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So, back in Christmas of 1989, there was this boy band that was at the height of world domination called the New Kids On The Block. Think of them as the One Direction of the 1980s. They had the obligatory Christmas release around that time, and since I was a freshly-minted 16-year-old and thus able to stay up later than my sister, she asked me to video tape the episode of the Arsenio Hall show that featured the band as the musical guests, performing their new yuletide classic, “Funky Funky Christmas”. So I did. This isn’t that particular video that I taped off, but here you go. You’re welcome.



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When it comes to Christmas animated specials, the first thing that usually pops into the minds of everyone who grew up in the later part of the 20th Century would be that one featuring the Peanuts gang. For me…yeah, sometimes that. But, coming in at a very, very close second would be A Garfield Christmas Special.

Being a dyed-in-the-wool Garfield fan since I was but 9 years of age, A Garfield Christmas was the seventh animated special featuring the fat feline. This was originally broadcast on December 21st, 1987, which placed me at 13-years-of-age at the time. You know, in case you cared about things like that.

Here, Garfield goes along with Odie to Jon’s family farm to celebrate Christmas. Family fun wackiness ensues.


Uncle NecRo Watches: READY PLAYER ONE

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ready player one

Uncle NecRo just watched the ode to late 20th Century childhood nostalgia, Ready Player One, and he’s joined by Brian from the Will Code For Beer pubcast. What did they think about it? You’ll have to listen to find out…spoilers ahead, folks…



Uncle NecRo Listens To: LOOK WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN (Poison)

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So, here’s the first in what should be a new series of articles that will be called, for lack of a better one, “Uncle NecRo Listens To…” This has been percolating in my brain matter for quite some time; where I go through the albums I once owned and listened to back in the day, and see if they still hold up.

There are some basic rules I’ve made for this series: 1) they must be albums that I’ve actually owned, and 2) the years involved would be between when I was in grade school and began listening and collecting albums, through to the end of High School. Also, these won’t be in order of when I owned them, just as they come to mind. As such, let’s get started with this first one, shall we?

poison look what the cat dragged in

The Band: POISON
The Album: Look What The Cat Dragged In
My History: This debut release from the band Poison came out in my Seventh Grade year, in 1986. I remember coming across the album at department stores, and thinking, “wow, those chicks are hot.” Which was immediately followed by a bit of confusion while reading the band member roster, because I was 12 and living in rural Eastern Nebraska in the mid-1980s. I’ve never heard of the term “glam metal” before, let alone come across anything like this before. Anyway, while several in my class had this album, it wasn’t until the summer of 1988 when I finally acquired my own copy.

It’s been literally decades since I’ve listened to this one front-to-back. Let’s see how this holds up, shall we?

Track One: “Cry Tough”
Nice opening rhythm, seems to build up to something awesome…then the power chord…seems to miss something to really push this over the edge as a lead-in song, though. Not a bad introduction, though…

Track Two: “I Want Action”
Now, this is more like it, heavy crunchy guitar and a fun rhythm. Typical “skin” song…the part where Bret sings “If I can’t have her, I’ll take her and make her” seems rather disturbing, there. And that bridge, yeesh.

Track Three: “I Won’t Forget You”
In the mid-1990s, I had a roommate who was a pretty accomplished guitar player in his spare time. He was obsessed with getting this song right, and was demonstrating how the lead was played. That was impressive, yes. That said, this is your typical unremarkable power ballad that only is marginally better than the other power ballad that Poison is known for (you know the one) if only for the fact that it isn’t as overplayed and over-saturated on rock radio stations everywhere. PASS.

Track Four: “Play Dirty”
Good riff, nice n’ heavy. “Act tough”…huh. Got’cha, Bret. Anyway, good basic hard rock tune. You get the sense, though, that the lyrics were written by someone who has never been in a bar altercation, but imagines this is what it would be like. Like they watched Roadhouse and wrote a song about it. Wait, checking to see when Roadhouse came out…never mind, it was released three years after this album.

Track Five: “Look What The Cat Dragged In”
Title track. Rather good guitar riff hook, there. Bit grittier, going for less sparkly and more sleaze. Nifty ode to 1980s Sunset Strip hedonism. Yawn. And did Bret just purr in the microphone? I believe he did. Gads. Right after boasting of his sexual prowess. Stay classy, there.

