Category Archives: Film

Saturday Odds & Sods: Fortunate Son

Target by Jasper Johns.

John Fogerty wrote this week’s theme song in 1969 for Creedence’s Willy and the Poor Boys album. It’s an unusual protest song in that its protagonist is a soldier lashing out at the rich kids for whom he’s fighting.  Fogerty recently enjoined the Trump campaign from playing it at their rallies. They don’t get the irony: Donald Trump is precisely the sort of Fortunate Son that’s lambasted in the song.

We have three versions of Fortunate Son for your listening pleasure: the CCR original, John Fogerty live, and Fogerty live with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band.

I have “It aint me. It ain’t me” stuck in my head. Let’s dislodge it with this Dylan cover by Bryan Ferry:

Now that we’ve been mellowed out by Ferry’s silken tones, lets languidly jump to the break if such a thing is possible.

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Malaka Of The Week: Rudy Giuliani

Image by Michael F.

This is the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover’s second turn as malaka of the week. It’s quite an accomplishment for the Man Who Got Trump Impeached. It was made possible by Sacha Baron Cohen and his deranged alter ego Borat. He pranked the hell out of Rudy Giuliani in his latest moviefilm. And that is why Rudy Giuliani is malaka of the week.

I usually avoid literal malakatude, but it’s been a big deal this week. First, there was Jeffrey Toobin and the Zoom Dick Incident. I’m not defending him, but I like his books so I’m giving him a pass. Rudy Giuliani neither gets nor deserves a pass. On anything. Ever.

I waited to write this until Borat Subsequent Moviefilm went live on Amazon Prime. It was weird watching it in the morning, but life is weird nowadays. 2020, man.

In Borat’s return, an actress playing his daughter maneuvers Rudy into a room. The president’s* lawyer puts his hands down his pants. Then Borat bursts into the room and offers to give Rudy his “15-year-old” daughter. I put the age in quotes because the actress playing Borat’s offspring is not jailbait.

Borat tweeted a statement of support for the Man Who Got Trump Impeached:

Sacha Baron Cohen has been pranking prominent people since his Ali G days some twenty years ago. Anyone who falls for his shtick deserves whatever happens to them. In this instance, Rudy gives an entirely new meaning to the term abandoned laptop. And that is why Rudy Giuliani is malaka of the week.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Wang Dang Doodle

Brownstones by Jacob Lawrence.

We’re not playing hurricane dodgeball this week in New Orleans. It had to happen. In fact, we’re experiencing what some observers insist on calling a “cold front” but I call a cool front. As always, it’s likely to lead to an orgy of overdressing by locals desperate to wear non-summer clothes. My coats will remain in the closet. I might, however, be daring and wear a long-sleeved shirt. That’s as rad as I’m gonna get for now. It will be back in the eighties next week.

Willie Dixon wrote Wang Dang Doodle some time in 1959 or 1960. The chronology is almost as fuzzy as with this week’s Friday Cocktail Hour tune. Here’s how the songwriter described what the title of  this rollicking song means:

 In his autobiography, Dixon explained that the phrase “wang dang doodle” “meant a good time, especially if the guy came in from the South. A wang dang meant having a ball and a lot of dancing, they called it a rocking style so that’s what it meant to wang dang doodle”

We have four versions of Wang Dang Doodle for your listening pleasure: the original recording by Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor’s hit version, the Pointer Sisters, and the good old Grateful Dead who performed the song 96+ times. All night long, all night long.

Now that we’ve pitched a wang dang doodle, let’s jump to the break.

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The Campaign As Science Experiment

We begin with a few words about the featured image. It comes from a season-one episode of MASH: Yankee Doodle Doctor. Hawkeye is channeling Groucho and Trapper John is making like Harpo. Honk, honk. That’s a bit too highbrow for the Trump regime: they’re more like The Three Stooges or The Bowery Boys. For all we know, Donny from Queens could be Huntz Hall’s evil twin…

In the immortal words of REM, “let’s begin again, begin the begin.”

The Trump regime has openly joined the herd immunity stampede. Quack medicine is in the saddle at the White House and on the campaign trail. It’s well and truly Midsommar In America.

Herd immunity has been White House policy since Dr. Scott Atlas Shrugged became the head wrangler of the dormant COVID task force. They’re finally admitting it now that the Impeached Insult Comedian is holding swing state super-spreader events. He’s making bizarre claims of immunity and supernatural health. He’s not immune and he’s certainly not Superman.

We need a double-barreled musical antidote to the mishigas coming from Team Trump:

Long-time readers know my motto: there’s a Kinks song for every occasion. Thanks, Ray.

Mockery remains the best medicine when it comes to Team Trump, but this latest nonsense is deeply disturbing. They’re putting public health and safety at risk with their rallies, which pack unmasked Trumpers in close proximity to one another. Then there are the vague pronouncements on Trump’s health by his lackey, Dr. Sean Conley who should be investigated by whatever licensing agency he answers to.

The herd immunity stampede appalls Dr. A’s homey, NIH director Francis Collins:

“What I worry about with this is it’s being presented as if it’s a major alternative view that’s held by large numbers of experts in the scientific community. That is not true,” Collins, the NIH director, said in an interview.

“This is a fringe component of epidemiology. This is not mainstream science. It’s dangerous. It fits into the political views of certain parts of our confused political establishment,” he said. “I’m sure it will be an idea that someone can wrap themselves in as a justification for skipping wearing masks or social distancing and just doing whatever they damn well please.”

That’s the sound of mild-mannered Dr. Francis Collins boiling with righteous indignation. What does he know? He’s only one of the most eminent scientists in the world. Who needs experts when President* Pennywise’s gut instincts are in charge?

In other campaign news, the Kaiser of Chaos’ support among senior citizens is slipping. That could cost him Florida. He’s been trying to woo them back then he tweeted this out:

The picture is obscured. I don’t want to let them off the hook so here it is:

 

Mocking seniors strikes me as a weird way to win their votes back. But the Kaiser of Chaos is a weirdo.

Joey B. Shark struck back with a blunt attack on his opponent:

“You’re expendable. You’re forgettable. You’re virtually nobody. That’s how he sees seniors,” Biden told a crowd of senior voters on Tuesday. “The only senior that Donald Trump cares about — the only senior — is the senior Donald Trump.”

The 2020 campaign has become an ordeal thanks to the incumbent. They’re conducting a weird science experiment on the body politic. It will be interesting to see if President* Pennywise gets it right this time and calls it herd immunity, not herd mentality. Either way, it’s insanity.

The last word goes to Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and my homey Kris Kristofferson:

 

 

 

 

In 1492, Columbus Sailed The Ocean Blue

Team Trump was not content with pandering to Italian Americans on Columbus Day. They attacked “political correctness” as well:

Sadly, in recent years, radical activists have sought to undermine Christopher Columbus’s legacy.  These extremists seek to replace discussion of his vast contributions with talk of failings, his discoveries with atrocities, and his achievements with transgressions.  Rather than learn from our history, this radical ideology and its adherents seek to revise it, deprive it of any splendor, and mark it as inherently sinister.  They seek to squash any dissent from their orthodoxy.  We must not give in to these tactics or consent to such a bleak view of our history.  We must teach future generations about our storied heritage, starting with the protection of monuments to our intrepid heroes like Columbus.  This June, I signed an Executive Order to ensure that any person or group destroying or vandalizing a Federal monument, memorial, or statue is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This is a White House, not campaign statement. They don’t distinguish between the two. They’re equally incompetent at both so why not?

I’m not a “radical activist” but I agree with the Columbus revisionists. The White House statement left out the bits about corruption and slave trading. Details, details, details.

This statement is a perfect distillation of Trumpist grievance politics. You build a straw man, then burn it down. It’s a pity that they couldn’t work Hillary’s emails into it.

It’s time for my annual viewing of the Sopranos episode, Christopher. Some think it’s the worst episode in the Sopranos canon, but I like it. What can I tell ya? It beats the hell out of the two major movies made about Columbus who was played by two great actors neither of whom were remotely Italianate looking, Fredric March and Gerard Depardieu:

I have no idea why the March image looks like a baseball card. I wonder if there are stats on the back and stale bubblegum that tastes like cardboard in the pack? Questions, questions, questions.

As always, I think the best medicine against Trumpism is mockery and ridicule, especially when they put out such a ridiculous statement. I guess President* Pennywise doesn’t want to piss off his pals in la Cosa Nostra. Wise guys are one of the few groups Trump’s not eager to offend. He identifies with them, after all.

Here’s the Impeached Insult Comedian with his old buddies Big Paul Castellano, Fat Tony Salerno, and Roy Cohn:

Oops, I forgot to call him Don Donaldo Il Comico Insulto.

The last word of this meandering Columbus Day post goes to Burning Spear with a song that includes this refrain: “Christopher Columbus is a damn blasted liar.”

Saturday Odds & Sods: Delta Lady

Hummingbirds by Walter Anderson.

It’s been an unduly stressful week in New Orleans. For the sixth time this hurricane season, we were in the cone of uncertainty. My friend Chef Chris DeBarr calls it “hurricane dodgeball.”

Hurricane Delta obeyed what could be called Adrastos’ First Rule Of Hurricane Forecasting: If there’s a bull’s eye on New Orleans 4 or 5 days before a storm hits, it will not come here. It happened again. It’s pure luck but it beats the hell outta the alternative. Delta is following an eerily similar path to Hurricane Laura, alas. Best wishes to everyone in Southwestern Louisiana.

All is not gloom and doom in the New Orleans area. In suburban Pearl River, a man saw a Catholic priest having sex with two women. In the church. On the altar. The scene was being recorded. Instead of beating off like a proper pervert, the peeper called the cops. One could call this an altercation. But were they doing it dog collar style?

This story is funny because it involves consenting adults, which makes it an anomaly for the Catholic church. It turns out the women were rough trade. There’s been a raging dispute as to the plural spelling of dominatrix. Some say dominatrices but I’m sticking with dominatrixes because X is a funnier letter than C.

I’m feeling terse this week, so this will be a relatively short Saturday Odds & Sods. We will dispense with our second act altogether. I’m worn out from all the presidential* acting up so one less act sounds good to me.

This week’s theme song was written by Leon Russell in 1969. It was first recorded by Joe Cocker but I’m still putting Leon’s version first. I don’t want to trip over his beard or some such shit. Of course, both Leon and Joe are no longer with us.

We have three versions of Delta Lady for your listening pleasure: Leon Russell, Joe Cocker live with Leon Russell, and a mostly instrumental version by the great Rick Wakeman. It’s unclear if his cape attended the session.

One reason for the avian Walter Anderson featured image is that Leon Russell also wrote a song called Hummingbird:

Let’s fly or hover to the break. There may be pollen on the other side. Achoo.

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Debate Roundup: Return Of The Fly

We’ll call this semi-instant analysis as I wrote most of this post after the Crack Van closed. It was a bumpy ride and Scout could not get that pesky fly off the ham no matter how hard she tried. It kept coming back “more horrific than before.” The same goes for the unctuous soon-to-be former Veep.

Is it just me or did Mike Pence look ill during the debate? It’s unclear if the man even had a pulse, his performance was so low key. He appeared to have pink eye, which is a malady that hangs out with the ‘rona. He has been exposed repeatedly to folks who are COVID positive, after all. The man needs a quality PCR test pronto.

Then there was the real star of the evening, the fly on Pence’s head:

He never once shooed the damn fly away. There’s no way I could let a damn fly stay on my head unmolested for several minutes. It runs in the genes: my father could never let a fly go unswatted. He was known to chase them about the house in his pajamas and slippers. I am more dignified than that. I let the cats chase flies. They’d do it anyway. Thanks, kitties.

I plead guilty to being captivated by the fly on Pence’s head. I’d also never noticed what beady, shifty eyes he has. I don’t trust people with beady, shifty eyes. Never have, never will.

I’m biased but I thought Kamala Harris won the debate on both style and substance. She was lively and decidedly had a pulse. She hit all the major points that the campaign needed hit and she did it with passion and eloquence. To paraphrase Pat Benatar, she hit us with her best shot.

In contrast, Pence is a champion mansplainer. He talked over both Senator Harris and moderator Susan Page. He spoke without inflection or passion. He knows that they’re losing, which is one reason for the low wattage performance. Lordy, he was boring.

Pence was so laid back that I halfway expected him to take a cat nap. Perhaps he was channeling this song written by fellow Hoosier Hoagy Carmichael:

Wherever his debating style came from, he was condescending and patronizing to both his opponent and the moderator. Harris’ new catch phrase is: “I’m Speaking.”

Harris did what she had to do last night. Pence did not.

Let’s return to the fly. Imagine finishing third in a debate to your opponent and a fly. Sigh, Mike, sigh.

There are now 26 days until the election. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

The last word goes to Curtis Mayfield:

Saturday Odds & Sods: For What It’s Worth

Flying Eyeball by Rick Griffin.

Some call it fake fall, I call it a tease. Whatever you call it, the weather has been mild and temperate all week. I’m not going to say more about it because I don’t want to jinx it.

The city of New Orleans is entering Phase 3.1. They’re loosening more pandemic-related restrictions since we did not have a major post Labor Day spike. I thought we would, but I was wrong. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last. Punditting is risky business. I’m still not going inside bars or restaurants but I’m hoping more of them will be able to survive. Let my people go-cup. You’ll have to read 2020 Fatigue at Bayou Brief to get the reference.

Stephen Stills wrote this week’s theme song in 1966. It’s the protest song’s protest song. It was originally written about clashes between hippies and cops on the Sunset Strip, but it’s become a universal protest song. It’s still relevant in 2020.

We have four versions of For What It’s Worth for your listening pleasure: the Buffalo Springfield original; CSN live with Tom Petty; Keb Mo, and Billy Porter with Stephen Stills from this year’s DNC.

Now that battle lines have been drawn, let’s jump to the break.

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Pulp Fiction Thursday: Night Editor

It’s time for another Eddie Muller/Noir Alley special. Night Editor is a swell little noir based on a successful radio series. It was intended to be the first in a movie series but things didn’t go as planned.

Here’s Eddie on Night Editor in two parts:

Dig that crazy home Tiki Bar, y’all. It gave me an earworm:

Saturday Odds & Sods: You Won’t See Me

Masks by James Ensor.

It’s been cool all week in New Orleans. It’s unclear if Fall has fallen or it’s a cruel hoax. My money is on the latter. The heat doesn’t usually break here until sometime in October. The good news is that we’re not under threat of a tropical system. It feels odd not to be checking the spaghetti tracks every few hours but that’s another autumnal augury. End of obligatory weather-related opening passage.

This week’s theme song comes from one of my favorite Beatles albums, Rubber Soul. It was one of the first albums I ever owned. When my father saw the cover he said, “Those are the ugliest women I ever saw.”

To this day I’m uncertain whether or not Lou was joking. The only one who would have made an ugly woman was the drummer. Sorry, Ringo.

You Won’t See Me is a Macca song, but it’s credited to Lennon & McCartney as were all the pair’s songs. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have three versions of You Won’t See Me for your listening pleasure: The Beatles original, and covers by Bryan Ferry and Canadian songbird, Anne Murray.

I never expected to post an Anne Murray song at First Draft, but I might as well go big and post her monster hit from 1970:

Let’s spread our tiny wings and fly away to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Wasted On The Way

Three Musicians by Pablo Picasso.

New Orleans dodged a wet and windy bullet earlier this week. Hurricane Sally dumped two feet of rain in some areas on the Florida-Alabama border. I don’t guilty for being relieved. If I were Poseidon, I’d send all tropical systems out to sea. I do, however, feel bad for folks in the affected areas. They got slammed by that evil bitch Sally. Blow ill wind, blow.

I had put this feature to bed and tucked it in when I learned of Justice Ginsburg’s death. I wish everyone would dial their predictions back. It’s unclear what impact RBG’s death will have on the election. I also wish that those who admire Justice Ginsburg would show more respect for her passing, especially since it’s Rosh Hashanah. There was, however, a moment of unintentional levity when the crowd outside the Supreme Court started singing Amazing Grace. It’s a Christian hymn, y’all. I’ll have more on Ginsburg’s passing on Monday.

In some ways, this week’s theme song matches the featured image. Three Musicians = Crosby, Stills & Nash. Graham Nash wrote Wasted On The Way for CSN’s  1982 Daylight Again album. Eagle Timothy B. Schmitt added harmony vocals making that Four Musicians. So much for the Picasso analogy. Oh well, it was imperfect to begin with.

We have two versions of Wasted On The Way for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version without Timothy B. Schmitt. Go, Team Picasso.

Stills’ intro to the live version is poignant. I rarely do poignant but sometimes the mood strikes me.

Before we jump to the break, a Neil Young song from the Buffalo Springfield days:

Holy Wall Of Sound-style production, Batman.

Time to take the plunge. See you on the other side.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Stop The World- I Want To Get Off

Stop The World- I Want To Get Off is a title for our times. The stage show premiered on London’s West End in 1961. It told the story of a young man’s rise from lowly tea boy to rich dude. The setting was a circus; every time something bad happened to the lead character, he said “Stop the world.” Disappointed that it’s not about the apocalypse? Audiences in the Sixties were not.

On to the covers, we have the original Broadway cast album and the 1966 movie soundtrack album:

There was a 1978 revival of the show on Broadway.  Here’s the revival soundtrack starring Sammy Davis Jr:

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Six Months In A Leaky Boat

Blue Painting by Wassily Kandinsky.

It’s September and it’s still hotter than hell in New Orleans. Pandemic fatigue is widespread here just like everywhere else. Unfortunately, America didn’t do the work needed to suppress COVID-19 so we’re still muddling through.

The NFL season opens this week and I find myself utterly indifferent. I’m mildly amused by wingnut fans who say that they’ll boycott the season because the NFL has gone BLM on their asses. These are the same people who claim they want sports and politics on separate plains, make that separate planets. The Saints will be playing on Sunday at an empty Superdome. It’s hard to get excited about any of this. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written by Tim Finn in 1982 for Split Enz’s Time and Tide album. It refers to the amount of time that it took British pioneers to sail to New Zealand and is also a metaphor for the songwriter’s nervous breakdown. That’s a lot of substance for a song that still rocks like crazy.

We have three versions of Six Months In A Leaky Boat for your listening pleasure: The Split Enz original; a 2000 live version by Tim Finn, Bic Runga, and Dave Dobbyn and a 2006 performance by a reunited Enz featuring some stellar keyboard work by the great Eddie Rayner.

Kiwi singer-songwriter David Dobbyn has his own nautical classic:

Now that we’re all seasick, it’s time to don a life jacket and jump to the break.

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Friday Catblogging: Introducing Claire Trevor

We have a new kitty. She’s a two-year-old Calico whose previous person died. His family wouldn’t take her but we did.

She was rescued by the same person who gave us Paul Drake. The omens are good. In fact, if PD were still with us, she’d be his pesky kid sister. She was destined to join our family.

We named her after Claire Trevor one of my favorite actresses of the 1930’s and ’40s. She specialized in playing tough broads and femme fatales. Her namesake is on the shy side right now but she’s going to be something.

Here’s the Claire Trevor movie list I came up with for Saturday Odds & Sods last month:

My Top Ten Favorite Claire Trevor Movies:

  1. Stagecoach
  2. Key Largo
  3. Born To Kill
  4. Murder My Sweet
  5. Raw Deal
  6. Two Weeks In Another Town
  7. Crack Up
  8. Dead End
  9. Johnny Angel
  10. The High and the Mighty

Without further ado, here are some pictures of the wee lassie’s floor show. First, on PD’s favorite rug:

Here’s CT giving a dirty look worthy of the late great Della Street:

D Is For Dumb & Donald

News of the new Bob Woodward book, Rage, landed like a scandal tornado yesterday. I have mixed feelings about Woodward’s withholding the fact that President* Pennywise understood the threat that the virus posed and lied about it instead. I’m uncertain if an earlier release would have changed anything BUT others have differing views including First Draft/Crack Van regular, Lex Alexander, who wrote a pithy post titled, Bob Woodward Has Blood On His Hands. He has a point but I think the focus should be on Trump’s conduct, not Woodward’s ethics.

Trump’s defense is typically preposterous. He didn’t want to cause panic? That’s rich coming from the guy I call the Kaiser of Chaos. Panic is his middle name. I want to shake him like Paul Douglas did to this small-time crook in the pandemic classic, Panic In The Streets:

Panic and pandemonium are hallmarks of the Trump regime as is stupidity. The Impeached Insult Comedian has done a lot of dumb things in his life but sitting for 18 interviews with Bob Woodward takes the cake. He somehow thought he could talk the steely Woodward into giving him good publicity:

CNN reported on Wednesday night that Trump was dead set on granting interviews with Woodward, who was working on a book about Trump titled “Rage,” to boost his image, with the President reportedly relying on his experience as a salesman to present himself in a positive light.

White House aides “repeatedly” warned Trump against speaking to the dogged reporter, a source told CNN, but as usual, the President ignored their advice and acted on his own instincts instead.

Once again, Trump’s instincts were wrong. He knew Woodward was recording him, but he babbled and bragged anyway. The presidency is not a real estate deal and, whatever his flaws, Bob Woodward is not an easy mark. Lordy, there *are* Trump tapes.

The right is flummoxed by this news. They’re blaming everyone but Dumb Donald for this latest catastrophe. My favorite is Tucker Carlson blaming Lindsey Graham:

I know who’s to blame: Donald Trump and his arrogance and stupidity. Make that tremendous stupidity. He’s too dumb to be president*. Believe me.

The last word goes to Todd Rundgren:

The Fugazi Presidency*

The Kaiser of Chaos treats the government as his personal plaything.  He also has trouble discerning a fake from the real deal:

President Donald Trump’s November 2018 trip to France is again in the news because of his canceled trip to a cemetery for fallen Marines and allegations that he disparaged veterans. But Bloomberg reports on another aspect of the trip that raised more than a few eyebrows. After Trump’s cemetery trip was canceled, the president suddenly had a few hours to kill inside the U.S. ambassador’s historic residence in Paris and it seems that during that time he took a particular liking to a few pieces of art. The next day, he ordered a Benjamin Franklin bust, a Franklin portrait and a set of figurines of Greek mythical characters be loaded on Air Force One to go back to Washington with him, reports Bloomberg.

<SNIP>

The art was reportedly worth some $750,000 and the White House may have called them “historical” but the truth is that they were fakes and replicas. The figurines that now sit in the Oval Office are from the early 20th century by an artist who was trying to claim they were from the 16th or 17 centuries. The figurines have little value and are really “20th century fakes of wannabe 17th century sculptures,” according to an art dealer. The Franklin bust and portrait were also copies of the originals. White House officials ended up borrowing the original portrait from the National Portrait Gallery and hanging it up in the Oval Office rather than the replica Trump brought back from France

The joke’s on you, Donny. You’re the fake. Ben Franklin was the real deal.

I bet the Impeached Insult Comedian doesn’t know that Franklin was the first Postmaster General. It was an important job back then, not one for flunkies and donors. It used to be DeLovely, not DeJoy:

 

This story is an excellent metaphor for the Trump presidency*. He’s a fake tough guy. He’s a fake billionaire. He has a fake tan and fake hair. Nothing about him is real. It’s the Fugazi presidency*.

That reminds me of a more convincing fake gangster, Al Pacino as Lefty Ruggiero in Donnie Brasco:

What? No apostrophe? Did President* Pennywise make that GIF? Punctuation isn’t his strong suit either. He might, however, warn Lefty that Donnie is an agent of the deep state.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Turn It On Again

Tomato Soup Cans by Andy Warhol.

I’ve been rationing my Twitter use lately so I missed out on Trump soup canapalooza. This week’s featured image is my sole contribution now that it’s been beat to death. I’m also tired of talking about the Impeached Insult Comedian. It’s Joey Shark’s secret weapon in the campaign: people would like a break from politics from time-to-time. I’m not the only one suffering from Trump fatigue.

It’s time for a First Draft housekeeping note. The Friday Cocktail Hour was bumped so My Uncle Was A ‘Loser’ wouldn’t have to share the spotlight. I put a great deal of emotion and passion into that post. The reaction has been most gratifying. The Friday Cocktail Hour will return next week with a Duke Ellington song. Nothing but the best for my readers.

This week’s theme song was written by Tony Banks, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford for the 1980 Genesis album, Duke. Rutherford’s lyrics are about someone who watches way too much teevee and confuses it with real life. Much like the Kaiser of Chaos. So much for my avowed Trump fatigue.

We have two versions of Turn It On Again for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version:

One could even describe the character in this week’s theme song as follows:

Since we’ve reached a turning point in this week’s outing, let’s jump to the break.

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A Shot In The Dark

Donald Trump is such a bad president* that he’s turning me into an anti-vaxxer. The same administration that brought you herd immunity bleach as a cure-all, and demon semen is determined to rush a COVID vaccine to market just time for the 2020 election:

The Trump administration is doubling down on distributing a COVID-19 vaccine before Election Day, aligning the timeline for a crucial public health measure with the President’s political fortunes.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control sent a letter last week to state governors asking that they prepare to have vaccine distribution facilities be “fully operational” by Nov. 1, and that the states waive requirements that would purportedly prevent a private vendor from meeting that deadline.

The CDC followed the letter with additional materials telling states to be ready to distribute the vaccine by late October.

Thanks to the Kaiser of Chaos, the CDC has lost its credibility. This frenetic rush to come up with a “miracle cure” has all the earmarks of Trumpism: haste, stupidity, and corruption. It’s also given me a very short earworm:

Now that Team Trump has taken a wrecking ball to the CDC, they’re out to destroy the FDA:

In so doing, experts say, Trump is taking a sledgehammer to trust two institutions critical to public health: vaccines and the Food and Drug Administration, responsible for ensuring safety in drugs and other treatments.

The Aug. 27 CDC letter sent by Dr. Robert Redfield does not condition the vaccine on whether the FDA has approved one for use.

Rather, the letter “urgently” asks that state waive safety regulations for vaccine distribution “that would prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by November 1, 2020.”

“I think that the key to do with timing is really the FDA approval,” Claire Hannan, executive director of the association of immunization managers, told TPM. “And the timing of that is just unknown, and we don’t want to race to a certain date because we want that approval to be done thoroughly and correctly.”

The FDA process is slow and methodical as it should be. Neither word applies to Operation Warp Speed, the Trumper vaccine program. As with herd immunity, rushing a vaccine to market is something that has been tried and failed. If you don’t believe me, read this piece by Rick Perlstein:

The failed 1976 Ford vaccine plan was used against the Swine Flu. In 2020, we have a swine for president*.

If the Trump regime were truly dedicated to finding a COVID vaccine, they wouldn’t have refused to co-operate with the WHO. The World Health Organization, not the band. Of course, I trust Pete and Roger a helluva lot more than I do President* Pennywise.

I hate to slander the sainted name of Inspector Clouseau by comparing the Impeached Insult Comedian to him. But if the ill-fitting trench coat fits, so be it. Team Trump is displaying all the subtlety and grace that Clouseau was known for without any of his sweetness. The Darnold talks funny too.

When I said I had become an anti-vaxxer, I was joking. I’m only opposed to a vaccine that’s sponsored by the Inspector Clouseau of presidents* and his accursed son-in-law; both of whom are likely to get a cut of the proceeds. It’s how this gangster regime works. The whole thing brings out my inner Chief Inspector Dreyfus:

This attempt to rush a COVID vaccine is another sign of Donald’s desperation to win a second term. He’s doing it for the adulation from the marks he’s duped into following him. That adulation is why he can’t repudiate *anyone* who supports him regardless of how loathsome they are. If you worship the false prophet from Astoria Queens, you’re a very fine person. It’s enough to drive a sane person mad. It’s the same effect Clouseau had on Chief Inspector Dreyfus at the end of Return of the Pink Panther:

There were six Pink Panther movies featuring Peter Sellers as Clouseau and Herbert Lom as Dreyfus. It’s time for voters to deny the Kaiser of Chaos a sequel by asking themselves this question posed by The Who, the band not the World Health Organization:

Midsommar In America

Midsommar was one of the weirdest hit movies in recent years. It’s a folk horror film about 4 young Americans who visit Sweden to attend a bizarre variation on the annual Midsommar/Summer Solstice festival. The film tells the tale of a cult who performs human sacrifices. It’s powerful but strictly fictional stuff. As far as I know, there are no Midsommar death cults except in the corridors of power in Stockholm and Washington.

The first time I mentally linked the movie Midsommar to the pandemic was when the Swedish government experimented with the use of herd immunity to combat COVID-19. It was a disaster leading to the highest death rate in Europe.

Guess who’s thinking of trying herd immunity here?

One of President Trump’s top medical advisers is urging the White House to embrace a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to combat the pandemic, which would entail allowing the coronavirus to spread through most of the population to quickly build resistance to the virus, while taking steps to protect those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

The administration has already begun to implement some policies along these lines, according to current and former officials as well as experts, particularly with regard to testing.

The approach’s chief proponent is Scott Atlas, a neuroradiologist and fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, who joined the White House in August as a pandemic adviser. He has advocated that the United States adopt the model Sweden has used to respond to the virus outbreak, according to these officials, which relies on lifting restrictions so healthy people can build immunity to the disease rather than limiting social and business interactions to prevent the virus from spreading.

Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been heavily criticized by public health officials and infectious-disease experts as reckless — the country’s infection and death rates are among the world’s highest. It also hasn’t escaped the deep economic problems resulting from the pandemic.

But Sweden’s approach has gained support among some conservatives who argue that social distancing restrictions are crushing the economy and infringing on people’s liberties.

Freedom, man.

You know things are weird when right-wing Americans want to emulate the Swedish government in anything. With its cradle-to-grave welfare state, Sweden has long been anathema to the American right. Then came COVID and the herd immunity theory. Who knew that freedom and rugged individualism were synonymous with death?

Estimates for the share of a population that would need to be infected have ranged from 20 percent to 70 percent. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said that given the transmissibility of the novel coronavirus, it is likely that about 65 to 70 percent of a population would need to become infected to achieve herd immunity.

In the United States, with a population of 328 million, reaching a 65 percent threshold for herd immunity may require 2.13 million deaths, assuming the virus has a 1 percent fatality rate, according to an analysis by The Post.

Freedom, man.

The high priest of the Trump regime’s death cult is a libertarian doctor named Scott Atlas. He has not practiced medicine in 8 years but has President* Pennywise’s ear in as much as that windbag listens to anyone.

The name Atlas also evokes this old comic book ad:

In the ad, muscleman Charles Atlas claims he can make a man out of a wimp who had sand kicked in his face on the beach. Scott Atlas advises the sand-kicking bully who I call the Impeached Insult Comedian. They’ve gone from sand-kicking to human sacrifice in the blink of an eye.

We’ve heard other Trumpers advocate letting the elderly die for the good of society. It’s a fallacy that only old people die of COVID-19: some 25,000 people under 65 have died of it. That number will rise dramatically if the administration “goes herd.”

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that Team Trump is using the Ayn Rand playbook. This is a country in which an Idaho state senator has proposed making Atlas Shrugged required reading for high school students, after all. What have they done to deserve Rand’s turgid, dull prose? Freedom, man.

Another Atlas is shrugging right now: Dr. Scott the current high priest of the Trump/Midsommar death cult. Freedom, man.

The GOP is allegedly pro-life. It’s an ironic label given the Trump regime’s disastrous handling of the pandemic. They’ve gone from “Morning in America” in 1984 to Midsommar in America in 2020.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the last word goes to the trailer for Midsommar:

Bits & Bobs, Not Odds & Sods

Tropical Storm Marco replicated the 2016 Rubio campaign and fell apart. It’s unclear if it will become Hurricane Laura’s sycophant thereby perfecting the Rubio-Trump analogy.

Since I wrote the bulk of this post on Tuesday and may never have another chance to repeat my Goodbye Rubio Tuesday pun, ladies and gentleman, the Rolling Stones:

 

We did not lose power but I’m still feeling triggered since Laura has blown up into a major storm. It’s not coming here but I haven’t felt this jittery about a tropical system since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew wandered the Gulf like a mendicant seeking alms, so everyone spent days on edge waiting for it to light. My then landlords/upstairs neighbors first evacuated east then west. They landed in Baton Rouge, which was where Andrew ended up after knocking the Miami area on its ass. That concludes this walk down hurricane alley memory lane. At least Carl Hiaasen got a good book out of the Andrew mishigas:

The combination of two tropical systems, memories of 2005, the pandemic, Paul Drake’s death, and the neo-Nuremberg rally held by the GOP have me feeling overwhelmed. I had originally planned to write a Katrinaversary column for the Bayou Brief this week. It will have to wait until next week. I don’t feel like dredging up those memories until Laura has left the stage. I’m *almost* as confused as Dana Andrews in the featured image right now.

My regular features Album Cover Art Wednesday, Pulp Fiction Thursday, Friday Catblogging, and even Saturday Odds & Sods are on hurricane hiatus this week.  I already cooked up something tasty for the Friday Cocktail Hour before feeling so rattled by events.

 

I have some random and discursive thoughts about what’s going on in my world and your world. I suspect they’ll be more scattered than usual, but I think I can muster some jokes.

There are two things I hate as much as endless storm chatter. First, people complaining when a storm is NOT as bad as forecast. Out of an abundance of caution, there were many Monday closures for Marco. Nobody should whine and moan about that, especially if it’s a large institution. They have to pull the trigger 16 to 24 hours in advance. Y’all should be happy that it was a dull Monday, not angry. No wonder I feel triggered.

I also hate the patronizing tone that our leaders adopt during a storm. In New Orleans, we’re hurricane professionals. We know the drill. We don’t need the Mayor or Governor talking down to us. Of course, the word patronizing sums up Mayor Cantrell’s style. Voter’s remorse thy name is Adrastos.

My social media feeds are consumed with storm chatter and the Republican convention. I used to watch both major conventions gavel-to-gavel but who needs to see Gavin Newsome’s ex-wife scream? Additionally, all of Trump’s speeches are variations on the theme of me, me, me. I’m glad the Kaiser of Chaos is speaking each day. Repeat after me: every time he opens his mouth, he loses votes.

The Republican Party has declared intellectual bankruptcy. They have no platform other than: In President* Pennywise We Trust. I’m surprised they didn’t advocate adding his head to Mount Rushmore and replacing General/President Grant on the fifty-dollar bill with the Impeached Insult Comedian. The Lost Causers don’t like Uly, but they adore the Racist-In-Chief.

I’m uncertain what to make of the War of the Conways. While it could be a scam, it’s hard for parents to talk teenagers into anything so it might be genuine. Beats the hell outta me. One thing is certain: they’d never cast Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as George and Kellyanne.

Danny DeVito, however, might work as George.

I realized how little I’d missed Adam Nagourney’s punditry when the Gray Lady published his ludicrous ruminations on how Trump could still win in 2020. Adam’s solution is that the Impeached Insult Comedian should imitate Poppy Bush in 1988. The analogy falls apart for a variety of reasons:

  1.  Michael Dukakis was a cold fish. Joe Biden is Mr. Empathy.
  2.  Bush was the Veep, not the president. People also liked him and his boss.
  3.  The Reagan record did not include 175K and counting deaths caused by their grotesque incompetence.

It’s also distressing that anyone at the Failing New York Times should be in the business of advising Team Trump. I know they’re big on both-siderism, but this is ridiculous. Only The Tubes can wash Nagourney’s nitwittery out of my hair:

 

Now that I’ve bashed the Gray Lady, it’s time to take a whack at the Amazon Post. I don’t understand why everyone’s hair is on fire about the NYT oped page when bootlicking Trumper Hugh Hewitt writes for the WaPo. He makes Brett Stephens look like Tom Wicker. Hewitt is an embarrassment to Hughs past and present: from Grant to Downs. There should be a hugh and cry for his removal…

A brief explanation of the post title. Like Odds & Sods, Bits & Bobs is a Britsim for Bits & Pieces. Sustained thought is beyond me right now.

The last word goes to Boston with today’s earworm: