Category Archives: Adrastos

Saturday Odds & Sods: Help On The Way

New York Movie by Edward Hopper.

It’s a been a cold week in New Orleans. Not Minnesota cold but our hundred-year-old raised house is designed to stay coolish in the pre-AC era, not stay warm in the winter. It’s drafty but we love it anyway.

It’s runoff election day in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. I discussed the DA’s race at Bayou Brief but there’s also a local ballot measure that would mess up our public library system, which is one of the few things that works well in New Orleans. I’m voting NO and if you’re in the Crescent City, you should too. If you don’t believe me, read this piece by my friend Kevin Allman.

This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter for the Dead’s 1975 album, Blues For Allah. The attached instrumental Slipknot came out of a jam by the whole damn band.

I selected Help On The Way to remind our readers that the Trump regime will only be in power for 46 more days. Help is on the way, y’all.

What’s a Grateful Dead theme song without a live version? It’s not only helpful, it rolls away the dew too:

I’m in a helpful mood right now, so here are songs by The Beatles and Joni Mitchell that should help elevate your mood:

Now that I’ve extended a helping hand, let’s jump to the break.

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Share Your Love With Me

 

This week’s entry is an R&B classic. It was written in 1964 by Alfred Briggs and Deadric Malone and first recorded by the great Bobby Blue Bland.

Share Your Love With Me is a wistful song with a melody that lends itself to different interpretations. That’s the essence of the Friday Cocktail Hour.

We begin with Bobby Blue Bland:

Our second version was recorded in 1970 by the Queen of Soul. Say no more.

Moondog Matinee is The Band’s most underrated record because it’s a “covers” album. That makes it sound as if they copied other artist’s interpretations. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Their version of Share Your Love With Me features a plaintive vocal by Richard Manuel. It broke my heart the first time I heard it. It still does.

Van Morrison may be a creep and a malaka but he’s also a great singer.

That’s all for this week. Pour yourself a belt and toast the end of another weird news week. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.

Peach State Political Potpourri For $600, Alex

I make no pretense to being an expert on Peach State politics but it’s the center of the political universe until January 5th so I’m going to write about it anyway. When did ignorance ever stop a pundit? I’m a few steps up from ignorant, which is more than you say about Chuck Todd. And he claims to be an expert on everything. They should change the name of his Sunday show from Meet The Press to Meet The Moron. Tim Russert weeps.

Let’s cut this peach into slices to make it more edible. We’ll skip the Edible complex jokes…

Fraud Exported From Florida, Florida, Florida: There’s a guy in Florida telling people they should register to vote in Georgia. He wants to save the Senate for Chinless Mitch. Of course, what he’s advocating is illegal, illegal, illegal.

This Florida Man’s name is Bill Price, and he claims to be a lawyer. He’s such a bad lawyer that he should join the Trump defense team. Price is not a very good liar either:

A bizarre, hilarious and maddening story out of Georgia. A Florida Republican lawyer from Bay County, Florida is caught on tape encouraging Florida Republicans to claim phony residence in Georgia to vote in the run-offs. He says he’s registering at the address of his brother who lives in Georgia. When local reporter Nicole Carr asked the lawyer, Bill Price, about the video he said that it was all a joke and that of course he didn’t make a bogus registration at his brother’s address.

But she checked and he had registered. Now Price is being investigated for vote fraud by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

After the joke excuse didn’t pan out Price apparently changed his story and insisted that he made the fraudulent registrations to prove how susceptible Georgia’s voting system was to fraud.

I wonder if Florida Man Price is hoping to be invited to one of the super-spreader Christmas parties at the White House.

Vote Against The Crook, It’s Important: This is a variation on the legendary bumper sticker that popped up on cars in the Gret Stet of Louisiana during the Edwards-Duke runoff election in 1991. In its current iteration, it’s aimed at Senator and Day Trader David Perdue:

Perdue has made up close to a third of all Senate trades reported since 2014, the year he came into office. He traded stocks, bonds, and funds about 2,600 times in six years — equal to the combined trading volume of the next five most-active traders in the Senate. While there’s no evidence that Perdue traded on nonpublic information, which is a potential crime, there are new ethical questions surrounding his decision to trade where he legislates. On close to 30 occasions during his time on the Senate cybersecurity panel, Perdue bought and sold stock in a cybersecurity firm that signed a $30 million contract in his home state of Georgia. And as a member of the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs subcommittee, Perdue bought and sold shares of several firms that the body oversaw, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.

Perdue was one of a handful of lawmakers accused in March of using intelligence from Senate hearings to inform their financial decisions. (Perdue’s fellow Georgia senator, Kelly Loeffler, has also faced allegations of using nonpublic information she gleaned as a senator to inform her investment strategy.) The most notable red flag involves a stock purchase in a company that makes medical equipment on the same day that senators received a classified briefing on the coronavirus. (Perdue has denied attending the session.) And in February, just before Pfizer announced its intention to develop a COVID vaccine, he purchased $245,000 in stocks in the pharmaceutical company. He also sold up to $165,000 in stocks of the casino firm Caesar Entertainment prior to the shutdown and economic crash. Last week, the Times reported that the Department of Justice questioned him over his prolific trading, but apparently cleared him of wrongdoing.

The same sort of trading shenanigans got North Carolina Senator Richard Burr in deep shit. For some reason, insider trading is frowned upon in many circles.

I should have said crooks because Kelly Loeffler is just as shady, but her insider trades aren’t as well documented as those of Perdue.

The  Anti-GOTV Movement: The lunatic fringe is *still* urging Trumpers not to vote in the runoff. I’m down with that. That system is deeply corrupt, and Brian Kemp is a secret commie who’s out to get the Impeached Insult Comedian. #sarcasm

The Georgia election official who scorched President* Pennywise for not repudiating his nuttier followers had this to say about the anti-GOTV movement:

“Who the heck knows. I mean, it’s Looney Tunes,” Sterling said, before calling Trump out for his 46-minute screed filled with unfounded voter fraud claims. “The President’s literally coming to Georgia to campaign for the same two senators that his two former lawyers who are filing lawsuits to contest the election, with the same claims that the President made in his very long 46-minute video yesterday that have already been debunked.”

Did he say Looney Tunes? Cue Daffy and Bugs:

The Kaiser of Chaos will be “campaigning for” Perdue and Loeffler this weekend. I put “campaigning for” in air quote because I expect that he’ll talk about himself and how he’s been wronged. There should be a new chant just for Donald: SHUT HIM UP. SHUT HIM UP.

That concludes this foray into Peach State politics. Once again, the last word goes to the Allman Brothers Band. It’s dedicated to Senators Perdue and Loeffler who, hopefully, Georgians will vote out next month:

Friday Catblogging: Fake Fish Flops

Young Claire Trevor has a new toy. It’s a tuna that flops about. It flopped with her. I think I know why: We watched The Sopranos episode that had Big Mouth Billy Bass singing Take Me To The River, which gave her the heebie jeebies about fake fish. Nah, our cats have always preferred found toys.

We tried putting the fish on her and it still flopped.

Cats. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without them.

Unshy Trump Shysters On Parade

For the “cleanest man in America” Donald Trump sure has a lot of lawyers. They keep popping up like kudzu, making extreme statements and preposterous arguments from which they should shy away but Trump’s shysters are unshy. Word Press is convinced that’s not a word but Merriam-Webster begs to differ. I’m not gunshy about using unshy. If Word Press continues to object, I’ll cross that abridge when I get to it. It’s clearly over troubled waters

Team Trump’s shyster’s arguments have become increasingly unhinged as they continue to lose cases. Even some Trump judicial appointees have expressed outrage over this abuse of the legal process. Judges have the temerity to expect evidence in their court rooms. Evidence? What the hell is that?

I keep waiting for someone to make this pun: they’re flipping their Wigmores over the paucity of proof. Here’s a visual cue to explain that pun:

Rumor has it that John Henry Wigmore had a mighty hammer. I seem to have woken up on the punny side of the bed this morning. Insomnia makes me punchy, what can I tell ya?

The craziest thing said by a Trump shyster was this gem from former US Attorney and Fox News personality, Joe di Genova about Chris Krebs:

The former DHS official, diGenova said, is “a class-A moron” who “should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot.”

Say it ain’t so, Joe. This could get you sued, disbarred, or banned from the baseball hall of fame.

A Joe-less Say It Ain’t So is also the title of a swell Weezer tune:

If you didn’t get the baseball history reference, it’s about this guy:

Where was I? Lost in a field of dreams, puns, and obscure references. Pardon me for that lapse. Perhaps I should ask the Impeached Insult Comedian. He seems to be in a pardoning mood.

Speaking of pardons, the Failing New York Times reported:

President Trump has discussed with advisers whether to grant pre-emptive pardons to his children, to his son-in-law and to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and talked with Mr. Giuliani about pardoning him as recently as last week, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump has told others that he is concerned that a Biden Justice Department might seek retribution against the president by targeting the oldest three of his five children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — as well as Ms. Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser.

Projection thy name is President* Pennywise. That’s something he would do but not Joe Biden. He’s said repeatedly that he will not involve himself in DOJ business. A lesser man would want vengeance over the endless Hunter Biden smears, but this Joe says it ain’t so. But investigations by other arms of the DOJ seem likely. Come on down, Sovereign District of New York.

The Impeached Insult Comedian does not seem to understand that a pardon is an admission of guilt. If they ever appear in federal court, his chirren and Rudy might be required to allocute as to the nature of their pardonable offenses. That’s a cute way of saying that they can’t take the Fifth. In any event, a presidential* pardon doesn’t cover state crimes and the Manhattan DA’s office is Trump hunting. Stay tuned.

I’m not going to touch the idea of a presidential* self-pardon. I think it would fail a legal test, especially given the “quality” of Trump’s unshy shysters. I still think a resign and pardon scenario is more likely. For the petty Trumpers, it would have the virtue of making Mike Pence the 46th president and mess up all the 46 Joe memes out there:

It’s okay 47 rhymes with heaven. I’m in heaven when I dance cheek to cheek with the promise of the Biden administration.

Finally, the Kaiser of Chaos is so enraged by Bill Barr’s admission that there was no widespread election fraud that he may fire his ass. That would be good news for fans of the Trump-Hitler Barr-Goering analogy. Goering was fired by Hitler as he skulked in his bunker at the end of World War II. I’m too lazy to look into whether there’s a Trump-Barr Downfall video but I have this swell side-by-side picture of Wilhelm und Hermann:

I can’t let those two creeps have the last word. Instead, we should “talk to the lawyer, professional liar” as well as David Lindley and El Rayo-X:

Bayou Brief: Louisiana Potpourri For $400, Alex

I had a lot of fun with my latest Bayou Brief column. It’s dedicated to the late, great Alex Trebek and Louisiana Jeopardy fans. The tagline is in the form of a question: “What are 13th Ward Ramblings on Alex Trebek, Carnival 2021, Cedric Richmond, Karen Carter Peterson, and Jason Williams?”

I’m sure you recognize the first name, the others are New Orleans politicians; one of whom is leaving Congress to work in the Biden administration.  That means we’ll have a special election for Cedric Richmond’s House seat some time next year. Karen Carter Peterson is a likely candidate. Jason Williams is running for District Attorney and he’s an underdog in Saturday’s runoff. Now you know who these guys are.

That’s all, folks.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Never Smile At Children

I certainly wouldn’t smile at this kid. Her lips are sealed and so are mine.

The Lame Duck & The Quack

Scientists were dancing in the streets when they heard that Trump’s pandemic Svengali, Dr. Scott Atlas had resigned. It was a hiring that would have been unthinkable before Trump. President* Pennywise saw Atlas on Fox News, then hired him for the COVID task force. Atlas proceeded to put the farce into task force by implicitly endorsing the concept of Herd Immunity in public while arguing for it in private.

Now he’s gone after a flurry of unhinged interviews in which he pandered desperately to his boss. That’s how Atlas got the job in the first place: telling Trump what he wants to hear. Team Trump has perfected sucking up to the boss and refusing to tell him the truth. The truth can be painful. It certainly is when it comes to the pandemic, which is raging as I write this. We seem to set new records every day and they’re not the kind that end up in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Atlas had no qualifications for his post. He’s a radiologist, not an epidemiologist. He hasn’t even practiced for many years instead becoming a health care policy analyst at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. The university finally distanced itself from Atlas’ extreme views, but only because he urged an uprising against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. According to its web site, the Hoover Institute remains dedicated to developing public policies to advance “principles of individual, economic, and political freedom.”

Freedom, man.

On the surface libertarianism sounds good. Who’s opposed to freedom, man? But as expounded by one of its prophets, Ayn Rand, it’s really a rationalization for “rugged individualism” which is a euphemism for selfishness. It’s fitting that Scott Atlas name evokes one of Rand’s book titles: Atlas Shrugged.

Freedom, man.

You know what they say about lame ducks. If it walks like a lame duck and quacks like a lame duck, it’s a lame duck. That applies to the quacks who serve the lame duck.

This scene between Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny sums up my feelings about both the Lame Duck and the Quack:

The nightmare is nearly over. Help is on the way.

I bet you saw this coming. The last word goes to the Kinks:

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Father Christmas

Yeah, I know. This is a single cover but it’s the Kinks, dammit. I’m still trying to uphold my blogger’s creed: there’s a Kinks song for every occasion.

I wasn’t able to find out who did the artwork but it’s pretty darn swell:

Father Ch

Here’s the single in two videos:

The B-Side rocks almost as hard:

Women In The Room

Joe Biden knows who elected him. It was women voters, especially women of color. The latest wave of appointments totals 13 of whom 11 are women; 6 of them are women of color and 2 are lesbians. Of the two men appointed one is a black guy for a grand total of 7 people of color in this wave.

Biden is off to excellent start in keeping his pledge to have an administration that looks like America.

When I first heard Janet Yellen’s name mentioned I had a D’oh moment. What Democratic woman is better qualified that the former Fed head who will be only the second person to hold both jobs? Senator Professor Warren is equally qualified, but her state has a Republican Governor. That’s likely to rule out Senator Bernie Sanders for a cabinet job as well: GOPer Phil Scott is Governor of Vermont. They’re both moderates but unlikely to select a Democrat to replace a Senator appointed to the cabinet. As the old saying goes: you gotta dance with those who brung you.

The most controversial nominee is apt to be Neera Tanden who has enemies on both ends of the ideological spectrum. Her detractors dislike Tanden because of her close ties to Hillary Clinton and her bad ass persona on the tweeter tube. I wasn’t aware that mean tweets were disqualifying. I’m also glad that Biden is willing to nominate someone who will generate heat, not light. There will be many battles to fight in the next 4 years, so a bit of controversy is a good thing.

The best thing about the all-chick comms staff is that it provoked a tirade from Kayleigh McEnany. Anything that pisses her off is fine with me.

I’m tired of writing about Team Trump so I welcome the chance to celebrate Team Biden-Harris’ commitment to diversity. It doesn’t surprise me: Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris proved that he’s serious about having a government that looks like the country.

A final request. I wish people would stop freaking out every time a name they dislike is floated by the media. It’s best to look at the totality of the team not those rumored to join it. Besides, after 4 years of Team Trump, anyone is an improvement. Who could be worse than Ross, Mnuchin, or Miller?

Saturday Odds & Sods: Don’t Do It

Lake George Reflection by Georgia O’Keefe

Today is our last day under quarantine. I’m relieved that neither of us were ever symptomatic. We were damn lucky.

This week’s theme song was written by the great Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland in 1964. It was originally intended for the Supremes but wound up being recorded by Marvin Gaye. Its real title is Baby Don’t You Do It but I prefer The Band’s re-titling, Don’t Do It. Either way it’s a great song that’s been recorded oodles of times or is that scads? Beats the hell outta me.

We have five versions of Don’t Do It aka Baby Don’t You Do It for your listening pleasure.

The IT in question is “don’t you break my heart.” Here’s a Stones song that says doo doo doo doo instead of don’t:

Now that we’re all heartbroken and shit, let’s jump to the break.

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Black Friday

 

We’re doing something different with the Friday Cocktail Hour format this week and featuring a tune that’s not remotely torchy. Instead it’s a song Becker and Fagen wrote about Jay Gould’s attempt to corner the gold market on Friday September 24, 1869.

That Black Friday led to the Panic of 1869. They used to call depressions panics. I guess they stopped doing so to prevent panic. Depression is inevitable.

I’ve never been one to mock people for their Black Friday shopping exploits and I’m not about to start now even with the pandemic raging. All I’ve got to say is this:

That’s all for this week. Raise your glass and toast surviving a relatively relative-free Thanksgiving. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.

The Shape I’m In

This is usually a slow news week but since the Impeached Insult Comedian has been in extended tantrum mode, there’s a lot of stuff happening. Repeat after me: it’s NOT a coup, it’s an extended tantrum.

Dr. A and I remain under quarantine after she tested positive for COVID. We’re still asymptomatic and it looks as if we’ll stay that way. Good news all around. We even had groceries delivered for the first time. It was a break from the routine but did not involve poutine. Mmm, poutine.

Some friends brought us Thanksgiving dinner. It was amazing, awesome, and many other A words. Fried turkey not only rocks, it rules. Did I really just say that? We also had three kinds of pie: apple, pecan, and sweet potato. Mmm, pie.

I enjoyed having a quiet Thanksgiving this year. Instead of doing a holiday triple-header, we watched The National Dog Show, The Last Waltz, and some episodes of Cold Justice to add some grit to the holiday. I was also able to bask in compliments for my annual tribute to my late mother, Now Be Thankful.

Cue the original version of the song:

President* Pennywise continues to whine about his electoral defeat. It’s a way to stay in the limelight as his star recedes. He remains the president* of the Republican party and not much else. The rest of us are sick of his shit and wish he’d go away. Piss off out of our lives, Donald.

I nearly wrote an instant analysis post about the Flynn pardon on the day it happened. I had a good title too: Lame Duck Pardons Turkey & Traitor. I decided to leave it to Michael F. I knew he wouldn’t let down the side:

The Flynn case was born in scandal, lived in scandal, and finally died in scandal. Did I say it was scandalous?

Bill Barr’s conduct should be investigated and result, at the very least, in his disbarment. His name is part of the word, after all. As for myself I would never dis a bar, only a Barr, but not former Giants pitcher Jim Barr:

Dig those crazy sideburns, y’all. They were mandatory in the Seventies. It was a bad time for the Giants but a great time for sideburns.

In other Trump news, Rupert Murdoch is also sick of his shit as reported by Gabriel Sherman:

According to two sources, Trump’s attacks on Fox News are causing alarm in the Murdoch family. Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch is considering a plan to offer Trump a $100 million package that would include HarperCollins publishing Trump’s post-presidential memoir and Fox News giving Trump a contributor deal or his own show, the sources say. On November 10, the Murdoch-owned New York Post reported Trump could land a $100 million book advance, but made no mention of the Murdochs. “Rupert is going to make a humongous offer,” one of the sources said. “The thinking is, Let’s buy Trump off so he shuts the fuck up.”

Trump STFU? You must be dreaming. He cannot even shut up during the holidays when thoughts turn to turkey and shopping, not “baseless claims” of electoral fraud. Did I just say baseless claims? Holy shit, I sound like the Failing New York Times.

In the same Gabe Sherman piece we learned why Trump didn’t retreat to his Florida Elba:

But according to a Republican close to the White House, Trump’s decision not to travel to Mar-a-Lago is actually an indication that, privately at least, he’s preparing to vacate the White House in January. Trump is in the midst of a major renovation to his private apartment at Mar-a-Lago, which has made it uninhabitable during the holiday, the source said. “He wants to make it more comfortable as a full-time residence. It’s actually not that big,” the source said. The Mar-a-Lago renovation adds more evidence to the widely assumed view that Trump will make Palm Beach his permanent home after he leaves office, given his toxic relationship with New York.

The Kaiser of Chaos has essentially been booed out of New York City. It’s a tough town. In Florida, Governor De Santis can be his yard man as well as his yes man. Trump likes yes men instead of being blasted by De Blasio and criticized by Cuomo. It’s a tough town. If you don’t believe me, listen to John Lennon:

That concludes this rambling post in which I tried to talk turkey or is that cold turkey?

The last word goes to The Band:

Friday Guest Catblogging: Screenie Beanie

Today on kittens do the darndest things: my friend Maureen’s boy Beanie sticks his head through a screen. He will forever be known as Screenie Beanie.

Now Be Thankful

Adrastos’ late mother in her Chicago heyday.

It’s been a weird year. It’s going to be a weird Thanksgiving as well thanks to the pandemic and Dr. A and my being in quarantine. We both remain asymptomatic.

That’s why it struck me as a good time to post my fourth annual Thanksgiving tribute to my late mother and bring it home to First Draft after last year’s stint at my other home on the internet, the Bayou Brief. It brings a note of normality to a turbulent time.

Some changes were required because we’re not going anywhere this year instead of bopping from celebration-to-celebration. A friend is bringing us dinner, so we’ll be well-fed.

That concludes this year’s introduction. On with the show this is it:

The holidays are hard for me. I like Thanksgiving’s gluttonous aspects but it’s still hard for me. It’s when I think of my mother who died in 2001. My mother was the sort of person who took in strays for the holidays. We’d have up to 20 people around the table; some of whom were friends of friends of friends. Mom believed that everyone should have a home cooked meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of our guests for Christmas dinner were, in fact, Jewish. No Chinese food for her Jewish friends.

Mom spent the day before Thanksgiving, and the day of, cooking away. She was a perfectionist when it came to entertaining: no holiday buffets for her. We had to gather around the table and it had to have a starched white tablecloth. There were no paper plates or people eating whilst milling about: fine china, silver, and crystal were mandatory for the holidays. She was informal the rest of the year but holidays were state occasions when, as my father was wont to say, we put on the dog.

When I got old enough, one of my jobs was to set the table. I made sure that Mom had final approval: she wanted everything just so. I recall feeling triumphant one Thanksgiving: I’d set the table perfectly on the first try. There were usually changes but not that year. I was inordinately proud of myself but she admonished me not to get too cocky. It was the Midwestern Norwegian Lutheran in her coming out. She left the bragging to my dad. It’s what Greeks do, y’all. Not me, of course, other Greeks…

I also helped make a fresh cranberry/orange sauce from the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag. We had a venerable hand-cranked grinder that had to be attached to the kitchen table. We spread newspaper around it because it was messy. There was a bucket at my feet to catch the bitter red cranberry drippings. Mom was not sentimental about her kitchen gadgets: she bought a food processor the first time she saw one. I was away from home and past the cranberry grinding, table setting phase of my life by then.

My favorite part of the traditional turkey dinner was the stuffing. I looked forward to it every year. It was loaded with herbs as well as pine nuts and chestnuts. We didn’t exactly roast them on an open fire but I helped shell the bastards. They were uncooperative, downright surly, actually. When I was really young, I was convinced they were alive but my no-nonsense mother disabused me of that notion. She informed me that I’d seen the Wizard of Oz one too many times. As usual, she was right.

Unfortunately, there was often conflict at the dinner table during the holidays. I’m the youngest of three by thirteen years. My sisters were off living life and I was raised more like an only child. I admit to liking it that way. My oldest sister thrives on drama and conflict. There was always one big row per holiday, which drove my poor mother crazy. She was always the woman in the middle. When she died, so did our nuclear family for reasons too complex to go into. The good news is that holidays are more tranquil but I miss the glue of my family.

Thanksgivings in Louisiana had a familiar feel when I moved here. It’s all about the food, y’all.  I married into an old Louisiana family and learned some new traditions. What’s not to love about oyster dressing? I still missed my mom’s stuffing. It was a part of me.

My first wife was a petite, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant spitfire. She took the idea of being a redhead seriously: she had a temper to match my own. Her mother took me in as one of her own but made it clear that when we moved to Baton Rouge, we’d have to tie the knot. Unfortunately, my wife’s family tree was a witches brew of genetic maladies and she died of cancer during what should have been her final year at LSU Law School.

She passed away a week before Thanksgiving so the holidays were rough sledding for me until I met and fell in love with the tall, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant woman known to you as Dr. A. The good news is that Dr. A and my mother-in-law instantly hit it off and she was admitted to the Louisiana family post-haste. It was Dr. A who started calling our Louisiana family the outlaws and the nickname stuck.

I sat down to write a brief, nostalgic food-centric post and ended up explaining my tangled family tree. So it goes. I never hide the fact that I was a widower at a young age but I only tell people when asked how I came to the Gret Stet of Louisiana from California. It’s a long and painful story but I’m fortunate to have married well twice.

I still miss my mother. She could dance on my last nerve, but I miss our long conversations and teasing her about her crazy dog Brutus.

Mothers are powerful. They have the ability to make you revert to childhood. I know that many of your mothers get on your nerves. It’s what they do. Shrug it off and remember that they won’t always be with you. Around the holidays is when I miss my mom and Dr. A misses her charming, beautiful, and eccentric mother. Mother-in-law #2, however, was not a good cook and expected us to consume the radishes she’d lovingly cut. I hate radishes but her company was the best.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The last word goes to Fairport Convention with the gorgeous Richard Thompson song that gave this post its title:

Here’s another one from the songwriter. It’s a day for gluttony, after all:

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Thursday Turkey Murders

It’s a day for ritual as well as gluttony. I’ll be publishing both my annual Thanksgiving posts this year. I’m determined to disprove the notion that liberals hate this holiday. Scott Atlas is not invited.

This book cover makes its fourth appearance here at First Draft.

Thursday Thanksgiving Murders

What’s Thanksgiving without some lagniappe. Here are Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg mashing potatoes:

 

Dumb, Dumber, Trumper

It’s no secret that I have contempt for the dimmer and more gullible Trump supporters around the country. It may not be nice, but the feeling is real. The MSM still seems fascinated with what makes Trumpers tick. The elite media is primarily an urban East Coast thing so they regard rural Trumpers as exotic creatures like Kaspar Hauser. I regard them as bitter people whose hobby is “owning the libs.” I’m not for sale. They can fuck off.

Perhaps the weirdest manifestation of extreme Trumpism is playing out in Georgia. President* Pennywise’s supporters have bought his spin about election fraud and some are threatening to boycott the Georgia senate runoff races. I am not making this up.

Aaron Rupar of Vox has an extended report on this imbecility:

Democrats can take control of the US Senate if both Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the upcoming runoffs. But Trump has been hurting his party’s cause by attacking two state Republican officials — Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican Trump has demeaned as a “RINO,” or Republican in name only — for their supposed involvement in a far-fetched scheme to throw the state’s presidential election for Joe Biden. (In reality, both Raffensperger and Kemp are Trump supporters.)

<SNIP>

The notion that Trump fans should boycott the Georgia runoffs as a form of punishment for establishment Republicans has resonated beyond Parler. At a “Stop the Steal” rally held in Georgia over the weekend, for instance, a speaker was cheered while he attacked Raffensperger and Kemp as “traitors” and said, “Any Republican who allows this to happen is complicit and we will finish you! … We will do whatever it takes to completely destroy the Republican Party.” (Trump tweeted his support for the rally.)

Please boycott. It could have the same effect as disgruntled Berners voting for Jill Stein in 2016. Make it so, Trumpers, make it so.

It’s unclear just how many Trumpers are this stupid but as the runoffs appear to be as tight as a tick it could make a difference.

This extreme stupidity has the virtue of giving me a post title that evokes the stupid/funny Farrelly Brothers movie Dumb and Dumber.

That image is a bit too classy for the worst Trumpers. Let’s try a messier one:

I should apologize for that gross image, but I won’t since my taste for lowbrow slapstick humor is well-established. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

I hope Georgia Trumpers do NOT come to their senses and continue to be Dumb, Dumber, Trumper and pay heed to these billboards:

For the second time today, Little Feat gets the last word:

We’re counting on you, Atlanta. Vote your crooked plutocratic senators out.

Quote Of The Day: Diplomatic Gumbo

As I listened to the incoming UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, I was proud to be an LSU graduate.

Here are edited highlights of her remarks yesterday:

I learned from my family. Mr. President elect, thank you for those generous words that you said about me. My parents had very little back in Louisiana where I grew up, but they gave me and my siblings everything they had and I know how proud they would be of this day. On this day, I’m also missing my mentor, Ambassador Ed Perkins, who served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations under President George HW Bush and President Clinton. And who was also from Louisiana. He told me constantly, “Linda, don’t undersell yourself.” And he would always do everything possible to lift me up.

He passed away last week, but I know he’s here with us today. And on this day, I’m thinking about the American people, my fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world. I want to say to you, “America is back, multi-lateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.” Mr. President elect, I’ve often heard you say how all politics is personal, and that’s how you build relationships of trust and bridge disagreements and find common ground. And in my 35 years in the foreign service across four continents, I put a Cajun spin on it. I called that gumbo diplomacy.

Wherever I was posted around the world, I’d invite people of different backgrounds and beliefs to help me make a roux and chop onions for the Holy Trinity and make homemade gumbo. It was my way of breaking down barriers, connecting with people, and starting to see each other on a human level. A bit of lagniappe is what we say in Louisiana. That’s the charge in front of us today. The challenges we face, a global pandemic, a global economy, a global climate change crisis, mass migration and extreme poverty, social justice are unrelenting and interconnected, but they’re not unresolvable if America is leading the way. Thank you.

I come from a food-oriented family and live in a food-oriented city, so this was a perfect message for this season. It’s also a refreshing antidote to the nonsense spouted for four years by Team Trump on the foreign policy side. To paraphrase Gordon Ramsey, isolationism can piss off out of my kitchen.

The entire Biden event was a refreshing antidote to the weeks of crazy following the election. The grown-ups are back in charge. Imagine appointing people on the basis of their qualifications, not on how they look. That’s what gave us the Exxon CEO as Secretary of State and he was by no means the worst appointee. He did, however, provide me with Tea for the Tillerson puns so it wasn’t all bad.

Speaking of puns, I’ve heard before that the incoming Secretary of State is a fellow punster. He certainly has a punworthy name: Blinken. I hope he does the pun community proud and doesn’t get in too much trouble with the media for having a sense of humor. It will be a refreshing change from the ponderous pomposity of Pompeo.

The appointment that pleased me the most was that of John Kerry as the climate guy. Appointing someone who’s an equal is a sign that Joe Biden is comfortable in his own skin and that the incoming president is serious about climate change, which is some serious shit.

Team Biden has a mess to clean up but it’s what Democratic presidents do. The magnitude of Team Trump’s corruption and incompetence makes it an even bigger challenge but most of it is reversible. Repeat after me: help is on the way.

Back to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. She’s from Baker, Louisiana, which is right next to Red Stick, but I won’t hold that against her. I eagerly await the inevitable “she’ll be good for Louisiana” pieces from the Gret Stet punditocracy. In this case, they might be right. She does present a refreshing stylistic contrast to the cornpone shtick of our fake hick junior Senator, John Neely Kennedy.

The last word goes to Little Feat with the number 8 song on my Louisiana Top 50:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Clear Impetuous Morning

I usually like to post food-related album covers the day before Thanksgiving. I went searching and wound up having breakfast with Jason & the Scorchers. I passed on the petrol.

Here’s the whole damn album via Spotify:

Words Matter

I’ve been having a back-and-forth argument with some friends over the word coup and whether the antics of Rudy and other Trumpers constitute a coup d’état or golpe de estado. This is NOT a coup, it’s an extended tantrum. Why? Because words matter.

I’m a writer with a law degree so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’m a stickler for precise language unless puns are involved. Then all bets are off.

I grew up on the Encyclopedia Britannica. Here’s its definition:

Coup d’état, also called coup, the sudden, violent overthrow of an existing government by a small group. The chief prerequisite for a coup is control of all or part of the armed forces, the police, and other military elements. Unlike a revolution, which is usually achieved by large numbers of people working for basic social, economic, and political change, a coup is a change in power from the top that merely results in the abrupt replacement of leading government personnel. A coup rarely alters a nation’s fundamental social and economic policies, nor does it significantly redistribute power among competing political groups.

There are other sloppier definitions out there, but this is the one I adhere to even if that sounds sticky.

As far as I’m concerned, no military involvement means that it’s not a coup. Neither the military nor security forces are involved in Trump’s attempt to subvert and steal the 2020 presidential election something for which we should be profoundly grateful.

There’s another reason that I’m adamantly opposed to a sloppier definition of the word coup: it elevates and dignifies a presidential* hissy fit and gives it some gravitas. This doomed attempt to steal the election is farcical unless you’re a right-wing conspiracy buff. Anything led by Rudy Giuliani is doomed to fail. He hasn’t succeeded at anything since he left Gracie Mansion other than making money. Remember his 2008 presidential campaign? Neither do I.

I remain convinced that the purpose of this extended political tantrum is to cause chaos and confusion and provide the Trumpers with a stab in the back narrative that they can use to explain away their defeat. That’s why I call Trump the Kaiser of Chaos.

I’m also exasperated with the MSM’s lazy use of language in other areas. The best example is the phrase the “Latin Vote.” The MSM is currently puzzled by why Biden did well with Latin voters in Arizona and not Florida. D’oh: they’re different groups from different places. They’re mostly Mexican in Arizona but Cuban, Venezuelan, and Central American in South Florida. When Cuban emigrees landed in Miami during the waning days of the Jim Crow era they were treated like white people. They still think of themselves as white, not brown. That’s why neither Marco Rubio nor Ted Cruz identify with minority groups. Blame Fidel.

This particular word game is a sign of media sloth and soft bigotry. When I was young, the punditocracy focused on how candidates did with various European ethnic and religious groups. They didn’t lump Italians, Greeks, Poles, Jews, and Slavs together because they had different interests, values, and religious affiliations. Clearly race had something to do with the avoidance of groupthink.

The same logic should be applied to the “Latin Vote” today. There is no monolithic Latin voting bloc much as the media and politicians wish that there were. Oversimplification is the enemy of clarity.

The last word goes to Stephen Stills: