Saturday Odds & Sods: Boulevard Of Broken Dreams

Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.

I survived jury duty. I even got a diploma of sorts. I’m uncertain if it’s for good behavior; more like bored behavior. I was called upstairs for voir dire on the last day. I tweeted about it after graduation:

Canny is Leon Cannizzaro, Orleans Parish District Attorney. Here’s what I said about him in the Bayou Brief in 2017:

He’s a notoriously hardline, tough on crime District Attorney with the demeanor of an irritable undertaker and the strange uncharm of a grim Dickensian authority figure such as Mr. Murdstone. I had dealings with Canny when he was a criminal court judge and I was lawyering. He was arrogant, biased, rude, and dismissive. His success in electoral politics has always been a mystery to me but some people confuse assholery with strength. The Current Occupant of the White House is the best example I can think of. At least Canny has better hair.

Well, they asked for full disclosure…

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

This week’s theme song was written in 1933 by Al Dubin and Harry Warren. It was featured in the 1934 movie Moulin Rouge and sung by blond bombshell Constance Bennett. Ooh la la.

We have three versions of this torchy torch song for your listening pleasure: Constance Bennett,Tony Bennett, and Diana Krall. Ooh la la.

Constance and Tony are not related. His real name is, of course, Anthony Benedetto.

It’s time for a trip to Disambiguation City with a song written for the 2004 American Idiot album by the boys in Green Day. Same title, different song. Ooh la la.

Now that I’ve shattered your dreams, let’s jump to the break. Ooh la la.

Continue reading

President* Pennywise

Image by Michael F.

We recently watched the 2017 movie IT, which is based on the Stephen King novel. I wasn’t terribly familiar with that terrible tale except for the sinister clown Pennywise. I loved the movie and realized that it was remade for two possible reasons: the popularity of Stranger Things and the rise of Trumpism.

Pennywise the evil clown (is there any other kind?) thrives on fear. He gets stronger the more he fearmongers. It’s what emboldens him to get out of the gutter and come into the open. The Insult Comedian never leaves the gutter BUT he too thrives on fear. That’s why I mock him: he feeds off our fear and recoils from our scorn. President* Pennywise is a pussy. He should grab himself.

I don’t see Trump as a figure of fun even though he’s funny. What he’s doing to the country is not funny but he cuts a ridiculous figure as he wreaks havoc. At the risk of sounding like a Reader’s Digest feature, laughter is the best medicine against Trumpism. Their dear leader has no sense of humor unless the joke is on his enemies. That’s why one should laugh at him, not cower, especially when the laughter is provoked by his latest outrageous statement. Remember the Maddow Doctrine:

Words to live by.

I seem to have missed the Insult Comedian’s exchange with California Governor Gavin Newsome during the 2018 campaign. Trump called Newsome a clown, here’s his tweeted response:

SNAP.

Courage is what the resistance to Trumpism requires. I know that many are still traumatized by the 2016 election BUT remember that Democrats won the mid-term popular vote by 9 points. And Trump is running on the same issues that flopped in that campaign.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Trump’s only path to electoral college victory is to destroy his opponent and resort to massive electoral fraud. He will not win the popular vote and has a narrow path to winning the electoral college, particularly with the economy circling the bowl. He’ll try and blame the Fed or Democrats but the voters blame the Current Occupant for economic woes. It couldn’t happen to a “nicer” guy.

Trump’s opponents need to take a deep breath and keep fighting. Remember: this guy and his cretinous followers thrive on your fear just like Pennywise. It’s up to us to look at the big picture and not be pennywise and pound foolish. Laugh at him, mock him, but don’t let him spook you. Victory belongs to the brave at heart. President* Pennywise can fuck off back to Trump Tower in 2021.

The last word goes to Elvis Costello and the Attractions:

 

Friday Throwback Catblogging: Cat Hat

Let’s set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1999. Here’s a picture of your humble blogger with our 6-pound torti, Window, on my head.  It beats the hell outta being an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop one’s head.

Holy stupid human trick, Batman.

Don’t try this at home. It’s not for amateurs.

The last word goes to Lyle Lovett:

This Week In Republican Values

three_stooges_gop_Aug_2019

And these are just highlights from people not named Donald Trump.

Ken Cuccinelli slammed the door on non-European immigrants, citing the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus’s poem as his inspiration.

Steve King asked what’s wrong with a little rape and incest, since that’s what got us here and put us the map.

And finally, It’s Pat is back. The original Kulturkrieger didn’t say anything particularly outrageous — that I know of — this week, but I’d be comfortable betting with his return to television, he’ll come up with something soon that, to cite/paraphrase the much missed Molly Ivins, probably sounds better in the original German.

Did I miss anything?

Pulp Fiction Thursday: The Wrecking Crew

Dr. A and I saw Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood last weekend. We both loved it. I thought it was his best movie since Jackie Brown.

Anyway, Sharon Tate is a character in the movie and went to the cinema to watch her own movie, The Wrecking Crew. Here’s a side-by-side image of Donald Hamilton’s book and the poster for the Dean Martin movie.

It’s trailer time:

The Wrecking Crew became the nickname of a group of elite LA studio musicians. They were celebrated in a documentary of that title in 2015:

Life Imitates The Godfather: Chris Cuomo Edition

I realize that I’m a day late on the Chris Cuomo kerfuffle but I had jury duty yesterday. They keep the juror lounge so cold that one could store a Semifreddo therein without it melting. It’s a frozen Italian delicacy, which the CNN host would be well-advised to to emulate. The dude needs to chill.

Let’s recap our story:

A video emerged on Monday night in which CNN anchor Chris Cuomo can be seen engaged in a tense confrontation with an unknown man and threatening to throw him down some stairs after the man called him “Fredo”.

In the video, reportedly taken in a bar on Long Island on Sunday, Cuomo is irate over a perceived insult from the man, an apparent reference to a character from the Godfather film. Cuomo suggests in the video it was meant as derogatory term for his Italian heritage, similar to the “N-word” for African Americans.

“Punk-ass bitches from the right call me Fredo,” Cuomo says. “My name is Chris Cuomo. I’m an anchor on CNN. Fredo is from The Godfather. He was a weak brother and they use it as an Italian aspersion.”

Cuomo is the son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo and brother of the state’s current governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I’ll fucking ruin your shit,” Cuomo says as the argument continues. “I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs.”

I’m obviously not a fan of Trumper assholes accosting people they dislike in public but Chris needs to make like a Semifreddo and chill. I plan to use that analogy until my plate is clean…

Calling someone a Fredo is an insult, not an ethnic slur. If this MAGA Maggot walked into a Knights of Columbus meeting and shouted “FREDO” the reaction would NOT be akin to walking into a Zulu meeting and shouting the N-word. I suspect that most of the KOC guys would be confused as opposed to outraged. They’d rather be called a Michael or Vito, after all. Repeat after me: Fredo is an insult, not an ethnic slur.

I’ll give Cuomo credit for sounding more like Sonny Corleone than Fredo:

I am glad, however, that he didn’t beat the MAGA Maggot down and bop him in the bean with a garbage can lid. Sonny would have thrown that worthless fucker down the fucking stairs so Cuomo showed *some* restraint.

In claiming that Fredo is an ethnic slur, not an insult, Cuomo amplified the story. He’s the one who made it about The Godfather, not some loudmouth Trumper asshole. It can’t be easy being Son of Mario and Brother of Andrew: Cuomo’s overreaction seems to reflect a measure of insecurity. A simple “fuck you, asshole” would have sufficed.

The Cuomos have long been hyper-sensitive about the fictional Corleone clan. Papa Mario refused to see the movie for many years because he believed it perpetuated lazy stereotypes about Italo-Americans. Others thought the movies glorified the Mafia. That shows the power of Puzo and Coppolla’s vision: it provoked people and made them think.

In other Life Imitates The Godfather news, we turn to the Roger Stone case:

Stone on Friday told a federal court that he opposed the request by prosecutors to play a clip from Godfather II at his trial, slated to start in November.

The clip was a pivotal scene in the movie in which a witness to Michael Corleone’s criminal conduct recants his testimony at a high-profile congressional hearing. The witness, Frank Pentangeli, backtracks on his testimony after he sees his brother and Corleone show up to watch the hearing.

Prosecutors say they want to play the clip to put in to context messages Stone allegedly sent radio host Randy Credico, who was subpoenaed to appear before Congress. Stone repeatedly referenced Pentangeli in the messages to Credico, according to prosecutors. Stone is charged with making false statements to Congress and witness tampering. He has pleaded not guilty.

Stone has claimed that he referenced Pentangeli because Credico does a good impression of him.

I’ve been known to do Michael Gazzo as Frank Pentangeli myself. It’s painful: not my impression but the voice is so raspy that it hurts to do it. Here’s the scene in question:

Frankie and Freddie were great pals, they’d both surely agree that the real Fredo on our current national scene is this guy:

The analogy breaks down because Don Vito Corleone was brilliant and Don Donaldo, IL Comico Insulto is a dumbass prone to descibing himself as a “very stable genius.” Like father, like son.

It’s easy to imagine Trump Junior saying this:

Repeat after me: Fredo is an insult, not an ethnic slur.

Album Cover Art Wednesday: Denny McLain

I went down a YouTube rabbit hole and watched a pretty good documentary about Denny McLain. McLain was the last pitcher to win 30 games and won 2 Cy Young Awards. He was also a egenerate gambler and wannabe bookie. His pitching career flamed out by the age of 28. He also played a mean organ:

If you’re feeling like a lounge lizard, here’s the whole damn album:

A Presidential Candidate Should Run on Doubling The Number of Building Inspectors

This is my goddamn TED talk and the only plank in my policy platform: 

Placed at about 40 randomly assigned public-housing developments across the city, the lights led to as much as a 59 percent nighttime decrease in serious crime, according to a working paper circulated this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

For context, the drop is about the scale researchers would expect from a 10 percent increase in police staffing. It suggests that spending on improved living conditions may be a more effective way to reduce crime than spending on increased police presence.

The researchers placed an average of seven mobile light towers in each development, affecting an estimated 40,000 residents total. Even when they considered a larger two-block radius around each development, in case criminals shifted their activity to avoid the lights, they found a reduction of at least 36 percent.

City neighborhoods that emptied out of white people in the 60s and 70s also emptied out of services. Cities don’t repair potholes as fast and they don’t plow as much and they certainly don’t pick up litter in places where the residents are unlikely or unable to complain or organize, or be noticed. Where other places get more and brighter lights, more and better services, the streets … look better. Perception, when buying or selling or even just visiting, is everything and half the places that get tagged as “bad” are just … lacking landscaping.

A landlord in my neighborhood would never be able to get away with letting a house rot with plywood and graffiti on it, for example. Why is a landlord six blocks east allowed to? Why do the banks that own half the vacant lots along the train tracks not have to keep them clean and secure and trim the weeds thereupon?

If the streets are dark, covered in trash, the fences are rusting and people who are working three jobs don’t have enough time to be on the phone every day yelling at the city to fix it all, that creates conditions for people to feel like nobody gives a shit about them. Putting more cops on the street to hassle them about sitting on their porches or selling cigarettes or whatever it is we’re shooting people for these days isn’t going to help. Investing is.

Investing in more than just one shiny patch of play equipment, or one nice new building. Investing in the grinding, average, day-to-day stuff that government really has to do because nothing else is big enough. Charity drives and block-club cleanup days are nice but this isn’t a special-occasion thing, this is a “we pay our taxes, pick up the garbage on time” thing.

Increasing the number of building inspectors and adequately lighting dark places and supporting the things that create community elsewhere — libraries, parks — would do what we think rolling up with the Third U.S. Army would. Resurfacing every alley that floods when it rains. Fixing the stoplights. Making it clear: People care about this place, so think twice about tearing it down.

And yes, city services are also often weaponized against the poor, so hardship exceptions to things like “peeling paint” should be made when the owner of the home is a 90-year-old whose grandson said he’d fix it three weeks ago and can’t get off work until Sunday. But there’s no reason to let some out-of-town management company skimp on mowing the lawns of the apartments they own. There’s no reason to allow long-term vacant properties to become eyesores without extracting the kinds of fines and fees usually aimed at people whose nosy neighbors are mad they don’t mow the lawn enough.

This isn’t just cosmetic. People die in house fires when cities don’t crack down on occupancy limits in apartments and require landlords to upgrade their fire safety plans. Heat and cold kill people every summer and winter because there’s no safe place to go to warm up and cool off. If I can’t walk down the street without stepping over a hundred pieces of broken glass then the next person who doesn’t see one is going to cut their foot open. Have to go to the hospital. Miss a day of work. Get fired. Lose their home.

There are all these tiny things that cause cascading waterfalls of misery and we can fix some of them by just goddamn cleaning the place up.

A.

Journalism for the Consumer Class

It’s news YOU CAN USE!

It’s not that journalists don’t know how to provide actionable information; we do this all the time, just only for certain people. In the era of paid-referral links, many of our most respected news sources have put journalists to work on a kind of information-concierge service for the consumer class, offering detailed recommendations for the best standing desks and smart-home appliances, but little health advice for those who work all day on their feet or juggle bills to make rent. We hear a chorus of hot tips for “smarter living,” and near silence on how to survive in America. The economist James Hamilton put it well in a panel at ONA last year, “There is no Wirecutter for the poor.”

City Bureau is doing massively important work in Chicago and I love everything about how they do it. For the longest time the bigger papers covered certain neighborhoods and didn’t cover others and everybody pretended it was the fault of people in those neighborhoods for not buying the paper, ie we’ll cover it when we have readers there. Well, the internet did do one thing to journalism which was to upend the idea that you only want to read about shit going on literally next door and then only if it winds up on your porch.

Advertisers and city leader-types always resented the shit out of stories that made “their” town look bad, like no, our schools are perfect and our housing stock is of the highest caliber and so what if people are dying from preventable environmental causes or shooting each other, you’re making us look bad! And so the coverage shifts, bit by bit, to the people the EIC’s wife knows from her book club, and the things they care about.

Consumer journalism has its place but as people have less and less money to consume, it’s incumbent upon journalism to, you know, at least know how to do something else. I can’t tell you how many local TV newscasts have this “news YOU can use” or “fighting for YOU” segment where they deal with a customer service department for someone.

It’s fine, I guess, I’m glad Mrs. Peters got her cable bill sorted out but can we please also cover a system that persistently outsources every single aspect of service such that unless you have a large Twitter following or a TV station at your back you can’t get anyone to listen to you? We spend half our lives screaming at machines, like Alexa, dismantle late capitalism please.

Journalism should be useful, but what is useful to someone who has no money for rent in a segment about Amazon Prime Day? Or Black Friday? What is useful about one person getting their insurance company to listen to them if there are thousands who can’t be heard?

I really don’t love the implication that the only kind of news you can “use” is something that affects what you can buy. Voting information is news you can use. Crime reports are news you can use. Political and policy debates involve news you can “use” to live your life in a goddamn democracy, let’s really get crazy here. Once you accept the premise that ALL news is useful you really start to see what can be done.

Kids in cages is news you can use, to let them out.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

Muslim women are playing polo and kicking ass:

A.

Quote Of The Day: Farage Barrage Edition

I couldn’t resist reviving my post-Brexit vote meme before moving on to slap Nigel Farage about. On with the show, this is it.

Farage paid a visit to Sydney, Australia and trashed the royals to a group of Ozzie wingnuts

The Brexit party leader was laudatory about the Queen – “an amazing, awe-inspiring woman, we’re bloody lucky to have her” – but abused her son, grandson and mother.

“When it comes to her son, when it comes to Charlie Boy and climate change, oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Her mother, Her Royal Highness the Queen’s mother was a slightly overweight, chain-smoking gin drinker who lived to 101 years old. All I can say is Charlie Boy is now in his 70s … may the Queen live a very, very long time.”

I remember when British right-wingers were royalists. Additionally, the Queen Mum has been dead for seventeen years so one would think the Insult Comedian UK would let her rest in peace. Shorter Adrastos: Stay mum about the dead Queen Mum.

Farage also indulged in a bit of sexism and racism by going after Meghan Markle and her prince:

“Terrifying! Here was Harry, here he was this young, brave, boisterous, all male, getting into trouble, turning up at stag parties inappropriately dressed, drinking too much and causing all sorts of mayhem. And then, a brave British officer who did his bit in Afghanistan. He was the most popular royal of a younger generation that we’ve seen for 100 years.

“And then he met Meghan Markle, and it’s fallen off a cliff. We’ve been told in the last week that Meghan and Harry will only have two children … and we’re all completely ignoring, the real problem the Earth faces, and that is the fact the population of the globe is exploding but no one dares talk about it, no one dares deal with it, and whether Prince Harry has two kids is irrelevant given there are now 2.6 billion Chinese and Indians on this Earth.”

Remember the good old days when Harry did shit like this?

According to the Farage barrage, Harry’s soul has been hijacked by his harridan wife who has succeeded in “pussy whipping” him. And making matters worse to the bigoted Farage, she’s a woman of color and an actress to boot. Scary, scary, scary. The only trick he missed was using the Empire era slur, WOG. I guess that proves that Nigel doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. Now where have I heard that before?

I posted this Farage barrage as a reminder that other country’s politics have also gone to hell in an increasingly overcrowded handbag. And Nigel is only UK clown number two: Boris Johnson is prime minister. Bigotry is as big in Blighty as at the White House. Oy just oy.

As an antidote to Nigel’s awfulness, the last word goes to the Kinks:

 

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – Mitch is my bitch edition

Sorry – got tired of “Moscow Mitch”.

I wasn’t going to post this week, but this was too good to pass up :

Mitch McConnell Suspended From Twitter
foxnews.com ^ | August 7, 2019

Posted on 8/7/2019, 10:35:01 PM by Helicondelta

Twitter locked accounts belonging to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s and several prominent conservatives Monday, after they posted videos of left-wing protesters gathered outside McConnell’s Kentucky home — with one demonstrator calling for someone to stab McConnell “in the heart” and for McConnell to break his “raggedy” neck.

The episode prompted the McConnell campaign, known as “Team Mitch,” to slam Twitter for political bias, saying the social media platform had effectively blamed the victim.

Meanwhile, observers noted, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro remains active on Twitter, even after he posted the names of San Antonio residents who donated to Trump.

“This morning, Twitter locked our account for posting the video of real-world, violent threats made against Mitch McConnell,” McConnell campaign manager Kevin Golden said in a statement. “This is the problem with the speech police in America today.”

McConnell, 77, has been resting at home since tripping on his patio fracturing his shoulder on Sunday — and the Team Mitch account posted images showing him at his residence.

In the wake of this weekend’s deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the hashtag “Massacre Mitch” trended on Twitter — and some activists took their case to McConnell’s residence.

1 posted on 8/7/2019, 10:35:01 PM by Helicondelta
So are you posters ready for some Freeper self-examination of “Maybe that was a shit-stupid thing for McConnell to retweet”?
To: Helicondelta

 

What the hell are you GOP eunuchs waiting for? Social media is a utility and its major players are monopolistic. Regulate it.

3 posted on 8/7/2019, 10:36:28 PM by Antoninus (“In Washington, swamp drain you.”)

I didn’t think so.
To: EinNYC
I don’t do Twitter, but it seems there could be a conservative-run alternative to Twitter. Why hasn’t some conservative group been working on this? Why is Twitter being allowed to control and humiliate conservative members? 

Why isn’t there one total conservative TV station owned or funded by rich conservatives?

13 posted on 8/7/2019, 11:18:33 PM by Digger
SpitTake
To: Mr. Jeeves
For now. I guarantee they are going to ban him for his “racism” before the campaign gets going next year.

When it comes to Trump, they are in a pickle. If they deplatform him, his campaign will start an alternative to Twitter and every last one of his millions of followers will auto-deplatform and join the new-start.

Works for me – but  – what to call this startup alternative?
Twatter?
Trumpter?
Trump University? (I hear that one’s available)
Das Sturmer?
Doing that would be the beginning of the end of monopoly social media. Hopefully, they’re stupid enough to do it.
93 posted on 8/8/2019, 9:34:53 AM by Antoninus (“In Washington, swamp drain you.”)
Hopefully, YOU’RE stupid enough to try it.
To: All

 

I fully expect them to suspend Trumps account next year using the excuse of “fairness” during the upcoming election. I have no clue what Trump will do.

100 posted on 8/8/2019, 9:46:43 AM by gibsonguy

That makes two of you.
.
A little bit more below the folderol

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The World Is Ever Ending

This fucking week, honestly.

“Maybe next time we have a week, they can try not to pack it completely to the fucking brim with explosions, mutilations, death, manhunts, lies, weeping, and the utter uselessness of our political system,” said basically every person in America who isn’t comatose or a complete sociopath. “You know, maybe try to spread some of that total misery across the other 51 weeks in the year. Just a thought.”

“Gotta hand it to this week, though,” added the entire American populace, laughing and crying at the same time. “It’s a motherfucker.”

Members of the press, what the fuck: 

“What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying,” O’Rourke said.“He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the fuck? Hold on a second. You know, I — it’s these questions that you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what he’s doing in this country. He’s not tolerating racism; he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence; he’s inciting racism and violence in this country. So, you know, I just — I don’t know what kind of question that is.”

This is the only reasonable reaction to things right now. It really is. To say to them, why are you asking questions you know the answers to? Why are you asking me to lie? For that matter, why are you asking me to tell the truth? You know the truth. If you won’t speak it, if you won’t use your voice and hands, your microphone, your words, to tell the truth in this moment, how on EARTH is that my job?

That’s the core of the frustration right now, among those of us who aren’t in the Trump cult or so horny for complacency we refuse to talk about anything at all. We see the truth in front of us and we see the people who’ve told us for decades that they’re the ones who proclaim it —righteous leaders, the sacred Fourth Estate, all our protectors of truth and democracy — pretending to a helplessness that would humiliate an infant.

You know the truth and you won’t say it and WHY, why on earth, do you know how many people dream of having the power you have? My yelling on Twitter is still a fraction of the reach of any city TV station, why are you standing there? You could push a button and save the world and you sit here asking if someone should push the button. YOU PUSH THE FUCKING BUTTON. Don’t ask me to tell you it’s okay, don’t ask me to give you cover, don’t make this my problem.

Is the president a racist, what the fuck indeed.

You know the truth. And when you know the truth a lie should be intolerable. If you’ve never carried an intolerable lie inside you I hope to God you never have to but how can you not, in the world we walk in? Do you know how much I WISH I could be a person at a party who says things like “yes, we need to return to civility in politics” instead of yelling NO IT’S ABOUT TIME WE WERE UNCIVIL ABOUT BEING KILLED, do you know how easy it is to go along to get along? The only time anyone raises their voice is when they can’t stand it anymore. Whole swaths of us can’t stand it anymore, whole swaths of us never could and never should have had to, and if you get hot for the Civil Rights movement in the history books but can’t stand it in your cul-de-sac don’t you dare ask me to make that okay for you.

And I’m sorry, scene-bros for whom things aren’t revolution-y enough to get you to put the Xbox away. I saw this stupid shit going around again earlier this week and coupled with the “why don’t Americans in Tulsa protest like they do in Puerto Rico” it made me want to put my fist through the whole internet. Sure, nothing’s ever gonna change. Good God, but have you been paying attention?

Moms Demand and Everytown are out here shouting louder than the NRA, than the NRfuckingA, did you think 10 years ago this was even a pipe dream? Ten years ago everybody was still stuck under their desks shaking in fear that the NRA would target them and now a bunch of pissed off women have them on their backs.

Republican congressman who can resign are resigning because they see the fire coming and they don’t want to burn. Old men who’ve had their jobs forever are packing up their shit and running for the door.

And the pedophiles are burning, too. I’m glad Jeffrey Epstein is dead and I hope every person named in his sordid messy indictment dies off, too, and that we as a species come together around the entirely uncontroversial notion that child rape is bad and if girls are not saying yes to you then they’re saying no. I’m glad all the disgusting #MeToo dudes are out of jobs and I don’t care one whit about any of them, we’ve managed to carry on without Charlie Rose and Al Franken. If any of my faves go down in this I feel confident in the ability of young women to handle their jobs and then some.

The world is busy being born and armchair chaossexuals are like, mad it’s not happening fast enough and I don’t know what to tell you people, I really don’t. What the fuck, maybe. History looks like it happened in a hurry because that’s how we have to remember it to move faster next time. To motivate a few more people to get off their asses and name the things in front of them for what they are. To stop waiting for somebody else to fix things and fix them already. Maybe this is what it looks like inside the tornado, maybe it’s slower in here.

I don’t know. What the fuck. This fucking week.

A.

Saturday Odds & Sods: Meet On The Ledge

Rain, Steam, and Speed by JMW Turner.

It’s the final day of one of the greatest musical festivals in the world: Fairport’s Cropredy Convention. Dr. A and I attended the event’s 40th anniversary in 2007. We actually took a tour, which gave us insider access including a chance to hang out with the super-nice members of Fairport Convention: Dave Pegg, Simon Nicol, Ric Sanders, Chris Leslie, and Gerry Conway. Nancy Covey’s Festival Tours organizes tours for people who don’t like tours. It was the trip of a lifetime and we formed many friendships that still endure. End of travelogue.

This week’s theme song was written by Richard Thompson in 1968 for Fairport’s What We Did On Our Holidays album. Meet On The Ledge is a song about death that is somehow life-affirming. It’s often played at funerals and is typically the last song played at every Fairport Convention show. At Cropredy, a cast of thousands joins the band onstage for an epic sing-along.

We have three versions for your listening pleasure: the Fairport original with Sandy Denny on lead vocals; a solo acoustic version by Richard Thompson, and Fairport and friends closing Cropredy in 2017 with Simon Nicol and Iain Matthews on lead vocals

Now that we’ve met on the ledge and seen all of our friends, let’s jump to the break.

Continue reading

Under My Thumbs Up

We all know that the Insult Comedian was raised by wolves. He whines endlessly about his own suffering but is incapable of even synthetic empathy. He had a helluva time at the hospital in El Paso bragging about the size of his rally 6 months ago. Then there’s this:

None of the adult victims of the Trump-inspired terrorist attack would meet with him so an orphaned baby was brought back to the hospital to pose with Trumpberius and his Slovenian Julia the Elder. Missing from the scene are his Caligula (Don Jr.) and Nero (Jared). Life once again imitates I, Claudius. The Trumps are certainly fiddling while America burns.

It’s all smiles and thumbs up from the Trumps. Worst photo-op ever.

The last word goes to the Who:

Surprised you, didn’t I? The Who covered Under My Thumb in protest when the Rolling Stones were busted in 1967.

Trumpism Is Hatriotism

The hatriot-in-chief hugs a flag.

You may have noticed that I love language, nicknames, and slang. I agree with Samuel G. Freedman that it’s high time to revive a venerable word that he stumbled into whilst researching right-wing populist demagogue Gerald LK Smith:

In an episode that anticipated Trump’s recent rhetoric treating representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley as disloyal foreigners and telling them to “go back home” – even though all are American citizens and all but Omar were born here – Smith told a whooping crowd, “If the Jews don’t like our country, they can go back where they came from!”

As I slogged through such muck, I found a 1945 article from the New York Herald Tribune. It recounted Smith and similarly minded demagogues trying to crash a United Nations conference in San Francisco. Describing Smith’s crew, both the headline and the story used the word “hatriots”.

That term, a pithy conflation of “hate” and “patriots”, struck me as perfectly suited to our current moment. Read in the context of Smith’s divisive career, the word clearly referred to people who wrap toxic intolerance in the perfumed cloak of patriotism.

Freedman goes on a hatriotic journey to find the origin of the word and traces it to a 1941 editorial in a small-town Hoosier newspaper. It was fairly common journalistic parlance used to describe figures with Nazistic tendencies until some time in the 1950’s.

Another compound word that came up in Freedman’s piece is Ratzis. It was coined by the voice of The Untouchables, Walter Winchell. Ratzis: I like it so much that I’ll use it in a sentence, Trumper hatriots are Ratzis. That felt good.

I plan to work hatriotism and its hatriotic derivations into my writing as much as possible. Let’s make it a hat trick and use hatriot to describe individuals who worship the Insult Comedian and his invective.

Repeat after me: Hatriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Trumpism is Hatriotism.

Friday Catblogging: Hoser

We borrowed a wet-vac from a friend. Paul Drake has gotten attached to it.

“Trump Has Dragged Us Into The Gutter”

pennywise_3_trump

Charles Blow

We are forced to look on in horror as the power of the federal government is deployed in the service of racism: the Muslim ban, the family separation policy, children in cages, trying to build a wall, efforts to restrict even legal immigration and talk of invasions and infestations.

It is still unfathomable to me that the federal government took children away from their parents without a system for reunification, that some of those children may never see their parents again.

Even if this were only one child it would be outrageous and egregious. Unfortunately, it is more than one.

I stay stuck on this point. There is a new outrage every day, but I try to remember children. If I were one of them, away in a strange place, all alone, surrounded by strangers, and my mother or father or both were taken away, how could I possibly cope? If I were the father of a child taken away from me to who knows where, and I had no idea if I would see my child again, how could I continue to function?

Meanwhile, Trump, no lie, insists his “rhetoric brings people together.” If he really believes that, he’s bugfuck nuts.

Also, too. Biden isn’t my first, second, or third choice to be the Democratic nominee, but there’s no arguing with this. And if he does get the nod, he’ll get my vote.

Pulp Fiction Thursday: Salome

You’re not seeing double. This Salome is Oscar Wilde’s play with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. You know, the book that provided the book for the Strauss opera featured yesterday. The mind still reels.

What Do You Say, Dean Baquet?

The tweet below is the first thing I saw this morning. It was shared by Picvocate columnist Stephanie Grace and she found the whole thing as baffling as I did:

Here’s the deal: Edwin Edwards was a corrupt pol whose greed brought him down. But his “inflammatory comments” were nothing like those of the Insult Comedian. The one above is self-deprecating: does anyone recall Donald Trump ever mocking himself? That’s because the joke is *always* at the expense of someone he’s out to attack and smear. And he usually kicks down, not up.

One of the harshest things Edwin Edwards ever said about an opponent was in 1983: “Dave Treen is so slow that it takes him an hour and a half to watch Sixty Minutes.”

That’s a far cry from calling people crooked, traitors, and the other stuff that comes out of Trump’s big fat bazoo and pops up on his twitter feed. That’s why I call him the Insult Comedian.

Edwin Edwards was the first Gret Stet Governor to treat black folks as full citizens. They were his electoral base, not red-hatted racists. In fact, Trump is more like the man Edwards defeated in 1991: David Duke.

Perhaps Dean Baquet has been away from Louisiana so long that he “misremembered” the nature of Fast Eddie’s outrageousness. I suggest that he read John Maginnis’ brilliant account of the Edwards-Duke race from hell: Cross To Bear. Hell, Baquet should talk to fellow Gret Stet native and Timesman Charles Blow. He gets it.

Donald Trump is a boorish crooked racist. Edwin Edwards is a charming crook but not a racist.

Dean Baquet should be ashamed of this lame excuse for his paper’s disgusting headline about Trump’s perfunctory white supremacy speech. Baquet can and should do better.