Category Archives: Music

Rising Anxiety

Fear is almost as contagious as the virus. It’s everywhere on social media, which is why I’m rationing my use. I’m also tired of listening to know-nothing amateur epidemiologists who think they know it all. Access to the internet doesn’t make you a scientist, it makes you someone with too much time on their hands. Oops. That’s all of us right now.

The old NOLA Bloggers email list has been resurrected. I’ll explain why in a moment but a comment there gave rise to this post title. Cliff Harris asked if there would be a Rising Tide Social Distance Conference, Karen Gadbois replied that it should be called Rising Anxiety. I have no interest in a conference reboot, but I like the phrase Rising Anxiety, so I stole it.

Back In The Saddle: The OG NOLA bloggers are rising from a protracted slumber. After Maitri the Magnificent announced the return of her VatulBlog, George Loki Williams asked aloud if he should revive Humid City. In response, I quoted this passage from my recent Bayou Brief column Love In The Time Of Coronavirus:

I started blogging a few months after the levees broke. I didn’t expect to still be writing on the internet 15 years later, but I found my voice. I’m glad that I’m still at it: It’s therapeutic and reduces my anxiety level during this unprecedented crisis. I’d hate to be reduced to venting on social media like some other OG NOLA bloggers. I wish more of them would resume writing. Consider that an invitation, y’all. If you do, I’ll spread the word hither and yon.

I’m a man of my word. Loki announced the comeback at Zuckerville:

Good luck, y’all. Not sure about that whole blame thing but it gives me an excuse to post this Del Amitri song:

The Fantastic Florida Flim Flam: Trumper Governor Ron DeSantis followed the lead of his hero President* Pennywise and announced his state “borders” were closed to cars from New Orleans. Too many people took this illegal, unenforceable, and unconstitutional order seriously. It’s a clumsy attempt to divert attention from this:

The flap is based on a “blame New Orleans for having Mardi Gras” controversy that raged online. I’ll let my friends Stephanie Grace and Clancy DuBos shoot it down. I prefer to save my ammo for higher hanging fruit.

I do, however, agree with the parade route book signer and Herriman biographer:

The Tweet Heard Round The World: Athenae’s boyfriend John Kerry is obviously not planning to run for office again:

I’ve always heard that Big John could be salty in private. Glad he’s shown off his “out of fucks to give” side in public.

That reminds me of a song. I know what you’re thinking: everything reminds me of a song.

Unimaginable: Gal Gadot and some other celebrities have collaborated on a quarantine version of John Lennon’s Imagine. I hate Imagine. It’s one of Lennon’s worst songs.

Here’s a better tune for these trying times:

Bored Boris: The British Prime Minister’s anti-pandemic efforts were just as feeble and late as those of the Impeached Insult Comedian. Adding insult to the injury he inflicted on his country, Bozza is afflicted with the 21st Century plague. Karma is a bitch.

I hadn’t planned to write about the oafish PM until I got a text from my good friend and Spank krewe mate, Greg Hackenberg: “If you aren’t working on a post about Boris Johnson that does not include Peter Gabriel’s I Have The Touch, I’m not sure I know you anymore.”

You still know me, Greg:

Shake those hands, shake those hands…

Finally, Project Novel will begin in earnest at 3 PM today. There’s enough interest in my legal murder mystery, Tongue In The Mail, for me to proceed. I’ll be posting two chapters at a time on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It even has its own category, Project Novel: TITM.

Pondering Boris Johnson’s bad karma gave me an instant earworm. The last word goes to Warren Zevon and John Lennon with another song that’s much better than Imagine:

Thank You

It’s been a whirlwind since Chef’s Brigade NOLA launched and I began soliciting donations. I’d like to thank everyone in the First Draft community who helped this worthy cause. Your generosity does not surprise me, but it still moves me.

As of this writing, they have raised $31,000+ at their GoFundMe site. The work continues as does the need for funds. I will revisit this subject again as it’s close to my heart. Thank you again.

Special thanks to Chef’s Brigade NOLA organizers Troy Gilbert and Robert Peyton for their passion, dedication, and hard work.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Time To Kill

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins.

This week’s featured image is one of the most famous American paintings of the 19th Century. I’ve posted it to honor all the medical professionals who are fighting the good fight against COVID-19 but who wear masks and gloves unlike Dr. Gross and his cohort. Thanks, y’all.

I prefer to keep this weekly feature light but it’s hard to do in these tough times. The second act is kind of heavy, but the jokes return in our third act. Laughs are precious right now when fear is abroad in the world and our government in the hands of an evil clown, President* Pennywise. Oy just oy.

At the risk of being a pest, a reminder to support Chef’s Brigade NOLA for all the reasons set forth in this post. Thanks again, y’all.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson in 1970 for The Band’s third album Stage Fright. It’s a joyful tune with a somewhat dark lyrical subtext.

We have two versions of Time To Kill for your listening pleasure:  the Todd Rundgren produced studio original and a live version from the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: a 1973 festival starring The Band, The Dead, and the Allman Brothers Band.

The title certainly resonates in our era:, we all have time to kill. One of my mottos as a blogger is: When in doubt, post a Kinks song:

Now that we’ve killed time, let’s jump to the break. It won’t kill you.

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21st Century Live Stream Funeral Blues

The other day on social media I posted a link to a WaPo article about the difficulties faced by families who lost loved ones  during the pandemic. It drew a raft of comments because I mentioned my favorite cousin. As First Draft readers know, she died last week.

Today was my cousin’s funeral; attendance was limited to 5 relatives and the people who performed the service. I’m not sure we would have been able to go in normal times, but these are not normal times.

My cousin was a movie buff and the one who introduced me to John Ford’s movies. That’s why the funeral scene from The Searchers is the featured image. Ford knew how to stage a 19th Century funeral in the 20th Century.

My cousin’s service was 21st Century all the way. It was live streamed by her church in Dallas. I nearly put live stream in quotes as the transmission was erratic until the last 10 minutes of the mass. At one point we tried streaming on 5 different devices: 2 iPhones, a laptop, desktop, and an iPad. The latter worked the best. Score one for Apple.

It was such a struggle that we started to laugh at the absurdity. I knew my cousin wouldn’t have minded. She was devout but she had an irreverent side: as a young woman, she acted with Nick Nolte at a community theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. Nolte was wild even then so a little laughter from her New Orleans kin wouldn’t have phased my cousin.

As I laughed, I thought of Chuckles Bites The Dust; the episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show wherein the station clown dies at the “hands” (trunk?) of an elephant while dressed in a peanut costume. The rest of the gang makes sick jokes about the death of Chuckles, but Mary Richards is made of sterner stuff. (The best joke came from snarky news writer Murray Slaughter: “Born in a trunk, died in one.”)  Instead, Mary laughed her ass off during the funeral service after the minister recited the Chuckles credo: “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.”

I know what those of you who know us IRL are thinking. You’re casting Dr. A as Mary and me as Lou Grant. Twenty years ago, I would have objected but I’ve grown into my Lou Grantness. I was always a curmudgeon but now I have Ed Asner’s hairline and paunch.

I don’t blame the church for my 21st Century live stream blues. It’s hard to imagine a more difficult place from which to transmit than a church. What can ya do?

Condolences to Chris, Xander, and Chloe. The good news is that they’d understand our finding the live stream fail funny. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Perhaps that’s why the iPad worked best.

John Ford’s funeral scenes typically used Let’s All Gather At The River as music. But I’d like to use an equally solemn river song. The last word goes to The Band who headlined the first concert I attended. My favorite cousin was the one who took me.

R.I.P. Tina, you will be missed.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Hey Fela

Another day, another punny title. The late Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti had a long and storied recording career. His albums were known for their wildly creative cover art. Here’s a sampler via OkayAfrica.com:

Here’s a double dose of Fela and his band Egypt 80 live in 1984 and 1987:

The Day I Get Home

The post title is my feeble attempt to prove that irony isn’t dead, it’s just on lockdown. I awakened with a start yesterday with these lyrics in my head:

“The news is on, it isn’t good. I see the trees but not the wood.”

Those prescient words come from the 1991  Difford and Tilbrook song The Day I Get Home. Short-term thinking and failure to understand the big picture have characterized the entire Trump regime, particularly its pitiful response to this pandemic. We’ve all been worried about what would happen in a crisis and it’s as bad as feared.

Before moving on, here’s today’s theme song:

First, a hearty welcome back to Tommy T. I was up way too late last night and was relieved to see that Freeper madness had driven him to write. I’d give him a virtual slap on the back but social distancing, man; not to mention his back surgery. Get well, my friend. We need you.

Let’s stir the potpourri, if such a thing is possible.

Don’t Watch Trump’s Pressers Live: I’ve had a hard time watching President* Pennywise live for several years. He is incapable of telling the truth even when it’s imperative. There’s little information to be gleaned from watching a mentally ill man meltdown on live teevee. Read about it, watch the clips, but don’t watch it live. I agree with Rachel Maddow and Charlie Pierce who have urged the networks to pull the plug on the briefings. Things are scary enough without listening to the Impeached Insult Comedian brag.

Trump is beginning to remind me of former Venezuelan strong man Hugo Chavez who would commandeer hours of teevee time for his own amusement. This is not a comparison anyone should welcome. After a few days of trying to be normal, Trump is back to his old tricks of demonizing the media, dismissing expert advice, and telling the world how smart he is. If he were really that smart he’d STFU and get the fuck out of the way. Enough already.

Senator Aqua Buddha Can Go Fuck Himself: Rand Paul is the first Senator to test positive for the 21st Century plague. Since he’s a libertarian, he carried on with his normal routine; spreading the virus on Capitol Hill by going to the gym and swimming in the pool. Freedom, man.

Thanks to Aqua Buddha, Willard Mittbot Romney has been obliged to self-isolate. It’s a loss when one of the few sane Republican office holders will be out of action for 2 weeks. I never thought I’d say that. Pandemics have a way of altering the way you think.

I hope that Aqua Buddha’s illness will convince wingnuts that this is some serious shit, not a beer virus. Freedom, man.

Speaking of Freedom, man:

Of course, Richie’s notion of Freedom was radically different from that of Aqua Buddha who can go fuck himself. Freedom, man.

I got all riled up by that segment. Time to take a musical chill pill, Traffic-style:

Let’s all go to the lobby; six feet apart, of course.

Movie Corner: I’d always heard 1953’s Battle Circus derided as minor Bogart. We’re on kinda sorta lockdown so when it popped up on TCM, I recorded it. It was a pleasant surprise.

First some lobby cards:

Love In Hell? I like the Spanish language title too.

Battle Circus tells the story of a Korean War era MASH unit. Sound familiar? Bogie plays a grizzled, cynical, and horny surgeon who’s tired of the war and the pressures of surgery. Sound familiar? Dr. A and I are huge MASH fans so the comparisons were flying as we watched. Bogart as Hawkeye? It’s easy to imagine. Here’s looking at you, Hot Lips.

There’s also a beautiful blonde nurse played by June Allyson. She stole the movie. Bogie was in his prima donna phase at that point so he rarely allowed that to happen. Perhaps it was mutual respect shown by one Philip Marlowe to the spouse of another: Allyson was married to Dick Powell who played Marlowe in Murder, My Sweet. Allyson was stuck in thankless roles for most of her acting career: ingenue, wife, mother. It was good to see her have a meaty role for a change.

Battle Circus was a big budget film with two major movie stars. So, they had the co-operation of the Army and showed us *how* a Korean War era MASH unit “bugged out.” The scenes in which they took down and reassembled the tents were spectacular. They gave the movie its title too. The image of a MASH unit as a Battle Circus is a good one.

Here’s the trailer:

Battle Circus is still lurking on several TCM platforms and is available for rent on Amazon Prime. Much to my surprise, I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos grade of B+.

That’s it for today. Remember to stay home. Hunkering down and waiting for this thing to pass is all most of us can do right now. Repeat after me: Better Bored Than Dead.

The last word goes to Talking Heads:

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Gates Of Delirium

Cover of Relayer by Roger Dean.

It’s been a tough week in the Big Uneasy and everywhere else on planet for that matter. The good news is that Governor John Bel Edwards excels in a crisis. He’s a West Point graduate and he’s brought some military calm to the pandemic. Mayor Cantrell bowed to the inevitable and issued a stay home order for residents of Orleans Parish. She’s doing all the right things but remains verbose in doing them. Every time I see her on teevee, my inner speechwriter dies a little.

This week’s theme song was composed by Yes for 1974’s Relayer album. The lyrics are by Jon Anderson. It was inspired by Tolstoy’s War and Peace and has four movements:

The song describe a battle, with a prelude, a charge, a moment of victory, and a peace. “It’s not to explain war or denounce it really,” Anderson said. “It’s an emotional description with the slight feeling at the end of, ‘Do we have to go through this forever?”

We have two versions of The Gates Of Delirium for your listening pleasure. The studio original and a 2001 live version with a dadgum Dutch orchestra:

Now that we’re all a bit delirious, here’s a song from Neko Case, KD Lang, and Laura Veirs:

Since we’re at the gates of a delirious new era, let’s jump to the break and see what’s on the other side.

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Shecky’s Bleak Week In Review

I added my nickname to the post title as a signal that my satirical mojo appears to be rising. What the world needs now is to live up to Chuckles the Clown’s motto: ” A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down the pants.” But at a safe distance.

When times are tough, it’s time for the tough to get going. I have no idea what that means but it sounds like inspirational coach speech to me. It’s time for some random and scattershot observations about the latest week from hell.

Insider Trading: The news about 3 GOP Senators selling stocks after a January COVID-19 briefing has resulted in a well-deserved epidemic of condemnation. North Carolina’s Richard Burr is the best known culprit, Oklahoma’s Jim Inhofe is the dumbest, and Georgia’s Kelly Loeffler is the richest. Dollars to doughnuts that when Trump is asked about this story, he’ll comment on Loeffler’s looks.

ProPublica described Burr’s action as a stock dump. He took such a big dump on the country that even Tucker Fucking Carlson is calling for his head on a platter:

I’m unsure if this is the sort of insider trading covered by the securities laws but if it is, Burr and his colleagues are in deep shit. My friend Kevin Allman has a novel notion about how this should be treated:

Using my best Ted Allen voice, Senator you have been chopped.

The last word of the segment goes to Van Fucking Morrison:

Kung Flu Fighting? Republican racists are at it again. Following the lead of the Impeached Insult Comedian, they’re calling a stateless bug the Chinese Virus. Past malaka of the week and infamous asshole Texas Senator John Cornyn’s comments were typical:

“China is to blame because the culture where people eat bats and snakes and dogs and things like that,” Cornyn told reporters. “These viruses are transmitted from the animal to the people, and that’s why China has been the source of a lot of these viruses like SARS, like MERS, the swine flu, and now the coronavirus.”

That’s why I call him Senator Cornhole. Go eat an armadillo or a rattlesnake, asswipe.

An unknown White House staffer made like the Unknown Comic and called it the Kung Flu.

The origins of the following proverb are in dispute but it surely fits a party whose leader is President* Pennywise:  A FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD DOWN.

The last word of this segment is beyond obvious:

Let’s close things out with something positive even if it’s a teevee series based on a dystopian work of what-if historical fiction.

The Plot Against America: I read Philip Roth’s brilliant book when it came out in 2004. The David Simon-Ed Burns 6-part adaptation debuted on HBO this week. The first episode is as good as it gets. No, not the Jack Nicholson flick…

Roth’s premise was that FDR lost the 1940 election to Charles Lindbergh. Lucky Lindy’s  fictional win turned out to be bad luck for America. The premise is plausible: the GOP did not nominate an isolationist to run against FDR. The Barefoot Boy from Wall Street, Wendell Wilkie, was an avowed internationalist with few differences on foreign policy with the incumbent. I think Lindbergh would have lost in the real world BUT he might have done much better than Wilkie.

I considered recapping the series but the only show I could do that for was cancelled in 1994: Short Attention Span Theatre.

Finally, please consider contacting your local blood bank about donating blood. I’m not sure what the pandemic process will be but they’re bound to need your blood but not your sweat or tears.

The last word goes to Pete Townshend and David Gilmour:

Quote Of The Day: Throwback Thursday Edition

I’ve been struggling to get my satirical mojo back after this difficult week. Here’s how I put it on the Tweeter Tube:

I’m working on it because I have a nickname to live up to. There’s a lot to mock as well. Republicans are racing about like freshly beheaded chickens and making little sense after months of coronavirus trutherism. It’s hard to be a Trump cultist during a pandemic, y’all.

That brings me to the throwback quote. It comes from the late Vic Schiro who was Mayor of New Orleans from 1961 to 1970. It happened during 1965’s Hurricane Betsy, which was the most devastating storm to hit New Orleans before Katrina:

Schiro did NOT say that to The Beatles when they came to New Orleans in 1964 BUT  I couldn’t resist memeing this picture. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hopefully, giving props to this malaprop won’t lead to any false rumors. If it does, leave me out of it.

The last word goes to The Band, not The Beatles:

Album Cover Art Wednesday: GRRR

I thought that Charlie Brown and I were the only ones who said GRRR. I had no idea that there was a 1966 Hugh Masekela album called that. Go figure.

Here are a couple of tracks from the album:

Half Pagan: Coronavirus In New Orleans

The press of events, both personal and global, made me forget to include something in today’s NOLA-centric post.  Some of my more eccentric friends have an eccentric band called Half Pagan. Their performance schedule is equally eccentric; it’s Solstice oriented. I am not making this up. I told you they were eccentric, y’all.

Half Pagan have a new tune with timely lyrics. It’s called Coronavirus In New Orleans:

“It started in Wuhan with some bat bitten meat,
Traveled to Korea and down to Italy
So now it’s mutating and we’re all getting sneezy
COVID 19’s rollin’ to the Big Easy

Chorus
Stock up on bourbon, boil red beans
The coronavirus’s coming to New Orleans
Soap up your hands, and cover your sneeze
The coronavirus coming down to New Orleans

The shops are all out of health care supplies
If you can’t find a mask tape on a Hubig’s pie
Instead of hand sanitizer use some Zatarain’s
Wash out your mouth in Lake Pontchartrain

Chorus
Stock up on bourbon, vodka and Dixie
The coronavirus’s coming to the Big Easy
Cover your mouth and don’t touch your face
Best to not put your tongue on any surface

Seems like our city is going to hell
Got two bodies stuck in the Hard Rock Hotel
Broken pumps and beads are flooding our streets
Here comes another boil water advisory

Chorus
Gotta get on the phone and call Mayor Cantrell
Human feces is exploding French Quarter manholes
Our neighbors don’t live here, they’re Air B and B’s
Record high profits for da Entergy

Stock up on bourbon, hunker down with some pralines
Put a lime in your Corona to toast New Orleans
Soap up your hands, and cover your sneeze
The coronavirus coming down to our city, to the Big Easy, down the Mississippi, way down in New Orleans”

I’ve known the members of Half Pagan since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood. Back then, it was us against the world. It’s time for us to recapture the Spirit of ’05 as we hunker down and try to get through the COVID-19 clusterfuck.

Without further adieu, I give you Editor B, Dr. Homan, Kalypso Homan, and Mike Hogan collectively known as Half Pagan:

Let’s See Inaction

The New Orleans Toilet Paper Apocalypse is in its second week. Make that the national Toilet Paper Apocalypse (hereinafter TPA) as hoarding is in fashion. The TPA is also an indication that people remain poorly informed about the nature of COVID-19. Nobody’s going to shit themselves to death because of this virus. Scout’s honor. Scout Prime’s honor too.

NOLA Notes: There was some serious idiocy here last Saturday. Can idiocy ever be serious? That’s an existential question for another day.

Anyway, it was supposed to be the day of the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade so there was a de facto block party on the Magazine Street route despite the obvious health hazards involved.  Even a normal St. Paddy’s Day seems to lower IQs by at least 50 points, and normal came to a screeching halt last week.  NOPD were dispatched both there and to Bourbon Street where drunken idiocy reigned as well. Now’s the time to drink at home, y’all.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell held a presser yesterday. While she ranted about “irresponsible journalism,” she did not impose a curfew. It’s unclear as of this writing exactly what the Mayor was on about, but it seems to involve a reporter calling City Hall to ask about a rumor spreading on social media. The Mayor did not handle it well. The rumor mill will be working overtime as this crisis unfolds, and the best way to swat down rumors is by answering questions however ridiculous. We’re all a bit testy but it’s best for our elected leaders to keep their crankiness to themselves. Otherwise, the Mayor is doing all the right things thus far.

A note about language. The word irresponsible is in right now. In fact, it’s being overused. The word is inherently pedantic, patronizing, and other P words that will come to me later. I prefer to call the foolish white people who partied at an Irish bar, reckless and stupid. I know stupid is judgy, but it doesn’t sound as judgy as irresponsible, which reminds me of an old song:

If the Chairman of the Board were still with us, he’d call the Irish Channel revelers, “stupid bums” or something equally colorful. The man knew how to call a bum a bum.

Movie Notes: I’m watching too much teevee during this crisis so I’m putting on my film critic hat to recommend some movies to help you wile away the hours. Since old movies, especially in glorious black and white, are one of my passions, I’ll focus on movies released before 1970 except when I don’t. I am consistently inconsistent, after all. It’s part of my charm, such as it is.

Last night, Dr. A and I watched this 1950 movie:

We watched the TCM Noir Alley version. The host of Noir Alley, Eddie Mueller, essentially resurrected this undeservedly obscure 1950 movie. It’s a winner; filmed on the streets of San Francisco, featuring great lead performances by Anne Sheridan and Dennis O’Keefe and a stellar supporting turn by Robert Keith (father of Brian) as a quirky police inspector. Rembrandt the dog is doggone good as well. Arf.

I don’t want to give away too many plot details other than to say there’s a helluva twist near the end that I didn’t see coming. And I’m good at figuring out twists.

Woman On The Run is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. I give it 3 1/2 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B+ and an exuberant thumbs up. Check it out while it’s still “free” to prime customers.

I’m going to try and not just write about the COVID-19 crisis as it unwinds. But it’s all-consuming right now since it’s early days. I also need to stop calling all segments “notes.” That’s notably boring but so, too, is this crisis. I’m so bored that I have a motto for this pandemic:

BETTER BORED THAN DEAD.

It’s almost as good as STAY THE FUCK HOME.

A quick note about the post title; there’s that word again. It’s a play on the title of a Pete Townshend song, which was originally titled Nothing Is Everything (Let’s See Action). It contains this cool lyrical couplet: “Rumor has it, minds are open. Then rumors fill them up with lies.” Perhaps Mayor Cantrell should quote it the next time rumors are mentioned…

The Who’s version has always been called Let’s See Action, the Adrastos version is Let’s See Inaction. Inactive is the new in word for those of us who are hunkering down until the crisis eases. Beats the hell outta irresponsible…

Inaction is just for the citizenry: we want all levels of government to be active and responsible.

The last word goes to The Who live in 2000 with a sloppy but spirited rendition of Let’s See Action with guest rock star Eddie Vedder:

Let’s clean up that mess with the original studio version:

That is all.

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Game Pieces

The featured image is of Max von Sydow playing chess with Death in the Ingmar Bergman classic, The Seventh Seal. Von Sydow had a long acting career in America; often playing in horror movies. He died earlier this week at the age of 90. This is the first time I’ve ever started a Saturday post with an obit. I like to change things up.

The Seventh Seal is set during the Black Plague. It was an era with clueless and ignorant leaders; much like the US&A in 2020. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

This week’s theme song continues our board game theme. The Game Pieces was written by Chris Leslie and Nigel Stonier for Fairport Convention’s 1999 album, The Wood and the Wire. Here’s a woody and wiry live version:

I’m a lousy chess player but I know a good song about chess when I hear one. Just say Yes:

Now that we’ve established that we’re all good people, let’s take a straight and stronger course to the break.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: McCoy Tyner

The ground-breaking jazz pianist McCoy Tyner died last week at the age of 81. Here’s a random sampler of his album covers:

Here’s the Nights Of Blues & Ballads album in two parts:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Get Happy

Painting by Piet Mondrian.

My stomach bug was a persistent bugger. It slowly got better but I lived without coffee for four days; an experiment I’m not eager to repeat. It’s hard to be alert when you’re under-caffeinated, Coke Zero and tea don’t quite do it. The result was a groggy unprolific blogger. So it goes.

A quick note about the featured art and its influence on the Krewe of Spank. Our theme this year was NOLAOPOLY and our float was designed to be a rolling version of the game board. I suggested that the sides should look like a Mondrian painting. Our float captain, Greg, went for it with gusto.

I may not be able to paint or draw but I have a good eye. Besides, Di Stijl is always in style.

I decided to try and put some pep in my step with this week’s theme song. It was written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler in 1930 for a Ruth Etting movie, The Nine-Fifteen Revue. Etting was later played by Doris Day in the 1956 movie Love Me or Leave Me with Jimmy Cagney as her gangster husband.

We have two versions of Get Happy for your listening pleasure. The artists need no introduction but get one anyway: Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald.

Since we’re trying to get happy, it’s time for Keith Richards’ signature song:

Let’s join hands and happily jump to the break.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: Early Warhol

Before Andy Warhol became a pop art superstar in the Sixties, he worked as a freelance commercial artist. Among his most interesting work in the Fifties were some jazz album covers. Here’s a sampler:

 

Burst Bubble

I spent most of February in the Carnival bubble. On Ash Wednesday we hauled our ashes out of town to the Dallas area-Plano to be exact-to visit my seriously ill cousin, which placed us in the travel bubble as more news about Coronavirus bubbled to the surface.

We were on the road on Leap Day so here’s a belated shout out to Leap Day William:

My cousin has been battling cancer for 25 years. It finally seems to be winning. She’s in a nursing home now: The Healthcare Resort of Plano. I am not making this up. They resorted to calling a satisfactory nursing home a resort. Holy misnomer, Batman.

One oddity of my cousin’s condition is that, after a lifetime of being low maintenance, she’s become high maintenance. She’s turned into her mother who was a boss; not something I expected to happen. It’s okay. She deserves the extra attention after taking Dr. A, Pogo, Oscar, and me in after Katrina.

We finally met her grandchildren who are 15 and 13. They’re smart and funny kids who enjoyed the bag of Carnival throws we bestowed on them. They were particularly taken with the Tucks terlet that squirts water. It inspired a session of dark humor that convinced me that the 15-year-old could be the next Steven Wright. The kid is that deadpan.

This may be the last time we see my favorite cousin so it was worth spending two full days in the car. And in the Dallas metroplex, one must drive everywhere. Sidewalks are rare in Plano.

On the way home, we stopped for lunch at the Collin Street Bakery in Hideaway, Texas. It was a somewhat ironic stop because we’re not fruitcake lovers, which is what they’re famous for. Their sandwiches and other baked goods are awesome so I hope that Calvin Trillin will forgive me for spending time in close proximity to fruitcake.

I seem to have picked up a stomach virus during our trip. It’s not that bad if you don’t mind having a fever and the night sweats. At least it’s not Coronavirus, which means that the Impeached Insult Comedian won’t lie about it. The man is incapable of telling the truth even when it’s in his best interest. What can you say about a president* who puts Mike Pence in charge of this mishigas instead of Dr. Anthony Fauci. The doc’s an expert, what the hell does he know? Pence is ready to pray it away.

 

I didn’t look at political twitter while on the road. When I looked I saw Berners saying that Biden would lose in a landslide and Biden supporters saying the same about Sanders. They’re both wrong: Trump isn’t winning in a landslide against anyone. His path to re-election is a narrow one that likely involves winning the electoral college and losing the popular vote again.

The bubble has burst so things should be getting back to normal here at First Draft. Did I say normal? Make that normally abnormal. I don’t want to make any false claims. I’ll leave that to the Trump regime.

The last word involves some bubble songs. Mr. Bubble was invited to the party but declined.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Texas Twister

Texas Bluebonnets by Porfirio Salinas.

Dr. A and I are in Texas to visit my favorite cousin. She was the one who took us in after Katrina and the Federal Flood in 2005. She’s seriously ill so this may be the last time we’ll see her. Hence, my limited presence at First Draft this week.

In honor of our brief Texas trip, we have some Texas tunes for your enjoyment; beginning with this week’s theme song, Texas Twister.

We didn’t go to San Antone but it’s impossible to post Texas tunes without the late, great Doug Sahm.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be back with a full-blown edition next Saturday. The last word goes to the human Paul Drake and Della Street.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Ash Wednesday Blues

It’s Ash Wednesday a day on which people atone for their Carnival sins. Hence this 2001 album by Anders Osborne featuring a cover photo by the great Herman Leonard.

Here’s the title track:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Carnival

I’m deep in the Carnival bubble, which is a wondrous albeit crowded place to be. We’ve had big company and small company. It’s been fun but as always I’ll be glad when it’s over. I’m so pooped that I’m repeating last week’s featured image.

There was a parade-related accident at the corner where I’ve been watching parades for the last 20 years. A parade-goer was run over by a float in the Nyx parade near the corner of Magazine and Valence. It was fatal, alas.  I’ll have more about that and other Carnival related issues in next week’s 13th Ward Rambler column for the Bayou Brief.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, and Levon Helm for The Band’s 1971 Cahoots album. The horns were arranged by New Orleans’ own Allen Toussaint.

We have three versions of Life Is A Carnival for your listening pleasure: the studio original, a 1995 teevee appearance by The Band, and a cover by Norah Jones, which is new to me

Lest you think I’ve strayed too far from New Orleans Carnival music, here’s Our Mac:

I try not to spend too much time peering around corners looking for spy boys, skeletons, or baby dolls. If you understood that sentence, you know enough about Carnival, New Orleans style to jump to the break without crash landing.

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