CREDIT CARD FRAUD!

According to Murphy’s Law, anything that can possibly happen WILL happen. And it happened to us. CREDIT CARD FRAUD! Some asshole thought he was being cute and charged $7k of KLM plane tickets to our card that s/he lifted after I made a purchase at the Fair & White website. We never hit our limit, and it just so happens it went $97 dollars over our $8k limit on AmEx, and when I went to buy a $10 metrocard on an emergency, it rejected in the machine. We also got a suspicious statement that there was no payment due.

We called in a hot minute and the very nice customer service agent questioned us that our spending pattern was off (by the thousands) and when we confirmed that we didn’t know about any airline tickets they immediately stopped the card and is reissuing us a new one with a brand new statement that has the fraudulent charge off. Now we have to go through this whole hellfire of filling out an affidavit, waiting for official papers to come in, and a new card is coming in 10 business days. When it comes to fraud and the credit card companies, it’s never as easy as that (they are doing an investigation as we speak). So I told mom not to be shocked if she has to fork over the money if AmEx is unwilling to believe us. I know that the number could have been lifted by the usual sites we shop at which is Amazon and Sephora, but the dates according to the agent seem probable it was when I ordered from Mitchell Group Cosmetics (Fair & White’s parent company). Their site may be unsafe so avoid it like the plague.

If anybody has any advice, I’d really welcome it so feel free to drop a comment.

Thin Lizzy Renegade Review- UPDATE!

Nobody gives a break
When you’re down on your luck

If you’re a lover of Rob Reiner’s Spinal Tap, I needn’t rehash the “11” joke (which inspired Bad News for all my fellow Young Ones fans), but Spinal Tap was how the end of Thin Lizzy’s Chinatown tour shaped up. According to Byrne and Putterford, their Australia shows were hampered by pyrotechinical difficulties. In other words, the Lizzies could’ve gotten killed. Gorham and Wharton describe onstage mayhem when the band weren’t permitted to bring their pyro effects because of customs’ regulations, and had to hire a local firm. Scott was told that the explosions were going to be massive, and when he saw what looked like flimsy candlesticks with bits of tin foil lining the stage, the chill that went up his spine wasn’t necessarily chemically-induced.

The opener was Are You Ready and the SFX were set to go off when the first power chord was struck, but instead of the usual flame and smoke cloud there was an explosion tearing holes into the ceiling, bringing down debris that hit Snowy in the chest knocking him flat, blowing the PA to fuck, and temporarily deafening everybody. Wharton said that the only thing that could be heard were the acoustic drums and his keyboards. The band retreated to the dressing room, and it took the techs an hour to sort everything and the gig went on.

Thin Lizzy and the US had a short, bittersweet fling that began and ended with The Boys Are Back In Town back in ’76. The following singles never came off quite right and the albums earned RIAA certifications over an extended period of time. Even Live and Dangerous which is hailed as the gold standard for live album recording (and went platinum in the UK staying on the charts for 62 weeks flying high at #2) only went up to #84 Stateside. Mercury Records (which is Phonogram’s American distributor) was run by two guys out of Chicago that didn’t know a damn thing about rock, and when Lizzy left that label for Warner Brothers in time for Black Rose, Warner’s didn’t give a shit about them. The other problem was the band itself. Drugs, sex, partying, and fighting fucked their US takeover. It began with Phil’s hepatitis infection during the Jailbreak tour. It was the Swinging 70s, and as a celebrity Phil embraced the time’s ceaseless pleasures. Getting drunk and stoned daily doesn’t help while putting together your To Do list where “Stop by chemist to pick up Trojans” should be at the top. And there you have it. It also helped spell out Phil’s early demise concerning the irreparable damage hepatitis did to his liver and his love affair with drink. Then when JTF hit stores going silver then gold across the pond, Robbo got into a punch up after eating his steak dinner (and ONLY a couple of beers according to Robertson) at the Speakeasy club with members of Gonzales when his pal Frankie Miller drunkenly interrupted their jam, causing BR to get bottled clean through the hand. Gary Moore came through and did the tour in America, JTF crawled up to #52 and #11 in the UK.

Bad Reputation had Robbo brought back into the fold tentatively, because his punk-ass (along with Jimmy Bain) was mouthing off to Phil (via the press) about starting up Wild Horses while he convalesced/was suspended. O’Donnell claimed that Robbo was for all intents purposes sacked because of his arrogance and was the spark for much of the infighting in Thin Lizzy. While Robbo admits that being young, dumb, and full of come was the cause of much consternation (and being in the wars), Phil didn’t have a leg to stand on considering Moore wanted to return to Colosseum instead of taking up lead guitar duties permanently. When Thin Lizzy hooked up with Tony Visconti the first time around to record Reputation in Toronto, Scott was given lead guitar duties exclusively, but his inferiority complex may have hampered what was excellent playing. According to Moore in Putterford’s book and the 2011 Black Rose Extended Edition liner notes, Scott had worked himself into mental state believing he wasn’t any good, and didn’t want to embarrass himself (which is why he passed up guesting on Moore’s solo album Back on the Streets). He was overshadowed by Robbo’s explosiveness while he is the typical SoCal lackadaisical type who happens to be of Midwestern parentage (Mom Gorham is a Michigander and Dad Gorham is from Iowa). One can see how well the “classic” Thin Lizzy lineup guitarists danced not dueled with Robbo so in-your-face and Scott possessing a certain reserve (it also may be why Scott fell into heroin). Robbo was flown into Canada to do overdubs, but was acting like a real asshole for pride’s sake, but he did want back into Lizzy as much as Phil needed him. However, the Reputation US tour was evil. The drug use skyrocketed, and money was being spent faster than Lizzy could make it. Chris Morrison, Thin Lizzy’s accountant and manager, had endless rows with Phil over the budget, but as Scott put it in Popoff’s book: “Not even the management told us what to do.” Downey concurs with this in Byrne’s book: “The management was never really in it anyway.” Downey and Scott nearly bailed from Lizzy on that tour from problematic performances, being upstaged by fellow supporting acts, and at that time Phil and Robbo’s relationship deteriorated to the point of fisticuffs. Bad Reputation marched up to #39 but took the #4 spot and a gold record in the UK.

Producing Live and Dangerous has the band at odds with Visconti because they insist not one thing was overdubbed. However I side with Visconti on this one boys. Phil overdubbed all his vocals AND did the backup vocals as well. It also has very clean performances for roughly a year’s worth of touring (30 hours of tape Kit Woolven sifted through to cull together the album from different shows around the globe). Not buying it? Compare it to UK Tour ’75, granted that was one show at the Derby College of Technology, but there was background noise, audience participation, and guitar tuning, but most of all you can hear Robbo’s and Scott’s distinctive backup vocals. I know, I know, it’s a man thing… But Live and Dangerous was the end of the line for Robbo and he was dismissed one month after the album’s release following a botched Spain show. For their American tour Gary Moore was drafted and this time for an extended stay, but the tides turned for Downey who begged off the tour from exhaustion and drugs, and super sub Mark Nauseef began his Thin Lizzy jaunts (you saw him on skins for their famed Sydney Opera House show before a million psychotic fans).

Black Rose’s US romance was blunted by heroin and Phil’s craziness. Moore and Lynott had a love-hate-more-love-more-hate relationship until Phil’s death.While Moore definitely said and did things that were uncalled for, I think his frustrations came to a head and was nearly driven to violence (Jim Fitzpatrick Lizzy’s album cover artist and one of Phil’s close friends referred to Gary as a manic depressive with borderline violent tendencies and self-confidence problems). Gary felt that Lizzy could have been as big as Journey (who they were supporting at that time), but Downey who knew the score was far more realistic, and saw how things were going in a downward spiral during the Black Rose recording in Paris with Visconti (not to mention experimenting with smack himself) and had no choice but to resign himself if he wanted to continue with the band. Black Rose: A Rock Legend was their magnum opus going gold and reaching #2 in the UK. In the US #81. In my opinion, Americans at the time just didn’t get it, I suppose you had to be a Thin Lizzy fanatic, Irish, or an insane rock enthusiast. It also has to be said that the Warner’s advertising was crap. Visconti called the album “Celtic music by a rock band”, and Scott said that at this time despite the fact that heroin was seeping through causing production in to slow down Thin Lizzy was at its tightest creatively and performance-wise. Gary Moore is credited largely for bringing in major Irish influence for the album (in this era three out of four members were Irish and Scott’s maternal great-grandparents were from Enniskillen, Northern Ireland).

