Mrs. Skannotto

I have effusive ramblings today for a band that’s playing at Temple Bar & Grill tonight: Mrs. Skannotto:

Gents, I just frankly became aware of you as you are playing in my neighborhood tonight. I can’t make it. But I am glad to know there’s a ska band in Rochester and so I’ve been checking you out on Bandcamp. I listened to your previous works a bit and then to Outlier.

You fellas have been taking your vitamins, haven’t you?

Your page says ya’ll are “ready to take 2014 to the next level.” Yeah, you did it. Not to deride your previous efforts, but Outlier will be seen as the album when that little ska/ska-core group from Rochester really hit its stride. This thing reminds me a little bit of Hello Rockview is what I’m saying.

Then you end it by covering “Games Without Frontiers?” And doing it well? I mean, has Mr. Gabriel heard this? I think it would make him happy.

Outlier is not just a good album, and it is not just better.

Outlier is a great album.

Thank you. Have a grand time at Temple Bar & Grille ; I may stop in later to see if there’s any merch left.

Seriously. Go check the music here, then go see them if you can.


I believe Urban Outfitters.

I didn’t when I first encountered the story. The story shocked me so, that a company would actually be selling this

and I was even more incensed knowing that, in fact, Allison Krause’s wounds were under her left arm.

This was Allison’s shirt, I believed, or, at least one that was designed to mimic a shirt she might have been wearing.

Cooler head has prevailed, however. Look at the seal.

That’s the seal of the state of Ohio.

Kent hasn’t used that seal on merchandise since the mid-1960s.

Go look on eBay. Google it. You will not find a Kent State shirt anywhere that uses the Ohio state seal. You can barely find merchandise that shows the Kent seal; I think they tend to reserve that for administrative communications.

I hate to say it, but I’m thinking the shirt is genuinely vintage.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t stupid. That doesn’t mean it isn’t downright ghoulish and that somebody at Urban Outfitters doesn’t really need to get their crap together.

But I don’t think this was done on purpose. I think it’s a simple case of decisions at a retail establishment not being made by someone who is astute and discerning enough to know.

That doesn’t mean it’s not stupid, and it doesn’t mean it didn’t really hurt, especially for someone like me who spent many, many formative years in Kent.

Now that I’ve calmed down, however, I just can’t imagine that they did it on purpose.

Not sure if that helps.

I have to add that I was surprised and pleased at Kent’s proactive statement.

May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family. We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.

We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.

We invite the leaders of this company as well as anyone who invested in this item to tour our May 4 Visitors Center, which opened two years ago, to gain perspective on what happened 44 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.

Whoever is running the joint now are not the same people running it when I was there.

The Least Informed People in the Mid-Atlantic

Since 13 years ago today, every time I hear a “test” of the Emergency Broadcast System, I wonder what in the wide wide world of sports that thing is even FOR.

Every bit of information I digested that morning was from CNN and the Internet, and 94 percent of it was wrong. The Mall was not on fire. There were no car bombs. The entirety of the District was not under siege. But I never even heard that wretched EBS indicator sound once on that day, and the Emergency Broadcast Service helped neither inform nor misinform me.

It could have been worse. I could have been riding in that white pick-up, one of the two least informed people in the Mid-Atlantic.

I don’t want to say that they were the least informed people in the world. I mean, there may have been some Tibetan monks or something somewhere who weren’t aware of what was happening, either.

But certainly, the two in the white pick-up truck who drove up alongside me, my co-worker, and probably thousands of our new friends as we exited Washington D.C. on foot over the Roosevelt Bridge and asked why everyone was performing this exodus, yes, friends, I would say at the time, they were the least informed two people in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

We pointed at the billowing smoke, the result of the attack on the Pentagon. We filled them in. It was strange having to get anyone else caught up to speed about something that, to me, had become rather obvious and overwhelming.

To get to one of the area’s Target stores, you drive right by the Pentagon, you know. I mean, it’s set back fairly far from the highway of course, but you are aware when you drive that way of its presence. It’s how you get to Old Town, too. I always hoped as I was driving by that nothing hit the fan while I was on that road. Because I was certain that the Pentagon had to have been the most heavily defended building in the world, and certainly, if it were attacked, and if you were driving on the Jeff when it happened, well…you’d see the rockets’ red glare.

How false this assumption was; that was one of the most surprising things to me.

