Category Archives: Adrastos

Perspective

I had no plans to write about the Game Of Thrones series finale. It feels like I’m poaching on Milady Athenae’s territory but some of the more overwrought reactions to the final season compelled me to write. Some of the agita was caused by the showrunners’ willingness to engage in “fan servicing,” a dreadful term that I’m loathe to use but what can I tell ya? When some Sopranos fans demanded “less yakking and more whacking,” David Chase didn’t give a shit. Pandering to one’s dumbest and most bloodthirsty viewers is folly.

I’m a casual fan who hasn’t read the books. I don’t bleed GOT dragon blood or even fire and ice. Here’s my verdict: season 8 was erratic. It had one of the best episodes of the series, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, and one of the murkiest, The Long Night. And I’m not 100% certain that I found the finale 100% satisfying but I never expected perfection. The show has always been messy and uneven: don’t get me started about Arya and the faceless whozit story line, which was the GOT equivalent of Vito in New Hampshire on The Sopranos.

The reaction I’ve found most annoying is the notion that the Khaleesi’s fiery atrocities came out of nowhere. I’ll let Vulture’s Hillary Kelly do the heavy lifting in her recap of the penultimate episode: 

In the days to come the battle among viewers will revolve around one big idea: Daenerys the Mad Queen giving in to her worst impulses and torching an entire city and its people to the ground. How can they drag a good woman down? the Twitterverse will wail. Crowds of angry viewers are going to revolt against the fact that this single woman isn’t keeping their feminist fantasies alive, that the showrunners would dare do something so complex as have a woman with rather questionable DNA, a devout belief in her divine rights, a propensity for crucifixion, a long storied history of being talked out of vicious acts by her advisers, and a savior complex the size of Wun Wun actually do the logical thing and go HAM. If you’re wondering how long this has been building, go back and rewatch Daenerys burn Mirri Maz Dur in season one, watch her burn Pyat Pree in season two, watch her burn Astapor in season three, watch her crucify the Masters in season four, watch her burn the slave owners of Meereen in season five, Vaes Dothrak in season six, the loot train and the Tarlys in season seven.

If anything, this squabble has intensified after the finale.  But I think everyone dug Drogon melting the iron throne, which was reminiscent of the death of Danny’s brother, Viserys, at the hands of Khal Drogo back in season one; before America had its own version of the Mad King.

Yeah, I know that I mocked bloodthirsty viewers but that was wicked awesome.

I am less mystified than many by the series ending since it seems to be based on history. The Council was the Westerosi version of the conclave that produced the Magna Carta in 1215. The British lords met and came up with a way to limit the so-called divine rights of kings. That’s a concept that would work quite well in a fictional landscape plagued by endless and endlessly violent power struggles. Westeros would do better as a confederation of principalities than a centralized monarchy. Think Germany before it was Prussianized by Bismarck and the Hohenzollern dynasty. That did not end well.

As to the installation of Bran the Broken as fictional monarch of the fictional seven kingdoms, it’s not entirely satisfying. I would have preferred his sister, Sansa. BUT it’s based on a venerable notion that the reluctant ruler is the best ruler. It’s part of America’s founding myth that George Washington did not want to be the first president and had to be talked into it by, among others, Alexander Hamilton. I guess that makes Tyrion the diminutive Hamilton. I can’t wait for the musical.

In a show about power, there was never going to be a happy ending. This is as close to that as Team GOT was likely to get. It was their creative choice, which pleases some people and outrages others. So it goes.

In the end, some perspective is called for. It’s just a teevee show.

The last word goes to Peter Gabriel whose position on GOT is unknown to me:

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Keep Me Hangin’ On

Golconda by Rene Magritte.

After a deluge on Mother’s Day, we’re having Indian spring in New Orleans. Is there such a thing? If there’s not, there should be. The best thing about it is that the oak pollen that plagued me got its ass kicked by the rain.

I’ve never re-used an Odds & Sods featured image within a month before, but it’s a perfect fit with this week’s theme song. Besides, if you blog long enough, you end up repeating yourself, repeating yourself, repeating yourself. One side benefit of the vinyl revival is that everyone knows what a broken record is, what a broken record is, what a broken record is. It’s time to lift the needle and move on.

Motown May continues with the Supremes. The crack songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote You Keep Me Hangin’ On in 1966. It was a number one hit song with a bullet, with a bullet, with a bullet. The preceding was an inside joke for hardcore Zappa fans. Everyone else can move on to the next paragraph.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Supremes original and a 1967 “psychedelic rock” cover by Vanilla Fudge, which was also a  top ten hit. I put psychedelic rock in quotes because it’s one of those phrases that’s like ketchup or mayo: some people slather it over everything.

Now that we’ve hung on as well as out, let’s jump to the break. Perhaps all this hangin’ means we’ll land in a hangar. One more thing:

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Friday Catblogging: Gunga Paul

Those of you with long memories might recall that there was a post titled Gunga Della in 2015. It’s Paul Drake’s turn in the barrel:

You’re a good man, Gunga Paul.

(War) Party Like It’s 2002

You know things are bad when you wish Steve Bannon was still a member of Trump’s inner circle. I cannot believe that I just wrote that sentence but I mean every word of it. Bannon’s sole redeeming characteristic is that he’s on the dovish side and was not a fan of the Iraq War. Trump’s ultra-hawkish national security team is ready for a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia: war with Iran.

I was worried about this when John Bolton and his mustache of war joined Team Trump. Bolton is the ultimate chickenhawk: a man who loves war but has never fought except with his mouth. His flashback to his bureaucratic glory days is giving many whiplash:

With the Trump administration slipping onto war footing with Iran, there are growing fears inside Washington that John Bolton, the president’s hawkish national-security adviser, is plagiarizing his own Iraq war playbook. “Everyone feels the shadow of 2002–2003: The administration seems determined to find a cause for conflict; allies are aghast; the public seems disengaged,” a former senior U.S. official told me, shortly after The New York Times reported that administration officials had begun drawing up plans to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East. “It’s hard for anyone to fathom why [Donald Trump] would think a war of choice is a good idea, given what he’s said in the past about Iraq and Afghanistan.”

As we saw at the dawn of the 21st Century, war plans have a momentum of their own. Bolton may be a cartoon militarist BUT he’s one of the few members of Team Trump who is not a blithering idiot. He’s also a skillful bureaucrat who knows how to manipulate the levers of power.

Bolton has been dreaming of war with Iran for years. He thinks his time has come: he works for a president* who makes Dubya look savvy and well-informed. The axis of assholes is down with some sort of attack on Iran: Bibi and Mister Bone Saw would love to trick a gullible American president* into another Middle Eastern misadventure. Strike the word misadventure, a ground war with Iran would be a catastrophe. It has the potential to make Iraq look like the “cakewalk” of the neo-cons fever dreams.

If a story in the WaPo is to be believed, the Insult Comedian may be dubious of Bolton’s bolt to war:

But President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials. Trump prefers a diplomatic approach to resolving tensions and wants to speak directly with Iran’s leaders.

I hope the story is right but the thought of relying on Trump’s gut instinct gives me indigestion. I’m also leery of counting on his desire to keep a campaign promise. He can always change his story and lie about his previous views. He does it on a daily basis.

The last thing we need is a sequel to the Mess In Mesopotamia. We’ve seen this movie before and it’s bound to end badly.

The last word goes to XTC:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: A Night For Treason

It’s time for another classic pulp image by Verne Tossey. The femme fatale on the cover may be ruthless but she’s well put together.

1956’s A Night For Treason was an early book by John Jakes who became famous for writing best-selling historical novels such as North and South. I don’t believe that there’s a A Night For Treason mini-series but Revlon or another lipstick company would have been a perfect sponsor. Oh well, there’s always Netflix.

 

Alabama Goddam

Photo via @ALostrich.

The Alabama lege has gone there by passing a bill that effectively bans safe, legal abortion. It confirms the asterisk placed on the state motto in the featured image above.

The Guardian nailed it with this brilliant headline: These 25 Republicans-All White Men-Just Voted To Ban Abortion In Alabama.

Governor Kay Ivey hasn’t announced whether or not she’ll sign the bill BUT she’s a blue-haired right-winger from central casting so she’s expected to do so. That will be the day that stars really fall on Alabama.

Anti-choicers have been “praying” for this ever since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. It’s why they support Donald Trump who has pledged to only appoint judges who will strike Roe down. Unfortunately, it’s the only promise he’s kept.  Thanks, Mitch.

I’m usually cautiously optimistic that Chief Justice Roberts will land on the side of precedent since he’s a genuine judicial conservative as well as an institutionalist. Unfortunately, institutionalism is on the run in the Trump era. Besides, the Chief’s record on abortion rights issues is clear: he’s apt to be just as eager to reverse Roe as his wingnuttier colleagues.

Justice Stephen Breyer issued a warning last week about the current court’s willingness to disregard precedent. Here’s an excerpt from a piece by Slate’s fine legal writer Mark Joseph Stern:

In dissent, Justice Stephen Breyer acknowledged as much. Overruling precedent typically requires a “special justification,” Breyer wrote, but “the majority does not find one.” Instead, it merely decides that Hall “was wrongly decided” and should go. “The law has not changed significantly since this Court decided Hall,” Breyer pointed out, “nor has our understanding of state sovereign immunity evolved to undermine Hall.” All that has changed is the composition of the court. He added:

“To overrule a sound decision like Hall is to encourage litigants to seek to overrule other cases; it is to make it more difficult for lawyers to refrain from challenging settled law; and it is to cause the public to become increasingly uncertain about which cases the Court will overrule and which cases are here to stay.”

It is “dangerous,” Breyer concluded, “to overrule a decision only because five Members” of the court disagree with it. “Today’s decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.” And if there were any doubt which cases Breyer was alluding to in this dark denouement, he cited the portion of Planned Parenthood v. Casey that explained why Roe should be upheld. The justice has hoisted a red flag, alerting the country that the court’s conservative majority is preparing an assault on the right to abortion access.

Justice Breyer rarely writes such scathing dissents: he’s usually the soul of moderation and courtesy. That’s why we need to take him seriously. Shit meet fan.

I am not eager for the Alabama law to reach the Supreme Court but that’s its likely destination absent an unlikely veto by the Governor. We’re on our own now.

Tweet Of The Day: Gret Stet Sycophant Edition

The Insult Comedian was in the Gret Stet of Louisiana yesterday for an event in Lake Charles and a fundraiser in Jefferson Parish. The Metry shebang caused major traffic snarls and gave local commuters another reason to loathe the First Criminal.

When Trump landed at Armstrong Airport he was greeted by past malaka of the week and perennial frat boy, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser:

Actually, the Nungesser piece was entitled Gret Stet Grifter but it began life as a malaka of the week post. The man some call Bordello Billy is a poor man’s Trump. He claims to be a self-made man but his father was the longtime chairman of the Louisiana GOP. He’s a Lost Causer who could care less about stirring up fear and resentment. And, like his hero, Nungesser talks tough, but is a pussy who should grab himself.

Nungesser is a bully and as with all bullies, he’s willing to abase himself upon meeting a superior bully. The Trump hair socks were intended to mock the Kaiser of Chaos, not praise him. I’m only surprised the Lt. Goober didn’t bring his Trumpy Bear.

The last word goes to LSU Journalism Prof Bob Mann with this rock-em-sock-em tweet:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Love Me Or Leave Me

I did a search for Doris Day album covers. They were all flattering head shots and not terribly interesting. The cover of the soundtrack album of Love Me Or Leave Me was as atypical as her performance as torch singer and tough broad Ruth Etting. Does this look like a “professional virgin” to you?

Here’s a glamorous lobby card as lagniappe:

Finally, here’s the whole damn album:

 

Doris Day, R.I.P.

My parents were both Doris Day fans, so I grew up watching her eponymous sitcom, then her movies on the late, late show. They owned some of her records and my mom was known to sing along with Doris. She got a kick out of informing me that Doris Day was my dad’s celebrity crush. His response, “She’s my type. She’s a beautiful Midwestern blonde. Just like your mother.”

Doris Day died today at the age of 97. She lived a long, productive, and difficult life. She was a survivor: she made it through a series of bad marriages and outlived her only child, Terry Melcher, by 15 years. Terry was Manson’s real target on the night that Sharon Tate was murdered. He was never quite the same again but his mother persevered. People who grew up during the Great Depression and lived through World War II were as tough as nails; even America’s Sweetheart.

As much as I loved her movies with Rock Hudson and Tony Randle, it was a revelation when I saw her in the two movies whose lobby cards are this post’s featured image. She was a mom and wife in the Hitchcock flick but her turn in Love Me Or Leave Me as Ruth Etting, a torch singer married to a gangster, was unlike any other part she ever played. Ruth was one tough cookie as was Doris.

Doris Day was a legend: singer, movie star, actress, and animal lover. What a life, what a broad. She will be missed.

The last word goes to Doris herself with the theme song from Love Me Or Leave and the song from The Man Who Knew Too Much that became her signature number, Que Sera, Sera:

 

Memories Of The Muskie Administration

The MSM punditocracy hasn’t learned anything from the 2016 election. They’re still fixated on early polling and “discovering” bright shiny objects instead of reporting the campaign. I *had* hoped they’d learned that insider political journalism was bankrupt as declared by Ben Smith last summer. But they haven’t learned a damn thing and continue to focus on the horse race aspects of the “why not me” campaign. Remember the Avenatti boomlet? I’d prefer to forget it.

After declaring Joe Biden’s candidacy DOA, many in the punditocracy now think that he’s the inevitable nominee. They’re wrong in both instances. Frontrunner status has a way of bringing a candidate crashing to earth, especially in such a large field. Remember President Dean?

I have fond memories of the 2009-2017 Hillary Clinton administration. She was the frontrunner that time around and ended up losing the nomination. Secretary of State was a pretty damn good consolation prize. Thanks, Obama.

The ultimate Democratic frontrunner who failed was Senator Edmund Sixtus Muskie of Maine. 1972 was my formative year as a political junkie. It was the first time I was old enough to pay attention. I supported George McGovern but liked Muskie and didn’t understand why he was torn down by a media that had built him up as the inevitable nominee for two years. I was too young to get it then.

Ed Muskie was Hubert Humphrey’s running mate in 1968. The contrast between him and the man I refuse to claim as my countryman, Spiro Agnew, was stark. Muskie was calm, thoughtful, and qualified. The self-loathing Greek, Ted (Don’t Call Me Spiro) Agnew, was the exact opposite: bombastic, shallow, and unqualified. He was also a crook who took bribes while serving as Veep.

One of the best ads of the 1968 election cycle mocked Agnew:

Back to Ed Muskie. He emerged from the ’68 campaign as a national figure. His calm, reasoned reply to a frenetic midterm broadcast by Tricky Dick in 1970 made him a star and the ’72 frontrunner. The tall Senator was called Lincolnesque by many observers. What candidate wouldn’t want to be compared to Honest Abe?

Muskie led in every Democratic preference poll from that moment on. He was frequently ahead of Nixon in head-to-head polls through the early months of 1972. One of his campaign themes was Trust Muskie, drawing an obvious contrast to a president whose nickname was Tricky Dick.

This button is a good example of Muskie’s message:

Muskie was inevitable, until he wasn’t. His frontrunner status made him a target for Nixon’s dirty tricksters and at 6’4″ he was a big target. Attacks on his wife, Jane, caused Big Ed to snap and cry in public, which in the uber-macho atmosphere of 1972 helped doom his candidacy. Nixon and his lackeys had the opponent they wanted in the general election.

Among the many ironies of Muskie’s doomed campaign is that he actually won the New Hampshire primary, but the punditocracy, unaware of Nixonian dirty tricks, declared McGovern the “winner.” Muskie’s campaign might have come a cropper anyway: he was over reliant on big name endorsements and blurred his strongly liberal political views into blandness on the advice of his advisers.

Muskie was also dogged in 1972 by a bizarre and untrue story concocted by Hunter S. Thompson about his use of a hallucinogenic drug, Ibogaine. Thompson later claimed it was a joke and that nobody believed the story anyway. That just wasn’t so. I think of Ed Muskie every time I hear Hunter Thompson lionized as a voice for fearless independent journalism when, in fact, he was in the bag for Team McGovern. Projection thy name is Hunter S. Thompson.

What lessons can be drawn from my memories of the Muskie administration?

It’s not over until it’s over.

Don’t trust the MSM punditocracy and early polls. They’re both eminently changeable. Just ask former media darling Beto O’Rourke.

Insider political journalism *should* be dead, but it’s not.

The last word goes to Alice Cooper with a hit song from 1972:

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Haven’t Done Nothin’

Der Vogelmensch by Max Ernst

It’s been a good news, silly news week in New Orleans. I’m a good news first person: with the help of Governor Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell has secured millions in tourism money to help fix our aging infrastructure. Here’s what I mean by aging infrastructure:

In silly local news, the Krewe of Nyx is planning a summer parade. Just what we needed: a sweaty-n-steamy faux Carnival parade. This is why I call them the krewe of mediocre themes and bad ideas. The only good thing is that they won’t be sweat-rolling on the traditional parade route near Adrastos World HQ. It’s a terrible idea: the allure of Carnival is enhanced by its seasonality. This is like eating oysters in a month without an R. Shorter Adrastos: Nix on Nyx.

Motown May continues with this week’s theme song. Stevie Wonder wrote You Haven’t Done Nothin’ in 1974 in response to the news of the day: Watergate. That’s right, it’s about Nixon. I’ve used it before but never as an Odds & Sods theme song. Since we’re in a slow-motion constitutional crisis, it works. Just think of Trump instead of Tricky Dick.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Stevie’s original and a 2018 cover by Roger Daltrey.

Now that we’ve trashed talked Tricky-n-Trumpy, let’s jump to the break.

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Headline Of The Day: Surprise, Surprise

It’s comic relief time. The headline in question (questionable headline?) comes from Slate’s homepage:

Dear Care and Feeding: My Mother-In-Law Is Apparently Planning A Surprise Bris

A surprise bris? Oy, just oy.

Care and Feeding is Slate’s parenting advice column, which I rarely read but this headline grabbed me by the balls. The first paragraph of the letter grabbed me as well:

My fiancé was raised as a reform Jew; I am a casual Christian. We have mutually decided not to circumcise our forthcoming son. His family is, to put it lightly, up in arms about our not hosting a bris. (“Because it’s a Jewish rite of passage!”)

I’m not sure what a casual Christian is. Does it mean she wears flip flops and shorts to church?

It’s unfortunate that the absence of a mohel is causing such turmoil but columnist Nicole Cliffe offers some good advice on how to avoid the surprise bris and a break with the Mother-In-Law.

A surprise bris? Oy, just oy.

The main reason this tickled me so much is that it reminded me of this classic SNL sketch:

I was absolutely convinced that there was a Samurai Bris sketch with John Belushi as Samurai Futaba, but I couldn’t find any record of it on the interweb. I did, however, find a site with a Samurai Mohel joke on it.

I guess a Samurai Bris sketch would have been too cutting edge even for the original SNL. Oh well, this Samurai Deli GIF will just have to do:

A surprise bris? Oy, just oy.

Tweets Of The Day: Athenae’s Boyfriend Edition

The Insult Comedian gave another bonkers presser yesterday.  Since he’s into threatening to prosecute his enemies, he went after John Kerry for alleged violations of the Logan Act:

“I’d like to see — with Iran, I’d like to see them call me. You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to call. That’s a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly, he should be prosecuted on that. But my people don’t want to do anything that’s — only the Democrats do that kind of stuff, you know? If it were the opposite way, they’d prosecute him under the Logan Act.”

My publisher was not amused:

Big John is a large man. It must get crowded in there.

It’s hard being a human political football.

In other weirdo presser news, Trump projected his ardor for Kim Jong Un onto the unlikely pair of Bob Mueller and Jim Comey:

“They were supposedly best friends. You look at the picture file and you see hundreds of pictures of him and Comey.”

They worked together, Donald. Neither has ever declared their love unlike the Dotard and the Dictator. One thing the two Ds have in common is bad hair. How do I know? I saw the picture file. Believe me.

The last word goes to the Angels:

Friday Catblogging: International Cat Of Mystery

Paul Drake’s love of boxes and bags is well known. Sometimes I think he’s spying on us for an unknown power. This is one of those times:

Not Everything Sucks: Springsteen At Jazz Fest 2006

An early high point of the Katrina/Federal Flood recovery era was when the Boss played the first Jazz Fest after the storm. It was one of the best sets I’ve ever seen.  It closed in a way that guaranteed there wasn’t a dry eye at the Fairgrounds:

Bollocks To Brexit

The British Liberal Democrats have had an eventful decade. In 2010, they held the balance in a hung parliament and went into coalition with the Tories. In 2015, they suffered a catastrophic defeat: going from 23% of the vote and 57 seats to 7.9% and 8 seats. It was a fitting punishment for a center-left party who were the junior partners in the Posh Boys austerity government. Lib Dem leader and Deputy PM Nick Clegg lost his seat in 2017, then cashed in and became an executive with Facebook. Failing upward is not just an American thing.

In the snap election of 2017, the Lib Dems had a mild uptick in seats for a total of 12 but their share of the vote declined to 7.4%. Most observers expected the overtly pro-EU/Remain party to do better that time around.

Things are finally looking up for the Lib Dems. They did well in the recent local elections and hope to do better still in the upcoming European parliament election. They’ve gone all in with a mildly vulgar slogan:

Bollocks is a testicular euphemism and who can blame the Brits for being testy? Brexit is eating their country alive in the same way that Trumpsim is eating ours. One could even talk about the Dispirit of 2016 in both nations. It gives a whole new meaning to the term “special relationship.”

The Lib Dems did not invent the Bollocks To Brexit slogan. It’s been around for awhile. There’s even an anti-Brexit bus that’s toured the country complete with a Boris Johnson look alike:

The “it’s not a done deal” sub-slogan applies to Trumpism as well. Here’s hoping that both countries can reverse the Dispirit of  2016 and throw the dipshits out of office.

Speaking of buses, the last word goes to The Who:

 

Case Closed?

The Turtle got up on his hind legs in the Senate yesterday and declared the Trump scandals over. He even had the gall to use the phrase “case closed” as if that would work. In 1993, Gerald Posner published a book about the Kennedy assassination. His theory was that the Warren Commission got it right and that Oswald acted alone. The title was Case Closed. If it was meant to cut-off discussion of that horrible day in Dallas, it did not work. We’re still arguing about it. McConnell’s statement will have the same effect or lack thereof.

Nixon tried the same gambit during Watergate. He declared the scandal over and done with multiple times. It did not work. Scandals have a life of their own and need to die of natural causes, pronouncements do not work.

The ineffectiveness of McConnell’s statement was shown by subsequent events of yesterday. The Michael Cohen-Jerry Fallwell Junior link resurfaced in a Reuters story. It implied that the former Fixer’s suppression of some “racy” Falwell Junior pictures *may* have had something to do with the second-generation bible-thumper’s endorsement of Trump. I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to see are racy Fallwell Junior pictures. Ugh.

A more important, albeit less salacious, development was the latest story in the New York Times series that I call Donald Trump Is A Criminal. The Times obtained copies of Trump’s federal tax work sheets from 1985 to 1994. The Eighties were ostensibly the Insult Comedian’s glory days as a tycoon. One might instead call them his gory days as he suffered $1 billion in losses. Our friend Scout Prime immediately dubbed him the biggest loser. He’s either the worst businessman ever or a monumental tax cheat; perhaps even both.

I’m not going to publish the First Flim-Flam Man’s attempt to spin the story. Suffice it to say that it’s as credible as the rest of his twitter feed. If his story is true: why not publicly release the tax returns sought by the House?

It’s self-quote time:

I have a new Fog of Scandal meme, a Magritte-like image, The Man and the Sea by Giuseppe Maiorana, I love the image of umbrellas dropping in the fog. Substitute shoes for umbrellas, you can catch my drift if you can see it amid the fog of scandal.

The shoes keep dropping despite the Insult Comedian’s lame attempts to explain away everything. That’s why this case will never be closed.

The last word goes to Randy Newman with a song about the kind of glitzy Eighties capitalism that the Kaiser of Chaos claims to embody:

It’s Trump’s money that matters.  Repeat after me: Donald Trump is a criminal.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

A friend of mine recently criticized me for rarely posting heavy metal covers in this feature. It’s true: I’m not a fan of the music BUT the genre does have its share of cool covers. This week’s entry is one of them.

1973’s Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was Black Sabbath’s fifth studio album. Here’s how the cover was, uh, covered in the album’s Wikipedia entry:

Drew Struzan (who would later create the iconic cover to Alice Cooper‘s Welcome to My Nightmare LP) was the artist requested to do the cover painting, under the direction of Pacific Eye & Ear’s Ernie Cefalu. The idea behind the artwork was to depict a man dying a horrible death on the front cover, and on the back cover the same man dying a “good” death. It depicts a man on a bed, seemingly having a nightmare or a vision of being attacked by demons in human form. At the top of the bed is a large skull with long, outstretched arms and 666 (the Number of the Beast) written below it. The other side of the album features the opposite of the front cover, as shown here. Inside the gatefold sleeve there is a photo of the band members shown over a photo of a bedroom. In his autobiography Osbourne enthuses, “I fucking loved that cover.”

I fucking like the cover. I’m not wild about the gatefold so I skipped it. Sorry, Ozzy.

Here’s the title track:

 

F Is For Fluid

I took a mental health break from political news and social media this weekend. We attended a Kentucky Derby party at the home of some friends who hail from the Bluegrass State. I drank too much Bourbon from our host’s collection. Like Maximum Security, I was disqualified…from driving. I may, however, have bumped someone for all I know.

Upon my return to the fray, there was panic and paranoia in the air.  It’ seem to be taken as a given in some quarters on the left that Trump *will* be a dictator unless impeachment proceedings were started yesterday. And that anyone who disagrees is like a German Jewish merchant who refused to believe that the country of Bach had become a country of pogroms. I wish I had “liked” that tweet but it was so OTT hysterical that I moved on. Team Liberal Freak Out is playing into the Trumpers’ hands. They want us to turn on one another. It shows that someone is paying attention to Democrats’ tendency to form the proverbial circular firing squad. Don’t do it, y’all.

Sowing chaos and confusion is what Team Trump does best. That’s why I adopted the phrase the Fog of Scandal and call the president* the Kaiser of Chaos. The Trump regime press operation is a giant smoke machine and sometimes they hit the target.

A more understandable reason for alarm is that Bill Barr is the first major figure in Trumpworld who is neither stupid nor incompetent. He’s a wily bastard who engineered the end game of the Iran-Contra cover-up so neatly that his role was forgotten until he took on the Kremlingate cover-up. He’s a cover-up specialist disguised as an establishment lawyer

One thing I’ve learned in life is that freaking out never made anything better. Observing a relative who has spent their life freaking out over everything has led me to skew in the opposite direction. Team Liberal Freak Out would be well-advised to take a deep breath and calm down. We need clear heads to fight Trumpism. Repeat after me: freaking out never made anything better.

I realize that the worst case scenarists could be right. In my thirteen years as an internet pundit, I’ve been wrong before and I could be again. The only certainty in the fight against Trumpism is that the situation is fluid. Trump changes his mind on important things at least twice daily. He acts out of anger, panic, and fear, which is why his opponents should think things through and act out of reason, not blind emotion. I seem to be channeling Mr. Spock today: better a Vulcan than a Ferengi. Trump is the latter:

Actually, he’s a Ferengi who thinks he’s a Klingon. End of Star Trek fanboy digression.

At the risk of sounding like the late mystery writer Sue Grafton: F Is For Fluid. Anyone who is certain they know how this will turn out is kidding themselves. It’s like the out of control carousel at the end of Strangers on a Train: round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. In that Hitchcock classic, the carousel was wrecked but the good guys prevailed in the end  Let’s hope life imitates art.

The last word (video?) goes to the aforementioned carousel scene: