It’s Always Sonny in WSNC or: Rain Rain Go Away


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It has been a dreary, rainy, cold and crappy day all day long here in good ol’ WSNC. It’s


Sonny Davis (r) and son, Spencer

almost May, which should mean much warmer temperatures, at least we would think so. I went to work in shorts and a t-shirt today. I figured, well, okay, it will get warmer as the day goes on. That is not and was not the case. It stayed wet and cold all day. I recorded Fan Interference with TC at home, via Skype, and just watched the rain pour onto the street.

I saw someone laying on the ground first thing this morning, with a broken leg, waiting for ambulances, firetrucks and paramedics all rushing to help them. Luckily, the rain hadn’t come back just yet. The patient lay on the ground after a huge box of something had fallen off the truck of the delivery company he worked for and snapped his leg. I didn’t see it happen just the “waiting.” That added to my dreary day.

Then, I found out that Sonny Davis, who along with his son, Spencer, own City Beverage, passed away on Friday. He was 81. He had worked on Thursday and died at his home. As I said on The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast recording earlier today, if you didn’t know Sonny, you’d think that he was just grumpy or rude. After you’d had a chance to talk with him, and he got to laugh a little or smile, then you realized he wasn’t that way, he was just quiet and he was just, well, Sonny. I feel bad for Spencer and his family. I’m sending out good thoughts and positive vibes to them all. I’m sure they could use them.

I hope you all stay dry, warm and cozy in this “spring” weather.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“The shortest period of time lies between the minute you put some money away for a rainy day and the unexpected arrival of rain.” – Jane Bryant Quinn

Silent Sunday or: The Haul 4/22 Record Store Day Edition


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Whew, Dear Reader, this weekend’s haul was spectaculicious, I must say. It was Record Store Day and that means a lot of limited editions of records (or rekkeds as we say to be silly). Thanks Underdog RecordsUnderdog Records for being our treasure trove. Here’s the loot:

All of them are limited release and we’ve gone through three of them so far. We love Record Store Day and already can’t wait until next year. Perhaps we’ll camp out… nah…

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“I don’t mind you comin’ here, and wastin’ all my time. ‘Cause when you’re standin’ oh so near I kinda lose my mind. It’s not the perfume that you wear. It’s not the ribbons in your hair. And, I don’t mind you comin’ here and wastin’ all my time.” – “Just What I Needed” (Ocasek)

Hush or: The Less Desirables Movie of the Week


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a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Hush (2016), starring Katie Siegel and John Gallagher, Jr.

Per IMDb: “A deaf writer who retreated into the woods to live a solitary life must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears at her window.”

Maddie Young (Siegel) is a deaf writer who is working on her second novel while living in semi-seclusion. She’s having trouble figuring out where to take it or how to end it. She has seven files for the ending on her Mac. Her friend and neighbor, Sarah, really liked her first book and can’t wait for the second. All of a sudden, the smoke alarm goes off. The dinner that Maddie was unsuccessfully creating was over cooking. Sarah alerts Maddie to the fact and they go into the kitchen where there’s a ridiculously loud alarm and flashing strobe light. Maddie explains that it has to be loud for her to hear the vibrations if she’s asleep.

After Sarah leaves, Maddie starts to clean up. All of a sudden, Sarah appears at her back French doors beating it and screaming at Maddie to help her. Suddenly, an arrow is launched into Sarah’s back. She turns and a masked man comes up to her and stabs her, no less than eight or nine times. Maddie hears none of this. The killer stands, staring at Maddie through the window. She doesn’t see him. He taps on the door, nothing. Hits it harder, nothing. He drags Sarah off the back porch. Moments later, he shows up, lets himself in and grabs her phone. He then goes back outside. He’s ready to play with her. How will she handle herself? Does she suffer the same fate as her friend Sarah? You’ll have to watch to find out.

