Author Archives: Peter Adrastos Athas

Saturday Odds & Sods: Pearl Of The Quarter

Krewe du Vieux 2019

Krewe du Vieux ate my week and the Krewe of Spank whuppped my ass. Today is the big day, which is why this week’s entry qualifies as a placeholder. If you want to re-read Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member to get into the spirit of the occasion, there’s no time like the present.

This week’s theme song was written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in 1973. It’s one of my favorite Steely Dan album tracks. It’s the touching tale of a man in love with a French Quarter prostitute named Louise. Ooh la la.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the steel guitar driven Steely Dan original followed by a swell 2013 cover by Boz Scaggs:

That’s it for this week. The closing bat meme is a picture taken by Dr. A near the Den of Muses.

The last word goes to the Neville Brothers:

Quote Of The Day: Pete Hamill On Donald Trump

There’s a swell documentary currently showing on HBO, Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists. It’s about the great New York newspaper columnists, Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill. Not only were they fine journalists, they were great writers. I give the documentary 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+.

On to the quote of the day. Breslin died in 2017 but Hamill is still with us. Neither of them cared for Donald Trump. Here’s what Pete had to say about Trump’s infamous 1989 Central Park Five ad calling for the return of the death penalty in New York:

“Snarling and heartless and fraudulently tough, insisting on the virtue of stupidity, it was the epitome of blind negation.

Hate was just another luxury. And Trump stood naked revealed as the spokesman for that tiny minority of Americans who live well-defended lives. Forget poverty and its causes. Forget the degradation and squalor of millions. Fry them into passivity.”

Pete Hamill wasn’t always right but he never minced words. That’s pretty good writing for a high school dropout. I like his first name too.

Friday Catblogging: The Tower Of Terror

It’s not much of a tower and it’s not all that terrifying but that’s what we call it:

Valentine’s Day In New Orleans

I’m not big on Hallmark card holidays. My mother used to make fun of Mother’s Day and thought Valentine’s Day was silly. Her stock line about the former was: “It’s always mother’s day in this family.” Mom’s attitude about Hallmark card holidays prepared me for Valentine’s Day in New Orleans.

Valentine’s Day typically takes place during Carnival and I think you know what my priority is. The good news is that my awesome wife, Dr. A, agrees. In fact, Krewe du Vieux has marched on Valentine’s Day several times during its history.

We will spend today working on our costumes for the big day. And we will spend tonight with 53 of our closest friends as it’s Spank throws distribution night. Our theme is still top-secret. I wouldn’t even allow Slumlord Jared access. Unless, that is, he bribed me. I am easily corrupted. What else would you expect from a Greek guy who lives in the Gret Stet of Louisiana?

There’s an image going around social media that sums up New Orleans’ relationship with Valentine’s Day:

Holy St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Batman.

Finally a message for Dr. A. As Maybe Cousin Telly would surely say at this point:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Bleeding Scissors

I originally thought that Bruno Fischer was the pen name of an overly prolific pulp practitioner. I was wrong. Ya learn something new every day.

The last word goes to the Rolling Stones. Why? Why the hell not?

Dispiriting

Photograph via the Failing New York Times

I’m a whiskey drinker be it Bourbon, sour mash, rye. I’m not gonna lie: I like it all whether you spell it with an E or not. One could even consider this a mash note to distilleries, domestic and foreign: I’m fond of Irish, Scottish, and Canadian whiskies as well. I’ll take some more Tullamore, please.

That’s why I’m dispirited by the news that American distilleries are suffering from the Teetotaler-in-Chief’s “easy to win” trade war; hereinafter ETWTW. Last Friday, China joined the European Union in slapping stiff tariffs on American whiskey.

The Insult Comedian is too busy bloviating about his stupid wall to notice that the ETWTW is biting two red states in the butt: bigly. Big Whiskey is centered in Kentucky and Tennessee but the ETWTW is hurting craft distilleries as well.

This old-fashioned trade war is like a whiskey sour with too much lemon juice. Where the hell are Chinless Mitch and Aqua Buddha in all of this? The former is too busy handling the Kaiser of Chaos and the latter is too busy blowing him to make a stand for whiskey. They’ve truly missed the Maker’s Mark. As to the Tennessee delegation, Lamar Alexander is retiring and Marsha Blackburn is too busy importing Bachmannism to the Senate to stand up for Jack Daniel’s. Sinatra would be horrified:

One of the ironies of Tariff Man Trump’s ETWTW is that it’s hurting red state America the most. Ask a soybean farmer. Here’s a little known fact: soybeans are the biggest cash crop in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and those folks are getting hosed by the ETWTW with China. Believe me.

Enough soybean palaver, back to whiskey. Since puns are big among wineries, I think it’s past time for distillers to follow suit. Here’s my suggestion:

In addition to being a helluva pun, it’s a reference to the minimalist modernist Dutch art movement of the 1920’s, De Stijl, which means The Style in Kentucky and Tennessee, y’all. The image is Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie. It’s a winner, I tell ya.

The last word goes to the Dubliners:

How come nobody told me that there was a Thin Lizzy version of Whiskey In The Jar? I guess the boys were out of town that week:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Struttin’

Urban roosters are popular in New Orleans right now. The Meters were ahead of the trend with the cover of this 1970 LP released by Josie Records.

Struttin’ was the first Meters albums to feature vocals. The back cover promotes their first two releases, which was not uncommon back in the day. Dig the crazy striped bell bottoms.

Here are two tracks from the album:

 

Asshole In El Paso

Holy urban cowboy, Batman.

President* Trump will be polluting the air in El Paso, Texas this evening. Beto O’Rourke, who is presumably done with his Dean Moriarty shtick,  is off the road and will hold his own rally in rebuttal of the Insult Comedian.

That picture looks seriously photoshopped. Trump isn’t orange enough. Perhaps he missed a day on the White House tanning bed.

I’ve been hoping to use Asshole In El Paso as a post title forever. Thanks, Trumpy.

The last word goes to Kinky Friedman:

Horrible Bosses

I’ve never seen the movie Horrible Bosses but, like everyone else, I’ve had some bad bosses. Besides, I know a good title when I see one. I have, however, seen 9 to 5 and it’s hard to imagine them being worse fictional bosses than Dabney Fucking Coleman.

In case you’re wondering where this is going, there was a spate of negative press last week about the latest entrant into the presidential race, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar. According to articles in a slew of online publications, she’s a horrible boss.  (Spate & Slew sounds like a shystery law firm.) The fact that there were so many articles right before her announcement ignited my bullshit detector. I don’t believe in coincidences.

There was a lot of melodrama on the tweeter tube about Klobuchar the bad boss. Some even wondered if she could continue in the Senate let alone run for president. I didn’t see anything disqualifying. She’s obviously a very difficult person to work for BUT so are many hard-driving workaholics out there including other Senators. not to mention lawyers, which is the workplace milieu from which Klobuchar comes.

The Klobuchar as bad boss articles are another example of the double standard at work. I don’t recall any MALE presidential contenders being judged on how they treated their staff, but it’s a thing because her name is Amy, not Arnie. She’s a piker, however, compared to LBJ or Trump whose staff is apparently in open rebellion. BTW, George W. Bush was a sweetheart of a boss but he was a horrible president.

Women in professional positions are judged by a higher standard than men. In the legal profession, many men are skeptical that women are tough enough to be lawyers, let alone bosses. Senator Klobuchar is 58 so she had to prove herself tough and worthy to older, often sexist, lawyers. Hence her horrible bossery. It’s not a management style I like, but it’s a dog eat dog world out there and you don’t want to be like Cheers barfly Norm Peterson and wear Milk Bone underwear.

My suggestion to Democratic primary voters is that they consider the information about Klobuchar’s management style alongside her record in office. If you don’t like what you’ve heard, support someone else. There are a lot of good candidates running. So many that I remain undecided.

There’s an upside for Klobuchar from the horrible boss stories: it proves that she’s tough enough to be president despite her Minnesota nice exterior. Additionally, if elected, she’ll work for us, not vice versa. And the American people can be horrible bosses too. Just ask the surviving staff members of the two recent presidents who were not re-elected: Jimmy Carter and Poppy Bush.

The last word goes to Dolly Parton:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Fly Like An Eagle

Women and Birds at Sunrise by Joan Miro

Once again, New Orleans showed the world how to turn adversity into a party. I’m talking about the widespread local boycott of the Super Bowl. It was easy for me. I rarely watch unless I have a rooting interest in one of the teams. I wasn’t down for some of the dumber aspects of “no-call gate” such as claims that the Saints wouldn’t have gone to the big dance after a similar bad call, or that the Rams were cheaters BUT we *wuz* robbed. I blame the league and the referees, not the Rams who lost in one of the dullest Super Bowls in years. Yawn. Brady and Belichick won again. Yawn.

New Orleanians quickly moved from the Super Bowl controversy to an argument over the Krewe of Chewbacchus. It’s a geek/sci-fi parade that sprung up a few years back. I like the idea but hate the execution. I like parades to move quickly and not stall for hours as Chewbacchus invariably does. Yawn.

The head of the krewe styles himself, not as a humble Captain, but as “The Overlord.” He floated a trial balloon that they *might* exploit a loophole in city ordinances and allow commercial sponsorship. That’s a big NOLA no-no: the krewes, not corporations, throw a party for the city and its citizens. The “Overlord” quickly crawfished and claimed he was just joking but I know a deflated trial balloon when I see one. Pop goes the geek weasel.

This week’s theme song was written by Steve Miller and was the title track of his1976 hit album. The Fly Like An Eagle single was a monster hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard charts.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the original SMB hit, a live version with guitarist Joe Satriani, and a cover by my homeys, the Neville Brothers:

Now that we’ve soared like eagles, let’s jump to the break, Hopefully, there will be a tailwind so we won’t break our tail feathers or is that bend? Beats the hell outta me.

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Friday Guest Catblogging: Punny Cats

You’ve met my friends Greg and Christy’s cats Harold and Scout in their pre-comedy act days. Harold is the straight man. He’s listening as Scout cracks wise. The script is by their human, Christy.

Bleak News In Review

There’s so much going on right now that I don’t quite know where to begin. I’m tempted to crawl back into my Carnival bubble and not deal with the perennially bleak state of the world BUT we have space to fill since Michael F has been on vacay. Like Lassie, he’s coming home right now, I’m not sure if I’d cast Roddy McDowell to play him but what can I tell ya? End of obscure, even for me, movie reference.

You’re probably wondering where this is headed. Me too. I think I’ll just throw some shit at the wall and see what sticks. I realize that’s how the Trump regime governs but it’s an approach that works when it comes to blogging. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

When Did Virginia Become Florida? Virginia politics used to be staid and buttoned down. That presumption of staidness began to erode during the zany and corrupt administration of Bob McDonnell. Two statewide candidacies by the Lost Causer from Minnesota, Corey Stewart, confirmed the transformation of Virginia into Florida; only without Disney World. It’s gotten much Wilder than when the Governor of that name was in charge.

Doctor/Governor Ralph Northam is still clinging to office like a barnacle on the body politic. The line of succession is a complete clusterfuck:

  • Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax is facing such credible allegations of sexual assault that he’s retained the law firm who represented Brett Kavanaugh aka Justice Bro. I wonder if Fairfax likes beer?
  • Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring is next in line but he admitted yesterday to having worn blackface as a misguided youth. It seems to have been a thing for young white dudebros back in the 1980’s. I’m glad I didn’t get the memo.

Third in line is the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, who is a Republican.

A Virginian active in Democratic politics described the situation as follows to TPM:

[Carolyn] Fiddler is now the Daily Kos’s political editor and an expert on state legislative politics. She warned that the sins of the leaders would end up damaging other Democrats who’ve worked decades to build up the party, cautioning that the scandals could upend Democrats’ hopes to recapture both chambers of the capitol — their first real chance at doing so in decades.

“Shit rolls downhill,” she said. “To say I’m nervous is a bit of an understatement.”

She’s not fiddling about. They’re in deep shit and sinking fast.

I have a long-term solution to this problem: end the one-term limit on Virginia Governors. If not for that, Terry McAuliffe would still be Governor.

Designated Survivor: Former Texas Governor and twice failed GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry was the DS in more than one way this week. The Energy Secretary is still a dumbshit but he was also the Trump regime’s designated survivor for the SOTU.

Rick Perry as president is a scary thought but it’s better than Wilbur Ross. At least Rick Haircut has a zany side, I bet Wilbur has never hugged a jug of maple syrup:

I doubt that Wilbur has ever hugged anything except his money.

The Cubbies Have The Ricketts: Baseball’s former lovable underdogs have a racist right-wing owner problem. It’s well-known that patriarch Joe Ricketts was a wingnut but we didn’t know he was stupid enough to send his more bigoted thoughts via email:

Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs moved to distance themselves from one of their own Tuesday, after the news outlet Splinter published a cache of racist emails sent and received by Joe Ricketts, the billionaire whose family owns the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.

Many of the published emails, sent between 2009 to 2013, focused on a fear of Muslims and contained conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama. The false assertion that Obama, who identifies as Protestant, was Muslim and born outside the United States were prevalent in right-wing politics during his presidency.

In one email, Ricketts wrote to somebody identified only as S.V. that “Christians and Jews can have a mutual respect for each other to create a civil society,” but “Islam cannot do that.” He went on to write that, “we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society,” and that “Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy.”

Since email is involved I’m waiting for the rickety Ricketts clan to blame Hillary or Huma. Trey Gowdy is out of office, perhaps they can hire him to consult. BENGHAZI. BENGHAZI.

The Ricketts affair *almost* makes me nostalgic for former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott who got into trouble for saying stupid shit like this:

  • “Some of the biggest problems in this city come from women wanting to leave the home and work.”
  • “Sneaky goddamn Jews are all alike.”
  • “Only fruits wear earrings.”
  • “Everybody knows [Hitler] was good at the beginning, but he just went too far.”

That concludes this edition of First Draft potpourri. Since Michael F is off and we miss his wit and insight, he gets the last word with a Rick Perry image created in January 2017:

Oops.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: New Orleans Mourning/The Axeman’s Jazz

I rarely post any book  covers released after 1970 but there are always exceptions. These two novels by Julie Smith are set in New Orleans. And 1990’s New Orleans Mourning features a spectacular crime: Rex, King of Carnival, is murdered on his float on Mardi Gras day.

Bayou Brief: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member

Carnival 2019 is as long as Anthony Davis’ arms. Unlike AD it doesn’t want to be traded to the Lakers. I’m not sure what LeBron would make of this on his home court:

Earlier today my latest piece for the Bayou Brief went live: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member. It’s a photo essay about my life and times as a member of Krewe du Vieux; something y’all have heard me go on about here at First Draft.

I picked the title because it’s catchy not because I confess to all that much. I must confess that it’s a relief not to write about a certain asshole president* who lied his way through the SOTU. I didn’t watch. Dr. A and I were babysitting our de facto nieces and nephew aka the Child Army. There was, however, snark and shade involved:

That’s why her nickname is the Benevolent Dictator. In the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, I don’t get no respect. It’s an open question as to whether I deserve any.

The last word goes to Jay McShann and the Rolling Stones with this confessional classic:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Book Of Dreams

1977’s Book of Dreams was one of the biggest selling Steve Miller Band albums ever. The winged horse cover was created by Kelley-Mouse studio and was the first of five equestrian SMB album covers.

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube playlist format:

The Northam Minstrelsy Mess

A familiar line of defense has emerged in the Ralph Northam minstrelsy mess: YOUTHFUL FOLLY. Unfortunately for the Virginia Governor, he was a twenty-five year old medical student when the offending, and offensive, yearbook picture was published. Since this is NOT the NFL, I hereby throw a penalty flag on the youthful folly defense. I also wonder *why* the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook published a picture of that dastardly duo in 1984. The current head of the med school wants to know as well and has launched an investigation.

You know things are bad when being the blackface dude is not as bad as the alternative. After initially admitting that one of the bozos in the picture could have been him, Doctor/Governor Northam changed his story. Like so many politicians in trouble, he violated the first rule of holes and kept digging. His denial included this astonishing admission:

“That same year I did participate in a dance contest in San Antonio in which I darkened my face as part of a Michael Jackson costume,” Northam told the crowd of reporters, later joking that it is difficult to get shoe polish off your face. “I look back now and regret that I did not understand the harmful legacy of an action like that.”

Northam said that he won the dance contest, and when a reporter asked if he could still moonwalk, he look around to see if there was space to show off the dance move.

He paused after his wife jumped in to say it was an “inappropriate circumstance.”

One could say Northam used a backhoe to keep digging his hole. The mere thought that it would be okay to  moonwalk at his Saturday presser should be grounds for resignation in and of itself.

Northam’s press conference was supposed to begin the healing process whereby he could stay in office but it had the opposite effect: all of the recent past Democratic Governors, Wilder, Warner, Kaine, and McAuliffe have called for Northam to resume the practice of medicine.

The good news is that Northam now seems open to quitting if he can longer be effective as Governor BUT he has not resigned as of this writing. To say he can’t be effective as a Governor leading a multi-racial state party after the minstrelsy mess is an understatement.

As wingnuts are fond of pointing out, the Democratic Party *does* have a checkered past when it comes to race, especially in places like the Commonwealth of Virginia. BUT those days ended when a Democratic president from the South passed major civil rights legislation and Richard Nixon became the candidate of the white backlash. Democrats are now the anti-racist party and need to have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to blackface minstrelsy and other examples of  the misguided humor of youtful folly. The election of Donald Trump and the rise of white nationalism in the GOP has made that even more imperative.

I believe Northam when he says that the 2019 edition of Doctor/Governor Northam is not a bigot and that he’s done many good things over the years. I believe he’s sorry about the picture on his yearbook page. BUT he forfeited any chance at being forgiven for his youthful folly when he crawfished on whether or not he was one of the pinheads in that yearbook picture. His hole is now a crater.

A quick resignation from office is also in Northam’s self-interest. He can retain at least a shred of dignity by cutting his losses. It’s time  for him to “jump Jim Crow” out of the governor’s mansion. Let’s hope he does it today.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Rainy Night In Georgia

Hummingbirds by Walter Inglis Anderson

The Super Bowl  will be played tomorrow in Atlanta, but ratings in New Orleans will be abysmal because of the infamous blown call. The game is being boycotted by most locals: Dr. A and I are going to two non-watching parties. I’m unsure if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be burnt in effigy at either soiree. One of them is a birthday party so perhaps there will be a Goodell pinata. Probably not: my friends Clay and Candice have a small child and the sight of Goodell is traumatic to most New Orleanians.

New Orleans and Atlanta have a longstanding and intense rivalry. And not just in football. They’ve topped us economically but we have better food as well as charm up the proverbial wazoo. Saints fans are also disappointed not to be Super Bowling in Atlanta because they’re losing out on some trash talking opportunities. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written in 1967 by Louisiana native Tony Joe White who died last fall at the age of 75. Rainy Night In Georgia is a song that proves the adage that the best songs are sad songs: “looks like it’s raining all over the world.”

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the songwriter’s original, Brook Benton’s 1970 hit version, and a mournful 2013 interpretation by Boz Scaggs.

Let’s put away our umbrellas and jump to the break. We’ll try not to splash land.

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Tweet Of The Day: Mo Howard Bashing

Not the late, great Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, I’m referring to the stuffed shirt on the right in the picture below:

The billionaire bozo’s bad roll-out bumbles on. He feels that a self-made man like him will restore dignity to the White House. Unfortunately, Howard seems to be as ignorant of history as the Current Occupant:

Oops.

The last word goes to another Schultz:

Friday Guest Catblogging: Meet Mini

Dennie the Den of Muses cat has a new friend. She’s a calico torti named Mini. She even has a rapper name, Mini D. Here she be:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Highways In Hiding/Space Plague

It’s sci-fi time here at First Draft. The original title is on the left. I prefer Space Plague. It’s catchy; in fact, it’s contagious.