes of America's youth. I just really liked how he cocked his hat slightly to the side on the mound, I had never seen that in MLB. Hat cocking is not covered here, but his youth (practicing pitching with his grandma's backyard grapefruits), family, and alcohol addiction is explored. Sabathia is the narrator and is steering his legacy here, but he's a credible voice, mainly because he is still married to his (beautiful) high school girlfriend, who acts as a bullshit check and also lends credence to his character-defining pledges of family loyalty (to his here-and-gone-and-here tragic father, to everyone back home in  Florida, and to his children). I was most impressed by the twin discipline/chaos of his version of functioning alcoholism, where he would walk off the mound directly to his Hennessy-stocked locker and drink for three days straight with no breaks before going cold turkey for the 48 hours preceding his start. The first day he showed up drunk for work was the day he put himself into rehab (even though it was about too be Game 1 of the playoffs). Actually, I was most impressed when recently retired CC cleaned out his Yankee Stadium "locker" (a millionaire's walk in closet-sized office) and it was just 500 pairs of new gym shoes and a painting of him as Yoda. He also dressed as Yoda in full greenface to hand out bobbleheads on Star Wars Day. Thusly, I was most disappointed to learn his post-career podcast, "R2C2," was just sports talk featuring CC paired with a guy who has the initials R.R., and not what I  hoped for:  Sabathia talking droids! These are not the podcasters I've been looking for.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Ditka's Beef Stick

 

(Devanco Foods, 2021) I have mixed feelings about Mike Ditka. I have no problem with his respectable retirement plan of selling his Da Bears legacy in the form of airport-adjacent restaurants, wine, and beef sticks. I am old enough to have watched the 1985 Bears in total awe, and still consider Ditka's star player, Walter Payton, the greatest (if not the Jordan-esque best) Chicago athlete of all time. I'm too young to really understand Ditka's playing career, but I take people's words for it that he was a bad ass. But I also take people's words that he had, as they say, some racist bones in his body. His right wing politics and bad political takes are certainly Trump-esque (fortunately he wisely has let beef sticks fund his golf leisure, avoiding politics as a career path). And his post-1986, gum hurling coaching career calls into question his gridiron I.Q. (I might have traded my entire draft for Ricky Williams as well, but I like potheads, sympathize with anxiety sufferers, am tickled by avid yoga freaks, and don't know shit about football). All that is to say that weighing the Ditka pros and cons results in one clear adjudication: sure, I'll buy this 99 cent beef stick. The real problem is that I could hardly taste any notable seasoning. Chicago is segregated, violence-plagued, extreme weather rich, has a history of political corruption, and is haunted by a dangerous police department infected with a living legacy of crippling criminality. But on the flip side, we genuinely respect good meat. Comparing the lowest grade Vienna Beef hot dog to a bland Dodger Dog or a mealy NYC hot dog cart offering is like comparing the finest Swiss milk chocolate to the dusty, flavorless corn-syrup atrocities five year olds exchange in Snoopy boxes on Valentines'. Now I realize meat sticks are not expected to rise to this level (and I further realize that Ditka is a far lesser Chicagoland meat stick-peddler than former Downer's Grove North High School baseball star Randy "Macho Man" Savage, and I further further realize [in 2021 now that Wikipedia exists but not so much for the last thirty years] that Macho Man's dad was former NWA Chicago Division wrestling champ Angelo Poffo and not former Cub Andy Pafko). Still, this beef stick was just not good enough...for a dollar. But I'm OK with it for 99 cents, and thus, remain Ditka agnostic. If I liked or disliked him more, or had more of Adam Sandler's sense of humor, I might be swayed/amused by the phallic folly of the phrase "Ditka's Beef Stick," but alas, I'm getting nothing from it. Da Bears!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

We Ate Wonder Bread by Nicole Hollander

 

(Fantagraphics, 2018) For many years Nicole Hollander was the most interesting thing on the funny pages. Her avatar Sylvia sunk into the tub, said or typed some funny-assed shit for her cats to hear, and generally (like her cats) didn't give a fuck. I always felt that was Hollander's attitude as well, because her inky, underground comix-meets Basquiat style clearly was going to make Beetle Bailey-saluting dowagers say "Oh my!" When I lived in Providence they had a Reader's Comics Poll every so often in the newspaper to decide which strips to drop, and Sylvia always lost, but the editors knew they couldn't lose one of the only comics by a woman and risk a scathing letter campaign by  Brown and RISD feminists (not to mention losing subscriptions of the massive Venn-diagram overlaps of newspaper hoarders/cat ladies). Released around the same time as Emil Ferris' "My Favorite Thing Is Monsters" and Carol Tyler's "Fab 4 Mania," this book completes a triptych of stunning autobiographical(-ish in Ferris' case) coming-og-agers by expressive women cartoonists about growing up in Mid-Century Chicago.  This hybrid text/comics memoir is not as narratively ambitious as the other two books, as Hollander reduces her Jewish upbringing (by a hustling dad, a mom not attuned to Nicole's artistry, and colorful neighbors) to a few briefly but vividly recollected anecdotes. But the gorgeous, expressive, color drawings here are wild, soulful, and viscerally impactful. This is some art, and it might not win a comics poll. But  when it comes to your poll, Hollander, who obviously cares very much about her work, her world, her family, her history and her artistry, doesn't give a fuck!

Monday, March 1, 2021

Steve Almaas "Everywhere You've Been"

(Lonesome Whippoorwill, 2021) Thematically/metaphorically/logically you can't really be Americana and Yacht Rock. If you are a rural salt-of-the-earther, you prolly ain't got a yacht. And no one at the Country Club is playing Country in that club. But damned if these rootsy folk/Western-influenced tunes ain't sailing near shore and competing in regattas thanks to the sweet, smooth vocals of this former Suicide Commando. And thank god that band broke up before hardcore hit and Steve didn't harm those magical pipes. Or shred those majestic sails. On that yacht.