Category Archives: Books

Bayou Brief: Trump Trumps Trump

My latest Bayou Brief column is a review of Mary Trump’s extraordinary book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man.

I read the book in one day, revisited the passages about Fred Trump and his sons the next, and on the third day, I wrote the review. Sounds almost Biblical, doesn’t it? That’s the first and last time I’ll use that B-word to describe my writing. Not much of a revelation…

The key to who and what Donald Trump is his relationship with the Freds. As far as he’s concerned, Freddy Trump was the ultimate loser and Fred Sr. was the ultimate winner. He thinks of himself as a winner and is terrified that he’s really a loser. Just wait until November, Donald.

The Trump campaign has reached the desperation phase. They’re throwing shit against the wall and very little is sticking. The candidate’s limited attention span makes it nearly impossible to have a coherent message. It would help to have a coherent candidate instead of a windbag who says whatever pops into his head.

Earlier this morning, Michael F wrote about the MSM’s obsession with any change in tone by the Impeached Insult Comedian. They never last. At age 74, he is incapable of “pivoting.” It’s time for a self-quote:

President* Pennywise thinks sick people are weak: he even mocked his own father when Fred had dementia. Empathy and fundamental human decency are alien to him. He will never change. He’s incapable of it and those in the mainstream media who think he can change should have their heads examined, then read Mary Trump’s book.

With her Uncle Donald it’s all about two things: the Benjamins, and the Freds. He’s Fred Trump’s son; changing is for losers.

I have an ironic last word for your listening pleasure. The Freds are very much alive in the Kaiser of Chaos’ imagination:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: What’s In It For Me?

This is the perfect paperback cover and title for the Trump era. The only thing that would make it Trumpier is if the buxom chick were a blonde.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: 1984

You’re not seeing double. We’ve just moved from music to books and movies.

George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the most misunderstood great books ever. It was a dystopian novel but not sci-fi. For the title, Orwell flipped the last two digits of the year in which he wrote it, 1948. Orwell was a man of the left, not the right. But his experiences during the Spanish Civil made him loathe Stalinism. Big Brother is “Uncle” Joe Stalin.

Here are three vintage paperback covers, which convey Orwell’s vision in emphatically different ways.

Next up the movie posters:

I prefer the 1956 version; partially because it’s in glorious black and white notwithstanding the poster. But Edmond O’Brien and John Hurt are equally good as protagonist Winston Smith.

In lieu of two movie trailers, here’s the legendary Apple ad that ran during the 1984 Super Bowl:

Quotes Of The Day: Trump Family Hunger Games Edition

I’ve never entirely agreed with the opening line of Tolstoi’s Anna Karenina but it’s a good place to start:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

As Mary Trump’s new book makes clear, Fred Trump created a family straight out of The Hunger Games; only without the chick heroes. There were no heroes in the Trump family only bullies, grifters, cowards, and victims. Mary Trump’s father, Fred Jr, was one of the casualties of the Trump Family Hunger Games. Imagine a family where being an airline pilot isn’t good enough. In a word: Nutty.

I’ve avoided most of the tell-all books about the Impeached Insult Comedian. But I’m interested in reading Too Much and Never Enough. There’s something comforting about a family that’s more dysfunctional than your own. The Trumps take the cake.

I’m tickled by people on social media who are shocked that relatives would screw each other over money. Having first-hand experience, I am not. Money makes people do terrible things. And too much money makes people crazy with greed as indicated by the stories of the Trump siblings looting their father’s estate to avoid taxes and to screw Fred Jr’s children.

The other quote of the day comes from Jennifer Szalai’s review of Mary Trump’s tome:

 

“She says her uncle has the emotional maturity of a 3-year-old and has ‘suffered mightily,’ burdened by what she calls an insatiable ‘black hole of need.’ He was trained to hunger endlessly for daddy’s approval; it’s just that now, as president of the United States, she says, the figures who remind him of home are Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un.”

This is the most plausible explanation I’ve seen for President* Pennywise’s odd fascination with dictators. As the son of a minor league dictator, Donald identifies with the North Korean dictator despite the weirdness of the son of a capitalist identifying with the son of a communist.

The featured image is a picture of Fred and Donald Trump I used in the first Donald Trump Is post: Donald Trump Is A Criminal. That post was inspired by the NYT’s Pulitzer Prize winning series about the Trump’s finances. We’ve learned recently that Mary Trump was one of the primary sources for that series. Hell hath no fury like an heiress scorned.

As I wrote this post, I came to the realization that I have an idea for a Trump family theme song. Just imagine Fred Trump singing “you can’t have love without greed” to his children as they tormented one another as siblings are wont to do. Unfortunately, his second son is currently tormenting the nation.

The last word goes to Graham Parker & The Rumour:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Death Is The Host

This looks like a COVID-19 era dinner party at the White House. I’ll pass.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Darkness On The Edge Of Town

My Brother Imitating Scherzo by Andre Kertesz.

The Saharan dust has arrived in New Orleans. The good news is that it’s a two-edged sword. It fucks up our air quality but hinders tropical development in the Gulf. So it goes.

Bruce Springsteen wrote this week’s theme song in 1978. It was the title track of his fourth studio album. It’s a winner, I tell ya

We have two versions of Darkness On The Edge Of Town for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 2009 live version.

The rest of this week’s post can be easily found after the break.

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Pulp Fiction Thursday: Irv Docktor

I liked Irv Docktor’s cover art for Art Tatum’s Discoveries so much that I checked out his book covers. Docktor was particularly known for his work with Robert Heinlein so we begin with a pair of those covers followed by two more pairings.

John Bolton Can Go Fuck Himself

When it comes to John Bolton, some liberals are too into the whole “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” thing for my taste. The title of the last post I wrote about the Mustache of War sums up my feelings: John Bolton Is An Honest Asshole, Not A Hero.

That post was about the reaction to Fiona Hill’s testimony wherein she discussed the response of her former boss to the Ukraine scam. Bolton subsequently played games with the House impeachment investigators and the Senate. Instead of testifying against the Impeached Insult Comedian, he’s ready to cash in with a tell-all book. I’m not alone in being vexed as you can see from this Mother Jones headline: Say It Under Oath, Asshole.

The reason I think Bolton should go fuck himself is this passage in the NYT’s story about his tell-all tome:

Mr. Bolton, however, had nothing but scorn for the House Democrats who impeached Mr. Trump, saying they committed “impeachment malpractice” by limiting their inquiry to the Ukraine matter and moving too quickly for their own political reasons. Instead, he says they should have also looked at how Mr. Trump was willing to intervene in investigations into companies like Turkey’s Halkbank to curry favor with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey or China’s ZTE to favor Mr. Xi.

And who was it that had the goods on President* Pennywise? John Bolton, that’s who. Instead of writing a tell-all tome, he should have testified under oath. Fuck him sideways.

Bolton’s testimony wouldn’t have changed the outcome in the Senate, but it would have made any praise of him palatable. Instead, I feel queasy and in need of a barf bucket. Repeat after me: John Bolton can go fuck himself.

I wonder what people who worked for and with Bolton thought of his refusal to testify. The greedy and selfish prick threw Col. Vindman, Fiona Hill, and Bill Taylor under the bus. The belated publication of The Room Where It Happened constitutes backing the bus over their slandered reputations. It was downright Alice Cooper-ish of Bolton:

The Kaiser of Chaos has called Bolton a dope that nobody likes. What does that make the dope who hired the dope? A double dope, I guess. Projection thy name is Donald.

I’m glad that Bolton is spilling the beans and I’m opposed to Justice Department attempts to suppress the book. Contrary to what the First Dope thinks, all conversations with him are NOT classified. Having said that, I’m not buying Bolton’s book and hope that someone will release a Samizdat version of it on the internet.

In the end, I agree with Chairman Schiff:

That was an elegant way of saying JOHN BOLTON CAN GO FUCK HIMSELF.

The last word goes to Harry Nilsson with a song that could be renamed John Bolton’s Song. Why? This opening line: “You’re breaking my heart, you’re tearing it apart, so fuck you.”

Repeat after me: John Bolton can go fuck himself.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Fourth Postman

I have terrible mail service but even I wouldn’t go postal on a letter carrier:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: First He Died

It’s time for some sci-fi noir:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Hotel Doctor

Today’s entry continues our medical theme. I think he’s a doctor feelgood but who am I to judge?

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Border Lord

I usually avoid posting “bodice ripping” romance novel covers. The one on the left, however, has a ripping good tagline: “A saucy wench defies her king for love.” Red sauce or white?

Pulp Fiction Thursday: A Bullet For Cinderella

Was Prince Charming aware that Cinderella was in trouble? Probably not. The dude was clueless.

I’m a John D. MacDonald fan but I haven’t read this book. I suspect that the British paperback on the right is more accurate in its depiction of the story.

I have a rather disturbing earworm:

I never expected to post a Disney Princess video in this feature but you never can tell.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Rage

Richard Bachman was Steven King’s pseudonym when he was an overly prolific young writer. It was all the rage:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Rodent Mutation

The title of this 1961 sci-fi potboiler speaks for itself: it’s about mutated rodents. Bron Fane, however, is a pseudonym for Lionel Fanthorpe. It’s also an anagram for Boner Fan, which may or may not be an accident.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Ward 20

In addition to writing this lurid potboiler, James Warner Bellah worked on five John Ford films. Bellah represented the dark side of Ford’s vision. Many of the bigoted bits in his Westerns were down to Bellah.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Yellow Room

This is another one of those “I found this while searching for something else” PFT entries. The second cover is intriguing. Is it telling readers that this is a good book to read at the beach? There’s nary a yellow room in sight.

I, Captain Bligh

Captains Bligh: Charles Laughton, Trevor Howard, Anthony Hopkins.

I’m out of the habit of posting the Impeached Insult Comedian’s tweets. He spends so much time preening, posturing, bragging, and lying on tevee that his Twitter feed feels redundant. I wish *he* were redundant in the British sense: out of work. Let’s make it so in November.

Back to President* Pennywise’s latest weird tweet. I’m not sure if he wrote it himself since there are some big words in it but it’s revealing nonetheless:

Invigorating? Too fancy for the Kaiser of Chaos who speaks and “writes” in what the late Philip Roth called “jerkish.” Or as Truman Capote said about Jack Kerouac, “it’s not writing, it’s typing.” Capote’s beatdown of the beat writer was rooted in jealousy. Like Trump, he always had to be the center of attention.

The tweet is also vague as to which version of Mutiny on the Bounty Trump prefers:

  • The 1935 Frank Lloyd-Charles Laughton-Clark Gable version?
  • The 1962 Lewis Milestone-Carol Reed-Trevor Howard-Marlon Brando version?
  • The 1984 Roger Donaldson-Anthony Hopkins-Mel Gibson version is called The Bounty but it’s about mutiny, not a candy bar. It’s even based on a different book, but a mutiny is a mutiny is a mutiny.

Trump seems to identify with Captain Bligh. He’s under the mistaken impression that Captain Bligh was the hero of the piece. That’s another figment of his fertile fantasy life. The American Film Institute named Captain Bligh the #19th most loathsome screen villain ever. Btw, the feature is interactive: another time killer for the pandemic.

I suspect most governors would be glad to be identified with the big screen Fletcher Christians except for the one on the right in the triptych below:

Fletcher Christians: Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Mel Gibson.

Fletcher Christian was the bull goose mutineer and the hero of the first two bounteous films. The 1984 movie was more ambiguous properly befitting a movie starring anti-Semitic nut job Mel Gibson. Not that President* Pennywise and ambiguity are on speaking terms or even passing acquaintances. I’d pass on meeting him myself…

Marlon Brando over-identified with Fletcher Christian. He staged his own mutiny against original director Carol Reed. Brando denounced the maker of Odd Man Out and The Third Man as a hack unworthy of sailing on the same tall ship as the great Marlon Brando. He engineered Reed’s firing in favor of the more pliable Lewis Milestone. It was a tantrum worthy of the Kaiser of Chaos or even the original Kaiser Bill:

What’s the purpose of this post? Other than making my readers laugh? The proof is in this pudding: the Kaiser of Chaos has delusions of grandeur and fantasies of exiling Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsome to Pitcairn Island. If, that is, he had a clue as to what I’m talking about. Maybe I should make a Survivor exile island analogy instead, the president* and Mark Burnett are bosom buddies, after all. Not to be confused with Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari in the sitcom of that name:

I’m terribly fond of the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman. It was the first grown-up book I ever read. I recall devouring Mutiny on the Bounty while bedridden with some malady when I was 11 or 12 years old. I never for a second identified with Captain Bligh. Just as I’d rather walk the plank or swing from the yardarm than vote for Donald Trump.

The last word goes to Bugs Bunny in Mutiny on the Bunny:

Bugs morphed into Captain Bligh in Buccaneer Bunny:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Walking On A Wire

Gas Station by Edward Hopper.

Edward Hopper is associated with scenes of urban isolation and alienation. As you can see, the same thing applies to his rural scenes. That gas station isn’t hopping, which is par for the course for Hopper.

The Gret Stet of Louisiana is making progress with the pandemic. The curve is flattening slightly BUT there’s a big problem with racial disparity among the afflicted. Twice as many black folks have died of COVID-19 related illnesses as white folks. Terrible is an accurate but still inadequate word to capture the horror of this discrepancy. If I believed in using emojis here, I’d insert a sad face BUT:

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson in 1981 for the final Richard and Linda Thompson duo effort, Shoot Out The Lights.

Walking On A Wire is one of the ultimate breakup songs. It’s some serious shit, y’all. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a recent solo acoustic version by the songwriter.

I’m still feeling wiry. Time for some Leonard Cohen as channeled by Aaron Neville.

I’m a bit wired from all that walking on a wire. Keep your balance as we jump to the break.

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