Category Archives: Guest Post

Guest Post: Take Me Home, Dunning-Kruger Effect

Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan.

Cassandra is back. This time we learn that she’s also a Watergate obsessive, which is always a good thing in my book or on our blog.

The featured image is Cassandra by Evelyn De Morgan. She was an English painter who was associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement early in her career. That’s a fact, not a prophecy.

-Adrastos

Take Me Home, Dunning-Kruger Effect by Cassandra

I have been interested in politics since I was 12 years old and fascinated with the Nixon administration. My fascination with Nixon and the Viet Nam war puzzled my parents because they did their best to limit my exposure (and that of my 2 sisters) to coverage of the war. Still, I managed to cobble together pieces of news and had an understanding that the US was losing and losing badly and that the troops needed to come home. I was a weird kid and I give my parents a lot of credit for letting me be me.

It should come as no surprise then to learn I was similarly obsessed with the Watergate scandal. I already had an affinity for law-based arguments, but the biggest single factor in my obsession was that the nuns in my tiny Catholic grammar school brought their portable TVs from their convent to our classrooms to watch the May 1973 Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. It was a revelatory moment:  the convent was a source of never-ending curiosity and I had no idea nuns owned televisions. And the fact that schoolwork was set aside for watching television left an indelible mark on my love for politics.

Naturally, I studied political science (as a “government” major, which appealed to my humanities-based approach to life) with an emphasis on political philosophy in college, along with history. (I tell you this for a reason, and not for self-aggrandizement…at least for today.) I loved talking to people about ideas, thinking critically about the past and the present, and always challenging people on their views, pushing them to provide the factual basis for their assertions, and debunking all the lies and half-truths I came across. And when I got online, I sought out those online idea exchange spaces, whether they were about my favorite bands or about current events. This was the pre-social media age, where you participated mostly via email, and where people took the time to fully explain their views or to critique yours.

At the same time, I knew enough not to critique stuff I didn’t know anything about and if I were a novice to do my research so I could be sure I wasn’t writing nonsense. It seemed clear to me that if you wanted people to take you seriously, you should be a purveyor of factual information.

Obviously, I’m a dinosaur when I roam about social media. I see people post compete garbage, with their actual names attached to it (!!!), and I am astonished every time. The other day one of my friends tagged me to ask me a few specific questions about the second Trump impeachment. Before I could compose a sensible response, one of her friends popped in with nonsense about Dominion voting machines, Nancy Pelosi having a hissy fit, and a prediction he would not be impeached (mind you, this was after he had already been impeached(squared), so clearly, he was no Cassandra).  I made my response, fact-based, with well-supported speculation as to what was going to happen next week, and he took that as his invitation to present more of his conspiracy nonsense. I pushed him to keep to facts, and he then told me that I was uninformed and should go read The Constitution.

It’s not enough to present facts to these folks—we have to convince them they don’t know as much as they think they do, to think critically, and to question everything (extra points for now seeing Spalding Gray drawing a box in the air).  But I have no idea what to do. I see these folks everywhere, and I think their world is about to come crashing down around them, and I don’t know how to help them sift through the rubble.

But I know we have bigger fish to fry these next few days. Joy be to you all.

Guest Post: A Postcard From Sonoma

One of the many unfortunate consequences of the Dipshit Insurrection is how it has overshadowed all other news since Twelfth Night. The pandemic has worsened dramatically since the beginning of the year. New mortality records have been set almost on a daily basis.  It’s a fucking mess, y’all.

In his second post for First Draft, my old friend Shapiro ponders the pandemic’s impact on his town, Sonoma, California.

-Adrastos

A Postcard From Sonoma by Shapiro

A tractor trailer rolled into my town last night.

My town is Sonoma California. To many of you that name conjures up images of vineyards and wineries, rolling hills in the distance, warm summer days followed by cool summer nights. A visitor once said to me he couldn’t even see the word Sonoma without imaging a wine glass in his hand.

In many ways Sonoma is just a small town like so many other small towns across America. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a guest tell me “It’s just like Stars Hollow!”, the fictional TV home of the Gilmore Girls.  We have a town square, historic in California as the spot where the Bear Flag Revolution began, the place where Californios, the Americans who came to Spanish, then Mexican Alta California, rebelled against the Mexican government who said they were not allowed to own land unless married to a Mexican. There is a large statue dedicated to those men, but most visitors pass it by as they head to picnic tables, laden down by wine purchases from nearby tasting rooms and emboldened by the fact it’s legal to consume alcohol within the square’s boundaries. During the summer, the square is the sight of a Tuesday night Farmer’s Market. Sonomans gather, folding chairs and tables in hand, picnic baskets filled, to see and be seen, to gossip and kibbitz, to lay down the workday and remember why we live here. Kids play on the swings, unbothered by helicopter parents, an admonishment only to be back when the streetlights come on. Occasionally people will wander over to the farmer’s stalls and pick up a few things or maybe get a churro or an Indian dish from one of the food trucks.

Across from the square on the east side is the Sebastiani movie theater, a single screen, real popcorn covered with real butter, first run, old fashioned movie house that on occasion will quietly show a new Pixar animated feature for a week before it’s official premiere since the guys who run Pixar, some of whom grew up in Sonoma, like to see their movies the way they grew up watching movies. Some nights the theater is given over to lectures or musical performances and, in the spring, it is the center piece for the Sonoma International Film Festival (SIFF). The big movies get shown there, smaller ones are shown at the Arts Center around the corner, the Veteran’s Hall down the street, and some are even projected onto an inflatable screen set up on the runway of the prop plane airport over on 8th street.

Neat little shops line the four legs of the square as well as restaurants, bars, and even an upscale sausage emporium. The ice cream shop proudly advertises its strawberry ice cream is made with not just local berries, but exactly which local strawberry patch provided them. Early mornings are accented with the intoxicating aroma of freshly baked bread from the Basque Bakery. The ladies clothing store competes with the thrift store, modern versus vintage, each holding their own against the other. The jewelry store owner proudly will detail how she was once Bob Hope’s girlfriend and you smile and nod your head, indulging the elderly lady her stories until she points to the pictures on the wall of her and “Bobby” at the Brown Derby and the Biltmore Hotel. There’s even a store selling old fashioned candy and games you played as a kid on long car trips, shoved into your hands by parents who tired of the eternal question “are we there yet?”.

Just off the square are neighborhoods filled with houses, neatly tended gardens watched over by large dogs who lay in a corner, raise a head, and pant a smile at those passing by. It seems as if every house has a story connected to it. It was built by a winery owner for himself or it was built by a winery owner to house favored employees or it was built by a San Franciscan who came to escape the big city willingly or not. Occasionally as one walks down a street of 1920’s California bungalows, an Amberson like 1880’s mansion will rise from behind a row of immaculately tended hedges to remind the street of a more elegant if less technologically advanced time.

A tractor trailer rolled through those neighborhoods last night.

It’s no secret things haven’t been usual the past nine months. COVID came to America through the West Coast which might be why California initially responded so furiously. San Francisco and Los Angeles locked down early, the state prepared to turn convention centers and sports arenas into makeshift hospitals. Fortunately, we never needed them. The people of California, for the most part, accepted the idea of lockdowns, quarantines, and face masks, hoping the combination would get us at least to the point where science would come through with a vaccine.

And we believed. We believed the doctors who told us this was worse than the flu. We believed the public health officials who said wash your hands, don’t touch your face, keep your nose and mouth covered. We believed the government officials when they said how important it was to have ventilators and PPE and intensive care beds at the ready. We battled the federal government’s non-response, their non-belief, and got prepared. The virus came and we were ready for it.

In Sonoma wineries closed their tasting rooms, restaurants went to takeout only, the square was empty on Tuesday nights, the film festival was cancelled. A summer came and went with few out of town guests, but we kept telling ourselves do this now and maybe by the fall things will start to get back to normal. Maybe we can at least have a family Thanksgiving became maybe we could at least have a family Christmas which in turn became maybe next year we will get back to normal.

But they haven’t gotten back to normal.

Things didn’t get back to normal because while we prepared for the worst, the rest of the country debated if the virus was even real. While we politely told visitors to wear a mask, yahoos proclaimed that their freedom was infringed being told to wear one. Even when their Yahoo in Chief waddled out to a helicopter to be whisked to the most intensive of intensive care facilities his followers refused to take the simplest of precautions. Predictably the virus grew stronger, the toll became higher, the deaths piled up. Just when it looked like we might be able to open up a bit, the door was slammed shut again. Last Friday Sonoma announced the tough restrictions would have to remain in place for at least another month because even with all our precautions, all our mask wearing, all our hand washing, all our businesses shut down and our lives disrupted, even with all of that intensive care bed space was at 3% and projected to hit zero within a matter of days.

So last night a tractor trailer rolled through Sonoma on its way to the county seat of Santa Rosa. There it dropped its refrigerated trailer, doubling the county morgue’s capacity.

Shapiro Out.

Guest Post: Gently Rise and Softly Fall

You can’t shake a tree around here without a guest writer falling out. This time it’s a friend of mine from the internet music mailing list scene. It’s a scene that barely exists now because of social media but it was once lively.

In the great tradition of First Draft pen names, she is writing as Cassandra. Here’s hoping that her prophecies are not scorned by our readers.

-Adrastos

Gently Rise and Softly Fall by Cassandra

I woke up this morning in a really crappy mood, which is pretty normal given what is going on right now. When I sat down with my laptop, my first reminder was “write piece about joy”. OK, here goes nothing.

Last March, my husband and I were watching our cat Rey play with her favorite toy:  a spring coated in vinyl. Cats play when all their needs have been met and so they can expend precious energy for fun things. Rey stands up on her back legs when she plays with a spring, passing it from paw to paw, and dancing herself. She goes to the legs of the bar stools and climbs over and around the legs, with the spring turning round. It’s infectiously joyful to watch. I clearly remember saying that we needed to memorize that image because we were going to need to remember what joy looked like as the months went on.

Last January I started reading Wanderers by Chuck Wending, a book about a mysterious pandemic which also included the scenario of an authoritarian US president and a national election. I also stopped reading it in January as things got to be way too close to real life here in the US. (Don’t spoil it for me—I fully intend to pick it back in a week or so.) Even though I couldn’t read the novel, I came across some of his stuff on Twitter and found his blog. A week after I had that conversation with my husband, Wendig wrote this:

Also accept any joy you feel and do so without guilt. Joy is hard-won, and if you manage that victory, there’s no shame in that. Take the victory lap. We will have to hunt joy like an elusive beast across the wasteland.

If you capture it, celebrate.

I thought of both of those things that glorious Saturday when the national election was called for Joe and Kamala (the weirdness of a TV network calling an election is a conversation for another day).  I live in West Virginia, so there was no parade of cars through the streets, honking and beeping for joy. (I made do with yelling “BEEEEEEEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEEEEEEEEEEEP” all day around the house (my poor husband)). I don’t know that there was much uncertainty around the final outcome earlier that morning, but the joy was certainly real and comforting—because we could recognize what joy looked like.

I studied US history for a long time, and I have a lot of things to say about politics. I think last week was the worst week in US history, and this week has already said “Hold my beer,” so politics can wait another day. Find some joy today and hold it fast.

Ryne Hancock: The Fallacies Of Our Crushes

My friend Ryne Hancock’s first post of 2021 strikes a wistful tone. For the non-New Orleanians out there, Broadmoor is an Uptown neighborhood.

-Adrastos

The Fallacies Of Our Crushes by Ryne Hancock

In a few days, my friend Cait in Broadmoor will be turning 42.

Despite the fact that we are still in a pandemic, her birthday will include dinner, gifts from her kids and husband as well as well-wishes from friends and family for another trip around the sun.

During that same week in January of 1979, one of my first celeb crushes, Aaliyah, was born. If my memory serves correctly, according to Cait, she and Aaliyah were born two days apart.

As a wide-eyed sixth-grader, I dreamed of marrying Aaliyah. Apart from her looks, she was an honor roll student (she was valedictorian of her Detroit high school senior class) and seemed to be on the surface the type of girl you could actually take home to your mom.

Once I entered high school, Aaliyah had gone from teen prodigy to a superstar on the rise. Not only was she doing music, but she was appearing in movies such as “Romeo Must Die” with Jet Li.

Then it happened.

On August 25, 2001, Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash, dead at 22.

Unlike my friend Cait, Aaliyah never got the chance to experience marriage or motherhood. She never had the chance to mentor young ladies like KeKe Palmer (could you imagine the two of them on a podcast?), write books, and get her flowers.

In a few months, we’ll be celebrating 20 years without her on this planet, which means many of us have experienced a world without her presence almost as many years as she gave us her presence.

And it still hurts.

Guest Post: The Dead Fish Problem

I’m Greek and believe in cronyism and nepotism if the person is talented. My old friend Shapiro is a talented writer. He has requested that I only use his last name. Request granted. Just don’t call me Chief.

I hung out with Shapiro a lot when we both lived in San Francisco. We went to many ballgames at Candlestick Park together. The ballpark sucked, but the company was excellent.

We were known to heckle opposing players. I’ll never forget the time we went after Pittsburgh Pirates 2B Rennie Stennett. Our group was merciless. Oddly enough, Stennett signed with the Giants the next season and was an expensive flop. That concludes this episode of when I was young and obnoxious theatre. It wasn’t very theatrical, was it?

-Adrastos

The Dead Fish Problem by Shapiro

Hear me out about this.

I don’t claim to be a lawyer (much to my parents’ dismay) or a political operative or a public relations wizard (that position is held by my younger son). I am wrong about political maneuvers I see in the media as often as I am right which probably means I should go into the political operative business because that gives me a higher batting average than many of them.

But I digress.

My point is I am not a pro when it comes to political posturing. But I am a pro when it comes to knowing how to rid yourself of a dead fish.

Dead fish smell. They smell bad. Go ahead, smell one for yourself and see. Told you so. Problem is you can’t just throw a dead fish out. Doing that just stinks up the garbage pail in your kitchen, then the garbage can in the side yard, and if you live in an area that outdoor critters are known to prowl the smell of the dead fish will encourage said critters to tip over your garbage cans in attempts to retrieve what it considers to be a tasty treat and you’re left with your neighbor Fred’s icy stares for being such a slob.

So you must be careful in the disposal of a dead fish. You have to wrap it in plastic to segment it from the rest of the trash, then you have to acknowledge there is a dead fish in the garbage (“Hey Fred sorry about the smell from the dead fish in my garbage”) even if the smell can’t be detected. You have to tightly secure the lid to the garbage can, so no roving band of raccoons get wind of the deliciousness awaiting them inside. Once the garbage company comes and hauls it away no one need think about it again.

Which brings us to the Republican Party and the dead fish that is Donald J. Trump.

Up until January 6, 2021 the Republican Party fully embraced Donald Trump. That embrace covered a wide gauntlet from full on “the election was rigged and unfair” to “we need to investigate possible irregularities in the voting” to “the election was fair, and he lost”, but they embraced him. Why not? He might have lost, but he got the second highest number of votes for president in the history of the country. That’s not a number to sneeze at. That’s a number a Republican challenger in 2024 would like to emulate. Add in the “hold my nose and vote for Biden because Trump is cray-cray” Republicans who you want to return and that’s a winning combination. Embracing him makes full political sense. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley know that and that’s why they are at one end of the embracement scale while Mitt Romney is at the other. The little procedural BS they were going to engage in over the certification of the electoral college was all just so much talk to be able to chop up into fund raising media, a little red meat to throw to the fanatics.

Instead on January 6, 2021 that scale got thrown to the wolverines. Embrace Donald Trump? The man who incited a mob to march on the capitol, break through the doors, desecrate the chambers, and end up with one shot dead before they were pushed out? The man who set up a watch party in a tent on the White House lawn and let his son live cast a few minutes of him cheering on the mob via TV? The man who, when finally forced to attempt to calm the mob down, did so on YouTube instead of network TV even though cell service and Wi-Fi had been cut off to the capital and it’s surrounding area so none of the mob could see it? Who in that message said he loved them and just wanted them to be safe?

For those of you impatiently waiting for Trump’s Lonesome Rhodes comeuppance moment this was it.

Republican senators who had said they would sign on to the notion of a challenge to the electoral vote count began to drop. What once was 15 ended up at 4 (4 others changed votes after the measure was defeated). In the House, the numbers didn’t drop as dramatically, but they did drop. Suddenly congressmen who were afraid to speak against Trump for fear of being primaried in 2022 now had to worry about being primaried for not coming out hard enough against the main instigator of the mob. They were worried that the stink of Trump, like a dead fish, would cling to them long after the carcass had been thrown away.

In the spirit of bringing America together, allow me to offer a suggestion for the Republican Party.

While it’s tempting to just dump Trump in the garbage can, that would not solve your problem. I understand your need to walk a balance beam more agilely than an Olympic gymnast. You don’t want to piss off his supporters who, for the moment and with nowhere else to go, vote for you. But you also need to signal to the vast majority of Republicans, the people who didn’t storm Capitol Hill, and the independents who truly are the difference makers in elections, that you won’t stand for mob rule no matter what the mob was for.  If you urge the VP and the cabinet to invoke the 25th you’re pretty much admitting Trump was crazy from the beginning with the inference being that you enabled him which you did but we’re trying to work on solutions here. If you work for impeachment that just reminds voters, you had your chance a year ago to be rid of him and didn’t take it. Get him to resign? Fat chance he’d do that unless you can guarantee him a billion in gold, a plane to Moscow, and the promise to not try and extradite him back. Whatever you do, his stink will be in your Dolce & Gabbana outlet store suits for years to come.

Unless.

Crazy times call for crazy stunts. You know all that talk about working together to do what’s in the best interests of the country? How about you try it. I know it goes against everything you stand for McConnell, but right now the American people want to see something done. They watched on their TVs as a group of wild-eyed radicals, egged on by a defeated election loser, attack the very bastion of our democracy. That’s crap that happens elsewhere, not here in the good old US of A. They’re scared and anxious about what’s going to happen in the next two weeks. And when parents are scared and anxious their kids get scared and anxious and that’s one thing parents don’t forget easily, especially when it comes time to put that x next to a name on a ballot.

It would be so easy for you to do it. “Hey, you know what, we got conned. We thought he’d be a breath of fresh air, coming in and draining the swamp, but it turns out he’s nothing but a game show carny and we’re glad to see him go”.  Let his most vociferous champions throw their crap at you like apes in a cage, it won’t matter because they themselves will no longer matter. Their fifteen minutes are up. The funniest part of this is that of all things he was the one who handed you the perfect “we’re all gonna work together” issue — $2000 stimulus checks. Send everybody that check and then go one better. We know Biden’s coming in with a national mask mandate. Declare the pandemic to have jumped the fire line, desperate measures need to be taken, masks for all. This isn’t taking away your freedom, it’s giving you a fighting chance against a microscopic killer until everyone gets the vaccine.  If Trump says anything Republicans could turn this into the political equivalent of “new phone, who dis?”

You will have carefully wrapped him, his family, his Proud Boys, all up in plastic, carefully place them in the garbage, made sure all your neighbors know to be aware of the potential stink, secured the lid, and sent him to the garbage heap of history. Hell you might even get some Democrats to vote for you next time.

(To Democrats, that last line was just a tease to Republican leadership, a trail of Reese’s Pieces to coax them out into the world of reality.)

Shapiro Out.

Guest Post: A Yat In Queen Isabella’s Court

Life throws you curveballs sometimes. Yesterday, I gave longtime reader and online friend Paul McMahon aka Paul McRambles a shout-out in my Trump Green Acres reboot post. We had a tweet exchange, which resulted in my offering to post some of his writing if it met my admittedly low standards. This piece passed with flying colors whatever the hell that means.

Paul is a fellow old-ish fart. He’s about to embark on a great new adventure by moving from New Orleans to Seville, Spain.

-Adrastos

 A Yat In Queen Isabella’s Court by Paul McMahon

I’m a Yat. For the uninitiated, a Yat is a New Orleans colloquialism that pokes fun at our accent, and our unique vocabulary. A common form of greeting to a neighbor in NO is to say, “Hey, where you at?”, which begs the notion that since that person is in your line of sight, you obviously know exactly where they are located. In an effort at conserving energy, this entreaty is often shortened to the monosyllabic, “Y’at”. Native New Orleanians are therefore commonly, and proudly, referred to as Yats. Future submissions by yours truly will elucidate on other quaint New Orleans’ contributions to Webster’s, such as “neutral ground” and “makin’ groceries”.

Yats are an endangered species this day. What makes New Orleans unique amongst its sister cities in the lower 48 is its fight against the tide of modernism. If nothing else, we are a homage to the art of antiquities. We relish our century plus old housing stock; our neighborhood bars and restaurants are the lynchpin of our daily lives; our favorite mode of public transportation is a streetcar. But these things are under attack in post-Katrina NO, and the rate at which they are disappearing from our lives has accelerated in the wake of Covid-19. In the aftermath of the federal flood (NO residents often refer to Katrina as being this, since it was the failure of the federally built levee system that caused the massive loss of property and lives), people from across the country came to NO in the valiant effort to help us rebuild. While their selfless acts of heroism are still wildly applauded, many have chosen to stay in this city and have also sought to change the very fiber of what they were trying to salvage. Corner bars, music clubs and restaurants are now besieged by numerous attacks from neighborhood groups, using city ordinances restricting noise, trash, and parking as their weapons. Streetcars routes are being challenged since the new New Orleanians claim that they add to traffic snarls, due to their relatively slow speed, and numerous stops. Hey, the poor who rely upon it as a form of public transit, can always walk…

Even our world-renowned cuisine is not safe. Po-Boy shops (the iconic NO gift to the sandwich world) are fewer in number and are being replaced by that paean to world dominance, the Starbucks store. Gumbo is now being “reconstructed” by the surge of nouveau chefs who have infested our area, with such novelty ingredients as kale, and environmentally sourced salmon, in lieu of okra and oysters.

Even our housing stock is under attack. Many of our venerable neighborhoods are now inhabited by a form of nouveau rich, who turn a blind eye, and a non-response, when we pass them on the sidewalks and ask, “Y’at”. Their infestation has further accelerated the rise in local property taxes, given their willingness to pay top dollar for our houses, and the domino impact that has on tax assessments on the surrounding abodes. Our own monthly housing note increased by over $600, due to such a re-assessment.

Yeah, I know, I’m the archetypical old man, sitting in a rocking chair on my front porch, and yelling at the youngsters to get the fuck off my lawn. Well, I don’t have a lawn. But I do have a sense of something that has grabbed my city by its neck and is not going to release its grip until it has strangled out all of the uniqueness of this city and resurrected it in the new version 2.0 of Portland, Austin, Aspen, or whatever other yuppie hell they can conceive.

So, what is a poor, or Yat, boy to do?!? Well, we loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly………Seville, that is. Yep, we are moving to Spain. Ms. Pmac, the pups, and me have our visas, and a lease on an apartment in the heart of the city. Unlike me, Ms. Pmac managed to amass a huge savings and has gifted me with the opportunity to retire now, instead of fulfilling my life goal of still generating a W-2 by working as a greeter at Wal-Mart at the age of 85.

Why did we pick Seville to suffer from our presence? We spent a month in Spain 2019, and fell in love with the country, especially Seville. The pace of life, the friendliness, the embrace by the locals of its history all reminded us of……. New Orleans?!?

Only my wife and I would decide to start life anew in our 60s, by traveling halfway across the planet to find what we once had. But it’s an adventure. And a life of retirement that consists of slippers and a pipe are not what I have ever yearned for, even in old New Orleans.

Adios for now, amigos. I’ll keep you apprised as to what unfolds. I’m nervous and excited. And, for me, that is what life should be.

Guest Post: The Price Of Reading The Room Is Free

My friend Ryne Hancock is back. He brings his feud with what used to be called “limousine liberals” to First Draft. They’re the same people Athenae calls purity ponies. In this instance, they’re mostly white middle to upper middle class post-Katrina transplants who live in downtown New Orleans. Their elitism bugs the living shit out of Ryne who is a young Black man from Memphis, Tennessee.

It’s time for me to step aside and present Ryne’s  righteous rant.

-Adrastos

The Price Of Reading The Room Is Free by Ryne Hancock

For months, one of the people that lived in my complex was a cougar that arrived from the Florida Panhandle. Tan and somewhat attractive, I figured she would be a cool person to be neighbors with, as opposed to the old black guy that constantly talks to himself in my building.

Instead it was anything but.

From the moment she arrived she complained about everything. In fact, when the hotels were filled with evacuees from Lake Charles, she complained about their attitudes.

There was also the time she got a job working at Tulane University and immediately demanded that she get better hours three weeks into getting the job.

The powers that be at the university then rewarded her with a 5 pm-2 am shift.

This line of thinking could be applied to people like the Justice Democrats and Sunshine Movement.

Much like my former neighbor, they use all their energy to complain when things don’t go their way, especially when all throughout the process they refused to get on board with endorsing Biden as well as run purity tests on everyone that didn’t conform to their beliefs.

They’re that relative who complains about you serving Chek soft drinks instead of Coca Cola. That relative who gets mad with people drinking Miller Lite and not craft beers.

“Oh you’re not drinking craft beer? How very poor of you!!!”

Criticize their God and Savior Bernie Sanders and the DSA, whose local chapter is basically 80% of the comedy community in New Orleans, and you get a lot of terms such as “sellout” & “corporate democrat” hurled your way.

And god help you if you criticize AOC, which if we’re being real, is basically every annoying gentrifier in the Maringy or Bywater, you’re labeled as a racist or even worse, a misogynist.

That’s the whole sum of the Justice Democrats and Sunshine Movement.

Instead of reading the room and picking justified fights (translation: the GOP) they’re taking credit for delivering the White House to Biden and managing to shitcan on Biden.

“We voted for you so do our bidding,” they’re screaming from the mountaintops.

First, you didn’t do shit. Your little performative progressive movement shitcanned on Biden & Kamala. And when it became apparent, he was going to be the nominee, you became brave by saying “Settle For Biden”.

Secondly, black women, the most loyal base in the Democratic Party, delivered the White House to Biden, not a bunch of latte-sipping performative allies that are focused more on making headlines than actually picking justifiable fights.

And lastly, if it weren’t for your movement, Mississippi would have been governed by Jim Hood. Alabama would have been governed by Walt Maddox. Florida could have had Andrew Gillium as governor.

But because of your movement and the buzzwords that come with it, those states have shoddy executive leadership.

Don’t get me wrong, the Democratic Party does need some fixing. It’s not perfect.

But the constant shitcanning a party that you allegedly belong to is not going to help your movement or this country in the long run.

Guest Post: Ryne Hancock On Elections Past & Present

Guest blogger Ryne Hancock tells us how he spent Election Night in 2016. It was in a club in New Orleans with a bunch of comedians. The evening was anything but funny.

-Adrastos

Don’t Let “They” & Complacency Win by Ryne Hancock

Long before Chris Trew’s creepy behavior sank him and his comedy club on St. Claude, a group of local comedians, including myself, gathered to watch the results of the 2016 election.

Adding to the intrigue was the fact that we were celebrating Kaitlin Marone’s appearance on the ballot for United States Senate, something that was commemorated with a sign from Jessica Hong that read “We Didn’t Do It!!!!”

From the onset, I figured that the sign was about Marone’s campaign (as I recall she got over 4,000 votes) and not the presidential election. Like most of everyone and their dog, I figured Clinton would eke out a narrow victory in the electoral college with maybe 280 or so votes and we wouldn’t have to be annoyed by that orange turd.

Then shit happened.

What was supposed to be a celebration became a tragic day for democracy. Instead of electing the most qualified person ever to the highest office in the land, this country decided to elect a dribbling idiot.

You can sift through all the reasons why the orange idiot won, most notably the bullshit about both candidates being the same or the fact that the most qualified candidate ever didn’t represent true white womanhood, but the facts remain bare for all to see.

We as a country got too comfortable with the fact that the 2016 election was in the bag.

This time around, we can’t get tired.

We can’t get complacent.

It’s just like what I told a friend of mine that owns a business on Magazine Street.

“They want you to be tired. They want you to give up. Don’t fucking get tired. It’s weary now but morning will come. It eventually comes.”

That’s my message to you guys that haven’t voted yet.

Don’t let “they” win.

Because that’s what “they” want.

Stay in line, mail your ballots, run the fucking score up to fight for the soul of this country.

Because in the end, the morning comes.

And my lord, what a morning it will be.

Guest Post: The All-Time, No-World Series Starting Nine

Tommy T is on the mend and still not quite up to doing that voodoo that he does so well.

For the second consecutive week, we have a guest post by Ryne Hancock. This time, he’s talking baseball.

-Adrastos

The All-Time, No-World Series Starting Nine by Ryne Hancock

One thing my friend Peter and I bond over is our love of baseball history (in fact I had floated around the idea of a podcast that focused on baseball history before the Great Pause). Despite the fact that I’m a diehard Cardinals fan and the fact that Peter’s Giants have beaten us three times in the postseason in my lifetime, we can both say that we’ve seen our teams reach the Fall Classic in our lifetimes.

With baseball playoffs in high gear, I thought about a starting nine of players that never saw their talents showcased in the Fall Classic. While I’m pretty certain that you, the reader, have different opinions on who should be on this list, I encourage you to leave comments in the comment section on who I left off.

 OF Dale Murphy:  Sandwiched between Hank Aaron & Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy was the only reason why most people during the 1980’s gave a damn about the Braves. In 15 years with the Braves, Murphy won two MVPs and led the Braves to the 1982 NL West title, where they would lose to the Cardinals in the NLCS. After that season, the Braves would have one more winning season during his time in Atlanta, an 88-win season in 1983. Despite the fact that he put up numbers that were Hall of Fame worthy, Murphy’s name isn’t etched in the annals among the immortals in Cooperstown.

OF Ken Griffey Jr. The greatest tragedy in baseball history was not the Indians choking away a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Cubs and extending the misery of the Cub fans, but kids of a certain generation never got to see Ken Griffey belt a home run with that sweet swing or rob someone of a home run in the World Series. The closest Griffey ever got to the Fall Classic was in 1995, when they beat the vaunted Yankees (more on one of their players later on) to reach the ALCS. Another postseason appearance followed two years later that ended in the ALDS with the Mariners, which would be the last one for Griffey until 2008 when he played on the White Sox.

I thought about that the other day when I was watching a softball game at the Fly when I had a conversation with a 14-year-old kid about Mike Trout and how the Angels were wasting his prime.

“Kid, when I was your age,” I told him, “we didn’t see Griffey in the World Series. You’re getting that with Trout”.

OF Vlad Guerrero: There were a bunch of names that stood out for me for the rightfield position. Of the four names I had (Andre Dawson, Vlad Guerrero, Sammy Sosa, Juan Gonzalez) the one that stuck out for me was Vlad Guerrero.

Of all the players I grew up watching, no one hit the ball more violently than Guerrero, especially balls that were out of the strike zone. Despite all the success the Angels had during that time, with five division titles in six years, Guerrero could never reach the Fall Classic.

3B Ron Santo: Kids of a certain generation in Chicago saw the primes of Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Ernie Banks, & the third baseman on this team, Ron Santo, squandered like an Atlanta Falcons lead in the Super Bowl.

A key cog in the Cubs’ resurgence in the 1960’s, Santo didn’t get a chance to sniff a winning season until 1967, when the Cubs finished third behind my Cardinals, who of course won the World Series that year. In 1969, the first year of divisional play, the Cubs looked primed to reach the playoffs and possibly the World Series when thanks to the managerial malpractice of Leo Durocher and the fact that Wrigley didn’t have night games, the Cubs squandered an eight-game lead in the new National League East to the New York Mets.

The Cubs wouldn’t reach the playoffs until 1984.

SS Ernie Banks: When the Cubs won four years ago, the first person that came to my mind was Ernie Banks. In 1958 & 59 Banks won the National League MVP when the Cubs finished fifth and seventh, respectively. It wasn’t until his 11th season in which the Cubs had a winning record, when the Cubs finished 82-80.

Banks had to deal with not only racism, but also an eccentric owner that was more focused on the ballpark than fielding a competent team. He saw the dregs of a pennant race late in his career, but never got a chance to see the Fall Classic.

Just think how things would have been had he had a competent front office.

2B Ryne Sandberg: Despite my fandom for the Cardinals, I was named for Ryne Sandberg. Long before Sosa made his sojourn to the North Side, Sandberg was the face of the Cubs. Fifteen years after their collapse in 1969, the Cubs reached the playoffs for the first time since 1945 when they won the National League East. Another trip would follow in 1989 as they won the division by six games over the New York Mets.

Unfortunately, those two trips would be the closest Sandberg would get to the Fall Classic. In 1984, the Cubs would blow a 2-1 lead to the Padres and five years later, the Giants behind the bat of Will Clark would derail pennant hopes for the Cubs.

1B Don Mattingly: Similar to Dale Murphy in Atlanta, Mattingly was the gap between Reggie Jackson and Derek Jeter. Despite putting up solid numbers during his time in the Bronx, Mattingly could never showcase his talents in the World Series. Many baseball scholars suggest that had the 1994 strike not happened, the Yankees would have probably made the postseason.

P Jim Bunning: Lost in the shuffle of great pitchers in the 1960’s and long before he became a quack politician, Jim Bunning was one of the best pitchers in baseball. In a 17-year career, most notably with the Tigers and the Phillies, Bunning led the American League in wins once and strikeouts three times. During his time in Detroit, Bunning got close to the World Series once, playing on the 1961 team that won 101 games and finished second behind the Yankees. In Philadelphia, he played on the 1964 team that collapsed down the stretch and lost the pennant to the Cardinals.

C Joe Mauer: In a perfect world Joe Mauer is like Kent Hrbek, a local kid who made good by playing for the local baseball team and won two world championships.

Despite being the face of the Twins for over a decade, Mauer didn’t have the same luck in the postseason as Hrbek. In five trips to the postseason, Mauer never won a postseason series.

Guest Post: Hard Sympathy

Good morning. Tommy T is on the disabled list with a serious health problem. It is not, however, caused by reading the Freepers so we don’t have to. Here’s hoping our beloved friend and colleague gets well soon. That’s as mushy as I get, y’all.

Today’s guest blogger is my young friend Ryne Hancock. He’s the guy who inspired my Bad Karma post last week, which led to his first First Draft shout-out. I also owe him because his bike was stolen in front of my house a few years ago. Sorry about that.

Ryne is a native Memphian who moved to New Orleans right before the 10th Katrinaversary. Don’t worry, he’s not a carpetblogger. He’s done a little bit of everything since he arrived in New Orleans but what he does best is tell stories.

Cheers,

Adrastos

Hard Sympathy by Ryne Hancock

For three years, I had to deal with the ups and downs of having a crackhead for a landlord on Washington Avenue in Central City.

During the first two years I lived on Washington Avenue, things were pretty calm. Mainly because my landlord was in Mississippi for six months and I didn’t have to deal with extras from “Tales From the Crypt” knocking on the door all times of the night looking for him.

However, around the end of Mardi Gras 2019, my landlord told me that he was headed to some rehab in Jefferson Parish. I found the timing odd because it was the first of the month, which was when he got his lump sum (as well as my rent money) from Social Security.

That was when I learned that he owed money to damn near everyone in the neighborhood and was looking for a way to abandon his responsibilities.

The same night the Blues clinched their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 49 years, I received a call from my landlord, who was hiding at someone’s house on Seventh Street near Dryades.

Because of a phone conversation I had with someone, I was being evicted. Not because of late rent or my habits as a tenant, but a phone conversation. To my landlord, rent money was a sign of loyalty and the context of my phone conversation to him was an act of betrayal.

A couple of weeks later, while I was in bed at my friend’s house in the Bywater, my former landlord called me from a South Carolina number.

“Hey man,” he told me, “all my stuff got stolen in Alabama.”

After I hung up with him, I thought to myself, this guy wanted me gone two weeks prior and owed everyone money. Now he wants me to help him.

You hate to see people suffering, but it’s hard to conjure any type of sympathy for a person that did a lot of people wrong.

That same line of thinking applies for Donald Trump.

Despite the fact that Trump will go down as the worst president in American history, which means James Buchanan & Herbert Hoover are off the hook, it’s a shame that he has this deadly disease. Nobody should have to suffer through that.

But when you for starters, downplayed the seriousness of this disease and said that it was just like the flu, you indirectly signed the death certificate of over 200,000 people. 200,000 people that needlessly died. Sure, there was a travel ban, but that was as useless as those thin cable bike locks.

There was no type of pandemic education or anything that could help save lives because you decided to decimate the pandemic response team.

Ya know, the people that you needed in your corner?

Apart from the countless things that you’ve bungled during this pandemic, you had a man die after one of your rallies from the covid. But because he was black you didn’t even attempt to send your condolences or even acknowledge him at the Republican National Convention.

To you, Herman Cain was collateral damage, an ugly sofa that was in your way in the living room. If you had something that is known as compassion, you would have stepped back and stopped doing large scale rallies. You could have held virtual fundraisers, socially distanced outdoor rallies, things that slow the spread of this disease.

In other words, an example for our country like my bartender crush at my office on Magazine Street was an example for customers.

But you didn’t do that.

You took a cavalier approach to this pandemic, which for the most part most of your cult and party went along with.

Instead of turning the corner as you publicly said time and time again, the actions of your cult and yours for that matter has made things worse.

As I write this, the number of people dead is more than the population of Jackson, Mississippi (pop:173,514), Evansville, Indiana (117,429), & Clarksville, Tennessee (132,929).

The amount of dead could fill two Tiger Stadiums, six Wrigley Fields, and about eight or nine Fenway Parks.

It’s a shame that you and your cronies have this disease. I don’t wish ill on you or anyone for that matter.

But feigning sympathy for you?

Nah.

It is what it is.

That’s my attitude towards you because you decided to be a knucklehead. That you decided to not listen to science and people who know a whole lot more than you.

I would hope that this would humble you.

But knowing you, you won’t change. It’s just not in you.