Category Archives: Fog Of History

More Trouble Every Day

It’s the first day of the hurricane season. It may be an active one, which is particularly fraught during the pandemic. But neither the pandemic nor hurricane season is the subject of this edition of Songs For The Pandemic.

I think you know what I have in mind: the ongoing protests that were inspired by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis but have taken on a life of their own.

Frank Zappa wrote the original Trouble Every Day in 1966 after the Watts riots. It was the centerpiece of the aptly named Freak Out album, but I prefer the live More Trouble Every Day featuring the soulful vocals of George Duke and Napoleon Murphy Brock:

Bob Marley wrote Burnin’ and Lootin’ for The Wailers’ 1973 album, Burnin’. It was inspired by the same sort of rage and frustration that we’re seeing on our streets 47 years later. I don’t believe in second sight, but if I did, I’d think that Bob Marley had it.

Next up are two tunes inspired by the 1967 Detroit riots. First, Canadian folkie Gordon Lightfoot was so perturbed by these events that he wrote this song:

The last word goes to John Lee Hooker. The great bluesman lived in Detroit during the 1940’s so he always felt a special attachment to the Motor City:

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Is That All There Is?

Self Portrait After The Spanish Flu by Edvard Munch.

My sleep pattern remains wacked out. This lifelong night person has become a morning writer. I’ve even awakened before Dr. A a few times and fed the cat. Both she and PD were disoriented. Such is life during the pandemic.

I decided to use one of Edvard Munch’s lesser known works as this week’s featured image. It’s a reminder than one can survive even the worst pandemic. It also explains why he was such a Gloomy Gus. Of course, he was Norwegian; it goes with the territory.

This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller in 1968. They shopped it around before finding the perfect singer: Peggy Lee. I’ll have more about Miss Peggy Lee and our theme song after the jump.

We have two versions of Is That All There Is? for your listening pleasure: the Peggy Lee original and a swell cover by the woman whose name I cannot stop saying, Chaka Khan. It’s a mantra in my family and it should be in yours. Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan, Chaka Khan.

Our next musical pairing involves a title that’s similar to Miss Peggy Lee’s last hit. To add to the needless complexity of this post, they’re different tunes.

You say this, I say that. Let’s call the whole thing off.

Now that we’ve questioned everything, let’s take a dubious leap of faith and jump to the break

Continue reading

American Carnage, 2020

Image by Michael F.

I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of sleeping badly.  I’m tired of having bad dreams inspired by death, disease, and the relentless flow of bad news. Above all else, I’m tired of Donald Trump. In short, as Civil Rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer said in 1964,  I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I woke up way too early this morning pondering President* Pennywise’s inaugural address. At the time, it seemed to be a blast from the misbegotten past of the crack cocaine epidemic or a twisted fantasy spun by Bannon and Miller:

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

The real carnage began that day. I didn’t see the speech because I was attending the Jazz Funeral For Lady Liberty protest march in New Orleans. I found the American Carnage line to be bizarre considering the progress made on the economy during the Obama presidency. I didn’t realize that it foreshadowed the dark days of 2020.

Trump’s presidency has reeled from one disaster to another. We all dreaded a major crisis occurring on his watch but assumed it would be a war in the Middle East, which is what Republican presidents do. Instead, we have a pandemic that has already killed more Americans than the wars in Korea and Vietnam combined. The pandemic, in turn, has caused a Second Great Depression that will not be cured by “reopened” shopping malls, barber shops, and restaurants.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has ostentatiously refused to take any responsibility for this American Carnage. Instead, he views it as a disaster afflicting him. This just in from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman:

As he headed into Memorial Day weekend, Donald Trump complained that he was COVID-19’s biggest victim. “He was just in a fucking rage,” said a person who spoke with Trump late last week. “He was saying, ‘This is so unfair to me! Everything was going great. We were cruising to reelection!” Even as the death toll neared 100,000 and unemployment ranks swelled to over 38 million, Trump couldn’t see the pandemic as anything other than something that had happened to him. “The problem is he has no empathy,” the adviser said. Trump complained that he should have been warned about the virus sooner. “The intelligence community let me down!” he said.

Blaming the so-called Deep State won’t wash the blood off his hands. The buck for this American Carnage stops at the Oval Office. Unfortunately, we’ve gone from Harry (The Buck Stops Here) Truman to Donald (This Is So Unfair To Me) Trump whose latest title is the Buckpasser-in-Chief. This American Carnage is on him.

Perhaps my wakeful thoughts of the American Carnage speech were inspired by watching Rachel Maddow last night. She focused on the pandemic’s frightening impact on nursing homes and meatpacking plants. The latter debacle shows that this is a Republican problem, not just a Trumper problem. The GOP’s deregulatory fervor has tied OSHA’S hands. They issued some timid guidelines at the start of the crisis and nothing since then. I should have said that Republican Koch suckers have amputated OSHA’s regulatory hands. This American Carnage is on them.

One reason I’ve long thought the Kaiser of Chaos would lose re-election is that many Americans are sick and tired of being sick and tired. This president* believes that people can’t get enough of him. He’s wrong. He’s overexposed. Unlike past presidents, he’s incapable of leaving the spotlight. It will be his undoing.

Nobody other than Trumper true believers want to hear him accuse Joe Scarborough of murder. This is just the latest example of Trump’s specialty of tormenting families who have lost loved ones. Add the name Klausutis to the list that includes Khan and Johnson. This is not just a Trumper problem, it’s a Republican problem. Remember Terry Schiavo? This American Carnage is on them.

Waking up angry isn’t good for the soul but at least I have one. President* Pennywise only cares about himself, not the nearly 100,000 people who have died as a result of his grotesque incompetence. He’s falling back on medical quackery  vicious attacks, and magical thinking to salvage his wrecked presidency. One more quote from Gabe Sherman’s piece:

But the biggest obstacle standing in the way of a Trump-campaign reset is the candidate. “Trump is doing it to himself by tweeting idiotic conspiracy theories about Joe Scarborough. Women are tired of this shit,” said another former West Wing official. An outside adviser agreed. “Trump can’t pivot to a different strategy,” the adviser told me. “He only knows one strategy—which is attack. It worked in 2016. But now it’s not what people are looking for.” The adviser told me that Trump’s New York friends are planning an intervention to get him to stop tweeting about the Morning Joe cohost.

And when he’s not feeling helpless or aggrieved, Trump continues to cling to magical thinking. “He lives in his own fucking world,” the outside adviser said. Trump recently told a friend that the Moderna vaccine is going to be ready in months.

Those of us who live in the real world think that another COVID-19 spike is coming because of the selfish Trumpian haste to “reopen.” The only thing they’re “reopening” is another death spiral. This American Carnage can only be stopped by voting Republicans out of office. This is on the American people. If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, throw the bums out. It’s time for them to go.

Since this post was partially inspired by a bad dream, the last word goes to Procol Harum and the original Nosferatu, Max Schreck.

If you thought that was insufficiently gloomy, here’s another song from the same album:

 

Decoration Day

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. It was created in 1868 by a Union veterans’ group. They urged survivors of the fallen to decorate their graves on that day. Decoration Day did not morph into a way to reunite the opposing sides in the War of the Rebellion until after the end of Reconstruction.

You may have noticed that I’m an originalist on what to call the Civil War. In the Northern states it was called the War of the Rebellion. If Lost Causers can call it the War Between The States, I can use its Unionist name.

I was pleased to find a featured image that captured the original spirit of the holiday. Post-Reconstruction imagery often featured Grant and Lee shaking hands in front of entangled flags: the stars and stripes and the stars and bars. Forgotten were the reasons for the War of the Rebellion: the preservation of slavery and white supremacy. Such imagery troubled General/President Grant as well: as president he supported racial equality and civil rights. The South lost the war but won the historical battle.

Since I’ve been accused of “politicizing” the holiday by some online trolls, let’s go there again. President* Pennywise has desecrated the holiday by attacking Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper during what was supposed to be a Memorial Day address. The Governor is understandably nervous about the Republicans gathering in Charlotte for their convention. The Impeached Insult Comedian is livid that a mere Governor is raining on his parade. How about decorating his mouth by stuffing a Confederate flag therein? There were good people on both sides, after all.

The last word goes to Jason Isbell:

Memorial Day: Who I Remember

Memorial Day should be a solemn and somber holiday as we’re honoring those who served in the military during wartime, especially those who paid the ultimate price. The nature of this holiday is often honored in breach by those who crowd the beaches and parks. In ordinary times, that’s merely annoying. These are not ordinary times; in 2020, it’s infuriating.

Memorial Day 2020 is beyond somber, it’s downright grim. We’re approaching a macabre milestone: the 100,000 death from the novel coronavirus, which was memorably noted in Sunday’s New York Times. Two stories captured my attention this morning as I scanned the digital edition of the Gray Lady. The first is about how our monstrously mendacious president* went golfing this weekend as the country suffers from his misrule. He has yet to express sympathy for those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic; not even on his beloved Twitter. Mourner-in-Chief has long been part of the job description but he’s incapable of even paying lip service to the dead. In a word: monstrous. That’s why I call him President* Pennywise.

The second story is about the pandemic’s toll on Holyoke Home for Soldiers in Massachusetts.

Of the 210 veterans who were living in the facility in late March, 89 are now dead, 74 having tested positive for the virus. Almost three-quarters of the veterans inside were infected. It is one of the highest death tolls of any end-of-life facility in the country.

This is a gut punch of a story, reminding us of how hollow the nation’s commitment to our veterans often is. Meanwhile President* Pennywise golfs and tweets; oblivious to the grim milestone noted by the NYT. He is incapable of even feigning empathy with the survivors of those who have died due to his grotesque incompetence. It didn’t have to be this bad and the buck stops in the Oval Office. In a word: infuriating.

We return to our regularly scheduled annual programming, but I would have been remiss in not mentioning our current national tragedy on this most solemn of holidays:

There’s nothing like a national holiday to make one feel ritualistic.This post is making its eleventh annual appearance at First Draft. It was also published in our anthology, Our Fate Is Your Fate.

I realize it *should* be posted on Veterans Day since my remembered soldier survived the war BUT old habits are hard to break. Besides, I would face the wrath of both Athenae and Dr. A if I didn’t post it. So, here we go again:

The veteran I’d like to remember on this solemn holiday is the late Sgt. Eddie Couvillion.

Soldier Boy

My family tree is far too tangled and gnarly to describe here but suffice it to say that Eddie was my second father. He served in Europe during World War II, not in combat but in the Army Quartermaster Corps. In short, he was a supply Sergeant, one of those guys who won the war by keeping the troops fed, clad, and shod. Eddie was what was called in those days a scrounger; not unlike Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22 or James Garner’s character in The Great Escape. 

Eddie’s favorite military exploit was running an army approved bordello in France after hostilities ended. He always called it a cat house and bragged that it was the best little whorehouse in Europe. One can serve one’s country in manifold ways…

Eddie died 5 years ago [2005] and I still miss him. He was a remarkable man because he changed so much as he aged. When I met him, he was a hardcore Texas/Louisiana conservative with old South racial views and attitudes. At an age when many people close their minds, Eddie opened his and stopped thinking of black folks as a collective entity that he didn’t care for and started thinking of them as individuals. Eddie was a genuine Southern gentleman, so he’d never done or said an unkind thing to anyone and confided to me that the only one he’d ever hurt by being prejudiced was himself. I was briefly speechless because we’d had more than a few rows over that very subject. Then he laughed, shook his head and said: “Aren’t you going to tell me how proud you are of me? You goddamn liberals are hard to satisfy.”

Actually, I’m easily satisfied. In 2004, Eddie had some astonishing news for me: he’d not only turned against the Iraq War but planned to vote for John Kerry because “Bush Junior is a lying weasel and a draft dodger.” That time he didn’t need to ask me if I was proud of him, it was written all over my face. It was the first and only time he ever voted for a Democrat for President.

I salute you, Sgt. Couvillion. I only wish that I could pour you a glass of bourbon on the rocks and we could raise our glasses in a Memorial Day toast.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Shapes Of Things

Abstraction by Rolph Scarlett.

I don’t have a helluva lot to add to what I said as the 13th Ward Rambler earlier this week. I’m still keeping my head down during the lockdown. We’ve had a few front porch visitors, which breaks the monotony and allows Paul Drake to make goo-goo eyes at company and get his nose prints all over the lower glass panes of our front door.

This week’s theme song was written by Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty in 1966 and represented a  sonic breakthrough for The Yardbirds. The tune’s Wikipedia entry is absurdly detailed and argues that Jeff Beck should have received a songwriting credit as well. It’s okay: Beck assumed de facto ownership of the song after recording it with The Jeff Beck Group on 1968’s Truth album.

We have three versions of Shapes Of Things for your listening pleasure: the Yardbirds original, the Jeff Beck Group, and David Bowie from Pin-Ups. They’re all shapely and thingy:

Now that we’ve shaped things and contemplated Jeff Beck’s guitar virtuosity, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

Saturday Odds & Sods: Drift Away

The Sleeping Girl by Pablo Picasso

Summer is slowly but surely returning to New Orleans. The first two weeks of May were blissfully temperate but summer’s cauldron has begun to boil. It’s unclear if it’s a Pepper Pot but you never can tell.

We had a serious thunderstorm in the wee small hours of Friday morning. I originally planned to put PD’s big ass box out with the trash but thought better of it. I wish I could claim second sight but I’m glad I didn’t have to scoop wet cardboard off the grass.

I did not know until googling information about this week’s theme song that Mentor Williams was Paul Williams’ kid brother. It’s unclear if Paul mentored Mentor in the songwriter’s craft but the older brother never wrote a song as good as Drift Away. Mentor W wrote it in 1970 and after several misfires it became a monster hit for Dobie Gray in the summer of 1973. One couldn’t escape its refrain:

“Oh, give me the beat, boys, and free my soul.
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.”

We have two versions of Drift Away for your listening pleasure by Dobie Gray and my 13th Ward homies the Neville Brothers.

I know there was a hit version of the song in 2002. I refuse to post a video by anyone who spells cracker with a K. Take that, Uncle Kracker.

Let’s pay a visit to Disambiguation City with the Kinks hard rocking, Drift Away. It sounds nothing like Mentor W’s song but it’s a classic in its own right.

I hope your attention isn’t drifting away. If it is, the time is right to jump to the break.

Continue reading

Conspiracy Of Cretins

Image by Michael F.

Conspiracies *do* exist. Unlike some people, I don’t see them everywhere. Conspiracy theorists such as Alex Jones use them to explain things they hate and fear. If I were one, I’d try explaining Alex Jones, but I don’t want to fly a false flag whatever the hell that means.

Conspiracy theories used to be disseminated slowly by word of mouth, pamphlets, and books. Occasionally, a Mark Lane would pop up on a teevee talk show to share his theories about the Kennedy assassination. Lane was a higher class of conspiracy theorist but kept some odd company. A side note: I met Mark Lane when I was a French Quarter shopkeeper. He was very nice and did not have crazy eyes. As far as I recall, he waved no flags; false or otherwise.

The advent of the internet and social media have made the wackier conspiracy theories more easily available and harder to refute. If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right? Wrong.

In 2020, conspiracy theorists are everywhere; waving false flags and spreading disinformation. Among the leading conspiracy theorists is the temporary occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Donald Trump.

Spreading fear and disinformation suits Trump’s political needs. It’s unclear if he believes the nonsense that comes out of his big fat bazoo, but it serves his political purposes. Fear is the key to what passes for his strategy. That’s why I call him President* Pennywise.

As I said when I introduced the nickname last summer:

Pennywise the evil clown (is there any other kind?) thrives on fear. He gets stronger the more he fearmongers. It’s what emboldens him to get out of the gutter and come into the open. The Insult Comedian never leaves the gutter BUT he too thrives on fear. That’s why I mock him: he feeds off our fear and recoils from our scorn. President* Pennywise is a pussy. He should grab himself.

Trump’s cooked up his latest conspiracy theory to distract attention from his administration’s disastrous pandemic response. He calls it Obamagate but it makes no sense whatsoever as Slate’s Jeremy Stahl explained at length and Vanity Fair’s Gabe Sherman summed up with surgical concision:

That’s why I call it a Conspiracy of Cretins. Only an idiot would believe the smoke currently emanating from the fever swamps of Trumpistan. Barack Obama’s latest offense was criticizing the Barr-Flynn affair. His real offense is to be everything that Trump is not: intelligent, articulate, and handsome. Did I mention that he’s black? Birtherism was Trump’s initial foray into the conspiracy theory game. That racist nonsense helped elect him. Heaven help us.

There’s a long tradition of blaming the other guy for the country’s woes. After the War of the Rebellion, Republicans “waved the bloody flag” as they blamed Democrats for everything. When I came of political consciousness, Democrats were still blaming Herbert Hoover for everything. The Republicans turned the name Jimmy Carter into a catch-all insult. Both Hoover and Carter were poor presidents but not as bad as painted by their enemies. As the late Gret Stet Senator Russell Long was fond of saying:

President* Pennywise has taken the blame game to a new level. His attempts to destroy his predecessor’s legacy led directly to the Trump Regime’s epic pandemic fail and the deaths of 87K Americans thus far. That’s Trump’s legacy: Transforming the country into a vast charnel house. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

People believe what they want to believe. Their capacity for self-deception and delusion seems infinite. That gives conspiracy theorists an eager audience for their hateful nonsense. That’s why I called this post Conspiracy of Cretins.

The last word goes to Chris Squire & Billy Sherwood’s Conspiracy:

Declaring Victory

Image by Michael F

My colleague Michael F created today’s featured image for a 2018 post, Mission Accomplished! The Remake. I wouldn’t have used an exclamation point in the title but that’s just me. I would, however, like to thank him for his Trumpy take on George W Bush’s declaration of victory in the Second Gulf War. You may recall it was premature. The war raged on for years.

There was another premature victory declaration this week. This time by the Impeached Insult Comedian who proclaimed, “We have prevailed.” That’s a mighty fancy word for Trump. It’s unlikely to be in his lexicon. I hope they explained it to him.

I understand President* Pennywise’s desperation to move on from his viral Waterloo but how does one prevail over a virus? The virus has moved in with him: infecting his White House staff causing several senior aides to quarantine. Dr Fauci zoomed into the Senate yesterday instead of testifying in person. So much for prevailing, which rhymes with failing.

The Kaiser of Chaos was testy on Monday after lying about testing in America. He had another public meltdown and stomped out of a press briefing after a spat with a CBS News reporter, Weijia Jiang. Since she’s Asian-American, it’s unclear if it was sexism, racism, or general assholery. I think he hit the creep trifecta myself.

I originally planned to use a quote from an extinct species at the top of the post. It’s *my* source for the whole declaration of victory thing. George Aiken was a moderate Republican Senator from Vermont who served from 1940-1974. I guess that made him a long-lived extinct species.

Senator Aiken offered some unsolicited and ultimately untaken advice about the Vietnam War:

As applied to the pandemic, it’s well-nigh impossible to declare victory and leave when COVID-19 has moved in with you. This might explain Trump’s record 126 tweets on Mother’s Day. Let that sink in: we passed the 80K death mark and the president* spent a hallmark card holiday rage tweeting. No wonder we’re in the mess we’re in.

I’m about to declare victory and conclude this post. Once again, the last word goes to Los Lobos:

 

I’m So Tired

We haven’t broached the subject of sleep or lack thereof in this feature before. There’s no time like the present, which is why I’m posting this in the morning, not the afternoon. I hereby declare this Songs For The Pandemic Sleep Week. Insomniac Theatre is officially (officiously?) open for business.

I’ve long struggled with insomnia but at least I had a sleep pattern. The pandemic shot that to hell. I’m apt to wake up in the wee hours of the morning then need to read myself back to sleep. Mercifully, we have a guest room. I don’t like disturbing Dr A anymore than my restlessness already has. She usually has the gift of sleep.

I’ve also devised what one might call the political junkies’ version of counting sheep. I count Veeps.  In my wakefulness, I’ve done some research on the more obscure occupants of that office. I now know what George Clinton, Elbridge Gerry, William Rufus De Vane King, Henry Wilson, Thomas Hendricks, Garret Hobart, and James Sherman have in common. They died whilst Veep long before the 25th Amendment provided a way to appoint a new second banana. How’s that for sleep inducing trivia?

Back to the music. We have three power pop selections today beginning with this Beatles classic by John Lennon:

Our next insomniac selection comes from those crazy Canadian cutups, BNL. This time they ask a rhetorical question:

The answer is EVERYONE even the 7 Veeps who died in office. Imagine naming your son Elbridge, then don’t do it. I implore you.

Finally, it’s unclear if lullabies help anyone other than infants sleep but it couldn’t hurt. 10cc gets the last word:

Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the Veeps bite.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Snake Bite Love

Water Serpents II by Gustav Klimt

Perhaps I should have used Zachary Richard’s Snake Bite Love as our theme song while we were Festing In Place but I couldn’t let go of using Can’t Let Go last week. Besides, it’s never too late for a Zack Attack.

We have two versions of Snake Bite Love for your listening pleasure: the 1992 studio original and a 2009 live version from a Jazz Fest set I attended.

One more snake song before we slither to the break:

Ouch that hurt. Time to turn the virtual page.

Continue reading

Veepstakes, High Stakes

I’ve missed writing about electoral politics instead of pandemic politics. The former is fun, the latter funereal. Pun intended. It always is.

Signs of Republican panic are everywhere but, like Tammy Wynette in the old country song, they seem prepared to stand by their man even if the stupid fucker is insane. It also reminds me of this scene in the 1967 film adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd:

Suffice it to say, the sheep rush headlong off the cliff whilst saying BAA BAA HUMBUG. I made that last bit up. Somebody needs to turn the end of that scene into an animated GIF but I’m not the one for the job. I couldn’t do it in a jiffy…

Where the hell was I? The 2020 election, that’s where. The GOP’s plan seems to be to kill off voters by “reopening” the economy then stealing as many votes from the survivors as possible. Fraud is the only way that a party with this much blood and red ink on its hands can win.

I’ve written multiple posts in the past called Veepstakes, Low Stakes. I’ve always believed that people vote for the top of the ticket, not the second banana. That’s still true BUT I’m reversing myself in 2020. The stakes are high: It matters more than ever who the Democrats pick for Veep.

In March, I advocated a Biden-Harris ticket. The arguments I made on her behalf while Sanders was still in the race stand:

The president in waiting bit is the key to the 2020 selection. There’s a decent chance that Biden or Sanders will only serve one term; either voluntarily or for health reasons. That’s why my first choice for Veep is Kamala Harris. She’s tough, experienced, and a helluva public speaker. She’s the obvious choice if Biden is the nominee. I know the arguments against Senator Harris but the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Plus, black voters rescued Biden’s campaign, which is another argument for the junior senator from California.

Things have changed in the past 2 months. The pandemic has exploded weakening the argument for a return to what Gamaliel called normalcy. Additionally, there’s an attempt to Frankenize Joe Biden. Will it work? I doubt it but it’s now a factor.

I find myself warming to the idea of Senator Professor Elizabeth Warren as Veep. I’ve made the argument against picking her myself: the Republican Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will pick her replacement. If Charlie Baker can find one, it will be a relatively sane Republican but a GOPer is a GOPer is a GOPer.

Politically, I’m increasingly optimistic that the Democrats will take back the Senate. Republican held seats in Maine, Colorado, and Arizona may already be lost and since the GOP Governor of Iowa seems determined to kill off as many citizens as possible, Joni Ernst is neck deep in pig shit. Landslides have a way of defeating incumbent senators who did not expect to lose. It’s one of many lessons taught by the Reagan sweep in 1980.

I’ve even seen one poll showing Moscow Mitch losing his race. Elderly senators have a way of losing their seats and before LBJ, the majority leadership seemed jinxed. I’m reluctant to think this *will* happen but the country elected a mentally ill criminal president* in 2016. Anything can happen.

I’m on the record as believing that Elizabeth Warren is the best person to be our next president. Biden’s age makes it imperative that his number two be the best person available. We’re facing a second Great Depression, which means that we need a Second New Deal. Nobody is better suited to deliver on this than Warren. Since Biden was empowered to be a strong Veep by Barack Obama, he’ll do likewise with his number two. Biden and Warren have even co-authored an op-ed piece, which advocates strong action in the place of abject presidential* failure.

If picking Warren appears too risky, I will be happy with Senator Harris in the second slot on the ticket. I would be just as happy with her as the next Attorney General.

Stay tuned.

The last word goes to Tammy Wynette and Lyle Lovett with the GOP’s 2020 theme song:

Tagged , , , ,

Can’t Trust That Day

I realize the hands in the Max Ernst image above should be gloved but they won’t be shopping at a grocery store near you so why should you care?

I almost called this post Monday, Monday but that’s boring so I decided to quote the lyrics, then post the tune:

I wonder if anyone made bathtub gin in that tub during Prohibition? A bootlegger may have peed in that terlet. I’ve always preferred the terlet version of the cover. It’s the one I posted on Wednesday October, 24, 2018. Actually, I posted a double dose. We’d be in trouble without terlets. Who the hell wants to pee on a tree?

Must Read: The WaPo nailed the Impeached Insult Comedian and his corrupt cohort to the wall in Sunday’s paper. A quick interlude: are they a corrupt cohort or coterie of crooks?

In any event, you should read this monumental WaPo article: 34 days of pandemic: Inside Trump’s desperate attempts to reopen America. The headline says it all. Fuck you, Donald. Putting your idiot son-in-law in charge made a messy situation even messier. Fuck you too, Jared.

Here’s my favorite quote because it’s so clueless and selfish:

“There’s a little bit of a God complex,” one senior administration official said of the [doctors] group. “They’re all about science, science, science, which is good, but sometimes there’s a little bit less of a consideration of politics when maybe there should be.”

