Avery, on The Meaning of Life:

"Remember kids, it’s only funny until someone loses an ideology."

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"I Think, Therefore I Ant."

Liner Notes From Bad Album Covers

Side One:

     I’m Not Fat, I’m Full Of Christian Love
     Die Sinners Die!
     Lie Back & Think of God (I Know I Will)
     See You At Church – Or Else
     Pregnant Teenagers Burning in Hell (Acoustic Version)

Side Two:

     Jesus Saw The Filthy Beggar And  He Kept On Walking
     Pity The Jews
     Powder Blue Pants, Black Shoes, Red Shirt (Ska Version)
     Teach Your Children Shame
     Do The Hairshirt

When Colombia Records approached me to record this album, I thought, “These godless heathen record industry types sicken me to my very core." Then I figured it had to be a sign from God, because, well, I think everything that happens to me is a sign from God. Our approach to making this album was novel: We’d write some songs and record them. And with the money we made we’d buy stuff, like clothes and food. This was pretty revolutionary thinking back then. A lot of people don’t know this but “Christian Crusaders” was recorded in about 2 hours. Our producer, I think his name was Marty, spent the entire session in another room having what sounded like carnal relations with someone (probably a man). He told us the record wouldn’t sell. He said we didn’t have a sound anyone would buy. He insisted we’d be forgotten in no time and that no kid in his right mind would ever dance to a song called “Do The Hairshirt.” Boy, was he right. The only satisfaction I can take from this is that I heard he died in a fire a few years later.

Al Davis (revised liner notes 1984)

Cover photo: Yousuf  Karsh © 1972 Columbia Records

All songs by Ed Scofield unless noted.

Side One:

1. My Big Organ and My Son’s Small Kit
2. I Wish I Was Sterile
3. Stop Calling Me “Dad”
4. When Big Brains and Good Looks Skip A Generation (The Ballad Of Tim)
5. You Were An Accident
6. Keep Your Eyes Off Mom – I Saw Her First
7. Where Did You Hide My Gun, Tim?
8. You’re 16, You’re A Man, You’re Out Of The House

Side Two:

1. Tim (You’re An Enormous Disappointment)
2. Dad Gets The Groupies
3. Making My Boy Cry (Makes Me A Big Man)
4. Shut Up and Shine My Shoes
5. Surfing Bird California Wipe Out Girl (by Tim Scofield)
6. Dumb As A Chimp and Twice As Smelly (An Ode To My Son)
7. The Useless Progeny Two-Step
8. I Think Tim’s A Homo

Writing and performing “Gee, Dad” was a long, difficult, acrimonious and, yes, explosively violent experience. Originally intended to be an artistic collaboration of folk ballads written by a loving dad and his “devoted son” it ended up being a financial setback and an ugly discovery of the shortcomings and many failings of my hapless boy, Tim. We walked into the studio with one objective: to write catchy songs about the seasons (mainly Fall). We walked out of the studio with a newer objective: to never speak to each other again. I’m pleased to say that we still haven’t exchanged a single word. These 16 songs represent what I went through in that studio and are the essence of everything that I discovered about my son as well as my feelings of absolute disgust for them: From my concerns about his obsession with his mother to my thorough belief that he is a vile and deviant homosexual. And I’ll say this much, my feelings of loathing really come through in all the songs (with the exception of Tim’s derivatively putrid “single,” Surfing Bird California Wipe Out Girl) and I still enjoy playing them when family comes by for a visit. We had everyone over last Xmas and I fired up the Hammond and played a rather “rocking” version of I Think Tim’s A Homo. It didn’t go over all that well with everyone, but I was so drunk I couldn’t have cared less. Ha, ha, ha.

Ed Scofield (revised liner notes 1972)

My therapist says I should try and talk about that summer dad and I recorded these 16 tracks. So I’ll try... “Gee, Dad, you ruined my life and I hate you.” 

Tim Scofield (Bingington Mental Asylum 1972)

Cover photo: Mrs. Scofield. © 1967 Vanity Records

Side One

1. Chaino On “Killing The Buddha”
2. Chaino’s Philosophy about Poisoning School Children
3. Chaino’s Theory Of The Savage Pimp
4. Do The Chaino Growl (Or Else You Die!)

Side Two

1. What Chaino Did On His Summer Holiday (He Kill People!)
2. The Chaino Whip & Stab Dance Mix
3. Chaino On Golf & How To Use The Clubs As Weapons
4. Chaino Kills! (Recorded live at The Hollywood Bowl)

Chaino proud musician. Chaino proud of his latest record. Yaghhhh! Chaino proud of his ability to scream “Yaghhhh!”

Chaino record this album on limited budget. Chaino enlist non-union musicians. Chaino beat them with whips until they create unique “Chaino Sound.”

Chaino mic drums from behind and add reverb. Make big noise. Chaino sacrifice chicken on mixing board. Recording engineer not like this. He yell at Chaino. Chaino get mad and cut his head off and shrink it. Chaino drink out of shrunken head as he write these liner notes... Ha, ha, ha... Chaino laugh.   

Chaino say you buy this record or he put voodoo spell on you. Chaino say you go, buy it now!

Cover photo: Chain’s Slave. © 1969 Chaino Records

Side One.

1. Everyone Hates A Clown
2. Slightly Better Than A Mime (I’m Only)
3. Flunked Out Of Clown College
4. My Exploding Pants & Subsequent Trouble With The Law
5. Big Top Three Ring Alcoholism
6. My Huge Clown Shoes and Manic Depression

Side Two.

1. I’m Not Wearing Makeup!
2. 26 Of Us In The Damn Little Car
3. Punching The Clown (Bozo’s Lament)
4. Lions, Elephants, Pills and Liquor Bottles
5. The Circus In My Head (The Going Insane Song)
6. Clown Heaven Is Hell For Everyone Else
7. Sing Along With Emmett Kelly (Kill The Clown, Kill The Clown, Kill The Clown!)

When Buffoon Records approached me to record this album, I said, “No, please not another record, for God’s sake leave me with a shred of dignity.”

They responded by showing me my contract stating that I had sold them my soul “In Perpetuity” and that as such I was obliged to keep churning out the clown albums. What could I do but reluctantly agree?

Making this album was just as horrible an experience as all the others. In order to get an “authentic circus feel and sound” to the album, I was, among other things, chased about the studio by live tigers, elephants and lions. They also jammed me in a recording booth that was smaller than that damn little clown car we’re forced to drive around in. When I complained that I was uncomfortable, tired and hungry the producer threw empty liquor bottles at me. The harder I cried the harder they laughed.

Such is the life of a clown.

Emmett Kelly, 1959.

Cover photo: An Evil Circus Clown. © 1960 Buffoon Records  

All Songs By The Ministers Quartet
(Dan Smith, Dick Wilson, Bob Jones, Wilson Smith)

Side One:

1. I Dream of Choir Boy With The Light Brown Hair
2. Your Kids Are Safe With Me! (Camping Song)
3. Ooops, I Diddled It Again
4. Little League Baseball Coach (I’m a...)
5. Sin & Repent – Then Do It Some More!

Side Two:

1. Some People Think We’re Creepy
2. I Don’t Care That You’re Only 13 (13 Is My Lucky Number)
3. Stick It In His Rector
4. Morally Weak (But Physically Stronger)
5. The Sinister Minister
6. Let Me Touch Him (Ballad of a Choir Boy)

Oh golly, the fellows had a heck of a time making this neat-oh album. Why, they even ponied up their own dough to see that it got done. I say God bless Dan, Dick, Bob and Wilson – four of the nicest ministers that I ever met. It sure as heck was a shame when they got arrested on all those trumped up charges, but as their lawyer, I was willing to fight tooth and nail for them. The problem was of course that everyone was on that “we always suspected as much” and “all men of the cloth are pedophiles” kick, and gosh darn it, that – and the alleged photos of the guys – didn’t help them one whit.

Sure, some folk said that once they looked at the song titles and really listened to the lyrics...

“We’ll take your kids camping
They’ll be lots of corn dogs and delight
We like to roast their marshmallows
Then polish their tent-poles all night”

...that there was no doubt in their minds that these songs were about child molestation; but jeepers, that’s just hindsight and searching for perversion where it simply isn’t. Just because a song is called, “Ooops, I Diddled It Again” doesn’t mean that it’s about the guilt associated with sodomizing a series of teenage boys. Honestly, I don’t know where these police officers and fancy pants, high priced, district attorneys get their ideas. Definitely not from church!

Anyway, the odds were stacked against the fellows, and to be honest, I’ve never claimed to be much of a lawyer – which is why I sell insurance for a living. But darn it, I was willing to give a try.

Upon reflection, the fellows probably should have hired one of them slick city feller attorneys as opposed to a simple character with a drinking problem and little understanding of the law. It was like I said to the guys as they were getting dragged off to prison, “Aw shucks fellows, I sure am sorry things didn’t work out. Write me!”

And they do. I got a letter from Dan last week saying I can’t imagine what terrible and crazy things happen there. Well I wrote him back and reminded him that I have a teenage son who likes to go-cart and so I have a pretty good idea of what “crazy” is all about. Hah, hah, hah, that son of mine... Sometimes he hides his vegetables under his plate! But he’s a good boy. Dan is always asking me to send him more pictures of the lad. I ask you, would a pervert do that?

I was sorry to hear that Bob and Dick slipped in the showers and fell to their deaths and that Wilson accidentally cut off his tongue while shaving, but as an insurance salesman/lawyer, I know all about the dangers around the home. That’s why it’s important to have a full home insurance policy. If you don’t have insurance, you should give me a call. I can help you. And I promise to do a better job of helping you then I did helping my friends from The Ministers Quartet.

Dave Smith

Liberty Mutual Insurance, 1964 

Cover photo: John Wilson  © 1964 Lolita Records

Side One.

1. Love in a Bomb Shelter – The Swell Gang   
2. I’m Always On The Lookout (For Communists) – The Good Citizens
3. The Segregation Dance – Righteous Teen Beats
4. I Love You Barb Billingsley – The Beaver Boys
5. Without A Family, A Woman Is Nothing – 4 Neat Fellas 
6. She’s The Bad Girl From The Hygiene Films – The Gay Guys

Side Two.

1. Insipid America The Malt Shop Band
2. The Repressed Song (Keep Smiling, Keep Smiling!) – The Keen Church Goers
3. Never Met a Black Person, Never Met a Jew – Bobby Smith and Friends
4. That Gal of Mine (Really Knows Her Place!) – Smiling Eddie and The Squirrels
5. My Nuclear Family Doesn’t Include The Portuguese Maid – The Doo-Wops
6. Cold War Girl, Let Me Heat You Up – Fabulous Johnny and 23 Skidoo

Hey Guys and Gals get ready for 12 of the kookiest, nuttiest, hippest, and most neato songs this side of squares-ville. If you like conforming, personal hygiene, and being a good American citizen than this album is for you. If not, then you’re a degenerate and we hope you get shot and/or sent to jail (but mostly shot). This rocking album of rocking songs is just rocking! And it’s the perfect benchmark for our generation: The best one there’ll ever be, daddyo!

Almost as fun as McCarthyism and way more interesting than worrying about some people’s civil liberties, 12 Top Hits features such destined to be classic bands like, The Gay Guys and Smiling Eddie and The Squirrels. Bands we’ll be hearing a lot more about, I can tell you that!

If you thought your leak free ballpoint pen and the polio vaccine were something else, than get ready to Hula Hoop your way to the Polypropylene jukebox and enjoy all the great songs on 12 Top Hits.

And remember kids, wash your face everyday, pledge allegiance to the flag, go to church and if you ever have any urges to do anything un-American, then it’s perfectly okay to hang yourself.

Until then – have fun. (But just make sure it’s OUR kind of Christian fun... You know, the boring kind.)   

Jim Jones – The Burma Shave Man 1958

Cover photo: Ward Cleaver © 1957 Conformity Records


Side One

1. Butt Smelling Dog
2. Give Me A Bone
3. It’s Fun to Hump at The SPCA 
4. Heavy Breathing, Hanging Tongues
5. Make You My Bitch

Side Two

1. Bend Over Rover
2. Sniff Sniff, I Remember You Now!
3. Neutered Blues
4. King (Bury It & Make Me Bark)
5. French My Poodle

I love my gay dog. I’m not ashamed of my gay dog. My wife has a hard time accepting that our dog is gay. But not me. I’m okay with it. Yup, real good. Sure, sometimes I lie awake at nights wondering what the hell kind of sick things it’s doing with other gay dogs, but I still marched in their parade. And let me tell you, freedom of sexual choice is all fine and dandy but some of those floats bordered on pornography. Still, I love my gay dog. I accept me gay dog. If I keep telling myself that then it’s gotta be true. Right?

Paddy Roberts (Tolerant Pet Owner) 1971
Cover photo: Paddy’s Less Tolerant Wife   © 1971 Barking Mad Records

All Material by Geraldine and Ricky  
* Unless Noted
Recorded Live at The Belleview Hospital for the Insane

Side One:

1. Good Wood
2. My Hand’s Up Your Ass (And My Fingers Are Covered In Splinters)
3. Everyone Says I’m Crazy (To Love You)
4. Let Me Do The Talking
5. Shut Up Dummy  
6. Trees Talk Too! (Crazy Bedlam Dance Mix)
7. Geraldine (If You Love Me, You Will Kill People!)

Side Two:

1. My Split Personality
2. Ventriloquism – Art Form of the Future
3. Once Again, The Children Are Crying
4. Notes on Ricky’s Schizophrenia, Extreme Paranoid Tendencies, Repetition Compulsion, and His Many Other Mental Disorders * (written by Dr. Seymour Rabinovitz)
5. The Bitch Wears White * (written by Ricky)
6. Do The Lobotomy * (written by Dr. Seymour Rabinovitz)
7. No More Voices (In My Head) (written by Ricky and Frank Sinatra)

In my many years as a clinical psychoanalyst, I had come across thousands of bizarre and disturbing cases, yet none of them was ever so troubling and freakishly weird as the split-personality case of Geraldine and Ricky. (Or Ricky and Geraldine, depending on whom you talked to.)

Ricky and Geraldine were brought to my office by their traumatized and severely alcoholic parents. They claimed that Geraldine and Ricky’s relationship, while initially cute and funny, was now bordering on the “weird and scary.” It was also implied that the two had begun to “hurt people.” While drinking from a flask, their mother blurted out that they shared a bed and were involved in “unnatural activities” together. I promised to do what I could.

Right off the bat it became apparent that Ricky was the dominant aggressor in the relationship. He insulted me, broke my office lamp and swore like a turret’s victim. Geraldine, for her part, tended to smile vacantly and look glassy eyed. The fact that Ricky constantly referred to her as a “dumb bitch” and a “controlling whore” demonstrated just how conflicted he was about Geraldine, and her role in his life. The fact that his hateful words seemed to have no impact on Geraldine whatsoever allowed me to conclude that she was the “enabler” in this relationship, and, I suspected, probably also very passive aggressive.

The first thing I did was have them committed. I then began to creatively mix and prescribe mind-bending drugs that would cure them. Large doses of powerful hallucinogenics would be required! Ricky really seemed to take to them and talked endlessly about all the “cool colors, man!” whereas Geraldine became listless and started sprouting moustache hairs.  I would need to rethink my methodology.

My next brainstorm was to put them in straightjackets and separate them. Again, the results were not what I had hoped for. Ricky became silent and lay in the corner, inert, refusing to eat, move, breath or talk, while Geraldine began forming an extremely unhealthy relationship with a wooden chair.

One late night, while sitting in my office drinking and masturbating in moderation, I finally arrived at what would ultimately be the perfect therapy to help these two troubled souls slay their mental demons and find peace of mind: Lobotomies all round!

Later, my secretary suggested that instead of carving out small pieces of their frontal lobes maybe I should encourage them to record an album. She noted that I could then analyze the resulting creation and search for psychological clues in the words that might serve as root source and foundations of their mental disorder. Since I couldn’t find my lobotomy scalpel, I decided to go this route. Perhaps it might prove to be therapeutic.

The result was Geraldine and Ricky’s “Trees Talk Too!” a combination of traditional gypsy music, talk-therapy and ventriloquism comedy with some clinical observations by me.

I obtained some intriguing insights into the brains of both of them through the material. It was obvious that Ricky was the creative visionary whereas Geraldine was simply the straight woman and Ricky’s goonish plastic-haired sidekick. Of course I had to keep a lid on some of Ricky’s “artistic concepts.” His idea to have Geraldine strip would have excited the other patients far too much, and there was no way in hell the two of them were going to perform a “live sex show.”

As the creative power struggle became more enhanced between the two, so did their hopes of recovery. Geraldine often talked of a sock puppet from her childhood that she wouldn’t mind revisiting and Ricky began working on a solo stand-up comedy act about insanity, wood products and his immense dislike of carpenters and termites.

By the time the album was recorded (live, at our very own Belleview Hospital for the Insane) a rift between the two had formed that would never be mended.

Shortly after the album was recorded, Ricky met me for a private consultation and admitted that the time had come to give up the “unhealthy act of ventriloquism” and “get on with life.” He told me had discarded his puppet, Geraldine, and as far as he was concerned I could toss her into the incinerator.

I asked him if he didn’t want to have the Geraldine dummy as a keepsake (this was a test!), but he told me it would just be an unpleasant memory of his troubled mental times. He was free of the dummy and happier for it... I had solved the case!

I congratulated Ricky on his incredible breakthrough and sent him on his way.

I’m proud to say that Ricky is now a functioning member of society and a small-time criminal and a petty thug at worst. 

Geraldine, of course, was nothing more than a stuffed puppet made of wood shavings, foam, glue, plastic, and cheap pinewood. However she sits on an honored place on my office bookshelf. Sometimes when I look into her glassy eyes I swear she almost looks human...      

Dr. Seymour Rabinovitz
Hospital for the Insane (1972)
Cover photo: Hans the Orderly  © 1972 Bedlam Records

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