Category Archives: Books

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Shabby Street

I had never heard of Orrie Hitt until I saw the vintage cover of Shabby Street. He was an interesting figure known for writing socially aware books in pulp drag. He was wildly prolific; writing over 150 books using many pseudonyms.

It turns out that I’ve done this book before BUT I missed the second cover and Orrie’s story, which was a Hitt with me. There was, however, a swell gag in the earlier post.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Winds Of Fear

Hodding Carter was a distinguished journalist. He was a Southern liberal when it was dangerous to be one.

I did not know that he’d ever written a novel but sometimes you strike gold when you go down an internet rabbit hole.

Trivia Time: The author’s son Hodding Carter III was the State Department spokesman during the Carter administration.

New Orleans Trivia Time: The author was married to Betty Werlein of New Orleans. People of a certain age will remember the much loved Canal Street music store, Werlein’s. It’s now the home of The Palace Cafe.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Dirty Look Librarians

This week’s entry took me on a voyage of discovery; a minor one. Initially, I wasn’t sure if The Dirty Look Librarians was a genuine vintage cover or a parody. It’s the real deal.

Hell, I couldn’t even find a file big enough to post here until I consulted with the Pulp Librarian. That’s a fancy way of saying I stole these pictures from one of his old tweets, which is posted below the pictures. I did, however, use the teeny-tiny picture of the cover as the featured image. I like messing with my readers.

I don’t know about you but I’d never mess up their shelving.

A dirty look is worth a thousand words. I learned that from living with the Queen of Dirty Looks, Della Street.

Here’s the tweet I alluded to:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The D.A. Breaks An Egg

Erle Stanley Gardner was a prolific author. The Perry Mason books weren’t his only series. There were also nine books featuring D.A. Doug Selby. The D.A. Breaks An Egg was the final book in that series.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Old Battle Ax

In my extended family battle ax is an affectionate term. My favorite aunt prided herself on being a battle ax and a tough broad. This post is a tribute to all the battle axes out there. Long may you run.

I just gave myself an earworm. This is a song about a car but it works: my Aunt Mary had a radar detector in her car when she was 80.

 

 

19th Nervous Breakdown

The slow news day seems to have been abolished. Hence another potpourri post in lieu of a stand-alone piece. I made the featured image after the Yo, Semite incident. It was more of a malaprop than an incident but having Yosemite Sam on my side is somehow comforting. Varmints, beware.

19 Years: It’s the 19th anniversary of a terrorist attack that led a previous lousy president to go off half-cocked and start a two-front war without paying heed to the consequences. We’re still paying for the Bush-Cheney administration’s folly.

I was on jury duty when the planes hit the twin towers. We were dismissed early and were only required to come in once more. The only good thing that came of that day.

For what it’s worth, the 19th is the bronze anniversary. To me it evokes this tune:

It may be a venerable song, but it’s still relevant. Who among us isn’t having our 19th Nervous Breakdown of the pandemic?

Trump-Woodward Followup/Fallout: When I first heard of the big COVID revelation in Rage, I was enraged. I almost wrote a post titled Bob Woodward Can Go Fuck Himself.

The more I thought about it, I focused my rage on Trump instead of Woodward. An earlier revelation would not have changed policy and saved lives. The Kaiser of Chaos was determined to fuck things up as shown by his insipid defense yesterday. Woodward’s defense was much stronger: he wasn’t sure if Trump was telling the truth. Holy credibility gap, Batman.

Joe Biden said it best in these two tweets:

A reminder that George W. Bush was a cheerleader at Yale. Sis-boom-bah. Boola-boola. Where the hell are the Whiffenpoofs when you need them? Perhaps one of them is a Whistleblower. You never can tell.

I missed something important in my D Is For Donald & Dumb post. One of the reasons Trump allowed Woodward to interview him so many times is that Woodward is a celebrity. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump said this during one of their sessions, “Why aren’t you as good-looking as Robert Redford?”

Timesman Peter Baker has written an excellent piece about why Trump agreed to talk to Woodward. It’s summed up by this song title:

It’s surprising that Trump hasn’t assembled his own version of the Palmer Girls. He should hire a lame choreographer and put Melania, Ivanka, Tiffany, Hope, and Kayleigh to work. Imagine a rewrite of another Robert Palmer hit: “Might as well face it, we’re addicted to Trump.”

Sometimes I get carried away. This is one of those times.

One of the stories that got lost in the news blizzard requires its own featured image meme thing:

Bill Barr For The Defense: The news that the Department of Justice would defend the Impeached Insult Comedian in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation suit against him enraged legal eagles everywhere. The DOJ is not usually in the business of defending accused rapists in civil suits. It’s part and parcel of Barr’s degradation of the DOJ. He seems determined to prove that, unlike Tom Hagen, he *is* a wartime consigliere.

The sick Trump-Barr relationship reminds me of-you guessed it-an ancient Paul Simon song about a con man:

“Everywhere I go
I get slandered, libeled
I hear words I never heard in the Bible
And I’m one step ahead of the shoeshine
Two steps away from the county line
Just trying to keep my customers satisfied”

Just substitute client for customer and Bob’s your uncle or is that Bill’s your Attorney General? I confuse the two. Maybe one of them is actually Artie:

In Memoriam:  A quick shout-out to Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, and Diana Rigg; all of whom died recently. Tom was one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Lou was one of the greatest World Series performers ever. And Diana was my first celebrity crush when she played Emma Peel in The Avengers. They will all be missed.

I could not find a decent animated GIF of St. Louis Cardinal great Lou Brock but Tom Terrific tips his cap to him:

Ny Mets Sport GIF by New York Mets - Find & Share on GIPHY

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel closes the door on this segment:

Finally, there’s a new Springsteen album coming out next month. That allows me to go out on a positive note in a week overloaded with scandal tornadic activity. The last word goes to Bruce and the E Street Band:

That was just what I needed. Thanks, y’all. Don’t forget to hang up the goddamn phone.

D Is For Dumb & Donald

News of the new Bob Woodward book, Rage, landed like a scandal tornado yesterday. I have mixed feelings about Woodward’s withholding the fact that President* Pennywise understood the threat that the virus posed and lied about it instead. I’m uncertain if an earlier release would have changed anything BUT others have differing views including First Draft/Crack Van regular, Lex Alexander, who wrote a pithy post titled, Bob Woodward Has Blood On His Hands. He has a point but I think the focus should be on Trump’s conduct, not Woodward’s ethics.

Trump’s defense is typically preposterous. He didn’t want to cause panic? That’s rich coming from the guy I call the Kaiser of Chaos. Panic is his middle name. I want to shake him like Paul Douglas did to this small-time crook in the pandemic classic, Panic In The Streets:

Panic and pandemonium are hallmarks of the Trump regime as is stupidity. The Impeached Insult Comedian has done a lot of dumb things in his life but sitting for 18 interviews with Bob Woodward takes the cake. He somehow thought he could talk the steely Woodward into giving him good publicity:

CNN reported on Wednesday night that Trump was dead set on granting interviews with Woodward, who was working on a book about Trump titled “Rage,” to boost his image, with the President reportedly relying on his experience as a salesman to present himself in a positive light.

White House aides “repeatedly” warned Trump against speaking to the dogged reporter, a source told CNN, but as usual, the President ignored their advice and acted on his own instincts instead.

Once again, Trump’s instincts were wrong. He knew Woodward was recording him, but he babbled and bragged anyway. The presidency is not a real estate deal and, whatever his flaws, Bob Woodward is not an easy mark. Lordy, there *are* Trump tapes.

The right is flummoxed by this news. They’re blaming everyone but Dumb Donald for this latest catastrophe. My favorite is Tucker Carlson blaming Lindsey Graham:

I know who’s to blame: Donald Trump and his arrogance and stupidity. Make that tremendous stupidity. He’s too dumb to be president*. Believe me.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Caviar

The finest caviar comes from sturgeon eggs so it was quite natural for Theodore Sturgeon to call a short story collection, Caviar. What’s not to love about such a punny title?

Midsommar In America

Midsommar was one of the weirdest hit movies in recent years. It’s a folk horror film about 4 young Americans who visit Sweden to attend a bizarre variation on the annual Midsommar/Summer Solstice festival. The film tells the tale of a cult who performs human sacrifices. It’s powerful but strictly fictional stuff. As far as I know, there are no Midsommar death cults except in the corridors of power in Stockholm and Washington.

The first time I mentally linked the movie Midsommar to the pandemic was when the Swedish government experimented with the use of herd immunity to combat COVID-19. It was a disaster leading to the highest death rate in Europe.

Guess who’s thinking of trying herd immunity here?

One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing.

The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House in August as a pandemic adviser. He has advocated that the United States adopt the model Sweden has used to respond to the virus outbreak, according to these officials, which relies on lifting restrictions so healthy people can build immunity to the disease rather than limiting social and business interactions to prevent the virus from spreading.

Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been heavily criticized by public health officials and infectious-disease experts as reckless — the country’s infection and death rates are among the world’s highest. It also hasn’t escaped the deep economic problems resulting from the pandemic.

But Sweden’s approach has gained support among some conservatives who argue that social distancing restrictions are crushing the economy and infringing on people’s liberties.

Freedom, man.

You know things are weird when right-wing Americans want to emulate the Swedish government in anything. With its cradle-to-grave welfare state, Sweden has long been anathema to the American right. Then came COVID and the herd immunity theory. Who knew that freedom and rugged individualism were synonymous with death?

Estimates for the share of a population that would need to be infected have ranged from 20 percent to 70 percent. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said that given the transmissibility of the novel coronavirus, it is likely that about 65 to 70 percent of a population would need to become infected to achieve herd immunity.

In the United States, with a population of 328 million, reaching a 65 percent threshold for herd immunity may require 2.13 million deaths, assuming the virus has a 1 percent fatality rate, according to an analysis by The Post.

Freedom, man.

The high priest of the Trump regime’s death cult is a libertarian doctor named Scott Atlas. He has not practiced medicine in 8 years but has President* Pennywise’s ear in as much as that windbag listens to anyone.

The name Atlas also evokes this old comic book ad:

In the ad, muscleman Charles Atlas claims he can make a man out of a wimp who had sand kicked in his face on the beach. Scott Atlas advises the sand-kicking bully who I call the Impeached Insult Comedian. They’ve gone from sand-kicking to human sacrifice in the blink of an eye.

We’ve heard other Trumpers advocate letting the elderly die for the good of society. It’s a fallacy that only old people die of COVID-19: some 25,000 people under 65 have died of it. That number will rise dramatically if the administration “goes herd.”

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Team Trump is using the Ayn Rand playbook. This is a country in which an Idaho state senator has proposed making Atlas Shrugged required reading for high school students, after all. What have they done to deserve Rand’s turgid, dull prose? Freedom, man.

Another Atlas is shrugging right now: Dr. Scott the current high priest of the Trump/Midsommar death cult. Freedom, man.

The GOP is allegedly pro-life. It’s an ironic label given the Trump regime’s disastrous handling of the pandemic. They’ve gone from “Morning in America” in 1984 to Midsommar in America in 2020.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the last word goes to the trailer for Midsommar:

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Deadlier Than The Male

Pulp Fiction Thursday collides with TCM’s Noir Alley yet again. Eddie Muller is good company, especially in his very own tiki bar.

Deadlier Than The Mail was written by screenwriter James Gunn.

Gunn’s book has nothing to do with the 1967 British spy movie of the same title. It was, however, sold to RKO studios and renamed Born To Kill. Gunn did not write the screenplay of this classic film noir.

I mentioned Eddie Muller. In lieu of the trailer, here are somewhat blurry clips of his intro and outro for Born To Kill:

 

 

 

We’ll have more about Eddie Muller, Lawrence Tierney, and Born To Kill in this week’s Saturday Odds & Sods. Stay tuned.

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Whip Hand

Is this Chuck Rhodes’ dream woman?

The last word goes to the Rolling Stones:

 

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Hellcats

I don’t know about you, but this cover makes me want to hide under the bed.

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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