Category Archives: Diary

Saturday Odds & Sods: Fly Like An Eagle

Women and Birds at Sunrise by Joan Miro

Once again, New Orleans showed the world how to turn adversity into a party. I’m talking about the widespread local boycott of the Super Bowl. It was easy for me. I rarely watch unless I have a rooting interest in one of the teams. I wasn’t down for some of the dumber aspects of “no-call gate” such as claims that the Saints wouldn’t have gone to the big dance after a similar bad call, or that the Rams were cheaters BUT we *wuz* robbed. I blame the league and the referees, not the Rams who lost in one of the dullest Super Bowls in years. Yawn. Brady and Belichick won again. Yawn.

New Orleanians quickly moved from the Super Bowl controversy to an argument over the Krewe of Chewbacchus. It’s a geek/sci-fi parade that sprung up a few years back. I like the idea but hate the execution. I like parades to move quickly and not stall for hours as Chewbacchus invariably does. Yawn.

The head of the krewe styles himself, not as a humble Captain, but as “The Overlord.” He floated a trial balloon that they *might* exploit a loophole in city ordinances and allow commercial sponsorship. That’s a big NOLA no-no: the krewes, not corporations, throw a party for the city and its citizens. The “Overlord” quickly crawfished and claimed he was just joking but I know a deflated trial balloon when I see one. Pop goes the geek weasel.

This week’s theme song was written by Steve Miller and was the title track of his1976 hit album. The Fly Like An Eagle single was a monster hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard charts.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the original SMB hit, a live version with guitarist Joe Satriani, and a cover by my homeys, the Neville Brothers:

Now that we’ve soared like eagles, let’s jump to the break, Hopefully, there will be a tailwind so we won’t break our tail feathers or is that bend? Beats the hell outta me.

Continue reading

Bleak News In Review

There’s so much going on right now that I don’t quite know where to begin. I’m tempted to crawl back into my Carnival bubble and not deal with the perennially bleak state of the world BUT we have space to fill since Michael F has been on vacay. Like Lassie, he’s coming home right now, I’m not sure if I’d cast Roddy McDowell to play him but what can I tell ya? End of obscure, even for me, movie reference.

You’re probably wondering where this is headed. Me too. I think I’ll just throw some shit at the wall and see what sticks. I realize that’s how the Trump regime governs but it’s an approach that works when it comes to blogging. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

When Did Virginia Become Florida? Virginia politics used to be staid and buttoned down. That presumption of staidness began to erode during the zany and corrupt administration of Bob McDonnell. Two statewide candidacies by the Lost Causer from Minnesota, Corey Stewart, confirmed the transformation of Virginia into Florida; only without Disney World. It’s gotten much Wilder than when the Governor of that name was in charge.

Doctor/Governor Ralph Northam is still clinging to office like a barnacle on the body politic. The line of succession is a complete clusterfuck:

  • Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax is facing such credible allegations of sexual assault that he’s retained the law firm who represented Brett Kavanaugh aka Justice Bro. I wonder if Fairfax likes beer?
  • Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring is next in line but he admitted yesterday to having worn blackface as a misguided youth. It seems to have been a thing for young white dudebros back in the 1980’s. I’m glad I didn’t get the memo.

Third in line is the Speaker of the House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, who is a Republican.

A Virginian active in Democratic politics described the situation as follows to TPM:

[Carolyn] Fiddler is now the Daily Kos’s political editor and an expert on state legislative politics. She warned that the sins of the leaders would end up damaging other Democrats who’ve worked decades to build up the party, cautioning that the scandals could upend Democrats’ hopes to recapture both chambers of the capitol — their first real chance at doing so in decades.

“Shit rolls downhill,” she said. “To say I’m nervous is a bit of an understatement.”

She’s not fiddling about. They’re in deep shit and sinking fast.

I have a long-term solution to this problem: end the one-term limit on Virginia Governors. If not for that, Terry McAuliffe would still be Governor.

Designated Survivor: Former Texas Governor and twice failed GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry was the DS in more than one way this week. The Energy Secretary is still a dumbshit but he was also the Trump regime’s designated survivor for the SOTU.

Rick Perry as president is a scary thought but it’s better than Wilbur Ross. At least Rick Haircut has a zany side, I bet Wilbur has never hugged a jug of maple syrup:

I doubt that Wilbur has ever hugged anything except his money.

The Cubbies Have The Ricketts: Baseball’s former lovable underdogs have a racist right-wing owner problem. It’s well-known that patriarch Joe Ricketts was a wingnut but we didn’t know he was stupid enough to send his more bigoted thoughts via email:

Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs moved to distance themselves from one of their own Tuesday, after the news outlet Splinter published a cache of racist emails sent and received by Joe Ricketts, the billionaire whose family owns the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.

Many of the published emails, sent between 2009 to 2013, focused on a fear of Muslims and contained conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama. The false assertion that Obama, who identifies as Protestant, was Muslim and born outside the United States were prevalent in right-wing politics during his presidency.

In one email, Ricketts wrote to somebody identified only as S.V. that “Christians and Jews can have a mutual respect for each other to create a civil society,” but “Islam cannot do that.” He went on to write that, “we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society,” and that “Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy.”

Since email is involved I’m waiting for the rickety Ricketts clan to blame Hillary or Huma. Trey Gowdy is out of office, perhaps they can hire him to consult. BENGHAZI. BENGHAZI.

The Ricketts affair *almost* makes me nostalgic for former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott who got into trouble for saying stupid shit like this:

  • “Some of the biggest problems in this city come from women wanting to leave the home and work.”
  • “Sneaky goddamn Jews are all alike.”
  • “Only fruits wear earrings.”
  • “Everybody knows [Hitler] was good at the beginning, but he just went too far.”

That concludes this edition of First Draft potpourri. Since Michael F is off and we miss his wit and insight, he gets the last word with a Rick Perry image created in January 2017:

Oops.

Bayou Brief: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member

Carnival 2019 is as long as Anthony Davis’ arms. Unlike AD it doesn’t want to be traded to the Lakers. I’m not sure what LeBron would make of this on his home court:

Earlier today my latest piece for the Bayou Brief went live: Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member. It’s a photo essay about my life and times as a member of Krewe du Vieux; something y’all have heard me go on about here at First Draft.

I picked the title because it’s catchy not because I confess to all that much. I must confess that it’s a relief not to write about a certain asshole president* who lied his way through the SOTU. I didn’t watch. Dr. A and I were babysitting our de facto nieces and nephew aka the Child Army. There was, however, snark and shade involved:

That’s why her nickname is the Benevolent Dictator. In the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield, I don’t get no respect. It’s an open question as to whether I deserve any.

The last word goes to Jay McShann and the Rolling Stones with this confessional classic:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Rainy Night In Georgia

Hummingbirds by Walter Inglis Anderson

The Super Bowl  will be played tomorrow in Atlanta, but ratings in New Orleans will be abysmal because of the infamous blown call. The game is being boycotted by most locals: Dr. A and I are going to two non-watching parties. I’m unsure if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be burnt in effigy at either soiree. One of them is a birthday party so perhaps there will be a Goodell pinata. Probably not: my friends Clay and Candice have a small child and the sight of Goodell is traumatic to most New Orleanians.

New Orleans and Atlanta have a longstanding and intense rivalry. And not just in football. They’ve topped us economically but we have better food as well as charm up the proverbial wazoo. Saints fans are also disappointed not to be Super Bowling in Atlanta because they’re losing out on some trash talking opportunities. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written in 1967 by Louisiana native Tony Joe White who died last fall at the age of 75. Rainy Night In Georgia is a song that proves the adage that the best songs are sad songs: “looks like it’s raining all over the world.”

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the songwriter’s original, Brook Benton’s 1970 hit version, and a mournful 2013 interpretation by Boz Scaggs.

Let’s put away our umbrellas and jump to the break. We’ll try not to splash land.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Back To Black

Bird Collage by Max Ernst

It was overwrought drama week in New Orleans. Saints fans are genuinely angry in the aftermath of the blown call but things have gotten silly. There’s a futile lawsuit filed by lawyer Frank D’Amico who advertises his services on the tube. He’s getting some free publicity by filing what is best described as a “feel-good frivolous” lawsuit seeking a Saints-Rams rematch. It has as much chance at success as I have of playing in the NBA.

My Congressman, Cedric Richmond, is doing a major pander by threatening a Congressional hearing over the blown call. Hey, Cedric, we’re having a constitutional crisis, and you want to spend time grilling Roger Goddam Goodell?

This week’s theme song was written in 2007 by Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson. Black To Black was the title track of Amy’s final studio album and the sub-title of the great documentary about her life. We have two versions for your listening pleasure:

While we’re at it, let’s throw two more blackened songs into the musical skillet:

Did I really use the term musical skillet? I must be slipping. Speaking of which, let’s slip away and jump to the break.

Continue reading

Five, and Faster

Dear Kick,

You’re five years old today, so let’s get this out of the way:

You are not growing up too fast.

Like a lot of harmless parenting small talk, like a lot of women’s magazine shorthand, this sentiment makes my back go up and you’re attuned to that now. Let me explain why Mama says the sharp things to the nice ladies at parties: “She’s growing up too fast” is not a harmless thing to say.

It implies you’re doing something wrong by becoming a person. It implies I don’t want to see you taller, stronger, faster, smarter. To lament your growing up seems to me to lament your progress, or say that you’re not delightful now. If I nod and say the expected oh I know, where does the time go, I’m agreeing that there is a way I prefer you, and it is not the way you are.

I understand why people say things like this. It’s presumed to be a neutral sentiment. There are things I miss about baby-you. There is less snuggling now than there used to be. Your noises are louder. Your falls are harder. Your successes involve more work on all our parts.

But you don’t have any choice here. You can’t stop growing up, so what is the point in bemoaning it in front of you? 

Plus, the alternative really sucks.

I have friends whose children have rare or lethal illnesses. I have friends and relatives who’ve lost children, who’ve miscarried, who are estranged and don’t know if their children are alive or well. Their children won’t grow up, fast or at any other speed. I see their faces in my own nostalgia for your ratty baby blankets and am ashamed.

You are supposed to grow up. That’s how it’s supposed to work. I’m supposed to see it, take joy in it, cheer you on. I have to run faster to keep up with you but that doesn’t mean you need to slow down. Our conversations get more involved as your questions get more difficult — what is God, when do people die, what does it mean to “get busy in the Burger King bathroom,” why do you have to keep taking skating lessons if the first one was a disaster — but I don’t wish you less curiosity, less appetite for the difficult things like religion and hip-hop and hockey. This is how it goes.

If we’re lucky.

And we’re so very, very lucky. We have such good fortune, the three of us. We sit at the dinner table and laugh and laugh and I wonder if I am allowed to enjoy another person this much. You’ve started reading words on your own and doing chores. You do simple math and count in Spanish and call Ada “peanut butter cup” and you and your father build Lego sets together and you and I take nature walks and read books and do crafts about space.

You copy what we say and do and we are not always as careful as we should be, which leads to our talks about the lyrical stylings of the Digital Underground and why Donald Trump is such a “toilet animal.” It’s clear which of your enthusiasms — sparkles, fashion — are from your friends and from TV, but some of your ideas are so completely your own I wonder if they’ve sailed into your head from the ether fully formed.

We frequently run into a homeless fellow who takes shelter by an abandoned store. He’s known to be friendly but has rejected various appeals to help him find shelter, housing or services, and so the neighborhood looks after him in the ways that he’ll let it. You became somewhat fixated on “the man who lives outside” and decided you wanted to buy him a Christmas present, so we purchased a warm fleecy blanket and tucked some money and cookies and juice inside.

I warned you before we left the house that he might not want to talk, but he was awake and wearing a festive Santa hat and grinned when you gave him his present. When he asked if you’d picked it out you said yes, and wished him a merry Christmas. Then you skipped away down the road, alight with the joy of doing something small and kind.

You are growing up just the way you should.

Not too fast at all.

Love,

Mama

Saturday Odds & Sods: Drinking Again

Subway Portrait by Walker Evans

The weather roller coaster continues in New Orleans but nobody cares because the Saints are playing the Rams in the NFC championship game tomorrow. Our loud fans are bound to blow the roof off the Superdome and it’s going to be raucous everywhere in town. There’s some overconfidence among the fans but very little on the team itself. I still refuse to say Who Dat but I will say Geaux Saints.

In other local news, the Rolling Stones are playing Jazz Fest. I’ve seen the Stones 6 times, but I’m not shelling out $185 for their special day, which is especially expensive. I may just have to listen for free from my top-secret location nearby. Here’s my  only comment on the continuing gentrification of Jazz Fest:

This week’s theme song, Drinking Again, was written in 1962 by Johnny Mercer and Doris Tauber. We have versions by two of the greatest singers ever: Aretha Franklin and Francis Albert Sinatra. Bottoms up.

The song was reworked in 1968 by the Jeff Beck Group:

I hope you’re not too tipsy to jump to the break.

Continue reading

Quote Of The Day: Maybot Edition

The Maybot by Steve Bell

I’ve been following British politics my entire adult life. In the pre-Brexit era, there were occasional outbreaks of lunacy on the extremes of both major parties. But since the country narrowly voted to leave the European Union, there’s been an unprecedented outbreak of the crazy. It’s as if the Raging Monster Loony Party has seized control of both Labour and the Tories. Yes, there really is such a thing. It’s the real life counterpart of Monty Python’s Silly Party.

That brings me to this week’s events in the House of Commons. First, hapless Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit “compromise” bill was overwhelmingly defeated. Then, the equally hapless Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, tabled a vote of no-confidence in the government. The Prime Minister won that vote since the last thing her party wants to do is face the electorate.

May is a stoical and unemotional leader. That’s why the Guardian’s John Crace dubbed her the Maybot. Remind you of anyone? May, however, makes Willard Mittbot Romney look like a ball of fire.

That brings me to the quote of the day. It comes from a NYT article entitled Theresa May, Britain’s Lady of Perpetual Crisis:

“She is indestructible,” wrote Tom Peck, a sketch writer for the Independent, reflecting on the events of the day. “She is the cockroach in nuclear winter. She is the algae that survives on sulphuric gas from subaquatic volcanoes, seven miles beneath the daylight. She is the Nokia 5210.”

That’s quite a list. The only comparison Peck missed is this one: She is the Keith Richards of Prime Ministers. I’ve long referred to Keef as a human cockroach. Indestructibility is the only thing the two have in common.

The last word goes to (who else?) Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones:

 

Breaks Don’t Fix Burnout

I’ve been following this conversation with interest because the way I respond to burnout is really specific and goes against the standard advice — just take a break! learn to breathe again! — and plays into the specificity of millennial burnout, as opposed to my late-GenX crabbiness:

My own behavior didn’t make sense to me because I didn’t recognize it as burnout. But everyone’s burnout works differently — which is why my immediate follow-up to the piece was to collect 16 different accounts of how burnout accumulates differently for people from different backgrounds, with different life conditions, with different contexts. As I said last week, no one’s “bottom half of their to-do list” — the things they avoid and find themselves incapable of completing — are exactly the same, and the consequences of the inability to complete them are different. If I don’t get my knives sharpened (still haven’t! the sharpener guy wasn’t at the store!) I might accidentally cut myself while cutting onions, but no huge deal. But if one of the things on my list was my inability to go renew my driver’s license, or make a doctor’s appointment, or find shoes that are comfortable for walking, or have a conversation with my kid’s teacher, or tell my boss about a coworker who makes my life hell — the consequences are different.

In the mid-oughts I had the work I always wanted to have, and it was making me fucking miserable. I’m not talking about a bad job, or a bad boss, or even a few rough days at the office. I’m talking the thing I wanted to do since I was six years old literally wasn’t working for me on any level at all. I would have incredible successes and go home feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. It was all I ever wanted to do and I hated doing it so much I started smoking.

Take a vacation! You need a break! That was everybody’s advice. Take a day off! Okay, but when I get back and I don’t feel refreshed, then what? Because I took days off, days and days off. And I spent them curled up on the bed hyperventilating.

I don’t need a break, I would say. I need this not to suck. Breaks just delayed the suck, and then anticipating it was another level of suck entirely.

I read Anne’s first piece thinking “all these people need a combination of psychiatric medication, lots of it, and to read Unfuck Your Habitat with their therapists” because “errand paralysis” is one of MY danger signs of depression. I stop making haircut appointments and mailing shit and then I stop sleeping, eating and taking my meds. It’s a slippery slope from not emptying the dishwasher to talking to myself on the train is what I’m saying, but when I got done wishing everyone could afford to see a decent doctor I started wishing everybody could have work they felt good about.

Burnout to me isn’t about being tired. I worked something like 60 hours a week this past fall and I didn’t even FEEL any of them. Sure I was exhausted, caffeine toxicity is a real thing and I’ve had it twice in my life, once when Kick was a newborn and once in October, but I wasn’t burned out. I was just tired. Tired is easy. Tired, you take a nap.

Feeling like nothing matters and you can’t bring yourself to participate in the world, that’s burned out.

So many people not only can’t take a break, can’t catch their breath, but also so many people’s work fucking sucks. We devalue work a lot in this country even as we chain ourselves to it, with our catchy little “nobody ever died wishing they spent more time at work” plaques and aggressive marketing of “work-life” balance, implying as that does that work isn’t part of your life. So many people’s work doesn’t make them feel like they’re part of anything, or pay them enough to be able to invest significant parts of themselves, or make them feel like it’s worth it, all the ass-busting they have to do.

And we can’t fix that with a “break” from something that’s just gonna suck as hard when we return to it.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Because The Night

Twelfth Night Revelers Pageant Design by Charles Briton, 1871

Carnival is in its early stages but it’s beginning to eat my life. That may sound cannibalistic but I’ve always been fascinated by the Donner Party, so I’m down with cannibals. But I was never big on the band Fine Young Cannibals. I like music with more bite. All FYC ever did was was drive me crazy. Hmm, FYC sounds like KFC and you know what they say about chicken…

Last Sunday was Twelfth Night proper so Dr. A and I attended the launch party of a new business owned by our friends Will and Jennifer Samuels. It’s called the King Cake Hub and they sell a wide variety of King Cake from numerous local bakeries. And New Orleanians are obsessed with King Cake.

The King Cake Hub’s location has added to the local interest: the Mortuary at 4800 Canal Street. It used to be a genuine mortuary and is currently home to an elaborate haunted house every fall. If you don’t believe me, it’s picture time:

I knew Will before he became a King Cake impresario and was a pizza man; not to be confused with Frank Furillo of Hill Street Blues. I wish him well in his new venture. End of semi-shameless unpaid commercial plug.

Henceforth there shall be no more shilling. Isn’t “thou shall not shill” one of The Ten Commandments of Love?

This week’s theme song, Because The Night, has something of a checkered history:

The song was originally recorded by Bruce Springsteen during sessions for his Darkness on the Edge of Town album. He was not satisfied with the song and later declared he already knew he wasn’t going to finish it since it was “a[nother] love song”; the Patti Smith Group was working on Easter in the studio next door, with engineer/producer Jimmy Iovine working on both albums. Iovine gave Smith a tape of the song, she recast it, and it was included on Easter, becoming the first single released from that album.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Patti’s version, Bruce and the E Street live in 2012, and Bruce and Patti teaming up with U2.

WARNING: BONO ALERT.

If that Bono sighting doesn’t make you want to jump to the break, I don’t know what will. So, follow me, trail along.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: What Can I Say

Golden Gate Before The Bridge by Ansel Adams

We’re having typical early January weather thus far in 2019: gray, gloomy, foggy, damp, and chilly. Some days I’m not sure if we should run the AC or heater. The cats prefer heat but they don’t have a vote.

I’m still warding off the lingering effects of the Broccolini cold. It was a whopper and I’m not referring to the candy. I wonder if that qualifies as a Malteser, which is the brand name for malted milk balls in the U.K. I should probably do some form of penance for that joke but I’ll get on with the post instead.

I realize that it was a bit creepy that I included a Captain & Tennile album cover in my Gone To The Dogs post earlier the same day that Daryl Dragon died. If you think I have premonitive powers, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I barely have first sight, let alone second sight.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Boz Scaggs lately. Boz deserves the sort of revival that his fellow “blue-eyed soul” singer Daryl Hall has gotten. Hall & Oates never recorded an album as good as 1976’s Silk Degrees, after all.

This week’s theme song, What Can I Say, is the opening track of the aforementioned album. What can I say? I like it.

Now that I given you silk degrees in lieu of the second degree, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

Resolutions

I suppose I could try one more time to lose the 15 pounds I put on after my second back injury.

Been biting my nails for 43 years, could give quitting that a whack. Again.

Probably would do to drink less. Booze is expensive, and see resolution number one up there.

I really do have a problem with online shopping. I had to give it up for Lent last year. I might want to work on that.

Last year’s resolution was to do yoga twice a week. Day job put paid to that, I was too busy to breathe much less breathe deeply and lovingly into the center of my chest or whatever the stupid man-bun on my yoga video wanted me to do.

Man-bun tells me that visualizing my pain going away is the key to managing whatever health condition I have. I’ve seen the MRIs of my herniated discs and looking at them did not make me feel better. Fuck yoga. But I have a bike-desk thing in my basement and really no excuse not to ride it four days a week.

I can make positive resolutions. I want to write more about the things that matter instead of stunting the instinct to explore a topic with distractions and excuses.

I want less to lose weight than to get stronger, to feel better, to go outside more.

I want to cook more meals. My resolution could be to have homemade dinner at least 5 nights a week instead of shoving graham crackers in my face at 7 p. m.

But I think mostly what I want to work on this year is burning the motherfucking fascists to the motherfucking ground.

I went to, I think, six or seven protests this year. In 2019 my resolution is to get that number to 10.

I want to volunteer one Sunday a month at a community organization or shelter. I raised a shitload of money for a cause last year and I’d like to raise TWO SHITLOADS this year.

There are available freeways all over my ‘hood that need signs on them and bitches, I got cardboard and a kid who likes to paint. Let’s say three of those.

What else? What are some small achievable things I can do to fuck over Nazis?

Who wants some, 2019? Huh?

Let’s go.

A.

Recharging

Thanks to the idiot president* the news hasn’t slowed down over the holidays but I’ve slow walked my punditry. The pace of events this year has been exhausting and, unlike Reddy Kilowatt, I’m not wired to keep going 24-7-365. I pulled the plug on following presidential* antics as closely as usual on Christmas day. I see no reason to plug back in until 2019.

What have I missed? The casual cruelty of the Insult Comedian and his minions regarding “illegal aliens.”  Two children died while detained by the Department of Homeland Insecurity. The Trump regime’s response has been to blame the victims and Democrats. Congressman Peter King’s response has been to praise the government’s safety record. I believe King also praised the Provisional IRA’s safety record during the Troubles.

The Trump government shutdown continues apace. To everyone’s surprise, the president* has stayed at the White House instead of decamping to Mar a Lago. This is his idea of sacrifice: he’s also afraid of being handbagged by the Coultergeist. Repeat after me: Trump is a pussy. He should grab himself.

Trump seems convinced that if he holds his breath until he turns blue, he’ll get taxpayers to fund his stupid wall. I thought the Mexicans were supposed to pay for it. Trumberius seems to have said adios to that notion:

I don’t do New Years resolutions, but I remain resolved to relentlessly mock the Party of Trump and all its malefactions. Mockery is the best remedy to a president* who is unable to laugh at himself.

Another reason I’ve been recharging my blogging battery is that I caught another cold. (Another seems to be the word of the day.) I made the mistake of eating some broccolini off the plate of an elderly friend at Christmas lunch. I hate to see food wasted. Unfortunately, she informed the table that she was coming down with a cold after both her daughter and I ate her leftovers. And I thought vegetables were supposed to be good for you.

Happy New Years from New Orleans.

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Best Of Adrastos 2018

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: bad times are good for satire. As a citizen, I want things to improve but it’s been good for me as a blogger. My grand total for the year was 484 posts.  P is for prolific.

I started off with 100 possibilities and cut that in half for a grand total of 50. Who the hell has a top 50 list? I do and for the second year in a row. Blame a certain Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head.

A few of 2018’s best titles fell by the wayside including Shithead Says Shithole,  McMaster, Baited, Decorum Nevermorum and Butina Your Lip. Notice how I slipped those in. I’m sneaky that way.

Here’s the best of 2018 in chronological order:

January 11: Don Donaldo Wants To Wet His Beak

January 13: Saturday Odds & Sods: Eyes Of The World

January 29: Hush Money

January 30: Lost Cause Festers Do Mardi Gras

February 7: Eveybody Loves A Parade

February 14: Words Matter

February 21: Malaka Of The Week: Willard Mittbot Romney

February 28: The Oaf Keepers

March 1: White Girl, White Lies

March 3: Saturday Odds & Sods: Love For Sale

March 24: Saturday Odds & Sods: Caravan

April 4: The Fog Of Scandal

April 11: Speaker Disconnected

April 18: You Beto Your Life

April 25: The P-Word

April 28: Saturday Odds & Sods: Go Your Own Way

May 16: Tom Wolfe, R.I.P.

May 23: Crossfire Hurricane: Deep State, Deep Doo Doo

May 26: Saturday Odds & Sods: A Mess Of Blues

May 31 The Americans Thread: Brothers In Arms

June 1: Malaka Of The Week: Jesse Duplantis

June 4: It’s Good To Be Kaiser

June 18: Hostages To Misfortune

July 5: Destroyer

July 7: Saturday Odds & Sods: Get Together

July 11: Invasion Of The Federalist Society Body Snatchers

July 19: The Fog Of Scandal: The McFaul Guy Gambit

July 23: To Hell With The Trump Base

July 30: Paul Manafort Meets Dollar Bill Jefferson

August 2: Life Imitates The Untouchables: Scarface Paul Manafort

August 6: GOP SOP

August 17: The Incredible Shrinking Party

August 22: 8 Is The Magic Number

August 29: The Spirit Of ’05

September 1: Saturday Odds & Sods: Too Late To Turn Back Now

September 10: Malaka Of The Week: Ben Zahn

September 13: Book Review: Fear By Bob Woodward

September 15: Saturday Odds & Sods: Play It All Night Long

October 3: Schooldays

October 13: Saturday Odds & Sods: Late In The Evening

October 15: Of Dictator Coddling

October 17: The Buzz Word Election

October 22: From Bone Spurs To Bone Saws

November 1: Willie McCovey R.I.P.

November 12: Profiles In Phony Courage

November 21: Trump’s Sordid Saudi Word Salad

November 23: Trump Fatigue

November 26:  Mississippi Goddam

December 1: Saturday Odds & Sods: Deportee (Plane Crash At Los Gatos)

December 3: Poppy Bush

December 12:  Staff Infection

December 19: The Fog Of Scandal: No Sympathy For The Devil

December 21: That’s Why I Call Him The Kaiser Of Chaos

Our more pedantic readers may have noticed that the final total was 53. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time? I would hope so.

The last word goes to the good old Grateful Dead. Why? Why the hell not?

Actually, New Year’s Eve is why. Here’s the countdown from 1978 to 1979:

Jon Swift Roundup 2018

It’s that time of year again: Listomania is in the air. One of my favorite bloggers, Batocchio is carrying on a tradition started by the late Jon Swift/Al Weisel: a roundup of the best posts of the year as selected by the bloggers themselves.

My contribution to the Jon Swift Roundup 2018 is a post about Hope Hicks’ departure from the White House: White Girl, White Lies. It’s also featured in the upcoming Best of Adrastos edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. My attempts to winnow it down to a top forty have come a cropper (akimbo?) so it’s a top fifty again. What can I say? I’m my own biggest fan.

Here’s the featured image for the post included in the roundup:

All About Christmas Eve

No politics from me today. No insights about Christmas Eve either. I like the title since it evokes All About Eve, which was more about Margot Channing now that I think about it. It’s not about the 2012 teevee movie All About Christmas Eve either. That’s a good thing since I just heard of it. I’m not big on Lifetime or Hallmark holiday movies. They’re fruitcake for the eyes.

You’re probably wondering what this post is about. Me too. Oh yeah, I wanted to quote the boss lady telling the Insult Comedian to STFU on the tweeter tube yesterday.

I also want to wish everyone Happy Holidays from all of us at Adrastos World Headquarters. On to victory in the War on Christmas.

The last word goes to Brian Setzer:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Elf’s Lament

House on Tchoupitoulas Street by Dr. A

I was under the weather for several days, which means that this week’s outing will be somewhat truncated. I don’t have the full Odds & Sods spirit but I’m working on the Christmas spirit. It’s hard for someone inclined to root for Scrooge, the Grinch, and Mr. Potter but I’m giving it the old school try. I’m not quite sure which old school to apply to.

The featured image is a picture of a house a few blocks away from Adrastos World HQ. It’s always seasonally decorated by the elderly black lady who lives there with her son. During Carnival, they like to blast old school soul music. Good god, y’all.

This week’s theme song was written in 2004 by Ed Robertson for Barenaked for the Holidays. The studio version features a guest appearance by crooner Michael Bublé.  It’s unknown if Bublé brought bubbly to the session. The live version flat out rocks in an elvish way.

I’m still a bit enervated from my malady but let’s jump to the break anyway. Hopefully, that pesky Santa and his sleigh won’t be in the way. Neither Donner not Vixen likes me at all. I find Vixen vexatious so the feeling is mutual.

Continue reading

The Fog Of Scandal: No Sympathy For The Devil

I wrote a rather sympathetic piece about Michael Flynn after Team Mueller filed its sentencing memo. I’m not *retracting* that post BUT my empathy for the disgraced General is gone, baby, gone after the unsentencing hearing in Judge Emmet Sullivan’s courtroom. I’ve gone from “let him up easy” to “lock him up” in less than two weeks.

Flynn’s high-priced lawyers, from the establishment firm Covington & Burling, violated the first rule of litigation: NEVER PISS OFF THE JUDGE. Hell, I learned that on the first day of law school from my Jimmy Stewart soundalike civil procedure  professor, Gary Roberts.

The sin of Flynn’s mouthpieces was to imply in *their* sentencing memo that Flynn was tricked into lying to the FBI by Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe. They are, of course, the Feebs who have been demonized by the harpies of Trumpistan. Furthermore, the memo claimed that Flynn didn’t know that lying to the FBI was a crime.

To say these assertions are laughable is an understatement. Entrapment is a defense that rarely, if ever, works in Federal Court; just ask the Abscam defendants. Conspiracy theories are even less effective: stuff that flies on Fox News or Info Wars gets shot down in court.

Judge Sullivan was not amused:

Sullivan unloaded on Flynn for lying to the FBI in a January 2017 interview while he was serving in the highest levels of the federal government. The judge appeared outraged by assertions that Flynn was “entrapped” into making false statements to federal agents, as Flynn’s defense attorneys and supporters have suggested over the past few days.

Sullivan asked Flynn if he wanted to delay his sentencing in order “to challenge the circumstances under which” he was interviewed.

“No, your honor,” Flynn replied. “I was aware that lying to the FBI was a crime.”

“I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain for this criminal offense,” Sullivan said.

What’s the first rule of lititgation?

That’s a picture of my new hero, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan. The specious and downright ridiculous arguments by Flynn’s attorneys led to some plain speaking by the Judge.  It’s what the Brits would call a right bollocking.

When I first read the defense memo, I was gobsmacked by the refried conspiracy theories therein. It was a dumb move after the glowing words about Flynn’s co-operation from the Special Counsel’s Office. The memo blew up what should have been a semi-routine hearing and led to a delay in sentencing. Judge Sullivan would have sent Flynn to jail yesterday. I’m beginning to think that’s where he belongs as well. Watergate whistleblower John Dean was sentenced to 16 months and wound up serving 4 months in the slammer. After this stunt, why should Flynn get a sweeter deal than John Fucking Dean?

I’m not exactly sure what motivated this fuck up by Flynn’s lawyers but hubris is one word that comes to mind. Many wonder if they were fishing for a pardon, but once the extent of his co-operation is revealed, the president* may call Flynn a rat too. Remember: Judge Sullivan has read all the redacted bits of the sentencing memos. He knows the full extent of Flynn’s crimes. I suspect that the reason the Insult Comedian has been fluffing Flynn is that the disgraced General has implicated him. The worst case scenario remains in effect.

One of the sweetest things about the Flynn hearing is that it left egg on the faces of wingnut conspiracy theorists and Trump lackeys alike. Oh, happy day.

Since this is a followup to the more favorable The Fog Of Scandal: Hey Nineteen post, it has the same format including a featured image of the single cover. I somehow doubt Steely Dan would mind being lumped in with the Rolling Stones.

The last word is obvious:

Make that No Sympathy. LOCK HIM UP.

Satire & Its Discontents

The great American playwright George S. Kaufman once said, “satire is what closes on Saturday night.” If the Insult Comedian had even a lick of sense, he would have just ignored the It’s A Wonderful Trump SNL cold open instead of extending its life span by doing this:

There’s a picky thing called the First Amendment, Donald. It has always protected political speech even when it was more narrowly construed by the Supremes. It protects your endless lies and mindless tweets as well. As a conservative former co-worker of mine frequently said, “GREAT COUNTRY.” He used the phrase constantly even when it made no sense. Much like Donald’s NO COLLUSION mantra, which he uses on everything the way some people use ketchup. GREAT COUNTRY, NO COLLUSION.

The First Amendment protects both good satire and bad. That’s how I feel about this skit. It feels cliched, underwritten, and, I daresay, low energy. It’s A Wonderful Life has been parodied almost as much as A Christmas Carol and it’s getting long in the tooth.

It’s also time for Alec Baldwin’s Trump impression to be interred in an unmarked grave in Pottersville. It’s all shout and pout. It’s a pale shadow of Dana Carvey’s Poppy Bush or Will Farrell’s Dubya. They kept their material fresh and sharp. Baldwin’s Trump sounds like he spends too much time on Twitter. That may be realistic but it’s not the home of finely honed humor. GREAT COUNTRY, NO COLLUSION.

As you can see, the president* isn’t the only malcontent when it comes to the current state of SNL’s satire. They often come up with decent, albeit obvious, ideas, then execute them poorly. The best part of the sketch was Matt Damon as Justice Bro. As for the rest, ZZZ…

It’s ironic that a man I call the Insult Comedian has no sense of humor whatsoever. He practices the lowest form of “satire” with his incessant kicking down. The SNL sketch wasn’t funny but at least it kicks up at a target who richly deserves it. GREAT COUNTRY, NO COLLUSION.

I look forward to the day when we won’t talk about Trump and satirizing him will indeed “close on Saturday night.”

The last word is obvious:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Don’t Look Now

Dresden Street by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

I don’t usually go in for cross-cultural generalizations about the state of the world but for every rule, there’s an exception. And 2018 has been an exceptionally bad year. Hell meet hand basket.

The US, UK, and France have gone to political hell and back in 2018. Our main problem is obvious: a corrupt and deeply stupid president*. In Britain, they’re still paying the price for the Brexit referendum catastrophe, which has resulted in bad leadership in both of the “big parties” and political paralysis. In France, Emmanuel Macron compared himself to Charles DeGaulle once too often, now there are riots in the streets just like in DeGaulle’s day. In 1968, they waved red flags. In 2018, they wear yellow vests. There’s a good chance that Macron will be France’s third consecutive one-term president. Burning it down is not all it’s cracked up to be.

I wish I had solutions for these problems but I’m a pundit, not a prophet. I don’t even have a prophet and loss statement. I can hear them groaning all the way to Bunkie, so it’s time to move on.

This week’s theme song was written in 1969 by John Fogerty for CCR’s Willy and the Poor Boys album. The title has been shortened over time from Don’t Look Now (It Ain’t You or Me) by dropping the parenthetical aside. You may have noticed that I live for parenthetical asides but I can live with the deletion of this one. In fact, it’s a delightful deletion.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Creedence original and a 2005 cover by my main man Dave Alvin.

Don’t Look Now is also the title of a fine film by director Nicolas Roeg who died last month. And don’t look now is excellent advice when one jumps to the break: every time I peek, I get dizzier than Tommy Fucking Roe.

Continue reading