That’s all I have regarding the day, I reckon.



There is an unfortunate video making the rounds today of Courtney Love performing “Celebrity Skin” sometime in 2010. Her guitar and vocals are isolated and, shall we say, they do not sound good.

Well, here.

It’s an unfortunate performance to be sure, and fortuitous to be making the rounds just when I’ve been revisiting Hole’s breakout Live Through This.

This is quite a respectable work, maligned as it was at the time with the accusation that Mr. Cobain was responsible for it. I don’t buy that for a minute. Because its voice throughout is quite distinctive from that of Nirvana’s. Its imagery is uniquely feminine. And that’s something you just don’t hear in rock. Some of my favorite performers are led by females but don’t come close to capturing what Love does in her songwriting.

My favorite cut is probably due largely to the work of the late Kristen Pfaff, who plays the heck out of the bass on this thing. “Credit in the Straight World,” baby.

The album as a whole, though, is a big beautiful house of horrors, all from a decidedly feminine perspective. Or, as manager Mark Kates says in this oral history:

I remember sitting in that very small rehearsal room watching them and thinking, “No one knows how great this is. No one I work with has any idea how great an album this is going to be.” That was really special. I knew it would blow people away.

Influences I conjured up when giving this a rewind are rarely mentioned in connection with Live Through This, but I’ll say it anyway: Lookin’ at you, Liz Phair. Lookin’ at you, Velvet Underground.

Yes. I know it’s a cover.

I don’t think the band’s name means what you think it means. If anything, Courtney Love seems to think that the most obvious um, reference, is, well, a bit accidental.

In Euripedes’ Medea, when she kills the bride and her own child, she says “There’s a hole that pierces my soul.” [And] my mother’s this kind of new age psychologist, and I said “You know, I had this terrible childhood,” and she said “Well, you can’t have a hole running through you all you time, Courtney.” You know, and then [there's] the genital reference, go ahead and make it if you will.

So there you have it.

Besides. Without Hole there might not be a Screaming Females:

“I would go home and print out tablature online for Hole songs I’d just make it up and figure it out. I don’t really know anything about music theory and I don’t know scales or anything… except for a couple basic things.” (Marissa Paternoster, in Rolling Stone)

And we all know what a cold, barren planet this would be with no Screaming Females, don’t we?

I Forgot My Mantra

Joe Biden Smiling

It’s never, never, never the woman’s fault. No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman. No means no. [...] The one regret I have is we call it domestic violence as if it’s a domesticated cat. It is the most vicious form of violence there is, because not only the physical scars are left, the psychological scars that are left. This whole culture for so long has put the onus on the woman. What were you wearing? What did you say? What did you do to provoke? That is never the appropriate question.

Remember when I was criticizing Vice President Joe Biden the other day?

Emily Litella

Today, Aaron’s auditory cortex is mashing up Meghan Trainor with Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” They’re in the same key. Trust me on that.

So, essentially, this is what it’s like to be me today. Enjoy!

The Great Cornholio

U2 is all like “remember us?” Yeah. Bono, The Edge, The Drummer, and The Other One.

Cuz…we don’t want that smoking gunner to be a mushroom cloud.
Condi Rice: The one person who could save the NFL

Go outside, turn around three times and spit.

antonio brown kicks lanning

When I created this meme and posted it to Facedbook, the score was Cleveland, 3; Steelers, 27.

By sometime in the third quarter, Cleveland had tied it up, 27-27.

Beware the wrath from high atop the thing.

(Steelers ended up winning with a last-minute field goal.)

Literally. Literally. Literally.

Okay, this “to the gates of Hell” stuff has got to stop.

You heard him today. John McCain started this linguistic disaster, but I was hoping it met the pyre with his preznitial campaign. But no, there’s Vice President Biden up there today:

They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice. Because hell is where they will reside. Hell is where they will reside.

John McCain used similar language in 2007, regarding Osama bin Laden.

“We will do whatever is necessary,” McCain said in a Republican primary debate. “We will track him down. We will catch him. We will bring him to justice and I’ll follow him to the gates of hell.”

McCain was criticized at the time for this statement. But not for the right reasons. Because what Joe Biden said about the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant did not actually mean what Joe Biden apparently thought it meant.

And this observation can be documented all the way back to The Bard.

Twelfth Night is a wonderful holiday comedy that involves cross-dressing and music. Among its first spoken lines, in fact, is the famous “if music be the food of love, play on.”

I’m going to borrow here from Sparknotes so you don’t have to live through my own attempt to interpret Shakespeare:

In the garden of Olivia’s house, Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, and Maria—along with Fabian, one of Olivia’s servants—prepare to play their practical joke on Malvolio. Maria has written a letter carefully designed to trick him into thinking that Olivia is in love with him. She has been spying on him and knows that he is now approaching. She drops the letter in the garden path, where Malvolio will see it. She exits, while the three men hide among the trees and shrubbery.

Malvolio approaches on the path, talking to himself. He speaks of Olivia: it seems that he already thinks it possible that she might be in love with him. He is deep in a fantasy of what it would be like to be Olivia’s husband and the master of her house. He would have power over all the other servants and even over Sir Toby. Sir Toby and the others can’t help jeering at Malvolio’s pride from their hiding place, but they do it softly so that he will not overhear them and realize that they are there.

Malvolio spots the letter lying in the garden path. He mistakes Maria’s handwriting for Olivia’s, as Maria has predicted, and Malvolio thinks that the letter is from Olivia. Apparently, Maria sealed the letter with Olivia’s sealing ring to make the letter look even more authentic. To Sir Toby’s pleasure, Malvolio decides to read it aloud.

The letter is addressed to “the unknown beloved” and contains what seems to be a riddle about love (II.v.92). It suggests that the writer is in love with somebody but must keep it a secret from the world, though she wants her beloved to know about it. The first part of the letter concludes by saying that the beloved’s identity is represented by the letters M.O.A.I. Malvolio, naturally, works over the message in his mind until he has made it mean that he is the beloved (he notes, for instance, that all four of the letters appear in his own name). Sir Toby and the rest laugh at him from behind the bush.

Once he has convinced himself that Olivia is in love with him, Malvolio reads the second half of the letter. The mysterious message implies that the writer wishes to raise Malvolio up from his position of servitude to one of power. But the letter also asks him to show the writer that he returns her love through certain signs. The letter orders him to wear yellow stockings, “go cross-gartered” (that is, to wear the straps of his stockings crossed around his knees), be sharp-tempered with Sir Toby, be rude to the servants, behave strangely, and smile all the time. Jubilantly, Malvolio vows to do all these things in order to show Olivia that he loves her in return.

After Malvolio leaves, Sir Toby remarks that he “could marry this wench [Maria] for this device. . . . And ask no other dowry with her but such another jest” (II.v.158–160). Maria then rejoins the men, and she, Sir Toby, and Fabian have a good laugh, anticipating what Malvolio is likely to do now. It turns out that Olivia actually hates the color yellow, can’t stand to see crossed garters, and doesn’t want anybody smiling around her right now, since she is still officially in mourning. In other words, Malvolio is destined to make a great fool of himself. They all head off together to watch the fun.

Maria asks if it worked; Sir Toby Belch indicates that it did. She fills the gang in about the yellow stockings and crossed garters and how much Olivia will hate them. This impresses Sir Toby Belch, who says: “To the gates of Tartar, thou most excellent devil of wit!”

In English? “I’d follow you to the gates of Hell.”

Sir Toby Belch is saying he respects these efforts to humiliate a common foe and that he considers Ms. Maria to be a worthy leader.

This is hardly the message our elected leaders should be broadcasting about ISIL.

But it’s what it means.

And remember. The dude wielding the knife spoke English. English English.

Bet he had a great laugh over Biden’s statement.

And yes. I admit it. I just like typing the name “Sir Toby Belch.”

And see, look. They use the expression correctly in Outpost 3: Rise of the Spetsnaz.

This is a film that was released in 2013 and has yet to rate a Rotten Tomatoes score and has an audience approval number there of 35 percent.

And even the writers of this piece of shit can use the phrase “to the gates of Hell” in its proper context.

I wish I could find more examples of this etymology, though I think when you can reference Shakespeare to support your point, you’re doing okay. But since Biden’s speech is current events and all, it’s rather dominating the search engines.

Just, for rat’s sake, can we stop pooping all over the English language?

That’s not what that means. In fact, it’s the exact opposite of what you are meaning to say. GRRRRRRRR.


Someone—an idiot, actually—said to me, all these pasta recipes are the same: You put the pasta in the water, you make a sauce, you put them together. Exactly. That’s why we like it. (Mark Bittman)