This piece was originally composed for my McBeardo at MrSkin.com column and, actually, the bulk of it was composed for the purposes of creating a screenplay and, from there, a feature-length motion picture.
Believe it or not, forces exist at my adults-only, naked-ladies job whose inevitable offense taken at the following would be more trouble than it would be worth to post it there.
So then I tried putting it on my plain old McBeardo blog, and that thing wouldn't allow me to post pictures. So here we are now, really horribly stretching the boundaries of this blog. But something this foaming-at-the-extremities berserk must be shared somewhere, and immediately. Love me, love my psychoses.
Cinderella with Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith. Alice in Wonderland with Kristine DeBelle. The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio with Uschi Digard and Dyanne Thorne. Fairy Tales with Angela Aames and Linnea Quigley and Anne Gaybis and Lindsay Freeman.
The list goes on, as does my fascination with 1970s' "adult" movie adaptations of beloved children's fairy tales extends back to my own childhood, when these things were cropping up everywhere.
The previous post here on Rock Trauma delves deep enough into this topic. Here, I'd like to share my effort to contribute to this (de)formative keystone in my own own young psychosexual undoing, as well as an effort to revive a Great Lost Art.
A year or so ago, as my freak-rock combo Gays in the Military was wrapping up the brown-ring circus tent, a couple of GitM collaborators -- specifically Meg McCarville a.k.a. Lil Princess and Miss Julie Fabulous -- introduced me to the zero-budget Chicago artsploitation studio Diamondcamp Films.
Diamondcamp's master(batory)mind Peter Lambert is an A-class chap and unique talent. I was not only happy to become friendly with him, it's been beyond a hoot to act in a couple of his productions: Green Lust (2008) and Dead American Woman (2009).
Seeing how I am a powerhouse Hollywood screenwriter (ever heard of a couple of little blockbusters called Devil in Miss Jones 5 or Sex Freaks or Gregory Dark's Flesh or Animal Instincts 3: The Seductress? Uh, yeah ... all penned by me), I aimed to work with Diamondcamp Films to mount the first major "erotic" Mother Goose adaptation in decades: a Hansel and Gretel reimagining titled HANDJOB AND GARGLE.
We had a game cast with Lil Princess and Porn Kid Joe in the title roles, Julie Fabulous and me as the parents and bloody-breasted performance artist Heather Marie as The Witch.
I even concocted what would surely be a first in the annals of boffo box office ballyhoo gimmicks: Live Nude Adult Mother-Daughter Breastfeeding!
Lil Princess was convinced that we could convince her real flesh-and-blood mom -- whom we nicknamed Big Princess -- to pull out her tits and let her topless daughter suck on them for the camera. I was even more convinced that I could convince here. Trust me: that shit was a go. All I needed to do was concoct the proper vehicle for it.
What follows is the treatment I wrote for HANDJOB AND GARGLE. Diamondcamp Films opted to complete work on some projects-in-progress before undertaking anything of this scope.
I still say this could and would -- and should -- make everyone involved a worshipped artist genius and world-famous billionaire.
What say YOU, reader? Have at it, below.
HANDJOB and GARGLE
The movie begins with Big Princess cooking breakfast in her kitchen. It's morning. She's wearing a robe and curlers in her hair. She calls upstairs to Lil Princess, telling her to come down and eat. Lil Princess yells back in annoyance: "Alright! Alright! Jesus CHRIST!"
Lil Princess then scowlingly enters the kitchen completely naked, takes a cigarette out of a pack on the table, and lights it up. Big Princess is appalled: "What is WRONG with you?! You're not supposed to smoke in your condition!" The camera closes-up on Lil P's pregnant belly.
Lil Princess barks back: "FUCK YOU, MOM!"
This makes Big Princess cry. She collapses into a rocking chair with her hand in her hands, sobbing as she wonders where she went wrong and what happened to her darling daughter, etc.
Lil Princess gets very sad, and goes to comfort Big P, rubbing her back and apologizing. She then curls up in her mother's lap and says, "I'm sorry, Mommy. I'll be good. Please tell me a story like you used to. Tell me the story about the brother and sister who get lost in the woods and go to the house made of candy where a witch lives. I love that one. And, please, mommy - will you give me some milk?"
Big Princess then takes her breast out of her robe, puts it in Lil P's happily sucking mouth, and begins telling her the story of "Handjob and Gargle."
Fade in to the cartoonish shanty residence of the Das Beardo Family - Big Dick Stepmammy (who is a woman but who, in fact, does have a lovely and fully-functioning big dick), Big Dick Daddy, Handjob, and Gargle. The house is decorated with topless pictures of Kate Moss, Milla Jovovich, Jane Birkin, and other famous women with huge, long nipples.
Big Dick Stepmammy is a wicked villainess in the classic Disney tradition, and she dresses the part.
Big Dick Daddy is a white power skinhead, although the only indication of this is his wardrobe, which is chock full of Skrewdriver t-shirts and the like.
Handjob and Gargle twin bother and sister, dressed in traditional Hansel and Gretel garb.
Times are tough for the Das Beardo clan. Big Dick Daddy can barely eke out a living at his job protecting the border of Dirty Storybook Land.
Big Dick Stepmammy is addicted to candy, which she forbids her children from eating.
We see Stepmammy forcing Handjob and Gargle to administer a Pixie Stick enema to her, and then she becomes furious when they try to lick the glistening remnants from her asshole.
Daddy comes home from work with pockets full of bodega candies, which he took from Mexican border-crashers during the day. He gives them right to Stepmammy, who orders Handjob and Gargle to eat organic rice, read McSweeney's publications, and listen to NPR.
We cut back to Lil P nursing from her mother's bosom and saying: "Ewwww!"
"That's right," Big P says, and commences with the story.
The only bright spot in the Gargle's life is how much Daddy loves her – especially her nipples. We see Daddy playing with Gargle's nipples as she giggles and coos.
Handjob takes solace in muscle magazines that he hides under his straw bed, and he dreams some day of being a professional oil boy for competitive bodybuilders. In the woods behind their house, Handjob hides a mannequin that he oils up and then orgasmically barks pageant commands at, such as "Clean jerk! Pump! Squat!", while he humps the ground.
One day, Stepmammy sees that someone has broken into her candy stash, and she is livid. She looks out at Handjob and Gargle playing in the yard, and decides that they have got to go.
Stepmammy and Big Dick Daddy lay side-by-side next to each other in bed. They are wearing normal nightclothes, with eye-goggles and their penises are exposed. Stepmammy brings up the topic of the children, and then blasts urine into Daddy's face. As he answers, he blasts urine back into Stepmammy's face. The entire conversation is punctuated by blasts of urine in the face.
When Big Dick Daddy expresses doubt about getting rid of the children, Stepmammy stands up and pisses directly into Daddy's mouth. She waves her dick in his face and tells him: "THEY go, or you can consider THIS goldmine all dried up."
We cut to Daddy taking Handjob and Gargle for a walk in the woods. He leads Gargle by the nipple. Handjob tries to sneak his Man-nequin along, but Daddy tells him it's okay.
Then Daddy instructs the kids to walk ahead and he'll catch up. He turns to run away, but he thinks of Gargle's nipples and dashes back to them. He pulls heaps of pills out of his pockets, and says, "Use this Viagra and female hormone supplements to leave a trail behind you so you can find your way home!"
The kids say okay and then take off, scattering the pills behind them. Daddy runs home. As Handjob and Gargle walk off into the distance, two Emmet-Kelly-style hobos crawl out of the forest and snort up the pills.
Cut back to Lil P and Big P.
Lil P asks, "Will Handjob and Gargle be all right?" Big P tells her, "Now hush and just listen! And let's change to the other tit." Big P takes out her other breast and puts it in Lil P's mouth. While Lip P suckles on one nipple, she tweaks the other with her fingers.
We fade back to Handjob and Gargle in the forest. As they walk, the hobos continue to snort up the trail of pills behind them. Handjob says it's getting late, and maybe they should turn back. Gargle notes that it's good they left their trail of pills.
The kids turn and see the cloaked figures, and gasp. Oh no! These creatures have been snorting up all their pills! "Who are you?"
The hobos leap up and tear off their shabby tramp clothes, revealing that they've been transformed into transsexuals with giant erections. They approach the children curiously. One lifts Gargle's skirt, sticks her finger in Gargle's pussy, sniffs her finger and screams. The other T-Hobo follows suit, then they grab Handjob's mannequin and run off.
Handjob and Gargle are scared. They don't know what to do. They're getting hungry and starting to freak out. Handjob suggests that they climb a tree for shelter. As they start to mount a tree, they notice that it has enormous human breasts. They look around and see that they're in the middle of a whole cluster of Titty Trees with enormous human breasts.
Best of all, the breasts squirt milk. Handjob and Gargle feast on the Titty Trees, going from one to another and sucking on the nipples. Gargle sticks her finger up her ass. When she pulls it out, it's covered in brown muck. She wipes the muck on a set of nipples and says, "Mmm! Chocolate milk!", then goes back to suckling.
Handjob sees this and thinks it's a good idea. He sticks a finger up his ass, but he goes so deep that he sprays blood from his rectum. He aims the blood-spray at one Titty Tree, covering the breasts in red.
Gargle cheers, "Yay! Strawberry milk!" and then licks the breasts clean.
Back home, while Stepmammy luxuriates in a bathtub filled with candy and masturbates with a Sno-Cone, Daddy is eaten up with guilt about abandoning the children. All he can think about is Gargle's nipples.
We see Daddy agonizing over Gargle's omnipresent nipples in a montage like the spinning bicycle wheels from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.
Daddy performs a Norse Pagan black-magic ritual and a bass-playing Wizard appears to him, accompanied by naked barbarian slave girls.
The Wizard fires off an epic, wicked bass solo as the slave girls gyrate, strip and make out. The music conjures up thunder, lightning, and a small earthquake.
Falling to his knees before the Wizard, Daddy humbly asks, "Will you help me? Will you help me find my daughter's nipples?"
The Wizard deadpans to Daddy, point blank: "No. Go do it yourself." And then he disappears in a puff of smoke.
Cut back to Hansel and Gretel sleeping intertwined with one another on the forest floor. Their pants are undone and their stomachs are bloated from all the milk. Without stirring, they casually urinate all over themselves and each other.
A naked, long-nippled woman twirling a Hula Hoop appears behind them. "Come children," she says. "Rise! Look into my nips!"
Handjob and Gargle stand up and become mesmerized by the hooping figure. Her nipples turn into vortexes that hypnotize the children. Then the nipples show the image of a house made of candy.
"Come, darlings," the hoop lady says. "Follow me."
Handjob and Gargle get sucked into the Hoop Girl's nipples in a psychedelic whirlwind of sexual imagery that is both repulsive and arousing while acid-rock blares on the soundtrack.
When Handjob and Gargle finally crash-land in front of the Candy House, they can't contain themselves. They run wild, licking, chewing and sucking on every inch of the structure.
Every few feet, there's a glory hole through which protrudes an actual hard cock or a bent-over girl's ass and pussy. Handjob and Gargle treat the private parts like any other treat and delightedly lick, slurp and suck on them.
Maggots and other vermin feast on the ground, drinking up Handjob and Gargle's candy drool and newly diabetic urine.
That's when the Witch throws open the door of the candy house and invites the children inside.
Cut back to Big P in the chair, as Lil P does a spit take, spraying milk everywhere, and says: "A witch!"
"Yes," nods Big P.
"And did she have a magic wand?" asks Lil P.
"Oh, yes," says Big P.
"Just like yours, Mommy?" asks Lil P, as she reaches down into her Big P's lap and pulls a vibrator out of her pussy, sniffs it, and smiles.
"Even more powerful than your Mommy's," Big P says, as Lil P goes back to suckling, and the story continues.
Big Dick Daddy goes out into the woods to search for Handjob and Gargle.
He comes across the T-Hobos having some kind of strange sex with Handjob's Man-nequin. Daddy recognizes it and demands to know where they got it. The T-Hobos take out their erections and challenge him to a duel.
Daddy takes out his boner and they engage in a good, old-fashioned fight with dick-swords that culminates with Daddy sodomizing each of them to death with one powerful thrust each. He then cleans his dick by flicking it the way Samurais do to get rid of the blood, only we see blood, shit and come fly off the cock and splatter on the dead bodies.
Big Dick Daddy then beats his chest and howls at the sky, "I need my daughter's perfect Aryan niiiihhhh-pullllz!"
