Project Novel: Tongue In The Mail, Chapters 6 & 7

A friend who is reading this serialization asked me why all the characters are so talkative. That’s one of the most realistic parts of Tongue In The Mail. Law students never STFU. Some of them learn to bite their tongues but most continue to be as garrulous as hell.

In this installment, another body drops and a new suspect emerges. And the characters talk, gossip, and speculate but that’s a given.

A non-Crowded House song gets a shout-out this time around:

The plot thickens like a sticky pudding after the break.

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Friday Catblogging: Relaxed

In a time of tension and fear, Paul Drake can be counted on to relax:

I’ve been known to sing to my cats. They’re particularly fond of Yes. I think they like Chris and Jon’s high harmonies. I tweeted about it recently:

 

The last word goes to Yes:

 

Together Alone

I had a quiet meltdown last night. I felt alternately despairing and furious over all the death in the news. Music lovers had a grim day with the passing of Adam Schlesinger and Ellis Marsalis. Mr. Marsalis was an institution in New Orleans. Because he died during the pandemic, there will be no jazz funeral or second line to commemorate the founder of a jazz dynasty. The death of a beloved and accomplished 85-year-old man should be bittersweet instead of bitter, bitter, bitter.

I’m self-reliant and don’t mind solitude. I’ve never been quite sure if I’m an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert but it’s increasingly apparent that self-isolation is atomizing and alienating. At times, it’s like being a character in one of Ayn Rand’s dreadful novels. We’re focused on ourselves and our own survival instead of the greater good. On the whole, I’d rather be a Dickens character; even one of the cheerful losers like Mr. Micawber. Unfortunately, the federal government is nominally run by a man who makes Mr. Murdstone look empathetic. Trump babbles on about 100-200K deaths as the best-case scenario. Such a thought is monstrous: they’re not numbers, they’re human beings. That’s why I call him President* Pennywise.

The nautical news is particularly disturbing. The story of the aircraft carrier carrying hundreds of sailors stricken with the virus is heartbreaking. There’s no room for social distancing on any naval vessel. They live on top of one another from the Captain to the lowliest squid. They signed up to possibly die for their country in wartime, not because of a president’s unfitness for the job. Mercifully the Navy has found a solution. Unlike their nominal commander-in-chief, they still have the American can-do spirit personified by the ship’s namesake, Theodore Roosevelt.

Things remain bleak off the Florida coast. The cruise ship rejected by Governor DeSantis evokes images of the tragic 1939 journey of MS St. Louis aka the Voyage of the Damned. That ship carried Jewish refugees from Nazi persecution. American refusal to allow it to dock was among the most shameful moments in our history, not one that should be repeated.

The cruise ship crisis cries out for a federal response, but we have a president* who is too busy lying to lead. Our ship of state is rudderless as the captain points the finger of blame. The finger is blood-stained, and we know who to point it at come November.

Between Project Novel and world events, I’ve had the music of Neil Finn and Crowded House on my mind of late. The 1993 song Together Alone haunts me because its title perfectly captures this moment in time. It’s hard to be simultaneously alone and in this together but that’s the situation we find ourselves in. We have no choice but to make it work.

I’ve been with two loved ones when they died. It’s painful for the living but comforting for the dying.  It’s almost an impossibility in this pandemic: COVID-19 requires that friends and families be separated because the risk of contagion is so high. The nature of the disease itself is atomizing and alienating, which is why these Neil Finn lyrics are so poignant:

Together alone
Shallow and deep
Holding our breath
Paying death no heed
I’m still your friend
When you are in need

A reminder that, notwithstanding the indignities of this pandemic, we need to stick together and be there for one another. Death may have no mercy, but it is a must for human beings as is empathy. I curse those who continue to make excuses for a president* whose fatal lack of empathy has made this situation infinitely worse than it should have been.

The last word goes to Crowded House:

Anyone Else Remember “The Soft Bigotry Of Low Expectations?”

apprentice_2_covid

There’s a whole new meaning to “practicing leadership” with DJT. He manages to go three or four whole sentences without a childish tantrum, or an epic faceplant, and, wow.

100 to 200 thousand victims is the new Mission Accomplished.

All that’s left is a victory lap on an aircraft carrier — maybe the USS Theodore Roosevelt is available.

Jesus H. Fuck Christ.

Trump’s using this crisis to run what’s undoubtedly the most perverse Rose Garden campaign strategery in history while the rest of the GOP is now falling in line with his die for DJT and/or the Dow plea (like Pierce says, they’re welcome to go first), and the political press is treating this as…Campaign 2020. Cue up the patriotic music.

Moral relativism, anyone?

On second thought — they skipped right over that to a stunningly cynical moral calculus. Objectively Pro Death.

Oh, and is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd/strange that, despite spending something like $3.6 trillion-with-a-t dollars a year on health care, there’s nonetheless a shortage of basic equipment? Almost like how, during the last Mission Accomplished, the then half-trillion dollar annual military budget still required supplements for actual costs of war. Just saying…

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Dig That Crazy Grave

I’ve been keeping it light this week because we’re all in need of comic relief. This feature is uniquely suited to black humor, which is useful in times like these. If we can laugh at our deepest fears, we have a better chance to survive them; at least I hope so.

On to this week’s book cover. As far as I know, none of the 3-dozen Shell Scott books were ever filmed. It’s a pity: Leslie Nielsen would have been perfect casting.

My Pillow Talk

Holy misdirection, Batman. I’m not writing about the Doris Day-Rock Hudson-Tony Randall classic, I’m talking about one of President Pennywise’s special guests stars at one of his campaign rally style briefings: the My Pillow Guy.

President Donald Trump used Monday’s White House daily briefing on coronavirus to again parade out private company executives — including My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell, who used the platform to praise Trump and tell Americans amid a global pandemic to “read our Bibles.”

MyPillow CEO Lindell said his bedding company would be dedicating 75% of its manufacturing to producing cotton face masks, aiming to get up to 50,000 a day by end of this week. He then said he would read something he wrote “off the cuff.”

“God gave us grace on Nov. 8, 2016, to change the course we were on,” Lindell said, referring to the day Trump was elected. “God had been taken out of our schools and lives. A nation had turned its back on God.”

“And I encourage you to use this time at home to get back in the ‘Word,’ read our Bibles and spend time with our families,” he added, touting “our great president” and “all the great people in this country praying daily” as key to getting through the pandemic.

Did he mean preying? Creeps like the My Pillow Guy and his orange messiah have been preying on our fears for years. If people want to pray, that’s okay with me but there’s a price to be paid for believing in a false prophet; make that profit. They profit and you lose.

The best response to this mishigas came from former Gambit editor Kevin Allman:

I wish I had one with Doris and Rock on it but there’s always this:

A reminder that Pillow Talk was racy for 1959. Here’s one more number from the movie featuring Doris and Perry Blackwell:

Project Novel: Tongue In The Mail, Chapters 4 & 5

The serialization continues. It makes me feel like a bargain basement Dickens.

In this installment we attend Sophia’s funeral and Edwin Edwards’ 1991 victory party. At the end of Chapter 4, a different Crowded House song is quoted:

I wrote the novel at the peak of my Crowdie fan boy period. I was an enthusiastic member of the Crowded House mailing list. It was called Tongue In The Mail. Everything is connected.

If you’re just joining us, here’s the link to Chapter 1, followed by the First Draft category thing, which will categorically take you where you want to go: Project Novel: TITM.

Our story resumes after the break.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Nine Lives

Dr. A and I are watching the current season of Ozark on Netflix. There’s an REO Speedwagon sub-plot of all things. Wendy Byrd (Laura Linney) is told that her casino can secure a dental meeting if they hire “The Wagon” to entertain thereby taking us from yacht rock to dentist rock.

Nine Lives was released in 1979. It was the band’s last stand as a hard rock group. It has nothing to do with another Netflix series: The Tiger King. But the cover is almost as sleazy looking.

The back cover is actually kinda cute:

It’s Not On Individuals

Guys, I’m about done with posts about individuals who aren’t social distancing properly, stories somebody heard from their cousin who said something to someone else about teenagers coughing on them, and just generally shaming people who are far less to blame for the current situation than literally anyone in power.

CALL THE COPS screams my neighborhood Facebook group (which was until 2 days ago an absolute respite from its usual nice-lady racism and lost-chicken-posting) every time there are four kids on a playground. Sure, call the police, who are equipped with lethal force and empowered to use it, and hope you get a cop who de-escalates a situation instead of making it worse. The virus is not spread by you having to see black kids on the slide, HEATHER.

If you want to congratulate yourself on doing this right, go ahead. If you want to encourage responsible behavior, go ahead. If you want to remind somebody of the rules, hey, you do you. But you can do that without relying on coronavirus clickbait about some one-toothed Cletus in a Wal-Mart licking the produce.

That half this crap isn’t true is beside the point. We are being primed with stories like this about individuals not doing their jobs so that we blame our neighbors and not our government and twas ever thus, loose lips and ships, etc. We are already too prone to turning on each other. Who benefits when we do that? Who do we forget to hold to account?

Stop screaming at stupid people on beaches. Start screaming at the governor of Florida. Start calling your senators. Your Republican senators, who have never missed an opportunity to be gigantic fucksticks and are counting on you continuing to hate Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden for not “fighting harder” after the GOP created the conditions that necessitate a fight they’ve taken away all the tools to win.

Call them, blame them, hold them to account with everything you have. And if you hear about your neighbor’s mom’s gardener’s assistant seeing somebody crowding in too close at the Trader Joe’s, think about if you really need to share that story with the internet in order to reassure yourself.

Maybe there’s some other way you could know you’re okay.

A.

Project Novel: Tongue In The Mail, Chapters 2 & 3

I attended Tulane Law School when it was located in Jones Hall. It now has its own building not far away on Freret Street, which I referred to as Ferret Street in my law school days.

The featured image is of Julia Roberts matriculating at Jones Hall in The Pelican Brief. I’m 90% certain that scene was filmed in Room 102 on the main floor of Jones Hall, which is where the action takes place in Chapter 2.

I liked the oddities and charm of the old building but it was jam packed with law student humanity. One could even say it was a Crowded House:

If you missed the first chapter of this tawdry tale, CLICK HERE.

Our story continues after the break.

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Rising Anxiety

Fear is almost as contagious as the virus. It’s everywhere on social media, which is why I’m rationing my use. I’m also tired of listening to know-nothing amateur epidemiologists who think they know it all. Access to the internet doesn’t make you a scientist, it makes you someone with too much time on their hands. Oops. That’s all of us right now.

The old NOLA Bloggers email list has been resurrected. I’ll explain why in a moment but a comment there gave rise to this post title. Cliff Harris asked if there would be a Rising Tide Social Distance Conference, Karen Gadbois replied that it should be called Rising Anxiety. I have no interest in a conference reboot, but I like the phrase Rising Anxiety, so I stole it.

Back In The Saddle: The OG NOLA bloggers are rising from a protracted slumber. After Maitri the Magnificent announced the return of her VatulBlog, George Loki Williams asked aloud if he should revive Humid City. In response, I quoted this passage from my recent Bayou Brief column Love In The Time Of Coronavirus:

I started blogging a few months after the levees broke. I didn’t expect to still be writing on the internet 15 years later, but I found my voice. I’m glad that I’m still at it: It’s therapeutic and reduces my anxiety level during this unprecedented crisis. I’d hate to be reduced to venting on social media like some other OG NOLA bloggers. I wish more of them would resume writing. Consider that an invitation, y’all. If you do, I’ll spread the word hither and yon.

I’m a man of my word. Loki announced the comeback at Zuckerville:

Good luck, y’all. Not sure about that whole blame thing but it gives me an excuse to post this Del Amitri song:

The Fantastic Florida Flim Flam: Trumper Governor Ron DeSantis followed the lead of his hero President* Pennywise and announced his state “borders” were closed to cars from New Orleans. Too many people took this illegal, unenforceable, and unconstitutional order seriously. It’s a clumsy attempt to divert attention from this:

The flap is based on a “blame New Orleans for having Mardi Gras” controversy that raged online. I’ll let my friends Stephanie Grace and Clancy DuBos shoot it down. I prefer to save my ammo for higher hanging fruit.

I do, however, agree with the parade route book signer and Herriman biographer:

The Tweet Heard Round The World: Athenae’s boyfriend John Kerry is obviously not planning to run for office again:

I’ve always heard that Big John could be salty in private. Glad he’s shown off his “out of fucks to give” side in public.

That reminds me of a song. I know what you’re thinking: everything reminds me of a song.

Unimaginable: Gal Gadot and some other celebrities have collaborated on a quarantine version of John Lennon’s Imagine. I hate Imagine. It’s one of Lennon’s worst songs.

Here’s a better tune for these trying times:

Bored Boris: The British Prime Minister’s anti-pandemic efforts were just as feeble and late as those of the Impeached Insult Comedian. Adding insult to the injury he inflicted on his country, Bozza is afflicted with the 21st Century plague. Karma is a bitch.

I hadn’t planned to write about the oafish PM until I got a text from my good friend and Spank krewe mate, Greg Hackenberg: “If you aren’t working on a post about Boris Johnson that does not include Peter Gabriel’s I Have The Touch, I’m not sure I know you anymore.”

You still know me, Greg:

Shake those hands, shake those hands…

Finally, Project Novel will begin in earnest at 3 PM today. There’s enough interest in my legal murder mystery, Tongue In The Mail, for me to proceed. I’ll be posting two chapters at a time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It even has its own category, Project Novel: TITM.

Pondering Boris Johnson’s bad karma gave me an instant earworm. The last word goes to Warren Zevon and John Lennon with another song that’s much better than Imagine:

Thank You

It’s been a whirlwind since Chef’s Brigade NOLA launched and I began soliciting donations. I’d like to thank everyone in the First Draft community who helped this worthy cause. Your generosity does not surprise me, but it still moves me.

As of this writing, they have raised $31,000+ at their GoFundMe site. The work continues as does the need for funds. I will revisit this subject again as it’s close to my heart. Thank you again.

Special thanks to Chef’s Brigade NOLA organizers Troy Gilbert and Robert Peyton for their passion, dedication, and hard work.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Fox on the run edition

Morning, all! Still not up to the 3+ hours it takes to crank out a standard 5 or 6-thread “Obsession” post just yet, but if it had to be just one, let it be this one:

Fox Business Benches Trish Regan After Outcry Over Coronavirus Comments
nytimes ^ | 3/13/2020 | Michael M. Grynbaum

Posted on 3/14/2020, 7:26:03 PM by bitt

The host of “Trish Regan Primetime” told viewers this week that concerns about the coronavirus were “yet another attempt to impeach the president.”

The Fox Business anchor Trish Regan, whose on-air dismissal of the coronavirus as “another attempt to impeach the president” left her cable network facing a firestorm of criticism this week, has been removed from her prime-time slot for the foreseeable future, the network said on Friday.

Ms. Regan’s 8 p.m. program, “Trish Regan Primetime,” is “on hiatus until further notice,” Fox Business said in a statement. The network declined to say if Ms. Regan would continue to appear on its other programs, saying that its coverage plans for the coronavirus crisis remained in flux.

Fox Business attributed the move to “the demands of the evolving pandemic crisis coverage,” saying it was shifting resources toward daytime coverage of the pandemic and global markets. Both “Trish Regan Primetime” and its follow-up at 9, “Kennedy,” will be replaced by general-interest programs.

1 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:26:03 PM by bitt
TheHorror
C’mon, Freepers – this is from “The New York Slimes” – surely you’re not buying into it?

To: bitt

Regan is probably fired.

Wait for it….

She might go to CNN or something.

3 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:27:34 PM by GuavaCheesePuff (I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee-Old Yankee Stadium (1923-2008))

Bwahahaha
To: bitt

Time for folks to boycott faux news!! We made them we can break them!!!

5 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:27:56 PM by RoseofTexas

Of course you can.
.
Cookie?
To: bitt

She was a “It’s just the flu!” cheerleader.(Those sneaky Italians are just pretending to die by the 100s per day to hurt Trump.)

9 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:31:00 PM by Travis McGee (EnemiesForeignAndDomestic.com)

Are you Freepers gonna let him talk about your eye candy like that???
To: Travis McGee

Can you take a minute from your “let’s panic over the Coronavirus” jihad and give me YOUR estimate of deaths in America from the Coronavirus that will occur for the full 2020 calendar year?

19 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:39:15 PM by House Atreides (Boycott the NFL 100% — PERMANENTLY)

Oooh – that’ll show him!
.
Maths are hard!
.
They’re even harder when “solve for Z” is dependent on “Y” being “People even dumber then Rand Paul”.
To: bitt
Funny how the NYT, et al. can lie, lie and lie some more and absolutely nothing happens to them.
21 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:40:26 PM by Chgogal (Never underestimate the stupidity of a DummycRAT voter. Proof: California, New York, Illinois.)
Hey! Maybe they didn’t even shitcan her?
To: bitt

Just yesterday it was read both Trish and Kennedy were to be put on hiatus (due to the crew needing to work on the CV coverage.) The two women will be returning at some time in the future.

101 posted on 3/14/2020, 10:13:29 PM by V K Lee (“VICTORY FOR THE RIGHTEOUS IS JUDGMENT FOR THE WICKED”)

SEE??   THERE’S STILL HOPE FOR THE HORNY!!!

To: bitt

Fox is trying to impeach Trump?

Um – he’s already BEEN impeached – just so ya know.

Should FOX foxes be put on the endangered species list?

8 posted on 3/14/2020, 7:30:52 PM by Paladin2

Bombshell
More after the jump, as the “It’s just the flu!” forces have it out with the “Exactly how stupid ARE you?” brigade…

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Not Everything Sucks

If you want happy in your inbox every day subscribe to this. I’ve learned a ton about skincare and online consignment and country music and it got me into Hadestown which is maybe not the HEALTHIEST musical to be obsessed with at the moment but it’s giving us something to listen to in the house that isn’t Disney.

A.

Safe Passage

This is the thing that worries me: 

Mr. Trump, when he said he was considering a quarantine for the region, offered no details about how his administration would enforce it. Speaking to CNN, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York criticized the idea, calling it “a declaration of war on states.”

He also questioned the logistical challenges, as well as the message, that such an order would present. “If you start walling off areas all across the country, it would just be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, antisocial,” he said.

Because: if my state is closed and yours is open, how do I get to you if you are sick? And don’t tell me I can’t, if I love you, if you’re my mother or brother or child, I will tear my way through your barricades, anyone would. We’ve had these walls before and people always find a way to scale them.

We don’t know how long this is going to last. This is why federal action matters, why we’re one country: we have this openness between us, or at least we used to, and it works as long as somebody can make a rule that applies to both you and me.

But “state’s rights,” amirite? The feds are always the enemy until you need them.

If some states are cut off and others aren’t, then you’ll start seeing the shortages people initially worried about when supplies were plentiful and shipping was open. It’s not like we make things everywhere; we depend on trucking, on rail lines, on airplanes still flying. Commercial air travel, okay, shut it down, but you ground cargo planes and suddenly that decision to buy 500 packs of toilet paper looks only sensible and right.

(I have told Mr. A he is no longer allowed to make fun of my propensity to hoard flour and yeast, and he will no longer suffer my mocking him for buying hand soap no matter how much we have in the house.)

We used to hear this every six months or so, what happens if Texas or South Carolina or Maine or somebody secedes, travel and treaties and repercussions for anyone on the borders, but with Dickhead L’Orange shooting his mouth off while his feet are up on the Resolute desk it goes from being hysterical to horrifying with a quickness.

Scout and I were joking on Twitter the other day: the Midwest needs to have a non-aggression pact. Can we open shipping lines across the Great Lakes? Who owns enough barges and paper factories to make this stuff work? We don’t grow everything everywhere; hydroponic farms and the window herb gardens aside we ain’t growing much for the next 4 months anyway.

I have a freezer full of food and this is the kind of talk that has me browsing for basement chest freezers and looking up deer hunting season. You barely have to hunt the ones in our forest preserve, they’ll come right up to you for some Cheez-Its. The plans for the garden gets more elaborate every time he opens his mouth. I’m not joking, this is what causes people to panic. To flee.

Are we going to stop them at the border? What happens when they don’t stop? I wish we didn’t know. 

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Time To Kill

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins.

This week’s featured image is one of the most famous American paintings of the 19th Century. I’ve posted it to honor all the medical professionals who are fighting the good fight against COVID-19 but who wear masks and gloves unlike Dr. Gross and his cohort. Thanks, y’all.

I prefer to keep this weekly feature light but it’s hard to do in these tough times. The second act is kind of heavy, but the jokes return in our third act. Laughs are precious right now when fear is abroad in the world and our government in the hands of an evil clown, President* Pennywise. Oy just oy.

At the risk of being a pest, a reminder to support Chef’s Brigade NOLA for all the reasons set forth in this post. Thanks again, y’all.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson in 1970 for The Band’s third album Stage Fright. It’s a joyful tune with a somewhat dark lyrical subtext.

We have two versions of Time To Kill for your listening pleasure:  the Todd Rundgren produced studio original and a live version from the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: a 1973 festival starring The Band, The Dead, and the Allman Brothers Band.

The title certainly resonates in our era:, we all have time to kill. One of my mottos as a blogger is: When in doubt, post a Kinks song:

Now that we’ve killed time, let’s jump to the break. It won’t kill you.

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An Experiment: Tongue In The Mail, Chapter 1

Times are weird so I thought I’d do something extra weird for First Draft. In the late 1990’s, I wrote a novel set during my time as a student at Tulane Law. It’s a murder mystery with a title taken from the opening lines of a Neil Finn song:

I spent years trying to sell it. I got some very nice rejection letters and took any editorial suggestions offered including a title change from the more generic Hearsay. Eventually, I let Tongue In The Mail rest on my computer. I haven’t looked at it in many years. In 2020, it qualifies as a historical mystery since it was set, in part, during the Edwards-Duke governor’s race from hell.

I tried not to do too much rewriting. I’m pleased that it still reads well. The style is *close* to my current writing style as Adrastos, but there are fewer puns. One major difference is the use of exclamation points, which I left in because some people speak in them. I guess that makes me a reformed exclamation point sinner. Some of you will have a field day with this. I welcome your scorn.

I’m not sure if I’ll keep the experiment going, so please let me know either here, on social media or via email if I should. I’m trying to entertain the masses, not indulge in an exercise of Trumpian egomania. In fact, I’m nervous as hell about posting this.

The first chapter is set at a wedding. I stole the idea from The Godfather. When in doubt, steal from the best. It’s heavy on exposition, the action revs up in chapter 2.

The characters are composites of people I knew at the time, not ripped from the headlines. The narrator, however, bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain blogger.

Our story begins after the break.

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Friday Catblogging: PD’s Waterloo

We’ve restocked the Tower of Terror with seltzer. Will it doom Paul Drake? Not bloody likely. The Duke of Wellington is nowhere to be found. Anyone have a beef with that?

The last word goes to The Kinks:

21st Century Live Stream Funeral Blues

The other day on social media I posted a link to a WaPo article about the difficulties faced by families who lost loved ones  during the pandemic. It drew a raft of comments because I mentioned my favorite cousin. As First Draft readers know, she died last week.

Today was my cousin’s funeral; attendance was limited to 5 relatives and the people who performed the service. I’m not sure we would have been able to go in normal times, but these are not normal times.

My cousin was a movie buff and the one who introduced me to John Ford’s movies. That’s why the funeral scene from The Searchers is the featured image. Ford knew how to stage a 19th Century funeral in the 20th Century.

My cousin’s service was 21st Century all the way. It was live streamed by her church in Dallas. I nearly put live stream in quotes as the transmission was erratic until the last 10 minutes of the mass. At one point we tried streaming on 5 different devices: 2 iPhones, a laptop, desktop, and an iPad. The latter worked the best. Score one for Apple.

It was such a struggle that we started to laugh at the absurdity. I knew my cousin wouldn’t have minded. She was devout but she had an irreverent side: as a young woman, she acted with Nick Nolte at a community theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. Nolte was wild even then so a little laughter from her New Orleans kin wouldn’t have phased my cousin.

As I laughed, I thought of Chuckles Bites The Dust; the episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show wherein the station clown dies at the “hands” (trunk?) of an elephant while dressed in a peanut costume. The rest of the gang makes sick jokes about the death of Chuckles, but Mary Richards is made of sterner stuff. (The best joke came from snarky news writer Murray Slaughter: “Born in a trunk, died in one.”)  Instead, Mary laughed her ass off during the funeral service after the minister recited the Chuckles credo: “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.”

I know what those of you who know us IRL are thinking. You’re casting Dr. A as Mary and me as Lou Grant. Twenty years ago, I would have objected but I’ve grown into my Lou Grantness. I was always a curmudgeon but now I have Ed Asner’s hairline and paunch.

I don’t blame the church for my 21st Century live stream blues. It’s hard to imagine a more difficult place from which to transmit than a church. What can ya do?

Condolences to Chris, Xander, and Chloe. The good news is that they’d understand our finding the live stream fail funny. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Perhaps that’s why the iPad worked best.

John Ford’s funeral scenes typically used Let’s All Gather At The River as music. But I’d like to use an equally solemn river song. The last word goes to The Band who headlined the first concert I attended. My favorite cousin was the one who took me.

R.I.P. Tina, you will be missed.

Bayou Brief: Love In The Time Of Coronavirus

The title of my latest 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief was inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love In The Time Of Coronavirus. I’m particularly fond of the tag line:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has Peter Athas thinking about Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. We’ve gone from “heckuva job, Brownie” to “heckuva job, Trumpy.”

Since the column is, in part, an extended flashback to 2005, the last word goes to John Fogerty:

“Brownie’s in the outhouse
Katrina on the line
Government’s a disaster
But Georgie, he says it’s fine”