Surrealism and Painting by Max Ernst.
It’s still too darn hot in New Orleans and the municipal election drones on like annoying background music. I should be more engaged but (with the exception of Frank Scurlock’s malakatude) it’s duller than tarnished silver. Hopefully, the run-off will be more interesting.
There is an interesting political story happening next door in Jefferson Parish. I wrote about Parish President Mike Yenni’s perv issues in this space last year. Yenni survived a recall attempt and is clinging to office. One sign that he doesn’t expect to be re-elected is that he’s spent over $200K to redo his office to make it look like George W. Bush’s Oval Office. I am not making this up.
I hope Mike doesn’t get a Yenni to invade Arabi in nearby St. Bernard Parish. There’s enough weird shit happening in Da Parish already y’all.
This week’s theme song is Warren Zevon’s Tenderness On The Block. I have a confession: I like Shawn Colvin’s 1992 cover even more since it features my homeys, the Subdudes:
Speaking of subdued, I’m feeling that way this week because of Oscar’s illness so I’m going to keep this snappy. So snappy, in fact, that I’m skipping the break and jumping in with both feet or something like that.
My Anglophilia is in bloom this week so we begin with a hilarious piece by the Guardian’s Marina Hyde about the recent Labour Party conference in Brighton. I dig the headline; here it is in its exuberant entirety:
Oh Jeremy Corbyn. I Bet You Think This Song Is About You: The reason I love the Guardian so much is the quality of the writing. They let their funny people be funny. Ain’t nobody funnier than Marina Hyde:
If you are a political archivist, there are two seriously covetable gigs in the world right now. The first is conceptualising the unprecedented annals facility that will one day be the Donald Trump Presidential Library. The second is collating the many different euphemisms for the Labour party having not won the recent general election.
At party conference in Brighton, you gotta catch ’em all. “We didn’t lose,” Emily Thornberry declared. “The real losers were the Tories.” At Momentum’s parallel event, the official literature noted that Labour had “witnessed possibility being snatched from the jaws of disaster”. In the conference hall proper, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey elicited a huge cheer for “the biggest narrowing of the polls in British electoral history”.
My favorite bit was about the folks from Momentum, which is a hard left pressure group made up of British dudebros:
Momentum gets a lot of stick for a certain strain of its needling – branding people “centrist dads” and so on. But it rather reminds me of that episode of The Simpsons where Bart inquires of a man: “I’m Bart Simpson – who the hell are you?” “I’m Dave Shutton,” comes the stuffy reply, “an investigative reporter who’s on the road a lot, and I must say that in our day we didn’t talk like that to our elders.” “Well, this is my day,” shrugs Bart, “and we do.” And so with many of Momentum’s in-jokes – there is something Bartishly irreverent and invigorating about them, and pants ought not to be wet in response. All the grownuppery was far more off-putting, anyway. Emily Thornberry kept insisting Labour were “the grownups”, while Keir Starmer echoed that the party was “the grownups in the room”.
It’s unclear as to whether Labour’s performance in the late election was a real political shift or a massive anti-Tory protest vote. I lean in the second direction: many of the new, younger Labour voters are passionate “remainers” whereas Corbyn’s inner circle are soft-Brexiteers. It will be interesting to see what happens when UK voters go to the polls believing that it’s possible for Corbyn to be their next Prime Minister. I threw away my crystal ball on 11/9/2016 so I make no predictions. Stay tuned.
We remain in England (not the EU) for our next segment, which is about one of the more sympathetic royals, the Queen’s late kid sister Princess Margaret.
Princess Margaret’s Misadventures In Bohemia: I’ve long had sympathy for Margaret because she’s one of the few people my main man Gore Vidal never said anything catty about. Hell, Gore even mocked people he liked and admired but not Princess Margaret. He felt sorry for her and admired her snooty wit. Gore was always big on snooty wit.
The Guardian has published a fascinating excerpt from a book by Craig Brown about Margaret, Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret. I knew that she hung out with the Rolling Stones when they were at their most hedonistic but I did not know that Pablo Picasso was madly in love with the Princess and hoped to marry her. I am not letting the catty cat out of the bag by telling you this never happened. Picasso may have not been a surrealist artist but he was a surrealist in everyday life.
I’ve had Puerto Rico on mind since Hurricane Maria. I posted a series of pictures of great Puerto Rican baseball players on Twitter, which led to this list, which is strictly for baseball history buffs but what can I say? It’s made up of players who were born on the island.
Adrastos’ Puerto Rico All-Star Team
1B: Orlando Cepeda.
2B: Roberto Alomar.
SS: Jose Valentin.
3B: Mike Lowell.
OF: Roberto Clemente, Carlos Beltran, Bernie Williams.
DH: Carlos Delgado.
C: Ivan (Pudge) Rodriguez.
Starting Pitchers: RH:Javier Vasquez. LH: Juan Pizarro.
Relievers: RH:Roberto Hernandez. LH: Willie Hernandez. No relation.
The outfielders, catchers, and first basemen were the toughest position to winnow down. Pitching, however, is not a strength. So it goes.
That concludes this tribute to Puerto Rican baseball. Let’s go back to woody old England.
Saturday Classic: Steeleye Span were one of the bands who helped create British folk rock. Parcel of Rogues was one of the albums that emphasized the rock part of the equation. As always, Maddy Prior’s vocals are sublime.
That’s it for this week. I wrote about Ripper Street last week. This time around I’ll give the last word to the cast in their Victorian finery: