McG's farmer's market scores

Was very mild weather here for late December (50 degrees and kinda sunny), so I headed out to the farmer's market. Here's what I found:

John Fahey - Old Fashioned Love LP
Billie Holiday - A Rare Live Recording LP
Yusef Lateef - Psychicemotus LP
Miles Davis - Friday Night in Person at the Blackhawk, SF Vol. 1 LP
J.J. Johnson - Trombone and Voices LP
Sonny Rollins - East Broadway Run Down LP
Jimmy Smith - Bashin' LP
Pete Shelley - On Your Own 12"


Henry Miller - Opus Pistorum (book)
Death of the mom and pop bookstore

Here's an article about the dying off of independently owned bookstores. Competition is killing independent U.S. bookstores

The Internet has certainly played a role in the decline of the bookstore, but chain stores such as Borders, Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart have also taken away business from d.i.y. booksellers.

I think the importance of mom and pop businesses can be summed up by Kate Bearce, a bookstore owner in Iowa.

"Customer service is not the same. When somebody walks in [my] store I know them, their kids, their parents, their grandparents. I put books in their hands. That's what my customers really like," she said.

"I have many customers that tell me, 'If I send my kids to you, I know you will provide them with appropriate titles,"' said Bearce, adding that that kind of service cannot be duplicated at the bigger bookstores and discount outlets.

Doctor Who Christmas special hokey

I gotta say how disappointed I was with the Doctor Who Christmas special, "The Runaway Bride."

The plot was ridiculous: The Doctor had to get a bride who materialized in the Tardis to her wedding on time. I've seen silly plots on Doctor Who, but this one seemed like a reject episode penned by a fan.

The villain in the episode was just plain corny. And the bride, was an annoying see you next Tuesday.

And the way the Doctor was overly-sentimental and pining for Rose Tyler, who has been banished to another dimension, was a failed attempt to tug on viewers' heartstrings.

That said, I'm four episodes in to Torchwood and am finding I'm liking it more than Doctor Who!
Brian Walsby on Honor Role

Brian Walsby has posted an excerpt of a book he's been working on about the N. Carolina region punk rock scene.

In the excerpt, Walsby spiels (quite well) on Richmond, VA's Honor Role.

Honor Role by Brian Walsby
Video: John Lennon - Merry Xmas (War is Over)

This music video juxtaposes Lennon's beautiful Christmas melody and anti-war message with brutal images of the pain and suffering caused by war.

Not easy to watch ... but something you probably SHOULD watch.

All hail the Cosmic Commander

If you're a punker with a Sirius satellite radio subscription, you MUST listen to the Cosmic Commander's Sonic Reduction!

It's on every Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. EST on Left of Center 26.

Cosmo, who is a veteran Philly punker, plays REAL PUNK ROCK.

I can't tell you how refreshing it is to hear classic U.S. bands like Negative Approach, Void, VKTMS and Sonic's Rendezvous Band along side of a bunch of Aussie bands such as Died Pretty, Scientists and The Victims.

Cosmo's show takes me back to the days of college radio in the 1980's, when out of nowhere, I would stumble upon a dude like Eddie Hacksaw broadcasting hardcore punk on a Philly station (WXPN, I believe, before they went lame).

The Sonic Reduction has that same amazing vibe of the excitement and passion of the underground music culture and people making cool music for the sake of making cool music.

The Sonic Reduction is a breath of fresh air - even for Sirius satellite radio. I can only hope more and more people tune in and turn on to some genuine punk rock and roll.
New wedding pic

Here's a new wedding pic.

This is one of about 700 images that we're currently sifting through.

Thanks to Thom Thompson, our official wedding photographer, for doing such a great job.

Will be posting more pictures as I get them in.

You'll be able to browse through all the photos on flickr and print out any you want copies of via snapfish (link coming ... eventually).
Kelly feeds baby goats in Hawaii

Had a great one-week honeymoon in Maui.

One of the things Kelly and I did was visit the Surfing Goat Dairy in Kula.

We took the chores tour, which included herding the adult goats and feeding and milking them.

We tried some of their goat cheese which was super delicious. My fave was the Rolling Green, which has fresh garlic chives.

We also got the chance to feed the baby goats.

Here is video of Kelly doing just that.

More baby goats ... cute overload!

And a final, very brief video of the baby goats that Kelly fell in love with.

Maui pics

Here is the first set of pics from Maui.

Haven't had a chance to edit or tag yet ... just 238 photos. Dave and Kelly Maui pics.

My day with Andy Duvall

I hung out with my old pal Andy Duvall.

We went to Borders in search of a Delaware calendar. No luck.

Stopped in at Compusa to check out GPS systems. Then picked up some rubbermaid tubs at Lowe's.

Then we headed up to Jimmy John's on Rt. 202 for some pip'n hot sandwiches.

Andy had two cheese dogs and two birch beers. We split a big ol' tub of fries. I just had two plain dogs.

We heard Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and Greg Kihn on the radio in Jimmy John's.

Then we went to another Borders and a clerk made very rude comments about Delaware when we asked about a calendar.

It made Andy VERY mad and he couldn't believe a clerk could be so ignorant.

I'm used to people saying dumb things, so it didn't really phase me.

Finally we drove up to Philly airport and I dropped him off.

He got on a plane and went back to San Francisco.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to visit him in California soon.

McG on Michael Richards racism controversy

In case you're looking for them, here are my thoughts on the Michael Richards (a.k.a. Kramer) racism deal:

McG talks Michael Richards racism on The Big Talker 10 p.m. tonight

MEDIA ALERT: I'll be on The Big Talker 1210 AM tonight at 10:00 p.m., discussing the Michael Richards racism controversy with Dom Giordano.

