Saturday Odds & Sods: From The Cradle To The Grave

Krewe of Comus float, 1916.

I had an epiphany on Wednesday and realized that it was Twelfth Night. Mardi Gras day comes ridiculously early this year, which means that Krewe du Vieux rolls on January 23rd. We’re shitting bricks trying to get ready for that early parade date. I’ve spent a lot of time inhaling paint fumes, swallowing sawdust, and, most importantly, drinking beer in anticipation of the big day. The Krewe of Spank specializes in hyper-local satire and this year’s theme is sufficiently obscure. Only New Orleanians will get this one. I don’t mind: I’ve got a forum for national satire right here.

We just put 2015 in the grave and now it’s time to slap the 2016 baby and see if it’s alive. Metaphorically, not literally as the Veep would surely say. Speaking of babies, we’re knee-deep in King Cake season and whoever gets the little plastic baby Jesus has to buy the next King Cake. Fuck that shit. I am a seasoned King Cake baby liar. I blame my disorder on this creepy mascot our NBA team unleashes on its unsuspecting fans every Carnival season:

King Cake baby
Seeing double with King Cake Baby and Pierre the Pelican.

Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe and despise mascots? I hate them almost as much as I hate Vodka, which is only suitable for drunken Mensheviks. No wonder Lenin had them all liquidated. Speaking of horrendous, there’s actually a vile-tasting King Cake Vodka on the market:


I *almost* wrote about this week’s theme song earlier but wound up riffing on King Cake babies  and Vodka instead. From The Cradle To The Grave is the title track of the brand spanking new Squeeze album. The video below features age-morphing, which is much better than the lame and insipid  Krewe of Morpheus, which is best known for its EMPTY FLOAT.

Now that I’ve thoroughly confused you with that hyper-local Carnival joke, let’s play another Squeeze song before the break:

A totally ridiculous video for a great song. More ridiculous nonsense after the break.

Continue reading “Saturday Odds & Sods: From The Cradle To The Grave”

Saturday Odds & Sods: A Day In The Life

Man Ray
Noir et blanches by Man Ray.

I decided to post this famous 1926 image by the surrealist artist/photographer Man Ray because this week has been rather surreal. The dust from the New Orleans monuments flap hasn’t quite settled, but I expect it will take some time for General Lee to be toppled from his pedestal. Nothing in this town happens quickly or on time. There’s a phrase for that: NOLA time. It’s got something to do with the summer heat, people mosey around like they’ve got all the time in the world:

Adding to the surreal aura has been the weather. This El Nino weather is some weird shit, y’all. It’s muggy and warm one day, cold and windy the next. I wish the weather gods would make up their fucking minds. I can hear you saying: he’s on about the weather again. I plead guilty. When your life is torn upside down by a weather event, you get a bit obsessed. After all, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows; not even Jim Fucking Cantore. Actually, Cantore usually gets Jimmy Buffetted about by the wind when he’s on the job…

Equally surreal has been the fearmongering on the national scene after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. I never thought I’d write a sentence with those two city names in it. Until recently San Berdoo was, in Frank Zappa’s words, “where they take all the cars that get hurt.”

The Republican candidates have been dick waving, claiming that if they were the Oval One the terrorists would just surrender. Yeah, right. They ought to try that out on their pals at the NRA. Of course, they’re as afraid of the gun lobby as they want the rest of us to be of Daesh/ISIL.

Let’s move on to this week’s theme song. It’s one of the Beatles best known album tracks, A Day In The Life. It’s 90% Lennon but Macca contributed the “woke up, fell out of bed” bridge, which makes the song something of a marvel. I wish I had a Benjamin for every time I’ve picked up the morning paper, scanned the front page and sang, “I read the news today, oh boy.” It’s a lifelong earworm; there aren’t many of those.

We begin, of course, with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Billy Shears will be along directly:

Here’s a swell live version by Cheap Trick. Congrats on their election to the Jann Wenner Hall of Fame in Cleveland, which, apparently rocks. I’m still waiting for Yes and Jethro Tull to be inducted. But while we’re waiting, here are the swell fashion and vocal stylings of Robin Zander:

Finally, an instrumental interpretation of Lennon’s haunting melody by Sixties guitar god, Jeff Beck:

It’s a pity that Beck has no imagination when it comes to band names: the Jeff Beck Group may have been rough and ready but it’s a boring moniker. Here’s my suggestion:  Jeff Beck and the Bowl Haircuts. It’s an even better Moniker than Lewinsky…

On that discordant note, it’s time for the break. That reminds me of an old joke I liked when I was a young bloke. If someone said, “Gimme a break.” I’d say, “Arm or leg?” I thought that was droll when I was 15…

Continue reading “Saturday Odds & Sods: A Day In The Life”

The Adrastos Wayback Machine

The Chris Rose profile has come under a lot of fire since it was posted and I agree with much of the criticism. He’s mighty blase about not delivering on any of his Kickstarter promises. He raised $57K and people are vexed with him to say the least.

The best thing that’s come out of the epic La Vie En Chris Rose discussion is that it inspired me to get my original blog off the hard drive and back online. The Rose article was just the first of a wave of 10 year Katrina/Federal Flood remembrances and I want my deceased blog-city joint to be part of the discussion.

It’s a slow, arduous process to import the blog to Blogspot. Yeah, I’m being cheap, it’s going to be an archive, my top blogging priority remains First Draft. So, I don’t want to pay for it since it’s going to be a record and not an active site. I now understand why it’s been such an ordeal for Athenae and Mr. A to move First Draft from Typepad to WordPress. The interweb can be a cruel mistress.

The first 3 graphs have been a roundabout way to say that I’m starting a new feature here. As you all know, I love new features like a Bavarian loves beer or a Texan loves bullshit. I’ll be posting some vintage Adrastos; most of it dealing with what happened in New Orleans in the first three or four years after the thing. Much more after the break.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Valence Street

Valence Street is not only the title of a 1999 Neville Brothers album, it’s the main drag of my Uptown New Orleans neighborhood. I occasionally call my 13th Ward hood Neville-land because so many members of their extended family live, or used to live, nearby. Valence Street is also my corner for Magazine Street parades during Carnival, which is the primary reason I haven’t been writing here as much for the last few weeks. I’m also slowly recovering from a Krewe du Vieux related leg injury that makes it hard to sit at the computer for long spells. All the walking and standing I do during Mardi Gras doesn’t help either, but that’s neither here nor there.

Art Neville still lives on Valence Street and he’s hanging in there at the age of 77. I was talking to one of his nephews on the parade route last week and he could tell I was about to inquire about Art so he told me, “He’s feeling better all the time and ready to play some shows.” Here’s a link to a fine Keith Spera profile of Art on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

The other reason I’m posting the cover of Valence Street is the fine black and white photography by Michael Wilson:


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Happy Fucking Carnival

There’s a major and seemingly endless construction project on Napoleon Avenue in Uptown New Orleans. It just happens to seriously impact my daily life and, more importantly, Carnival. Many of the parades start at the intersection of Napoleon and Magazine, which is a mere 4 blocks from Adrastos World HQ. The city, contractor, and Corps of Engineers spent months lying about the project’s impact on the parade season. They finally came clean two weeks ago, which should have made me happy that I was right all along. It did not. Yesterday, the contractors posted a chirpy sign at the aforementioned … Continue reading Happy Fucking Carnival

Spank Squad

I’m still wiped out from the 45 city block long Krewe du Vieux parade last Saturday. The inevitable soreness has been exacerbated by a pratfall I took at the Friday preview party, which left me bruised pre-parade. The good news is that I was in an altered state so I was limber when I tripped and fell on the concrete floor. It could have been much worse. It’s true what they say about booze, y’all. If you don’t know, I’m not talking. I may be a spiller, but I’m not spilling this. We have a confidentiality agreement. Why? I’ll never know. … Continue reading Spank Squad

Malaka Of The Week: Scott McKay

If you know me in what is laughingly called real life, you know that I’m fiercely loyal to my friends, especially when they’re right. One of my friends, Lamar White, has been under attack for telling the truth about Steve Scalise. One source of relentless and, quite frankly, dunderheaded criticism is a right wing Louisiana blogger, Scott McKay of the Hayride. And that’s why he’s malaka of the week, not just because his name rhymes with decay. Lamar is a peaceable person so he reached out to McMalaka with an offer of a truce of sorts. McKay being a Gret Stet wingnut … Continue reading Malaka Of The Week: Scott McKay

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Axeman’s Jazz

I originally conflated this effort with Julie Smith’s book about Rex the King of Carnival getting murdered on his float. That one was New Orleans Mourning and the cover is nowhere near as swell as The Axeman’s Jazz. If you’re an AHS viewer, you might remember Danny Huston as the Axeman’s ghost. It was one of the things that worked in Coven. Anyhoo, here’s the cover:   Continue reading Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Axeman’s Jazz

Album Cover Art Wednesday: I’m Back At Carnival Time

And I’m back-sort of-from my rotten cold. This week’s cover bends my rule about pre-CD era covers. Why? Because it’s my rule and it’s officially Carnival time, y’all:   Here’s the opening track of the album: Continue reading Album Cover Art Wednesday: I’m Back At Carnival Time

Odds & Sods: Epiphany Edition

the-who odds--sods

Yeah, I know, epiphany aka 12th Night was yesterday. I’m an atheist, so what do I know from magi? Not a damn thing. It’s like asking Rickles about Easter. I’ve also had a pesky cold, which has interfered with my writing except on the Tweeter Tube. It’s the greatest time suck known to humanity. If Alexander the Great had had a Twitter account he would have stayed in Macedonia glued to his smart phone. And if Grover Cleveland Alexander had been on Twitter, he would have stayed drunk. Wait a minute, he usually *was* drunk. That brings me to the first topic on today’s agenda, which I’ll explore after the break. But before that, a picture of Ronald Reagan playing Old Pete Alexander:


Continue reading “Odds & Sods: Epiphany Edition”

Odds & Sods: Shirtstorm Edition

the-who odds--sods

I’ve been dialing back my Twitter use of late. I go through stages of frenetic activity and times of relative quiet on the Tweeter Tube. The instant outrage machine gets to me at times:  two of the items in this week’s omnibus post address viral malakatude as well as malaktude that went viral.

Shirtstorm or Shitstorm? One thing I missed this week was the ludicrous outrage over this shirt worn on teevee by Rosetta project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor:


Here’s the deal. I’m a loud shirt guy. I even have a few Hawaiian shirts with hula girls on them, one of which was bought for me by Dr. A. I don’t like Taylor’s shirt, it’s a bit too headbangy for my taste. In short, it’s an ugly loud shirt but what it’s not is a political statement. The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman saw through the outrage machine:

What should a scientist wear during a comet landing?

Eve Rybody, Everywhere, World

Well, Ms Rybody, it’s funny that you should ask this for, truly, this has become the biggest fashion question – possibly even the only fashion question – in not just the world, but the entire cosmos. For anyone who might have missed it, last week there was some dinky story about a probe landing on a comet for the first time ever. I know what you’re thinking: “Probe, schmobe, get to the real issue here – what was one of the scientists wearing?!?!?!?” Glad to be of service! The project scientist, Dr Matt Taylor, appeared on TV wearing a shirt patterned with images of semi-clothed women that I assume (not being an expert in either of these fields) reference video games and heavy metal albums. Cue internet rage! Everything that followed was utterly predictable, but not especially edifying. The story went through the five cycles of internet rage: initial amusement; astonishment; outrage; backlash to the outrage; humiliated apology. First, our attention was drawn to the shirt via some sniggering tweets; this was swiftly followed by shock and its usual accompaniment, outrage, with some women suggesting the shirt reflected a sexism at the heart of the science community. As generally happens when a subject takes a feminist turn on the internet, the idiots then turned up, with various lowlifes telling the women who expressed displeasure at the shirt to go kill themselves. (This is not an exaggeration, and there is no need to give these toerags further attention in today’s discussion.)

And you thought I wrote longass paragraphs. The whole process described by Hadley is increasingly tiresome. It’s a shirt, not a statement, people. I know all about science being an old boys club but sometimes a shirt is just a shirt just as a sigh is just a sigh, the fundamental things apply:

One last thing about the shirtstorm: when did we start expecting scientists to dress stylishly? This ugly bowling shirt is the 21st Century equivalent of the short sleeve white shirt, clip-on bow tie, and pocket  protector look worn by nerdy science types since time immemorial.

I’m no rocket scientist but one thing I know for sure is that geeks gotta geek.

The NOLA Football Thief: Another example of a tempest in a Tweeter Tube is the story of Tony Williams, Saints fan, former Zulu King, and football thief. You’ve probably heard about it and even watched the video but what a bit of overkill among friends?

Speaking of overkill, the reaction on Twitter was OTT. I *never* approve of trolls issuing death threats and the like but I also strongly disapprove of the sort of selfishness and rudeness displayed by Williams. Instead of admitting that he threw an elbow, he justified the scrum by telling the Vestigial-Picayune that “his Mardi Gras instincts kicked in.”

Shoving people out the way for a throw on the parade route is just as rude as what Williams did at the Dome. It’s piss poor Carnival etiquette. It would be better if he could just admit a mistake and move on instead of babbling about how he wanted the ball for his grandson. Nice lesson you taught the kid there, dude.

More life lessons after the break.

Continue reading “Odds & Sods: Shirtstorm Edition”

Malaka Of The Week: Blackface Ray Rice Costume Dude

We’ve had this discussion many times before here at First Draft: SOME THINGS ARE NOT FUNNY. Not everyone gets it and that’s why Blackface Ray Rice Costume Dude is malaka of the week. I don’t even know where this bozo and his family lives but they’re a perfect storm of malakatude. I stumbled on these images on the Twitter feed of Bomani Jones:

Now that you’re gobsmacked and horrified, the freak parade continues after the break. American Horror Story ain’t got nothin’ on these folks.

Continue reading “Malaka Of The Week: Blackface Ray Rice Costume Dude”

Friday Catblogging: Oscar’s Tasty Thoth Treat

Thoth Sunday is my favorite day of Carnival. We go around the corner to a block party with our Valence Street neighbors and have some close friends join us. Oscar likes it too. Here he is in action begging for a treat from one of our regulars, Mother Mary Hogan. Mary is better known to parade attendees as the “crazy dancing lady” but Oscar thinks of her as the food lady. He scored big time that day. I’m not sure if was a piece of a maple bacon doughnut or a cheesy biscuit. Probably the latter, the Big O lives for cheese and … Continue reading Friday Catblogging: Oscar’s Tasty Thoth Treat

Tweet Of The Day: Quasi NOLA Edition

You’re probably asking yourself what the hell is Quasi NOLA? It’s a mysterious man or woman of considerable wit who tweets about New Orleans. Quasi NOLA does not engage with the hoi polloi and remains a riddle wrapped in an enigma shrouded in mystery or something like that. It’s kind of like the King of Comus only without the pervy mask and tights. And Comus was never this amusing or clever. I think Quasi is even sober, which rules out several contenders… On to the tweet of the week. It was actually launched on September 20 as I was suffering through the … Continue reading Tweet Of The Day: Quasi NOLA Edition

Confessions Of A Carnival Parade Recreator

I almost called myself a reanimator but since I lack Dr. Frankenstein’s powers I decided not to. Recreator sounds quite weird enough, y’all. It makes me sound like the Jahweh of re-runs. Or is the proper term recreationist? Probably not, sounds more like Darwin denial to me… Now that I’ve mucked about with word play, off we go. TheTreme filming was something of a clusterfuck, which I know is quite typical. That’s why they call it show business with the emphasis on the latter. If anyone else decides to do some extra-ing, I have one piece of advice for you: … Continue reading Confessions Of A Carnival Parade Recreator