Monthly Archives: August 2016

Album Cover Art Wednesday: S.F. Sorrow

It’s concept album time again here at First Draft. The Pretty Things started off as a standard issue British blooze rock/R&B band. Then came Sgt. Pepper and, like so many others, they went all psychedelic and conceptual.

This 1968 rock opera tells the story of Sebastian F. Sorrow. It’s based on a short story by Pretty Things lead singer Phil May who also designed the cover for the British release. If you want to hear more about the story, check out the Wikipedia entry.

In the immortal words of Tom Jones, it was not unusual in those days for albums to have different covers in the UK and US. In this case, I prefer the UK cover. It fits the era and subject matter better but, hey, the LP was released in America even if very few people heard it.

Here’s a description of the Pretty Things and these sorrowful  covers by Richie Unterberger’s whose fine essay on US vs. UK album art I stumbled into whilst researching this post:

Digging so deep into the British Invasion that you come across bands who never had a hit here, there’s the Pretty Things’ S.F. Sorrow. The best ‘60s UK group never to make it into the States, the Pretty Things started out as a rawer version of the Rolling Stones; lead guitarist Dick Taylor had been in the Stones until late 1962. By the late ‘60s, they’d evolved into psychedelic rock, and S.F. Sorrow was one of rock’s first concept albums.

It’s a clear victory, in a change of pace, for the UK version. Which was certainly more in line with the band’s vision, as the cover was designed by Pretty Things singer Phil May. The US cover (on Motown’s Rare Earth subsidiary) had its curiosity value, though, for its tombstone shape if nothing else. The cover change wasn’t the biggest way Rare Earth fumbled the ball; though the album had come out at the end of 1968 in the UK, it wasn’t released until August 1969 in the US, which meant that some American listeners and critics accused it of being a rip-off of the Who’s Tommy (which it predated by months in the UK).

I agree with his artistic conclusion. Let’s start with the UK cover:

SF Sorrow-front

The tombstone shape of the US cover is a pretty swell thing in and of itself:


I have a confession. I don’t recall ever hearing  S.F. Sorrow until yesterday. I selected it because I liked the cover and Phil May was a talking head in Blues Britannia.  It’s a terrific record. You might want to give it a virtual spin:


Quote Of The Day: Fox “Sexy Time” Edition

The fact that these are not happy times at Fox News makes me happy. Roger Ailes’ legacy is one of horndoggery and endless sexual harassment litigation. There’s another lawsuit against Ailes and the frat boy culture at Fox. This time, the plaintiff is my countrywoman, Andrea Tantaros. She quite rightly refused to put out for Ailes and Bill-O and it damaged her career. Repeat after me: Ewwww, gross.

I’m not sure who her lawyer is, but he or she sure can write. The quote in question comes from the brief filed on behalf of Ms. Tantaros.

Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny.

That makes Ailes the Hefner/Manson figure. In fact, Manson “dug Nixon” and Ailes worked for Tricky in 1968. I realize that was a low blow, but it’s still not as low as the shit propagated by the Ailes regime at Fox. It is, however, interesting to learn that one reason Ailes stayed at Fox so long was to get laid. Repeat after me: Ewwww, gross.

I’m sure you’ve heard that Ailes is advising the Insult Comedian on debate prep. This should go a long way towards improving Trump’s reputation with woman. #sarcasm. The punditocracy thinks this could give Trump the pivoty boost he needs to make an astonishing comeback and lose by a narrower margin than expected. They are silly billys.

I was hanging out on Twitter the other day when some boob from the Washington Examiner was bloviating on Dim Chuck Todd’s show:

Todd, of course, didn’t challenge the assertion that Ailes was responsible for Tricky’s sudden “palatability.” He didn’t become unpalatable to a majority of the country until 1974. Ailes is not a political magician who can transform the worst major party nominee of my lifetime into a winner. To paraphrase John Lennon, Trump is a loser who’s not what he appears to be.

It will be interesting to see what happens with all the litigation filed against Fox and Ailes. Rupert Murdoch seems to be hunkering down for an extended fight by hiring Ailes loyalists to run Fox. The next thing you know they’ll retain Borat to conduct sensitivity seminars:

I wouldn’t put it past Rupe to think that Borat is the cure for what Ailes Fox.

How The World Was Going to Work

A lot of the grave-dancing on Gawker has been rubbing me the wrong way and Nick Denton’s farewell post gets close to why: 

It’s difficult to recall now, but at Gawker’s founding there was a sense that the internet was a free space, where anything can be said. An island off the mainland, where people could be themselves. Where writers could say things that would get you fired in an instant from a print publication. Where you could say what you thought without fear of being fired, or sued out of existence. But when you try to make a business out of that freedom, the system will fight you.

As our experience has shown, that freedom was illusory. The system is still there. It pushed back. The power structure remains. There are just some new people at the apex, prime among them the techlords flush with monopoly profits. They are as sensitive to criticism as any other ruling class, but with the confidence that they can transform and disrupt anything, from government to the press.

In the bad old days of early political blogging (I AM INTERNET GRANDMA, GATHER AROUND THE 28-BIT ROCKING CHAIR CHILDREN), especially on the liberal end under Bush, the idea was that at a certain point you have to call bullshit on bullshit. It’s hard to remember but before the takedowns of every take, there was just this seething mass of stuff nobody talked about. That the war was a lie, most people were okay with legal abortion, terrorism was less of a threat than poverty and preventable illness, that some problems were not in fact too big to solve … these were only radical ideas because they weren’t being given voice.

Nobody was calling bullshit. And the minute somebody did, they were rushed off the stage. Bill Maher, that sexist, bigoted douchebag, said it was cowardly to lob missiles from a distance and brave to put your body on the line, and he was put in cold storage for years. A singer said she wasn’t thrilled to have this president be from her home state and people called for her to be executed. Our vaunted political press was calling for torture because it would feel good, calling for bombing women and children because somebody needed to suck on this, and anyone who objected was a dirty fucking hippie.

Coming out of THAT, having THAT be your formative publishing years, it’s hard not to defend somebody’s right to publish a video of Hulk Hogan’s dick, if the alternative is letting someone in power tell you what you can and can’t say and then go after you for all of eternity, drum you out of business, bankrupt you personally. That’s not even a difficult choice.

What’s repulsive about the death of Gawker is everybody acting like they deserved it because they published Hulk Hogan’s dick video and were otherwise MEEN and gross, as opposed to a thousand other people at a thousand other parties who just said things like an entire war is good because it makes me feel good.

Those people are on TV every day in thousand dollar suits. Nobody’s hounding them out of their homes. And that’s much more disgusting than anything Gawker said about anybody fucking a pig.


Every Flim-Flam Man Needs A Sucker

Have y’all heard that the Trump campaign has rebooted and is reaching out to African-Americans? The MSM is so desperate to have a horse race to cover that they’re buying this horseshit. As I’ve said before, there is no New Trump, he just has a new set of advisers. One of whom, Kellyanne Conway, is a member of the club so the media is cutting her some slack. She’s supposedly the “nice” face of Team Trump even though she’s best known for working for Tailgunner Ted. The things the MSM will believe to whip some life into a race that’s largely decided; the only question that remains is the margin.

As to the “minority outreach” efforts they’re a sham as pointed out by Josh Marshall:

There’s a long history of Republican candidates making nominal ‘outreach’ to African-American voters not for the purpose of attracting African-American voters but to signal to moderate and/or educated white voters that they’re not racist. This isn’t always as cynical as it sounds. African-Americans are a strong Democratic constituency. On a generous read this can sometimes be non-racist candidates who know they have little shot at making inroads with African-American voters nonetheless wanting to signal to white supporters the non-racist nature of their candidacy. For present purposes, let’s simply stipulate that this is a well worn part of the Republican playbook with various shades of cynicism behind it. It’s a standard script, not difficult to execute.

Over the last week, this has been the new message from Trumpland, the fauxist sort of outreach to African-American voters. As with everything Trump, it’s of the most cartoonish variety, a tour of major urban centers where Trump picks an outlying all-white exurb and ‘appeals’ for African-American votes by railing at the post-apocalyptic urban hellholes in which he imagines they live their lives. For Trump, black life in America is living in a bombed out urban housing project circa 1977.

That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian, he pats you on the back with one hand and slaps you with the other. The MSM should recognize this sham for what it is: an attempt to convince college educated Republicans that he’s not a racist. It’s not genuine outreach. It’s a flim-flam much like the 49 seconds he spent handing out Play-Doh in the Gret Stet flood zone.

Sociopaths project their neuroses onto others. The Insult Comedian is a past master at projection. In addition to being insulting,  the line “what have you got to lose” applies to the whole misbegotten Trump campaign. The entire campaign boils down to throwing shit against the wall and hoping some of it sticks; much like the Breitbart Dude’s white nationalist web site.

It amazes me that the MSM continues to believe in the white whale of “the pivot” even after Trump himself said he’s not going to do that. Sure, he lies all the time but he may be telling the truth in that instance: anything can happen. The MSM are the ultimate mark for Trump’s con game: they’re so eager for a close race that they fall for it every time. They’re not just suckers but all-day, everyday suckers.

The key to understanding Trump is that he’s a real estate developer and they always have a bridge or oasis in the desert to sell you. Team Trump’s latest shell game has gotten the MSM to take their eye of the ball, which is the Breitbart Dude, not the supposedly likable Ms. Conway. To say that they’re gullible is an understatement. I have an oasis in the Sahara desert full of pink unicorns for sale if the MSM is interested. Sure, the oasis is a mirage and the unicorns are camels spray-painted pink with a plastic horn on their heads but if you get in on the ground floor, you can get a helluva deal. I think it might just work with some of the dimmer people at CNN or Politico.

About the post title. The consensus among people with a pulse (and Marco Rubio) is that Trump is a con man. As you know, I’m fond of arcane language and engage in sporadic attempts to revive certain words and phrases. That’s why I’m calling the Donald a Flim-Flam Man. The term flim-flam is defined by Merriam-Webster as:  deceptive nonsense or deception, fraud. There was even a 1967 movie called The Flim-Flam Man starring George C. Scott who was almost as big of an asshole in real life as Trump. That’s right, Scott was typecast in The Hustler and Patton.

Repeat after me: Every Flim-Flam Man needs a sucker.

Speaking of the Sahara, since the 1980’s seem to be in vogue right now, I’ll give the Police the last word:


Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Electoral goats edition

Well, screw it.

I thought it would be funny to see the Freeperati’s take on the naked statue of The Darnold, and the snarky report from the NYC Parks Department on – um – erection policies.

As of last Friday morning, what did I find?



Not a single chirp. I wonder if Jim Rob issued an edict to the mods – “If you let one single post about that filthy statue through, I’m canning you!” ?

Oh well.

(UPDATED!!!  Please scroll to the bottom for the official thread on The Darnold’s Dummy!)

In the meantime we always have  – those stupid Jews!

Byron York: Asking for black votes, a very different Donald Trump

How many times have Donald Trump’s supporters and critics debated whether he will pivot to a larger, more presidential candidacy? Too many to count. So put aside any talk of pivoting — the fact is, Trump delivered a focused, powerful, and disciplined speech Tuesday night in West Bend, Wisconsin, about 45 minutes north of Milwaukee. Trump focused largely on problems that disproportionately afflict black Americans, arguing that his proposals on crime, immigration, trade, jobs, education, and other issues will improve African-American lives more than Hillary Clinton’s.

Trump began by declaring, “We’re at a decisive moment in this election,” which few would deny, given Trump’s perilous position in the polls. Last week he laid out a jobs plan, Trump said, and on Monday he outlined a plan to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. Now, he came to discuss “how to make our communities safe again.”

Calling the recent riots in Milwaukee “an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and live in peace,” Trump won applause with the declaration that “Law and order must be restored.”

“The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African-American citizens living in these neighborhoods,” Trump continued. “It’s their jobs, it’s their homes, it’s their schools and communities which will suffer the most as a result. There’s no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct for anyone.”Trump charged that Clinton and the Obama administration have pushed a “totally false” narrative of widespread police abuse across the United States. “The problem in our poorest communities is not that there are too many police,” Trump argued. “The problem is that there are not enough police.”

“Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society — a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent — share directly in the responsibility…

1 posted on 8‎/‎17‎/‎2016‎ ‎6‎:‎26‎:‎01‎ ‎AM by RoosterRedux

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Journalism Isn’t Paying For Itself

DIGITAL FIRST PARADIGM SHIFTING notwithstanding, this is pretty typical: 

Conservatively, counting just the biggest chunks of staff time that went into it, the prison story cost roughly $350,000. The banner ads that appeared on the article brought in $5,000, give or take. Had we been really in your face with ads, we could have doubled or tripled that figure—but it would have been a pain for you, and still only a drop in the bucket for us.

I saw a lot of people quoting this passage in the past few days with “see, you lazy kids with your iPhones getting your news for free, see what it costs?” undertones, which a) not the real problem and b) not actually, you know, a contribution to the conversation.

Subscriptions never paid for journalism. “Readers” never paid for journalism. And advertisers didn’t pay for journalism, they paid for eyeballs and favorable almost-advertorial stories on real estate, automobiles and travel to places most newspaper readers would never see. Those sections, along with ads in sports, paid for journalism.

Or at least they did until this shit started: 

After a weak economy and higher newsgathering costs took their toll on newspaper profits last year, corporate executives could expect to see reductions in their compensation packages. But all in all, 2001 was quite lucrative for newspaper managers and other insiders.

During the first half of the year, many of them fattened their bank accounts by exercising options and selling stock even as layoffs and budget cutbacks were sweeping through the industry. Total insider selling from January through June was $146.5 million, more than twice the level of activity in the previous six months, according to a study for AJR by Thomson Financial/Lancer Analytics.

Needless acquisitions that loaded up newspaper companies with impossible debts, “diversifying” holdings with stupid shit like sports teams and TV stations, also contributed to the sucking of money out of the newsroom, while those same execs bitched in the trades that nobody younger than 40 read serious things anymore. I will listen to them telling me to pay for my news when they start doing it.

All digital advertising did was shoot the wounded. People getting news for free should have been a gift, because: people were getting news! People getting news for free should have been a magnificent boon to journalism, had media companies leveraged their vast new audiences correctly and tried to actually SELL ads rather than just put their news sites up and wait for the magical money faucet to turn on.

They spent a decade simultaneously chasing pipe dreams (A roll-up piece of digital paper! Apple’s working on one right now I hear!) and trashing their current and potential customers as trivial, celebrity-obsessed consumers of mental junk food. Almost nobody figured out that if you sell the junk food, you can pay for the journalism. Those who did figure that out were able to hire campaign reporters as well as fund watermelon-smashing videos.

So what we’re left with, after all that flailing, is the idea that journalism is some kind of vending machine, and you can only do serious investigations by using money directly paid to those investigations. Which is dishonest, ridiculous horseshit, ignorant of ancient and recent history. I’m not mad at Mother Jones here; they did their work and they’re bringing up valid issues. I’m mad at the journos who see those issues and yell SEE, SEE, YOU KIDS NEED TO PAY FOR YOUR FREE STUFF.

Not for nothing, but almost every major investigation a non-journo can name — Watergate, Spotlight, locally the Chicago Police torture cases — that predated the social Internet faced ENORMOUS pressure from inside the newsroom in terms of how much time it was taking and how much it thus cost. We have always struggled with these things.

It’s just that once upon a time we didn’t use the fact that it was hard as an excuse not to do anything, and crab at our customers to stick a dollar in the slot if they want a real story while we expense our party’s summer drinks.


Nobody Gets to Go Back

For shit’s sake. From that piece Rosen links to up there: 

Trump’s trip to Louisiana will still likely be remembered as one of the smarter things he’s done during this campaign. But even in doing it, he and his campaign betrayed their tendency to use a heavy hand as a default.

A big reason Trump’s speech Thursday night in Charlotte worked so well was because it was more subtle and less controversial, while also maintaining some of the appeal that is uniquely Trump. He avoided controversy and projected a more humble, statesmanlike figure.


He projected. He WASN’T, of course, but we can’t come right out and say that, not if we want to still maintain the fiction that there are two parties both operating within the same general set of rules. He wasn’t a more humble, statesmanlike figure, but he managed to act like it for a while.

He seemed presidential. Which apparently is all it takes.

During the primaries I was yelling on Twitter at increasing levels of volume for someone, anyone, to name an actual policy difference between Donald Trump and any of the other Republican candidates. I’m not talking about semantic shit like “he says build a wall and all I say is deport everybody, and by the way I think some Muslims are okay.” I’m talking about an area in which another Republican candidate believed something fundamentally different about a major issue of the day. Gun control, abortion, military intervention, health care, anything. Strip off his stupid Muppet fur and make him read from notes, and how is he any worse than any of the rest?

If Marco Rubio was here right now we’d be dealing with the same nonsense in a shittier suit.

So spare me the idea that there is some way in which Donald Trump, having STARTED HIS CAMPAIGN CALLING MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS RAPISTS, can now read something from notes and we will react with this weepy relief that we don’t have to update the script. If Donald Trump, tomorrow, disavowed everything he ever said and submitted to some kind of Star Trek mindwipe, those who cover politics would still be under no obligation to indulge his desire for a clean slate.

He doesn’t get to go back, and neither do we. He doesn’t get to do one on-its-face non-shitty thing and all is forgiven, we can just forget that he doesn’t think libel laws are real stuff we need. That’s not how this works. If Hillary Clinton is going to be held accountable for every single bit of extramarital strange her husband dick-tripped into, then we should at the very least be able to keep in mind stuff Donald Trump said six months ago.


Sunday Morning Video: Blues Britannia

This week’s selection is a 2009 BBC documentary about Sixties British blues rock. It has  a swell full title, Blues Britannia: Can Blue Men Sing The Whites. It features some terrific talking heads: Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Mick Fleetwood, and Ian Anderson to name but a few.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Here Comes The Flood

NOAA info via the Advocate.

It’s been an exhausting few weeks in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Everyone I’ve heard from in the flood zone is okay but thousands of people are not. I’m proud that many of my friends are helping. We take care of our own here in Louisiana but we need all the help we can get. If you haven’t already done so please click on this link to see a few ways you can help. Your reward is a musical interlude from the Boss:

Springsteen mentions New Orleans in the song. Here’s how our brothers and sisters in Acadiana would put it: On prend soin des nôtres.

As you can see from the featured image,  a phenomenal amount of rain was dumped on the flood zone in a short period of time. Making matters worse, it sat there for days on end; longer than the chart indicates. This storm has been described as “like a hurricane in infancy” by the Gret Stet’s climatologist. It was an angry and bitter infant that left vast destruction in its path. It will take years for people to recover from the flood. The good news there are only 13 reported fatalities thus far BUT there will be deaths from natural causes related to the flood. Elderly people dropped like flies in post-K New Orleans. Let’s hope it’s not as bad this time around.

This week’s theme song is something of a no-brainer, which is a good thing since it’s so hot that one could fry an egg on top of my head if I were insane enough to spend an extended period outside. Here Comes The Flood debuted on Peter Gabriel’s first album after leaving Genesis. We have three versions: the original, a live solo rendition, and a version recorded with Robert Fripp in 2006. Btw, the King Crimson leader played on the first PG album and toured with him. I saw the Winterland show and Fripp sat on a stool in the shadows the entire time. Guitar heroes are rarely that shy.

This week’s edition is about keeping it snappy. Saying that makes me feel like I should don a zoot suit and snap some suspenders. Shorter Adrastos, we’re dispensing with the break and links to long-form articles.


We begin with two pieces by Baton Rouge residents, one white, one black. They’re united in believing that the racial tensions that exploded before the Gret Stet flood of 2016 must be addressed:

Will The Great Flood Sink Baton Rouge Or Inspire Its Rebirth? by Robert Mann.

The Flood Brings Us Together. Let’s Not Forget The Divides by Raymond Jetson.

The Insult Comedian Cometh: Donald Trump and his Hoosier stooge Mike Liar Liar Pence On Fire staged a photo-op in Baton Rouge Friday. The Governor urged them to stay away unless they planned to volunteer or donate but Trump knows bestYou gotta love John Bel Edwards, y’all. When Bobby Jindal was Governor, every crisis was about him, he lived for photo-ops. John Bel just wants to get shit done.

Trump has a rather checkered history with the Gret Stet of Louisiana. He made a big deal out of building Trump Tower, New Orleans to help the post-K recovery. I reminded him of this on Twitter:

The location of the never built “tower” is downtown at the corner of Poydras and Camp Streets. As an old friend and post-K blogger comrade in arms pointed out:

Now that we’ve mocked Donald Trump’s malakatude for the gazillionth time, let’s pay some nice people a virtual visit.

Video Clip Of The Week: I mentioned Gret Stet Governor John Bel Edwards’ appearance on the Rachel Maddow Show in an update to my Heckuva Job, Advocate post. Here it is:

Since they’re still “trying to wash us away,”let’s move on to an album that has one of the greatest songs ever written about the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Saturday Classic:  The album is Good Old Boys by Randy Newman. The song is, of course, Louisiana 1927. There are two other Louisiana-centric tunes on the record: Kingfish and a cover of Huey Long’s theme song, Every Man A King.

It’s one of my all-time favorite albums; featuring the daring satire of Rednecks who still “don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground,” since they’re voting for Trump. The record packs quite a wallop some 42 years later.

That’s it for this week. Hopefully, it will dry out in Red Stick and elsewhere in South Louisiana fairly soon. If only the hot air emanating from Trump’s mouth could expedite matters. Speaking of Insult Comedians, our closing meme features one of the greatest  ever,  Jack E. Leonard:

Jack E meme

Friday Ferretblogging: Claire’s Gaining

Weight, that is.

I went to the vet this week expecting bad news: she’s been super-lazy, is blowing her summer coat early, and generally seemed pretty out of it the last few days. I thought for sure the meds weren’t working.

Turns out her blood sugar is back up to reasonable levels and she’s put on a couple of ounces! For an animal that at her fattest, fuzziest-caterpiller-est stage was 1.5 pounds, that’s a big gain.

Extra scritches for the mini-pet!



It’s an odd experience being face to face with a person you constantly called a shit-brained asshole and a greedy fuckwad behind closed doors. It’s even weirder when you are enjoying the moment.

When we were trying to buy our current house, we were in the middle of a major mess of balancing the whiny bullshit of our buyer with the stubborn refusals of our seller. This pulled us financially in both directions and it made for some really rough nights around the old homestead.

The guy who had the house we wanted refused to move on any of our demands, even those that were essentially issues of law. For example, we conducted a radon test, which makes sense given the limestone base out here and the depth of the basement. When the test came back at a higher-than-legal limit, we wrote into the final offer that they install a radon removal system.

He refused.

The same was true about the minor gas leak coming from the hot water heater, the mudjacking of unsafe concrete and the exterior venting of the bathroom exhaust fans.

It turned out, this wasn’t the guy or his wife, but rather his really shitty real-estate agent combined with our really weak one. Ours was a young woman with limited experience in the field and theirs was a end-of-the-road older guy who had no interest in selling and came from the time when calling women “sugar tits” was considered common office communication.

Eventually, it got ironed out and I was so grateful I’d never have to deal with these people again.

That is, until I found out they essentially moved two houses away. I kind of lost my mind and even when we got down to the final signing, I refused to sit in the room with them until after the paperwork was done.

What you learn about people during the time you review their home for purchase only tells you a small part of the story. The gun safe in the kitchen pantry, the “Terrorist hunting permit” on the refrigerator, the “bullet maker” in the basement and the locked upstairs office room all gave me pause. Then again, so did the IV unit hanging in the master bedroom.

What I found out later was that they were moving because their son, Jacob, had a rare form of cancer. The kid was about 5 or 6 years old and had been dealing with this all his life. Facebook updates on his progress were met by cheers when they went well and prayers when they did not. The sale of the house was in part for finances (they moved to a smaller, less expensive place) and part for physical reasons (they needed a single-story house as the steps were too much for the kid).

After the move, the dad and I would exchange waves as he drove past. Jacob and his folks occasionally showed up on our porch asking if we’d like to buy wreaths from his Boy Scout troop or a donation to a school program.

Eventually, he wound up in our driveway on one occasion when I was out fixing the car. He was wearing a Spider Man shirt and he had this incredible little smirky smile and thick, tinted Coke-Bottle glasses as he wondered if she’d like to come over and play for a while. There was about a three-year gap between them and she was still in the “boys are gross” stage, but she went.

She had a blast.

This led to a few play dates of the old-fashioned kind: She was bored and she went over and knocked on his door and asked if he’d like to play.

His mother later told me that whenever the doorbell rings, “Jacob prays that it’s her asking to play.”

About a month ago, she returned home with an invitation to his birthday party at the city pool.

Thus, I found myself face to face with his dad, talking about kids in a polite and civilized fashion I could never have previously imagined. Especially given the number of times I screamed that he must be a greed-based ass-fuck.

Apparently, being wrong is something I’ve gotten good at.

“So, is Jacob officially 8 yet?” I asked

“Oh yeah,” he said. “His birthday was a few months ago but we waited until now for the party because he wanted it at the pool. He made it.”

I’m not sure if he meant it the way I recalled it or if I’m reading too much into it, but of all the things said to me that day, his last words stuck in my head.

He made it.

As time continues to gather steam, pushing my child toward womanhood, I have found myself utterly resistant to these changes. My wife told me that the “tweens” are the worst, so I should be ready for two or three years of weird.

To this point, we’ve gotten it.

She vacillates between weeping and laughing, something my wife blames on hormonal changes.

Her friends talk about boy bands and lockers and so forth, as opposed to those days they argued about if iCarly was real.

I find it difficult sometimes doing the laundry, as I’m folding tiny bras into virtual pocket squares. Even more difficult is listening to the carpool chatter about which of the girls in their class is “the most flat-chested.” (Keep in mind that all of them are so poorly endowed, you could only measure cup size with a micrometer.)

Even the other day, as I was sleeping in my chair, she came down and woke me to let me know that I needed to go get some takeout for dinner.

“Mommy doesn’t feel well,” she said before putting on her “knowing” face and adding. “You know, Daddy, she’s on her… period.”

I’m sure that tiny pads and tampons will soon arrive in our house as will larger bras and a fixation with her hair. I’m a decent guy about all things like this, buying everything from tampons and Depends to nursing pads and whatever else the women in my life needed. Still, it’ll be harder knowing that she’s not my little girl any more.

And yet, it took that pool party for me to realize I shouldn’t be fighting this march of time but embracing it. The parents of this boy spent his whole life wondering if this would be the day their son’s life would end. I haven’t thought in those terms since the major ultrasound that let us know we hadn’t miscarried again.

He made it.

Three words that I’m sure they had to say over and over again.

Test after test.

Treatment after treatment.

Day after day.

He made it.

It never occurred to me once about when we should or shouldn’t hold my kid’s birthday party because she might not live long enough to get there. My biggest concerns are if the girls at school are bullying her or if one of the boys decides to take too big of an interest in her.

“She made it,” never once exited my lips with the same level of resolve and relief these people must have felt every day.

Every year around this time, I recall my kid’s life story: The miscarriage, the Ice Storm, the chaos surrounding her birth. After those opening lines, life is blur of birthday parties, Halloween costumes and summer vacations.

This year, for her 11th birthday, I’m putting more thought into valuing each and every day.

Maybe ice cream for dinner every so often. Maybe playing a game of cards with her more often when she asks. Maybe just telling her I love her an extra time or two.

As she continues to get older and has more of those life-altering questions that can’t be solved by a hug or a stuffed animal, I’ll also need to be ready to game up.

I don’t want to talk to my kid about sex any more than we already have or what to do when the movie “Mean Girls” basically becomes the living embodiment of her school. It’s hard enough to resist punching out some of the little twerps who pick on her now.

Each day can come with a new crisis, a deeper hurt or situation neither of us saw coming. I’m sure it will feel like we’re getting hit with a whole sack of hammers while falling down the stairs.

I try to think about Jacob as much as I can. I wonder how someone so small can deal with something so big on top of all the other garbage growing up throws at you.

But if he can find a way to make it, I’m sure we will too.

Friday Catblogging: Oh, Look At Me Now

This is another picture of the Big O taken by Christy of Petit Pet Care fame:


The title gives me an excuse to post some Sinatra:

Heckuva Job, Advocate

The “we’re all in this together” spirit still permeates South Louisiana BUT there are a few cracks in the wall of solidarity. Is that a thing? I hope not but I just said it. I’ve been hearing some muttering on social media from people who neither like President Obama nor wish him well. I had a few choice words about this on ye olde tweeter tube yesterday:

There’s also been some grumbling about national press coverage of the Gret Stet Flood of 2016. I, too, would like to see more BUT in 2005, we got wall-to-wall cable, network, and print coverage and it didn’t make a difference. The most important thing is the flow of money and help. In 2005, FEMA was run by  Heckuva Job Brownie who was the third disaster to strike the Gulf Coast. In 2016, it’s run by Craig Fugate and has not been subjected to the sort of criticism it received during the Bush Administration. In short, FEMA has been fixed. It’s now a professional organization like it was during the first Clinton administration. It’s what happens when a President who believes in government is in office.

Today the most banal criticism of all reared its damn fool head in an editorial in the Advocate demanding a Presidential visit:

Last week, as torrential rains brought death, destruction and misery to Louisiana, the president continued his vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, a playground for the posh and well-connected.

We’ve seen this story before in Louisiana, and we don’t deserve a sequel. In 2005, a fly-over by a vacationing President George W. Bush became a symbol of official neglect for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The current president was among those making political hay out of Bush’s aloofness.

Sometimes, presidential visits can get in the way of emergency response, doing more harm than good. But we don’t see that as a factor now that flood waters are subsiding, even if at an agonizing pace. It’s past time for the president to pay a personal visit, showing his solidarity with suffering Americans.

That’s still the case. Presidential visits complicate *everything* and interfere with relief efforts. If the Advocate editorial board deigned to read their own reporting, they would know that emergency response efforts are ongoing. This is all about an ultra conservative Obama hating editor seeing a chance to take a shot at him. The prime suspect is former Picayune and current Advocate editor Peter Kovacs who went on CNN to toot his own horn. On the behalf of Peters everywhere, I’d like to apologize for his malakatude.

The problem in 2005 was not insufficient Presidential visitation, it was the way the Bush administration played games with disaster relief. They did not want to take the blame for levee failures so they scapegoated then Gret Stet Governor Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat. Karl Rove spearheaded that successful smear campaign, which helped to make Blanco a one-term Governor. That, in turn, made Congressional Republicans balk over disaster relief for Louisiana. The tone set by Bush and his minions was the problem. None of that is happening in 2016. The Feds are just getting revved up and I’m sure President Obama will visit when things settle down in the flood zone. That is not the case as I write this even if the Advocate editorial board thinks so. They’re flat-out wrong.

This is just speculation but there’s also the possibility that Governor John Bel Edwards does not want POTUS here at this point in time. He’s a Democrat who has maintained a polite political distance from President Obama. It’s partially up to him if and when the President visits the disaster zone. A trip at this point would be purely symbolic and symbolism is cheap; what matters is results. The jury is still out but it’s bound to be better than 2005.

The Advocate should be ashamed of itself for printing this editorial. We’re facing a different disaster with a different set of facts from 2005. The feds *caused* much of the damage in 2005, that is not the case in 2016. There’s another difference: the Bush administration did not take disaster relief or the role of government in it seriously. The Obama administration does.

Here’s the deal. The Advocate’s news reporters are doing great work covering the flood. It’s a pity that the editorial page chose to play games with disaster relief. Shame on Mr. Kovacs and whoever else worked on or approved the editorial. Disasters are non-political events and the response to them should be too.

Heckuva job, Advocate.

8/19 UPDATE: Governor John Bel Edwards was interviewed by Rachel Maddow last night. Here’s what he had to say about a Presidential visit at this point in time:

“It is a major ordeal, they free up the interstate for him,” Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Thursday. “We have to take hundreds of local first responders, police officers, sheriffs, deputies and state troopers to provide security for that type of visit.”

“I would just as soon have those people engaged in the response rather than trying to secure the president,” Bel Edwards continued. “So I’d ask him to wait, if he would, another couple weeks.”

Repeat after me: Heckuva job, Advocate.

The Insult Comedian’s Not For Turning


I came up with this Margaret Thatcher inspired title *before*  I found the image above and the Trump campaign went alt-right white nationalist. The hiring of Breitbart malaka-in-chief Steve Bannon perfects Trump’s mancrush on guys named Steve. Who knows, David Duke may change his first name to Steve: he’s changed his appearance with bad plastic surgery over the last 30 years, after all. Since he’s a political freak, it’s fitting.

Back to Trump. The other day he channeled the spirit of Popeye:

“I am who I am,” Trump told WKBT-TV in Wisconsin during a one on one interview. “It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about ‘oh are you gonna pivot?’ I don’t want to pivot. I mean you have to be you.I f you start pivoting, you are not being honest with people.”

A recent poll showed Trump behind by double digits in Wisconsin, but Trump said that he is still not planning on changing his ways.

“I am who I am. I’ve gotten here in a landslide, and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said.

Trump is actually more like Bluto than anyone else although the thought of the dread Omarosa as Olive Oyl makes me giggle. I think Trump sycophant and Celebrity Apprentice winner Piers Morgan would make an excellent Wimpy. That concludes the toon analogy portion of the post.

The whole “I am who I am” thing made me think of one of Mrs. Thatcher’s most quotable lines, “The lady’s not for turning.” It was delivered to the 1980 Tory party conference amidst calls for a “U-Turn” on some of her more retrograde policies. I guess the Insult Comedian is hoping for similar results: Thatcher won two more general elections before being ousted like a Manafort hiring dictator in 1990. Never gonna happen, my friend. Read my lips: Donald Trump will not be the first Insult Comedian elected President.

Speaking of Team Trump tumult and turmoil, Manafort’s effective demotion was inevitable when all the “this campaign is sinking” stories began leaking out. It’s a pity that it’s not because of his sleazy ties to ousted Ukrainian strongman, Victor Yanukovych. The Trump campaign now has a CEO, Campaign Director, and Campaign Manager. That means nobody is in charge and the Insult Comedian can play them off against one another. It sounds like the Vatican during the papacy of the Borgia Pope, which gives me an excuse to post this again:


That is exactly what the latest Steve will bring to Team Trump. Breitbart is a racist, white nationalist web site that out Freepers the Freepers. Steve Bannon has *never* run a campaign of any kind, which makes him an amateur who’s rank in both meanings of the word. He’s an expert, however, at throwing shit against the wall and seeing how much of it sticks. I guess Trump was looking for a new Roy Cohn. If so, he’s found him. They also think that Roger is the cure for what Ailes the campaign. I hope Ivanka stays out of groping range…

The Trump campaign is like a sinking ship but in this instance the captain and crew are drilling holes to make it sink faster. Worst. National. Campaign. Ever.

It would be wise for the Republican rats to jump ship sooner than planned. Trump has turned the GOP into a white nationalist party and the likes of Reince Priebus enabled it. There’s a special place in hell for the man who Charlie Pierce calls Obvious Anagram Reince Priebus. He’s an obvious asshole with a deeply silly name. The only ones who are laughing are the Democrats, myself included.

Trump’s disastrous plunge in the polls has led to renewed speculation that he’s dropping out. I’ll give the last word to some Twitter smart ass:




True, it’s not over till it’s over, however … it’s getting damn close.

Bush’s Treasurer Endorses Hillary Clinton

GOPer Who Wrote Fiery Benghazi Mom’s RNC Speech: Clinton ‘Only Choice’ in Nov

Charlie Sykes was never  on the Trump Bandwagon, but I think he nailed it with this

And even the New York Times notes his latest campaign shakeup is the political equivalent of comfort food. The reviews all say epic stink bomb, though the show must go on. Donald will be Donald. No pivot. How low can he go.

Pretty damn low rhetorically…we’ll see how it pans out politically…

And, just to be personal for a moment, I’m very lucky re: the flood — my house sits on some of the higher ground around here, so no issues. Others, including many friends and co-workers, weren’t as lucky. Please keep them in your thoughts.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Pink Umbrella Murder

It doesn’t get much pulpier than a bloody pink umbrella:

Pink Umbrella

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Francis X. Pavy

Francis X. Pavy is an artist from Lafayette, Louisiana. He’s done some fine album covers for Gret Stet musicians. Here’s a sampler of his work:

From 1988, Michael Doucet & Cajun Brew by Michael Doucet:

Cajun Brew

From 1990, Women in the Room by Zachary Richard:

Women in the Room

From 2015, Two Universes by Feufollet:



The Joke’s Over, and It Was On Us All Along

If you haven’t read Adrastos from yesterday, go do that now. 

I’ll wait.

It’s hard to see one’s alma mater flooded. It’s apparently not too bad, but it’s a symbol of what a tough few days it’s been in South Louisiana. Anyone who lived in New Orleans in August, 2005 is having flashbacks right now. I certainly am.

Every time I write about meeting NOLA after the flood I write about the silence. Cities aren’t silent, or they shouldn’t be; they’re swift and clattering and alive, even in the middle of the night. Especially then. Even in the thin light of a late winter dawn, cities demand you wake up and pay attention. People talk about cities having a pulse and it’s not pointless poeticism; the rail lines hum even when the trains are miles away. Cities are only silent when something’s wrong.

I remember talking with someone over at the Crack Den in the comments, when the storm hit and it seemed like everyone was paralyzed, when it seemed like we could airlift food and money to countries thousands of miles away but couldn’t save drowning Americans in our own country. I remember saying I was nostalgic for simple government competence, for the nonpartisan response to disaster that assumed people were worth saving full stop. I remember saying, I miss George H.W. Bush.

“Hell,” a friend responded. “Right now I’d take Nixon.”

There are real things the president, the government we like to mock so much, has to do.

We’ve been alternately horrified and amused and then horrified again by the ongoing pile-up of various cars on the Trump Train, by the car that’s on fire and the car full of chickens that have gone rabid and the car emitting fart noises at national questions of immigration and security. Everyone has been joking and clowning but people need help right now. Who do you want in charge?

Do you want a short-sighted anger bear with undiagnosed ADD who’s willing to suck white power’s dick for a few more minutes on TV?

Or do you want a flawed, fundamentally competent person with whom you disagree on issues of varying importance to you and others, who you can at least count on not to let THE ENTIRE WORLD FUCKING DROWN?

Because those are your choices and this isn’t abstract. It isn’t stupid chyron-friendly words like “extreme vetting” and “secret e-mail” and it isn’t made-up Republican controversies like Benghazi Benghazi Benghazi. It’s, part of the country’s burning. What do you do?

Hillary, for all her flaws, would get a hose.

Trump would make s’mores and light his shirt on fire, dump a bottle of vodka on himself to try to put it out, and blame the interns on Twitter for the whole thing.

So we can jaw on all day about “both sides” and how Elizabeth Warren calling Trump a douchemook is the same as Paul Manafort taking money from Russia, about Bill Clinton’s non-stop pussy riot and Melania’s immigration status.

Or we can put in place somebody who’ll be ready when the floods roll back. That’s the choice we’re making. In the midst of all the sound and fury we should listen to the silence.


High Water Blues

I sat down at my desk thinking I’d write something about Trump’s ridiculous “extreme vetting” proposal. It gave the MSM a boner and delusions of the pivot they’re convinced will come. Then I saw this picture of flooding on the LSU campus:


Photograph via AP.

It’s hard to see one’s alma mater flooded. It’s apparently not too bad, but it’s a symbol of what a tough few days it’s been in South Louisiana. Anyone who lived in New Orleans in August, 2005 is having flashbacks right now. I certainly am.

The whole thing has given me a mild case of PTSD. The picture reminded me of the time I lost my shit in a hospital in Dallas in September, 2005. My cousin’s wife had just had a baby and I learned of the suicide of a cop friend from the teevee in the room. I lost my shit, religion whatever you want to call it. I’m perhaps the least emotional Greek you’ll ever meet but I wept bitter tears that day. My cousin swept me up and out to lunch. I regained my composure but I’ll never forget learning of Paul’s death on the teevee. It’s not how ordinary people are supposed to learn of the passing of a friend; not a close friend but we were all one then. The people in the flood zone need to have the same feeling about one another. That’s the best way to pull through and survive this disaster.

The flooding has triggered memories of Dr. A and my friend Michel who was dying of cancer when the storm hit and ended up in Dallas:

After a week in Shreveport, we moved to my cousin’s house near Dallas. Dr. A kept trying to get Michel; one day she got an answer. It was the first time she’d gotten through to anyone from home on their cell phone. It turned out to be a bittersweet moment. The phone was answered by Michel’s girlfriend, Georgeanne. She, too, was in Dallas at a relative’s house. Michel’s mother Miss Evelyn, who is in her mid-Seventies but looks twenty years younger, was with her. We learned that Michel was still alive but fading fast. He’d landed in an hospice in North Dallas.

We fought the crosstown Dallas traffic and found the hospice. Dr. A was relieved to see that it was a clean and well-maintained facility. We had to do some fast talking to find Michel’s room. It was made trickier by the fact that his real first name was Michael. We told them that he had been evacuated from New Orleans and had lung cancer. One of the staff said: “Oh, you must mean that incredibly nice black fellow who came in a few days ago.” When we got to his room, we found Michel dead. He was still warm. We had just missed him.

That’s happening to people in other parts of South Louisiana as I write this. It’s the disruption and chaos of a catastrophe. It’s hard to say how bad the Gret Stet flood of 2016 will be. It doesn’t matter: nature has tossed South Louisiana in the air like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s up to the people in the flood zone to pick up the pieces. Louisiana is full of people with great virtues and outsized flaws. One of our virtues is that we’re tough and know how to recover from the High Water Blues. Repeat after me: there’s a Jayhawks song for every occasion:

How To Help South Louisiana

South Louisiana is having one of the worst floods in its history.  Our readers are well-known for opening their hearts and wallets to help people in need. Here are a few ways you can help the victims of the Gret Stet flood of 2016.

Second Harvest Food Bank.

United Way of Southeast Louisiana Flood Relief.

Finally, Denham Springs is one of the hardest hit communities. Here’s a link to a gofundme to support the Denham Springs Aminal Shelter.

Thanks in advance for helping. Our readers rock as well as rule.