Saturday, March 31, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: Vive la France!


Irresistiblement.

Ir-res-sees-TEEB-la-mon. That is what this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth happens to be -- irresistible.

In fact, this week's edition of the Big Show --
le Grand Spectacle en français, s'il vous plaît -- you may be tempted to hunt me down and me donne un bisou. Zou, bisou bisou!

THAT would be fine if you are:

a) My wife.

b) Jessica Paré, of Mad Men viral-video fame.

c) Sylvie Vartan, French "yé-yé" girl supreme from the 1960s and '70s.
ARE YOU getting an idea about this week's episode of the Big Show. I hope you are because I will cease making sense in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . .

Mairsey doates and doesey doates and littlelambsydivey. A kiddledy divey, too. Wouldn't you?

Wouldn't you???

C'est tout. Va t'en! Vite! Vite! Tu vas et écouter au grand spectacle!

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

In Louisiana, it's 'the some people's house'


The governor of my home state is as dark as its fertile alluvial soil. Lucky for him, he's not darkest Africa but instead kind of India inky, which is almost as good as white.

Otherwise, he might feel anything but at home in his own house.

In most states, they call the governor's mansion "the people's house." In Louisiana, where "old times there are not forgotten," make that "the some people's house."

If your name is Piyush, you get to make yourself at home. If your name is P'Allen, not so much.

You'd like to think that 12 years into the new millennium, the mere thought would be pure foolishness --
paranoia, even. I know I'd like to think that. I'd especially like to think that about the place where I was born and raised.

But I was, after all, born and raised in Baton Rouge, and even after all these years away, I know my people. This means I was not much surprised when I saw a
Facebook post Thursday from a high-school classmate about what happened when she, an African-American educator, took her students -- not a one of them white or even "almost as good as white" -- on a field trip to the governor's mansion.

I'LL LET her tell the story:

You ALWAYS remember how a person made you feel. . . .

Even if it was on a tour of the Governor's Mansion. And on THIS day, the tour guide made me and my students feel totally invisible.

We were the only group scheduled for 10 a.m. WE were 10 minutes early, but the tour guide was late. We had to stand outside in the heat until she got there at 10:17.

I was okay with that. It happens.

A lady arrived with her daughter and informed me that she was told she could take the tour with our group because she couldn't come this afternoon as scheduled. Her daughter's drawing was selected in a contest and was on display.

I was okay with that. I congratulated her.

When we were finally allowed inside, the tour guide was rushed, (as happens when you're late), and proceeded to imply that we should be "honored" to be in the presence of the little girl whose drawing was on display!

I smiled. I could tell that this was NOT going to be memorable for the right reasons.

I must have Democrat written across my forehead, because the tour guide placed so much emphasis on the accomplishments of the Republican governors that my students were left with the impression that the other governors let the mansion rot away!

Okay.

We patiently waited while she took photos of the little girl whose drawing was on display.

The bitter pill came when our part of the tour was coming to an end. She brought out brochures, and I thought, "Great, the kids will have a souvenir of their visit to the Governor’s Mansion!” She politely placed a brochure into the hands of the little girl and her mother. Then, she walked towards me and casually tossed the other brochures onto the table!

I felt my left eyebrow lift (think Spock), and as I turned to my students, felt my heart drop, because their facial expressions showed that they KNEW she had slighted them . . . it was as obvious to them as it was to me. As I placed the brochures into their hands, I felt guilty that I brought them to a place where they were made to feel less than other people in the room.

Yes, unfortunately, you ALWAYS remember how a person made you feel. . . .
AS A SOUTHERNER of a certain age, I've always remembered what I saw when "integration" came to my elementary school in 1970. I know how the lone two black children were made to feel there. I know that when I befriended the little black girl in my fourth-grade class, a teacher told me I had crossed a line.

That I had broken a taboo.

That it just didn't look right.

Some things never change. Some people never change. Some places never change . . . much. Louisiana is at the top of the list -- again. And again for all the wrong reasons.

When I read the hours-old words of my old Baton Rouge High friend, a fellow member of the Class of 1979, I saw ugly scenes and heard ugly words four decades old. Sitting in my studio in Omaha, Neb., I again was that little boy standing on the playground at Red Oaks Elementary in Baton Rouge, La. -- the one who didn't know his proper place was with his own kind.

I was the crab who had tried to escape the bucket. Just when I was getting to know a black girl as a person and as an equal -- and liking it . . . and liking her -- I felt the pinch of a claw, and suddenly I was being dragged back into the whites-only bucket. Our bucket, even amid court-ordered "integration," was separate and more equal.

NO MATTER how "common" and working-class my background, the powers that be -- however grudgingly -- were obligated to politely hand me my brochure, just like the little white-girl artist and her mama at the Louisiana governor's mansion. For my African-American fourth-grade friend, it was good enough to snottily pitch hers on a table and walk away.

And they did, too.

Obviously, I noticed this as a 9-year-old white kid in Louisiana. Don't think that a group of black children -- my friend's students from her Christian school -- didn't notice the same, and more, Thursday at "the some people's house":
We had a brief discussion this afternoon, and the kids were able to express some of their feelings...mostly anger. They hadn't missed any of it. They even brought up the fact that she ignored us when she arrived . . . and we were standing next to the entrance waiting for her! I told them we would talk more about it tomorrow, after we've had time to calm down.
THERE'S YOUR "slice of life" -- Thursday, March 29, 2012 -- from the part of Dixieland where I was born.

Look away, look away, look away. . . .

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Listen to the story of a man named Earl


There ain't that much to a banjo -- four or five strings, plastic or parchment or an animal skin stretched across a round frame, a bridge and a neck.

Some have backs, others don't. It's a pretty humble instrument, brought to this country by African slaves and put to good use by hill people in the American South.

But, boy, did Earl Scruggs make it sing, sing like no one had before. And ol' Earl -- who rose to fame with his bluegrass partnership with Lester Flatt -- was a pretty fair guitar picker, too.

People my age first made the acquaintance of Flatt and Scruggs via The Beverly Hillbillies -- they performed the theme song of the 1960s comedy and made a guest appearance or three. If we were smart, we took notice because we were amazed at the musicianship.

It's kind of like
"What's the banjo without Earl Scruggs?"

WE'RE going to find out. Earl Scruggs died today at age 88, according to this Associated Press story:
Scruggs' son Gary said his father died of natural causes Wednesday morning at a Nashville, Tenn., hospital.

Earl Scruggs was an innovator who pioneered the modern banjo sound. His use of three fingers rather than the clawhammer style elevated the banjo from a part of the rhythm section — or a comedian's prop — to a lead instrument.

His string-bending and lead runs became known worldwide as "the Scruggs picking style" and the versatility it allowed has helped popularize the banjo in almost every genre of music.

The debut of Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys during a post-World War II performance on The Grand Ole Opry is thought of as the "big bang" moment for bluegrass and later 20th century country music. Later, Flatt and Scruggs teamed as a bluegrass act after leaving Monroe from the late 1940s until breaking up in 1969 in a dispute over whether their music should experiment or stick to tradition. Flatt died in 1979.

They were best known for their 1949 recording "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," played in the 1967 movie "Bonnie and Clyde," and "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" from "The Beverly Hillbillies," the popular TV series that debuted in 1962. Jerry Scoggins did the singing.


(snip)

Scruggs will always be remembered for his willingness to innovate. In "The Big Book of Bluegrass," Scruggs discussed the breakup with Flatt and how his need to experiment drove a rift between them. Later in 1985, he and Flatt were inducted together in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"It wasn't a bad feeling toward each other as much as it was that I felt I was depriving myself of something," Scruggs said. "By that, I mean that I love bluegrass music, and I still like to play it, but I do like to mix in some other music for my own personal satisfaction, because if I don't, I can get a little bogged down and a little depressed."

He said he enjoyed playing because "it calms me down. It makes me satisfied. Sometimes I just need to pick a few tunes."

I GUESS NOW we'll have to make do with the records. And the old videos of our memories of a time when giants strode across our culture.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Justice for Walgreens!


I just love how principled and socially conscious today's young people are, don't you?

When faced with the senseless shooting death of a Miami teenager amid questionable circumstances, these south Florida high-school youth responded by giving the rest of us a much-needed lesson in civics. A lesson in responsibly seeking redress of societal grievances.

They peacefully and respectfully demonstrated in favor of a full and fair investigation of the death of Trayvon Martin, calling for racial harmony and enforcement of the law free of favor or prejudice. Bless their little hearts.


The youth remained orderly, looking straight ahead as they sang hymns while an angry white mob ransacked North Miami Beach Senior High School, pummeling and spitting upon many of the nonviolent teens.

OOPS. My bad. I was watching a web video of Eyes on the Prize while I was checking out the national news, and I got kind of confused.

Note to self: Contemporary TV news reports are never on 16-millimeter back-and-white film. It's all videotape or digital video now . . . and in living color.



THE FOOTAGE from Friday's teenage protest in North Miami Beach is immediately above. Again, my apologies for the mix-up.

No, it seems that during last week's protest, a mob of little barbarian hooligans decided that "justice for Trayvon" entailed ransacking a local Walgreens.

This is because, for one thing, being angry justifies anything in today's culture and, for another, rumor has it that George Zimmerman, the Sanford, Fla., neighborhood-watch guy who shot the youth last month, "liked" the drugstore chain on
Facebook once. I think.

Local 10 television news got it straight from the junior lynch mob's mouths:
"I don't think they were doing it, like, to be malicious or whatever. They were just in the moment where they weren't really thinking right because they were so angry," said student Jenny Sincere.

