Saturday Odds & Sods: Eight Miles High

A New Frontier by Alan Bean.

It’s been a wet week in New Orleans. The rain, however, hasn’t stopped the Lost Causers from sitting hillbilly shiva. They’re down to the dead enders as I pointed out in this tweet last week:

One of the banners¬†was a Trump for President flag. Now that’s one I’d consider burning…

Speaking of the Insult Comedian, he made news on Thursday. As usual, it was the bad kind. Bowing out of the Paris Climate Accord will be reversible when we have a sane and asterisk free president again. His “reasoning”¬†was the bigger problem with this move. First, Trump wanted a “win,” he promised his supporters constant winning. Instead there’s been constant losing. He’s abandoned most of ¬†his other promises, so he kept this one. The Russia scandal makes keeping the MAGA maggots happy paramount. Second, his baby man feelings were hurt by the mean old Europeans. They didn’t kiss his ass. The Darnold doesn’t like that. He was pouting over Merkel’s speech and Macron’s handshake victory so he lashed out and did something stupid and short-sighted. ¬†This president* has made petulance the centerpiece of what passes for his foreign policy. Trump’s Razor remains in effect.

This week’s theme song was inspired by the featured painting by Apollo astronaut, Alan Bean. Eight Miles High was written by Gene Clark, Roger McGuinn, and David Crosby for the Byrds 5th Dimension album. I have three very different versions for your enjoyment. First, the Byrds original followed by spirited covers from Roxy Music and Husker Du.

Now that we’ve flown Eight Miles High, we’ll¬†touch down after the break.

We begin with another entry in what I like to call the “know your enemy” series. ¬†(Does that make me the Capra of bloggers? Nah, I’m more like Sturges or Wilder. No Capracorn for me, y’all.) This time it’s Bannon proteg√©¬†and white nationalist idiot savant, Stephen Miller.

Annals Of A Duke Puke: Stephen Miller first came to national attention during the Duke Lacrosse team scandal. It was the only thing he’s ever been right about. William D. Cohan, who wrote a book about that mishigas, has the details at Vanity Fair.

Murder In North Dallas: There’s a riveting true crime story in Dallas Magazine about the murder of Ira Tobolowsky, a prominent Dallas lawyer, at the hands of a litigious defendant. The case remains on the books but it’s not a stone whodunit. They know who the killer is, but unless he confesses, he may get away with murder. This is a great piece by Jamie Thompson that I learned of¬†via Longreads.com, which is one of my go-to places for Odds & Sods links.

This has been a rather somber edition of the Saturday post thus far. That trend continues.

Frank Deford, RIP: Frank Deford was one of the best sportswriters ever. He died recently at the age of  78.

Many of you know¬†the dapper Deford from his essays for NPR. He was also a regular on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. That’s how I know what a snappy dresser he was. He was best known for his work at Sports Illustrated. They’ve been publishing his writing since 1962. Deford was one of the reasons SI became known for its¬†literary quality. Here’s a link to the Frank Deford vault at SI.¬†It will give you hours of reading pleasure.

Frank Deford was a highly respected, much-loved figure in the world of sports. He brought grace and stylish prose to a world dominated by knuckleheads. He will be missed.

I made a Frank Capra reference earlier, let’s discuss a documentary series wherein he plays a key role.

Documentary Of The Week: Five Came Back is based on a book by Mark Harris. It tells the World War II stories of five great film directors who made movies for the guvmint during the war. The filmmakers were Frank Capra, William Wyler, John Ford, John Huston,  and George Stevens. The latter filmed the liberation of Dachau. Stevens was a noted director of comedies before the war: he was the first to pair Tracy and Hepburn. After his wartime experiences, Stevens stuck to drama.

This three-part series has to make do with archival interviews with the principals but is still well worth seeing. I preferred the book. My friend Greg kept raving about it and loaned it to me. I am one of the few people who returns borrowed books so I thought I’d brag about it. It’s the Age of Bragadoccio, after all. Believe me.

It’s trailer time:

Five Came Back was produced by Netflix, so that’s where it can be found. I give it 3 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B, and a Siskelian thumbs up.

Now that we’ve gone to war, let’s lighten things up a bit with some music.

Benign Earworm Of The Week: This segment is not entirely death free because my earworm¬†was caused by Gregg Allman’s passing.

It’s time to really lighten things up. I promise.

The Saturday GIF: I don’t know about you. but I love Laurel and Hardy. They were the only silent comedy team to thrive in the talkies. And, no, Jude I wasn’t alive then. Kids today can bite me.

I’m glad they held on. The world is always in need of comic relief. And music is pretty darn important as well.

Saturday Classic: I’m still in an Allman Brothers mood. Brothers and Sisters was their first full-fledged hit album. It was also their first effort after Duane’s death. Gregg Allman was a remarkable man: he had his own career and carried the torch for his fallen brother as well. It’s a pity that Dickey Betts lived up to his first name but Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks helped Gregg carry on until 2014.


That’s it for this week. The last word via bat-meme goes to the original Allman Brothers Band.

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