The unseasonably cool weather continued through the middle of this week in New Orleans. Summer’s cauldron is finally upon us, but this May has a chance to be one of the coolest on record. The coolish weather has thus far kept the Formosan termite swarms in check in my neighborhood. I have another theory: that the new and very bright street lights on Napoleon Avenue are attracting the swarms and keeping them away from Adrastos World HQ. It’s just a theory but if I’m right it will be a less swarmy and pestiferous year.
Actually, I should give credit where it’s really due:
I’m burnt out on Lost Cause Fest. I’m glad that the Lee statue came down in broad daylight yesterday. At 16 feet tall, it was too big to be removed at night. I’m just glad it’s over. I haven’t gone to spectate at any of the removal spectacles; mostly because it’s slow, arduous, and somewhat boring. Lost Cause Fest involves statues but it doesn’t rock. This front page headline does:
This week’s featured image is a 1947 painting by Clifford Odets. Until I saw last Monday’s Antiques Roadshow, I had no idea that the playwright/screenwriter was a gifted painter. I guess that’s why they call PBS educational television.
This week’s theme song was written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer for a 1943 Fred Astaire movie, The Sky’s The Limit. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) is the torch song’s torch song or is that the saloon song’s saloon song? I am easily confused but you already knew that. If I were pretentious, I’d tell you that I curated three versions of the song but I’m neither a curate nor a cure-all…
We begin with Fred Astaire singing to an indifferent bartender named Joe followed by fabulous versions by Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Frank called it a saloon song whereas Billie torched it up, y’all. There will be more about torches anon.
Now that Joe has set ’em up, let’s go to the break. It’s not a spoiler break as with The Americans recaps, it’s more of a length break. I do tend to go on.
We begin with a serious piece that was the subject of much controversy and judgy-ness on Social Media this week. It’s the cover story of the June Atlantic Monthly.
My Family’s Slave: The family in question was that of Fillipino-American writer, Alex Tizon. The slave in question was Lola, a woman who was “given” to Tizon’s mother by his grandfather. I genuinely have no idea what I would have done: turning in his mother would have blown the family up. On the hand, Lola was a slave although the author did attempt to make her life better when he became an adult. I’ll let you decide what you think for yourself by clicking here. It’s a real gobsmacker.
I swore I wouldn’t write about monuments again but then my friend Piano Dave linked on FB to a swell piece from the Smithsonian Magazine. That’s why it’s time to pay a return visit to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
What Richmond Has Gotten Right About Interpreting Its Confederate History is a fascinating article about how another black majority Southern city has handled its own monuments issue. They did it with planning and foresight, two qualities New Orleans isn’t known for. We do everything at the last-minute.
Historian Kevin M. Levin brings some nuance to this issue. I’m big on nuance. Click here for some nuance romance. Is that a thing?
While we’re at it, I want to plug Parenthetical’s guest post about the tiki torch Lost Cause Fest march in Charlottesville. If you haven’t read it, do it now. And if you have, do it again, do it again. That post gave me:
The Saturday Benign Earworm: It comes from the wild, wacky, and weird mind of David Lindley. Btw, Dave knows how to spell torches. It’s spelled right on my copy of the original CD. So it goes.
That earworm begat one by John Hiatt:
The White House isn’t the only place in Washington that’s bringing the stupid. Let’s climb Capitol Hill.
The Adrastos Wayback Machine: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is back in the news. He’s best known for his foot-in-mouth disease. This time it’s a private comment about Trump being on Putin’s payroll. Speaker Ryan’s spokescreep initially denied the comment was ever made but had to walk that lie back when he was told there was a recording. Oops
The party line is that it’s a joke. I’m inclined to believe it’s a joke/gaffe since McCarthy’s bid to succeed Speaker Boner was ended by the gaffe documented in my 2015 post: Untrustable In Hungria: The Kevin McCarthy Story.
I’d like to thank McCarthy for giving me a pretext to link to one of my funnier efforts. He’s a helluva ventriloquist’s dummy. In his case, the word dummy should be taken literally.
The Saturday GIF: I’m continuing the silent comedy theme with Harpo Marx, He, of course, worked in talkies, but was the silent counterpart to his garrulous brothers Groucho and Chico. Zeppo also attended.
I don’t know about you but I’ve long fantasized about doing this during a Carnival parade. It’s only a dream as I’d get my ass kicked by an outraged band chaperone if I did it. Unlike a certain president* I have impulse control.
Saturday Classic: In 1952 Norman Granz of Verve Records convinced Fred Astaire to record songs from his film career with a jazz ensemble. And what a band it was: Oscar Peterson on piano; Charlie Shavers on trumpet; Flip Phillips on sax; Barney Kessel on guitar; Ray Brown on bass and Alvin Stoller on drums. Fred, of course, sang and did a bit of tap dancing as well. The record gave an entirely new twist to The Astaire Story.
That’s it for this week. It’s time for me to dance off into the sunset. Holy mixed musical and western metaphor, Batman. I’ll give the last word to Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer: