Category Archives: Television

Saturday Odds & Sods: Time To Kill

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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21st Century Live Stream Funeral Blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Day I Get Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Freedom, man:

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

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

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

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

First some lobby cards:

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

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

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

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

Here’s the trailer:

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

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

The last word goes to Talking Heads:

Saturday Odds & Sods: The Gates Of Delirium

Cover of Relayer by Roger Dean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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James Lipton, R.I.P.

It’s hard to imagine a more unlikely pop culture hero than James Lipton. After a career behind the scenes, Lipton became a teevee star with Inside The Actors Studio. He died earlier this week at the age of 93.

I always found Lipton weird and intriguing. His hair and beard looked spray painted on but he knew more about acting than anyone this side of Elia Kazan, Stella Adler, or Lee Strasberg. Lipton eschewed gotcha interview tactics and celebrity gossip to discuss the craft of acting.

James Lipton was famous for asking the Pivot Questions. As a tribute to him, here are my answers:

1. What is your favorite word? Eponymous.

2. What is your least favorite word? Utilize.

3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? Music.

4. What turns you off? Bigotry of all kinds.

5. What is your favorite curse word? Malaka.

6. What sound or noise do you love? A good three-part harmony.

7. What sound or noise do you hate? Bagpipes, tubas, and jackhammers.

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? An old school movie director. I see myself wearing an eye patch and jodhpurs while yelling at the grips.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Skyscraper window washer.The older I get, the more afraid of heights I become.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? “How the hell did you get in here?”

The last word goes to Mr. Lipton himself:

Then It Comes, and Are You Ready

Because of some real-life stuff happening, ie real life is happening all the time right now and I’m doing my best with it, I can’t commit to weekly threads about this show but YOU SHOULD ALL BE WATCHING PICARD: 

What I loved about Picard’s immediate embrace of Dahj was that it speaks to everything Picard was in the television show: a generous soul with a sixth sense for when someone is telling the truth, no matter how outlandish. And after his trip to Starfleet archives, he very tenderly tells Dahj the truth: She isn’t human. Picard’s archival materials are a treasure trove for Trekkies: the Captain Picard Day sign and the model of the Stargazer, for starters.

To Picard, Dahj is every bit as deserving of empathy as Data was.

“If you are who I think you are, you are dear to me in ways that you can’t understand,” Picard tells her. “I will never leave you.”

I grew up on Next Gen but even before that I had an Authority Thing and an Older Man Thing and a Mentor/Student Thing and so Captain Picard pushed all the buttons. Teenage me would have thrown myself at him while he chivalrously drove me home and told me to concentrate on my homework. (Part of the appeal of crushes like that is that you know they would never.)

And you have to remember there was nothing GOOD on TV back then. Watch the Drumhead episode, the Borg storyline, the “Family” ep I still can’t re-watch without being completely destroyed, and yes, right now AMC and HBO give us that kind of depth and character development and goddamn Shakespearean glory every single week but back then? Imagine seeing this when all you’d seen was Growing Pains:

There was nothing like that, holy shit. The language blew my tiny baby-writer mind. My body was ready for Star Trek: Picard, is what I’m saying, and I still wasn’t ready.

HERE BE SPOILERS FOR EVERYTHING UP TO TOMORROW.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: In Japan

For many years, I thought of Buck Owens as the genial co-host of the cornball hickfest, Hee Haw. It wasn’t until I started listening to Dwight Yoakam, that I realized he was so much more. Thanks, Dwight.

Buck was a singer-songwriter with an edge; something that didn’t come across when he was trading jokes with Junior Samples, Grandpa Jones, and Goober. He was also a world traveler; hence this 1967 live album.

Yeah, I know. There’s an exclamation point in the title. Homey don’t play that and neither do I.

Here’s Buck and his Buckaroos doing the Tokyo Polka:

The Big Picture

I’m not sure how much of today’s “defending the indefensible” session I can watch. I have a visceral reaction to bad faith and mendacity. Team Trump has previously given us The Three Amigos: Sekulow, Cipollone, and Dershowitz are the Marx Brothers evil twins. If only they were as funny. I guess that makes Rudy, Zeppo since he’s out of the act. It’s a pity that there’s not a Harpo in the bunch. The sound of silence would be a  relief after all the shouting they do. There’s not an inside voice in the bunch.

I have some scattershot observations about the big shebang in the Senate chambers. I might as well do it Odds & Sods/13th Ward Rambler style:

Adam Schiff Is A Rock Star: Republicans hate Adam Schiff. One reason is that he’s not the sort of Democrat who’s easily cowed. After 9/11, many Dems not only allowed GOPers to beat them up, they handed them a stick with which to do it. Ouch.

Adam Schiff don’t play that. The real reason GOPers flipped out over the “heads on a pike” thing was that his entire closing speech was an implicit indictment of those Senate Republicans who *should* know better but have thrown-in with President* Pennywise. Thrown-up is more like. They make me feel like Bloom County’s Bill the Cat when he’s coughing up a hairball.

These Senatorial cowards are culpable for Trump’s disgraceful performance in office by not standing up to him. They’re like Nuremberg Trial defendants Konstantin von Neurath, Franz von Papen, and Hjalamar Schacht; aristocratic conservatives who thought they could control the Hitler gang. It didn’t go as planned.

The Impeached Insult Comedian has been threatening Schiff on the Tweeter Tube. The best response comes from a former president who knew something about unpopularity:

Schiff’s closing remarks were posted on his Twitter feed:

They’re All Paulie Walnuts: I had an amusing colloquy with my beloved colleagues Athenae and Scout at Jack’s Joint:

The late, great Jimmy Breslin wrote a novel in 1969 about a group of incompetent mobsters, The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight. Team Trump are The Gang That Couldn’t Shut Up.

That concludes this edition of Life Imitates The Sopranos.

Can I Get A Witness? The Bolton manuscript revelation *should* force Republicans’ hand on whether or not to allow witnesses but will it? After the “heads on a pike” fake furor, I’m dubious. The involvement of so-called moderates Collins and Murkowski makes me think the fix is well and truly in. I hope I’m wrong about this. I really do.

Those Republican Senators who dislike Trump behind closed doors have gone from hostages to active participants in the cover-up. They’re not legally culpable but they’re morally and politically culpable.

That brings me to the final segment/post title.

The Big Picture: I’m gobsmacked by people who are despairing about the removal trial’s inevitable verdict. They must not have been paying attention. Nobody thought 20+ Republican senators would vote to remove the Impeached Insult Comedian. The best case scenario was always this: enough votes to call witnesses and/or a majority vote on at least one article.

Removal from office was never the expected outcome. That’s why Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff were against impeachment until the Ukraine shit hit the fan. The goal of House managers was to present a compelling case for removal that will be implemented by the voters in November.

Another goal was to put the Republican controlled Senate on trial. The House Managers have succeeded in this with fair-minded voters across the country who want a fair trial. In our legal system that means witnesses and evidence.

Republicans have a short-term strategy: to get through the trial quickly and survive their primaries. They’re not looking at the big picture.  They cannot look at the big picture as long as Trump is pulling the strings. BUT there are voters who will punish them for putting on this show trial.

It’s hard to imagine Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and Martha McSalley winning in November if they don’t vote for witnesses. They’re afraid of being primaried, which is not an unreasonable fear, so they probably will not. They’re putting party above country and their short-term selfish interests over the national interest.

History will not be kind to Republican senators who knew better but refused to stand up for their country. Here’s hoping they will be punished for their unpatriotic cowardice this fall. Make it so, voters, make it so.

Repeat after me:

It’s A Removal Trial, Not An Impeachment Trial.

They’re All Paulie Walnuts.

The last word goes to Marvin Gaye, Dusty Springfield, and the Rolling Stones:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Handle With Care

Saturday Morning by Edward Hopper.

It’s been a busy week. so I’ll keep this introduction brief. And I mean it this time.

This week’s theme song was originally supposed to be a George Harrison single, but it turned up on the Traveling Wilburys first album in 1988. The song is credited to the band, but the primary writer was George. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

We have four versions of Handle With Care for your listening pleasure: the Wilburys original, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and Stephen Stills & Judy Collins.

If you can handle it, let’s jump to the break but with care. Always with care.

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Throwback Impeachment

Are you ready to party like it’s 1999?

President Trump plans on adding former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr and the defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz to his legal team for his trial by the Senate, a person briefed on the plan said Friday.

Mr. Starr, whose investigation into President Bill Clinton’s sexual relationships led to his impeachment, will be joined by Robert Ray, who succeeded Mr. Starr as independent counsel and wrote the final report on Mr. Clinton, the person said.

Rounding out the team will be Mr. Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus who became famous as a defense counsel for high-profile defendants like O.J. Simpson.

The White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, will lead the legal team.

Let’s review the bidding. Starr and Ray were integral components in what Charlie Pierce calls “the hunt for the president’s penis.” Dershowitz was against impeachment before favoring it.  Lev Parnas placed Jay Sekulow in the same leaky, unethical boat as Rudy Giuliani: he has knowledge of the Ukraine scam as it happened. He should recuse himself but won’t. Trump likes sleazy lawyers.

Two of these lawyers have links to sex scandals. Starr to the Baylor football sex scandal and Dershowitz to master perv Jeffrey Epstein That’s probably why the Impeached Insult Comedian picked them. Pervs of a feather flock together.

Lapsed liberal and obsessive contrarian Alan Dershowitz has also been portrayed onscreen. A show biz touch that surely appealed to President* Pennywise. Ron Silver played him in  Reversal of Fortune. On television, he was played by Richard Cox in American Tragedy, and Evan Handler in The People vs. OJ Simpson. Handler, who usually sports a shaved head, rocked a toupee as Dershowitz:

I somehow doubt that they’ll want to be known as the Dream Team 2: the Scream Team is more like it. I wonder if Rudy plans to sit in the gallery and heckle. Now that would be must-see teevee.

The last word goes to Prince:

Parnassian Frenzy

As I watched Lev Parnas on Maddow last night, I realized there was a highfalutin pun on his last name. The Parnassians were a  French literary movement described as follows at Britannica.com:

Parnassian, French Parnassien, member of a group—headed by Charles-Marie-René Leconte de Lisle—of 19th-century French poets who stressed restraint, objectivity, technical perfection, and precise description as a reaction against the emotionalism and verbal imprecision of the Romantics.

Emotionalism and verbal imprecision? Sounds like your basic Trump or Giuliani interview to me. In contrast, Lev came off as calm and direct last night. I *want* to believe his account but until there’s more corroboration, I’m not sure how credible he is. More investigation is in order, but I found his story plausible.

Lev was not quite what I expected. I expected him to be more thuggish and speak with a heavy Russian accent, like this guy:

That image of cartoon villain Boris Badenov evokes John Bolton’s description of Crazy Rudy as a “hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.” The Mustache of War knows his explosives.

Lev also has a spectacular combover, which made me wonder if the artist formerly known as Mayor Combover is his hair tech. Only his hairdresser or the Impeached Insult Comedian know for sure:

That was infinitely more disturbing than Lev’s media tour. He also sat for an interview with the New York Times. Lev sure does get around.

Back to Lev’s credibility. He bolstered it by dismissing blowhard Trump wannabe Robert Hyde as a drunken braggart. Additionally, he didn’t claim a close relationship with Russian master criminal Dimitri Firtash.

Lev’s charges about Trump, Pence, Rudy, and Barr are explosive and plausible. This could, however, be yet another case of a liar lying about other liars. Rudy has already denounced him as a liar. It takes one to know one.

Part Two of the new hit series When Lev Met Rachel will air tonight. Stay tuned.

The last word goes to Lev’s lawyer Joseph A. Bondy with a tweet featuring the mendacious minority whip from Metry:

 

Enough Already

Twitter is extra stupid this morning. It’s ablaze with a pitched battle between Sanders and Warren supporters with the former being particularly inflammatory. They seem to have forgotten CNN’s debate track record; they go for gotcha moments with gusto.

I used to watch CNN in the days of Bernie Shaw and Aaron Brown but it’s all about giant panels and loaded questions in the 21st Century. That’s why I skipped the debate and didn’t even DVR it. Enough already.

