It has been a difficult week. I was so exhausted from writing about the Kavanaugh mess that I briefly considered pulling the plug on this week’s extravaganza. I decided it was best to muddle through and provide a modicum of comic relief to my readers. That choice was made easier by the Flake Gambit, which at the very least kicks the can down the road a week. Besides, I like beer and cannot recall if I’ve ever been black-out drunk. Have you? Holy crap, I sound like Judge Bro.
This week’s theme song is credited to Lennon-McCartney but is Pure-D Macca. Got To Get You Into My Life first appeared on my favorite Beatles album, Revolver. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
We have two versions for your listening pleasure: the Beatles and the equally fabulous cover by Earth Wind & Fire.
Now that we’ve had some Macca therapy, let’s meet on the other side of the jump.
You didn’t think we were through with Paul McCartney, did you? He has written many chipper tunes in his long career. This is perhaps my favorite Macca song:
We begin our second act with an obligatory political piece.
Doris Kearns Goodwin On Trump & TR: DKG has written some marvelous books. Team of Rivals may have even inspired Barack Obama to appoint Hillary Clinton Secretary of State. Her latest effort, Leadership In Turbulent Times, compares and contrasts four presidents she’s previously written about: Lincoln, TR, FDR, and LBJ.
In a Vanity Fair excerpt she essentially posits that Trump is TR’s evil twin. I’m not sure I buy it but TR *was* an egomaniac albeit a well-read and intelligent egomaniac. In contrast, Mr. Very Good Brain does not read books whereas TR wrote many books without employing a ghost writer. Believe me.
While we’re on the subject of DKG, there’s a swell interview with her in the Daily Beast that’s well-worth reading.
Finally, DKG’s husband, Richard Goodwin, died last May at the age of 86. He was one of the greatest presidential speechwriters of all-time. Plus, he was played by Rob Morrow in one of my favorite movies, Quiz Show. Belated condolences to DKG for her loss.
Before our next segment, here’s a musical teaser:
Macca At 76: There’s a fabulous McCartney profile by Chris Heath at GQ.com. Heath spent a great deal of time with the former Beatle with the goal of getting Paul to tell some new stories. The approach worked. You may have already heard the literal malakatude story. I’m not going there so here’s one involving the late, great David Bowie.
This is not the most memorable title of an artwork from McCartney’s side career as a painter, a pastime he tells me he was particularly encouraged in by his first wife (who at one point bought him René Magritte’s easel and spectacles). That would surely be his 1990 work, Bowie Spewing.McCartney explains that he didn’t set out to do a portrait of one of his peers, he was just painting, and only as the work neared completion did he realize what his creation indisputably resembled: “It just looked like Bowie, and it looked like he was throwing up—there was nothing deeper than that.” McCartney planned to exhibit the painting under this title, and he thought it would be polite to let its accidental subject know about it. “I think he was much amused,” says McCartney, though he seems unaware, until I tell him, that Bowie did also himself actually address this subject once, in an interview he gave around that time to a Belgian magazine called Humo:“Paul sent me a picture of the painting, together with the question if I would mind the title of it. I answered ‘Of course not, but what a coincidence, I am currently working on a song that’s called “McCartney Shits.”‘ “Huh,” says McCartney, sounding perhaps ever so slightly put out when he is told this. “I never saw that. But, you know, he was a jovial character.”
Before facing the face in our next segment, here’s a tune McCartney wrote in 1989 with Elvis Costello:
I promised you faces, we have faces.
Separated At Birth: In 2011, Slate took a look at some classic Spy Magazine SAB pairings. The top ranked one was Paul McCartney and Angela Lansbury:
They scored it 9 out of 10:
The key ingredients in Spy‘s original shots were the downturned mouths and inquisitive eyes. Not even wildly disparate hairdos could distract from the facial similarities. These days, Paul is showing a bit more forehead, but not much else has changed on the “Separated at Birth” front. These two, now 68 (McCartney) and 85 (Lansbury), are still a matched set.
Still up for some regular features? Good. There’s more to come. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The Weekly GV: This week’s quote from the Master is an introspective one.
I didn’t mean to spend my life writing American history, which should have been taught in the schools, but I saw no alternative to taking it on myself. I could think of a lot of cheerier things I’d rather be doing than analyzing George Washington and Aaron Burr. But it came to pass, that was my job, so I did it.
I selected that particular quote because of the DKG segment; both authors wrote extensively and well about the same presidents. Of course, DKG was much nicer to LBJ than Gore. Here’s a bonus Vidalism:
I’m exactly as I appear. There is no warm, lovable person inside. Beneath my cold exterior, once you break the ice, you find cold water.
He did, however, like cats. Politicians, not so much.
Let’s set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1936.
Saturday GIF Horse: Modern Times was Charlie Chaplin’s final silent film as well as one of his best. His observations about mechanization hold up quite well in the digital age.
Talk about being put through the wringer.
Weekly Benign Earworm: This week’s McCartney-centric post has lodged one of my favorite Wings songs in my head.
Saturday Classic: I’m on the record as believing that Imagine is the most overrated song John Lennon ever wrote and recorded. The melody is pretty but the lyrics make me wanna hurl. I do, however, like the rest of the album, even the hit job on his former songwriting partner, How Do You Sleep? Nasty but brilliant.
I have some follow-ups to Imagine. First, Macca recorded a very Lennon-esque song while John was bashing him about. It’s more in the nature of a tribute:
Second, Elvis Costello mocked Imagine in The Other Side of Summer, which was written not long after his collaboration with McCartney:
Was it a millionaire who said “imagine no possessions”?
A poor little schoolboy who said “we don’t need no lessons”?
The rabid rebel dogs ransack the shampoo shop
The pop princess is downtown shooting up
And if that goddess if fit for burning
The sun will struggle up the world will still keep turning
Imagine that. Here’s the EC song:
That’s almost it for this week. I enjoyed seeing Murphy Brown the other night after a long day of watching Judge Bro shout. The highlight was the return of one of the best running gags in sitcom history: Murphy’s secretary issues. This week it was Hillary Clinton. I am not making this up. I’ll give the season 2 cast the last word: