Note to subscribers: when someone calls and wants to pay me good money to write an essay about playing with my scrotum, I'm all OVER it, so I don't wanna hear any complaints, ok? You've been warned.


Through nearly a half-century of intensive, first-hand study and application, I've come to consider myself an authority on the art of repulsing fellow human beings with my body, and of all the parts from which to glean junior hi-jinks gratification, the scrotum is unquestionably both the most useful and versatile. While it doesn't lend itself to snot-cannon competition like the venerable meat whistle; cannot clear a room as swiftly and comprehensively when exhibited and/or employed as the coughing purple starfish; doesn't present prospects for hours of rewarding excavation as do the nosary-snouffers and can't produce a functionally practical substance such as otic polish or optic glue, the chicken-skinned sheathing of man's crotch-potatoes nonetheless provides an inexhaustible wealth of mirth and merriment for all who come to appreciate its winsome wonders.

While space limitations preclude a comprehensive discussion of the yocks and chortles potentially yielded by the variety of scrotal stunts a professional sac-manipulator such as myself has learned to terrorize the citizenry with,* consider the following a primer for gonadal greenhorns. Be patient, work hard and your body too, can be transformed into a veritable temple of disgust!

Jim Rose, call me. I'm ready to go to work.

1.) BUBBLEGUM ON THE BARBERSHOP FLOOR This one's a cinch, even for beginners: simply unzip the fly, dive in and pull out a length of man-taffy. Stretch the bolus as far as possible (really, its marvelously lithe) and display to horrified onlookers. The title of this trick, along with your lovely pink coloration and wealth of southern whiskers, will put witnesses off Bazooka-chewing for weeks, guaranteed.

2.) THE PRESSED FRUITBOWL Another relatively easy one, but this can present logistical difficulties for fat guys such as myself, for whom torsal bloat can impede 100% success. Anyway, get a friend to drive you around a heavily- populated quarter, then simply drop trou and squash the silly putty against a window. Voila! Spectators will never look at citrus produce quite the same ever again.

3.) THE COIN PURSE Potentially painful but ultimately well-worth the discomfort, this one is for intermediately-skilled plum- pranksters. Unzip thyself and hang the full quivering jello district from your pants. Zip back up as tightly as possible until the parcel is throbbing and pulsating like a baby's brain (this works to best effect in cold climates). Strut the streets nonchalantly, and be sure to have a co-conspirator on hand to videotape the stunned reactions of innocent bystanders.

4.) FRUMUNDA CHEESE A classic! Aggressively scrape the 'taint with your fingernail and squeeze the collected personal residue from under the nail onto your fingertip; spread about liberally, activating aromatic oils. Walk up behind an unsuspecting Republican and place "tainted" finger directly beneath their nose. When they turn around and scream "What the fuck?!?!" emit a triumphant yell of "Frumunda Cheese!" and launch into gales of satisfied guffaws as the prey launches their lunch into orbit.

5.) THE VIRTUAL VAGINA Long a fave among amateur high school athletes and professional trannies the world over, this can also be learned by any patient male willing to endure hours of intensive practice and resultant regional tenderness. Get naked and tuck your entire package -- Mr. Johnson and all -- between the thighs; close the legs as tightly as possible; parade about while effecting exaggerated drag queen mannerisms. Richard Simmons taught me this one back in 1978, and my wife still hates his guts for it.

* DISCLAIMERS: 1.) Don't try any of these tricks in Red States or you may be subject by law to being dragged from the back of pick-up trucks. 2.) If you're a Negro, the title of stunts one, two and three must be changed to "Grape Gum On The Barbershop Floor," "Kiwi Harvest Time" and "Coconut Grove," respectively. 3.) When applied in the presence of homosexuals, reactions to stunts may vary from mere annoyance or boredom to actual pleasure; however, when practiced in the presence of lesbians, beware of incoming boots, fists and knives.

NEXT TIME: "Eggs Over Easy," "Rutabaga-Flossing," "Peach Souffle," "Poodle In My Pants" and "Play-Doh Surprise."

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> FOR THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE:

BLUE NOTES By Buddy Blue

The Dickies were among LA's first-string punk bands, compatriots of groups like X, Black Flag and Social Distortion. Their name might be less familiar than all of the above, but the Dickies were as ferocious as any of 'em, and a whole lot less trendy/more fun to boot; they served as sort of a West Coast Ramones, more concerned with goofy humor and wicked-tuff rawkenroll than outlaw posing or me-so- depressed caterwauling. I loved this group - y'all g'head and shoot your heroin whilst wallowing in the calculated negativity of Exene, Mike Ness and Henry "I'm Going To Beat You Up With My Neck" Rollins; me, I prefer nekkid, beer-splattered spazz dancing to the tune of old Dickies records.

Formed in 1977, the Dickies never broke up, marking them as the longest-running punk rock group extant (although there have been personnel changes); their sound has remained consistent for close to 30 years. Although they've recorded all-original albums, the Dickies' coolest stock in trade has been vivisecting oldies that personify the Stupid Hippie ethos -- "Nights In White Satin," "The Eve Of Destruction," "The Sounds Of Silence" -- until they're all but unrecognizable and sound like demons torturing Timothy Leary with red-hot pitchforks in Hell.

Although one could make a case for them being direct spiritual godfathers of more modern comedy- inclined punk groups like Green Day, NOFX and blink-182, the Dickies never got the props or geedus their influence warranted, and they've been largely reduced to playing SoCal dive bars for many years now. While I lament that injustice, I rejoice in the fact that the Dickies play the Longshot Saloon in San Marcos on Saturday night.

If the Dickies were among the forebears of modern punk, the Seeds were undoubtedly among the groups that inspired the Dickies, although the Seeds' humor was of the unintentional variety. Frontman Sky Saxon is perhaps the ultimate '60s acid casualty; an apparently addled and delusional wanna-be cult leader ("Dog" spelled backwards is "God," maaaan) who labors under the permanent, vainglorious hallucination that he's an elite rock star guru; far out, stone groove, turn on/tune in/drop out and all that there stuff.

This is not to say that the li'l fella hasn't created some great rock & roll in spite of himself; Saxon's quaint brand of garage psychedelia remains stuck in time, as unchanged and unhinged as it is eternally fascinating. The Seeds' 1966 one-hit-wonder "Pushin' Too Hard" ranks among the classic Stoopid Singles of all time with its relentlessly thudding beat, impossibly adenoidal vocal, infantile lyrics and junior high- level guitar solo, but Saxon has topped that performance time and again, proving that, for better or worse, there are no limits to his twisted vision and energy.

"The Seeds" has become a generic handle for whomever is backing Saxon at the moment; Saxon and some other guys appear at the unlikely environs of the Casbah on Wednesday night (somehow, hippie- hang Winston's in O.B. seems the more apropos venue) in a concert billed as "Final Show In SoCal Ever." Efforts to contact Saxon for an explanation were unsuccessful, which is a shame because I really,

really REALLY wanted to interview this guy.

Spencer Dryden, one-time drummer for the Jefferson Airplane and New Riders Of The Purple Sage during those groups' most notable and productive periods, died on January 10th at age 66. Dryden, a 1955 graduate of the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, had fallen on hard times and failing health in recent years and was living in a rented shack in Petaluma at the time of his death. The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir and Warren Haynes held a benefit concert for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee in San Francisco last year, raising $36,000 to help offset health care expenses; Dryden had been suffering from heart disease, colon cancer and was facing two hip replacement surgeries. "I'm gone," he told the San Francisco Chronicle in May of 2004. "I'm out of it. I've left the building."


By Buddy Blue When the first San Diego Street Scene was held back in 1984, bluesman Robert Cray was the Artist To

Watch. I recall several of the other performers, such as the Blasters' Alvin brothers and X's John Doe, talking him up as the highlight of the event. When it came time for Cray's set, they all studied him in hushed reverence -- clearly, this man would be the savior of the blues, a pivotal figure who'd re- popularize a precious but commercially moribund artform among mainstream America, yada yada. And you know what? It almost turned out that way, too.

In '86, Cray's single, "Smoking Gun," climbed to Number Two on the Billboard charts and sold Platinum; its video went into heavy rotation on MTV - this was the first Top Ten blues single since B.B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone," some 16 years earlier. Cray was young, gifted and black, and, like the already-aging King, he was handsome, humble and articulate; superstardom loomed.

Somewhere along the path of this parable, though, that particular train got derailed. Cray, now 51, never came close to re-capturing the runaway sales success of "Smoking Gun" or the album from which it sprang, "Strong Persuader." He seemed to fade back into the nether regions of the American consciousness just as quickly as his star rose.

"We just let that roll off our back," Cray once told me, as he reflected on the glory days. "I mean, looking at the kind of band we were, it was a fluke that it ever even happened like that in the first place. I'm sure the record company would have loved for the follow-up to go Platinum too, but you know, that really wasn't gonna happen. So for us, it was just great exposure."

You'll still find an abundance Robert Cray CDs filed in the blues section of your local record store too, but this has become an increasingly misleading tag for the smooth singer/guitarist. For years, Cray has been moving his music toward the vintage R&B/soul side of the musical spectrum, and has been frequently called out by critics as a purveyor of "yuppie blues" for a perceived abandonment of earthier roots. His albums, while uniformly competent, have at times seemed interchangeable and uninspired.

As a more ferocious, tradition-minded crop of young blues performers such as Shemekia Copeland, Alvin "Youngblood" Hart and Corey Harris stepped up to plate in recent years, I've been among those lamenting Cray's lack of intensity. At times, my criticism has been harsh - too harsh, really, I admit this now - because of the perhaps unreasonable expectations placed upon his shoulders, and because Cray's vision and definition of the blues is at once forward and backward-looking.

But if the commercial trajectory of his career has been a disappointment, well, Cray was and remains a fine artist who reliably plays and sings with uncommon grace and elegance. If he's not the second coming of B.B., we've no one but ourselves to blame for supposing he might be.

Cray, who performs Sunday night at Escondido Center for the Performing Arts, grew up listening to soul music. His parents had an extensive collection of R&B albums, and soul was omnipresent on the radio when Cray was a teen-ager in the '60s. As he speaks of past heroes, a young man's enthusiasm still creeps into Cray's tone -- as does a sense of dismay that this music has completely fallen from popular favor.

"Sam Cooke, Bobby Bland, B.B. King, Otis Rush, O.V. Wright, Johnny Taylor, Little Milton Campbell -- it's always been about a combination of blues and soul to me," he said. "I mean, there are still people who are out there doing this for a living. It's mostly older guys, but they're still making music -- they just don't get played on the radio anymore. What's called R&B now is a whole new thing. I mean, things need to change of course, but there's still Bobby Bland and Little Milton and other folks out there. These people are still alive and they need a way for their music to be heard."

If the same might be said of Cray - no longer the young stud on the block, but a grizzled veteran in his own right - he seems content with his lot, making music he loves the way he wants to do it; still playing for the faithful.

"That's just how things go and I'm happy where we are right now," he said. "We're still out there working and that's what's important."

The Robert Cray Band, January 29 at Escondido Center for the Performing Arts, 340 North Escondido Boulevard in Escondido, 8 p.m., $55, 760-839-6310.

Sidebar: If you dig Robert Cray, check out the following artists who also mixed their blues with heapin' helpings of R&B:

LITTLE MILTON Is this the only artist ever to turn the trifecta of recording for the three most celebrated and influential labels in history? Uncle Miltie's sides with Sun, Chess and Stax records (not to mention more recent work) are all worth a listen, but it's those mid-'60s Chess sides - "We're Gonna Make It," "Grits Ain't Groceries," "Feel So Bad," "Without My Sweet Baby" and so much more - that mark him as a great'un. The venerable singer/guitarist remains active today and still sounds like a perfect one-man morph between B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland.

JOHNNY ADAMS The so-called "Tan Canary" was a fixture on the New Orleans R&B scene until his death in 1998, but his specialty was blues-steeped soul ballads rather than standard Nola-rhythm. With a startling falsetto to make your nose bleed and teeth shatter, Adams' rep failed to keep pace with this talent due to a spotty recording career until the last years of his life, when a series of fine albums for Rounder Records belatedly scared up a modest fan base.

JOE LOUIS WALKER Walker surfaced at roughly the same time as Cray but never enjoyed anything approaching Cray's brief but profound success. That's not due to a lack of the goods on Walker's part: he can match Cray in the blues/soul department, but has also recorded scorching, down-home country blues (his slide work SLAYS), gospel, jazz and even Latin material, marking him as the ultimate blues alchemist. If this eclecticism has perhaps hurt his career in the long run, bless JLW for refusing to be pigeonholed and always creating innovative, compelling music.

JAMES ARMSTRONG Armstrong got off to a late start - his debut record wasn't released until he was nearly 40 years old - and then his momentum was cut short soon after by a near-fatal stabbing during a home invasion that permanently slowed down his fretting fingers. Quite the trooper, Armstrong re-taught himself to play in new styles, including some slick bottleneck work. His records inevitably draw comparisons to Cray's.

JOHNNY COPELAND It remains to be seen whether Copeland's ultimate legacy will hinge more on his own music or that of his equally gifted daughter, Shemekia, but either way, Johnny Clyde was a masterful, sophisticated singer/songwriter/guitarist. Copeland - who died of heart disease in 1997 at age 60 - was another late- starter, but his 1981 debut album created an instant buzz in blues circles. Later, he recorded a popular album with Cray and the late Albert Collins, and experimented with African and Gulf Coast music towards the end of his too-brief life.