Dom called me after reading my article, "Defending Michael Richards (a.k.a. Kramer)."

If you're not in the Philly market, you can listen online.

I hope Dom lets some callers get in on the segment and mix it up with me.

Here are the call-in phone numbers:

Philadelphia: (215) 839-1210
Suburbs: (610) 664-1210
New Jersey: (856) 541-1210
Cellular: #1210

Pre-wedding busy

The pace has been picking up lately, as my wedding date is near.

This Saturday is the big day.

I did manage to do some pet therapy this weekend and hit the Farmer's Market.

Pet therapy was OK - Augie went and he was a bit overwhelmed as we went to a new facility with lots of activity, sounds, smells and people walking around. Still, it was a positive visit.

On the Farmer's Market side of things, I picked up a Sonny Stitt LP, two Stan Kenton 10"s and a CD with Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Benny Carter on it.

Still listening to a lot of jazz. My latest purchase was Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage."
McG on books

I've bought quite a few books lately for my upcoming getaway. Plus I've been reading two books that have captured my fancy.

"An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories" edited by Ivan Brunetti is a well-assembled collection of the best off-the-beaten-path comic artists and illustrators. All the usual suspects such as Chris Ware, R. Crumb, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez and Daniel Clowes are here as well as several lesser-known folks such as John Porcellino, Mark Beyer and Richard McGuire.

I'm about 50 pages into "So What: The Life of Miles Davis" and think it's pretty right on. It seems well researched, the writing is more factual than presumptuous and it's a compelling story. I'm only up to the beginning of Miles' career, but it's already a captivating read. It's matching my recent delving into Miles' music with "Sketches of Spain," "Blue Note Vol. 3 10,"" "Blue Haze" and "In a Silent Way"

Also picked up a contradictory lot of the serene and the insane:

Tommy Chong - The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint

Allan MacDonell - Prisoner of X: 20 Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine

Answer Me - The First Three

Paramahansa Yogananda - Inner Peace

Shannon Duncan - Present Moment Awareness

Thich Nhat Hanh - Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames

It's tough for me to sit down, relax and really get into a book these days ... but I'm trying.
McG's jazz vinyl finds

It's been a good season for hunting for and finding jazz LPs. I'm slowly rebuilding portions of the collection I had to sell for cash several years back.

Anyway, last weekend I scored a crapload of great albums including several Blue Note and Impulse titles. Some were reissues (OK by me) and some were original pressings. Finds included:

Gene Ammons - "Up Tight!"
Thelonious Monk - "Monk's Blues"
Ahmad Jamal - "The Awakening"
Charlie Mingus - "Blues & Roots"
Hank Mobley - "Workout"
Grachan Moncur III - "Evolution"
Nina Simone - "Silk & Soul"
Miles Davis - "Kind of Blue"
Miles Davis - "Blue Haze"
Miles Davis - "In a Silent Way"
Miles Davis - "Porgy and Bess"
Sonny Rollins - "On Impulse!"
John Coltrane Quartet - "Ballads"
The Charles Lloyd Quartet - "Dream Weaver"
The Modern Jazz Quartet - "Odds Against Tomorrow (sdtrk)"

... and several more!

I have plans to hang out with my friend Dean this Sunday; we're gonna listen to some of these LPs as well as some Bud Powell LPs I picked up for a him - he's a huge Powell fan.

Tonight I showed him this video of Bud Powell playing "Get Happy" and he totally dug it.

I showed it to him on my iPod and he asked, "Where did you get this thing?" as he marveled what is a truly cool gadget.

I'm gonna show him this amazing video of Clifford Brown playing two songs with a brief interview on The Soupy Sales Show.

He's not even going to believe such a video exists!
'American Hardcore' coming to Theatre N?

I recently e-mailed the good folks at Theatre N and asked if they could line up a screening of the punk documentary 'American Hardcore.' Here's their response:

"[We've] put the request in for the film to our film distributor in New
York. They're going to check to see if we can do a special screening of
it- probably just one or two shows. We get a lot of films from Sony
Classics, so they may do it."

Hell yeah. Thanks Theatre N!
Farmer's Market finds

Didn't end up going to Dewey Beach for Greyhounds Reach the Beach due to weather and Kelly was sick.

I did pick up a few things at the Farmer's Market:

Kraftwerk - "Trans Europe Express" LP
Louis Armstrong - "Here's Louis Armstrong" LP
Donald Byrd & Pepper Adams - "Motor City" CD

All that for $5.00!

I got Crow's LP "Bloody Tear" in the mail today. Listening now. Some nice Japanese punk with mid-tempo thrashing and howling vocals. Many in MRR said this would be punk album of the year.

My bet for best punk LP this year would be Government Warning's "No Moderation." The drumming is just spectacular in its intensity and tightness.
Buy McG's IKEA Futon

Here's your chance to buy my IKEA futon.

McG's futon for sale on

Talking about punk, hardcore

Two quick links:

Film Threat discusses 'American Hardcore'

The Village Voice writes up punk mp3 blogs
Dining room renovations

We're having the dining room ceiling ripped out and putting up new sheet rock.

As you can see, we made a big mess tearing down all the plaster and old drywall. Dining room renovations
SOLD: Technics SL-D2 turntable?

NOTE: THIS ITEM HAS BEEN SOLD. A lot of people I know who are vinyl junkies always tell me they're on the lookout for a turntable.

Well, I picked up a Technics SL-D2 tunrtable this past weekend that is in great shape. It has the dust cover, which has no cracks or major scratches. It's even got a decent Shure cartridge and the whole thing has been pretty much well cared for.

Anyway, I'm just gonna hold onto it for now, but if you're looking to pick up a decent used turntable in working order, I'd be glad to pass it along at a reasonable price. NOTE: THIS ITEM HAS BEEN SOLD.
McG on McCartney

Here's a piece I wrote for work about Paul McCartney.
McG on Woody Allen

Here's a piece I wrote for work about Woody Allen.'s must have movie guide: Woody Allen
Scratch Acid retrospective in Austin Chronicle

The Austin Chronicle has an in-depth retrospective of the history of Scratch Acid. The Greatest Gift
MP3: Ol' Dirty Bastard press conference UNCENSORED

Here is ODB's infamous press conference, which Howard Stern has played repeatedly throughout the years.

Here it is, finally uncensored! The gang talks over it a bit too much, but it's still pretty awesome.

MP3: Ol' Dirty Bastard - Press Conference - (2.4 MB)
VIDEO: S.O.A. - Draw Blank

Here's a vintage video of D.C. hardcore punk band S.O.A., featuring Henry Garfield (Rollins) on vocals from 1980!

I always loved S.O.A.'s "No Policy" EP as comped up on the '4 7"s on a 12"' LP and later on CD, 'Dischord 1981: The Year in Seven Inches.' State of Alert band page
McG on Slayer

Here's a piece I wrote on Slayer for phillyBurbs' Must Have Music Guide: All hail Slayer
WTF? Someone stole Muzzi's fountain!

Now this is lame ... sometime on Sunday, July 30, someone stole the water fountain outside of Angelo's Luncheonette.

If you ever have been to Angelo's for lunch (or breakfast), you know that it is one of the coolest places to grab a bite and is family-run by the Muzzis, some of the nicest people you'll ever meet in Wilmington.

And outside the luncheonette is a gorgeous mini-garden with a bench and water fountain that the Muzzi's installed themselves.

The News Journal reports, "The 300-plus-pound fountain -- painted slate blue with a hint of gold -- was a landmark for several years in Forty Acres, a neighborhood of tidy brick row homes and small businesses. The fountain was the symbol of Angelo's Luncheonette, opened 39 years ago at Gilpin Avenue and North Scott Street."

The good news is that Muzz was able to get in a joke to the reporter. "These must be stupid thieves," he said. "'The last thing you do is fool with an Italian's fountain, because that's the last thing you do.'" Neighborhood misses fountain, stolen Sunday
McG on Stereolab

Here's a piece I wrote on Stereolab for phillyBurbs' Must Have Music Guide: The wonderful world of Stereolab
Crap. Pink Floyd reunites again

Here's my assessment of the news that Pink Floyd is reuniting once again. This time it's to honor the group's late lead singer, Syd Barrett. Pink Floyd reunion: Not again!

I'm sure this article will piss off legions of Floyd fans just like my review of their 2005 reunion gig for Live 8 did. Live 8: Pink Floyd just too old
Review: Genetic Disorder #18

Thanks to Larry for sending the latest issue of Genetic Disorder. I met him 10 years ago when I was doing the zine thing with Yakuza. It's great to see some of the "old-school" zinesters still at it.

The new ish of Genetic Disorder features much of the stuff Larry loves to rave about including punk rock, the seedier side of San Diego's history, heavy drinking and a general love of irresponsibility and free living. Right on Larry!
VIDEO: News Bike Stunt

In the middle of an on air demonstration of how easy it is to steal a bike by two guys, one of them pretends to get too close to the saw and cut his hand.

The Fox News reporter doesn't find the stunt funny at all and completely loses her cool. What about the children???!!!

Ba ha ha ha! News bike stunt
Some punk crap that I wrote and some that I didn't

Here's a Genghis Tron Philly show preview

And here's a preview of The Adolescents' Philly show tonight

I heard The Dicks are also playing Philly tonight. Why aren't they on the bill with The Adolescents?!

Also check out the trailer for American Hardcore.

I really loved Barry Smith's piece, I remain totally punk rock.

Barry also has a cool blog you should check out called, Barry Smith Writes About Stuff
CD Review: Spoon - "Telephono/Soft Effects"

Here's my review of the recently reissued Spoon 2-CD set, "Telephono/Soft Effects" Spoon CD reissue hints at band’s early greatness
McG's crap on eBay

I'm selling some vinyl (and a few CDs) on eBay. Check out my list of crap here.

I'll have some more crap, including some of Kelly's clothes, on here in a couple of days (hopefully) ... not that Kelly's clothes are crappy ... wait ... nevermind.
Two years: Remembering Christopher Shea and Phil Healy

Someone reminded me the other day that it has been two years since Delaware musician Phil Healy and Del. State Trooper Christopher Shea were killed while Healy was driving drunk.

Here's a piece that I wrote shortly after the event - it seems like this was only yesterday ... Makes no sense
Review: Brightblack Morning Light s/t (2006, Matador)

Here's a review of Brightblack Morning Light's self-titled album on Matador Records that I wrote for Brightblack Morning Light’s gentle glow
Driving on heroin in Delaware

The fact that Delaware has a heroin problem on its hands isn't terribly surprising. What IS unusual is that in the latest wave of ODs, at least three of them occured while people were driving! New heroin overdoses sweep NCCo

"Witnesses saw a Chevrolet Blazer swerving side to side, striking the curb several times before hitting a tree in the 2100 block of W. Newport Pike. The male operator was found unconscious behind the wheel.
Canadian Idol: Boys are blah, girls are go

I know. Just what you wanted. More of my spiels on Canadian Idol. Well, here ya go.