Cut to the interior of the Witch's house.
It is a human zoo, where odd characters (including monster-jugged porn star Alix Lakehurst and other naked people) are kept in cages. Among them is the Zuni fetish doll from Trilogy of Terror, and Bad Ronald, who paints pictures of Atranta on the wall. The prisoners are fed vile things, and they shit out candy and ice cream treats, which the Witch uses to spackle her home.
The Witch summons her two servants. They're troll-like creatures who look like the monsters from the 1973 TV-movie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. Also, as in that film, the servants constantly whisper-chant: "Sally! Sally!"
The servants strip Handjob and Gargle, and the Witch inspects their naked bodies. She waves a hand over Gargle's pregnant belly, and we see an X-ray of a fetus with a beard just like Big Daddy's.
"This one's ready for milking!" the Witch says. The servants take Gargle, put cow horns on her head, and a cowbelly around her neck and lead her to a milking maching. She rests on all fours as her nipples are pumped into tubes, where her milk comes out as Shamrock Shakes, root beer, and cherry Slurpee.
The Witch inspects Handjob and says, "This one's not ready yet! Knock him up!"
The servants throw Handjob into a cage with a very eager Wiley, who's licking his lips and rubbing his hands together.
"And don't come out until he's good and pregnant!" the Witch orders.
Cut back to Stepmammy at home. She's eating red cotton candy, which prompts her to have flashbacks of Handjob's fluffy red pubic mound. She misses her sonny-boy, bursts into tears and explodes out the front door. She's going to retrieve her fire-pubed son!
Stepmammy tears through the forest on a rampage. She lays quick waste to each character who was previously encountered by the kids and Big Daddy.
The Wizard appears and whips up a storm by playing his bass. Stepmammy rips the guitar from him and rapes him with it, then uses the instrument to beat the boobs off the Titty Trees.
Covered in blood, guts, shit, and milk, Stepamammy rips into the disembodied boobs with her teeth and roars into the camera as she storms toward the witch's house. As she runs, her dress flies open and we see her erect cock.
Cut to Daddy on his hands and knees by a gloryhole on the side of the Witch's house. His plumber's crack is showing. Daddy keeps trying to push a boner out of the way so he can see what's going on inside, saying: "Move! Quit it! Lemme see!" He scoots over to another gloryhole, and tries to reason with a bent-over female butt. The butt farts loudly and sprays diarrhea into Daddy's face, which he wipes off with his fingers that he licks clean.
Stepmammy furiously runs up behind Daddy, and her dick crashes into his asshole. Stepmammy then pumps Daddy doggy-style as they discuss a plan get inside the house.
Cut to the Witch sitting on her throne, observing her prisoners manufacturing candy for her as she spouts off a monologue summing up her philosophy of the world.
The doorbell rings. The Witch sends her servants to answer it.
It's a unicorn with a penis for a horn. Obviously, its two people in a cheap horse costume, but it stands at the door butt-first, with the head turned completely around, facing inside the doorway. Daddy is on his hands and knees in the body of the unicorn. Stepmammy is wearing the front legs and head, still fucking Daddy's butt.
The Witch says, "Bring it in! We've been running short on GLUE to sniff around here lately!"
Stepmammy and Daddy throw off the costume and reveal themselves! Stepmammy speeds off to find the children and Daddy lunges at the Witch, dick-first. He strikes a fencing stance and shouts, "En Garde!"
The Witch yawns and spreads her legs. A long, long, super-agile penis grows out of her crotch, and takes on Daddy in another dick-duel. (The Witch's magic penis will actually be a puppet.)
Stepmammy races around freeing the prisoners.
The Zuni fetish doll, liberated from his cage, charges up to the Witch. He cuts off her magic penis and charges into her vagina. We see a lot of bulges in her pubic area and hear all kinds of terrible wet, slicing sounds, as Zuni carves his way out of the Witch's asshole.
There's a huge rumbling sound, and the Witch's taint explodes, sending a mighty gusher of candy into the air.
As candy rains down around them, Handjob and Gargle reunite with their parents in triumph.
The troll-like servants turn into two gigantic fat lesbians who call each other "Sally" and have sex.
Stepmammy tackles Handjob, a lovingly bites off big clumps of his public hair, which she chews and swallows.
Gargle pulls down her panties, and Big Dick Daddy chews her pubes into the shape of a swastika.
Stepmammy and Daddy lay back on the witch's undulating corpse as their children mount them reverse-cowgirl style. The parent's hold hands as they thrust their hips upward.
Gretel then pulls Daddy's cock out of her vagina, leans sideways like she's farting, and pumps out a live, newborn baby who has a full beard.
They rejoice and in unison cry out: "It's a girl!" They all lick the afterbirth off their new family member.
We hear Big Princess say: "And heterosexuality was restored, and they all lived hygienically ever after!"
Cut to Big P and Lil P in the chair, both masturbating, and talking - in stilted, sexual grunts - about how beautiful the story was. They each reach screaming, volcanic orgasms at the same time.
Then Lil P looks down at her crotch and joyously gasps: "Mommy, look!" Her pubes have been magically shaved into the shape of a swastika.
Big P looks down at her own crotch and sees that her pubes, too, have taken on the shape of a swastika.
Together mother and daughter hug and rejoice, licking each other's fingers and crying: "It's a miracle! It's a miracle!" They both then squat and give birth to babies with upside-down crosses congenitally etched in their foreheads.
The camera pulls back to show the entire cast of the movie sitting on floor around Big P and Lil P. Each one of them holds a baby with a swastika forehead.
In the manner of the final scene of The Trial of Billy Jack, Daddy stands up and sings a capella: "All we are saying / is give peace a chance." He repeats it as the cast slowly joins him by clapping along, and then singing as they stand, one by one.
When each cast member claps, they follow it with a "Heil Hitler" salute, until everyone is clapping, singing, and heiling. Interspersed with this are images of the UN, the puppets from "It's a Small World", Gandhi, JFK, MLK, and anti-pornography propaganda.
Each cast member then approaches the camera one at a time (or in pairs in the case of Stepmammy and Big Daddy; Handjob and Gargle; Big P and Lil P). They each take a bow, and walk off, still singing and clapping.
After the final bow, the camera pulls back, and points up to the sky, with the singing still going on. These words fade in on the screen:
"ALL we are saying is give PEACE a chance."
The words then dissolve into the image of a Christian cross, a Star of David and a Muslim crescent holding hands over the slain body of a yin-yang symbol.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
All I ever wanted was the glamorous life of a child pornography star.
I was ten years old and in the right place at what most consider now to be a very wrong time.
Musically, my ripe-for-psychoanalysis dream was embodied by “Hot Child in the City”, an impossibly lurid come-on by Nick Gilder.
In addition, “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer, with its sassy streetwalkers and garish images of neon-splattered urban sin, supplied even more context.
But “Hot Child in the City” and “Bad Girls” were, for me, a long time coming.
Forget Jaws and The Brady Bunch and disco sucking and Pet Rocks selling. The ’70s media sensation that ruptured my development irrevocably was the omnipresent coverage of shag-carpet-era Sexual Revolutionaries at their libidinously most unbridled.
The news, in its every format, came consistently ablaze with talk (and Films at Eleven!) of wife-swappers, swing clubs, nude beaches, topless bars, massage parlors, Hef & Gooch & Larry, and--above and beyond all--dirty movies.
My obsession started, healthily enough, with plain old movies. Life was horrible. Movies were not. I wanted as much relief in motion-picture form as I could get. Combine this with what overcame me when I stared at (and dug crotch-level holes in the carpet over) the Naked Lady Golf Tees in the Spencer Gifts catalog and the onward progression of my mental well-being pretty effectively froze right there.
And all that went down when I was around seven.
I started volunteering to pick up my grandmother’s daily newspapers in order to study the New York tabloids’ Arts & Leisure spots for the auteur efforts of Gerard Damiano and Little Oral Annie’s celluloid showcases.
When I was finally old enough to ride my bike off the block, I spent most Saturday mornings in Ponce-De-Leon-like exploration of Brooklyn, only I wasn’t hunting for any Fountain of Youth. I peddled, instead, on the lookout for Fountains of Spew, wildly two-wheeling for hours on end to find adults-only bijous. One would turn out to be the first porn palace I ever sneaked into -- the Cinema Kings Highway -- and it's still open and running (yes, very much like a sore)!
Once there, I’d park my bike on the opposite corner and stare. And stare. And stare. And muse while I was staring about what must have been going on inside. Of course, if pressed, I’m not sure I could exactly define exactly what I thought that was. But it was . . . sexy. And it involved naked ladies. This is what mattered. Sexy naked ladies. Doing sexy naked-lady things. All sexy, all naked. All naked and sexy. I really couldn’t put it into words, but I knew the name for it. It was the universally preadolescent term for all such heady concepts: Playboy.
First handling of Playboy: November 1975. Location: a laundry hamper used to store my family’s extra bedding. Rightful owner: Pops McBeardo. Centerfold: lush, soft, sweet, redheaded Janet Lupo (pictorial title: “Hooray for Hoboken!”).Cover story: “Sex in Cinema ’75.”
The entirety of my subsequent existence ignited at that moment of my discovery of that issue. I had a purpose: Get more Playboy. See more boobies. And butts. And whatever lay beneath Janet Lupo’s heaping stacks of lap-fro. More importantly, I needed to see the type of movies that were featured in the “Sex in Cinema” section. SOON. But how . . . ?
After much thought--and I mean more thought than any seven-year-old has ever expended on anything--I hit on my solution and cried out: “I NEED A SAILOR!”
Ain’t than an adorable thought--slight, towheaded tyke McBeardo (who some people still mistook for a girl at this point) out there propositioning sea dogs for hands-on assistance in my carnal development.
Here’s what I was thinking: What kind of gentlemen normally frequent venues of fleshly repute? The answer: Military men. And Navy dudes always seemed to be carrying around those big duffel bags everywhere--duffel bags that certainly appeared sizable enough to encase a quiet second-grader, even with my raging one-inch “extra.”
Thus I dreamt of slipping some swabbie a couple of bucks (from my First Communion booty, no less) in exchange for his stashing me in his gunny sack and then taking in a porn flick. I was more than willing to sweeten the pot if he’d pack the satchel with Playboys and a flashlight.
I mulled over the feasibility of this plan for years. Fortunately, I didn’t have much opportunity to dawdle much near New York’s waterfronts. Then.
Ferociously fanning the flames of my precocious skin-screen passions were the bizarre, only-in-the-’70s succession of “adult” adaptations of beloved storybook favorites. Please understand the confusion generated in my impressionable libido by the likes of The Newd Adventures of Snow White (1969), The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood (1969), The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio (1971) – and I was a Pinocchio nut to begin with – The Erotic Adventures of Zorro (1972), The Erotic Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1975), and The Amorous Adventures of Don Quixote (1976).
This puerile soft-porn succession led to two masterpieces of the form, the R-rated musical Cinderella (1977) with Cheryl “Rainbeaux” Smith and the bluntly titled omnibus Fairy Tales (1978), but only after the all-out assault on the senses mounted by the hardcore Alice in Wonderland (1976) across the summer of the Bicentennial.
“The world’s most popular bedtime story now really is a bedtime story. . . .” So intoned a kewpie-doll female voice in saturation radio spots touting the X-rated Alice that cropped up between spins of “More, More, More” by crossover (and connectible) porn queen Andrea True.
Coincidentally or not, the masturbation market’s curiously literal foray into childishness was followed, on a mass scale, by heightened public interest in the Real Deal.
Kiddie porn erupted all-encompassingly onto newsweekly covers, New York Post exposés, and every edition of ABC’s then-fledgling, Geraldo-powered 20/20, along with au courant installments of Starsky & Hutch and Lou Grant.
In addition, arguably higher-brow endeavors poked about in the same junior-size used-panties hamper. For instance, at your local art theatre (please note the “re” spelling), sophisticates could take in Brie-breathed filmmaker Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby (1978), wherein model/actress/sexual-dynamo Brooke Shields exhibited roughly the same amount of her raw physical being as Marilyn Chambers did in any given Mitchell Brothers production. And Brooke was a perfect ten. As in, born just a decade earlier.
Brooke then followed up Baby by announcing on TV commercials and extremely lickable print ads that nothing came between her and her Calvins. Get it?
I got it. I got it ALL.
My closest access to the black-market peddling of the pink-and-hairless, however, came via the Golden Age of the Made-for-Television movie.
