Category Archives: Diary

Saturday Odds & Sods: Without You

Vue de Notre-Dame de Paris by Pablo Picasso

It’s been a tough week that got off to a bad start with the Notre-Dame fire. Instead of uniting people in solidarity, it led to petty bickering on social media as to which was worse, that fire or the church fires perpetrated by a racist in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.  They’re equally terrible in their own way: there’s no need to weigh them on a scale of horror. Notre-Dame will be rebuilt and there’s an online fundraising effort afoot for the churches in Louisiana. Click here it you’d like to donate.

I nearly wrote a post about all the crazy hot takes on the tweeter tube until I realized that the last thing the world needed was my hot take on hot takes. Instead, here’s a funny story about flies. We’ve had some aggressive flies in the house this year: Paul Drake likes to chase them but rarely, if ever, catches them. His frantic efforts remind me of my father’s reaction to flies. Lou was obsessed with swatting and killing them. He was relentless. After years of observing him in action, I finally asked him why. It had to do with his service in the Pacific theatre in World War II. There were so many damn flies there that he hoped never to see them again once he was home. It made perfect sense so I stopped teasing him about his fly swatting exploits. It’s a good thing that he never lived in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Sorrowful times call for sad tunes. Pete Ham and Tom Evans wrote Without You for Badfinger’s 1970 No Dice album. The ultimate version of this song was recorded the next year by Harry Nillson who wrung every ounce of emotion out of the lyrics and melody. It was a monster hit: sitting atop of the US charts for 4 weeks.

It’s disambiguation time. This Without You was written by John Wetton and Steve Howe for Asia’s eponymous 1982 debut album. Holy power ballad, Batman.

Now that we’ve established our self-sufficiency, let’s jump to the break; either alone or together alone.

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Our Lady of Paris

I lit candles for Kick at every church in Paris.

I visited for the first time when I was heavily pregnant, against the advice of everyone but my doctor. An overnight transatlantic flight at seven and a half months gone, plus a week of walking nonstop, climbing stairs and taking trains and buses and cabs, in what was going to be a chilly November the week before Thanksgiving? Ridiculous.

Kick’s coming wasn’t known to anyone outside our families, then. Even among our close friends, I shunned mention of the pregnancy, fear lingering from the decade of trying before her conception. Paris was yet another way of denying the inevitable, of protecting myself. We planned the trip, rented the apartment, and I slept intermittently from from O’Hare to Charles de Gaulle.

The first morning, we walked up the hill in our neighborhood to Sacre Coeur, and I stopped in front of a row of votives. My wish for my future daughter, for myself: Courage. The strength to take up a task when it presents itself, and to pursue it despite obstacle and ridicule, failure and fear. I lit a candle there, and prayed for the child that rolled and twisted inside me: Please, let her be brave.

The second to last day, at Notre Dame, I did the same. In the shadow of the stained glass, beneath the stones as old as the city, at the shrine of Joan of Arc, I prayed for her future, for health strength love joy power, for the saints and angels to watch over her, in whatever form they took.

I am not a good Catholic. I am a practicing one, in that I make attempts, motions, that often feel clumsy and false and out of tune. I stumble over the words of childhood prayers and forget the Holy Days of Obligation and joke that Jesus and I are fine but His friends are another matter. My husband and I did not attend Mass in Paris. We were going to the churches as tourists, not faithful.

But I lit candles at every single one.

It felt fraudulent. Notre Dame was not my parish, and I was barely its parishioners’ co-religionist. It was presumptuous, and likely foolish too. But if there is a place for presumptive fools, it is the Church, and we are all unworthy at its table. If it does nothing, I told myself, if it’s only light, there are worse things than light.

Today Kick ran home from school, healthy and strong and brave and joyous. The sanctuary where I prayed for all those things is ash. The candles would have guttered out an hour or two after we left, but I have thought of them every day since, knowing nothing but that what I prayed for came true, whether through my prayers in that place or not.

Our children are brave, though the world is burning, the irreplaceable places crumbling into dust. They aren’t ours, except that we pass through them and leave our prayers behind.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Stop Breaking Down

Golconda by Rene Magritte

I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches on an epic piece I’m writing for the Bayou Brief about movies set in the Gret Stet of Louisiana, which is why this week’s outing will be relatively short. Hey, stop cheering out there.

The Jazz Fest merry-go-round keeps on spinning out of control. Stevie Nicks has pneumonia and Finnwood Mac have cancelled the rest of their US tour including Jazz Fest. They’ve already been replaced. That means Jazz Fest has descended down the rock evolutionary scale from the Rolling Stones to Fleetwood Mac to Widespread Panic. The last band’s name aptly described how promoters must have felt upon hearing about Stevie.

This week’s theme song was inspired by the Jazz Fest mishigas. Robert Johnson recorded Stop Breaking Down aka Stop Breaking Down Blues in Dallas in 1937. God only knows when it was written. Johnson was not big on record keeping.

I have two versions for your listening pleasure. Robert Johnson’s original and the Exile On Main Street version by noted Jazz Fest drop-outs, the Rolling Stones:

Ordinarily, I’d call a tow truck after breaking down but let’s hop, skip, and jump to the break.

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Tweet Of The Day: Scout Prime Edition

Our beloved colleague Scout Prime is on her way to YouTube comedy stardom:

I can’t wait for the second episode. I was worried that Della Street and Paul Drake might be jealous until I saw the kitty in the car in the car wash. Yikes.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Don’t Get Me Started

My Brother Imitating Scherzo by Andre Kertesz

New Orleans is a city of extremes. We do everything in an outlandish fashion and that includes the weather. I’ve been bitching about the pollen and the need for rain for months, but when it finally rained, it was a deluge. There are times when moderation is a virtue but it’s hard to find in this town. Oh well, you know what they say: “April showers bring the flowers that bloom in May.”

Traffic cameras have been one of the main topics of conversation locally.  Mayor Cantrell campaigned against them. She seems to have changed her mind as well as the rules governing them in school zones. The speed limit is 20 MPH but the city used to cut motorists some slack and didn’t issue tickets to folks within 5 MPH of the limit. They changed the rules without informing the public, which resulted in an angry debate on social media once the cat got out of the proverbial bag. Nobody likes paying $75 for going 3 MPH over the limit, after all.  This debate beats the hell outta talking about murders, mayhem, and the price of Jazz Fest tickets. Btw, the band whose latest iteration I call Finnwood Mac is replacing the Stones at Jazz Fest.

This week’s theme song was written by Rodney Crowell for his 2005 album, The Outsider. Don’t Get Me Started is something I find myself saying frequently in the Trump era. Don’t get me started about Herman Cain on the Fed, y’all:

Now that we’ve shared a rockin’ rant, let’s jump to the break or is that break to the jump? I hope break dancing isn’t involved: I’m not flexible enough to spin about on the ground. I leave such gyrations to young Paul Drake and the dude in the Andre Kertesz photograph above.

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Today On Adrastos’ Obsession With Robert Caro

Regular readers of Saturday Odds & Sods are already aware of my Robert Caro obsession. I usually like post to pieces about and by him there. I thought it was time to let my inner fan boy shine on a school day. I don’t have an apple for the teacher but I do have some unsyrupy thoughts about Caro.

I first heard about Robert Caro from a Gore Vidal review of The Power Broker. I read the book and was enthralled by this, unknown to me, story. As a baseball history buff, I was particularly interested to learn that Robert Moses was one of the reasons the Dodgers left Brooklyn. Walter O’Malley had an inner city Brooklyn site in mind for a new ballpark that would be accessible to public transit. Moses wanted a more car-friendly location and insisted that the Dodgers move to the site where Shea Stadium was later built. O’Malley moved the team to Los Angeles instead.

One of the reasons I’m so drawn to Caro’s magisterial Years of Lyndon Johnson series is that he’s such a great storyteller. Who else would talk to LBJ’s high school and college friends as a way of illuminating his style as a politician? A typical biographer/reporter would talk only to the “important people.” I was raised to believe that how one treats the “little people” is more revealing of one’s character. Caro gets that as did David Halberstam before him.

Anyway, Robert Caro recently sat for an interview with David Marchese for the New York Times Magazine. I was particularly interested in how he used Georgia Senator Richard Russell to explain the South and Civil Rights:

So there’s this character, Senator Richard Russell. He’s fascinating because he’s so smart, he’s so learned. In foreign affairs he’s like a consul of Rome. He sees the whole world, you know? But he’s this son of a bitch.

And a racist. Yes. Here’s how I boiled that book down: I said that two things come together. It’s the South that raises Johnson to power in the Senate, and it’s the South that says, “You’re never going to pass a civil rights bill.” So to tell that story you have to show the power of the South and the horribleness of the South, and also how Johnson defeated the South. I said, “I can do all that through Richard Russell,” because he’s the Senate leader of the South, and he embodies this absolute, disgusting hatred of black people. I thought that if I could do Russell right, I wouldn’t have to stop the momentum of the book to give a whole lecture on the South and civil rights. What I’m trying to say is that if you can figure out what your book is about and boil it down into a couple of paragraphs, then all of a sudden a mass of other stuff is much simpler to fit into your longer outline.

Caro declined to be drawn into a discussion of the Trump presidency*. I’m glad: I want him to live to publish the final book in the LBJ series. Discussing Trump is bad for one’s health. Believe me.

While running a search on the NYT web site, I learned that late night funnyman Conan O’Brien shares my obsession with Robert Caro. His dream as a chat show host is to have Caro as a guest. I can’t  resist posting the full NYT link because the image is such a hoot:

Here’s one of many money quotes from the Conan piece:

Mr. O’Brien was insistent that Mr. Caro’s team has been nothing but polite in sending its regrets. In fact, a few years ago, Mr. O’Brien received a signed copy of “The Path to Power” with the inscription: “To Conan O’Brien. From A Fan — Robert A. Caro.”

The gift only confused matters.

“It just cracks me up,” Mr. O’Brien said. “It’s like the White Whale writing Ahab a note, saying, ‘Hey, man. We’ve got to get together. I’m a fan!’”

So, Mr. Caro, be well and finish that book. When it’s done, cut Coco some slack and grant him an interview. Then I can write a post titled When Caro Met Coco.

UPDATE: A pox on me for not googling Caro + Conan. I missed a piece in Vulture wherein we learn that Coco’s dream will come true later this month. Thanks to Mr. Cosmic Ray for the correction.

The Veep Abidens

I remain undecided in the increasingly contentious race for the Democratic presidential nomination. I remain committed to the notion that anyone who wants to run, should give it a shot and see what happens. The more the merrier, let the voters decide. You’ve heard it all before.

I begin to wonder, however, whether or not former Vice President Joe Biden should throw his hat into the ring. It’s not for ideological reasons: anyone who was a Senator for 30+ years is going to have votes that look questionable 20 years later. It’s called the rule of unintended consequences and applies to the omnibus crime bill passed in the 1990’s. Its intent was NOT to throw more black folks in jail but that’s what happened. It has turned out to be a bad bill despite its strong gun control aspects, which proved to be depressingly ephemeral. Hindsight is always 20-20.

I’m less concerned with the “handsy Uncle Joe” stories than many. Arguably, these stories boil down to cultural, regional, and generational differences since they occurred in public view, not behind closed doors. Dr. A had a colleague who moved to New Orleans from New York in the 1990’s. She considered people calling her baby, sweetie, or darling to be sexual harassment. If that’s the case, it still happens to me every time I make groceries. In New Orleans, it’s just people being friendly. In fact, the colleague in question came to understand that. But I don’t think we should be having *that* particular argument during such a high stakes election.

I come from a touchy-feely ethnic culture in which hugging and kissing people of both genders is the norm. Having said that, I don’t recall ever kissing a woman on the back of the neck and sniffing her hair as Lucy Flores says Joe Biden did. That’s definitely creepy even if Flores herself thinks it was an invasion of her personal space and not sexual harassment. Is it disqualifying for a presidential candidate in the #METOO era? I’m not sure but it will  be a factor in a race in which there are multiple serious female contenders.

I’ve compared the early stages of the 2020 Democratic race to 1976 before. Joe Biden is an excellent analogue to the Happy Warrior of that era, former Vice President /Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey. HHH was more battle-scarred, but by 1976 he had regained his popularity among the Democratic base. He was repeatedly approached to join the race and was always reluctant because he knew he’d feel less love if he became an active candidate. He did not run.

There’s ample evidence that many Democrats have great affection for Joe Biden because of his 8 years as Barack Obama’s loyal Vice President. We at First Draft call him Joey the Shark, but many more people call him Uncle Joe. The Uncle Joe glow is already beginning to fade as Biden inches closer to running. It’s getting ugly out there. The axes are being sharpened over his voting record, loose lips, and back-slapping persona.

Then there’s the matter of Biden’s age. Dr. A and I paid a visit to an elderly relative yesterday. She’s an ardent Democrat but expressed her own concerns about Biden’s age. She said that she didn’t feel like an old lady even in her late sixties but when she hit her mid-seventies that changed dramatically. Joe Biden is 76 and, unless you’re a lazy lima bean like the Insult Comedian, the presidency is an arduous, stressful job, and campaigning is even harder.

My unsolicited advice for the Veep is to abiden by his beloved former colleague’s example and stay out of the race as Humphrey did in 1976. The supporters of at least one of his potential primary opponents are ready, willing, and able to throw everything they’ve got at him. If he runs, he needs to be ready to deal with them, then face the prospect of an ugly general election in which Team Trump will not only attack him and his family but create new charges out of thin air. Trump’s only path to re-election is total destruction of his opponent. Believe me.

Saturday Odds & Sods: I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter

Sunrise by Roy Lichtenstein

I bet you thought I was done with the epistolary references but I’m made of sterner (sillier?) stuff than that. There’s even another Bill Barr reference coming up. Does that make this a red-letter day? Beats the hell outta me.

Since, unlike the first Barr letter, the post title is so damn long, the intro will be mercifully brief. I’m even skipping another epistle pun just to prove that I’m capable of restraint. Anyone buying it?

This week’s theme song, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter, was written in 1935 by Fred E. Ahlert and Joe Young. It was introduced to the world by the great Fats Waller and has been recorded a zillion times over the years.

Since it’s one of my favorite tunes, we have a slew of versions for your listening pleasure.

Now that we’ve finished our correspondence, let’s put a stamp on it, mail it, then jump to the break. Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Hand Of Kindness

Still Life with Onions by Paul Cezanne

March is the cruelest month in New Orleans for allergy sufferers like me. The weather has been sunny and cool; perfect for outdoor activity. The rub is the oak pollen that can be found everywhere. It coats cars, sidewalks, and any surface it can light on. It makes me feel itchy and my nose run like a broken faucet. The most dramatic symptom involves my eyes, which resemble red gravy in sockets if such a thing is possible.

Enough bitching about my allergies. This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson and was the title track of his 1983 solo album. It was his first record after breaking up personally and professionally with Linda Thompson. It’s one of his finest albums featuring some of his best songs and that’s saying a lot.

We have two versions of Hand Of Kindness for your listening pleasure. The studio original and a live version from Cropredy circa beats the hell outta me.

Now that I’ve extended the hand of kindness, it’s time to jump to the break. Given the RT album cover, we may have to do so at the Chelsea Embankment. Splash.

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Post Mayhem Rituals

There are things that happen after every mass shooting. Right thinking people deplore the violence and call for changes to gun laws. If the incident involves a minority religious community, the outcry is even more fervent and leads to shows of inter-faith solidarity and unity. These are positive post mayhem mass shooting rituals, and they’re happening in the aftermath of the New Zealand mosque attack.

As to negative post mayhem rituals, right-wingers sent their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims but refuse to acknowledge any role their pro-gun, Islamophobic ideology might have played. When Barack Obama was president, they insisted that he use the T word (terrorism) to describe every incident in which white people were hurt. He did so whenever it was appropriate, but Obama liked to think things through as opposed to the daily flow of diarrhea spewed by the Current Occupant.

These right-wing post mayhem rituals are writ large in President* Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacy. He usually claims ignorance despite his conspicuous cable news consumption. His response to the Christchurch massacre is similar to his reaction to Charlottesville. While it’s true that white supremacists who shoot up mosques are a small group, that’s precisely why it should be easy to condemn them. Trump will not because he sees them as part of his base, which should be worshiped and deferred to at all times. This is, of course, crazy but so are they.

My post mayhem ritual is to write a post deploring the violence and urging people not to be comfortably numb. I did so after the 2015 San Berardino massacre and the 2017 Vegas concert bloodbath. I wish I didn’t feel compelled to write but I do. I wish to retain my capacity for outrage in the face of repetitive violence.

These sort of attacks are even more shocking when they occur in countries we don’t associate with gun violence such as Norway and New Zealand. But white supremacists are everywhere and the Norwegian butcher, Anders Breivik, has become a demonic hero to many.

I applaud the response of Kiwi Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the mosque massacre. She’s proposing common sense gun control reforms, which will ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons. But the mosque murderer was able to buy his weapons legally, which he could not have done in his native Australia, which is why he exported his crime to New Zealand. Score one for the Aussies.

BUT white supremacist thinking is widespread in Australia and has gone mainstream there in recent years. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a noted xenophobe and has whipped up Islamophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment nearly non-stop since being ousted from the top job. That’s why it’s no surprise that this happened:

Good on the egg teen and boo to the racist senator. We have more than a few of the latter and need more of the former.

One answer to mass shootings are tighter gun control laws BUT New Zealand’s laws were already restrictive and it happened there. We need to stop othering people who look, act, and pray differently than ourselves. It won’t be easy with leaders like Trump, Abbott, and Orban whipping up hatred but nothing worthwhile is easy. It beats the hell out of being comfortably numb.

The last word goes to Pink Floyd with a song that the band described as part of “the violence sequence” as it was written for Michelangelo Antonioni’s movie Zabriskie Point. The director rejected the song as “beautiful but too sad.” We need more beauty and less sadness in the world, y’all:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Everybody Takes A Tumble

High Spring Tide by Jack Butler Yeats

It’s time for the annual Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year it takes place on the day before the holiday but at least we got a wee break from Mardi Gras. Parading is hard work, y’all.

As always we’re going to our friends Greg and Christy’s open house to eat, drink, and be merry. The parade is exuberantly disorganized but the party is more fun than a snake down your trousers. It’s so much fun that one year a Leprechaun attended and posed for a picture with our hosts:

This week’s insidiously catchy theme song was written by Mike Scott and Anthony Thistlethwaite  for the Waterboys’ 2007 album Book of Lightning.  We have two versions of Everybody Takes A Tumble for your listening pleasure: the studio recording and a live version from Irish teevee:

Now that we’ve filled our tumblers with Tullamore Dew, it’s time to stumble to the break. I’m not sure if I’m capable of jumping.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Rocky Road

Charing Cross Bridge by Andre Derain

Carnival was alternately exhausting and exhilarating. I love it but I’m always glad when it’s over, especially when the weather is cold and wet. This year was physically difficult for me as I was in pain for the last week of the season. I ended up on the disabled list and stayed home on Mardi Gras day but I don’t regret not resting on Lundi Gras as you can see from this tweet:

Proteus is one of the “old line” krewes and their den is around the corner from Adrastos World Headquarters. They were indeed as drunk as plutocratic skunks. Watching them set up to roll is one of the pleasures of life inside the parade box. Where else can you watch three fake kings-Proteus, Comus, and Rex-toast one another on the street?

This week’s first theme song was written by Nick Lowe and Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke for Nick’s 1990 Party Of One album, which reunited him with his musical partner in crime, Dave Edmunds.

It’s disambiguation time: a different tune with the same title. Our other theme song was written by Steve Tilston but I first heard it done by Fairport Convention. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Fairport live followed by the songwriter.

Now that we’ve traveled down several rocky roads, it’s time to jump to the break.

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Lost In The News

Transitioning out of the Mardi Gras bubble is always difficult. But there’s so much going on right now that I don’t quite know where to begin. I think a potpourri post full of quick one liners and, hopefully, pertinent observations is the best way to shake off the rust. Of course rust never sleeps so who knows if that will work? Only the Shadow or Neil Young know for sure. Hey, hey, my, my.

Stale News In Brief: I watched the Cohen hearing from gavel to gavel but had company that night for the Nyx parade so I couldn’t share any thoughts and/or pithy observations. I’ve been somewhat pithed about this momentary lapse of reason, which is why I’m writing about it a week later. Better late than never.

I had assumed that Cohen was a punk and a brain-dead doofus. I was right about the former but wrong about the latter. He was well-prepared, penitent, and surprisingly sharp in a street wise Lawn Guyland kinda way.

Cohen’s performance is proof positive that exposure to Donald Trump cuts people’s IQ’s in half. It’s one reason why the Kaiser of Chaos needs to go before we become a country of mouth-breathing morons who overuse the word very. Believe me.

Speaking of dumbassery, the performance of Oversight Committee GOPers was appalling. They’re the dumbest collection of congresscritters it has ever been my displeasure to observe. They were poorly prepared and dumber than a proverbial bag of rocks.

It *is* true that Cohen was a lying sack of shit in his days as Trump’s fixer. But that means that some of the shit leaked onto the president* for whom Cohen was lying. Gym Jordan and his gang of morons didn’t see it that way. Jordan makes Trey Gowdy look like Perry Mason as a cross-examiner. Oy, just oy.

The country saw Congressman Clay Higgins and learned what we in the Gret Stet of Louisiana have known all along: he’s a poser and a nitwit. He kept asking the same question over and over even though it had been “asked and answered” as the criminal law objection goes.

Higgins is a demagogue and dumbfuck of epic proportions. Additionally, his district director is an accused pimp.  It’s a pity that his name isn’t Willie. Jerod Prunty the Pimp doesn’t  have the same ring to it:

Investigation Mania: House Democrats are gearing up to get to the bottom of the plethora of Trump related scandals. The good news is that they can walk and chew gum at the same time as they’re passing a plethora of progressive legislation as well. It will all, of course, die in the Senate but it forces them to take unpopular stands against popular legislation such as gun background checks, which I believe even the ghost of Charlton Heston favors:

An interesting tidbit in the news is Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff hiring former SDNY prosecutor Daniel Goldman to spearhead his Russia investigation. Cable news viewers know him better as a telegenic teevee lawyer on MSNBC. The president* is bound to fear him because he’s been on the tube, which could have been a factor in Schiff making this hire. Goldman is also stone cold brilliant and knows his way around Russian mobsters and oligarchs. Watch out, Trumpy.

The Big Rebuke: There are enough votes in the Senate to shoot down the Insult Comedian’s fake emergency order. As of this writing, it’s not a veto proof majority BUT the fog of scandal continues to envelop the Trump regime. That, in turn, could lead more Senatorial rats to flee the USS Trump as it sinks in a sea of scandal. Holy mixed metaphor, Batman. Is it a fog or a sea of scandal? Actually, it’s both, which is a rare example of both-siderism on my part.

John Dean On Cohen: As a Watergate junkie, I would be remiss in not mentioning John Dean’s NYT op-ed article on the impact of being a star witness on the witness:

Mr. Cohen should understand that if Mr. Trump is removed from office, or defeated in 2020, in part because of his testimony, he will be reminded of it for the rest of his life. He will be blamed by Republicans but appreciated by Democrats. If he achieves anything short of discovering the cure for cancer, he will always live in this pigeonhole. How do I know this? I am still dealing with it.

Just as Mr. Nixon had his admirers and apologists, so it is with Mr. Trump. Some of these people will forever be rewriting history, and they will try to rewrite it at Mr. Cohen’s expense. They will put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They will place him at events at which he wasn’t present and locations where he has never been. Some have tried rewriting my life, and they will rewrite his, too.

Can I get a witness?

The last word goes to the late Marvin Gaye whose image will adorn a stamp to be released on April 2nd:

Lundi Gras Odds & Sods

I have no idea why that chick is riding a walrus in the poster above. To the best of my knowledge, walruses aren’t indigenous to South Louisiana.

I’ve partied hurt this Carnival season. I twisted my knee on the route while foolishly trying to catch up with these guys.

I have three friends in the group and only saw one so I tried and failed to chase them down during the Muses parade two days before that video was shot. There’s no fool like a semi-old fool.

The conditions have been wet and sloppy, which hasn’t been all bad since it’s kept the crowds down. Of course, we have Chads who are into urban camping so they have tents to duck under when it rains. Heaven forfend that you attempt join them. In Chadland, pitching a tent seems to lead to pitching a fit. It’s the public green, y’all, deal with it.

Today is the day we watch the Krewe of Proteus fall off the bus and eventually stagger onto their floats. We live around the corner from their den and enjoy seeing them arrive after their liquid pre-parade meal at Antoine’s. Our out-of-town guests are excited to have the drunken plutocrat experience.

As you can see, I’m still in the Carnival bubble so I’ve got very little to say about the Insult Comedian hugging the flag or Seb Gorka’s hamburger speech. Gorka seems to believe in life, liberty, and condiments.

In the Odds & Sods spirit, here’s today’s earworm:

Surprise, surprise, it’s a Stones song.

Happy Mardi Gras. On Wednesday we repent our sins or some such shit. I may have to give up Keef and Woody for Lent.

Saturday Odds & Sods: All Down The Line

It’s been a crazy Carnival season as always. Mayor Cantrell’s efforts to keep the Chads and their ladders off the parade route neutral grounds have won plaudits. I realize that nobody outside New Orleans understood that sentence but life sucks and then you die.

We have house guests so my writing time has been limited, which means that an all-out Odds & Sods outing isn’t feasible. I’m even a catblogging slacker this week. So it goes.

I do, however, have a theme song. The Rolling Stones have been my soundtrack for Carnival 2019 so it’s only fitting to select All Down The Line from Exile On Main Street as the theme song for this truncated outing.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the Exile original, a 1972 live version with Mick Taylor on slide guitar, and a 2006 live version from Marty’s Stones flick, Shine A Light. I love me some Woody but Mick kicks his ass on this particular tune.

You’re probably asking yourself: why are the Stones my Carnival soundtrack? I’m not big on seasonal music. It’s an area about which Dr. A and I disagree. She loves seasonal music. Given a choice I’ll take Carnival music over Christmas music but I’d rather have another choice. What can I tell ya?

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to the Valence Street chickens who have yet to watch a parade with us. Let’s hope it stays that way.

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Moon River

Swing Landscape by Stuart Davis

Carnival is about to kick into high gear and it looks as if it may be a wet season. There are few things worse than parading or watching in the rain. What was the old cliché? Oh yeah, don’t rain on my parade. I’m not a fan of being fenced in either.

This week’s theme song is a longtime favorite of mine. It was written in 1961 by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer for the classic movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Moon River has some of Mercer’s best, and most evocative, lyrics. I’m still waiting round the bend for my huckleberry friend but they haven’t shown up. So it goes.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure:  a jazzy interpretation by the great Sarah Vaughan and a swinging version by my homey Dr. John.

Now that we’re huckleberry friends, we won’t wait until the end to jump to the break.

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It Came From The Catch Basin

New Orleans has a problem with tons of plastic beads clogging up catch basins on the parade route. That inspired the Krewe of Spank’s Krewe du Vieux float this year:

That was, of course, before the bead monster known in these parts as the Beadgaroux hit the streets. This is our official, but not officious, 2019 logo:

Our most coveted throw was a set of nine trading cards “celebrating” clogged drains and bead monsters.

I wish I could take credit but the amuse-douche joke was the handiwork of my friend David Tower. Btw, he lives up to the name: he’s a tall dude.

Spank hit the big time this year. We’re featured in this video. I’m the guy in the green derby/bowler:

One of Spank’s closest sub-krewe friends is the Krewe of Mishigas. Their float was a work of twisted genius:

The RBG figure started off with a full rack, so I suggested that she needed boob reduction “surgery.” It turned out quite well.

The Mishigas button below was one of the most sought after throws of the evening. The photo is via international man of mystery Peris B.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers get the last word with a little ditty that was inspired by the 1956 sci-fi flick,  It Conquered The World:

FYI, our monster was better than the one in the cheesy movie.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Pearl Of The Quarter

Krewe du Vieux 2019

Krewe du Vieux ate my week and the Krewe of Spank whuppped my ass. Today is the big day, which is why this week’s entry qualifies as a placeholder. If you want to re-read Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member to get into the spirit of the occasion, there’s no time like the present.

This week’s theme song was written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen in 1973. It’s one of my favorite Steely Dan album tracks. It’s the touching tale of a man in love with a French Quarter prostitute named Louise. Ooh la la.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the steel guitar driven Steely Dan original followed by a swell 2013 cover by Boz Scaggs:

That’s it for this week. The closing bat meme is a picture taken by Dr. A near the Den of Muses.

The last word goes to the Neville Brothers:

Valentine’s Day In New Orleans

I’m not big on Hallmark card holidays. My mother used to make fun of Mother’s Day and thought Valentine’s Day was silly. Her stock line about the former was: “It’s always mother’s day in this family.” Mom’s attitude about Hallmark card holidays prepared me for Valentine’s Day in New Orleans.

Valentine’s Day typically takes place during Carnival and I think you know what my priority is. The good news is that my awesome wife, Dr. A, agrees. In fact, Krewe du Vieux has marched on Valentine’s Day several times during its history.

We will spend today working on our costumes for the big day. And we will spend tonight with 53 of our closest friends as it’s Spank throws distribution night. Our theme is still top-secret. I wouldn’t even allow Slumlord Jared access. Unless, that is, he bribed me. I am easily corrupted. What else would you expect from a Greek guy who lives in the Gret Stet of Louisiana?

There’s an image going around social media that sums up New Orleans’ relationship with Valentine’s Day:

Holy St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Batman.

Finally a message for Dr. A. As Maybe Cousin Telly would surely say at this point:

Dispiriting

Photograph via the Failing New York Times

I’m a whiskey drinker be it Bourbon, sour mash, rye. I’m not gonna lie: I like it all whether you spell it with an E or not. One could even consider this a mash note to distilleries, domestic and foreign: I’m fond of Irish, Scottish, and Canadian whiskies as well. I’ll take some more Tullamore, please.

That’s why I’m dispirited by the news that American distilleries are suffering from the Teetotaler-in-Chief’s “easy to win” trade war; hereinafter ETWTW. Last Friday, China joined the European Union in slapping stiff tariffs on American whiskey.

The Insult Comedian is too busy bloviating about his stupid wall to notice that the ETWTW is biting two red states in the butt: bigly. Big Whiskey is centered in Kentucky and Tennessee but the ETWTW is hurting craft distilleries as well.

This old-fashioned trade war is like a whiskey sour with too much lemon juice. Where the hell are Chinless Mitch and Aqua Buddha in all of this? The former is too busy handling the Kaiser of Chaos and the latter is too busy blowing him to make a stand for whiskey. They’ve truly missed the Maker’s Mark. As to the Tennessee delegation, Lamar Alexander is retiring and Marsha Blackburn is too busy importing Bachmannism to the Senate to stand up for Jack Daniel’s. Sinatra would be horrified:

One of the ironies of Tariff Man Trump’s ETWTW is that it’s hurting red state America the most. Ask a soybean farmer. Here’s a little known fact: soybeans are the biggest cash crop in the Gret Stet of Louisiana and those folks are getting hosed by the ETWTW with China. Believe me.

Enough soybean palaver, back to whiskey. Since puns are big among wineries, I think it’s past time for distillers to follow suit. Here’s my suggestion:

In addition to being a helluva pun, it’s a reference to the minimalist modernist Dutch art movement of the 1920’s, De Stijl, which means The Style in Kentucky and Tennessee, y’all. The image is Piet Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie. It’s a winner, I tell ya.

The last word goes to the Dubliners:

How come nobody told me that there was a Thin Lizzy version of Whiskey In The Jar? I guess the boys were out of town that week: