Saturday Odds & Sods: Domino

domino players
Domino Players by Roald Schotborgh. Via

It was diabolically hot last month in New Orleans: the hottest July in recorded history. August has followed suit thus far. What can a poor boy do? Huddle in my study, which is the smallest room in our house, and luxuriate in the air-dish and ceiling fan. We’re all big fan fans here in the Big Sweaty, especially when it’s not fit for man or beast outside in the heat. That’s life in the big city, y’all.

I’m not into to the whole Pokemon Go thing but many people are. So much so that a guerilla artist put a fiberglass statue of Pikachu at Coliseum Square here in New Orleans. My friend Jessica tweeted about it:

It’s a great picture. I’ll just have to forgive her for all the vexatious exclamation points. Twitter makes many people excitable. In my case, it tends to make me irritable, but what do I know from Pokemon? I never played the original game unless it was Pikachu peek-a-boo or some such shit.

I bent my rules with this week’s theme songs. I’m using different songs with the same title but they’re by artists, Squeeze and Van Morrison, I’ve already featured on the Saturday post. I make no apologies because they fit one of my themes of the week. Every time a prominent Republican says they’re voting for Hillary Clinton I say:  Another domino tumbles.

We’ll begin with Squeeze since Chris Difford’s lyrics use the image of falling dominoes to make the song’s point:

Now that we’ve gone “down like a domino,” it’s time for some free-association word play from Van the Man:

Van just wants to hear some rhythm and blues music on on on the radio. Who can argue with that? If you care to, let’s duke it out after the break.

Is this what you had in mind, Van?

Paul Rodgers co-wrote Fire and Water back in his Free days. He’s been dueling with Team Trump over their use of All Right Now at the Donald’s riots rallies. The Trumpers have ignored Paul’s solicitors. Perhaps it’s time for Paul to scream in the Insult Comedian’s ear. The man can belt it out as you can see from this version of All Right Now during Paul’s stint with Queen:

Let’s move on to a story about an intrepid woman who’s a forgotten hero of the civil rights movement. We need all the heroes we can get right now, y’all.

The Black Woman Who Led The Fight Against Jim Crow: Joan Quigley has written an important and timely piece about Mary Church Terrell for TPM Prime. Ms. Terrell is an unfortunately forgotten figure in the history of the Civil Rights struggle and Quigley does a good job pointing out her importance to the movement, especially in our nation’s capital:

Mary Church Terrell, who initiated the test case, had been the most prominent woman in the civil rights movement for over fifty years. An Oberlin College graduate and the daughter of former slaves, she was once known as the female Booker T. Washington. She was also a militant feminist, a founder of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896. In 1904, she gave remarks in English, German and French at the International Congress of Women in Berlin. That same year, Lewis Douglass, the oldest son of Frederick Douglass, called her “the greatest woman that we have.” After World War II, she was a very early leader of the campaign against racial segregation in public accommodations.

Yet while almost every student of American history knows about Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks, almost no one knows who Terrell was. After her death in 1954, she simply vanished from history. That may be because in the early part of the twentieth century, when Booker T. Washington and supporters of racial separation held sway, her open defiance of racial discrimination became an irritant. Or it may be because she was also an early supporter of women’s rights among men who preferred that women play a servile role. Or it may simply be because she was too far ahead of her time. At a time when activists from Black Lives Matter are pushing the boundaries of respectable protest, it’s worth revisiting the story of Mary Church Terrell.

I’ve never done this before: reading the entire story requires TPM Prime membership. I think it’s well worth it. TPM is an invaluable source of news and commentary and I hereby urge our readers to support them. And, no, I’m not getting a cut. Let’s move on to another story about an amazing woman:

Notorious Victoria: The notorious woman in question is feminist and suffragist firebrand Victoria Woodhull. She was the first woman to run for President and couldn’t even vote for herself since it was 1872. Here’s a taste of Eileen Horn’s delicious piece in the Guardian about Notorious Victoria:

Woodhull’s journey to contesting the presidency had begun in 1871, when, at the behest of her friend and supporter, the Massachusetts senator Benjamin Butler,she was invited to Washington to address the house judiciary committee – the second woman, after leading suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, to be accorded this honour. Woodhull made a bold statement before the committee: “Women are the equals of men before the law, and are equal in all their rights.”

She argued persuasively that women already had the right to vote, as all citizens born in the United States were granted this under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. More controversially, she cited the 15th Amendment (which abolished slavery in 1870) as pertinent to women, who had long been in servitude. The committee declined to agree with her position, but Woodhull’s appearance brought her to national attention. The influential organ Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper printed a full-page engraving of her delivering her testimony.

Woodhull ended her speech with a threat: if men continued to exclude women from government, women had no choice but to revolt and govern themselves. “If Congress refuse to listen and to grant what women ask, there is but one course left to pursue. What is there left for women to do but to become the mothers of the future government?”

Congress would not concede an inch. And so on 9 May 1872, the National Woman Suffrage Association held its annual convention and formed an offshoot, The Equal Rights Party. Woodhull was elected by the members to run for president.

Notorious Victoria was so, well, notorious that she was the subject of a cartoon by Thomas Nast, one of the leading political satirists of the day:


Nast called her Mrs. Satan; not a far cry from Donald Trump calling Hillary Clinton the Devil. Some things never change. It’s difficult to read the text on the scan of that ancient toon so I’ll let Ms. Horn describe it:

In the leading periodical Harper’s Weekly, the cartoonist Thomas Nast created a memorable caricature of Woodhull after she announced her candidacy, dressed in black with bat wings sprouting from her shoulder blades, with a snarl on her face, clutching a placard reading “Be Saved by Free Love”. In the background, a woman struggles up a steep path, carrying an infant and an alcoholic husband on her shoulders, but is shown rejecting Woodhull in favour of her burden, with the caption “I’d rather travel the hardest path of matrimony than follow in your footsteps.” The full-page cartoon was titled “Get Thee Behind me, (Mrs) Satan!”

What a broad. What a character. What a story.

Let’s move on to a piece about a man who is determined to keep the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers alive. Speaking of which, Dr. A took this picture of a Mardi Gras Indian’s costume on Super Sunday in 2014:


Shelton Johnson & The Buffalo Soldiers: Johnson is an actor, Park Ranger, musician, orator, playwright, and historian. His primary focus right now is preserving and expounding upon the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers. In case you don’t know about them, here’s how Glenn Nelson puts it in his article about Shelton Johnson:

Convinced there was even more to unearth, Johnson embarked on a years-long hunt that took him through various archives, libraries and military records. He found military records showing that many of the men who made up the four segregated black regiments of the U.S. Army were from the Jim Crow South. The black soldiers also were present in much larger numbers than originally thought. He found accountings of previously unrecognized Buffalo Soldier accomplishments – they built the first usable road into the Giant Forest of Sequoias and the first trail to the top of Mt. Whitney (the tallest peak in the contiguous U.S.) as well as constructed an arboretum in Yosemite National Park that may be the first marked nature trail in the park system.

It’s a great read and Shelton Johnson is a remarkable man. I’ll give Bob Marley the last word of this segment:

Why Mormons Don’t Like Donald Trump: I’ve often written critically of the LDS church out of long experience with Mormons. I’m working on a family memoir that discusses how my Greek grandfather came to America and wound up working in a copper mine in Utah. He had no idea he was moving to a theocratic state, but thrived and raised his family in the Beehive State. My father was born and raised there, living among Mormons until we moved to California when I was 7 years old. Thanks, Lou.

Let’s move on to a fine article at Slate about Mormons and the Insult Comedian. Max Perry Mueller is a religious historian who has spent a lot of time pondering the LDS church and its history. It turns out that most everything about Donald Trump bugs Mormons, but what’s making it hard for them to vote for him are his views on immigration and religious freedom for minority sects such as Muslims, and, yes, Mormons:

The Mormons’ past has helped them empathize with the predicament of Muslim Americans; Mormon empathy for Mexicans is more a product of the church’s present. With close to 1,400,000 church members, Mexico is second only to the U.S. as the nation with the largest Mormon population. Today, more than half of the church’s 15 million members live outside the U.S., with the largest growth in Central and South America and Africa. It is also likely that there are today more nonwhite Mormons than white ones.

The church’s increasing internationalism tends to make American Mormons, many of who have served church missions in Spanish-speaking countries and Spanish-speaking areas in the U.S., wary of the kind of strident attacks against immigrants that have rallied other Republican voters to Trump’s corner. The Public Religion Research Institute found that compared with 36 percent of Republicans in general, 45 percent of Mormons say that “immigrants strengthen American society.”

It’s not that conservative Mormons will suddenly fall in love with a feminist, pro-choice, pro-marriage equality Democrat BUT they hate Trump’s vulgar style and xenophobic substance. I expect those folks to sit on their hands but moderate and liberal LDSers might just vote for HRC. And, yes, there *are* liberal Mormons not named Reid or Udall. If nothing else, it will an interesting sub-plot for the rest of this election cycle. Who knows maybe Trump will directly insult Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. Nothing that comes out of his big bazoo surprises me at this point.

Saturday Classic: There’s a Genesis  song titled Domino that I *almost* used as one of the theme songs. I decided instead to post one of the band’s most underrated albums. You may have noticed my fondness for underrated things. Beats the hell outta plugging overrated things.

Wind & Wuthering was lead guitarist Steve Hackett’s last hurrah. His departure hastened Genesis’ transformation into a prog-pop band. Wind & Wuthering is one of the best albums of the “Phil as lead singer era” as well as their last purely prog-rock outing.

That’s it for this week. Now that we’ve deposed the Eleventh Earl of Mar, I may have to pay someone to wash the blood off the rooftops. I’m not getting up there myself. This week’s closing meme is inspired by the Insult Comedian’s bizarre running feud with fire marshalls. If you never saw Jim Carrey as Fire Marshall Bill on In Living Color, check out some clips on the YouTube. He’s hilarious even when saying: