December 8, 1980 is another day “which will live in infamy.” It was the day that John Lennon was murdered. I keep meaning to mark the day here at First Draft but somehow keep missing it. This year, it was Athenae Tuesday so at least I have a good reason.
All Beatles fans who were alive and sentient 40 years ago remember where they were when they heard the news. I was a typical college kid: I was doing laundry at my parents’ house and watching Monday Night Football with my father. Howard Cosell made the announcement. I was shocked and saddened. Lou made it worse by saying, “He was probably buying drugs on the street.” My mother shushed him but my aggravation level hit 100. That’s the not terribly interesting story of where I was when John Lennon was killed.
John Lennon wrote Watching The Wheels in the year of his death for the posthumously released Double Fantasy album. He was returning home from a recording session when he was murdered. I should have told my dad that rock stars didn’t score on the street but had their drugs delivered to them in the studio.
We have three versions of this swell song for your listening pleasure: the Lennon original and covers by The Samples and Chris Cornell.
This is the second time this fall that I’ve used a wheelie tune as the Saturday post theme song. Here’s a Kiwi wheelie song before we jump to the break:
Now that we’ve been fortified by the Crowdies, let’s do it. See you on the other side.
This is the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover’s second turn as malaka of the week. It’s quite an accomplishment for the Man Who Got Trump Impeached. It was made possible by Sacha Baron Cohen and his deranged alter ego Borat. He pranked the hell out of Rudy Giuliani in his latest moviefilm. And that is why Rudy Giuliani is malaka of the week.
I usually avoid literal malakatude, but it’s been a big deal this week. First, there was Jeffrey Toobin and the Zoom Dick Incident. I’m not defending him, but I like his books so I’m giving him a pass. Rudy Giuliani neither gets nor deserves a pass. On anything. Ever.
I waited to write this until Borat Subsequent Moviefilm went live on Amazon Prime. It was weird watching it in the morning, but life is weird nowadays. 2020, man.
In Borat’s return, an actress playing his daughter maneuvers Rudy into a room. The president’s* lawyer puts his hands down his pants. Then Borat bursts into the room and offers to give Rudy his “15-year-old” daughter. I put the age in quotes because the actress playing Borat’s offspring is not jailbait.
Borat tweeted a statement of support for the Man Who Got Trump Impeached:
Sacha Baron Cohen has been pranking prominent people since his Ali G days some twenty years ago. Anyone who falls for his shtick deserves whatever happens to them. In this instance, Rudy gives an entirely new meaning to the term abandoned laptop. And that is why Rudy Giuliani is malaka of the week.
The special Senate election in Georgia is getting nasty and weird. Doug Collins, seen above next to George Wallace, is attacking Kelly Loeffler over the Warhol that was spotted at her palatial crib:
Chinese dictator Mao may have killed more babies than the Democrat party. Something that’s sadly, very hard to do. Why @KLoeffler , did you buy a $56,000 portrait and hang it in your Atlanta mansion? pic.twitter.com/YZ5ZbHoCkL
George Wallace called him Mousey Tongue. How about you, Dougie?
Rich people have Warhols, Dougie. If your man President* Pennywise had any taste, he might own one himself. He did, however, consort with Andy and a polo pony:
I betcha thought I was making that up. It reminds me of a classic Ed Norton moment from The Honeymooners:
Polopopnies? Sounds like my ancestral region, the Peloponnesus.
My mother loved that Honeymooners routine. In fact, she added Poloponies to the name of the infamous Brutus the beagle chihuahua mix. Not my favorite dog: I caught Brutus peeing on the cover of my copy of Tupelo Honey by Van Morrison. It’s a pity that Van wasn’t there to admonish the dog who renamed that fine album Tupeelo Honey. Now I need some of this:
It’s funny to watch Collins and Loeffler try to be the Trumpiest Trumper in Trumpistan when the Impeached Insult Comedian is increasingly unpopular with other GOPers. Does that make them Throwback Trumpers?
If David Pecker still ran The Enquirer, he’d want to know. Enquiring minds and all that shit.
I don’t know about you but I’m rooting for this guy:
For some reason, Georgia has adopted the Louisiana open primary system. Who copies the Gret Stet in politics? Food, yes; politics no.
I refuse to call it a jungle primary because of connotations that George Wallace and Doug Collins would surely get.
I grew up watching reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show with my mother. My favorite character was the pudgy punster, Buddy Sorrell played by Morey Amsterdam. My second favorite was the hilariously tyrannical boss, Alan Brady played by Carl Reiner. The world just became a little less funny after his death yesterday at the age of 98.
I learned early on that Carl Reiner was the creative force behind that classic show. My mother encouraged my Sheckiness by buying me this album for Christmas one year:
Oy, such a Christmas present. I wore it out.
Carl Reiner, of course, was nothing like Alan Brady. He was famous for being as nice as he was funny. Condolences to the Reiner family and his nonagenarian cronies Dick Van Dyke, Mel Brooks, and Norman Lear. Keep the laughter alive, y’all, keep the laughter alive.
The best tribute to Carl Reiner is to post some of his work as well as an unforgettable CBS Sunday Morning piece from when he was a mere lad of 93:
The last word goes to Carl Reiner as Alan Brady in one of the funniest sitcom episodes in teevee history, Coast To Coast Big Mouth.
I don’t have a helluva lot to add to what I said as the 13th Ward Rambler earlier this week. I’m still keeping my head down during the lockdown. We’ve had a few front porch visitors, which breaks the monotony and allows Paul Drake to make goo-goo eyes at company and get his nose prints all over the lower glass panes of our front door.
This week’s theme song was written by Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty in 1966 and represented a sonic breakthrough for The Yardbirds. The tune’s Wikipedia entry is absurdly detailed and argues that Jeff Beck should have received a songwriting credit as well. It’s okay: Beck assumed de facto ownership of the song after recording it with The Jeff Beck Group on 1968’s Truth album.
We have three versions of Shapes Of Things for your listening pleasure: the Yardbirds original, the Jeff Beck Group, and David Bowie from Pin-Ups. They’re all shapely and thingy:
Now that we’ve shaped things and contemplated Jeff Beck’s guitar virtuosity, let’s jump to the break.
Summer is slowly but surely returning to New Orleans. The first two weeks of May were blissfully temperate but summer’s cauldron has begun to boil. It’s unclear if it’s a Pepper Pot but you never can tell.
We had a serious thunderstorm in the wee small hours of Friday morning. I originally planned to put PD’s big ass box out with the trash but thought better of it. I wish I could claim second sight but I’m glad I didn’t have to scoop wet cardboard off the grass.
I did not know until googling information about this week’s theme song that Mentor Williams was Paul Williams’ kid brother. It’s unclear if Paul mentored Mentor in the songwriter’s craft but the older brother never wrote a song as good as Drift Away. Mentor W wrote it in 1970 and after several misfires it became a monster hit for Dobie Gray in the summer of 1973. One couldn’t escape its refrain:
“Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul.
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”
We have two versions of Drift Away for your listening pleasure by Dobie Gray and my 13th Ward homies the Neville Brothers.
Richard Thompson-Edward Hopper month continues. We begin with with a weather bulletin of sorts. Y’all are used to my weather obsession by now.
We had a cold front in New Orleans this week. Nighttime lows hovered around 50 several nights in a row. That may not sound like much to people from the frozen north but by our standards that’s cold for mid-April. Some locals whined about the cold, but I like it. Some folks just like to bitch. You know who you are; piss off out of my virtual kitchen.
Every time I search for Hopper paintings online, I’m told he was an “American realist” painter. That’s what he called himself, but his work is deeply weird. The painting above reminds me of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. I’ve never thought of Hitch as a realistic filmmaker even if regular guy Jimmy Stewart starred in that flick. His character was a laid-up photographer turned peeping tom. That’s weird, not realistic.
Sunday is Greek Easter, so I decided to pick a Richard Thompson tune with religious undertones. According to Mark and other bible dudes, Gethsemane was the garden at which Jesus prayed before his betrayal and arrest. It still exists and is a tourist attraction with an elaborate web site.
Gethsemane is also the title of this week’s theme song. It was written by Richard Thompson in 2003 for The Old Kit Bag. It’s an ominous sounding song that opens with this ominous verse.
“Among the headstones you played as boys
Crypts and tombs like a roomful of toys
Just up the river from the smoke and the noise
We have two versions of Gethsemane for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a recent solo acoustic interpretation by the songwriter.
There’s also a song from Jesus Christ Superstar called Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say.) Here’s the original cast recording with Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan in the title role.
I suspect playing Jesus Christ Superstar was nothing like working with Ritchie Blackmore. They did, however, produce some swell music:
Christ on a cracker, that rocked.
All this talk of Jesus and betrayal reminds me of this Asia tune:
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:
Tell the Democrat Governors that “Mutiny On The Bounty” was one of my all time favorite movies. A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain. Too easy!
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:
I’m trying something different this month. I’m pairing the artwork of Edward Hopper with the music of Richard Thompson. Each Saturday in April will feature a different EH image and RT tune. I think they work well together.
My oak pollen allergy has been bonkers this year. We’ve hit a prolonged dry patch: no rain since some time in February. We tend towards extremes in New Orleans. It either rains too much or not at all. The happy medium is unknown in our forecasting annals.
The worst thing about this allergy season during the pandemic is that it’s hard for me to go outside at all. The last time I took a walk, I had a pollen related sneezing jag, which led some fellow strollers to glare at me as if I were Typhoid Mary. So it goes.
This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson for the Pour Down Like Silver album. I have a soft spot for that album: it was the first RT album I ever purchased but not until 10 years after its release. I was a late RT bloomer.
We have three versions of For Shame Of Doing Wrong for your listening pleasure: the Richard and Linda studio original, a poppy version produced by Gerry Rafferty, and a cover by RT’s former Fairport band mate, Sandy Denny.
Is it shameful that I like the poppy version from Rafferty’s Folly? Hell, I like the song below too. It was inescapable in 1978:
As I hang my head for shame of doing wrong, let’s jump to the break in a shameless manner.
This week’s featured image is one of the most famous American paintings of the 19th Century. I’ve posted it to honor all the medical professionals who are fighting the good fight against COVID-19 but who wear masks and gloves unlike Dr. Gross and his cohort. Thanks, y’all.
I prefer to keep this weekly feature light but it’s hard to do in these tough times. The second act is kind of heavy, but the jokes return in our third act. Laughs are precious right now when fear is abroad in the world and our government in the hands of an evil clown, President* Pennywise. Oy just oy.
At the risk of being a pest, a reminder to support Chef’s Brigade NOLA for all the reasons set forth in this post. Thanks again, y’all.
This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson in 1970 for The Band’s third album Stage Fright. It’s a joyful tune with a somewhat dark lyrical subtext.
We have two versions of Time To Kill for your listening pleasure: the Todd Rundgren produced studio original and a live version from the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: a 1973 festival starring The Band, The Dead, and the Allman Brothers Band.
The title certainly resonates in our era:, we all have time to kill. One of my mottos as a blogger is: When in doubt, post a Kinks song:
Now that we’ve killed time, let’s jump to the break. It won’t kill you.
FOR TRUMP means they get to bully right back. FOR TRUMP means they get to tell their liberal sister-in-law that she’s a stupid bitch. FOR TRUMP means instead of respecting a black or brown person, they get to call that person names. FOR TRUMP means they get to turn off that nagging instinct, nurtured by the churches they say mean so much to them, that maybe they should help the big scary world that’s burning down outside their windows. FOR TRUMP means they get to feel like being mad is enough.
Like … hold them accountable how? Hold people who don’t like the president accountable? By … re-electing the president they don’t like? I make as many jokes as anyone about how Owned I, a Lib, am all the time by their stupid non-conspiracy conspiracies, but this is truly how performative the GOP and its hate-radio larvae are. They want to be seen to punish people for daring to disrespect Trump. They want to hold people accountable for existing in opposition to someone they like. This is their most sincerely held belief. This is it. This is, in fact, the ballgame.
Don’t just vote against whoever the Democrat puts up. Vote against that person’s supporters. Vote against everyone you don’t like. Vote against everything that annoys or inconveniences you. Vote to hold people who boo a president accountable. It’s so bone-deep and blood-simple, the rage they’ve nurtured and convinced people is some kind of principled stand. Re-elect Trump to hold the people who booed him accountable? You have got to be kidding me.
"Live-tweeting one’s reenactment of the Brooks Brothers riot over process is a great deal more fun than sitting in on a witness interrogation in private." https://t.co/XCpbgkrsVm
Everybody pointed out that they could have been in the hearings all along, which of course they could have been. They know that. That’s not the point. The point is to perform for their audience and goddamn, they did that really well.
We gotta stop acting like we’re gonna point out some blatant hypocrisy and they’ll be like oh, I’m so sorry, you’re right, I didn’t realize I was doing the very thing I’m accusing you of doing, how gauche of me. They don’t care. They know and they know their supporters know, and neither of them gives even one single shit about it because this is fandom, at this point, it’s cosplay, it’s a stage and all they have to do is get the laugh.
It’s why appealing to them through policy is laughable. It’s why arguing the facts is too naive to even be charming. You have to leave the venue. You have to end the discussion. You have to drown out their shouting not with facts in opposition but with your own motivating stories and stop worrying if they listen or not. The ONLY thing you can do is change the subject. The only thing you can do, in the face of someone who just wants to OWN you, is to be somewhere else.
Cover art for Paul Eluard’s Reflections by Max Ernst.
Extreme heat is the price we’ve paid for missing out on Hurricane Dorian. As cranky as I am, I’m glad this heat-bringing high is warding off any tropical activity. I won’t miss it when it’s gone but I’m glad it’s here as Dorian creeps up the east coast. That storm is a relentless motherfucker. The fucker should return to the attic from whence it came.
Drew Brees ate my Friday morning. I hope he buttons his lip and keeps his foot out of his mouth until after Monday’s game.
The featured image is a collage done by the great Max Ernst for a book by his fellow surrealist, Paul Eluard. You may have noticed that I love surrealist art. I use it a lot in this space and have even threatened to post nothing but Ernst and Magritte featured images for Odds & Sods. I’ve also used an Ernst image for my new Bayou Brief column, 13th Ward Rambler.
This week’s theme song was written by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington for the 1961 Kirk Douglas film, Town Without Pity. I’d never seen the movie until last weekend. It’s a cross between film noir, Italian neo-realism, German expressionism, and a Cassavetes flick. I liked it a lot and give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+. It’s currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
We have three versions of Town Without Pity for your listening pleasure: the Gene Pitney original, Stray Cats, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra. My boy Brian knows a hidden treasure when he hears one.
Let’s escape the bleak mean streets of a German town without pity by remorselessly jumping to the break.
The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart was a sensation when it was released in 1960. It firmly established Bob Newhart as one of comedy’s bright lights. It also won Newhart several Grammys.
The cover is not terribly distinguished. I’m mostly posting it because of the title. Bob Newhart is not the only one with a button-down mind. That describes Robert Muller as well. I’m not even sure if he loosens his tie before going to bed. I’m going to spend my day watching Bobby Three Sticks’ testimony and I’ll report back to y’all. Here’s hoping Gym Jordan says something that provokes the former head Feeb.
Dig the crazy diagram of Bob’s mind:
Here’s the opening track of the LP; much of which is unavailable on the YouTube.
Mad Magazine recently announced it was ceasing publication of new material. It was the first humor magazine I ever read. It was the home of snotty adolescent humor when I was a snotty adolescent. I loved it but eventually moved on. It was, however, reassuring that it was still around. Who among is won’t miss Alfred E. Neuman?
This is the week Mother Nature flicked the celestial switch to turn on the steam bath that is summer in New Orleans. It hit 90 degrees for the first time in 2019. The cats slowed down, and your humble blogger started sweating like Bogie in the greenhouse scene in The Big Sleep. This sort of heat is why people in more sensible countries such as Spain and Greece take siestas. Did I just call the Greeks sensible? There’s a first time for everything.
The big local story was the death of writer, raconteur, and local character Ronnie Virgets at the age of 77. His prose style was unique as was his voice, which landed him on local teevee and radio. Ronnie was a man about town so I ran into him from time-to-time over the years. The last time was at the Krewe du Vieux captain’s dinner. Ronnie was our king in 1996. I told him how much I missed his Razoo column in the Gambit. His reply: “I ran out of shit to say.” It was said with a wink so I didn’t believe it for a second. Our mutual friend, Clancy DuBos, wrote a lovely tribute to Ronnie in which he compared him to both Damon Runyon and Jimmy Breslin. Yeah, you right, Clancy. They broke the mold when they made Ronnie Virgets.
Motown May continues with this week’s theme song. I Want You Back was written in 1969 by “The Corporation” aka Berry Gordy, Freddie Perren, Alphonso Mizell, and Deke Richards. The song was originally intended for Gladys Knight & the Pips but ended up being the Jackson 5’s first hit. Let me address the monster in the room: Michael Jackson did monstrous things as an adult but he was an abused child in 1969. Besides, my favorite thing about I Want You back is the production, especially the guitar riff that propels the song.
We have two versions for your entertainment. The Jackson 5 original and a cool cover by Graham Parker:
I hope you’ll still want me back after we jump to the break. If you don’t, who can blame you?
After a deluge on Mother’s Day, we’re having Indian spring in New Orleans. Is there such a thing? If there’s not, there should be. The best thing about it is that the oak pollen that plagued me got its ass kicked by the rain.
I’ve never re-used an Odds & Sods featured image within a month before, but it’s a perfect fit with this week’s theme song. Besides, if you blog long enough, you end up repeating yourself, repeating yourself, repeating yourself. One side benefit of the vinyl revival is that everyone knows what a broken record is, what a broken record is, what a broken record is. It’s time to lift the needle and move on.
We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Supremes original and a 1967 “psychedelic rock” cover by Vanilla Fudge, which was also a top ten hit. I put psychedelic rock in quotes because it’s one of those phrases that’s like ketchup or mayo: some people slather it over everything.
Now that we’ve hung on as well as out, let’s jump to the break. Perhaps all this hangin’ means we’ll land in a hangar. One more thing:
It’s been a good news, silly news week in New Orleans. I’m a good news first person: with the help of Governor Edwards, Mayor LaToya Cantrell has secured millions in tourism money to help fix our aging infrastructure. Here’s what I mean by aging infrastructure:
This is what a water line pipe looks like from 1905. And it’s also how it looks when it breaks. This is what’s under a majority of New Orleans’ roads. pic.twitter.com/clwQpyWdFW
In silly local news, the Krewe of Nyx is planning a summer parade. Just what we needed: a sweaty-n-steamy faux Carnival parade. This is why I call them the krewe of mediocre themes and bad ideas. The only good thing is that they won’t be sweat-rolling on the traditional parade route near Adrastos World HQ. It’s a terrible idea: the allure of Carnival is enhanced by its seasonality. This is like eating oysters in a month without an R. Shorter Adrastos: Nix on Nyx.
Motown May continues with this week’s theme song. Stevie Wonder wrote You Haven’t Done Nothin’ in 1974 in response to the news of the day: Watergate. That’s right, it’s about Nixon. I’ve used it before but never as an Odds & Sods theme song. Since we’re in a slow-motion constitutional crisis, it works. Just think of Trump instead of Tricky Dick.
We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Stevie’s original and a 2018 cover by Roger Daltrey.
Now that we’ve trashed talked Tricky-n-Trumpy, let’s jump to the break.
My fiancé was raised as a reform Jew; I am a casual Christian. We have mutually decided not to circumcise our forthcoming son. His family is, to put it lightly, up in arms about our not hosting a bris. (“Because it’s a Jewish rite of passage!”)
I’m not sure what a casual Christian is. Does it mean she wears flip flops and shorts to church?
It’s unfortunate that the absence of a mohel is causing such turmoil but columnist Nicole Cliffe offers some good advice on how to avoid the surprise bris and a break with the Mother-In-Law.
A surprise bris? Oy, just oy.
The main reason this tickled me so much is that it reminded me of this classic SNL sketch:
I was absolutely convinced that there was a Samurai Bris sketch with John Belushi as Samurai Futaba, but I couldn’t find any record of it on the interweb. I did, however, find a site with a Samurai Mohel joke on it.
I guess a Samurai Bris sketch would have been too cutting edge even for the original SNL. Oh well, this Samurai Deli GIF will just have to do: