Category Archives: Nature is Scary

Too Much Is On The Ballot/Hurricane Zeta Update

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. It’s my reflections on the upcoming election with a local emphasis. Here’s the tagline:

13th Ward ramblings on the 2020 election, Orleans Parish style. Sidney Torres is NOT on the ballot; he just acts like he is.

In other news, Hurricane Zeta strengthened in the wee small hours of the morning. After half-a-dozen games of hurricane dodge ball it appears headed our way. I’m not sure how this will impact my blogging, but I expect to lose power as this is a wind event. Anything I’m able to schedule this morning will appear but it’s unclear if there will be a Saturday Odds & Sods this week. Only the Shadow knows and we’re not speaking.

We just moved our porch furniture inside. Claire Trevor digs it. I thought she’d be unnerved by the extra clutter, but she just sniffed it and moved on. Cats are much tougher than humans.

I’ll try and check in later today. I *was* planning to write about why the 2020 presidential election is NOT 2016 but I need to remove any possible projectiles from our back yard. The good news is that Zeta is moving fast. It’s always better when an uninvited and unwelcome guest does not linger.

Believe it or not, we’re having a cold front tomorrow after Zeta zips through. 2020, man.

The last word goes to John Fogerty:

I wouldn’t advise walking in this or any other hurricane, y’all.

Sally Can’t Dance?

It’s time to sally forth on another week. There’s a storm in the Gulf, which will make landfall near me. It’s taken a jog to the East so New Orleans is  no longer in the bull’s eye but we could still lose power. If that happens, I wanted to chime in early as opposed to often.

I set a precedent with Hurricane Laura of using a featured image from the movie Laura. Today, I’m using my favorite fictional Sally. It’s Sally Rodgers as played by the late, great Rose Marie. She’s surrounded by Dick Van Dyke as Rob Petrie and Carl Reiner as Alan Brady. They’re three zany peas in a wacky pod. If the Van Dyke and Reiner clans were humorless, I’d apologize for using a picture in which Dick and Carl are semi-decapitated. It adds to the surreal nature of this Monday. We still can’t trust that day.

First, our good friend and beloved colleague Tommy T is having some health issues that prevented him from posting this morning. If you’re religious, pray for him but whatever you do, don’t prey on him. Get well soon, buddy.

Best wishes to my West Coast friends who are dealing with a deadly and smokey round of fires. They’re wearing masks for more than one reason today.

We continue with a quote from a Flynn case filing, which means we need a proper subject header:

Retired federal judge, former Gotti prosecutor, and all around badass, John Gleeson filed a brief last Friday blasting Bill Barr’s corrupt DOJ. Here are some snippets provided by TPM’s Josh Kovensky:

The Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn “reflects a corrupt and politically motivated favor unworthy of our justice system,” the court-appointed attorney arguing against the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss stated in a Friday filing.

“In the United States, Presidents do not orchestrate pressure campaigns to get the Justice Department to drop charges against defendants who have pleaded guilty — twice, before two different judges — and whose guilt is obvious,” wrote John Gleeson, a former federal judge and prosecutor appointed to oppose the Justice Department in the case.

The extraordinarily scathing brief alleges in detail and with precision that the Justice Department broke from decades of procedure to help out a friend of President Trump’s. Dripping with contempt for the government’s position, Gleeson argued that federal prosecutors were too lazy to respond to earlier arguments he had made, including whether the content of Flynn’s lies was material.

He added that the DOJ typically does not “make a practice of attacking its own prior filings in a case, as well as judicial opinions ruling in its favor, all while asserting that the normal rules should be set aside for a defendant who is openly favored by the President.”

“Yet that is exactly what has unfolded here,” Gleeson wrote.

Tell us what you really think, Judge. John Gleeson is not afraid of a mean tweet from the Impeached Insult Comedian. He’s the guy who got Gotti, after all.

In other news, President* Pennywise is still holding super-spreader campaign events despite remonstrations from state and local officials. This 74-year-old man is acting like a rebellious teenager. His followers are even less mature. It’s time for them to go. Make it so, America, make it so.

I’m an avid consumer of local news during Hurricane season. I had this amusing exchange with a local weatherdude:

I am easily amused this morning. I tend to laugh in the face of disaster. So it goes.

There was much talk about Sally songs this weekend. Here’s a selection of them beginning with the song that gave this post its title:

The last word goes to Wilson Pickett. If he were still with us, he’d insist:

Hurricane Laura & Other Disasters

New Orleanians should have heaved a collective sigh of relief yesterday as Hurricane Laura headed due west of us. Instead, everyone who was here for or evacuated from Katrina was triggered. It’s a mere two days from the Katrinaversary. Plus, the storm is following in the footsteps of another devastating 2005 system, Hurricane Rita. People are unnerved, jittery, and depressed. 2020 continues to be the year from hell.

We’re expecting some rain bands associated with Laura today.  It will be nothing compared to what happened some 240 miles west from here. Lake Charles is the largest Louisiana town in the initial path of the storm; reports are grim but as of this writing there are no reported fatalities and the storm surge wasn’t as high as feared. It’s still a fucking mess that will leave thousands homeless.

In other news, the rolling ethical violation that is the Trumpvention continues. The MSM is shrugging-off the impropriety of holding purely political events at the White House. Fuck those guys. It’s the people’s house, not Donald and Melania’s house. The coverage of her speech was nauseating.  She’s complicit in her husband’s crimes and responsible for the lesser included offense of removing rose bushes planted by past First Ladies in the people’s rose garden. They’re slowly but surely eroding the norms of our civil society; make that uncivil.

The citizenship swearing in ceremony on Tuesday looked like a hostage video. It’s of dubious legality and participants were not informed that they were to be props in a Trumpist farce. The lying never stops.

I could go on and on about the freak show that is the RNC. They’re fond of red baiting so let’s respond in kind. This attempt to rewrite the history of the Trump regime is reminiscent of the Stalinist rewriting of Russian history. They’ve told so many lies this week that it will be impossible for them to keep them straight. Stay tuned.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has challenged Joe Biden to take a drug test as a condition of debating. Team Biden should throw its own gauntlet on the table: produce Trump’s tax returns or the debates are off.

Finally, I’m keeping a wary eye on events in Southwest Louisiana and East Texas. I feel a tinge of survivor’s guilt, but I’m relieved it didn’t hit my city. Nobody deserves to be hit by a devastating tropical system such as Laura. The fact that Acadiana has turned ruby red in recent years is irrelevant. People are suffering. It doesn’t matter how they vote. I’m sending waves of empathy their way. It could have been us.

The last word goes to Lucinda Williams who was born in Lake Charles:

 

Bits & Bobs, Not Odds & Sods

Tropical Storm Marco replicated the 2016 Rubio campaign and fell apart. It’s unclear if it will become Hurricane Laura’s sycophant thereby perfecting the Rubio-Trump analogy.

Since I wrote the bulk of this post on Tuesday and may never have another chance to repeat my Goodbye Rubio Tuesday pun, ladies and gentleman, the Rolling Stones:

 

We did not lose power but I’m still feeling triggered since Laura has blown up into a major storm. It’s not coming here but I haven’t felt this jittery about a tropical system since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew wandered the Gulf like a mendicant seeking alms, so everyone spent days on edge waiting for it to light. My then landlords/upstairs neighbors first evacuated east then west. They landed in Baton Rouge, which was where Andrew ended up after knocking the Miami area on its ass. That concludes this walk down hurricane alley memory lane. At least Carl Hiaasen got a good book out of the Andrew mishigas:

The combination of two tropical systems, memories of 2005, the pandemic, Paul Drake’s death, and the neo-Nuremberg rally held by the GOP have me feeling overwhelmed. I had originally planned to write a Katrinaversary column for the Bayou Brief this week. It will have to wait until next week. I don’t feel like dredging up those memories until Laura has left the stage. I’m *almost* as confused as Dana Andrews in the featured image right now.

My regular features Album Cover Art Wednesday, Pulp Fiction Thursday, Friday Catblogging, and even Saturday Odds & Sods are on hurricane hiatus this week.  I already cooked up something tasty for the Friday Cocktail Hour before feeling so rattled by events.

 

I have some random and discursive thoughts about what’s going on in my world and your world. I suspect they’ll be more scattered than usual, but I think I can muster some jokes.

There are two things I hate as much as endless storm chatter. First, people complaining when a storm is NOT as bad as forecast. Out of an abundance of caution, there were many Monday closures for Marco. Nobody should whine and moan about that, especially if it’s a large institution. They have to pull the trigger 16 to 24 hours in advance. Y’all should be happy that it was a dull Monday, not angry. No wonder I feel triggered.

I also hate the patronizing tone that our leaders adopt during a storm. In New Orleans, we’re hurricane professionals. We know the drill. We don’t need the Mayor or Governor talking down to us. Of course, the word patronizing sums up Mayor Cantrell’s style. Voter’s remorse thy name is Adrastos.

My social media feeds are consumed with storm chatter and the Republican convention. I used to watch both major conventions gavel-to-gavel but who needs to see Gavin Newsome’s ex-wife scream? Additionally, all of Trump’s speeches are variations on the theme of me, me, me. I’m glad the Kaiser of Chaos is speaking each day. Repeat after me: every time he opens his mouth, he loses votes.

The Republican Party has declared intellectual bankruptcy. They have no platform other than: In President* Pennywise We Trust. I’m surprised they didn’t advocate adding his head to Mount Rushmore and replacing General/President Grant on the fifty-dollar bill with the Impeached Insult Comedian. The Lost Causers don’t like Uly, but they adore the Racist-In-Chief.

I’m uncertain what to make of the War of the Conways. While it could be a scam, it’s hard for parents to talk teenagers into anything so it might be genuine. Beats the hell outta me. One thing is certain: they’d never cast Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as George and Kellyanne.

Danny DeVito, however, might work as George.

I realized how little I’d missed Adam Nagourney’s punditry when the Gray Lady published his ludicrous ruminations on how Trump could still win in 2020. Adam’s solution is that the Impeached Insult Comedian should imitate Poppy Bush in 1988. The analogy falls apart for a variety of reasons:

  1.  Michael Dukakis was a cold fish. Joe Biden is Mr. Empathy.
  2.  Bush was the Veep, not the president. People also liked him and his boss.
  3.  The Reagan record did not include 175K and counting deaths caused by their grotesque incompetence.

It’s also distressing that anyone at the Failing New York Times should be in the business of advising Team Trump. I know they’re big on both-siderism, but this is ridiculous. Only The Tubes can wash Nagourney’s nitwittery out of my hair:

 

Now that I’ve bashed the Gray Lady, it’s time to take a whack at the Amazon Post. I don’t understand why everyone’s hair is on fire about the NYT oped page when bootlicking Trumper Hugh Hewitt writes for the WaPo. He makes Brett Stephens look like Tom Wicker. Hewitt is an embarrassment to Hughs past and present: from Grant to Downs. There should be a hugh and cry for his removal…

A brief explanation of the post title. Like Odds & Sods, Bits & Bobs is a Britsim for Bits & Pieces. Sustained thought is beyond me right now.

The last word goes to Boston with today’s earworm:

 

Letter From The Hurricane Zone

Dear Readers:

I’m usually not rattled by news of an approaching storm, especially if they’re Cat-1 or lower. This time is different. We’re having a doubleheader: first Marco, then Laura. The cool kids on the tweeter tube are calling it a doublecane.

It’s unclear how and even if the two systems will interact. If it were out in the ocean, I’d be interested in seeing it play out but since it’s not, I’m not.

This is not an original thought but 2020 is too damn much, y’all. Too many deaths, too much Trump, too much of anything and everything. Now too much damn weather. 2020 can go fuck itself.

What is it with Republican conventions and tropical systems? In 2008, we were in Bossier City after evacuating for Hurricane Gustav. In 2012, Hurricane Isaac led to an epic power fail that caused us to miss seeing Clint Eastwood talk to a chair. Watching it on the YouTube spoiled the element of surprise. I missed making a joke about the Neil Diamond song wherein the singer does the same damn thing:

 

I should apologize for posting a Neil Diamond song during such stressful times. I told you I was rattled.

In other news, Melania Trump has paved over the Rose Garden just in time to give the speech I plan to miss this week. What can you expect from people who have gold terlets?

I’m writing this on Sunday morning because I expect to lose power for some or all of the week. I doubt if I’ll post my regular features (other than the Friday Cocktail Hour) unless the one-two punch of Marco and Laura turns out to be a dud like Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign.

MONDAY UPDATE: Marco has been downgraded to Tropical Storm status, but Laura is strengthening. Hopefully, it will NOT be as big in 2020 as the movie Laura was in 1944. The storm should follow in star Gene Tierney’s footsteps and retire to Texas. As Lyle Lovett would surely say at this point, “Texas wants you anyway.”

Sorry, Texas. Hurricane season brings out the worst in all of us.

I’ll check in and update y’all if I can. I hope I’m wrong about the power loss thing. It won’t be the first or last time.

The last word goes to The Who:

 

I bet you expected a hurricane song. I like to surprise my readers.

Love,

Adrastos

Still Can’t Trust That Day

Tropical Storm Cristobal was something of a non-event in New Orleans. Other parts of the broader Metro Area and Gulf South weren’t so lucky. We’re still experiencing the odd severe rain band but if this is our tropical system for the year, we’re lucky. Knock on wood.

An odd phenomenon of the social media era is people complaining about preparing for a storm then bitching about it not being severe. It’s what we want, y’all.  Is it my fault if you bought too much water and food you’ll only eat when the power is out? Talk about first world problems. Eat your Vienna Sausages and STFU.

A friend of mine made a more salient point on Facebook. Why can’t our brains process more than once thing at a time? Locally, we’ve gone from focusing on the pandemic to the protests and, briefly, to hurricane season. The MSM has this problem in spades: one major story at a time is all they can handle. The pandemic didn’t go anywhere. Our inability to multi-task is likely to lead to a second wave.

The Trump regime has largely abandoned the subject of the pandemic since it was a loser for them. They’re now fixated on LAW & ORDER. The big question for me is this: SVU; Criminal Intent; or the original Law & Order?

William Hermann Goering Barr faced the nation yesterday. It was a pitiful performance as he tried to argue that pepper spray and tear gas are not chemicals. It reminded me of a kid who discovers for the first time that a tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable. Barr is not a kid and ketchup is neither a vegetable nor a fruit.

There’s been much mockery of Willard Mittbot Romney for marching in the BLM protest yesterday. It doesn’t make him a hero, but I believe in coalition building so I’ll take allies wherever I find them. Besides, he earned some cred with me by voting to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian from office.

The Gray Lady seems to have recovered from losing its Cotton Pickin’ Mind after publishing a fascist op-ed from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. The opinion editor quit in the face of widespread unrest on the paper’s staff. Maybe the opinion page will abandon its recent obsession with trying to “challenge” the paper’s liberal readers. They should leave “owning the libs” to Fox News.

Finally, a few unfashionable thoughts about the latest craze: “Defund the Police.” In this instance, the details are, on the whole, good not devilish. Reducing the police’s involvement in things they’re bad at handling such as mental illness and domestic violence is a good idea. The label sucks. It implies that utopia will be the result of the George Floyd protests.

Violent crimes still need investigating; what is needed is to demilitarize the police and address racist violence by law enforcement. The overall idea behind “defund the police” is not a bad one but the presentation is terrible. It implies that “burning down” the system is a good idea. I had hoped that Trump’s “burning down” US foreign policy among other things would have disabused people of the notion that disruption and destruction are good ideas. Like Cory Booker, I prefer reform and rebuilding.

Repeat after me: Words Matter.

The last word goes to Stephen Stills with a song written in 1971 that’s still relevant today:

The Boy Ain’t Right: Hurricane Edition

It was the Sharpie mark heard round the world:

Heard was artistic license but Sharpies have been known to squeak. Squawk is a better word choice for what the Insult Comedian did after he was called out for providing false information on Hurricane Dorian. I follow Hurricane reportage very closely for obvious reasons. Alabama was never in the cone but Trump must always be right and cannot admit error.

This is the creepiest manifestation yet of Trump’s refusal to admit a mistake. This could have resulted in chaos and confusion in Alabama: that’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos. This is some dangerous, shit, yall.

Let’s face it: hardcore Trumpers are not the brightest bulbs in the hurricane lamp. Absent correction by the National Weather Service’s Birmingham office, they might have believed their Dear Leader. This what incompetent authoritarianism looks like.

This is some deranged shit, y’all. Repeat after me: THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT.

Trump tweeted out a track that allegedly supported his preposterous position. All it did was show a few spaghetti models on August 28 that were headed towards Alabama and the Gret Stet of Louisiana for that matter. Alabama was never in the cone:

Remember when Kellyanne Conway talked about alternative facts? This involves alternative tracks. I’m a bit disappointed that Trump didn’t lie about Dorian heading to the Gret Stet: both GOP goober candidates have their heads permanently wedged up his ass. Believe me.

This is some deranged shit, y’all. Repeat after me: THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT.

Then there’s the matter of who can request that a POTUS declare a state of emergency in a given state. According to federal law, only a Governor can make such a request. The Governor of North Carolina is a Democrat, Roy Cooper. He made the request as required by law. Here’s how President* Pennywise spun it:

Tillis is, of course, a Republican who is up for re-election in 2020.

This is some deranged shit, y’all. Repeat after me: THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT.

The chart thing bugs the living shit out of me. As someone who was exiled from my home for six weeks in 2005, I take this personally. It’s not only illegal to deface a NWS chart and disseminate false information,  it’s dangerous and delusional. What’s next?  Is Trump going to nuke a future hurricane and claim he didn’t do it? He can’t say the dog ate his homework because he hates canines. My mother taught me never to trust someone who does not like dogs.

This is some deranged shit, y’all. Repeat after me: THE BOY AIN’T RIGHT.

One more hurricane related item. Anderson Cooper hosted a climate change thingamabob on CNN last night. One of the candidates for the Democratic nomination sounded like a Republican politician circa 2005-2006:

Heckuva job, Bernie.

I Can’t Stand The Rain

I’m a slacker pundit. I’ve opted out of watching this week’s cattle call debates. I have better things to do with my time than watch no-hoper John Delaney engage in a shout fest with Bernie Sanders. Doesn’t Delaney know that nobody outshouts Bernie?

I guess I’m sorry that I missed Marianne Williamson say “yadda, yadda, yadda” but I can watch the clips. I actually apologized to my readers in advance of the first round and it applies to tonight as well:

Repeat after me: debates don’t matter, especially early ones. Kamala Harris had her moment, then it receded because it’s simply too early to matter. Besides, if debates really mattered, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton would have been elected Oval Ones. When it comes to debates, I’m a mattering nabob of negativism. Holy shit, I just paraphrased Spiro Agnew and William Safire.

In hyper-local news, I start jury duty tomorrow. It’s been a long time. The last time was during September 2001. That’s right: I was in the jury lounge at Tulane Avenue when the twin towers toppled. The pace at Criminal District Court slowed to a crawl. I recall participating in only one voir dire that month. I’m hoping this August will be slow as well but for less dramatic reasons.

The rains keep coming in New Orleans. It’s gotten to the point that street flooding is a commonplace event. It used to happen every so often but now it’s a monthly, even weekly event thereby proving that climate change is a hoax. #sarcasm.

Dr. A and I are officially afraid of the rain. Our car perished in a flash flood when she was on her way to work a few weeks ago. It was totaled by the insurance company and we bought a new used car with the money. I guess one could call it a re-owned vehicle or some such shit.

The big buzz in Gret Stet state politics is a teevee ad by a hitherto obscure Republican candidate who is always described by the Gret Stet MSM as a “major donor” so I’ll follow suit.

Major Donor Eddie Rispone has pledged his troth to the Insult Comedian:

It’s amazing what one can do with sound FX:  Major Donor Rispone’s head is so firmly lodged up the Trumpian rump that it should sound muffled. Instead, it’s as clear as an Acadian bell.

I must confess that I’m disappointed that Major Donor Rispone did not holler “lock her up” or” send them back.” But hope springs eternal since his campaign has bought $5 million worth of teevee time.

The other Republican challenger to the Other Governor Edwards (there’s only one Edwin) is Doctor/Congressman Ralph Abraham. He’s a weasel and a dull one to boot. Lamar White Jr. has devoted considerable energy to exposing Doc Abraham as a phony at the Bayou Brief.

Before continuing, a musical interlude featuring the Original Abraham who, now that I think of it, was something of an amateur surgeon:

A shirtless, tattooed Albino rock star is the stuff of GOP nightmares. Holy Culture War, Batman.

The one-two punch of Major Donor Rispone and Doc Abraham has had the result of adding to the Other Governor Edwards’ support among pro-choice Democrats. I declared myself a clothespin Edwards voter two months ago; as bad as he is on abortion rights, he’s much better than the competition on everything else. If Major Donor Rispone weren’t against gay marriage, he’d propose to Trumpberius. It seems to be true love.

It’s time to circle back to the post title. The last word goes to Ann Peebles, Tina Turner, and Paul Rodgers:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Other Side Of Summer

o-GUSTON-900

City Limits by Philip Guston.

I wrote the opening, now second, paragraph below before posting yesterday. I’m too stressed and/or lazy to change it. So it goes:

It’s been the week from hell in New Orleans. Our car flooded during Wednesday’s deluge and there’s a tropical system nearby. I’m writing this on Thursday: our internet is wonky so I want to have something in place in case it and/or the power goes out. I refuse to be buried by Barry.

I don’t have the full-blown Odds & Sods spirit BUT since I’d assembled a post,  I figured I’d put it out there for y’all to enjoy. I know our Saturday readership is devoted so I don’t want to let you down. Instead of our usual three acts, we have a first act followed by what would usually be our third act of regular features. Highly irregular but what can ya do?

Elvis Costello wrote The Other Side Of Summer for his 1991 album, Mighty Like A Rose. I used it the other day in the post about my Bayou Brief newspaper war piece. This time we have two versions: the video and EC live.

Now that we’ve seen the other side of summer for what it is, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

I Come To Bury Barry, Not Praise Him

Legendary New Orleans weatherman and folk hero Nash Roberts in his prime.

I didn’t plan to write a pre-storm post but my phone and social media feeds have been blowing up. Thanks to everyone who reached out. If this post sucks, blame them, not me. Damn concerned friends and readers.

Barry is a disorganized mess of a system, which is having a hard time getting its shit together. But wherever it lands, it’s going to be wet and sloppy.

It’s almost a perfect metaphor for the Trump era, which is not reassuring but it’s a helluva one-liner. They can’t get their shit together either. At least Alex Acosta is quitting, which means I won’t get to use one of my punnier potential titles: The Acosta of Freedom.

Back to the lay of the land at Adrastos World HQ. We’re going to be fine: we live on high ground in what locals call the “sliver by the river.” It was a sketchy neighborhood when we moved here and now its full of yuppies since it didn’t flood in 2005. I’ll sing the gentrification blues another time.

There was a torrential downpour on Wednesday morning. Dr. A went into work and got caught in a flash flood. She works in an area that rarely has such high water. It did this time. The car is going to the shop today. Hopefully, it will pull through. We’re holding off on renting a car until Barry be gone. It will be one less thing to worry about.

The Wednesday flood is why so many New Orleanians are extra jittery about Barry. The trend seems to be favorable for us as of this writing. My hurricane ghoul is relieved that it *may not* be as bad as expected. I have friends who live in flood prone areas who are evacuating out of an abundance of caution. I wish them well. See y’all on the other side of this mess.

We’re hunkering down. We have enough food, water, bourbon, and PD supplies to make it through. We may lose power but there are worse things than sweat and boredom.

That concludes this brief update. There *will* be a Saturday Odds & Sods even if our power is out. My tropical system plan  includes a First Draft sub-plan.

The last word word goes to Barry White. It seemed only fair after quoting Shakespeare in the title:

Steve King Can Go Fuck Himself

The King of Bigots is at it again, and this time it’s personal:

[H]ere’s what FEMA tells me: We go to a place like New Orleans, and everybody’s looking around saying, “Who’s going to help me? Who’s going to help me?” We go to a place like Iowa, and we go see, knock on the door at, say, I make up a name, John’s place, and say, “John, you got water in your basement, we can write you a check, we can help you.” And John will say, “Well, wait a minute, let me get my boots. It’s Joe that needs help. Let’s go down to his place and help him.”

I don’t want to say anything derogatory about Iowa flood victims. They’ve been through enough trauma. They don’t deserve to be dragged into a political argument by one of their elected officials BUT this is such bullshit.

People in New Orleans after the storm and federal flood were just as determined to help their neighbors as the “nice white Midwesterners”  represented by the King of Bigots.  Does he think that Iowans will turn down government assistance when it’s offered? Of course not and they should not.

We all depend on the kindness of strangers after a disaster. It doesn’t matter if you’re white or black or a Democrat or Republican: people should give you a hand up instead of a kick in the head. It wasn’t right when New Orleans flood victims were used as political pawns and it’s not right if the same thing were to happen in Iowa. Unfortunately, the Trump regime has already set a pernicious precedent in Puerto Rico. I sincerely hope that federal and private aid to Iowa and other flooded area is dispensed without regard to politics. Iowans shouldn’t suffer because one of their Congresscritters is a white nationalist moron.

One more thing: Steve King can go fuck himself. I can’t say that often enough.

How You Gonna Pay For It?

Whenever someone asks that, in response to some mild environmental proposal, we should just say that WE ALREADY PAY FOR IT, DIPSHITS:

The ponds and landfills used to store coal ash are frequently unlined, allowing toxins to leach into groundwater.
The report is based on groundwater monitoring data from more than 4,600 wells. It compared measured levels to drinking water or other standards. Contamination was found in groundwater near 242 of the 265 plants that recently reported data required by the 2015 rule.
Fifty-two percent of those sites are contaminated with cancer-causing arsenic, and 60% are polluted with lithium, which is linked to neurological damage, according to the report.

There’s this idiot idea that we are not now paying for any kind of environmental damage we have caused, as if asthma and cancer and lead poisoning are things that don’t cost anyone any money. If that’s true I gotta boatload of friends what need the money they’ve spent on inhalers and chemo and testing reimbursed.

A.

The President* Of His Base

Hurricane Michael blew up in the last two days before landfall. It became a Category 4 storm and the 3rd most powerful in our nation’s history. The good news is that it was a fast mover. The bad news is that it cut a wide swath of destruction through the Florida panhandle. Michael was such a powerful storm that the NWS will put the name on its inactive list. Climate change? What climate change?

While Hurricane Michael ravaged the panhandle and moved on to Georgia, the president* attended a fund-raiser and rally in Pennsylvania. He tweeted out his pretext for not focusing on the storm.

The rally was in support of GOP Senate candidate Lou Barletta who trails incumbent Bob Casey Jr. by 16 points in the Real Clear Politics poll aggregate. The Insult Comedian’s presence was about ego gratification and his ongoing refusal to take hurricanes seriously. Tweeting out shit is not enough: a real president would be on the job, a lesson George W. Bush learned the hard way. That’s better politics than mocking the #MeToo movement. But Trump is an applause junkie who lives for the roar of the crowd and “lock her up” chants. Asshole.

It’s not original to observe that Trump is the president* of his base. Instead of seeking converts, he attacks anyone who is not already in his camp. It’s how he was elected and he reckons that it worked. Good politicians are nimble and allow their pitch to evolve. What worked in 2016 may not work in 2018. I also firmly believe that people hate a sore winner, which describes GOP behavior after Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Most presidents love the unifying role of head of state. Some of the best presidential speeches in our history have been made at times of national or international mourning. Bill Clinton’s facility as head of state is one reason he made a political comeback after the 1994 midterm disaster. His speeches honoring the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing and the memory of Yitzhak Rabin were classics.

The best head of state in my lifetime was Ronald Reagan with Barack Obama a close second. Reagan loved the ceremonial aspects of the job and reveled in every opportunity to be a unifying figure. I opposed his policies but his speech after the Challenger disaster made me verklempt. If we had a constitutional monarchy, Reagan would have made a fine king. He had an intensely loyal base BUT, like his hero FDR, he loved being the unifier-in-chief. Trump is all about chaos and division. That’s why I call him the Kaiser of Chaos.

Speaking of Reagan, his presidential library has introduced a Ronald Reagan hologram:

A smiling Ronald Reagan waves to a crowd from aboard a rail car during a 1984 campaign stop in a new hologram revealed Wednesday at the late president’s namesake library in Southern California.

“We think we made a good beginning, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” the high-tech digital resurrection of the nation’s 40th president exclaims in his steady voice, with a twinkle in his eye.

Reagan, who died in 2004, also shows up in a suit and tie inside the Oval Office and clutching a lasso alongside his dog, Victory, at his beloved ranch in two other holograms that will open to visitors Thursday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library west of Los Angeles.

Holo-Ronnie should make an appearance at a Trump rally and repeat the memorable line from his 1980 debate with Jimmy Carter when the Current Occupant tells a lie: “There you go again.”

I wonder if the crowd would chant “lock him up” or if that’s reserved for nasty, uppity women.

Repeat after me: there are 26 days until the midterms. Tick tock, motherfuckers.

Malaka Of The Week: Brock Long

Brock Long and fellow Trump dignity wraith Kirstjen Nielsen with Trump.

I was pleasantly surprised when Trump appointed Brock Long FEMA director. Long was a respected emergency management professional who was qualified for the job unlike, say, Michael Brown. Unfortunately, everyone and everything Trump touches turns to shit. It happened to the FEMA boss this weekend. And that is why Brock Long is malaka of the week.

Long made the Sunday show rounds and refused to disagree with his boss’ Hurricane Maria conspiracy theories:

In an interview with Long, Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked the FEMA administrator a “simple, factual question: Do you dispute this number of 3,000 hurricane-related deaths?”

“There’s several different studies out there that are all over the place when it comes to death,” Long replied, before noting: “The official stance of FEMA is, one, we don’t count deaths.”

“The only thing that would come remotely close, the data that we would have, is the funeral benefits that we push forward.”

Thus far,FEMA has received 2,000+ requests for funeral assistance and has granted only 75. Doing their job correctly would subject the agency to the wrath of the Kaiser of Chaos and that’s one force of nature that Brock Long isn’t prepared to deal with.

Even Chuck Todd was rough on Long:

In a separate interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Long said: “The numbers are all over the place.”

“[Trump] said Democrats did it to make him look bad,” “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked. “Do you believe any of these studies were done to make the President looked bad?”

“I don’t know know why the studies were done,” Long said.

The George Washington University study was done at the behest of Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello. The president* used to be a Rosello fan, but he’s now on Trumpy’s shit list.

Malaka Brocka also went on about spousal abuse on Meet the Press:

He should consult with his big boss: he’s an expert on spousal abuse.

The Hurricane Maria flap isn’t the only controversy Long has on his plate. He seems to be channeling the spirit of Scott Pruitt, which is why he’s under investigation for using federal funds to pay for his personal travel expenses. Nice work if you can get it.

Donald Trump corrupts everything and everyone he touches. Brock Long is just the latest in a long line of Trump dignity wraiths. And that is why Brock Long is malaka of the week.

Your President* Speaks: A New Low

I’ve been doing fewer Your President* Speaks posts as the Trump administration slogs along. The stupid fucker wants us obsessing over his tweets and I prefer not to give him what he wants. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule and this is one of them. I woke up mad, now it’s time to get even.

I briefly considered using Rock Bottom instead of A New Low in the title. Unfortunately, there *is* no rock bottom for the Insult Comedian. He thinks he stoops to conquer when instead he shoots himself in the foot every time he pulls a stunt like this:

It goes without saying that none of this is true. Fuck you, Donald.

It goes without saying that this is obscene. Fuck you, Donald.

It goes without saying that Trump thinks Hurricanes Maria and Florence are about him. Fuck you, Donald.

It goes without saying that he is desecrating the memory of those who died in Puerto Rico and those who might die as a result of Florence. Fuck you, Donald.

The real reason this president* never cared about the deaths of some 3,000 Puerto Ricans is that they were never going to vote for him. It’s a horrible thing to say about anyone but it’s true. Fuck you, Donald.

As someone who lived through Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood, I take this very seriously. When a major storm makes landfall, I feel twinges of PTSD and I was one of the lucky ones. You shouldn’t play politics with hurricanes. This is about human suffering, not about a ridiculous man who sits in the White House live tweeting Fox News. Fuck you, Donald.

Having said that, I disagree with those who think Trump should be thrown off twitter. I want to know what the enemy is up to. I believe in turning over rocks and exposing the evil underneath. Besides, the Insult Comedian keeps saying damaging things on twitter. Let the stupid fucker tweet to his heart’s content.

This tweet in response to Trump’s new low is perfect:

In the immortal words of my late and much missed friend Ashley Morris:

FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING FUCKS.

Hurricane Season Blues

Florence is a charmingly old-fashioned name. I don’t recall ever knowing a Florence or calling anyone Flo. The name is unlikely to make a comeback: Hurricane Florence is a dangerous system that appears to be the IT storm of the 2018 hurricane season.

It’s natural for people in New Orleans to compare the storm to Hurricane Katrina. I did so myself on the tweeter tube the other day:

There’s another severe past storm whose name is being dropped. Florence’s projected path is eerily reminiscent of 1989’s Hurricane Hugo; another storm with a charmingly old-fashioned name that was anything but charming.

I have a friend who does rescue work who is sounding the alarm about Florence:

Don’t fuck around with this storm, y’all, especially if you’re in a coastal area. The storm surge is potentially horrific. Leave as early as you can so you can Flo with the contra-flow on the interstate.

I posted the picture of the Insult Comedian’s obscene antics in Puerto Rico last fall as a reminder of his administration’s failures after Hurricane Maria. He, of course, thinks they did totally awesome:

“I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success. I actually think it is one of the best jobs that’s ever been done with respect to what this is all about,”

Nearly 3,000 people perished as a result of Maria. Trump is incapable of thinking everything associated with him isn’t the “biggest” and the “best.” It’s what con men do.

Those brown-people should just STFU and stop being uppity with Trumpberius, especially that lady mayor. #sarcasm

He’s bragging in advance about how the government will do in response to Florence:

Donald Trump has declared that his government is “absolutely, totally prepared” for Hurricane Florence, as officials and forecasters warned that the “staggering” storm is shaping up to be catastrophic and unprecedented.

It would be nice if we had a president* who didn’t sound like a tween girl at a sleepover. Totally.

What strikes me about the revived Maria discussion is that there has been NO Congressional oversight whatsoever. Despite Republican control of Congress after Katrina, there *were* hearings. After Maria, crickets.

The lack of Congressional response is partially because of Puerto Rico’s commonwealth status BUT Republicans are afraid of the Kaiser of Chaos pitching a hissy fit. They seem to think that a nasty tweet will smite them dead. Their political cowardice seems poised to send them into the wilderness after the midterms. They’ll wish they’d risked the online wrath of Trump.

Heckuva job, GOP.

The last word goes to Neil Young and Roxy Music:

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Cold Cold Heart

The Messenger Boy by Childe Hassam.

To say that it’s been a crazy week at Adrastos World HQ is an understatement. It’s been crazy even for New Orleans but in a dull as opposed to a lively way. Multiple hard freezes have made a mess of our water system. Our water pressure is lower than the Insult Comedian’s IQ and we’re under a multi-day boil water advisory because of all the broken pipes in the city. I am stoical in the face of this mishigas since our pipes did not burst but it’s a major pain in the keister, booty, butt, hinder, or whatever you call your ass.

Our houses are not built for this weather. My Jazz Age era house is raised on piers and our pipes are under the house, semi-exposed.  It helps the house breathe during our usual severe weather season: the summertime. There’s no way to winterize a semi-tropical burg like New Orleans. And even if we threw billions, that we don’t have, at the problem, it wouldn’t work. We haven’t had a hard freeze since 2015, snow since 2008, and multiple hard freezes since 1995 and 1989. We *do* need to upgrade our drainage and basic water infrastructure but it’s summer that really matters, not the winter. Geography is destiny and we’re destined to have more hot weather than cold. Okay, I’ll dismount my soap box now and play some music.

This week’s theme song is the Hank Williams classic Cold Cold Heart. Why? Because I’m fucking cold, that’s why. I have three versions for your listening pleasure: one from the songwriter as well as renditions by Nat King Cole and Aretha Franklin.

I love Nat’s interpretation. It truly melts my cold cold heart, especially when he plays the Hammond B-3. As the Beatles once allegedly said: “Turn me on, dead man.”

As it’s been hard for me to maintain any writerly rhythm, I’m going to keep it relatively snappy this week. Btw, rhythm is one of those words I am incapable of spelling without consulting  Mr. Google or Otto Correct. I’ve let down Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire and the rest of Yes West. Sorry, chaps.

I’m only linking to one article today but it’s a must read for Peanuts fans. I’ll let the Failing NYT icon thingamabob serve as the segment header.

That’s right, it’s been 50 years since Franklin joined the Peanuts gang as a supporting player. Sparky Schulz was reluctant to add a black character because he didn’t want to be accused of tokenism. Then a reader changed his mind:

Mr. Schulz wrote back to Ms. Glickman within two weeks, but only to tell her he couldn’t fulfill her request. He and his fellow white cartoonists, he said, were “afraid that it would look like we were patronizing our Negro friends.” Undaunted, Ms. Glickman sent another note, asking if she could share his letter with black acquaintances. Mr. Schulz assented, though he again expressed reluctance to introduce a black character into “Peanuts.”

Ms. Glickman wasted little time in enlisting her friend Kenneth C. Kelly, a black father of two, who told Mr. Schulz, essentially, to get over his anxiety.

“An accusation of being patronizing would be a small price to pay for the positive results that would accrue!” he wrote. Mr. Kelly suggested that Mr. Schulz begin with a “supernumerary” black character, a de facto extra, who “would quietly and unobtrusively set the stage for a principal character at a later date.” This cautious approach would serve the dual purpose of not burdening Mr. Schulz and “Peanuts” with the duty of making a Major Social Statement and presenting friendship between black and white children as utterly normal.

I halfway expect the Bigot-in-Chief to denounce the Franklinversary as a plot to deprive the blond pianist Schroeder of precious Peanuts panels. Oops, I forgot that he’s the least racist person you’ll ever meet and doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. As if one could find any bones amidst the blubber.

There hasn’t been much to do this week as the city has shutdown because of icy roads but we’ve done some major teevee watching including a smashing Amazon series. Sounds all jungley and shit but it’s not.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is a series created by Amy Sherman-Palladino who is the woman behind Gilmore Girls. I have been told repeatedly over the years that I’d love that show but have yet to view it. I do, however, love Sherman-Palladino’s latest effort.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is set in the late 1950’s and tells the story of Miriam (Midge) Maisel an upper-middle class Jewish housewife who is an aspiring stand-up comedian. A show with the word marvelous in the title had better be good since they’ve provided their own straight line. As Johnny Mercer might say at this point, it’s too marvelous for words, but words are all I got so I’ll keep writing. The show is a winner.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is full of wacky situations and zany characters. It’s chock-full-o-Sheckys. I kept waiting for Buddy Sorrell to show up and insult every bald guy in sight.

The main reason I tuned in is the presence in the cast of Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s eccentric father, Abe Weissman. I know what you’re thinking: he always plays quirky characters. Adrian Monk makes Abe look like Ward Cleaver. Not really but hyperbole is the name of my game.

The writing and acting are superb. It’s a star making role for Rachel Brosnahan as the preternaturally sassy Midge. Alex Bornstein as Midge’s androgynous manager Susie is also a stand out. She reminds me of the writer Fran Lebowitz and is almost as funny.

It’s trailer time:

As I watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,  I kept thinking of Barry Levinson’s great 1990 film Avalon. It’s set in a similar cultural milieu and also stars Kevin Pollack. That’s high praise indeed: Avalon is on my top twenty favorite movies list. Remember: Never cut the turkey without me.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is streaming on Amazon. I give it 4 stars, an Adrastos Grade of A- and a big thumbs up. It has a chance to become a classic.

Saturday GIF Horse: I mentioned my love of Tony Shalhoub’s work. His best known character is the OCD teevee detective Adrian Monk. Here he is tidying things up.

Checkmate? Speaking of Chess Records.

Saturday Classic: The freaky winter weather has given me the blues. Hence this 1963 LP by the great blues harmonicat, Marion Walter Jacobs aka Little Walter.

That’s it for this week. I guess one could say that I came, I thawed, and I conquered. I’m not exactly sure what or how I conquered but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The last word goes to Abe Weissman and his kooky daughter, Midge Maisel.

 

 

NOLA Snow Day

It’s 20 degrees as I write this. It wasn’t exactly a blizzard but we had snow last night. My front stairs are treacherously icy and I’m too comfortable in my study to take a picture of them. The smallest room in the house is the warmest by far. Yay, warmth.

New Orleans is cut off right now as most of the bridges and elevated highways are closed. I kind of like it when we’re an island. It keeps the riff raff out except for those who are already here. I’m more raffish than riffish myself…

Here’s a spectacular de facto ice sculpture picture from the news director of WWL-TV:

The local media once again has a raging snow boner. I should trademark the phrase, but only a bonehead wants a t-shirt or cap with Snow Boner on it.

One positive of the extreme (by New Orleans standards) cold is that new kitty, Paul Drake, joined us in the bedroom last night in order to worship the space heater. Della Street was a bit grumpy about it but it’s too cold to chase him so all she did was hiss. It’s slow progress but progress nonetheless.

I realize that the hardcore ice people out there are rolling their eyes but it’s cold here, y’all. I never said I could live through a Wisconsin winter: I’d wind up like the Donner Party only without the cannibalism. My late mother grew up on a farm in rural Wisconsin and she *hated* the snow and ice and was thrilled to live in California. She was too nice to gloat about the winter weather to her relatives in Cheeseland but every time it snowed back home she’d smile and say: “Don’t miss it at all.”

That concludes this brief meteorological foray. Repeat after me: wintry mix.

Happy New Year From The Big Freezy

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:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Cold Rain and Snow

It snowed yesterday in the surrounding parishes but not in New Orleans. We just had sleet and gloomy skies. Baton Rouge and rural Tangiapahoa Parish had sustained snowfall. Here’s a message from Mike the Tiger:

The New Orleans media had a snow boner all day long. It was all they talked about. All the teevee people got gussied up in their anoraks and boots. They looked like models in the LL Bean catalog. My favorite snow boner moment came on the WWL morning news:

Repeat after me: snow boner.

The featured image is a venerable postcard showing the 700 block of Canal Street after snowfall in 1895. The last time it snowed in the city was 2008, everyone took pictures of the streetcar in the snow as you can see from this tweet from my friend Katy:

She’s from Minnesota. Say no more.

Repeat after me: snow boner.

This week’s theme song is a “tribute” to the weather. I hate the snow, especially when it falls in a place without any snow removal equipment. I am not an ice person. I do not have a snow boner either.

Cold Rain and Snow is a traditional folk song best known as a staple of the Grateful Dead’s live shows. We have two versions for your amusement. First, the Dead at the 1980 Halloween show emceed by Al Franken and Tom Davis. Sigh. Second, a bluegrass rendition by Del McCoury using an alternate title. I like it with Cold better since I am, in fact, cold right now. I still do not have a snow boner.

Boy howdy. Yeah, boy as the bluegrass types are wont to say.

It’s time to jump to the break. If you have one, be careful not to trip over your snow boner. I should apologize for, uh, beating that joke to death but I won’t. Go ahead and jump.

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