This story is SO New Orleans. Obit for “Mr. Okra”

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First of all, you gotta love anybody who is known as “Mr. Okra.”

The only thing better would be “Mr. Fried Okra.”

Here is a wonderful obituary in the New York Times.

It captures not only what was unique about Mr. Okra but what is unique about NOLA.

The New Orleans Advocate says his tradition will be carried on:

Mr. Okra’s truck will roll again, continuing a tradition New Orleans shares block by block

The truck will be run by his son, Sergio, and Willie “Frog” Nelson, who have been working alongside Mr. Okra.


More N’Awlins Piano: Fats’ predecessor, the great Professor Longhair playing Tipitina

Listen to blend of jazz, Cajun, rock, R&B, and Caribbean in the Professor’s classic, Tipitina.

After that you’ll find Dr. John’s homage to it, done with Johnny Winter.

Who was Tipitina? Professor Longhair’s girlfriend.

There are now a couple of clubs in NOLA named after her, complete with a bust of the Professor.

Longhair (1918-1980, given name of Roy Bird) comes before Fats and sets the stage for Dr. John.

That, my friends, is exactly how a great tradition is passed on and creatively renewed.


ZipDialog Roundup for Friday, October 6

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

Leaks that Pres. Trump plans to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal

That action doesn’t kill the multilateral deal, but it does begin a process that could.

When Trump makes his formal decision about Iran’s behavior, as he is required to do periodically by law, the Congress will then have to decide whether to reimpose sanctions.

Comment: The issue is complicated because (1) the agreement is multilateral and most other signatories want to stay in, (2) Obama front-loaded nearly all the benefits for Iran, among the most incompetent negotiating moves ever, and (3) the agreement does not limit Iran’s deadly, malevolent action in other areas, including missile tests (another major shortcoming).

Obama, Susan Rice, and John Kerry thought that Iran’s financial windfall would make them a more responsible actor.

That magical thinking is best captured by a Yiddish phrase:

More nasty weather headed our wayTropical Storm Nate could cause flooding in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (

It is expected to hit late Saturday night.

Comment: The Mississippi Gulf Coast has no protection, but New Orleans has wetlands to the south, which ought to afford some protection. Unfortunately, those wetlands–and the protection they afford–have shrunk dramatically over the past few decades, thanks to canals cut for pipelines and ships. The water moving through those cuts has changed the local ecology and harmed the wetlands.

Harvey Weinstein, film mogul and, according to interviews in the NYT, perpetrator of serial sexual harassment against actresses and employees

The New York Times broke the story as an exclusive, with vivid details and on-the-record accusations (link here).

Now, all the other news outlets are on the case.

BuzzFeed reports that Weinstein, a major player in national Democratic politics, is relying on key Clinton and Obama aides to cope with the fallout. (link here)

Normally, Gloria Allred appears as a plaintiff’s lawyer in the harassment cases, beginning with a huge press conference.

But that doesn’t happen when the allegations are against a major Democrat. Actually, Gloria’s daughter, Lisa Bloom, is involved–working for Weinstein and, she says, trying to educate him that “times have changed.”

Allred offered a half-hearted comment, saying she “would have declined” because she never represents people accused of harassment, only alleged victims. She offered no criticism of Mr. Weinstein.

Comment: Expect gloating and finger pointing from Republicans, who are happy to gain a moment’s relief from their own scandal, an anti-abortion Congressman who is resigning after texts surfaced, urging his mistress to terminate her pregnancy.

 After Las Vegas, Republicans open to banning “bump stocks” used to convert semi-automatic rifles into fully-automatic ones (New York Times)

The NRA seems open to some regulation, as well.

Comment: Because passing a law would take time, many are urging the ATF to change its regulatory interpretation. That’s passing the buck–and evading what should be a Congressional and Presidential responsibility. We’ve gotten so used to passing everything by Presidential decree or bureaucratic regulations, even Republican congressmen want to avoid the normal, constitutional process for changing our laws.

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly (D) is facing a tough reelection in a Republican-leaning state. Now, he gotten more bad news: a non-partisan report rates him the least effective Democrat in the Senate (Indianapolis Star)

Even when Democrats were in the majority, he accomplished almost nothing, they say.

Comment: His prospective Republicans opponents were shocked, shock, and appalled. “Indiana needs….”

 Nobel Prizes

  • Literature: Kuzuo Ishiguro, author of “Remains of the Day”
  • Chemistry: 3 scientists who improved images of molecules
  • Physics: 3 scientists who detected gravitational waves, confirming a prediction of Einstein’s
  • Medicine: 3 scientists who discovered the genes regulating the body’s biological clock

One of the winners in Medicine, Jeffrey Hall (emeritus, Brandeis) said that he collaborated with a Brandeis colleague, Michael Roshbash, because they shared common interests in “sports, rock and roll, beautiful substances and stuff.” He quit science ten years ago, he said at the time, because his grant funding ran out, the grant-review process was corrupt and biased, and he was fed up with academia. (story here)

Comment: Looks like he was proven right about the bias.

The Peace Prize will be given Friday. If they can find an innocent child or a do-gooder organization, fine. Otherwise, they should remember that they gave one to Arafat. They might want to think about what’s happening in Myanmar, either, since the country is headed by another Peace Prize winner and is now driving Rohingya Muslims out of the country.



ZipDialog Roundup for Friday, August 25

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

Hurricane Harvey to hit near Galveston, Houston as Category 2.

Winds currently 100 mph. Huge flooding expected on coast and inland. 

New Orleans, which has struggled with water pumping, is anxious, even though it is hundreds of miles from the storm center (New Orleans Advocate)

Russian nuclear bombers fly near North Korea in rare show of force, aimed at US (Reuters)

 How low has Sears fallen? Some vendors have quit, others won’t restock the shelves without insurance (Reuters)

NYT may be in real trouble over Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit (Wall Street Journal)

The newspaper is seeking to have her lawsuit dismissed. But Mrs. Palin’s legal team says that Times lawyers are demanding a legal standard that would effectively make it impossible for any public official to win a libel case….

To win her case Mrs. Palin will need to prove “actual malice” on the part of Times staff, meaning they knew the story to be false or they published with reckless disregard for the truth. This is a very high legal bar, as it should be.

The NYT editor who testified wanted to set the bar much, much higher. He did not say “we were misinformed and sometimes make mistakes in the rush to deadline.”

Nope. The essence of his testimony is that he “did not intend to write what his editorial clearly states” (in the words of the WSJ’s James Freeman).

Comment: You don’t have to like Sarah Palin to think that the NYT’s effort to directly link her to the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords by a  crazy shooter was a disgusting smear job.

The Times should be held to account.

Trump and his administration are letting Congress write the details of tax reform (Politico)

The so-called Big Six tax reform negotiators — a group that includes [Treasury Secretary Stephen] Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch — will essentially turn over what they have done to the [Congressional] committees and let them fill in the particulars. –Politico

 And finally, to summarize the most PC story of the day




ZipDialog Roundup for Saturday, August 12

Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
Linked articles in bold purple

Good ole Kim says he’s “on standby to launch” (Fox News)

If the Trump administration does not want the American empire to meet its tragic doom . . ., they had better talk and act properly.

–North Korean regime in official newspaper, quoted in Fox News

Riding tide in New Orleans (NOLA)

With another rainy weekend looming for New Orleans, the Sewerage & Water Board scrambling to shore up its neglected network of temperamental pumps, and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declaring a pre-emptive state of emergency, the national media is casting an eye south in the event that the city experiences a repeat of the flooding that hit the city on Saturday (Aug. 5). –NOLA

Comment: ZipDialog always tries to use local sources for local news. They do better reporting than fly-in media.

90th birthday for former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards, known as “The Golden Zipper,” long before Bill Clinton (NOLA)

These are some of the Zipper’s best quotes:

1983: “The only way I can lose this election is if I’m caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy.” (He won!)

1983: “David Treen is so slow it takes him an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes.” (Zing! Edwards defeated Treen.)

1991: “Vote for the Crook. It’s Important.” (Okay, not exactly a quote. It was Edwards’s informal campaign slogan, thanks to Buddy Roemer.)

1991: “The only thing we have in common is we’re both wizards under the sheets.” (Edwards was talking about opponent David Duke.)

1991: “No, it wasn’t that way. He (the author) was gone when the last one came in.” (Edwards was asked about a claim he slept with six women in one night.)

— quoted in Washington Post (link here)

 Republicans have “tough hill to climb” on tax reform, says GOP strategist (CNBC)

[Republican strategist Ron] Christie thinks Trump needs to work with McConnell on tax reform, not insult him over social media.

“If we can’t get anything done in the Congress, and we have the largest governing majority since 1929, it tells you perhaps that Republicans don’t deserve the trust to govern.” –CNBC

Comment: Ron Christie is exactly right on this. No healthcare reform and no tax reform means the Republicans cannot exactly run on their record.

Actual headline: “The big loser during the solar eclipse? Solar panels” (Mashable)

Comment: Wait! Wait! Let me see if I’ve got this right . . . .




The great saxophonist on Fats Domino’s hits dies at 91

Herbert Hardesty did more than play the tenor sax on Fats’ hit songs. He helped craft the sound and that of New Orleans rhythm and blues and early rock music.

To quote the NYT obituary

Mr. Hardesty played on the sessions that created hits like “I’m Walkin,’” “My Blue Heaven,” “Ain’t It a Shame” and “Let the Four Winds Blow.” For the recording of “Blue Monday,” he played the baritone sax for what he said was the first time.

In all, he and Mr. Domino collaborated in the studio and onstage for nearly 50 years. –New York Times

Just look over Fats’ shoulder on this signature song, Ain’t That a Shame, and you’ll see Herbert Hardesty at work. Enjoy! And rest in peace, Mr. Hardesty