Category Archives: Diary

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Friday Guest Catblogging: Why We Don’t Have A Christmas Tree

My friend Kyle’s cat, Little Buddy, is the scamp’s scamp, the imp’s imp. He’s always up to something: trouble is his middle name.

Little Buddy’s most recent antics are seasonal in nature. If there’s a Christmas tree in the house, a cat will mess with it. One of our past cats, Manet, was a plant eater/puker. She and her furry cohort also enjoyed messing with Christmas trees. We surrendered to their dominance years ago, which is a good thing since PD is so strong that he could knock a tree over just by scent marking it.

Kyle is a drummer, so he’s made of sterner (sillier?) stuff. He has a tree as well as the aforementioned cat named Little Buddy. The two collide in these pictures.

Pearl Harbor Day Of My Mind

I had a dream that will live in infamy. Not really but it took place on the Pearl Harbor Day of my mind. It centered around the classic movie, From Here To Eternity.

For some reason, I was hanging out in a bar with Ernest Borgnine, Frank Sinatra, and Monty Clift. Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed were nowhere in sight, alas. I think Deborah was off canoodling on the beach with Burt Lancaster.

The air raid sirens went off and Borgnine bopped Sinatra in the bean with a bottle. They were clearly in character as Fatso Judson and Angelo Maggio respectively.

I awakened with a start at that point and the dream was over. I felt vaguely disappointed that I didn’t make Borgnine laugh. He had a great laugh. So it goes.

One more thing. The post title is meant to evoke Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of my Mind. The beat (poetry) goes on.

On Ceremonies

I hadn’t planned to watch any of Poppypalooza. I tuned into see how Trump interacted with his predecessors. Protocol saved the former presidents from having to sit next to the Current Occupant. They appear to have taken his phone away from him for the duration so the crazy anti-Mueller tweets will just have to wait.

Back to the state funeral. I sat down and was hooked. I’m a sucker for pomp and ceremony and since I’m neither a Poppy Bush hater nor idolator,  I enjoyed the speeches, especially the funny bits. It’s gotten a bit noxious to hear the political media go on about Bush but these were his friends and family. They’re entitled to gush. It’s human nature.

I’m honestly surprised that Poppy outlived his wife of 70 years by 8 months. My parents were married for almost 60 years and my mom lasted for only 5 months after Lou’s passing.

I mention my father not because he was a Poppy Bush fan (he was) but because we once had an interesting conversation about ceremonies when Jimmy Carter was president.

Lou: Why has your man Carter dropped so many public ceremonies?

Me: He ran as a man of the people.

Lou: <snort> The people *love* ceremonies. Hell, even you love ceremonies.

Me: You’re right. He should bring some of them back.

Lou: <laughs> I’m right? Maybe we should call your mother at work and tell her you said that.

Me: Well, there’s a first time for everything.

We rarely agreed on much of anything, which brings me to my next point. I saw some lefty twitteratti hating on Joe Biden for saying nice things about Poppy Bush as a person. People who say shit like that have probably never worked in politics. Like everywhere else in life, personal relationships matter in politics. It’s okay if Joe liked Poppy as a person. He still opposed his policies and planned to run against him in 1988 until fate, in the person of a Neil Kinnock speech, intervened.

The weirdest Poppypalooza tweet of the day came from a former W flack who is *not* a nice person:

Uh, Ari, he was there. The star of the show, in fact. Ari has never been able to get his facts straight. Long before Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ari was a liar for hire.

I didn’t say you had to like everyone in politics.

UPDATE: Fleischer is an Ari head. My man Walter Mondale was not there and Poppy was. It was his funeral, dude.

Neelyisms At The Bayou Brief

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. In case you’re wondering what a Neelyism is, here’s a nifty definition:

Neelyism (noun): a scripted aphorism made by chronic kibitzer and soundbite machine Sen. John Neely Kennedy.

I’ve never created a noun before. I’m as proud as Octodad before he was thrown out the house.

You may have heard that Neely isn’t running for Gret Stet Goober. I was already compiling Neelyisms but his withdrawal made it a hot topic. Thanks, Senator.

I’m hoping my noun creation will lead others to refer to the Senator as Neely. In politics, there’s only one John Kennedy, and his middle initial was F, not N.

The last word goes to this splendid image created by my publisher, Lamar White Jr,. and the fine folks at the Bayou Brief:

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

Roots by Frida Kahlo

I’ve been following the horrific events at the US-Mexico border. After a few weeks of relative quiet on the caravan front, the Insult Comedian has ramped up the war of words in this fake crisis. He added a new weapon to his usual arsenal of hot air and bullshit: tear gas. Trump claimed that it was “very safe tear gas” but there’s no such thing, especially since they tear gassed babies. Exposure to tear gas has detrimental effects on childhood development. It’s some nasty shit. I was exposed to tear gas in the Paris Metro many years ago. I don’t recall what the protest was about, but I recall feeling woozy, raspy, and weepy for hours after being tear gassed. I guess it wasn’t the “very safe” kind that Trump is so proud of. #sarcasm

Trump’s ridiculous claim that tear gas is “very safe” reminds me of an encounter with one of my Greek Greek relatives. I called him Theo (Uncle) Panos but he was married to my father’s  cousin. He was a proud and boisterous man who had a small business making and selling taverna-type chairs in the Monastiriki district in old Athens. He believed that everything Greek was the best. It was one reason he and Lou got on so well. I’ll never forget dining al fresco one evening with Panos and his family. There were flies swarming and  I kept shooing them away. Panos laughed and said, “Don’t worry. In Greece, the flies are clean and very safe.”

This week’s theme song was written in 1948 by Woody Guthrie and Martin Hoffman in protest of the racist treatment of Mexican nationals who perished in a plane crash in Los Gatos, California. 32 people died: 4 Americans and 28 Mexican migrant workers who were being deported to Mexico. The media of the day listed the names of the dead Yanquis but referred to the Mexicans solely as deportees.

Sometimes the “crash” in the title is replaced with “wreck” but the song remains the same. Deportee (Plane Crash at Los Gatos) is one of the great protest songs and has been recorded many times over the last 70 years.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: Woody Guthrie, Dave Alvin & Jimmie Gilmore, and Nancy Griffith.

Now that we’ve been deported, it’s time to jump to the break. We’ll try not to crash-land but I make no guarantees. Now where the hell did I put my parachute?

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Holiday

The Stillness Of Time by Salvador Dali

I originally thought I’d be able to write a full-blown Odds & Sods post this week. I was wrong. We spent Turkey Day pinballing from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and back again. Unlike Tommy, I’m not a deaf, dumb, and blind Pinball Wizard but I *am* stiff and sore from sitting in the car in heavy traffic and our pre and post Saints game hikes.

The Saintsgiving game was a bigger rout than the 31-17 final score indicates. The Saints-Falcons rivalry is intense but this isn’t the Dirty Birds’ year. It belongs to the New Orleans Saints. This is a special team: they’re fun to watch and have fun playing. The players are as likely to break out in random acts of dancing as the fans. This Saints team seems determined to put the fun back in the No Fun League.

The fans do their bit to support the team by getting LOUD. Check out the decibel level when the Falcons had the ball:

That’s Who concert loud, y’all. I kept waiting for them to play Long Live Rock There was the obligatory We Will Rock You sighting (sounding?) as well.

This week’s Saturday post may be truncated but we do have a theme song as well as a follow-up by the same artist. Ray Davies wrote Holiday for the klassic Kinks album Muswell Hillbillies. The follow-up comes from the Kinks underrated concept album, Soap Opera. Every time I hear Holiday Romance, I visualize Astaire and Rogers gliding across the dance floor.

That’s it for this abbreviated edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. I opened the post with a Salvador Dali painting. Let’s close things out with a picture of Dali and Alfred Hitchcock who are presumably discussing the dream sequence conceived by the artist for Spellbound.

Now Be Thankful

Adrastos’ late mother in her Chicago heyday.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m big on recurring features. It’s time for the second annual Thanksgiving tribute to my late mother. This year Dr. A and I will include the Super Dome in our holiday rounds, so it’s unclear if we’ll make all of our New Orleans stops but we’ll give it a shot. Go Saints.

That concludes this year’s introduction. On with the show, this it is:

The holidays are hard for me. I like Thanksgiving’s gluttonous aspects but it’s still hard for me. It’s when I think of my mother who died in 2001. My mother was the sort of person who took in strays for the holidays. We’d have up to 20 people around the table; some of whom were friends of friends of friends. Mom believed that everyone should have a home cooked meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of our guests for Christmas dinner were, in fact, Jewish. No Chinese food for her Jewish friends.

Mom spent the day before Thanksgiving, and the day of, cooking away. She was a perfectionist when it came to entertaining: no holiday buffets for her. We had to gather around the table and it had to have a starched white table-cloth. There were no paper plates or people eating whilst milling about: fine china, silver, and crystal were mandatory for the holidays. She was informal the rest of the year but holidays were state occasions when, as my father was wont to say, we put on the dog.

