Posted by: cassymuronaka | November 1, 2009

Hot Rats

I’ve been sick with the flu since Wednesday night, when I felt a bug slam into my chest like something out of “Alien.” For the last four days, I’ve risen out of my bed mainly to hand out Halloween candy — with sanitized hands at a protected distance — and to continue to photograph the ratty degeneration of my appearance as I pad around the house in ancient pajamas.

Cassy sick

Being ill allows you to obsess on small outrages, because you don’t have the energy or money to remedy the big ones (a crumbling roof or current medical insurance deductible). About all you’re really capable of doing is lying flat on your back while watching a movie and becoming increasingly and irrationally irritated over the fact that an actress is playing exactly the same character in your newest Netflix flick rental as she did in the completely different film in which you last saw her (Kelly MacDonald in “The Merry Gentleman” and “The Girl in the Cafe”).

I’m too tired to write her agent, but Kelly really needs to start challenging herself more in her roles; even the hats in both movies are the same. And Bill Nighy and Michael Keaton are playing almost identical repressed, older male love interests opposite her in the two films.

Kelly MacDonald

Today, after I stopped fuming over the characters in two movies that almost no on has seen, I staggered downstairs to ponder the state of my record albums, about which I keep saying I am going to copy and transfer over to CDs or my iPod. I had to pack a couple of hundred of these suckers up up when I was painting several rooms of my house this summer. As I boxed and cataloged them, I realized that there were several albums missing.

Only one of the vanished really bothered me, because I can easily live out the rest of my days without listening to the third album of “The Association” or the waste of vinyl released by one-hit wonder, Johnny Nash (“I Can See Clearly Now”).

But what is gnawing away at me is the loss of “Hot Rats,” by Frank Zappa, a post-Mothers of Invention work that was the only record I ever purchased solely for the album’s cover design. I am infinitely more galled about Frank’s disappearance than I am about Kelly MacDonald’s acting career choices, because the album was in flawless condition. This is due to the fact that I only once tried to listen to Zappa’s weird instrumental foray into jazz, and just planned to eventually frame the endearing psychedelic pink 60s-era photograph of him crawling out of a crypt.

Hot Rats

Now I suppose I’ll have to go crawling myself, only this time over eBay, to look for an equally pristine version of the album that has inexplicably vanished. That is, unless I forget all about it in an hour or so, and begin obsessing on some other aggravating bit of minutiae that briefly grabs my attention in between swigs of cough syrup.



  1. So sorry you’re sick, poor baby, but you certainly haven’t lost your sense of humor. A few more sick days and you’ll have solved all the problems of the world (and found another copy of that Frank Zappa album!) Get well soon!

  2. hope you’re feeling better but dont change the hair. it’s working!

  3. thank you both!

  4. I have the “Kill Ugly Radio” Zappa album, which I also bought for the cover. It’s not half bad. I think it includes “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It.”

    • Actually, the title is “Absolutely Free.” Songs include “Plastic People,” “Status Back Baby,” “Uncle Bernie’s Farm,” “Brown Shoes Don’t Make It” and “America Drinks and Goes Home.” “Kill Ugly Radio” is on the inside cover, if that makes any sense.

  5. The person on the Hot Rats cover is Christine Frka, who was, at the time, (1969), the Zappa kids’ nanny. She was also one of the GTOs (two albums, long deleted, considered collectors’ items) and briefly dated a certain Vincent Furnier, and had the idea for his satanic-looking makeup when he sang for the band Alice Cooper. When he changed his name to that and became famous, he forgot her. She later died.

    The “crypt” is an empty swimming pool on the property of the log cabin where the Zappas were living at that time. It had previously belonged to Harry Houdini, and there was a “secret” unnavigable underground tunnel there too. Years later, the cabin burned down.

    And the music on the album is pretty good too.

    • Very very interesting. I appreciate all the info. I guess Christine Frka also was a member of the GTOs, along with Pamela Des Barres. I’ll admit that when I looked up the long-lost “Hot Rats” album online, the person on the cover didn’t look all that much like young Zappa of my memory. That’s fascinating about the Houdini cabin. I photographed the Houdini Hollywood estate decades ago. It was in appropriate ruin.

      If I ever get another copy of the album, I’ll have to give the music another shot.

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