Friday, January 12, 2018

Monday will never be the same


NOTE: This first ran in March 2009. It's running again because the man who was a big part of the life of just about every kid in Baton Rouge, La., for 35 years -- three generations of kids in some families --  died Wednesday.

It's just as well that I don't start from scratch. For one thing, I don't think I'd express myself any better now -- I said what I had to say.

For another thing, I'd be writing through tears. That just takes too damned long, frankly.

If you didn't grow up where, and when, I grew up, this story from The Advocate might give you some idea of how big a deal was "Buckskin Bill" Black:
One of Baton Rouge’s most beloved figures, William “Bill” Black, known to most as “Buckskin” Bill,” died Wednesday, according to family members.

For decades, Black appeared daily on WAFB-TV in his cowboy character, charming generations of children with his homespun, good natured presence. His children's shows, "Storyland" aired in the morning and "The Buckskin Bill Show" aired in the afternoon on the television station Monday through Friday from 1955 to 1988. At the time, it held the national record for the longest-running children's show. It shifted to a Saturday morning only show, but was canceled a year later. He retired from the station in 1990.

Black reentered the public eye in 1994 when he was elected to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board as part of a school reform initiative, replacing most of the sitting board member. Representing the Broadmoor area, Black remained on the board until 2010.

Ed Elkins, master control operator at WAFB, remembers moving from New Orleans to Baton Rouge in 1977 to work on Black’s TV show as a cameraman and later doing audio. Elkins said he knew nothing about the legend of “Buckskin Bill,” but learned quickly. When they met other people, “I would be invisible,” he recalled.

“(Black) was the star of Baton Rouge. He was the man,” Elkins said. “Just think how many children that have grown up to be icons of the community that watched his show.”

Donna Britt, WAFB’s anchor, came to the TV station in 1981 and had a similar experience.

“He was an icon from the word go,” Britt recalled. “He carried himself with dignity. He seemed to know everyone in the world.”

A family member told WAFB that Black died after getting an infection in the wake of partial hip replacement surgery that he had after breaking his hip in November. His wife, Elma, died April 5. Black is survived by a son and two daughters.

Black’s granddaughter Megan Musso said the family is still making funeral arrangements for Black.

Though Black’s show went off the air before she was born, Musso grew up with stories of her pawpaw and watching VHS tapes of his performances, but she said he never boasted about himself.

“I had lots of teachers who would ask me to do school reports on him because they admired him so much,” said Musso. “Even though I knew how much he meant to the community, he was still just my pawpaw.”

Musso, daughter of Black’s youngest child, Ginger Musso, said Black was a true performer even with his grandkids and she grew up playing the game, “Hully Gully,” before she even knew where it came from on Black’s TV show.

What will she miss? Musso offers a quick list: “His stories, his jokes. He would sing very well. And his laugh.”
ONE MORE THING. I added the above video, from Buckskin Bill's later days on "big, booming, powerful Channel 9" because it just captures what Buckskin Bill meant to all of us Baton Rouge kids . . . kids of all ages.

As Buckskin starts his trademark Monday Morning March, we see him joined in the studio by parents and their children -- a mama and a daddy who no doubt marched in front of a big black-and-white television in their living room years before. And now here they were with The Man himself, passing down a legacy of televised love to a new generation.

At the end of every show, he'd would sign off with a little advice: "You're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."

This early morning, I'm sitting here half naked as I write through my tears. Damn.
 

*  *  *


I know it's not Monday morning, and Lord knows I'm not a kid anymore. But sometimes you wish it were, and you were, because you'd like to do the Monday Morning March just one more time.

See, if you're of a certain age, and if you grew up anywhere reached by "big, booming, powerful Channel 9" in Baton Rouge, La., you most certainly grew up watching Buckskin Bill.

"Buckskin" was Bill Black,
and he did his kiddie show for something like 35 years until he got canceled in 1990. For most of those years, Black donned his buckskins twice a day -- in the morning for the little kids on Storyland and then after school for the older kids with The Buckskin Bill Show.

IT WAS A Baton Rouge rite of passage for a kid to go before the WAFB-TV cameras -- to actually share the stage with Buckskin! -- on his birthday, with a Scout troop, or in a line of kids doing the "Elephant Walk."

I'm sure no one today would be particularly impressed with a never-ending loop of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" for a soundtrack as legions of kids filed by a barrel, dropping in their saved-up pennies to buy a pair of elephants for the city's brand-new zoo. Ah, but they forget that magic is made of equal parts simplicity and cheesiness. Yes, it is.

For his first 15 years on the air, getting a zoo for the underachieving Southern city was Buckskin's cause célèbre. For years, he signed off the Buckskin Bill Show with "Remember . . . Baton Rouge needs a zoo!"

A few miles away, the competition on Channel 2, Count Macabre, would spoof this by saying "Remember, boys and girls, Baton Rouge is a zoo!" Both statements were demonstrably true.

Anyway, my turn on the Buckskin Bill Show came in March 1965. It was my fourth birthday. I brought a bottle of Bayer aspirin for Amazon relief.
 

BUCKSKIN sat me on his lap and started to ask some basic toddler-level questions. The cameras were huge. The lights were bright. I was silent.

My mother was crouched on the studio floor whispering "He's four!" Buckskin, no doubt, was wondering "Who is this woman?"

Why should the fambly be the only ones scratching their heads?

I never did say a bloody word, and Buckskin sent me on my ignominious way -- the redneck equivalent of a dumbstruck Ralphie being dispatched down the Santa slide some decades later in A Christmas Story. On the other hand, he bought us all Coca-Colas after the show.

Even preschool humiliation went better with Coca-Cola. And Holsum Bread.

Why am I writing this? Beats me. I was just thinking about Buckskin Bill -- again -- and how it's sad local television doesn't bother to make magic and memories anymore. Who does?

So there you go, the wistful musings of a middle-aged Southern boy . . . and some vintage video of the Monday Morning March from sometime near my arrival on planet Earth. It seems to me that, during a time when we fear our many crises will overwhelm us, we all need us some Monday Morning March.

Even if it is Wednesday.

Oh . . . one more thing. "Remember, you're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."


. . . and Trump knows 'em all


From The Washington Post:
President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” 
IF SHITHOLE IS as shithole does, the United States might have become the biggest shithole of them all on Nov. 8, 2016.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Get the hip boots and clothespins -- it's kinda deep in here

http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/ricketts-budget-plan-would-end-state-funding-to-health-clinics/article_2dbefe26-f4ca-11e7-8beb-3fb9246c159d.html
Today's Omaha World-Herald

“Nebraska is a pro-life state, and the state’s budget should reflect those values.”

Says the state's Republican governor in the latest Orwellian smoke signal he's trying to blow up our collective butts.

It's just bullshit. Bullshit so fragrant it could have come from America's bullshitter-in-chief, Donald J. Trump.

The state's budget under Gov. Pete Ricketts and his predecessor NEVER has reflected pro-life values, from wasting $50 grand in a botched attempt to illegally acquire execution drugs to cutting services for the disabled to (for a time) banning government-funded prenatal care for undocumented women (which actually increased both abortions and birth defects).

A pro-life state doesn't waste money on maintaining the death penalty, money that could go toward caring for "the least of these." A pro-life state doesn't have cops so ignorant of how to deal with unarmed but unruly mentally ill people that they end up tasing and beating them to death.

A pro-life state doesn't elevate to the governorship a rich-boy Dr. Evil impersonator who has no clue about governing apart from throwing his fortune behind initiatives repealing the unicameral's abolition of the death penalty and electing GOP legislators in his own misanthropic image.

SO DON'T HAND ME this hoary old horse hockey about "pro-life values" just because the dominant political party merely is foursquare for getting infants out of the womb just so it can find ways to abort the poorest ones by other means at a future date.

http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/ricketts-announces-million-in-budget-vetoes-we-don-t-have/article_ba36577c-39aa-11e7-85bd-6f2370ce493e.html
Omaha World-Herald, May 2017
"Pro-life" is not some political zero-sum proposition. Pro-life is affirming that somebody doesn't have to die for somebody else to flourish. A pro-life state isn't just against abortion, but also is for helping women through hard times and bad situations in a way that affirms the life of both mother and child.

A "PRO-LIFE STATE"  fights hammer-and-tongs against poverty, and it guarantees every resident adequate health care. And a pro-life state doesn't skimp on funding for education at any level.

A pro-life state -- the kind the governor is talking about -- is all about the ironic air quotes, and it elects right-wing bullshit artists like Pete Ricketts to spout self-serving, self-righteous bromides as he kicks the poor and the inconvenient to the curb. To be aborted postnatally when nobody is looking.

No, you can't say Nebraska is pro-life. You sure as hell can say that Pete Ricketts is pro-death.

This isn't brain surgery (which I'm sure Ricketts wouldn't want state money going for, either). Don't pay for abortions . . . and don't use abortion as an excuse to cut health-care funding while simultaneously scoring cheap political points with the booboisie.

What a tool is our Gov. Evil.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Elections have consequences


Great.

Wack and Wacker are having a d***-measuring contest with thermonuclear weapons. Who knew that voting for a bat-shit crazy fascist might result in nuclear war?

One must wonder whether life, death and posterity still matter to Americans -- particularly those who voted in favor of Götterdämmerung in November 2016. If you are among those in this accursed land who still value life, love your children and hold out hope for posterity, this tweet is what it's all about.

God help us, every one.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: A Very 3C&T Christmas

I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree


Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
I'll be home for Christmas
You can plan on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents on the tree
 
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
If only in my dreams

IT'S 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

And Merry Christmas.


Saturday, December 16, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: Show of the floating stars


Twas the week before Christmas, when all thru the show . . .

Musicians heads were floating, their bodies no mo'
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that some torsos soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
What? You think we want them to see disembodied heads?


And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my tuque,
Had just settled in and were ready to juke —‌
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the hi-fi to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, like a bat out of hell,
I grabbed my shotgun and a handful of shells.
The streetlight shown on the rain-slicked blacktop,
Revealing Jackie Gleason's head falling like a raindrop.


AND NOT just his, but Sinatra's, too,
Join Lena Horne's in a floating boogaloo.
Bodyless Webb Pierce yelled 
"3 Chords & the Truth!"
And I ran to the hi-fi -- it didn't take a sleuth.
I'd forgotten it was time for the Big Show,
And the famed floating heads were ready to go!

"Now! Frankie, now! Lena, now! Simon and Garfunkel,
"On! Frankie, on! Jackie, mind your carbuncle!
"To the top of the charts! Eschew all your clinkers!
"And we need a band -- disembodied heads got no fingers!"

This may seem strange for a Yuletide regalement,
I guess you can blame that nail-gun impalement.
Be that as it may, tell 'em from Dover to Doha,
It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

How sweet it is, the holiday of the disembodied head












Oh, holiday of the
disembodied head, how we love thy floating '50s splendor!

Thy strings are lush   . . . and so are we, for the Christmas parties are upon us.

How we adore thy understated album covers -- oh, how mine soul is made warm by the crackles of the record which spinneth upon phonograph platter!
Thy martini, thy orchestra, they comfort me! And, lo! Thy floating head on the back of thy LP cover, it doth not creep me out!
Album cover of the disembodied head. It's a '50s thing.
Instead, it giveth me the comfort of sepia memories of a time long past, when verily the heads without torso spread across record albums and advertising like grains of sand upon the ocean shore.
May thy Christmas album be flippeth unto Side B, and may the joyful, soothing sounds of mine youth sound unto the people forever more!
My cup of egg nog runneth over. Surely music and jocularity will follow me all the days of December, and the soundtrack shall evermore float upon the aether . . . like Jackie Gleason's head.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The nog is strong with this one


We're all amped up here on the Big Show as we come out of the big Thanksgiving turn and floor it down the straightaway all the way to Christmas.

That is, if we make it through December. These days. . . .

You know?

Having dispensed with the preface here, allow me to attempt a summation of this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth in but a single sentence. It may be a run-on, of course, but still. . . .

Here we go.
IT'S NOT GOOD out there as we hurtle toward what promises to be a strange Yuletide, more or less, but we're celebrating anyway because we might pull through despite everything, just so long as we can keep anyone in Washington from getting his hands on a Les Paulverizer, because that assuredly would result in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
IF THIS confuses you -- and we're sure it does -- your only recourse is to listen to the Big Show forthwith, which should allay your concerns.

I just used the word "allay." Yay, Favog!

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all.  Be there. Aloha.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Chief Sh*t for Brains strikes again


With a couple of intensive years in charm school, Il Douche (pronounced "DOO-shay") could possess enough tact and social graces to join the Ku Klux Klan.

This, America, is what we have elected president -- a deeply cruel, stupid, bigoted, tactless and mentally unstable fascist man-child. This is who represents the United States to the world . . . and who the United States comes to more closely resemble with each passing day he sullies the American presidency.

Donald Trump is a vile man and a worse president. If this is not what we are as a people -- yet -- it apparently is what the Mortal Minority would have us become.

From Politico:
President Donald Trump mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren at an event Monday honoring Native American veterans, invoking his “Pocahontas” nickname for the Massachusetts Democrat as he talked about how long Native Americans have been in America.

Trump hosted Navajo code talkers, who were recruited into the U.S. Marine Corps to communicate in the Pacific region during World War II, at the White House.

“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people,” Trump said to the group. “You were here long before any of us were here — although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special.”

Trump — who spoke in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the former president who signed the Indian Removal Act — did not mention Warren by name. But he frequently mocks her by calling her “Pocahontas,” a nickname he created during his 2016 presidential campaign. The derisive sobriquet pokes fun at Warren’s claim of Native American heritage when she was a law professor, which became a campaign issue during her 2012 Senate run.
REPENT, America. The end of us is nigh.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dem tings happen. And they usually come out.

Before

BOOM!!!!

After

A Face in the Crowd is such a powerful movie because it's so very human.

Last year, people said it predicted the rise of Donald Trump. That's correct. On the other hand, any number of students of sociology -- students of human nature and the fallenness of mankind -- saw Trump coming.

Now, we seem to be in a season of  “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known." No grope that will not be revealed, no powerful lecher that will not be known.

Charlie Rose
ONE DAY you're Harvey Weinstein.


Or Mark Halperin.

Or Glenn Thrush.

Or Kevin Spacey.

Or John Besh.

Or Jeffrey Tambor.

Or Louis C.K.

Or Michael Oreskes.



The next, after the concealed has been revealed -- and how -- you're "(Fill in the blank) who?"*

C'est la vie . . . which no one ever thinks will happen to him. Especially when he's behaving badly with women.




* -- May not apply to Alabama evangelicals. They're deviant that way.

Friday, November 17, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: Drawing the line


There's a squiggly green line separating you from a world where you'd never know there once was a San Fransisco band called The Great Society, fronted by Grace Slick before . . . you know.

Before big things happened.

And you'd never know, on the other side of the squiggly green line, that the big Jefferson Airplane hit "Somebody to Love" once was "Someone to Love," the B-side of The Great Society's first (and only) single back in 1966.

No, you'd never know that on the far side of the squiggly green line. The squiggly green line is what 3 Chords & the Truth looks like before it gets to your ears -- and into your head.

It's a good thing to be on the right side of the squiggly green line.

It's a good thing to have the Big Show in your head. In your ears, too.

Who knows what surprises and what musical edification lies on the good side of the squiggly green line? Well, there's only one way to find out.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The Kudzu Curtain


Your Mighty Favog escaped from one of the Southern -stans when he was a young man. Now he brings the best in music and information to the captive populations of his home region of the United States.

He brings young and old alike the world their governments censor. Free thought and a robust culture . . . with a beat.

This week, millions in the -stans on the American frontier will tune in to 3 Chords & the Truth for uncensored news and music -- the "in" sound from outside. Join the Big Show this week for a program of special interest to listeners in Alabamastan, "Jesus Don't Like Ugly . . . or What Don't You Get About Jailbait?"

Captive Bubbas may not be able to spell "freedom," but almost all can spell 3C&T. And that's enough to cut through the Kudzu Curtain just a little every day.

Freedom's as close as the Internet, and 'Bamastanis spell it 3C&T.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

(Apologies to the Radio Free Europe PSAs of the 1970s.)


Thursday, November 09, 2017

We'll be right back, right after these messages

Cliquez ici if you want to print this out and hang it on your bedroom wall

When your brain is 18 and the rest of you is 56 . . . and something makes you think of Mike Douglas.

File under: "Things you'll have to explain to your kids."



Saturday, November 04, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The latest thing is overrated


You can follow the crowd, stand in line, empty your bank account and get a new iPhone X-tremely expensive.

Or, you can sit in your dwelling in a toasty houserobe -- or your drawers, I really don't care -- and listen to the new 2017 iAnachronism for absolutely, positively no cost whatsoever. And it will sound just fine on your iPhone 6.

But your iAnachronism -- 3 Chords & the Truth, to be technical -- will sound better if you feed your computer into your home stereo. Preferably an anachronistic one. They sound awesome.

As usual, eclecticism reigns on the Big Show this week, as does freeformity. That's an anachronistic word. Listen to the show to catch the meaning, which has something to do with excellence in music programming.

Is what we're saying.

Also this go around, we celebrate the life and music of Fats Domino. That's all I have to say about that.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.