Friday Catblogging: Banana Box Cat

When Claire Trevor first came to us, she wasn’t interested in boxes. She did, however, share the late, great Paul Drake’s passion for paper bags. I wound up putting bags in boxes. The rest is kitty history.

The last word goes to Harry Belafonte:

Welcome To The Party, Pal

Scene from DIe Hard "Welcome to the Party"

Many Americans need the equivalent of a dead bad guy landing on their cop car.

He won’t get the nomination, this is a joke campaign.

He won’t win the nomination. 

America would never elect someone like Trump.

He’ll have to change, the office of the presidency will change him. 

Tonight he became president. 

He’s pivoting (at least a dozen times over four years).

He’ll just disappear once he loses.

His supporters are all talk, there won’t be any violence.

And so on.

A lot of people, from the elite-iest of the DC media elite to your neighbor, were constantly and consistently wrong about everything Trump-related. David Brock, former conservative critter and now Democratic strategist, was one of them. Today, he wrote a mea culpa in the New York Times.

“Democrats now face an opposition that is not a normal political party, but rather a party that is willing to sacrifice democratic institutions and norms to take power.”

To quote John McClain in the movie Die Hard, “Welcome to the party, pal.”

Brock does more than sound an alarm many of us have heard for five years, he offers some potential solutions. These are good action steps, but I wonder how much we will do. There’s a lot of solutions that would fix our current democracy crisis, such as increasing the number of Supreme Court justices and scrapping the filibuster, but those are dismissed as “too radical.” Meanwhile, not doing anything is enabling the radical dismantling of American democracy.

I also worry that not enough people see what is happening. I still hear people wringing their hands about “divisiveness” and I fear that this is something that holds us back from facing certain realities about where conservatives are right now. And while it’s good to see people like Brock aboard with reality and demonstrating a clarity of the current, I worry there are still people who are not, who believe since Trump is no longer president, so there’s no longer any threat. I also am concerned we are going to live up to the old 1/3-1/3-1/3 cliche; one-third of Americans want an end to democracy, one-third are going to fight to save it, and one-third won’t care.

I hope not. There’s a lot of work to do, and whatever you did to fight back against Trump, you need to keep doing it.

The last word goes to a group of guys who want us to wake up.

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Manchin Fatigue

Image by Michael F

I woke up this morning with a less than earth shattering revelation: I’m sick of writing about Joe Manchin. I’m sick of seeing him on TV. I’m sick of reading about him. I dream of a Manchin-free news cycle. It’s an impossible dream. We’re stuck with him as long as there’s a Fifty-Fifty senate.

Yesterday, the Man of La Manchin dominated the news. Senate Republicans refused to allow debate on Manchin’s voting rights bill. So much for his assurances that at least ten GOPers would vote for cloture to allow the measure to be debated. I’m sick of Joe Manchin’s empty promises.

David Corn of Mother Jones published a piece about Manchin’s supposed two-stage plan to leave the Democratic party if he doesn’t get his way on damn near everything. Manchin denounced the article as BULLSHIT.

I’m sick of Joe Manchin’s bullshit. I also don’t believe he plans to become an American Independent. He says he favors tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. No GOPer in Congress today has *ever* voted to raise income taxes

Manchin says he supports a $1.5 trillion human infrastructure plan. The GOP’s topline is zero, zed, zip, zilch. Plus, Manchin sponsored the voting rights bill they shot down yesterday. The GOP favors voter suppression, not electoral reform.

This was also the week that the coal state senator came out in opposition to the climate provisions of the reconciliation bill that I call the RIF. Coal made Joe Manchin a wealthy man, so we shouldn’t be surprised. But he also voted for a budget resolution that included a $3.5 trillion RIF jampacked with climate provisions. That’s right, he was for it before he was against it.

Manchin seems stuck in the triangulating Nineties. He wants a work requirement for the child tax credit. This, too, is bullshit. He represents one of the poorest states in the nation. The child tax credit benefits the vast majority of his constituents except for the coal barons he loves so much. Speaking of the descendants of robber barons, former Democratic Governor/Senator Jay Rockefeller’s adult children came out in favor of the RIF arguing that West By God Virginia needs it, By God.

The Man of La Manchin styles himself as a man of action. He claims to seek bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems. That, too, is bullshit. Every time he gets involved in major legislation, it fails, flops, fizzles. Remember the post-Newtown massacre attempt to pass gun control legislation? Manchin got a lot of favorable coverage that time too. The legislation failed but Manchin still took a bow for his efforts.

As you can see from the featured image, Michael F was the first at First Draft to call the senior senator from West By God Virginia, the Man of La Manchin.  It’s not only a brilliant pun, it captures the essence of the man as a legislator. He poses as a legislator who wants to get shit done. That’s, in his own words, bullshit.

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Matt Gaetz And Jim Jordan Appear Before The Rules Committee

And it went pretty much as you might expect

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Wednesday struggled to answer questions about his communications with then-President Donald Trump during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, telling a House panel that he doesn’t recall the number of times he spoke with Trump that day.

The statement from Jordan, a staunch Trump ally and a potential witness in the House’s investigation of the attack, came during a Rules Committee meeting on whether to hold former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon in contempt for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena.

“Of course I talked to the president,” Jordan told members of the Rules Committee on Wednesday, in response to questioning from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “I talked to him that day. I’ve been clear about that. I don’t recall the number of times, but it’s not about me. I know you want to make it about that.”

Gaetz argued that Democrats were focusing extensively on Jan. 6 because they want to divert public attention away from some of President Biden’s recent domestic and foreign policy stumbles.

For me, the details of their, um, testimony, is less important than the general tenor of the elite media coverage.

If the tables were turned, I can’t imagine Democrats would be permitted to display the ugly contempt that’s now accepted as “the GOP brand.”

The rise of Trump’s been a distillation, but the mechanism’s been in place for, hell, as long as I can remember.

Oliver North was just as arrogant.

The Bush Junior administration institutionalized it.

Meanwhile, Democrats are perpetually forced into apology, or compromise (or Lieberman, SineManchin), while the cult-of-the-savvy can always find a source willing to spin talking points that, amazingly, excuse GOP craziness that’s…

Brought us to the brink of fascism while chiding Democrats for, gasp, being partisan…

For not managing to overcome a very recent (really only since 2009) 60 vote Senate threshold for passing ANY legislation (well, during a Democratic administration)…

For not being sufficiently solicitous to a GOP that’s rejected popular sovereignty for herrenvolk stratagems (e.g., endless coverage of the diner demographic)…

Last week I mentioned neither Manchin nor Sinema seems to realize their maverick-iness — or whatever you want to call it — will weather a Trumpian/GOP (now pretty much one and the same) vengeance comeback.

It’s the same with the elite press.

They’re still giving Gatez…and Jordan…and Bannon…this much leeway?

What the hell are they thinking?

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Babe Ruth Sports Comics

Yesterday, Babe Ruth the band. Today, Babe Ruth, the comic book. It ran from 1949-1951.

Who knew? Not me.

The Bannon Canon

There’s no such thing as the Bannon Canon, but it’s swell word play, and you know how I am about word play. Besides, I wouldn’t be sorry if Bannon were shot out of a cannon. I would, however, worry about where he’d land. He’s not only a slob, he’s a big slob.

Unless you were hiding under the bed with the Impeached Insult Comedian yesterday, you’ve heard that the House Dipshit Insurrection Select Committee voted unanimously to hold Bannon in criminal contempt. The full House will vote on it tomorrow. I’ve long held Bannon in uncivil contempt, the guy is a giant asshole and a pox on our body politic.

Most of the morons around the Kaiser of Chaos are instinctive Fascists, Steve Bannon is the real deal. One could even call him Giovanni Gentile to Trump’s Mussolini. Gentile was the self-styled philosopher of Italian Fascism. Mussolini was the empty vessel into which Gentile poured his odious ideas. Mussolini was strictly an opportunist who wanted power for power’s sake. Gentile was among those who gave Mussolini’s movement what little coherence it possessed. It was always about power. Like Donald Trump, Mussolini was not big on details.

To Bannon,  the 1/6 Dipshit Insurrection was supposed to be the MAGA equivalent of the Black Shirts march on Rome in 1922. It didn’t turn out that way: Trumpism was too incoherent to seize power with one dramatic gesture. Italians thrive on dramatic gestures, Americans not so much.

Bannon has taken an interest in Italian politics: a Black Shirt revival would be good for American red hats. The good news is that Bannon’s attempt to open a school in a monastery south of Rome for wingnut “gladiators” has failed. One could call it the BIG FLOP.

In any event, the attempt to retain Trump in office failed. It did, however, give the MAGA movement an ideology: the BIG LIE. Former President* Pennywise is insistent that Republicans run on the BIG LIE in both 2022 and 2024. It’s a reminder that he’s a LOSER as even Gret Stet Senator Bill Cassidy acknowledged in an interview with Axios.

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MADE FOR TELEVISION

The first time I read John Irving’s novel A Prayer for Owen Meany I was younger, Catholic, and not quite connecting with the narrator’s obsession with the Reagan administration. This time around my husband and I are listening to the audio book while on long car trips and like the narrator I am older, Episcopalian, and obsessed with the actions of a presidential administration, although in my case it’s the George W. Bush administration.

I’ve written a few posts about the Afghanistan war and the 2 Iraq wars and yesterday another piece of that shameful mess came to the foreground with the death of Colin Powell. I remember the first time I saw him on television as the leader of the invasion of Panama. That invasion was absolutely wrong and it launched his career.

After Bush left office, Powell had a pretty good racket going. He said the right things to defend Barack Obama and he didn’t vote for TFG. But he never left the Republican Party until the 1/6 insurrection. Everything else that the GOP allowed TFG to do—banning Muslims, separating immigrant families on purpose and losing their contact information, putting immigrant children in camps, conspiring with Russia to throw the 2016 election, all of it—was fine with him. Some hero.

Powell was the only person who could have stopped the war in Iraq. He knew what he was telling the United Nations was a lie, and he did it anyway. And because of his seemingly sterling reputation, he was believed by others in the US government, and that disastrous, wasteful war that damaged so many people (and the US economy) began.

A confidence man is someone who gains your trust before they knowingly defraud you. Powell was the Bush administration’s confidence man. He had meticulously worked his way up the ranks using his keen political sense to obtain incredible power. People really trusted him, even though he had led an illegal invasion of another country.

And because so many people in the press, in politics, in the military, and in academia had staked their careers and reputations on the Iraq war, they held up the lies as truth even after the truth itself came out.

John Irving has the last word:

I know what my grandmother used to say, whenever she saw or read anything that was just a lot of bullshit. Owen picked up the phrase from her; he was quite lethal in its application, our senior year at Gravesend. Whenever anyone said anything that was a lot of bullshit to him, Owen Meany used to say, “YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS? THAT’S MADE FOR TELEVISION—THAT’S WHAT THAT IS.”

Album Cover Art Wednesday: First Base

Ladies and gentleman, Babe Ruth, the band not the baseball hall of famer.

Babe Ruth were a British band who named themselves after a quirky American cultural hero. I’ve been searching for an explanation but came up empty. It seems they liked the way it sounded. Speaking of sound, the band sounds a bit like Deep Purple, not a bad thing.

First Base was Babe Ruth’s 1972 debut album. It featured an uncharacteristic cover by Roger Dean best known for his work with Yes.

Here’s the whole damn album. PLAY BALL:

The Carson Youth?

 

 

No, not Johnny Carson, Dr. Ben Carson former Trump HUD Secretary and idiot savant surgeon.

Back when Dr. Ben Carson was running for president, I had a lot of fun mocking him. Here’s how I described him in 2015:

We all know people who are brilliant in one aspect of life and absolute ninnies in others. They thrive if they stay in their lane, and crash when they don’t. I’ve met some surgeons who were brilliant with a scalpel and hopeless with people, the fictional Dr. House is just an extreme example. They should stick to the operating theatre as they say in Woody Olde England. It’s increasingly obvious that Dr. Ben Carson fits the bill and should stick to what he knows best: cutting people open and helping them instead of putting his foot in his mouth.  I think the Doc needs a footectomy or some such shit.

That continued to be true in his tenure as HUD secretary, which was distinguished only by the expensive office furniture he purchased.

Dr. Ben’s latest scam project is a youth group, Little Patriots. The group’s philosophy, such as it is, reflects Dr. Ben’s own right-wing religiosity and nostalgia for the American Revolution. Why a black dude from Baltimore would be nostalgic for 1776 is beyond me. Maybe he thinks he’s Crispus Attucks reincarnated. Beats the hell outta me.

When I first heard about the Carson Youth, I was mildly alarmed. Is he Baldur von Schirach reincarnated instead of Crispus Attucks? Schirach was the Nuremberg defendant who headed up the Hitler Youth. Like Ben Carson, Schirach was a mediocre politician who did the bidding of his master. That landed him in Spandau Prison for 20 years. Carson stayed away on Dipshit Insurrection Day so the analogy collapses. One thing they have in common is that they both worked for Baldur-faced liars…

The Little Patriots web page focuses on education, Ben Carson-style. The home page sounds the alarm much like the Paul Revere of historical myth:

Education Is On a Concerning Path

  • Kids are being taught opinions, not facts.

  • Decrease in civic pride.

  • Pledge altered to exclude God.

  • Parents cannot afford or access alternative education options

Dr. Ben’s American Cornerstone Institute rides to the rescue with a simplistic and cartoony civics lesson. I was gobsmacked to learn that it was free. I assumed it was like Trump University. The moneymaking aspect comes in later.

The Little Patriots educational program rests on four platitudes, I mean cornerstones just like the Institute’s name. We’ll review them after the break. Go ahead and jump.

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For The Rain It Raineth

Rain Clouds Approaching

There’s a storm coming.

The rainclouds are gathering and the word on the wire is to batten down the hatches and prepare for four days of deluge.

Here in NorCal, we couldn’t be happier.

I know in many areas of the country a warning of four days of rain will bring reactions ranging from ho-hum what else is new to not again make it stop. But here it only elicits smiles, happiness, and even a little dancing in the streets.

You always welcome that which you haven’t seen in so long.

And we haven’t seen significant rain for several years now. In the midst of pandemic, social upheaval, elections and claims of election fraud, through the Trump years and into the Biden years, the one constant has been that we have not had rain. Reservoirs are at lows never seen before. Lake Tahoe’s water level is so low boats are marooned in mud while algae rots their hulls. Trees are dying at such a rapid rate they can’t be chopped down fast enough to prevent them from becoming fuel for this week’s wildfire.

In fact wildfires have become so common now we’ve taken to naming them just like hurricanes. If only the hurricanes and the wildfires were just baseball team names. On a recent wine tour, the bus driver and I got into an argument over which fire caused the damage we were driving our group through. So many of them we can’t tell the players without a scorecard.

One of the big promises of this weather system is that there will be enough rain to put out all fires on the west coast. Now that’s the kind of rain I can get behind. We’re even ready for the probability of mudslides. During the drought California has been diligently shoring up problematic landscapes, especially the ones alongside our major highways. What can I say, we think ahead. Not all of the projects have been finished, but enough so that it appears (hopefully) when the rains come this week we will not have traded one problem for another.

So we have rain coming and the possibility that all wildfires will be put out. All is rosy once again in the Golden State.

Eh, no.

You see, we here in the land of baseball playoff games beginning in twilight like to be proactive about problems. We try to face them head on instead of running and hiding and hoping someone, anyone, else will fix them. That’s why we elect Democrats to leadership roles both in the state and in Congress. We also believe in science and in the scientists who actually do the science. Had we not the death rate from COVID would have been in the millions. At last check we were holding at 7 deaths per 100,000. Compare that with Louisiana where the rate is 17 per 100,000 or West Virginia where it’s 42 per 100,000.

And it’s that belief in science, in that refusal to allow politicians and media outlets to “but on the other hand” us that gives rise to our current concern over climate change. We understand that one state can’t stop climate change. The weather doesn’t recognize political boundaries, only people do.

And lately people have been disappointing us left and right.

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How Much Is That Senator In The Window?

Senators Sinema and Manchin

The Twitter Machine blew up last night with news from Axios that House Boat Owning Senator Joe Manchin threw another bomb into the Biden Legacy:

Manchin is having a moment. He also dropped this:

The Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) is key to fighting that little problem of climate change, and given there are parts of the bill that take into consideration the transitional issues that regions that rely on fossil fuel face, one wonders why he might feel this way. Oh…of course.

Not to pick on Old King Joe, because he’s not exactly the only poster child for why we need to get money out of politics. Manic Pixie Dream Senator Krysten Sinema does indeed support the CEPP, but on health care, she’s quite awful. See her mysterious opposition to the reconciliation bill’s prescription drug plan.

I wonder why she’s so against it? Oh…of course.

To be fair to Senator Felt-Cute-Thumbs-Downed-$15-Minimum-Wage, there is a handful of Democratic Congresspeoples who are also against lowering prescription drugs. And also receive big donations from pharmaceutical companies.

I would say how blatant this all is, as if they think we’re all stupid. But, it is working. They get called “common-sense thinkers” and the “adults in the room.” They rarely pay any sort of price for this sort of open cow-towing to donors. This is despite most Americans being against the influence of money in politics.

So, not doing anything about it, we’re in a world where the actual common-sense set of solutions for extremely pressing issues is in danger of not happening due to the money and power of a select few. It’s destroying the legacy of a man, Joe Biden, who seems to see the giant problems we all face in the future and is driven to try to fix them. Problems that likely will lead to great suffering if not properly addressed. If anyone thinks this is over-the-top hyperbole, ask the ghosts of people who drowned in their New York City basement apartments thanks to the remnants of Hurricane Ida last month.

The last word goes to the Minneapolis Royal.

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A Sisterhood Of Lies: Showtime’s Buried

I grew up in a planned suburban community south of San Francisco. Foster City was the brainchild of real estate developer T Jack Foster. The idea was to build a community from scratch. My family were among the pioneers. Foster wanted to be the William Levitt of the West Coast and he succeeded to some extent.

Like the Talking Heads song, Heaven, Foster City was a “place where nothing happens.” Cue early musical interlude:

That changed in 1969 when an 8-year-old girl named Susan Nason went missing. Her body was eventually discovered near the Crystal Springs Reservoir some 11 odd miles from Foster City. After an initial flurry of activity, the case went cold for 20 years. Enter Eileen Franklin Lipsker who accused her firefighter father George of kidnapping and murdering her childhood bestie.

That’s the story behind the new Showtime true crime docuseries Buried in a nutshell. It hit close to home for me both literally and figuratively. I recall my father joining the search for the missing child and my mother taking food to the Nason home. My mom knew everyone in Foster City at that point: she founded the local Newcomers club and was later a successful realtor.

I was acquainted with George Franklin Jr. He was a shy kid, so I didn’t know him well but occasionally he’d turn up at the park for our pickup baseball games. I don’t think he was very good. Neither was I. I was the klutzy son of an athletic father but made up for it with enthusiasm. George Jr. was quiet and subdued. I know why now.

Looking back, I’m proud of my parents. They didn’t panic or stop me from roaming our community. We were all free-range children back then. Besides, the Nason kidnapping was an anomaly, the town returned to being a sleepy suburban burg shortly thereafter.

The Franklins were a large and wildly dysfunctional family. Buried presents credible allegations of George Sr being a violent drunk who beat his wife and children. There are also allegations of sexual abuse that are tangled up in the lies told by Eileen and Janice Franklin. Both sisters lied so often about so many subjects that it’s hard to know what to believe. Suffice it to say that George Franklin was a bad guy.

We’re not supposed to try defendants just for being bad people. We try them for specific offenses. That’s why the Franklin case eventually collapsed under the weight of what could be called a sisterhood of lies.

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – sub-penis edition

Well, well – look at this :

Bannon ‘not required to respond’ to subpoena in Jan. 6 probe, lawyer says
NY Post ^ | 10/14/2021 | Bruce Golding

Posted on 10/14/2021, 1:51:14 PM by ChicagoConservative27

Steve Bannon is “not required to respond” to a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol because former President Donald Trump says their communications are protected by executive privilege, his lawyer claimed in a letter Wednesday.

Trump’s lawyer told Bannon that the ex-president “is exercising his executive privilege” and instructed him “not to produce documents or testify until the issue of executive privilege is resolved,” lawyer Robert Costello wrote.

“That is is an issue between the Committee and President Trump’s counsel and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time,”

Costello wrote in the letter, posted on Twitter by an ABC News producer.

1 posted on 10/14/2021, 1:51:14 PM by ChicagoConservative27
Very first comment :
To: ChicagoConservative27
Let’s see if Pelosi and gang forcibly have Bannon arrested (no-knock entry, etc.). They probably figure the American public would just shrug if it happened, and I suspect they would be right.

2 posted on 10/14/2021, 1:54:24 PM by CatOwner (Don’t expect anyone, even conservatives, to have your back when the SHTF in 2021.)

The hell with shrugging – I’m stocking up on popcorn.
To: ChicagoConservative27
Bannon is the real deal and will go down with the  ship  shit…

FIFY.

But not so Patel and Meadows, as I’m led to understand, they are in the process of flipping big time. We’ll just have to see

5 posted on 10/14/2021, 2:00:25 PM by AmericanInTokyo (Green Bay Packers. Yeah. + Ohtani-san, you better not move on from Angels to NY!)

To: Col Frank Slade
I don’t remember a D ever responding to a subpoena.

7 posted on 10/14/2021, 2:08:12 PM by allwrong57

.
To: ChicagoConservative27

Very, very dangerous ground.

Bannon had better be able to trust his lawyer.

15 posted on 10/14/2021, 2:47:06 PM by redgolum (If this is civilization, I will be the barbarian. )

I’m sure the Commission will let Bannon off with a warning…

January 6 panel moves to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt CNN ^ Posted on 10/14/2021, 12:59:32 PM by janetjanet998

CNN)The committee investigating the January 6 Capitol Hill riot announced Thursday it is moving forward to hold Trump ally Steve Bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena, as his game of chicken with the House panel now enters a new and critical phase.

“Mr. Bannon has declined to cooperate with the Select Committee and is instead hiding behind the former President’s insufficient, blanket, and vague statements regarding privileges he has purported to invoke,” Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the committee, said in a statement on Thursday. Bannon was scheduled for a deposition in front of the committee on Thursday, and Bannon’s lawyer wrote in a letter the day before to the panel saying that his client will not provide testimony or documents until the committee reaches an agreement with former President Donald Trump over executive privilege or a court weighs in on the matter.

1 posted on 10/14/2021, 12:59:32 PM by janetjanet998
Oops.
.
More below el folderino :

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Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with Random Ruminations – Hot Mix in the Summertime edition

One more dip into Wacoville, I think

Before I left for Dallas, my day job (for the City Of Waco Street Department) was driving/operating 20-ton dump trucks, asphalt rollers, and front-end loaders so big I had to climb a 10-rung ladder to get into them.

Obviously I had my commercial license, and my usual job was to hook up the asphalt roller behind the dump truck, load three workers into the cab, and go to the asphalt plant, where the truck would be filled with hot mix (asphalt).  After that, I’d drive to the designated location, let the panels on each side of the truck down, and follow behind on the roller while two of my co-workers dug their shovels into the hot mix on each side, and filled the potholes – the other co-worker drove the truck slowly forward.  As the asphalt cooled, it stuck together and hardened, usually leaving a large triangular pile against the front of the bed. (where it was hardest to reach with the shovels)  Usually, I would release the rear tailgate (which was hinged at the top of the bed), disconnect the adjustable release chains at the bottom, and drive forward slowly, with the bed raising, until the sticky lump at the front of the bed would come unstuck, and slide to the ground.

Simple, no? Until one day, a rookie driver didn’t get rid of the cooling lump, and by the time he got back to the equipment yard, it had solidified into an immovable chunk.

The driver thought he could loosen the chunk by racing backward with the bed lift engaged, and then hitting the brakes. He did this three times without dislodging the chunk.

On the fourth time, the chunk dislodged and slid down the bed to the rear tailgate. Unfortunately, he had neglected to undo the chains on the bottom of the tailgate, locking it closed, and the chunk hit hard.

The front of the truck went high into the air, leaving the driver pretty high off the ground. It stayed there. He began to panic. And then –

The tailgate broke loose.

The truck cab slammed down onto the ground,  bounced up about 10 feet, then fell again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Four times.

We could see him bouncing off the roof of the cab each time. It looked like something that would happen to Wile E. Coyote. He had been wearing his hard hat, and wasn’t injured, just a little stunned.

He looked at the group of us that had been watching, and we were all laughing hysterically.

Here’s a look at what happens when you’re not watching lour load distribution :

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SMV: The Smithereens Live In Pleasantville

Longtime readers know that I’m a fanatical Smithereens fan. I thought I’d seen every Reens set available on the YouTube. I was wrong.

Lead singer Pat DiNizio had just a year to live in 2016. He looks terrible but sounds great. He does not, however, play rhythm guitar. Jim Babjak makes up for that with a bravura performance.

The most interesting thing about this set is the presence of keyboard player Andy Burton. The Reens rarely had a keyboard player in concert. Burton is good and kills it on the rarely performed song Indigo Blues.

And yes, Pleasantville, NY looks pleasant.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Art For Art’s Sake

Ambiguous Figures by Max Ernst.

There are rumors of a cold front later this morning. It’s really a cool front but cold front is the technical term and I’m a stickler for something or other. I’m just looking forward to not running the air-conditioner.

We’ve been talking Carnival in New Orleans. We all want it to happen but it’s unclear when it will be safe to cavort in the streets with strangers. Perhaps we should consult with Laurence Olivier’s character in Marathon Man:

Is It Safe Dustin Hoffman GIF by Top 100 Movie Quotes of All Time - Find & Share on GIPHY

Beats the hell outta me, Larry.

The City is allowing the annual Halloween parade for tourists to roll. It’s called the Krewe of Boo and this year it’s going to serve as an experiment into public gatherings. Contact tracing will be involved. If things go well, the chances of Carnival 2022 happening increase. If not, stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written by Graham Gouldman and Eric Stewart for 10cc’s 1975 album, How Dare You. That’s what Dustin Hoffman should have said to Olivier.

Here’s Art For Art’s Sake, money for God’s sake:

Graham Gouldman trivia time. He also wrote this wildly successful Hollies hit:

Let’s pick up our umbrellas and jump to the break.

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Cheek To Cheek

This week, one of the best loved tunes in the great American songbook. Cheek To Cheek was written by Irving Berlin in 1935 for the Astaire-Rogers movie, Top Hat.

This week’s artists could be called a hit parade of usual suspects. I guess that’s a mixed metaphor, but what’s a mixed metaphor among friends?

We begin with Fred Astaire and Oscar Peterson:

I get a kick out of people arguing about what the first concept album was. Frank Sinatra was at it in the 1950’s. This swinging version of Cheek To Cheek comes from his 1959 concept album Come Dance With Me,

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Stirring The Potpourri

As I pondered the potpourri images, it occurred to me that there’s been a lot of dumbassery this week. That’s why I went with the Magritte dumbbell caveman image. I hope I can live up to Magritte’s vision, if not I can always wear a derby/bowler in penance. Unfortunately, the only derby I have is green, which I wear during Carnival season and on St. Patrick’s Day. It hasn’t been worn since the pandemic started. Le sigh.

I rarely watch sports on the idiot box anymore. I felt compelled to watch the Giants lose to the Dodgers last night. It was a bummer, man. It was also a long bummer: a 2-1 pitcher’s battle shouldn’t last over 3 hours. Oy just oy.

I was also surprised by how many sports betting ads there were during the ballgame. I commend Shapiro’s sports gambling post to your attention. It’s the real deal. I used to play poker with Shapiro back in the day. He’s a real card. He never “let that Deal go down.”

Back to sports gambling teevee ads, there were a shit-ton of them during the New Orleans Saints-Washington No-Names game. I know I just said that I rarely watch sports anymore but viewing Saints football is a civic duty here in Debrisville.

Caesar’s Palace just obtained the naming rights to the Superdome, which has resulted in cheesy gambling-Roman crossover ads. None of the fake Caesars can top Peter Ustinov as Nero in the 1951 movie, Quo Vadis:

It’s a great performance in a bad biblical movie. I recently watched Quo Vadis on TCM OnDemand and only viewed the Ustinov scenes. I kept hoping that Nero would light the eternally wooden Robert Taylor’s character ablaze. I’m not talking about the RT who played Walt Longmire. He’s the strong silent type but like Gary Cooper that RT can emote.

There was a lot of Dipshit Insurrection news this week. A rioter named Brandon Fellows is representing himself in court. In classic Trumper fashion, he’s stupid and garrulous. Judge Trevor McFadden was not amused:

“You are charged with a federal felony. This is not a community college where you get pats on the back.”

“You’ve admitted to incredible lapses of judgment here on the stand, not least of which was seeking to disqualify a New York state judge. You’ve admitted to obstruction of justice in that case, and you’ve admitted to what was probably obstruction in this case in trying to have me disqualified, and only Ms. Halverson’s advice stopped you from doing so. You’ve engaged in a pattern of behaviors that shows contempt for the criminal justice system, and I just have no confidence that you will follow my orders if I release you.”

Fellows is still incarcerated. I’m waiting to hear him called a MAGA martyr when he’s really a MAGA meathead.

That’s why I call it the Dipshit Insurrection.

It looks as if Steve Bannon will be cited with criminal contempt for refusing to cooperate with the 1/6 Committee. The Twitteratti are excited by this news. They’re hoping for a perp walk and extended jail time. They’ve been watching too many cop shows. The truth will be less dramatic since Bannon is unlikely to make like Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon:

As Jon Gruden would surely say, Steve Bannon is a pussy. He incites riots. He leaves the rioting to dipshits like Brandon Fellows.

The Kaiser of Chaos issued a statement from his gilded Mar-a-Dorn exile the other day. It’s spectacularly dumb even by his standards:

“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

Bring it on, Donald, bring it on.

It’s time to stop stirring the potpourri and give the last word to Graham Parker & The Rumour:

Wanna Bet On It?

Online Sports Betting

If you’ve been watching the baseball playoffs you’ve been inundated with ads for gambling websites. Oh, sorry, I mean gaming websites that allow casual fans to compete for pots of money based on correctly predicting who would win, by how much, how many total points would be scored, and many other aspects of the game.

But according to them that’s not gambling.

I’m not going to name the sites since I prefer they at least spend some of their profits on paying for advertising and they ain’t giving me any of it. And they do pay a lot. Watch an hour of a playoff game and you will likely see three ads for one particular site, plus there will be some banter (no doubt paid for) between the announcers about said site or the bets you the viewer can place. And make no mistake, you can place bets on just about anything that happens in a game; whether the next pitch is a curve ball or the next batter will hit a line drive or the batter after him will hit a fly ball to the right side that is caught by the shortstop who is playing over by second base because of a shift and will the team in the field continue to employ a shift for the next batter.

All from the comfort and ease of your living room through the miracle of cell phone technology.  What hath Steve Jobs wrought?

And if you thought “wait a minute, I thought sports betting was illegal everywhere but Nevada” you haven’t been paying attention to the Supreme Court. Three years ago the court in a pretty near unanimous ruling said the federal government had no place in preventing states from allowing sports betting. If Iowa wants to let their farmers bet on Hawkeye football who are the feds to tell them no? Interstate commerce and all that.

Once that ruling was announced the floodgates opened. All parties wanted their piece of what everyone knew would be a huge pie. The sports leagues, the statistics companies, the cell phone companies, the television networks, and of course the gambling sites. Sports leagues, which for years ran away from anything that even suggested there was gambling going on involving their games, suddenly were partnering with betting sites to make sure they got their cut. ESPN, having already purchased Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website a few years earlier, poised themselves to be the premier statistician for the new age of gambling. And of course all the networks became even more invested in sports programming. After all, having a money interest in the outcome of every play is a powerful incentive for the viewer to continue watching even during the commercials.

But it is the leagues, and through them the players, who have the greatest interest in fans putting a few bucks down on The Bucks. The cut from the gambling sites will more than offset any drop off in attendance or even, heaven forbid, a drop in their rights fees from television or radio. And the players see revenue from gambling as a piece of the pie they have a right to. This coming winter’s negotiations between Major League Baseball and the players over The Basic Agreement (the rules all clubs and players must have in their contracts) might very well come down to how much of a cut the players get from the gambling sites. After all, it’s their actual performances that are being bet on. Which brings up the issue of whether those performances or even the statistics that accrue from those performances are the intellectual property of the individual players or of the teams they play for or of the league as a whole.

So everyone is gonna make money, what’s the downside?

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Friday Catblogging: Suitcasing The Joint

One more picture from our recent suburban exile. Claire Trevor enjoyed shedding on our suitcase.