Saturday Odds & Sods: Up Above My Head

Trout and Reflected Tree by Neil Welliver.

The weather rollercoaster continues unabated in New Orleans. We’ve gone from air dish weather to heater weather and back again. One day of the French Quarter Fest was rained out, which resulted in wet tourists whining about the wash-out. It was a day I was glad to no longer be a shopkeeper. Dealing with drowned Quarter rats was never any fun.

One of Grace’s colleagues gave us fancy club seats to the Saenger Theatre’s Broadway series complete with free food and valet parking. Thanks, Ritu. We saw Rent, which I liked a lot. The best part of the evening was a bossy African-American woman usher who combined sternness and politeness.  One patron was confused about how they ordered the rows and the usher said, “You’re in row H. It’s the alphabet, m’am. It’s the alphabet.” Fuckin’ A.

You’re probably wondering why an agnostic is posting a gospel tune as this week’s theme song. It’s because Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an amazing singer, songwriter, and character.  Up Above My Head is also a real toe-tapper. What’s not to love about a church lady with an electric guitar? We have three versions: Sister Rosetta, Rhiannon Giddens, and the Jayhawks.

Now that we’re imbued with the spirit, let’s jump to the break.

We begin out second act with a tale (tail?) of nutria. They’re the critters who have been eating South Louisiana alive since they were imported by EA Mcillhenny, bird lover and Tabasco heir. Holy invasive species, Batman.

Would You Hire A Nutrition Service Called Nutria is the question posed by my buddy Kevin Allman in the Gambit Tabloid. Here’s the set-up: when Mike Foster was Gret Stet Goober, the state tried to convince the public to eat its way out of the nutria mess.

Yeah, you can say “tastes like rabbit” all you want, but most people can’t get over eating a swamp rat-beaver with pumpkin-orange teeth, even if you try to rebrand the rat as “ragondin” and come up with recipes like “Ragondin à l’Orange” — which is why it’s puzzling that a new “personalized nutrition coach” service has launched calling itself “Nutria”:


This “Nutria” is some combination of online diet plan and DNA test, in which you provide the company with a sample of your DNA and it comes up with nutritional recommendations for you, a process it calls “nutrigenomics.”

The post is hilarious: I nearly did a spit take at one point. Kevin is almost as funny as I am. Almost. He has to work on his pun game.

Speaking of eating nutria, my pal Pat used to bring a big ole pot of nutria sauce piquante to our annual Muses open house. It was a novelty item that I never cared for all that much. Sorry, Pat. The sauce was yummy but the nutria not so much. It does not taste like rabbit, which I happen to love. Sorry, Bugs.

In hopes of finding something about Pat’s dish, I ran an internal First Draft search on nutria but the results all involved my description of the president* as an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. I do, however, have, this side-by-side image of an online nutria t-shirt contest between my friends Homan and Alex:

As you can see from his t-shirt, my former blogger nemesis Homan has always refused to eat nutria. That has led to our mutual friend Silent G and I mocking him for his prosaic palate. I was raised to eat everything. I don’t like nutria but I’ve tried it despite the whole big orange teeth thing. At this point,  they remind me too much of Trump and cannibalism ain’t my thing.

Let’s drain the nutria-filled swamp and move on to a story about an effort to give Sister Rosetta Tharpe some well deserved recognition in Richmond, Virgina where she lived for many years.

Give A Sister Her Due: There’s a swell story in Richmond Magazine by Craig Belcher about Sister Rosetta’s Richmond days and why he believes her residency should be commemorated. I’m in.

How about one more Tharpe tune for the road:

Let’s move from the truly sublime to the genuinely ridiculous.

Danbury Trashers Talk: Why am I posting a story about a short-lived minor league hockey team in a town I’ll never visit? Because it’s a helluva yarn involving wise guys, waste management, and hockey goons. This was the logo for the Danbury Trashers:


Rich Cohen has the details at the Atlantic.

Our next segment features another true crime story that’s stranger than fiction.

The Case of the Armchair Amateur Detective:

I read this story on my iPhone first thing in the morning and it was so compelling that I couldn’t get out of bed until I finished. Additionally, giant kitten Paul Drake had me pinned so I gave in. Check it out, it’s weirdly fascinating.

Let’s move on to a brief review of a fine British teevee show.

Fearless: Dr. A and I decided to watch Fearless because we thought it would fun to see Helen McCrory, who we know as the matriarch in Peaky Blinders, in a starring role. It was a good choice, Fearless is an excellent mini-series.

McCrory is terrific as Emma Banville a lefty solicitor who is fond of lost causes and fighting the establishment. She has quite a tussle on her hands as she tries to get an unjustly convicted man off and finds that the case is linked to a rising politician. There’s even a spook/anti-terrorist plot in the mix. If that sounds complex, it’s because it is but it works.

The acting is excellent and features Robin Weigert as a sinister CIA agent with an interest in Emma’s case. Calamity Jane sure cleans up well: she never once called anyone a cocksucker. Other familiar faces include Michael Gambon and Jamie Bamber.

Here’s the trailer:

Fearless was originally produced for ITV and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. I give it 3 1/2 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B+, and a thumping Ebertian thumbs up.

One reason I wrote about Helen McCrory and Fearless is that it gave me an excuse to post this image of her teevee nephew Arthur Fucking Shelby:

Saturday GIF Horse: Comedian, magician, and former New Orleanian Harry Anderson died this week. He was a French Quarter acquaintance of mine. He’s best known for playing Judge Harry Stone on Night Court. This GIF horse is for him:

Night Court Work GIF by Laff - Find & Share on GIPHY

Weekly Benign Earworm: Writing an album cover post about the Bee Gees as well as proposing Stayin’ Alive as an alternative theme song for the Michael Cohen fixer stroll has given me an earworm. Since both Cohen and his boss, Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto, are in deep shit, this song fits.

I posted a live version because it’s fun to see Barry Gibb sing in his falsetto voice. It proves that he doesn’t have a falsetto teeth. Btw, that’s a Groucho pun. Blame him, not me. Are you listening, Kevin? Repeat after me: pun game.

Saturday Classic: Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe had a great musical partnership. Their band Rockpile only recorded one album under its own name but backed Dave and Nick on many recordings back in the day. Repeat When Necessary is one of Rockpile’s best efforts. Rock on, Dave. Rock on, Nick.

That’s all for this week; the link leads to another Tharpe tune, not the monster Genesis hit of the same title. Holy disambiguation, Batman.

Since a painting by Titus Welliver’s father, Neil, is the featured image, and we recently binge watched season 4 of Bosch, I’ll give Harry and Jerry the last word again.

One thought on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Up Above My Head

Comments are closed.