donderdag 31 januari 2008

Death and dogs...

We have, or rather had, a strange neighbour. She was very small, almost a midget, about 4'2" or so. I saw her now and then walking her dog while I'm out walking Missy. There was a strange air about her- she looked quite lonely and unhappy, and probably had a tough life. At 5'10", even I am a midget in the Netherlands, where the average height is 6'2", so I imagine being that small wasn't easy. Her relatives also (I am told) were not very nice. I learned she died today. A few days ago, she fell down the narrow, spiraly stairs while walking her dog and wound up breaking her ankle and leg. She was taken to hospital but I was surprised to hear she would be there 6-8 weeks - I can barely get a Dutch doctor to write me a prescription or acknowledge I am sick, so I wonder how a broken ankle gets you 6 weeks in a hospital. There must be more to the story.

Anyhow, the doctors told her she needed some kind of surgery to insert a splint into her leg and she refused! Despite the possible risk of infection, she just didn't want to do it (and this isn't Sick-O land - it wouldn't cost her a penny, so it wasn't out financial worry). While this was going on, some of us dog-loving neighbours were discussing if one of us could take care of her poor dog while she was recovering, because it was home alone, and howling at night. I was about to take him in, but now the woman died and her dogwalker found a new permanent home for him. In a way, it's good I didn't take him in, as I learned he likes to eat money (and there must be a thousand euros worth of 5 or 10-cent coins strewn about the house on the floor, under the couch, etc.) He also likes to eat....well anything= mobile phones, ipods, cameras - what a materialistic appetite he must have. It seems very odd to me that this woman died from falling, but one of the neighbours thinks that she just gave up on life and let herself die. It all seemed to happen after she discovered that her dog was in good hands and would be cared for.

I wonder if we can just give up the will to live and die like that. Maybe the fall did some deeper damage that was undiscovered. It's all kind of creepy. Luckily some more Three Stooges DVDs arrived today, so I'll stick those on to alleviate the dark thoughts....

zaterdag 26 januari 2008


Pavarotti, one of the great tenors of the 20th century, duets with more "contemporary" musical artists sometimes - why, I dunno....the results are amazing. At first I thought these were sketches from SCTV - but not even SCTV (John Candy did a great Pavarotti impression) could have done this better. Here he is with Lou Reed doing "Perfect Day" and "Walk on the Wild Side"=

At first, I thought maybe it was a one-off thing, but the Pav shows up elsewhere with Queen=

And then AGAIN with James Brown!!

He also does one with Deep Purple....who's next?? The Sex Pistols???? Oh yeah, Luciano's dead....bummer......

woensdag 23 januari 2008

What I want for my birthday!

My birthday's coming up - I think I found what I want - my ipod's a bit old now, so I think it's time to upgrade with the I-TASER!!!!! - a combination taser gun and mp3 player! Awww, well, it's not really called that - and tasers aren't legal over here - probably a good thing too or I'd be in jail by now tasering all the assholes who bump into me at the supermarket or on the street! Time for anger management therapy??

maandag 21 januari 2008

Diver Dan & Superpup

Someone gave me a tape of DIVER DAN ages ago - it was just one episode and someone has uploaded it to youtube

I saw this episode numerous times on the tape, but had always been curious if any more existed. Last year in the States, I was happy to see a DVD for only $5, which contained almost 2 hours of episodes! Out of 104 episodes, apparently only 40 or so are known to exist. I've always loved the early days of TV, when there were no budgets and people had to be creative - in Diver Dan, they don't need CGI or expensive underwater photography, they just filmed it through a fishbowl!! Ernie Kovacs would have been proud (although he probably invented the technique himself).

Also on that old VHS tape was a show called SUPERPUP! No one seems to have uploaded that in its entirety yet (although it's in the public domain), but there's this small clip, which puzzled me because the tape I had was in black & white, and this is in colour! This show was not quite so charming as Diver Dan - in fact, it never made it past the pilot stage. And I don't get why Sgt Beagle was a Basset Hound???


I guess I just wasn't made for these times. Give me old movie serials, cheap kiddie shows, and lo-fi music over all this CGI-Pixar stuff any day!!!!

zaterdag 19 januari 2008


I've been interested in sound and audio recordings since I was very young. I loved old radios shows from a very early age which led to me to become interested in radio and recording - and El Cerrito High School had a radio station, KECG, which was my refuge - I obtained an FCC license at age 14 and played bad music and comedy sketches to 2 or 3 listeners who happened to live within a few blocks of the station ("rockin' the block"), while constantly having my life threatened by the "rap community" - you see, almost all the other DJs were thuggy rap DJs, and I annoyingly interrupted their Sugar Hill Gang marathons with my "white boy music" and unnecessarily long mike breaks - mind you, some of the crappy music I played probably did warrant the occasional death threat. While flipping the dial one day, I came across "Over the Edge" on KPFA, which was a weekly radio station done by the experimental group Negativland. They created "receptacle programming", which was like throwing loads of different sounds into a blender. I loved it and was hooked, and I suppose this lead me into having an interest in weird, obscure sounds and novelty records. Luckily, I survived High School and had much more fun on KALX, the local college/community radio station, which boasted a whopping 500 watts- strange to think that now, it can be listened to via itunes over the entire planet, whereas when I Dj-ed there, I was lucky to get clear reception at my own apartment. I also DJ'd at Imperial College Radio in London while on a semester abroad program (and receiving death threats from Brits who hated my Beastie Boys marathons when they wanted to hear things like T'Pau and Depeche Mode), but it was at KALX I discovered the amazing world of "alternative" music - not U2-type alternative, but obscure, forgotten or unknown bands or artists that the commercial world could never acknowledge. And of course, most college radio stations also love novelty records!

Fast forward a few centuries, and now I am a sound engineer. I spend a lot of time trying to make things "sound good" (sometimes more like polishing turds), but I think some clients would be surprised that I like listening to things that are usually of very bad quality! That studio manager who went on about the merits of Toto's album production probably would be shocked that quite a lot of CDs in my collection sound like they were recorded in a garage or bathroom.

Most people are familiar with Ed Wood, whose films are so bad that they're funny. The reason they are is that he was so passionate about making something great, but simply lacked the appropriate talent or perspective. He wanted PLAN 9 to be the next CITIZEN KANE. Well, for some of us, it was!

There are LOADS of Ed Wood's out there - ambitious people who passionately want to make music, films or literature. Recently, when constructing this blog, I came across WFMU's blog - they're the holy grail of community radio stations, originating in New Jersey. Not only do they play really good, diverse and interesting legitimate music, but they have quite a few guys and gals there who are, like me, fascinated by audio history and obscure recordings and novelty records. I was quite amazed and delighted to discover that some of these DJs and collectors have gone the extra mile and started mp3-ing and uploading, in their entirety, HUNDREDS of old novelty records! 8-year old preachers ranting about Satan, atrocious amateur songs about 9/11, Halloween kids records, terrible covers by wedding bands, children's sex education records - and even my beloved "Shemp Meditation Tape" (1 hour of the Three Stooges Shemp making silly noises) - there are literally thousands of files up there. And there are others, like The Audio Kitchen, who have mp3'd obscure cassette tapes of answering machine messages found at garage sales!

So, to help me combat winter depression in this cold, rainy, windy, impolite land in which I live, I loaded this stuff on my ipod and for some reason I can't fully comprehend, it helps me get through the day a little bit easier. How can I be annoyed by some rude, impolite, unbathed chucklehead bumping into me while the sound of Shemp laughing maniacally is going through my ears?? It's better than any anti-depressant....

As I uncover the odd gem, I'll probably link them here. I hope my blog doesn't wind up just being a series of links to WFMU's audio archives, but that's not out of the realm of possibility! Anyhow, thank God for's good to know I'm not the only oddball out there who would rather listen to Criswell predicting future events than to the latest pre-fab Top 10 garbage.

maandag 14 januari 2008

Fun with subtitling....

A rather amusing video where they take a Dutch (or maybe Belgian) kiddie show and phonetically subtitle what it sounds like they're saying in English=


vrijdag 11 januari 2008

Lost In Translation - Denmark

Beavis & Butthead would love Denmark - there are so many words there that are strange to English-speakers =

Need a shave?? Be sure to get some Barber Skum!!!

The coffee wasn't THAT bad....

Slut salad??

The slut salad can be followed by the tart of the month

God Hot Dogs! I suppose it helps to know that "God" means "Good" in Danish. Maybe that would solve some religious conflicts that have occured there...

DONG stands for Danish Oil & Natural Gas - in the US it means something very different

My cat runs an elevator service...

Fart means to travel in Danish - I imagine some strange translation problems can occur.....

Is it me or do these hot dogs look a bit...umm....never's just me...

donderdag 10 januari 2008

Things I did on my winter vacation.....

* euthanized the family cat while my parents wept

* sent away a young thug who wanted to come in and rob the house but didn't notify police til 1/2 hour later

* reconnected with old friends I hadn't seen in 10 years, all of whom now have kids....and was referred to as "Uncle D!" several times

* rediscovered my love of the "maple bar"!

* rediscovered my love of Amaretto Sours!

* rediscovered my love of the Three Stooges!

* had a BBQ in an ice storm!!!!

* barely touched the internet, especially since the only option was a dialup which took 10 minutes to open my email

* enjoyed the warm, friendly, courteous good nature of people and dreaded coming back to NL- and upon returning, first thing I saw at supermarket was a woman ramming her shopping cart into a 4-year old child without apologizing or even acknowledging she had done it- welcome back to Amsterdamned!!!! :-D

* bought a King Crimson CD...LOL!

* FINALLY after 10 years realized a potential second career!! (I'm not telling yet)

After that, I think I need a vacation :-D