Downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983

Downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983
STMcC in downtown Los Angeles, circa 1983

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Chris Botti

Count me in with those people who feel that in the last 20 years talent in the arts has greatly waned. Most movies serve as nothing more than frameworks on which to hang anesthetizing displays of outrageous violence by spiritually and morally dead directors, or computer-generated special effects by self-infatuated, downloadable electro-geeks.

"Music" is now the domain of inked-up, hole-punched, fabricated angst-spewing White college rejects armed with two or three chords and weenie whiny voices. (Ya gotta love them nonconformists! And they're so easy to spot because they all look alike.) Or their young Black counterparts, the monobeat, sideways baseball cap and tank top undershirt-wearing, boom box-blasting inner city youths rhyming rage at "the man" who denies them the jobs they weren't qualified for and never wanted in the first place. (Didja get all that? Or shall I run it by ya one mo' time?)
And today's writers? Right! Like anybody'll be reading that stuff fifty years from now.
So, ya gotta understand my skepticism when Friend Melanie gave me an "Aught" recording; in this case, "Aught three". (That's 2003 for my slower readers.) That was "Strike one!" It was called 'A Thousand Kisses Deep' -- Ugh! "Strike two!" And the performer was a young man with blonde hair and frosted highlights -- "Strike three! You're out!"
Aww... but since Melanie is a good friend of mine, I humored her by accepting it with a lopsided grin and the promise to listen with an open mind. (SLAM! BANG! CLICK! BOLT! BAR! and the rattling of a heavy chain and reinforced padlock, with the incessant ambulating of a particularly agitated junkyard dog just inside the entrance. There! That oughta keep the frosted girlie-men outta here.)
Late one night some time later, nuttin' to do. A little music might be nice. What we got here? Oh yeah, Felony Melanie's CHRIS BOTTI bit -- 'A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP'. OK, I'll spin it once, kiss it goodbye and deep-six it. That's what I thought.

Next thing I know, I've recovered from my reverie to find that I'm bare-chested in the darkened room with the fireplace aglow, two glasses of fine Cabernet Sauvignon glinting like rubies on the hearth, and my best shirt ripped and lying in the corner. WHAT  THE  HELEN  A.  HANDBASKET  HAPPENED  HERE?!
Forty-five minutes and forty-five seconds of some of the most sensual, romantic "make out" music ever digitally encoded onto a silver-colored disc is what had happened here! The frosted dude with the lusty trumpet took me and my imaginary dreamboat on a late night moonlit canoe ride up a liquid lover's lane. It's a good thing I hadn't programmed the disc to repeat because I might have been taken advantage of by my imagination. As it was, I barely escaped with my innocence intact. Is this the greatest seduction set of music ever recorded? Quite possibly! Every copy should come with a package of those little water balloons. Either that or a Bible.
Make no mistake about it, Chris Botti is not just another "Artist of the Aughts" -- that is: fully styled but suffering from NDT (No Discernable Talent). No sir, he knows his way around that trumpet, and on 'A Thousand Kisses Deep' he sets a relaxed, romantically-infused mood from the opening track, (link:] 'Indian Summer', and with flirting phrases, trance-inducing tones, gentle aural gyrations and stabbing rhythms he carries it to its sweet and soft conclusion. T
here's nothing at all really "dirty" about 'A Thousand Kisses Deep', that's all in your mind.
Even so, every would-be Romeo or Casanova really should have a copy of this album stashed between the candles and the crystal glasses. But be careful how you use it, and who you use it on; this could spell deep trouble -- a thousand kisses deep... and then come the cats, a white picket fence and monthly payments on a soccer mom vehicle and three brats. Again, just be careful!

OK, I've got the perfect mood music, the wine, the candles and the fireplace. Now the only thing I need to find is a girlfriend. Anybody seen one?
Oh, never mind. I think maybe I'd better just go read my Bible.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Made in the U.S.A.
There's a little ballerina in all of us...
...but when you plop these bad boy boots onto the coffee table, crack open your tenth Budweiser and bellow for your little woman in the next room to keep the chips and dip coming, your Sunday NFL buddies -– including that Chicago Bears fan to your right –- will never suspect that this applies to you as well.
Let’s face it, throughout history, all the coolest people wore boots. Pirates wore 'em. So did cowboys, miners, and World War I soldiers (Man, them doughboys was tough!) Nowadays, motorcycle gangs wear 'em. John Wayne wore boots. So did Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, and Nancy Sinatra.
In fact, some people have been so enamored of boots that they named themselves after them. A few examples are: the original “Nature Boy”, Gypsy Boots; saxmaster, Boots Randolph; and funkmeister, Bootsy Collins. Yeah, when you’re in boots, you’re in good company. But ballerinas never wear boots, and that’s exactly why you SHOULD!
These CAROLINA 12” Engineer Boots come in sturdy black leather (black, it’s the ultimate anti-ballerina color), and they contain an internal steel-toed covering which means that you’ll never again lose a game of kick-the-can to those neighborhood kids; and next Earth Day, when you kick that Greenpeacenik in the can, he’ll really get your point.
Maybe the best part about these Carolina boots is that they are made in America. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find footwear made in this country? I once wore out four pairs of foreign shoes trying to find one pair of shoes made in the U.S.A.
I’ve been wearing boots for most of my adult life, but I’ll admit that when I switched to these Carolinas, the first couple of days, my dogs were really barking. But after I gave them a day off for loud behavior, they’ve been quiet ever since. Now, until the dye dies, you may find that the tops of these boots leave a black ring around your calves. You can either wear higher socks, or just imagine that the rings are tribal bands tattooed around your lower legs. In other words, just do like I did and pretend that you’re in with the "In Crowd” for the first time since “The Summer Of Love”.
I actually prefer the cowboy boot style to the engineer design, but until I can locate a good American-made cowboy boot with a durable, oil-resistant polyurethane outsole, I’ll stick with these cool Carolinas. I was so very happy to find these boots and I dig them so much that I feel like breaking out into a pirouette...
“Hey, watch it, fella! Can’t ya see I’m dancin’ here?”
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
I'm sad to report that after wearing my Carolina engineer boots nearly every single day for at least 18 years, in April of 2015, I was finally forced to lay them to rest. The leather had just gotten too old and cracked... like me.

Friday, January 27, 2017


A Cosgrove Hall Production
It was my dear departed Ma who introduced me to the magical children’s book, The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This was shortly after I graduated from high school, when I would periodically read chapters from the Winnie-The-Pooh series to her. Well, I fell in love with Grahame’s book (Mr. Toad is one of the greatest characters in English literature!), and about 1983 or ’84, I upgraded my little paperback copy to a really beautiful hardcover copy published by Grosset & Dunlap, which includes wonderful colorful illustrations. (That copy still sits proudly in a bookcase right next to The World Of Pooh by A. A. Milne.)

In 1989, my Ma purchased a VHS copy of this Mark Hall and Brian Cosgrove “stop-motion” animated production of THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS for my niece and nephew. Weeeeell… When I saw it, I instantly fell in love with it and obtained my own copy. (I would have stolen the copy from my Ma’s grandchildren, but that sort of thing usually earns one some nasty karma, and I seem to have all I can stand as it is, thank you very much!)

This movie is probably even better than the book, and I’ve already told you how the book is esteemed by me. From the first viewing, this became my all-time favorite stop-motion movie, and that has never changed. Oh sure, I love Nick Park’s Wallace & Gromit -- particularly THE WRONG TROUSERS, with its punky penguin, Feathers McGraw. (I seriously considered using Feathers McGraw as my pen name when I wrote my first review for that website.) But, you know, nothing’s ever gonna catch MR. TOAD in my book. I mean, he drives awfully fast in that little motorcar!

In 1990, I took my VHS tape over to my then-girlfriend’s apartment, thinking that she might like to see it. (“The Countess” was a good ol’ gal, with an appreciation for the finer things in life, like the classic Tex Avery and Tom And Jerry cartoons.) Well, I played The Wind In The Willows for her once and unwittingly created a monster. She asked me to bring it a second time, which I did. And thereafter, every time I showed up at her apartment, the first words out of her mouth were, “Did you bring Mr. Toad?” And when I answered, “No”, she’d immediately begin to pout. It was as if she wasn’t happy to see me unless I was accompanied by that impertinent, little green amphibian. The first forty times, I thought she was just joking (I’m a bit dense), but after that it finally occurred to me that she had given her heart to Toad, and I truly was in the doghouse without him.

So, I finally wised up and bought The Countess her own copy of THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, so she could watch it anytime she desired, and I thereby erased her perpetual pout. But I’ll tell ya the truth: That damned frog, I love the bloke, even if he did steal my girl.

This 78 minute stop-motion movie is filled with marvelous characters and memorable lines: Of course, there’s first and foremost “the famous Mr. Toad” (Don’t think he’s famous? Just ask him!) with his beloved horse-drawn caravan, which he disdains as a “common canary-colored cart” when he encounters his first motorcar. And then his motorcar mania which ultimately wreaks so much havoc, causing him to lose the family’s venerable Toad Hall. There’s sensible Ratty, sensitive Mole, the wascally Weasels, and old, stoic 'n' stout Mr. Badger. (Man! You just don’t mess with Badger! The Weasels found that out the HARD way. He was “Thumpin’ an’ thumpin’ an’ thumpin’” ‘em!)

And are there ever some funny lines that The Countess and I used for many years afterwards! (“Out of my way!”; “The chap’s a damn frog!”; "No. Take it away.") I love the scene where the young field mouse is trying to inform Mole about something and Mole admonishes him about his pronunciation, telling him not to drop his “H”s. And the little mouse obeys by saying, “It’s Toad, sir -– he’s got hisself harrested!” And there’s that moment when Ratty and Mole wander nearby Mole’s long-forgotten hole in the ground (Mole End) and he becomes unexpectedly homesick. Sniffling, he says in a low voice, “I smelt it and I wanted it.” The Countess and I got lots and lots of mileage out of that line. We used it for Italian restaurants, saloons, compact discs, movies, trips to Disneyland, and on and on. But the day she pointed to an engagement ring and said, “I smelt it and I wanted it”, I was forced to break her smeller.

But seriously, while there is lots of action in THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, portions of it are a tad slow for the movie’s intended target age. There are a number of idyllic scenes (e.g., the “Up Tails All” duck sequence) that are likely to lose the interest of your youngsters (you know how they’re captivated only by the “Whizbang-Clangdang” stuff), and the thick English accents (that delight us) are sometimes going to be a bit tough for the kiddies to follow. But you know, to heck with them! Get this children’s movie for yourself and wait for your kids to “grow up” enough to fully appreciate it. But men, don’t let your wives see it or yer gonna lose ‘em to that suave ladies’... uhm... Toad.
Listen, I have to run now. I just got a phone call from the police department and I gotta go bail out my Brother, Napoleon. It seems he’s got hisself harrested hagain!
~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Yesterday, I posted a blog bit in which I reviewed and graded an reviewer: Five Stars For The Girl In Wyoming! 

So, today, I thought it might be fun to post a blog bit in which other folks review and grade ME. Following are genuine, authentic quotes -- things that people have said to me, or about me, over the decades. There's something here for everyone who likes me... and hates me. Ha! I hope you enjoy reading the praise and the condemnation that follows:
STMcC, circa... long, long ago.
starring Stephen T. McCarthy
established: 1959
Pretty girls with painted eyes, bearing boysenberry pies; Lovely maidens in scanty black dresses who don't spend hours preparing their tresses; Gorgeous, wealthy widows who lie awake and sigh, and who wouldn't mind keeping a man such as I.

Average grade of STEPHEN T. McCARTHY is 3 out of a possible 5 Stars based on the following 30+1 reviews:

1)   
It's a boy!
~ Dr. Donald H., UCLA Medical Center physician - 1959

2)    
Stephen, your drawings were bad.
Steve K., schoolmate - 1974

3)    
I think you're a creative genius.
~ Gary B., M*A*S*H television series star - 1979

4)    
Best boy I ever had.
~ George, Stephen's dog - 1967 to 1981

5)    
I heard about the probability of your committing suicide before twenty-four. ...I wanted to know you. I wanted to get a little crack as to what was swarming in your mind -- unlock it. I thought you were beautiful.
~ Terrill M., friend - 1982

6)    
A man aware of the universe he creates.
~ Dan K., friend - 1984

7)    
One hell of a good human being (for an Irish filly-wagget).
~ Dean S., friend - circa 1988

8)     
Have you noticed how passionate you get about things? ...almost obsessed? ...I will diagnose you as having obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
~ Dr. Amy E., psychologist - 1989

9)     
You sweet ol' bilge rat!
~ Kathleen M., friend - circa 1990

10)     
A formerly intense individual. It seems you are a far cry from that Stephen T. McCarthy who objected to drinking like a gentleman in Boston. But, hey, we are all different Stephen T. McCarthys now, ain't we?
~ Mike L., ex-drinking buddy - 1993

11)    
A son who not only improves the family character, but who IS the family character.
~ Shirley M., Stephen's Mother - 1994

12)    
You cowboy S.O.B.
~ Lonnie M., friend - 1996

13)   
Stephen, who's going to ask me all those thought-provoking questions when you're gone? ...Call me!
~ Lorna, former coworker -  1996

14)    
Stephen is cool and nice. ...Thanks personally for letting me, Shelby and Leanne play around your house.
~ Sarah, 12-year-old neighbor -  2004

15)    
Just because McCarthy can edit and criticize doesn't mean he can comprehend or spell moron.
~ Doc S., reviewer - 2004

16)   
I'd like you... you are weird.
~ Tracey F., reviewer - 2005

17)    
Stephen, I miss you in my life. I almost feel like I gave my soul away.
~ Dr. Amy E., psychologist - 2007

18)     
Stephen, the difficulty I’m experiencing is that you … believe, so strongly, that you know the “real truth”, that an open discussion doesn’t seem possible or pleasant. Given that, I’m not going to defend or explain my opinions and beliefs to you.
~ Dr. Amy E., psychologist - 2008

19)     
There's only two people who ever got me to crack open a Bible, and you're one of them.
~ SigToo, friend - 2008

20)     
In a battle, you'd be the first guy I'd pick for my team, because you are really loyal to your friends, and you NEVER give up.
~ Sheboyganboy Six, friend - 2009

21)  ⛪⛪⛪⛪⛪   
The Lord used you more than just a little bit to bring me back into the fold of fellowship with Him.
~ David W. P., friend - 2010

22)     
You've got classy, upscale anger. The kind that gets people kicked out of 5-star dive bars.
~ Bryan P., friend - 2015

23)    
Leftist says what?
~ R.B.W., Internet commenter - 2016

24)   
Hillary needs to get better trolls.
~ Asawasa, Internet commenter - 2016

25)   
~ L.F., Internet commenter - 2016

26)    
I miss you.
~ Sherrie M., Sister - 2016

27)     
I miss the wine.
Tu eres mi hermano.

~ Nappy M., Brother - 2016

28)     
Damn, you are some kind of fun to read. Lol
~ WI1H, Internet commenter - 2016

29)    
Rolly... WTF is happening in this conversation?? :)) This D-FensDogG guy is either a fucking genius comedian or the most obvious shill of all time.
~ It Is Not Paranoia, Internet commenter - 2016

30)    
Your life has been full of bad choices, huh? Southern white trash with no education. Do you flip burgers, make meth, or did you enlist?
~ Kyler P., Internet commenter - 2017

30)  
You are a guru.
~ Steve B., coworker - 2017

31)    
The King of hostility and actual name-calling.
~ Andrew Leon, Internet Idiot - 2017

~ Stephen T. McCarthy
(aka D-FensDogG)