Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Magnetic Update

In Uncategorized on April 28, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Had MRI this afternoon at Wake to follow-up on tumor removal and gamma knife.  It should’ve taken only 45 minutes or so but I twitched a couple of times during the first run through (like a sleeping houndog under the porch on a hot summer afternoon) and a few blurred images looked like Obama shaking the hand of Saddam Hussein.  I’ll be offering prints on ebay.

The doc says all looks healthy, that there are no signs of anything new, and that I’m fit as a fiddle and ready to go.  In fact, my brain seems to be regenerating and forging new connections where they’ve operated and and he wouldn’t be at all surprised if in a few months from now I wasn’t smarter, sharper, quicker and even more of a gift to mankind than I already am.  Go figure!

Thanks again for all the love and concern that aim my way.



In Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 at 12:04 am

Recently posted are my choices for the Ten Worst Rock ‘n’ Songs.  Thanks to all who have made nominations or offered rude, approving , or somewhat baffling commentary.  Hope you enjoy.

I’ll let the movie list season a while longer before posting it.  Anyone who has any suggestions for other amusing lists or some good rants, please let me know.  Let’s have some fun.



Ten Worst Rock ‘n’ Roll Songs

In Fun Stuff on April 26, 2009 at 10:24 pm


1. “We Built This City on Rock ‘n’ Roll” – Jefferson Starship.

– Few spectacles in life are as demoralizing as the degradation of the radical and cutting-edge into to flaccid irrelevancy. Here, the point men and women of edgy, sixties psychedalia such as “White Rabbit” and “Revolution” ooze ridiculous tripe. It’s as if the Grateful Dead had cut a commercial jingle for “Little Debbie” cakes and cookies.


2. “Revolution No 9” – Beatles.

– Even the greats can misfire occasionally, and for that, they can usually be forgiven. This ditty, however, is the obvious product of, on one hand, a festering brew of disarray and egomania, and, on the other hand, a need to make the fourth side of a two record album last longer than seven minutes. The result of the clash between these two forces?: the Beatles took a dump on vinyl and their fans.


3. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven” – Righteous Brothers.

– This burp of a record is what happens when the ghost of Phil Spector, true talent, superb production values and utterly moribund careers meet up with necrophilia. My compadre, Jim Nance, hates this song with a virulence more associated with the ebola virus. I, however, hate it only intellectually, not emotionally. Disgusting, but catchy as hell, it happens to be one of my guilty pleasures.


4. “Kokomo” – Beach Boys.

– There is a tradition of “list” songs in popular music that usually serve to highlight the singers’ vocal dexterity (listen to Johnny Cash or Hank Snow sing “I’ve Been Everywhere”). This bafflingly popular blob of mush plods along at the pace of, well, how do I phrase it…middle-aged sexual congress. And aren’t the rhymes just so special!! – “Jamaica, oo I wanna take ya.” Perhaps they were penned by the famous primate who shares the name of the song.


5. “Hotel California” – Eagles.

– My spiritual advisor and patchouli oil supplier, Dr Jessup, protests mightily the inclusion of this song on the list. All I can say is that for me it is an oil and water, Dook/Carolina, Arab/Israeli, Geraldo/Journalism type of thing. I hated the first few notes of the opus the first time I heard them on the radio, and my relationship with the song disintegrated from there. Whatever Henley and Frey thought they were saying with their incredibly trite metaphor, it ploddingly sounds like three bad hangovers combined. And, can there be any doubt that this song, by receiving the Grammy for record of the year in 1977, caused real rockers to bury their guitars for the next five years and cede the stage to jive-talkers? That’s right, folks. “Hotel California” is responsible for the disco era.



6. “Gypsies, Tramps and Theives” – Cher

– This mutation is the standard bearer for the strain of overwrought pop/rock songs that celebrate the singer’s triumph over trailer-trash beginnings to become, well, slightly more pricey trailer-trash. And Cher, with her foghorn voice, delivers the goods with all the subtlety of a flaming wreck in the third corner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


7. “Hip to Be Square” – Huey Lewis & the News

– Uh, no it isn’t!!!! Let’s be charitable and say the song is not hip, but is instead a hip replacement and about as entertaining as the medical procedure.


8. “You’re Having My Baby” – Paul Anka

Without a doubt, the most egregious, limp exercise in sheer narcissism ever committed to record: “You’re having my baby, what a lovely way to say that you’re thinking of me.”  Envision Hitler in his bunker, bombs falling all around, two armies bearing down on Berlin, watching Eva sip poison and wondering, “Well, maybe she really does care.”