The screenplay was written by the director, Mike Flanagan, and the star, Katie Siegel. I think her having a part in the screenplay enabled her to feel what was going through the character’s mind throughout this ordeal. It all happened at night and the lighting wasn’t very good, so it was hard to see everything going on. But, it was a very suspenseful film. Creepy, in fact. I think there were some plot holes but the plausibility was still there. It was hard not to say to the TV, don’t you hear him right there? when the answer was, of course, no. She’s deaf. There’s really not a lot to tell you about the film other than it was mostly edge-of-the-seat suspense. Was it a great film? No. Was it a good film? Yes.

It made it’s world premier at South By Southwest in March of 2016. By April, 2016, Netflix announced it had acquired worldwide distribution rights. Rotten Tomatoes has it rated at an astonishing 94% Fresh with an Audience score of only 74%. IMDb has it at 6.6 stars out of 10. I, of course, saw it on Netflix and rate it a 4 stars out of 5. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would like to hear/read me review?

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“I can come in anytime I want. And I can get you, anytime I want. But I’m not going to. Not until it’s time. When you wish you’re dead… that’s when I’ll come inside.” – Man

Freeform Friday or: The Thinks I Think


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I’m going to do something I don’t usually do, Dear Reader. I’m going to do a mashup of things in one post. I usually focus, but today is a “freeform” kind of day.

Today is an anniversary. An anniversary I truly wish we didn’t have to have. It was a princegraphicnewkstpyear ago today that I stood in City Beverage, buying beer for The Less Desirables, when my phone vibrated and I looked down to read “Musician Prince Dead at 57.” I stood there gazing at the phone. Surely, this isn’t true. No way. Turns out, it was true. In a year where it seemed that many of my heroes were called away to do whatever it is you do once your light goes out, this was probably the hardest on me. I never met him. I never saw him live. But, I felt like I knew him. That’s probably borderline cheesy, but it’s true. I just couldn’t and still can’t believe we won’t get new releases from him. Not that new Prince songs won’t surface, they surely will, but it won’t be from him, just written by and performed by him. Already this week, we’ve seen a lawsuit from his family and estate seeking to stop releases of 7″ reissues that were supposed to come out either today or tomorrow for Record Store Day (more on that in a few). C’mon people, stop it! Let us enjoy his memory in peace. You’re keeping him with us but you’re giving us negative energy. He was never about negative energy. Settle the (bleep) down. I miss you, Mr. Nelson.

So, tomorrow, it’s Record Store Day and I can’t think of any place better to grab your selections than at Underdog Records. Yes, Underdog is the Official Vinyl Sponsor of The Less Desirables, but I’m not shilling for them. I truly am excited about the event and the loot that I’ll (hopefully) get. I am not excited about the crowd and line, though. I can’t help that. The BCPF has spotted a few things on the list that she absolutely has to have. I told her we have to be there way before 8am (when the event starts). We’ll see how we get on out there because I’m playing tonight and those late nights don’t bode well for early mornings. Go to the RSD website, pick your selections, then go Underdog Records tomorrow and buy some records. I really love where that medium has gotten itself back to and am excited about being part of it!

Speaking of me playing tonight. I am playing with my little trio of comedy/music (the comedy is incidental, mostly), Threadbare Trio at 6th & Vine in Winston-Salem. We do acoustic-ish covers and some original Clay Howard music. I’m not sure exactly what time we start but I would figure it would be close to 10pm (at least that’s what the Facebook Event reads). So, come out, have some dinner before we play and have a sangria or two (they’re pretty good) at 6th & Vine. Clay will be hightailing it from Walnut Cove (or where ever the rehearsal dinner is) to get there. Neal and I will hold down the fort, or at least just be ready for him, whilst we wait.

Rehearsal dinner did I say? Yes, tomorrow, my pal, sometimes bandmate and birthday sharer, Patrick Ferguson is marrying his awesomely sweet and beautiful lady, Amanda. We’re happy for him, too! He requested that I wear the kilt so I’m going to and I’m going to do trivia at the reception, so, woot! on that, right? We’ll have a fine time and I couldn’t be happier for the both of them. They’re swell people.

Okay, I think I covered all I needed to for today. I miss Prince. Record Store Day is tomorrow, go to Underdog Records (those selections aren’t being sold online or even in big-box stores), come see us play at 6th & Vine and wish P-Fug and Amanda much happiness. Thanks for reading!

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“The girl on the seesaw is laughing 4 love is the color this place imparts (Paisley Park). Admission is easy, just say U believe and come 2 this place in your heart. Paisley Park is in your heart.” – “Paisley Park” (Prince)

Let It All Be For Me or: Attention Shoppers! (Eugeology Entry 14)


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©Capitol Records

I was really pleased with last week’s entry. That surprised a few people because they know how much I can’t stand Aerosmith. But, a good album is a good album. Jon has been traveling and Eugene has had work things to take care of. As I told them, it’s for fun. So, we’ll get their reviews in due time. Now it’s time for this week’s entry.

#14 – Attention Shoppers! by Starz.

Although I had heard of Starz, I had never heard anything from them. I had heard of them because they were one of the bands in the Bill Aucoin stable. Bill Aucoin was the manager of KISS that pretty much got them rolling like the huge rock mastodons they were. He got them signed to Capitol Records. Good job Gui!

There’s not a lot of info out there about the band, really. It sprouted from what was Looking Glass after their lead vocalist left. Add Rex Smith’s brother Michael Lee Smith on vocals and a guitarist (Richie Ranno) from Stories and you pretty much have Starz.

But I can say that this is power-pop beautifully done. It’s a lot like hard rock meets 50’s early rock. It does remind me a lot of Cheap Trick, which can never be a bad thing. The twin guitars of Ranno and Brendan Harkin are melodic and harmonic all at the same time. Pete Sweval’s bass lines aren’t just mimicking the guitars, either. There are some gritty and nasty bass runs and riffs on this album. I love when drummers aren’t afraid to be hi hat heavy and Joe X. is certainly that. I think a drummer that can tastefully make the hi hat more than a time keeping device, that’s most impressive.

The real star(z) on this record, though, is Michael Lee Smith. The guy has some serious chops and a great rock and roll voice. He can get gritty, he can be velvety, he can have oomph, he can have tenderness and probably most importantly, his range is wide. It’s all there. And the harmonies on this record are amazing. Listen to the opening track. “Hold On to the Night,” and you know you’re in for a fantastic vocal journey and the music isn’t bad either. Other faves of mine are “She,” “(Any Way That You Want It) I’ll Be There,” “Good Ale We Seek” and “Johnny All Alone.” My absolute favorite on the album, though, is “Third Time’s the Charm.” I just love that song.

I really don’t know why this band didn’t get farther than they did. It wasn’t like the 80s when there was an overabundance of musical acts to choose from. There were a few dozen handfuls of bands to choose from in the 70s. I know that’s really a stretch but I am just disappointed they weren’t more popular. Perhaps Cheap Trick cornered the rockin’ pop market and cornered them out? Now, I do understand that their previous albums were a little more raw and that after this album a few members were “relieved of their duties” because they thought they should have stayed this course, whereas the remaining members wanted to go back to the more raw sound. I did briefly touch on Violation, the album prior and it was okay, but this is more my speed. If you like good  great power pop music that seems to have just about all the elements you need for a darn-near perfect album. This is it. Thanks Eug, for this one. Can’t wait to hear your and Jon’s take on this. I know Jon heard a few bars of the opening track in the studio and he seemed to dig it.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“If you miss it on the first one, you’ve got to be strong, my son. Get up and try it again and again until the pieces fit right in. The third time is the charm. Don’t you know the third time is the charm?” – “Third Time’s the Charm” (Starz)

