My latest NOLA-centric piece is up at the Bayou Brief. I take a look at two factors that made Carnival a bit less enjoyable in 2018: the Lost Causers and the Krewe of Chad. If you want to know what the latter is, CLICK HERE.
It’s been a frustrating week at Adrastos World HQ. Every time I think my pernicious and persistent cold is getting better, I backslide. I would have preferred to be really sick for a few days and then better. Make up your mind, cold.
In local news, the lame duck New Orleans City Council has been up to all sorts of mischief: voting to approve a new power plant for Entergy that won’t solve our blackout problems and allowing taller buildings to be constructed alongside the Mother of Rivers. I suspect that the presence of Mayor-elect Cantrell on the Council is one reason they feel free to take such votes. It does not bode well for those who hoped the incoming Mayor would be more neighborhood/citizen friendly. Score another win for real estate developers who are the worst people in the world. Exhibit A for this argument currently lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
This week’s theme song is a tribute to Temptations singer Dennis Edwards who died earlier this month at the age of 74. Papa Was A Rolling Stone was written by Norman Whitfield and Barret Strong and was a monster hit in 1972. Here are two versions for your enjoyment: the Temps and David Lindley.
Now that I’ve dissed real estate developers and my stupid cold, it’s time to roll over to the break. I’m too enfeebled to jump.
Dr. A and I are on the disabled list this year. She has a bad cold and I have a gimpy leg; nothing serious or permanent. We were the krewe of the couch and watched parade coverage on WWL-TV. The krewe of kitties named for Perry Mason characters approved.
The fact that Mardi Gras day coincides with the Ice People Olympics means that it’s time to revive a classic moment from the 2014 Krewe du Vieux parade. It’s the Drips and Discharges Skating Dick.
To quote an old proverb, it ain’t over until the dick skates. Did I say old? I meant odd.
I’m peeking my head out of the Carnival bubble because Josh nails the Insult Comedian and his creepy criminal cohort yet again:
We can start with the simple fact that this President surrounds himself with men who abuse women. Abuse and predation may know no party. But abusers seek out and run together. Trump’s politics are rooted in grievance, both gendered and racial. Trump is consistent if nothing else. He is an embodiment of his politics. It’s no surprise that this isn’t theoretical or merely expressed in political terms but is interpersonal and personally violent as well. Abusers know the President is one of them. They seek him out and he protects them in turn. Few men in the President’s coterie have multiple wives who’ve been willing to take the step of describing their former husband’s violence on the record. But it’s remarkable the number of Trump’s top advisors who have a history of abuse, whether it’s accusations of harassment or sexual assault or chronic physical violence against former spouses or girlfriends.
The Porter scandal is simultaneously appalling and fascinating. We already knew Trump didn’t give a shit about predatory behavior but we’ve had another reminder that John Kelly is just a slightly more polished version of his boss. Spousal abuse doesn’t seem to faze him one bit. He may be an officer but he’s not a gentleman.
It’s also been fun watching the hapless Hope Hicks flail. It’s what happens when you place a sycophant who is also dating the wife beater in a position that she’s woefully unqualified for. They might bring back the Mooch who is also woefully unqualified to be communications director. Woefully Unqualifed would be a good Trumper band name.
Okay, time to re-enter the Carnival bubble. The real world bites the big one right now.
It’s been a somewhat stressful Carnival season thus far. The reason has been the weather: it’s been chilly and wet. The skies opened and poured down rain on the all female Krewe of Nyx on Wednesday night. We braved the elements and watched large chunks of the parade because we have friends in it and wanted to show our support. We can also run home and change clothes if we’re soaked. Props to the ladies who rode and survived the deluge of 2018.
Our annual Muses open house was a roaring success as was the parade itself, which took place on a dry Thursday evening. Half of New Orleans seems to come to Adrastos World HQ every year and 2018 was no exception. We had a record number of children including the legendary child army. New kitty Paul Drake came out to meet company but eventually got spooked by a close encounter with Lagniappe who is the craziest, cutest, and funniest 2+ year old I’ve ever met. Believe me.
Muses is another all-chick krewe who are famous for their shoe throws and marvelous themes. This year’s theme, Muses Night at the Museum, was their best yet. They riffed on masterpieces by artists such as Seurat, Magritte, Matisse, and Hopper and gave them a satirical twist. It was brilliant thematically and beautifully executed. My years in Krewe du Vieux have made me something of a parade critic but I have no criticism of this parade. It was stone cold brilliant. Four stars all the way, y’all.
Muses has a swell slide/show photo gallery of their floats at their Facebook page. Take a peek you’ll enjoy it, even this one:
Here’s the counterpart to that float. It’s as wistful as hell:
I know what you’re thinking: another Grateful Dead tune as the theme song? It’s actually tied to Carnival by analogy. We live inside what is referred to as the parade box. On parade days, except for Mardi Gras day itself, our movements are constricted by the parades. We even have parking wars. This forecast for the rest of the weekend is a shit ton of rain. Hence Box Of Rain:
I have just two articles to suggest this week, so we’ll forego the break and usual segment format. I’m not sure if it’s innovative or lazy; probably the latter since hosting a party of 100+ people is hard work. I feel as if I was run over by a float.
Dr. A wanted to see the Super Bowl half time show even though we only watched snippets of the game. She was disappointed by it as was Vulture’s Brian Moylan who was inspired to write a list ranking Super Bowl half time shows from worst to best. Moylan is something of an Irish Shecky who is known for his hilarious recaps of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills aka Rich Ladies Doing Things. I particularly enjoy how he rags on one of the husbands. He once called this chap a pustule with legs. Now that’s entertainment.
It’s Black History Month everywhere except the Trump White House. The Failing New York Times published a list of must-see movies:
It’s a great list. I’ve only seen half of the films listed so I have some catching up to do. I am pleased that they like Devil With A Blue Dress as much as I do.
That’s it for this week’s limited edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. I can’t assure you that it will grow in value but it’s mercifully short. That’s something, innit?
The last word goes to the Krewe of Muses:
Carnival swings into high gear this evening. We live inside the parade box, which is even more intense at the beginning of the route where Adrastos World HQ is located. A highlight of every parade are the military marching bands, especially the Marines in their gorgeous dress blues.
President Trump’s vision of soldiers marching and tanks rolling down the boulevards of Washington is moving closer to reality in the Pentagon and White House, where officials say they have begun to plan a grand military parade later this year showcasing the might of America’s armed forces.
Trump has long mused publicly and privately about wanting such a parade, but a Jan. 18 meeting between Trump and top generals in the Pentagon’s tank — a room reserved for top-secret discussions — marked a tipping point, according to two officials briefed on the planning.
Surrounded by the military’s highest-ranking officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Trump’s seemingly abstract desire for a parade was suddenly heard as a presidential directive, the officials said.
“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France,” said a military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the planning discussions are supposed to remain confidential. “This is being worked at the highest levels of the military.”
Everybody loves a parade including Third World tyrants and the Banana Republican who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at the moment. I wonder if the Kaiser of Chaos plans to repair the streets that are damaged. Not that he’s thought that far ahead: he’s a tween who wants what Macron has. But that sort of parade *is* a tradition in France, not in America. It’s not a parade to celebrate the military but to celebrate Trump’s ego and prove that his dick is bigger than the handsome young French president’s.
In many parts of the world, tanks in the streets means that there’s a coup d’etat in progress. I heard stories of Athens, Greece in 1967 from my de facto Uncle Lou who was stationed there with NCIS when the colonels overthrew the duly elected government. (A quick personal story. Lou is the reason I cannot watch NCIS: New Orleans despite being a Scott Bakula fan. In his many years of service, he never drew his weapon. He would have considered it a failure to do so. Real NCIS agents are investigators, not action heroes.)
The building on the right is parliament at Syntagma Square. That’s constitution square for anyone keeping score. The score that day was colonels ten, democracy zero.
The Greeks have learned their lesson about tanks in the street. It’s what happens when democracy fails and authoritarianism prevails. Is that what we want to see in our nation’s capital? A parade staged to gratify a vainglorious despot wannabe? No fucking way.
Trump recently called Democrats “un-American” for not applauding him during his desultory state of the union speech. What’s un-American is staging a military parade when we’re not celebrating the end of a war. It’s an act of egomania conceived by an insecure man who is called Cadet Bone Spurs by a real war hero, Senator Tammy Duckworth. Believe me.
America should be secure in the knowledge that our military is second to none. We don’t need tanks in the streets to gratify an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head.
Everybody loves a parade.
The Wild Magnolias are first and foremost a Mardi Gras Indian tribe. They’re also active when it’s not Carnival with live performances and the odd recording. This week I’m featuring the covers of their first two albums, which were released in 1974 and 1975.
Carnival kicks into full swing this weekend. We’re about to have parades and company up the wazoo. I remain uncertain as to what the wazoo is but I think it’s first cousin to the ying-yang or the place where the moon don’t shine.
One downside of Carnival are the creeps who try to appropriate the public green as their own private space. We call them the Krewe of Chad or Chads for short. For the first time in years, the city decided to enforce the existing ordinances against ladders, couches and such being left on the sidewalks and neutral grounds. The Chads were outraged. They’re always either outraged or entitled hence the 2016 Krewe of Spank theme, Clash of the Entitled.
You may recall the mishigas over the Forever Lee Circle beads. In a fit of hashtag activism, someone decided to do something about it:
Since we have both night and day parades, I picked a classic for this week’s theme song, Night and Day. It doesn’t get more classic than Cole Porter, y’all. We have two versions for your listening pleasure, Ella Fitzgerald followed by a swell 1995 version by the Temptations.
Now that we’ve heard the boom, boom of the tom-toms, let’s jump to the break. See you on the other side.
In the past, Carnival has united New Orleans. The first season after Katrina and the Federal Flood was both memorable and moving. Some outsiders criticized us for throwing a massive street party after a disaster but it’s what we do in the Crescent City. In 2018, divisiveness is in the air, driven by our old “pals” the Lost Causers.
A guy named Charles Marsala and his group Save NOLA Heritage (not to be confused with the tasty veal dish) are selling the “Forever Lee Circle” beads you see at the top of the post. They’ve set up a Facebook page to help hawk their divisive wares and mock their critics. Hawk-n-mock sounds vaguely Trumpian. Since the only thing the Insult Comedian and I have in common is a fondness for nicknaming people, this Lost Causer will hereinafter be called Spoiled Veal Marsala.
Marsala is a part of Save Nola Heritage, a group that wants to educate and demand more transparency from the city about what it does with public art, such as monuments.
“We spent the money from the bead sales, we put banners on the monument itself. Robert E. Lee’s birthday was about two weeks ago,” he said.
Marsala said the beads are not meant to be racist in any way. He wants them to serve as a reminder that Lee Circle still needs attention.
Spoiled Veal Marsala’s group is NOT about transparency. It’s about nostalgia for the Confederacy, Jim Crow, slavery, and white supremacy. Instead of banners, they should adorn the empty pedestals with nooses to “honor” the lynchings that used to be depressingly common in the Deep South.
Carnival throws in New Orleans have been traditionally non-commercial and relatively apolitical. Some parading krewes have already asked their members not to throw any of the Lee Circle Forever beads. I suspect they’ll turn up when some of the more retrograde krewes roll: I omit the names to protect the guilty.
Another weird feature of the Forever Lee Circle Facebook page is a cartoon of the three deposed statue dudes, Davis, Beauregard, and Lee, riding a float. They’re throwing books labelled history. I though the Lost Causers were about saving their view of history, not throwing it away.
It’s a pity that they don’t depict Jeff Davis in drag.
It’s no coincidence that Southern Lost Cause Festers have risen again with a white nationalist talking terlet in the White House. The Trumpers have signaled that bigotry, intolerance, and hatred are back in fashion. There are “good people on both sides,” according to the president*. Wrong again, Donny, baby. There’s the right side and the all-white side.
Spank-a-Mole is a game of endurance wherein you beat the mole into submission. That’s what the anti-Trump resistance has to do: keep spanking the ugly orange mole.
That goes double for such enduring pests as racism, xenophobia, sexism, and religious bigotry. They have to beaten into submission. Every time we think we have the hate moles on the run, they pop up again. People of good will hoped that the election of our first black president would be the death knell of overt racism in the country. Our optimism was premature: haters keep popping up.
I’ve been pleased by the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the beads as well as to a fundraiser held at the Mid City Lane Rock ‘n’ Bowl to raise money for local Lost Cause Festers. I hope touring acts will avoid playing that venue as its owner is an ardent Trumper and supporter of Save NOLA Heritage. Just say no to bigots.
The last word goes to John Boutte with his interpretation of Neil Young’s Southern Man:
The forecast was dire for last Saturday’s Krewe du Vieux parade. I am the Krewe of Spank’s voice of weather doom but I was wrong. It poured off and on until 3:30 PM, then the front moved on leaving us with slightly slippery streets and a dry parade.
The sub-krewe of Spank’s theme this year was Spanktuary City. I’ll let a neutral observer, my boy Kevin Allman of the Gambit Tabloid, describe it for you:
Krewe of SPANK, which always mounts ambitious floats and even more ambitious themes, paid tribute to the pushme-pullyu over New Orleans’ status as a sanctuary city with the theme “SPANK-tuary City” and a float with an elaborate, moving whack-a-mole game.
Time to edit the editor. There’s no hyphen in Spanktuary, dude. It’s our pun and we’ll decide how to punctuate the sucker. Besides, we’ve used that moniker for our annual parade route party since its inception. Additionally, it’s Spank-a-Mole as you can see in these pictures taken by Dr. A:
Spank-a-Mole is a game of endurance wherein you beat the mole into submission. That’s what the anti-Trump resistance has to do: keep spanking the ugly orange mole. I understand the SOTU was an endurance test as well. I skipped it. 80 minutes of an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria atop his head? No thanks.
It’s time for some non-Spanky pictures involving members of Drips and Discharges. They mocked pervy NOLA celebrity chef John Besh. This headpiece won the parade:
My buddy Brother Bob Bolin is also in Drips. Here he is slumming it with me:
Here’s a close up of Bob’s sign:
A reminder: Krewe du Vieux is a homemade parade. All the work was done by the talented members of the various sub-krewes. That’s what makes it so distinctive and great. The satire is pretty darn good as well
A quick shout-out to my fellow Spankster and Deadhead David Martin for turning me on to the marvelous parade route photo by David Aguiar. Thanks, man. To read more about the parade take a closer look at Kevin’s instant analysis.
Finally, this year members of the Krewe of Spank costumed as Lady Liberty with blue togas. We looked like an inebriated gang as we marched. I’m not sure if we were the Jets or the Sharks. We *were* the first Blue Wave of 2018:
Tonight is the Krewe du Vieux parade. This last week has been fraught for a variety of reasons, especially the weather. Marching several miles in the driving rain has little appeal to me. I suspect that the overall theme of Bienville’s Wet Dream was tempting fate. That’s why I’m keeping this snappy.
We do have a theme song. Why Smack Dab In The Middle? I originally thought the Krewe of Spank would be in the middle of the parade. I was wrong. Woe is me, bop.
It’s still a great song. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: Joe Williams with the Count Basie Orchestra and Ry Cooder live with the Chicken Skin Band.
I have one article to share with you. Local writer and Tulane professor Richard Campanella is our king this year. Rich has written a piece for the Zombie Picayune that offers a virtual tour of the route. I hope he has some suitably regal rain gear so he can stay drier than Buster:
That’s it for this abbreviated edition of Saturday Odds & Sods. The last word goes to the two-legged Paul Drake and Della Street. Their four-legged compatriots will have to wait.
It’s the first day of Carnival. In New Orleans, the Epiphany means we can consume king cake and hang our krewe flags outside the house. A reminder of mine:
Our cold snap continued all week, which meant dripping faucets to prevent bursting pipes and huddling around space heaters inside our drafty houses. It’s nothing compared to the winter hurricane hitting other parts of the country but neither our people nor our houses are built for freezing weather. Anyone who wants to mock me as soft should try living through a New Orleans summer. I double dog dare you.
Since it’s Twelfth Night, we have a seasonal classic as our theme song. The Dr. John version features Mac performing with Ringo’s All-Starr Band featuring three members of The Band and Joe Fucking Walsh among others.
The big story of the week was Michael Woolff’s “fly on the wall” account of life in the Orange House. I wrongly thought Reince swatted all the flies when he was head lackey.
Crying Woolff: Like Doc, I have reservations about the Wolff book. He’s an unreliable narrator as well as a raging, gaping asshole. His method is akin to that of Merle Miller whose book of Harry Truman interviews, Plain Speaking, was a monster hit in the 1970’s. Miller let Truman speak his piece and didn’t fact check the former president’s most egregious whoppers.
There’s an interesting piece by James Warren about Wolff’s method at Vanity Fair’s Hive that has people buzzing. Warren’s conclusion is that Trump and the creep with the extra f in his name deserve one another. “They’re like conjoined twins tied at the ego.”
In the end, Woolf confirms many things we already knew about Trump’s West Wing: it’s loaded with knaves, morons, and buffoons.
Steve Bannon’s current problems can be traced to a fatal inability to STFU as you can see in a piece by Gabriel Sherman at the same publication. One of the interesting things we learn is that Sloppy Steve’s nickname for the hardcore MAGA Maggots is “Hobbits.” Btw, I think Sloppy Steve is one of the Insult Comedian’s better derogatory nicknames.
Before we move on, a musical interlude from Todd Rundgren:
Let’s transition from the West Wing to the Old West.
Godless is a revisionist Western mini-series produced by Netflix. It stars Jeff Daniels as Frank Griffin a half brilliant half crazy outlaw/preacher. He’s a complicated character who informs us throughout the series that “I’ve seen my death and this isn’t it” even when he expires in the final episode. Uh oh, the spoiler police will be all over me now. I don’t care: Frank Griffin is your basic doomed outlaw.
Godless centers around the town of LaBelle, New Mexico whose population is 95% women because of a mining disaster that killed almost all the men.
The cast is outstanding and includes Scoot McNairy of Halt and Catch Fire and Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery. The only thing her character Alice Fletcher has in common with Lady Mary is a love of horses and a bad attitude.
Here’s the trailer:
Godless is streaming at Netflix. I give it 3 1/2 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B+ and an exuberant thumbs up.
Tweet Of The Week: This one comes from lil’ ole me. The current Veep and former Veeps Fritz Mondale and Joe Biden met up this week when the two formers attended the swearing-ins of baby Senators Doug Jones and Tina Smith. Selina Meyer was not there. Of course, she’s fictional, which could explain her absence. It would fun to see Julia dance like Elaine on the Senate floor but it was not to be.
Saturday GIF Horse: I had an Epiphany this Twelfth Night and decided to post two Carnival related GIFs. Apologies for the exclamation points in the second one.
Let’s shut this party down with some music.
Saturday Classic: For a fleeting moment, Mac Rebbenack was a rock star with hit singles. This 1973 album, In The Right Place, contains both of them.
That’s it for this week. Since I mentioned Selina Meyer, I’ll give the last word to her and her “crack” staff; make that crack me up.
No, I did not give Tommy T his cold. That was an exercise in blame shifting. I prefer shape shifting myself. It’s not my fault even if I do have a mild version of the crud. It’s cruddy but I’ll survive, just like the country will survive the misrule of the Insult Comedian.
I’m on the record as hating New Years Eve. I also hate the cold weather. It was 26 degrees when I awoke this morning and it’s still below freezing as I write this. It’s going to be colder than a polar bear’s ass all week as you can see from this image stolen from WWL-TV.com:
That may not sound like much to those of you in the frozen North but our houses are built to deal with the heat, not the cold. My house is about 100 years old with high ceilings and it’s raised to allow air circulation during the summer. We have a lot of summer here. As a result, we’re ill-equipped and downright whiny when it’s this cold. Our hardwood floors are as cold as a Foreigner song but they keep us cooler during the summer, which is our severe weather season. So it goes.
It’s frigid and sunny right now which means this tweet is in effect:
The best thing about the new year is that Carnival commences in five days with Tweflth Night, which means I am finally allowed to fly my Spank freak flag at Adrastos World HQ:
Today I plan to huddle on the couch with the space heater cranked and watch my LSU Tigers play Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl. Using mascot logic, we’ll win: a Fighting Tiger should be able to maul and eat the Fighting Irish. I hope it doesn’t lead to either indigestion or a second-hand hangover but ya never know. It’s time for Notre Dame to lose one for the Gipper.
Here’s hoping that 2018 is a better year than 2017. The rotten weather means it’s a good time to read about last year this year in the Best Of Adrastos 2017.
Let’s close on an optimistic note. The last word goes to Bryan Ferry singing a Bob Dylan classic:
This week Carnival withdrawal and catblogging collide in a repeat appearance by my friends Holly and Paul’s feline Boris. Holly is a member of the Krewe of Nyx who are known for their decorated purses. Quite naturally, Holly made a purse honoring Boris:
I’m not sure if Boris approves. At least she didn’t cough up a hairball on it:
Since I used a Roxy Music tune for the title, I am obligated to post it regardless of whether Boris approves:
UPDATE: Boris celebrates her return to First Draft. I’m glad she doesn’t drink vodka.
I decided to emerge from the Carnival bubble today just to mess with y’all. Our run of hosting came to an end yesterday. It’s fun but I’m always glad when it’s over. We have two more days until we repent our Carnival sins on Ash Wednesday. I’m an agnostic but my legs are already repenting all the standing and walking I did this year. And there’s more to come. Ouch. Pass the Ibuprofen.
Obviously, we were not impacted by the accident Saturday night at the Endymion parade. That’s the *other* parade route and we take the night off. I also hate that fucking parade: the riders tend to be suburban yahoos who snub small black chirren in favor of blond bimbos. It’s the “show your tits” parade. I like tits as much as the next guy but that parade is tacky and tawdry.
We had an enormous party on Muses Thursday. Muses is an all woman krewe who had a Dr. Seuss theme in 2017. Their signature throw is decorated shoes. One of my quirkier Muses friends, Jen K, made a shoe just for me. Remember Ken Bone? He’s the dorky dude who asked a question during the town hall Clinton-Trump debate and briefly became an internet sensation. Here is the Ken Bone shoe, Jen threw to me. Thanks, sweetie:
In a visual pun worthy of this feature, Jen replaced the heel with a plastic bone:
Another highlight of Carnival for me was a book signing on the Uptown parade route before the Tucks parade. There’s a rolling group in that parade: the Laissez Boys. They parade in pimped out motorized recliners whilst wearing smoking jackets. I am not making this up.
I have some friends in the group and decided to get one of them, Michael Tisserand, to sign my copy of his latest book, Krazy. It’s the story of George Herriman the creator of Krazy Kat. He was from New Orleans and was a black creole who passed as white. It’s the next book in my hopper so to speak.
Michael is an online friend so we surprised him with the help of my friend Paul aka Q. He was as thrilled as I was, “I’ve done a lot of things in this chair but never a book signing.”
Later on twitter he said this:
Here are a few pictures of the event taken by Dr. A:
The only thing that came close to the Krazy book signing last weekend was the mishigas at the end of the Oscars. There’s a first time for everything. I hope it’s the last time for that sort of fuckup and of Jimmy Kimmel as host. Flying donuts? Mean tweets? Jimmy should get on the tour bus with Gary from Chicago.
Back to the bubble. Proteus and Orpheus await.
I naively thought I would be able to write a full-blown Saturday post this week. (Sounds like a contagious disease, doesn’t it?) What the hell was I thinking? We had one of our largest and best Muses open houses Thursday night. The two don’t always go together but this year they did. A good time was had by all, but the cleanup was extensive.
Oscar is still mad at me as of this writing. He and Della are all like: what the hell were you humans thinking? Beats the hell out of me. The worst is over for the kitties, subsequent gatherings will be smaller. That’s life on the parade route.
Despite the buzz in my ears and the fuzz over my eyes (if such a thing is possible) I have a theme song. It’s a song about Carnival from some Midwestern blokes. Here’s a Cheap Trick twofer, live and studio:
Carnival is always a great release from the real world. I, for one, really needed it this year. My Twitter feed is full of CPAC chatter. I hope Trump’s presence there will finally convince the alt-left irrendentists that his gestures to them are as meaningless as everything else that comes out of his big fat bazoo.
That’s it for now. I’ll repent for spending this week in the Carnival bubble the next time around. I’ll give the last word to a very young Cheap Trick.
Krewe du Vieux rolled on Saturday night. It was a blast to march through the streets of the Marigny, Quarter, and CDB. I did my share of spanking and handing out throws. The Krewe of Spank’s theme was strictly local as you’ll see below but several Krewes did Trumpian themes. Below are two of the better efforts.
First, the Krewe of Mishigas with a sci-fi twist:
That’s right, it’s Jabba the Trump.
Second, the Krewe of KAOS. Their marchers dressed as droogs, which was simultaneously brilliant and simple.
The first set of photos were taken by my old friend Brian. He also captured us Spanksters as we milled about whilst stalled. I’m not in the picture but Dr. A is:
Spank has always done local satire. This year’s theme took a poke at JazzFest. We’ll begin with two views of the float taken by my pal, Christy Boom Boom Brackenberg:
Dig that crazy Spank-o-vision, y’all.
One of our throws was a sensation and still has the twittering classes abuzz. It’s a two-sided post card-sized parody of the JazzFest schedule cubes:
The cubes are, of course, loaded with fictional and wildly inappropriate acts.
A few quick notes:
Krewe du Vieux is *always* cold except for 2017. It was in the mid-70’s, which meant it was hotter than hell as we marched in our costumes. It was unnatural. We’re supposed to shiver, not sweat.
There are people in Krewe du Vieux who didn’t get the Glass Menagerie pun. The Glorious Bird weeps.
The crowd was huge and better behaved in the Quarter than in past years. Of course, it helps when you’re wielding one of these:
And yes, people want to be spanked on the parade route. I don’t have any pictures of me doing so, all I have for you is this tweet:
Carnival is hard work. And there’s more to come. Let’s close with some seasonal music:
The only predictable thing about the weather in New Orleans to start the new year has been its unpredictability. It’s been warm and muggy, wet and damp, foggy and chilly. You name it, we’ve had it, except, that is, for snow. The last time it snowed here was in 2008. Thousands of pictures were taken of the St. Charles street car in the snow. It melted quickly and hasn’t happened since. So it goes.
It was Twelfth Night yesterday, which means that we can finally eat king cake, and, more importantly, hang our krewe flags on our houses. I’ve been wanting to fly the Spank flag for months but Dr. A wouldn’t hear of it until yesterday. So it goes.
Here’s the flag with Dennie the den of Muses cat:
End of laginappe Carnival catblogging, make that reblogging. If you blog long enough you end up repeating yourself, repeating yourself, repeating yourself…
This week’s theme song, Born Under A Bad Sign, was written for blues great Albert King by Stax Records legends William Bell and Booker T. Jones. It seems to fit the mood of at least half the country as we contemplate the next administration. I’m not sure whether to feel cursed or resigned but I’m certain that the shit brought to the surface in 2016 will continue to stink. Shit’s a funny thing, no matter how you disguise it, it smells just as bad. So it goes.
We begin with a version King recorded in New Orleans in 1978, produced by Allen Toussaint:
We continue with an instrumental version by the man who wrote the music:
Finally, a swell 1993 rendition by the great Paul Rodgers:
Now that we’ve admitted to being down since we began to crawl, we’ll shoot for a rebirth (no, not the brass band or the pale ale) after the break.
The spirit of Boaty McBoatface is abroad in the land. Our local Triple-A baseball franchise has changed its name from the New Orleans Zephrys to the Baby Cakes. I am not making this up. And that is why the New Orleans Baby Cakes is/are malaka/malakas of the week.
I already feel sorry for the Miami Marlins minor leaguers who will have to wear this icky logo on their uniforms. It looks like something you’d put on a shirt for a kid’s T-Ball team. It’s bad enough playing in a farm system with a giant toddler like Jeffrey Loria at its apex; just imagine a Latino player having to tell their Abuela they play for los pasteles de bebé or los tortas de bebé. Holy Gringos Locos, Batman. Of course, this is a country insane enough to hand the nuclear football to the Insult Comedian so nothing surprises me.
As a marketing ploy the renaming has been a great success and I’m probably playing into their hands by writing this. It’s made a minor league baseball team the center of local attention during football season. We should be talking about the bizarre ending to the Saints game on Sunday, instead we’re talking Baby Cakes. It’s way too early for King Cake, y’all.
This is what happens when you let people on the internet vote on a team name. New Orleans has been Boaty McBoatfaced. If they insist on keeping the new name, they should become the Metry Baby Cakes since they play in suburban Metairie. Jefferson Parish can add the name to its malakatude hall of shame alongside Parish President Mike Yenni and Family Gras. People need to stop adding gras to everything: it means fat.
You’re probably wonder why the malakas who run the New Orleans minor league team picked this moronic name. I’ll let one of 44 people who likes it, Zombie Picayune art critic Doug MacCash explain:
It is an utterly indigenous allusion that relies on the knowledge of New Orleans Carnival customs. Who beyond the Louisiana borders could successfully deconstruct the meaning of a bat-swinging infant king surrounded by a purple, green and gold pastry ring? The symbolism is ours alone. Resolutely unique.Yet it is not a cliché.
Just the opposite. Until Tuesday it was certainly not in common use as a description of a King Cake. Again, the implication is entirely unique to our ball club. The name is an instant classic.
It’s a name that is immediately familiar. Too familiar, even. Baby Cakes sounds like a term of endearment in an old gangster movie. It’s a name with a wink, a name with a nod, a name with a knowing smile, baby. It’s a name that has happily sipped a hand grenade cocktail on Bourbon Street and lunged for a long strand of beads. It’s a name that could easily get into mischief if left to its own devices.
It’s so us.
Excuse me while I rummage for a barf bag. His highfalutin, pretentious language is a bit rich for this baseball fan. This is the name for a baseball team, not a bakery or a bar that serves sickly sweet drinks to soused students with fake IDs. In the immortal words of Bill the Cat:
I think Oscar the Cat just coughed up a hairball in reaction to the name.
We also have cockroaches the size of manhole covers, why didn’t they consider the New Orleans Cockroaches or Palmetto Bugs? We also have termite swarms, so why not the New Orleans Termites? Because that would be stupid, that’s why. So is Baby Cakes. Oy, such malakatude.
I went on a bit of a tweetstorm after the announcement. Here’s a sample:
Forgive the missing comma, I wrote that on my phone. What can I tell ya?
A local sportscaster brought the derp on Twitter:
The PC police? What are you on about, man? The name is stupid, not politically incorrect whatever the hell that means. One can have a sense of humor and think this is a terrible idea. I may have to send these guys to stop the lions from yellin’ aloud:
My primary objection to the name is that it’s a gimmick dreamed up by people who seem to dislike the game they’re promoting. It’s like Fox Sports with their in-game interviews and Joe Buck, a twerp who has admitted to not liking baseball, speaking of which, here’s a message for Baby Cakes management:
The bright side of Stupid Namegate is that it has distracted me from the horrendous aftermath of the late election. It’s fun to kvetch about the Bad Idea police who labored mightily and gave birth to this dud. This is a misdemeanor, not a felony.
The General Manager of the New Orleans minor league team, Augusto Cookie Rojas, has a baseball marketing, not playing field background. I initially thought he might be related to the scrappy middle infielder best known for playing for the Phillies and Royals from 1962-1977, but he is not. Fun fact: the Real Cookie Rojas played all nine positions in the early days of his career. The Other Cookie Rojas is now known for giving a ball club the worst name ever. And that is why the New Orleans Baby Cakes is/are the malaka/malakas of the week.
It’s been a relatively quiet week in New Orleans. There’s a new gentrification controversy involving changes to an Uptown green space known as the Fly. I’m for the status quo but I’ve decided to keep my fly zipped on this issue. I hereby apologize to everyone for that joke.
Meanwhile in Baton Rouge, the budgetary sky is falling. 8 years of Jindalnomics have left the state in such dire straits that not even Mark Knopfler could fix things. Once again, I need to apologize for that joke, which means I have to take the walk of life in atonement:
The new Governor gave a sort of chicken little speech about the state’s financial woes, which doesn’t seem to have moved many votes in the lege thus far. John Bel Edwards did, however, imply that if there were more budget cuts to higher education, the LSU Tigers might not play football next fall. Now that’s a serious threat here in the Gret Stet of Louisiana: No Leonard Fucking Fournette? Only time will tell if that helps, but the lege is loath to raise taxes on our 1%, which consists mostly of oil tycoons and people named Benson who own sports franchises. I have no idea what’s going to happen but it won’t be pretty. Neither was PBJ now that I think of it…
This week’s theme song was, in part, inspired by the artist who painted the featured image. Walter Inglis Anderson was born in New Orleans but did much of his painting in nearby Ocean Springs, MS. Anderson was plagued with mental health issues and in 1965 rode out a hurricane with his own form of Splendid Isolation:
In 1965, months before his death, he rode through Hurricane Betsy on his beloved Horn Island, tethering his little skiff to his waist, climbing at night to the highest dune, wanting to feel the storm first hand. The water rose to his chest.
“Never has there been a more respectable hurricane,” he wrote, “provided with all the portents, predictions, omens, etc. The awful sunrise — no one could fail to take a warning from it — the hovering black spirit bird, the man of war, just one, comme il faut.”
Warren Zevon also lived life on the edge, but even the most extreme story told about him isn’t as wild as the tale of Walter Anderson and Hurricane Betsy. We grow our eccentrics larger than life here in New Orleans, y’all.
Splendid Isolation is one of my favorite WZ tunes; so much so that I’m posting three radically different versions. We begin with the piano driven studio version from the Tranverse City album:
Next up is a version with David Sanborn and the house band from the, uh, splendid but short-lived teevee show Night Music:
Finally, a live acoustic romp featuring Zevon’s fellow rock eccentric Neil Young:
Instead of putting tin foil on the windows like the character in the song, we’ll pull up our socks and muddle through after the break.