Can I Be Frank?: Guilty Pleasures: I am a Fanilow

(In honor of Mr. Manilow’s birthday and today’s WCAP discussion, dusting off this confession from a couple years back)


My name is Frank and I am a FANILOW.
What is a Fanilow?

Urban dictionary simply defines this term as follows:
1. Fanilow (FAN – A – LO)
Noun: A Barry Manilow fan. Thus, fanilow.
“Frank is a Fanilow and giant, raging closet queen.”
I added that last part of the sentence.
Embarrassed? Yup.
Disgusted? Yessiree.
True? You betcha!
Once again, I am reluctantly sharing another of my guilty pleasures with the world for your amusement. Unlike previous guilty pleasures I have described in the past, this one snuck up on me. Like the rest of you (whether you are being honest with yourself or not) I enjoy a few things in my life that I would just assume no one know about. However, most of those pleasures have been a part of my little personal secret for some time. This Manilow thing has taken me by surprise, but I have to face a bitter truth about myself.
I am a Fanilow.
I am trying to identify exactly when this metamorphosis occurred? I attribute it to a few recent episodes.
• The Tour. The Brooklyn, New York native (born Barry Allen Pincus – bet you didn’t know that? Why? You are clearly not a Fanilow) is currently touring across the U.S. and has an upcoming stop in neighboring Worcester, MA (nope, have no bought tickets…YET). With all of the commercials on both radio and T.V., The man who Writes the Songs that make the (nearly middle aged straight men cry) subconsciously slipped into my brain.

• Easy Access. My wife is a quasi-uncommitted-Fanilow but she does own his Greatest Hits album which resides in her car. Once when I happen to be the one carting my three (soon to be disgraced by their father) children on the weekends, I noticed the CD was playing when I started up that family wagon. Didn’t think much of it at first, but I also noticed I did not shut it off or even turn it down despite my kids plea to listen to some other annoyed pop crap. Kids, when will they learn to appreciate true musical genius?

• Lyrics. What I never realized was that I have unknowingly been cataloging all of the lyrics to many of his hits over the years and I was belting out Mandy all the way to swimming lessons.
Close your eyes for a minute and picture this scenario (never mind, you are reading, how can you close your eyes).
A beautiful Saturday morning in Anytown, USA. Sun is shining. The sounds of children playing. Lawnmowers are starting up all over the neighborhood. Off in the distance you hear a strange sound. Faint at first, it slowly becomes stronger. All of sudden, you notice a car barreling down Main Street. But, what is the noise coming from this Mom Mobile? Is it singing? Can it be?

In a squealy baritone you can finally make out the words…
“Well you came and you gave without taking
But I sent you away, Oh Mandy!
Well you kissed me and stopped me from something
And I need you today, Oh….”

Oh crap. Yeah, that sound was ME. And as I pull to the stop light I quickly realized the four junior high school boys riding their bikes are hysterically laughing at me. As the light turned green I slowly pulled away to the sounds of their laughter and feelings of shame.
(Inner Monologue)
Real slick pal! Might as well change the name of the song to ‘Randy’, Liberace! Maybe next week you can just fly the kids to their lessons on your Fruity Fairy Wings? You are disgusting! ”

How did this happen? Without any scientific evidence to back me up I am fairly confident that 37 year old heterosexual married men are not Barry’s prime demographic?
I need a game plan to rid myself of this newfound guilty pleasure. I need to cleanse, dare I say exorcise, this demon of an affliction that has taken hold of me.
Maybe I should drink myself half blind like Lola did every night at the Copacabana, you know, the hottest spot north of Havana?
Perhaps I need a long quiet Weekend in New England to gather my thoughts and retake my manhood?
Maybe, just maybe, I will Smile (again) Without You, Barry?
I know for certain I am Ready to Take a Chance Again with my manhood.
Even Now, I just don’t know anything anymore, but hopefully by Daybreak I will have some answers to why this has all happened?
Will I Make it Through The Rain?
I just pray that I will be able to say that it Looks Like I Made It.
Whew. Enough with the bad references.

I need to take the ‘MAN’ in Manilow and self-apply; STAT. Maybe I’ll head to the store and pick up a few things to break this spell.

Let’s see. Case of Budweiser? Check.

Carton of unfiltered cigarettes? Check.

Old Spice deodorant? Check.

Wrangler Jeans? Check.

Copy of ‘Manilow: Live at Royal Albert Hall’. Che…
No. Wait. DAMNIT!!!

A toast to Cobblestones!


Howl Magazine

It has been 20 years since Chef Scott Plath opened Cobblestones restaurant in the 155-year-old historic Yorick Club building across the street from Lowell City Hall. On Sunday, June 22, Plath and his crew are celebrating in style with an all-day bash full of food, live music and spirits. One lucky raffle winner will also walk away with a cruise to the Bahamas. The event doubles as a fundraiser with proceeds benefiting the Lowell Boys and Girls Club, says Plath, so you can soak up some summer fun and give back to the community at the same time.

Great Interview from Jen Myers with Chef Scott Plath here.

Congrats to Chef Scott Plath and Cobblestones for twenty fantastic years. Congrats for still being a place I look forward to going, for a night out. Congrats for being among the few to figure out a way to serve your patrons tasty brews in actual glassware without your dining room turning into the Double Deuce. Come to think of it, congrats for not turning yourselves into a bullshit night club. Congrats for figuring out how to make a business work among the shroud of Lowell High School’s best loiterers. Congrats for making ends meet despite our burdensome commercial tax programs that we’re told is killing business in this City. Most of all, congrats for making our downtown a better place.

Racism is apparently alive and well in Centralville

Lowell Sun
LOWELL — Cities from Boston to Atlanta to Chicago have had fiberglass cows standing on sidewalks as part of a public art project, among other ways cities work to brighten their common spaces.
A city that touts arts contributions of its own, Lowell now has a similar project, except with homemade scarecrows.
About a dozen are now on city streets, mostly in Centralville, with at least that much more or as many as 20 more to come.
“What the community needs to be aware of is that we’re trying to build the community and have fun,” Beacon Street resident Heidi Miller said.

We’ve chronicled extensively in this forum that pretty much anyone or anything flies in Centralville. Everyone that is, except for the Crows. The local community is sending a very loud and visible message: if you have black feathers, generally spend your days loitering, have an ominous juxtaposition, and a track record of annoying people when they’re trying to sleep, then you’re not welcome in this neighborhood. “Go back to we’re you came from, Crows!” said on vocal fella on Bridge Street. “Our power lines are for sneakers, only!”
This shocking display of imagery drums up memories of the neighborhood’s dark past. Those who are old enough to remember can’t help but shake eerie similarities of the Great Purge of the Back Yard Chicken circa 2013. A time that triggered widespread condemnation from across the Global community. A time that still haunts the city’s image to this day.

PS. I suppose its tough to pick a favorite with Humpty Dumpty’s disappearance, but I find it difficult to believe that any is better than this Rita Mercier scare crow.   A wonderful tribute. Continue reading

So much for not needing roads.


What kind of asshole owns a time machine and then warps somewhere during rush hour? That’s possibly the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen someone do in a time machine.   Now you’re stuck there in the stop’n go like every other moob because in the history of 95, nobody has ever hit 88 mph’s anywhere between Natick and Newburyport…ever.

Thanks @mahklynch for not killing himself to snap this pic.

Cool bro needed to break in a pair of Rainbows (TriBeCa)

Cool bro needed to break in a pair of Rainbows (TriBeCa)
Looking to hire a brah to break in my new Rainbow flops. I don’t have time to do it and I need them broken in like yesterday cause my feet are totally soft from rockin’ my Tod’s driving mocs all winter. This isn’t just your normal everyday flip flop break-in job, I need you to imitate my whole deal so they’re like proper.
First off my gate, you’ve gotta walk like me to get these puppies to fit me right, think McConaughey meets the guy you wish you were who walks out of Citi Bank HQ on a casual Friday, picture a Patagonia fleece vest with a Brooks Bros. non-iron.
Second, you need to go places where I’ll wear ’em to get them used to the terrain. Tribeca Tap House, the Brandy Library, Tiny’s, the Frying Pan, and the Boat Basin. Don’t FUCKING bring these things to Brooklyn, I know you think the roof of Berry Park in Williams-balls is the boner, but it’s just for poor people who can’t afford 230 Fifth.
Outfit provided and pictured below, includes boot koozie in case you need something to help you jam harder to Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. If you don’t know what that is then stay in Hoboken and keep watching MMA.
Send references of other footwear you’ve broken in, if you mention a Ralph Lauren shoe of any kind, especially Polo Sport I’ll know you went to SUNY or CUNY and you won’t be considered.
My old ‘bows are pictured here, they need to look like this by Belmont. Payment negotiable, but you need to be able to accept a credit card cause I want Starwood points for my Amex. Out.
do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers



I have very little to add here. Bow’s are the balls. I don’t buy the bows because they’re harder to break in than a pair of Bauers. Furthermore, I believe in Craigslist as a means of finding hard up people to do weird shit for you for short money. And if that’s not enough, as far as I’m concerned, Old Crow Medicine Show is the ONLY version of Wagon Wheel. I’d rather take a shovel to the face than hang out with this bro, but I respect his game.

First Thursdays in Lowell

What is First Thursday? You’ve got me. I’m not really sure. On the surface it looks like a highly organized Thirsty Thursday, but I’m getting the impression it’s BYOB. Either way, these are the types of events where people actually want to meet each other. (Weird, I know) Perhaps you discover a little something about the neighborhood that you didn’t know before. And with the right attitude, you can still end the night with your accustomed blackout and/or fist fight. So quit being a moob and get down there and check it out.