Category Archives: Film

Friday Catblogging: The Other Claire Trevor

Here’s my kitty’s namesake cuddling with a Maine coon kitten in the 1952 movie, My Man and I.

Next, a picture of Claire’s hand with Nikki, the same cat from the same movie:

A Postcard From Hollywood

Greetings From Hollywood

I’ve been kinda serious the past few posts so I’ve decided in honor of 2021’s Oscar pageant this coming Sunday let’s have some fun. Here are some of my favorite Oscar trivia questions. Go ahead and Google the answer if you want, but I promise you it’s more fun to just play along. No points given, none taken away. By the way, I’m going to use the generic term “actor” to mean both male and female actors.

First of all, a basic question. How long does a film have to be to be considered a feature (as opposed to a short subject) by the Academy?

40 minutes. I don’t know who came up with that, but I’d sure as hell be POed if I paid twelve bucks to see a feature that only lasted 40 minutes. On the other hand, if THE ENGLISH PATIENT had only been 40 minutes I might have liked it better. By the way, the shortest run time for a movie that won Best Picture is 91 minutes, MARTY.

From shortest to longest. What movie nominated for Best Picture had the longest title?

If you said BIRDMAN (OR THE UNEXPECTED VIRTURE OF IGNORANCE) I’d give you half a point if we were keeping score. It’s the longest title for a movie that won Best Picture. But the longest title for a movie nominated goes to, of course how could you not get this, DR. STRANGELOVE OR HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB. Another Oscar fact about Strangelove, the man who played him, Peter Sellers, also played Group Captain Lionel Mandrake and President Merkin Muffly and thus is the only actor to be nominated for playing three roles in the same film.

Well then let’s get familial. What family has the most nominations for Oscars? I’m talking about a blood relationship, no married into the family, no in-laws, a direct blood relationship.

I know the impulse is to say the Fondas or the Hustons or the Coppolas, but the actual answer is the Newmans. And I ain’t talking about Paul. I’m talking about Alfred (45 nominations), his brothers Emil (1) and Lionel (11), his sons David (1) and Thomas (16) and his nephew Randy (22). That’s 96 nominations between them, all for musical scoring or original song.  To put that into perspective including this year there have only been 93 Academy Award ceremonies. In this most unprecedented of years it is almost unprecedented that no Newman scored a nomination this year.

Staying in the family, what two couples won acting Oscars while married to one another?

The first was Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, he for HAMLET and she for, no not GONE WITH THE WIND (they weren’t married yet) but for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. The second were those Newmans again! This time, yes, Paul for THE COLOR OF MONEY and Joanne Woodward for THE THREE FACES OF EVE. By the way, Vivian Leigh holds a distinction shared with Luise Rainer and Hilary Swank as the only actors to have a 1.000 Oscar batting average, two nominations, two wins. Sally Field used to be a fourth but she spiraled her average down to .667 by being nominated for Supporting Actress in LINCOLN and losing. But other than that how was the play Sally?

Speaking of multiples, who are the six actors to be nominated for playing the same character in two different movies?

Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley for GOING MY WAY and THE BELLS OF SAINT MARY’S, Al Pacino as Michael Corelone in THE GODFATHER and THE GODFATHER PART II, Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I in ELIZABETH and ELIZABETH THE GOLDEN AGE, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in ROCKY and CREED (bet that one you forgot about), Peter O’Toole as King Henry II in BECKET and THE LION IN WINTER and finally, holy crap it’s that Newman fellow again in THE HUSTLER and THE COLOR OF MONEY. Of the six the only winners were Newman for the sequel and Crosby for the original.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Pictures Of Matchstick Men

Main Press by LS Lowry.

The weather has been horrendous in New Orleans this week. We’ve had high winds, thunderstorms, and torrential rain. One day it looked as if we were having a tropical system out of season. I hate thunderstorms, they’re like heavy metal. I hate heavy metal.

It’s been so bad that we’ve had to work around the weather for fear of street flooding. Dr. A went to work preposterously early yesterday because she was administering an exam. I was so grateful that the garbage men closed the bin lid that I went on the porch and thanked them.

This week’s theme song was written by Francis Rossi for Status Quo’s 1968 album Picturesque Matchstickable Messages from the Status Quo. How’s that for a long ass title? It was to be the band’s only major hit single in the US&A.

The song was inspired by the paintings of Mancunian artist LS Lowry. He pretended to be an unsophisticated artist but had serious chops as a painter. Lowry also excelled at myth creation often telling wildly contradictory stories. His painting Main Press is this week’s featured image.

There’s some dispute as to whether Lowry should be called a Mancunian artist since he lived in nearby Salford. But I like saying Mancunian so I’m sticking with it. FYI, a Mancunian is someone who hails from Manchester, England, mate.  Who the hell wants to be a Salfordian or is that Salfordite?

We have three versions of Pictures Of Matchstick Men for your listening pleasure: the studio original, Status Quo live, and a 1989 cover by Camper Van Beethoven, which was a hit in the US&A.

We’re not finished with matchstick men, here’s a 2018 song written and recorded by Mark Knopfler:

Now that we’ve pondered matchstick men in music and art, let’s strike quickly and jump to the break.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: A Hard Day’s Night

My second jab side effects were worse than the first but only lasted for 3 days then vanished. It was weird to walk like a drunk when  stone cold sober, which is why I spent most of my time on the couch.

When did the furniture people start calling a couch a sofa? I can go either way, but sofa potato isn’t as evocative as couch potato. I wonder which one the man who couldn’t spell potatoes, J Danforth Quayle, uses. Ah, the small mysteries of life.

I’m still watching bits and bobs of the Chauvin trial. My dislike for defense lawyer, Eric Nelson grows daily. If I were devising a drinking game for the trial every time he says “right” “correct” “agree” you take a shot. A surefire way to get shit faced drunk, right?

Despite the album cover featured image, it’s Saturday, not Wednesday. I didn’t mean to confuse anyone; that was a lie, I take great joy in sowing confusion across the land instead of either sleeping like a log or working like a dog.

This week’s theme song was written by Lennon and McCartney in 1964 for the movie of the same title. It has always been one of my favorite Beatles tunes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have four versions of A Hard Day’s Night for your listening pleasure: the Fab Four, Perez Prado, the Smithereens, and Miss Peggy Lee.

Peggy Lee? Yes, Norma Engstrom herself. Paul McCartney was a big fan and gave her a song to record after seeing her perform in London in 1974.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Since that’s my favorite Beatley quote, here’s the song it comes from; in German too.

Ja, ja, ja.

Let’s jump to the break. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Continue reading

The Thinning Blue Line

I paid another extended visit to the Derek Chauvin trial yesterday. I wanted to see Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s testimony. I was not disappointed.

The Chief’s demeanor goes against all the cop stereotypes. He’s a calm and soft-spoken man who thinks before speaking as opposed to the blustery cops we’re more familiar with from both real life and fiction. These qualities made him a devastating witness for the prosecution. I was tempted to make a Marlene Dietrich or Tyrone Power joke but decided to skip it; more or less.

The Chief made it clear that Chauvin’s actions on that fateful May evening violated departmental policy:

“To continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back — that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy,” said the chief, Medaria Arradondo. “It is not part of our training. And it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”

It’s extraordinarily rare for a police chief to testify against one of their officers but it’s not the first time for Arradondo:

 In 2017, he became its first Black chief after his predecessor was forced out in the wake of a police shooting: Another officer, Mohamed Noor, was accused of murder in the fatal shooting of Justine Ruszczyk, who had called the police to report what she thought was a sexual assault of a woman in an alley behind her home.

In one of the few previous instances of a police chief testifying for the prosecution against an officer, Chief Arradondo took the stand in that case as well; Mr. Noor was ultimately convicted of third-degree murder.

The Chief kept his cool while under cross-examination by pesky, annoying defense attorney Eric Nelson. He has a nasty habit of ending every question with either “right” or “agreed.” He laid several rhetorical traps for the Chief who declined to take the bait.

Given the weakness of the defense’s case, Nelson kept posing hypothetical questions to muddy the waters. Arradondo listened carefully and thought before replying as well as asking Nelson to repeat his questions. Nelson is a wordy lawyer who often trips himself up because he’s in love with his own voice. It’s an occupational hazard.

The Chief has a long record of independence: he sued his own department for racial discrimination and served as the head of internal affairs; not a post that’s guaranteed to win friends among old school coppers.

Arradando was the third senior police officer to testify against Chauvin. His former supervisor and the head of the department’s homicide bureau chimed in earlier. The thin blue line may not be vanishing in Minneapolis but it’s eroding.

One thing I’m not going to do is to predict a verdict. That’s a sucker’s game. I do, however, think that the Chief’s testimony reduced the chances of an outright acquittal as has the defendant’s demeanor. He rarely makes eye contact with the jury instead scribbling notes even when nothing is happening in the courtroom. Chauvin is lucky he’s required to wear a mask: I have a hunch he’s scowling under it. He’s such a cold fish that the visitor’s seat behind the defense table has been empty every day. I’d feel sorry for another defendant but not this guy.

Back to possible outcomes. It will take more than one holdout to hang this jury. It’s difficult for a lone juror to resist peer pressure and refuse to compromise. That’s why Henry Fonda was cast in Twelve Angry Men. It was plausible that the guy who played Young Mr. Lincoln, Tom Joad, Wyatt Earp, and Mr. Roberts would stand on principle and buck the majority. There are few Henry Fondas in real life. It always comes back to John Ford movies with me, doesn’t it?

I’m cautiously optimistic about the trial. My only quibble with the prosecution is they’re using too many lawyers: five by my reckoning. That gives Nelson the chance to play David to the prosecution’s Goliath. Nobody roots for Goliath. But given the complexity of the evidence, it’s understandable. Besides, Nelson is *not* a likeable lawyer so this is a push.

The blue line may be thinning in Minneapolis but whether or not it will happen elsewhere is a different story. If a department has a reform minded chief, it can happen, but we’ve ridden the reform rollercoaster several times in New Orleans. We had a reform chief in Richard Pennington from 1994-2002. NOPD suffered a relapse of “old school” policing after the storm and federal flood so pronounced that a consent decree was imposed by the Feds in 2013. It requires not only strong leadership but eternal vigilance. And you know what they say about that.

A final note about Chief Arradando’s surname. It’s similar to that of longtime WWL-TV weatherman Carl Arredondo.  Carl, too, is a calm man who radiates knowledge and authority. He was my go-to guy during hurricane season: when he looked grim on the Friday before Katrina hit, I knew we were in for it. He had to retire in 2019 because he’s going blind. I wish him well. The same goes for Chief Arradando. Hopefully, he won’t reap the whirlwind after this trial concludes.

The last word goes to Roxy Music:

Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin

Hack Looks Askance At Hick Schtick.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

Thus spake Willie Stark in Robert Rossen’s brilliant film adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s All The King’s Men. The line was adapted from advice Willie’s fixer Jack Burden gave him in the book after Willie delivered a dull speech:

“Just tell ’em you’re gonna soak the fat boys and forget the rest of the tax stuff…Willie, make ’em cry, make ’em laugh, make ’em mad, even mad at you. Stir them up and they’ll love it and come back for more, but, for heaven’s sakes, don’t try to improve their minds.”

I realize that sounds like something that pardoned felon Steve Bannon would have said to the Impeached Insult Comedian, but it’s sound advice for any politician even an honest one like Joe Biden. It certainly fits the time we live in:

Quite literally, the super-rich got richer, and the poor got poorer during the pandemic.

Repeat after me: Soak The Fat Boys & Spread It Out Thin.

One way to do this is to enact the Biden administration’s increase in corporate taxes. Another more satisfying way is to enact the Wealth Tax proposed by Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren. It will make the fat boys squeal like the pigs they are.

But will the Emperor of the Senate Joe Manchin support such a surtax? He’s from one of the poorest states in the Union but raising taxes became heresy for Blue Dogs after Mondale was blown out in the 1984 election and reinforced by the Gingrich wave election in 1994.

in 1984, Fritz Mondale made it a point of honesty in his acceptance speech:

‘Mr. Reagan will raise taxes and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.’

When I searched for the exact quote, it turned up articles warning Democrats not to raise taxes. All were written before the boom, bust, and boom of the pandemic.

Income inequality began its rise in the Reagan era, and exploded last year. Since the right no longer has an appealing salesman like Ronald Reagan, that makes it time to:

Biden’s infrastructure bill *should* be enormously popular. We can all cite crumbling infrastructure in our states and communities. In New Orleans, the greatest infrastructure need involves our water system. The vast majority of the pipes are over 100 years old. They burst with alarming regularity, which leads to frequent boil water orders. The city needs federal money to replace the system. It will take many years, but we need to get going as soon as possible.

I, for one, am relieved that Mitch McConnell has declared his entire caucus against the American Jobs Act. That means there will be no bad faith negotiations with Republicans as Leader Schumer plans to use the filibuster proof reconciliation process again. As with the COVID relief plan, I consider McConnell’s move to be cynical: GOPers will pop up to support projects if the bill passes.

It’s up to Democrats to find middle ground between AOC and the Man of La Manchin. It may sound hard but it’s easier than getting libertarian creeps like Aqua Buddha to agree to a spending proposal that’s guaranteed to attack income equality while improving roads, bridges, and the like across the country. It’s ironic that the original proponent of internal improvements, Henry Clay, hailed from Kentucky given the Turtle and Aqua Buddha’s posturing but he was a Whig, they’re Trumpified Republicans.

The Republican attack on the COVID relief plan was muted because they knew their states would benefit. I expect the same dynamic to play out here. Besides, the faux populism of Trump has seeded the ground for more government spending. Infrastructure week may have been a running joke under Trump, but President Biden hopes to make every week infrastructure week.

Willie Stark was famously based on Huey P. Long who was a blowhard with authoritarian tendencies, but he was big on infrastructure before it was called that. He talked a lot of rubbish, but delivered massive projects throughout the Gret Stet of Louisiana.

Joe Biden seems an unlikely heir to Long but the mere fact that he’s regarded as a moderate helped pass the first huge spending bill and will help pass the next spending bill if the Man of La Manchin allows it. He should follow the example of former West Virginia Senators such as Jennings, Byrd, and Rockefeller and take the money and run.

Make it so, Joe, make it so.

Soak the fat boys by passing a wealth surtax and/or corporate tax hikes, then spread it out thin by passing the American Jobs act.

The last word goes to the Steve Miller Band:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Roll Away The Stone

Notre Dame by Pablo Picasso.

I’ve already blasphemed about Easter in my Son Of Jab Talking post so I’ll resist the urge here. Besides, how can a non-believer blaspheme? A question for the ages.

This week’s theme song was written in 1974 by Ian Hunter for Mott The Hoople’s The Hoople album. They’re one of my favorite bands of that era; all flash and swagger. I like flash and swagger in a rock band.

I saw Mott perform live on that tour on a bill with BTO and a totally unknown band from Boston, Aerosmith. Great show although I’m not sure what Mormon rocker Randy Bachman thought of Ian Hunter and Steven Tyler; not to mention Mott guitarist Ariel Bender. That’s a stage name: his real moniker is nearly as colorful, Luther Grosvenor.

We move from glam rock to roots rock with this week’s co-theme song. It was written by Michael Dempsey and Leon Russell for the latter’s eponymous debut album:

Two more songs with stone in the title:

Let’s crawl to the break then jump if such a thing is feasible.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Pennies From Heaven

Photograph by Stanley Kubrick.

I committed a faux pas the other day and accidentally published something. I planned to curate a quote from a marvelous teevee essay by MSNBC’s Laurence O’Donnell about our border issues. Instead the whole damn  thing went out raw and I pulled it after it lingered overnight. Here’s a link to the transcript. Scroll down 3/4 of the way and Bob’s your uncle. Make that Uncle Laurence. I’m neither Irish nor from Boston but I’ll claim him.

In jab talking news, Governor Edwards has opened COVID vaccinations to all Gret Steters over the age of 16. I welcome everyone to the Half Vaccinated club. On April 3rd, I will enter of the realm of the fully vaccinated. Cue sigh of relief.

Our theme song continues the flow of the week. In this case from my most recent 13th Ward Rambler column. Pennies From Heaven was written in 1936 by Arthur Johnstone and Johnny Burke. It’s been a hit more times and by more artists that you can shake a stick at. Why one would do such a thing is beyond me.

We have three versions of Pennies From Heaven for your listening pleasure: Frank Sinatra, Louis Prima & Keely Smith, and an instrumental by Stan Getz and Oscar Peterson.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Oscar Peterson? I know: repeatedly. My Oscar love will never wane. That goes for my much missed kitty as well.

Before we jump to the break, look up like the girl in the Kubrick photograph so you can dodge the pennies from heaven.

Continue reading

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Harder They Fall

We go from The Harder They Come to The Harder They Fall. I told you there would be a flow to this week’s regular features.

Budd Schulberg is best remembered for his work with my countryman Elia Kazan on On The Waterfront and A Face In The Crowd, which was based on one of Schulberg’s short stories.

The film version of The Harder They Fall was directed by Mark Robson. It was Humphrey Bogart’s last movie.

Here’s the movie trailer:

Groundhog Day

I’ve written many times over the years about the latest mass shooting. I’m almost at a loss for words after 2 mass shootings in 9 days.

While I gather my thoughts, below are links to my past-post atrocity posts; many of which have a pink tinge, Pink Floyd, that is. I’m sure there are more but I’ve lost track after 12 years at First Draft.

12/3/2015: Still Comfortably Numb

06/16/2016: Still Comfortably Numb Revisited

10/10/2017: Still Comfortably Numb Revisited 2

10/29/2018: Kristallnacht In Broad Daylight

03/18/2019: Post Mayhem Rituals

08/05/2019: Still Numb

I guess I missed 2020 because of the pandemic. One of the few good things about the year of the plague.

There are guns in every country. The citizenry in the English-speaking world are particularly well-armed. But American-style mass shootings are rare elsewhere in the world. Why? Laws requiring firearms licenses, background checks, and above all else bans on assault weapons and their components.

The South is often demonized as a heavily armed region. My family is from the West and there were guns everywhere as well. Not in my house: my Republican father wouldn’t allow guns in his house after having to use one in World War II. He didn’t judge our relatives who had firearms for hunting and such, nor do I.

When I was growing up, mass shootings were rare. There were lunatic killers out there, but they weren’t packing assault rifles that made the Tommy Guns used by Prohibition era gangsters look almost as tame as this toy replica:

Then came the rise of the NRA and mass shootings became more common as they espoused a purist nearly theological interpretation of the Second Amendment.

Once the 1994 assault weapons ban was allowed to lapse, the 21st Century became the golden age of mass mayhem.

It keeps happening. The reactions on both sides are as predictable as they are tiresome: thoughts and prayers and yadda, yadda, yadda.

I don’t know about you, but I hate making the same mistakes over and over again. I try to avoid that in my own life. I prefer to make new and original mistakes.

As a country we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. The mass shootings keep coming and our reactions are almost stereotypical. We always have to hear from Joe Manchin who continues to value the filibuster more than the human lives lost in mass shootings. Remember the Manchin-Toomey fiasco in 2013? Manchin told us he could pass a modest gun control measure in the Senate. He failed. He’s likely to make the same mistake again in 2021.

We’re all trapped on a stationary bike, peddling fast but getting nowhere in a hurry.

I don’t mean to trivialize mass shootings by using a movie analogy, but we’re stuck in a post-mayhem stupid loop. It keeps repeating over and over again just like in Groundhog Day. We’re all Bill Murray.

I love Bill Murray, but I want to escape the endless time loop of mass shootings. The time to wake up from this nightmare is now: the NRA is enfeebled by scandal and bankruptcy. President Biden understands this issue and is prepared to act. It’s time for the United Senate to change the plot by acting. I’m tired of quoting Pink Floyd songs and being Bill Murray.

Stop the madness.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: The Harder They Come

There’s going to be a flow to some of this week’s regular features. This one flows out of Monday’s potpourri post.

The movie The Harder They Come was many American’s first introduction to reggae. It was mine. The soundtrack is just as fresh as it was upon its release in 1972.

 

Here’s the whole damn album via the YouTube.

Here’s the movie trailer:

Sunday Morning Video: Claire Trevor On TCM

Here’s a 1998 interview with my cat’s namesake. She was 88 at the time and as sharp as a tack.

Saturday Odds & Sods: On The Silent Wings Of Freedom

Photograph by Stanley Kubrick.

A bird got into our house while I was taking a jab nap. Claire Trevor was determined to get the poor wee house sparrow. I tried grabbling CT to close her in somewhere to no avail. I yelled at the cat to keep her away from the open door as the bird hopped from ceiling fan to ceiling fan. It finally flew out the front door. That’s as adventurous as it gets at Adrastos World HQ these days.

Mother-in-Law #1 is 99-years-old and in bad shape at her assisted living joint in Baton Rouge. The good news is that we’ve been able to visit her twice including yesterday. Her body is failing but her mind is still sharp. I’m not sure how long she’ll last but it’s a relief to be able to visit after not having seen her for 14 months because of the pandemic.

I’m voting later today in the special election called to fill Cedric Richmond’s congressional seat. I’m as underwhelmed by the choices on offer as I was by Cedric. The leading candidates are two hacks from New Orleans and a young firebrand from Baton Rouge. Since I do not want to be represented in Congress by someone from Red Stick, I’m voting for the hack I’m acquainted with, State Senator and former City Councilman Troy Carter. I loathe the other hack whose name shall not cross my lips.

This week’s theme song was written by Jon Anderson and Chris Squire for Yes’ 1978 album, Tormato. Yes are known for their great album covers. This is not one of them. The music is still pretty darn good.

We have two versions of On The Silent Wings Of Freedom for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 2006 live instrumental version.

Follow the flying fingers of Chris Squire and jump to the break. No finger jokes this week. Pinky swear.

Continue reading

Jab Talking

I’m half-vaccinated. They were dispensing the two-dose Pfizer vaccine at the Morial Convention Center here in New Orleans. The P is silent in Pfizer but I insist on pronouncing it just to be annoying. Puh-fizer has a ring to it, doesn’t it?

I also insist on calling a shot a jab as they do in woody old England. Does that make me as annoying as Bertie Wooster? A question for the ages.

The needle was larger than the one wielded above by Richard Widmark in Panic In The Streets, but the woman who stuck me was skilled. It didn’t hurt. I’m glad it wasn’t another early Widmark character, Tommy Udo in Kiss Of Death or this might have happened:

Yeah, I know, there were no stairs involved. What’s a little artistic license among friends?

Trivia time: It was the same hall that the Antique Roadshow used when they were in town. That was when I learned that my vintage autographed Giants baseballs were stamped, not signed. I was mildly crushed since Carl Hubbell himself gave them to me. Oh well, what the hell.

My left arm is a bit sore post-jab. I’ve also had some mild side effects including lethargy and dizziness.

Speaking of dizzy, let’s move from film noir to bubblegum with this musical interlude:

I’m not sure that the world needed a 6:31 remix of Dizzy but who am I to argue with DJ Disco Cat and Bubblegum Purrfection. I am a cat person, after all.

I am, of course, making light of the vaccination process because I want everyone to relax and get jabbed as soon as possible. It’s what I do, making light, not jabbing.

I am, however, a bit nervous about the After Times and you may be too. That’s why I commend to your attention a WaPo piece by Dr. Lucy McBride: I’ve been yearning for an end to the pandemic. Now that it’s here, I’m a little afraid.

McBride captures the anxieties and apprehension many of us feel. I have them too I just hide them with a flurry of jokes and musical interludes.

Finally, I wrote this about my vaccination appointment in Saturday Odds & Sods:

I’m a bit nervous and uncertain as to which vaccine I’ll be getting. I’m fine with any of them. The one-shot J&J variant has considerable appeal because I hate needles. Here’s hoping I get jabbed by someone with a light touch. Just don’t give me a smiley faced Band-Aid. I hope that’s not too much to ask.

They did fine with the vaccine, the jabbing, and the Band-Aid, but they gave everyone smiley face masks. I hate anything with a smiley face. It’s off-brand. A friend of mine said that he tried wearing it upside down, but it fell off. Oh well, what the hell.

Anyway, y’all get jabbed ASAP. If you’re still not eligible, signup pronto. It’s important. Try watching some knockabout comedy before and after like I did. Did I just propose myself as a role model? A scary thought indeed.

The last word goes to the Bee Gees. Just substitute jab for jive and Bob’s your uncle:

Shouldn’t that be Barry, Robin, or Maurice is your uncle? And why do the Brits pronounce Maurice, Morris? Another question for the ages.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Day After Day

La Décalcomanie by Rene Magritte

I’m getting vaccinated this afternoon at the Morial Convention Center. I’m a bit nervous and uncertain as to which vaccine I’ll be getting. I’m fine with any of them. The one-shot J&J variant has considerable appeal because I hate needles. Here’s hoping I get jabbed by someone with a light touch. Just don’t give me a smiley faced Band-Aid. I hope that’s not too much to ask. Enough jab jabber.