Space Dust IPA or: The Less Desirables Beer of the Week


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City Beverage, the Official Beer Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents Space Dust IPA by Elysian Brewing, The Less Desirables Beer of the Week. unnamed (10)

Elysian Brewing is located in Seattle, Washington and Fort Collins, Colorado. Yes, where New Belgium is from, originally. Spencer said this beer was a great balance of bitter and malts. I hope so. We had a special request from tonight’s guest to be an IPA and I like to give my guests what they want, at least when I can. I don’t know anything about Elysian other than they were three-time Large Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival and that they opened in 1996. Spencer said Elysian had gotten purchased by ABIn-Bev, but I’m not seeing much about that on their site or carton. So, I’m going to assume that they’re not owned (yet) by the big conglomerate.

The beer has some heft, too. The ABV is 8.2% and the IBUs are 73. That’s up there. I hope it is in my preferred taste bracket. BeerAdvocate has this rated at 91 (Outstanding) with no Bros Score. Untappd has it at 3.95 caps out of 5. RateBeer has it at 96 Overall, 88 in Style.

Have you had this beer? What did you think? If you haven’t or just have a hankering for more, head to City Beverage and grab your sixer. Tell them it’s the beer of the week and get 5% off your order. Listen in later tonight or early tomorrow to hear what Caitlin, Danielle, Meghan and I think of it.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“Known for variety, Elysian has brewed over 350 craft beers since it opened on Capitol Hill in 1996.” – Elysian Brewing Company

Fifth Second Birthday or: The Things We’ve Done


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It was five years ago today that I received my “zipper.” Being at the hospital before the sun came up, getting shaved from neck to (literally) toe, seeing my family, having my (then) fiance – The BCPF – standing holding my hand and trying to keep a happy face, having my parents pray over me as I get wheeled through some ominous doors, being moved onto a mostly comfortable operating table and telling stupid jokes to the operating staff before I just blacked out counting back from 100. That’s how I remember it.

I groggily stirred with a breathing tube snaked through my gullet whilst hearing a nurse, whose name I believe was Sandy, talk to me and me nodding that I understood whatever it was she was saying to me. The BCPF came in to see me, touching me, stroking my hair (I still had a little bit). I’m not sure of the timeline, I was still very doped up on morphine at the time. Maybe some time passed, maybe it didn’t, but Ma Mère came into the recovery room and in a moment we will all talk about until we’re no longer here, she patted me on the left shoulder and said, “see, you really do have a heart.” At this point I pointed to “Sandy” and made a motion to bring me a writing utensil and something to write upon. In my continued, and glorious haze, I scribbled to my mother the following:

Leave the comedy to me!

I remember everyone laughing. My job was done, I went through another phase of “blacked out.” They had collapsed my lungs in order to get to my arteries and heart and whatever else they were doing with me and, as a lifelong asthmatic, my lungs and me have a long history of arguing. They weren’t wanting to cooperate and inflate so I could breathe on my own. So, recovery took a little longer than it should have. Then they wheeled me up to my own private room. I had to get up and sit in a chair. I asked for my phone and that’s when this selfie was taken:

Tim After Surgery

My son came in to see me, as did my family. I had put them all through a lot. They were tired, nervous, but happy that I was sitting there making stupid faces at them, I was alive. I had survived. Hand me my heart-shaped pillow and let me cough. There was no laying down for a while, that’s for sure. When I sat back, I could feel my chest shifting. After all, they did saw me in half. I didn’t lay down for about four weeks, actually. But, over time my strength came back and I was able to maneuver around like a real person.

On the way to that, though, I had people watching over me like a hawk. The BCPF made sure that someone was “on duty” with me the whole time, from my sister to my mother, her to her mother. Someone was always here. It got to where I had to fake needing to go to the bathroom just to go sit on the toilet lid and be by myself for a few minutes. I had some great friends bring me and my chaperones food. I can’t tell Chris and Ashley, Doug and Molly and Jerry and Jennifer how much I appreciate them doing that.

After this, though, The BCPF and I decided that we’re going to live. LIVE! And, that’s what we’ve done. We’ve been to Europe twice, the second a wedding/honeymoon expedition. We accompanied friends to Costa Rica. We went to Walt Disney World with my family. We have time with each other. We enjoy just about everything we do. We collect records, we eat really delicious food, we hang out with really terrific friends, we just love our lives.

I have to really thank The BCPF for everything, because if it
weren’t for her, making sure I take my meds regularly, eating right, doing what little exercise I’ll do, going to my doc appts, and just living the heck out of IMAG0150me, I wouldn’t be here today to write this. She didn’t sleep much that first week, when she did it was in my hospital bed. My boy is also a huge part of my life. He’s almost 15 so he’s testing my ticker a good bit, but I love that boy to no end. They together are truly my everything. To my family, thank you all for your support and being here for me. To my friends, you’re all my bedrocks. You’re my foundation that I build on. To The Beer Dads, Jon and Paul, thank you guys for traversing this weird ride with The BCPF and me in our quest for World Domination. To everyone. I love you. Just… I love you. To Dr. Bret Borchelt. Thank you for “fixing” me.

I was 41 when this happened. I’m 46 now. I have to at least make it to 82 for me to be satisfied with it. I have to say, in all sincerity, I would never want to go through this again. However, in the grand scheme of things, it was all worth it and really, for me, wasn’t all that terrible. I think my family and friends had it worse than I in this ordeal. I got taken care of, waited on and yes had to endure some pain, but it wasn’t too awful. I’m just glad we have hit the “magic number” (no not three in this case) of five. That’s when the docs stop looking so closely at the procedure. I’m still here and other than being ridiculously fat, I feel great. So, all is well on this side of the world. I hope all of you have as wonderful a time as I do. Happy fifth second birthday to me.

Until tomorrow, still kickin’…
Scorp out!

“Open-heart surgery is now part of a typical life experience for many people. Folks talk casually about ‘having a stent put in,’ as if they had their tires rotated.” – Roger Ebert

Pardon The Interruption or: Back and Again


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Many apologies to any of The Less Desirables listeners who couldn’t access the latest show, be it via iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play or any of the other aggregators that you may use to subscribe to the podcast. Additionally, if you tried to visit the website, it has been down since Friday afternoon.

Most of it was my “fault.” A few years back we had updated WordPress (the platform we do the site from) and the way the site had been built, the updates created chaos and the site went down. A new site designer was able to get it back into working order but said we couldn’t update WordPress. We decided to build a new site to overtake this one. Well, for whatever reasons, that didn’t work out and the site was used, but unupdated for about three years. There were several WP updates in that time. Well, that left the site vulnerable to malicious instances.

The hosting company that I use for everything except two of my websites flagged it and quarantined the site. I had to download every file from the server (13,000 of them!!) and run an Anti-Virus (AV) program on them. The AV showed nothing but one thing that had nothing to do with my site files. So, I had to delete the content of the server and reupload the files. Well, that wasn’t good enough. Even though my AV showed nothing, the software that the hosting company uses said some things were still malicious. I deleted those files and it turns out it wasn’t malicious, just old. The files were elements of the site that were outdated and not necessarily recognized by the software as “viable.” They restored those and, now, the site is back up and running. That means the quarantine has expired and all is back up and running. And, I did update all the WP software and things are working okay, still. Whew. That was a rough Easter weekend, at least in that aspect.

Okay, well, again, we’re back. Get back to the listening and enjoy! Thanks to our newest web designer, Jennifer Filipowski for her help in getting things back to order. She’s awesome. Thank you to Siteground (the hosting service) for their help, understanding and expertise.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“Founded in 2004 by a few university friends, SiteGround gradually but steadily turned into a leading web hosting service provider.” – SiteGround

Silent Sunday or: The Haul 4/16


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The BCPF had Friday off so we made two trips to Underdog Records this weekend. We Love_gun_covermade off with a ton of stuff, mostly from the $1 bin – you’ll maneuver a plethora of great finds there, so don’t be afraid of the $1 bin. So, here’s the rundown for this week:

From The BCPFs choices:

From my choices:

So, I think that was a great haul. Do you have any of these on vinyl, Dear Reader? I’d love to talk vinyl collecting with you. Meet me at Underdog Records some day and let’s talk. Even if you don’t meet me, go see Jonathan and buy some records. Listen to The Less Desirables each week to find out what the TLD/Underdog special is for that week. Also, if you are a collector of music and you’re not logging your vinyl, and even your CDs, then you’re totally missing out on a true collecting experience. Have a great Sunday (or Easter if you are so inclined).

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“I try to sleep, they’re wide awake. They won’t let me alone. They don’t get paid to take vacations or let me alone. They spy on me, I try to hide, they won’t let me alone. They persecute me. They’re the judge and jury all in one.” – “Dream Police” (Nielsen)

Toys or: The Less Desirables Movie of the Week


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a/perture cinema, the Official Movie Sponsor of The Less Desirables, presents The Less Desirables Movie of the Week, Toys (1992), starring Robin Williams, Michael Gambon, LL Cool J and Joan Cusack.Toys_poster

Per IMDb: “When a military general inherits a toy making company and begins making war toys, his employees band together to stop him before he ruins the name of Zevo Toys forever.”

Kenneth Zevo is dying. He has two children Alsatia (Cusack) and Leslie (Williams) who have basically “grown up” in the toy factory that Kenneth has spent his life making. The workers are happy, the facility is a happy place, all is well. As Kenneth is about to leave the Earth, he asks his 3-star general brother, General Leland Zevo (Gambon) to take over the company. Leland is apprehensive. He’s serious and “Kenny” is a fun-loving free spirit who made a fortune making toys. Why not give the company to his children? Kenneth thinks they’re too childish to run a business.

Leland, desperate to win the approval of his elderly father, who was a 4-star general and played by Jack Warden, and seeks said approval in taking over Kenneth’s company. The old man tells him to make up his own mind. He takes over the company and is bored out of his mind until he hears that there’s a leak in toy designs. That sends him back into full military mode. He decides he wants to find the leak and enlists the help of his military son, Patrick (LL Cool J). In that Leland decides to start making miniature war toys to be sold to the government. Leslie is dead set against the idea because he knows his father would have also been against it. Leland says he won’t make any but can he have a tiny bit of space to make is own toys? Does he get it? Does he make war toys? You’ll have to watch to find out.

I saw this film when I was about 21 in the theater. I liked the fantasy and whimsy of it. I have to say that watching it now some 25 years later, it has lost a good bit of that luster. There’s good and bad here. The good: the cast, the scenery (mostly sound stages but great nonetheless), the ambition. The bad: the story line is dated and weak for even 1992, no direction, lack of actual comedy. With this cast, Williams is kind of sedate and even when he’s breaking loose he’s almost forcing the character to come out. Michael Gambon is a long way from his role in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover previously and as the second Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series. He was unrecognizable but he was good. LL Cool J was pretty good. I think the real star here is Joan Cusack; she played the best part. But, while the film was funny in parts, it was, like Williams’ portrayal, forced and a bit weak.

I was disappointed in the overall film as it wasn’t what I remembered it to be, but there was still a nostalgia that was keeping me watching. I just wanted to see it, I guess. Rotten Tomatoes has it at a lowly 26% Rotten, with an audience score of a slightly better 39%. IMDb has it at 5 stars out of 10; exactly 50%. I saw this on Netflix and, sadly, I have to rate it only a straight up 3.0 out of 5 which on a scale from 0-5 would also be right down the middle. Have you seen it? What did you think? What would you like to read/hear me review? Let me know.

Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
Scorp out!

“We’re going to fight fire with marshmallows.” – Leslie Zevo