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DTH Omnibus Page 3
Thursday November 16, 1989
'Blues is the purest thing in this life, better
than love, good wine or Bugs Bunny cartoons'
ne of my childhood idols, the
M great streetcorner blues singer
Blind Mellow Chitlin, once
told me that Life, even in its most .
complex form, is basically like a
Church's two-piece chicken dinner:
no matter how good it smells, it never
tastes like you want it, and once it's
over, you have to make a break for
the can. I never figured out just what
Blind Mellow Chitlin meant, but he
was about as old as dirt and drunk
half the time, so it didn't really mat
ter. Blind Mellow Chitlin would sit
out in front of my middle school and
strum his guitar. One day all us kids
got up a collection so he could buy
some strings. Then we realized that
the reason he didn't have any strings
in the first place was because he
couldn't play worth a damn. But he
could play a mean sousaphone. Let
me tell you, blues sousaphone is not
One day during recess I got
knocked out of dodgeball early, so
instead of hanging around to watch
the rest of the game, I went over to
the streetcorner and talked to old
Blind Mellow Chitlin.
"Mr. Chitlin?" I asked him. "Why
do you play blues sousaphone instead
of the harmonica?"
"Murflbrogdaarodg," he answered.
Now, most of you might think this is
nonsense, but old Blind Mellow
Chitlin had no teeth and his lips
were always swollen from playing his
sousaphone, so it required some simple
translation. Basically, he said "Pleased
One of my favorite great aunts,
Vera Glasscock, on the
Bardwell side of the East
Texas Briggses, just got a job work
ing in the Men's Billfold Department
of J.C. Penney's in Fort Worth, and
I've been put in charge of watching
her so she doesn't embarrass the fam
ily. Vera is the only 89-year-old woman
with a full-frontal photograph in the
Texas Connection swingers magazine.
You see, the Texas Connection
editorial staff calls me up. "Please,
Joe Bob," they say. "We're getting
letters from the animal-rights people.
They think it's a picture of a suffer
ing animal being used for medical
And so I tried to talk to Vera
once or twice, but she said, "They
advertise free photos for unattached
female swingers, and by God I'm un
attached, and by God I'm female,
and by God I'm a swinger."
. "Well, could you at least tone down
the copy a little bit? Take out the
stuff about the garden hoes? It makes
people think you're a tropical plant."
to have a bit of perfect sunshine."
Once you figure out what he said
exactly, then you had to find the
hidden meaning in it. To make a
long story short, he really was saying,
"Because I don't have one." Talking
to Blind Mellow Chitlin was a little
like talking to girls, which is proba
bly why I'm so successful at it.
Then old Blind Mellow Chitlin
launched into a sousaphone version
of "Crawling King Snake" and I de
cided to go back to the dodgeball
game while I could still hear.
But I think the one thing Blind
Mellow Chitlin said to me that had
the greatest impact on my life hap
pened when I got in trouble for put
ting Krazy Glue in Tammy Fulcher's
training bra. A harmless prank, re
ally, but you know how teachers
overreact. Instead of going to Mr.
Yarborough's office, I walked out the
door and sat beside old Blind Mel
low Chitlin, and when I caught a
whiff of him I realized no punish
ment Mr. Yarborough could dish out
could match this.
Then he said, softly, as if speaking
from heaven itself, "Flingbarkwann
aroginbak," which meant "Never sit
in your food," and in final transla
tion, "Blues is the purest thing in
this life, better than love, good wine
or Bugs Bunny cartoons." At least
Joe Bob Briggs
You can't reason with the women.
She's the most sexually active 89-year-old
on the planet. And so now
she not only gets a job, she gets one
where she's been trying to get a job
her whole life J.C. Penney's Men's
Billfold Department and she did
it for one reason. She's gonna snag
one of those guys before he knows
what hit him. And she gets to see
what's in his billfold first.
So I drove out to Fort Worth to
try to talk to her. But when I got
there it was already too late. She had
some of the finer cowhide models
out of their plasticine-covered bill
fold gift boxes, and what do you think
she was doing with em? She was re'
moving the photo of Vic Damone,
and she was replacing it with her pic
ture,, the one from the Texas Con
Right at that moment, a well-
that's what I translated.
The reason I've been thinking
about Blind Mellow Chitlin is be
cause lately I've been feeling like an
old, half-drunk, blind, toothless,
smelly, depressed streetcorner blues
singer. I don't know, maybe it's just
"Blues is the purest thing in this
life." Sounds about right. We all get
the blues, some more than others. It
comes in a variety of shapes and sizes,
but usually in the form of the oppo
site sex. Like that great blues stan
dard "My Baby Done Left Me:"
My baby done left me,
She up and walk out de do' ,
Yeah my baby done left me,
Don't know what fo' .
. . . and so on. In this heartfelt
song, we see the singer's pain, his
agony, his really bad grammar. We
feel for him. We, too, want to go
down to Fast Fare, get a bottle of
Night Train and sing along with him,
lamenting our own misfortunes, our
shortcomings as humans, our own lack
of love and caring. Or maybe we just
want to get sloshed on cheap wine.
So I've started singing the blues.
Tuesday night I got a bottle of Thun
derbird, grabbed my guitar, sat out ,
on my front stoop and started wail
ing. I was wailing because I can only
play the opening riff to "Secret Agent
Man" on the guitar, and it doesn't
exactly have that bluesy oomph I
Then I stopped wailing and started
dressed, gray-haired gentleman
ambled up to the sales counter and
said, "Excuse me, but I'm looking for
something in lizard."
"Natural lizard or imitation lizard ?"
"I'm looking for a lizard that ... er
..." He hesitated. "It has to do with a
"You looking for the Lizard Lady,
"You mean it's you! I want seven
more pictures, and I want you to have
dinner with me. Sorry, I didn't rec
ognize you with your clothes on."
"It's all right, hon, happens all the
And speaking of actors who refuse
to go away, Patrick Macnee is back
again in Masque of the Red Death
not the real Masque of the Red Death
with Vincent Price, made by Drive
in King Roger Corman in 1964, but
a new Masque of the Red Death made
by Roger Corman. Roger decided,
"Hey, everybody's forgotten by now,
25 years, that's long enough, right?"
Always remember, they don't call him
the King of Exploitation for noth
singing. The great thing about blues
is the fact that anybody can sing it,
even me, and I have the singing abil
ity of a convenience store. I started
composing my own songs, like this
one called "Ice Cream Shop:"
Know what I'm sayin' baby,
Know what I'm sayin' baby,
Goin' down to the ice cream shop,
Try to get in on some real good
. . . then I stopped because I
couldn't think of anything that
rhymed with "shop" except "hop,"
which didn't fit into what I was sing
ing about, which was, of course, the
destruction of Brazilian rainforests.
At this point the neighbors called
the cops, who tried to make me quit
singing because I was creating a dis
turbance, but I refused because I felt
it was my inalienable right as a hu
man being to sing the blues.
"Do you have a license, sir?" the
first officer asked me.
"Singing the blues."
"You don't need a license," I re
torted. "It's in the Constitution,
Amendment number thirty or some
thing like that! Look it up!"
"I'm sorry, son, but we're going to
have to take you in for violating
Section 301 of the criminal code
Disturbing the peace by singing the
blues without a license."
"But I don't need a license!" I pro
tested. "Are you going, to come quietly,
or are we going to have to use force?"
is after your wallet
ing. The original Edgar Allan Poe
movies starring Vincent Price are
great, but when they made this one,
they did something a little different.
They not only wanted to portray the
red death, they wanted to use dead
actors, for enhanced reality. It's a
pretty amazing feat, all of them talk
ing like they're dead, and the direc
tor, Larry Brand, made everything
real dark so that you can't quite see
anything, so after a while you go
"Nothing happened in this scene
oh! I get it! They're dead!"
Adrian Paul is Prince Prospero,
wandering around his castle like a
doorstop on quaaludes, saying stuff
like "Now it is death that serves man!"
Clare Hoad is the village virgin
brought in by Prospero's army to
entertain the horny troops. Tracy
Reiner (Rob's daughter) is Prospero's
sister and wife he has to keep in line
with a hot poker. And Patrick Mac
nee is the Red Death, galloping
through the countryside in a scarlet
cape. Put them all together and you've
got ... a real snoozer. Not even much .
torture or pillaging. Sure, there's, a
"But I don't need ," I protested
once more as the billy club came
down on my forehead.
After my roommates bailed me
out of jail (four days later), I decided
it was time to do something about
this. Therefore, at the bottom of this
page you will see a special cutout
(with apologies to Doug Marlette): a
permit, a license, authorized by old
Blind Mellow Chitlin himself. It states
that you have the right to sing the
blues whenever, wherever, however
you wish, whether you're in a state
of bliss or a state of depression, but
not when you're in the state of Utah.
And no matter where or how far
you go in life, take along these words
of wisdom from old Blind Mellow
! HAS I,.
j IhJG f
little hot boiling oil on the peasants,
some skull crushing on the rack, some
stomach carving. But it just doesn't
have the old Vincent Price evil in it.
Seven breasts. Forty dead bodies.
Three pathetic zombies. Dungeon
aardvarking. Skull cracking. Throat
slashing. Bloody head spiking. Peas
ant boiling. Hot-poker head brand
ing. Pitiful orgy. Gratuitous minuet
dancing, the kind they teach in third
grade. Drive-In Academy Award
nominations for Patrick Macnee, as
Machiavel, for saying "So shall death
exact his charge against man"; Jeff
Osterhage, as Claudio, for saying "God
no longer acts in creation he sim
ply watches"; and Adrian Paul, for
the movie's truest moment, when he
says "We've brought this upon our
selves we've called death to us."
One and a half stars. Joe Bob says
check it out.
Editors' note: If you are saying to
yourself, "Wow, a movie even Joe Bob
hated. I gotta take a look!" then you
should go to the Plaza tonight and see it
with .all the other sickos in this town.
But you better hurry. It leaves Friday.