Author Archives: Peter Adrastos Athas

Saturday Odds & Sods: Heart Of The Sunrise

Wheatfield with Rising Sun by Vincent Van Gogh.

It’s been a difficult week in New Orleans. Mayor Cantrell has, quite wisely, rolled back the “reopening” to what amounts to Phase 1.5. Here’s hoping that people get the message and stop acting as if we’re back to normal. Even Gamaliel wouldn’t find this normal and he lived through the last great pandemic. That’s great as in big, not good. Pandemics are never the latter.

I’m trying to bring some beauty to an ugly era with this week’s theme song. It was written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, and Bill Bruford for Yes’ 1971 Fragile album. It was the first track they rehearsed and recorded with Rick Wakeman.

We have two versions of Heart Of The Sunrise for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 21st Century live version.

Before jumping to the break, another song from Fragile:

Continue reading

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

 

In the last Songs For The Pandemic post, I wrote about my hatred of cigarette smoke. That does not, however, extend to the classic Jerome Kern-Otto Harbach tune, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

There are oodles of outstanding versions of this 1933 song. Here are five of them; beginning with the great Billy Eckstein who had the deepest voice in human history.

Billy Eckstein and Sarah Vaughan went way back. They met while both were in Earl Fatha Hines’ big band. Eckstein formed his own band and asked Sarah to join. She did. They worked together many times over the years but this recording of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes is all Sarah.

The Platters hit number one on the pop charts with their doo wop version:

Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry loves standards as much as I do. He recorded Smoke Gets In Your Eyes for his 1974 solo album, Another Time, Another Place:

Finally, an instrumental interpretation by the great Clifford Brown with a little help from arranger/conductor Neil Hefti:

That’s it for this week. Pour yourself a belt of your favorite adult beverage but whatever you do, keep the smoke out of your eyes.

Quotes Of The Day: Trump Family Hunger Games Edition

I’ve never entirely agreed with the opening line of Tolstoi’s Anna Karenina but it’s a good place to start:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

As Mary Trump’s new book makes clear, Fred Trump created a family straight out of The Hunger Games; only without the chick heroes. There were no heroes in the Trump family only bullies, grifters, cowards, and victims. Mary Trump’s father, Fred Jr, was one of the casualties of the Trump Family Hunger Games. Imagine a family where being an airline pilot isn’t good enough. In a word: Nutty.

I’ve avoided most of the tell-all books about the Impeached Insult Comedian. But I’m interested in reading Too Much and Never Enough. There’s something comforting about a family that’s more dysfunctional than your own. The Trumps take the cake.

I’m tickled by people on social media who are shocked that relatives would screw each other over money. Having first-hand experience, I am not. Money makes people do terrible things. And too much money makes people crazy with greed as indicated by the stories of the Trump siblings looting their father’s estate to avoid taxes and to screw Fred Jr’s children.

The other quote of the day comes from Jennifer Szalai’s review of Mary Trump’s tome:

 

“She says her uncle has the emotional maturity of a 3-year-old and has ‘suffered mightily,’ burdened by what she calls an insatiable ‘black hole of need.’ He was trained to hunger endlessly for daddy’s approval; it’s just that now, as president of the United States, she says, the figures who remind him of home are Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.”

This is the most plausible explanation I’ve seen for President* Pennywise’s odd fascination with dictators. As the son of a minor league dictator, Donald identifies with the North Korean dictator despite the weirdness of the son of a capitalist identifying with the son of a communist.

The featured image is a picture of Fred and Donald Trump I used in the first Donald Trump Is post: Donald Trump Is A Criminal. That post was inspired by the NYT’s Pulitzer Prize winning series about the Trump’s finances. We’ve learned recently that Mary Trump was one of the primary sources for that series. Hell hath no fury like an heiress scorned.

As I wrote this post, I came to the realization that I have an idea for a Trump family theme song. Just imagine Fred Trump singing “you can’t have love without greed” to his children as they tormented one another as siblings are wont to do. Unfortunately, his second son is currently tormenting the nation.

The last word goes to Graham Parker & The Rumour:

Friday Catblogging: You Can All Join In

I rarely participate in “you can all join in” type things on twitter. I broke down last night because someone asked the world to post a picture of “your pet and what it’s named for.”

I tried to cut and paste the original tweet but the end result was too damn long so here are the Paul Drakes:

The last word goes to Traffic with a Dave Mason song:

Split Decision

The Summer Of Sam Fuller continues here at First Draft. The new Fog Of Scandal image is how the murder of Tolly Devlin’s father was shot in today’s PFT film noir, Underworld U.S.A. What’s more noir than shadows? Not a damn thing.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the ruling by SCOTUS in the Trump tax cases. Not a damn thing. Don’t jump my shit or I’ll have a Tolly Devlin moment:

 

The post title is not 100% accurate but it’s what I predicted yesterday so I’ll stick with it:

 

I’ve never been compared to a Dutch seer before. I kinda like it. Thanks, Paul. Hmm, I wonder if the Dutch Dude wore seersucker…

The following analysis is as instant as it gets.

There was a clear victory for the Manhattan DA’s office in its case, which re-established the obvious principle that any POTUS is NOT ABOVE THE LAW. Trump’s legal team made preposterous arguments that made him either a king or a deity. The Kaiser of Chaos is neither; that nickname notwithstanding.

Both the New York case and the Congressional case have been remanded to the lower courts to address the details of the complaints so as Yogi Berra probably never said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.”

We may not see the records as soon as we might like but President* Pennywise is a loser in the long run. And he hates losing. Neener, neener, neener. I never get tired of Trump losing.

Other than the rule of law, the real winner today was Chief Justice John Roberts who, like any sensible Chief, prefers to stay out of the political thicket, which is as thick as it’s ever been. Thanks to a president* who is truly as thick as brick, which means as smart as a lump of shit. Make that orange shit and it fits…

Even Justice Bro believes that presidents DO NOT HAVE ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY. The Impeached Insult Comedian is already whining like a stuck pig, but he hasn’t attacked Kavanaugh. Yet. The clock is still clicking.

The cases have been remanded to the lower courts to handle the details. Congress may still prevail if they narrow their subpoena. Btw, that’s a word I can never spell without resort to a spell checker. The mere thought gives me a series of Tolly Devlin moments:

Finally, here’s summation of the case written in the style of Mongo of Blazing Saddles fame:

 

The last word goes to Steve Winwood with Joe Walsh:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Underworld U.S.A.

It’s been the summer of Sam at Adrastos World HQ. Not the Spike Lee flick; Sam as in Samuel Fuller the cult film writer-director. Fuller was underrated in his day, but his quirky and idiosyncratic movies have stood the test of time

TCM Noir Alley host Eddie Muller screened Underworld U.S.A. on Father’s Day this year. It’s the story of a young man whose father is murdered. He spends his life seeking revenge against the gangsters who slew dear old dad.

The vengeful son, Tolly Devlin, was played by Cliff Robertson in a bravura performance that was as quirky and idiosyncratic as Sam Fuller himself. Tolly Devlin has become a catch phrase in our house. It’s usually aimed at Paul Drake when he’s in trouble, which is a frequent occurrence. We all have our Tolly Devlin moments.

I give Underworld U.S.A. 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A-.

It’s poster time. The first one is Canadian, eh:

Here’s the trailer:

Are you ready for some lagniappe? It’s Eddie Muller making a cocktail to go along with Underworld U.S.A.

H Is For Hypocrisy

The idea that Republican office holders are hypocrites is not a novel notion. There has been, however, an explosion of it this week. One might even call it a pandemic of hypocrisy.

In the state of Texas where manly he-men rule the roost:

The Republican Party of Texas will hold its disputed in-person convention but elected officials including Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have opted to offer their remarks virtually.

Abbott, of course, is the manly he-man responsible for that state’s premature “reopening” and for tying the hands of local officials to deal with the pandemic. After an explosion of COVID cases, he crawfished on his previous positions. Freedom, man.

Lt. Gov Patrick is the manly he-man who thinks seniors should die for the economy but he’s afraid of catching the bug himself. Freedom, man.

These bozos are Texas-sized hypocrites. They should quarantine themselves at The Alamo along with the ghosts of Travis, Crockett, and Bowie. Freedom, man.

New Hampshire’s nickname is the Granite State and its motto is “live free or die.” Freedom, man.

The second Governor Sununu had this to say about an upcoming Trump rally:

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Sununu told reporters that even though he was going to “greet the President as the governor” when Trump arrives at Portsmouth for the outdoor rally, he himself won’t be going to the event.

“I will not be in the crowd of thousands of people, I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people,” said the governor.

“Unfortunately, I have to be extra cautious as the governor, I try to be extra cautious for myself, my family,” he added.

So, it’s too dangerous for “important people” like the Governor but not rank and file Trumpers. I call bullshit and, you guessed it, hypocrisy.

Glad to hear that Sununu wants to keep his political dynasty viable for a third generation. One way to stay safe politically is to hide from President* Pennywise’s super spreader tour. It would be nice if Sununu wanted to keep his constituents safe as well. Freedom, man.

Finally, a shit ton of Republican Senators are bailing on the hastily and poorly organized Jacksonville convention:

According to the Washington Post, Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) have now joined Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in opting out of their party’s convention as coronavirus cases continue surging across the country.

Collins whose re-election campaign is on life support will spend the convention hiding under the bed. I wouldn’t open your anxiety closet if I were you, Sue. Justice Bro lurks therein. Freedom, man.

The sole GOP solon I’ll give a pass to is Willard Mittbot Romney who was the lone Republican vote to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian. To circle the post back to Texas, the other Republican senators are all hat and no cattle. Selfishness is not a substitute for courage.

Freedom, man.

The last word goes to Bob Marley & The Wailers:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sammy Awards

I’ve been looking at a caricature of Sammy Davis Jr. for the last ten Fridays. It’s time to see him on a Wednesday.

Sammy Awards has a deeply weird cover featuring the singer as an Oscar-ish statue. It’s unclear if it’s real gold or merely gold leaf. Whatever it may be, it’s weird.

There was method to the Sammy Awards weirdness. All the songs on the album were written directly for the screen and nominated for the Best Song Oscar. They all lost. Sammy was a card.

The album itself is not that weird. In fact, it’s not bad at all but not award winning or losing stuff.

 

Close Up The Honky Tonks

I live in a city where bar culture is important. I stopped being a barfly because of smoke: Dr. A is allergic to it and I hated smelling like an ash tray every time I went to a bar. New Orleans finally banned smoking in 2015, but my  affinity for bars was diminished. But I understand the importance of a favorite watering hole for others.

I think that bars being open during the pandemic is madness, especially with the recent surge of COVID cases. One New Orleans dive bar owner agrees with me, Dave Clements of Snake and Jake’s:

“I’ve been telling everyone this since day one: I’d rather stay closed a month too long unnecessarily than open a day too early,” Clements said. “We’ve been through all this and of course I want to reopen, but trying to reopen even at 50%, I have no idea how we would do that.”

Clements, who was adding space to the Snakes and Jakes backyard on Monday to prepare for a time when he could reopen, said policing his clientele to abide by the governor’s restrictions might be too difficult, even if he could reopen.

“We’re not really known for our responsible behavior here, so I don’t know how much people who are drinking heavily are going to listen,” Clements said.

Wise choice. Wise man.

Let’s move on the music. Close Up The Honky Tonks was written by Red Simpson. It was first recorded by Buck Owens and his Buckeroos in 1964.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Buck’s original, the Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons, and Dwight Yoakam from Dwight Sings Buck complete with a video. Yeah, boy. Bow, howdy.

North By Northwest, Trump Style

I originally hadn’t planned to write about President* Pennywise’s latest White Grievance speech. He’s said it all before and I’ve written about it recently in American Carnage 2020. Then, I re-watched the Hitchcock masterpiece North By Northwest and knew what I had to do. This is it.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I’m not comparing Trump to Cary Grant. The only thing they have in common is a love of tanning. Grant’s tan always looked natural whereas Trump’s tan last Friday was artificial even by his standards. Orange is not a natural skin tone: he looked as if he’d fallen asleep in the White House tanning bed (there is such a thing) then slathered on bronzer. Why he thinks this looks good is beyond me. Of course, his hair resembles a dead nutria pelt so what the hell does he know.

One thing the Impeached Insult Comedian has in common with Grant’s North By Northwest character Roger Thornhill is wanderlust. The movie is an extended road trip as Thornhill flees bad guys James Mason and Martin Landau. In Trump’s case, he’s traveling the country whipping up fear and spreading COVID-19 wherever he goes. He *is* the bad guy. FYI, Thornhill’s initials were ROT, which aptly describes the moral rot brought to our politics by the Current Occupant.

As to the content of the speech, it was bizarre. The Kaiser of Chaos needs to expand, not contract his base if he wants to be re-elected. Instead, he seems to be running to be the second president of the confederacy. If he wants to run on monuments to slave owners and traitors, more power to him.

Team Trump might as well turn this image into a banner and drag it along on the campaign trail:

The speech was Steven Miller channeling George Wallace; only the racism was explicit, not implicit. Why they think this is a winning strategy  is beyond me. In 1968, Wallace polled as high as 30% before sinking to 14% by election day. It’s another example of Team Trump’s lunatic notion that a sitting president* can run as an insurgent and outsider. It worked for them, just barely, in 2016. Repeat after me: reelection campaigns are always about the incumbent and their record.

Back to the post title. It was the setting for Trump’s speech that inspired thoughts of North By Northwest. Mount Rushmore has long been polarizing. The four-headed presidential tribute rightly enrages the Lakota Sioux as it sits on one of their holiest sites. The only time I ever saw it was as a small child. I loudly declared that it was weird. My father shushed me but my mother laughed because she knew 6-year-old me was right. It *is* weird, y’all.

I’ve long thought it was a pity that Hitchcock didn’t go through with this idea:

“In North by Northwest during the scene on Mount Rushmore I wanted Cary Grant to hide in Lincoln’s nostril and then have a fit of sneezing. The Parks Commission [sic] of the Department of Interior was rather upset at this thought. I argued until one of their number asked me how I would like it if they had Lincoln play the scene in Cary Grant’s nose. I saw their point at once.”

The working title of the screenplay was The Man In Lincoln’s Nose. That title was just as weird as Mount Rushmore itself. It’s *almost* as weird as the fact that the 45th president* is an openly racist Impeached Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. Strike the word almost: nothing is weirder than that.

The last word goes to The Beatles, not Bernard Herrmann:

Strike the not Bernard Herrmann thing:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Hey Baby, It’s The Fourth Of July

Two Flags by Jasper Johns.

This is the second time the Fourth of July has coincided with Saturday Odds & Sods. The first time, in 2015 I did a full-blown post. Five years later, I’m a low energy individual so all I’ve got for you is some rock and roll.

I give you my 11th annual Independence Day post without any fireworks but with lots of music. Put your hands together for Dave Alvin, Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and Aimee Mann.

Happy Birthday ‘Merica.

The last word goes to Jasper Johns in the studio:

What’s New?

Another Friday, another torch song. This week’s entry, What’s New?, was originally an instrumental composed in 1939 by Bob Haggart; Johnny Burke’s lyrics were commissioned by the music publisher. In this case, the egg came before the chicken or something like that.

The first version of this song I ever heard was by Frank Sinatra. Anyone surprised? I would hope not.

Linda Ronstadt was one of the biggest stars of the 1970’s. She was also a risk taker as illustrated by her work at the peak of her stardom with Nelson Riddle who also arranged and conducted the Sinatra version above.

Finally, the great Dexter Gordon takes the tune back to its roots with an instrumental version.

We have a new closing meme. I think you know who they are:

Throwing It All Away

Image by John Valentino.

If you’re like me you’re either saddened and/or outraged by the recent surge of COVID-19. Those of us who live in places where the state and local governments appeared to be on top of things were feeling a bit smug. Our optimism was premature. If anything, the latest wave is larger and scarier than the first one that struck back in March.

The whole debate over “reopening” has returned to bite us in the ass. I think we know who’s responsible for that:

Image by Michael F.

The grotesque incompetence of the Trump regime and its politicization of a public health emergency has led to these numbers: a record 53,000+ new cases yesterday and 130,000 Americans dead and counting.

One of the richest countries in the world has the worst outbreak. That’s down to horrendous leadership at the federal level and the way President* Pennywise has fobbed off responsibility onto state and local officials. The virus does not respect state lines or national borders. It’s an equal opportunity killer.

It never had to be this bad. One way things can be turned around is by wearing a mask in public. The flying monkeys of Trumpistan have turned this into a political issue. Freedom, man. Senator Aqua Buddha recently mocked Tony Fauci for being an expert. Freedom, man.

The featured image is by John Valentino one of the most talented members of Krewe du Vieux. He executed the image to accompany a June 26th Facebook post by one of our most eminent members, Dr. Jim Aiken who is an emergency medicine specialist at LSU Medical School and University Medical Center.

I tried to post the Facebook message here without success so here’s Dr. Jim’s message cut and pasted for your perusal:

As the leaders of an organization with a rich history of portraying, advancing and living the culture of New Orleans, I’m writing to ask you to join me in urging our members, families, friends and everyone the Krewe touches to do the right thing to reverse a frightening resurgence of new COVID cases in our community.

My appeal comes not from a concern whether we have a Marxist Gras (sic) next year, but from a deep concern over the threat this virus poses to the lives of those we love.
We lost Ronald Lewis and Ellis Marsalis to the virus among other musical icons. We have lost 1000 dead to the virus in Orleans and Jefferson Parish since we began tracking 4 months ago. And we have no cure, no scientifically proven medication that will significantly change mortality, and no vaccine available until the end of the year.
After an initial community behavior of wearing masks, social isolation and avoiding large groups that was encouraging, I am now stunned with the widespread irresponsibility that came from the Phase 2 opening. I still do not believe this stupidity is a true reflection of who we are, but it is obviously enough to push the pandemic case and hospitalizations “curves” upwards. Do not buy into the foolishness that this phenomenon is simply from more testing. Those of us in the emergency departments last week knew ahead from our increase in COVID related emergencies that these statistics would come to be what they are now.
The undisputed science from centuries of experience is that social distancing and masking is the mainstay of mitigating pandemics. The other irrefutable science now is that this virus has vicious characteristics in terms in how it spreads and how it kills. The irresponsible among us may not be the ones to suffer the consequences of their inactions. It will be the ones they associate later, the elderly, those with medical problems that led to an increase in a horrible death from the coronavirus.
We had such promise two weeks ago dealing with this calamity. The curves are now as they were back in early March, arching to the sky.
As I have said on TV, radio, print and anyone who will listen to me, it’s not what healthcare does in the hospitals, it’s what we all do everyday in our neighborhoods and gathering establishments that gives us a chance to see this through.
I’ll never forget an evening after Katrina when I first heard the sounds of live music from the streets. Krewe du Vieux was the first parade on the streets for the next Marci Gras (sic & sick). How we behave now with a sustained new normal mentality will directly determine when we can safely enjoy and celebrate our heritage that Krewe du Vieux exemplifies better than any other community entity. I ask the Krewe to play the active healing role we have in past in influencing our members and neighbors to live and behave safely. As Clancy DuBos said on TV tonight, “wear the damn masks”. I couldn’t have said that better.
With love and wishes for good health for you all,
King Dr Jim

I couldn’t have said it better myself, especially since I’m neither a doctor nor do I play one on social media. I am, however, proud to be a member of Krewe du Vieux.

It has been alternately maddening and disheartening to watch month’s worth of sacrifice squandered by the selfish and stupid. We should be in the same position as Germany, Spain, or Italy all of which were hard hit by the pandemic. Instead, we threw away our progress. Let’s not make the same mistake twice. Please stay home and if you must go out, wear a damn mask.

The last word goes to Genesis:

Tweets Of The Week: Picture Book

Captain America punches Hitler

The pandemic has driven me to spend more time on the Tweeter Tube. It can be annoying as hell but sometimes I see swell stuff. I used Captain America punching Hitler as the featured image because I can never get enough of it. It’s also relevant to the post as you’ll see directly.

We have three pictorial tweets for your amusement. They’re good enough that I’m using a Kinks song as part of the title. I assume you’re familiar with my Kinks Theorem: there’s a Kinks song for every occasion.

Our first entry is dedicated to readers and viewers of The Plot Against America:

Oy just oy but who among us doesn’t love Theodor Geisel?

Next up is a sign of the times:

A little-known fact about me. As a child, I loved Mary Poppins so much that I made my father sit through two big screen showings. That’s probably why my mother became the movie parent from then on.

I feel a song coming on:

The last word goes to The Kinks with a double dose of Picture Book:

Friday Catblogging: Different Bag

Tote, not paper.

We’ve been listening to lot of Steve Winwood at our house. He gets the last word. Why? I’m trying to do something different, that’s why.

 

Everything Is A Hoax

It’s hot even for New Orleans this week. So hot that we’ve had cold suppers two nights in a row. The streak ends tonight because I have a package of chicken thighs whose sell-by date is tomorrow. But I’m still not turning the oven on because it’s:

Now that we’ve settled that, a few quick thoughts before slicing this potpourri post into segments like an overripe orange.

In my John Bolton Can Go Fuck Himself post, I expressed a desire for a bootleg/samizdat copy of that tendentious tome. Tommy T granted my wish. It’s tough going. Bolton writes in a lawyerly manner and sprinkles neo-con foreign policy pixie dust over everything. I’ve read about 100 pages. Not sure I’m tough enough to finish the Mustache of War’s tell-all tome.

Before moving on, another musical interlude:

I’m also not tough enough to continue watching HBO’s Perry Mason. The second episode was a slight improvement but it’s still pretty, pretty bad. It reminds me of this segment on the original Siskel & Ebert show, Sneak Previews:

Bountygate Nouveau Redux: President* Pennywise gave this post its title when he declared his latest impeachable offense a “fake news hoax.” Everything he doesn’t like is a hoax. This scandal is not. It’s as real as the pandemic, which he continues to think he can wish away. There’s a special place in hell for the Donald and his whole tribe.

Some people scoffed when I wrote last fall about how Trump had alienated the military. Since then, we’ve have the firing of Captain Crozier, the Lafayette Square disaster, and now the $100K bounty paid to kill Americans. All of Trump’s excuses are equally feeble as attested to by Rep. Elissa Slotkin who briefed two of his predecessors. You’re busted, asswipe.

That’s Why I Call Him The Impeached Insult Comedian: A piece by Carl Bernstein about Trump’s phone antics with foreign leaders confirmed our worst fears. He sucks up to dictators, especially Erdogan and Putin, and shits all over the Three Ms: Merkel, May, and Macron. Does he talk hairdos with Boris Johnson? You never can tell.

Team Trump’s response has been to attack the leakers. That’s confirmation that the story is true. Hopefully, it will help turn the country:

Soylent Green had been sitting on the DVR since it last aired on TCM. We watched it last night. I hadn’t seen it in “I decline to say how long” many years and Dr. A had never seen it before.

Since that giant slab of ham, Chuck Heston, is the star, I riffed like my hero Crow T. Robot. Fortunately, the great Edward G. Robinson is Chuck’s wingman, and his performance rescued the movie. It’s hard to believe that Heston is the one who won an acting Oscar when Emanuel Goldberg was so much better. So it goes.

Soylent Green is a dystopian movie, set in 2022 in a New York that has been ravaged by the Greenhouse Effect, not the Kaiser of Chaos. There are no flying cars, just people, people everywhere.

One way you can tell that the world has gone to hell is that veteran character actor Whit Bissell played the Governor of New York. I love Whit Bissell: his name and his 321 credits. He looked pretty good in a gubernatorial leisure suit too on the tube teevee they used in 2022, Soylent Green-style:

The sets and costumes are what people in 1973 thought the future would be like. Everyone wears tan and Mid-Century Modern decor is everywhere. I spotted a lamp that my friend Steve’s folks had in their Mid-Century Modern Eichler House.

I’ve gone from riffing on the Three Ms to Mid-Century Modern. Beats the hell out of contemplating Heston’s outfit and deeply hammy performance.

Believe it or not, I like Soylent Green and give it 3 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B-. It lost a grade-step because wooden TV star and failed Dodgers 1B Chuck Connors is in it as a hit man for the Soylent Corporation. So it goes.

The last word goes to Heston as Thorn:

Bayou Brief: The Rename Game

My latest Bayou Brief column is online. I wade knee deep, not into the Big Muddy, but into the monuments controversy in New Orleans. I offer my top ten list of stuff that should be renamed. I make a few suggestions but I’m mostly interested in getting a conversation started.

I have a lot of fun playing The Name Game in the column. Let’s do it for the current First Draft team:

Peter, Peter, bo-beter
Banana-fana fo-feter
Fee-fi-mo-meter
Peter.

Allison, Allison, bo-ballison
Banana-fana fo-fallison
Fee-fi-mo-mallison
Allison.

Michael, Michael, bo-bichael
Banana-fana fo-fichael
Fee-fi-mo-ichael
Michael.

Tommy, Tommy, bo-bommy
Banana-fana fo-fommy
Fee-fi-mo-mommy
Tommy.

Oh, mommy. The last word goes to Shirley Ellis:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Death Is The Host

This looks like a COVID-19 era dinner party at the White House. I’ll pass.

Bring It On Home To Me

The second wave of the pandemic appears poised to be even worse than the first. Too many people let down their guard and acted as if it was over. It was not. Please stay home as much as possible and wear a mask whenever you’re in public.

Sam Cooke wrote and recorded Bring It On Home To Me in 1962. It became a big hit on both the R&B and pop charts that summer.

Cooke adapted his song from a 1959 gospel/soul tune by Charles Brown:

Next up is one of my favorite John Hiatt songs featuring some of his finest lyrics.

Now that we’re done “mixing up drinks with mixed feelings,” a more recent song:

Between The Buttons is perhaps the Rolling Stones most underrated albums. And Please Go Home is one of the highlights of that 1967 album. It features some wicked guitar playing by the band’s original leader, Brian Jones.

Finally, if you take a walk, make sure you return home. Nat would insist:

Carl Reiner, R.I.P.

I grew up watching reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show with my mother. My favorite character was the pudgy punster, Buddy Sorrell played by Morey Amsterdam. My second favorite was the hilariously tyrannical boss, Alan Brady played by Carl Reiner. The world just became a little less funny after his death yesterday at the age of 98.

I learned early on that Carl Reiner was the creative force behind that classic show. My mother encouraged my Sheckiness by buying me this album for Christmas one year:

Oy, such a Christmas present. I wore it out.

Carl Reiner, of course, was nothing like Alan Brady. He was famous for being as nice as he was funny. Condolences to the Reiner family and his nonagenarian cronies Dick Van Dyke, Mel Brooks, and Norman Lear. Keep the laughter alive, y’all, keep the laughter alive.

The best tribute to Carl Reiner is to post some of his work as well as an unforgettable CBS Sunday Morning piece from when he was a mere lad of 93:

The last word goes to Carl Reiner as Alan Brady in one of the funniest sitcom episodes in teevee history, Coast To Coast Big Mouth.