Track Six: “Talk Dirty To Me”
Full disclosure: I owned the 45 single of this song. It’s a great rock guitar riff, one of the first actual riffs I learned to play on the guitar. Surprisingly easy, once you see how it’s done. Anyway, groan-worthy juvenile lyrics aside, one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

Track Seven: “Want Some, Need Some”
Yeah, okay, great opening hook and riff, here. Good crunch, I have to admit. Again, with the whole longing for a lover of nondescript. Still, way more substance than your average Limp Bizquick song. Interesting chime ending.

Track Eight: “Blame It On You”
Again, a pretty good boogie rock tune…immediately given the eeew factor with lyrics that seemed to have been written by a horny middle school boy. Though, your average rock song normally doesn’t use the words “pizazz” and “razzmatazz”…

Track Nine: “#1 Bad Boy”
Look, the 80s were a weird time. It was a time when heterosexual men put on makeup, hairspray and adorned themselves with the finest Cosmo looks, and still were considered the pinnacle of masculinity by women. That’s why Poison could get away with writing a song about being “bad boys” without batting a heavily mascaraed eyelash. Also, this song is, musically, rather heavy and rocks my face off.

Track Ten: “Let Me Go To The Show”
Nice up-beat rocker where Bret begs his parental units to allow him to go to a rock show of nondescript to end the album off. Dig them “bad boys” playin’ that rock n’ roll, indeed.

Does It Hold Up: Musically, yeah, this is a pretty good, near-solid hard rock release from a band that would later be known as the poster boys for why Grunge took over in the 1990s. Compared to their other releases, this one is the more raw sounding, leaning more towards rocking rather than the pop formula they grew into later. Lyric-wise, you can’t get much more juvenile than this. The songs are either about sex, being rock n’ roll bad boys, or…well, more sex. Which may have appealed to my hormone-addled young teenage self back in the day. Now, though, I found myself face-palming more than once.

Overall: I give Look What The Cat Dragged In a 6.5 out of 10. The guitar-driven heaviness still retained its kick, but the lyrics killed off a goodly amount of enjoyment.

The Story Of NecRoSarx (aka Uncle NecRo, aka Me)

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weird mirror twisting the soul--smallSince today is my birthday, I felt it would be fun to share an older article I wrote ten years ago, giving some insight as to part of my personality. Dusting it off, shining it up a bit, enjoy.

Let’s see…how do I tell this without becoming long-winded and downright boring? Wouldn’t want anyone to catch narcolepsy at their monitors…drool hurts the keyboard…begin with a brief synopsis, shall we?

Born in 1973, the year The Exorcist was in the theaters. I was at the original showing, albeit in-utero…my mother tells me I enjoyed the movie immensely…grew up a Navy Brat, lived in various countries and states within this great nation of ours (U. S., for those of my brethren and sisteren reading this from over seas)…been a bit weird since childhood, discovered a taste for horror after sneaking downstairs to watch HBO and catching the transformation scene from American Werewolf In London when I was 7; my father once told me that he considered it odd that, at the age of six, I was rooting for the robot Maximilien from the movie The Black Hole, despite being an obvious villain…at the age of 9, I received my first radio, and discovered the dark enchanting sounds of the New Romantics, New Wave and European music, particular favorites being “Hungry Like The Wolf”, “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Der Commissar” (never knew who the artists were at the time, just knew I preferred them over the overtly happier pop sounds)…parents divorced that same year, although traumatic, my younger sister and I were still brought up in very stable and loving family units, due to the strong German and Swedish families we came from…

My parents were quite straight-laced and Ozzy-n-Harriet, so it’s been a great matter of debate as to where my sister and I got our morbid streaks. My theory is that, they repressed their dark sides so well that, while in-utero (that’s the second time I used that word, w00t), the residual backwash saturated us to the point of genetic mutation. Or, we just got off on making them freak out. Either one would hold up in court…

From third grade on up through High School, I was always considered to be “that weird kid”. Things got weirder in Junior High when I discovered Stephen King, speed metal and Evil Dead 2, not necessarily in that order. I was also diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (not a “swearing disease”…my ticks were physical, and involved head twitches) coupled with severe manic depression, and put on several medications. My Freshman year was the darkest period in my life, culminating in several suicide attempts, destructive antisocial behavior, and several trips to the psychiatric ward. Long story short, after my fifth trip to ze loony bin, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, due less to the Christians who avoided me like the plague and more to the lyrics of a Stryper song. Go figure.

Here’s an interesting paradox. Even after I became a born-again Christian, my tastes continued to get darker. Only this time, they got darker with a decidedly Christian world-view to it. Which, of course, made me a bit of an oddball in the accepted Christian circles.