-Canadian Idol: Only one guy shining
-Canadian Idol: Girls far superior

Keep in mind that I do this for work AND get paid to watch the show and write about it.
Two videos that always crack me up

I was talking about funny videos with my family at the dinner table over the weekend. Here are two videos that never fail to leave me laughing out loud.

1. This woman falls during a live news broadcast as she's demonstrating how NOT to stomp grapes.

2. This talking cat has a lot to say (with subtitles, begins at 0:50)

Larry Clark's new film, 'Wassup Rockers'

Director Larry Clark is back with a new film, 'Wassup Rockers' that looks like a killer blend of teen rebellion, skateboarding and punk rock.

His other films including 'Kids' and 'Ken Park' are definitely some of the more jarring, stunning and compelling films I've seen about the comples lives of teens who don't fit into the mold.

Larry Clark's official Web site looks like it hasn't been updated in a while, but there's some good info there to get you started if you're not familiar with his stuff.

Here's a recent interview Larry Clark did with's Lou Gaul.

CORRECTION: I erroneously wrote that Larry Clark directed 'Gummo.' Mike K. was quick to point out, "FYI, Harmony Korine wrote and directed 'Gummo,' and was the writer of 'Kids.' Larry Clark directed 'Kids,' 'Bully,' 'Ken Park' and 'Another Day in Paradise. '

And Mike K. also adds, "Used to read yakuza back in the print days of fanzines and also a huge Stern fan."

Sounds like my kind of dude.
Canadian Idol: Trimming the fat

Here's my recap of this week's Canadian Idol where four loser contestants got the boot.
McG on Canadian Idol

Yes, it's true. I'm writing about season four of Canadian Idol.

You can read all the gory details at
How do you make a car chase on live TV better?

In the words of one reporter following the car chase, "TASER! TASER! TASER!

VIDEO: Man tasered, arrested after police chase

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd give this car chase an 8.

The suspect pulls some unsuspected maneuvers including driving on the sidewalk to elude police. He also appears extremely agitated when he gets out of the car after he loses a wheel.

And then he gets a massive zapping from police!
Oh shit, Delawareans are THAT stupid!

Only 61 percent of Delaware students graduate high school in four years, according to a troubling new study from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. Delaware's graduation rate among nation's worst
Bad news, good news

Bad news: Someone smashed my car window last night to grab my piece of shit $99 stereo, which I had installed so I could hook up my iPod for my work commute. The car isn't even two months old and people are already fucking with it. That's Wilmington for ya.

Good news: I bought about 2,000 LPs today. It's all pretty mindless $1.00 stuff, but there were a few gems in there including an original pressing of "Nuggets," which I'm listening to right now.
McG's flea market finds

Had a good morning out at the New Castle Farmer's Market.

I found a very clean copy of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messenger's "Drum Suite" LP, original presssing, which will go straight into my jazz LP collection.

Here's what I fished out the $1.00 CD bin:

Hazel - "Lucky Dog" (Sub Pop)
Love Battery - "Dayglo" (Sub Pop)
The Fluid - "Purplemetalflakemusic" (Hollywood)
Didjits - "Que Sirhan Sirhan" (Touch & Go)
DK3 - "Neutrons" (Quarterstick)
The Red Krayola - "Blues, Hollers and Hellos" (Drag City)
Trio - "Da Da Da" (Mercury)
Remains of the Day - An Underlying Frequency (Crimes Against Humanity)

I'm going to swing by tomorrow and see if I get lucky again.
McG on the Britney Spears Dateline special with Matt Lauer

I know, I know.

Why the fuck would I bother writing about Britney Spears' interview with Matt Lauer on Dateline last night?

For my day job, of course! Matt Lauer sucks, Britney Spears doesn't
Talking with Alex Bennett about Doctor Who

You may have heard me call in to Alex Bennett's show this morning on Sirius Left 146.

He started talking about the second season of the new Doctor Who.

I had to call in to say that Billie Piper, who plays the Doctor's sidekick Rose Tyler is a total babe.

We bullshitted about how good the new Doctor Who is, then I got to blurt out, "Fuck George Bush!" at the end of my call.

That's just one of the many things that makes Sirius so cool; being able to truly exercise one's free speech.

Anyway, check out Alex Bennett's official site.

Update, 3.20 p.m.: Billie Piper to leave Doctor Who
Funny audio, video clips

1. Chick farts on Canadian Idol

2. Preachers gone wild
Grab a water ice, see a greyhound

Some dogs from will be doing a meet and greet at Rita's Water Ice on Maryland Avenue in Wilmington, DE this Saturday, June 17 from noon to 4:00 p.m.

If you've never seen a greyhound in person, you don't know what you're missing. They are one of the most docile and beautiful dogs on the planet.

The folks from adoptagrey are doing a noble job finding good homes for as many of these retired racing dogs as possible.

See for yourself why I've fallen in love with greyhounds.

Rita's Water Ice Meet & Greet
317 N. Maryland Ave, Wilmington, DE
Saturday, June 17, noon-4pm

Map: Rita's, 317 Maryland Ave., Wilmington, DE 19804
CD review: Pissed Jeans - "Shallow"

Pissed Jeans' debut album, "Shallow," (Parts Unknown) is musically mirrors the ugliness of our modern-day world circa 2006 with war overseas and political corruption at home. Pissed Jeans make morose and dirge-filled noise-rock that 99.9% of the population would say is without merit.

The band's sounds totally menacing on "Ugly Twin," that sounds as if it were modeled after side two of Black Flag's "My War." Then there's the ultra disturbing "I'm Sick" that rages out of control with the squealing feedback of guitars, that won't relent. And "Wachovia" features a deliberately-paced pummel a la Flipper that sounds downright sinister.

And then there are the lyrics which dwell on the pain and anguish of tortured humans as they reflect on their own disgusting bodily emissions, mental hell and unrequited love and sickness. On the whole, Pissed Jeans make music that embraces and sounds like the gritty underbelly of humanity. Yet sometimes the sickening sound of the band's nihilistic jams seems so right when the world seems so wrong, fucked up and out of control.

Why Sub Pop, a label with sugary-sweet bands such as Band of Horses and The Shins, would sign Pissed Jeans is beyond me. But for comparison's sake, if you go had to go back in the Sub Pop time machine, Pissed Jeans sound like a more pissed off and deranged Tad and rock harder than a schizophrenic Mudhoney would.

MP3: Pissed Jeans - "Closet Marine"
Movies I've seen lately

Here are recaps of five movies that I've watched recently: McG's movie picks
Japanese kids will wear anything

click to enlargeThis just in from Japan correspondent, KT ...

For those of you who don't believe that Japanese elementary school kids will wear ANY t-shirt that has English on it.

This is an actual photo taken by my friend Bryan at Inubushi Higashi school in Japan.

The kid is in fourth grade."
Thanks to The Consumerist

I just wanted to say thanks to, who picked up my story about trying to make a pet grooming appointment at PetSmart and getting nothing but lame customer service. has great anecdotal stories about frustrated consumers who are get crappy treatment by businesses of all sorts, but mostly corporations and their inherent ineptness.

The site also has great deals and dedicated forums to following Wal-Mart and Amazon. All hail!
Why can't PetSmart answer its phones?

I've called my local PetSmart the last three business days trying to make a grooming appointment for my dog.

I'm promptly greeted with a barrage of PetSmart taglines that employees have to rattle off before they're allowed to say, "How can I help you?"

I ask to be transferred to the grooming department - and that's where the trouble begins.

Over the last three business days, grooming doesn't answer their phone and I'm eventually bounced back to the first person I spoke with. They transfer me again and process repeats until I finally hang up out of frustration.

This has gone on for the last three days. I started keeping track of the time I've spent to date:

Avg. time spent on hold trying to make appointment:
9 minutes per call.

Avg. total time spent on hold trying to make appointment:
27 minutes.

One PetSmart employee I spoke with told me that grooming doesn't have a designated person to answer their phone and that they can't leave dogs on the grooming table to answer incoming calls to take appointments. Sounds efficient!

Today I called PetSmart's customer service number, (800) 738-1385 ext. 2518, explaining to them I just wanted to make an appointment for my dog and that no one will answer the phone during business hours.

The woman confirmed my suspicion - this is indeed a bad business practice!

She even did perpetrated an annoying customer service that all PetSmart employees seem obligated to do; asking all sorts of inane questions about the dog including his age, breed, etc. - none of which has anything to do with, in this case, answering a phone.

The genuinely concerned cust. serv. rep. took all my info and said she'd look into it. She failed to give her name (in case I needed to call her back) and I failed to ask for it, because she actually sounded like she gave a crap.

I should have known better.

Call me naive, but I figure if somone says they're gonna call back, they will call back. That was hours ago.

Well, the cust. serv. rep hasn't called.
Nor has anyone from PetSmart.
And my dog still needs a haircut.

Update #1, 4:00 p.m., 6/6/06: I just called again to see if corporate HQ had cracked down and gotten its employees to answer the phone. When I asked to make a grooming appointment, the person who answered the phone said, "our groomers are incredibly busy right now" and gave me the option to leave a message or call back.

I chose the latter option because I've committed PetSmart's phone number to memory and I figure an incredibly busy groomer probably has a lot of dogs to deal with.

So, while PetSmart seems to have addressed the problem of bouncing around customers in phone purgatory, making a grooming appointment remains an impossible task.

I even called a local pet groomer to take my business elsewhere, something I should have done in the first place, but they were booked up six to seven weeks in advance. Meanwhile, my dog still needs a haircut.

Update #2, 11:30 a.m., 6/7/2006: My local PetSmart called after corporate followed up on my complaint. They were awfully wishy-washy and reiterated the "we're so darn busy" line I got yesterday.

I told them that this morning, after four days of being unable to make an appointment at PetSmart, I made an appointment with another business (who answered their phone on the first ring.)

Not surprisingly, the PetSmart representative made no effort to keep my business and offered a half-hearted apology, adding, "well, hopefully this won't happen the next time."

Next time?!

Update #3, 12:10 p.m., 6/7/2006: Even e-mailing PetSmart is a challenge!

I tried e-mailing the customer service e-mail listed on their Web site ( and I got an auto-generated response, indicating it's no longer valid and directing me to another e-mail form.
The end of Happy Harry's?

The Delaware mom and pop pharmacy, Happy Harry's, which was formed in 1962 and grown into a well-known franchise in the tri-state area including MD, PA and NJ, has been bought by Walgreen's.

For the time being, most Happy Harry's stores will retain the company name.

But it's only a matter of time before the corporate Walgreen's presence will take over, signaling the end of yet another local business, swallowed by corporate America.

Link: Happy Harry's, Walgreen Co. announce merger
Review: Don Caballero - "World Class Listening Problem"

It's been five long years since Don Caballero unleashed an album, but the wait is finally over. "World Class Listening Problem" finds the Pittsburgh-based group back doing what they do best: Amazing listeners and audiences with its uncanny ability to combine crazed yet melodic math rock that sounds like King Crimson at the height of their hipness.

Every new Don Cab is album is an adventure if only to hear what crazy things Damon Che has thought of behind the kit. Seeing him drum live is nothing short of amazing and is reminiscent of The Who's Keith Moon in that both of their styles seem contradictory; what it looks like they're playing doesn't necessarily correlate with what sounds come out of their kits.

"Palm Trees in the Fecking Bahamas" finds Che creating the aural illusion of two drummers simultaneously jamming while guitarists Eugene Doyle and Jeffrey Elsworth anchor down the song's jazz meets metal mania. Bassist Jason Jouver keeps up with Damon Che's spastic licks on "Sure We Had Knives Around," which is Don Cab at their best – creating challenging rhythms that raise the bar for innovative and creative instrumental rock.

Che is one of the premiere drummers of the underground music scene who has yet to get his due from the mainstream. And while Don Cab is always a fun and mesmerizing band to see perform live, on record they manage to capture the magic that happens when skilled musicians team to kick some serious ass.
Review: The Riverboat Gamblers - 'To the Confusfion of Our Enemies' CD

With their fourth CD, Denton, TX's The Riverboat Gamblers have proved it's possible to have mainstream appeal while keeping one's punk roots intact on "To the Confusion of Our Enemies." The album's standout track is "Don't Bury Me … I'm Not Dead Yet" which recalls the band's early years slugging out gigs in basements and crappy clubs set to music that sounds like the Foo Fighters at their peak; only more massive and powerful.

"The Biz Loves Sluts" is an explosive punk rock and roll anthem that combines the punk sensibilities of the Ramones and the smart swagger of Austin, Texas punk legends, Big Boys. "The Song We Used to Call 'Wasting Time'" and "Rent is Due" are high velocity thrashers that combine the hardcore angst with pleasing melodic punk-pop harmonies and are typical of the Gamblers' exhilarating live shows.

While critics have been raving about the Gamblers' enthusiastic live shows, due in large part to singer Mike Wiebe's all-over-the-place stage presence, the band could easily make the leap with a bigger presence on the alt-punk music scene this well above average CD.

Listen to The Riverboat Gamblers on
I was almost on MSNBC last night

I was booked to talk about American Idol on MSNBC's Scarborough Country last night. But then something went wrong ...

Click here to learn how I almost had my 15 minutes of fame on live TV
American Idol: Exhuming Elvis tedious task

Here's my recap of Tuesday's American Idol which featured the songs of Elvis Presley. Exhuming Elvis tedious task

"The starry-eyed Idols were whisked away to Graceland on a private jet, where they were met by a disturbingly ghastly Priscilla Presley."
Still plagued by American Idol

I haven't had many opportunities to post here - been busy covering American Idol for work.

You wouldn't believe how draining it is to try and convince the millions of idiots who tune in each week that this is an awful show.

It's as if they just want to believe...

Link: American Idol phillyBurbs Style
Enter for a chance to win a 30GB Video iPod

The place where I work, is giving away several iPods. The grand prize is a 30GB Video iPod!

Click here to enter for a chance to win a new iPod!
Riverboat Gamblers cancel Delaware gig

The Riverboat Gamblers have canceled their gig that was supposed to happen this Tuesday at Mojo Thirteen in Wilmington, Delaware.

I am bummed!!!
How will Kellie Pickler embarass herself tonight on American Idol?

Tuesday’s American Idol theme is love songs, with special guest Andrea Bocelli. Which raises the question, how will Kellie Pickler embarrass herself this week? How will Pickler play the fool?
American Idol is a catastrophe

I know you're just dying to read my thoughts on this week's American Idol.

First off, I thought the final 10 really stunk up the stage on Tuesday.

Kellie Pickler's performance was mediocre at best. I then launched a brand new anti-Kellie Pickler site,

Although it was a momentary error, Idol producers showed an incorrect phone number while Mandisa's performance was played. Read about that here.

And Wednesday's show when Lisa Tucker got booted off was full of obnoxious product placements.

Please keep in mind that I do actually get paid to write this garbage, before you e-mail me telling me what a loser I am.
McG makin' headlines with Kellie Pickler quote

Well, almost.

The New York Post quoted one of my recent articles on American Idol contestant, Kellie Pickler.

It was then was picked up by Fox News. And then blogs such as Bile, Snark & Sneer picked it up. It's like a friggin virus!

You can read my original article here: Who is the real Kellie Pickler?

I can't tell if it's an honor or an embarassment to be quoted by two of the sleaziest news organizations around.

I admit, my American Idol writings are far from great literature.

But may just be my "Great Gatsby" of sleazy pop culture scribble.
What's on McG's iPod?

I never thought a 60GB video iPod would be overkill, especially for a music fanatic like me. But damn - that's a lot of friggin songs you can fit on there.

I'm up to about 5,000. Here are some recent additions to my iPod:

-Sonic Youth - "Sonic Youth" Reissue of first record with xtra early live trax)

-Chris Brokaw - "Wandering as Water" - Former Come guitarist is rad

-Ambulance LTD - "New English EP" - Is it just me or is this band really good? (Download this for free at - legally!)

-Charlie Parker - "Charlie Parker" - Rented this one from the library for free!

-Deep Wound - "Deep Wound" - Boston hardcore outfit gets an official reissue on LP. CD coming soon.
Bad Religion vs. American Idol

I wanted to just sit down and enjoy Bad Religion's new DVD, "Live at the Palladium," but instead I had to watch American Idol for work last night.

Here's my round up of Tuesday's craptacular American Idol episode with Barry Manilow.

And here are all the songs that the Idols sang.
Randy from Delaware's QVC porn testimonial

This clip would only be better if there wasn't the audience laughter, but it's still pretty awesome. Plus the guy is from Delaware! Way to go Randy.

As seen on
American Idol: Sick of Kellie Pickler yet?

Kellie Pickler's family hardships continue to play a role in the Idol hopeful's chances at winning this season of American Idol. Many Idol fans have tired of her "woe is me" stories about her broken family and tough upbringing.

But the sad sack stories are just beginning: Sick of Kellie Pickler yet?
Stevie Wonder's pitiful performance on American Idol

Here's my take on Stevie Wonder, a true musical legend, performing on Wednesday's episode of American Idol. Stevie Wonder's pitiful performance
Why Carrie Underwood won't follow in Kelly Clarkson's footsteps

Here's an article I wrote about Carrie Underwood's performance on Monday's Late Show with David Letterman.

I also discuss why Carrie's lack of charisma and proper guidance from management will keep her from being a breakout star like Kelly Clarkson has become. Carrie Underwood in need of salvation

Also, readers comment on my assessment of Carrie.
Mudhoney - "Under a Billion Suns"

Here's my review of Mudhoney's latest record. The review originally appeared in Philly EDGE magazine.

Before Sub Pop was peddling bans such as The Shins and The Postal Service, the once-esteemed record label actually put out loud punk rock and roll records. Bands such as Nirvana, Soundgarden and Mudhoney ruled the roster and rocked out in the extreme.

With the Seattle scene of the late '80s/early '90s now a footnote in music history, it's interesting to note that Mudhoney are still active. Their latest album, "Under a Billion Suns," is an 11-song storming session of fuzzed-out guitar leads and primitive post-punk wailing that brings back the vintage days of Sub Pop love.

Mudhoney's melodic mania is immediately recognizable on tracks such as "On the Move" and "Empty Shells," which are unapologetic three-chord anthems. The band employs a horn section on several tracks while showing a lyrical maturity on others with the recurring theme of frustration over modern politics as it does on "Hard on For War." The end result is an album that a listener can bang his or her head to, while remaining socially conscious.

MP3: Mudhoney - "Blindsopts"
McG's punk CD pick: Offenders - Wanted by Authority

Amsterdam's finest punk label, Kangaroo Records has recently issued "Wanted by Authority: 1981-1985," a 31-track CD compiling the work of Texas punk badasses, Offenders.

The band is most well-known for the track, "Face Down in the Dirt," which appeared on the legendary P.E.A.C.E./War compilation. This caustic cut is representative of the band's fury-filled venom. Offenders reigned in the Texas hardcore scene in the early '80s and displayed some of the most fierce bass playing, astonishingly fast drumming and complex punk rhythms of the day.

While this isn't the first CD to compile Offenders material (see Grand Theft Audio's "Died in Custody" CD), this CD does offer a more comprehensive overview of the band's studio output with both of their LPs and both 7"s including the misanthropic thrasher, "I Hate Myself."

Offenders - "I Hate Myself"

The highlight is the "Endless Stuggle" LP, their second full-length, because it's so well-recorded. This hardcore classic was way ahead of it's time and sounds like as if you mixed the Big Boys' most hardcore songs with the velocity and explosiveness of Black Flag. In short, the album fucking shreds in the same way that Suicidal Tendencies' debut does; even 20-plus years after the fact, it's still vital punk.

Offenders - "Face Down in the Dirt"
Offenders - "Endless Struggle"
Offenders - "Side by Side"

The band's first LP, "We Must Rebel," is comped here as well and while it's somewhat rough around the edges compared to "Endless Struggle," there are plenty of examples what made Offenders great: ripping fast bass lines, improbable thrash beats and insanely intense punk attitude all over the place.

Offenders - "We Must Rebel"

As great as this CD comp is, it's worth noting that the tracklisting is completely screwed up. While a fan like me was able to piece together the proper running order (the 1st LP, the second LP, the "I Hate Myself" 7"), there are several tracks that are most likely from the "Fight Back" 7", but it's difficult to make out which songs are which, as there is at least one unaccounted-for track.

Also, the liner notes and CD booklet design (with the requisite flyers and photos fare) are by Welly, who publishes the acclaimed zine, Artcore , which chronicles the history of many unsung U.S. hardcore bands, such as Offenders.
What ever happened to Zen Guerrilla?

Steve, an old school Delaware dude who used to work at Wonderland Records, e-mailed me the other day asking what ever happened with Zen Guerrilla?

The band's last album was their 2001 Sub Pop release "Shadows on the Sun." They toured quite a bit for this album, as they always did.

They made a recording of their final U.S. show, at CBGB. I heard rumors of a limited edition release of this show, but I don't think that ever materialized.

ZG did one more show which was in Spain, where the band had drawn quite a following, and they reportedly played to a huge crowd over there.

Their breakup was totally low key and there was never an official announcement that ZG was done.

Since their breakup, here's what I heard everyone is up to.

Last I heard, Carl did a tour with the Supersuckers. Marcus seemed to just vanish. Rich got married to Jamie and they now have two kids.

Andy has done several one-off shows with his brother Al and Van Stone. He also did a tour with Hater, which is Ben Sheppard's band (ex-Soundgarden). Not sure if they will record any new material with this lineup.

Andy's old band from the late '80s/early '90s with his brother Al, High Karate, did a one-off show in San Francisco earlier this year.
People I know

I've been reading blogs by friends I knew way back in the day including one by Becky and the other by Meri.
Plenty of American Idol crap for you

This is the time of year when watching and writing about American Idol takes up the majority of my work week.

And unlike most of the 30 million or so people who watch Idol, I actually get paid to do so.

Here are my latest rants, raves and ridiculous ramblings about TV's worst show ever, American Idol.
Howard Stern breaks his thumb video

I wish Stern did more animated/puppet stuff like this. It's stupid, but it makes me laugh.

American Idol: Let the suffering begin

I have to watch American Idol for work.

Here's my recap of the final 12 female contestants.

And here are 5 annoying things about American Idol.

It's insane that I get paid to watch Idol and write about it. It's very un-punk.
All hail Flipper

I loved this post about punk band, Flipper.

Also have been digging all the great punk videos on

The Internet is so awesome.
Blaugie updated

New pics and video of my dogs at
More friggin' American Idol vs. myspace mania

This season of American Idol is starting to heat up. They're close to picking the final 24. You can read my review of last night's shit show here. I'm just getting warmed up to rip the show a new asshole this season. And I get paid for this!

An old pal from college Michele found me on myspace today. If you look here you can see her excellent goth picture from when she was a teen.

I'm reading Jonathan Ames' new book, "I Love You More Than You Know" right now. He is one of the few writers (along with Harmon Leon) that can make me laugh out loud.

I think that's why I dig listening to Howard Stern so much - he makes me laugh out loud. And trust me - I need to do that as much as possible.
Three years late

I finally gave my friend Jen and her husband their wedding gift - three years after their wedding.

I was out of work when they got married and soon after had sinus surgery. It's taken me a long time to get back on my feet financially, but slowly and surely I've been taking care of all the loose ends, including this one.

So, I'm good for it ... eventually.
Feelin' better

I listened to Evan "Funk" Davies this morning on my iPod.

I think I finally shook my cold/sinus infection/stomach bug.

Here's a piece I wrote about the benefit for Beetlejuice's manager, Sean Rooney.

I also wrote a story about a dog named Maggie.

I now have friends on myspace.
Still feelin' sick

What started as a normal cold morphed into a nasty sinus infection. I'm on Augmentin now to clear it up, but it's messing up my stomach. I just feel like crashing right now. Ew. Hopefully I'll get rest this weekend and get this out of my system.
Last person to get an iPod

That would be me. I plan on getting a 60gb video iPod in the next couple of days.

I blew off going to see Rev. Bob Levy on Friday night with Landers. I was just too tired and out of it to make it. I've seen Levy 2X and he's hilarious.

I'm a lameass for staying in on a Friday night. I can remember the days when I was younger and not going out on the weekend would drive me nuts.

I may hit the New Castle Farmers Market today. You never know when you're gonna find a killer stash of records out there.
Product endorsement of the day

Breathe Right nasal strips - These things actually help you breathe a little better and do alleviate some nasal and sinus congestion.

Also pimping Halls Tropical Fruit cough drops.

Yes this is a lame post.
More American Idol bullshit

I started my second year of covering American Idol for my day job.

I hate watching the show and inevitably every week there's something that totally pisses me off. I rip contestants and the show itself a new a-hole week after week.

Yet people come to the site in droves to read it. While I do get fan mail, I get tons of hate mail from people who say they'll never read my shit again.

Then the next week they e-mail me all over again, complaining and explaining their Idol theories. These jerks put more thought into American Idol than they do which politicians they should vote for.

The second week of auditions begin tonight. If you click over here you can read all about it -- once I've had a chance to come up with my latest argument why American Idol sucks out loud.
McG on

I'm now on

I currently have no friends on myspace, which is just how it is in real life.
Recuperation, relaxation

Trying to take it easy and recover from this cold. I've had a few really horrible chest coughs that sound like I've been a smoker for 20 years. Ick.

I'm listening to Used Wigs podcast #5 - they have Aaron from sitting in. I think I may buy some putty!
Sick of being sick

Ew. Whenever I get a nasty cold, it turns into a nasty scene. Thanks to allergies and sinus problems, a cold just gets me all out of whack. Right now I've got some wicked chest congestion that could easily turn into bronchitis if I'm not careful.

Until then, I'm getting a lot of rest and drinking a lot of fluids including Propel fitness water, which is essntially a diet version of Gatorade.
Killed by Death radio online! has a great blend of KBD punk, '80s hardcore and some other tasty punk treats available to listen online.
Reading Frenzy II

If you're looking for a good place to buy a zine or book, check out Portland's Reading Frenzy. They have tons of cool stuff for sale in their trading post.
Reading frenzy

I'm trying to get up the manpower required to get through all of the books and zines I've picked up in the last month.

I was stoked to see that Jonathan Ames has a new collection of short stories out called "I Love You More Than You Know."

I'm reading Harmon Leon's foray into the world of politics called "Republican Like Me." It's not as funny as "The Harmon Chronicles." This book is startling and downright depressing because of how f'd up and divided this country is on a cultural and spiritual level.

I plan on taking a break from the reading and catching a screening of The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. I saw the trailer for it last week and it looks compelling.

Still, I need to focus more on my reading and learn how to relax and get through a book without getting distracted by the computer or the urge to listen to music every 10 minutes. That's a tall order for someone like me.
All hail Bill Kelly

I really enjoyed listening to Bill Kelly's Teenage Wasteland at work today.

Bill plays some great rock and roll oldies along with some new stuff. I'm always impressed with his knowledge of music from the '50s, '60s and on.
New Don Caballero interview circa 2006

I can't wait for the new Don Cab album! It's about friggin' time. Hopefully with the move to Relapse Records, the band and Damon himself will finally get the widespread recognition they deserve.

Here's an interview with Don Caballero drummer Damon Che, who discusses the band's upcoming new album.
Link: Don Caballero: New Faces Old Places

And here's a live version of "Sure We Had Knives Around" recorded live in Lawrence, KS in May 2004.
MP3: Don Caballero - "Sure We Had Knives Around"