The last concert I attended before the pandemic was Dwight Yoakam at the Fillmore in New Orleans. It’s fitting that the first concert video posted in the revived SMV be Dwight on Austin City Limits in 2015:
The last concert I attended before the pandemic was Dwight Yoakam at the Fillmore in New Orleans. It’s fitting that the first concert video posted in the revived SMV be Dwight on Austin City Limits in 2015:
It’s been cold every day this year. Not Chicago cold, but New Orleans cold is damp and gets in your bones. It makes one feel creaky and cranky. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t need anything to make me feel crankier in the waning days of the Trump regime. We all just want him to exit the national scene before he wreaks more havoc. He plans to stick around but the events of the last week may make that harder than previously thought. Stay tuned.
I didn’t plan to make January John Hiatt-Edward Hopper month. It just happened that way. Once I used Stolen Moments for Album Cover Art Wednesday, the die was cast or did the cast die? I prefer the former.
John Hiatt wrote this week’s theme song for the aforementioned album in 1989. It’s a lovely mid-tempo ballad that I saw him open a show with in the late 1990’s. He sang it without accompaniment, then the band joined him for Drive South. Twas a great show.
We have multiple versions of Through Your Hands for your listening pleasure. We begin with the Hiatt original followed by covers from Joan Baez, David Crosby, and Don Henley.
Don Henley’s version was in the Nora Ephron-John Travolta movie Michael, which was about an angel come to earth. At least I think it was: I saw it in a movie theatre when it came out many years ago. I could Google it, but I’m on a roll so I won’t.
I miss attending the movies less than expected. I loved the outing and the big screen BUT I despise people who talk during the show. I’m a shusher from way back. The only one I have to shush now is Claire Trevor as she demands a handout. You’d think that the namesake of a movie star would have more respect. Cats: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.
Let’s strap on some angel wings and fly to the break. I’m tired of jumping.
This is an unusual Friday Cocktail Hour entry. The song is a classic but it’s not a standard that has been widely covered. Instead, it’s a message to the Impeached Insult Comedian that we’re sick of his shit and ready for him to go.
Get Out Of This House was written by Shawn Colvin for her 1996 album, A Few Small Repairs. It received a Grammy nomination for best female pop performance. It’s a rip snorting breakup song.
We have two versions of the song: the studio original and Shawn live.
That’s it for this edition. Let’s toast the end of an error. Sinatra may have supported some Republican candidates late in life, but he knew and loathed Donald Trump. Pour yourself a shot of JD. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would have wanted. Never argue with them.
I’m Greek and believe in cronyism and nepotism if the person is talented. My old friend Shapiro is a talented writer. He has requested that I only use his last name. Request granted. Just don’t call me Chief.
I hung out with Shapiro a lot when we both lived in San Francisco. We went to many ballgames at Candlestick Park together. The ballpark sucked, but the company was excellent.
We were known to heckle opposing players. I’ll never forget the time we went after Pittsburgh Pirates 2B Rennie Stennett. Our group was merciless. Oddly enough, Stennett signed with the Giants the next season and was an expensive flop. That concludes this episode of when I was young and obnoxious theatre. It wasn’t very theatrical, was it?
The Dead Fish Problem by Shapiro
Hear me out about this.
I don’t claim to be a lawyer (much to my parents’ dismay) or a political operative or a public relations wizard (that position is held by my younger son). I am wrong about political maneuvers I see in the media as often as I am right which probably means I should go into the political operative business because that gives me a higher batting average than many of them.
But I digress.
My point is I am not a pro when it comes to political posturing. But I am a pro when it comes to knowing how to rid yourself of a dead fish.
Dead fish smell. They smell bad. Go ahead, smell one for yourself and see. Told you so. Problem is you can’t just throw a dead fish out. Doing that just stinks up the garbage pail in your kitchen, then the garbage can in the side yard, and if you live in an area that outdoor critters are known to prowl the smell of the dead fish will encourage said critters to tip over your garbage cans in attempts to retrieve what it considers to be a tasty treat and you’re left with your neighbor Fred’s icy stares for being such a slob.
So you must be careful in the disposal of a dead fish. You have to wrap it in plastic to segment it from the rest of the trash, then you have to acknowledge there is a dead fish in the garbage (“Hey Fred sorry about the smell from the dead fish in my garbage”) even if the smell can’t be detected. You have to tightly secure the lid to the garbage can, so no roving band of raccoons get wind of the deliciousness awaiting them inside. Once the garbage company comes and hauls it away no one need think about it again.
Which brings us to the Republican Party and the dead fish that is Donald J. Trump.
Up until January 6, 2021 the Republican Party fully embraced Donald Trump. That embrace covered a wide gauntlet from full on “the election was rigged and unfair” to “we need to investigate possible irregularities in the voting” to “the election was fair, and he lost”, but they embraced him. Why not? He might have lost, but he got the second highest number of votes for president in the history of the country. That’s not a number to sneeze at. That’s a number a Republican challenger in 2024 would like to emulate. Add in the “hold my nose and vote for Biden because Trump is cray-cray” Republicans who you want to return and that’s a winning combination. Embracing him makes full political sense. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley know that and that’s why they are at one end of the embracement scale while Mitt Romney is at the other. The little procedural BS they were going to engage in over the certification of the electoral college was all just so much talk to be able to chop up into fund raising media, a little red meat to throw to the fanatics.
Instead on January 6, 2021 that scale got thrown to the wolverines. Embrace Donald Trump? The man who incited a mob to march on the capitol, break through the doors, desecrate the chambers, and end up with one shot dead before they were pushed out? The man who set up a watch party in a tent on the White House lawn and let his son live cast a few minutes of him cheering on the mob via TV? The man who, when finally forced to attempt to calm the mob down, did so on YouTube instead of network TV even though cell service and Wi-Fi had been cut off to the capital and it’s surrounding area so none of the mob could see it? Who in that message said he loved them and just wanted them to be safe?
For those of you impatiently waiting for Trump’s Lonesome Rhodes comeuppance moment this was it.
Republican senators who had said they would sign on to the notion of a challenge to the electoral vote count began to drop. What once was 15 ended up at 4 (4 others changed votes after the measure was defeated). In the House, the numbers didn’t drop as dramatically, but they did drop. Suddenly congressmen who were afraid to speak against Trump for fear of being primaried in 2022 now had to worry about being primaried for not coming out hard enough against the main instigator of the mob. They were worried that the stink of Trump, like a dead fish, would cling to them long after the carcass had been thrown away.
In the spirit of bringing America together, allow me to offer a suggestion for the Republican Party.
While it’s tempting to just dump Trump in the garbage can, that would not solve your problem. I understand your need to walk a balance beam more agilely than an Olympic gymnast. You don’t want to piss off his supporters who, for the moment and with nowhere else to go, vote for you. But you also need to signal to the vast majority of Republicans, the people who didn’t storm Capitol Hill, and the independents who truly are the difference makers in elections, that you won’t stand for mob rule no matter what the mob was for. If you urge the VP and the cabinet to invoke the 25th you’re pretty much admitting Trump was crazy from the beginning with the inference being that you enabled him which you did but we’re trying to work on solutions here. If you work for impeachment that just reminds voters, you had your chance a year ago to be rid of him and didn’t take it. Get him to resign? Fat chance he’d do that unless you can guarantee him a billion in gold, a plane to Moscow, and the promise to not try and extradite him back. Whatever you do, his stink will be in your Dolce & Gabbana outlet store suits for years to come.
Crazy times call for crazy stunts. You know all that talk about working together to do what’s in the best interests of the country? How about you try it. I know it goes against everything you stand for McConnell, but right now the American people want to see something done. They watched on their TVs as a group of wild-eyed radicals, egged on by a defeated election loser, attack the very bastion of our democracy. That’s crap that happens elsewhere, not here in the good old US of A. They’re scared and anxious about what’s going to happen in the next two weeks. And when parents are scared and anxious their kids get scared and anxious and that’s one thing parents don’t forget easily, especially when it comes time to put that x next to a name on a ballot.
It would be so easy for you to do it. “Hey, you know what, we got conned. We thought he’d be a breath of fresh air, coming in and draining the swamp, but it turns out he’s nothing but a game show carny and we’re glad to see him go”. Let his most vociferous champions throw their crap at you like apes in a cage, it won’t matter because they themselves will no longer matter. Their fifteen minutes are up. The funniest part of this is that of all things he was the one who handed you the perfect “we’re all gonna work together” issue — $2000 stimulus checks. Send everybody that check and then go one better. We know Biden’s coming in with a national mask mandate. Declare the pandemic to have jumped the fire line, desperate measures need to be taken, masks for all. This isn’t taking away your freedom, it’s giving you a fighting chance against a microscopic killer until everyone gets the vaccine. If Trump says anything Republicans could turn this into the political equivalent of “new phone, who dis?”
You will have carefully wrapped him, his family, his Proud Boys, all up in plastic, carefully place them in the garbage, made sure all your neighbors know to be aware of the potential stink, secured the lid, and sent him to the garbage heap of history. Hell you might even get some Democrats to vote for you next time.
(To Democrats, that last line was just a tease to Republican leadership, a trail of Reese’s Pieces to coax them out into the world of reality.)
About the punny title, I’m doing my best to find humor in the dark and desperate ending of the Trump regime. Ridicule remains the best weapon against Trumpism and the sinister forces it has unleashed.
The Kaiser of Chaos is hunkered in his de facto bunker after the Dipshit Uprising blew up in his face. It’s like a Downfall video on a continuous loop. It’s making a loopy president* even loopier. His belated denunciation of the white riot and admission that he’s a loser is too little too late. He can go fuck himself.
The rats are fleeing the sinking ship in great numbers. I’m not going to list them all, but I know who the Pied Piper of Trumpistan is: White House counsel Pat Cipollone. He has been warning staffers to steer clear of President* Pennywise after he incited the Twelfth Night white riot:
As the violent mob incited by President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, some West Wing staffers panicked that they were possibly becoming participants in a coup to overthrow the government. “What do I do? Resign?” one nervous White House staffer asked a friend on Wednesday afternoon, shortly after news broke that a woman had been shot and killed inside the Capitol. The West Wing staffer told the friend that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone was urging White House officials not to speak to Trump or enable his coup attempt in any way, so they could reduce the chance they could be prosecuted for treason under the Sedition Act. “They’re being told to stay away from Trump,” the friend said. The White House declined to comment.
This is some serious shit. I’m still calling it a failed autogolpe, but they’ve moved from words to deeds, which means it’s gone beyond sycophancy to the realm of sedition.
Mild kudos to the staff members who decided to exit the White House before the lifeboats hit the water. Since Team Trump is in charge, they’re likely to have holes in them. They’ve never been able to do anything right and it’s only gotten worse.
I have nothing but contempt for the cabinet secretaries who are fleeing the scene of the crime. They don’t want their fingerprints on any 25th Amendment activity. Elaine Chao, Betsy DeVos, and their ilk are cowards running away from the mess that they’ve enabled for four years. They can go fuck themselves.
Mike Pompeo and Steve Mnuchin’s minions leaked a story about the possible removal of the unhinged president* to CNBC. The gist of the story is that they think it’s TOO HARD and time consuming to do. I call bullshit. The only time the 25th Amendment has ever been invoked was on The West Wing, so we have no idea how much time it would take. Pompeo has presidential ambitions and doesn’t want to alienate hardcore Trumpers. As to Mnuchin, he’s a worm. Make that a slug leaving a track of slime wherever he crawls.
I’m glad that Speaker Pelosi and leader Schumer are calling for President* Pennywise’s removal from office before January 20th. He’s done enough damage. It’s time for him to go.
The first time I saw Bob Marley and the Wailers perform Exodus was on Saturday Night Live. I was mesmerized by the groove and the politically charged lyrics. I still am. That performance is not online so this version from London’s Rainbow Theatre will just have to do:
It’s only been 5 months since PD passed away. He’s been much on my mind since his gotcha day was Twelfth Night, 2018. This is one of my favorite pictures of the giant cow cat:
The Trump regime began knee deep in Stupid Watergate, they’re going out after having incited the Dipshit Uprising thereby casting a pall over Twelfth Night and my first King Cake of the season. It harshed my Georgia, Georgia, Georgia buzz as well. It was, however, more memorable than the fakakata election challenge mishigas event that bookended the riot.
That’s right, riot. Make that white riot as the only people of color on the scene were members of congress, the media, and law enforcement. It was white privilege gone haywire as well as a massive security failure. It’s clear that if the rioters had been carrying BLM banners and posters instead of Trump flags they would have been repelled with force and hundreds would have been arrested, not 52. That’s right, only 52 were arrested as if it were an Advent calendar, not a riot. Make that white rioters staging a Dipshit Uprising.
Once they stormed the Capitol, the scene inside looked like Bourbon Street on New Year’s Day. All that was lacking were booze and school colors waved by Sugar Bowl attendees: Roll Tide; How About Dem Dogs. Instead, they were clad in MAGA red and camo green and brown.
The rioters milled about taking selfies, opening desks on the Senate floor, and otherwise occupying themselves as if they’d just fallen off the proverbial turnip truck. In the immortal words of Randy Newman, “They’re rednecks. Don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.”
I was relieved that nobody relieved themselves as they ransacked offices. I halfway expected one of them to take a shit in Speaker Pelosi’s office. That would have given an entirely new meaning to the term news dump. Gross but true.
I used that scatological analogy because the whole day was disgusting and sickening. From the rioters to the president* and his sycophants who incited them it was a shitty day for America. It exposed the stupidity and short-sightedness of the Trumpers and their dear leader. Anyone with a lick of sense knows that the Kaiser of Chaos and his political henchmen are lying about electoral fraud. Of course, the participants in the Dipshit Uprising probably think that lick of sense is part of Ivanka’s fragrance line…
Where do we go from here? I may have derided the idea of an instant impeachment or last minute 25th Amendment invocation the other day, but after the white riot a legal way to remove President* Pennywise from office is imperative. Pence seems to have taken charge after his rupture with his boss, but an informal ouster isn’t good enough. Lawlessness should be combatted by the rule of law.
There’s a special place in hell for those who have enabled this evil fucker in his lies and crimes against the public good. The names of Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and all those who voted to challenge the Arizona results should never be forgotten including the Gret Stet contingent of Senator John Neely Kennedy and Congressmen Scalise, Higgins, and Johnson. They can all go fuck themselves.
It’s time for the MSM to stop calling the Trumpist wing of the GOP conservative. They’re not conservatives, they’re rightist radicals who have brought shame on themselves and their party. All to assuage the ego of a petulant and mentally ill criminal. They can all go fuck themselves.
The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers:
I obviously still have Georgia on my mind.
I planned ahead for this post, even dropping a hint on the tweeter tube:
Since I expect both seats to go to the same party, I’ve picked different Allman Bros songs depending on who wins. Stay tuned. https://t.co/gUidaCBTKR
— Shecky (@Adrastosno) January 6, 2021
And the winner is Blue Sky since Warnock and Ossoff won their races. The alternative was a song that, along with Louie Louie, I used to request at every rock concert I attended in my wayward youth: Whipping Post.
David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler must feel like they’re tied to the Whipping Post this morning. They should have won their races, especially Perdue who is well-known in the Peach State and has won elections before. Loeffler is an awful person who ran a terrible campaign. For some reason, Gov. Kemp thought she’d be a formidable candidate partially because she was a semi-moderate GOPer before selling her soul to Trump. She should demand a refund instead of a recount.
This tweet from the former Republican strategist who ran Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign nails Loeffler to the Whipping Post:
As someone who in past years has had to listen to major donor Kelly Loeffler going off on how the Republican party was way too conservative, it’s hard to express the depth of her nothingness. She makes Martha McSally look like Margaret Thatcher
— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) January 6, 2021
I never thought I’d post anything by Matt Drudge, but this made me laugh:
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) January 6, 2021
Jon Ossoff had the tougher task this time around, but Reverend Doctor Senator Raphael Warnock has to run again in 2022. The good news is that Stacey Abrams is gearing up for a grudge rematch against Brian Kemp, which will boost Warnock’s chances. It was a bad year for Kemp: he tried his best to please the Impeached Insult Comedian but wound up on the latter’s shit list for refusing to risk going to jail for him. That makes him a slacker Trumper much like Vice President Pence or former AG Bill Barr.
Warnock ran ahead of his Democratic colleague all night for a variety of reasons: Loeffler’s attack on his church, wealthy black Republican ticket splitters, and the overall awfulness and fakery of the wealthiest woman in the US Senate. Make that wealthiest short-term senator. I wonder if she still plans to posture and pose at the fakakta election challenge mishigas event later today. Stay tuned.
As always, I watched the returns on MSNBC. In large part to watch the antics of Steve Kornacki who never sits down and seems to have the bladder of a camel. I’m glad they turned Kornacki’s producer Adam into a character last night, so it doesn’t look like Steve is a lunatic talking to himself.
This Kornacki-related tweet by TV writer and former New Orleanian Matt Brennan was one of the winners of the evening:
Steve and Adam are the new Regis and Gelman
— Matt Brennan (@thefilmgoer) January 6, 2021
Since I’m talking Kornacki and posting tweets, here’s another one from little old me:
It’s election night in Georgia, Georgia, Georgia: pic.twitter.com/sK1aUiuqqm
— Shecky (@Adrastosno) January 5, 2021
I admit to having a case of the heebie jeebies when Perdue led by over 100K votes. By the time I went to sleep it was clear that Ossoff would eke out a win. His current lead is bigger than Biden’s margin, which was good enough to win. I should have calmed myself by remembering the election nights in which New Orleans’ votes were out and Mary Landrieu narrowly trailed her Republican opponent before winning.
Since this post has degenerated into a tweet fest, here’s one for and from the history books:
Leo Frank, 31-year-old president of the Atlanta chapter of B’nai B’rith, was lynched in Marietta, Georgia, 105 years ago last summer, causing many fellow Jews to leave the state. This is one important backstory of Jon Ossoff’s campaign to become a U.S. Senator tonight. pic.twitter.com/pjO6YwCP8c
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 6, 2021
Jon Ossoff became the first Jewish senator from the Peach State and RDS Warnock became the first black Southern senator to enter the senate via election since Reconstruction. South Carolina’s Tim Scott was appointed before winning his seat; something Kelly Loeffler tried and failed to do. Heh, heh, heh. Democratic Senate, baby.
The spirit of John Lewis pervaded election night:
You just know he's proud pic.twitter.com/264as3fTYU
— Parker Butler (@parkerbutler10) January 6, 2021
It was a long night and it’s going to be a long day of yelling at Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and John Neely Kennedy as they suck up to the Sore Loser In Chief. Like yesterday, it will turn out to be a good day for democracy when this preposterous and futile challenge fails.
The last word is obvious. It goes to the Allman Brothers Band:
Inspired by the last Saturday Odds & Sods, I slid John Hiatt’s Stolen Moments into the CD player for first time in several years. I hadn’t forgotten how good the album is but I’d forgotten who did the cover photography, Robert Frank.
Frank was a legendary photographer and filmmaker who came to national attention in 1958 with his book, The Americans. It was a photo essay with text by Jack Kerouac. The book became an instant classic.
I’m not sure how Frank wound up shooting pictures of John Hiatt in 1990, but the originals are now in the Robert Frank collection at the National Gallery of Art. In a word: fancy.
Here’s the whole damn album via Spotify:
I’m not sure if you can hang up a crystal ball but if you can, I did so after getting the 2016 election wrong. I tried to stay out of the election prediction biz, but I backslid this year by hoping for a repeat of the 1980 election in reverse. At least I got the presidential election outcome right, but it was a substantial Biden win instead of a landslide and a minor disaster in House and Senate races.
That was a long-winded way of saying I have no idea who will win the double-barreled Georgia Senate run-off today. I know who I’m pulling for: Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. As to the outcome, I will be avidly watching the returns but do not pretend to know who will win. I wouldn’t predict it even if I were an expert on Peach State politics, which I am not.
At least I know who I’m rooting for. The Impeached Insult Comedian isn’t quite sure. His rally last night was yet another celebration of grievances and himself. He barely mentioned Perdue and Loeffler even though both have placed their souls into a blind trust controlled by him. Trump spent more time bashing Georgians Brian Kemp and Raffi than praising the plutocratic Senators he was supposedly there to support. Thanks, Donald.
In normal times, the two Georgia GOPers would triumph in the run-off. The open primary system is designed to help Republicans and harm Democrats, especially Black Democrats. Low turnout is the goal. But Ossoff and Warnock have been something of a dream team. The combination of the young Jewish guy who worked for John Lewis and the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church has proved to be a formidable one. Every time the media mentions where Warnock does his pastoring, they mention Martin Luther King Jr. Talk about a win-win situation.
Then there’s the Abrams factor. The only person with a bigger grudge against Brian Kemp and Raffi than President* Pennywise is Stacey Abrams. Since her narrow defeat in the voter suppression rich 2018 governor’s race, she’s been organizing the hell out of the Peach State. It paid off for Joe Biden in November and, hopefully, will help Ossoff and Warnock win today.
The likely 2022 grudge rematch between Kemp and Abrams is apt to be the most exciting Governor’s race since Edwards-Vitter in the Gret Stet of Louisiana back in 2015. Stay tuned.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) suggested Monday night that there would be dire consequences if GOP incumbents Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) lose the Georgia Senate runoffs on Tuesday, which would give Democrats control of the chamber.
“What happens tomorrow in Georgia…if we have a Democratically controlled Senate, we’re now basically at full-scale hot conflict in this country,” Roy told Fox News host Tucker Carlson. “Whereas right now we’re in a cold civil war.”
A Texas expression comes to mind. In fact, I memed it back in 2018 when Trump went to Texas to campaign for Ted Cruz:
Talk is cheap, especially threats of violence. Remember all the blood that was supposed to flow if Trump lost? There have been some droplets but no buckets. I’m not expecting any on Twelfth Night. Uh oh, that sounded like a prediction. So much for the cracked crystal ball.
The last word goes to the Toasters and Van Morrison with variations on the same theme:
Alarm bells went off about attempted Trumper monkeyshines at the Pentagon when the WaPo published an op-ed signed by all ten living former Defense Secretaries. Things got even stranger when I read who got the ball rolling:
The idea for this statement actually originated from Vice President Cheney.
Each of us swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution; that oath does not change according to party designation.https://t.co/NSsdLkZX9g
— William J. Perry (@SecDef19) January 4, 2021
William Perry, of course, was Bill Clinton’s first term Pentagon honcho. The big news is that Dick Cheney initiated the op-ed, which is a clarion call against military involvement in politics.
That’s right, Dick Fucking Cheney.
The man who made himself Veep.
The man who enjoys being compared to Darth Vader.
The man who got us into the Iraq War.
The man who’s known for saying the craziest things in the flattest monotone.
The man who shot a friend in a hunting accident and tried to lie his way out of it.
To the best of my recollection, I’ve never agreed with Dick Cheney on anything before. He may be the hawk’s hawk, but he believes in the peaceful transfer of power. This is a weird moment, but it should be savored.
Dick Cheney: The Strangest Bedfellow Of All.
Now that I’ve kinda sorta praised Dick Cheney it’s time to bury him with a last word by James McMurtry:
I listened to the latest perfect phone call. It’s an hour of my life I’ll never reclaim. Instead of filing it in a dead letter file where it belongs, I have a few thoughts about it and the entire fakakata election challenge mishigas. You know it’s bad when I go double Yiddish. Oy just oy.
Trump started out by throwing statistics at Raffi and his mouthpiece, Ryan. (Raffi & Ryan sounds like the title of a local kids show.) It’s a pity that none of them were true. My personal favorite was the idea that 5000 dead people voted. Raffi said it was two. Both voted for Trump.
While delusional on the facts, the Impeached Insult Comedian didn’t sound as crazy as he often does on the stump. The bloodthirsty crowds bring out his inner lunatic. Instead, it was a sales pitch. The hard sell. It didn’t work because Raffi and Ryan are unwilling to go to jail for Trump.
The latest perfect phone call may well violate state and federal law. I’ll leave the amateur/back seat lawyering to others. The recording was an exercise in evidence preservation by Raffi and Ryan. The WaPo was attacked for the 4-minute excerpt they originally posted, so they released the entire fakakta recording thereby robbing me of 62 minutes of my life.
As always, there was a lot of nonsense about the latest perfect call on social media. Some called Trump’s Georgia GOP adversaries heroic, which is almost as delusional as the Kaiser of Chaos himself. Repeat after me: They do not want to go to jail for the mad king. Raffi and Brian Kemp are both associated with voter suppression efforts, but they’re licked and they know it.
The entire fakakata election challenge mishigas is an exercise in futility. Let me count the ways:
My favorite post-phone call social media moments involved the folks who demanded President* Pennywise’s immediate removal or impeachment. Say what? The evil fucker will be gone in 16 days. There’s instant analysis and instant pudding but there’s no such thing as instant impeachment.
As to the 25th Amendment, that’s up to the executive branch. The chances that Trump’s cabinet of stooges will invoke it are slim and none. And slim just made an offer on a mansion in Florida to be close to the Kaiser of Chaos in exile.
I am constantly amazed by the endless references to the 25th Amendment. The emergency removal provisions were an afterthought, which is why they’re so hard to invoke, even harder than impeachment. The Amendment’s primary purpose was to prevent a vacancy in the vice presidency, which has happened 16 times totaling 38 years. 19th Century Veeps had a habit of dying in office: It happened 8 times. And John C. Calhoun resigned and went home to the Palmetto State.
The fakakata election challenge mishigas is doomed to fail. The Twelfth Night challenge does not have the votes. It’s a clear loser in the House and Senate Dems only need 3 Republican votes for it to fail there. It’s an outlier and a freak show just like the entire fakakta Trump presidency*. It should be treated with disdain and disgust. Instead, let’s focus on tomorrow’s Senate run-off in which the Democrats have a chance of winning both seats. Go Team Blue.
Since President* Pennywise is Georgia bound today, the last word goes to the Allman Brothers Band with a song that is not on Eat A Peach:
I love black comedy and dark humor. A friend once told me that I could shift from comedy to tragedy faster than anyone she’d ever met. My passion for outré humor is one reason for my obsession with The Sopranos. There’s also something damn funny about New Jersey beyond the table flipping, cake throwing Real Housewives of New Jersey. Everything in Jersey is BIG: from the hair to the corruption to the people to Big Pussy.
You’re probably wondering what I’m on about. A common issue for my readers. Here’s what: the HBO Max documentary about the world’s craziest and most dangerous amusement park, Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey, which operated from 1978 to 1996. Class Action Park has been out 4 months, but we saw it for the first time on Friday night. Better late than never.
Action Park was the brainchild of a sleazy stockbroker, Gene Mulvihill. He’d lost his trading license and turned his attention to creating the world’s weirdest water park in the sylvan setting of rural New Jersey. That’s right rural Jersey: if you don’t know what I’m talking about you’ve never seen the Pine Barrens episode of The Sopranos. It’s unclear if that makes you a barbarian or more civilized than me. Just don’t ask David Chase what happened to the half-dead Russian guy Paulie and Chris dumped there.
Back to Action Park. Mulivihill’s brazen disregard for safety made it what it was. Most amusement park rides are designed by engineers, not at Action Park. Most amusement parks are run by adults, not Action Park: the teenagers were in command. That’s right, the inmates were running the asylum. Why the fuck not? It’s Jersey.
Class Action Park was written and co-directed by Seth Porges who’s also one of the talking heads. The documentary has three acts: the beginning of Action Park, the rides that became increasingly dangerous, and the human costs of this libertarian hellscape. The first two acts are played for laughs but they’re edgy dark laughs. Just how I like them.
My two favorite talking heads are comedian Chris Gethard and actress Alison Becker both of whom were guests. The remainder are mostly the folks who worked there as youngsters. A word I have never used before. I’m getting old, y’all.
Gethard is profane and hilarious, always an excellent combination. Here’s a quote about how hot the asphalt sidewalks were at Action Park: “If you didn’t bring your own flip flops or shower shoes, you were going to suffer from chopped meat feet.”
Ouch. That’s what they call ground meat in New York and Jersey. Dr. A lived on Long Island until she was 8 years old, but she still calls it chopped meat.
Here’s Alison Becker imitating the rowdy dudes who heckled timid guests, “You fucking pussy. This is Jersey. Do it or get out of Jersey.”
Action Park was no place for the faint-hearted. It was a genuinely dangerous place that narrator John Hodgman describes as a “cross between Ayn Rand and Lord of the Flies.” That hurts even more than chopped meat feet.
Mulvihill was an OTT character who was alternately charming and intimidating. If you sued the park, they never settled. A good thing because they had fake insurance. I am not making this up.
It’s unclear how “connected” Mulvihill was but there were a few wise guys in the woodpile. It reminded me of the Sopranos episode, Camelot, in which Tony meets his father’s mistress and learns that she was screwed out of her share of a dog track owned by Johnny Boy Soprano, Heshy, and Phil Leotardo. It wouldn’t surprise me if their real-life counterparts had a stake in Action Park.
In the final act of Class Action Park we meet Esther Larsson whose 19-year-old son George died on the infamous Alpine Slide ride. Ms. Larsson calls Gene Mulvihill “a piece of shit” and reminisces on how she toasted his death in 2012.
They don’t make them like Gene Mulivill or Action Park anymore. That’s a good thing. Despite the hilarity of the earlier acts, the movie closes on a somber note with the talking heads expressing amazement that they survived Action Park.
Class Action Park is streaming on HBO Max. I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll crave chopped meat.
The last word * should* go to Bruce Springsteen or The Smithereens but I’ve had an era appropriate earworm since seeing the documentary:
It’s been a long time since I posted a SMV. The last one was dated 8/25/2019. It’s time for a revival.
The pandemic has been a nightmare, but some good things have come out of it. One is the Talking Sopranos video podcast with Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa who played Christopher Moltisanti and Bobby Bacala respectively. They started the podcast back in April, but I only recently discovered it. And here I thought I was a Sopranos superfan instead of a slacker. Woe is me, bop.
This is a recent edition featuring the creator of The Sopranos, David Chase:
A friend asked me the other day if I felt different now that I’m the publisher of First Draft. Not at all; other than nervousness at having to follow Athenae in the role. There are worse things than having a case of the jitters. I’ll take them over the heebie jeebies any day.
I considered asking Tommy and Michael to call me Chief so I could make like Perry White and do this:
I decided not to do that, but I may start saying “Great Caesar’s Ghost.” It has a nice retro ring to it. It reminds me of my salad days…
This week’s theme song was written in 1990 by John Hiatt for his Stolen Moments album. The main reason I selected it was this verse:
It’s a new light, a new day
Listening for new meaning learning how to say
It’s a new place but you’ve always been here
You’re just listening to old voices with a new ear
I thought that fit the moment as we break ground on a brand-new year.
The late folk singer Odetta also recorded Listening To Old Voices but I have been unable to find it online. The Hiatt original will just have to do.
Before we jump to the break, here’s the title track from that album:
If you have a stolen moment, let’s join hands and jump to the break together.
I considered posting a hangover song but decided to start the new year out in a classier fashion. What’s classier than George Harrison and the Beatles? Not a damn thing.
Because of the holiday, we’re having our second consecutive early Cocktail Hour: “Hair of the dog and all that rot, eh wot.”
Uh oh, I sound like Bertie Wooster. Not a good look. I’d rather be Jeeves and say “Indeed, sir.”
George Harrison wrote Something for Abbey Road, and it became an instant classic. It was the sort of song that allowed some of our Cocktail Hour regulars to say, “I don’t like that rock and roll shit but the Beatles are okay.”
We begin with the Beatles original:
Miss Peggy Lee knew a good ballad when she heard one:
The Chairman of the Board had a grudging respect for the Beatles even if he thought their hair was too damn long:
Lou Rawls often performed Something in a medley with Feeling Good:
You haven’t lived until you’ve heard James Brown’s version of Something:
Next up, a countrypolitan version from Johnny Paycheck:
Here’s George’s old pal Macca and some bloke named Eric:
Finally, what would a Friday Cocktail Hour be without a jazz instrumental?
Have I mentioned lately how much I love Count Basie?
That’s it for this edition. It’s time to toast the end of one of the worst years in recent memory. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.
Claire Trevor is relieved that 2020 is over. She’s wide awake for 2021:
I don’t know about you, but I look forward to Dave Barry’s Year In Review every year. Many shitty things have been said about this crappy year, but I think Dave says it best:
We’re trying to think of something nice to say about 2020.
Okay, here goes: Nobody got killed by the murder hornets. As far as we know.
That’s pretty much it.
In the past, writing these annual reviews, we have said harsh things about previous years. We owe those years an apology. Compared to 2020, all previous years, even the Disco Era, were the golden age of human existence.
This was a year of nonstop awfulness, a year when we kept saying it couldn’t possibly get worse, and it always did. This was a year in which our only moments of genuine, unadulterated happiness were when we were able to buy toilet paper.
Which is fitting, because 2020 was one long, howling, Category 5 crapstorm.
It’s hard to argue that point. Besides, why would I argue with a writer from whom I’ve stolen a signature line: I am not making this up. I only steal from the best.
Dave’s catch phrase has come in handy during the gobsmacking Trump era when bizarre news has become the norm. The good news is that there are only 20 days to go until we replace the weird guy with even weirder hair with Joe Normal. Tick tock motherfuckers.
I’m on the record as disliking New Year’s Eve for its false jollity, joviality, and other J words. This year I’m looking forward to the end result. 2021 cannot possibly be worse than 2020. I hope it’s even worse for the Impeached Insult Comedian. I hope he’s indicted for one of his many crimes next year. That, in and of itself, will make 2021 a better year.
2020 can go fuck itself.
Let’s end on a hopeful note with a Kinks Klassic:
While searching for NYE related material, I stumbled upon Repeat Performance at classicfilmchat.com. It’s a film noir that I’ve yet to see but this description is enticing:
It stars Joan Leslie, Louis Hayward, and Virginia Field and features Richard Baseheart, Tom Conway, and Natalie Schafer. It’s film noir (with a touch of fantasy) about a lot of unpleasant people in the theatahhh in New York.
The story opens with murder, and when the star wishes she could live the year over again she is, of course, magically able to. But she discovers the results frightening.
We don’t want to give away any of the intricate plot points. Just take our word for it. It’s a unique take on New Year’s resolutions. It’s a true classic
At the risk of repeating my performance, it sounds enticing. We begin with the poster:
Holy smoking gun, Batman.
It’s lobby card time:
The trailer isn’t online BUT Eddie Mueller’s Noir Alley introduction is:
How the hell did I miss that? I am a sinner in the church of the Noir Czar.