We’re back on the weather roller coaster in New Orleans. One day it’s unseasonably warm, the next it’s colder than average. It’s almost as crazy as the Current Occupant of the White House. Did you see that insane press conference by the least racist and anti-Semitic person ever? In response to the crazy, I tweeted this:
I hope all the Busters and Steiners are happy right now. They insisted that there was no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They were wrong. She’s sane.
Did y’all see the cartoon that was based on the Norman Rockwell painting that’s this week’s featured image? Here it is on the Tweeter Tube. I refuse to upload it:
That’s right, folks, Cartoonist Glenn (Not The Real) McCoy compared billionaire dilettante Betsy DeVos to NOLA’s own Ruby Bridges That’s preposterous and typical of the whiny titty babies on the Right in 2017.
Btw, BuzzFeed: You got something wrong.
On Sunday, the Belleville News-Democrat published this cartoon by Glenn McCoy. It appears to equate Betsy DeVos, Trump’s controversial pick for secretary of education, with Ruby Bridges, the first black child to attend an all-white school in the South.
Ruby Bridges *was* the first black student to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960. She was not the first overall: that honor belonged to the Little Rock Nine in 1957. The last I heard New Orleans was in the South. Y’all should spend less time cutting and pasting tweets and more time on research.
This week’s theme song fits both my mood and the temper of the times. The Forecast (Calls For Pain) comes from Robert Cray’s brilliant 1990 album Midnight Stroll:
It’s time to take a midnight stroll to the break. The forecast is for more mirth than pain on the other side.
Since I mentioned the song Midnight Stroll, here it is:
As our readers know, I am a believer in the power of political satire. That’s where we’ll start today’s Odds and Soddery. Is soddery a word? I’m not sure. It’s time to sod off and sound off about satire.
21st Century Feast Of Fools: We begin this segment with a quote from Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s fine article at BBC Culture about the importance of satire.
Throughout history, comedy has proven to be one of the most effective forms of resistance, especially for those under tyrannical rule; comedians can claim they were just kidding, after all, or subtly mock a leader without naming him or her. It’s such an important release valve for any society that even some medieval monarchies made room for the masses to laugh at their leaders during the annual Feast of Fools, in which masters served slaves and peasants played at leadership positions, led by an appointed Lord of Misrule as king.
Lord of Misrule? Sounds like the Insult Comedian to me. Now that I think of it, Lout of Misrule is more accurate. Remember when I said the Trumpers couldn’t organize a one car funeral? After the Out Like Flynn fiasco, I have my doubts they could pull that off.
Where the hell was I? Oh yeah, Armstrong’s points about the necessity of satire in tough times are well taken, especially when the leader cannot laugh at himself. Trump specializes in self-aggrandization, not self-deprecation. Only the latter is funny. If it were anyone else, I’d pity him, but it’s Trump so I won’t. Fuck you sideways, Donald.
When I saw Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s byline, the name rang a bell. It turns out that she’s friends with Athenae and Mr. A. It’s a small fucking world after all. I’ll spare you the trite Disney tune…
Armstrong does a swell survey of the state of satire around the globe. Her article is the cat’s ass. I’m not sure why I like that phrase but I do. What can I tell ya? It’s probably due to my late cat Pogo who was particularly fond of presenting and butt-lifting. I guess that makes me anal retentive…
Let’s move on from satire to espionage. That may be a jarring transition, but I’m interested in spy shit. Y’all should know that by now. One could even call me John Cash & LeCarre. I’m uncertain if that pun worked, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. And I gotta pun.
The Smartest Spy In The Room: The Guardian’s Shaun Walker tells the remarkable story of Jack Barsky who was born Albrecht Dittrich in East Germany. Barsky became a sleeper agent in the US for the KGB. That’s right, he was a real life Philip Jennings of The Americans. I’m not sure if he had as many snazzy wigs as Philip. You’ll have to read the story to find out.
I’m considering recapping season five of The Americans. Consider yourself forewarned.
It’s time to discuss another Armstrong. Louis Armstrong; in a piece by First Draft pun consultant, James Karst.
Shit Sammich, Poor Boy, or Po’Boy? You Decide: This segment is a late addition to the Saturday post. It was inspired by a series of tweets starting with one by CNN’s Jake Tapper. It appears to be the Jake Tapper decade, y’all.
A few weeks back, Karst wrote a Zombie-Picayune piece pondering the origins of the po’ boy or poor boy sammich. Some believe that the poor boy was created in 1929 but neither Karst nor I are certain:
In September, I wrote about the murky origins of the sandwich, which lore has it was invented by the Martin brothers, Benny and Clovis, to serve to striking streetcar motormen and conductors in 1929.
That version of events, I wrote, is suspicious for several reasons, starting with the fact that it wasn’t described by the local press until 40 years after the strike, and that prior to 1969 the story from the Martin brothers themselves was that they had created the po-boy for farmers, dock workers and other “poor boys” who frequented their original location near the French Market. (The Martin brothers did write a letter, reprinted in local newspapers in 1929, promising to feed the streetcar workers, but it referenced “our meal” and made no mention of sandwiches.)
Furthermore, the basic construction of the sandwich was not new. A fried oyster sandwich served in a loaf of fresh bread was described in The Daily Picayune in 1851; cookbooks published as far back as the 1760s have a rendition of the oyster loaf.
Then there’s the case of jazz clarinetist Sidney Bechet, who in his autobiography, “Treat It Gentle,” describes having a meal with Louis Armstrong and another young musician after a gig in New Orleans in the 1910s.
“We went out and bought some beer with the money and got those sandwiches, Poor Boys, they’re called — a half a loaf of bread split open and stuffed with ham,” Bechet writes in the book, published in 1960, a year after his death.
Satchmo and Bechet certainly have cachet with me. It’s not dispositive, and the sammich may not have been named until 1929. BUT its origin remains murkier than the Atchafalaya swamp at dusk. This is an important story to New Orleanians since we’re swamped with food lore. I’m not sure who Lore is but, apparently, she’s important. I wonder if she knows the origins of the poo poo boy…
Now that we’ve gotten our shit together, lets move on to a recurring feature than I stole from Spy Magazine:
Separated At Birth: This pairing of Senator Mitch McConnell and Irene Ryan who played Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies has been floating around Facebook for the last few weeks.
Note that Ms. Ryan had a stronger chin than Chinless Mitch. Then again, who doesn’t?
This pairing makes me want to take a dip in the cee-ment pond, make lye soap, eat possum, and become a double-knot spy. Uh oh, I just outed myself as a Beverly Hillbillies viewer. So, I liked the show when I was a kid. Sue me. It’s just another revelation of my trash teevee watching habits. Hey, the Clampetts were much nicer than Chinless Mitch who reminds me of that dastardly banker Mr. Drysdale. Fuck you, Milburn.
Saturday Classic: It’s time for some space age pop with this week’s pairing (there’s that word again) of the greatest pianist and arranger of that era: Oscar Peterson and Nelson Riddle. I had no idea this 1964 album existed until I did a Riddle search. I saw this and it did a full-Nelson on me so I had to post it.
Beware, take care. There are commercials but it’s still pretty darn cool.
That’s it for now. Last week’s closing bat-meme featured Frank Gorshin as the Riddler. This time around, it’s the infinitely less manic Nelson Riddle with Nat King Cole.