Our visit to Virginia was a quickie. One of the highlights came on the return trip when we met longtime First Draft readers Lex and Carroll Alexander for lunch. We rendezvoused at Stamey’s in Greensboro, NC and ate the food of their people: barbecue. The meal included perhaps the best peach cobbler I’ve ever had. A good time was had by all but I’m afraid Carroll and I did most of the talking. She has family roots in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and I was eager to untangle them. Nosy might be a better word, but it’s always fun to learn someone has Momus/Comus/Proteus old line krewe types in the family. You never know what happens when you give someone’s family tree a shake. All sorts of oddities are likely to fall out.
On a weird note, I got into a twitter slagging match last week with a Gret Stet legislator’s wife. My crime was criticizing her hubby’s voting record. She was not amused and he contacted me by DM. “Perfection” is a terrible burden and they don’t carry it well. #sarcasm. I wound up inviting them to a “block party” so the fight would end. I’m not sure why they think fighting with citizens is a good move but they do. I’m not the first person to have this experience and won’t be the last. Weird, weird, weird.
This week’s theme song wedged itself in my head on our trip home. The title is a minor misnomer as we got home last Sunday. The very Beatlesque The Day I Get Home was written by Difford and Tilbrook for 1991’s Play album. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a swell live performance.
Now that we’ve trekked home, it’s time to jump to the break without crash landing. Knock on wood or some such superstitious shit.
I think we *may* have crashed but, if so, it was by design:
We begin our second act with a fine piece from crack New Yorker writer, Jon Lee Anderson.
South Of The Border, Down Mexico Way: I’ve been interested in Mexican history and politics for years. Long before the Kaiser of Chaos began kicking them around like a political football. I’m glad to report that they’ve kicked the evil fucker back.
Thanks to the Insult Comedian’s egregious malakatude and bigotry, the *most* anti-Trump candidate seems poised to win the presidential election. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has lost two close elections but the third time looks like the charm for the veteran lefty politician. Jon Lee Anderson has the details. It’s a helluva story. Viva, AMLO.
This segment has given me a benign earworm, so let’s make it a sub-theme song:
Let’s dial the Wayback Machine to inter-war Germany.
It Can Happen Here: Noted legal scholar Cass Sustein reviews two books at the NYRB about the lives of ordinary Germans under the Nazis. It’s proof positive that even in the most efficient police state many people are untouched by repression. The citizens in question thought that bad things only happen to THE OTHER. It’s a chilling reminder that it CAN happen here. The good news is that the Kaiser of Chaos and his minions are incompetent and mouthy. The Nazis were inclined to brag about shit after they’d done it instead of before and during. Thanks, Trumpers.
Let’s take a look at the grandaddy of long-form true crime documentaries.
Documentary Of The Week: I’m on my third viewing of the 2004 chapters of The Staircase and second viewing of the other parts. Dr. A had never seen it before. She likes it as much as I do, especially the bits about forensic science, which is her jam.
The movie tells the story of the death of Kathleen Peterson. The filmmakers side with Michael Peterson and his defense team in believing it to be an accident. The Durham NC police and District Attorney’s charged Peterson with murder and convicted him. The case was marked by misconduct and the admission of irrelevant, inflammatory, and highly prejudicial evidence. The misconduct led to Peterson being granted his freedom in 2011. You’ll have to learn the rest when you watch the film.
It’s easy to side with the defense: the lawyers and their investigator are likable as are the Peterson family members who stood by the defendant. Whereas the lead detective reminds me of your basic Southern cop in a 1960’s movie, and the lead prosecutors resemble Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.
The Staircase was meant to be binge watched, which is why Netflix is its perfect home. Besides, they’ve become known for their fine documentaries. Here’s the trailer:
I give The Staircase 4 stars, an Adrastos grade of A, and a rapturous Siskelian thumbs up.
Saturday GIF Horse: I’ve long thought that the hilarious Star Wars parody, Spaceballs, is Mel Brooks’ most underrated movie. In an attempt to partially rectify this comedic injustice, here are two GIFs featuring Rick Moranis as Lord Darth Helmet.
Holy double entendre, Batman. It’s time for some jazz, y’all.
Saturday Classic: The Count Basie obsession continues with this fine 1959 effort with the great vocalist Billy Eckstine. It’s a blues-heavy album featuring arrangements by Quincy Jones who was Bill Basie’s go-to-guy at that point in time.
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Lone Starr, Princess Vespa, Dot Matrix, and Barf. May the Schwartz be with you.