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Area Man Brutalized By Pop Tart

The relief map of Hawaii you see on my hand in this photo comes courtesy of a Family Dollar brand frosted toaster pastry (a.k.a. a fake Pop Tart). During this morning’s toasting procedure, the pastry cracked, allowing a few globs of s’more-flavored filling to leak out. Said globs came in contact with my palm as I attempted to remove the pastry from my non-industrial toasting device, searing me like a branding iron.

Coincidentally, just yesterday I was joking on Twitter about the possible radioactivity of Family Dollar brand frosted toaster pastries. Oh, how carefree I was in my mirth, unaware of the shocking and dangerous truths at hand.

I’ve been toasting edibles for over thirty years and nothing like this has ever happened before. Family Dollar, why do you put lava in your frosted toaster pastries? More importantly, why don’t you list the lava in the ingredients? I would have never purchased your off-brand Pop Tarts had I known they contain molten rock.

Yes, I’ve already picked myself up a nice pair of toaster-friendly wooden tongs. Thank you for your concern.

Q: Whattya Reading Lately?

A: Thirty-Nine Years Of Short-Term Memory Loss by Tom Davis; yes, he jumps all over the place and spends too much time talking about the Grateful Dead, but it’s still an entertaining read that offers many a colorful Al Franken story (if you can’t handle Al Franken at his worst you don’t deserve him at his best). All I Did Was Ask by Terry Gross; she mines gold out of Albert Brooks and Grandmaster Flash, manages to handle the entitled jackassery of Gene Simmons with grace. Flipped through Growing Up Brady by Barry Williams; apparently he had great difficulty straightening his hair as a youth. Flipped through Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank? by Robin Gardiner; reads like incomplete text book translated from a few different languages.

Just started Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking; so far so candid and engaging.

Unsolicited Musings On “Weird Al” Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun

- Mandatory Fun’s cover is funny, but not as funny as the fact we could go to war with North Korea over that James Franco movie

- my issues with late period Yank: he doesn’t scream as much as he used to, and rarely do any songs break mid-tempo (even the polka medley here speeds too safely); in Al’s defense, he’s creeping up on 55, and he went plenty nutso on his older albums

- I want to say the Lorde parody “Foil” should be longer to milk more out of the subject twist, but laborious college fight send-up “Sports Song” proves brevity is the soul of wit

- “Word Crimes” is disappointing because Al spends more time just shitting on the grammatically ignorant instead of trying to educate them; it’s very “get off my lawn,” but at least his heart’s in the right place

- Mandatory Fun’s polka medley may be caught in second gear but it’s also plenty fun, as most of his medleys prove to be

- while I appreciate Al taking the piss out of Frank Black on his Pixies style parody “First World Problems,” the song itself is nowhere near as clever as the first world problem rap that mush-mouthed teen posted to YouTube a few years ago; this could be because mush-mouthed teen legit feels the struggle and Al is (generationally?) removed from that kinda thing

- a few of Mandatory Fun’s originals lean alt country, which makes one wonder what a non-weird Yank album would be like at this point; maybe like Wilco, with more references to boogers and socket wrenches?

- “Weird Al” has some major cajones calling out other people for being tacky (“Tacky”) when you consider the fact he’s worn nothing but Hawaiian shirts for his entire career

- overall, Mandatory Fun is limp; not one song is on par with classic Yank, and the album’s closing ballad “Jackson Park Express” (a tale of love and miscommunication on public transit) could be the least engaging song Al’s ever done; of course, it’s all lightyears better than whatever Dr. Elmo’s doing right now, and what do you want from a guy twenty-six years after “Stuck In A Closet With Vanna White?”

- this would be a great place to post a link to the interview I did with “Weird Al” in 2011 where he clears up that rumor about getting punched by Billy Joel’s wife; alas, evil forces have taken it offline

- yes, I am bragging that I interviewed “Weird Al”; career lulls aside, he’s still “Weird Al,” American comedy god, hero of my youth, the Gozer of parody

Give Me Delta Or Give Me Death

Orlando Weekly let me go last week. They said it was a budget thing, but to be honest with you I think they were sick of me pitching Delta Burke stories every day. Hey, it’s not my fault the world’s most beautiful and talented actress hails from this corner of the universe. It’s like Plato said: you can either get on the Delta Burke train or you can get flattened by it.

Stay tuned for the soft launch of my new periodical, Burke Beat, where you’ll finally learn “the real deal” about Delta’s experiences overseas filming Where The Hell’s That Gold?

Jerry Only Moves For Dismissal Of Danzig Trademark Lawsuit

The warring parties of Only and Danzig in 1983. Photo by Bill Daniel.

You bet your life there’s gonna be a fight: Misfits bassist Jerry Only and his lawyers have moved to dismiss the lawsuit Misfits founder Glenn Danzig brought against Only in May for trademark infringement and breach of contract, claiming Danzig has no evidence to back his myriad allegations and also that the singer waited too long to make this legal move.

“By his own insistence, Danzig has had no association with the Misfits since at the latest 1994,” Only’s filing state, going on to make the accusation that the singer is attempting to “unfairly profit” from “belatedly recogniz[ing] the [Misfits'] value” (Danzig is seeking $75,000 in damages from profits lost due to Only’s activities). The term “naked money grab” is also used at one point, which conjures up quite the image if you’re not expecting it in relation to Glenn Danzig.

Danzig’s original suit alleges that in the early 2000s Jerry Only fraudulently put his name on various Misfits logos/trademarks that, per a previous legal settlement, were supposed to be co-owned by band members. Only now claims that original settlement did in fact grant him full use of those logos and trademarks, and that even if they hadn’t, Danzig waited too long to do anything about. The statute of limitations in a situation like this is six years; Danzig had patent objections pending against Only for “nearly ten years” with no conclusion, and his lawsuit comes “approximately fourteen [years]” after the disputed breaches of contract.

Danzig concedes that by 2005 he even had actual knowledge of the underlying facts to exercise his purported rights…yet chose to wait nine more years before bringing his claim.”

This could play into Only’s other serious counter: that Danzig can offer no concrete evidence Jerry’s merchandising activities have cost him business. Indeed, there is no specific example cited in Danzig’s claim of a licensing deal gone south thanks to Jerry Only’s interference.

Touching on the aforementioned legal settlement, a.k.a. the 1994 Misfits Agreement: it states that “the parties shall be co-owners of the name and trademarks of the Misfits and all logo(s) and artwork…previously associated therewithin.” However, Jerry now argues that in “renouncing” the band at that time Danzig also renounced his claims to these logos and trademarks. Although there is no specific language in the ’94 Agreement that covers the contingent of a Misfit abandoning his rights, the “Merch” section ends by saying “the plaintiffs and Danzig will each retain 100% of what each earns from the exploitation of merchandising rights and neither [party] has any obligation to account to the other for revenue derived…”

That sounds like it might be tough to beat. Do note the entire merch outline in the ’94 Agreement is but a paragraph long. It would seem Danzig (at that time the defendant) had little idea as to the exact windfalls of cash the Misfits logos would yield in the following decade—thanks, mostly, to his letting Jerry get out there and reform the band without him.

Not everything with Jerry is rock solid here, though. The bassist’s legals throw out a few sentences that are sure to rub longtime fans as dubious at best. To wit: the part about the Crimson Ghost (a.k.a. “the Fiend Skull”) being “uniquely developed by and identified with” Jerry’s ’90s version of the band, a logo he’s claiming “the 1977-1983 incarnation of the Misfits never used as a trademark.”

If he’s referring to the weird 3-D Crimson Ghost that popped up around 1997, sure, that’s undoubtedly a “NewFits” logo, but there is no staggering difference between that emblem and the “Fiend Skull” that appeared on the front of the 1979 “Horror Business” single and the back of the 1980 Beware EP and on the back of 1981’s Walk Among Us album and all over the Misfits’ amplifiers and wrist bands and guitar straps circa ’82.

[Never mind the fact that every "Fiend Skull" in Misfits history is a shallow derivative of something "uniquely developed" by Republic Pictures for a 1940s film serial.]

Even stranger: Jerry’s motion literally says that what is even worse than Danzig making all these claims is the fact the singer filed his papers in California. “[Danzig] seeks to drag [me] 3,000 miles across the country to defend against his deficient claims.” Methinks the $75k Danzig seeks in damages is more crippling than a plane ticket, but who knows, maybe Jerry’s got some paranoia about earthquakes.

Two other bits of interest:

- Jerry Only boasts that he and his company Cyclopian Music “have developed the Misfits into an iconic lifestyle brand”; that translates to “we got the Misfits logo on shoelaces”

- “it is legally irrelevant with what person or entity, if any, consumers associate a mark and, more precisely, this cannot constitute the likelihood of consumer confusion”; Jerry’s missing the point here in the sense that Misfits fans aren’t worried with marketplace overlap, they just want to make sure they’re giving their money to the Misfit they agree most with artistically (even if Danzig is found guilty of framing Jerry for everything in the past three decades there will still be a loyal army of spenders who live to dump their paychecks into his wallet because of How The Gods Kill)

Said it before, saying it again: justice should prevail in this war. May the guilty be punished and the innocent spared. Also, maybe one side or the other could think about putting Googy on a t-shirt? Need to show my drummer pride.

4th Of July Gluttony Report

- General Tso’s serving large enough to stun Dikembe Mutombo

- equally large fried rice hill of the pork variety

- cup of froyo dusted w/ so much graham cracker I now have Wonka Lung

- several “gluten-free” cream sodas (like that makes a difference)

- three tiny pieces of broccoli

- two coffees

- two pieces of toast w/ Nutella just before bed

Needless to say, I do not feel like participating in a Tough Mudder today. This is where I make a defensive joke about how my shitty eating reflects the true values of America. Blah blah blah it’s my constitutional right [fart noise] Jefferson died so I could be an angry marshmallow man are you gonna finish that spiral ham?

Kal-El’s Consolation Prizes

“I know it must feel pretty crummy to be crowded you out of your own sequel. It’s really not your fault. No one could have predicted audiences wouldn’t connect with an underwear-on-the-inside Superman. At least you got this sweet chair and the t-shirt. What’s on it again? Bunch of logos from companies no one’s heard of? Ah, it’ll be a knock around the house shirt!”

¡Viva Gorditas!

Found this gem at my parents’ house a couple weeks ago, failed to unload it on eBay for ninety-nine cents. I guess the revolution is over.

Is this the same lonely aching “ALF” fans felt when they discontinued selling his puppets at Burger King? Now that was a promotion. I remember my mom driving me clear across Connecticut to obtain Heavy Metal ALF!

Q: Who’s Your Favorite “SCTV” Cast Member?

A: What an outrageous question. I am outraged! I can’t pick one. They were all fantastic. If they were all drowning and I had only one life preserver I’d jump in myself because I wouldn’t want to be burdened with that decision.

Q: What’s The Worst Job You’ve Ever Had?

A: There was an academic snafu in my junior or senior year of college that kept me out of class for a semester, so I took a job in a call center. It was customer service for a cable company, troubleshooting and helping people with billing issues. Pure misery always just sorta hangs over places like that. This was no different. Management treated everyone like they were serving detention. The break room was the size of a broom closet. The computer system we were working with had been constructed some time during Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

And, of course, every other call that came in was some idiot who hadn’t paid his/her cable bill in fifteen months but was still apoplectic that their service was being (or had been) disconnected. Once I had to mediate a physical altercation between a customer and a field technician who was attempting to shut off her cable. Obscenities, punches, and handheld items were being thrown. Meanwhile, my “team lead” was more concerned with my tone or how long I was taking to resolve the issue.

The whole endeavor was just a smoldering wasteland of negative energy. The paychecks barely qualified as justification. On the other hand, when I was a bus boy at Perkins they made me dig unused jelly packets out of the trash, rinse off the gunk, and put them back on the tables, and I suppose that’s a more finite version of complete fucking hell. I got free soda at Perkins, though. Nothing was free at the call center except pain.

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