First Draft Fundraiser: Kickstart Our Anthology!

So back when we turned 10 last year, we mentioned putting together a Best Of collection, a Greatest Hits album but with lots more political crack. It took me a year to get off my ass to get it done, but it’s almost here, and we’re taking pre-orders at Kickstarter for it!  Continue reading

Rick Perlstein On Donald (The Insult Comedian) Trump

Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge, applies his deep dish historical approach to the shallow topic of the Insult Comedian at the Washington Spectator. The piece is called Donald Trump and the F-Word. I’d use an H word instead: Hustler or Huckster.

There’s something about Trump that inspires people to write about the movies and, like Frank Rich a few weeks back, Perlstein mentions some good ones, Elia Kazan and Budd Schulberg’s A Face In The Crowd and Billy Wilder’s Ace In The Hole:

Ordinary people can become monsters. Everyone who experienced World War II knew that. How does it happen? Any attentive cinema-goer or TV-watcher of the 1950s would have a decent grasp of an answer. In Ace in the Hole, from 1951, a little-remembered Billy Wilder masterpiece, the effort to rescue a man trapped in a cave collapse in New Mexico turns into a lurid carnival as folks flock from miles around, with rides, concerts, and gambling. The party ends when the rescue fails, the man dies, and the revelers slink away in shame at how thin the veneer of civilization truly was.

I wish the Insult Comedian was actually as interesting as the better articles written about him. He’s fundamentally a con artist selling dreams, nightmares, and bullshit much like Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry. There’s my movie analogy.

One of the most interesting parts of Perlstein’s opus is the bit about a documentary Trump managed to suppress:

If you doubt that Donald Trump notches perfectly with this tradition, I recommend the documentary Trump, What’s the Deal? It was completed in 1990 but never released because of threats from its litigious subject­ but now, it’s available online. It’s the source of the quote, regarding Trump and the truth: “divide by two, then divide by four, and you’re closer to the answer.” In the film, you see Donald promising the most luxurious appointments available in his Trump Tower.

“We decided to go absolutely first class all the way,” Trump said, which was why Sofia Loren and the Prince of Wales were buying in (both lies). An interior decorator explains that the apartments, unlike the pink marble lobby, are anything but first class: “I’ve never seen more sloppily installed and more cheaply built kitchen cabinets.” (The installers were illegal Polish immigrants, whom Donald Trump did not pay.)

That’s the reason Trump is such a skilled liar on the campaign trail: he’s had decades of practice. Here’s the aforementioned documentary:

I’ve only watched the first 20 minutes of the film but it’s well-worth checking out. There’s a silent patch at around the 3 minute mark but the sound returns by the 4 minute mark. I used the word mark on purpose: the electorate are Trump’s latest marks.

A personal note. I’m battling the flu, so blogging from me will be on the light side this week. Hey, stop celebrating.

I’ll give the last word to the good old Grateful Dead with two Garcia-Hunter songs that feature the Donald’s favorite words, Deal and Loser:

I changed my mind and decided to post Dave Alvin’s cover of Loser:


Album Cover Art Wednesday: Robin and the 7 Hoods

I haven’t done a movie soundtrack in this segment before and Robin and the 7 Hoods struck me as a good place to start for two reasons. First, I’ve had it on my mind since posting a clip last Saturday. Second, my favorite cousin introduced me to the movie and its wonderful Van Heusen-Cahn songs when I was a kid. You’ve either got or you haven’t got style and she’s got it. Thanks, T. Clip time:

Robin and the 7 Hoods is, of course, a Rat Packy take on the Robin Hood myth transported to prohibition era Chicago. I like it more than the more famous Ocean’s 11 but it was a troubled production as far as producer-star Frank Sinatra was concerned; both the Kennedy assassination and the kidnapping of his son Frank Jr. took place during and right after the film shoot. But that didn’t stop the Chairman of the Board from making My Kind of Town a staple of his live sets.

It’s time for me to stop nattering and get visual. Here’s the LP cover:


More robbin’ and hoodin’ after the break

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In Which I Keep Being Grossed Out by Agreeing with Donald Trump

This is stupid: 

Look, it’s a phony deal that was perpetrated on the public. I was asked a simple question by Chuck Todd at “Meet The Press”. And people, I gave a very honorable and honest answer. I said, sure, if I was doing terribly like some of these people, I wouldn’t stay in. I mean, who would stay in?

But I’m not. I’m leading every single poll. One poll came out yesterday, 30, or the other day, I’m at 35 percent nationally. 35 percent. I was — I’m 20 points ahead of everybody else. Why would I get out? So they asked me a question, and instead of saying like these politicians, I watch these guys down at 0 percent and 1 percent and they ask the same question, would you think about getting out? ‘Oh, I’ll never get out. I’ll never get out.’ And you know they’re going to be out in the next two weeks, OK? But they say that because that’s a politician.

Boyfriend is batshit crazy and so is most of his support base, but the ongoing freakout by the Washington press corps continues to be my favorite thing ever. They’re all running around screaming UNCLEAN UNCLEAN at Donald Trump, because he is loud and sweaty and spray-tanned and rude, and pretending that Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina are somehow more legitimate candidates when they do not substantively differ from Trump at all. Because it just CAN’T be Trump.

Why the fuck not? I mean it, why not? If the majority of the Republican party’s racist, xenophobic, roided-up base wants Donald Trump, why can’t it be Donald Trump? I don’t find elitism any more attractive just because I find the prospect of President Trump so terrifying I’m thinking about packing a bugout bag and a ticket to Peru.

Elitism is what this is. He doesn’t belong at their parties. This was bullshit when it was directed at Clinton and Obama and it’s bullshit now because it’s about the speaker presuming that they, and not voters, get to decide. Forget what’s on Trump’s hat or even in his head. That’s undemocratic. It’s un-American.


Aren’t You Afraid Being a Target if You’re a Target?

Listened to this, this morning, as I was driving to work.

The law forces employers who pay more to a man working the same job as a woman to prove that the pay is based on elements other than gender. It also changes the rules on whether and when employees can sue employers regarding pay issues, and allows employees to discuss pay without fear of retribution.

Aileen Rizo is one of the women who helped make it happen. A math consultant at the Fresno County Office of Education,  three years ago Rizo discovered that one of her recently-hired male colleagues earned $12,000 more per year than her, even though he had far fewer years of experience and education.

I really should be careful about having the news on in the car. I nearly drove off the road when host John Hockenberry said, and I am not paraphrasing:

“If the only solution in a company were to be to reduce the salary of all men to equalize it with women, how uncomfortable would that make it for you in your office if that was the solution scenario?”

Aileen Rizo is a better woman than I am because she did not immediately scream IN WHAT DICKBRAINED SCENARIO IS THAT A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO ANYONE’S PROBLEMS. She very soberly answered this victim-blaming nonsense hypothetical with a reasonable question as to how much companies spend on lawsuits, rather than paying workers fairly.

So let me ask, here. IN WHAT DICKBRAINED SCENARIO IS THAT A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO ANYONE’S PROBLEMS? How is it her responsibility to assuage the insecurities of the dudebros she works with when her company screws over everybody instead of treating women fairly? How is it her job to pet these whiny ass titty babies and make them okay with her  unconscionable demand for equality under the law?

And how would it be okay, fellas, for a company you work for to count on you being so completely idiotic that you’d jump at a chance to fight some girls instead of noticing that the company you work is punishing you so it won’t have to be decent? How is that assessment of you not an insult to you as well as the lady one desk over?

But the victim-blaming wasn’t done. Rizo was then asked if she shouldn’t shut up for the sake of her daughters, and again, direct fecking quote:

“Aren’t you worried that your daughters may go into the workforce and they’ll look at your name and go, ‘Oh, here’s the daughter of that rabble-rouser?’ What do you tell them about sticking up for the principle here?”

Yes, by all means, let’s teach our daughters (and by the way, our sons) that their best asset in the workplace is compliance with whatever the company wants, lest they make their bosses and/or men uncomfortable.

Girls, it is never too early to learn that speaking up is a rotten thing to do, not only for yourself but for other women. Quit being so selfish. Don’t you know that when you defend yourself, you force men to attack you and make everyone angry and mean? There is no greater sin, after all, than people in power being upset.

Make $12,000 less than some dude who barely passed high school algebra? That’s a small price to pay for keeping everyone calm. How greedy can you be?


Kids Today Don’t Pay for Their News!

Except they do, lots of them: 

In a world flush with free information, some young people are still willing to shell out for news they read.

A recent poll shows that 40 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-34 pay for at least some of the news they read, whether it’s a print newspaper, a digital news app or an email newsletter.


A quarter of those polled paid for some type of digital news, while 29 percent paid for a print paper or magazine. Older millennials are more likely than younger millennials to pay for print news products. That effect doesn’t show up with digital news—millennials in their 30s are as likely as those in their late teens and early 20s to pay for online news.

More young people spend on entertainment. Nearly 8 in 10 pay for at least one service. When you break it down, 55 percent pay for downloading or streaming movies or TV—services like Netflix and Apple’s iTunes. Four in 10 pay for cable, which contains channels that show news.

Nearly half pay for music and 46 percent pay for video games or gaming apps.

“Millennials have shown they are willing to engage in content that interests them,” Herndon said, pointing to the popularity of podcasts.

I suppose this somewhat fucks up the ongoing narrative that these Kids are too dumb to want to do anything but line up for iPhones. Don’t worry, though, I’m sure nobody will notice it and will go right back to complaining about the good old days and the feeling of turning pages.




Leonard Fournette strikes the Heisman pose after his first TD for the LSU Tigers in 2014.

There’s a new mythic character in the world of college sports, LSU running back Leonard Fournette. He was very good as a freshman and, as you can see above, got in some trouble with the modesty police for striking the Heisman pose after his first TD as a Tiger. He knew what he was doing: he’s exploded as a sophomore and is one of the favorites for the Heisman. He’s a big, strong, fast back who’s being compared to Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson, Earl Campbell and, by me, to Jim Brown before he started doing blaxploitation films:


I know what you’re thinking: Jim Brown was before even my time but I’ve seen the film clips and that’s who Leonard reminds me of. That’s right, one of the greatest to have ever played.

Back to Leonard. He was a legend even before attending LSU and St. Augustine High School in New Orleans:

In New Orleans, the legends of Leonard Fournette are as abundant as the city’s majestic oaks, brown swamps and fine eats.

The tales seem tall, the stories unthinkable.

Have you heard the one about Fournette breaking the leg of a fellow high school player during a collision on a toss sweep?

How about the one in which a 13-year-old Fournette nearly out-ran a college athlete?

Can you believe that Fournette scored eight touchdowns in one little league game? And that parents of other children eventually signed a petition to have him banned.

Believe what you want.

Maybe these are exaggerations. Maybe they are embellishments. Maybe they didn’t happen at all.

One thing is certain: The legend of Leonard Fournette began right here — on a dusty park in New Orleans East, surrounded by low-income housing, cracking streets and a rusty chain-link fence.

Locals call it Goretti Playground. It’s the birthplace of the current frontrunner for, arguably, the biggest individual prize in sports: the Heisman Trophy.

Some of the stories may be apocryphal or embellished but they sound like the tales spun by kids in Harlem about Earl The Pearl Monroe and that’s not a bad thing. I’m inclined to believe them because Leonard looks like he’s playing against 10 year olds right now. He does ridiculous things like saving his QB from a big loss by hollering for a lateral, something that almost never works:

Because of Leonard’s prowess there was a deeply stupid debate about his future last week. Some sportswriters and internet know-it-alls opined that he should sit out the 2016 season to avoid injury before turning pro after his junior year. I hate this on two levels. First, I despise unsolicited advice in any form. It’s none of y’all’s business, it’s up to him. But it would make Leonard look like a selfish schmuck who only cares about himself. Way to ruin the legend. Second, as a LSU Tiger fan I want the pleasure of watching him rip up college football and, maybe even lead the Tigers to another National Championship.

It’s up to Leonard but here’s something a lot of out-of-state experts don’t understand about him. Leonard is a proud graduate of St. Augustine High School, which is effectively a leadership academy for young African-American men. I somehow doubt that Leonard wants to disappoint the priests and alumni by letting down his teammates to save his body for the professional ranks.

LSU’s schedule is about to get tougher so Leonard’s season may get a bit bumpier but I’ve rarely seen an athlete on such a roll. He’s fun to watch and, more importantly, having a great time running over, through, and past defenders.

Here are some highlights of his astonishing performance against Syracuse on the road:

Geaux Tigers. Geaux Leonard.

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Pope-a-dope edition

Oh dear.

First they were like:

The Marxist Pope Comes To America
New Zeal ^ | 9-28-2015 | Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Posted on 9/28/2015, 8:52:04 PM by sheikdetailfeather

Pope Francis came to America this past week with great fanfare. Thousands lined up for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and get near him. I have written on this Pope previously and my firm belief is that he is a Marxist. With all that I have seen and documented, there is no doubt in my mind that this is the case. The Pope embodies all the sought for goals of the Left and he delivers them wrapped in religion and piety.

The Pope has blamed the evils of this world on capitalism and greed. He has used that as a political spring board to preach wealth redistribution and Liberation Theology. His doctrine is communist in many, many respects. Pope Francis is called The Great Reformer and the reason for that is his colossal move to reform the Catholic Church… to modernize it by welcoming in such platforms as homosexuality, abortion, transgenderism, climate change and the embrace of Islam.



This Pope is an a-hole, pure and simple.

8 posted on 9/28/2015, 9:16:24 PM by jmacusa

Then they were like:

Pope Francis meets with Kim Davis. The Left melts down. WDTPRS ^ | 9/30/15 | Fr John Zuhlsdorf Posted on 9/30/2015, 6:42:24 PM by markomalley

The catholic Left are desperate to silence the so-called “culture warriors”, especially to squelch Catholics who uphold clear Catholic teaching in the public square.

You may have heard that during his visit to these USA Pope Francis is reported to have met privately with the “culture warrior” Kim Davis, the Christian, non-Catholic, county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  She went to jail for a time rather than knuckle under.

We don’t know for sure what Pope Francis said in this private meeting, but Davis didn’t say that the Pope told her to stop fighting.  She wasn’t disappointed afterward.  Quite the opposite, it seems.

We also shouldn’t read too much into the meeting.  After all, Popes meet with people like Idi Amin Dada and Fidel Castro.  Those meetings don’t signal approval.  Popes meet with world leaders as well as long lines of unknown and then nearly instantly forgotten people all the time.

That said, someone inside the papal circle set up and approved the meeting with the non-Catholic Kim Davis. She wasn’t plucked at random out of the crowd.  Perhaps we can conclude that Pope Francis thinks we can’t cooperate or accept same-sex marriage and we must actively resist it.  That clearly is what some people are taking away from it.  Come to think of it, it is reasonable to believe that the Pope of Rome doesn’t not think that men should marry men and have sex with other.  Yes, that seems pretty reasonable.

Liberals are turning on Francis for this.

1 posted on 9/30/2015, 6:42:24 PM by markomalley
To: hinckley buzzard

The young lady showed authentic Christian witness. The pope took the time to recognize that and encourage her. Good enough for me.

5 posted on 9/30/2015, 6:49:41 PM by big’ol_freeper (Ná tabhair shilíní le muca nó comhairle do amadáin)

But THEN they were like:

Vatican says private ‘audience’ in D.C. was with gay ex-student, not Kim Davis

Los Angeles Times ^ | 10/02/2015 | Tom Kington Posted on ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎04‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind

A week after Pope Francis met Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk jailed for her refusal to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples, the Vatican on Friday suggested that she exploited the meeting to promote her views, denied that the pope fully supports her and cast doubt on her account of the encounter.

The Vatican later noted that the only “audience” Francis had at the gathering in Washington was with a former student of the pope, Yayo Grassi, an openly gay Argentine who along with his longtime partner and some friends met with Francis.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement that Grassi, “who had already met other times in the past with the pope, asked to present several friends to the pope during the pope’s stay in Washington, D.C.”

A video posted online shows Grassi embracing the pope and introducing him to his partner, as well as an Argentine woman and some Asian friends.

The statements together seemed intended to distance the pope from Davis.

Davis spent nearly a week in jail after she defied a Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in the United States. Last week, she said she had met Francis at the Nunciature, the Vatican’s U.S. office, in Washington on Sept 24 during his U.S. visit, where she said he told her during a 15-minute meeting to “stay strong.”

“Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we’re doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything,” she told ABC News.

Reports of the meeting between Davis and the pope were taken by conservative groups as evidence that Francis fully supported her refusal to authorize same-sex marriages. Backers of such unions charged that the pope had been used by Davis.


Now we are told this:Vatican assistant spokesman Rev. Thomas Rosica said Friday that Francis had not invited Davis to a gathering that included dozens of people and suggested that the meeting may have been manipulated by her and her lawyer.

1 posted on ‎10‎/‎2‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎04‎:‎57‎ ‎PM by SeekAndFind
To: SeekAndFind

So sayeth the pedophile papist.

2 posted on 10‎/‎2‎/‎2015‎ ‎4‎:‎06‎:‎42‎ ‎PM by Godebert

There you have it, folks – three days, three vastly different Freeperati groupthink views of the Pope.
If he had been trolling them on purpose, it couldn’t have worked out any better.
More after the Papal Indulgence…

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First Draft Fundraiser: 1/3 of the Way There

I’ve been blogging for 11 years now, and I’ve seen just about every way a site can handle growing and sustaining itself. Some have ad upon ad upon ad. Some ask you to answer survey questions to keep reading something you can find NOT behind a paywall on seven other sites. Some do a fundraiser every month pleading poverty/victimization by opposing forces.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you any of those things are at play. We’re in no danger of being shuttered because I can’t cover the hosting costs and I have zero interest in earning $30 a year annoying the shit out of everybody with autoplay THIS MOM DISCOVERED ANTI-AGING SARAN WRAP DOCTORS HATE IT GAY CELEBRITIES vids.

What we do, is an annual fundraiser, in which we ask you to support what you want to read here. To tell us if what we’re doing here matters to you.

And this year we’re giving you something back for it! But if our Kickstarter can’t make it to our goal, we get nothing, so we need to make that total. We’re 1/3 of the way there. Can you help put us over the top, and make this book a reality? 





Technology is Ruining Kids Today, Says Author Who Hates Technology, Kids, also Today

Jonathan Franzen reviewing a book about how technology has ruined us all for real connection? How have I so displeased you, Ceiling Cat? 

