It’s finally showing signs of cooling off in New Orleans even if it appears to be a cruel autumnal tease. The cool front helped keep Hurricane Michael away from us. It was a beast of a storm that battered the Florida panhandle and provoked PTSD flashbacks in the New Orleans area. Best wishes to everyone in the affected areas.
In more savory local news, Advocate food writer Ian McNulty wrote a piece about the surfeit of new restaurants in the city. Ian is worried that we’re losing the thread with so many eateries dependent on the tourist trade. New Orleans didn’t become a great food city with tourist traps but with restaurants serving locals. One Oceana Grill is enough. Just ask Gordon Ramsay:
You didn’t have to take that so personally, Chef Ramsay. Piss off out of my post.
This week’s theme song is appropriate because I usually post Saturday Odds & Sods at the stroke of midnight. Some of my regular readers look for it then. One would hope they’d have something better to do.
Paul Simon wrote Late In The Evening in 1980 for his One-Trick Pony album. Simon also wrote and acted in a movie of the same title, which sank without a trace. I always thought horses could swim…
We have two versions for your listening pleasure. The original hit single followed by a scorching hot live version from 1992’s Born At The Right Time tour.
I used a painting by New Orleans/Ocean Springs, MS artist Walter Anderson as the featured image because he famously tied himself to a tree during Hurricane Betsy. We grow them eccentric in these parts. If things had gone wrong, it would have given a whole new meaning to the term tie-dyed. If that pun doesn’t make you want to jump to the break, nothing will.
One Paul Simon tune will simply not do, here’s a live version of another street song:
We begin our second act with our obligatory political segment. It’s a Jane Mayer story that got overshadowed by the Kavanaugh Mess. One might even say that Mayer was competing with herself.
How Russia Helped Swing The Election For Trump: Mayer profiles Penn poli-sci legend Kathleen Hall Jamieson who has a new book about the 2016 election. Initially skeptical that Russian interference affected the election, she came to the conclusion that it did. Jane Mayer has the details at the New Yorker,
To Heil & Back: It’s book excerpt time. The splendid people at Longreads.com have posted an excerpt from Julia Boyd’s new book Travelers in the Third Reich. It focuses on an interesting sub-plot of the interwar era: To Heil or Not To Heil When Traveling in the Third Reich. Many British tourists heiled and others refused to. The latter could be dangerous.
I learned something new in the Boyd excerpt: the Nazis allowed visitors to tour Dachau in the mid-Thirties. In those days, it was a concentration camp for enemies of the state, not a death camp. It’s chilling that it was open to tourists and that the German authorities thought it wise to allow it. The fuckers were proud of it or some such twisted shit. It makes me want to go out and punch a Nazi. I’ll have a cuppa joe instead.
Let’s close this segment on a comedic note: a clip from Ernst Lubitsch’s classic film about a Polish theatrical troupe right before and after the German invasion.
We continue with a feeble attempt to make a pun on a magazine name: Architectural Digest. You know it’s feeble when a pun requires an introduction.
Architecturally Indigestible: The golden age of major league ballpark construction began in the early 1990’s. One of the first baseball only stadiums built at that time was New Comiskey Park in Chicago. There was a radically different proposal from architect Philip Bees that might have helped the Armour Park neighborhood instead of harming it. The buzz is that the Bees proposal lost out because of a combination of greedy Chisox ownership and politics. Anyone surprised? I thought not.
Dayn Perry has the details at CBSsports.com. This is a must-read article for anyone interested in urban planning, architecture, and the business side of baseball. It’s a real three-fer.
Coffeetime With Tom Petty: TP’s biographer Warren Zanes wrote a swell piece for Rolling Stone about something he left out of his book, Petty’s love of coffee:
Yes, he told me, he’d tried some espresso, made backstage by one of the Heartbreakers. I’m guessing Benmont Tench or Steve Ferrone, but Petty didn’t say. He just said he didn’t get it. Should a cup of coffee be over that quickly? Is what’s good for tequila good for coffee? He didn’t answer the question, just looked at me in a way that said, No, it isn’t, Warren. What he was after in a cup of coffee, he explained, was something he found in a Gainesville diner, where he could sit for hours, getting refills, wrapping his fingers around a cup that kept being replenished. This, I came to believe, is what this coffee story was all about. It wasn’t about coffee. Not exactly.
In that perfect cup of coffee Tom Petty served me on Malibu afternoons — every cup of Maxwell House exactly level — he could almost experience, almost feel, something he couldn’t completely get back to. That coffee, I came to believe, was his Rosebud. We were not talking about a hot drink any more than Charles Foster Kane was talking about a sled. It was really about a moment in Petty’s life when the world was in front of him, when he could feel the closeness of that kid crazy for rock & roll, before the disappointments that come even to the star’s life. We were talking about a cup of coffee, but a cup of coffee into which a world could be poured.
In addition to being a great songwriter, it turns out that Tom Petty was a poet laureate of coffee and that’s no java jive. Here’s a stanza from a lesser known TP song, Girl on LSD:
I was in love with a girl who drank coffee
There were times when I couldn’t keep her off me
That caffeine got her goin’
But her ugly side was showin’
I was in love with a girl who drank coffee
The song is about addiction. TP himself had issues in that regard. In part, coffee seems to have been his heroin replacement. Glib but true.
That tune was good to the last drop, y’all.
It’s time to throw some regular features at you. But first, a coffee song:
The Weekly GV: This week we have one of the Master’s pithier one-liners:
I hope that didn’t pith anyone off, especially any German dudes named Helmut. I wonder if anyone is going to say “I told you so” to me after that groaner. Hey, it’s not as bad as the architectural pun.
Notice that I didn’t mention Melania Trump’s Out of Africa/Raiders of the Lost Ark outfit. I thought only letter carriers in warmer climes wore pith helmets, not former models. So much for self-restraint. Since I was going to link to Hadley Freeman’s piece, I might as well post her tweet about it:
Does that qualify as bullying? I understand that Melania regards herself as the most bullied person on the planet. She’s finally cashing in on her horrid husband’s victim routine.
It’s time to pith off and move on to our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: Dr. A and I have been watching season 3 of The Man in the High Castle. She pointed out that star Alexa Davalos resembles Terry Farrell who played Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space 9. As always, she is correct:
Let’s descend from the high castle to the lowdown and dirty streets of Deadwood.
Saturday GIF Horse: It’s finally happening: HBO has greenlit a Deadwood movie. The show was cancelled after 3 seasons and felt unfinished without a proper series finale.
In honor of its return, here are two Deadwood GIFs neither of which has a horse. So much for the whole GIF horse thing, but you knew I never meant it literally, right?
Let’s move on from EB Farnum’s happy dance to a tune that done got stuck in my fucking head as Al Swearengen would put it.
Weekly Benign Earworm: I listened to a lot of vintage Jefferson Airplane/Starship after writing last week’s Odds & Sods Marty Balin tribute. This week’s earworm is NOT a Balin ballad, but a Grace Slick rocker that was the first track on the Red Octopus album:
The late Papa John Creach’s violin is the highlight of the song. The man did not fiddle about when fiddling. Whatever you do: don’t confuse Papa John Creach with the pizza racist. That asshole is genuinely indigestible.
Saturday Classic: The great Chicago blues guitarist Otis Rush died at 83 in late September. I was unable the mark the occasion until now; better late than never.
Right Place, Wrong Time is one of Rush’s finest albums. The title track has nothing to do with the Dr. John song of the same title but is pretty darn good in its own right.
That’s it for this week. Since we had a Tom Petty segment, it’s only fair to give him the last word with an image from the Don’t Come Around Here No More video.
The giant is cup is allegedly full of tea but, for all we know, TP insisted on his favorite beverage. I hear coffee goes quite well with sliced Alice cake. Mmm, kaffe und kuchen,