In college, I discovered through a friend the music stylings of Mortal, Under Midnight, Dead Artists Syndrome, Saviour Machine, and of course Circle Of Dust and Brainchild. At the college station I DJed at, I would bring out the old vinyl copies of Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure, Art Of Noise, and other obscure and weird artists that caught my fancy. I also helped plan the Halloween film fest, discovering the old silent German impressionism films like Nosferatu and Metropolis. All the while, not once did I think that enjoying these kind of things conflicted with my faith.

From 1993 through 1997, I was involved with a church that was very charismatic. At first, I thought I found a place where I could truly worship Jesus freely without being shackled by tradition and rules. Near the end of my tenure there, I found myself under more rules and shackles than I ever thought possible. I was constantly being told, usually through the guise of a “word from the Lord”, that the kind of outreach I was going for wasn’t of God, that the music I listened to wasn’t really “Christian music” (I cannot tell you how many times Argyle Park and the like were referenced by name while they were channelling the Big Giant Head), I was being oppressed (if not totally possessed) by demons, that I needed to constantly submit to God to ever be used by Him…yadda yadda yadda. At first, since I was a bit naive yet zealous in my desire to serve God, I would agree and try to conform to what they thought was considered Christ-like and Godly children of our Lord. Yet, all that time, as time went on, there was a massive conflict in my being that said something wasn’t quite right.

The straw that finally broke the proverbial camel’s back was the night after a midweek evening bible study, when my presence was requested in the back office, where I was ambushed by the pastor’s wife, the assistant pastor, and one of the ladies of the congregation that had that oh, so special anointing that someone like me can never obtain. It was surreal- I was sitting there, silent, and for forty-five minutes those three ripped my spirit to shreds. I was told that unless I shaped up, God would spit me out. My ideas for reaching out to the so-called Mansonites was mocked. My faith was questioned. The lady who was specially anointed with several herbs and spices (also came in extra-crispy) wept openly as she described the demons that were constantly hovering around my body. My music wasn’t godly. My clothes weren’t godly. The fact that I wanted to work and pay off my debts instead of spending every waking hour inside the church submitted to their authority wasn’t godly. I was essentially told that I was about to be spit out of God’s mouth.

And in the end, I agreed with them. Stupid idea? Yes. But remember, this is how depraved my personal relationship with God had gotten. I was an empty shell of what I once was.

For three weeks after, I still attended Sunday morning services, though not as alive as I was. I was miserable. Then, the last day there, sitting through yet another one of those “if you proclaim your wealth and health, you’ll have it” that have been dominating the sermons for the past couple of years, something inside me said, “You’re done here.” I got up and left. And I was followed out by the assistant pastor, who let me know outside in no uncertain terms that I was fallen away, and will be accepted back if I ever decided to go back to God. Funny thing was, I knew I was following God out of there. Again, delicious irony.

For several months afterwards, I prayed. I found myself still attracted to the darker side of things as a Christian. I started wearing all black due to the Johnny Cash song. I kept my fingernails painted black as well, as a statement of how I viewed things. I found myself a lone darksider (for lack of a better word) Christian, stuck in a culture dominated by CCM, Tooth & Nail alternative, and the whole “Jesus Freak” catchphrases. I prayed to God that, if this is what He wanted me to be a part of, then change my heart to fit in with the normal and accepted trappings of Christianity. If not, then it was definitely up to Him to lead me to others that are at least like-minded that I can learn from each other, and had some experiences like I had.

Then came that fateful Jan. / Feb. 1998 issue of HM magazine, that featured on the little-known Goth and Industrial scenes in Christian music. That was a complete answer to prayer, as it was my first official look into a culture that I consider home. That year, I officially took on the moniker NecRoSarX, which is translated to Dead Flesh, which reflects my slightly morbid Christian outlook. In 1999, I attended the Cornerstone festival for the first time, and became well acquainted with The Asylum tent and its multitude. I was a complete newbie, and I’m sure I ruffled quite a few feathers from the elder attendants, but I was eager to listen and learn, and gain a more rounded sense of my new-found group (whether I was accepted or not). I made some very good friends there, and the other two times I attended deepened my commitment to who I really am. I also joined Xnetgoth that same year. I just lurk a whole bunch.

To wrap things up, I don’t necessarily consider myself “Goth” in the traditional sense. I do, however, praise God that I was lead to this extended family of mine (whether you count yourself a Christian or not). You might say that I’ve always had gothic tendencies…it just took me a while to figure this out. And now, in my early 40s, it’s just getting weirder and darker…and I wouldn’t want it any other way…

And believe it or not, this was the super-condensed Reader’s Digest Edition of things…trust me, I was merciful…


p.s. – I started referring to myself online as “Uncle NecRo” back in 2003, after my sister and brother-in-law told me I would become one in real life…and because “Cousin NecRo” sounded too Dukes Of Hazard-ish…

Sunday A’La Carte – November 23, 2014

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sesame_street_thanksgivingHere we are, the week that includes Thanksgiving. That would be November 27th, here in the States. I realize that this is called the WORLD Wide Web that we’re all surfing about on, so to any non-American readers / followers / lack of better word that doesn’t make it sound like I’m conceited and egotistical about this blog of mine, I hope you enjoy your Thursday. That also goes to all of you fellow Americans who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving for whatever reason. Here’s wishing you a nice day off. Assuming you work at a job that affords Thanksgiving off. I really should derail this train of thought before I start veering off into territory I don’t want to find myself in.

snow skullAs for me, I’ve already celebrated Thanksgiving with my families. Twice, actually. Well, the first time was the second weekend of November, and it was referred to as “pseudo-Thanksgiving”, and featured soups instead of turkey and Gramma’s Cheesy Potatoes. Eh, it was decent enough, what with getting to catch up with family I haven’t seen for a while. The second Thanksgiving gathering happened yesterday, at the nursing home one of my Grandparents was imprisoned residing at. This one was a bit more intimate, but also had the turkey, pumpkin pie and the coveted Gramma’s Cheesy Potatoes that I seem to look forward to each year, despite my growing despondency over the seasons. Speaking of which…

Black Friday is coming up! You know what that means! Yep, the annual Holiday-Induced Downward Spiral! It’s that time of year that, due to my working retail during what is deemed the later part of the so-called “Golden Quarter” in business for several years, I grow more and more disillusioned with humanity as a whole as lip service is given to JOY, GOOD WILL towards their fellow MAN, GIVING and all sorts of other empty buzz words that have been sucked hollow yet tossed about like Pez candy, yet the actions of the very same people belie the ugly truth of the matter–namely, nobody really cares. It’s a means to an end. Shiny tinsel and bobbles on a dead and rotting tree. I will share in the worship in remembrance of the birth of my Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus, and I shall enjoy time with my family. But for me, December is probably the worst month out of the year.

And in case you were wondering: No, I’ve actually had a pretty good day today. Let’s move on to some lighter stuff, shall we?

on top of itFrom the Tempting Fate Department, this headline says it all: MICROSOFT HIRES DALEK-STYLE ROBOCOPS TO GUARD SILICON VALLEY HQ. I get the sense that, whoever decided to implement these things, maybe are the type who would read Brave New World and 1984 and think, “Hey, these are some great ideas, here!” Still, relieved they didn’t use The Terminator as a brainstorming session.

Blimey Cow is one of my subscriptions on my YouTube account, because it makes me laugh. And it has that off-beat sense of humor that seems to be missing from a bunch of youth groups I’ve helped out at over the decades. Here’s one listing the Ten Kids You Meet At Every Youth Group. Then, watch this one on How To Write A Worship Song In 5 Minutes (Or Less). Then, sit back and let the time-wasting happen.

From the different kind of irreverent awesome, over at Metal Sucks dot Net, they posted what metal lyrics would be like had they been penned by the Bard himself, William Shakespeare. The Disturbed one is spot-on.

Speaking of Metal Sucks dot Net, this past week featured a special podcast episode that featured a co-interview between Chuck and Godless of the Metal Sucks Podcast, and Matt and Toby from the Bad Christian Podcast. It’s a very honest and genuine dialogue between a couple of atheists and a couple of Christians talking matters of faith in an upfront and respectful way, something that’s sadly lacking when it comes to conversations of this sort. I dare everyone to listen to the entire thing back-to-back, and actually listen to both sides of the coin. Part one of the podcast is here, and part two is here.

And finally, here’s a post over at The Church Of No People blog that nails it as to why Sunday worship services aren’t exactly my cup of black, bitter coffee.

the crocking deadAnyway, on to the STUFF I’VE WRITTEN: Mostly reposts again, as with the coming of the Holidays comes the Mandatory Overtime that comes with it. Regardless, I managed to post some misadventure that befell me when I was 9, looked back at the time immediately following having quit smoking, and an amusing list of signs you might be an old metalhead. Then, I posted movie reviews of Survival Of The Dead, Terminator: Salvation, Terror Toons, Thank You For Smoking, Ticks, 2001’s The Time Machine, and the Troma classic The Toxic Avenger. And as for music reviews, I have some for Goredeath here, one for Grace For The Fallen here, one for Grave Forsaken here, two for Grave Robber here and here, one for Graveyard Bats here, one for Grim here, one for GROMS here, one for Gryp here, six for Guardian here, here, here, here, here aaaaaaand here, two for Haven here and here, one for Head here, one for Heaven’s Rage here, and two for Holy Blood here and here.

bapticostalSo, that’s all for this week. And since, as I mentioned above, Thanksgiving happens this coming Thursday, I’m going to share a yearly tradition that I’ve been doing since taking part in it at the radio station in college back in 1994. Namely, the playing, in its entirety, of the song “Alice’s Restaurant”. I really don’t have anything planned, as I’ve already did Thanksgiving, so I’ll probably use that time to catch up on my writing. Meanwile, I have to get up at 5:30 on the morrow to take care of two hours of mandatory overtime at work. Yippy. Cheers, my wonderful freaks.


Bubble Gum and My Lost Childhood…

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Bubble Gum and My Lost Childhood...[originally posted in 2012, right after I gave up smoking…dark times, my friends]

So, recently I’ve been looking into getting stocked up on some bubble gum.  You know, the sugary-sweet item designed so that you can blow bubbles.  The reason being that, it’s been over four months now since I had a cigarette (save your happy applause, please).  One of the big psychological pulls for me (no pun intended) that still gets me is driving.  I would get in the car, and regardless if I’ve just had one five minutes prior, I would light up as I was pulling out onto the main road.  It was something that I would do while I drove. And while the craving for a cigarette and unconscious urge to light up is not as strong as it was when I became a non-practicing smoker, I still miss blowing smoke out of my lips.  I even still blow air like I’m exhaling the delicious smoky treat.  So, I figured I would get some bubble-blowing grade bubble gum to see if it would help in pacifying these remaining psychological imprints I have.  I figured gum would be cheaper than buying one of those electronic cigarettes that substitute water vapor.  Better flavor too, I would think.

I didn’t think it would be so hard to find actual bubble gum.  Not bubble gum-flavored gum, that stuff is in plenty supply.  No, I speak of actual bubble gum, the kind of sugary concoction that was my candy drug of choice as a kid.  There were so many brands back then, but the main ones I grokked were Hubba Bubba, Bubble Yum and the Ultimate Bubble itself, Bubblicious.  Used to be, back in the day, whenever I accompanied my Grandparents into “town” (and that could be any one of the several small towns that were within an hour’s drive from the farm), if I was well behaved, before we headed back to home I would be given a pack of the wondrous chewing concoctions.  And just about every grocery store, gas station, convenience shop and five-and-dime stores had a good variety of candy and gum to choose from.

As I just discovered this week, when I tried to find something like that to help replace my lingering longing to blow smoke out of my mouth, these throwbacks to my childhood are rather hard to find.  The first place I checked out, thinking that I could not only find a pack of Hubba Bubba or something but I would also find a multi-pack bag for extended chewing into the week or month, was Wal-Mart.  But, no…scouring the candy isle for a good twenty minutes, trying not to seem too creepy while the families walked by, I couldn’t find any trace of the bubble gum I was looking for.  Sure, there was that balled-up “classic” gum that was pink and so hard that it will make your gums bleed, which wasn’t what I was looking for.  I wanted the soft, square goodness that will take me back, and give me a good bubble blowing experience while I’m behind the wheel, or anywhere else for that matter.  Nope.  Nothing.  There was a good variety of the adult gum…the sticks of Trident, Juicy Fruit, Orbit, and various other minty and / or fruity flavors, including Original Bubble Gum Flavored were all there.  In budget-priced multi packs.

But no children-geared bubble gum for bubble blowing.  What’s up with that?  Have we gotten so sugar conscience now, that something so simple and innocent as bubble gum is now a commodity that is frowned upon in this society?  How insane will we get before someone sits up while wallowing in the filth of this kind of thinking and say, “Hey, this is kind of crazy don’t you think?”  Before they’re bludgeoned to death for thinking for themselves.  But that’s the lack of caffeine speaking.

So this morning, as I was buying said morning caffeine at the local CVS Pharmacy, I looked around for some actual bubble gum.  And I did find a pack of Hubba Bubba.  Way down hidden in the far corner of the gum and candy shelves.  And only in one flavor: Original Bubble Gum. Great.  No grape.  Well, at least it was something.  But this lack of bubble gum, actual bubble gum, is a bit disconcerting.  Mainly because it means that my childhood is gone, and I can never go back home again, to quote another tired cliché.


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