But when the Chinatown tour reefed Scott’s home shores, the album creeped up to #120, and no Thin Lizzy single had charted since The Cowboy Song (#77). Then to make matters worse Scott managed to dislocate his knee during a smack trip at a gig at the Ontario Theater in DC and was up to his hip in plaster. For some crazed reason he decided to tough it out and perform the remaining three weeks sitting on a bar stool. A single fan photo of this feat surfaced on MyShit (the site has switched its focus to the pop music industry since Fuckbook and Twatter have cornered the global market on social assworking), while the venue is dark, you could tell it’s him because he had (has) distinctive hair. Wisely by the end of the tour, Scott stayed behind in LA for Xmas and New Year’s with his family to let them take care of him. It was also the last time Thin Lizzy toured America with Phil at the helm.

At best Renegade is a concept album gone horrifically wrong. Once again Renegade and Phil’s second solo album, The Philip Lynott Album, were being produced at the same time in London and the recently defunct Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas (where Phil and his assorted entourage of Lizzies, solo band members, Huey Lewis, and other friends would go to fuck off for “working holidays”. Scott Gorham: “Sitting there under a ton of sun-tan oil on this beautiful white beach, sucking on a few Bahama Mamas and looking at all the bikinis wiggling past.”). Kit Woolven was doubling as producer and engineer, but wasn’t about to make the same mistakes exasperating himself as he did with his previous Lizzy trek. He brought in Chris Tsangarides who was slated to produce the new Wild Horses album and worked with the Tygers of Pan Tang. Eventually Woolven (mostly) produced Phil’s second solo album and Tsangarides produced Thin Lizzy’s final two studio albums.

Because Thin Lizzy was already committed to some festival dates, the new album material was left discarded at the studios because nobody was able to make a decision as to what was going to be worked on when or first. Meanwhile the band racked up a pair of compilation album successes with The Adventures of Thin Lizzy (#6) and Lizzy Killers going gold and silver. The festivals were an overall hit, but the day they played Milton Keynes, the Trouble Boys single was released and spluttered up to #53. Trouble Boys, a Rockpile cover, (that featured the Percy Mayfield song Memory Pain on the B-side) everyone save for Phil was dead-set against releasing. Snowy White suggested recording Memory Pain, but watching the performances on Rockpalast was painful enough. Trouble Boys was promptly dropped from the album. That Milton Keynes gig was, coincidentally, a disaster because the support acts were anything but hard rock, there was torrential rain, and a crowd of below 10,000.

Phil admitted he wasn’t the best at choosing album titles would throw everything at the wall until something stuck. Since Trouble Boys flopped (which was a provisional album title) Phil needed a new idea, so to clear his mind he decided to go for a drink when it literally flew by him. Phil spotted a Thin Lizzy fan on a motorcycle with the band’s logo on his leather jacket with the word “renegade” going down the side of it. And that encounter laid the framework for Lynott’s smashing title track (another version of the story in the new liner notes had Phil on the tour bus when spotting the rider). The sleeve art was done by Fitzpatrick, if you go to famed rock photographer Denis O’Regan’s site (he met Phil in ’79 I believe, and Phil wanted to fuck his girlfriend) you’ll see Phil brandishing the Renegade flag. It’s a good thing that the star was stuck in the upper right hand corner rather than center like on the sleeve because Thin Lizzy was in enough hot water, they didn’t need anything that resembled allegiance to Ho Chi Minh since the Cold War was reaching its precipice back then.

Now Phil had a penchant for writing in code (Parisienne Walkways: “I remember Paris in ’49” [Philip Parris Lynott born 20/08/1949]; Romeo and the Lonely Girl: Romeo is an anagram for Moore; originally Angel From the Coast was supposed to be about Scott [Los Angeles = City of Angels]) but as his addictions worsened and the band fell apart it became more evident what his songs were alluding to. For the title track Phil was in full cry, back in the saddle as the storyteller (and Snowy’s arrangement is heavenly). I even was tolerant of Wharton’s keyboards. If the boy who lost his sights found his footing if only temporarily, he proved that he didn’t have to try very hard to make his audience tremble.

The best goddamn track on this album hands down is Hollywood (Down on Your Luck)! A collaboration of Scott and Phil (although during Rockpalast Phil credits Scott solely) which is autobiographical on Scott’s part, and Phil’s love of Americana. But I can’t help but feel a bit slighted as a New Yorker:

Not like living in New York
Man, it’s tougher…

Not like in New York
It’s high rise, it’s concrete and complex…

Not like in New York
All you’ve got is Broadway…

St. George Carlin said, “Living in New York is a character builder.” And being from LA is a caricature maker, so I can understand why Scott doesn’t live in LA anymore. Oh yeah, wasn’t your Sweet Marie (Broussard) a New York heiress? Sour Grapes, perhaps? But getting back into the song in question, not only could you dance to it, I can’t hear Wharton at all on it! Thank the universe! But if Phil was under pressure for the band to come up with the goods, then it was ready to blow on the next track

Also penned by Phil and Scott, The Pressure Will Blow isn’t so much about living the Lizzy life, but their lives in general. Phil growls with ferocity at the powers that be (label, wife, dealers, fans, friends, and critics) wanting a way out but they’d dug a hole so deep they couldn’t get out. And it’s a great song for when you’re in a jam and need to get your rocks off. Lizzy was stuck in a rut doing the same damn show night after night, but iridescent pebbles of truth and sincerity fell loose every now and again.

It’s Getting Dangerous has Phil in command as storyteller (with Scott co-writing) once again. I can’t help but feel that this track is a companion to We Will Be Strong (or should it be a second chapter?), but it would be an oversimplification to place all the blame on the heroin. While it isolated Phil and Scott, professionally Lizzy suffered greatly as they remained stilted creatively and mired in the aftershocks of excess that all successful musicians face. You get to the top, and you find what? More of the same. Phil lost touch with his audience and the world at large so he could only offer up a caveat emptor: How he tried his best, he said, “Watch out for the danger.”

VH1 Behind the Music: Thin Lizzy– Scott Gorham: “The great Thin Lizzy goal all of a sudden now it started to feel like it wasn’t achievable any longer. And if it was, I wondered if I even cared.”

Listening to the last five tracks, I knew Thin Lizzy was slipping. Opening the album is Angel of Death

Scott Gorham: “…Was too heavy metal for words, and I hated it. I mean, how much more corn do you want? There were great big hunks of butter dripping of that sucker!”

Clocking in at 6:18 I know that Phil was inspired by Prophecies of Nostradamus (on the Rockpalast DVD it’s listed at “Desaster”– what in the holy mother of ass is that?!), but this had the oddest beat that reminds me of the William Tell Overture. And Wharton’s keyboards do drive me up the wall. Phil’s narration (reverb and regular) is unintelligible and just plain silly.

Leave This Town had some potential with a cool bluesy rock opening, but it feels stunted. Also, regardless of who’s handling lead guitar, spend less time showing off fanciful tricks and play music. Another bit of narration by Phil with yet another cowboy back story was way out of place on this track as well.

No One Told Him was an attempt at reinvention of Dear Miss Lonely Hearts, with the exception that it was a dismal failure at finding a catchy pop sound. Then I was completely lost with Fats and Mexican Blood! What the fuck were these tracks doing on a Thin Lizzy album?! I couldn’t tell if Phil was trying to be a low-rent rocked up Cab Calloway for Fats intentionally. The lone bright spot for Mexican Blood was the acoustic Spanish guitar. Other than that it was nothing more than a cheap south of the border spaghetti western with a synth flamenco sound. Renegade tripped over its own feet going to #38 and #152 in the US.

UPDATE!!!!

Well looks like Scotty finally got off his ass between Black Star Riders gigs and recordings (will have a review of All Hell Breaks Loose sometime this life time) and gave the black sheep of the TL discography the “deluxe” treatment.

Taking a cue from Bad Reputation’s remastered re-release, Renegade was also a remastered single disc expanded edition with new CD sleeve art and cool liner notes. Now we all know this band was essentially a group of thirty-something burn-outs by 1981 drowning in smack and debt, but Philo managed to rally the troops and wave the Lizzy gold star red banner before changing lineups for the last time. So let’s talk about the sound, clean and crisp where you DON’T have to put the volume up to 15 on your cell phone or Ipod. Pro Tools cleaned house, enhancing Phil’s voice simply to adapt to the technology of our new professional and private entertainment systems. Despite the destruction drugs, drink, and smoking had done to Phil’s vocal cords, his delivery was at times just as powerful as the Jailbreak era. If he had lived, Phil would have matured into the artist he so desperately wanted to be.

Now let’s jump on those tracks. You get two additional versions of Hollywood (YAY!), the first is an extended cut, clocking in at 6:17. Scotty was awarded Metal Hammer’s 2013 Riff Lord Award, and this is a good demonstration of why. I know Robbo bitched about Bad Reputation being over saturated in riffs because Scott carried the can for the majority of the guitar work as Robbo was on probation. When it comes down to it, he’s an all-American rhythm guitarist, and maybe after 40 years of knowing the dude, Robbo may still not get it. The second nod and wink to Scott’s hometown was off the 7″ promo running at wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am 3:20. The harbinger of doom single Trouble Boys and its B side Memory Pain are also in the lineup. As far as I know the only CD release that Trouble Boys had was on the 1991 Greatest Hits collection that also featured the Lawrence Archer/Grand Slam ripoff Dedication that Scott and Downey re-recorded prior to the 21 Guns debut. I give it a pass, even though desperation at recreating the Rosalie success just reeked on that release. And finally, a cut of Renegade just 33 seconds shorter with a faster fade out. All-in-all I’d say buy it for the nostalgia, the remastering, and the few gems you can unearth. There’s no real way Scott and Downey can bring any more justice to it, it was just part of the simultaneous break down and evolution of a band that didn’t quite fit in with the 80s.

The last thing I wanted to get into was the CD liner notes and photos. Darren Wharton was infamously fucked when he was not given a feature for the back sleeve pics that depicted the four principal members of the band posturing with the Renegade flag. Well we finally get to see his photo on the third to last page! I wonder who has the flag and its battle axe topped pole? In the notes Downey stated that it was no secret to Phonogram that they were well aware of Phil and Scott’s heroin addiction, and made every effort to put them on the backburner. Phil was a perfectionist, and he drove producers up the wall when he recorded, so any roughs that the label was getting were probably sliding further down hill in the quality department. No matter what sort of gymnastics Morrison and O’Donnell were doing, they were getting fed up with Lizzy, but were powerless to stop Phil from spiraling. Phonogram clawed back so much money from Phil’s solo projects and Lizzy that promotion suffered. No one gave a tinker’s damn about Lizzy stateside, and fans found out about Lizzy concerts the day of the show. But you couldn’t ignore what they were doing to themselves, and it was evident during photo shoots from Black Rose. One shot had Phil leaning on his knee holding a black silk rose downward. But he looked ready to pass out, eyes nearly closed. In a group shot for Chinatown with a pair of Chinese models in qipaos and the guys in stylish overcoats, Scott was out of it and unable to look at the camera. You could make out Phil was most likely staggering around between shots. In Renegade it was worse. Scott looked drowsy and bloated in several shots, Phil seemed to be extremely agitated. Two photos reflected this mood change, the first in the two page spread (by Denis O’Regan) and another photo of this sad shoot is on Denis’ site. The second is the front of the back cover, and neither Scott or Phil were My Guy worthy.

Y’know I don’t give a fuck whether these guys had threesomes on every drug known to man, but it’s damn heartbreaking that they can’t be our heroes by their own volition. I suppose we have to grow up sometime.

P.S. Just got the dirt on Scott’s emergency room fashion disaster- by Scott himself! It was the final leg of the American Chinatown tour, and Lizzy was playing at the Ontario Theatre in DC. Scott was speedballing at the time (a deadly cocktail of coke and heroin, a pastime Phil engaged in as well according to Byrne’s new book), and he would fuck around with Downey jumping on and off the drum riser, when he miscalculated and crash landed on his knee. A roadie had to literally drag Scott with his guitar on his back to the backstage, and his knee swelled up to the size of a football. Now fashion dictated wearing skinny jeans, unfortunately it made the shit Scott got himself into, well, shittier. But despite all that, Scott finished the show- blitzed to the eyeballs. After that Scott got his cast and for the remaining weeks Darren Wharton had to dump him in  a wheelchair and ferry him around the airports. Nothing like being 18-years-old and paying your dues in a big-ass European rock band.

P.P.S. To all of Savile’s victims, Operation Yewtree came too many years too late. The BBC and the British entertainment establishment knew of Jimmy Savile’s crimes and it would not surprise me if executives even witnessed his abominable acts right in Shepard’s Bush studios. Esther Rantzen is a hypocritical bitch, a secretary turned TV presenter to get into the gilded celebufucktard world who exploited herself to the married with three children Desmond Wilcox (who was more than likely a serial cheater) and only married him when she was pregnant with their oldest child (who I believe became an orthodox Jewish nutter to rebel and get attention), and then to sterilize her image (as well as get enormous tax breaks in a country that has state subsidized enterprises such as the NHS which is why many wealthy Brits emigrate and/or buy citizenship to other nations with dodgy tax laws) sets up a charity for children that are sexual abuse victims that was patroned by a monster. If I could have chosen a better clip for Hollywood, I would have done it, but there aren’t many to be had.

Scott: Hey honey, if I punch myself in the face enough times, you think I'd wake up from this artistic nightmare? Christine: *HEADSLAP!*

Scott: Hey honey, if I punch myself in the face enough times, you think I’d wake up from this artistic nightmare? Christine: *HEADSLAP!*

Thin Lizzy Chinatown review

Before I begin this review, I’d like to give a big shout out to Mr. Martin Popoff for writing the amazing Fighting My Way Back: Thin Lizzy ’69-76. I always pop over to www.thinlizzyguide.com (the most comprehensive Lizzy fansite on the net, so much so the band gave them a thank you credit on the recently released Thin Lizzy At The BBC box set) to see what’s cooking, and there Popoff’s book just jump kicked me in the face, and the next thing I knew it was sitting on my doorstep. It’s a bitingly forthright account of Phil Lynott’s first years as a rocker in Dublin with Skid Row all the way to Lizzy’s smash hit record Jailbreak. It features yesteryear and current interviews with the band, management, crew, friends, producers, A&R, and the kitchen sink- basically, whatever the fuck that made the Lizzy three-ring circus go, so it’s rock n’ roll histrionics straight from the horse’s mouth, and I can’t wait for part two! BUY IT NOW MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

ThinLizzy-Chinatown(HQ)-Front

In Putterford’s book, The Rocker, longtime Lizzy manager Chris O’Donnell called Chinatown “Absolute garbage, and when Phil brought in a keyboard player for Renegade, that was it for me,” he groans. “A once brilliant band was turning into a pile of crap before my eyes.”

You can’t blame his brutality. Renegade was such an abysmal failure Lizzy was bankrupt at that point, the album reaching #38 on the UK charts, no promo videos made, the singles went nowhere (especially the infamous Trouble Boys cover that was dropped from the album altogether), Scott Gorham collapsed in Portugal due to heroin withdrawal and was forced back home, and Snowy White and O’Donnell bailed by the conclusion of the tour.

BUT the luck of the Irish chimed in for Chinatown, going #7 in the UK charts, racking up Lizzy a nice silver record, the single Killer on the Loose slotted in at #10 on the UK charts, and two promo videos were shot both directed by David Mallet (director of The Kenny Everett Video Show where both Lizzy and The Greedy Bastards made appearances). The silver record was highly deserved, three stars out of five. Why so harsh? Consider the conditions it was recorded under: heroin abuse by Phil and Scott for the past year-and-a-half, Phil’s lyricism was faltering due to constant touring stress and abrupt lifestyle change (marriage to Caroline Crowther on Valentine’s Day ’80 that quickly produced two daughters while Phil philandered), the mellow blues guitarist Snow White’s assimilation into the band, simultaneous production of Chinatown with Phil’s solo album Solo in Soho by novice producer Kit Woolven (an unsung hero during the Bad Reputation, Live and Dangerous and Black Rose eras as he served at Tony Visconti’s engineer), and Phil’s abject laziness when recording his lyrics.

Snowy White in Alan Byrne’s Thin Lizzy: Soldiers of Fortune: “A lot of the Chinatown album was made up in the studio, especially Phil’s lyrics. He used to leave his lyrics until the very last minute then light up a spliff and head for the vocal booth and sing off the top of his head. Because he was such a perfectionist he was always changing things and thus it was very time consuming, delaying the album release even more.”

Jerome Rimson: “I watched him record most of the Chinatown and Solo in Soho albums standing at a microphone and making up the words as he went along, and while he was singing there was a full blown party going on in the control room. Just think of it fifteen or twenty people in the control room raging while he’s in the vocal booth trying to rescue these albums.”

The album was recorded between April and August 1980 (a whopping FIVE fucking months before surfacing in October ’80!) at Good Earth Studios in Soho near London’s Chinatown. No doubt dragon-chasing and eating take-aways had some influence on Phil. The sad thing was, Lizzy was back on the grinding tour treadmill in May to break in Snowy as soon as his Pink Floyd contract was up and the quiet introduction of Darren Wharton for the band’s new keyboard section. Not to affront Darren, but I don’t think he was/is suitable for Thin Lizzy. I know Midge Ure played a role in that (him being part of the preposterous Lizzy lineup when Gary Moore split in July ’79 during the disastrous American leg of the Black Rose tour) considering he was a member of the prissy synth-pop band Ultravox (Vienna was single of the year at the ’81 Brit Awards making Ure a kajillionaire. Then he and Geldof teamed up for ’85’s Live Aid that made them media moguls but hasn’t done a damn thing for Ethiopia proving you shouldn’t give to “charities” that add to the problems of third world countries where corruption and and war are endemic, and poverty is ingrained into the culture- oh yeah, and they didn’t invite Thin Lizzy or Phil because according to Geldof “they weren’t that big”) but keyboards just didn’t give any real texture to Thin Lizzy’s sound, and at times I found them quite annoying, in Thunder and Lightning particularly. I know Phil was trying to change with the times, but he was failing at it. And NOBODY had the balls to give it to him straight (or were high out of their fucking heads). Another problem was the release of Lynott’s Solo in Soho album one month prior to Chinatown. This could’ve been the catalyst for Lizzy fans’ cool reception of the new material, and after listening to it on You Tube, I can’t blame them. The only (Lizzy-like) song I liked was Dear Miss Lonely Hearts (co-written by Jimmy Bain). Whatever the Phonogram A&R guys were smoking was probably responsible for the thought that King’s Call would be a hit. Now I’m not a real Dire Straits fan, but Mark Knopfler is too much of a straight man to play off Lynott’s rocker personae. If I were around at this period, I wouldn’t know what to make of shit either. Soho put a big fucking damper on the hard rockin’ hellraiser myth Phil created for himself. I’m not against musicians branching out, but not when your current award-winning formula is still being marketed. Cases in point, the Kiss solo albums being quite crap, and Freddie Mercury’s Mr. Bad Guy didn’t sell to me either.

Now we all need a good rock anthem as part of the “soundtrack of our lives” (Dick Clark, aren’t you dead yet? UPDATE: Dick Clark, November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012. He lived up to his name), and We Will Be Strong is a hell of an anthemic rock song! What I will not accept is it being compared to Do Anything You Want To. The lyrics are weaker, and it’s just plain telling of the tragedy that would unfold over the next six years. I feel that Johnny the Fox was playing Philo’s mind and he was sticking to the script for image sakes. What I conjure up is a prematurely aging man shaking his fist to the heavens, thunderously proclaiming his last stand as his friends drape his arms around their necks to drag his broken, bleeding body away from a street fight that wasn’t meant to be won.

Now the album’s title track was hella slammin’! Thanks to Snowy, this blues rock riff-filled track has monster White hot licks that lash out. While Byrne describes Phil’s lyrics going between the “banal and lunatic”, I think he needed to delve into that sinister part of himself (and Thin Lizzy)- and if he visited it more often he might be still with us today. The promo is shit hot, but you could tell scary things were going on behind the scenes. Phil put on a few pounds, was stubbly-cheeked (as was Scott- for dramatic affect), and sweating like fuck! I know the band spent ten hours on the specially built set at Molinare Studios, and you melt under those hot-ass lights, but his menacing look fit the ambiance of the song. Brian Downey blasted away on those drums working them for all they were worth. Scott waved the Lizzy flag with gusto sexually assaulting his audience with a siren wailing solo, ushering in his brand new ’80s stage act that I dubbed “The Scott Gorham Russian Knee Dance Piss Take.” Don’t believe me, go watch their Rockpalast performance on You Tube! The only drawback was Snowy. Poor Snowy. For the playback (what a bitch!) “performances” that I’ve seen of Chinatown, he pushes himself too damn hard, and at times appears woefully wooden. I can’t help but think that that (along with time constraints) played a part in the too-early fade out on Lizzy’s usual TOTP stop.

Sweetheart is my guilty pleasure. Think of the thickest, heaviest, syrupiest slice of ice cream cake splattered on your plate at your best friend’s birthday cookout in 90-plus degree heat, ruining that Baby Phat blouse that was screaming at you in Burlington Coat Factory. It’s the kind of pop that almost doesn’t want me to murder Bon Jovi or those Irish jokes known as Bob Geldof and Bono. The thing is, I just don’t know what the fuck Phil is talking about. If you could decipher this, drop me a line in the comment section.

If I was to stand in a general election
Would you tell me about your close inspection
And how I never stood for detection
Or would you take another man?
If I told you I had the solution to starvation
All the nations would be their own salvation
And those that lead us lead us not into temptation
Or they pick another man?

Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
Sweetheart
It’s so effective
Sweetheart
Do you detect in me
A sacred sweetheart

If I told you about my plan would you believe me?
This is my body, my blood, would you receive me?
Or would you be the first to deceive me
And take another man

If I told you that I’m not the man to worry
Would you believe me when I said I was really sorry?
Or would you rush off in a hurry to take another man?

Sweetheart
Disconnect from me
Sweetheart
You have got no respect for me
Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
My sacred sweetheart

And when you’re troubled and when you’re ill
You know I’ll help, I always will
And when you’re troubled and really down
You know I’ll always be around
And when you’re troubled and really broke
There is hope, there’s hope, there’s hope

Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
Sweetheart
You’ve got no respect for me
Sweetheart
It’s so effective
My sacred sweetheart
Sweetheart
Disconnect
Sweetheart
It’s so effective
Sweetheart
It’s affecting me
My sacred sweetheart
Sweetheart
Sweetheart
Sweetheart

Killer on the Loose… am I the only Thin Lizzy fan that hates this song simply for the fact that it and it’s video is stupid? Now pop culture has been the scapegoat for society’s ills since time immemorial. The bunch of bitchy church ladies who get their rocks off of minding everybody else’s business condemning the song and Lizzy as proponents of serial killer Stuart Sutcliffe’s reign of terror have got to hop off the coke spoons for a bit. I disagree with Scott when he said it was tasteless on Lizzy’s part, but it was bad timing. Just to give the church ladies the finger, I would’ve kept it in the set. I don’t know why so many Lizzy fans hail this as the album’s best track, because when you read the lyrics it does dip into the nonsensical end of the pool (although nowhere near as bad as Yellow Pearl). Phil’s train of thought was starting to come off the rails on this one, and how clever Woolven muddied the lyric I’m a mad sexual rapist in the mix, because as an afterthought he knew Philo was treading dangerous waters with that one.

“I’ll be standing in the shadows of love
Waiting for you
Don’t unzip your zipper
‘Cause you know I’m jack the ripper
Now don’t wail, don’t…”

The voice warping was utterly cartoonish, Lizzy was reaching on that bit. The video harkened the band’s death knell. Everybody looked strung out, moody, and bored. The models couldn’t dance or emote, and weren’t pretty. They were anorexic freaks, and the makeup artist should’ve been drug out in the street and shot. The whole pickscraping solo made Snowy seem more awkward, Scott could give a shit, and Downey was clearly looking to clock out. They should’ve saved the money on that one and put it to making a promo for Hollywood.

Now Phil’s surreptitious nod and wink to coke (or smack depending on the slang you use) Sugar Blues is a great showcase for Snowy’s talents. It slows you down to get you down. But not too down because I’d rather do something else while listening to this track…

The last four tracks are nothing but filler fluff. The worst offender is the highly hooky Having a Good Time. Lazy-ass soundcheck is correct! Slapping some words together that rhyme while describing your off-stage antics with the Lizzies doesn’t make a song Phil. Genocide is a cousin of the Wild Horses’ Reservation, and a revisit of Massacre:

At a point below zero
There’s no place left to go
Six hundred unknown heroes
Were killed like sleeping buffalo

What makes shit more disturbing were the war cries Phil lets loose during Rockpalast. Didn’t I was a super-saturated ballad about “the one that got away” that dragged on for four minutes. Were the harpsichord and strings-sounding synth section necessary, I wonder? Not to mention certain verses sounding reminiscent of Toughest Street in Town. Closing out the album is Hey You, a little diddy about Phil feeling sorry for himself. You know, doing what he swore he’d never do that during the interview on that Irish chat show?

Forget all these backslappers
You don’t stand a chance
Why don’t you go home?
Go right back to where you come from
Don’t get involved in this masquerade
This big city is going to eat you up
All the backslapping
Hey you, you’ve got it made

Don’t we wish he would’ve taken his own advice?

P.S. I know Scott’s birthday is on St. Paddy’s Day, so I’ll wish him a happy 61st today because I’ll be too fucking wasted to post on the day. Happy B-day Scott! You rock! I love you!

P.P.S. And now for your aural/visual enjoyment, I give you the Lizziest track on the Solo in Soho album: Dear Miss Lonely Hearts!

Fundie, mentally ill, and anti-vax wannabe hippie parents love homeschooling!

Fundie, mentally ill, and anti-vax wannabe hippie parents love homeschooling! Gee, I wonder why…

On bratfree we were making fun of the crazed homeschooling breeders, and swapping tales of our own personal experiences with homeschooling. Or should I say, unschooling. If you’re a Beverly Hills Cop I & II fan like me, then you know who Judge Freaking Reinhold is. A few years back he had a TV sitcom (that lasted all of 8 eps) called The O’Keefes. The premise was a hyperactive pretentious family homeschooling their supposed intellectually superior kids now transitioning into public school. Can you see how these characters might be the posterchildren for unschooling? I know I can.

Now as I bitched in my last post American public, religulous, and charter schools are SO FAR OFF THE FUCKING MARK, only a cultural revolution could change them. But, hey, this is America! And when do things really change? My father suffered from Paranoid Personality Disorder and codependency (like my grandmother), and several of the big red flags of these disorders are inflated ego and capability, projecting blame on others and even things, and quick loss of interest. In ’93 I was pulled out of my second Catlick school because I was the target of bullying. I had been the target of bullying up until I was in high school (I said this before). My father couldn’t and wouldn’t accept the reasons for this was my social maladjustment because of isolation, being biracial, and being overweight (PCOS played a big role in my weight problems I later found out). I had been out of school (the first time around) for 44 days. At the time Rudy Giuliani had been crowned king of NYC and he was overhauling the BOE big time. The big problem was truancy, the other big problem was the shit ass educational programs, but neither really got solved. Dad nicely informed the BOE that he would be homeschooling me for the remainder of my educational career, to which the secretary on the other end of the phone replied, “Put her back in school.” And hung up.

This fell on blissfully deaf ears. Mom, Dad, and me tramped down to the WNET (Channel 13) Building at Rockefeller Center to buy me GED workbooks. Now I always believed that the GED programs were for lazy ghetto-ass high school kids who don’t feel like doing anything (which is largely true since I know so fucking many of them), but Dad never figured out that 1) I was 13 and these materials were made for older teens and adult education and 2) in order to complete the work in the books you had to follow a set program series that aired at certain times of the morning on PBS. You can’t imagine our embarrassment upon walking into the smoky glass and steel monolith of establishment liberalism with a Hispanic man speaking too loud wearing grungy three sizes too small clothing barely stretching over his beer gut. The volunteer country club and 5th Ave. Synagogue old lady members stared us down with puckered disgust, and the uncomfortable college kid who rang him up (paying for the books with rolled up coins) was forced to listen to his insane diatribe that I was being homeschooled because I was a “misunderstood genius.” I seriously considered suicide for the first time when I got home that night.

At WNET they also sold the GED VHS series, but they were grossly overpriced and I think you had to have qualifications as a GED instructor to purchase them. So needless to say Dad felt that I was smart enough to figure out the material on my own. He forced me to watch the series in the middle of the lessons (consequently I was unable to follow them at all) and then sent me to my heatless room to do my “homework”. I found out that the workbooks had the answers in the back, making the whole thing pointless, and I just abandoned the books in my closet and proceeded to make dollhouse accessories from swatches of old clothes. This went on for a week, and Dad no longer brought up my homeschooling in favor of watching video taped eps of Star Trek: TNG, Forever Knight, and prime time crime dramas over and over again. After 44 days the school sent a letter requesting my return, or ACS would come a-callin’. I went back willingly knowing what I would face, so Dad put cotton balls in my ears to block out the abuse, but when Mom questioned how I would follow the lessons, he ignored her. I finished out the ’93 school year barely passing, and my parents didn’t pay the rest of the tuition (they didn’t deserve it), but I didn’t return to school until November ’94, and my bro Archer was pulled out of school for three months in September of ’94. We were both held back a year because of Dad’s (and Mom’s) actions, Archer became destructive, I fell into the deep well of an eating disorder and became more withdrawn and paranoid as I was not allowed to go near a window when I was at home during that very long year.

We should have been removed (as ACS did come to the house that year), but chances are nothing would have been done. Why? Simple, Mom, me, and Archer are white. We live in a clean, white middle-class neighborhood. I had no idea that Dad was mentally ill because his character was always unstable and I chalked it down to racism and the abuse he suffered from his equally insane family. I always saw homeschooled kids as being abuse victims, and this post from a Midwestern fundie cow of eight hailing from a piss-poor farming community in Buttfuck, Minnesota with no real job trolling the internet when she should be “teaching” her kids (especially when among them are disabled) reaffirms my belief:

“I have a feeling that you don’t know a whole lot about homeschooling, but you do know a lot about public school. You need to understand that homeschooling can be very different from public school. There is no law in Indiana that says an 11-year-old must know how to read well, or the parents have been neglectful. I wonder if you know the family well enough to know if that girl has a learning disability. As the other answer mentioned, it is legal for parents to encourage reading in a more gentle fashion, instead of forcing it on a child who is not ready or willing.As for what the children tell you, they might forget that they did tests, since tests can be far apart in time. As for lessons, homeschooling fits into the everyday lives of the families, and the children may not realize they are doing school. They might be learning through lots of activities, interaction with parents, and through books and movies. For example, some of my kids are studying the Vikings. Yesterday, they watched Veggie Tales “Lyle, the Kindly Viking”. Tonight, we are planning to watch “The 13th Warrior”. Videos and movies like these give lots of useful info about historical subjects. If I didn’t tell them, my kids might not realize the videos are part of their schooling. Also, last summer, I took them to the Kensington Ruinstone Museum.
For homeschooling, families do not usually have the kids in desks with the mother by a blackboard “teaching” them. It can be a lot more casual, and spread out throughout the day. It fits into the families’ lives.
If you reported this family, you would have to have first-hand knowledge that the parents are not in compliance with the law. If the law only says that the parents have to notify the public school of their children being homeschooled, and has no specifics about what or how the children are to be taught, then the parents are free to do it how they see fit.
I just urge you to be educated on the subject before you go and cause turmoil for this family. Educational neglect is a very serious charge. If you falsely accuse the family, you can expect that you will never see those kids or your sister or brother again. Talk to them before making judgement. Tell them your concerns, and ask them to explain their homeschooling philosophy and plan. Keep in mind that you may not agree with what they are doing, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. If you won’t talk to the family first, then I question your motives. Possibly you are against homeschooling in the first place, and you just want to “get” them.
I have had my disabled child in public school for 2 1/2 months, and I can tell you, we were doing much better with him at home. There are no “magic special teachers” who can make the kids normal.” 

Breeders Know Better Than Teachers

Another bunch of breeder shit for the bitch books: breeders know better than teachers!

Now this isn’t news. I’ve seen this firsthand during my entire scholastic career. One-ton Betty Bimbo sloshes her way up to the school in her flipflops and grey sweats that she’s been wearing for the past three weeks because Shitford came home with a 50% on the latest spelling quiz. Never mind he spelled the word “theater” with a k.

On You Tube there are excerpts from a corporate propaganda film Waiting for “Superman”. It stars Bill Gates and Michelle Rhee, both right-leaning business people who think that since public school is shit (and it is), it should be wiped out (along with teachers unions) and replaced with an Enron-esque Rank ‘n Yank “charter” curriculum (I went to a “new visions” high school- that would be referred to as “charter” today) that leaves the weakest (non-competitive and non-incentive receptive) students in the dust because they will NOT be the ones leading Wall Street in generations to come.

Now I’m from New York, and it probably has the most corrupt (and weak) public education system in the country. The UFT is no better than the UAW today. And I can personally attest to the phenomenal failures of the public, Catholic, and alternative educational schools. Education has been going down the shitter for the last 35 years or so. And funding is only the tip of the iceberg to solve this problem. No, the problem begins at home. Two incomes are required today, so SAHMs should really rethink getting to the gym and updating their CVs in order to make the mortgages and grocery bills. I think breeders are failing their children education-wise because they lack backbone. They are being fed this epic load of horse shit that they need to be their kid’s co-sleeper, BFF, motivational speaker, partner, and coach (doesn’t matter if it’s play coach or sport/art coach). But parent? That’s passe. You want them to be the next LeBron James, Golda Meir, Al Pacino, and Marie Curie right? Well you don’t HAVE to want them to be that, they already ARE that. That’s what gifted/purple/crystal/spectrum analyses are for! Usually self-diagnosed, but shrinks, professors, and “experts” eager to buy yachts, shop at Bergdorf & Goodman, and rent out the dancers at Scores for a weekend in Puerto Rico are for.

On the latest laugh-fest we’re having at bratfree, kidlesskim (and Miss Hannigan who lead the race in snappy wit) put up a link and short list of “gifted” preschool kids (linkie):

From the U.S. Office of Gifted and Talented:

Short list of typical gifted preschooler (ages 2-5) characteristics:

  • Uses advanced vocabulary for age.
  • Uses spontaneous verbal elaboration with new experiences.
  • Has the ability to make interesting or unusual shapes or patterns through various media: blocks, playdough, crayons.
  • Ability to assemble puzzles designed for older children.
  • Sense of humor used in general conversation.
  • Understanding of abstract concepts such as death and time.
  • Mastery of new skills with little repetition.
  • Demonstration of advanced physical skills.
  • Demonstration of advanced reasoning skills through explanation of occurrences.

Source: Janice Szabos as quoted in “The Gifted and Talented Child,” Maryland Council for Gifted & Talented Children, Inc. P.O. Box 12221, Silver Spring, MD 20908

Got all that? And now with my “gifted” genius, I shall break down why I was in the “magnet” schools/classes for the “gifted”… even though it got me nowhere fast.

1) Asks the questions.

As with all kids, their favorite question is, “Why?” And that the first reason as why I find them annoying, and was quite annoying myself as a kid. I always asked “Why?” and “What for?”, before launching into a soul-sucking diatribe demanding to know the specifics. My first word was “clock”, and my favorite TV obsession was Sesame Street. More than likely I correlated that the big round thing with numbers above our stove was the same as big round thing with numbers that Big Bird, Ernie, and the deaf chick who worked at Hooper’s Store calling a clock glossed on and on about as if were Jesus’ tack hammer.  Having this epiphany I thrust out my fat finger nearly blinding my mother as she fed me mashed peas, and made my groundbreaking proclamation. After that it was… non… stop… yapping.

Now I’m a female, and it’s known that women use on average 20,000 words a day. Men use around 8,000. While humans are cerebral creatures, men primarily rely on visuals and women the mental. It’s why we think of sex 6 times a day, and men up to 30. But thanks to evolution and the feminist movement (with the added help of the privacy of the internet) women are enjoying pornography more than ever. We’re catching up guys, please continue to be threatened. And that brings us to…

2) Extremely curious.

Now the why’s and what for’s can be placed in this box as well, but I needed a clear definition behind the why’s and what for’s. I had to know. Want to know why? I had nothing better to do. For the first 6 years of my life I was a bored, friendless, overeating only child. Mom was a neurotic obsessed with living up to her co-dependent mother’s standards and Dad was a miserly shit. I really hated these people. The only good I saw in my parents was that Dad had a big VHS collection (thanks to a short-lived time with bootleg HBO), bought me a lot of books, Mom could cook, and her relatives fed me like a pig. My father dealt with living in a racist environment in an interracial marriage with biracial kids by ignoring it, even though he was fully aware of the consequences. This would cost him his family, marriage, sanity, and well-being. Mom also chose to ignore because she was sheltered and depressed all her life with no experience in real cold world. Grandma is a co-dependent bully, Grandpa was an indifferent shithead, and Mom’s brother is a rage-aholic schizoid type personality. I don’t like to call my family dysfunctional, I like to call them colorful.

Despite being alone, I got plenty of mental stimulation. There was always talking (yelling) in the kitchen between my grandparents, mother, great-grandmother, and great-aunt. I love food and loved to help in the kitchen which grandma encouraged, so I helped cook from an early age. The first movie I ever saw was The Empire Strikes Back. I loved Dorothy Hamill’s The Nutcracker on Ice, Follow That Bird, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and The Secret of Nimh. I read through my grandparents’ encyclopedias, Gramps National Geographic collection (he got me a book set on animals through NG once), a fat cookbook on pasta, and a huge-ass Random House dictionary with full color maps. Gramps also had a Time Life book set on WWII with these awesome photos. Dog fights, battles at sea, the Normandy landing, Reichstag parades, you name it. If I had to know why some shit was what, I looked it up. All the while I munched on bags of chips from the Wise assortment box- the 80s version. Not the shit they hawk at Target or Squalor Mart today!

This isn’t to say, I didn’t watch TV. I loved TV! Especially musicals! I danced and sang all damn day, being so hyped up after The King and I. Mom would go through great lengths to prevent me from seeing them sometimes because I was so goddamn loud. I but I’d find out what channel it was on regardless. I’d know she was up to something. Which brings me to…

3) Gets involved physically and mentally.

I began school at 3 by accident. I had a “friend” that was six months older than me and she liked to scare me to death because she was an undisciplined daredevil. And I was a big chicken. She was the little bitch who abused her pets and later on the unhousebroken family doberman bit her in the face. I think I mentioned her in a previous post. She started school before me and our new game was playing school. Kids tend to re-enact and adapt the newest thing into their playtime. Also she had this sweet Playskool school role playing set, a blackboard and a desk. She was the teacher, fully armed with a plastic pointer, and I was relegated to dumbass student forever getting whacked upside the head with the fucking pointer. As if she were Cecil B. DeMille the bitch would direct me to give the wrong answer, because it looked funny when I played dumb. If we were with a bunch of kids on her block and played school she would NEVER play the dumbass. She’d fly into a tantrum over that shit. Once I got defiant and consistently gave the right answers. She pissed the bitch, and hit me HARD. But not hard enough, I admit. I took the abuse because I thought that was how to make and keep friends.

She went to a Catlick preschool out of parish because it was free (our parish pre-k had a tuition). Mom and me went with the bitch and her mother to drop her off one morning (early enough in the year) and I just saw all those other kids having so much fun running around the schoolyard and all those colorful construction paper signs hanging in the windows welcoming kids back for a new school year, and thought just what the fuck was I missing out on? Taking a cue from the bitch I started to whine.

“I wanna go to school! I wanna go to school!”

Luckily Mrs. S, the teacher, was rounding up her class when she heard me.

“It’s okay, she can come in.” At first Mom thought that she thought was I old enough being that me and the bitch were the same height. Mrs. S. directed Mom to the main office and told her that it was okay and I could register at my age. Mom gave in and I was ecstatic. Yay for me! I’m so happening! I’m a big kid! I’m going to school! School is cool! This would be the last time those words would be strung together in my mind. I joined everybody on the line as Mom went fill out the paperwork, getting reassured that everything would be okay. She’s an independent kid, so go home and catch up on your sleep. It was a win-win.

Mrs. S (up until high school) was probably the best teacher I had. She was old-skool Irish, really nice, but hella strict. If you didn’t follow the rules, she lit into your little ass! And with God-given right! She didn’t give two shits that we were four. We were little crack monkeys, and were not to be trusted. If you planned on pulling shit, she must’ve gone to the same psychic academy as Sylvia Browne- but passed- and took you down on the spot like fucking Navy SEAL. But as much as a disciplinarian as she was, she was also a good damn teacher. She was patient, and above all, she loved what she did. There was an overall good vibe in her classroom, it was immaculate, white, and sunny. It smelled the way a classroom should smell like, cracking linoleum glue with a hint of chalk dust, and reams of grainy yellowish art paper from the 1960s. NOT LIKE A DIAPER BAG! Mrs. S. asked if her kids were properly toilet trained. Today there would be lawsuits and she would be forced to register as a sex offender.  There were METAL group tables for the kids, purchased from Crayola because they looked like the fronts of crayon boxes. Made in the USA baby, splashed right under the branding , block font kelly green on ocher. Not that Chinese shit from recycled plastic letting off toxic fumes because they have no concept of quality control let alone human rights! Every table had its supply box: some flat pencils, assorted Crayola markers, and a pair of actual metal kiddie scissors! You know, the kind that we never put out eyes or cut off fingers with. Because the corporations brainwashed breeders some time in ’91 with the belief that kids would be influenced to commit mass murder with metal art scissors, just to import cheap tin-lined two-toned plastic shit from Taiwan that couldn’t spread margarine- loaded with trans-fat- in order to shut down a factory in Tulsa. Y’know, to empty out the sites for future meth labs.

Toward the back there was Mrs. S.’s desk (no man’s land) and a closet, and further up adjacent from the blackboard was an upright black piano. Mrs. S. led us in Old MacDonald, The Star Spangled Banner, and other big hits and had a kid lead the group in singing- and I often did it. Learning to read and write the alphabet and our names on that lined paper with the HUGE spaces were paramount, but colors, shapes, identifying animals and things followed and she made it fun. We did dioramas all the time with shoe boxes, construction paper, aluminum (we burned through rolls of the shit for Xmas), and cotton balls. She hung up all our pictures, and I drew the nuttiest things, flying cats and grizzly bears with green hair and giraffe necks. We acted out animals and made their sounds, and had us do group work and I often lead our group. It was fun and engaging, and I had no problems with the other kids.

When it was time for me to go to “real pre-k” I thought it would be a blast. We had more playtime in the between. I jumped in willingly and had fun… with the kids who would play with me, but it didn’t deter me. Bringing us to…

4) Plays around, still gets good grades.

Of course I got good grades. You know why I got good grades? If I didn’t, I got punished. SIMPLE. AS. THAT. I admit I’m a fucking overachiever. I LOVED reading ahead. I LOVED shooting up my hand to answer all the questions. I had to be told by the shit teacher Mrs. M. that I had to give the other kids a chance. Mom failed on that. But Mrs. M. was a racist and often complained that when I was playing during lunch break I was “out of control”. Mom got neurotic and screamed at me, got Dad in it too. But she stopped all of a sudden when, quietly, one of the paras (volunteer mommy monitor) took her aside and called on M.’s bullshit. I wasn’t misbehaving. It was because I was part PR and able to read better and write complete sentences before the rest of the class. And when I got to kindergarten? I was called out by Ms. G. being a “strange girl” for reading ahead, preferring to get books from the school library for “reports” because they had better books than our shit collection, and she NEVER hung up my pictures. Oh, and she pissed the bitch that I played too much in the doll corner. Never mind the fact that nearly ALL THE OTHER GIRLS occupied our pretend kitchen and the jungle gym was boy central. I had a ton of wooden blocks at home, and plenty of small tinker toys as well so the block and toy corners just didn’t interest me. Since when did being above-average mean we can’t play?

I despised that overgrown uber-80s teeny bopper wannabe kindergarten teacher of mine, and she was only the second. My third grade teacher Mrs. B. mispronounced pupa (PYOO-PA) as PUPPA. I made the mistake of correcting her, she made my life hell for a while there. But back in kinder-hell Mrs. G. gave us a rainbow “lesson”, meaning that the color schematic had a cool acronym that can be easily remembered: ROY G. BIV. I was secretly happy that red lead the parade, but felt guilty that a pretty color like violet (purple’s kid sister) had to bring up the rear. So I asked her why did violet come in last. You could see the red veins in her sclera pop from the last row of us seated on our carpet swatches. And that segues us into…

5) Questions the answers.

Anne Frank is an icon. She’s an international symbol of Holocaust children victims and survivors, solidarity, the anti-war movement, and anti-discrimination. She was an ordinary 15-year-old Dutch Jewish girl thrown into the extraordinary circumstances of Nazi occupied Holland. She and her older sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp several weeks before liberation by British troops on April 15, 1945. For those who read her published diary we like to think she was a prophetic messenger, but if you read Carol Ann Lee’s The Biography of Anne Frank: Roses From the Earth, The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition, and watched the documentary Anne Frank Remembered, Anne was described as quite the scamp. Naughty and quite annoying at times. Always talking, asking questions, and had to be the center of attention. So much so that her precious Pim (Otto Frank) had to remove her from the room. But we don’t like seeing Anne like a whole human being, warts and all. But that’s the “tragedy” of the “gifted” child.

6) Prefers adults or older children.

Being still an only child and surrounded by old people influences you. I thought adults were mystical and teens were glamorous (a regular dose of John Hughes movies and coked-up ’80s teen shows do the trick). I wanted to be around them rather than kids my age. I couldn’t relate to them, primarily because they rejected me first. The grown-ups had real stuff to talk about and teens looked so cool in their two piece Catlick school uniforms and varsity jackets. Just like in Teen Wolf or Porky’s (yeah I saw that at a young age, my parents didn’t give a shit about what I watched- overcompensation).

7) Good at guessing.

Three words: Preschool Lotto Game. Mom got up, switched off the Looney Tunes, and we played. All damn day. Looney Tunes? What’s that?

8 ) Bored. Already knew the answers.

I will direct you back to the little paragraph I described about reading materials at home. And that it’s not illegal to read ahead during homework.

9) Shows strong feelings and opinions.

You think this blog was the beginning? Seriously?

10) Highly critical of self (perfectionistic).

Did I not say I was an overachiever? What do you think I really mean? I’m obsessive. Being ugly and fat and only half white with a failure of a father and a co-dependent grandmoo who share similar personalities, I scrutinize myself and torture myself beyond. I will never be happy with my work. I could always do more, make more time, extend this, elaborate that, trim more fat, it never ends. Not with schoolwork, writing, or household chores. I’m simply unsatisfied.

Well there you have it folks, the “gifted” child. Or should I say, your above-average headcase. But knowing breeders they’ll slip on those rose-colored lenses, filter everything as usual, and dance in a daydream. I’m not gonna stop you. Have a nice nap America.

31 candles on my cake

Well I’m 31 today and I feel no different than when I turned 30. Still no job, didn’t get back to school, and the best part the old bitch is coming up to wish us a happy birthday, THEN harass us about getting a new dining table! Ain’t life grand? Three years ago the old bitch bought us a $2k dining table from the ghetto Macy’s (that happens to look JUST LIKE HERS) under the pretense that we’ll have dinner parties like this was 1987. We can’t have K. over to do the taxes because the old bitch doesn’t want to hear any noise from strangers (K. being black doesn’t make shit any better). Still K. comes over and does our taxes- TOUGH ASS OLD BITCH!

Then she’ll start on all the camera equipment my bro archer has in the corner of the living room for the umpteenth time. It’s enough that she’s codependent and the fact that she’s 80-years-old makes her near impossible. I know that as we age the processors in our brains slowly degrade, and we need things to be more black and white to feel secure. And if an elderly person is LOGICALLY challenged, that person will become more combative and obstinate. The old bitch also has made tremendous mistakes and pissed away money, and when we bring that up she won’t respond or she becomes a wildcat. And then when Mom, archer, or I talk about getting lives of our own she gets this pathetic look on her face. She knows what’s coming. We need out of here. It was our fault we didn’t teach her to become acclimated to life on her own earlier, but we weren’t normal. Conservatives will call us lazy, but if your back is against the wall and all you could do is stand stalk-still because you’re white and people laugh when you ask for a low-wage job in NYC, what else is there?

But at least I know I’m a person and not a punching bag.

Discipline-shy pussy parents: a cautionary tale

This thread on bratfree may help breeders who may actually be PNB’s, but are fucked by today’s convoluted standards of child rearing. Nullipar-tay’s lifeguard job experience not only re-confirmed her decision on being CF, but I hope all you PNB’s in the same situation as rich moo help you understand that we CF aren’t evil, but want you to admit your humanity. And by that I mean being a parent doesn’t make you royalty, nor does it transform you into a Marvel superhero. Please help us help you.

Many years ago, I was a lifeguard at a public community center. I was the only adult lifeguard they had, so I ended up working during school hours. Homeschooling families would bring their kids in, especially in the winter when we’d cover the pool area with a ‘bubble’, making it indoors for the season..

Our community center was old, built in a poor community that got annexed by a very prestigious nearby city with their own PGA golf course next door. They had their own high-priced, snooty club for these stuck up famblees and their brats. But when moos got tired of the crowd, they’d come to our community center and ‘slum it’.

And I had one family I loathed with every bone in my body. I called them TSM’s – The Screaming Meanies. It was bleach-blonde, still trying to look 20 (and failing) moo, and her four trophies: a newly shat loaf (name unknown), a boy brat, James, (7?) and my least favorites, the two sisters: Madeline (4) and Caroline (6).

These were, to date, some of the worst behaved fucking children I’d ever had to deal with. The nightmare routine played out all spring and summer long. TSM Moo and her shitlings would come early, dragging in a sack of kinderspullen (and in the summer, we hardly had room for the visitors, much less toys), and the fighting would start immediately.

Moo would sometimes offer a weak, “James, stop. Madeline, stop.” But these fucking hellions (loaf excepted – it was usually pretty chill and locked into its carrier) infuriated me. They’d run around the edge of the pool, chasing each other, ignoring us when we’d whistle or tell them to stop. They couldn’t swim, but liked to haul ass down near the deep end of the pool.

Our pool was only 5.5 feet deep, and not olympic-sized. Not a huge pool. But James liked to try to knock or shove his sisters into the water, usually while mom was asleep working on her tan, or on her cellphone, turned away from where she should be watching them.

The lifeguard staff was forever shooting daggers at the entire family, or trying to keep the brats in line so nobody got hurt. I kept waiting for an accident to happen, but it never did. These kids often fought, violently, hitting, kicking, and spitting at each other.

And they did it to Moo, too. They’d kick her, hit her, spit on her or bite her on the few occasions where she’d actually try to discipline them. It was clearly too little, too late. She didn’t even bother anymore. Madeline was an ugly, nasty little troll of a she-brat, and she screamed and cried at the tops of her lungs whenever she wasn’t getting what she wanted (which was often). She had just the right pitch to make your brains scramble.

Caroline was a mean she-brat, who openly pointed at and made fun of overweight people, bullied her sister, and taunted her mom by purposefully doing the opposite of what her mom said, then sticking out her tongue and running away. Moo was in no shape to chase her.

James was a pint-sized tyrant who liked to get violent. Period. He was into pummeling his sisters, but would actually whine and cry whenever they attempted to defend themselves or reciprocate. Even when other families would stop and glare at Moo and her family from hell, she completely ignored them. She also ignored her kids during their screaming, wailing, violence, and dangerous antics. Like I said, hell on EARTH.

Winter came one year, and nobody was coming to the pool much, even though it was covered. I sat up on the lifeguard stand alone for hours, sometimes. But one day… to my horror and surprise… TSM fam comes dragging into the bubble, just as they had all summer long. I was alone with them. No other lifeguards or staff were anywhere near the structure. It was just me, and the family from hell.

They got into the area, plopped onto some deck chairs, and immediately, the kids started fighting. They were in the chairs behind me, behind my stand, so at least I could look forward at the pool and pretend not to see them. Sound really carries under that bubble, and Madeline was screaming bloody murder over something, and James was beating up on Caroline.

Moo was frustrated and sighing, weakly trying to tell them to stop. The kids hadn’t even gotten fully unpacked when the punching, kicking and wailing was in full force. I could see enough from the corner of my eye, and I did look over at Moo wearily, with a “really?” expression.

Moo threatened to take them all home, and the kids went running down to the far end of the pool area, near the deep end, of course. There, they carried on as per usual, cackling, fighting, crying and screaming. James and Caroline finally decided to swim, and they came back to the shallow end and got into the water.

Where they started fighting in the goddamned pool. I blew the whistle on them and told them ‘no way’. They got bored swimming soon after, and started running around the pool deck again and spitting at each other. Madeline ran after them, wailing because she wasn’t getting attention.

Moo was actually yelling at them, threatening them… Caroline stuck out her tongue, and they all went back to roughhousing. I wanted to nuke them all from orbit. The noise had reached a crescendo, they had started slapping each other, and Moo was still standing just behind my stand with loaf. She was close enough to me, that I could see that she was trying not to cry. Without thinking, I said to her quietly, “I would have gone insane by now.”

Moo was still trying not to cry. “I…I can’t get them to behave. No matter what I do… and in places like this, you can’t really punish them without someone reporting you to child services.” I knew what she really meant. Slowly, I turned around in my stand to look down to her. I removed my glasses, and said, dead-on: “…I don’t see anyone else here, and I’m certainly not going to say a word.”

Moo’s face went slack. She blinked at me, and nodded, almost in a trance. It wasn’t even 60 seconds before she was striding down the deck. That woman snatched James’ arm, jerking him towards her, and she lit his ass UP. The looks on the faces of all three brats was EPIC.

Their eyes were as wide as saucers, stunned, and after she beat James’ ass so hard the blows were echoing, she heaved him into a chair, and snapped up Caroline’s wrist. The girl was too shocked to think to move, and mom had her screaming from the ass whooping in two blows. Madeline saw what was coming and RAN, crying in terror. But Moo actually overtook her stumpy legs, and dragged the blonde brat across her knees in a chair, wailing on her ass as well.

“Now we’re going home!” Moo barked at them. “Pack your damn toys. NOW.” And the kids, all three crying, packed up the kinderspullen and started limping off to the bubble exit. The Moo walked over to pick up the carrier with the loaf, looked at me, and nodded. She didn’t come back on any of my shifts ever again.