Saturday Odds & Sods: Papa Was A Rolling Stone

Hesitation Waltz by Rene Magritte.

It’s been a frustrating week at Adrastos World HQ. Every time I think my pernicious and persistent cold is getting better, I backslide. I would have preferred to be really sick for a few days and then better. Make up your mind, cold.

In local news, the lame duck New Orleans City Council has been up to all sorts of mischief: voting to approve a new power plant for Entergy that won’t solve our blackout  problems and allowing taller buildings to be constructed alongside the Mother of Rivers.  I suspect that the presence of Mayor-elect Cantrell on the Council is one reason they feel free to take such votes. It does not bode well for those who hoped the incoming Mayor would be more neighborhood/citizen friendly. Score another win for real estate developers who are the worst people in the world. Exhibit A for this argument currently lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

This week’s theme song is a tribute to Temptations singer Dennis Edwards who died earlier this month at the age of 74. Papa Was A Rolling Stone was written by Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong and was a monster hit in 1972. Here are two versions for your enjoyment: the Temps and David Lindley.

Now that I’ve dissed real estate developers and my stupid cold, it’s time to roll over to the break. I’m too enfeebled to jump.

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Meme Of The Week: Teacher Of Fortune

The country has been buzzing this week over the notion of arming teachers. Let’s clear something up: it’s not Trump’s idea. The NRA has been floating this misguided and downright moronic idea for years. If the Insult Comedian ever had an original thought, his brain would explode thereby injuring the dead nutria atop his head.

This ridiculous idea is based on the “good guy with a gun” myth, which, in turn, comes from the movies as Michael F pointed out yesterday. Wayne LaPierre and Dana Loesch have obviously seen too many action movies: vigilante flicks have long been a Hollywood staple. Things don’t work like that in real life as we learned from the story of the terrified deputy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

I won’t go into the practical problems with this ludicrous idea because I don’t feel like writing a 2,000 word post on this subject. I think that this meme from my friend Michael Styborski sums up how preposterous the arm the teachers notion is:

Friday Catblogging: Queen of the World

Here’s Della Street surveying her domain, which includes pesky kid brother Paul Drake.

Good night, Jack Hamilton

(Posting a bit early because of a sad bit of news. Hope it’s acceptable. – Doc.)

Of all the baubles and trinkets I’ve collected over the years that adorn my office, one of my favorite ones is a baseball signed by Jack Hamilton, who died earlier today.

Hamilton

The reason I got it was that I taught one of his grandchildren during one of my many stops in journalism education. I still remember her approaching me during our introductory reporting course to ask for special dispensation when it came to her profile.

“I know you said that we can’t do this on family members, but…” she began.

I had heard all sorts of excuses over the years: “I don’t have time to find anyone else,” or “My mom is my hero” or “I don’t know who else I’d do.”

I kind of did that “Justify your existence” thing and said, “Who and why?”

The answer was “My grandfather and he used to pitch in the major leagues.”

I decided it would be OK. After all, I let some kid do a piece on her grandmother because she was Jerry “Beaver Cleaver” Mathers’ mom, so why not a pitcher? Besides, I liked baseball. It was only after she turned in the piece that I realized who this man was.

Jack Hamilton had a relatively pedestrian career record of 32-40 during the heart of the 1960s. He bottomed out with Cleveland and the White Sox in 1969, going 0-5 before retiring. At 6-foot and 200 pounds, he wasn’t a giant, but a solid man who could mix his pitches well. His best season ended up being his most memorable one for all the wrong reasons.

In 1967, he started 2-0 for the New York Mets, who sent him to the Angels for Nick Willhite, who would retire from the game following a 0-1 campaign for New York that season. He was 8-2 and on the way to his only double-digit winning season on Aug. 18 when he threw the pitch that would define his career.

“It was a fastball that just got away.” I remember reading that line in my student’s profile. It stuck with me all these years and it hung with me today. I never heard the man’s voice, but I can hear it over and over in my head.

The one that “got away” smashed into the head of Boston’s Tony Conigliaro, a promising slugger who had already hit 100 home runs faster than any man in the game. The pitch fractured Tony C’s cheekbone, dislocated his jaw and damaged his retina. He sat out all of 1968 and would never really become the player everyone thought he would be.

Hamilton finished the season with an 11-6 record, but he too would never be the same.

“I had trouble pitching inside,” he told his grand-daughter. I didn’t blame him.

I remember reading that profile my student wrote, almost in awe and yet almost in shame. I felt like I was leering in on this man’s most difficult moment. I was thinking, Good God, man… you let this student ask her grandfather about all this? The hell is wrong with you? Still, I had to grade the thing so I kept on reading and I was glad I did.

He left baseball and settled in Branson, Missouri, where opened up several restaurants and raised a family. People liked him for who he was then, not because he was “a former baseball player.” He was just a great guy.

A year or two later, the student was working in the newsroom near Thanksgiving when we started chatting about something or other and she mentioned she was going home for the break.

“Are you seeing your grandpa?” I asked. “If so, tell him I loved reading about him.”

She said she was and that he’d be glad to hear that someone liked reading his story. I laughed a bit and tossed in a line: “Tell him I’d love to have his autograph.”

When she returned from Thanksgiving, she handed me a baseball. She had explained our exchange to her grandfather and my ask, he got this great big smile on his face and asked, “Really?” He then went out and actually bought a baseball so he could sign it for me. (I would have taken a turkey-stained napkin, for Pete’s sake.) His hand writing was a tad jittery, but right across the sweet spot, he inked his autograph for me.

I bought a plastic container to display it and subsequently found a 1968 copy of his baseball card. It was amazing but I could really see the family resemblance between that man on the card and his grand daughter in my class. I found it to be a nice reminder of a wonderful moment.

He also served as a reminder to me about how life can mix things up on you from time to time, but in the end, if you know who you are and you value the right things, everything will turn out OK. When I finished reading the profile on him, I felt I knew him and how he had become comfortable in his own skin.

He was just the kind of person you’d want as a grandpa.

So, good night, Mr. Hamilton. I hope you are at peace knowing you really were an incredible man.

The Good, The Bad, And…WTF?

Good_Bad_WTF

Like Ed Kilgore says, with the bar for this administration set so low they needed a tunnel borer to put it in place, I’m surprised we didn’t hear at least one pundit solemnly declare yesterday that “Donald Trump became president of the United States,” given that he managed to appear concerned and mostly avoided overtly cloddish statements and behavior. Mostly.

If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy — that coach was very brave.  Saved a lot of lives, I suspect.  But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run; he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.

And this would only be, obviously, for people that are very adept at handling a gun.  And it would be — it’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them.  They’d go for special training.  And they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone.   A gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is, let’s go in and let’s attack, because bullets aren’t coming back at us.

And if you do this — and a lot of people are talking about it, and it’s certainly a point that we’ll discuss — but concealed carry for teachers and for people of talent — of that type of talent.  So let’s say you had 20 percent of your teaching force, because that’s pretty much the number — and you said it — an attack has lasted, on average, about three minutes.  It takes five to eight minutes for responders, for the police, to come in.  So the attack is over.  If you had a teacher with — who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly.

For fuck’s sake. That’s Charles Bronson’s Death Wish as public policy, escapist alpha-male fantasy as response to a reality that this alleged tough guy/winner obviously has no clue about.

A major point, if not THE major point, of universal public education was/is that it’s a way to socialize each generation into civil society. Assuming some sort of armed cohort among the faculty is needed or required seems like an implicit rejection of this mission…and a troubling sign generally. Besides, I doubt most teachers want to add that burden to what’s already a challenging profession.

Coolly blasting bad guys to smithereens looks easy in movies. But movies aren’t real life.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Gun Molls Magazine

I’d never heard of Gun Molls Magazine until recently. It was a short-lived publication founded in the early 1930’s; presumably to capitalize on the success of early gangster flicks such as Scarface, The Public Enemy, and Little Caesar.

Gentle Annie is a misnomer since the gun moll on the cover below has resting bitch face.

I hope to never meet the Cobra Broad in a dark alley.

Malaka Of The Week: Willard Mittbot Romney

CyeY3LTXcAAgZx2

Remember all the MSM pundits who swore that the robot who wanted to be president would run for the Senate as an anti-Trump Republican? They were, as usual, wrong. Willard Mittbot Romney remains the flip floppingest, panderingist pol in the game and that is why he is malaka of the week.

Willard Mittbot Romney blows with the wind and in the GOP the wind is generated by the blowhard president* who endorsed Willard this week. Other than a few diehards, the #NeverTrump bubble seems to have burst. Willard isn’t the only one crawling back to the Insult Comedian. There’s a swell piece in the Failing New York Times about how Republican pols are forgetting about “decency” and coming to grips with the fact that Trump is popular among their tribe. Bob Corker is one of the rats returning to the sinking ship alongside Willard. Remember when Corker was lionized by the MSM? His head is back up Trump’s rump.

Nobody should be surprised that a man who changes home states like others change underwear has caved in to the pressure to conform.  Willard is a born conformist who never sticks his neck out when he doesn’t have to. So much for the brave words in his “Trump is a con man” speech. Like the man himself, the words were as hollow as a cheap chocolate Easter bunny.

As we enjoy mocking the MSM for getting something wrong again, let’s not forget that Willard could flip back to the #NeverTrump side if the Insult Comedian’s grip on the GOP base loosens. He’s such an opportunist that anything is possible. I’m not sure I buy the arguments made by Max Perry Mueller in Slate that Romney is on a Mormon mission to fulfill some goofy prophecy made by Joseph Smith.

The first rumors of a possible “Senator Romney,” which began to swirl in April 2017, brought new life to the long-whispered “White Horse Prophecy” that combines this messianic constitutionalism with Mormon politics. Depending on whom you ask, the White Horse Prophecy holds either that Mormons will one day save the American constitutional system in its darkest hour, or that Mormons will overthrow American democracy to create a latter-day theocracy. The prophecy is attributed to Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith Jr. In 1843, Smith purportedly told his followers that on the day when “the Constitution of the United States is almost destroyed… hang[ing] like a thread,” out of the “Rocky Mountains” the “great and mighty” Mormon people will, like the “White Horse” of the Book of Revelation, rush east to save the Constitution.

The last thing we need is a Mittbot on a white horse to save us. He’ll have to make up his mind as to whether his distaste for Trump’s table manners will turn into genuine opposition. It depends on what happens in November, which is why Democrats need to redouble efforts to flip the House and Senate. A blue wave could result in another epic Romney flip flop. Believe me.

Mitt Romney looks and sounds like a president. But he lacks the backbone to take on a president* of his own party until a challenge polls well. That’s a fact even if it’s a revelation to much of the MSM. And that is why Willard Mittbot Romney is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Tom Petty with a tune that could be the theme song for Willard, Corker, and their craven ilk:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: A Witch Is Born

I checked Pulp Librarian’s twitter feed in search of material for tomorrow. Little did I know that I’d find a deeply weird album cover from 1970. This is an ad for the album, the cover is on the left.

Here’s the album. It’s spoken word with Wagner’s Die Walküre: Walkürenritt in the background. The 5 minutes I listened to were unintentionally hilarious.

 

Tuesday Foodblogging

Everything doesn’t suck.

So in 2004, some Eagle Corn seeds were sent to Nebraska. “The Pawnee had grown this corn here for 600 years, and they’d been trying to save it since they were forced to Oklahoma in the 1870s. Now we were trying one last time to see if it would grow here again,” O’Brien says.

The first crop didn’t take, but the next year, the last 25 seeds were sent in a desperate effort to keep the Eagle Corn from extinction. That time, O’Brien watched in astonishment. “It was just amazing—I’ve never seen plants just burst from the land like they did; they jumped out of the ground.”

A.

‘a reprieve’

What the fuck is wrong with you? 

But a gun massacre at a Florida high school last Wednesday, which left 17 dead, seemed to shift the media glare away from the Trump scandals and gave embattled aides an opportunity to refocus on handling a rare crisis not of their own making. While the White House mourned the loss of life in Parkland, Fla., some aides privately acknowledged that the tragedy offered a breather from the political storm.

A breather. A breather. A fucking breather. What kind of solipsistic asshole … you know, this is paragraph two of this story and I’m already longing for the better part of a bottle of scotch.

Press staffers cited the tragedy as a reason to cancel on-camera briefings for the remainder of the week, allowing them to avoid questions about the swirling controversies. The White House could hold its next briefing on Tuesday, a full week since press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last faced reporters.

THANK GOD FOR THOSE DEAD KIDS, THEY GOT US A BREAK FROM THE WIFE-BEATING.

“For everyone, it was a distraction or a reprieve,” said one White House official, speaking anonymously to reflect internal conversations. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.”

No one who says something so demonstrably horrifying gets to remain anonymous. The American people need to know who this is so that when they see him or her on the street they can throw rotten fruit. We should bring back the public stocks for people like this. You have got to be kidding me.

The official likened the brief political calm to the aftermath of the October 2017 gun massacre in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and hundreds more injured. That tragedy united White House aides and the country in their shared mourning for the victims and their families.

“But as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we’ll be back through the chaos,” the official said.

I’m sorry, would you like America to arrange a few more mass killings so that you can keep your focus off the pussy-grabber’s porn star problems? I just … how is this person still alive after saying this to another human being? Sometimes I cannot fathom covering this White House and not punting everyone in to the sun.

Now, I am Super Savvy and therefore know that of course the writers of this story aren’t endorsing the view these anonymous White House anuses are espousing. Of course they don’t agree, present the administration’s view, both sides, etc. But the tone of this thing is just … yes, that’s what Republicans are about now, hoping school massacres distract us from the treason.

“The national tragedy in Florida has really, for now, turned the page on some of these crises,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist close to the White House. “They’re going to come back, but what it does do is give the White House a chance to collect itself and, if they can, organize a communications strategy and get their ducks in a row.”

By conveying this viewpoint so dispassionately the story sends a message that this is just one outlook among many, rather than THE TEXTBOOK DIAGNOSIS OF A MOTHERFUCKING SOCIOPATH. These people should be straitjacketed, not quoted like they’re humans.

There are a thousand ways to approach this story that don’t wind up sounding like hey, a bunch of children died bloody but there’s a silver lining here folks! There are a thousand ways to turn this around, including but not limited to talking to people who think these officials are horror shows and should not only be shitcanned but sectioned.

I’m sure lots of people who don’t believe I’m Super Savvy and Serious will explain to me now that the paper can’t just be 72-point headlines that say EVERYTHING IS FUCKED AND ON FIRE, but that’s really the problem here. Adhering to the conventions of ordinary Washington coverage — while Democracy Dies in Darkness, natch — leads to opining that sure, a bunch of parents are planning funerals instead of graduations but at least Joe and I got to take a coffee break for once.

A.

Your President* Speaks: Dumbbell Caveman Edition

It’s President’s Day. The Current Occupant is currently at his Florida pad and there’s a tweet storm brewing. Who am I kidding? He’s been watching Fox News, hanging out with his idiot sons, and whining about the cards life dealt him all weekend. Self pity is never pretty and when it comes from an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head it’s uglier than Steve Bannon’s wardrobe. What’s the deal with the shirt layering, Steverino?

A note about the featured image/meme. I was searching for a Magritte painting for Odds & Sods when I came across Perpetual Motion. This image of a caveman with a dumbbell head screams Donald  Trump. The analogy breaks down somewhat since the caveman dumbbell is svelte and fit but what’s not to like about the bone in his hand? Trump is boning the country, after all. Bigly.

The Kremlingate indictments obtained by Team Mueller have the Kaiser of Chaos flailing and ranting. His is not the leadership that doesn’t let one see him sweat. The flop sweat has been rolling in rivulets across the Tweeter Tube.

I picked three of the Trumpiest tweets ever to quote and dissect. By Trumpiest I mean self-serving, self-pitying, and reprehensible as he blames everyone but himself for his latest woes.

This tirade is factually challenged even for Lyin’ Donny. The FBI’s Miami office is the one that dropped the ball on Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter. It has nothing to do with investigating Kremlingate. The president* claims to love local law enforcement, especially those who beat the shit out of suspects, but they fucked up in this instance as well.

More importantly, the murder of 17 students and teachers is not about Donald Trump. He thinks he’s the sun, the stars, and the moon when he’s really just a black hole of suck. If Trump were a planet, he’d be Uranus. Believe me.

The main event on Trump’s twitter feed this weekend was, of course, Kremlingate. Trump’s national security adviser may not be the McMaster of his domain but he seized upon the indictments to tell the truth about Russian interference in the 2016 election. His boss was not happy with his statement. McMaster forgot to lie, which is a Bozo no-no in the Trump administration.

I doubt if the Insult Comedian read the indictment but I did. It makes a plausible case that the election results were influenced by the drumbeat of anti-Clinton propaganda. We all know ostensibly liberal people who swallowed whole what turned out to be Russian disinformation. The most gullible among them sat out the election or voted for useful idiot, failed folkie, and Crunchy Granola Machiavelli, Jill Stein.

The charge of collusion between Democrats and Russia is absurd but predictable in the fact free zone that is Trumpworld. The Russians were out to get the former Secretary of State and help the Kaiser of Chaos. Speaking of chaos:

Trump *is* the chaos the Russians were hoping to create. The federal government is dysfunctional, understaffed and at war with itself. They helped elect a president* who has so many scandals going that some of them cannot break through the wall of white nationalist noise and corruption erected by Team Trump. It’s the only wall they’ve built thus far.

As a veteran political observer, I still believe the country can move past this catastrophic presidency*. We’ve had terrible presidents before but none of them deliberately set out to damage the country and its institutions; not even Tricky Dick. Once again, Trump is worse than Nixon.

Ever since finding the dumbbell caveman painting, Perpetual Motion, I’ve had a classic Yessong in my head. Perpetual Change is what we need right now as an antidote to the selfish nihilism of Trump and what I dubbed the Me Party in 2013. They need to be drubbed up and down the ballot in 2018 to give the country a better chance to recover from the misrule of the Dumbbell Caveman and his wrecking crew. Believe me.

Yes gets the last word:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – two steps forward, one step back edition

Greetings, all – still recovering from the herniated disc thing, and every time I think it’s gone away, it comes back. In the immortal words of Joan Hackett in “Support your local Sheriff” :

“I’m sick and tired of all these stupid things that keep happening to me, and somebody’d better do something about it soon!

So  – a short “Obsession” today.

I won’t even go near the latest mowing down of schoolchildren, because the Freeperati response is exactly the same as the last 20 times it happened.

It did generate one interesting thread, though –  good for the Russian mafia!

Are you allowed guns in Russia?
16 Feb 18 | hapnHal

Posted on 2/17/2018, 10:52:12 PM by hapnHal

Are you allowed guns in Russia? Found this information.

Individuals are not allowed to carry guns acquired for self-defense; a license only serves as a carrying permit for hunting and sport firearms when these guns need to be transported. Russian citizens may not own guns that shoot in bursts or have magazines with more than a ten-cartridge capacity.

1 posted on 2/17/2018, 10:52:12 PM by hapnHal
I see a Cognitive Dissonance alert coming, as their new BFF Russia dare not be criticized!
To: billakay
As I understand it, the law was amended a couple of years ago to allow anyone who had a permit to own a weapon to carry it for self defense. 

Got to wonder how much the growth of the Russian mafia contributed to that.

Regardless, good for them!

7 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:09:20 PM by doorgunner69 (Give me the liberty to take care of my own security……….)

TrumpCogDis

To: hapnHal

 

Just as I thought, the Democrats are trying as hard as insanely possible to turn America into Russia.

13 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:52:06 PM by American in Israel (A wise man’s heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)

So – Russia = bad?
To: American in Israel

 

“Just as I thought, the Democrats are trying as hard as insanely possible to turn America into Russia.”

Not in all ways. Russia today protects their kids against gay recruitment.

14 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:57:58 PM by BobL (I shop at Walmart and eat at McDonald’s…I just don’t tell anyone)

So – Russia = good?
To: hapnHal

 

Tell the liberals that, now that they hate Russia! Remember how they loved Russia when she was full commie?

15 posted on 2/18/2018, 12:09:25 AM by JimRed ( TERM LIMITS, NOW! Build the Wall Faster! TRUTH is the new HATE SPEECH.)

I’ll tell you what I remember:
McCarthyList
One Freeper dares to go there:
To: billakay

 

What are your thoughts on….

“Russian citizens may not own guns that shoot in bursts or have magazines with more than a ten-cartridge capacity.”

Maybe the Russians are on the right track. Do we need these type of guns and if so, for WHAT PURPOSE ?

12 posted on 2/17/2018, 11:49:58 PM by hapnHal (B)

And is promptly reminded of how a fat fuck with an AR15 is going to hold off a drone strike:
To: hapnHal
Do we need these type of guns and if so, for WHAT PURPOSE ? 

To fight back against government forces that will be sent to take them away the next time we get an Obama or a Hillary.

18 posted on 2/18/2018, 12:11:41 AM by JimRed ( TERM LIMITS, NOW! Build the Wall Faster! TRUTH is the new HATE SPEECH.)
MilitiaDefense
.
One more bit of stupid after the moron labe
.

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Marry Me, Steve

This is a glorious evisceration of Chicago’s worst newspaper columnist, who’s typical of so many old middle-class scolds in that Kass thinks it’s just fine if people in “those neighborhoods” die so long as it doesn’t happen near him:

“Chicago police commanders aren’t supposed to be shot to death, not there, not at the heart of city business and politics.”

As with so many John Kass columns in this stage of his career, I can only wonder: Where to start?

1. Ignore the stats. Go by feel – perhaps the feel you get from Fox News.

2. People’s sense of safety is shaken by what happened Tuesday because it was downtown. What people? Downtown people, the only people who are actually people, in Kass’s construction, because a lot of other people have had their sense of safety shaken – if it ever existed – long ago.

Perhaps what Kass means is that his sense of safety has been shaken, because the killing of a cop happened so close to the office he has commuted to for decades from the suburbs.

3. Police commanders aren’t supposed to be shot to death. Who is? Thugs. They’re supposed to be shot to death.

It’s so predictable. Since, well, forever, the media expresses shock over terrible events that happen in places where they aren’t supposed to. The accretion of those events doesn’t seem to teach us that they actually happen everywhere, to all kinds of people.Certainly not with the same regularity, but then, that’s an equation the media ought to continue to examine with renewed vigor and compassion.

Go read the whole thing. The only possible response to “this shouldn’t happen here” is to ask, “Then where should it happen?” And somehow these sheltered pricks never do have an answer to that one.

A.

 

Your Sons and Your Daughters Are Beyond Your Command

I spent Saturday night in a crowded hot room above a coffee shop, writing notes to Paul Ryan and Donald Trump.

I know, right? But listen to this girl, Emma Gonzalez:

I watched an interview this morning and noticed that one of the questions was, do you think your children will have to go through other school shooter drills? And our response is that our neighbors will not have to go through other school shooter drills. When we’ve had our say with the government — and maybe the adults have gotten used to saying ‘it is what it is,’ but if us students have learned anything, it’s that if you don’t study, you will fail. And in this case if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it’s time to start doing something.

Listen to her, and be ashamed of your cynical assumption that nothing’s going to change.

I got tired of listening to people talking about how there’s nothing we can do, that this is just the way we live now, and when a meetup popped up near me offering the chance to write postcards to elected officials, I signed up. When I did, there were three people committed to come.

By the time I got there, there were 20.

There weren’t enough chairs. People shared lists. Everyone brought food. Lots of people brought their kids. A man walked around pouring glasses of water and wine. The room, above a coffee shop, was warm.

An elderly woman couldn’t make it up the stairs and sat down at the door writing postcards. To Paul Ryan. To Donald Trump. To Mike Pence. To John McCain and every other senator who took money from the NRA. To our senators. To everyone else’s.

Would they read them? someone asked. That’s not our problem, the organizers answered. We do what we can.

A group of kids sat at one table, and by kids I mean girls and boys too young for PG-13 movies, and they wrote things like, “I don’t want to be here tonight but because of you I don’t have a choice.” They wrote things like, “Save my friends. Save me.” An adult asked if there had been any communication from their school about what had happened, remembering bulletins about Columbine and Virginia Tech, asking if the school had offered counseling.

“Nothing,” one of the girls replied. “They didn’t tell us a thing.”

How dare we tell children like these that nothing’s going to change? How dare we tell them nothing IS changing? How dare we disappear the everyday work that is being done by activists at every level, from the township on up? How dare we act like our glib, snide asides are written in stone?

Listen to Emma Gonzalez. This isn’t over. It’s barely begun. Our surrender is an insult to their rage.

One of the kids offered to help with the postcards I and the women at my table were making. Carefully, onto each one, they glued tiny pictures of victims of school shootings, their small fingers pressing down on faces that could have been their own.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Fever

The Grand Jatte Hibernators by Max Ernst.

We’ve put Carnival in the books and my repentance comes in the form of a cold. Mercifully, it’s not the flu, but I’m still going to keep it extra snappy since I might get the vapors at any moment.

There was sad news for New Orleanians Thursday night. Arthur Robinson, better known as Mr. Okra died at the age of 75. I’ll let Advocate food writer Ian McNulty tell you a bit about him:

For decades, Arthur “Mr. Okra” Robinson provided one of the distinctive sounds of a city famous for its music, but he didn’t play the trumpet or the piano.

He was a roving produce vendor, traveling the neighborhood streets in a heavily-customized pickup truck and using a loudspeaker to sing the praises of his oranges and bananas, his avocados and, of course, his okra.

<SNIP>

The young and old alike knew Robinson as Mr. Okra, and he was a frequent sight across many different neighborhoods. In his trade, he was a link back to a different era in New Orleans when everything from ice to charcoal was sold door to door. For Robinson, the job was actually part of a family tradition, one he picked up from his father, the late Nathan Robinson.

It was a pleasure to hear Mr. Okra’s voice echo through my neighborhood. I couldn’t always catch up to him, but when I did I enjoyed chatting with him and squeezing the odd piece of fruit. He will be missed.

Since I have one, I selected Fever as this week’s theme song. We have two versions for your entertainment: Peggy Lee and the Neville Brothers.

I have very little gas in the tank right now, so that’s it for this week. I’ll be back with a full-blown Odds & Sods next Saturday. Let’s finish up with one of my favorite bat memes from 2017: the Spitting Images Genesis puppets.

 

 

Friday Catblogging: Pizza Boy

Paul Drake is suffering from Carnival withdrawal. A trail of admirers found their way to our house to see PD. He also misses food opportunities such as this one:

Oh Look: A Box Of Thoughts And Prayers

thoughts_and_prayers

Bet you can find it on the same aisle that has the sailboat fuel.

More seriously, if thoughts and prayers actually stood a prayer’s chance, why didn’t it stop yesterdays shooting? Or the one before that, or the one before that, or the one before that, etc.?

Already we’re seeing the grim ritual repeat itself, and we will for the next week or so, after which all is forgotten … until the cycle repeats.

Well, forgotten by us.

For those who manage to survive, life is altered dramatically, in ways we rarely hear about and hardly ever consider.

All because gun nuts insist that actual, certified nuts should be allowed to purchase/possess any gun on-demand. Makes you wonder who the real nuts are…

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Peril Is My Pay

I asked Mr. Google to suggest some Olympics related pulp books. That’s how I found Peril Is My Pay. I picked it because of the hardboiled title, not the Olympic connection.

Words Matter

The word treason is being thrown around rather freely of late. It is a very specific crime. In fact, it is the only crime that is defined in the Constitution:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

An additional definition is offered in the constitutional dictionary:

treason n the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of one’s country or of assisting its enemies in war.

At the risk of sounding pedantic, Team Trump has skirted around the edges of treasonous behavior but has not committed the offense itself. We’re not at war with Russia and while conspiring with them to alter election results is an extremely serious crime, it’s not treason. There are other laws on the books and they’ve broken many of them. For one thing, the entire administration is a rolling (reeling?) RICO violation. And RICO is some serious shit.

Why does this matter? Words matter, that’s why. Words are the weapon of choice in a democracy. In fighting a corrupt, mendacious, and authoritarian government, it’s tempting to fight fire with fire. But the reality of what the Trumpers have done is so bad (to use the Insult Comedian’s favorite word) that hyperbole is unnecessary. Words matter.

I firmly believe that you fight lies with the truth, not exaggeration or hyperbole.  The facts are damning enough, gilding the Trumper lily to heighten drama is tempting but gets in the way of exposing their manifest and manifold malefactions. The truth is dramatic enough and will send many of this president’s* men to prison. Truth trumped (pun intended, it always is) Nixon’s lies and it will eventually take Trump down. Words matter.

The most important word in the political lexicon right now is ELECTIONS. One thing that politicians understand is the power of the ballot box. It’s why GOPers have worked so hard to make it difficult to vote. They only want the *right* people to vote. That’s why the resistance’s focus should be on registering voters and getting them to the polls. That’s how you send politicians a message, by voting them out.

Words matter. Use them wisely and well.

I’m old enough to remember when conservative Republicans stood with Eastern European dissidents against totalitarian communism. Now they stand with a former KGB agent whose goal in life is to avenge the “humiliation” of the Soviet Union. That’s why the last word goes to the late Vaclav Havel who knew something about defeating the big lie with truth.

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Old & In The Way

Old & In The Way was an early side project of Jerry Garcia’s. It was something of a bluegrass super band with Jerry, Vassar Clements, David Grisman, John Kahn, and Peter Rowan.

I’ve always been fond of this 1973 album art by Greg Irons.

Here’s the whole album via the YouTube: