Category Archives: Sports

Bountygate Nouveau

I suspect that the original Bountygate is forgotten everywhere but in New Orleans. It was the accusation that there was a bounty system on the New Orleans Saints for hits against opposing players. The NFL came down hard on the “implicated” coaches and players including head coach Sean Payton who was suspended for a year. It turned out to be sound and fury signifying nothing after further investigation. That’s a fancy way of saying that it was bullshit.

Bountygate Noveau is infinitely more serious:

American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.

<SNIP>

The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

The Trump regime is tripping over itself to explain away the latest foreign policy scandal. My favorite excuse is that the Impeached Insult Comedian didn’t read the briefing papers. That’s the presidential* equivalent of that old standby “the dog ate my homework.” Trump, of course, hates dogs. I wonder when they’ll move on to “my grandmother died.” That won’t work either: his grandparents are long dead.

Shortly after the meeting cited by the NYT, President* Pennywise resumed his push to restore Russia to the G-7. How dare Obama ban Putin for attacking and conquering the Crimea? They were just taking it back. #sarcasm. Of course, Trump doesn’t know it used to be part of the Soviet Union and Russian Empire. All he knows is that Putin is a tough guy, not a fake tough guy like himself.

Joe Biden pounced on the latest Trump-Putin scandal:

“Not only has he failed to sanction and impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,” the former vice president said.

Biden called it a “betrayal of the most sacred duty we bear as a nation — to protect and equip our troops when we send them into harm’s way.”

FYI, the featured image shows the aftermath of Putin throwing the ball and Trump fetching it like a good dog. It’s unclear if Putin scratched his head or gave him a treat as a reward. Good boy, Donald.

On a more serious note, this is NOT the first time that a Republican president has endangered the lives of our soldiers. In its rush to war, the Bush-Cheney administration failed to give the troops proper equipment such as body armor. Like W, President* Pennywise can’t be bothered with the details. So much for caring about the military.

I called this post Bountygate Nouveau because it’s a fresh scandal but reminiscent of past scandals. If it were a wine, it would be Beaujolais Nouveau, which a friend of mine insists on calling Boojelly. I’m not sure if the wine image works but I’m not a sommelier. There ain’t no cure for the sommelier blues

The last word goes to the Lincoln Project with an instant response ad to this newly vinted (decanted?) scandal:

Crashing Symbols

It’s been a big week on the symbolic front. There’s been some direct action involving statues of Christopher Columbus and Jefferson Davis as well action taken by NASCAR and a dialogue within the military about renaming bases named for Confederate generals. I’m almost dizzy from the whirlwind of activity.

I have mixed feelings about the direct actions taken by protesters in Boston and Richmond. I prefer the sort of process we had in New Orleans, but I understand the jubilation of the exuberant crowds that took matters into their own hands. I think it’s wiser to allow the Lost Causers some time to grieve but decapitating Columbus has some wit to it.

It’s a good thing The Sopranos is fictional. Silvio, Paulie, and company busted some heads in Newark one Columbus Day:

In other symbolic news, NASCAR is banning the Confederate flag at its events. Boy Howdy. This will prove to be controversial since peckerwoods and rednecks love them some racing as well as the Stars and Bars. This move took some guts, y’all. It’s unclear what the cast of The Dukes Of Hazzard thinks of this change:

One NASCAR driver, Bubba Wallace, drove a Black Lives Matter branded car after the announcement. I am not making this up:

I never expected to write in praise of a NASCAR driver named Bubba. The world really has gone crazy, y’all. In this case, good crazy.

The military continues to rebel against bases named for rebel generals. An early public blow was struck by retired General David Petraeus at the Atlantic. He made the point that most of the honorees weren’t even very good generals:

It also happens that—Lee excepted—most of the Confederate generals for whom our bases are named were undistinguished, if not incompetent, battlefield commanders.* Braxton Bragg, for example, left a great deal to be desired as a military leader. After graduating from West Point in 1837, he served in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican War. His reputation for physical bravery was matched by one for epic irascibility. Bragg’s temper was so bad, Ulysses S. Grant recounted in his memoirs, that an old Army story had a superior once rebuking him, “My God, Mr. Bragg, you have quarreled with every officer in the army, and now you are quarrelling with yourself!” Bragg’s inability to cooperate diluted his effectiveness until his resounding defeat at the Battle of Chattanooga, in November 1863, precipitated his resignation from the Confederate army.

Honoring inept, traitorous generals is a funny way to honor the troops. The Pentagon is currently in a tug of war on this subject with the Impeached Insult Comedian. It’s ironic that Donny from Queens seems to see himself as the second president of the confederacy. But there won’t be any statues of him topple when the dust finally settles; only shame and defeat.

Finally, closer to home and my heart: Plans are afoot at LSU to rename the Middleton Library. Troy Middleton was an openly racist segregationist who was president of LSU from 1951-1962. It’s about fucking time. Here’s hoping they’ll put some money into the building as well. Perhaps they should name it after this former LSU honcho:

T is for both Tecumseh and T-shirt. It’s part of the Bayou Brief collection.

The times they really are a-changin’. The last word goes to The Byrds and Bryan Ferry. The former are introduced by Michael Landon and a parrot. I am still not making this up:

 

Flopping With President* Pennywise

Image by Michael F.

I wish I could say that the Impeached Insult Comedian’s attack on Buffalo activist Martin Gugino showed that he’d hit rock bottom but there is no bottom with this fucker. It’s merely the latest new low.

Yesterday, Trump applied his unique brand of Twitter crazy to what happened in Buffalo:

 

I’m surprised he didn’t call it a flop, which is what an exaggerated fall to draw a foul is called in the NBA:

 

Flopping used to work but eventually the refs caught on; much like the voters with President* Pennywise. Everything he does, says, or tweets strikes the wrong note. His aides are said to be despondent over the how the flopping tweet flopped. Good. They *should* be despondent about what the Trump regime is doing to the country.

The reason I’m bringing up yesterday’s example of cluelessness, insensitivity, and cruelty is the nature of what happened. I’ve spent a lot of time around elderly people in the last 15 years. The thing they, quite rightly, fear most is falling. A broken hip can transform a spry old man into a broken one. Hopefully, Mr. Gugino will bounce back but he’s unlikely to ever be quite the same after being pushed around by the police.

I just came upon this tweet from a friend of Martin Gugino:

 

President* Pennywise is spiraling as his failures mount. In the past, he was able to recover from his missteps because the crises were largely self-inflicted. This time, events are in the saddle, riding him. It’s about fucking time.

The sharks sense blood in the water. Suddenly, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is willing to stand up to the Kaiser of Chaos. When the kneeling shit hit the fan in 2017, the NFL was paralyzed with fear. Goodell is not mouthing Black Lives Matter rhetoric out of conviction; he’s blowing with the wind. The prevailing breeze is NOT coming from Trumpistan. Hell, even Drew Brees is suddenly a repentant sinner.

The White House somehow thinks that an oval office address on race and policing is the cure for what ails it. Such a speech has never helped Trump before and this one is being written by neo-Fascist Steven Miller. It’s unclear who will translate the text from the original German. Maybe William Hermann Goering Barr can lend a hand. He should change his name to Wilhelm.

Finally, it’s time to pitch a new theme song to President* Pennywise. It’s a tune that fits the moment even if it’s 53-years-old. That’s still younger than Martin Gugino. The last word goes to The Hollies and CSNY:

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Shapes Of Things

Abstraction by Rolph Scarlett.

I don’t have a helluva lot to add to what I said as the 13th Ward Rambler earlier this week. I’m still keeping my head down during the lockdown. We’ve had a few front porch visitors, which breaks the monotony and allows Paul Drake to make goo-goo eyes at company and get his nose prints all over the lower glass panes of our front door.

This week’s theme song was written by Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty in 1966 and represented a  sonic breakthrough for The Yardbirds. The tune’s Wikipedia entry is absurdly detailed and argues that Jeff Beck should have received a songwriting credit as well. It’s okay: Beck assumed de facto ownership of the song after recording it with The Jeff Beck Group on 1968’s Truth album.

We have three versions of Shapes Of Things for your listening pleasure: the Yardbirds original, the Jeff Beck Group, and David Bowie from Pin-Ups. They’re all shapely and thingy:

Now that we’ve shaped things and contemplated Jeff Beck’s guitar virtuosity, let’s jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Snake Bite Love

Water Serpents II by Gustav Klimt

Perhaps I should have used Zachary Richard’s Snake Bite Love as our theme song while we were Festing In Place but I couldn’t let go of using Can’t Let Go last week. Besides, it’s never too late for a Zack Attack.

We have two versions of Snake Bite Love for your listening pleasure: the 1992 studio original and a 2009 live version from a Jazz Fest set I attended.

One more snake song before we slither to the break:

Ouch that hurt. Time to turn the virtual page.

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This Is Some Serious Shit

If it’s Monday, it’s time for another Panic In The Streets image. I’m not sure if Pandemic Chronicles will become a thing, BUT the image of Paul Douglas’ cop character trying to shake some sense into one of Jack Palance’s criminal cronies fits my mood today.

I find the dialogue in the country increasingly worrisome. Initially, I was among those who thought we’d go back to a modified version of Gamaliel’s normalcy when lockdown restrictions were eased. That was wishful thinking and whistling past the graveyard. I am a self-confessed optimist, after all. Better stir crazy than dead. And it’s a slow painful death.

The world right now is like a snow globe or kaleidoscope that’s been shaken thereby producing a new and much messier place. In many ways, it will resemble the old world, but the underlying reality will be very different.

Thanks to the slow and incompetent reaction of the corrupt nitwits in charge of our federal government, we’re facing the worst economy since the Great Depression. I guess that makes Trump Herbert Hoover with bad hair. It took a World War to finally end that depression. God only knows what will do the trick this time around but it won’t be jeremiads against China, immigrants, or the MSM.

It’s time to return to the pre-Reagan counter-revolution federal government: higher tax rates on the 1% and massive federal programs to put people back to work. We used to have a strong social safety net and many employers who gave a shit about their employees. It will be easier to rebuild the former than the latter. It’s time for the era of big government to return.

I’m also alarmed by the people on my side of the fence who blithely believe that the cavalry, in the form of a vaccine, will ride in to save the day in the last reel of the movie. It’s going to take more than a year regardless of how much money Bill Gates throws at it. COVID-19 is analogous to HIV and there’s still not a vaccine that prevents that plague. We’re in for the long haul. It will take 18 months to 2 years for this to happen; even then it may not be as comprehensive as one would hope. This virus morphs like crazy, which is why it’s so hard to nail down the symptoms.

The event cancellations have only just begun. I got a kick out of Saints fans debating the merits of the team signing accused rapist and shoplifter Jameis Winston to backup Drew Brees. No point in getting outraged when the NFL season may be another casualty of the plague. I hope I’m wrong about this but the only way the season can safely progress is to play in empty stadia and to isolate the players from their families. I’m not sure if the players will want to perfect the gladiator analogy by going along with such a plan. They love their families too. The alternative is for the NFL to stock up on body bags.

As a member of the New Orleans Carnival community, I’m worried that the 2021 season might be cancelled. The odds became 60-40 in favor of cancellation after Germany cancelled Oktoberfest, which is just as culturally important to them as Carnival is to us. And they have a competent federal government; something we are sadly lacking.

Unless there’s an effective vaccine, holding Carnival as usual is asking for trouble. It would be a crying shame but another spike in Coronavirus deaths is the possible alternative. Talk about a lose-lose situation.

We’re having the wrong discussion in this country right now. It’s not a choice between the economy and public health, we should be debating how to contain the pandemic with the fewest casualties possible. Americans are impatient and not good at focusing on the big picture. That needs to change but it won’t as long as the GOP controls the Senate and White House. It’s time for them to go.

That concludes this rare edition of Apocalypse Adrastos. I hope I’m wrong about most of this stuff, but the country is suffering from a surfeit of magical thinking, so some pessimism is in order.

Repeat after me: This is some serious shit.

The last word goes to Old 97’s from the Graveyard Whistling album:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Gethsemane

Night Windows by Edward Hopper.

Richard Thompson-Edward Hopper month continues. We begin with with a weather bulletin of sorts. Y’all are used to my weather obsession by now.

We had a cold front in New Orleans this week. Nighttime lows hovered around 50 several nights in a row. That may not sound like much to people from the frozen north but by our standards that’s cold for mid-April. Some locals whined about the cold, but I like it. Some folks just like to bitch. You know who you are; piss off out of my virtual kitchen.

Every time I search for Hopper paintings online, I’m told he was an “American realist” painter. That’s what he called himself, but his work is deeply weird. The painting above reminds me of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. I’ve never thought of Hitch as a realistic filmmaker even if regular guy Jimmy Stewart starred in that flick. His character was a laid-up photographer turned peeping tom. That’s weird, not realistic.

Sunday is Greek Easter, so I decided to pick a Richard Thompson tune with religious undertones. According to Mark and other bible dudes, Gethsemane was the garden at which Jesus prayed before his betrayal and arrest. It still exists and is a tourist attraction with an elaborate web site.

Gethsemane is also the title of this week’s theme song. It was written by Richard Thompson in 2003 for The Old Kit Bag. It’s an ominous sounding song that opens with this ominous verse.

“Among the headstones you played as boys
Crypts and tombs like a roomful of toys
Just up the river from the smoke and the noise
Gethsemane.”

We have two versions of Gethsemane for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a recent solo acoustic interpretation by the songwriter.

There’s also a song from Jesus Christ Superstar called Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say.) Here’s the original cast recording with Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan in the title role.

I suspect playing Jesus Christ Superstar was nothing like working with Ritchie Blackmore. They did, however, produce some swell music:

Christ on a cracker, that rocked.

All this talk of Jesus and betrayal reminds me of this Asia tune:

Let’s flee the garden and jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Walking On A Wire

Gas Station by Edward Hopper.

Edward Hopper is associated with scenes of urban isolation and alienation. As you can see, the same thing applies to his rural scenes. That gas station isn’t hopping, which is par for the course for Hopper.

The Gret Stet of Louisiana is making progress with the pandemic. The curve is flattening slightly BUT there’s a big problem with racial disparity among the afflicted. Twice as many black folks have died of COVID-19 related illnesses as white folks. Terrible is an accurate but still inadequate word to capture the horror of this discrepancy. If I believed in using emojis here, I’d insert a sad face BUT:

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson in 1981 for the final Richard and Linda Thompson duo effort, Shoot Out The Lights.

Walking On A Wire is one of the ultimate breakup songs. It’s some serious shit, y’all. We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a recent solo acoustic version by the songwriter.

I’m still feeling wiry. Time for some Leonard Cohen as channeled by Aaron Neville.

I’m a bit wired from all that walking on a wire. Keep your balance as we jump to the break.

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Coach O’s PSA

College football and politics have long been inseparable in the Gret Stet of Louisiana. Huey Long was a fanatical LSU Tiger backer and meddler. He was even known to suggest plays. I have no idea if they were any good but he was the Kingfish so the coaches had to listen.

The intersection between college football and politics continues in the 21st Century. One of the perks of Governor John Bel Edwards’ job is his friendship with Ed Orgeron. When it came time for the state to make a COVID-19 PSA, there was only one choice: Coach O.

My feelings about Coach O are well known. Putting his gravelly voice to use in this way is a masterstroke. He has credibility with the people who think this pandemic is a hoax cooked up by liberals. Will they listen to this Louisiana folk hero? Beats the hell outta me, but it couldn’t hurt. We need all the help we can get in this crisis.

Coach O also appeared at a press briefing with the Governor the other day:

As everyone else read from papers and spoke formally, Orgeron approached the lectern, firmly placed his hands on each side and took control like he was in his own football element. He looked confident. They provided him no script or guidance. He just took over.

“I’m here on behalf of the state of Louisiana,” Orgeron said. “I’m a guy who was born in Louisiana, loves Louisiana and is head coach of the national champion LSU Tigers.”

He told the crowd he just sat in on the briefing and said it was the most organized, most intense, most well-informed meeting he’d ever been in. “I can promise you this, the state of Louisiana is fortunate to have Governor Edwards be our leader,” he continued.

Orgeron urged young people to not be selfish and stay inside. He said there’s no need to be on the streets doing “all kinds of stuff.” He continuously spoke of following the game plan.

Then, after Edwards took questions from reporters for nearly 15 minutes, a question came specifically for Orgeron. Edwards ceded the floor to the coach. “Lots of people are afraid right now,” the reporter asked. “Why is fear not the appropriate response, and what would you tell folks who are afraid?”

“Have faith,” Orgeron said, his hands behind his back calmly. “Have faith in the game plan. We’re gonna get through this. There’s gonna be some rough times, but we can’t give in to it. Fear makes you give in to it. Have faith. Grow strong. Grow as a team. Lean on each other.”

The Athletic’s Brody Miller missed one detail. Coach O closed by saying this:

Yeah, you right, Coach.

Not Everything Sucks

It’s easy to imagine that in places where life is already hard, our current circumstances would make life harder. And they have, and they’ve made people braver, as well: 

Before long, word of the project had spread, and about two dozen people came together to help, working 13-hour days to turn the abandoned house into a welcoming checkpoint. “The house was full of 3-4 feet of snow,” said Bekoalok, who has limited mobility and volunteered from home as a coordinator. “They had to shovel the house out, and they put Visqueen on the windows, so that light comes in but the cold doesn’t.”

People donated hot plates, a generator, lights and a wood stove. They drilled a hole in the river for water, chopped firewood so that mushers would have a ready supply, and hung up a banner to welcome them. They put encouraging signs along the trail to tell teams they were almost there. “We had our youngest elders to babies hauling wood and water,” said Sookiayak, estimating that the youngest helpers were 4 years old.

A.

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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Keep Your (Safe) Distance

Last night, Dr. A and I made groceries for the first time store since the first New Orleans COVID-19 cases were announced. It’s been a week of firsts as well as worsts. It was like a preview of hurricane season but twice as frantic. One could even call it the TOILET PAPER APOCALYPSE. For some reason, people are convinced that if the world ends, there will be no TP. Locally, there’s always this:

Krewe of Tucks riders also throw plungers in case you overuse their terlet paper. Glug.

Okay, no more toilet humor. Promise. I’m not Mike Myers, after all. Or Friday the 13th’s Michael Myers for that matter. I seem to have misplaced my hockey mask…

In addition to Pulp Fiction Thursday, it was cancellation Thursday yesterday as most major sports leagues and events pulled the plug on 2020. I have some friends who are going to have withdrawal symptoms any time now. My suggestion: read a book or watch a sports movie. Bull Durham has been known to lift one’s spirits.

It’s time to slice this post into segments like an orange. Hopefully, nothing is overripe. It’s hard to keep up with events, y’all.

The Politics Of COVID-19: President* Pennywise’s Oval Office address laid an egg, bombed, and flopped. It led to mass confusion and the stock market tanking. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

One of my friends insists that Trump snorted coke before the speech. I don’t think so. He was too low energy for that; much like Jeb Bush during the 2016 GOP primary race. My hunch is that the Impeached Insult Comedian would test positive for the super crud. He’s been exposed to carriers at least twice. He should be tested and quarantined in a rubber room for his own safety and that of the country.

The COVID-19 clusterfuck is the most graphic illustration yet of the OTT incompetence of the Trump regime. They had no pandemic plan and were caught with their pants down. This criminal negligence is in stark contrast to the way Team Obama handled the Ebola Virus. It was contained in Africa and we helped impacted areas with our dollars and medical expertise. We still have the latter if only the White House would get out the way. Heckuva job, Trumpy.

Repeat after me: Incompetence Kills.

A Coronavirus Primer: A piece by Tomas Pueyo at Medium has been making the rounds on social media. It’s one of the things that convinced me to practice social distancing. If you haven’t read it, there’s no time like the present:

View at Medium.com

The image/link thing showed up when I previewed this post. If it doesn’t on your device, this link works.

Tweets Of The Day:  First, some historical perspective:

Boo to Philly in 1918. Hurrah to St. Louis in 1918.

Our second tweet comes from a beloved member of the First Draft family:

They must be people who have never lost anyone close to them. I watched someone die when I was 28 years old. I have a dark sense of humor, but I don’t make jokes about randos dying. Talk about bad karma.

I’m already on the record about this generational strife shit:

People have been asking me if I planned to write at length about the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. The answer is no. Why? Too many people focus on things other than the music and mud. Too many get bogged down in generational politics; one of the dullest subjects on the planet. It’s dull because it’s cliche laden: not all Baby Boomers sold out, not all Gen-Xers are slackers, and not all Millennials are twitter obsessed airheads. More importantly, not all members of the greatest generation were all that great. I often thought that my late father’s motto could have been, “We won the war so we don’t have to listen.” That concludes my rant about generational stereotypes.

Another day, another self-quote.

Finally, the featured image with Richard Widmark and Paul Douglas comes from Elia Kazan’s classic contagion movie, Panic In The Streets, which was set in New Orleans. I have another one in the hopper but it’s for when things get even worse:

I have it on DVD, but this stone cold 4 star classic can be rented from Amazon Prime. Besides, we’re all going to have time on our hands as we try to get through this crisis.

The last word goes to Richard Thompson:

Not Everything Sucks

Quince Mountain is in the Idtitarod: 

In dog mushing — a sport where both humans and dogs compete regardless of gender — Mountain, 40, has found a welcoming community. It’s a privilege few trans athletes get to experience, he acknowledged, and one the musher has rarely encountered himself. Gender always posed problems for the athlete, who was assigned female at birth but described himself as a gender-nonconforming kid throughout his youth. He remembered trying out for the softball team at his Wisconsin high school. Despite being faster and more aggressive than many of the girls, he said he didn’t make the cut.

“I don’t know what it was, but I had a lot of trouble taking part in girls’ sports,” Mountain said. “I was often told that I was too aggressive, that I didn’t fit in with the team, wasn’t good for the cohesion of the team, that kind of thing.”

As an adult, Mountain found support in the small community of dog mushing. His fans, the “Ugly Dogs,” a group of mushing enthusiasts who follow him and his wife, fellow musher Blair Braverman, on social media, raised $57,000 for him to compete in the Iditarod and qualifying races. Whenever he’s feeling down or discouraged, he said he can turn to the Ugly Dogs for support.

My family used to vacation near Mountain, where BraverMountain Mushing is located, and it’s … people don’t believe me when I tell them suburban Wisconsin is far more Trumpist than the rural areas are. But out in the wild nobody cares about anything except what you can do, and everybody helps everybody else because everybody will need help at some point because that’s how it is.

I don’t know shit about shit when it comes to dogs, or sports, or outdoor anything (my idea of roughing it is a hotel without a pool) but I’m a sucker for good stories about unlikely victories in the face of impossible odds. I started reading Blair Braverman’s work last year, before her first Iditarod, and that’s how we all wound up mailing LEGOs to Alaska.

Follow Quince’s progress via the #Qditarod tag here.

A.

INSTANT ANALYSIS: JOEMENTUM

As much as I hate to quote the dread Joe Lieberman in a post title, it works. Before South Carolina, the punditocracy had declared it a two-geezer race between Sanders and Bloomberg with the former as the likely nominee. My candidate, Elizabeth Warren, had a terrible night but it’s still refreshing to see the wind knocked out of the pundits’ sails. Nobody saw the Biden surge coming and if they claim they did, they’re lying.

I knew I would not be alone in using the phrase Joementum but as Bob Marley said, “who the cap fit, let them wear it.” At least I’m not claiming that I saw this coming. I did not. It shows the importance of having 100% name recognition and close ties to a popular former Democratic president. It also shows the importance of ignoring the posers of political Twitter who were certain that nobody would vote for Biden because nobody in their echo chamber supported him. Never mistake social media for the real world.

I’m not exactly celebrating this morning because Biden is not my first choice. MSM sexism and the voters’ fear of losing to Trump gutted the Warren campaign. I remain convinced that she would be the best nominee and general election candidate, but I’ve felt the same way about past candidates who weren’t nominated. She proved her mettle with her brilliant and savage takedown of Bloomberg. Team Warren is making brave noises about continuing but finishing third in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts makes their argument a weak one. I still plan to vote for Senator Professor Warren in the Louisiana primary.

Team Sanders and its mouthiest supporters are already playing last night as a triumph for their candidate, despite losing Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Maine. He *did* win California and thus far has 33% of the vote with many ballots to be counted. Biden’s come from behind victory in Texas was quite frankly gobsmacking since Team Sanders has made substantial inroads into the Hispanic vote; something they’ve failed to do with black voters. Nobody without substantial African American support can or should win the Democratic nomination.

In retrospect, it shouldn’t shock people that voters want a safe hand to replace Trump. Suburban college-age women drove the Democrats victory in 2018, not “woke” Twitterati. Btw, I hate the term woke: it’s pompous, pretentious and a plethora of other P words.

People are tired of waking up and learning about the latest outrage or scandal perpetrated by this president* and his people. Many want a calm and normal person as their next president after 4 years of the Trump freak show. I don’t think Charlie Pierce completely nails it but there’s something to his Biden-Harding comparison.

An even more interesting analogy comes from my friend Joe Casale’s Facebook feed:

Joe Biden is the 1996 version of Joe Torre with the Yankees. Torre was a baseball lifer like Biden is a political lifer.

Torre had some success as a manager. Like Biden, Torre never won the big one. The World Series.

The day Joe Torre was hired as manager of the Yankees, the NY Daily News headline was, Clueless Joe.” Sound familiar?

What happened? Under Torre, the Yankees became a dynasty. They won 4 World Series in 5 years.

Joe Torre was the right guy at the right time for a team that was ready to win. The perfect fit.

In many ways, so is Joe Biden. If you look around, you can assemble a pretty good team of policy makers among Democrats. Assembling the right team around Biden (with his VP choice being the most important decision) will be vital for his chances to win.

Done right, Joe Biden could be the country’s version of Joe Torre with the Yankees.

For the country’s sake, that should make everyone a Yankees fan. At least for one day.

Not gonna happen, my friend. I may hate the Dodgers more than the Yankees but I’m only willing to bend my principles so far. I’m not running for office, after all.

I’ll have something tomorrow about the Veepstakes, which will be more important than usual since the two leading candidates are both septuagenarians. I wanted to publish this post quickly because when I say instant analysis, I mean it.

The last word goes to Jimi Hendrix and Ella Fitzgerald with a couple of Joe songs:

Bayou Brief: Painted From Memory

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is one of a personal nature. I write about the time that one of my favorite people at LSU, Coach Jay McCreary, introduced me to Pistol Pete Maravich. It happened many years ago hence the title, Painted From Memory: Coach Jay, Pistol Pete, and Me.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach:

Bayou Brief: A Tale Of Two Tones

My latest column for the Bayou Brief is online. The writing process was somewhat unusual. I had a mostly humorous piece ready to go when the exposed corpse at the Hard Rock Hotel collapse site story exploded. I kept the first segment about the aftermath of LSU’s national championship intact. I ripped apart the TFC segment and toughened its tone considerably; hence the title A Tale Of Two Tones: Of Tigers and TFC.

FYI: TFC stands for This Fucking City.

I did a phone interview with Richard Fausett of the New York Times for a story he co-wrote with Katy Reckdahl about what could be called Tarpgate. I was even mentioned. The way to get a mention when you’re interviewed as background for a story is to get the reporter laughing. It works every time:

“Peter Athas, a political blogger and columnist for The Bayou Brief, an online news site, has accused Ms. Cantrell of clumsily handling the disaster, and aligning herself too closely with the developer.”

Thanks for indulging that bit of egomania.

There will be a protest march this afternoon against the city’s mishandling of this disaster. Mayor Cantrell’s team is circling the wagons and lashing out at critics. The proper approach would be to distance the administration from developer Praveen Kailas and his partners. A bit of humility is in order but it’s in short supply on Team Cantrell.

This tweet concisely sums up my attitude about the Mayor:

I have a new sign off as the 13th Ward Rambler. I stole it from Walter Cronkite’s closing during the 1979-1980 Iran Hostage Crisis. I only steal from the best. I might as well use it here today:

And that’s the way it is on the 104th day since the Hard Rock Hotel collapse.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Save It For Later

Rain, Steam and Speed by JMW Turner.

The weird weather continues in New Orleans. I’ve compared it to a yo-yo or a rollercoaster in the past. This week’s analogy is a pendulum only with fog. Fog is the only constant. January skies are on the gloomy side: gray, overcast, and depressing. If only it were overcast in August when it’s blazing hot. So it goes.

We’re in throes of preparing for Krewe du Vieux.  It’s early this year: February 8th, a mere 3 weeks away. This strikes me as a good time to link to last year’s Bayou Brief piece, Confessions Of A Krewe du Vieux Member.

This week’s theme song was written by Dave Wakeling for the Beat’s 1982 album, Special Beat Service. It, in fact, has a beat and you can dance to it. Uh oh, I’ve morphed into Dick Clark in my dotage. What’s next? A gig hosting a game show?

We have two versions of Save It For Later for your listening pleasure. The original studio version by the English Beat (the Beat to me) and a live version by Pete Townshend.

Before jumping to the break, another song with save in the title:

All that saving made me feel like Mariano Rivera. OMG, a Yankee reference. I’m going to hell but on the way, let’s jump to the break.

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Ride The Tigers

I’m uncertain if I have a coherent post in me today. You’re probably saying: when was he ever coherent? I started Monday off by giving y’all a straight line, be nice.

Since I still have King Cake on my mind, I’m going to cut this post into slices.

Geaux Tigers: I’m as nervous as Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof about tonight’s national championship game. I’m not sure if I’m Brick, Maggie, or Big Daddy; mercifully, there’s nary a no-neck monster in sight and PD is undercover as a big blue lump on the bed. Make that under the covers…

My LSU Tigers have had a magical season, but they face a formidable foe in the Clemson Tigers. Formidable as in defending national champs and winners of two of the last three titles. The good news is that Coach O gets it. He was in the same position as an assistant at USC when the Texas Longhorns hooked the defending champion Trojans in the 2006 Rose Bowl.

LSU doesn’t  have the mascot advantage for a change; it’s the Tussle of the Tigers. We do have two of the three colors of Carnival on our side: purple and gold. Clemson’s color is orange. Not one of my favorite colors even though the fruit is swell and citrusy.

It’s time for a semi-relevant musical interlude:

The long layoff has me worried. One team is apt to be rusty, the other to be prepared. Let’s hope it’s the right Tigers who do the riding or some such shit.

I’d like to call your attention to an article in the Failing New York Times, which gives my main man Coach O his due:

Ed is officially a folk hero now but that doesn’t ease my pre-game jitters. The last word of the segment goes to Brian Setzer:

Speaking of riding tigers, the impeachment process is finally moving to the Senate.

Cover Up, Trump Style: Speaker Pelosi tried to nudge and/or coerce the Senate into giving a shit about its reputation, but Moscow Mitch seems to have dug in his heels. He’s declined to relinquish his iron hold on his caucus, which makes a fair trial much less likely. Mitch doesn’t give a damn, Harry Reid said last year that his former colleague had ruined the Senate. The ruination continues apace.

I’m still glad that Nancy Smash pulled the Tribe Gambit. It has made GOPers look bad to fair-minded members of the public, and resulted in a series of meltdowns by the Impeached Insult Comedian.  He continues to play the victim card. Apparently, he’s the most mistreated and misunderstood president* in history. Who knew? Imagine a president being impeached with such a strong economy. Just ask Bill Clinton about that, Donald.

It’s time for a relevant musical interlude:

These opening lyrics could easily be sung by President* Pennywise:

Just want to be misunderstood
want to be feared in my neighborhood
Just want to be a moody man
Say things that nobody can understand
I want to be obscure and oblique
Inscrutable and vague
So hard to pin down
I want to leave open mouths when I speak
Want people to cry when I put them down

That Pete Townshend is a smart fella. He’s the Cyrano of rock music, after all.

Speaking of heels, Trump is refusing to let John Bolton, Mick Mulvaney, and Mike Pompeo testify; even behind closed doors. Clearly, they have nothing to hide. #SARCASM

If the terrible trio had exonerating testimony, Trump would beg them to appear in public. This has nothing to do with executive privilege or national security. It’s defiance in the face of the facts. I suspect Pompeo is pleased not to have to perjure himself. He can stick to lying on the Sunday shows.

Frank Rich wrote a great piece for New York Magazine, What Will Happen To The Trump Toadies? In which he posits that they’ll get their comeuppance sooner or later. Nick Lowe said much the same thing way back in 1983:

Who knew that Pete Townshend and Nick Lowe would prove to be so prescient about the current president*? Not even a fan boy like me.

Let’s finish this potpourri post on a lighter note. It involves chicken, not tigers.

I Yam What I Yam: A contestant on the Canadian version of Family Feud mixed up her food groups; substituting chicken for spinach as Popeye the Sailor’s favorite food:

Love that chicken from Popeye’s.

I wonder if the toon liked yams since he was wont to say this:

His moocher pal, Wimpy, preferred hamburgers, and Olive Oyl seemed not to eat at all; certainly not fried chicken. Where the hell is this going? In the direction of the last word.

Since I originally called this post Monday Morning, the last word goes to Fleetwood Mac and Death Cab For Cutie:

Not Everything Sucks: Packers Edition

My large adult football sons give each other gifts. 

Turner uses the hashtag “#Irie” on many of his social media posts. The word is synonymous with “good” in Jamaican Patois and has become the focus of Turner’s positive movement of service.

Turner has the Irie Project, a collaboration that includes second-grade students who help create original artistic fashion pieces based on a theme of positivity. The project blends Turner’s love of fashion and passion for spreading positive vibes. Each piece was to be given to Packers players and members of the organization Friday after practice.

They’re all so cute I can’t handle it.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: So It Goes

Spellbound set design by Salvador Dali.

Carnival and Paul Drake’s gotcha day loom. We adopted the dear boy on Twelfth Night in 2018. I guess that means we must consume King Cake on Monday. Poor us.

I said all I have to say about the latest mess in Mesopotamia yesterday. Suffice it to say that I don’t think it’s an Archduke Ferdinand moment but it’s some serious shit,

This week’s theme song was written in 1976 by Nick Lowe for his kinda sorta solo album Jesus Of Cool, which was released in America as Pure Pop For Now People. I said kinda sorta solo album because it featured Nick’s band Rockpile on all the tracks. More about them later.

We have two versions of So It Goes for your listening pleasure: the original studio recording and a live medley with Heart In The City.

Both Nick Lowe and I picked up the phrase “so it goes” from Kurt Vonnegut. So it goes.

Before jumping to the break another Rockpile tune. This time the guys are backing up Nick’s then wife Carlene Carter:

Now that we’ve got all that crying out of our systems, let’s dry our eyes and jump to the break.

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