"It showed bad character because that's not what we were out there for," student Eric On-Sang said. "A few just made us look really bad."

Some students admitted Tuesday to being part of the rampage.

"I'm not going to lie. I was one of the people that was pushing in there because I was mad," one student said.

When asked whether the incident may have hurt their cause, student Christopher Paul said, "Yeah, it kind of did, yeah. I was just angry. I don't know what the rest of them were doing. I was just trying to make a point for Trayvon. That's it."
WELL, so long as they were trying to make a point.

Consider it made.

Mother of the Year

A woman had her children take the rap for a fire that severely burned her boyfriend, authorities allege.

Surveillance cameras showed Tanesha Beard, 30, buying two one-gallon gas containers at a gas station a half-hour before the fire that severely burned and critically injured Jermaine Westbrook, Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said.

On Friday, authorities reported that Beard's two children a 12-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl admitted setting the fire and mentioned watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

That appears now to have been a foil designed to cover for their mother, Kleine said.

Kleine said charges will be dropped against the children. However, they and two other children will remain under the supervision of state Health and Human Services officials.

Kleine charged Beard Tuesday morning with first-degree arson, first-degree assault and four counts of child abuse.

Relatives said Beard started the fire to hurt her boyfriend, and then blamed her children because she thought they would escape serious punishment..

Beard, who could not be reached for comment Monday, interrupted a juvenile court hearing Friday and claimed she set the fire. Douglas County sheriff's deputies removed her from the room. 

F*** Google

After a year of resistance, it's about to become futile.

I'm going to get the new, "improved" Blogger interface whether I want it or not. In fact, I'm using it now.

And I hate it.

Perhaps "hate" is too weak a word. All right, I loathe it. Despise it. 

It sucks.



OF COURSE,
some things are easier -- allegedly -- with the new interface. Adding a video, for example. But not that much easier, and you get what you get. You can't change the size that way . . . see?

You can't customize the size of your photos, either. There's small, medium, large, extra large and original size. Before -- unless you were foolish enough to try to post to your blog from the Google Chrome web browser -- you could drag a corner of a picture and make the thing as large or small as you wanted.

If you'd like to try that with the new interface, dig into the HTML code, open up your calculator program and do the math. See the "TV set on acid" above? Did the math to get it that size.

I hate math -- even the easy stuff like that. Maybe I should invent a proportion wheel marked off in pixels.

Homogenization and standardization is the way of our postmodern, corporate world, though, isn't it? You know what? I resign. I quit. I refuse to be the idiot against whom everything must be "proofed."

If you want to be a cog -- or an idiot -- go ahead. Not me. I'm about this close to going off to live in a shack in the woods.

And this blog is now officially on life support . . . not that the world would come to an end if it did. Anyway, that's what I'm thinking. Your mileage may vary.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Who needs radio? Not Mad Men


Back when Top-40 radio was in on the national conversation, it could take a song from a TV show and turn it into a hit record.

The last time I
remember this happening was in the mid-1990s when Friends debuted on the small (and low-def) screen. And now?What is this "radio" that you speak of?

Don Draper, superb Mad Man ad man that he is, don't need no stinkin' radio to stir the cultural pot. He just needs a TV show, iTunes and social media.

And now, a mere 24 hours after appearing on the HD screen in living rooms across America, the new Mrs. Draper -- otherwise known as actress Jessica Paré -- had taken her remake of the Mad Men-era "Zou Bisou Bisou" to No. 109 on the iTunes "Top Songs" chart with a bullet.

Or at least an
amazing pair of . . . uhhh . . . fishnet stockings.

OH, you also can buy "Zou Bisou Bisou" as a 7-inch vinyl single on the Mad Men website.

From the
Chicago Sun-Times:
Showing a lot of leg — and chutzpah — the new Mrs. Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) delivered a sexy serenade to her husband at his surprise 40th birthday party, purring the early ’60s French pop song “Zou Bisou Bisou.”

The French-Canadian chanteuse’s performance made the unflappable Don Draper blush and his co-workers’ jaws hit the floor, while the Twittersphere lit up and countless viewers were infected with an earworm that sounds like Scooby Dooby Doo.

“At the time, I was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m new on this show and the first thing I have to do is an entire song-and-dance routine for the whole cast of “Mad Men,’’ ’ ” said Pare, who catapulted from a peripheral character last season to center stage in Sunday’s premiere. The two-hour episode drew a series-high 3.5 million viewers, a 21 percent increase over last season’s premiere.
MAINTENANT, MES AMIS, je te présente la version 1961 de «Zou Bisou Bisou» par chanteuse anglaise Gillian Hills:


A high-tech lynching


Back in the bad old days, not every victim of a white lynch mob was innocent.

History, rightly, has been no kinder to those who dragged a guilty black man off to the nearest lamp post or tree, put a rope around his neck and hanged him than its unblinking eye has been to those who did the same to an innocent African-American. Justice always has been more about the process -- and fairness -- than it has been about the outcome.

All earthly justice requires is that we do right, play fair and hope for the best. Ultimate justice, we must remember, is not in our hands.

Of course, history also -- unavoidably -- loves irony. That's because people so often forget their own history . . . and its lessons. Fairness is always all about us, not the other guy.

And especially not about The Other guy.

Welcome to the transformation of a movement that started out as a quest for "justice" for Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager shot to death by a "citizens patrol" volunteer. Now it's just a photo-negative version of an old-time Southern lynch mob.

It probably is no surprise this is happening in a state long noted for its citizens' inability to work and play well with one another.


PERSONALLY, I think the neighborhood-watch guy, George Zimmerman, well might be guilty of something in the shooting of the 17-year-old. That's my judgment based on extremely incomplete information from the national press -- the same information the lynch mob for "justice" is going on. Probably more, actually.

I think the guy probably was a paranoid-type police wannabe who stereotyped a harmless kid because he looked like the unending bad news out of black America, as reported by your local Eyewitness Action NewsCenter team. I think Zimmerman decided he was Dirty Harry, got in way over his head, things got out of hand, the man with handgun panicked . . . and an innocent kid ended up dead.

I think Zimmerman could be convicted of something, but likely not premeditated murder or a "hate crime" -- a term many have thrown around recklessly. I also think, Florida being Florida, that the guy might get off scot-free.

I believe Florida just might burn before all this is over with.

Of course, my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it. And so are those of the "Justice for Trayvon" protesters.

In our system, the only opinions that are supposed to matter are a judge's and jury's. Right now, "justice" has nothing to do with an arrest. Justice has everything to do with ensuring a full and fair investigation.

Justice likewise has nothing to do with media tripe like the NewsOne (for Black America) blurb convicting Zimmerman of first-degree murder before the man is even arrested for . . . anything. In legal terms, this is what is called "actionable."

In journalism school, this is what we learned not to do if we didn't want to get sued to Kingdom Come. All is fair in love and lynchings, however.

Just like the "Pussy Ass Cracker" shirt now being sold, according to The Smoking Gun. The one with George Zimmerman's face on it.

Then again, if you're already lynching somebody, there's not exactly any point in not being racist about it.

Meet the black boss. Same as the white boss. We'll get fooled again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bonne anniversaire à moi


Happy birthday to me.

A wonderful three-martini and duck à l'orange dinner on the town with my honey and dear friends.

Kicking back and listening to the 1957 Julie London album I bought from the used-record bins earlier in the day.

No, it wasn't exactly akin to Don Draper's surprise party on Mad Men tonight, with the big crowd of people, hepcats smoking weed on the balcony and the ooh la la burlesque en français. If it were, I'd probably end up, at age 51, having a heart attack just like Roger Sterling did a couple of seasons back.

And -- as the paramedics loaded me into the rescue squad -- I'd be thinking "Well, that was stupid. And I don't even like slutty French burlesque."

No, I'm a quiet roast duck and martinis kind of guy, content to spend the evening with friends and with my new wife . . . of almost 29 years. (No, seriously, I don't think the woman ages. Let's see Draper's trophy wife in 1994, eh?.) That suits me -- just like the '50s jazz on the old record player.

And I don't have to worry whether the rescue squad will let me take my martini to the hospital in a go cup.

Friday, March 23, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: Got good as you give


It's less than an hour until my birthday, so don't expect that I'm killing myself thinking up a clever and witty description for this week's show.

Besides, 3 Chords & the Truth can stand on its own without a fancy sales job.

And this week, I got just as good as I give. That's your only clue.

Does that make any sense to you?
Ask me if I care. On to the Big Show.

Now where's my beer?

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

'Pretend it's Obama!'


Louisiana strikes again.

And again.

And again.

Sunday evening, at Greenwell Springs Baptist Church in Central, near Baton Rouge, the pastor told the congregation at a Rick Santorum rally that "this nation was founded as a Christian nation." And if you don't like how we roll in that regard,
"Get out!"

"There is one God, and his name is Jesus!" shouted the Rev. Dennis Terry.

In the sanctuary, a massive American flag hung behind him. On the video of his remarks, nowhere could you see a cross.


THEN on Wednesday, Saints fans all across Louisiana became irate that the National Football League hammered their team over its practice of paying bounties for injuring opposing players. The fine, Christian people of the Gret Stet may believe, technically, in "Thou shalt not kill" but point out that the good book never said "Thou shalt not cripple the other team for cash."

Besides, everybody else does it.

And today, during a Santorum event at a West Monroe shooting range, a woman in the crowd drawled "Pretend it's Obama!" as the Republican presidential candidate, .45 in hand, drew a bead on a silhouette target.

People around her laughed.

BECAUSE that's how people roll in the Christianest part of Christian America -- "Thou shalt not kill . . . unless it's that commerniss son-of-a-bitch Barack Obama." It's in the Bible -- somewhere in the black . . . uh, back.

"And if you don't love America, and you don't like the way we do things, I have just one thing to say. Get out!"

I think the "or else" is -- click -- understood.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Calling Oliver Stone. . . .


Bobby Hebert is a paillasse.

"Spud" McConnell, too. And when you're un paillasse -- a clown en français -- you say crazy s***. Like this March 6 conspiracy theory from the WWL radio hosts about how the NFL is out to get the Saints because everybody's jealous of the team -- and New Orleans.

Cher, ça c'est fou! That's just nuts.

I am from Louisiana. I am -- was? -- a Saints fan from the beginning in 1967. And I have lived away from there for a long time now.

I ASSURE everyone in the Crescent City that no one is jealous of Louisiana. No one.

No one is jealous of the Saints now. No one.

I said in January, in relation to another of the former New Orleans quarterback's antics, that sometimes it takes a couyon, which is a lot like a paillasse. This is not one of those times.

Now is time for a team, and a city and a state, to acknowledge that bad actions have bad consequences, not make crazy-ass excuses and spin stupid-ass conspiracy theories in a sad effort to evade what's plainly evident to everybody else -- the Saints were a dirty, crooked outfit.

I realize, of course, that for Louisianians like Hebert, a 300-year habit can be difficult to break. But now is as good a time as any to give it a try.


SEE, that wasn't so hard, was it, Bobby? From March 6 to Wednesday, almost a 55-percent reduction in crazy and nobody spontaneously combusted or anything. Good job. Keep it up.

Now, I'm not gonna be holding my breath, now. . . .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Law of the jungle . . . and Saints fans


The NFL commish hammered the New Orleans Saints today for general crookedness and lying through their teeth.

Saints fans are shocked, shocked that Roger Goodell would suspend Coach Sean Payton for a year, among other stiff penalties levied against the team, after the league uncovered a ongoing "bounty" for taking out targeted opposing players. This is because Louisiana's famously formerly incarcerated former governor, Edwin Edwards, didn't just happen and wasn't some sort of isolated historical freak of nature.

Culture matters. Sometimes, it has a funny way of manifesting itself. Like now.

Former pro defensive lineman Warren Sapp, now an analyst on the NFL Network, today "reported" that former Saint receiver Jeremy Shockey was the "snitch" who blew the whistle on the team's scheme. That was all outraged New Orleans fans -- in website comboxes and all over Facebook -- needed for them to go all ghetto on Shockey for "snitching," no matter the veracity of Sapp's "sources":

* Shame Shame Shame....I had heard it was Fujuta, which really upset me...Shockey sounds about right.... :( Glad he's gone

* Somehow, if it is him, I am sadly not surprised. We all saw the way he acted towards our players when the saints played the panthers. Such a poor sport. [No, "sportsmanship" is Jonathan Vilma offering $10,000 to anyone knocking the Vikings' Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC Championship Game. Yeah, that's the ticket.-- R21]

* People knew it was Shockey from day 1. & no one's career was ended. It's football not freaking line dancing. They were not out to kill players perhaps reaggravate injuries already bothering players.

* Inspiration for a new t-shirt! No one likes a snitchy Shockey!! His face on a neutra rat's body.

* I KNEW IT. As soon as the story broke I said he was the snitch. Bottom line, it happens all over the NFL - it is not right - we got caught and are being made an example of.

* Its wide open, its reported and its been verified by vets. So if you think the Saints should be the personal Jesus for every team that did this and played like its not real then I cant understand your opinion. There was only two illegal hits in that nfc championship and one was the vikings hitting Brees late.
Even with the bounty the players kept the hits clean. I can think of a lot more dirty hits that were bounties. How bout Montana, 91 Championship, Gannon in the Playoff game where Saragusa surfed him like a west coast wave.....Rodney Harrisons entire dirty career... lol. If you are going to judge then judge em all, dont cherry pick the Saints.
The penalty is too much. Fines and draft picks maybe but suspension for years is ridiculous. The league has officially went wuss trying to duck these ex-players lawsuits. The nfl is a crap company. If they are going to penalize the Saints then they need to start paying those old guys who cant talk.... Plain and simple. Lets go ahead and get all the dirty laundry out.
This hole thing is about lawsuits, lameness, and political correctness. Don't buy into it and throw rocks at the Saints by themselves. The nfl has a lot of nerve to duck out on this and point the finger at the Saints. Its a scapegoat, plain and simple.


*
Hey Warran, Thanks for telling us who the snitch was We pulled his butt out of NY and gave him a chance to become something .. this is the thanks you get

* C I L L Jeremy Shockey.
I THOUGHT I had said my piece March 7 after Sports Illustrated came out with a damning article about the Saints' bounty scheme. After wasting too much time and too many brain cells being reminded today about why I'm damn well rid of the Gret Stet, I think I have one last thing to say to my fellow Saints fans.

Make that
former fellow Saints fans.

Anyway, here it is:
Dear Outraged Saints Fans:

Wow, it seems you folks like your football exactly the way you like your politics -- crooked. I look forward to y'all praising those who refuse to tell the cops a damned thing about New Orleans' 199 murders last year . . .
because nobody likes a "snitch," right?

The Saints broke a major rule of the league -- intentionally trying to injure targeted opposing players for cash rewards -- and they did it flagrantly, brazenly and repeatedly. Then the players and coaches covered it up. And all you outraged moral cyphers think the National Football League, Commissioner Roger Goodell and the "snitch" are the problem here.

Come to think of it, that explains a hell of a lot about Louisiana and its place on the bottom of all the good lists and the top of all the bad ones.

If you ask me, the Saints got off easy. I would have given Sean Payton what Gregg Williams got. I would have banned Williams for life, and I would have given General Manager Mickey Loomis what Payton got. I would have fined the team $1 million, and I would have thought hard about banning the franchise from competition for a year.

That would be a message no franchise could ignore.

And I don't want to hear another word about "everybody else was doing it, too." That bulls*** didn't fly with your mama, and it sure as hell won't fly anywhere else, either.

Ultimately, that's not what really gives me the reds. What gives me the reds is that -- just like Louisiana voters -- Saints fans like those on display here today are too damned stupid -- too damned lacking in self-respect -- to realize that, ultimately, it is themselves who have been conned, toyed with and dishonored.

You stuck with a crappy-ass team for four and a half decades, put your faith in it as a symbol of renewal after Katrina and, finally, cried tears of joy when the Saints won the Super Bowl . . .
and it was all a sham. As it turns out, there was a good reason that 2009 defense was so salty, a good reason the Saints won it all -- several coaches and many players were dirty. They cheated like hell.

They gave the NFL rule book
(not to mention gullible ol' you) the finger. The bird. The middle-digit salute.

Suckers.

And for what it's worth, I include myself among the Saints' suckers . . . ever since 1967. Fool me once. . . .
HERE IS the short version: Stop your sobbing, because America isn't listening. You get no sympathy for your NFL team being as crooked as your politicians.

And, apparently, you.

Good night, and good luck. You'll need it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I . . . I . . . uhhhhh . . . you . . . well . . . HUH???


This may be the single most idiotic thing I have ever seen in print.

This is so factually wrongheaded -- and concerning some pop-culture knowledge so basic -- that I suspect it may have been written and edited by space aliens undercover at
The Gateway, the student newspaper at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

You won't believe it. You won't buy a word of it. You'll go slack-jawed. Unless, of course, you're 5 years old . . . or you're a space alien, too.

OK, here it is:

An interesting thing I've heard is that pop radio is an Omaha invention. When I asked Montez about this historical lore, he had some compelling details to add. He said that during some refurbishing in the Benson area, his father recovered memorabilia from a restaurant called Sandy's Escape.

In 1944, Sandy Jackson, who is considered Omaha's first pop disc jockey, got the chance to do a live one-hour show from 11 p.m. to midnight playing groups like The Hollies, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Beach Boys and The Mamas and the Papas on KBON radio.
[Emphasis mine -- R21] Soon, he added "The Rhythm Inn" in the afternoon, and by 1946, he was on the air opposite WOWT (Woodmen of the World-TV) star radio host Johnny Carson.
IN FACT, should you follow the link and read this January article about the Omaha roots of Top-40 radio, be aware that it contains pitifully few facts amid an ocean of inaccuracy and sheer ridiculousness. In fact, had an editor cared to actually edit the story, he or she couldn't have -- the only remedy would be to start from scratch.

And by "scratch," I mean start by
not interviewing Channel 94-1 disc jockey Montez, because the man either is clueless or was pulling the reporter's leg. Then, after not repeating that first fatal error, the writer would have to re-research the article and conduct interviews with people who know what the hell they're talking about.

He could start here. And here.

After, of course, he relived a major portion of his young life --
this time paying attention.

It takes a lot to shock me after 51 years on God's green earth. This newspaper feature did the trick.

Way to go,
Gateway.

Bustin' a cap in the motherf****** culture

This is about a rap concert. Of course it's NSFW.


The review of rapper Tyga's Omaha show came in before it was even over -- a "hater" threw a garbage can on the stage.

As you can see above, Tyga be hatin' on some motherf****** bad press from "niggas" in the motherf****** front row. And he was going to take it outside after doing one more motherf****** song for his fans at the Sokol Auditorium in south Omaha.

Nobody ever accused rappers of being smart -- certainly nobody reading today's
Omaha World-Herald:
National touring rapper Tyga said “haters” started a fight during his Omaha concert Monday night that ended in street gunfire and two of his people shot.

He could be right.

According to people at the show, an Omaha rapper's grudge over being barred from the Sokol Hall stage might have fueled a fight between members of the audience and Tyga.

What began with threats erupted into an all-out fight toward the end of Tyga's performance. Water bottles, then trash cans were thrown on stage.

Tyga returned the challenge with racial slurs and an invitation to meet him outside after the show.

Someone did - armed with a gun, according to Omaha police.

A black sedan followed the Young Money performers' tour van and shot and injured two of the ten occupants, Omaha police said.

Sochitta Sal, 19, better known by her rap name Honey Cocaine, was shot in the arm. Derrick Lowe, 20, of New York, was grazed on his hip.

The van's occupants called 911 about 11:30 p.m. to report that they had been shot at and were being chased. They drove to the fire station at 16th and Jackson Streets for help. Police later found bullet casings near 16th Street and Deer Park Boulevard, a little less than a mile from the Sokol at 13th and Martha Streets.
ANOTHER NIGHT in what passes for the life of the hip-hop anticulture. You know, the one rotting away what now passes for American culture like metastasizing cancer cells.

If you look at these cancer cells under the microscope, you see that they look just like fools weighted down with ridiculous jewelry and with their butts hanging out of their saggy-ass pants. According to leading research oncologists, they derive nourishment from the vulgar and the inane -- and preferably a combination of the two, such as Tyga's rap "Orgasm":
she gon have a f***** orgasm
she gon have a f***** orgasm

uhh, beat, beat it like the melody
she gon bend it over, hands on her knees
she gon have a f***** orgasm
she gon have a f***** orgasm
put it deep where she tellin me
rock her like a baby she gon fall asleep
after she had a f***** orgasm
she had a f***** orgasm
uhh
NO, THAT'S all you're getting of that. The above excerpt was either the high point or the low point of "Orgasm." Take your pick.

Uhh.


I'd like to think Tyga's "haters" shot up his van due to some psychotic break brought on by grievously offended artistic and cultural sensibilities.


Probably not, though.

Uhh.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The big tearjerker of 1938


If you're my age, you remember Bob Hope as the funny older guy who entertained the troops in 'Nam and had a Christmas special on TV every year.

You remember him for old "Road" movies on the television -- in the afternoon, late at night or on weekends. You remember the friendly rivalry with old pal Bing Crosby.

If you're a generation older, you remember the movies at the Bijou, the Paramount or the Orpheum, Hope entertaining the troops during World War II and "Bye bye and buy bonds." You remember the radio and TV shows, and Bob Hope: Biggest Thing Ever.

All of us remember "Thanks for the Memories," Hope's theme song with lyrics written for the particular occasion. But do you remember "Thanks for the Memory," the duet with Shirley Ross in The Big Broadcast of 1938 that made Hope the star he was to be?

. . . thanks for the memory
Of lingerie with lace, Pilsner by the case
And how I jumped the day you trumped my one-and-only ace
How lovely it was!

We said goodbye with a highball
Then I got as "high" as a steeple
But we were intelligent people
No tears, no fuss, Hooray! For us

So, thanks for the memory
And strictly entre-nous, darling how are you?
And how are all the little dreams that never did come true?
Aw'flly glad I met you, cheerio, and toodle-oo
And thank you so much.
IT'S A PIECE about divorce . . . and about love, wistful memories and loss. As the story goes -- at least as handed down in Hollywood through the years -- by the time filming of the scene with Ross and Hope (and the song) was done, the production crew was in tears.

"Thanks for the Memory" won the 1938 Academy Award for best song in a motion picture. There was a reason for that.

HBO and the 'New York n*ggers'


Pardon my French, but this happened, and I just need to tell it the way it was.

When my father died in May 2001, my most desperate wish was that Flannery O'Connor had been alive -- and there -- to help me (and, most especially, my Yankee bride) process the Southern Gothic fun house that once again surrounded us after many years in the Midwest.

There were many scenes Miss O'Connor could have offered her commentary on, but I'll just tell you about this particular one. It was a late spring evening in Baton Rouge, and we had gathered at Rabenhorst Funeral Home East -- my wife, my elderly mother and me -- for my dad's wake. Once again, for the first time in many years, the missus and I were engulfed in the barely controlled chaos that is my very large, very south Louisiana, very blue collar and very loud family.

We were standing in the front of the chapel, Daddy behind us in the casket. It was a wake, but it also was a family reunion, a potluck and a competition. If you're from where I'm from, you understand.

Anyway, we were there, and some cousins were there, and my Uncle (Deleted) had arrived a little while before. He is (Deleted) for a reason -- to protect the guilty. I owe family at least that much.

Uncle (Deleted) has a hang-up, you understand -- a not-uncommon one, which you'll see in a second. It's one my old uncle has held onto rather fiercely through the years.


After a short while, in came Uncle D., my mother's baby brother. And, no, I'm not naming him either. Always the, uh . . . eccentric, Uncle D. walked into the chapel -- down the middle aisle of the chapel -- looking like a white man's take on Huggy Bear, the black "street character" from the '70s cop show, Starsky and Hutch.

Uncle (Deleted), Mama's older brother, took one look at this spectacle -- and, remember, we were standing in the funeral-home chapel with my dead father six feet behind us -- and bellowed, "Boy, you look like a New York nigger!"

It was not a compliment.

Again, pardon my French. More importantly, pardon Uncle (Deleted)'s.

THE ABOVE video -- from "filmmaker" Alexandra Pelosi's journey to a Manhattan welfare line, as screened Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher -- is what Uncle (Deleted) was talking about. And just as Pelosi and Maher pointed out the previous week about "typical" Mississippi Republican voters, Pelosi made clear she "didn't have to go too far" in New York to find a critical mass of idiot, reprobate welfare mooches foursquare for President Obama in the coming election.

All but one were African-American.

Once again, I am not sure what Maher's or Pelosi's point is -- apart from "look at the freaks." Racists, idiots and welfare mooches exist. I'll alert the media.

And once again, I am not sure what they hoped to accomplish, apart from confirming coastal liberals' condescension toward white Southerners (Maher: "You didn't pick out these people, and they're not a microcosm of what was there.This is what everyone said to you") and, now -- despite the "context" -- white bigots' stereotypical convictions about the average black American.


I think the real message is from America's cultural elite -- via its compensated spokespeople, Bill Maher and Alexandra Pelosi -- to the country's
obviously unenlightened hoi polloi. What they want us to know, I think, is that we should be grateful they allow the likes of us to intrude upon their country, and that they allow us to do so is a sign of their intellectual and moral superiority.

Or, to quote Ferris Bueller, “It's understanding that makes it possible for people like us to tolerate a person like yourself.”

YOU KNOW what, though? People like Maher and Pelosi are intolerable. What they're doing -- branding people as The Other and holding them up to ridicule -- is intolerable. Furthermore, it's dangerous. We've seen that throughout history.

It's intolerable that, after the dirty deed was done, Maher made vague excuses for the dysfunction of the black Other ("The black guy, his legacy is real, and the white guy in the South, his legacy is a chip on his shoulder") while offering none for the Mississippi Other. Fair is fair -- everybody has a story. Everybody has his reasons for doing what he does and believing what he believes, no matter how wrongheaded the behavior or belief.

What's most intolerable, however, is what people like Maher and Pelosi have done to television . . . and us. Again. I'll give you an example.

What seems a lifetime ago, as a kid in the Deep South, the only culture I knew was a profoundly racist, segregated one. There was no "N-word" euphemism in the working-class universe of Baton Rouge -- there was the universal "nigger." If my people were being polite, "colored" or "nigra."

In the world of journalism or in the polite, for-public-consumption conversation of the cultured classes, it was "Negro."

What made "nigger" possible was the widespread (white) acceptance that the kind of thing we saw on the Maher show Friday was the normal state of blackness in America. What made it possible was the cultural conviction that any evidence to the contrary was the exception, not the rule.

What also made it possible was the belief, constantly reinforced, that maybe you couldn't be completely sure about the exceptions.

That many black folks might, in most ways, be just like you was unthinkable. Just unthinkable.

But. . . .

In the 1960s and '70s, television began to challenge the segregated party line, expanding the narrow horizons of kids like me. It's no exaggeration, I think, to say that the network TV broadcasts of that era were to the South what
Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America were to people behind the Iron Curtain.

We got to see Diahann Carroll in Julia, a black professional in an integrated world up North. We got to see Bill Cosby in I Spy. And Sidney Poitier on the movie of the week.

White kids like me were hooked on Room 222, this California vision of an integrated high school where coexistence was possible and a black man was a universally admired "cool" teacher -- a role model. It was no small thing that Room 222 prepared young minds for encounters with the real thing as integration slowly eroded the once-impermeable monolith of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."

AND WHAT television can help bring together, it also can begin to tear asunder.

That's the business Maher and Pelosi are in. In it, they join much of the rest of our culture, for which "the Other" is the next big thing.


There is a Them, we all seem to agree, and they are out to take away your money, rights, security, culture . . . whatever, and everybody is somebody's Them. Maher's and Pelosi's particular Them -- as I said earlier -- seems to be anyone not as smart, well off or "enlightened" as people like themselves.

Next stop for America 2012 is Bosnia 1993.

No doubt Alexandra Pelosi will be there with her camera.