It’s time for the annual Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year it takes place on the day before the holiday but at least we got a wee break from Mardi Gras. Parading is hard work, y’all.
As always we’re going to our friends Greg and Christy’s open house to eat, drink, and be merry. The parade is exuberantly disorganized but the party is more fun than a snake down your trousers. It’s so much fun that one year a Leprechaun attended and posed for a picture with our hosts:
This week’s insidiously catchy theme song was written by Mike Scott and Anthony Thistlethwaite for the Waterboys’ 2007 album Book of Lightning. We have two versions of Everybody Takes A Tumble for your listening pleasure: the studio recording and a live version from Irish teevee:
Now that we’ve filled our tumblers with Tullamore Dew, it’s time to stumble to the break. I’m not sure if I’m capable of jumping.
Before we move on, an Irish classic from Van Morrison and the Chieftains:
We begin our second act with a piece about the intersection of primatology and political science. I am not making this up.
Primates & Politics: During the 2016 debates, Jane Goodall compared Donald Trump’s antics to alpha chimp dominance rituals. It’s not the only simian analogy we’ve seen applied to politics: former First Drafter Holden Caufield usually referred to George W. Bush as Chimpy.
The Guardian has published a fascinating piece by primatologist Frans de Waal: What Animals Can Teach Us About Politics. He argues that while Trump is a skilled bully, he lacks a quality essential to alpha primate leadership: empathy. That’s right, our president* is less empathetic than a chimpanzee. We would have been better off electing one of our hairier kin but you knew that already.
Before we move on, here’s a song in which Ray Davies anticipated the Trump regime way back in 1970:
Holy cheesy pre-MTV promo video, Batman.
Let’s take a trip to my ancestral homeland.
Pitino In Exile: College hoops coaching legend Rick Pitino won national championships at both Kentucky and Louisville. He was embroiled in a 2017 bribery scandal that made him a pariah in American basketball circles. Pitino was unemployed until Greek pharma/basketball mogul Dimitris Giannakopoulos hired him to coach his Panathinaikos team in the Greek basketball league. Talk about taking a tumble.
Pitino’s new boss fancies himself as something of a bad boy:
Dimitri’s family owns Vianex, the largest pharmaceutical company in the country, and his media outlet, DPG Digital Media, partnered with CNN to bring CNN.gr to Greece.
That’s the buttoned-up businessman side of Giannakopoulos, but it’s the 44-year-old’s off-hours reputation that’s made him a folk hero—or a villain, depending on whom you ask and their allegiances—in a country that has a healthy respect for rebellious behavior. He’s sort of a Greek Al Davis, if Davis had been richer and younger and given far fewer fucks. Giannakopoulos has been fined and banned from EuroLeague games numerous times for numerous infractions—including and especially for threatening the lives of multiple referees and also their families, as well as opposing fans. He also has a fondness for posting bizarre but super-entertaining videos and pictures on Instagram, some of which have led to the aforementioned fines and bans. He’s openly accused rival owners of bribing officials. And after firing the coach who preceded Pitino, Xavi Pascual—a former EuroLeague Coach of the Year who had delivered Panathinaikos the 2017 Greek Cup—Giannakopoulos told the remaining players that the staffing change “does not dismiss your blame” after the team started 6-7 in the EuroLeague this season. The owner warned that they were “now obligated to have your minds here at all times, seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” otherwise he would “start cutting contracts and you all won’t even play in the EuroCup.” (In addition to playing in the Greek Basket League, Panathinaikos also plays in the EuroLeague against teams from other leagues across Europe.)
John Gonzalez has the details at The Ringer. He somehow managed to write a long piece without using the M word: Malaka. He’s clearly made of sterner stuff than I am.
Giannakopoulos thinks of himself as a gangsta, next up is a piece about a real gangster.
The Snake: I’m a great admirer of both the Failing New York Times’ obituary section and veteran crime reporter Selwyn Raab. The two elements converge in this superb obituary of former Colombo crime family boss Carmine Persico who died recently at the age of 85.
Like Benny Siegel before him, Persico *hated* his nickname and was apt to beat up anyone who called him the Snake. He earned the nickname with his treachery.
I think we need a palate cleanser after going to that dark place. Here’s a clip featuring a different kind of Boss. Are you ready to roll some Tumbling Dice? If not, why not?
It’s time for our third act, which is simultaneously chock-full-o-nuts and surprises; at least I like to think so.
The Weekly GV: Gore Vidal had a low opinion of his contemporary, Truman Capote. He reserved some of his sharpest barbs for the diminutive Southern writer. Here’s a sampler:
Truman made lying an art form—a minor art form.
A relentless liar ought to be, if not stopped, curbed.
Every generation gets the Tiny Tim it deserves.
[Capote’s death] was a good career move.
[Capote] lived for gossip, and he was also a marvelous liar. No fact ever gave him pause.
The Master had trouble telling people what he really thought. #sarcasm.
Ready or not, it’s time for our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: The twitter “experience” has been dancing on my last nerve of late. This tweet is an exception:
Casting is an admirable Separated at Birth sub-set. Note how the two men always look sad. I’m not sure I’ve seen any smiley pictures of either man. I think Ollie only smiled for Ronnie Reagan when they had their fantasy one-on-one meetings.
Saturday GIF Horse: After all that talk of primates, here’s Johnny Carson and a baby Orangutan.
There’s no truth to the rumor that the Orang and Ed McMahon were kin. HIYO. Or as Ed himself would surely say at this point: “You are correct, sir.”
Weekly Vintage Music Video: During Carnival, a friend pointed out to me that I tend to only post videos of songs by artists I like in this segment. I changed that up last week with Duran Duran and went for all out dreck this time around.
Viewers of trash teevee are aware that Boy George has appeared on Bravo’s Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The jerky husband of one of the rich ladies is his manager so George pops up from time-to-time to sing and wear his oversize hat.
The aforementioned manager/agent is a sleazy rich Brit whose nickname is PK. Vulture’s Brian Moylan specializes in mocking this creep in his RHOBH recaps. He recently called PK “a dick in search of a foreskin.” It’s a classic, I tell ya.
Saturday Classic: Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, it’s time for some classic Irish folk music from the Clancy Brothers and the great banjo player, Tommy Makem.
Did I just say great banjo player? I hope I won’t be barred from future iterations of Cropredy:
Perhaps I can blame whiskey, which is indeed the devil.
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne in John Ford’s Irish fantasy film, The Quiet Man.