I like what Charlie Pierce had to say about this ridiculous flap:

…the Warren-Sanders business is going to be what people take away from Tuesday night. I have no idea what was said during the famous conversation about whether a woman can be elected president. But the response from the Sanders supporters, especially on the electric Twitter machine, has been so hysterically over the top—Responding with snake emojis? That’s only the oldest misogynistic smear of all time, going all the way back to Genesis.—that it does make me wonder whether or not there’s something in that campaign that attracts the Democratic equivalent of the incel boys. I hope it stops soon, but I doubt that it will.

It was inevitable that politics would break out between two candidates trying to be *the* candidate of the Democratic party’s portside. We’ve seen it before, and we’ll see it again. I see nothing in Bernie Sanders’ platform that would cause me NOT to vote for him in the general election. I’m a Warren supporter BUT the problem is not Bernie, it’s the Berners. Enough already.

We need a coalition, the proverbial big tent, to deliver a well-deserved comeuppance to Trump and his GOP lackeys. I think that Warren gets that. Hell, I think Senator Sanders gets that, but his supporters want to take over the Democratic party and burn it down. That’s nuts. We need all hands on-deck to beat Trump. He’s the real enemy, not moderate Democrats. Enough already.

The other thing that bugs the living shit out of me is that not enough people are talking about the Parnas files. It appears that an American ambassador was under surveillance approved by Crazy Rudy. The Impeached Insult Comedian might have okayed it There’s even a suggestion that Ambassador Yovanovitch’s life may have been in jeopardy. That’s a helluva lot more important than a he-said she-said squabble. Enough already.

People need to prioritize. The national house is on fire and the arsonist lives in the White House. I will vote for any Democratic candidate even one of the plutocrats, the unqualified Hoosier, or the former Veep who has lost his fastball. POTUS* may have authorized a hit on an American ambassador. That’s infinitely more important than what sort of pundit Bernie Sanders is and what Elizabeth Warren had to say about a private meeting. Enough already.

I’d like to paraphrase a  classic 2016 post by Athenae, I’m Done With All Your Liz and Bernie Feelings, Internet. Enough already.

Johnny Mercer didn’t say anything about prioritizing in the song below, but we need to organize our thoughts and accentuate the positive. The last word goes to Dr. John:

 

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:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Life Is A Minestrone

Campbell’s Tomato Soup Cans by Andy Warhol

It was a long, weird week in New Orleans. I’m one of the officers of the Krewe of Spank and krewe stuff ate my week. We have an early parade date, Saturday February 8th so the typical tumult and chaos have arrived early. If you’re religious, pray for me. If not, have a drink in my honor. This too will pass.

I selected this week’s theme song because all the talk in my latest 13th Ward Rambler column about Spaghetti Westerns gave me an earworm, which led, in turn, to the Warhol featured image. I seem to be more impressionable than I thought.

Life Is A Minestrone was written in 1975 by brothers-in-law Lol Creme and Eric Stewart for 10cc’s Original Soundtrack album. It’s a cheerful ditty with surreal, punny lyrics so, quite naturally, I like it

What’s not to love about a song whose chorus goes like this:

“Life is a minestrone, served up with parmesan cheese.

Death is a cold lasagne, suspended in deep freeze.”

Now that we’ve had soup and an entree, it’s time for dessert:

I had never thought of those tunes as musical kin before but they are. Surreal food wordplay reigns supreme as we jump to the break.

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Album Cover Art Wednesday: New Year With Guy Lombardo

I’m on the record as hating New Years Eve. It’s over as is the Decayed Decade. But it’s Wednesday so I made a seasonal selection. I still, however, refuse to wear a silly party hat. They look ridiculous on my size 8 head.

Before there was Ryan Seacrest, Anderson Cooper, Andy Cohen, and drunk Don Lemon, there was Guy Lombardo. Hell, Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve started as counter programming to Lombardo and his big band.

Here’s Lombardo’s final NYE performance:

Happy New Year from New Orleans. Hopefully, it will be a better year for all of us than 2019.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Swinging On A Star

Tchoupitoulas Christmas House photograph by Dr A.

We’ve been on a weather yo-yo all month. There have been several days where the drop in temperature was so drastic that the high was at midnight. It’s not Wisconsin cold but it’s damp and humid, which exaggerates how chilly it feels. It’s fucking cold, y’all.

New Orleans is an old city with an aging infrastructure. It seems to have rebelled this week: we’ve had collapses, explosions, water main ruptures, and a literal shit storm. The citizenry are getting cranky and blaming the current Mayor for decades of neglect. It’s unfair but she makes it worse by speaking in jargon. Mayor Cantrell actually said that she was “leaning in and being intentional” to help solve our infrastructure woes. It would help if we understood what the hell she means.

This week’s theme song was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke in 1944 for the Bing Crosby movie, Going My Way. It was one of the biggest hits of the year and won Oscars for best picture, actor, and supporting actor. Der Bingle was the show biz king that year.

We have three versions of Swinging On A Star for your listening pleasure: Bing Crosby, his frenemy, Frank Sinatra, and an R&B version by Big Dee Irwin and Little Eva.

I’m a bit dizzy from swinging on that star so let’s pause before jumping to the break.

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There Aren’t SIDES

Here’s some dumbassery to start your Sunday:

Once more and for all the marbles, being a homophobic asshole who doesn’t want other people to exist is not a “side.” A “side” is Bears-Packers, or sausage-pepperoni, or winter-summer. These things are “sides.” They are valid lifestyle choices (well, maybe not the Bears thing) and opinions you can differ from your neighbors upon.

But if you’re out here mad that lesbians exist, that’s just being shit at being a human being.

There isn’t a “debate” about this “issue.” Marriage equality is legal, people are out of the closet kissing each other, the “debate” is over, church lady up there lost, and it’s time for them to move on, not for us to keep indulging them in a conversation about nothing. Christ, these people.

If you are out here, in the year of Our Lord Chrisjen Avasarala 2019  shrieking at a commercial on a Hallmark movie starring, I dunno, Jennifer Love Hewitt or someone, because you had to see two girls get married, you don’t need your SIDE validated. You need a HOBBY.

God, I do not GET the appeal of being this much of a rage-monkey. You know what I did this weekend? I took my kid to see two separate Santas and pet a baby reindeer and then tried to explain why Santa could be in two places in one day and look so very different (“there are decoys,” she said) and baked cookies and watched old episodes of Scooby Doo and ordered presents online and fucked around on my phone and went to a party and wrote this post and if something on TV upset me I changed the channel because there are 800 of them now and 9 streaming services and seven of those services have Star Wars shows. What is WRONG with you, you spend your time screaming at Hallmark about 30 seconds of lesbians?

And as for you “what about the children” ho-bags, lemme tell you something about the children. If you’re forcing them to watch Mother May I Sleep With Santa with you while you suck down your watered-down pink moscato through a curly straw, they are not thinking about the ladies getting hitched when they see that commercial.

What they are thinking, depending on their ages, is how to hit up Santa for that dumb unicorn toy that shits glitter, and/or how soon they can blow your backwards-ass pop-stand and go live somewhere where people aren’t channeling their rage at their cat-appliqued sweater-clad loserdom into ruining everyone else’s fun.

I have to see shit on TV every day that I don’t like. I have to see the literal earth on fire while one-toothed Cletuses talk about how Donald Trump can violate their mothers and they’ll still support him. Put the FEC complaint form DOWN. You don’t have a valid “side.”

And by giving you one, Hallmark’s doing what we’re all doing right now which has led to us being so fucked. Everybody has an opinion and all opinions are equal, even though mine is about how the Bears suck and so do onion rings, and yours is about how women who love women shouldn’t exist. I mean, being a Nazi is a “side” now, to which we must pay the same uncritical attention as we pay to milquetoast lefties who want to teach children to read.

No, that’s not right, we pay less attention to the leftists.

Just stop it. Stop using this dumb shorthand so as not to piss anybody off. Not only will it not work, not all pissed-off-ness is equal, and while Hallmark movies may be harmless fantasy, legitimizing homophobic shittitude as a “side” is anything but.

Schmucks.

A.

British Election Notes

One of my odder hobbies was the focus of my attention last night, the 2019 British general election. The result was depressingly predictable: the Tories won again. They’ve been in power 67 of 101 years since the Liberals blew themselves up with the feud between Asquith and Lloyd George. They moved into third party status and Labour became the other big party. Neither the Lib Dems nor Labour had a good night.

A good night was had by Boris Johnson who ran a vague, substance free campaign with a specific simplistic slogan: “Get Brexit Done.” The result of Johnson’s English nationalism is likely to be a disunited kingdom: the Scottish National Party won big in their bailiwick as well. Hence the featured image of the Scottish Saltire and the Union Jack. If Brexit gets done, the SNP wants out of the union. Stay tuned.

Nobody does election coverage better than the BBC. Their set looked like a cross between a spaceship and a medieval castle. Their graphics are whimsically informative. And it’s always good to see our old pal the Swing-O-Meter, which began life as a low-tech spinning wheel thingamabob. It’s now haute high tech: green screen all the way. I prefer the 1964 model:

I also prefer the result in 1964 when Harold Wilson led Labour back to power after 13 years in the wilderness. Labour spends so much time in the wilderness that they must be expert campers. They’ve lost 4 straight elections and will spend a minimum of 14 years in the wilderness this time around.

Social media was full of Americans projecting our politics on the British election. It has no meaning for us given the core issues of the campaign: Brexit and the awfulness of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The real lesson of the election is this: do not run a candidate with negatives ranging anywhere from -40 to -61.  Many Labourites knew they had a problem but a previous attempt to oust Corbyn failed miserably and they were stuck with him. The Tories are much better at defenestration. Chop.

The response of the Corbynistas to defeat was unintentionally hilarious. Like ideologues everywhere, they came up with a party line and stuck to it. They swore that their policies were popular, but Brexit did them in. There’s a kernel of truth in the Brexit part: they lost many Northern seats that were pro-remain. There’s a huge BUT coming, their dear leader had negatives ranging anywhere from -40 to -61.

Corbyn announced what he hopes will be a slow-motion exit from the Labour leadership. I’m not sure that he’ll be able to hang on that long. Stay tuned.

It was a relief to focus on the dysfunctional politics of another country for one night. I watched bits and pieces of the Judiciary committee’s mark-up hearing. I got  a headache listening to Matt Gaetz who looks and sounds like the preppie villain in a slasher movie set on a college campus.

We’re cursed to live in interesting times. We don’t need to make them even more interesting by believing that the British election results will determine our own in 2020. Boris Johnson is terrible but he’s not Donald Trump terrible. Trump and congressional Republicans are the ones with high negatives.

In addition to high negatives, Trump has some other similarities to Jeremy Corbyn. Both men are surrounded by sycophants who tell them what they want to hear. They’re incurious and reject facts that displease them. Neither Corbyn nor Trump is capable of admitting error, that quality killed Labour’s chances in 2019. Self-image is important to both Trump and Corbyn: they don’t see themselves as the rest of the world sees them.  The major difference is ideological. Corbyn believes in something whereas Trump only believes in himself. Believe me.

Finally, one thing I love about election nights, UK style is how late things go on. It’s impossible not to sound punchy at 4 AM. The Brits are good at muddling through, which is a good quality to emulate. It’s what I’m doing right now.

The last word goes to the Kinks. It’s not a political song but it rocks. We all need to rock more.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Suspicious Minds

Charing Cross Bridge by Andre Derain.

It’s Pearl Harbor Day. This Saturday might live in infamy for another reason: we’re attending a top-secret event in an undisclosed location this evening. I can’t tell you what it is but if you’re a member of a certain benign but bawdy organization, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you may be feeling thoroughly befuddled. So it goes.

Speaking of bombs, the 2019 British general election is heading into the homestretch. I haven’t written about it because it’s so depressing. The two big parties have terrible leaders neither of whom is fit to be Prime Minister but Corbyn is the lesser of two evils. Bozza the Bozo who currently holds the job has bad hair and an even worse slogan: “Get Brexit Done.” The pro-European Union Liberal Democrats shot themselves in the foot by declaring they could win the election when they currently have 20 seats. They’re still limping away from that absurd declaration. Making matters worse is that the Tories deserve to lose and there’s a good chance that they’ll win.

This week’s theme song was written and recorded by Mark James in 1968. His version bombed but Elvis Presley’s did not. It became the King’s’ biggest hit of the Sixties.

We have multiple versions of Suspicious Minds for your listening pleasure: Mark James, Elvis, Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter, and a reggae version by the Heptones.

Now that you’re suspicious, let’s clear the air by jumping to the break.

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