9. “Do You Think I’m Sexy” – Rod Stewart

– At one time, prior to say 1974 or so, Rod Stewart was arguably the greatest rock ‘n’ roll singer alive. Then, he got distracted by greed, booze, drugs and an unceasing line of gorgeous women who were willing to lie down for him like Anna Karinina jumping in front of the train. “Sexy” is only one of an endless parade of sad, shameless efforts that have transformed a hallowed career into a mirthless joke. Then again, who could blame him?


10. “The Pina Colada Song” – Rupert Holmes

– Only the most cloying example of a pop/rock song that depends on reversal, with the stupid singer realizing just how stupid he really is (remember “Shihouette” anyone?). How can a song so relentlessly annoying become so popular that it ruins the entire rest of your life???


Chemo Round 2

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm


     On a beautiful morn, we arrived at Duke eight-thirtyish conveyed by Fatz’s Amity Limo and Delivery Services – “We Carry Mammals, Mammaries Preferred” is their motto. The friendly techs and nurses weighed me, stuck me, took my pulse, blood and blood pressure, and then ushered me into examination room, where, to my surprise, I found an updated supply of magazines. Dr Potti interrupted me when I had only read a few paragraphs of “Dusting Ash: How You Can Cope With Mount St Helen’s” from a Piedmont Airlines in-flight magazine.

     The Doc told me I had the blood work of a Hollywood action movie star. While Duke Medical Records was notifying The Rock’s “people” of a possible mole on his staff, Security was contacting the FBI about my possible violation of medical privacy laws. Reviewing my real blood work, Dr Potti started repeating, “Fabulous, absolutely fabulous.” Well, it was fabulous except for one thing. My hemoglobin indicates low iron, so I’m now taking iron supplements (rough on your teeth when you bite!!) and got an injection of iron at the hospital today in addition to my regular shot.

      My visit with Dr Potti complete, I commenced the pleasure of a two hour wait until I got ushered into the oncology therapy room to receive my second round of chemo. Two bloody hours!!! Two hours of sitting with a disk like the kind they give you at House of Blues to finally signal you when your table is ready. Two hours with a disk that keeps flashing a red light, ostensibly to let you know that the disk is operational, but really just to taunt you – “heh, heh,” the disk keeps saying, “I bet you think you’re going to be called back, soon, heh, heh.”

     Which raises the question, what do you go to keep from going crazy during an oncology waiting room wait of two hours? Well, I can report that the answer is spend: 20 minutes reading the book you brought; 7 minutes visiting the men’s room; 5 minutes watching Fatz doze and nod over a book; 18 minutes reading old magazines; 14 minutes adding 3 pieces to partly completed jigsaw puzzles stationed around the waiting room; 4 minutes trying to figure out how to dig out a bothersome booger without anybody seeing you; 11 minutes trying to stare some speed into the clock on the wall; 2 minutes apologizing to Fatz for this taking a lot longer than you expected; 22 minutes in good, old-fashioned pacing; 13 minutes on the sort of under-the-breath muttering one engages in when one is teetering on the verge of going postal in an oncology waiting room; 5 minutes wondering why one has started thinking using the queenly or editorial “we” instead of “I”; and, 2 minutes thinking, “hey, hasn’t this taken longer than two hours….wait a minute, that dam buzzer bleeper thing is finally going off!!!!!”

     Chemo lasted less time than the wait and the drive home took even less time and glory, glory hallelujah, all went well and I am back home feeling good and may even enjoy an iron induced jolt of energy soon. As for possible morals to this story, I can’t come up with any. Somehow, however, a line from the weird and funny book I happen to be reading seems strangely applicable. A blond American turned hophead, Rastafarian surfer in Hawaii is explaining to a whale researcher that Rastas worship Hailie Selaissie as the second coming of Christ living on the earth.

     “But he died in 1970,” protests the researcher.

     “Why do you think we smoke so much ganja?” the Rasta explains, “it helps.”*



* Fluke, by Christopher Moore

Top Ten Worst Rock ‘n’ Roll Song Nominees

In Fun Stuff on April 17, 2009 at 4:20 pm

     Okay, Gang:  Following are the nominees for Top Ten Worst Rock ‘n’ Roll Songs.  You should note three things:

          1)  Initial inductees into the worst Performers of All Time Hall of Shame are Neil Diamond and ABBA.  Each and every song ever recorded by these “artists” are conclusively presumed to be loathsome and are therefore removed from consideration in other lists.  You need not nominate specific songs from either “‘artist.”

          2)  Songs that make no pretense of being Rock ‘n’ Roll songs are automatically disqualified.  Therefore, songs such as “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies, “”Honey” and all other things Bobby Goldsboro, and anything written or performed by Mac Davis or Harry Chapin need not be nominated.

          3)  Despite the above rules, Alan Jackson’s pernicious and shameless attempt to capitalize on the misery is included as part of a grass-roots effort to stamp out phony and overwrought examples of knee-jerk “patriotism” wherever and however they appear.

     Administrative matters concluded, here for comment and complaint are your nominees:


Nominees for Ten Worst Rock ‘n’ Roll Songs:


Righteous Brothers “Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven”

Beach Boys “Kokomo”

Mark Lindsay “Cherokee Nation”

Huey Lewis & the News “Hip to Be Square”

Rod Stewart “Do You Think I’m Sexy”

Eagles “New Kid in Town”

Rickey Martin “She Bangs”

Elvis Pressley “In the Ghetto”

Paul Anka “You’re Having My Baby”

Eagles “Hotel California”

Beatles “Revolution No 9”

Vanilla Ice “Ice, Ice Baby”

Cher “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves”

Starship “We Built This City”

Starland Vocal Band “Afternoon Delight”

Chuck Berry “My Ding-a-Ling”

Beatles “Ob-la-dee, Ob-la-dah”

Alan Jackson “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out”

Rupert Holmes “Pina Colada Song”

Upcoming Treatment

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2009 at 2:37 am

 Thursday, April 23: Duke Chemo

Friday, April 24: Lexington, Injection

Tuesday, April 28: Wake, CT-scan to

    follow up surgery & Beta Knife radiation

Beno Rant #1

In Beno Rants on April 17, 2009 at 2:35 am

       Among several suggestions for gag-me moments in movies is “any line from “Caddyshack II.” A dear friend made this suggestion. He happens to be a connoisseur of the trivial and mundane, but I am somewhat fond of him anyhow. Despite our friendship, however, I cannot in good conscience post his suggestion in any list I may compile of gag-me moments in cinema. While I concur that “Caddyshack II” is an abysmal train-wreck of a movie, about as amusing as genocide in any take-your-pick of a civil-war-torn African country, I refuse to endorse in any way the implication that this miserable sequel is in any way inferior to the original.

     I know, I know – there are legions of devoted fans who regard “Caddyshack” as one of the funniest movies of all time. Luminaries such as David Feherty, who devoted an entire column in Golf Digest to celebrating the movie’s twenty-fifth birthday, become incoherent blobs of goo at the mere mention of the movie’s name.

     I, on the other hand, find it completely unwatchable. It leaves me cold. I would rather watch the slaughter of newborn lambs than even a minute of “Caddyshack.” There is not a scene, not a line of dialog, not a moment of acting in the entire movie even threatens to curl the corners of my mouth into a smile, much less provoke a snicker, grin, chortle or guffaw. It does not amuse. It is a bottom-feeder. It eats garbage. It wears sideburns and a beret.

     What is there to like about “Caddyshack” besides the fact that its is as painful as a root canal – not the first root canal, but the second on the same tooth, after the first one didn’t take? Let’s start with the stars of the movie, with the only star that even vaguely resembles a recognizable life form being the gopher that tunnels under the golf course. This ridiculous gopher – not exactly a wonder, but more of a curiosity of puppetry, possibly a prize for tossing darts at limp balloons at the Transylvania County Fair, Tractor Pull and Bride Roping Contest – happens to give the best performance in the movie.

     Things only roll downhill with Chevy Chase, who plays, well, Chevy Chase! ‘Nuff said! I suppose he briefly had a good gig on Saturday Night Life when he played Gerald Ford falling down, but since then, his movie career has been something to read about on gas station bathroom walls. Expect Chevy soon to gain about 70 pounds, adopt a mush-mouth approach to speaking his lines, and take the Mickey O’Rourke road to resurrecting a career by playing some old has-been trying to reconnect with lost family and make one last paycheck: perhaps an insurance salesman selling a really big life insurance policy, or a meter reader reading two days worth of meters in one day, or a CPA managing to make sense of Bernie Maddoff’s books……….do I see an Oscar in the future or entire preview audiences dying of sheer boredom?

     Then comes Ted Knight, known only for playing Ted Baxter, a whining, insipid, cartoon of a character on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which was tolerable only because he was on MTM. In “Caddyshack,” he plays the same character, except as a judge instead of a newscaster – onliest problem is he’s not on MTM any more. Frankly, the filmmakers could have saved money by moving a cardboard cutout around and alternating a shrill buzz saw and an intestinal disposal for dialog.

     And, what can you say about Rodney Dangerfield, the funniest stand-up comedian who ever lived? Let’s be charitable. Let’s say that Rodney is to movie acting what Christopher Reeve was to ballroom dancing – they should never appear together in the same sentence.

     Bill Murray, who still could not command star billing when this disaster was filmed, has proved over the years that he has good dramatic and comedic chops. However, he displays his talents in other movies. In this sick corpse of celluloid, he merely punched the clock and collected his pay. Howard Sprague on the old “Andy Griffith” show displayed ten times as much energy as Murray did in sleep-walking through this somnolent epic.

     As for Harold Ramis, who wrote and directed this steaming septic tank of a movie, and actually has some genuine credits to his name, well, I have long since given up on trying to figure out how he managed to excrete this offal movie. All I can say is that on seven different occasions since first being exposed to this bit of toxic cinema, I have wakened suddenly in the middle of a recurring nightmare to find myself standing in my closet with a loaded shotgun, muttering, “He must pay for ‘Caddyshack,’ he must pay for it.” I don’t know about the rest of ya’ll, but a movie that comes within a few midnight moments of turning me into a homicidal maniac is not the sort of flick of which I feel particularly fond.



Easter Hijinks

In Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 at 10:18 am

     I hope everyone had a happy Easter.  We certainly did, taking advantage of a godsend from an unexpected fairy godfather.

     Bearing two Sunday badges, with a motel room thrown in, we decamped Saturday afternoon to Augusta, GA, for the final round of the Masters.  Deirdre spent Sunday walking the river walk, enjoying a fried oyster lunch, and making a “spa day” of the afternoon, managing to catch a glimpse of Harry on national TV.

     Harry and I hit the course around 9:30.  Together we walked holes 10, 11, 12, 13 (AKA “Amen Corner”), 15, 17 and 18, with me pointing out historic points along the way (e.g., where Raymondo hit his second on 11 into the pond to lose the playoff to Faldo).   Afterwards, I parked my green Masters chair right beside the tee markers on the 10th tee and became stationary, sometimes wandering over to the 9th and 18th greens and 1st tee, while Harry roamed the course.  He followed Sergio and RoryMcIlroy through some of their first nines, then proved himself God’s own spectator by following Tiger Mickleson around for their entire eighteen.  Perfect weather, perfect place, and Great Golf!  We had the times of our lives!!  I feel safe in saying this was a 16th birthday gift Harry will never forget.

     As for me, I’m good.  I’ve got got about 9-10 more days until next chemo, and am generally feeling better than I have in a couple of months.  I’m into my second week of walking 2 miles a day, am drinking only 4 and a half coffee/cokes a day and more ginger ale, water and other noncaffeinated and noncarbonated beverages than Moses could shake his staff at.  This for me, if me only, constitutes a life-style change more radical than the Symbionese Liberation Army or the new religious fringe group, Episcopalians for Jesus.  Keep the faith, gang!

New Chemo Shirt

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 1:43 am
New Chemo Shirt

New Chemo Shirt

Funky leaves Duke wearing new chemo shirt escorted by famous runway model (AKA sister, Martha King).

Fun Stuff

In Fun Stuff on April 5, 2009 at 8:33 pm


Okay, now it’s time to start having some fun with this blog! Send me by email or blog-comment your nominations for two lists.

The first is “Top Ten Gag-Me Moments In Movies,” first nominee being the curtain chewer near the end of “Nell,” when ignorant, inarticulate Jodie Foster presumes to lecture the townspeople on how better to live their lives in a voice that sounds like a hump-backed whale speaking Croat.

The second is “Ten Worst Rock ‘n’ Roll Songs.” With a nod to Jim Nance, the initial nominee is “Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven” by the Righteous Brothers, which really is so awful it beggars description.

Tell me what you hate and tell me why!