Category Archives: Television

Kevin And Karen Can F*%K Themselves

Kevin Can F Himself

You know, for a nice Canadian gal she sure has a habit of picking titles that are potty mouthed

My new favorite TV show is called Kevin Can F*%K Himself. If you don’t know, the premise of the show is that that main character, Allison, lives in two different television realities. In the brightly lit multi-camera sitcom world she is the perpetually put upon wife of the titular man child character. Think Leah Remini in The King Of Queens. In the other darker single camera world she is a woman on the edge of a nervous, potentially homicidal, breakdown ready to do anything to escape the hell that her husband has made of her life. Think Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad. The combination of the two is a phenomenal deconstruction of both styles. I’m particularly drawn to the point it makes about how situations perceived as benign one way are tragic in another.

Which brings me to vaccines. In particular, the COVID 19 vaccine.

Let me just begin by saying that if you are a Kevin or a Karen who still hasn’t gotten the vaccine, you can go f*#k yourself. I don’t want to hear your excuses. I don’t want to hear about how the FDA hasn’t fully approved it (this is an emergency dickwad and it was approved for emergency use so f**k you use it). I don’t want to hear about how you HEARD it might mess with your DNA (no more than that six pack of Coors before dinner every night does and probably a lot less). I don’t want to hear about how you’re just being cautious and once the science comes in you’ll decide from there (like you care about science or could even read a scientific report let alone understand it). And if you say but people who have been vaccinated have still tested positive for COVID I swear I will punch your lights out. Learn what that really means. If you want this pandemic to be over there is only one way for that to happen and it’s for everyone to get the vaccine.

So f*^k you if you haven’t gotten it.

We had it beat. We were starting to reopen, to get back to normal, to come out on the other side. All you had to do was get the jab, once for J&J, twice for the others. The first day I was eligible I made an appointment to get it. More importantly the wife (Cruella) made an appointment to get it as well. Put a pin in that point, we’ll come back to it after the jump.

On June 15 California declared that anyone who was vaccinated could go without a mask, not have to observe social distancing, and in general get back to life as we knew it. Last week many counties in California were forced to reintroduce those precautions because the Delta variant, which it has been shown the vaccine protects against, has spiked here and across the country. Who’s getting sick? Not those of us vaccinated. Only those who are not. In other words, those of us who did what we were asked to do, what we were pleaded with to do, now have to go back to Pandemic Days because little Karen Kouldn’t Kare with her degree in epidemiology from the University of Fox News has to be kept alive and well.

I’ll do it, cause I’m just that kind of community minded person, but Karen can go f##k herself.

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Tacky Even For Tucker

I have a theory about Tucker Carlson. He’s always been a snotty, preppy right-winger but he wasn’t always evil. In fact, he used to have liberal friends such as Rachel Maddow. That began to change about a decade ago and accelerated when he took Bill-O’s evening slot on Fox News. Some blame Trump, I blame the necktie. That’s right, the necktie.

Carlson used to be known for his cheerful bowties and preppy button-down shirts. He’s moved on to regular shirts and neckties. He’s still fond of stripes only on his neck, not on his torso. Did I just contemplate the Mothertucker’s torso? Apologies for crossing that line.

Nobody wants to contemplate Tucker’s torso except to comment on his pocket square, which seems to be the same in the necktie era. He looked happier during the bowtie era. In the necktie era, he’s angry as if he’s ready to take his tie off and lynch somebody. Strike that. Tucker Carlson fights with his mouth.

Do I buy my own Tucker Carlson fashion theory? Hell to the no but it was fun writing it. Sometimes bloggers just wanna have fun.

In addition to anger, Necktie Tucker specializes in lies: the bigger the better. In his 2018 book, Ship Of Fools, the Mothertucker told an easily refuted lie about his first grade teacher of all people:

He attended the elite La Jolla Country Day School, where a woman entered his life whom he grew to detest. It was his first-grade teacher, whom he referred to in his book as Mrs. Raymond. He caricatured her as “a parody of earth-mother liberalism” who “wore long Indian-print skirts. . . . She had little interest in conventional academic topics, like reading and penmanship.” He recalled her sobbing theatrically at her desk, saying, “The world is so unfair! You don’t know that yet. But you’ll find out!”

Carlson said he just wanted liberals to “stop blubbering and teach us to read. . . . Mrs. Raymond never did teach us; my father had to hire a tutor to get me through phonics.” Thus, Carlson says, he began his sojourn as a conservative thinker, questioning the liberals who he said were all around him, exemplified by his first-grade teacher.

Which is all rather shocking to Marianna Raymond, 77, who remembers Carlson as “very precious and very, very polite and sweet,” and said she had no idea, until contacted recently by a Washington Post reporter, that her former student had ridiculed her as a key to understanding him.

Raymond said in an interview that she never sobbed at her desk, didn’t wear an Indian skirt and didn’t advocate her political views. She said that not only did she teach Carlson reading at La Jolla Country Day School — with a student body that was “very affluent and White” — but that she also was then hired to tutor him at his home.