Scientists gotta science, doctors gotta doctor. I guess all President* Pennywise wants from the docs is some Good Lovin‘:

In case you don’t know the lyrics, here’s a sample:

I was feelin’ so bad,
I asked my family doctor just what I had,
I said, “Doctor, Doctor
Mr. M.D., Doctor
Now can you tell me, tell me, tell me,
What’s ailin’ me?”

You could even morph that “tell me” into “Fauci, Fauci, Fauci.” You could. I would never do such a thing.

Reformed Boris? British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who I”ve compared to Basil Fawlty, is out of the ICU and back at work after his brush with death. And I thought he was pale *before* becoming a coronavirus survivor.

Boris gave an interview to The Murdoch Sun in which he came close to declaring Thatcherism dead. He had nothing but glowing things to say about the National Health Service, which has been cut ruthlessly by the Tories. I’ll believe his near deathbed conversion when he fully funds the NHS.

Thatcherism and Reaganism were born at the same time. They should die together as well. I’ll give them credit for one thing: Maggie and Ronnie sure could dance.

Signs & Memes: We begin this segment with a picture taken in New Orleans by one of my most faithful readers, Paul McMahon:

The next anti-Kaiser Of Chaos image was stolen by off the internet by film writer Bill Arceneaux and I’m stealing it from him:

Blast From The Past is not only the title of the next segment, it’s the title of my upcoming Bayou Brief column, which looks at Jazz Festing In Place and the early release of former New Orleans Mayor C Ray Nagin.

Where was I? Oh yeah, watch one of the greatest Giants of all hit a titanic tater in the 1969 All-Star Game off the wonderfully nicknamed A’s pitcher Blue Moon Odom

Stretch was such a ferocious hitter that he made hurlers hurl in the Wayne’s World meaning of the word.

Guess what time it is:

While you were in the lobby, I hope you saw the poster:

Sam Fuller’s House of Bamboo: I had heard of this 1955 film but had no idea how good it is. I was shocked to learn that it was shot in Cinemascope and produced by a major studio. I’m used to Fuller’s films being shot in gritty black and white and on a low budget. Once I recovered, I enjoyed the movie.

House Of Bamboo was the first American film shot in Tokyo after we bombed the shit out of it. The city is as important a character as Roberts Ryan and Stack. It’s one of Stack’s best performances and nothing like his most famous role, Eliot Ness. He’s a smart ass and a bad ass as well. I’m not assing off about that either.

Here’s the trailer:

House Of Bamboo can be viewed on TCM On Demand, on their app, and it will air on TCM on May 13th  I loved it and give it high marks indeed: 4 stars, an Adrastos Grade of A, and two big thumbs up.

The last word goes to Graham Parker & The Rumour:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Can’t Let Go

Masks by Jackson Pollock

We had some first world problems at Adrastos World HQ this week: a cable box containing 60 episodes of Law & Order died. I battled the provider to a draw but losing the season-5 episodes with the perfect L&O cast of Orbach, Noth, Merkerson, Waterson, Hennessy, and Hill hurt:

Law & Order is my pandemic jam and it’s not currently on a streaming service. I can’t let go of the craving.Told ya this was a first world problem.

I hope that those of you who have read my previously unpublished law school mystery, Tongue In The Mail, enjoyed it. If you haven’t read it, give it a shot by clicking on this link. The serialization is dead, long live the serialization.

This week we have a trio of theme songs with the same title. Our first Can’t Let Go was written by Bryan Ferry for his 1978 solo album The Bride Stripped Bare. Here’s a double dose with the studio original and Roxy Music live:

Our second Can’t Let Go was written by Lucinda Williams for her classic 1998 album, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road:

Our final Can’t Let Go was written by Bill Meyers, Maurice White, and Allee Willis for Earth Wind & Fire’s 1979 album I Am.

I don’t know about you but I’m having a hard time letting go. Perhaps a jump to the break is in order.

Continue reading

Cuckoo Cocoon

For good or ill, the crazy has always been a part of American politics. From the Whiskey Rebellion to John Brown to the War of the Rebellion to the Mountain Meadows Massacre to the John Birch Society to the Nineties militia movement, it’s always been there. But the crazy has rarely had official sanction from a sitting president*. Of course, we never had an Oval One like President* Pennywise before.

The Kaiser of Chaos lives in a self-constructed fantasy world that makes past presidential bubbles look realistic in comparison:

In Trump’s case, it’s more like a cocoon. Insects in cocoons can and do change but Trump cannot. In his case, to borrow a phrase from Genesis, the band not the opening salvo of The Bible, it’s a cuckoo cocoon. The crazy is vacuum sealed in the Impeached Insult Comedian’s lizard brain.

Can you imagine any other Oval One demanding that a duly elected Governor give in to the demands of armed cretins?

Fuck you, Donald. There’s no reason for anyone to carry a weapon into any state capitol. It’s only okay in the cuckoo cocoon that you and your followers are trapped in. They’ll always be caterpillars, never butterflies

The crazy okayed by the Kaiser of Chaos is the logical culmination of decades of conservative ideology. In 1981, Ronald Reagan stated that “government is not the solution, it’s the problem.” In 1995, Bill Clinton caved to the 1994 mid-term results and declared “the era of big government is over.” Bill, of course, had his fingers crossed but it’s been all downhill from there.

The hatred of big guvmint has led to the crazy quilt approach the country is taking to the pandemic. Everyone is on their own. Chaos not only reigns, it rules. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos. And there are mini-Kaisers causing chaos across the land.

We shouldn’t let the libertarian right off the hook either. The Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, thinks it’s a grand idea for meat packing plants to remain open free of government interference. That sort of thinking is common among Kochified libertarians who cloak avarice and selfishness with highfalutin rhetoric about freedom. The libertarians are trapped in the cuckoo cocoon with the rest of the right.

The libertarian delusion is as old as the Republic itself. There’s a raging dispute over who first said, “the best government is that which governs least.” It doesn’t matter who coined the phrase, it’s bullshit. Small government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem. Only a New Deal-style approach can bring us back from the Second Great Depression.  It’s time to escape the cage of the cuckoo cocoon.

I added the word cage so I could give Peter Gabriel era Genesis the last word with a live medley of Cuckoo Cocoon and In The Cage. The songs are back-to-back on The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, after all.

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Ghost Of You Walks

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

Richard Thompson-Edward Hopper month concludes with a perverse pairing of Hopper’s most famous painting and a lesser known RT gem.

There’s not a lot to report this week since we’re on lockdown like everybody else. The polls don’t seem to reflect the Impeached Insult Comedian’s notion that people are desperate to resume normal life and take another bite out of the COVID-19 apple. Even 70% of rank and file Republicans would rather not die. Imagine that. So much for the Trump Death Cult.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson for his 1996 album You? Me? Us? Dig those crazy question marks. It also has a cool Max Ernst-like collage album cover, which may turn up some Wednesday. You never can tell.

We have two versions of The Ghost Of You Walks for your listening pleasure. The studio original and a live teevee performance on the BBC’s Later with Jools Holland. The latter is just the two unrelated Thompsons: Richard and Danny.

I’m not afraid of ghosts but if you are, let’s jump to the break to escape.

Continue reading

Only The Stupid Or Cynical

I’m sure many of you have argued with elderly relatives as to whether President* Pennywise is stupid. Fellow rich guy Rex Tllerson called him a “fucking moron,” after all.

My argument is weirder than yours. My elderly relative is a Hillary loving liberal who loathes Donald Trump, but she refuses to believe that *any* president can be as stupid as Trump seems to be. We’ve gone round and round about this for years.

She stubbornly maintains he’s merely ignorant of the things a president typically knows. I think she’s confusing him with Dubya or Reagan. They were ignorant of some things but not inherently stupid. Their ideology led to them to do stupid things. Reagan was smart enough to listen to his advisers and he even read his briefing books. Imagine that.

I’ve repeatedly pointed out that there’s a difference between lacking curiosity and stupidity. Trump is flat-out, painfully stupid. He’s an idiot, a moron, a dipshit, a dunce, a dolt. Whatever your favorite epithet for stupid is, he’s it.

My elderly relative is a worshiper of mammon so she refuses to believe that a rich person can be as stupid as Trump seems to be. She waives off my argument that he inherited a real estate empire from Fred Trump and ran it into the ground. Who else has ever lost money running a casino?

I’ve been tempted to argue that I’m a semi well-respected internet pundit but if it’s not in print, it doesn’t count. She’s a nonagenarian so making such a pretentious argument wouldn’t work in any event. To paraphrase what I said about Brokaw’s Greatest Generation in Tongue In The Mail: They won the war, so they don’t have to listen.

As everyone already knows, the Impeached Insult Comedian reached peak stupid yesterday:

“I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute,” he said during the White House’s daily press briefing. “And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? ‘Cause you see it gets in the lungs, and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.”

The makers of Lysol felt compelled to issue a safety warning. They should add a new warning label: Listening to President* Trump is hazardous to your health.

After the inject or ingest bleach statement, it’s become even more obvious that only the stupid or cynical can continue to support President* Pennywise. I’ve long thought that the vaunted Trump base is much smaller than people think it is. He lost conservative-leaning college educated suburban women in 2018. He’s never getting them back.

The only way the Impeached Insult Comedian can be stay in office past 2021 is by massive fraud or cancelling the election outright. I remain dubious that he’ll do the latter because he’s so deluded that he still thinks he will not only win but in a landslide. There will be fraud that makes 2016 look like the most honest election in history. Be alert: Don’t let the fuckers steal another election. Your life may depend on it.

As to my stubborn Trump-hating relative who refuses to believe he’s stupid, I’ll quote my favorite dead writer:

The last word goes, not to GV, but to XTC. They, however, anticipated that a President Kill would massacre people by war, not virus:

That’s Why I Call Him The Kaiser Of Chaos

This is the third post with this title. The Kaiser of Chaos is my third favorite Trump nickname after the Impeached Insult Comedian and President* Pennywise. One nickname was modified in December, the other is of a more recent vintage, but the Kaiser of Chaos is the one that fits these chaotic times. It’s concise, it’s forceful, it’s descriptive. And now the featured image is in black and white.

I first paired Trump and Kaiser Bill in 2018. It makes even more sense in 2020. The latter wreaked so much havoc and chaos that the Hohenzollern dynasty was deposed at the end of the Great War. That was when the Spanish Influenza upended the world. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Calling members of the current GOP conservatives is a bitter joke. True conservatives prize stability and order above all else. The party of Trump is all about chaos and disorder. It’s not just Kaiser Don, it’s the whole despicable crew:

  • Bill Barr is threatening to join lawsuits aimed at upending the sort of stay home restrictions urged on the country by his master. Coherence be damned.
  • In the Gret Stet of Louisiana, Rev. Tony Spell has been arrested for defying the stay at home orders of Governor Edwards. He called the first COVID-19 death among his flock a fake and a hoax. These bozos should use a thesaurus. Their stage patter is getting stale.
  • In South Dakota, the Trumper Governor is ignoring a COVID-19 breakout at a pork plant. She apparently plans to pork the entire state in the Ned Beatty/Deliverance sense of the word.
  • In Georgia, nitwit Republican Governor Brian Kemp thinks that there’s a safe way to get a haircut. I don’t know about you, but my barber gets up close and personal when shearing my locks. There will be blood on the floor, not hair if any barbers or hairdressers prematurely open their doors. Better shaggy than dead.
  • In Wisconsin, there’s wholesale chaos wrought by the state GOP. I’ve urged our Scout to write about their lethal antics. I hope she does.

This is just a sample of the crazy going on across the country. All these incoherent actions have only one thing in common: CHAOS. They want to blow enough smoke that the nation suffocates. It’s the Trumper version of drowning the government baby in the bathtub.

The only antidote to the chaos and confusion is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Let the Republicans follow the Kaiser of Chaos off the cliff. The original Kaiser of Chaos fled to Holland after abdicating the throne. Let’s send the Kurrent Kaiser packing to Florida where he can hang out with his pal Gov DeSantis. They deserve each other. The country does not.

Since the post is full of K-words, the last word goes to The Kinks; twice because of the Two Kaisers.

The Fauci Conundrum

Given the Impeached Insult Comedian’s aversion to the truth, it’s remarkable that Dr. Anthony Fauci still has his job. Fauci is a blunt truth-teller whereas Trump is a verbose liar. In the immortal words of Johnny Mercer, “something’s gotta give, something’s gotta give, something’s gotta give.”

The divide between Trump and the eminent physician has been there all along but the cracks widened noticeably last weekend. Fauci conceded that the federal response should have come earlier. That led President* Pennywise to retweet some noxious nonsense about the good doctor. We’ve gone from government by tweet to government by retweet. Oy, just oy.

When I was a young political junkie, the media landscape was populated with Kremlinologists who spent their time interpreting signals coming from the Soviet Union’s gerontological leadership. In 2020, we have Trumpologists who spend their time parsing Trump’s tweets and predicting his next tantrum.

Trump is more predictable than Brezhnev and company. He’s likely to fire Fauci in a fit of pique, then regret it immediately since the doctor is among those he’s setting up to be a patsy for the decreasing number of dolts still buying his bullshit. Like a demonic child pulling the wings off a fly, he’s likely to torment and insult Fauci before firing him.

That brings us to the Fauci conundrum. Should he stay or should he go? I think he should stay. Thus far, he’s been able to prevent Trump from making an even bigger mess of things. The Kaiser of Chaos is contemplating a premature reopening of the economy, which could lead to another huge wave of the virus. Someone inside the administration needs to tell him no. Who else will do so? Mikes Pence or Pompeo? Peter Navarro?

Besides, Tony Fauci has been in this spot before with Ronald Reagan and AIDS. So much for everything in the Trump era being unprecedented. Fauci was among those pushing Reagan to acknowledge that plague. It took Rock Hudson’s death from AIDS to get Reagan to admit that it wasn’t just a gay disease. But he did so grudgingly and mostly because of pressure from his wife and children. Unfortunately, Melania is no Nancy and Don Jr. is no Ron Jr. Holy grotesque understatement, Batman.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The last word goes to Frank Sinatra:

Tweet Of The Day: Fog Of History Edition

I’m sure you’ve heard Trump’s captive Surgeon General compare the pandemic to Pearl Harbor. Sounds good on the surface, right? A week which will live in infamy and all that shit. George Takei took the words right out of my mouth:

I was a history major with a minor in art history. I’ve been mocked for those
impractical choices. They’ve come in handy in my life as a pundit. History is almost invariably misused and misrepresented by those in power. In this case, the Surgeon General’s intention was to rally the complacent Trump base around the flag. Telling the truth about the pandemic from the start would have been a wiser strategy. But wisdom is antithetical to Trumpism.

The Trump regime’s response to this crisis has made Team Bush’s response to Katrina and the Federal Flood look masterful. BUT there *are* some similarities: they played politics too. Karl Rove was the tip of the White House spear as they blamed Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin for New Orleans’ plight. Meanwhile they favored Mississippi and then Governor Haley Barbour a former RNC Chairman and fat cat lobbyist. I’m not horsing around so I need not mention Brownie at great length.

There was a great deal of disaster capitalism in the months after Katrina. It’s happening now in the person of Slumlord Jared who is applying his King Midas in Reverse touch to the pandemic. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

I’d like to thank George Takei for being a stand-up guy and continually fighting the good fight. If only life imitated Star Trek. Starfleet would know how to handle this. Unfortunately, the executive branch is populated by nitwits, sycophants, and people who hate government. That’s a helluva way to run a railroad as it were. Heckuva job, GOP.

The last word goes to the Hollies with the unofficial anthem of the Trump regime. It works just as well for the Kaiser of Chaos as the Dauphin-in-law.