Saturday Odds & Sods: Second Hand News

Rick Griffin Flying Eyeball

1969 Avalon Ballroom concert poster by Rick Griffin.

The holidays are upon us in New Orleans. That means erratic weather: in the last week we’ve run both the heater and air-conditioner. It makes me want to re-shoot an old feline-centric Python sketch as Confuse A Human. I think Della Street might like that…

It was a harrowing week because of the horrendous slaughter in Southern California. I said all I have to say about it on Thursday. As a matter of fact, Crooks and Liars picked up Still Comfortably Numb. Thanks, y’all. I only wish it hadn’t been necessary to write it but the mass shootings keep on coming. That’s why I’m deliberately keeping it light this week. We’ve had enough blood and guts and bad news to last a lifetime:

The stupid keeps flying at us. My favorite this week was Tailgunner Ted’s insistence that the hairy loon who shot up the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs was a “transgendered leftist activist.” It made no sense whatsoever but it made me wonder if Cruz has read this Vidal classic:

Myra-Breckinridge

End of obligatory Gore Vidal reference. Let’s move on to this week’s theme song.

It struck me that Second Hand News is a perfect theme song for this feature. All I do is purvey second hand news, make a few jokes, and post some pictures and videos. Second Hand News is a frequent set opener for Fleetwood Mac, and it’s an excellent table setter for their, uh, set.

I just recalled the first time I saw the Buckingham-Nicks version of Fleetwood Mac. It was a 1975 (yeah, I’m old, deal with it) Bill Graham extravaganza at the Oakland Coliseum Stadium. It was dubbed, Day On The Green #3: The British Are Coming. Fleetwood Mac hadn’t quite broken out yet commercially and were fourth billed under Robin Trower, Peter Frampton, and Dave Mason. It was a great show and, oddly enough, Dave Mason later served a brief tour of duty in Fleetwood Mac as the irreplaceable Lindsey Buckingham’s replacement. Speaking of Lindsey, he’s just second hand news, just second hand news, yeaaaah.

We’ll begin with the studio version from Rumours followed by a 2012 live version with a smashing drum intro by the world’s tallest rock star, Mick Fleetwood.

I wonder if Lindsey could still grow the white boy fro he had in the 1970’s? If so, I am deeply envious. It’s possible that I might Go Insane with jealousy:

You didn’t take me literally did you? I would hope not. I am prone to exaggeration, after all. Now that I’ve painted myself into another corner, it’s time for the break.

My withdrawal symptoms from the Gret Stet Goober race are long gone. I did, however feel a bit of a twinge when I saw an article by Tyler Bridges about our next Governor in the Sunday Advocate last week. That’s where we begin the beguine this week, but first a musical interlude by Artie Shaw:

The Improbable Journey of John Bel Edwards: Nobody gave the Gret Stet Goober-elect any chance of winning when he entered the race. I sure as hell did not. It didn’t help matters that he announced in an off-hand way on a Baton Rouge talk radio show. He was David without a bloody slingshot taking on the diapered Goliath but he prevailed. Tyler Bridges has the details.

One detail in the article that I got a kick out of is Edwards’ fondness for listening to “old school country music” as he toured the state. I’m not sure who his favorite artists are but he’d be crazy not to like Rodney Crowell:

While I’m at it, I really should post a song about the late, great Gret Stet Goober Earl K. Long:

Let’s move on to a little ditty that many of us used to sing in music class when we were chirren. And I’m not talking about Waltzing Matilda or Red River Valley either:

Fifty Nifty United States: Slate’s L.V. Anderson has a charming piece about the little song that could  and how it keeps on keeping on:

If you know “Fifty Nifty United States”—and, if you went to an American elementary school at some point in the past four decades, there’s a decent chance you do—the flag-billowing part is probably not the part you care about. In fact, you might not even have learned the song’s full intro. The part you care about is the part that comes next, which rivals the alphabet song as an educational tool and as an earworm: the part that rattles off all 50 states alphabetically, starting, “Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut,” and ending, “West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyohhhhhh-ming!”

I’m somewhat older than that but I recall this from music class. Grab the kiddies-and kitties for that matter-it’s time for a sing along:

Hey, where’s the damn bouncing ball? I’d demand my money back except that it’s free. That really put the hoot in hootenanny, y’all.

I actually had a pretty good singing voice until puberty struck. Since being a castrato had limited appeal, I dealt with it by learning how to sing on-key as opposed to a certain goofball football coach:

It’s not eunuch (unique) that white dudes like Les cannot sing. (You know it’s a groaner when you have to put an explanation in parenthesis. It works better as a verbal pun.) Many of them cannot dance either, which brings us to a disquisition about the shimmy and who created it.

Who Invented The Shimmy? That’s the eternal question posed by Megan Pugh in the New Republic. The Shimmy was the original form of tap dancing and its origin is apparently something people have been, uh, tap dancing around for years. Is it cultural appropriation of African dance steps or a genuinely eclectic American art form that merges many different forms of dance? I lean toward the latter explanation but what the hell do I know? One thing I’m certain of is that I’ll never be able to dance like Honi Coles and Cholly Atkins:

taphap

I tried to learn how to tap dance when I was an awkward and gawky teenager. It did not go well. In fact, I may have inspired Richard Thompson to pose the eternal question, “Two left feet, how can you dance with two left feet?” Beats the hell outta me:

Missing Mad Men? I don’t know about you but I sure do. I had a few pleasantly nostalgic twinges when I read an interview with Matt Zoeller Seitz by Scott Timberg at Salon. Matt, who is the teevee critic at Vulture and editor-in-chief of RogerEbert.com, has a brand spanking new book about the Mad Men phenomenon. It has a long-ass title, Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion, but still sounds nifty-n-swell. Here’s the money quote from the interview:

What was it about “Mad Men” that drew you so close, that made you want to concentrate so heavily on it?

It was a lot of things – the characters first and foremost. I was struck as I worked on this book by how psychologically consistent they were. I would go so far as to say that they’re the only characters in television history who are 100 percent consistent in their behavior, and never do anything that’s out of character just for effect. Even if it seems, at first, to be out of character, if you look back to judge their motivations, you see it’s the sort of thing that the character would do.

Exactly. It’s why we miss them with all their follies, foibles, and flaws. Even the characters I didn’t like such as Betty and Pete were fully realized and had redeeming characteristics. That’s right, even Betty who I spent 7 seasons bitching about.

There hasn’t been a series that I felt like recapping since Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire went off the air. I have high hopes, apple pie in the sky hopes for Vinyl, the upcoming HBO series from Martin Scorsese and Terry Winter. It stars Bobby Cannavale who played my beloved Gypster on Boardwalk Empire. I’m not sure if I’ll write about it, BUT we can always re-read my Mad Men posts if I opt out. Holy humblebrag, Batman.

Documentary of the Week:  William Shatner interrupted his feud with George Takei long enough to write, direct, and present a documentary about the rocky roots of Star Trek TNG. We’ve all heard the official story of how harmonious everything was but the truth is much more interesting. Oddly enough, the show didn’t hit its stride until after creator Gene Rodenberry’s death. Chaos on the Bridge is short but sweet, clocking in at 59 minutes on Netflix.  I give it 3 stars, an Adrastos grade of B and an Ebertian thumbs up.

Saturday Classic: Memory is a funny thing. My long-term memory is excellent but I forget mundane things like where I put my keys. This really struck me when we played Soap Opera by the Kinks in the car on the way to Red Stick recently. It’s a 40-year-old album that I’ve played perhaps 3 or 4 times in the last decade, but I knew all the lyrics and sang along lustily much to Dr. A’s chagrin.

Ray Davies originally saw Soap Opera as a West End musical. It features some of Ray’s loveliest melodies and liveliest word play. Most Kinks albums are dominated instrumentally by kid brother Dave’s guitar but keyboard player John Gosling walks off with Soap Opera. “No matter what your occupation is, everybody’s in show biz.”

That’s it for this week. I do, however, have to explain who the obscure Batman villains below are. They made only one appearance but were played by the great actress/director Ida Lupino and her then husband Howard Duff. Ms. Lupino played Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft and Duff was Cabala. I’m mostly using them because I’m a huge fan of Ida Lupino’s work in such Warner Brothers classics as High Sierra, The Man I Love and the *first* film named Road House. That Road House was a film noir classic starring Lupino, Richard Widmark, and Cornel Wilde, three household Gods here at Adrastos World Headquarters.

We’ll be back next week with a special Sinatra centennial edition of Odds & Sods that you won’t want to miss. Just remember:

Lupino-Duff Meme

2 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Second Hand News

  1. Ray says:

    Nice, but how did you miss Fanny Brice?
    https://youtu.be/T5fCUaxR7PE

  2. Repack Rider says:

    I was the roadie for one of the bands featured on the Rick Griffin poster, Sons of Champlin. Third band was Initial Shock. That poster is probably one of the most valuable ever printed. The day after the gig, I went to pick up the money for the band, promoter had a huge pile of them offered as many as I wanted to me at $3 each. Turned him down, after all, what was more ubiquitous in ’60s SF than rock concert posters!

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