Letterpress List No. 80: The Man in the Mirror

Now that much of the hoopla has subsided, Shop Boy felt it was time to weigh in on the whole Michael Jackson deal. (I know you all were holding your breath.)

Specifically, there was one thing that really bugged me, from a blogger I read often. His thesis — and he wasn’t alone — was that death was Jackson’s best career move ever. It reawakened an appreciation and an appetite for his music.

You know, like the early departures of Elvis, Jim Morrison

And Kurt Cobain.

No he didn’t.

First off, Cobain was a megastar at his peak when he dispatched himself. He didn’t need any comeback.

Secondly, death was very bad for Cobain’s legacy. I mean, he selfishly ended his own misery by making a widow and an orphan out of his wife and child. What a jerk, right?

And thirdly, without Nirvana around, we could really see how immensely talented his drummer — the drummer! — Dave Grohl, is. Today, the Foo Fighters are better than Nirvana was. Tell Shop Boy that Grohl wasn’t a huge part of Nirvana’s flannel-melting creativity, for which Cobain got sole genius credit.

On that note, how much of an influence was Courtney Love on Cobain and Nirvana?

Of course, if you’re married to a crazy woman … ahem … you become incredibly creative as a matter of self-defense. See? Mary inspired this blog. Shop Boy really can take no credit — or blame.

And believe me, becoming Shop Boy was no great career move. Besides, Shop Boy is more Fat Elvis than Dead Elvis.

Though who knows? Like the original caveman paintings, perhaps some person of the future will stumble across the scribblings on my iPhone — where I do most of my writing — stare in awe and wonder …

What Neanderthal wrote that?

But he’ll also know by then, as history books will be written about the topic, that Kurt Cobain’s death was very poor career planning on his part. Oh, what might have come next …

And speaking of the Fat Elvis, there’s a wacky little store by that name in the neighborhood surrounding the Typecast Press letterpress world headquarters. It’s filled with all kinds of oddities and a whole bunch of nostalgia.

Awwww ...

Awwww ...

But you don’t have to go to the Fat Elvis to get your nostalgia fix today. Yeah, that’s Shop Boy’s kindergarten photo.

See, Mary has long argued that if this blog had photos, it would also have readers.


She recently went so far as to barter a deal where she’d print a guy’s wedding invitation and take part of the payment in training for Shop Boy on adding images here.

To which I say: What could be more colorful — or more of a draw — than Shop Boy’s use of the English language?

Am I right?

Just call me old school.

Which is kind of funny, since Shop Boy has a class reunion coming up … a bunch of kids who went to Daniel D. Waterman Elementary School in Cranston, R.I., from kindergarten through sixth grade.


And since Liz (Sidel) Friedman, the brains behind the reunion, decided that recent pictures of ourselves for the Then and Now book must be fairly recent — geez … picky, picky — here’s the man who will represent that cute little boy (my mom told me so) from so long ago:

The fat man prepares to go down the chimney (reindeer not pictured)

The fat man prepares to go down the chimney (reindeer not pictured)

Baltimore looks great, huh? Shop Boy? Um …

Not so much.

You know how most people diet and work out to get all fit for the folks who haven’t seen you in years and years? Well, Shop Boy’s taken the opposite approach. Hey, you commute two hours each way to work every day, then do a late shift at the printshop, rinse and repeat for weeks on end and see if pretty soon even your mama doesn’t start calling you ugly.

That chimney, by the way, is atop our rowhouse. As you can see there next to the big fellow, it collapsed one day, sending bricks tumbling across the rooftop and scaring the residents inside — me and Mary — half to death.

Anyway, you want images? You get images.

The writer as a young sportsman. (Dad always cleaned the fish. Hmmm ...)

The writer as a young sportsman.

Hey, this is sort of fun — well, if you forget the embarrassment and depression that come from pictures not telling lies and all that stuff.

I mean, for a rounded sort of fellow, Shop Boy isn’t all that shy …

Grrrrr ... or something

Grrrrr ... or something

This is the face that engaged the former mayor of Colorado Springs, Colo., in a lively conversation on water rights in the West and in the world. Then it took about 15 gallons of wasted water to get all that paint off.

Don’t get me wrong: When Shop Boy is, um, fully loaded for bear, there are days when I feel strong enough to pick up and carry a Vandercook printing press, which is handy. Besides, many of the kids from Waterman remember me as a bit of a fatso in fifth and sixth grade. So maybe they’ll be all like … “You haven’t changed a bit.”

And I’ll run away and cry in a corner. Ah, just like old times!

But enough about Shop Boy, who’ll soon begin getting himself fit once more. (Mary promised me time off for good behavior.)

We’re here to look at pictures. And what increases Web traffic more than pictures of girls in bathing suits?


Are you still here? But that was the last photo for today.

OK, if you’re sure that’s cool … oh, heck, here’s one more anyway. As always …



Letterpress List No. 80

Hey, how about an hour’s worth of music to jog or do crunches (!) — or download images — by? This post, by the way, was done before Shop Boy had any training on photo manipulation for blogs. So either I’m a genius (if the pictures show up) or this isn’t as hard as Shop Boy had made it out to be. In that case, I hope you like photos. ;-)

Celebrity Skin Hole (Exhibit A.)
Monkey WrenchFoo Fighters (Exhibit B.)
Pennyroyal TeaNirvana (Pain in naked form.)
Teddy BearElvis Presley (Awwww.)
AlivePearl Jam (The Flannel Parade. Oh, yes, and weren’t we all a bit worried about Eddie Vedder “going Cobain” for a while there?)
FoundationsKate Nash (Shop Boy’s is in danger of cracking.)
Fight the Power Public Enemy (Fat or skinny Elvis? Please. “Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps.” Although later, a few of those heroes proudly did get commemorative postage. )
Fire WomanThe Cult (One of the reasons the reunion date was chosen is Water Fire, a pagan sort of deal in which fires are lit all up the middle of the river. My mom loved it.)
My Old SchoolSteely Dan (OK, I’ll go back, but just this once.)
My Name Is …Eminem (There’ll be name tags, right? Hate to just walk around saying, “Hey, man, good to see you” all night. )
Who Can It Be Now?Men at Work (You’ve been there, right?)
EditRegina Spektor (At my mom’s funeral, a boyhood chum, Richard Martin, came over to say hello and do the whole “I’m sorry for your troubles” thing that always makes Mary giggle at Rhode Island funerals. I gave Richard my business card and said he should get in touch. “Editor?” he said. “Whoever thought you were smart enough to be editor?”)
Mr. Blue SkyELO (Love this song. Shop Boy was singing it — loudly — in the printshop the other day as Mary rolled her eyes. She wondered how someone who strays toward the, ahem, dark side could so adore such happy, peppy music. Then I started hitting the high notes and she was like, “I don’t even know you anymore.”)
Rainbow in the Dark Ronnie James Dio (Shop Boy can do this song, too, but the flab tends to spill over the black spandex these days. Sigh.)
Train in Vainthe Clash (Shop Boy’s chosen mode of transportation, to R.I. or anywhere else.)
Gonna Hitch a RideBoston (No reason — just a beautiful song.)
The Man in the MirrorMichael Jackson (Hey, “Michael Jackson” gets you Web hits, too.)

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