Category Archives: Adrastos

The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness

Maury Terry before his descent into obsession.

The new Netflix docuseries The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is a tale of obsession and manipulation. Journalist Maury Terry was so obsessed with his plausible alternate theory of the Son Of Sam case that he allowed himself to be manipulated by convicted murderer and notorious schlemiel David Berkowitz.

The Son Of Sam or .44 caliber murders took place in New York City in 1976-1977. It was one of the most sensational cases of its or any other time. It fueled a newspaper war between the NY Daily News and NY Post, which was won by the NYDN because its star columnist, Jimmy Breslin was manipulated by David Berkowitz much like his less well-known colleague, Maury Terry.

Breslin published a series of bizarre letters from the so-called Son Of Sam claiming that a dog channeling its dead master made him to do it. It was the homicidal equivalent of the old “dog ate my homework” gambit but it somehow worked on Breslin and the NYPD.

The detectives working the case convinced themselves that it was a lone gunman, not because the evidence led them in that direction but because it was easier than delving into the complexities of it. That was left to Maury Terry.

Terry posited that there had to be more than one person involved. This supposition was supported by the fact that the original police sketches looked nothing like Berkowitz. This belief was widespread at the time as it became clear that David Berkowitz was a follower, not a leader. Mind games were Berkowitz’s specialty, not action.

In the early days of his investigation, Maury Terry pursued evidence to support his theory. There does seem to have been some sort of satanic cult in Yonkers, NY with which Berkowitz was involved. One of the cultists, John Carr, was Berkowitz’s neighbor and resembled the police sketch more than Berkowitz. Carr’s irascible father was named Sam. That’s right John Carr was literally the son of Sam who apparently was a son of a bitch. Terry believed that John’s brother Michael was also involved in the cult. Both Carr brothers died in mysterious circumstances. That fed Maury Terry’s obsession.

Berkowitz and the Carrs are the Sons of Sam of the title, but it was Maury Terry who descended into darkness. He took the notion of satanic cults to its extreme and dived down hundreds of rabbit holes. He drew many plausible connections but convinced himself that there was a link between the Manson family and the Yonkers cult. In that case I believe he was:

The docuseries unfolds in four acts. The final act depicts the unravelling of Maury Terry. He was mostly right about the case BUT he spent his final years trying to make the facts fit his theories as opposed to following the facts where they led him. Berkowitz continued to manipulate Terry in an elaborate game of mental five-card monte. It’s boring in prison.

The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness is a well-made and surprisingly entertaining series. Director Joshua Zemen uses the contemporaneous teevee news coverage to great advantage. He also does a superb job of chronicling Maury Terry’s descent into obsession. Unsurprisingly, Terry who died in 2015 urged Zemen to make the documentary:

…he met Terry, who quickly became hell-bent on the idea of Zemen making a documentary about his work.

“I originally had wanted to make [Terry’s book] The Ultimate Evil into a narrative TV series. I didn’t want to do a doc at all,” Zemen said. “Maury’s pestering me for literally a year — ‘please do a doc, please do a doc.’ I think he sees me as some kind of hope for him that he’s going to finally get his story out there.”

But Terry died before anything could come of the project. And in what may have been a last-ditch effort to shed light on what he always believed was the truth behind the Son of Sam case, he left all of his research to Zemen.

“I get Maury’s files and all of these interviews with David Berkowitz — all the B-roll, all his letters,” Zemen recalled. “Suddenly, the idea hits me — yes, you can make a doc. Not just about the investigation, but about Maury, this kind of fascinating character who had gone down the rabbit hole for 40 years and never came out.”

That sums it up well. Maury Terry was right to believe that Berkowitz did not act alone but he took it too far. Obsession ain’t pretty and neither is the effect it has on people.

Before grading Zemen’s film, here’s the trailer:

I give The Sons Of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A-.

I gave myself an earworm as I wrote this so, the last word goes to John Lennon:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Headless Lady

For some reason this cover gives me a headache.

All About Elise

It should be obvious by now that my love of old movies often informs my writing. I wish I could say I thought of All About Eve in the context of the Liz-n-Elise mishigas. I did not.

It was my longtime friend Susan Kelly Caldwell who made the connection. If I could stand the winters, I’d move to Chagrin Falls to expiate my shame, but I can’t, so I won’t. Susan, however, isn’t perfect: she’s legendary for giving bad directions, which is less salient in the GPS era but has been a running joke between us for decades so…

Everyone who knew that Elise Stefanik nominated Liz Cheney to be House Republican Chair, raise your hand. The Boss insists:

I did not know that, but it adds a touch of poignancy to the farcical ouster of Cheney. Cheney’s sole offense against the GOP is telling the truth about the 2020 election and 1/6 Dipshit Insurrection. Stefanik is making like Eve Harrington in All About Eve and betraying Liz Cheney/Margo Harrington.

I’m not going to belabor the About All Elise analogy other than to post Susan’s husband Steve’s casting suggestion for Addison Dewitt who was played by George Sanders in All About Eve:

Remember Ray Davies’ line about George Sanders? Let’s paraphrase it: If you covered him with garbage, Lindsey Graham would still lack style…

There’s nothing particularly interesting about Elise Stefanik. She’s just another hack trying to climb the greasy pole by kowtowing to the Kaiser of Chaos. It’s what GOPers will do until the spell is finally broken. I suspect Trump’s passion for Stefanik is driven more by his lustful impulses than anything else. I keep waiting for the “I’d hit on that” quote to emerge from Mar-a-Doorn.

If this were a matter of ideology or policy, Liz Cheney would stay in place. She voted for the Impeached Insult Comedian’s agenda 92% of the time whereas Stefanik did so 77% of the time.

Some of the wingnuts in the Caucus are alarmed that Stefanik is a squishy Northeastern moderate. But they will still vote to oust their ideological soul mate, Liz Cheney because the GOP is an empty vessel filled with Trumper bluster and bullshit, which will eventually evaporate.

The other day, the weak bozo who is House Republican leader sent a letter to his colleagues urging Cheney’s removal. As a fan of unintentional comedy, I enjoyed this passage in KMac’s epistle:

“We are a big tent party. We represent Americans of all backgrounds. And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate.

What can you expect from a guy who sorted Pennywise’s candy? Now he’s sorting voters: claiming all the white ones while trashing the black and brown ones.

It reminds me of something Willard Mittbot Romney said in 2019:

“There are many young people who might tend to think that the Republican Party is only represented by one point of view, the president’s point of view, were there not people like myself. We are not a pup tent … rather a much larger tent. And we can accommodate different people with different views.”

I don’t camp so I don’t know anything about tents, but a pup tent sounds puny to me. Much like KMac.

Speaking of tents, the House leadership may regret “recalling” Liz Cheney. She’s bound to feel liberated. They might have been wise to follow Lyndon Johnson’s example. When asked why he didn’t oust J. Edgar Hoover as FBI director, LBJ said, “Better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.”

As if to prove my point, Cheney gave a fiery speech last night in anticipation of today’s vote: 

“I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law. Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar.”

I disagree with Liz Cheney on everything else BUT the preservation of democracy is not just another issue. If they can get away with the BIG LIE of 2020, what’s to stop them from doing it again? Not a damn thing.

That’s why bucking history and maintaining control of the House and Senate in 2022 is so vital. The BIG LIE will be repeated in 2024 if Republicans control Congress and a Democrat wins the popular vote as has happened 5 of 6 times in the 21st Century. The last thing we need is a sequel to 2020.

As long as the GOP is in thrall to former President* Pennywise, this Margo Channing quote will prove prescient:

If Bette Davis were still with us, I’d be afraid not to give her the last word but since she exists only on celluloid, the last word goes to The Cure:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Mimi Benzell & Felix Knight Sing Cole Porter’s Can Can Kiss Me Kate

Since it’s Cole Porter month at the Friday Cocktail Hour, I decided to make it Cole Porter week here. I think it’s also the longest album title ever to turn up on a Wednesday morning.

I have never heard of either Mimi Benzell or Felix Knight but I really dig Jim Pearsall’s cover art. It makes me want to dance the Can Can and kiss Kate.

I’ve also never heard of design compatible fidelity before. Ya learn something new everyday.

Here’s the whole damn album:

 

Malaka Of The Week: Briscoe Cain

Hand to God, I am not mocking a child. Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain is 36 years old; he just looks like a tween. Cain is perhaps the wingnuttiest member of a reactionary lege. He’s in the news as a co-author of the latest Texas voter suppression bill. And that is why Briscoe Cain is malaka of the week.

Briscoe Cain came on my radar screen during this segment of the Rachel Maddow Show:

The racist relic in question is not Briscoe Cain himself, although the label fits, but language in the Texas constitution about the “purity of the ballot box.” It dates to the Jim Crow era and was originally used to ensure that the dominant party primary was all-white. The “purity” language was included in Cain’s impure bill.

In the clip, Malaka B pretends not to understand the significance of the “purity” language, but I’m not buying it. He looks like a middle school kid trying to get out of a test by claiming that his Peepaw or Meemaw died. That’s Southern for grandfather and grandmother.

I went to school with a kid who pulled that stunt so many times that he seemed to have dozens of Papous or Yiayias. That’s Greek for grandfather and grandmother.

Cain is the sort of committed Christian who should be committed. He’s anti-LGBTQ, anti-vax, and anti-mask. I’m anti-Briscoe Cain.

In his freshman session, Malaka B was named one of the worst legislators by the Texas Monthly:

We typically exempt freshmen from the Worst list. We usually forgive their trangressions, because they don’t know how the Legislature works. So just know that we tried. We tried really hard to give Briscoe Cain a pass. But he left us little choice.

When we asked Capitol insiders for Worst list suggestions, his name, almost universally, was the first one mentioned. During one floor debate, when a fellow legislator fell ill with a serious intestinal ailment, Cain objected to the usual procedure of granting the lawmaker an excused absence and called for a record vote. He was the only no vote. But one particular moment, during the budget debate on the House floor, best exemplifies Cain’s uninformed and belligerent performance this session. He offered an amendment to defund a state council that promotes palliative care. He called it a “death panel.” Under questioning from his colleagues, it became clear that Cain didn’t know that palliative care is the treatment of terminally ill people for pain and anxiety to ease their passing. He eventually withdrew his amendment, but not before he’d very nearly zeroed out funding for a good program without actually knowing what it does. Thankfully his colleagues saved him from himself in that instance. Unfortunately, there was no one to save the rest of us from Briscoe Cain.

Belligerence and ignorance are a toxic combination as is everything about Cain’s brief political career so far.

In the spirit of his lord and master former President* Pennywise, Cain likes to pick fights, then claim it’s all a joke.

He shaded Steven Hawking after his death:

This is the case of a living dipshit trolling a dead genius. It’s typical of this chickenshit creep that he deleted the tweet after he was universally slammed for it.

In a further display of keyboard courage, Malaka B threatened a fellow Texan:

This stunt landed Malaka B in Twitter jail. He doesn’t have the guts to threaten Beto in real life: Malaka B is 5’7″ and Beto is 6’4″. I double dog dare him to take a poke at long tall Texan Beto.

I wonder if wee Malaka B used his time in jail to play prisoner and sheriff? He thinks he’s some sort of Western hero, after all. At best, he’s a Wyatt Earp Mini-Me.

I bet he can’t pull off this rocking chair stunt perfected by Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp in John Ford’s My Darling Clementine:

I bet Beto could do it since he’s as gangly as Fonda and two inches taller. It all comes down to John Ford movies with me.

Briscoe Cain has a well-established pattern of picking a fight, then running away the minute there’s any resistance. It happened with the “purity of the ballot box” controversy as well. The language was pulled from the final bill.

Malaka B is a puffed-up chump who thinks he’s a he-man. He’s as phony as the Impeached Insult Comedian and twice as cowardly. And that is why Briscoe Cain is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello:

Stormy Monday Blues

26 years ago New Orleans had rainfall of Biblical proportions. The rain came on May 8, 1995 and the extent of the damage was unclear until May 10, 1995. It had rained up to 27 inches in some parts of the city and surrounding parishes. It was a fucking mess.

Unfortunately, street flooding has become commonplace since then. We’ve never had water in our house since we live on high ground, but we lost a car to flood waters a few years ago.

Every time there’s heavy rain, New Orleanians live in fear of flooding. It happened again in the wee hours today:

I’m writing this during a break in the rain, but more is expected later. We’re all sick of it. My birthday in 2017 was the occasion of another flood caused by extreme rainfall and an antiquated water system. President Biden took a tour of the plant last week and has mentioned it several times subsequently. I hope that’s a good sign. This has got to stop.

I don’t believe in the Noah myth since it calls for more suspension of disbelief than I’m capable of. There are times, however, that building a jumbo ark like John Huston did in his misbegotten 1966 film The Bible seems appealing. I think Nick Lowe had the right idea as well:

In other news, there’s a lot of chatter about how to proceed in the After Times of the pandemic. This sign sums up my attitude:

After 14 months of internal tedium and external malakatude, I’m still not ready to return to normal. I’m fully vaccinated but I’m mistrustful of others who are not.

I handled the pandemic and lockdown better than most, but I feel like wrapping myself in caution tape right now. My life experience has made me cautious but not fearful in dangerous situations beyond my control. I’m sure I’ll get over it but at my own pace.

I’m not judging those who are running towards normality, I’m just not there yet. The virus and its variants are still out there. There are still outbreaks and the quest for herd immunity seems stalled because there are still many out there who think it was all a hoax; some of whom are visiting New Orleans, which is why I have no plans to visit the French Quarter any time soon.

The world has always been a dangerous place. I’m engaged in risk management. A new study has estimated that more than 900,000 Americans have died during the pandemic. Given the Trump regime’s attempts to fiddle with the books, I’m inclined to believe the new figure. Another reason for caution.

Finally, Dr. A and I been driving back and forth to Baton Rouge once a week to visit Louise aka Mother-In-Law #1. She’s not doing well at all. She’s 99 years old and slowly fading away. She’s bedridden and having vision problems on top of everything else. It may sound callous, but I hope she lets go soon. As her late husband Eddie was wont to say, “Getting old is not for sissies.”

The post title refers not to the T-Bone Walker song whose full title is Call It Stormy Monday But Tuesday’s Just As Bad, but to an earlier song written by Earl Hines, Billy Eckstine, and Bob Crowder. I definitely have the Stormy Monday Blues. The last word goes to Billy Eckstine and Count Basie:

 

Sunday Morning Video: An Evening With Nat King Cole

Here’s Nat King Cole wearing a skinny tie on the BBC in 1961. Nat even sat down at the piano for a few numbers. Enjoy.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Nowhere Man

May is a month for themes at First Draft. Yesterday, I declared it Cole Porter month at the Friday Cocktail Hour. Today, I declare May to be Beatles month since Tell Me Why was last week’s theme song. I do declare. Stop me before I turn into Scarlet O’Hara. I’d look lousy in a hoop skirt…

President Biden visited New Orleans as part of his infrastructure push. He toured the Sewerage & Water Board plant in the Pigeon Town neighborhood. Our water system has been in bad shape forever. They’ve tried muddling through with what we have but what we need is money, money, money. The presidential visit is a good sign that it may be forthcoming. John Neely Kennedy insists that water plants aren’t infrastructure. I insist that he’s an asshole who can still go fuck himself.

This week’s theme song was written by Lennon and McCartney in 1965. Once again, it’s essentially a Lennon song. We’ll get to Macca next week. It was featured on three Beatles albums, Rubber Soul in the UK, Yesterday and Today in the US, and on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack worldwide. That was exhausting. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have three versions of Nowhere Man for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original, Randy Travis, and Paul Westerberg.

If you’re feeling stuck in Nowhere Land, there’s an easy fix: jump to the break.

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I Get A Kick Out Of You

I hereby declare May to be Cole Porter month at the Friday Cocktail Hour. Why May? Why the hell not?

Cole Porter wrote I Get A Kick Out Of You in 1934 for the Broadway musical Anything Goes, which starred Ethel Merman. Porter loved Merman’s brassy-n-hammy voice. I do not. She used to scare the beejesus out of me when she appeared on variety shows in my youth. I bear the musical scars to this very day.

Since I love the featured image of Louis and Oscar so much, we begin with their version, which always gives me a boot as well as a kick:

Perhaps the best known interpretation of the Porter classic comes from the Sinatra-Riddle team. Dig that crazy lamppost.

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Friday Guest Catblogging: Road Trip Cat

I don’t know about you, but I don’t travel with my cats loose in the car. Some folks do, including the mother-daughter team of Lisa and Rachel.

Don’t worry. Smokey the Siamese cat wasn’t miserable, she was emoting for Rachel. Dig those crazy blue eyes.

The Bamboo Bamboozle

This post has nothing to do with the great Samuel Fuller flick, House Of Bamboo, but I couldn’t resist posting that image. It has  everything to do with the Big Election Lie.

Those zany Cyber Ninjas have been busy in Arizona:

The recount of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2.1 million ballots includes an analysis of whether the ballots have any bamboo fibers, an audit leader said Wednesday. The official said that the auditors were seeking to vet a wild claim that 40,000 counterfeit ballots were shipped in from Asia.

The explanation for the review by John Brakey — who is serving as an assistant liaison for the Arizona Senate Republican-ordered “audit” — confirms suspicions by outside election experts that the rules for the audit had been shaped with crazy conspiracy theories about the 2020 election in mind.

Brakey had been asked by a reporter for the local CBS affiliate to elaborate on a reference to bamboo fibers he had made at a press conference last week.

“There’s accusations that 40,000 ballots were flown into Arizona and stuffed into the box. And it came from the Southeast part of the world — Asia — and what they’re doing is to find out if there is bamboo in the paper,” Brakey said Wednesday.

Say what? Bamboo? WTF?

Trumpers have no idea how crazy this shit sounds to non-cult members. The Kaiser of Chaos acts as if these audits or whatever the hell you want to call them is his ticket out of Mar-a-Doorn and back to the White House. That’s right, they somehow think a restoration is possible. So did Kaiser Bill who spent most of his exile preparing for a return to Germany. It never happened.

The Trumpists seem determined to make the Yellow Peril a thing again. Hence the comments about the Chinese or Kung Flu. The latter is what passes for humor in Trumper circles. That’s why the Senate passed an Asian Hate Crimes Bill with only one no vote: Josh Hawley, of course. Hell, even Tailgunner Ted tucked his tail between his legs and voted aye.

In other voter suppression news, the Trump mini-me who runs Florida signed a restrictive bill into law. They’re so eager to pander to the Impeached Insult Comedian that they shot themselves in the foot. The Florida GOP spent years urging their supporters to vote by mail. Their lege just made it harder. That’s some real Florida Man shit, y’all.

The good news is that the Arizona Bamboo Bamboozle is doomed to fail. The bad news is that bamboo is hard to cut back, it keeps growing and growing. Hopefully, that won’t be the case with political bamboo. Stay tuned.

The last word goes to a genuine odd couple, Dean Martin and Frank Zappa:

 

The Legal Docket: Bragging Rights

You’re probably asking yourself, what’s up with that title? I’ll get to that in a minute.

The picture above comes from Judge Garland zooming into a Congressional hearing in which he requested a massive increase in spending to combat domestic terrorism. It’s about bloody time.

Note the portraits of past Attorney Generals flanking Merrick Garland: to his left Edward Levi and to his right Robert Kennedy.

Here’s where the bragging rights come in. I wrote a piece called Merrick Garland’s Time. In it, I compared him favorably to his fellow Chicagoan, Edward Levi who cleaned up the DOJ in the wake of Watergate.

Like Edward Levi and John Paul Stevens, Merrick Garland hails from the Chicago area.

Like Merrick Garland, Edward Levi was a modest unassuming man.

Like Merrick Garland, Edward Levi faced a difficult task. He did the job, then returned to the University of Chicago where he had previously served as dean of the law school and president of the university.

Like Merrick Garland, Edward Levi was Jewish. He was the first Jewish AG; Garland will be the third.

<SNIP>

Edward Levi is one of the most underrated figures in American history. He not only had to clean up the DOJ, but he also had to reform the FBI, which J. Edgar Hoover had turned into his private police force. He accomplished both in two years. It can be done again.

1975 was Edward Levi’s time.

2021 is Merrick Garland’s time.

I’m pleased but not surprised to see that Garland shares my high opinion of Levi. Keep up the good work, General Garland.

In other legal news, we have a flashback to former Attorney General Bill Barr’s misrepresentations of the Mueller Report:

The blistering opinion by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson concerned an Office of Legal Counsel memo that was drafted in the key weekend between when special counsel Robert Mueller issued his report to Attorney General Bill Barr and when Barr released a public letter to Congress ostensibly “summarizing” the report.

<SNIP>

She said that the department had made a “misrepresentation” about the purpose of the memo and engaged in a “the lack of candor” about its content. She said that CREW, while never laying “eyes on the document,” had supplied a summary “more accurate than the one supplied by the department’s declarants” in its filings alleging that the memo was being illegally withheld.

Team Barr violated the first rule of litigation: NEVER PISS OFF THE JUDGE.

The DOJ has two weeks to decide if the memo remains withheld. It’s unlikely that Team Garland will continue the cover up.

Today, I once again compared Merrick Garland to Edward Levi. It’s time to recapitulate my comparison of Bill Barr to jailed Nixon Attorney Generals John Mitchell and Dick Kleindienst:

Talk about a rogue’s gallery. None of those guys will be hanging on the wall in a future AG’s office.

I found those official portraits at the DOJ web site. The portraits of LBJ’s AGs took a decidedly modernist turn.

That’s Nick Katzenbach by Alan Wood-Thomas and Ramsey Clark by Robert Berks.

I hope that the fashion of calling presidents by their numbers doesn’t catch on with Attorney Generals. If it does, we began with 86 flanked by 71 and 64.

That is all.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Better To Eat You

It’s Cannibal Clown day here at First Draft.

 

Malaka Of The Week: Twitter Famous Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson parachuted into Southwestern Louisiana in 2017 and ran twice for Congress against the Gret Stet’s bull goose wingnut, Clay Higgins. In my fleeting online encounters with Anderson, he struck me as a dilettante with limited connections to his district. It was far worse than I imagined. That is why Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is malaka of the week.

Anderson built a substantial Twitter following over the last few years. That’s now gone along with his political prospects. Here’s why:

…Anderson’s Twitter stardom meant little in Louisiana’s 3rd District, where Higgins crushed three Democrats, taking more than two-thirds of the vote. Anderson fell shy of 12%, six percentage points behind the top Democrat.

In addition to building his fan base, Anderson used his campaign Twitter account to send nude selfies to women. A pseudonymous Twitter user known for exposing sexual misconduct allegations posted a sampling last week, sparking a war between the “Rob Mob” and several women accusing him of harassment. Screenshots of his lewd direct messages circulated.

Recriminations for Louisiana’s most Twitter-famous progressive were swift.

“I’m already ruined,” Anderson said in a phone interview Thursday, two days after the photos appeared.

A close friend and business partner quickly cut ties, killing a podcast venture the two had hoped to leverage from Anderson’s Twitter base.

Amid the backlash, attention turned to Anderson’s missing campaign finance reports. He has not filed any since the first quarter of last year, leaving the months covering his meteoric rise unaccounted for. Anderson blamed his staff for failing to file the reports.

Anderson says his political career is over.

“I may be Twitter famous, but nobody in Louisiana knows who the hell I am. Although they probably will now,” he said.

That long excerpt was necessitated  by the vagaries of the Georges Media Empire’s web sites, which are hard to maneuver if you’re a subscriber like me and purt near impossible if you’re not. BTW, John Georges is the dullest Greek I’ve ever encountered. I usually brag on my countrymen, but I make an exception in his case. He’s not even interesting enough to be selected as malaka of the week.

Except for groveling in the pages of the Georges Advocate, Twitter Famous Rob Anderson has vanished from the internet. Taking the coward’s way out, he deleted his campaign’s web site, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook feeds. Curiously, the Rob Anderson for Louisiana YouTube page is still up as of this writing. Perhaps Malaka Rob is watching his greatest hits and pondering what might have been.

There was always something off-putting about Twitter Famous Rob Anderson. He struck me as a minor league con man who specialized in fleecing the gullible Hipster Twitter Left. Malaka Rob said all the right things but lacked a presence in the real world to back up his Twitter fame:

Anderson started organizing his 2020 campaign just prior to the pandemic lockdown. A four-person core consisting of Anderson, Leveque and two other staffers, Clare Stagg and Dave Langlinais, grew close as they worked out of Langlinais’s house. They formed a social pod, frequently sharing dinners, drinks and personal conversations.

But the two women staffers experienced Anderson as increasingly dictatorial as he became fixated on Twitter. They worried that his Twitter fame had divorced him from reality in southwest Louisiana.

“I think he thought that was enough to mean that he was a big name,” said Stagg, the campaign manager. “Everything else in the campaign fell by the wayside to him, no matter how much you told him, ‘Twitter isn’t real life, your following is not in the district.’”

There’s a lesson in the well-deserved fall of Malaka Rob Anderson. Twitter isn’t real life and an overdependence on social media and the Hipster Twitter Left in a campaign is a prescription for defeat.

It’s unclear if Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is a liar or a fantasist who believes his own bullshit. His Ballotpedia survey is revealing in that regard. He turns out to be a sci-fi fan:

What is your favorite book? Why?

“Flow my tears, the policeman said.” Before I was a teenager, it was the most complicated story I’d read, and it resonated with me. It’s themes are connection and alienation, and how to bridge the chasm between souls.

That’s a novel by Philip K. Dick, which is fitting given Malaka Rob’s propensity to share dick pix.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you want to be?

Valentine Michael Smith. It would be fascinating to be a postmodern Martian.

I grok that. I wonder if the self-proclaimed working class progressive knows that Stranger In A Strange Land author Robert Heinlein was one of those people who migrated politically from the far left to far right. Probably not, Anderson was too busy tweeting. He’ll have time to catch up on his reading now.

Anderson could even try emulating Heinlein’s political journey and become a Trumper. They’re indifferent to dick pix and others forms of sexual harassment, after all.

There’s another weirdly revealing bit in Malaka Rob’s Ballotpedia survey:

Is there a book, essay, film, or something else you would recommend to someone who wants to understand your political philosophy?

“The Great Shark Hunt” by Hunter S. Thompson.

I’m already on the record as a HST un-fan. His political philosophy, such as it was, revolved around getting wasted, shooting guns, and conning the gullible Left of his day into thinking he was a progressive. Maybe that’s why Malaka Rob admires him. That’s his shtick as well.

I’ve already told Dr. A to commit me if I start calling myself a “Twitter personality” or “Twitter Famous.” The Rob Anderson saga should be a cautionary tale for those who spend too much time on social media. He’s gone from having a “Rob Mob” and being Twitter Famous to being Malaka Rob and Twitter Infamous in the blink of an eye. And that is why Twitter Famous Rob Anderson is malaka of the week.

The last word goes to Cowboy Mouth:

 

 

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Send In The Clowns

The clown theme continues with this 1974 Sarah Vaughan album cover. It features a photograph by Frank Kolleogy. I couldn’t find out who the clown is so consider them unlisted or unknown.

In 1981, Sassy recorded another album with the same title. This time with Count Basie. It had an unremarkable cover so I’m skipping it. I’m not clowning around here.

Here’s the whole damn album via Spotify:

Ready for some lagniappe? Here’s the 1981 album with Count Basie:

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

In the last 20 years, Rudy Giuliani has gone from unpopular mayor to national hero to failed presidential candidate to national joke. It’s been quite a journey and he only has himself to blame for the next phase of his odyssey. Rudy’s big fat mouth has positioned him to be a defendant in the dock and/or a stool pigeon who might die in jail. What a long strange trip it’s been.

There’s long been chatter that the Southern District of New York was thwarted in its effort to go after Trump’s nominal personal lawyer by then AG Bill Barr. (I say nominal because the Rudester seems to have been an unpaid volunteer representing a grifter who never pays his legal bills.) That ended last week with a search warrant executed on Rudy’s office and residence. Thanks, General Garland.

Rudy squealed like a stuck pig about how this was an unprecedented violation of attorney-client privilege. Really? What about Trump’s former fixer/lawyer, Michael Cohen? The same thing happened to Cohen and the Impeached Insult Comedian sided with him for half a second before betraying him. This strikes me as Rudy’s most likely fate.

For his part, Cohen thinks that the Artist Formerly Known As Mayor Combover will flip, rollover, and otherwise turn on former President* Pennywise:

It always comes back to Vladimir Putin’s ambition to reassemble the Russian Empire by regaining control of the jewel in both the Tsarist and Soviet crown. Ukraine.

It’s fitting that Rudy’s quest to oust Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch led to Trump’s first impeachment and now legal jeopardy for the Artist Formerly Known As America’s Mayor.

The weirdest thing about the Ukraine scandal is that the Kaiser of Chaos *had* the power to remove Yovanovitch. But his desire to keep his fingerprints off the ouster resulted in his and Rudy’s ongoing Ukraine-related legal problems. The moral of that part of the story: never send a heavy-handed clown to do a job that requires subtlety and discretion.

Rudy The Clown by Barry Blitt.

The loudmouth Rudy-Pennywise approach worked to defang the Mueller investigation, but it’s failed subsequently. The only thing that saved Rudy’s ass was being backed up by a president* and the pardon power. No wonder Rudy participated in the Big Election Lie. It was a no-brainer and Rudy seems to have precious few little grey cells left. Hercule Poirot weeps.

There’s a certain symmetry to Rudy Giuliani’s rise and fall. He first rose to prominence as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Now that office is trying to nail his scalp to the wall. How the mighty have fallen.

The question is: how did the seemingly intelligent asshole of the 1980s morph into the stupid asshole of 2021? It’s partially the Trump effect: hanging out with him seems to cut people’s IQ in half and result in chronic mendacity.

Michael Cohen had a more practical explanation in an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber last fall:

“The problem here is that Rudy isn’t a soldier. Rudy is—Rudy is drunk all the time, which is a big problem and that’s what makes him susceptible because his faculties are gone. He behaves crazy.”

Melber challenges Cohen on this point, asking, “are you sharing an opinion or are you sharing an observation like you’ve seen him drink X amount?”

Cohen, who was jailed in 2018 for arranging payments to silence women who claimed to have affairs with Trump, continued: “I’ve seen him drink to the point like he’s a high school drunk,” adding, “and it makes him susceptible.”

It also makes Rudy susceptible to Trumpian manipulation. The teetotaler has played the drunk for a chump. He’s kept him inside the tent thus far because Rudy knows too much. That won’t last now that Rudy is under investigation and Trump is no longer “immune” from prosecution. No wonder Rudy wanted a blanket pardon.

This story has more twists and turns coming. I think a bag of pretzels is in order because Rudy has long specialized in Pretzel Logic.

That was just the first last word for this post. The penultimate one involves the demon alcohol and goes to the Kinks:

The last last word goes to Sarah Vaughan with a Sassy rendition of a Stephen Sondheim song:

Sunday Morning Video: Parking Lot Yes

It’s 1996. Yes has a new album to promote: Keys To Ascension. Instead of an in store concert, Yes played in the parking lot of  Tower Records’ flagship Hollywood store.

The video is lame but the music is excellent. It’s stripped down Yes. Rick Wakeman doesn’t have his usual array of keyboards but manages quite well.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Tell Me Why

Cuban Movie Theatre by Walker Evans.

Now that I’m fully vaccinated, things are slowly but surely getting back to normal at Adrastos World HQ. A close friend of mine paid an extended visit the other day. He’s an engineer so when he noticed that one of our front stairs was wonky, he insisted on fixing it. His motto is: “I fix shit.” Thanks, pally.

I’ve been listening to a lot of early Beatle. The music and lyrics may not be as sophisticated as their post-Revolver work, but the harmonies are to die for. They sang live in the studio back then and the blending of John and Paul’s voices is sublime. The best example of Beatly greatness I can think of is the fact that George Harrison was the third best singer in the band. And George was no slouch. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

There are many songs titled Tell Me Why. I picked three of them. The Beatles song is basically a John Lennon song and was written in 1964. The Beatles recording history is complex, the early US and UK albums were quite different. In the UK, it appeared on Hard Day’s Night and in the US on Something New. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Our second theme song was written by Neil Young in 1970. It was the opening track on the album that made him a star as a solo artist, After The Gold Rush.

Our third theme song was also written in 1970. Barry Gibb wrote *his* Tell Me Why for the family band’s 2 Years On album.

Now that I’ve told you why, let’s jump to the break.

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Too Marvelous For Words

I’m in a good mood this week so it’s time for an upbeat, uptempo song in this space.

Too Marvelous For Words was written in 1937 by Johnny Mercer and Richard Whiting for a forgettable 1937 movie, Ready, Willing, and Able. The song itself is memorable for Mercer’s word play. Rumor has it that I like word play. I even like typing the phrase.

We begin with my two favorite versions of Too Marvelous For Words: Frank Sinatra followed by Ella Fitzgerald. Both feature arrangements by Nelson Riddle but are just as unique as if the Riddler was not involved.

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Bayou Brief: Déjà Vu All Over Again

There was a runoff election held to fill Cedric Richmond’s seat in Congress last Saturday. It was a nasty campaign and I’m glad it’s over.  I got tried of seeing negative ads on my Scrabble app. Is nothing sacred?

It did, however, evoke memories of the first wave of elections after Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood in 2006. Both candidates in Saturday’s election challenged Congressman Dollar Bill Jefferson that year and lost. It gave me the feeling that I’d been there before.

For the details, get thee to Bayou Brief where John Fogerty gets the last word.

The last word here goes to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:

Another day, another David Crosby song. We have all been here before.