Carnival kicks into full swing this weekend. We’re about to have parades and company up the wazoo. I remain uncertain as to what the wazoo is but I think it’s first cousin to the ying-yang or the place where the moon don’t shine.
One downside of Carnival are the creeps who try to appropriate the public green as their own private space. We call them the Krewe of Chad or Chads for short. For the first time in years, the city decided to enforce the existing ordinances against ladders, couches and such being left on the sidewalks and neutral grounds. The Chads were outraged. They’re always either outraged or entitled hence the 2016 Krewe of Spank theme, Clash of the Entitled.
You may recall the mishigas over the Forever Lee Circle beads. In a fit of hashtag activism, someone decided to do something about it:
Since we have both night and day parades, I picked a classic for this week’s theme song, Night and Day. It doesn’t get more classic than Cole Porter, y’all. We have two versions for your listening pleasure, Ella Fitzgerald followed by a swell 1995 version by the Temptations.
Now that we’ve heard the boom, boom of the tom-toms, let’s jump to the break. See you on the other side.
We begin our second act with a must-read piece that graced the cover of the Atlantic Monthly:
Paul Manafort: American Dirtbag- Franklin Foer has written an exhaustive profile of the disgraced political consultant. Foer paints a picture of a man who used to be on top of the world but had reached the end of his rope when he became Trump’s campaign manager. Anyone with a lick of sense should have been suspicious when Manafort offered to work for free. Of course, the only thing Trump’s sycophants lick is his ample ass. Yuck.
Let’s move on from the seedy but well-dressed Mr. Manafort to the anniversary of a book that is a cultural phenomenon.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein At 200: I remember the first time I saw the 1931 movie version of Frankenstein on teevee. It was on KTVU’s Creature Features hosted by the waspish and witty Bob Wilkins. I was blown away by Boris Karloff’s performance as the monster and by James Whale’s brauvura direction. Little did I know that Whale would grow up to be Ian McKellen…
When I raved to my mother about the movie, she went to a bookshelf and pulled out a paperback and said, “The book is always better.”
The book was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
As usual, my mother was right. I read the book in a rush and the prose and imagery used by Ms. Shelley have stuck with me to this day.
I’d like to direct your attention to two outstanding essays about the 200th anniversary of this great novel:
I’m not the only one who is obsessed with Frankenstein. Mary Shelley’s creature creation figures in a Garcia-Hunter song:
Just like Mary Shelley
Just like Frankenstein
Clank your chains and count your change
And try to walk the line
I nearly made Ramble On Rose this week’s theme song but went with Cole instead. I’m sure the ghost of Karloff will forgive me. I’m less certain about Jerry’s ghost.
Speaking of monsters, it’s the day before the Super Bowl. I dislike both teams so I’ll sit this one out. I’m not sure I’m in the mood to watch Tom Brady pull out another victory. It may, however, be the last Super Bowl for the Belichick-Brady Patriots.
The End Of The Line? A story by Seth Wickersham of ESPN caused a stir when it was published last month. It deals with a power struggle between head coach Bill Belichick, owner Robert Kraft, and the bionic QB,Tom Brady. As far as I’m concerned there are only villains in this story even if Brady is from my home town. The terrible threesome have all played footsie with Donald Trump and deserve whatever fate awaits them.
I guess I’m pulling for the Philadelphia Eagles as the lesser of two evils. Eagles fans were featured in one of my favorite films of the decade, after all:
The Goldbergs are also Eagles fans:
While we’re on subject of things that make me laugh:
Mort Walker, R.I.P. When I was a kid, Beetle Bailey was my favorite comic strip. The creator of the zany gang at Camp Swampy, Mort Walker, died last week at the age of 94.
The failing New York Times published a swell tribute by Cullen Murphy. Here’s the icon link thing:
Saturday GIF Horse: Beetle Bailey was my favorite comic strip as a kid and Get Smart was my favorite sitcom. At the time, of course, I had no idea that Mel Brooks was one of the show’s creators.
Control had a device that might come in handy at the Trump White House, the Cone of Silence:
Actually, I think the Insult Comedian should sleep in one of these since he’s in deep shit with Melania in the wake of the Stormy Daniels story. Believe me.
Let’s wrap things up, as always, with some music.
Saturday Classic: Dinah Washington was a remarkably talented jazz singer who died way too young: 39. In her day, she was also well-known for her marriage to pro football Hall of Fame defensive back, Night Train Lane who still holds the NFL single season record for most interceptions with 14.
Dinah Jams is a 1954 live album with a stellar band that included Clark Terry, Max Roach, Clifford Brown, and Maynard Ferguson.
That’s it for this week. I have house cleaning and Carnivaling to do. The last word goes to 2017’s Krewe of Spank. We travel in packs, armed with paddles, y’all.