It feels like August outside as I write this with the ceiling fan whirring up above my head. It’s time to dispense with the weather report lest I sound whinier than I am. And I’m pretty damn whiny even though, unlike Della and Paul, I don’t have a fur coat to contend with. Paul Drake deals with his by shedding copiously. Della Street rages against the elements in her own way. She is one mouthy cat, y’all.
I may have cats on my mind but the rest of the city is obsessed with rats in a French Quarter eatery. There’s a viral video and everything. Oh wait, there’s always a viral video in 2018. As someone who worked in the Quarter for many years, the thought of rats near the Big Muddy is not shocking. I’m not planning to go to that restaurant but even good places with clean kitchens have the odd rat. Repeat after me: to live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough. She-doo-be.
The new Mayor is “being intentional” by launching a PR campaign dubbing New Orleans the City of Yes. In the immortal words of movie mogul Sam Goldwyn, include me out, unless it involves the veteran prog rock band. I’m still trying to figure out what the hell “being intentional” means. So it goes.
When I started this regular feature in 2015, I used songs about Saturday as theme songs for the first few weeks. Saturday Sun is one I somehow missed but I’ve had Neil Finn on my mind and in my ear of late. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the promo video and a live performance on the BBC.
Now that we’ve basked in the Saturday Sun, it’s time to put on some sun screen and jump to the break.
Before we begin our second act, here’s another Crowded House sun song:
I don’t know about you but I’m still in mourning for The Americans. I’m jonesing for another dose of Oleg, a shot of Elizabeth, or a taste of Stan. I even miss Walk Away Renee and speculating as to whether or not she’s a red red herring.
Withdrawal Symptoms: In search of a cure for my withdrawal symptoms, I’ve turned to New York Magazine’s invaluable pop-culture site, Vulture. They’ve been producing a lot of good stuff about The Americans, which may help keep the “I Miss Philip Line Dancing” blues away. Where have you gone Eddie Rabbit? Probably down the bunny trail at the Grande Ole Opry. Yeah, boy.
There are two pieces to which I’d like to direct your attention:
Jen Chaney was on-set with the cast as they filmed the finale. She produced a helluva oral history. It makes me want to be in the garage with Stan and Spy Family Jennings and you know my motto: nothing good ever happens in a parking garage.
Eric Edelstein ranks all 75 episodes from worst to best. It must have been hard since there are NO bad episodes. I’m road kill when Vulture does this.
Finally, there’s a Vulture quiz that poses the eternal question. Who said it: Philip and Elizabeth from The Americans or Philip and Elizabeth from The Crown? I got 9 out of 11 right. There was no prize money involved.
Let’s move from quality teevee to the intersection of politics and trash teevee. You know you want to.
The Reality Teevee President*: Who’s To Blame? Vanity Fair assembled a group of reality teevee big machers to ponder that eternal question: who do we blame for the fucking moron in the White House? One of the most frequently cited culprits is reality teevee.
Early on, Bravo’s Andy Cohen noticed the Kaiser of Chaos using reality teevee tropes:
Last year, Real Housewives executive producer Andy Cohen noticed Donald Trump using so many pot-stirring tactics from the Bravo franchise that he began cataloguing them on Twitter. When the president used social media to cancel a White House invitation that N.B.A. champion Stephen Curry had not yet officially rejected, Cohen tweeted, “HOUSEWIVES PLAYBOOK: rescind invitations liberally! (See: Bethenny re LuAnn, Mexico; Bethenny & Ramona, Mexico).” Trump’s post-election digs about Hillary? “Keep bringing up fights from last season.”
Trump’s excuse for not immediately calling Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto following an earthquake? “Blame cell-phone reception.” Trump’s suggestion that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign colluded with the Russians? Tossing out bogus statements in desperate pleas “to stay on the show,” Cohen wrote.
I wonder if the Insult Comedian will try table flipping if things don’t go well during his summit with Kim Bad Haircut. It’s what Tree would want him to do:
That’s most disturbing in animated GIF form as is the Vanity Fair piece. Julie Miller has the details.
Reality teevee has nothing on the world of college football when it comes to melodrama, especially down South in SEC country.
Hookers & Dough: There’s a sensational deep dive piece at SB Nation by Stephen Godfrey about the massive recruiting scandal at Ole Miss. It involves a bible thumping former coach named Hugh Freeze who seems to have supplied escorts to recruits. No wonder Ole Miss came up in the world.
It’s a well written and reported piece. Here are some money quotes. This first is about the NCAA’s main witness in part of the case:
It’s worth taking a moment here to remember that the NCAA has said, many times, that it exists to protect the wellbeing of the student-athlete.
Yet in its investigation into Ole Miss, the NCAA had no qualms building a case around the word of a man who, according to the testimony of his former wife, told the family: “Y’all are going to pay for this. … you ain’t shit, you ain’t never been shit, and you ain’t about shit and you’re going to reap what you sow.”
Miller’s integrity and motive had already been challenged in a real court of law, but the NCAA’s justice system — the investigation, the closed-door COI interviews — operates in a vacuum. I believe there is no due process. In college football, from all that I have seen, credibility is a malleable concept.
If you’re an Ole Miss fan, you’re probably an asshole lawyer in seersucker. If you’re a Mississippi State fan, you’re probably an asshole redneck in camouflage. Mississippi is a small place — the campuses are a two-hour drive apart — which means a lot of these folks know each other, too.
SEC fans tend to be on the assholish side; except of course for LSU Tiger fans who are all gentlemen and ladies. I guess I should apologize for that whopper since Tiger fans have a nasty habit of getting in people’s faces and yelling, “TIGER BAIT. TIGER BAIT.”
Saturday GIF Horse/Dwight Clark R.I.P. I’ve never used this section to honor the passing of anyone before. In the case of San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver Dwight Clark, it’s appropriate. Clark is best known for one shining moment: THE CATCH made with time expiring in the NFC title game against the Dallas Cowboys in 1981.
Dwight Clark personified the athlete as gentleman. He died earlier this week of ALS at the age of 61. His malady has been linked to his time as a gridiron hero.
Saturday Classic: Jazz chanteuse Blossom Dearie was a big talent with a little voice. Make that little girl’s voice. She was also an accomplished pianist as you can tell from her eponymous debut album featuring Jo Jones on drums, Ray Brown on stand-up bass, and the phenomenal Herb Ellis on guitar.
That’s it for this week. The last bat word goes to the Two Gabriels: