Category Archives: Adrastos

Saturday Odds & Sods: Love In Action

The Lovers by Man Ray.

I had hoped to have a full-blown Odds & Sods post this week. The fates have conspired against my plans. We’ll have to make do.

My old computer has been ailing for quite some time. I left it at home during our brief Ida exile and when we returned it was at death’s door. Last Monday, I ordered a new one directly from HP, but they use the dread FedEx as their delivery service. My new computer is sweltering in a trailer in Covington, LA. Oy just oy.

Since I’ve been on a Todd Rundgren/Utopia jag this month, our theme song is one of Todd’s signature tunes. It was written in 1977 for Utopia’s Oops Wrong Planet album. It has remained a mainstay in his setlists ever since.

We have two versions of Love In Action for your listening pleasure.

We’d usually try and stop love in action after the break but there’s no break today.

It can’t be stopped, it’s also the answer:

We begin our second act by skipping it altogether.

Our third act commences with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth:  This time two cartoon villains: Jeff Bezos and Dr. Evil.

Saturday GIF Horse: I had a lot of fun writing The Stapling about my head injury and the stories it inspired. I’m getting unstapled today,

I mentioned my newfound identification with Boris Karloff. It is not shared by his putative bride played by Elsa Lanchester.

Boris Karloff Horror GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Saturday Classic: One of my favorite anthology albums. Guess who the artist is:

The opening track asks the immortal question: Who’s the crybaby now?

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to Utopia circa 1977.

Can We Still Be Friends

Cocktail Hour Todd Darryl

I’m sticking with blue-eyed soul this week. I’m still hoping to be invited for a drink with Daryl and Todd. You never know what might happen.

Todd Rundgren wrote Can We Still Be Friends for his 1978 album Hermit Of Mink Hollow. A weird title for an album featuring one of Todd’s biggest hits.

We begin with the maestro:

Here’s a bossa nova version from With A Twist:

Robert Palmer had a minor hit with Todd’s tune in 1979.

Finally, Todd and Daryl Hall on the latter’s teevee show.

That’s it for this week. Let’s drink to a trash-free New Orleans. An unlikely prospect but I can dream. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.

The Shape I’m In

I have many things on my mind, so it’s time to dial back my role as your Hurricane Ida correspondent and write about some of the other weird shit happening in the news. I do have a few storm related items so we’ll begin there.

You may have noticed that the fundraising sticky atop the blog is gone. The Bayou Project has met its original goal, but they’re still raising money if you want to donate. Thanks to everyone who supported this kickass cause.

One thing people don’t know about me is that I have an excellent sense of smell. That’s why the Debrisville Post Ida Stank has bugged me so much. The phrase gag me with a spoon comes to mind.

I also have an inordinately high threshold of pain, which is why my head injury hasn’t bothered me much except on Bloody Monday. When I was a little leaguer, a batted ball broke my nose. My coach told my father, “This is the first kid I’ve seen that happen to who didn’t cry.” So it goes.

In more Teedy trash talk, the mayor has rolled out a new strategy. She’s deploying what she calls a Mardi Gras style pickup, which involves dump trucks and police escorts. Sounds better than takeout trash.

Mayor Teedy immediately undermined her policy by claiming that cops were needed because garbagemen had been threatened by hostile citizens.  Say what?

This tweet from a State Rep describes what has happened across the city when the garbage trucks appear:

TFC: This Fucking City.

Let’s move on to some national potpourri to cover the smell of rotting shrimp shells.

The Woodward-Costa book is causing a sensation. The bit about Liar Liar Pence On Fire calling J Danforth Quayle for advice is hilarious as is Trump’s response:

“I don’t want to be your friend anymore if you don’t do this,” and later said: “You’ve betrayed us. I made you. You were nothing.”

Neener, neener, neener. He forgot to threaten to hold his breath until he turned blue.

By my reckoning, that’s toddler tantrum eleventy-billion by the Impeached Insult Comedian.

And now a musical interlude inspired by the Trump tantrum:

Republicans suddenly believe in civilian control of the military. Why? General Milley went all-out to prevent war with China and military involvement in a Trump coup. Better to be Jiggs Casey than James Mattoon Scott. Those are Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster’s characters in Seven Days In May.

In the past, GOPers were outraged when Truman fired Gen. MacArthur, Carter fired Gen. Singlaub, and Obama fired Gen. McChrystal for insubordination and malakatude. How dare a Democratic president exercise the powers of their office?

There are Democrats who think President Biden should “drop the hammer” on recalcitrant senators Manchin and Sinema. Such a hammer does not exist in a 50-50 senate.

Speaking of hammers, I feel a musical interlude coming on:

Josh Marshall has a thing or two to say about hammers:

At our Wednesday event there were a lot of calls for Biden to drop the hammer on Manchin and Sinema to get a vote on the latest version of the For the People Act. As I said at the event, my great worry is that he’s not dropping the hammer because he knows it won’t work. If a leader says something has to happen and then it doesn’t happen the leader is much off worse than he started. The thing he wanted to happen didn’t happen in any case.

We keep hearing about LBJ and how he knew how to bring the power of the presidency to bear. But wow … this is just bad history. How did LBJ get people to fall in line? In the 89th Congress, which was sworn in in January 1965, the Democrats held 68 senate seats. Just think about that for a second. 68 seats! Sure, there were a bunch of pro-segregation Dixiecrats. But LBJ had plenty of votes to spare. And there were only relatively few of them who opposed him in the way an opposition party might.

Repeat after me: 50-50 senate.

Joe Biden has forgotten more about the senate than most people will ever know.

With a 50-50 senate it’s all carrot and no stick.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. It’s been a brutal few weeks for me: the hurricane, my Ida related malady, losing my friend Will, and my bloody pratfall. Having said that, I’m doing okay:  “Oh, you don’t know the shape I’m in.”

The Band gets the last word:

Friday Catblogging: Lover Of The Sun

Like every cat I’ve ever met, Claire Trevor loves sunlight. One reason she did well in exile was this wondrous window sill:

The last word goes to the Jayhawks:

TFC: Teedy’s Trash Trouble

The Root Beer Blues, 2005 photograph by Dr. A.

TFC, of course, stands for This Fucking City. We’re having another TFC moment after Hurricane Ida. I’ll get to the other T word in a minute.

We’re once again talking trash. The garbage piles up after a storm in Debrisville. Since there wasn’t a mandatory evacuation, the majority of New Orleanians are home. That, in turn, puts a stress on city services, which are poorly run on a good day. There are no good days in September of 2021.

Yesterday, the Cantrell administration proposed self-service trash takeout to supplement pickup by the hoppers and such. I am not making this up.

The proposal was greeted with derision because trash pickup was erratic at best before the storm. It even inspired a tirade from a popular morning news anchor:

Ms. Turk isn’t down for takeout trash, y’all. She’s experienced the Debrisville Post Ida Stank firsthand. Holy rancid rubbish, Batman.

Time to talk about the other T word: Teedy.

I’ve warmed to the notion of calling Mayor Latoya Cantrell Teedy. That’s black New Orleans slang for an auntie. Typically, a loud, bossy, and brassy auntie. Dr. A’s best local friend is a raging Teedy. If I called her that she’d yell at me thereby proving her Teediness.

The mayor is good at scolding people as is your average Teedy. It works for her. She even likes the nickname:

That’s not Teedy. She has a neck. Mayor Cantrell does not.

Trust me, I’m not endorsing her for reelection. If she had a well-known opponent, the trash issue is the sort of thing that loses elections for big city mayors. Unfortunately, Teedy’s challengers are all nobodies or weirdos. Besides, New Orleans reelected C Ray Nagin after Katrina and the Federal Flood. More on that shiny-headed boob in a moment.

Having praised her with faint damns, I have something good to say about Mayor Teedy. Until her trial by trash, she’s been good in a crisis. She’s a COVID hawk, so am I. And she stayed in the city after the storm unlike one of her predecessors.

C Ray Nagin spent a lot of time at his Dallas condo after Katrina. He was MIA as mayor for most of his second term. Even if it fails the smell test, Mayor Teedy is trying to do something about her trash trouble. C Ray would have jokingly suggested, “Y’all take your trash to New Orleans East. You already do it, man. That’s a joke, man.”

Hey man, trash isn’t funny, man. Go shine your head, asshole. Oops, I wrote that dialogue, but he could have said it, man. C Ray said man a lot, man.

Mocking Mayor Nagin was a vital part of the Spirit of ’05. My pal Liprap called him The Walking Id. She spoke the truth, man.

Life in New Orleans has always been hard. We’re used to this shit. That’s why I revived the Debrisville nickname. That’s why I call it TFC: This Fucking City.

Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

You know what that means, Talking Heads get the last word:

That concludes this tale of takeout trash in TFC: This Fucking City.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Our Flesh Was Cheap

The image is bog standard pulp, but the title made my skin crawl.

The Stapling

I love old horror movies. I’ve always been a Vincent Price kinda guy, but I now find myself identifying with Boris Karloff. Here’s why:

That was probably TMI for social media but there’s never enough I for First Draft. I rarely play straight man here but am willing to do so on the Tweeter Tube. My friends may be cruel, but they’re funny. Click on this link for more merriment at my expense. My Twitter handle is Shecky, but I feel more like Rodney Dangerfield right now.

Here’s what happened. It was the stupidest accident I’ve ever had and I’m a lifelong klutz. We soaked our trash bin to remove the Debrisville Post Ida Stank from it. I flipped open the lid, then tried to lean it over to pour out the schmutz. That’s when wet grass acted as a banana peel, and I did a pratfall. My head bashed into the rim of the open bin. That’s where things got bloody.

My forehead turned into a gusher reminiscent of the scene in Giant where James Dean strikes oil on Rock Hudson’s ranch.

Since I was doing dirty work, I was wearing an old t-shirt, which I turned into a tourniquet of sorts. Still, the blood flowed like the Monty Python parody of Sam Peckinpah:

I called not Elizabeth Taylor but Dr. A who took me to an Urgent Care joint to get stapled. I already needed a tetanus shot after stepping on a roofing screw at the cemetery cleanup in honor of my late friend Will. That’s what I get for doing yard work.

I’m at the stage of life where everything reminds me of a story. This is an odd one. Long ago and far away, I worked as a paralegal on a massive anti-trust case. All the users of cement were suing all the cement companies. I was firmly on the plaintiffs’ side.

I worked on the document production at Kaiser Cement HQ in Oakland. In the pre-digital age that meant micro-filming documents. I’d sort through the paperwork and select stuff for them to shoot. It was dull, laborious work. FYI, Shapiro worked at the home office as a coder. We go back farther than either of us is willing to admit.

You’re probably wondering where this is leading. Me too.

I spent a lot of time assessing expense accounts; some valid, others dubious. There was one sales rep who used a lot of staples. I dubbed him 12-staple McGahey. I’m not quite sure if that was the name but he was a Scotsman.

I’m certainly not a Scotsman but one could call me 6-staple Adrastos right now. I cannot wait for the stapling to end and for the scabbing to commence.

A closing message in the spirit of Karloff as interpreted by Phil Hartman:

FIRE BAD!

Wet grass bad too.

The last word goes to the Staples Singers:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: After The Storm

This week, the cover of a 2005 benefit album that I’d never heard of until recently. I was living it back then. A bunch of prog rockers put together this album: After The Storm: A Benefit Album For The Survivors Of Hurricane Katrina. Thanks, y’all.

The cover is by Michael Bennett:

I couldn’t find the whole album online so here’s a cut from Camel:

Justice Coney Clueless Meets The Turtle

Who said that Metry native Amy Coney Barrett has no sense of humor? The Trump appointed Supreme, hereinafter and forevermore Justice Coney Clueless, picked an odd place to declare that the Roberts Court “is not comprised of partisan hacks.”

The place is the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville best known for national championship winning hoops teams under Denny Crum and Rick Pitino. Pitino, of course, was the real crumb…

That’s McConnell Center as in Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell who is the most partisan hack to ever hack me off. As you can see from the featured image, the Turtle was there to cheer on Justice Coney Clueless as she declared that Justices must be:

“hyper-vigilant to make sure they’re not letting personal biases creep into their decisions since judges are people, too”.

Really? Even this guy?

If they named a beer after Kavanaugh, it would be Partisan Hack.

Like Justice Bro, Justice Coney Clueless is a right-wing Catholic who is bound to approve of Louisville’s mascot, which is a Cardinal, not a Turtle. It’s the bird, not a prelate but it strikes me as a significant symbol.

The McConnell Center’s ostensible mission is to:

Founded in 1991, the non-partisan McConnell Center at the University of Louisville seeks to identify, recruit and nurture Kentucky’s next generation of great leaders. Our core principles–leadership, scholarship and service–guide us as we (1) prepare top undergraduate students to become future leaders; (2) offer civic education programs for teachers, students and the public; and (3) conduct strategic leadership development for the US Army.

Something with the Turtle’s name on it non-partisan? They’re not partisan hacks like Mitch? Who knew? Sounds like the cardinal sin of lying to me.

The Turtle went on to cluelessly extol Justice Coney Clueless at the event:

McConnell, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported, praised Barrett for not trying to “legislate from the bench” and for being from “Middle America”. Barrett is from Indiana and, unlike the other eight justices, did not attend Harvard or Yale.

She’s been living in Indiana but she’s not only from Metairie, LA, she’s a graduate of St Mary’s Dominican High School. It’s a hoity-toity girl’s school in an area where you went to high school really matters. You can take the girl out of the Gret Stet of Louisiana, but you can’t expunge it from her soul, such as it is. Ya heard, Mitch?

This is my first non-Ida post since I got my internet access back. I missed the opening round of the Texas abortion ban mishigas. I have two points to make:

  1. SCOTUS acted improperly in allowing the law to take effect since it implicates constitutional rights.
  2.  Roe v. Wade has not been the controlling abortion rights case since 1992 when Justices O’Connor and Kennedy sidelined Roe in Casey v. Planned Parenthood. That case sets the current test for abortion rights.

That’s all for now. I suspect that I’ll be walking the legal beat a great deal as the summer of our discontent turns into autumn.

The last word goes to Ani DiFranco:

The Debrisville Post Ida Stank Blues

The 700 block of Valence St.

It’s been 15 days since Hurricane Ida slammed into Southeast Louisiana, but it remains the focus of my attention; such as it is. I’m still tired, fatigued, and exhausted. The storm is much less serious for New Orleans than Katrina, but I’m sixteen years older. It’s less clear if I’m wiser for the extra years and pounds. So it goes.

My focus has been hyper local since Ida struck.  I haven’t been following the national political news as closely as usual. I know that the MSM is still wrong about Afghanistan and that Joe Manchin is still an attention whore and drama queen. I’ll get back up to snuff soon enough but I haven’t missed pondering the posturing of the Sinematic senator or the Turtle’s machinations.

Many of us had to throw food away because of the epic loss of power. That, in turn, resulted in the Debrisville Post Ida Stank. Whether or not your trash has been collected or not, the stench is there. It’s giving us Katrina veterans flashbacks to the stinky fridges that dotted our cityscape in 2005 such as this one:

Cajun Tomb, 2005.

This Zappa song says it all:

In addition to the stank of ’05, the spirit of ’05 is alive and well. My do-gooder friend Carolyn is busy helping people. Not bad for a former teevee news reporter whose Twitter handle is @NewsCarolyn. She recently bought a house in St. Bernard Parish aka Da Parish. I’ve been trying to get her to change her handle to @YatCarolyn to no avail. If you’re wondering what a Yat is click here.

One thing that’s entirely different from 2005 is the presence of social media. I used Twitter as a club with which to beat the local utility, Entergy. They’re the cartoon villain of this crisis. I enlisted the help of councilmembers Joe Giarusso and Jay Banks in my dispute with Entergy over their sloppy work in my hood. Thanks, gentlemen.

The featured image is the before picture of the 700 block of Valence Street, here’s an after picture:

It looks better now but I wanted to stick it to Entergy.

The drowned city of 2005 was a man-made event, which is why we call it the Federal Flood. Hurricane Ida was a wind-driven event that’s an example of Mother Nature at her bitchiest. New Orleans is fairly hard hit BUT the epicenter was in St. John, Lafourche, and Terrebonne parishes.

A reminder that First Draft is supporting the Bayou Fund in its effort to help the people of Terrebonne Parish. Click here if you too believe that Our Fate Is Your Fate

The people of Southeast Louisiana got a break from our grim current reality by watching our beloved New Orleans Saints obliterate the Green Bay Packers 38-3. Sorry Athenae. Scout, and Doc.

Jeopardy host wannabe Aaron Rodgers played an abysmal game. He looked rustier than the Entergy towers that fell during Ida. I had a bit of fun at his expense after he threw some interceptions:

No love for the second tweet? People have already forgotten Mike Richards pulling a Dick Cheney and selecting himself as Alex Trebek’s successor. The malakatude, it burns.

Speaking of Jeopardy and Da Parish this quote comes from a 2017 post entitled First Draft Potpourri For $400, Alex:

Many New Orleans eateries used to carry an item called the “wop salad.” I took the pulse of my community and found only one place in the metro area that still calls it that. It’s Rocky and Carlo’s in Chalmette. It’s in St. Bernard Parish which once had a councilman named Joey DiFatta. That’s apropos of nothing but I miss him. It’s doubtful that the Chalmatians feel the same way.

I realize that quote is of marginal relevance, but this is a potpourri post in malodorous drag. I usually loathe the smell of potpourri, but it beats the hell out of the Debrisville Post Ida Stank. Ugh just ugh.

Since I mentioned Valence Street and the bayou, the last word goes to my former 13th Ward homies, the Neville Brothers:

How You Can Help

I’ve meant to do this for several days but I’ve never been so tired in my life. Heat exhaustion and grief are a powerful combination.

It also took time to find a group that’s doing direct on-the-ground relief in one of the hardest hit areas, Terrebonne Parish. They were recommended to me by several friends with ties to the bayou parishes.

A quote from their go fund me page:

This go fund me is through the Helio Foundation. It is being run by people who live in Terrebonne Parish. Directors Johnathan Foret & Reagan Creppel have been social workers for our people and are on the ground with Dirk Guidry helping people stationed at the Ward 7 in Chauvin, LA. They are from the area and understand the needs of their people.

The national media coverage of Hurricane Ida has dried up. That’s why it’s important to support the bayou fund. If you want to join me in contributing, please click here.

Our fate is your fate.

I Saw The Light

Cocktail: Todd Darryl

Welcome to an atypical edition of the Friday Cocktail Hour. It’s tightly focused on one artist, Todd Rundgren. It’s a sign of the times: Todd and Utopia have been the soundtrack of my Hurricane Ida experience.

I Saw The Light was written by Todd Rundgren in 1971. In twenty minutes. I am not making this up. It first appeared on the Something/Anything? album on which Todd played all the instruments and sang all the vocals. He wasn’t kidding when he later dubbed himself A Wizard, A True Star.

We have two versions of this Todd tune. We begin with the studio original.

The featured image is of Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren on Live From Daryl’s House. The episode was shot at Todd’s spectacular digs in Hawaii.

I love it when those Philly boys sing together. They sound like brothers.

That’s it for this eventful and tumultuous week. I’d like to propose a toast to everyone in South Louisiana and those who came to help. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.

Saturday Odds & Sods will return on September, 18.

Friday Catblogging: Claire Trevor In Exile

She is, of course, home with us, but a good title is a terrible thing to waste.

She likes the suitcase more than her carrier.

The last word goes to Badfinger:

I See The Light

I had hoped to come roaring back with tales of my Hurricane Ida experiences. Most involve heat, sweat, and tedium. I’ve also been sick with a combination of heat exhaustion and a mild case of CO poisoning. My back fence neighbor’s full house generator is too close to our bedroom. It’s both noisy and noxious.

I spent the beginning of the week angry at Entergy and my back fence neighbor. Then I heard that my friend Will Samuels had died of cancer at the age of 52. He was a larger than life character who was a glass 3/4 full optimist. My rage died down upon thinking of his wife Jennifer and young daughter Livia. We’re good friends and I had only seen them once in the last year and a half because of the pandemic.

I know what what Will would have said about my incandescent rage: “I thought you were a get even not mad kinda guy.”

I try to be.

We cleaned up the cemetery at which Will be laid to rest this morning. I saw many friends who I haven’t seen since before the lockdown. It’s a reminder of how much we’ve lost during the pandemic. It’s a sign of how much I love the Samuels family that I did what amounted to yard work today. I don’t usually do yard work but did it to honor Will. He would have found it hilarious.

Here’s a picture from happier times on the parade route near Adrastos World Headquarters:

Jennifer, Livia, Will, Adrastos, and Greg.

Dr. A and I were helped by many people during Ida’s aftermath. We helped a few ourselves. It’s what New Orleanians do.

We’re masking up and attending Will’s memorial service tomorrow morning. I hope it will lead to my writing more but I’m also having computer problems. It was a struggle just to write this post. Oy just oy.

When I heard that my power had finally been restored, I thought of an old song by my Bay Area homies. The last word goes to Hot Tuna:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Key Largo

This is a reprint of a post from 8/14/2014. It struck me as relevant as I just spent many days cooped up with Kitty Claire Trevor. Besides, Key Largo is the best hurricane movie ever. I give it 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A.

KEY_LARGO_22x28_B

Key Largo is not really pulp fiction, but I felt like stretching the definition a bit today to honor Betty Bacall. [She died two days before this was posted.] It was based on a 1939 play by Maxwell Anderson and the war in question was the Spanish Civil War but it was also an allegory about Fascism. The adaptation by director John Huston and future director Richard Brooks nails the political aspects as well as how damn spooky tropical systems are.

What’s particularly scary about the Big Blow depicted in Key Largo is that information was so sketchy. There were no spaghetti maps , no tracking maps, no local weather pukes shitting in their pants or advising you to go to the attic with an ax if there’s flooding. Dr A and I watch this great film as a form of reassurance when there’s something gathering in the gulf. Besides, the acting is sensational.

It goes without saying that Bogie and Bacall lit up the screen together but Edward G Robinson is spectacular in a role that implicitly revisits his first big hit, Little Caesar. He went from Rico to Rocco if you catch my drift. Speaking of name changes, he goyed up his name by changing it from Emmanuel Goldenberg. Unlike Betty Bacall, he liked his goyish moniker and was known to all as Eddie.

Lionel Barrymore is supposed to be a sympathetic character as Bacall’s dead hubby’s father but he reverts to snarly Mr. Potter mode for much of the film. Nothing kosher about this big slice of ham. He was lucky Rocco didn’t roll him off the pier…

The best performance in the film is by Claire Trevor as a washed up alcoholic canary in love with Rocco. He mistreats her rather badly. Anyone shocked? I thought not. Trevor, always a personal favorite of mine, won an Oscar for this part. She played a long string of femme fatales and hookers with hearts of gold. Her character in John Ford’s Stagecoach was a template for all the goodhearted whores and madams to follow.

A last word about Betty Bacall. There are some good Bacall articles floating about the net, but there are some that do not mention director Howard Hawks. You cannot write about Betty Bacall without mentioning Hawks. He took a chance on an unknown model and gave her a juicy role playing opposite one of the biggest stars in the world in her first film. His gamble paid off big-time for all concerned.

I showed you a lobby card above, here’s the highly evocative poster

Poster - Key Largo_03

Finally, here’s the trailer:

Home To Debrisville

It’s been a longer and stranger trip than expected. We’re fine. Our house is fine. The cat is fine. We evacuated to friends in the suburbs who have a whole house generator. We arrived acquaintances and left good friends. Thanks, Brenda and Mike.

We have the Gret Stet trifecta: power, internet, and cable.

The city is beaten up but it’s not Katrina bad.

I am beat, beat, beat today. I’ll fill in some details either later today or tomorrow. All I wanna do is see Erika Jayne tell Sutton to STFU on RHBH. Sorry for the acronyms but I am tired, tired, tired,

I’d like to thank the First Draft team for keeping the lights on when I didn’t have any myself. Tommy T, Michael F, Shapiro, and Cassandra not only rock, they rule.

Finally, my old friend Ethan Brown reminded me that I coined the term Debrisville after Katrina and the Federal Flood. In fact, my maiden First Draft post was called Greetings From Debrisville. It’s high time for a revival. Hence the post title.

The last word goes to Talking Heads:

Adrastos Update

From Adrastos:

Dr A, Claire, and I are fine. Just hot and sweaty. There was minimal damage to our house but the power is still out. Absent a return of power, we’ll be going to some friends in the Shreveport area tomorrow.

I’ll have more to say by Saturday.

That is all.

The Spirit Of ’05 Revisited

Root Beer Blues. Photograph by Dr. A.

In 2018, I decided to do something different on the Katrinaversary. As Hurricane Ida arrives in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, I’m posting it again on the 16th anniversary of the storm that changed my life:

I hate to go Dickensian on your asses but the period after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood was indeed the best of times and the worst of times. My Katrina experience was nothing compared to many people but it has stayed with me in a way that few life experiences have.

Each Katrinaversary gets a bit less painful. Today almost feels like an ordinary day but I still have the survivor’s guilt I wrote about lwhen parts of New Orleans flooded on my birthday:

It’s a common malady for those of us who live in what has come to be known as “the sliver by the river.” We did not flood in 2005, so I do not like arguing with those who did. It makes me uncomfortable and uncharacteristically deferential. In the year immediately after the storm, I  cringed every time I had to tell *our* Katrina story to those worse off since we were so lucky. We did have $20K worth of damage and were in exile for 7 weeks but that was nothing compared to what so many others went through. Hence my survivor’s guilt and this weekend’s survivor’s guilt flashback. I re-posted my account of Dr. A and my sneaking into the city at First Draft in 2015. Here’s the link.

As bad as that period was for all concerned, there was an esprit de corps that I miss. Everyone was in the same leaky boat so we helped one another out. Spontaneous and random acts of kindness were commonplace. I recall a day when we helped our neighbors duct tape their dead refrigerators and drag them to the curb. It was dirty, stinky work but it felt good to help.

Cajun Tomb. Photograph by Dr. A.

The Spirit of ’05 endured for several years, which looking back is remarkable. It could not last forever but those were heady days. I wish we could recapture the camaraderie but crisis brings out both the best and worst in people. And when the crisis ends, everything changes.  I met many people after the storm, made some enduring friendships and others that were more fleeting. But I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, it has made me who I am now.

The lasting impact of the storm on my life is that I started blogging. I never expected to still be at it thirteen years after the day that everything changed, but here I am. I landed at First Draft because of Scout Prime who not only wrote about her experiences helping in New Orleans after the storm, but came up with the idea for the Rising Tide conference. My friendships with Scout and Athenae are two that have endured over the years. Thanks for letting me tell jokes here, y’all.

Speaking of enduring friendships, here’s an apt tweet from my dear friend Julie:

In past years, the blog has stayed dark for the entire Katrinaversary thereby allowing this solemn image to dominate:

I decided it was time for a change. I also wanted to mention my empathy for the people of Puerto Rico where  2,975 American citizens died as a result of Hurricane Maria. It’s what happens when you have bad leadership: in our case it was the Bush-Cheney gang, with Maria it’s the Trump-Pence regime; both of whom lost the popular vote, then lost the thread when it came to hurricane relief. It’s what happens when you give power to people who hate government. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

The Spirit of ’05 is a touchstone for all that’s good about human nature. It’s still lurking in a city that has changed radically since the storm and its aftermath. Here’s how I put it in a post five days before the 10th Katrinaversary:

After the water receded, there was a second inundation of people flooding into the city. Some were do-gooders, some were hipsters seeking the next trend, still others were here to make a buck. Very few of them understood the essence of New Orleans and what makes the city and its inhabitants tick. Many of them, especially on social media, have come up with an orthodoxy of what it means to be a New Orleanian. That has come to be known as copping a NOLAier than thou attitude, a swell phrase that was coined by Karen Dalton Beninato.  Some of the NOLAier than thou set seem to have spent way too much time watching Treme. Instead of a Cabaret, life is apparently a second line, old chum.

On the 13th anniversary, we continue to struggle with what happened that August day. There’s still a special feeling among those of who went through it together. If only we could fully recapture the Spirit of ’05.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel with a song that’s been on my mind and in my head thirteen times over:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Paint It Black

Got Me Rocking by Ron Wood

The summer of our discontent continues with Hurricane Ida in the Gulf of Mexico. Dr. A and I are planning to ride it out. I’m not eager to evacuate with Claire Trevor. She hates riding in the car and she’s a biter. She’s not as sweet as she looks but we love her anyway.

The weather is one reason I’m keeping this week’s entry short and focused. The second act is a tribute to the late, great Stones drummer Charlie Watts. Hence the Ron Wood featured image.

This week’s theme song was written in 1966 by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It’s as good an example of Charlie’s drumming as I can think of. Bim-bam-boom.

Since this is a tribute to Charlie Watts, I’m skipping the covers of Paint It Black and sticking to the Stones. A solid plan in my estimation. We have three versions: the studio original and live in 1990 and 2006.

I almost forgot this version by Charlie Watts with the Danish Radio Big Band:

Now that we’ve faded away and not faced the facts, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

A Fine Romance

In 1952 Norman Granz of Verve Records convinced Fred Astaire to record some jazz versions of tunes he sang onscreen. The band leader was Oscar Peterson. The featured image shows Astaire at the piano and Oscar with Ray Brown’s bass. I have no idea why.

A Fine Romance was written in 1936 by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields for the George Stevens directed Astaire-Rogers movie Swing Time. It was a duet between Fred and Ginger. We’re skipping that and beginning with Fred jazzing it up.

We begin our survey of A Fine Romance with The Astaire Story:

Speaking of Oscar Peterson, he plays on this Ella-Satchmo duet.

Continue reading