It’s pollen season in New Orleans. The mighty oaks are spewing forth their yellow poison (to me) and my eyes are red and runny. If I were a Republican, I’d turn this into a culture war grievance but I’m not so I won’t.

This week’s theme song was written in 1971 by Pete Ham for Badfinger’s Straight Up album. It was a smash hit across the globe hitting number 4 on the Billboard charts in the US&A. The song was produced by George Harrison and featured George on slide guitar and Leon Russell on piano.

We begin with the Badfinger original:

I had no idea that the second version existed until I checked out Second Hand Songs. Ladies and gentlemen, Bradyfinger:

The Brady Bunch kids cut two albums of then contemporary hit songs. It’s weird to hear a chirpy version of Pete Ham’s mournful song. If it weren’t so damn funny, I’d give it the finger, then eat a Butterfinger. Candy is the cure for many of the ills of society including Bradyfinger.

Speaking of fingers:

It’s time to cut out (cut off?) the finger jokes and jump to the break.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Mean To Me

My Brother Imitating Scherzo by Andre Kertesz

The cold weather is back but it’s not as bad as last month’s hard freeze. As I watch things unfold in Jackson, MS, I realize how lucky New Orleans was. Our water infrastructure is just as ancient and with a more prolonged freeze it could have been us. We dodged a bullet this time. Our luck is bound to run out at some point. Our pipes are old, old, old.

I posted a version of Mean To Me when I wrote about Neera Tanden before her nomination was pulled. I stand by what I wrote then, but I should have added that, in some ways, she was a surrogate for those on the far left and right who hate Hillary Clinton.

As far as Joe Manchin is concerned, I’m beginning to think he likes being the key vote in the Senate and was flexing his muscles on the Tanden nomination. I guess Tanden had a blind date with the Man of La Manchin, not destiny. So it goes.

Neil Finn wrote this week’s theme song in 1986 for Crowded House’s eponymous debut album. It’s the first track on the record and is a frequent set opener when the band plays live.

We have two versions of Mean To Me for your listening pleasure: the original promo video and a 1988 live version.

It’s time for a visit to disambiguation city with a 1929 song of the same title. We have a double dose of Ella Fitzgerald. First with the Nelson Riddle orchestra followed by a more intimate recording with Oscar Peterson:

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Oscar Peterson? That goes for Ella Fitzgerald as well.

On that upbeat note, let’s jump to the break. And I mean it this time.

Continue reading

Freedom, Man

Greg Abbott, John Bel Edwards, Tate Reeves.

The Party of Trump specializes in diversionary tactics. The Governors of Texas and Mississippi announced yesterday that their states are wide open for business. Not only that but all mask requirements have been lifted. Why? Freedom, man.

It’s not just freedom, man. Both states are still suffering mightily from winter freeze related issues. You’ve all heard about the mess that messed with Texas and its Governor Greg (Hey) Abbott. Wintry shit hit the fan in Mississippi as well. Parts of Jackson, MS have been without potable water for two weeks. Jackson is the state capitol where Governor Tater Tot plays at governing. Both Hey Abbott and Tater Tot needed to distract attention from their failures so why not declare victory over COVID? Freedom, man.

That makes the Gret Stet of Louisiana the meat in a stupid sandwich.  John Bel Edwards is the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and he too loosened some restrictions but we still gotta mask up.

Repeat after me:

It’s all so stupid and short-sighted. Now that we have a competent national administration, there’s good news on the COVID front. President Biden announced that there should be sufficient vaccines for the entire adult population by the end of May. We just have to hunker down and be patient.

I, for one, don’t confuse recklessness and impatience with freedom, man. The majority of us have made sacrifices to limit the spread of the virus. Selfish dipshits like Hey Abbott and Tater Tot are exasperating and irksome. Hey Abbott is also guilty of the Republican sin of hypocrisy: he’s been vaccinated. Freedom, man.

I’m trying out a new nickname for the dumbass Texas Governor. “Hey Abbott” was something that Lou Costello said to Bud Abbott in all their movies. It was often a sign that Costello was in trouble and needed help. Sounds like Texas in 2021. Freedom, man.

Here’s an image from one of Bud and Lou’s weirder movies, Abbott and Costello Go To Mars:

The rocket misfired and the boys landed in New Orleans during Carnival. By analogy, that’s why New Orleanians are so alarmed about Hey Abbott and Tater Tot’s actions. We’re concerned that unmasked morons from their states will visit and leave a new COVID spike in their wake. That’s a price of freedom, man that we’re unwilling to pay.

For the featured image, I memed a picture of the Governors of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi with lyrics from the venerable song, Stuck In The Middle With You, which was revived by Quentin Tarantino for Reservoir Dogs. It sums up how I feel today: “Clowns to the left of me. Jokers to the right. Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

The last word goes to Stealers Wheel:

Freedom, man.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Do You Feel Like We Do

Cocktails by Archibald Motley.

The cold weather is gone for now. We haven’t run the heater for a few days. Yay. I shudder to think what our next utility bill will be, but it won’t be like the budget-busters in unregulated Texas; at least I hope not. Freedom, man.

I’m feeling cautiously optimistic on the COVID front. But some people are already getting carried away. That’s been the pattern and it’s a lethal one. I’m keeping my guard up even after I get vaccinated, which should be in the next few weeks. Let’s be careful out there.

The featured image is by Archibald Motley who was a Jazz Age modernist active during the Harlem Renaissance. The image is of well-dressed Black ladies having cocktails. I’d call them flappers but that could cause a flap, Jack…

This week’s theme song was written by Peter Frampton for his 1973 semi-solo, semi-band album Frampton’s Camel. It’s the ultimate rock hangover song.

An edited version of a live version from the monster hit album, Frampton Comes Alive later became a hit single. How’s that for a version diversion? I hope it was diverting.

We have two versions (there’s that word again) of Do You Feel Like We Do for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a 2000 live performance.

We’ll have more about Peter Frampton after the break. We might as well go now.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Stage Fright

Two Comedians by Edward Hopper.

I’m  a slacker publisher. I have not formally welcomed Shapiro and Cassandra to the First Draft family. I’ve known both of them for years and they still speak to me. They’re clearly tolerant types.  Thanks for bringing your life experiences and insights to our humble blog. There’s only one rule:

It’s still cold as hell in Louisiana but our infrastructure has held up better than that of Texas, which is a much wealthier state. It helps to have a competent governor as opposed to one who lies on Fox News. Cue Lou Costello impression:

When I searched for the phrase HEY ABBOTT, I kept seeing images of wingnutty former Aussie Prime Minister Tony Abbott. He’s much scarier than the Mummy Bud and Lou met but not quite as scary as Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Even scarier is the thought of Ted Cruz on the beach in Cancun as his constituents freeze their asses off. Are you in a narcissism contest with Pennywise, dude? Tommy T will have more on Teddy Boy on Monday. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson for The Band’s 1970 album of the same name. It was inspired by Robbie’s own issues with stage fright. FYI, a 50th anniversary remixed and reordered version of that album was released last week. It’s a dramatic sonic improvement on the original. It also features an insanely great 1971 live show from the Royal Albert Hall in London. 4 stars all the way, baby.

We have two versions of Stage Fright for your listening pleasure: the studio remix and a live version from The Last Waltz.

I didn’t know until recently that there’s an instrumental of the same title. These dudes composed it.

In addition to stage fright, I’m contemplating mummy’s right now. I guess it’s time to meet the Son Of The Mummy:

None of that Brendan Fraser shit for me, dude. It’s Karloff and Lee all the way.

Now that I’ve exhausted my mummy jokes, let’s wrap our first act up and jump to the break.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Trick Bag

Skeletons Fighting Over A Pickled Herring by James Ensor.

This should be Carnival’s biggest weekend. I’ll miss our pre-Tucks peregrinations on Saturday and company on Thoth Sunday. Wait until next year.

The impeachment trial ate my week, so I’ll keep this short. It’s what usually happens the Saturday before Fat Tuesday in any event. So it goes.

This week’s theme song was written by NOLA’s own Earl King in 1962. It’s tricky, it’s baggy, it’s early, it’s kingy.

We have four versions of Trick Bag for your listening pleasure: the Earl King original, the Meters, Johnny Winter, and Robert Palmer.

Now that we’ve pulled some tricks out of the bag, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading