Saturday Odds & Sods: Walk On By

Kale Halved- Edward Weston
Kale Halved by Edward Weston.

It’s been a grim week in New Orleans. Much loved former LSU and Saints running back and Saints color man Hokie Gajan died of cancer at the age of 56. As a broadcaster, Hokie was folksier than all get out. His catch phrase was an odd one: I tell you what. Hokie deployed it at the drop of a hat. He’ll be missed, I tell you what,

In New Orleans crime news, former Saints defensive captain Will Smith was shot and killed. Initially, it looked like a classic road rage shooting but things keep getting curiouser and curiouser. It looks as if it’s a complicated road rage shooting complete with odd coincidences and heavily armed participants. It’s not a stone whodunit but it’s not as open and shut as it looked at first blush.

A word about this week’s featured image. It’s a 1930 veg-photo taken by the great Edward Weston, Kale Halved. It reminds me of the great New Orleans kale kerfuffle of 2014:

In faux defense of the honor of my adopted hometown (I’m a transplant but I didn’t expect anyone to applaud me for moving here) I will start calling it KALEVILLE. No, not K-Ville like the crappy short-lived Fox cop show but KALEVILLE. Hmm, maybe that show would have made it if they’d had kale parties instead of gumbo parties because it’s more on trend according to Gwyneth and GOOP.

I never called the city Kaleville again and the veggie dustup is largely forgotten. I only revived it because of my insane love of self-quotation.

Speaking of dudes named Edward Weston who may or may not have halved kale:

How pedestrian. If you’d like to learn more about the Other Edward Weston, Karst has a piece up at the Zombie-Picayune.

This week’s theme song *does* involve walking. It was written by the great songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Dionne Warwick got the first crack at Walk On By and had a monster hit:

In 1969, Issac Hayes recorded his own idiosyncratic take on the tune. In many ways Issac was the proto-Barry White, bay-bay. This is the single version, there’s actually a 12 minute album track for those who love their soul hot buttered:

Here’s a punky version by the Stranglers:

It’s story time. I was an indifferent piano student as a kid. We had a baby grand in the living room so naturally I had to have lessons. My piano teacher was a nice neighbor lady who assigned me the Bacharach-David songbook because we both liked their tunes. It made my playing a bit better but I was always like the guy in All The Way From Memphis:

Well I got to Oreole y’know – it took a month
And there was my guitar, electric junk
Some spade said rock’n’rollers, you’re all the same
Man that’s your instrument. I felt so ashamed

I’ll let Mott the Hoople play us into the break. It’s a mighty long way down rock and roll:

Let’s keep on rocking with a piece from Rolling Stone about Cheap Trick:

Long Live Rock Be It Dead Or Alive: Cheap Trick’s career has been full of ups and downs. They’ve kept at it lo these many years and found themselves chosen for the Wenner Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. There’s even a neo-Garbage Pail Kids card in their honor:


Andy Greene has the Cheap Tricky details. His story could be sub-titled: Everybody Hates Bun E. Carlos. One thing Cheap Trick has never done is-you guessed it-Surrender:

Everybody in Cheap Trick may hate their former drummer but I hate the bloody, buggery, bollocky RRHOF. So does one of this year’s inductees, Steve Miller:

During his induction speech, Miller, who was actually in good spirits, did criticize the Rock Hall’s induction process, including the need for more women to make it in. But things got far more intense in the press room afterwards.

When asked to elaborate on his comments, Miller didn’t hold back. He criticized the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for its induction process, as well as its treatment of the inductees.

“The whole process needs to be changed from the top to the bottom,” Miller insisted. “They need to get their legal work straight. They need to respect the artists they say they’re honoring, but they don’t.”

Miller says he did not sign any agreements with the Rock Hall to use his music or video footage during the ceremony. He also said the organizers offered him just two tickets – one for him and one for his wife. Miller said they told him he could buy another one for $10,000.

I’m among those who think a hall of fame is antithetical to the spirit of rock and roll. We even know who to blame: Jann Fucking Wenner of Rolling Stone. If he doesn’t like an artist, they’re out; hence no prog or folk rockers such as Yes, Jethro Tull or Fairport Convention despite long and fruitful careers. You name ’em, they’re out. Here’s a link to a 1999 Salon article about Jann who is one of the wenners in life. Sheesh, that Wenner pun is a LOSER…

I’d like to thank Steve Miller for his rant. Somebody get him a cheeseburger:


Veep Stakes, Low Stakes: I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of articles in Politico Magazine. They’re much less Tiger Beaty on the Potomacy than the motherfucking-ship. They’ve published a swell study on the impact of Vice-Presidential choices on the outcome:

Like all unquestioned shibboleths, it’s come to seem almost a law of nature by now. Analyzing news coverage between 2000 and 2012, we found that journalists invoked geographic strategy in about 50 percent of their profiles on potential veep candidates. But it’s wrong. According to our analysis of election and voter data over the course of a little more than the past century, a vice presidential candidate’s state of residence generally has no effect on how a presidential candidate performs in that state. The vice presidential home state advantage is, essentially, zero.

The only time geography seems to have any sort of impact is when a small state is involved. The outcome of one of the closest elections in history *could* have changed with a different Veep choice:

In 2000, Al Gore chose then-Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut as his vice presidential running mate. That same year, Jeanne Shaheen, a two-term Democratic governor of New Hampshire, was up for reelection in her home state. Shaheen was leaked as a finalist on Al Gore’s vice presidential short list, and would win reelection that fall—the same election in which New Hampshire became the only New England state to cast its electoral votes for Republican George W. Bush. According to estimates from our election forecasting models, a counterfactual Gore-Shaheen ticket would have won the small state of New Hampshire by at least 1 percentage point. Assuming that national political dynamics remained the same, Gore would have secured a majority of Electoral College votes, regardless of the outcome in Florida. The 2000 presidential election is the only election in recent history where a known vice presidential finalist plausibly could have delivered an electorally decisive home state.

That’s all we needed, another what if from the what iffiest election in recent memory. Gore didn’t need Holy Joe’s alleged gravitas and experience so it’s a pity he didn’t pick now Senator Shaheen. So it goes.

Another thing I like about this piece by Kopko and Devine is that it refutes an assumption made by Poltico itself.  It also gives me a pretext to quote from a 2012 post called Veep Stakes, Low Stakes:

… the whole point of this increasingly pointless post is that it rarely matters who a nominee picks. The best picks (Gore, Mondale) can only help around the edges and the worst picks (Agnew, Quayle) can only hurt around said edges. None of the GOP “short listees” can help all that much. T-Paw’s state is going blue but he’s a nice enough guy so he humanizes the Mittbot. Portman might help a bit in Ohio but he was Bush’s budget director so he’s a wash. Ryan brings his Randian budget baggage along and only helps a smidge in Wisconsin. And my erstwhile governor, Jindal, has impeccable winger credentials but is a robotic, boring windbag. The Gret Stet is deep red and the only excitement PBJ would bring is being the first Asian running mate. He’d soon tamp that down with his fast talking wonkery or is that wankery?

Thanks, Tiger Beat on the Potomac. We move on to a fine photo essay in the Washington Post:

A Snap Of Burning Love: Photographer Peter van Agtmael spent some time hanging out with Ku Kluxers in Tennessee and Maryland. He even attended some KKK nuptials; talk about for worse, not for better. The result is a splendid photo essay with text by Kenneth Dickerman.

You’re probably wondering when I’m going to post another walking song. There’s no time like the present. It’s the title track of a 1995 John Hiatt album and features a  not entirely accurate New Orleans reference.  End of epic introduction:

Documentary Of The Week: If you’re like me, you’re interested in seeing HBO’s film about the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas clusterfuck, Confirmation. It debuts tonight.

In 1991, I watched the hearings with appalled fascination as the name Long Dong Silver penetrated the dignity of the United States Senate. It was not Joe Biden’s finest hour but he didn’t make as big an ass of himself as either Arlen Specter or Alan Simpson.

The 2013 documentary, Anita, left me cold. The filmmakers deliberately chose a low key style, which made it less gripping that should have been. It does, however, have copious clips of the hearings that Silent Clarence called “a high-tech lynching.”

I give Anita  2 1/2 stars, an Adrastos grade of C+ and a slightly elevated Ebertian thumbs up. I saw it on Netflix but it’s currently available at Hulu.

Saturday Classics: I have mixed feelings about Lou Reed, which I expressed in an Odds & Sods (before it became a regular Saturday feature) post written after his death in 2013:

Speaking Ill Of The Dead: I was on the tweeter tube yesterday when Lou Reed died. I’m down with all the paeans to the importance of his early music, but then the tributes verved into what a great, humble and nice guy he was. I got in trouble for pointing out that the great man was a major dick when encountering his fans, the press or even innocent bystanders. I saw Reed in stage door action once. A woman approached him and said: “You’re my hero.” Now I understand that that kind of stuff can be weird, but his response was OTT nasty: “Who gives a shit?” When she got all sniffly about it, he laughed at her. As my pal Liprap tweeted yesterday: “Lou Reed, one of the awful people who’ve brought us awesome things. It happens.”

Lou Reed may be a member of the malakatude Hall of Fame but he made some great records. His 1974 LP Rock and Roll Animal remains one of the best live albums ever released:

That’s it for this week. I’m feeling less wheezy than I have for most of the spring. Mild winters = high pollen counts. We’ve had a lot of rain this week so the effect of the sticky, yellow oak pollen is not as bad when Dr. A and I went to an outdoor wedding at Audubon Park at the end of last week. I felt like a mouse in a room full of cats. A very sneezy mouse. Achoo. I had to go home early, which was a shame. That’s also the name of this week’s bat-villain as played by Cliff Robertson:

Shame Meme.jpg

One thought on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Walk On By

  1. I was out tonight for the first time in a very long time and played Dionne Warwick’s “People Want to Be Free” on the jukebox … how nice to come home to “Make Way for Dionne Warwick.” Whatever happened later, she was tops in the 1960s. Thanks for the memory.

    The Stranglers was fun too.

Comments are closed.