Quote Of The Day: Boris Johnson’s Hair

Boris Johnson governing style is getting Trumpier and Trumpier by the day. He mishandled the pandemic, made the Brexit mess even messier, and allows headlines to change his mind on a daily basis. There’s never a plan, he just wings it. Sound familiar?

Unlike Trump, Johnson won an election fair and square but he’s pissing away that advantage as I write this.

One thing that Boris has always had in common with the Kaiser of Chaos is weird and silly hair.

Here’s ace Guardian satirist Marina Hyde latest salvo about the prime ministerial hairdo:

Johnson’s hair, always ridiculous, now seems to have reached animal rescue stage. The PM resembles one of those old English sheepdogs that charities put on sad-music fundraising adverts, with a voice saying: “When Boris came to us, his coat was so matted he was effectively blind … ” Or maybe he’s the star of an 80-minute Netflix movie in which the sheepdog somehow becomes president, and we end up learning a lot – if not about politics or ourselves, then definitely about the Netflix commissioning process.

Boris spends much of his time feuding with former aides. His former right hand man, Dominic Cummings, is now a sworn enemy of the man he made PM.

Cummings’ testimony before a parliamentary committee two months ago was a laugh riot:

Dominic Cummings has laid bare the “surreal” chaos in Downing Street in March last year as the government grappled with the Covid pandemic, portraying the prime minister as obsessed with the media and making constant U-turns, “like a shopping trolley smashing from one side of the aisle to the other”.

During an extraordinary evidence session to MPs at Westminster on Wednesday, Boris Johnson’s former chief aide targeted the prime minister for personal criticism, accusing him of being “unfit for the job”.

He claimed that Johnson regretted the first lockdown and held out against imposing later restrictions, despite the advice of many people inside Downing Street, and that overall, “tens of thousands of people died who didn’t need to die”.

Cummings told MPs the prime minister had repeatedly said in respect of the first lockdown, “I should have been the mayor of Jaws and kept the beaches open,” and confirmed reports that in October, Johnson said he would see “bodies pile high” rather than order a third lockdown.

Imagine wanting to be like Mayor Vaughn in Jaws who thwarted the efforts of Chief Brody to protect the town from sharks. Does Boris realize that Murray Hamilton who played the Jaws mayor was cuckolded by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate? Playing the movie analogy game is tricky.

Dominic Cummings is a professional asshole, but I wish more of Trump’s former aides would feud with him publicly. They prefer to be quoted without attribution like John Kelly. Better a brave asshole than a cowardly one

The last word goes to Split Enz with a song about sharks, not hair:

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Hannity Vanity Insanity edition

Poor Freepers – hit from every side by indictments, failure to overturn vote counts, truly shitty attendance for the MGS and Matt Gaetz mobile shitshow, and the Delta variant killing off their base (with their help) like the Orkin man gassing a roach nest.

At least they still have Hannity.

SEAN HANNITY: ” … I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination”
twitter ^ | July 19 | Sahil Kkapur

Posted on 7/19/2021, 9:02:28 PM by RandFan

@sahilkapur

SEAN HANNITY: “Please take Covid seriously. I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more death. Research like crazy. Talk to your doctor… I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccination.”

***************************************************

Hannity urges viewers to get vaccinated: “Please take COVID seriously”
Axios ^ | July, 20th, 2021 | Rebecca Falconer

Posted on 7/20/2021, 8:07:45 AM by David Chase

What he’s saying: Hannity said earlier this year he was “beginning to have doubts” about whether he would take a vaccine.

But on Monday night, he told “Hannity” viewers, “I believe in science, I believe in the science of vaccination.” “I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died. We don’t need any more deaths,” Hannity said. Of note: Fox New hosts Steve Doocy and Bill Hemmer also urged people on Monday to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, the Hill notes.

**************************************************

Uh oh.

Comments should be interesting.
1 posted on 7/20/2021, 8:07:45 AM by David Chase
At least his comments will prompt the Freeperati to make some long-overdue decisions.
To: David Chase
I’m glad he’s saying this. It just reinforces the decision I made years ago to stop watching his show and Fox News.
4 posted on 7/20/2021, 8:11:43 AM by CatOwner (Don’t expect anyone, even conservatives, to have your back when the SHTF in 2021)
I was thinking about a different decision,  actually.
To: RandFan
Does he ever state that he got the jab?
10 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:09:53 PM by Mark (Celebrities… is there anything they do not know? Homer Simpson)
To: Mark
All Fox hosts including Tucker have been vaccinated.
11 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:10:29 PM by Trumpisourlastchance

To: RandFan
Well he’s always claimed to be a diehard republican so I guess we now know that it means he’s a RINO. Either that or someone’s got something on him.
7 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:06:53 PM by Pollard
One little problem with that :
To: Pollard
But(sic) your logic, Trump is a RINO for promoting the vaccine.
12 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:10:53 PM by hawkaw
To: Pollard
So you are saying Trump is a RINO?
40 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:30:34 PM by nickcarraway
.
To: hawkaw
So, you’re saying you’re a pro-Fascist Fauci shill?
41 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:31:07 PM by ColoCdn (Nihil, sine deo)
What an excellent comeback!!
.
.
To: RandFan
People have become so stupid that they don’t know the difference between believing in science and believing in scientists. I believe in my own common sense
21 posted on 7/19/2021, 9:16:55 PM by ac-rep
When you die, can I have your car?
.
To: RandFan
Hannity always was a cretin.
92 posted on 7/19/2021, 10:13:25 PM by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change with out notice.)
Takes one to know one.
.
.
More after the jumperooni…

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – Leaping Lemmings edition

You know, people – I’m obviously fascinated with the GOP’s destruction of their own voting base – old white people, of course.

Do they realize that by spreading the anti-vaxxer tropes, they’re killing their own voters?

Is this intentional? Is there someone at the top (no, not The Darnold, someone who actually runs things) who is a Democratic Party plant? A double agent whose mission is to put the Dems back in power permanently?

It’s a legitimate question, and I can’t come up with a lot of answers for “why are they so intent in killing their own voters?”

Do they think they can pin this on President Biden somehow, when we have to start piling their bodies in refrigerated trucks again?

I have to agree with Showercap when he says : The practical effect of all this disinformation has been to feed your audience directly into the queue with the captive bolt pistol at the end.

Showercap also speculated because they’re all in Big Mortician’s pocket?, but he was kidding.

I think.

I’ll let Joe Heller have the last word:

.

 

SMV: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Live At Fenway Park

Here’s  52 minutes of magic from 2014:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Hamburger Midnight

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Dr. A is more disciplined that I am. She’d been on a rather stringent diet until she came home craving a burger but not at midnight. We ordered delivery from Shake Shack in the broad daylight. I’m not sure if the Nighthawks are eating hamburgers but I wouldn’t be surprised.

This week’s theme song was written by Lowell George and Roy Estrada in 1970 for Little Feat’s eponymous debut album. It’s a long-time favorite of mine; one that I used to request when I saw the band live. They ignored my pleas. And I wrote such a lovely tribute to Paul Barrerre in 2019. Oh well, what the hell.

We have three versions of Hamburger Midnight for your listening pleasure: the studio original, a 1973 live version, and a 2014 live version with guest vocalist Vince Herman.

Little Feat’s first single was Hamburger Midnight/Strawberry Flats. Here’s the B-Side:

Now that I’ve made you flat-out peckish, let’s jump to the break.

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Crazy He Calls Me

Last week I featured a “guy song,” this one is for and by the ladies with an exceptional exception. Crazy He Calls Me, however, was written in 1949 by two men, Carl Sigman and Bob Russell.

The song quite rightly is associated with the great Billie Holiday who was the first artist to record it. That’s where we begin our musical journey.

Here’s the aforementioned exceptional exception. What was it with Nat and sweaters? The man lived in LA. I guess he was trying to Crosby-fy his image; either that or he got cold easily.

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Malaka Of The Week: Beth Mizell

The Gret Stet lege made history this week, holding the first ever veto override special session. Both houses are required to override with a 2/3 vote. The session was a flop: the lege did not override any of Gov. Edwards’ vetoes. It was a great relief because of two measures: a “freedom, man” concealed carry bill and a ban on transgender folks in school sports. The sponsor of the latter bill was State Senator Beth Mizell. And that is why she is malaka of the week.

I have a confession: I don’t follow the doings at the state lege as closely as a pundit should. They do some crazy shit, and I don’t want my blood pressure to spike. I did, however, follow the Veto Session. That would have made a good pseudonym for Vito Spatafore when he was outed and fled to New Hampshire in the final season of The Sopranos.

Back to the Gret Stet lege.

Mizell is a Republican who hails from Franklinton. It’s a small town in rural Washington Parish. Even though it’s only 70 miles away from New Orleans, it might as well be a thousand miles. Some call those folks rednecks, I prefer the term peckerwoods. It’s more evocative.

Mizell was the original sponsor of the hateful and unnecessary anti-trans bill. The senate overrode Gov. Edwards’ veto, but the house did not. I guess they had a fleeting moment of sanity.

Mizell claimed that transgender folks in sports was the most important issue for the people of the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I have my doubts that these claims are true:

“If you have not heard the voices of the large majority of people in this state by emails, by phone calls, by personal visits, there’s no words I can give you,”

I have a word for this: malakatude. Bigotry is another word that comes to mind.

It remains weird to live in such a blue city in such a red state. The lege is full of people who hate New Orleans. One reason they hate us is our diversity and tolerance of those who are different. Sounds pretty darn Christian to me but bible thumpers like Malaka Mizell don’t see it that way. It’s what happens when you live on a steady diet of red meat…

Mizell is term-limited and will leave the senate on January 8, 2024. I have no idea if she plans to run for another office. It’s one of those things that I don’t care about.

Mizell has promised to push her despicable bill in the next legislative session. That means we’ll have to fight this stupid battle all over again thanks to Mizell’s malakatude.

I’m not sure if Mizell is praying in the featured image or if she’s hanging her head in shame. I hope it’s the latter: she and her cohort have much to be ashamed of. And that is why Louisiana State Senator Beth Mizell is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Dwight Yoakam:

Kevin And Karen Can F*%K Themselves

Kevin Can F Himself

You know, for a nice Canadian gal she sure has a habit of picking titles that are potty mouthed

My new favorite TV show is called Kevin Can F*%K Himself. If you don’t know, the premise of the show is that that main character, Allison, lives in two different television realities. In the brightly lit multi-camera sitcom world she is the perpetually put upon wife of the titular man child character. Think Leah Remini in The King Of Queens. In the other darker single camera world she is a woman on the edge of a nervous, potentially homicidal, breakdown ready to do anything to escape the hell that her husband has made of her life. Think Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad. The combination of the two is a phenomenal deconstruction of both styles. I’m particularly drawn to the point it makes about how situations perceived as benign one way are tragic in another.

Which brings me to vaccines. In particular, the COVID 19 vaccine.

Let me just begin by saying that if you are a Kevin or a Karen who still hasn’t gotten the vaccine, you can go f*#k yourself. I don’t want to hear your excuses. I don’t want to hear about how the FDA hasn’t fully approved it (this is an emergency dickwad and it was approved for emergency use so f**k you use it). I don’t want to hear about how you HEARD it might mess with your DNA (no more than that six pack of Coors before dinner every night does and probably a lot less). I don’t want to hear about how you’re just being cautious and once the science comes in you’ll decide from there (like you care about science or could even read a scientific report let alone understand it). And if you say but people who have been vaccinated have still tested positive for COVID I swear I will punch your lights out. Learn what that really means. If you want this pandemic to be over there is only one way for that to happen and it’s for everyone to get the vaccine.

So f*^k you if you haven’t gotten it.

We had it beat. We were starting to reopen, to get back to normal, to come out on the other side. All you had to do was get the jab, once for J&J, twice for the others. The first day I was eligible I made an appointment to get it. More importantly the wife (Cruella) made an appointment to get it as well. Put a pin in that point, we’ll come back to it after the jump.

On June 15 California declared that anyone who was vaccinated could go without a mask, not have to observe social distancing, and in general get back to life as we knew it. Last week many counties in California were forced to reintroduce those precautions because the Delta variant, which it has been shown the vaccine protects against, has spiked here and across the country. Who’s getting sick? Not those of us vaccinated. Only those who are not. In other words, those of us who did what we were asked to do, what we were pleaded with to do, now have to go back to Pandemic Days because little Karen Kouldn’t Kare with her degree in epidemiology from the University of Fox News has to be kept alive and well.

I’ll do it, cause I’m just that kind of community minded person, but Karen can go f##k herself.

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Friday Catblogging: Eyes Wide Open

I’m not sure if Claire Trevor was vexed when Dr. A snapped this picture but it’s a distinct possibility.

First Draft KMacpalooza: The Grand Finale

This tweet I sent this morning was a bit premature:

I thought that after that and Michael F’s brilliant and punny press post, we’d exhausted the subject. I was wrong. It’s still KMac day at First Draft.

The brain-dead response of the MSM to Pelosi’s power play has been hilarious as pointed out by Never Trumper Tim Miller:

How dare Speaker Pelosi not allow Gym Jordan to wreck the investigation? KMac selected him to turn it into a shit show. Pelosi refused to play along.

The MSM was confused by Nancy Smash’s power move so much so that KMac walked into her trap by withdrawing from the Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee. That perfects their fuck-up in refusing to participate in a 1/6 Commission over which they’d have veto power over subpoenas. Now they have no representation, influence, or power. They won’t be on teevee when the hearings air either. It was a stupid move by a stupid man. Thanks, KMac.

Cassandra discussed Liz Cheney. I’d like to expand on her thoughts by quoting People Magazine quoting I Alone Can Wreck Fix It.

When hundreds of angry Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 after being incited by the president, Rep. Liz Cheney was inside with other members of congress, including Rep. Jim Jordan.

Jordan — who had supported Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen — offered to help Cheney out of the aisle.

She wasn’t having it, according to a new book.

“That fucking guy Jim Jordan. That son of a bitch,” Cheney told Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley on the phone, detailing the siege, according to I Alone Can Fix It, by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker.

“While these maniacs are going through the place, I’m standing in the aisle and he said, ‘We need to get the ladies away from the aisle. Let me help you,’ ” recalled Cheney, then the House of Representatives’ No. 3 Republican, per the book. “I smacked his hand away and told him, ‘Get away from me. You fucking did this.’ ”

I undeleted the expletives. We still have a fuck quota at First Draft even without Athenae and Jude. Fuck, yeah.

One thing I respect about the Cheneys is that they’re good haters and even better grudge holders. Liz Cheney’s hate for that fucking guy Gym Jordan runs deep.

The main reason I’m wrapping up KMacpalooza is this:

“We will run our own investigation,” McCarthy said at a news conference, calling Pelosi a “lame duck speaker” and accusing her of an “egregious abuse of power” and of “destroying the institution.”

That was KMac’s OJ Simpson moment. Remember when the Juice got loose and claimed that he’d investigate the murders? That never happened. Instead he wrote a book called If I Did It.

KMac’s book could be titled How I Tried To Kill Democracy.

I eagerly await a subpoena landing on KMac’s desk.

The last word goes to The Kinks. Just imagine Gym Jordan singing Dave’s part and Liz Cheney singing Ray’s.

 

Clowntime Is Over

My husband and I finally began watching “Ted Lasso” last month. For some reason he became enamored of the word “wanker” and used it delightedly all the time. Because of household osmosis, now I am using it, too.

Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, is a tiresome wanker. He really, Really, REALLY wants to be Speaker of the House, and until that day comes he is determined to try to outsmart Nancy Pelosi. He gets very few opportunities of course, but you can’t say he doesn’t make the most of them when they come along.

For example, he’s been stringing this 1/6 Select House Committee along for weeks now. Now no one actually thought House Republicans were going to happily participate in this fact-finding mission. And no one thought McCarthy wouldn’t name poisonous House members to the committee.

I have to say that I was impressed by McCarthy’s restraint in only naming 2 trainwrecks—I was sure he was going to add 5. And I wasn’t surprised at all that Pelosi rejected Jims Banks and Jordan, and nor were any of us that after that, McCarthy pulled all of his suggestions and walked away, crowing about the dangers of partisanship.

Except the 1/6 Select Committee is already bipartisan:  Pelosi named Liz Cheney as one of her selections. On one hand, ensuring that the committee would be bipartisan was an excellent tactical move.  McCarthy doesn’t realize he’s already been checkmated. Pelosi is going to put Cheney front and center to emphasize that the committee isn’t just Democrats. This won’t matter to Trumpers, but it will resonate with never Trump Republicans and with independents.

On the other hand, elevating Cheney in this way makes Cheney a credible politician whose ideas should be taken seriously, instead of just another GOP wingnut, albeit one who does not subscribe to The Big Lie.  Anti-Muslim, pro-torture, anti-marriage equality, anti-choice—apart from wanting to save democracy, she’s interchangeable with the rest of the haters in her party and I am sorry that she is going to emerge from these hearings with a luster of legitimacy.

But having the hearings take place in an orderly, professional, serious fashion is more important than my distaste for radical Republicanism. McCarthy has juggled his last plate regarding the 1/6 insurrection.

Not With A Bang, But A Twitter [Thread]

You can always count on the Cult of the Savvy to echo the talking points of their GOP/Winger sources

Normal is whatever the GOP decides is normal…and that’s been the case for, shit, as long as I’ve been politically sentient (which was/is an ongoing process).

And the political press reliably fans the flames.

Hillary’s emails? Massive hissy fit.

Drowning of a city thanks to shoddily constructed floodwalls?

Riot at the United States Capitol following a fake* allegation of a rigged election?

Not the time to point fingers or assess/assign blame.

It’s at the point where the GOP shit storm creates its own weather, a la the Bootleg Fire, with more than a bit of help from the Beltway press.

The wingnut rhetoric/language is approaching, if not at, that of serial abusers (or kidnappers).

Even something as dumb/crazy as vaccine refusal is alleged to be librul chicanery.

How could they vaccinate, after we disrespected them? (Even as they accuse the libs of, oh, I don’t know, treason/Satan Worship, etc.)

*Amazing that the only credible evidence of election rigging is Donald J. Trump. ON TAPE, demanding the Georgia Secretary of State “find [him] 11,780 votes…” but that’s been buried (along with so much other stuff it’d be a full time job to keep up, and I’ve already got a full time job). Can anyone imagine the howling if ANY Democratic candidate for any office made a similar demand? I’m picturing the head shaking, more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger ‘concern’ across the board as to the degeneracy of anything Capital D Democratic [Party] and just how good that news would be for Republicans…not that that would ever happen.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Picture Snatcher

I thought I’d seen all of Jimmy Cagney’s movies. I saw Picture Snatcher for the first time recently on TCM. It’s not one of his better films but the poster is to die for. Smile for the Cagney Cam.

The Daily Grind In #TFC

New Orleans has never been an easy place to live. That’s why I long ago dubbed it #TFC: This Fucking City. We have great local food and culture, but city government is from hunger. Our problems never seem to go away but instead morph into something else.

You’ve all heard about Katrina and the Federal Flood but in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, it was hard to live here because of crack cocaine fueled crime and blatant police corruption. The two elements collided tragically in the Len Davis case. Davis was an NOPD officer whose side hustle was as a drug kingpin. Nice work if you can get it. Davis was brought down after orchestrating a hit on an informant, Kim Groves.

1995 was the year New Orleans experienced an epic flood the likes of which used to only accompany tropical systems. At the time, we viewed it as a once-in-a-lifetime freak event. I’m nostalgic for those innocent days.

The summer of 2021 has been free of tropical systems thus far in New Orleans. It’s been, however, among the wettest on record. I’m not just talking about our classic weather summer pattern of rain every afternoon. I’m talking about torrential rain that floods the streets and seeps into houses and businesses. It happens far too often for comfort.

It’s gotten to the point that we don’t go anywhere without checking the weather. We lost a car in a flood a few years back and would prefer to avoid a repeat performance. Being this weather-aware is a grind, the daily grind referred to in the post title. #TFC

It’s obvious that climate change is the culprit in the rise of flood-level rainfall. It’s a global, not a local phenomenon. It’s happening in places you don’t think of as flood prone such as Germany.

Hopefully, federal funds are on the way to help us with our water-based infrastructure problems. Then we’ll have to worry about the city government’s propensity to piss money away and do sloppy construction work. A good example is what happened to FEMA money earmarked to renovate the Municipal Auditorium. See my last Bayou Brief column.

Some public works programs have backfired in #TFC. The French Quarter is high ground and rarely experienced street flooding until some street work was done in the 2010’s; at least I think that’s why it floods nowadays. It’s hard to get a straight answer out of City Hall. #TFC

We’re experiencing a new wave of COVID cases. The Delta variant is striking hard. The local vaccination rate is a bit north of 60% but the statewide rate is dismal. Plus we have drive-in tourists from hot spots such as Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. I did a meme thing about that earlier this year:

I’m expecting that that the city will go back to the future with some sensible mitigation measures such as mask requirements. The Cantrell administration has been surprisingly competent on COVID related issues. That’s gotten them into trouble with those who value money over human life. We have those too in #TFC.

Don’t get me wrong. This is not an Apocalypse NO post.  I love New Orleans and more likely than not will die here. I prefer that that happen later rather than sooner. Get jabbed, mask up and stop spiking the ball, y’all. This is some serious shit.

Knowing that there’s no perfect place to live, I have a healthy love-hate relationship with #TFC. I appreciate its plusses and cope with its minuses. I even think the daily grind will eventually be less onerous; at least I hope so.

The last word goes to honorary New Orleanians Little Feat:

 

Things I Don’t Care About

The MSM are experiencing Trump withdrawal. Cable news ratings and internet clicks are down. They’re flailing, searching for drama where none exists. This week has been a prime example. Here are three things that are getting play that I don’t care about.

Billionaires In Space: Who cares about Jeff Bezos’ and Richard Branson’s brief and expensive foray into space tourism? Neither flight lasted as long as Alan Shepard’s 15-minute Mercury 7 flight. All they proved is that if you have enough money, you can spend your way into space. Yawn.

I agree with Senator Professor Warren’s pre-flight take:

“He’s laughing at every person in America who actually paid taxes,” Warren said. “Jeff Bezos’ trip to outer space is being financed by all the rest of the US taxpayers who paid their taxes so that Jeff Bezos didn’t have to.”

She added: “Jeff Bezos kept all of his money and uses it on a space ticket. Uh-uh.”

The only tantalizing question is whether Jeff Bezos has billionaire hair envy. Richard Branson has a full head of hair, Bezos does not. All he has is a cowboy hat that doesn’t fit. I guess he thinks he’s one of these guys:

Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner had the right stuff. Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos merely have the green stuff.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Drama: The MSM remains so addicted to the GOP narrative that they’ve forgotten who is driving the train in the Senate. Democrats show signs of breaking up with the Rob Portmans of the world and folding traditional infrastructure spending into the larger bill and passing it via reconciliation. That’s always been plan B, a point that’s lost on the media. Backup plans are boring.

Wingnuts Get Jabbed: Suddenly, the folks at Fox News are urging people to get jabbed like they all are. The MSM is in a tizzy wondering why this happened. Here’s why: the stock market cratered on Monday because of fears that the Delta variant is out of control. It’s a sign of greed, not enlightenment.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise hews to the Fox News line. The Metry mediocrity announced that he got vaccinated after resisting it like other wingnut dummies in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Thanks, Steve?

Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

The last word goes to The Byrds:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Fool For The City

If you attended a rock concert in the 1970’s, chances are you saw Foghat. I saw them 3 or 4 times as a supporting act. They were always fun as is the cover of their 1975 album, Fool For The City.

The guy on the cover is drummer Roger Earl. A drummer joke that writes itself.

Here’s the whole damn album. Rock on, y’all.

Book Review: Forget The Alamo

You’re not seeing double: I did write a Saturday Odds & Sods segment about Forget The Alamo. I’m doubling down and reviewing this terrific tome by Bryan Burrough, Chris Tomlinson, and Jason Stanford; hereinafter BTS, not to be confused with BLT or BTO. They do, however, take care of business.

To some degree Forget The Alamo answers this question: what did the authors do during their COVID lockdown? They used the time productively by grinding away on this book. They knew it would be controversial and it is: the Alamoheads are up in arms over this latest revisionist history. The Alamo myth is important to Texans and Walt Disney, John Wayne, and Lyndon Johnson brought it to the whole damn country.

If they were more self-aware, the Alamoheads would agree with this quote from John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance:

I put the quote over a picture of the Alamo as an extra twist of the Bowie knife. Everything the Alamoheads believe about what happened in 1836 is a legend. It’s the Texas creation myth that BTS call the Heroic Anglo Narrative.

BTS do an excellent job deflating the Alamo myth. The Texian rebellion against Mexico was not about freedom but about slavery. Mexico had abolished slavery and wanted it gone from the province. Anyone surprised? Everything was about slavery before the War of the Rebellion settled the issue of human bondage but not of white supremacy. It’s still with us like a pernicious tumor that defies eradication.

Tejanos have long viewed the Alamo as a symbol of white supremacy. Their voices are finally being heard despite attempts by Texas Republicans to mute or gag them. Anyone surprised? The Texas GOP is on the wrong and most extreme side of every issue. That goes for their own history as illustrated by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick ordering the state museum to cancel a panel discussion of Forget The Alamo. I guess he forgot he was against cancel culture.

I referred to Forget The Alamo as revisionist history earlier. That’s not exactly so. It’s historiography, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

the writing of history based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particulars from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of particulars into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods

Historiography is my jam. I love the clash of ideas, facts, and myths. While I’m on the subject I have some historiographic recommendations: Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and John Wayne’s America by Garry Wills.

Wills has made a career out of historiography. I wish BTS had relied on Wills’ take on John Wayne’s 1960 cinematic ode to the Alamo myth, which he coupled with the Cold War. Who knew that Santa Ana was a proto-Commie? I always thought he was a shameless opportunist whose redeeming characteristic was loathing slavery.

BTS do an excellent job of explaining the Alamo myth before demolishing it with a flurry of facts and satire. BTS are funny; another reason Forget The Alamo rocks.

It turns out that Genesis drummer turned pop star Phil Collins is a fanatical Alamohead and collector of Alamo artifacts. He’s also an easy mark for unscrupulous dealers peddling spurious objects including Jim Bowie’s “own” Bowie Knife, which appears to date from the 1970’s, not the 1830’s. Collins maintains that it’s genuine after spending $1.5 million on the knife. That makes Collins a walking drummer joke.

As you may have noticed, I loved Forget The Alamo, I give it an Adrastos Grade of A and 4 stars.

The last word goes to Phil Collins with a video that may explain why he’s such an easy mark for Alamo grifters.

American Hero

Rockets in Huntsville Alabama

Rocket display in Huntsville, AL. Photo by J. Freshour

Earlier this year I wrote about my mother-in-law. Today is the day I will always associate with my father-in-law. Some thoughts on him, adapted from a piece I wrote a dozen years ago.

It’s July 20. Those of us old enough remember it as the day of one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind. We can tell you where we were, who we were with, how we rejoiced. We celebrated Armstrong and Aldrin and Collins. Their voyage to the moon and back is legendary, the stuff of American heroes. Much has been written and spoken about them in the years since. They are the heroes of the the Space Race, the Cold War, and any other capitalize the two words phrase from the era between WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

That’s all well and good, but I’d like to talk about another American. His name was Jim Freshour and he didn’t go to the moon. Instead in the mid 1960’s he got to pack up and move from Sunnyvale California to Huntsville Alabama. The mid 1960’s. Huntsville Alabama. He didn’t go to the moon, he went to a whole new planet. And he took his family along with him.

Those of you my age or older may recall that Huntsville Alabama was dubbed “Rocket City USA” back then. From all over the country came young engineers and scientists to work on the absurd challenge a martyred president had put forth; to put a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth by the end of the decade. And as if it weren’t crazy enough that all these over-educated, underpaid, slide rule gunslingers were plopped down in the middle of the segregated South, they ludicrously were led by a group of former Nazi bomb makers who had just a few years earlier been trying their best to bury London under a blitz of V2 rockets. The whole lot of them were met by a welcome wagon of race baiting, fifteen year olds in the sixth grade, tobacco chewing, George Wallace loving, reddest of redneck natives.

The Cold War meets Jim Crow. What a sight that must have been.

Jim did his job. Every morning he went off to work and every afternoon the ground around Huntsville would shake with the testing of the thunder he had created. Every evening he would come home and play with his children and avoid talking about what he had done at work all day. Like everyone else imported to Huntsville, Jim couldn’t talk about what he did. The constraints of national security made the merest whisper of what was said or done in the buildings behind the fencing on “that side” of town not simply local gossip, but a matter of national security, even treason.

Everyone knew what those rockets with their red glare were really about. Oh getting a man to the moon was the exciting tale to sell the public, but what we were really saying to our vodka swilling competitors across the ocean was “Don’t mess with us. If we can put one of these on the moon we can sure as hell land one in Moscow packed with a multiple kiloton nuclear surprise.”

It’s a beautiful day in Dr. Strangelove’s neighborhood.

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The Idiot Bastard Son

Consider this a sequel to my Tacky Even For Tucker post. I posited the notion of Two Tuckers: Bowtie Tucker and Necktie Tucker. I stand by that post but should have added another Zappa last word.

Like Bowtie Daddy, The Idiot Bastard Son came from We’re Only In It For The Money; an album that influences me as a satirist to this day. It’s not a Zappa period piece, it’s even more relevant in 2021. Dig this opening stanza:

The idiot bastard son
The father’s a Nazi in congress today
The mother’s a hooker somewhere in L.A.

There are many idiot bastard sons running loose in 2021 and several Nazis in Congress. Oy just oy.

The preceding was an elaborate ruse to post some music.

We begin with the original:

Here’s a live version with Napoleon Murphy Brock on lead vocals:

The great French fiddler Jean-Luc Ponty was mentored by Zappa and recorded an album of the latter’s songs as well spending some time in the Mothers:

Finally, the weirdest version of all by Sting. That’s right, Sting. Go figure.

Tacky Even For Tucker

I have a theory about Tucker Carlson. He’s always been a snotty, preppy right-winger but he wasn’t always evil. In fact, he used to have liberal friends such as Rachel Maddow. That began to change about a decade ago and accelerated when he took Bill-O’s evening slot on Fox News. Some blame Trump, I blame the necktie. That’s right, the necktie.

Carlson used to be known for his cheerful bowties and preppy button-down shirts. He’s moved on to regular shirts and neckties. He’s still fond of stripes only on his neck, not on his torso. Did I just contemplate the Mothertucker’s torso? Apologies for crossing that line.

Nobody wants to contemplate Tucker’s torso except to comment on his pocket square, which seems to be the same in the necktie era. He looked happier during the bowtie era. In the necktie era, he’s angry as if he’s ready to take his tie off and lynch somebody. Strike that. Tucker Carlson fights with his mouth.

Do I buy my own Tucker Carlson fashion theory? Hell to the no but it was fun writing it. Sometimes bloggers just wanna have fun.

In addition to anger, Necktie Tucker specializes in lies: the bigger the better. In his 2018 book, Ship Of Fools, the Mothertucker told an easily refuted lie about his first grade teacher of all people:

He attended the elite La Jolla Country Day School, where a woman entered his life whom he grew to detest. It was his first-grade teacher, whom he referred to in his book as Mrs. Raymond. He caricatured her as “a parody of earth-mother liberalism” who “wore long Indian-print skirts. . . . She had little interest in conventional academic topics, like reading and penmanship.” He recalled her sobbing theatrically at her desk, saying, “The world is so unfair! You don’t know that yet. But you’ll find out!”

Carlson said he just wanted liberals to “stop blubbering and teach us to read. . . . Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.” Thus, Carlson says, he began his sojourn as a conservative thinker, questioning the liberals who he said were all around him, exemplified by his first-grade teacher.

Which is all rather shocking to Marianna Raymond, 77, who remembers Carlson as “very precious and very, very polite and sweet,” and said she had no idea, until contacted recently by a Washington Post reporter, that her former student had ridiculed her as a key to understanding him.

Raymond said in an interview that she never sobbed at her desk, didn’t wear an Indian skirt and didn’t advocate her political views. She said that not only did she teach Carlson reading at La Jolla Country Day School — with a student body that was “very affluent and White” — but that she also was then hired to tutor him at his home.

“Oh my God,” she said, when informed of Carlson’s attack against her. “That is the most embellished, crazy thing I ever heard.”

Embellished and crazy. That fits Necktie Tucker like a tailor-made shirt with French cuffs. I wonder if he has the Swanson Frozen Food logo on any of his cufflinks. Bowtie Tucker had a sense of humor, so it’s possible…

I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what the political views of any of my grade school teachers were. I remember them as nice ladies who taught me how to read, write, and multiply. The only criticism I have of any of them is of my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Fredrick. I think it was third-grade and that she was a one-E Fredrick but I’m not sure of either.

She taught us cursive writing and gave out pens to the kids whose handwriting was neat. I was the last in my class to get a pen. If I were Necktie Tucker, I’d blame my cynicism and snarkiness on this incident and cursive the day it happened.

In reality, she was right: my handwriting has always been terrible. One of my law professors told me that my penmanship was so bad I should have gone to medical school. I hate the sight of blood so that was never an option.

Back to Tacky Tucker. Lying about the Dipshit Insurrection and Dr. Fauci is bad enough but who the hell lies about their first-grade teacher? As far as I know, Bowtie Tucker never did but Necktie Tucker is a lying sack of shit. He should return to the bowtie before it’s too late.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention: