Saturday Odds & Sods: Closing Time

Man Ray
Observatory Time: The Lovers by Man Ray.

Foreword: I wrote this post before all hell broke loose in the Presidential campaign. Why anyone is surprised that Trump would say shit like he did on that audio tape is beyond me. It is, however, amusing to see how uncomfortable the Halperins and Cillizza’s of the world are right now. Fuck them sideways. As to the party that nominated this creep, here’s how I put it on Twitter:

It’s time to return to our regularly scheduled programming.

After a brief cool down, it’s still hotter than a vat of ghost peppers in New Orleans. It’s October, y’all. This is getting tiresome as are my complaints, which are trivial compared to having an uninvited guest like Hurricane Matthew. It looks like the fucker may loop back and pay South Florida another visit. Isn’t having Mike Scott as Governor punishment enough?

Image by Michael F.

This week’s big local story involves Jefferson Parish politics. Parish President Mike Yenni is caught up in a sexting scandal. He spent the past week hiding under his bed in Kenner, brah. He finally resurfaced with a video that kinda sorta explains why a 40-year-old married pol was sexting a 17 year-old boy. Oops. He’d been ducking everyone for days before this modified, limited hangout. Yenni even avoided a public meeting by informing the JP Council that he was deploying to Florida with his Navy Reserve unit until mid-October. He’s clearly vital personnel: he’s a public information officer. Did I say vital? Maybe not, but he’s going after Hurricane Matthew armed with whatever navy flacks are armed with in 2016. Perhaps he’ll do some naughty nautical tweeting. I’d avoid texting if I were you, Mikey.

Yenni is a third generation Jefferson Parish president; both his grandfather, Joe, and uncle Mike served in the same position. And both have public buildings named for them. The Yennis are a big deal in the burbs, which is why little Mikey changed his last name from Maunoir to Yenni. His mother was the Other Mike’s sister, which gave her boy a yen to change his name to Yenni. It was even an issue in his last campaign but he won. He’s gone from Boy Wonder to Boy Blunder in a matter of weeks.

Mikey has been caught with his pants down but may not face the music until mid-October. Thanks, Matthew. Either Maunoir or Yenni is a better name than that of his fellow sexter, Anthony Weiner. I’ll let y’all know how this turns out: people are already calling for his resignation, including my friend Clancy. The story is funny unless younger boys are involved: the age of consent in the Gret Stet is 17. Then it’s Linkmeyerian satire and not funny. Now that I think of it, Frank Linkmeyer is a rather sausagey name. Come on down, Mr. Weiner…

That concludes this episode of “as Jefferson Parish turns.”

Let’s move on to a more cheerful topic:  this week’s theme song. It’s my favorite Leonard Cohen song Closing Time. No, I’m not closing down Saturday Odds & Sods, I picked it because Athenae went all Cohen fan girl this week. We have two versions for your listening pleasure. One by the songwriter himself and the other by my friends in Fairport Convention. My fellow horrid punster Simon Nicol really nails the lead vocal. It helps to have as deep a voice as Leonard.

It’s time to close out this part of the post and run the fast break to the break in this rather sports heavy post. Holy full court pressure, Batman.

I used to do a Miles Davis impression. It involved speaking in a gravelly voice and swearing like a motherfucker. It wasn’t terribly convincing but it wasn’t terrible either. Let’s move on to our first segment, which is-you guessed it-about Miles Davis.

Miles Beyond: There’s a marvelous essay in the New York Review of Books by Adam Shatz, The Sorcerer of Jazz. I like it so much that I’ll *try* not to pun on Adam’s surname. Of course *that* word reminds me of a film title: To Surname With Love. Miles Davis, however, was nothing like his contemporary Sidney Poitier.

Shatz’s piece starts off as a review of Don Cheadle’s recent Davis bio-pic, Miles Ahead. I haven’t seen it yet because it only played here for a hot minute. No, make that fucking hot since it was this year. I cannot stop moaning and pissing about the heat. I should suck it up and be more like Miles. That means I can still say fuck a lot.

Back to the piece. It’s a classic NYRB essay that extrapolates on its subject; much like Jazz. Here’s s sample of how Adam does not shatz on his subject.

Davis became known as “the sorcerer” because of his alchemical flair for transforming the humblest of materials—a Tin Pan Alley song, a simple bass line, even another musician’s wrong note—into an exalted form of expression. Shy to the point of taciturnity, he rarely spoke to his sidemen, except to offer the occasional cryptic instruction—“play [guitar] like you don’t know how to play the guitar,” he told the guitarist John McLaughlin—yet he knew how to inspire their best playing. He also knew how to make their compositions sound better, as if he had distilled a cloudy liquid. The keyboardist Joe Zawinul was aghast at Davis’s ruthless arrangement of “In a Silent Way,” which Davis used as the title track of his 1969 recording with Zawinul, but Davis illuminated qualities its composer hadn’t quite discerned.

Easily bored by what he called “old shit,” Davis shed styles as soon as they risked settling into formula. When “cool” lost its edge in the hands of white West Coast musicians, he pioneered hard bop, a simplified, funkier style of bop that reasserted jazz’s roots. When hard bop hardened into its own set of sweaty clichés, he gravitated to “modal” jazz, which used scales rather than chord changes as a harmonic frame. When Ornette Coleman launched the “free jazz” revolution, Davis looked on from the sidelines with a disdain that barely concealed his anger at being upstaged by a weird-looking alto player from Texas, but he soon formed a visionary quintet with a group of young Coleman admirers. And when he grew frustrated with the limits of acoustic jazz, he combined it with electric instruments in a mélange that, in the late 1960s, became known as “fusion” or “jazz-rock.”

I should apologize for that horrendous pun but I don’t want to start a pernicious trend. I could, however, blame Karst, he *is* my pun consultant, after all. But he’s got enough on his plate being a Cubs fan. Btw, if I have to hear one more time about the curse of the goat, I’m going to call someone a goatfucker…

Now that I’ve played confuse-a-reader, why should I stop? Shatz mentioned Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. Here’s a piece he wrote in honor of Miles:

That just happens to be the title of the segment. See, I can make sense when I want to. That made more sense than Google classifying Miles Beyond as pop. Say what? Perhaps they heard that the Insult Comedian thinks Sly Stallone is a genius. Yo. Time to punch some meat before moving on.

Now that we’ve had some Shatz and giggles, we’ll start the next segment with a picture of then New Orleans Hornets power forward, David West, with President Obama:


David West played for the New Orleans Hornets from 2003-2011. Along with his mentor PJ Brown, he remains my favorite NOLA NBA player past or present. PJ won a championship with the Celtics in 2008 and David has spent the last five years moving from the Pacers to the Spurs to the Warriors. As a result of his peregrinations, some hoops fans have called him a Ring Chaser. The Ringer’s Jordan Ritter Conn has written a stirring defense of my main man David and why he’s willing to play for less to win a title. Hint: he’s a smart guy, invested his money wisely, and is not a greedy bastard.

There’s another swell feature about David West by Mark J. Spears at the Undefeated. This one is about his politics and how he has quietly been protesting during the Star Bangled Banner for years.

An always introspective David West was last in line while standing about 2 feet behind his new Golden State Warriors teammates during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner before their preseason opener Saturday.

While the rest of the Warriors players stood in line across the court, as usual, West’s actions could have been perceived as the latest athlete protest of the national anthem following San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s move. West told The Undefeated, however, that he actually has been last in line and standing just behind his teammates during the national anthem for years. It just went unnoticed as West says his personal stance is about issues “a lot deeper” than just the major one Kaepernick is raising.

That’s what happens when you spend your time on the road reading. I already liked D West but I like him even more after reading this piece. I hope he gets his ring this year. Sorry, Doc.

We stay in the world of sports with our next segment. In fact, it’s the second week in a row that I’ve honored the retirement of a broadcasting legend.

Vin Scully’s Last Hurrah: My stock line about the Dodgers is that there’s only one thing I like about them: Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. It’s made easier by the fact that he grew up a Giants fan and recently re-iterated that Willie Mays is his favorite player of all-time. Not Duke, Sandy, or Jackie: Willie Fucking Mays. Of course, Vin told Willie that he “wore the wrong uniform” when he joined Vin in the booth during his last broadcast. It was a road game against my team and our fans gave him a rousing send-off. I hope it gives us good karma in our series against the Cubbies.

One of my favorite current sports writers, Jonah Keri, wrote an oustanding tribute to Scully for Vulture. It was so good that I forgot to inquire about Mulder. Btw, I recently read Jonah’s book about the the late, great Montreal Expos. It’s awesome but the title is so long that I’m posting a cover picture instead of  doing the old cut-n-paste:


And you thought this post was long. Time for the mandatory movie feature:

The Best Of Robert Altman: I was quite proud of my Kaine-Pence debate wrap-up, Instant Analysis: The Debate As Altman Film. I don’t think anyone else compared it to an Altman film. I like going where others fear to tread unless there’s dog shit on the ground. It occurred to me that I should give you my Altman Top Ten list. Holy BuzzFeed, Batman:

  1. Nashville
  2. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  3.  M*A*S*H
  4. The Player
  5. The Long Goodbye
  6. Short Cuts
  7. California Split
  8. Gosford Park
  9. Cookie’s Fortune
  10. Tie: Buffalo Bill and the Indians. Thieves Like Us.

The list is in no particular order *after* the top three.  Buffalo Bill and the Indians is Altman’s most underrated film. What’s not to like about a movie with both Paul Newman and Burt Lancaster? Not a damn thing.

Saturday Classic: You were probably wondering when I was going to post some Miles Davis. I’d be Kind of Blue if I failed to do so.

That’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with more Shatz and giggles or is that shitz and giggles or even Schlitz and giggles? I know what Miles would say: Make up your fucking mind, motherfucker.



2 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Closing Time

  1. I forgot about that Fairport outing which has a number of memorable tracks, much more so than recent stuff.

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