When I got old enough, one of my jobs was to set the table. I made sure that Mom had final approval: she wanted everything just so. I recall feeling triumphant one Thanksgiving: I’d set the table perfectly on the first try. There were usually changes but not that year. I was inordinately proud of myself but she admonished me not to get too cocky. It was the Midwestern Norwegian Lutheran in her coming out. She left the bragging to my dad. It’s what Greeks do, y’all. Not me, of course, other Greeks…

I also helped make a fresh cranberry/orange sauce from the recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray bag. We had a venerable hand-cranked grinder that had to be attached to the kitchen table. We spread newspaper around it because it was messy. There was a bucket at my feet to catch the bitter red cranberry drippings. Mom was not sentimental about her kitchen gadgets: she bought a food processor the first time she saw one. I was away from home and past the cranberry grinding, table setting phase of my life by then.

My favorite part of the traditional turkey dinner was the stuffing. I looked forward to it every year. It was loaded with herbs as well as pine nuts and chestnuts. We didn’t exactly roast them on an open fire but I helped shell the bastards. They were uncooperative, downright surly, actually. When I was really young, I was convinced they were alive but my no-nonsense mother disabused me of that notion. She informed me that I’d seen the Wizard of Oz one too many times. As usual, she was right.

Unfortunately, there was often conflict at the dinner table during the holidays. I’m the youngest of three by thirteen years. My sisters were off living life and I was raised more like an only child. I admit to liking it that way. My oldest sister thrives on drama and conflict. There was always one big row per holiday, which drove my poor mother crazy. She was always the woman in the middle. When she died, so did our nuclear family for reasons too complex to go into. The good news is that holidays are more tranquil but I miss the glue of my family.

Thanksgivings in Louisiana had a familiar feel when I moved here. It’s all about the food, y’all.  I married into an old Louisiana family and learned some new traditions. What’s not to love about oyster dressing? I still missed my mom’s stuffing. It was a part of me.

My first wife was a petite, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant spitfire. She took the idea of being a redhead seriously: she had a temper to match my own. Her mother took me in as one of her own but made it clear that when we moved to Baton Rouge, we’d have to tie the knot. Unfortunately, my wife’s family tree was a witches brew of genetic maladies and she died of cancer during what should have been her final year at LSU Law School.

She passed away a week before Thanksgiving so the holidays were rough sledding for me until I met and fell in love with the tall, feisty, beautiful, and brilliant woman known to you as Dr. A. The good news is that Dr. A and my mother-in-law instantly hit it off and she was admitted to the Louisiana family post-haste. It was Dr. A who started calling our Louisiana family the outlaws and the nickname stuck.

We spent many holidays with the outlaws in Red Stick over the years and are about to do so again. My mother-in-law has left the comfortable house that she shared with her late second husband Eddie to whom I pay tribute every Memorial Day. She’s 96 now and lives at St. James Place, which is a somewhat posh retirement community. We’ll be eating in the dining room but it’s still pretty darn homey: we’ve gotten to know many of the residents over the last decade. I am lucky that Dr. A and mother-in-law #1  get on so well. She is also a howling liberal (to use her own phrase) so there will be no Trump-driven conflict.

In recent years, we’ve expanded our Thanksgiving plans exponentially to what amounts to a triple-header. We have lunch in Red Stick, then it’s back to New Orleans for dinner with our friends Jennifer and Will and finally, unless we’re too wiped out, a nightcap with our de facto family: Cait, Dave, and the child army. It’s a sticky end to a long day and now I’m committed. I hope Dr. A won’t be too vexed with me but I fear the wrath of Cait as well as retribution from the child army of darkness.

I sat down to write a brief, nostalgic food-centric post and ended up explaining my tangled family tree. So it goes. I never hide the fact that I was a widower at a young age but I only tell people when asked how I came to the Gret Stet of Louisiana from California. It’s a long and painful story but I’m fortunate to have married well twice.

Family by choice are the best family of all but I still miss my mother. She could dance on my last nerve, but I miss our long conversations and teasing her about her crazy dog Brutus.

Mothers are powerful. They have the ability to make you revert to childhood. I know that many of your mothers get on your nerves. It’s what they do. Shrug it off and remember that they won’t always be with you. Around the holidays is when I miss my mom and Dr. A misses her charming, beautiful, and eccentric mother. Mother-in-law #2, however, was not a good cook and expected us to consume the radishes she’d lovingly cut. I hate radishes but her company was the best.

Happy Thanksgiving.

The last word goes to Fairport Convention with the gorgeous Richard Thompson song that gave this post its title:

Here’s another one from the songwriter. It’s a day for gluttony, after all:

Pulp Fiction Thursday will return next week.

Decorum, Nevermorum

Chris Wallace conducted one of the best televised Trump interviews thus far. The clips I’ve seen reminded me of his late father Mike who was one of the best and toughest interviewers in teevee history. The son may work for Fox but this interview would have made his father proud.

Trump has a new favorite word: decorum. He’s been using it, like some people in the Gret Stet of Louisiana use hot sauce, on everything in sight. It’s unclear if he knows what it means since he continues to display a lack of decorum: the Adam Schitt tweet springs to mind. If that’s decorous, Beavis and Butthead are highbrows. They’re not. Believe me.

The most unsettling portion of the Wallace interview was this exchange about retired Admiral McRaven:

WALLACE: Bill McRaven, retired admiral, Navy SEAL, 37 years, former head of US Special Operations —

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.

WALLACE: Special Operations —

TRUMP: Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan.

WALLACE: Who led the operations, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden, says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.

TRUMP: Okay, he’s a Hilary Clinton, uh, backer and an Obama backer and frankly —

WALLACE: He was a Navy SEAL 37 years —

TRUMP: Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice? You know, living — think of this — living in Pakistan, beautifully in Pakistan, in what I guess they considered a nice mansion, I don’t know, I’ve seen nicer. But living in Pakistan right next to the military academy, everybody in Pakistan knew he was there. And we give Pakistan $1.3 billion a year and they don’t tell him, they don’t tell him—

An incredulous Wallace then asks, “You’re not even going to give them credit for taking down bin Laden?” But by this point, Trump has pivoted to the separate question of whether American financial assistance to the government of Pakistan is a good idea.

This appears to be Trump’s sincere view: Any person or institution that would have the temerity to criticize him on any grounds is corrupt and incompetent and thus not worth listening to on any subject.

McRaven’s real “crime” in Trump’s eyes is that he rose to John Brennan’s defense after the former head spook’s security clearance was taken away.

Our readers know that I’m a liberal who has tremendous respect for the military. It’s rooted in a conversation I had with my father near the end of the Vietnam War. I was in the habit of ragging on servicemen at that point in time. Lou sat me down and said something like this:

“Son, I don’t like this war either. As far as I’m concerned you, either fight all out or you don’t fight at all. I was lucky enough to fight in a war I believed in, but if I hadn’t it wouldn’t have mattered. Those boys in Vietnam didn’t choose to go there. Save your harsh words for the politicians who got us into this mess, not the kids who are fighting there.”

I don’t recall the exact words but the sentiments have stuck with me. Admiral McRaven deserves the same respect my father urged me to have for our troops. He’s a brave and intelligent man who has served our country with distinction and honor. Donald Trump is a man with no honor whatsoever. He’s incapable of understanding people like McRaven or Robert Mueller. It’s one of the primary reasons he’s unfit to sit in the Oval Office and why he richly deserves the asterisk I’ve given his presidency.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. I suppose I shouldn’t use a punny title for a serious post but I cannot help myself. Y’all should know that by now.

I love, love, love Admiral McRaven’s surname, which evokes Poe’s classic poem. In my hands it comes out: Decorum, nevermorum.

I never claimed to be decorous or decorative for that matter. I could even be described as rotten to the decorum.

That is all.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Afterglow

San Giorgio Maggiore At Dusk by Claude Monet

The weird weather continues in New Orleans. We seem to have skipped fall and gone straight to winter. One day we ran the AC, the next the heater. As you saw yesterday, the cats are happy. They love blankets and space heaters. I could do without either. I hate the cold; a stance befitting someone who has lived most of their life in California and Louisiana.

The other down side of cold weather NOLA-style is that public places crank up the heat. I strolled to the grocery store the other day dressed for the great outdoors, I returned a sweaty mess since I had to walk fast to avoid the Valence Street rooster. I’m not a fan of chickens and this one is on the aggressive side.  I’d rather eat them than dodge them.

This week’s theme song was written by Tony Banks in 1976 for Genesis’ last pure prog album, Wind & Wuthering. Afterglow is a drop dead gorgeous song that closes the album as well as an era. It’s the last Genesis album featuring lead guitar player Steve Hackett who was missed almost as much by the band’s fans as Peter Gabriel.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Genesis original followed by the Classic Rock String Quartet.

Now that we’re afterglowing, let’s jump to the break. I promise a soft landing.

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