Saturday Odds & Sods: Fate’s Right Hand

Reply To Red by Yves Tanguy.

Spring is prime time for crawfish boils or as the natives say, berls. We’ve been to two in the last three weeks. The first one involved some of the usual suspects and nothing unusual happened other than a five-year-old girl pointing at the sacks of live crawfish and asking, “When will they be dead?” That’s a sassy Louisiana child, y’all. It’s one reason why her mama nicknamed her the Benevolent Dictator. I’m not so sure about the first bit though…

Something quite eventful happened last weekend at the second shebang. The berl was thrown (not by Milton Berle or Burl Ives) by one of Dr. A’s first year medical students. He’s an older student who was a helicopter pilot in the Army and is still a reservist. That’s one reason he lives at Jackson Barracks near Arabi, Louisiana. That’s right, it was an Arabi spring crawfish berl…

When I first heard our host’s name, I remarked that it was the same name as the man who sold us our house after renovating it in 2000. It’s a fairly common name so we agreed it was unlikely that her student was a Junior. Guess what? It’s a small fucking world after all. Our host’s father had indeed renovated Adrastos World HQ and Dr. A’s student had worked on the project. The latter was somewhat freaked out by the string of coincidences but I told him not to sweat it because it made him de facto teacher’s pet. Besides, the man knows how to boil crawfish. It’s an indispensable skill as far as I’m concerned.

This week’s theme song is the title track of Rodney Crowell’s 2003 album, Fate’s Right Hand. It seems that one of his daughters didn’t care for the song at the time. Somewhere in my archives I have a circa 2004 Crowell concert at which he introduced Fate’s Right Hand  more or less as follows:

“My daughter hates this song. She told me it’s undignified for me to talk about poontang and the narrator of the song having a pole in his pants. I told her that I’m a country singer and her mother and grandfather are both country singers. We’re not dignified people.  She reminded me that Grandpa Johnny was the most dignified person she knew. I couldn’t argue that point so I changed the subject.”

Fate’s Right Hand is a list song. The most famous list song I can think of is Irving Berlin’s You’re The Top. Another list song classic is REM’s It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine.) I don’t feel like listing list songs so here’s Fate’s Right Hand:

Rodney is fond of list songs. He wrote one about greedy yuppies for his 2005 album, The Outsider complete with the refrain: give it to me, give it to me. I will comply:

Give it to me, give it to me. You may not be as demanding as the coked-out greed head in the song but let’s take a break anyway. Give it to me, give it to me.

I originally planned to use another Crowell song as the theme song but it’s hard to beat Fate’s Right Hand as a title. It’s one reason why Rodney used it as the title track instead of Still Learning To Fly, which is the first song on that album. Since I snubbed it as the theme song I owe it an apology: “Life’s been good I guess. My ragged old heart’s been blessed.” Oops, that was a quote, not an apology. Oh well. Here it is:

That was an ugly patch full of turbulence and poor piloting. Speaking of ugly, let’s talk baseball uniforms back in the mid-1970’s. I’ll let the NYT icon thing serve as the segment header. Who am I to argue with Nolan Fucking Ryan?

Unlike Todd Radom, I hate ugly uniforms. It’s somewhat ironic that a man who frequently wears Hawaiian shirts hates loud baseball uniforms. I plead guilty to hypocrisy. Here’s my rationalization: spurred by the success of the ugly uniformed Oakland A’s, my Giants followed the trend. It was not pretty to see them wearing softball uniforms.

Even the elegant Willie McCovey looked like a clown in that uniform. I guess he got used to ugly unis during his brief stay with the San Diego Padres. Their uniforms at the time were shit brown in color. Not a good look. Ever. For anybody.

Did any of y’all know that Emily Post’s great-great-grandkids are carrying on her legacy? Me neither until I read the next piece.

The Polite Family Business: Cousins Lizzie and Dan Post are etiquette mavens in an increasingly rude world. They’re attempting to bring the Emily Post brand into the digital age. I wish them well: good manners make the world a better place. Laura Miller has the details at Slate.

Speaking of the digital age, let’s pay a visit to the Tweeter Tube.

Tweet Of The Week: Hats off to the Insult Comedian for making me laugh: unintentional comedy is often the best comedy. I simply cannot get enough of this clip.

Clueless or nefarious? You decide.

Donald Trump is the teevee-watcher-in-chief. That brings me to the next segment: a Netflix teevee show recommendation. I doubt that Trumpy would like it. There are too many free spirits in it.

Jack Taylor is an Irish crime drama starring Iain Glenn who is best known as Jorah on Game of Thrones. We watched this series out of curiosity to see if he can carry a series as the leading man. I am glad to answer that in the affirmative.

Jack is the scamp’s scamp. He was thrown out of the Garda (national police) for insubordination and overall unpredictability. He became what the Irish call a finder but we call a private detective, shamus, private eye. There are a few stereotypical aspects to the character: he’s an alcoholic Irishman with mother issues. BUT the stories are first-rate as is Ian Glenn even though he’s a Scotsman playing an Irishman, man. And the location is unusual for a drama set in Ireland: Galway as opposed to Dublin or the countryside.

Here’s a trailer for the first season:

Jack Taylor is streaming on Netflix. I give it 3 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B, and a Hibernian thumbs up. I thought I’d give Roger’s thumb the week off…

Let’s move on to a new semi-regular feature. Who among us doesn’t love those zany animated GIFs? This one is a pip.

The Saturday GIF: Buster Keaton was one of the funniest gentiles ever. As his films gained popularity, his gags got more elaborate and dangerous. This image is from 1928’s Steamboat Bill Jr. No CGI was involved. Buster remained deadpan as always.

Buster Keaton GIF by Kino Lorber - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’m rolling out the new features this week like either a crazy monkey or Krazy Kat. Given my recent Herriman fixation, it’s probably the latter.

Benign Earworm Of The Week: I blame this one on the character of Erica in The Goldbergs. In a recent episode, she has a brief stint as the worst busker ever. It’s not because she cannot sing: it’s the location. She busks in the parking lot of a mini-mart in suburban Jenkintown, PA. In the rain…

Erica sings a solo acoustic version of Toto’s Africa, eventually substituting Jenkintown for Africa. I cannot get it out of my head, so I’ll try the expulsion by sharing method. It usually works. Will it for Toto too? Let’s give it a shot.

I like that song. If you don’t, sue me. Let’s close it out as we usually do with more music.

Saturday Classic: I wrote about 10cc’s I Wanna Rule The World yesterday. While doing so, I learned that the album it comes from, How Dare You, is on the YouTube. Just remember: don’t hang up.

That’s it for now. I kept it relatively light this week because the world is a scary place in 2017. Speaking of scary, I’m taking the closing meme back to its Bat-roots with Danny DeVito as the Penguin from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. Keep it creepy, Oswald.