Leading the pack was Linda Blair’s twin towers of genuinely seamy small-screen teen tempestuousness: Born Innocent (1974), with a proto-Abner-Louima misappropriation of broomstick that will forever elicit incredulous shrieks of “THIS was on TV?!”; and Sweet Hostage (1975), the blueprint for Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66 in which loony-bin coop-flier Martin Sheen kidnaps and falls for the pudgily pubescent future coke-squeeze of Superfreak Rick James.
Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (1976), stars Jan Brady (Eve Plumb!), helmed by the director of Grease and The Blue Lagoon (Randal Kleiser!) and featuring the finest-ever use of “Cherry Bomb” (by The Runaways!).
Huge props, as well, get doled to Diary of a Teenage Hitchhiker (1979), wherein Charlene Tilton extends more than her mere thumb, and Off the Minnesota Strip (1980), the tale of a Mare Winningham as wayward filly who returns to the Heartland after some time working passenger seats along New York City’s infamous underage hooker boulevard.
Even Sooner or Later (1979), a bittersweet rock-and-roll coming-of-age story that went on to keep Rex Smith in dinner-theater paychecks for decades, exudes an inescapable pedo vibe.
Sooner follows a 13-year-old groupie girl who passes herself off as 16 to captivate the too-tight trousers of the pseudo-Frampton played by Rexilicious. Again, this was a nonjudgmental prime-time depiction of a junior-high-schooler doing what was necessary to get laid.
The movie’s spin-off love theme, “You Take My Breath Away,” performed by Smith, became an AM-radio smash. I thought it was “gay.”
Decidedly NOT “gay” however, despite its eerily androgynous vocal, was an insomnia-sparking creepout that shared Top 40 space with Rex Smith titled “Hot Child in the City.” The artist was Nick Gilder. The lyrics go as follows:
“Danger in the shape of somethin' wild
Stranger dressed in black, she's a hungry child
So young to be loose and on her own
Young boys, they all want to take her home
Hot child in the city
Hot child in the city
Runnin' wild and lookin' pretty”
Mr. Gilder’s opus was ultimately translated into a 35-mm X-rated motion picture. I know this because I accompanied my mother on a shopping trip to Red Bank, New Jersey, one summer afternoon just to get a glimpse of the poster for Hot Child in the City: The Movie. It was playing at The Strand, a hardcore pull-yourself-palace smack in the midst of Red Bank’s otherwise charming antique stores and cozy cafes. I can’t stress enough: It was the ’70s. Nobody noticed.
The gottadamerung of Network Kidporn Programming, though, remains Fallen Angel (1980), starring the since-deceased Dana Hill (Audrey Griswold in the second Vacation movie) and Richard Masur (Ms. Romano’s schlemiel boyfriend on the first season of One Day at a Time) as muse and molester. Respectively.
Fallen Angel’s opening shot depicts a boy and a girl, maybe twelve, leaning into what looks like a romantic love scene. Suddenly, the boy, who’s shirtless, flubs his line of dialogue. An irate auteur shouts, “CUT!” and the camera pulls back to reveal a Hollywood-scale motion-picture set with grips, gaffers, a clapboard guy, Panavision equiment, towering lights, a craft-services table, and an army scurrying to placate the frazzled filmmaker.
This was the television industry’s idea of how child pornography got made.
And it sure looked all right to me.
At last, I understood the “truth” about child pornography: Those kids got to get NAKED and got to have SEX. And they got PAID to have NAKED SEX! And the more NAKED SEX they had, the more they got paid and the more bonuses they scored--wicked shit, too, like puppies and pinball machines.
From then on, a (now) distressingly dominant share of my daydreaming was dedicated to imaging myself as a Child Pornography Star.
I envisioned lightin’ out of Flatbush all Huck-Finn-like on the F train (I swear, it was really the “F” train). Destination: Times Square.
Upon arriving at the Crossroads of the World, I’d seek out one of those “Chickenhawks” that I’d been studying up on. These were the child pornography industry’s talent scouts--keen-eyed gents in the know who corralled sweet-faced young-uns into the bang-biz.
The movies always depicted Chickenhawks as the “bad guys” but, to me, they’d be my ticket to hot times between the sheets with an endless succession of elementary-school lovelies, where I’d perform brilliantly and be rewarded with Coleco football games and all-the-root-beer-you-can-guzzle wrap parties.
Of course, I was suffering under the idiotic delusion that child pornography depicts its subjects enjoying warm, giggly, mutually groovy hetero high jinks. The raped-to-death and tossed-in-the-trash reality of such business didn’t really occur to me.
For a while.
Still, a boy can meditate to the tones of “Hot Child in the City” and imagine hanging out with high-heeled “Bad Girls” and hump the mattress of his bunk-bed and dream, can’t he?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Hard Rock and Lite Metal was what I was listening to in the waning days of my tenure at the High School of St. Francis Xavier on West 16th Street in Manhattan. It was music that I'd always been drawn to, but it took a backseat for a few pugilistic years of puberty. I had (what seemed like) solid reasons.
In part, it was because the full-blown drag queen's sense of camp that I had naturally developed by age five was something best downplayed at a Catholic all-boys military academy. And it was also because, back then, and maybe still today, adolescent class warfare was waged along what you wrapped yourself in – sneaker brands, collars-up or collars-down choices and, above all, who that was coming out of your Walkman.
Seventh and eighth grade at Our Lady Help of Christians elementary school – ten million miles away, across one bridge (or tunnel, if you wanted to pay a toll) and two expressways, in Flatbush, Brooklyn – had its soundtrack provided by a pair of still slightly progressive album-oriented rock stations (WPLJ and WNEW-FM), the withering teat of AM pop presented by cattleprod-hyper DJs (WNBC and WABC, which flipped to all talk in '82) and a momentarily exploding adult-contemporary outlet (WYNY - the Atlantic Seaboard's very anchor for what we would later goof on/revere as "Yacht Rock").
I won't pretend I didn't love what those mainstream hacketerias were dishing out in favor of like, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks or whatever, but I did know enough at the time to at least drop names like Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (or whatever).
My sense of cultural curiosity was nourished and stimulated by my extreme right-wing, ex-Green-Beret, Vietnam-vet father's inexplicable dedication to bringing home the Village Voice every Wednesday (it wasn't even like the Voice had copped massage parlor ads from Screw at that point, so I've long since bailed on trying to figure out Pops' motivation), and New Jersey's cosmically underappreciated afternoon children's TV program, The Uncle Floyd Show.
The saga of Uncle Floyd could (and should) make for an epic poem. From a shanty studio in the glamorous Garden State came this a brilliant, bizarre mélange of ancient vaudeville, classic kiddie show schtick, avant garde theater and groovy, unwashed, mustachioed '70s "head" humor, along one other crucial element: punk rock.
Broadcasting 30 minutes away from CBGB's, The Uncle Floyd Show's daily musical guest was routinely one of the just-congealing New York area punk ensembles, to the point that the Ramones essentially became Floyd's house band.
Big leaguers like the Talking Heads, Blondie and The Voidoids all put in appearances, but so did record-collector curiosities such as The Mumps, The Shirts, Tuff Darts, Thor, Shrapnel, The Rattlers (featuring Joey Ramone's brother), whatever rodent-chomper Joe Coleman's combo was called and one terrifying freak-out-inducer named The Chuckleheads.
Floyd's appeal worked its way northward through the rock infrastructure to the point that David Bowie turned up at one of the cast's live performances at The Bottom Line in 1980. There, Bowie revealed that John Lennon had turned him on to the program, and that he and Iggy Pop never missed it whenever they were in New York. Bowie remained sufficiently enamored of Uncle Floyd to write a song about him in the far-off future of 2002 ("Slip Away" from the album Heathen). It's one of the heaviest things you'll ever hear.
Again, this was a kiddie show. And I was a kiddie. Watching, and listening, intently.
Outside of the comedic antics, the aforementioned Ramones were my favorite part of The Uncle Floyd Show. Their music sounded like bubblegum mixed with horror movies. Coupled with my thumbing through the Village Voice, I was even able to cajole my way (with an older cousin) to a midnight screening of Rock-N-Roll High School (1979) shortly after its release. It was all the way in the actual Village.
My other seminal rock-TV moment of this era was the May 15, 1982 edition of Saturday Night Live. Danny DeVito hosted. Sparks handled musical guest duties. The Brothers Mael performed "Mickey Mouse" from Angst in My Pants, and it instantaneously prompted me to pledge allegiance to New Wave.
That would change.
New Wave remained a popular catch-all term as I entered high-school. As long as it meant the Ramones and Sparks, I wanted in on it. But much like the freshman-nerds sitcom Square Pegs, whose Devo-worshipping character Johnny Slash repeatedly assured all who asked that he was not punk-rock, but New Wave – "totally different head" – what once held so much bright promise to short, plump, 14-year-old me proved repulsively disappointing.
Upon witnessing some creep classmate of mine from the Upper East Side wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt but mouthing along with the lyrics of Depeche Mode’s wussy-in-every-possible-way “People Are People” pumping out of his headphones, I pledged myself to whatever it might be that such bait-and-switch scumdogs would most despise.
That meant, in general, heavy metal and prog-rock. For me, specifically, that meant Rush and Pink Floyd.
Over the next three-and-a-half years and countless beat-downs, emotional and otherwise, that was the music I’d wander down to buy used at St. Marks Sounds and Venus Records, in defiance of my old man’s proclamation: “If I ever catch you below 14th Street, I’ll beat the shit out of you! And I have eyes all over that neighborhood that have already identified you! So don’t ever let me catch you below 14th Street! Ever!”
Floyd, Rush, Queen, King Crimson, Yes, Jethro Tull, Zappa, ELP, ELO, Peter Gabriel’s Genesis and their ilk were also the bands I researched by hanging out in the book section of It’s Only Rock-and-Roll, a memorabilia shop on (fuck you again, Pop) 8th Street.
Heavy Metal, per se, was the domain of legitimately repugnant dirt-mongers who drank in Greenwood Cemetary and probably did, as was rumored, crucify kittens and make upside-down cross necklaces out of their bones. I was also, in high Catholic fashion, still very much afraid of the Reality of Satan.
Copping a move from the fakes who’d listen to Spandau Ballet and The Thompson Twins but then write Black Flag and Dead Kennedys on their notebooks – making a connection that was utterly ludicrous but, alas, omnipresent – I’d groove to Mountain and Ten Years After but then adorn my book bag with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest buttons.
I at least liked Maiden and Priest, musically. I was just too scared to keep their albums in my house (let alone Black Friggin' Sabbath).
My radio was on all the time, too, usually tuned to the rock station, but always keenly in touch with the Top 40.
As high-school graduation loomed, all the pomp and circumstance in my record collection started to seem … goofy. And then that idea started to creep out into all rock, period.
Consider the era.
First came the one-two-billios Self-Congratulatory Rock Star blows of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, "We Are the World" and Live Aid.
U2 took flight en route to becoming the biggest, worst band in the history of the world.
On the FM dial, Album-Oriented Rock radio was quickly transitioning into the damnable jukebox of Classic Rock radio, and powered by christawful simultaneous solo hits from Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend – do worse listening experiences exist than “Under a Raging Moon” and “Face the Face”? – it’s easy to understand how the brain-rotted masses just wanted to hear the same 15 songs on repeat forever, interrupted only by commercials for Honda of Minneola.
Rock-Seriousness even ruined marijuana for me. While passing the bong with my pals Reggie and Gio as “Kashmir” wafted out of nearby speakers, talk turned to what might happen if Led Zeppelin ever embarked on a reunion tour. At one dizzying high point, Gio marveled: “Do you realize that there would be NATIONWIDE RIOTS?”
At that moment, I decided: “You know, weed just ain’t for me!”
(Fret not, though, inebriation devotees – a few years later, I’d be a hardcore alcohol and narcotics addict.)
On top of this was hostility among my peers to The Beatles with which I could never sympathize. The charge, most often, was that they played wimpy fluff music, as opposed to the deep-and-dark stylings of, say – yeccch – The Who (yes, them again).
All this led me to kind of actually hating rock music for a little while. Not all rock music, but certainly that of the capital-R variety. I turned back to the sounds that initially caught my ear in the crib: bubblegum, novelty records, and unselfconscious power-pop.
That meant The Monkees and The Archies, Tiny Tim and Dr. Demento compilations, and Sweet and The Raspberries.
Those last two bands proved especially intriguing as they were clearly “hard rock” acts, but you could still hear the connection between them and, say, The Cowsills, and nothing else exuded such vital energy since disco stormed the party in the late ’70s.
But then I heard the oddest damn bass notes emanate from the clock radio in Mr. Bambury’s office at school. A bunch of us were hanging out there and, after Howard Stern signed off, those notes – sort of clucking, sort of thumping – took over my consciousness, followed by a guitar-lead that sounded like somebody had imbued one of those old (and toxic!) Giggle-Stick toys with divine powers.
This turned out to be New York’s FM radio debut of “Why Can’t This Be Love” by Van Halen, featuring brand new lead singer Sammy Hagar. Grumble what you will about the Van Hagar that followed, but that initial blast pumped explosive fresh air into commercial hard rock as nothing else had for at least a decade.
It felt relevant to my circumstances, too. With prom night approaching, I’d begun a psychotic weight-loss regimen that would ultimately take me from a junior-league-heart –attack-courting 265 pounds to a human-sized 163.
One motivation was my prom date Tara Sullivan who was, at that point, essentially the only female I knew who wasn’t related to me. She never viewed me in any kind of romantic context, but I imagined that with my shrinking bloat and my suve rented tux and the plaintive wail of “Why Can’t This Be Love” blaring in the back of our limo, that maybe I’d have a shot.
The prom came and went. I had no shot.
However, I did have AC/DC’s “Who Made Who” crop up on the radio shortly thereafter with its booming, intriguingly danceable beat, demonic dervish Angus Young lead, and steadily building suspense pumped up by lyrics about video games taking over the world or something.
“Who Made Who”, too, pulsated with a connection to Badfinger and Brownsville Station, AND it was the theme song from Stephen King’s upcoming directorial debut, Maximum Overdrive!
Just as I relaxed in the notion that AC/DC had created Mike McPadden’s Personal Theme Song, Blue Öyster Cult whelped forth its Club Ninja album. For starters, it contained a vocal cameo by Howard Stern, who was a cousin-by-marriage of BÖC frontman E. Bloom.
Better still was the album’s first single, “Dancin’ in the Ruins”, a relentlessly catchy nuclear blast of substantive heaviosity with a sunshiny 70s AM-radio heart pounding beneath its snarling power-metal exterior.
Lyrically, “Dancing in the Ruins” spoke to me – and maybe me alone – like nothing else as I prepared to depart for college.
Tomorrow soon turns into yesterday.
Everything we see just fades away.
There's sky and sand where mountains used to be.
Time drops by a second to eternity.
It doesn't matter if we turn to dust;
Turn and turn and turn we must!
I guess I'll see you dancin' in the ruins tonight!
Dancin' in the ruins!
Guess I'll see you dancin' in the ruins tonight!
My first seventeen years had been a calamity.
But I had just shrunken myself from a 42-inch waist to a 30. I could fit in medium-sized t-shirts, for the love of fuck.
My skin was clear from basting my hide in the sun for a month.
I used the dough I made sweating it out as a doorman on Park Avenue all summer to pick up contact lenses.
I was off to study filmmaking – my life’s dream! – at an art school distantly removed from Brooklyn in cultural terms, but still close enough to The City that I could partake of Manhattan’s freak attractions.
There would be girls there, too.
Girls who knew about movies.
Girls who could appreciate milk crate after milk crate crammed with novelty records.
Nobody would know me as Ebert.
Nobody would see me as “Dom Deluise with zits and glasses.”
Oh, the places I was going to go!
“Dancin’ in the Ruins” – the day I turned 18, and the morning after, when my parents drove me to campus for the first time – that’s how it felt.
But that’s when my life REALLY went down the shitter.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
1. Playground in My Mind – Clint Holmes
Call me Mike.
Mike is not my actual name and it’s certainly not the only one to which I’ve every answered.
At age 10, for reasons to be disclosed later, I was deemed Humper by my parochial school playmates. Charming, no?
In high school, because of a similar-sounding surname association with Hollywood’s Van Patten family, friends called me Vince. The other, more obvious, option would have been Dick. I lucked out on that one.
Less benign – and only appreciated much later in life – was my other high-school moniker, arising in part from my preoccupation with cinema, but mostly from being a bespectacled fatboy with a predilection for sweater-vests: “Ebert.”
Then, in the early 1990s, I re(anti)christened myself Selwyn Harris. It was a commingling of the names of the last two grindhouse theaters on New York’s salacious
42nd Street entertainment strip (pun very much intended with that last word), the final holdovers from the city’s pre-AIDS, pre-crack, pre-sensible-adults-in-charge heyday.
Of that time and of those places, one might say, as Simon and Garfunkel did decades earlier, that Selwyn Harris took some comfort there.
In the beginning, though, I was Mike or, more specifically, Michael.
And circa 1973, Michael was the worst possible name anybody could wish on a ruddy-cheeked, blue-eyed kindergartener whose bowl haircut got him mistaken uncomfortably often for a girl.
The reason? One man and one AM radio smash – namely, biracial song-and-dance dork Clint Holmes, who charted high with a schmaltztastic discharge of childhood reminiscence titled “Playground in My Mind,” the sing-song chorus of which goes:
My name is Michael
I got a nickel
I got a nickel, shiny and new
I’m gonna buy me
All sorts of candy
That’s what I’m gonna do
Thus, from age four-and-a-half until “Playground in My Mind” slipped from the public mind and/or I morphed from an adorable towhead into a constantly distraught, fey, overweight nebbish – right about when I turned 10 – any time I was introduced to anyone, the person I met inevitably burst into:
“My name is My-kull, I got a nick-kull…”
I couldn’t stand it.
By any sane measure, “Playground in My Mind” is a dreadful thing. I write that as a devoted fan of the softest of soft rock, the bubbliest of bubblegum and all manner of contrived pop-cult nonsense. Still, Mr. Holmes’ treacle is just … indigestible.
Especially egregious in “Playground” is how, when the chorus comes around, Holmes’ semi-soulful, pseudo-Tom-Jonesish tenor is joined by a pinched-testicle falsetto back-up vocalist meant to suggest his Inner Li’l Clint exploding into the Wonder of Music. The true horror occurs in the second chorus:
My girl is Cindy
When we get married
We’re gonna have a baby or two
We’re gonna let them
Visit their grandma
That’s what we’re gonna do
The only strand of luck in all this is that I didn’t know anybody named Cindy until my late teens and, by that point, she spelled her name Syndi anyway.
Cruel Irony #1 of this post-toddler, pre-prepubescent punishment was that Michael isn’t even my name. Legally, today, I am William Michael McPadden. But that’s not what my birth certificate reads.
On August 21, 1968, the Great State of New York welcomed to its citizenry a newborn officially deemed “Male McPadden.”
Male – as in my gender, as in I was taken home from Brooklyn’s Methodist Hospital with nothing formal to call me, as in this lack of proper nomenclature speaks volumes.
I came about as the result of a physical union between a Flatbush kindergarten teacher and a Green Beret who, at the time of my arrival, was sweating it out in the jungles of Vietnam.
I’d like to imagine that my being stemmed from an act of affection. However, my parents’ post-partum argument as to what to call me – a berserk dust-up conducted across a distance in excess of 7,000 miles – suggests that maybe their relations were as, let’s say, off-the-goddamned-wall from the start as they would remain forever after.
Mom wanted me to be William. It was a family tradition – her father was William and his first-born son was William, too. So that was precisely the issue Pops had with the whole idea: her family.
He viewed my grandfather as a skinflint pain in the ass, and my uncle as an insidious hippie and, while not insanely off-point on either assessment, he preferred the name Michael regardless.
Michael – as in the Archangel, as in the patron saint of soldiers and police officers, as in the sword-wielding winged dynamo who cast Satan and his minions into Hell after serving as God’s General during the War in Heaven (read your Ezekiel – it’s in there).
Here on Earth, Pops clearly had some expectations of his boy.
Several days subsequent to my joining the diaper-soiling set, those two loons compromised. For documentation purposes, I would be William Michael McPadden, but they’d call me Michael.
Michael – as in (a few years later), the diabetes-inducing dipshit from Clint Holmes’s “Playground in My Mind.”
2. Little Willy – Sweet
Cruel Irony #2 is that simultaneous with the Top 40 rise of “My name is Michael” was that of one of pop-rock’s most perfect concoctions, a thrilling amalgam of candy-metal guitar bombast and nursery-rhyme irresistibility.
That song was “Little Willy” by an English glam five-piece known, appropriately, as Sweet.
And had my parents not saddled me (after intercontinental combat) with a out-of-order moniker that has caused me no end of irritation from that stupid Clint Holmes chant to constant explanations when it comes time to cash a check. “Little Willy” is what people would have serenaded me with when I was growing up.
This lesson I learned early: life is not Sweet.
3. Half-Breed – Cher
I heard some older neighbor kids singing "Half Breed" along with the radio. I thought it was "Care Free," like the gum. Later, I sang "Care Free," trying to be cool. They were nice to me, but I felt like a tool. And that's a truly misheard lyric, unlike "Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy."
4. Live and Let Die – Wings
Whenever it got to the really James Bondish part, I’d always slide my eyes back and forth, all spy-like. Until I got busted.
5. The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot
More misheard foolishness, specifically the line, “The gales of November came early,” which I took to be, “The GIRLS of November came early,” and it made me picture some girls from my third-grade class – led by the impossibly luminous Deidre Flynn – wearing bikinis. In November.
6. Reminiscing – The Little River Band
The closest I ever came to getting massacred by a homicidal pedophile (that I know) occurred when I was playing miniature golf with my friend Mickey Cosgrove in Keansburg, New Jersey.
“Reminiscing” was playing in the arcade, and I imagined the words describing my life in 60 years or so, as I sat with my wife (who I met in college, but who also may have been my next-door-neighbor Lisa) looking back on our decades of romance. Reminiscing about those thoughts makes me wish that the child-eater had consumed me whole.
7. I’d Really Love to See You Tonight – England Dan and John Ford Coley
After seeing England Dan and John Ford Coley perform on American Bandstand, I spent the afternoon in my grandmother’s downstairs bathroom, spinning the dial on her transistor radio toilet paper holder, hoping to hear the song again. I did, several times, and I thought it really, really rocked.
8. Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road – Elton John
In the wake of Manson devotee Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme’s attempt on the life of President Gerald Ford, Time magazine ran a topless shot of her (and another half-naked Charlie groupie).
This was a sight I could not possibly stare at long enough. To keep my cover, though, I put the magazine inside sheet music for “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road” at my aunt’s house, and I just sat transfixed.
Eventually, she caught on to what I was doing and took my Squeaky away. Then we drove my grandmother to the airport. She was flying to Rome to go see the pope.
9. Pretty Vacant - Sex Pistols
It was 1977 and I lived in New York City and the first word in their name was the topic by which I was most head-spinningly captivated so, yeah, I was hip to the Pistols. I never actual heard their music, though, until they appeared on some recklessly eclectic CBS variety special wherein Telly Savalas touted their appearance by announcing: “Coming up, the FABULOUS Sex Pistols.”
So these four malnourished hobos fired up their instruments and one started screaming and, no, this is not the part where I talk about seeing God and understanding why I was put on this earth and how everything up to that moment was in black-and-white and now – POW – I experienced life in Technicolor.
I just thought the Sex Pistols were soil-your-shorts hilarious.
Really, I thought they were incompetent and I couldn’t believe this was being passed off as entertainment, and the whole scam cracked me up.
Prior to “Pretty Vacant,” two other musical moments struck me as similarly “who-do-they-think-they’re-fooling” uproarious: the first time I heard Jim Morrison sing “Light My Fire” and the very idea of Sonny Bono’s voice on “I Got You Babe.”
Years later, I learned to love the Sex Pistols -– as well as Sonny & Cher – straight up. But at some point, the Doors elicited anything from me but smiles.
10. The Things We Do for Love – 10cc
The Olympic-sized, open-to-the-public Belvedere pool in Keansburg attracted all kinds of cool teenagers, along with nine-year-old me, who walked around when this song came over the PA system conducting imaginary conversations with them. Actually, it was just them talking to me, saying stuff like “Great party!” and “Your private pool with a snack bar and pinball machines is far-out!” – but just in my head. I was there alone. Nobody was talking to me. And vice versa. Had I been wise, I'd have gotten used to that set-up. But wise, I am not, guy.