New Orleans is a city of extremes. We do everything in an outlandish fashion and that includes the weather. I’ve been bitching about the pollen and the need for rain for months, but when it finally rained, it was a deluge. There are times when moderation is a virtue but it’s hard to find in this town. Oh well, you know what they say: “April showers bring the flowers that bloom in May.”
Traffic cameras have been one of the main topics of conversation locally. Mayor Cantrell campaigned against them. She seems to have changed her mind as well as the rules governing them in school zones. The speed limit is 20 MPH but the city used to cut motorists some slack and didn’t issue tickets to folks within 5 MPH of the limit. They changed the rules without informing the public, which resulted in an angry debate on social media once the cat got out of the proverbial bag. Nobody likes paying $75 for going 3 MPH over the limit, after all. This debate beats the hell outta talking about murders, mayhem, and the price of Jazz Fest tickets. Btw, the band whose latest iteration I call Finnwood Mac is replacing the Stones at Jazz Fest.
This week’s theme song was written by Rodney Crowell for his 2005 album, The Outsider. Don’t Get Me Started is something I find myself saying frequently in the Trump era. Don’t get me started about Herman Cain on the Fed, y’all:
Now that we’ve shared a rockin’ rant, let’s jump to the break or is that break to the jump? I hope break dancing isn’t involved: I’m not flexible enough to spin about on the ground. I leave such gyrations to young Paul Drake and the dude in the Andre Kertesz photograph above.
Speaking of ranty Rodney Crowell songs, here’s another one from the same album:
Our second act begins with a story about the intersection of sports and politics.
Tricky Dick Meets Teddy Ballgame: 1969 was a big year for both Richard Nixon and baseball legend Ted Williams. Nixon became the 37th president and Williams became manager of the Washington Senators. It was tough sledding for Tricky but Williams was named manager of the year for the leading the Senators to their best record to that point, 86-76; good enough for 3rd place in the AL East. Note: this is the expansion franchise granted to Washington in 1961 after the original Senators moved to Minnesota. This iteration would eventually become the Texas Rangers and be co-owned by a man we all wish had stayed in baseball: George W. Bush. Iteration seems to be the word of the day.
Williams was an ardent conservative as well as a friend and athletic supporter of Tricky Dick. Here’s how Frederic J. Frommer describes Teddy Ballgame in a book excerpt published by Politico Magazine:
Although Williams had a pretty liberal attitude on civil rights, championing the inclusion of Negro League players into the Baseball Hall of Fame, on some of the cultural issues of the ’60s, he was pretty far right. His friend Shelby Whitfield, the Senators broadcaster in 1969 and 1970, wrote in his book “Kiss it Goodbye” that Williams was an “ultraconservative in the tradition of Barry Goldwater and John Wayne,” and a big supporter of the National Rifle Association. Williams had a bumper sticker on his car that read, “If You Don’t Like Policemen, The Next Time You Need Help Call A Hippie,” Whitfield recalled.
Holy Hippie Punching, Batman.
Let’s stay in 1969 and discuss one of the darkest days in rock and roll history. On that dreadful day, a hippie was stabbed and killed, not punched.
Altamont Redux: I didn’t think it was possible for anyone to come up with an original angle on the Altamont clusterfuck but the New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones has done it. He’s focused on the man who was murdered by the Hell’s Angels: Meredith Hunter.
Here’s how Frere-Jones closes his essay:
A great deal has been written about Altamont in the years since, but so much of the language around it has the exonerating blush of the passive: the sixties were ending; the Angels were the Angels; it could only happen to the Stones. There may have been larger forces at work, but the attempt to see Altamont as the end of the sixties obscures the extent to which what happened that night had happened, in different ways, many times before, and has happened many times since. “A young black man murdered in the midst of a white crowd by white thugs as white men played their version of black music—it was too much to kiss off as a mere unpleasantness,” Greil Marcus wrote, in 1977. Hunter does not appear in Owens’s photos and he is only a body in “Gimme Shelter.” It is worth returning to that day and trying to see Meredith Hunter again.
Before we move on from the blood and mud of Altamont to the glitz of Broadway, here’s an ironic musical interlude:
Oklahoma Was Never Really OK: For thirteen years Frank Rich was the feared and powerful theatre critic for the New York Times. He returns to his theatrical roots in a piece about a revisionist revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma in which he tells the fascinating story of the man who wrote the play that the show is based on, Lynn Riggs.
Before moving on to our third act, here’s a semi-relevant musical interlude:
Hey, Ray mentions the movie version of Oklahoma in the lyrics. Where have you gone Gordon MacRae? He’s long dead but Shirley Jones is still with us.
We belatedly begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: It’s time for another foray into the SAB casting subset with this image of Nikki Haley and my countrywoman, Angie Harmon.
If I were casting a movie about the Trump regime, I’m not sure if I’d cast Angie as Nikki. I prefer to cast people of the same ethnicity: Haley is Indian-American and, at the risk of being repetitive, Angie is my countrywoman. Or as my late father would say at this point: “She’s Greek, you know. She’s doing very well.” Unlike Lou. I won’t claim kinship.
That segment gave me duelling earworms. Let’s expel them before continuing:
That concludes this juxtaposition of naughty and nice. Our next segment is top-heavy with naughtiness.
Saturday GIF Horse: I have a confession to make. I’d never seen Ray Donovan until I got a good deal on Showtime earlier this year. Yeah, I know, there have been 6 seasons and people kept telling me that I’d like it but I’m a slow learner. Y’all were right; Dr. A and I binged watched this marvelous bit of neo-noir crime fiction, now we’re caught up and having withdrawal symptoms. Hence this segment.
Most Donovan family parties seem to end in fisticuffs. These are not party GIFs but the first one features Ray (Liev Schrieber) punching his sleazy father, Mickey Donovan ( Jon Voight.)
Our second slap-happy GIF. shows Abby Donovan (Paula Malcolmson) attacking her daughter’s sleazy teacher, Mr. Donellen ( Aaron Staton.) Staton is best known to First Draft readers as charming Ken (Deadeye) Cosgrove in Mad Men.
Now that we’ve seen the battling Donovans, let’s listen to some music lest we continue to feel as punchy as Bunchy Donovan.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: I hope you’re not sick of Rodney Crowell. Here’s a video from his monster hit Diamonds & Dirt album:
Let’s close things out with some blues hard rock or is that hard rock blues? I’m not sure which is the proper order. Lemme know whachoo think, Willis.
Saturday Classic: 1973’s Still Alive & Well was something of a comeback album for Johnny Winter. It features his nimble guitar playing, raspy vocals, a rousing title track, and 2 Rolling Stones covers including the previously played Let It Bleed as the closing track. What more could you ask for?
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to the Season 2 cast of Ray Donovan.