Conversation is Turkle’s organizing principle because so much of what constitutes humanity is threatened when we replace it with electronic communication. Conversation presupposes solitude, for example, because it’s in solitude that we learn to think for ourselves and develop a stable sense of self, which is essential for taking other people as they are. (If we’re unable to be separated from our smartphones, Turkle says, we consume other people “in bits and pieces; it is as though we use them as spare parts to support our fragile selves.”) Through the conversational attention of parents, children acquire a sense of enduring connectedness and a habit of talking about their feelings, rather than simply acting on them. (Turkle believes that regular family conversations help “inoculate” children against bullying.) When you speak to people in person, you’re forced to recognize their full human reality, which is where empathy begins. (A recent study shows a steep decline in empathy, as measured by standard psychological tests, among college students of the smartphone generation.) And conversation carries the risk of boredom, the condition that smartphones have taught us most to fear, which is also the condition in which patience and imagination are developed.

Lest we all forget, Jonathan Franzen is the most special snowflake of all time, the Last Real Male Writer of Serious Things. He doesn’t need social media to connect with potential readers, or with anyone really (because no one can measure up to his greatness), therefore NOBODY really needs social media.

Or “technology.”

“Twitter stands for everything I oppose,” he continued. “It’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters … It’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium. People I care about are readers … particularly serious readers and writers, these are my people.

“And we do not like to yak about ourselves,” Franzen added (yakking about himself).

Giving THAT GUY the talking stick when it comes to digital connectedness is like letting the CEO of Lee Enterprises give a speech on the future of journalism. You can do it, sure. You can also shave your balls with a butcher knife. I’m not judging but I am so totally judging.

From Franzen’s incredibly long-winded review, which basically boils down to OH THANK GOD SOMEONE AGREES WITH ME THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE ME ARE AWESOME:

The young person who cannot or will not be alone, converse with family, go out with friends, attend a lecture or perform a job without monitoring her smartphone is an emblem of our economy’s leechlike attachment to our very bodies. Digital technology is capitalism in hyperdrive, injecting its logic of consumption and promotion, of monetization and efficiency, into every waking minute. … It’s tempting to correlate the rise of “digital democracy” with steeply rising levels of income inequality; to see more than just an irony. But maybe the erosion of humane values is a price that most people are willing to pay for the “costless” convenience of Google, the comforts of Facebook and the reliable company of iPhones.

It’s a good thing we have deep thinkers like Jonathan Franzen to deplore capitalism and the powerful need we have to feed our goddamn kids, and blame us for wanting the “comfort” and “convenience” of a boss who expects e-mail to be read at 9 p.m. and memos answered promptly from the other side of the globe.

I swear, I’m so done listening to rich people tell me how it’s bad to be a mindless drone sheep consumer, and we’re just on the cusp of “how dare you want a cheap waffle iron” season, too.


Free Stuff

Is it me or has so much stupid shit been happening recently that it’s difficult to do anything anymore than shake your head? Because I don’t know about you but by the time I formulate a response that’s not, “I need to drink some wine and cuddle Claire” something even dumber than the last dumb thing has happened and at that point I just go hide under the bed.

To wit, Jeb Bush: 

“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” Mr. Bush said. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

While Mr. Bush has spoken often of broadening the party’s appeal, he has stumbled at times while attempting to deliver the message.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Bush, Kristy Campbell, noted that the candidate “talks constantly about the need for Republicans to reach out to all voters,” though she did not directly address the reference to “free stuff.”

“We will never be successful in elections without communicating that conservative principles and conservative policies are the only path to restoring the right to rise for every single American,” Ms. Campbell said.

I see. He was using language designed to reach out to black people. Because black people can’t hear what he’s saying. Black people are somehow just UNCLEAR on the Republican message. Since the savages know not of our Civilized White Ways, let us speak to them in a special voice, like maybe a couple of decibels louder than normal and really, really slow, so that they’ll smell what Jeb is cooking!

To me, “free stuff” wasn’t the offensive part of this comment. It was “earned success.”

Because: You have not earned any success you may already have. You have not built that. You have not won it on your own merits.

You’ve gotten it because of affirmative action, obvs. Or welfare. Probably Uncle Sam took care of you when your baby mama I can’t even do this anymore. Earned success. Motherfucking Jeb Bush, son of a president, brother of a president, is talking about earned success in running for president. You know, the next time he throws a fundraiser, somebody should just give him a condescending bullshit speech about selling some bling and pulling himself up by his bootstraps instead of relying on hardworking taxpayers.


Sunday Morning Video: The Buddy Guy Big Band Live In 1997

Buddy Guy is one of the dynamic live performers I’ve ever seen. Here’s a scorching set from the Montreal Jazz Festival. Be prepared to be blown away:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Summer’s Gone


The Trapeze Artist from the Jazz Portfolio by Henri Matisse.

A cool front hit New Orleans on October 1st leading me to hope, wish, and, I daresay, pray that Summer is finally gone. It’s been a long, hot one too with record temps in July. It’s the downside of an El Nino year. The upside, of course, is that a certain storm wasn’t Joaquin to New Orleans. I should apologize for that pun but I stole it from my friend James Karst. I seem to have become the Milton Berle of the blogosphere…

There have been some high-profile armed robberies in Uptown New Orleans that have people on edge. The good news is that no shots have been fired thus far. You know how it goes, if there’s crime in an upscale zip code, people freak out. I try to remain as even-keeled as possible but it’s hard for some people. I don’t judge but I do remind them that sensational stick-ups do not a crime wave make. At the risk of being repetitive: New Orleans is now, and has always been, a tough town. It’s why one needs to keep one’s wits about one. That was one one-heavy sentence, y’all.

Shorter Adrastos: Stay alert and don’t walk around glued to your smart phone like a dumbass. Uh oh, I sound like I’m in touch with my inner Red Foreman:

That felt good. Let’s get on with it.

I’ve been asked by several people why I haven’t used a Kinks tune as a Saturday post theme song yet. Beats the hell outta me. Summer’s Gone is the right song at the right time. I learned that via Word Of Mouth:

While running a search on YouTube I discovered a co-theme song from a 2012 Beach Boys album. It was written by Brian Wilson and Jon Bon Jovi. I hope the cool kids won’t hate me for typing that name:

A friend of mine created and curated a tongue-in-cheek Bon Jovi shrine the year those Jersey boys made an unlikely appearance at Jazz Fest:

Sacred Bon Jovi Shrine

Photograph by WWOZ.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, it’s time for the break. Meet you on the other side. One door opens, another shuts behind and all that rot.

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Under the Knife

Filing an early missive because I’m being forced to undergo the first of two carpal tunnel surgeries. Wrote this on Wednesday night, so by the time you’re reading it, I’ll be stoned out of my mind on whatever he gives me for pain, watching whatever Law and Order rerun is on basic cable…

The surgery is freaking me out a bit. Sure, it’ll be nice to feel my thumbs and forefingers again and maybe sleep without the “dog paw” braces my doctor had me in, but I’m not a big fan of having doctors poke at me. I think it goes back to my experience with an oral surgeon who misread an X-ray and tried to extract a wisdom tooth without putting me under. When he broke the tool off in my head and said, “Oh shit! Get the drill…” I have to admit, I kind of lost faith…

That said, it’s a pretty “minor surgery” and they tell me I’ll be typing up a storm again soon. The fear is pretty much that if this guy screws up, I lose the the ability to do my job (type) and my hobby (furniture restoration). I have told people time and time again that my biggest fears are things that will damage my mind and my hands. Hell, lop off my legs at the hips and I’ll tell people the joke that I’m so well endowed that my dick hits the floor. I only run when chased and I’ll work on getting a rappelling rope for the man-cave steps at that point. My hands, though, that’s serious.

As I deal with everything, I’m trying to use humor for this. To wit, I’ll leave you with this:


Be back next week, hopefully typing with both hands.


Friday Catblogging: Bed Hog

Oscar: I’ve got my space, you’re on your own, dude.

Bed Hog

If you enjoy seeing Oscar, Della Street, and the occasional guest feline, please consider donating to our anthology kickstarter Otherwise Della might go all Dalek on your asses:

The Devil and Miss Della


Our Common Life Together: What Politics IS

Obama, tonight: 

And of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere, will comment and say — Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together. … When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them. To reduce auto fatalities. We have seat belt laws, because we know it saves lives.

For so long our political press has defined “politics” as some kind of game, for so long they’ve derided “politics” as something that doesn’t matter, that’s theater, that’s pretend. They’ve done this for so long we’ve started to forget what politics is. Politics is how we do this. Politics is how we live.

Politics is how the snow gets plowed. Politics is how the sewers run. Politics is where the cops go, and when they go there, and how many of them do so, and how often.Politics is where your children go to school and what they learn while they are there. Politics is food. Politics is work. Politics is play.

Politics is what governs anything too big to govern itself. I decide to drink water or wine, but politics decides one comes in a bottle with taxes attached, and one comes out of the tap. (Days like today, I think we should reverse that ratio.) Politics is what decides who gets paid, and for what, and I got news for everybody who thinks they live in a free market society and that news is HAHAHAHAHAHA.

Politics is who lives. Politics is who dies. And politics is saying that it’s all just politics, and it only matters when I say so, and then it isn’t politics at all.







Thursday Night Music: My Heart Skips A Beat/Tiger By The Tail

I didn’t plan for it to be Buck Owens day here at First Draft but why the hell not? Time for two honky tonk classics:


Untrustable In Hungria: The Kevin McCarthy Story

Kevin McCarthy counts his gaffes. Photo by Jeff Malet.

I love malapropisms. I thought the now little remembered comedian Norm Crosby was one of the funniest people on the planet. What’s funnier than a Jew with a gentile surname? Very little.He slayed me with malaprops such as: 

  • To walk out and have an ovulation like that, it just means so much.
  • It’s as easy as falling off a bike.
  •  We learned all about idiots (idioms) in English today.

While researching this post, I was delighted to learn that Norm is still alive and butchering the mother tongue. Speaking of which, it’s time to follow-up Michael F’s post by piling on the  putative Speaker of the House. Kevin McCarthy is not quite Crosbyian in his malapropery, but he’s got game, y’all:

“I have visited Poland, Hungria, Estonia,” he said, and also “visited in our, uh, the allies in the Arab Gulf.”

He has, furthermore, been informed that we “live on the greatest nation that’s ever been on the face of the Earth.”

McCarthy called for “an effective politically strategy to match the military strategy,” and he lamented that “we have isolated Israel while bolding places like Iran.” He blamed President Obama’s White House for “putting us in tough decisions for the future,” but he voiced hope that a “safe zone would create a stem the flow of refugees.” And he scolded the Department of Veterans Affairs for failing to assist returning servicemen “who fought to the death in Ramadi.”

Hungria? If he knew anything about history and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, I’d write it off as a slip of the Hapsburg lip but he’s a total nimrod so that’s not it. The only historical figure I’m certain McCarthy has heard of is the great country singer-songwriter, Buck Owens. They’re both from Bakersfield, CA and the only bill Congresscritter McCarthy has ever passed renamed a post office after Buck. It’s a pity that this marvelous artist is best known as the co-star of Hee Haw but nobody ever said life was fair. Fellow country legend Dwight Yokam has been instrumental in exposing Buck’s music to contemporary audiences:

The title of that tune is Streets of Bakersfield, plural, not singular. It almost makes me wonder if Kevin McCarthy uploaded the video to the YouTube. Before I take any flack from my fellow music geeks, the band included the great accordionist Flaco Jiminez. That’s the skinny on that…

Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, Kevin McCarthy who might be the first Speaker of the House who sounds like he just graduated from a bad ESL immersion course. Bolding? Oy, just oy.

On a more serious, one might even say mala-improper, note, McCarthy revealed the political world’s worst kept secret to Fox News meathead, Sean Hannity:

“We put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable.”

I wonder if Team Hillary has sent McCarthy a thank you note yet. That would not only be the polite thing to do, it would be trustable…

I had an online conversation with my old friend Liprap about which McCarthy the wannabe Speaker reminded us of. She threw Tailgunner Joe’s name into the hopper and the following colloquy ensued:

I haughtily dismissed this notion because an orange boner is nothing to laugh about…

The Clown Crown Prince of the House definitely does NOT remind me of former Minnesota Senator and perennial Presidential candidate Gene McCarthy. That McCarthy was an erudite poet who inspired hippies to:

Get Clean For Gene

Kevin McCarthy does have good hair. It is so thoroughly blow dried that he looks like the weekend anchorman at a small market teevee station.

Back to our McCarthy quest. There *was* another well-known Kevin McCarthy who was an actor and Monty Clift’s best friend. How’s that for trivial trivia? Actor Kevin McCarthy was best known for this sci-fi classic:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 poster 8

This analogy is a bit better than either the Joe or Gene one. Majority Leader Kevin deals with mindless pod people every day in Congress and is definitely running for or from something. It breaks down with the whole gay best friend thing. I doubt Louis Gohmert Pyle would stand for it.

The best McCarthy analog I came up with was, like Kevin, a dummy albeit an articulate one.

Charlie McCarthy & WC Fields

Charlie McCarthy and W.C. Fields.

That’s right folks, it’s Candice Bergen’s wooden (woody?) brother Charlie McCarthy. I’m unsure as to who Kevin McCarthy’s ventriloquist is, but it’s more likely than not a mouth-breathing right-wing billionaire like the Ned Beatty character in Network:

It will be interesting to see how long an empty suit who cannot speak the language and believes in nothing can survive as king of the GOP hill. They’re used to empty suits who cannot speak the language and are fanatical ideologues, after all.

I’ll give the the last word to Buck Owens. This classic song offers sage advice to anyone seeking to climb what Disraeli called the “greasy pole” of politics:

And The MacArthur Genius Doofus Award Goes To…

From Album 5

Kevin McCarthy. Congratulations, Kevin. You can pull your foot out of your mouth whenever you want.

But…notice how NPR frames the Democratic reaction

…when McCarthy made his comments on Fox, Democrats in Congress and beyond were quick to pounce.

Hmmm…as if the Democrats were turning this into a political cat fight.

Now, imagine the GOP response if, say, Nancy Pelosi admitted that “the longest special congressional investigation in history” was primarily a means to attack…well, I was trying to think of a Republican equivalent, but since there are none, let’s maybe go with…Carly Fiorina…why not? Anyway, you could expect the howling to be…extreme…and I doubt any news organization would describe it as “quick to pounce.”

Reminds me of what I think I first read at Driftglass. Something about how Dick Cheney could get caught red handed throwing puppies into traffic, and first reaction you’d get from Cokie Roberts (et al) would be, “but the Democrats…”

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Patricia Highsmith

I rarely follow-up on the previous week’s pulpilicious post but rules are made to be broken. This week we’ll focus on Scott Timberg’s chat with Sarah Weinman about Patricia Highsmith:

For a lot of readers, the one name they’ll recognize is Patricia Highsmith. Give us a sense of how “The Blunderer” fits into the Highsmith books that people already know — the Ripley novels and “Strangers on a Train.”

It’s a certainly not an anomalous book. I would call it an important book from a transitional standpoint; it was her second crime novel, her first one was “Strangers on a Train.” Her second book was “The Price of Salt” and a new film version is about to come out and I know it’s been getting rave reviews. Then came “The Blunderer,” which I really think has a lot of the seeds for what would develop in “Talented Mr. Ripley” and subsequent Ripley novels and later suspense books like “Deep Water.”

At first it seems like it’s primarily a male narrative, but of course the two men are at odds, and if you even factor in the third man, who is the cop, it really is all about how they are letting themselves be ruled by the kinds of marriage they’ve allowed themselves to be part of. Now, of course we only have the perspective of Walter Stackhouse, to trust or distrust, in terms of how this marriage is going. But clearly, it isn’t going very well if he’s contemplating getting rid of his wife, and the fact that he takes perverse inspiration in this other case and becomes kind of obsessed with the other guy who may or may not have killed his wife. That creates an incredibly strange but highly readable dynamic. Then you throw in this cop and it almost becomes a narrative about police brutality. So, it also kind of weirdly foreshadows some of the conversations we’re having now.

There’s no time like the present to dive into the covers:


Highsmith- Strangers on a TrainHighsmith_Deep_Water_first

We’ll dive a bit deeper into Highsmith’s work after the break. I promise that’s the last time I’ll use the word dive. I should probably skip the Scuba-doo pun but I cannot help myself. Ruh roh.

Continue reading

Today On Bad Idea Theatre: Pope Frank & Yelp For People

We begin with the first major gaffe of  Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s papacy. Here’s Charlie Pierce’s hot take on it:

The big news today seems to be that Kim Davis, the goldbricking county clerk from Kentucky, met secretly with Papa Francesco in Washington and that he endorsed her current status as a faith-based layabout. Given this pope’s deft gift for strategic ambiguity and shrewd public relations, it’s hard for me to understand how he could commit such a hamhanded blunder as picking a side in this fight. And it’s odd that he (or someone) sought to publicize it through an American media entity that is not wholly sympathetic to his papacy. Inside The Vatican, the e-newsletter that broke the story, is edited by Robert Moynihan, a 79-year old whose patron was Benedict XVI.

 God, the crowing from the Right is going to be deafening. Everything he said about capitalism and about the environment is going to be drowned out because he wandered into a noisy American culture-war scuffle in which one side, apparently the one he picked, has a seemingly ceaseless megaphone for its views. What a fcking blunder. What a sin against charity, as the nuns used to say.

I think it was a bad idea but it’s not breaking news that Pope Frank isn’t a fan of marriage equality. He opposed it while Cardinal of Bueno Aires. I don’t think it’s cause for an emotional meltdown by liberals. That’s what the Right wants. I’m not playing their game.

I was also one of the people who thought people were getting carried away by the papal visit. Kindly Doc Maddow was convinced that the “radical” pope would change American politics. Why? I have no idea. Pope John Paul’s early trips to America were the cause of just as much acclaim and hype. I’m not aware that his visits changed American politics for good or ill.

If you’ve collapsed on to your fainting couch just remember: Pope Frank hasn’t changed his positions on poor people, capital punishment, and the environment. He just met with a Protestant non-entity from Podunk. That’s it.

I’ll give Billy Wilder and Izzy Diamond the last word of this segment:

 The other bad idea of the day is this one:

You can already rate restaurants, hotels, movies, college classes, government agencies and bowel movements online.

So the most surprising thing about Peeple — basically Yelp, but for humans — may be the fact that no one has yet had the gall to launch something like it.

When the app does launch, probably in late November, you will be able to assign reviews and one- to five-star ratings to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can’t opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose.

I’d prefer to be unlisted on Peeple but if you must rate me, lie and give me 5 stars. I wonder if Jude is going to petition Peeple and demand recognition of his awesomeness. Stranger things have happened…

That concludes today’s edition of Bad Idea Theatre. I should, however. mention something that’s a helluva good idea: supporting our anthology Kickstarter. There are worse ways to spend your money like this papal pizza box:

Papal Pizza Box

Talk about a bad idea. Time to make like a Philadelphian: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.


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