Saturday Odds & Sods: Caravan

The Egg by Tarsila do Amaral.

We suffered from weather whiplash in New Orleans this week. It was 84 degrees on Monday within 36 hours the temperature had dropped 40 degrees. My, my, my.

It’s election day in next door Jefferson Parish where they’re about to elect a new Sheriff. Long-time incumbent Newell Normand resigned last summer to become a talk radio big mouth. I don’t get talk radio: the idea of listening to anyone bloviate for three hours does not float my boat. It might even sink it.

The one certainty of the race is that a Republican with an Italian name will be elected. Interim Sheriff Joe Lopinto was anointed by Normand who, in turn, was anointed by the late Harry Lee. His opponent, John Fortunato, was the department spokescop for many years. He’s best known for bringing Steven Seagal and his crappy reality cop show, Lawman, to Jefferson Parish.

If Lopinto wins, it may be down to an error made on live teevee by Fortunato. He said that he’d support pervy parish President Mike Yenni about whom I’ve written in this space. Oopsie. He changed his mind but the damage was done. This ad tying the unfortunate Fortunato to Yenni has been running constantly this week:

It’s a powerful job and Lopinto has momentum as the campaign winds down. Winning the election could be a guarantee of lifelong employment: Lopinto is only the fourth Sheriff since 1964.

Welcome to Disambiguation City with this week’s theme song. (It’s not far from Sufragette City. Wham, bam, thank you m’am.) We have three different songs titled Caravan for your listening pleasure. I give you in chronological order: Duke Ellington, Van Morrison with The Band, and Todd Rundgren and Utopia.

Now that we’ve ridden across Eastern Europe with a Romany/Gypsy caravan, it’s time to jump to the break. Happy landings.

We begin our second act with a brief discussion of this week’s featured artist, Tarsila do Amaral. Tarsila is so famous in her native Brazil that she’s known only by her first name. I’d never heard of her before seeing a piece on CBS Sunday Morning about a retrospective show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Learning about Tarsila is another reason I’m a proud Sunday Morning viewer. Here’s the clip:

White Girl, White Lies Redux: I’m not sure what to make of Olivia Nuzzi’s New York Magazine profile of Hope Hicks. Hicks clearly co-operated with Nuzzi but declined to be quoted. We learn that Trump relied on her but we don’t know why. This is an interesting albeit unexplained passage:

“She’s the only person he trusts,” the second source continued. “He doesn’t trust any men and never has. He doesn’t like men, you see. He has no male friends. I was just with one of them the other day, someone who’s described as one of his closest friends, and he doesn’t know him very well. But a small number of women, including his longtime assistant back in New York, he really listens to them — especially if he’s not banging them. Because, like a lot of men but more so, Trump really does compartmentalize the sex and the emotional part.”

Why? Only his hairdresser knows for sure. I’m not surprised that Trump has no real friends. Angry, self-pitying people are difficult to be around, especially if they have a dead nutria pelt atop their head.

We also learn that Hicks is a cookie decorating demon who’s nice to her co-workers but she’s strangely absent from this profile. Perhaps there’s no there, there. Gertie Stein would have gotten to the bottom of it.

Hicks is returning to the Big Apple so let’s segue to a story about the bad old days when the streets were lined, not with gold, but with garbage, trash, rubbish.

Trash Nostalgia? Collectors Weekly’s Hunter Oatman-Standord talks trash with Robin Nagle who has written a book about the New York City Sanitation Department, its stinky past and its smelly future. Seriously, what becomes of the refuse of our society is an important subject even though most of us refuse to think of it.

It’s time to cross the pond and pay a visit to a perennially troubled country, Poland.

Polish Ghosts: The country where the weakness of the Soviet Empire became apparent is sleepwalking to autocracy. For those of us old enough to remember the heady days of Solidarity, it’s a sad spectacle indeed.

Poland is trying to come to grips with its history, which is difficult in a country that Hitler tried to erase from the map and was under Soviet domination for over forty years. Eva Hoffman visits four history museums in an attempt to make sense of Poland’s past. The details can be found at the New York Review of Books.

My Polish Sailor Story: Among the first people Dr. A and I met when we bought our house in Uptown New Orleans were our across the street neighbors, Jan and Victoria. They’re both diminutive people and lived in the smallest house on the block.

Jan is Polish and Victoria is Mexican. They speak English with what can only be called Pole-Mex accents. I loved listening to them talk and miss them since they moved after Katrina.

Jan was one of the Polish sailors who jumped ship during the Cold War. In his case, it was here in New Orleans. He was not the only Polish defector to do so. Our house used to be a shotgun double and on one side lived Polish sailors, on the other were a series of crack dealers and minor league criminals. I am not making this up.

The Polish sailors eventually dispersed but Jan met Victoria because he lived across the street from her and tried to convince her that the other Polish sailors weren’t so bad. It’s one of the coolest real life “meet cute” stories I’ve ever heard.

And that’s why we sometimes refer to Adrastos World HQ as the Polish sailor crack house. If these walls could talk.

Quick Note: There’s some dispute as to the timing of when the Polish sailors emigrated to the US. I went with the most colorful version. That Pole-Mex accent is kind of confusing.

Benign Earworm Of The Week: The whole caravan thing put this swell Crowded House tune in my head. Neil Finn goes on about caravans as much as I just did.

It’s time to take a walk on the silly side of the street.

Saturday GIF Horse: Thursday’s Jim Carrey-centric post put one of my  guilty pleasures, Dumb and Dumber, on my radar screen. Here are two GIFs: one silly and one disgusting. FOOD FIGHT.

Entrance GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Dumb And Dumber Ketchup GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We’ll try to erase the image of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels being slobs with our next segment.  FOOD FIGHT. Let’s go from beasts to beauties.

Separated At Birth: I stumbled into this image of Barbara Hale and Vivien Leigh at a blog called Orange Crate Art. Thank you, kind sir.

That inspired me to do this side by side  image of the Two Dellas:

Let’s wrap up this week’s festivities with some music.

Saturday Classic: This 1972 album was one of my favorite  records of my misspent youth. I had it on both vinyl and cassette and wore the tape out during my brief residency in Greece. Rock on, Steve. Rock on, Chris.

That’s it for this week. In search of a closing meme, I looked for pictures of Duke Ellington with presidents. I found some with Tricky, no surprise because he gave Duke a well-deserved presidential medal of freedom. I was more surprised to find this image of Ellington with Truman. I wonder if Duke gave Harry any piano pointers.

3 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Caravan

  1. The link to Orange Crate Art brought to mind the song/album/musician which inspired that website’s name — Van Dyke Parks. To me, the best versions are by the composer himself, obviously not everyone’s favorite. With your obvious deep interest in music (and rhythms and rhymes and puns), you might have some interest in that path.

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