“Oh my God,” she said, when informed of Carlson’s attack against her. “That is the most embellished, crazy thing I ever heard.”

Embellished and crazy. That fits Necktie Tucker like a tailor-made shirt with French cuffs. I wonder if he has the Swanson Frozen Food logo on any of his cufflinks. Bowtie Tucker had a sense of humor, so it’s possible…

I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what the political views of any of my grade school teachers were. I remember them as nice ladies who taught me how to read, write, and multiply. The only criticism I have of any of them is of my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Fredrick. I think it was third-grade and that she was a one-E Fredrick but I’m not sure of either.

She taught us cursive writing and gave out pens to the kids whose handwriting was neat. I was the last in my class to get a pen. If I were Necktie Tucker, I’d blame my cynicism and snarkiness on this incident and cursive the day it happened.

In reality, she was right: my handwriting has always been terrible. One of my law professors told me that my penmanship was so bad I should have gone to medical school. I hate the sight of blood so that was never an option.

Back to Tacky Tucker. Lying about the Dipshit Insurrection and Dr. Fauci is bad enough but who the hell lies about their first-grade teacher? As far as I know, Bowtie Tucker never did but Necktie Tucker is a lying sack of shit. He should return to the bowtie before it’s too late.

The last word goes to Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Don’t Let Go The Coat

The Concert by Johannes Vermeer.

July has been wet, wet, wet in New Orleans. As long as it’s not flood-level precipitation I don’t mind it. It keeps the heat down. That’s summer in the Crescent City: too hot, hot, hot or too wet, wet, wet. My needle seems stuck, stuck, stuck…

Pete Townshend wrote this week’s theme song for the Who’s 1981 album Face Dances. It’s a criminally underrated record that I’ve loved since the first time I gave it a spin. It was the soundtrack of my life in the year I moved from San Francisco to Washington DC.

Don’t Let The Go was inspired by Townshend’s guru Meher Baba who urged his followers to “hang fast to the hem of my robe.”

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the studio original, Townshend’s demo, and the Who live on German teevee.

Don’t let go the coat as we jump to the break.

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Today on Tommy T’s Random Ruminations – “In da HOUSE” edition

I know our beloved Athenae did TV reviews (mostly “Game Of Thrones” and “Battlestar Gallactica”), so please allow me just this one.

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Ok – for starters, I’m a “House, M.D.” addict, even though I started watching it after the series finished.

In spite of the wonderful script-writing, and even better performances from Hugh Laurie, et. al, there was one thing that drove me nuts – the protagonists.

The network executives insisted on a protagonist to battle House, because they thought the procedural nature of the series wasn’t engaging enough. They were imbeciles.

The first one was the guy who bought his way into power (and no, big-time donors don’t start trying to run everything in the company they are contributing to), Edward Vogler. The network execs thought this was a good idea. David Shore and the writers thought it was a stupid idea.  The execs won.

Fox demanded a bad guy to be added to the show, a few months before House went on a Christmas hiatus.[2] Shore opposed Fox’s request, because he thought adding such a character would be a bad idea.[2] Although Shore thought he managed to convince the producers not to add the character, during his vacation in Israel, he was informed that Jeff Zucker, the head of the Universal studio, had threatened to cut the season short by six episodes unless the character was added

The “story arc” with Vogler lasted about five episodes. He was just a bully, and did nothing to advance the narrative.

Did the execs learn from that spectacular flop?  No.

They then introduced another antagonist, Detective Michael Tritter.

Tritter’s beef with House was that House had put a rectal thermometer in him after being told how to practice medicine (told by a cop to the most famous and highly-paid diagnostician in America), then walked off and left Tritter in the exam room with the thermometer sticking out of his rectum, and went home.

Tritter, in turn decided to follow House wherever he went, arrest him for his prescribed medication, search his house for Vicodin, threaten House’s medical team as if they were Mafia Capos, and threaten to have House’s medical license revoked and House sent to jail.

These are the actions of a Glenn Close-style revenge stalker, not a LEO.

In the show, Tritter was allowed to do these bullying tactics with no interference from anyone. Not Dean Cuddy, not Tritter’s Department bosses, not even House’s lawyer (who was only sightly less effective than a dead frog).

In reality – well, I’ll let  commenter “Dilux” set it out (including the Vogler character) :

My biggest problem with this arc was how hard it was to suspend my disbelief with the whole situation. There is no lawyer worth his salt that wouldn’t have taken Tritter and his precinct apart on account of the blatant harassment and intimidation tactics that were taking place during the course of his “investigation”, you cant just seize or freeze peripheral peoples assets willy nilly either. I kept rolling my eyes every time Tritter waved his magical police wand and did whatever he wanted to do, police work isn’t like that its a bureaucracy no one gets carte blanche, particularly when that nobody’s interests are built on a personal altercation.
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Vogler is a control freak. Rather than just make a regular donation, he wanted to oversee how the hospital will spend it. He then begins slowly taking over and trying to get House fired, first for being unprofessional and then because he humiliated him in public for revealing a new drug he was selling was a scam.
The creators of the show weren’t fond of Vogler due to the fact that the executives of Fox demanded an antagonist to go against Dr. House. They were able to get rid of him though when the show went through some ratings clout.

There you go. You go after a DOCTOR – with a Doctor’s money and resources?

You’d not only get sued for harassment by a team of lawyers that only a Doctor could afford, you’d get fired for it, and end up lucky to get a job bagging groceries in a Piggly Wiggly.

You’d also have every one from the ASU to the BJA on your ass like murder hornets.

But never mind that. The issue is that network execs thought that House needed antagonists.

He already had two of them.

His disease of the week – and himself.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: Silent House

House By The Railroad by Edward Hopper.

Since the recent death of a family member, I’ve had mortality on my mind. Hence this week’s theme song and an appropriately somber featured image by Edward Hopper.

Silent House is a song about grief and loss. It was a collaboration between Neil Finn and Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, and Emily Robison of The Dixie Chicks. For more information about the song, click here.

The Dixie Chicks recorded Silent House first on their 2006 album Taking The Long Way. Crowded House cut their version for 2007’s Time Of Earth. Since I’m more of a Crowdie fan and prefer their version, we’ll start with it. Sorry, Chicks.

I hope everyone remembers the whole The Dixie Chicks controversy involving their opposition to the Bush-Cheney administration’s War in Iraq. In this Rodney Crowell song, the Yuppie neo-con narrator calls them out.

Now that we’ve heard Rodney sing “give it to me” repeatedly, let’s jump to the break.

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The Neutral Ground

The Lost Cause has long been a topic of interest here at First Draft. Shapiro wrote about it last Friday and it was a staple of my posting when the New Orleans monuments controversy was at its peak.

It’s back on my mind after watching CJ Hunt’s fine POV documentary, The Neutral Ground; so much so that I created a category for Lost Cause posts in case y’all feel like reading them. I had fun doing so last night. I’m not sure if that’s pathetic or egomaniacal. You decide.

CJ Hunt works for The Daily Show as a field producer. I haven’t seen much of his previous work but here’s his LinkedIn blurb:

Comedian and filmmaker living in NYC. He’s a field producer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He has been a staff writer for A&E’s Black and White, and a field producer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede. CJ is a regular host of The Moth. Co-creator of Sunken City, an original series hailed as ‘the New Portlandia’ & featured on Indiewire’s list of web series that “could be the next ‘Broad City’.” CJ has rebranded the confederate flag for Jezebel, condensed the saga of school desegregation into a 3-page children’s book for FunnyOrDie, and created videos featured on Paper Magazine, Upworthy, Bustle, and Racialicious.

Hunt lived in New Orleans for a time, which inspired The Neutral Ground. His Daily Show background is evident in his approach to this material. There was a lot of absurdity surrounding the monuments controversy and a director who has done stand-up comedy is the right man for the job. He also does a good job as the film’s protagonist/presenter.

Watching The Neutral Ground reminded me of a funny story about the monuments flap. A friend, who has since died, was a howling liberal on every subject except the monuments. He belonged to one of those old New Orleans families who had been here since Bienville, the founder of the city. He got into a fight on my Facebook feed about monuments removal. The anti-monuments person called my late friend an “Uptown Garden District snob.”

His reply was classic, “Wrong. I’m a downtown Marigny snob.”

In either event, he was proud of being a snob.

Back to CJ Hunt’s documentary. Since I’m a New Orleanian, I’m going to focus on those aspects of the film although Hunt discusses monuments issues in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His side trip to Charlottesville during the infamous 2017 Lost Causer riot feels like a horror movie.

Hunt gets most things right about New Orleans, which is rare for a short-term resident. It shows that he did his homework. He even survived interviewing bombastic former mayor Mitch Landrieu and bombastic activist Malcolm Suber. I’m acquainted with Malcolm. He’s not one of my favorite people but he’s right on the monuments.

One of my favorite moments was when Hunt did the Civil War recreationist thing. He hung out with some hardcore Lost Causers one of whom is called Butterbean. I am not making this up. Initially, the bearded and bombastic Butterbean was impressed with Hunt’s open-mindedness, but his idea of reciprocity was going to Jazz Fest. Hunt didn’t tell Butterbean that his namesake isn’t served at the Fairgrounds.

I like Hunt’s serio-comic approach to the subject matter. It strikes the right tone. He also nailed the history of the white supremacy monuments in New Orleans and elsewhere.

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Summer Of Soul

I wanted to LOVE Summer Of Soul. The pre-release hype gave the impression that it was about the music rather than a cultural/political documentary. There are many documentaries about the 1960’s but what made Summer Of Soul intriguing was forty hours of unused footage from the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. I wish there had been more music and less chatter but, taken on its own terms, it’s a good documentary. It could have been a great one.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s still a lot of great music in Summer Of Soul. But there’s not much *uninterrupted* music. By my count, there were only two numbers without any commentary: one by BB King early on and another by Sly & The Family Stone near the end. Ironically, the Sly tune was Higher, which was also featured in Woodstock.

I’m about to be guilty of something that led to a recurring argument between Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert on their teevee show. Roger would often criticize Gene for reviewing the movie he wanted to see instead of the one that was made. I usually agreed with Ebert but I’m going to go Siskel on your asses in the next paragraph.

I think Summer Of Soul would have made a better 6 to 8 part docuseries. I watched it on Hulu, after all. There’s nothing wrong with the commentary; some of the talking heads are great, especially Billie Davis Jr, Marilyn McCoo, Mavis Staples, and Gladys Knight. I found it bizarre that those wonderful singers were talking *over* their own performances instead of before and after them.

As the movie progressed, I began flinching every time the voice overs returned. At one point I said, “Let Mavis and Mahalia sing.”

The main reason I thought Summer Of Soul would focus on the music is its director: Questlove who is a musician. But it’s his directorial debut and, oddly enough, he seemed not to have confidence in the power of the music to carry the movie.

There’s nothing wrong with the political content: I agreed with almost all of it, but much of it seemed to be a primer on Black pride/power politics for millennials. Questlove crams too much information into an hour and fifty-seven minutes. A different and longer format would have allowed both the talking heads and the performances more room.

Before writing this, I read an interview with Questlove. Here’s the money quote:

“Quincy Jones taught me early,” the affable, chatty Questlove said. “I interviewed him for my podcast, and when he’s talking about the process of (making Michael Jackson’s) ‘Thriller,’ and the fact that they had to go through 281 songs before they decided, these are our final nine. And he’s like, the common denominator was you got goosebumps. There’s a moment in the song that really touches your soul.”

Quincy Jones has had a remarkable career. He’s the bridge between the Basie/Sinatra/King Cole generation of American popular music and the MTV generation. He produced everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Donna Summer. He knows from goosebumps.

I wish there had been more musical goosebumps in Summer Of Soul, but I still liked it. It’s full of good intentions and great music but it needed more uninterrupted great music.

I’m proud of myself for writing this review without a single drummer joke. I reserve those for my buddy, Kyle Melancon but I’m sure Questlove has heard them all. 🥁🥁🥁

One thing that puzzled me was calling it a Questlove Jawn. I consulted with Mr. Google who led me to the Urban Dictionary, which defines jawn as “Philly slang for a person, place, or thing.”

Mystery solved.  Ahmir Khalib Thompson DBA Questlove is from Philadelphia. It’s his variation on the Spike Lee Joint theme.

Summer Of Soul is playing in theatres and streaming on Hulu. I give it 3 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B. I eagerly await the director’s cut: I want to see more of David Ruffin’s fur-collared jacket. Talk about hot fun in the summertime.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Wicked Game

The Witch Of Endor by William Blake.

It’s been wickedly hot across the country. It’s been hotter in Portland and Seattle than in New Orleans; that’s some weird shit. We all have air-conditioning and most of my friends in the PNW do not. Imagine how hot Paco the Maine Coon mix was during the heat wave. It’s hard having a luxurious fur coat.

I’m sticking with a witchy/magical theme this week. How can I follow Witchcraft with a chirpy tune? I used a painting by proto-surrealist artist William Blake since Magritte and Ernst are overheated and didn’t feel up to it. I know, dead guys can’t suffer from heat stroke, but some humor was in order.

Chris Isaak wrote this week’s theme song in 1989 for his Heart Shaped World album, which established him as a major rock star. The video for Wicked Game established him as a major heartthrob. Some guys have all the luck.

We have three versions of Wicked Game for your listening pleasure: the sexy video, a 2006 live version, and Tom Ellis at the piano in Lucifer.

Dr. A and I watched the second half of season 5 of Lucifer this week. It had its ups and downs, but an emphatic up was Bloody Celestial Karaoke Jam in which the gang broke into song at the behest of God played by Dennis Haysbert. I was three years behind God at San Mateo High School. Go, Bearcats.

Here’s one of the songs featured in that thrilling episode of Lucifer:

Now that we’ve gone to hell and back, let’s jump to the break where more wickedness awaits.

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Trump Family Values

As I luxuriated in the Indictment Thursday coverage I found myself asking: what does Mary Trump think? I reviewed her book last year for Bayou Brief. Too Much and Never Enough made me respect her judgment and her take on her kin folks.

The most interesting moment of Mary’s interview with Rachel Maddow last night was this:

RM: Allen Weisselberg is being charged for benefitting from that scheme. The indictment says, other executives also benefitted from that scheme. And now, we`ve got solid reporting that the investigation continues. That raises the prospect that further charges could be brought against his children.

MT: Yeah, it does. And I — again, I think they should be quite anxious right now. Donald, on the other hand, will expect the same kind and level of loyalty from them, as he expects from Allen. You know, as far as Donald`s concerned, they have what they have because of him. And they should be willing to take whatever hit they are going to take.

He doesn`t understand, I guess, how these things work. Prosecutors won`t stop at my cousins. They will be going for the bigger fish, which would be Donald, who`s been running this organization for over 30 years, now.

So I think he would be surprised to learn that I don`t believe my cousins would exert that kind of — exercise that kind of loyalty towards him because his relationship with them and their relationship with him is entirely transactional. So — and conditional, I should say.

So, they`re not going to risk anything for him, just as he wouldn`t risk anything for them. So, it could get really, really interesting as these things unfold, because there are so many more documents that New York prosecutors have at their disposal.

RM: So, you have more confidence that Allen Weisselberg would — wouldn`t cooperate, than you do that the president`s — former president`s children wouldn`t cooperate?

MT: Yeah. I think, as far as I understand it, and, you know, I`m not a lawyer. But it seems that, as — as serious as these charges are, they may not end up with jail time or any significant amount of jail time. And the downside of cooperating with prosecutors, for Allen Weisselberg might be larger than the downside of going to jail if it`s for a short enough period of time.

So, again, it`s going to be very interesting to see just the — the case that can be made. And the sentencing, if it comes to that, because I think that will factor in, for sure. But I`m much less sanguine about my cousins` loyalty to their father.

Sorry for the long quote, but I wanted everything to be put in context. Mary Trump might be wrong about her cousins but the mere possibility they *could* flip on former President* Pennywise is fascinating. We all have fickle and untrustworthy relatives, but this takes the cake.

Speaking of cake and relatives who work together, I feel a musical interlude coming on.

The current edition of Crowded House has three Finns. I don’t think Liam or Elroy would flip on papa Neil. Their Uncle Tim never did. There’s more Eighties music to come at the end of the post. It was the decade in which Donald Trump became famous, after all.

Now that we’ve had dessert, back to the main course: the Trumps. There have long been rumors of discord between the Two Donalds. Junior rebelled against his father after his mother was so publicly dumped. That’s one of the few good things I’ve ever heard about Junior.

Don Junior seems to think he can be the next John Quincy Adams or George W Bush: son of a president who becomes one himself. Adams set the bar high, but W lowered it considerably; making even grandson of a president Benjamin Harrison look good. Ratting out the Kaiser of Chaos would be bad for Junior politically, so I think he’ll stay on the sinking ship.

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Tweet Of The Day: Spy In The House Of Hate?

Who knew that the National Security Agency had a Twitter feed? I did not. They’re even more secretive than the CIA so I was surprised.

I was not, however, surprised that the NSA felt compelled to shoot down Tucker Carlson’s claim that he’s under surveillance.

A spy in the house of hate? Really, Tucker? I should thank him for giving me a new nickname for Fox News: The House Of Hate.

The Mothertucker has delusions of grandeur. In his off hours, all he does is leak to the media. He’s as transparent as fuck.

KMAC felt compelled to stick up for Tucker and brought Devin Nunes along for the ride:

After saying that NSA officials have refused to comply with requests from Republican members on the House Intelligence panel, McCarthy turned his focus to Carlson’s wild allegations against the NSA.

“Now, there is a public report that NSA read the emails of Fox News host Tucker Carlson,” McCarthy said. “Although NSA publicly denied targeting Carlson, I have serious questions regarding this matter that must be answered.”

McCarthy then announced that he has recruited Nunes to investigate the allegations that the NSA has denied.

“Given this disturbing trend, I’ve asked HPSCI Ranking Member Devin Nunes to investigate and find answers on behalf of the American people,” McCarthy said. “The NSA cannot be used as a political instrument, and House Republicans will ensure accountability and transparency.”

Accountability? Transparency? From KMAC? He was against the Dipshit Insurrection before he was for it. This is some funny stuff, y’all.

Glad to hear that Nunes isn’t too busy suing Twitteratti to do his job, which consists of cooking up conspiracy theories and fluffing former President* Pennywise.

You know things are weird when the NSA goes public. The Mothertucker always brings out the worst in everyone. This whole spy in the house of hate shtick is just his latest lie. It’s what he does.

The last word goes to Was (Not Was) and Steve Winwood with different songs with the same title:

I might as well throw the DBs in the deep state deep end and see if they can swim as well:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Strange Magic

My Brother Imitating Scherzo by Andre Kertesz.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I like themes that tie my posts together. This week’s theme is book and movie magic, music magic. and today Strange Magic.  I even included Jeff Lynne’s interpretation of Bewitched in this week’s Friday Cocktail Hour. One could say that this week has been magically delicious, which is the untrue ad slogan for the disgusting cereal Lucky Charms.

This week’s theme song was written by Jeff Lynne in 1975 for ELO’s Face The Music album. As if by magic, the single and album were strangely successful.

We have three versions of Strange Magic for your listening pleasure: the studio original, ELO live, and a 2012 remake.

As if by magic, it’s time to jump to the break, strangely enough.

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Running Scared

It’s been a jam-packed day at First Draft with fine posts from Shapiro and Cassandra. I hope everyone is enjoying our new writers. It’s proof positive that cronyism can be a good thing. Cronyism and nepotism are essential components of Greek culture, after all.

Since the senate will be voting soon on whether to debate the voting rights bill, we begin with a poorly written and illogical op-ed “written” by Senator Krysten Sinema.

Sinema’s Lack Of Scope: It’s astonishing that I haven’t previously used this pun on the senator’s name and the Cinemascope process. Perhaps it’s because Cinemascope brought new depth and scope to movie going whereas the Arizona senator specializes in narrow-mindedness.

Sinema reiterates her opposition to filibuster abolition in a WaPo op-ed with a revealing title: We Have More To Lose Than Gain By Ending The Filibuster. It’s a Sinematic ode to fear of the unknown and change. It’s an odd stance for the senate’s only bisexual member, who claims to admire John Lewis, to take. Rights are secured by the bold, not the risk averse.

Sinema’s opposition to filibuster reform is particularly odd because her state is going through the Fraudit and she’s a co-sponsor of the For The People Act, which has no chance to pass without filibuster reform.

I’m not going to go as far as some who have said that Sinema has “toxic white lady energy” or hinted that she’s a Green Party double agent bent on wreaking Jill Stein-style havoc on the Democratic party. Instead, she’s an opportunist who blows with the wind and only cares about being reelected.

I’m not going to quote her op-ed. However, I wonder why she doesn’t have a staffer who can write better than that. Ugh just ugh.

It’s time for a brief cinematic musical interlude:

Our next segment is about the douchebag who has replaced Bill-O as my Fox News hate object.

Mothertucker: NYT media writer Ben Smith has done it again. This time, in a piece about why the MSM is so soft on Tucker Carlson.

No matter how much the Mothertucker lies or slanders the media, they’re soft on him because he’s a good source:

And Mr. Carlson’s comfortable place inside Washington media, many of the reporters who cover him say, has taken the edge off some of the coverage. It has also served as a kind of insurance policy, they say, protecting him from the marginalization that ended the Fox career of his predecessor, Glenn Beck, who also drew a huge audience with shadowy theories of elite conspiracy.

I realize that reporters dislike burning a source but allowing this creep to skate is reprehensible. The Mothertucker is the worst sort of phony as it’s unclear if he believes in the bile he spews on the air every weeknight.

I’m glad that Ben Smith finally decided to burn the Mothertucker. Perhaps it’s because he described the media at large as “cringing animals who are not worthy of respect.”

Who’s cringing now, Mothertucker?

Speaking of animals:

My Complaint About Portnoy: Snotty, know-it-all teenage me loved Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint. It was a genuinely funny book that was turned into a painfully unfunny movie.

Alexander Portnoy was a fictional character who made me laugh, Dave Portnoy is a real person who makes me cringe. There’s nothing worse than someone who thinks they’re funny but is not.

Portnoy is the jerk behind Barstool Sports, which specializes in frat boy sports talk radio style humor. He’s becoming a power to be reckoned with in the Trumpified GOP aka the Gross Out Party. That’s the argument made in an excellent piece in Politico Magazine by Derek Robertson.

Robertson opines that the Republicans have become the Barstool Party. I think he’s on to something. Here’s how Dave Portnoy described his support for the Impeached Insult Comedian in 2016:

“I am voting for Donald Trump. I don’t care if he’s a joke. I don’t care if he’s racist. I don’t care if he’s sexist. I don’t care about any of it. I hope he stays in the race and I hope he wins. Why? Because I love the fact that he is making other politicians squirm. I love the fact he says shit nobody else will say, regardless of how ridiculous it is.”

He sounds like a hybrid of Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern. Rush was the original Barstool Republican. Dave merely puts the Oy in Portnoy. Schmuck.

Our third musical interlude circles back to the post title and the fearful word of Senator Sinema. The last word goes to Roy Orbison:

Saturday Odds & Sods: Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone

The Long Line Of Texas. Near Dallas by Dorothea Lange.

It’s Juneteenth. It marks the day in 1865 that enslaved people in Galveston, Texas learned that they’d been freed two years earlier. It’s been a Texas holiday for decades and just became a federal holiday over the objection of 14 Republican congresscritters.

The featured image is a photograph by Dorothea Lange when she worked for the WPA documenting the ravages of the Great Depression. The number at the top is its Library of Congress reference number. I’m not quite sure that I get the title, but the picture was taken in Texas.

This week’s theme song was written in 1969 by Glenn Martin and Dave Kirby. I’ve always associated it with Doug Sahm, but it was first recorded by Charlie Pride.

We have three versions of Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone for your listening pleasure: Charlie Pride, Doug Sahm, and the Texas Tornados.

Since I mentioned Galveston, let’s run this Glen Campbell-Jim Webb song up the flagpole and see who salutes:

Now that we’re done saluting, let’s jump to the break.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: To The Island

Tahiti and Picnics by Paul Gaugin.

This was the week that the celestial pendulum swung to full tilt summer in New Orleans. We’re looking at nothing but ninety-degree highs for the foreseeable future. Time to crank up the air-dish and the ceiling fans. It’s fucking hot, y’all. That concludes this week’s weather report.

I wished Neil Finn happy birthday late last month. The celebration continues with a theme song from the new Crowded House album. Dreamers Are Waiting is the most cohesive and consistent album the band has released since Together Alone.

I think the band’s new lineup has a lot to do with the excellence of the new album. Neil’s sons Liam and Elroy are onboard, and their presence seems to have inspired dear old dad. The family band twist is reflected by Bee Gees and Beach Boys influences vocally, but unlike the latter, the Finns seem to get along swimmingly. They may even have fun, fun, fun til their daddy takes the T-Bird away. I doubt that Neil would do such a thing. He’s the epitome of the cool dad.

To The Island is the first single from the new album. It was written by Neil Finn. Anyone surprised?

We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the video and the Crowdies live on The Ellen Show. FYI, she’s not from New Orleans but from Kenna, Brah.

I think To The Island is destined to join Don’t Dream It’s Over as fodder for a future New Zealand tourism campaign. It’s that catchy.

We have another islandy number for you before we jump to the break. It’s an instrumental from The Band featuring the multi-instrumental wizardry of Garth Hudson:

Now that we’ve gone to the island, let’s jump to the break.

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Trump’s Epic Blog Fail & Other Bad Jokes

Things have been much too serious around here of late. Writing about massacres and insurrections isn’t a lot of fun. I’d rather tell the odd joke. That’s my goal today, to just let it rip and see where it leads.

Let’s cut this tangerine into segments Odds & Sods style.

From The Dreck of Donald Trump: We begin with the Trump Blog Fail. It’s hard to be a blogger in 2021. Building and sustaining an audience isn’t easy. It takes patience and maturity two qualities that are in short supply for an elderly toddler such as the Kaiser of Chaos. It also requires self-awareness and a sense of humor. He hasn’t got either of those either. That’s what made him a decent reality teevee host and a rotten blogger. Besides, it helps if you can write. The Impeached Insult Comedian cannot.

Perhaps it would have made it if he’d called it From The Dreck of Donald Trump and dropped the desk shtick. We’ll never know now.

It’s time for a marginally relevant musical interlude:

Tangerines are orange and so is Donald Trump. First Draft contributor Ryne Hancock calls him “The Orange Menace.”

I wonder if any prog rock types flip the name of the venerable German band and call the Darnold the Tangerine Nightmare? Beats the hell outta me.

Enough with the citrus jokes. In our next segment, I won’t squeeze the Don Lemon references dry since I usually watch MSNBC, not CNN.

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Saturday Odds & Sods: She Said She Said

The Therapist by Rene Magritte.

We finally had our first day with a high of 90 degrees. As someone who lives in a semi-tropical climate, I prefer Fahrenheit to Celsius: 30 degrees Celsius does not sound as hot as it gets in New Orleans. It’s where ice people go to melt.

Surrealism and the Beatles go together like peas and carrots hence the featured image by Rene Magritte. He’s my other go-to Surrealist. I hope Max Ernst doesn’t mind.

She Said She Said has an opening stanza worthy of Surrealist poet Paul Eluard:

 She said “I know what it’s like to be dead I know what it is to be sad.”
And she’s making me feel like I’ve never been born.

This week’s theme song is credited to Lennon and McCartney but it’s all John. Once again, it’s from 1966’s Revolver album, which has a suitably surreal cover by the German artist/bassist Klaus Voormann.

The session at which She Said She Said was recorded was a sign of trouble in Beatle World. Macca didn’t like the arrangement and didn’t play on the track. George Harrison played bass. Yeah, yeah, yeah or is that no, no, no?

We have three versions of She Said She Said for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original, Gov’t Mule, and The Black Keys:

Now that we all feel like we’ve never been born, let’s jump to the break.

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Sunday Morning Video: David Byrne Live

Here’s a 1997 appearance by David Byrne on the PBS music series Sessions At West 54th:

Saturday Odds & Sods: I Want To Tell You

The Bird, The Cage, and The Forest by Max Ernst.

It’s been another bad weather week in New Orleans. I’m actually looking forward to what is forecast to be a hot weekend because I’m so tired of rain and being weather-aware. Hell, it’s not even hurricane season yet. Btw, my name is on the hurricane list and I don’t mean my pen name, Adrastos. I’m not displeased, I don’t mind scaring people.

Beatles month continues with one by George Harrison. He wrote this week’s theme song for The Beatles 1966 album Revolver. It was their first record to take a walk on the experimental side, especially in Lennon’s songs. George’s lyrics for I Want To Tell You are somewhat surrealistic hence the Max Ernst featured image. Max is my go-to surrealist.

We have four versions of I Want To Tell You for your listening pleasure: The Beatles original, George live with Eric Clapton’s band, The Smithereens, and Jeff Lynne from the Concert For George.

Like George, my mind is filled with things to say. I’ll share them after the jump.

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MSM In Disarray

One of many things I miss about Athenae’s writing is her acute media analysis. I usually avoided the subject because, like James Bond, nobody does it better than A.

Athenae has an insider’s perspective whereas I’m a rank outsider. I’m going to give it a shot today because the MSM is busy creating drama where little or none exists. One could even call it a low drama trauma. (For the uninitiated, MSM = Mainstream Media.)

After mainlining absurdist drama from the Trump regime for 4 years, the MSM is having withdrawal symptoms. There’s still plenty of leftover drama from those dark days, but they can’t kick the habit.

The first thing I read this morning was Eric Boehlert’s Press Run newsletter:

President Joe Biden is getting trashed by Democrats over the Middle East!

Vice President Kamala Harris isn’t acknowledging her Asian heritage!

Those were two breathless dispatches Politico posted this week, as the Beltway insider outlet did its best to gin up drama surrounding the Democratic administration. Apparently still longing for the non-stop news cycle of the Trump era and the relentless controversies and scandals that came with it, Politico has decided that during the No Drama Biden era the best strategy is to just make stuff up and post it as news.

In both gotcha articles it became abundantly clear that Biden is not being trashed by Democrats regarding the Middle East. And Harris is not being widely criticized for downplaying her Indian roots. Both premises are fabrications. How do we know? Because neither article contained evidence to back up the click-bait headlines.

This is indefensible journalism, as Politico eagerly does the GOP’s bidding by trying to create controversies where none exist. The daily is hardly alone in this regard. The New York Times recently promoted a long article about Biden’s “short fuse” and “quick temper” in a piece that included no quotes or evidence of Biden’s “short fuse” and “quick temper.” But Politico does seem to be particularly aggressive in concocting unsupported storylines during the Biden era. And Politico is doing it with weighty topics that should not be used as ways to manufacture news.

That’s why Charlie Pierce calls it Tiger Beat On The Potomac.

Politico and the Gray Lady are not alone in having delirium tremens over the lack of daily scandals. One could call it the DT DTs.

Last night Rachel Maddow opened her show on the same overwrought note of Democratic disarray and Congressional fecklessness. The fecklessness was indeed there but the final vote count on the proposed 1/6 commission was 35 GOPers in support. Earlier in the day I saw former Politico guy and current Punchbowl News honcho Jake Sherman on MSNBC and he predicted only 15 to 20 aye votes. 35 votes indicates the weakness of KMac’s position as leader. Sounds dramatic to me.

On the subject of the Middle East, Boehlert had to this say:

The news outlet [Politico] could not find a single Democrat to “trash” Biden. The only quotes even remotely critical came from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) who said he was “troubled” by earlier U.S. votes at the United Nation against the call for a ceasefire. (Biden has since said he supports a ceasefire.) And a quote from Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), who claimed Biden could stop the carnage “with one phone call,” which seems highly unlikely.

Instead, what the Politico article featured was a collection of thoughtful quotes from Democrats who are grappling with a complicated, long-running, and deadly foreign policy dilemma.

Even when relations between Israeli prime ministers and American president have been close, the US has never been able to stop Israeli actions with one phone call. Plus, relations between Biden and Bibi are strained to say the least and the world is not that simple.

Back to Rachel who I think of as a friend or relative who occasionally goes off the rails because she loves drama. She went on and on about the negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans. As crazy as it sounds, it’s all being done for the benefit of the Mr. Kite of the Senate, Joe Manchin.

Cue musical interlude:

Proof positive that it’s still Beatles month at First Draft. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Back to the Man of La Manchin. He’s as much of a drama queen as Rachel. He loves being in the spotlight of the negotiations. There’s every indication that the White House will soon pull the plug on negotiations and either emerge with 2 infrastructure bills (one with GOP support for traditional infrastructure) or push the American Jobs Plan through via reconciliation. A bipartisan bill would be a coup for the White House and if GOP “moderates” cannot deliver Team Biden can say they tried. Manchin is not the only one who wants bipartisan co-operation, the voters do too. Besides, the damn bill hasn’t even passed the House yet.

This is not the first time the MSM has experienced withdrawal symptoms. It happened after Watergate too. The media spent the Ford and Carter years in search of the next big scandal, which resulted in blowing up minor affairs such as Lancegate or Koreagate by affixing a gate to things that, in the big picture, were no big whoop. Anyone else remember Tongsun Park?

I used a still of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as the featured image because His Girl Friday is one of the best movies ever made about the media. They’re always chasing a story. That’s their job. It’s not their job to gin up drama where none exists.

It’s time for the MSM to get the Trump monkey off their back even if they have to do it Cold Turkey. That’s why John Lennon gets the last word.

 

 

Saturday Odds & Sods: Getting Better

Chez Tortoni by Edouard Manet.

The weather remains the leading topic of conversation in New Orleans. A tornado ripped through the city causing property damage but no serious injuries.  It took place a mere two miles from Adrastos World HQ ,but I slept through it. I seem to be turning into a cat.

First Draft contributor Ryne Hancock came over to record his podcast with yours truly as his guest.

Beatles month continues with this week’s theme song. It was written by Lennon and McCartney for 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. It’s mostly a Macca song but has a mordant aside written by John: “It can’t get no worse.”

We have four versions of Getting Better for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton & the Bee Gees, and Gomez.

Feeling better? Let’s jump to the break before it gets much worse.

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