dallas fashion, circa 1971

Baggies!Ripped from the Dallas Morning News archives: Evidence that we were just as fashion-conscious in 1971 as we are today.
“In case you missed them, baggies are the latest look for men. They’re red-hot right now because they’re coming along when there is definitely a need for a change in this category of men’s wear. Baggies are fresh, and present a new appearance. They’re versatile enough to be worn as sportswear or you could add a sports coat — providing it’s the right look (wide lapels, shape and one- or two-button front, etc.).”
Also recommends a “wide belt and a pair of high-heel two-tone oxfords” and “a light-weight vest and jacket to present the layered look, which will be an important concept all over the fashion world.” And if you read to the end, you’ll find proof that baggies can snag you “a couple of shapely blondes”!

don knotts is the love god?

The trailer for the 1969 Don Knotts vehicle The Love God? (The question mark is part of the title.)
Don plays Abner Audubon Peacock, who — if you only looked at the trailer — appears to be a rather plain man who is for some reason found astoundingly sexy by women. But the actual plot involves Abner becoming the king of a soft-core porn empire, a Hugh Hefner clone. Wonder why that couldn’t get into the trailer?
The band in the trailer is called Orange Colored Sky and they take outsized pride in their appearance.
I may have to go track the movie down, since I loved Don Knotts movies when I was a kid. For some reason they were always on TV on Saturday afternoons, after the cartoons. How to Frame a Figg! The Shakiest Gun in the West! The Reluctant Astronaut! The Ghost and Mr. Chicken! And my absolute childhood favorite, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, in which Don becomes a fish and helps hunt German submarines. Man, I loved that Mr. Limpet around age 7.

kids voting column

Here’s my column from today’s paper, on why kids should be allowed to vote.
Best hate mail so far today: “How can there be anyone against kids voting?? U Liberal Assholes have no problem with dead people voting. U are a joke…nothing but a useless joke.” So glad that gentleman has the franchise!

johnny cash on cajuns, cajun food

Johnny Cash introducing America to the Cajuns on his TV variety show in 1970. Interestingly, he gets the history stuff pretty much right (bravo, Johnny!). He plays three “Cajun” songs: “Jambalaya,” “Louisiana Man,” and “Bayou Baby.”
I put Cajun in quotes there because none of the three would be considered Cajun music today. “Jambalaya” was written by the Alabama-born Hank Williams and is classic country. (Although extra credit to Johnny for pronouncing “bayou” correctly, even though it screws up the song’s rhyme scheme.) “Bayou Baby” was written by Kentuckian and Nashville legend Merle Travis. (You can tell from lyrics it ain’t Cajun; it’s a squaredance song.)
Neither one sounds even remotely Cajun; just like the Hank Williams Jr. version of “Cajun Baby” I linked to a while back, it’s trad early ’70s Nashville country using Cajun culture as a lyrical source.
(The other song, “Louisiana Man,” was written by a real Cajun, the legendary Doug Kershaw. But the song and most of his music are much more country than Cajun.)
1970 was an interesting time for Cajun culture within the larger American context. You’d already had the first glimmerings that the outside world might be interested — the 1964 Newport Folk Festival show, and the broader ethnic-group interest that came out of the civil rights movement.
But they were just glimmerings. Cajun music itself was still considered pretty strange, even by outward-looking Cajuns. These Mamou-via-Nashville country songs were the only popular outlet, and the only Cajun music they connected to were the earlier fiddle-heavy sound inspired by Western swing. And — as you can tell from Cash’s mention of it — Cajun food was still essentially unknown. (It would take Marcelle Bienvenue and a few others to get the food spread around the country.)
By the way, I just finished and can recommend Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine by Marcelle, Carl Brasseaux, and Ryan Brasseaux. (Marcelle is a longtime food writer; Carl is the chief historian of the Cajuns; Ryan is Carl’s son and a folklorist.) It could have used another copy edit and some less academic writing in spots (you can tell pretty clearly what’s in Marcelle’s voice and what’s in Carl’s more academic one), but it’s an excellent look at the degree to which Cajun food is a post-WWII invention.
Also, here’s an interesting piece on the role of Cajuns in the Louisiana Hayride, which gets at the sort of Cajun/country mixing that was going on from an early date.

bad headlining

Crappy Journalism Of The Day: This piece on CNN Money I just ran across.
Headline: “Boomers don’t trust direct deposit.” Opening paragraph:

Unlike today’s seniors, the next generation of retirees is old-fashioned about direct deposit of paychecks and other payouts — according to a survey released Tuesday, the “kids” don’t trust it.

Boy, that makes baby boomers seem awful paranoid, doesn’t it? Those crazy Luddites!
But reading on you learn that the survey found that 59 percent of baby boomers actually use direct deposit. And of those who didn’t, only 19 percent said the reason was because they didn’t trust it.
That’s 19 percent of the 41 percent. That means that a grand total of about 7 percent. So, only about 7 percent of baby boomers don’t use direct deposit because they don’t trust it. (Plus or minus the 2.6 percent margin of error.)
And that’s supposed to justify the headline: “Boomers don’t trust direct deposit.” And: “Unlike today’s seniors, the next generation of retirees is old-fashioned about direct deposit of paychecks and other payouts — according to a survey released Tuesday, the ‘kids’ don’t trust it.”
Since roughly 10 percent of Americans are left-handed, it actually would have been more accurate to headline a story: “Boomers are left-handed.”
And the study (at least the feds’ press release online) doesn’t include similar “trust” data from current seniors. I’d bet you anything that while seniors are more likely to use direct deposit, more than 7 percent of them cite the trust issue as a reason for not using it. In other words, I’d bet the headline and opening aren’t just exaggerated; they’re exactly wrong.
It also ignores all the other reasons why baby boomers would be less likely to use direct deposit. The most obvious: Social Security allows direct deposit of all its checks, so all seniors can have direct deposit if they want it. Not every baby boomer works for a company that allows direct deposit, which will quite naturally reduce the numbers. Also, baby boomers are much less likely than seniors to have trouble getting around town on their own, which likely means some seniors who would like to go to the bank once a month don’t have that option.

mitterand’s last meal

Francois Mitterand’s last meal. What a pleasantly epic way to go.

After being diagnosed with cancer, Mitterrand spent time in Egypt communing with the Pharaohs, contemplating a suitable last act for a man of his stature. He decided to have his last act involve a meal – the centerpiece of which was ortolan, a tiny, yellow-throated songbird that is said to embody the soul of France. Ortolan is a delicacy, but since it is an endangered species, it is actually illegal to eat it in France.

A typical ortolan weighs only 25 grams and is about the size of a man’s thumb. Depending on the preparation, the diner is sometimes required to first bite off the head of the bird and discard it on the plate. Then, the rest of the bird is eaten in one mouthful, including the bones and internal organs. A napkin is worn over the diner’s head to prevent the aroma from escaping.

Thirty close friends and members of Mitterrand’s family sat with him as they all indulged in this last meal of ortolan. Several members spat up the bird, which is common among first-time ortolan eaters but considered extremely gauche. Mitterrand, in a deteriorating state of health, drifted in and out of consciousness during the meal. He refused to take any further sustenance and died eight days later.

$399 a month for email

Apparently a team of researchers is attempting to determine, through scientific experiment, precisely how many really stupid rich people there are in the world. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for Millionaires24.com, which promises to provide web email for the low, low price of $399 a month.
For $4,800 a year, I’d expect a beautiful woman to read all my email aloud while lounging (tastefully nude) next to my laptop. Perhaps she could serve me grapes, also.
Hey, rich guy: Try Gmail.

luna and beulah docs

Trailer for a documentary on the final tour of Luna, the late great New York band. These “final tour” docs do start to blend together after a while; parts of this seem like a shot-for-shot remake of the documentary of the final tour of Beulah, the late great San Francisco band. But I loved Luna, as I loved Beulah, so I’ll probably track it down.
Speaking of Beulah, here’s a recent interview with its former leader, Miles Kurosky. With hints of an upcoming solo album and notes on the Miles-Bill Swan rivalry that was always just under the surface of their albums, their stage show, and that documentary. (See June 27th.) I have a special place in my heart for Miles, even though he seems like something of a prick. He’s a straightforward prick. Then again, I’m also the last Barry Bonds fan left alive.

leah shafer’s column

Congrats to Friend of Crabwalk Leah S. on the debut of her humor column in Quick. And I’ll take part of the credit/blame for the column’s name, ROTFLMAO. (As I, in an earlier incarnation, came up with the name Quick itself. At least I’m pretty sure I did. It was a brainstorming session a looong time ago.)
For the record, I recommended ROFLMAO, omitting the superfluous T and thus following Google’s advice. (2.4 million hits for the T-less, 800K for the T’d.)