A Festivus For The Rest Of Us

First off, The Reason for the Season, at least the reason for today (Festivus): Yeah, I’d air my grievances but we’d be here a while. Lots of reasons for grievances, including one I’ll aim at a certain senator, with apologies to ol’ Charlie Dickens: “Spirit! are they yours?” Manchin could say no more. “They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow … Continue reading A Festivus For The Rest Of Us

Saturday Odds & Sods: Jacob Marley’s Chain

Jacob Marley’s Ghost by John Leech.

Things had slowed down in New Orleans on the COVID front, but it looks as if we’re about to be hit with another wave. I know of at least 10 people who have been exposed to the highly contagious Omicron variant. I’m glad the Carnival parading season is late this year. We may still be able to salvage it. Stay tuned.

This week’s seasonal theme song was written by Aimee Mann for her classic 1993 album, Whatever. It’s more of a Dickensian song than a holiday song, which is why I like it so much.

We have two versions of Jacob Marley’s Chains for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live solo acoustic version with an amusing introduction by the songwriter.

We’ve all been foolish, but I for one have never been part of a chain-chain-chain of fools:

It’s time to stop fooling around and jump to the break.

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What’s DAT You Say?

Happy Day After Thanksgiving (DAT). I won’t refer to it by that other name. I won’t keep you long. Don’t want to put a crimp in your shopping day (only 29 of them left till Christmas). How was your Thanksgiving? Did you keep with last year’s mandates (oops, sorry, didn’t mean to bring up politics, at least not this early) and keep to just a few close friends and family? Or was this year a “return to normalcy” with everyone and their long lost cousin around the table? For the wife (Cruella) and I we fell somewhere in the middle. … Continue reading What’s DAT You Say?

Take A Breath, It’s Just Thanksgiving

Hey there. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Enjoying your Thanksgiving coffee? Yeah, I know. Soon (if not already), you’re going to have to deal with family. Last year, even if you won’t admit it to anyone, was actually kind of nice. Thanks to COVID, it was just you and the people and pets you live with. No worries about the cringe-worthy political opinions of family members. But this year, it’s once more into the breach, my friend. There’s your one uncle, who two Thanksgivings ago told you that if Trump didn’t win 600 electoral votes, the fix was in. That was … Continue reading Take A Breath, It’s Just Thanksgiving

‘Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

Our main course this Thanksgiving is…rest. I have been juggling several big tasks at home, and my husband was just handed a mess at work to untangle. I’m still recovering from last week and hit the wall on Tuesday. I stopped cooking turkey as Thanksgiving dinner several years ago. We regularly eat turkey (did you know it’s a superfood?) during the year, and while I make a mean roast chicken, turkey is more unwieldy and less forgiving than chicken. My grocery store carries standing rib roasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas and deeply discounts them, so that’s become our standard fare. … Continue reading ‘Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

Saturday Odds & Sods: Into The Lens

Noir et blanches by Man Ray.

New Orleans weather is as variable during the fall as it is unchanging in the summertime. It’s been cold and dry then warm and muggy, but I have not resorted to air-conditioning. So it goes.

The Orleans Parish runoff election is scheduled for December 11th. I’m supporting an old school NOLA pol in one race and a reformer who’s running against an old school NOLA pol in another. Sometimes I even confuse myself.

I voted to reelect Jay Banks as my district city councilmember. He ran first in the primary despite all the mud thrown at him by his “reformer” opponents. They lost me forever when I saw that they’d rented a billboard together to plug their primary candidacies. Collusion is a bad look.

In the Sheriff’s race, longtime incumbent Marlin Gusman just missed winning in the first round. He’s a terrible sheriff but an excellent politician. I’m voting for his opponent, Susan Hutson, but she looks like a long shot because of all the local political muscle massed against her.

Like many others on the left, Team Hutson seems to underestimate how conservative many older black people are. When I was a neighborhood leader, the most rabid people about crime were elderly black folks. They’re also comfortable with Gusman who is favored to stay in office despite all the outside money being spent on behalf of his opponent.

This week’s theme song was written by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes in 1980. It began life with the title I Am A Camera and was intended for the Buggles second album. Then Horn and Downes joined Yes, and it became Into The Lens, the first track of side two of the Drama LP.

We have the song in both incarnations for your listening pleasure. I prefer the Yes version because of Howe’s guitar and Squire’s bass, but Downes excels on keyboard on both versions.

There’s an oddball link between our theme song and this week’s Friday Cocktail Hour. Cabaret was based on John Van Druten’s 1951 play I Am A Camera, which in turn was adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 novel Goodbye To Berlin. It doesn’t get much odder than that.

Before we nod off like Lee Miller in the May Ray featured image, let’s jump to the break.

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The Picky Eater Cooks

People who have seen photos of things I cook on social media are always surprised to learn that I’m a picky eater. I’m not “picky” as in no additives or arbitrarily restricted items, but “picky” as in I don’t like a lot of foods. I cook for my household of 2, and my husband isn’t a fan of eating the same thing every night, lol, and so I’m a picky eater in an omnivorous household. I learned to cook from my mom at home. My sisters and I would sit at the kitchen table and peel and chop vegetables, or … Continue reading The Picky Eater Cooks

A Postcard From Ashland Oregon

Ashland Oregon Postcard

Greetings from balmy Ashland Oregon where the temps today will stretch all the way to the mid 70’s and the cloud cover will, well, cover the sky most of the day.

It’s an interesting change from Sonoma where the temps will hit the hundreds while we’re away. Ah, too bad. Along the drive it was astounding to see the change in topography as we sped north, from the arid brown of the Golden State to the lush green forests of the Beaver State. No jokes please, we’re woke around here.

This is our first stop as we wind our way through the PacNorWest ™. Five hours from home, it’s one of the longer drives we’ll be making. That’s a good thing as the wife (Cruella) was just about done with my bad jokes and choice of music. Apparently Gregorian chanting isn’t her thing. Go figure.

Ashland is of course home to the world famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Since 1935 the Festival has presented a variety of plays both Shakespearian and modern in their five performance spaces. The most famous of the theaters is the Elizabethan outdoor stage, a model of Will’s own Globe theater. Fortunately the modern audience all get seats, no groundlings allowed. The season runs from early March to early November.

Of course COVID hit the Festival hard, cancelling the entire 2020 season and forcing a drastic cut down of the 2021 season. Usually 10-12 shows are done per season, this year there will only be two, a new musical called FANNIE about the life of civil rights pioneer Fannie Lou Hamer which will be presented in the outdoor theater starting July 1 (too late for this trip) and IT’S CHRISTMAS, CAROL a gender bending take on the Dicken’s classic opening in late November.

Actually the real reason we come to Ashland is to eat at this place:

Omar's Restaurant Ashland Oregon

This is Omar’s Steakhouse and with neon like that you just know it’s going to be good. And it has been for the last 75 years. A dry martini, a fine steak, some Dragonfly Tempranillo  wine, what more does a man need? A good story to go with? It’s got that too. Seems the man who started it was named Omer and that’s what the sign was supposed to say, but Noodnick Nate the Neon Man screwed up and old Omer didn’t want to offend so he just went with it.

We on the other hand just go with the mouth watering steaks and coma inducing desserts. This is old school eating. Bring your second stomach and be prepared to fill it.

steak at Omars

Coupe Denmark Sundae

Ashland is also home to Southern Oregon University, where “artsy” children are sent by their parents who have compromised in order to at least get them to go to college and not head up to Portland to live out their coffee house and poetry dreams. That and the fact you have a Shakespeare Disney World right next door might lead you to the conclusion the town is just a tad liberal. You would be correct. But it’s a small island of blue in a sea of Southern Oregon red.

The larger city nearby, Medford, for many years has been the home of Harry and David, the gift packaged fruit kings of the world. If you’ve ever opened your door to find a gift from your Aunt Gertrude containing fruits and nuts lovingly arranged in a reusable, if you use those sorts of things, gift basket it was probably from Harry and David. They are a huge company with 8000 employees but most of that is farmed out labor. They were purchased a few years ago by 1-800-Flowers and in the midst of the pandemic closed down all their stores, laid off all the store employees and went completely online. Complaints are up, mostly about the quality of the fruit and the customer service. The company’s response? Teach your Aunt Gertrude how to use a computer.

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A Postcard From Flavortown

Can a clown be a hero? It’s happened before. After all, it’s the clowns who are able to wring not only the laughs from the belly but the tears from the eyes and the dollars from the wallets. Sure Jerry Lewis played an imbecile on the big screen but there he was every Labor Day on the small screen wedeling millions out of the viewing public. At that point do you think the Muscular Dystrophy Association cared if he did prat falls for a living? Same thing with Guy Fieri. That’s why he’s a hero around these parts. Up here … Continue reading A Postcard From Flavortown

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.

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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.

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