Saturday Odds & Sods: Deeper Water

Gulf Stream by Winslow Homer.

Since we have something of a nautical-as opposed to naughty-theme I thought we’d dive right in without any dockside formalities. I won’t invite you into my stateroom because this might happen:

I would never take a cruise. The thought of doing so reminds me of the not so great Poop Cruise of 2013. Hell, I get seasick contemplating the Winslow Homer painting above.

Let’s move on to this week’s theme song. Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly is often called the Bob Dylan of Australia but he never broke through stateside. Kelly co-wrote Deeper Water in 1994 with Randy Jacobs of Was (Not Was) in case you was (not was) wondering.

We have two versions for your listening pleasure. First, the 1995 studio version that was the title track of Kelly’s tenth album. Second, a 2013 live version from a show Kelly did with Neil Finn. For some reason it’s listed as Deep Water but it’s the same tune. Wow, that’s deep, man.

I hope we’re not in over our heads. Let’s mount the diving board and jump to the break.

It’s time for another nautical number from an Antipodean musician: New Zealand’s Dave Dobbyn with one of his signature songs.

I concluded my tribute to Kathleen Blanco by noting the tragic death of New Orleans broadcasting legend Nancy Parker. We begin our second act with a moving story about how her colleagues in the WVUE newsroom kept their collective shit together on the day she died.

Professionalism is the best way to describe how Parker’s colleagues coped with her sudden, shocking death in a plane crash. They knew she had died hours before making the announcement but kept their collective composure on the air. The Picayune’s Mike Scott has the details.

We move from the air and the airwaves to the sea.

Ahoy, Troy: My friend Troy Gilbert has another swell piece at the Bayou Brief: The Dark and Forgotten Fate of the Florinda. This one isn’t gustatory in nature. It involves a 19th century seafaring mystery. As a confirmed landlubber, I go to sea vicariously. I may have the sea in my genes but I’m prone to seasickness. So it goes

Before returning to dry land, a brief nautical musical interlude:

Now that we’ve landed in California, let’s talk about one of the finest novelists my other home state has produced.

Steinbeck: I was lucky enough to meet John Steinbeck when I was a kid. He was an old friend of my father’s second cousin. I met him at a barbecue at said cousin’s house in Salinas. I wish had been old enough to read anything other than The Red Pony but even precocious 10-year-olds don’t read Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath so I didn’t get to say, “Tell me about the rabbits, George.” Mercifully, he was spared my imitation of James Dean in East Of Eden. I can brood with the best of them, y’all.

2019 marks the 80th anniversary of the publication of The Grapes Of Wrath. The Guardian’s Sam Jordison tells the remarkable story of how Steinbeck wrote the book in 100 days. The mind reels at this accomplishment; at least mine does, Maybe I’m still seasick.

In other Steinbeck news, an unknown short story has been found:

A whimsical short story by John Steinbeck, in which the usually less cheery author tells the story of a temperamental French chef’s love for his cat, is being published in English for the first time this week.

The author of Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden lived in Paris in the mid-1950s, where he wrote a weekly column for the French daily Le Figaro called One American in Paris. One of his pieces took the form of a short story, Les Puces sympathiques. Published in French on 31 July 1954, it was found by Andrew Gulli in Steinbeck’s papers at the Ransom Centre at the University of Texas at Austin. Gulli is the editor of the Strand magazine, which is publishing it in English this week as The Amiable Fleas.

I’ve never found fleas to be particularly amiable but I like Steinbeck as well as the pun used by the Guardian in the headline of the piece: Crepes Of Wrath. Mais oui.

Documentary Of The Week: Prosecuting Evil is the story of Ben Ferencz, the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor. He was also instrumental in establishing the International Court of Human Rights. He’s a do-gooder who done good.

Prosecuting Evil is told through Mr. Ferencz’s eyes. In addition to being a passionate supporter of human rights, he’s a helluva nice man and a great storyteller.

Prosecuting Evil is currently streaming at Netflix. I give it 3 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B.

We begin our third act with a brand new feature. I like to change things up as well as share my passions; one of which is the movies.

The Saturday Movie List makes its debut with my Top Ten Favorite Hitchcock Films:

  1. Vertigo
  2. Strangers On A Train
  3. Shadow Of A Doubt
  4.  Notorious
  5. Rear Window
  6. Psycho
  7. Frenzy
  8. North By Northwest
  9. Foreign Correspondent
  10. The Lady Vanishes

I have a distinct preference for Hitch’s American work, especially the movies with Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant. Repeat after me: I like movie stars.

Frenzy is perhaps the most underrated film on the list. I like The Birds BUT the stories of Tippi Hedren’s mistreatment have soured me on that film. Hitchcock was like Vertigo’s protagonist: a sick fuck with a vision. Alfred Hitchcock was a great artist, not a nice man.

The Weekly DC: As the youngest of three children, I’ve always had a soft spot for the youngest Beatle, George Harrison. He was fated to be treated like a kid brother by dominant band siblings John and Paul. It’s testimony to the Beatles greatness that George was only the third best singer in the band. He’s a fucking great singer, y’all.

Here’s George on The Dick Cavett Show:

Before moving on, one of my favorite Georgian songs:

Let’s continue with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: I’ve never used a painting in this segment before but there’s a first time for everything. And this pairing is uncanny.

It appears that Velazquez’s subject was also a little person. For all we know, he might have been the hand of the king or shaken the hand of the hand that stilled the water.

I’m in an evil mood so I cannot resist posting this tune:

Yeah, I know, Newman has said this song is pro-short people but this is the age of literalism and outrage, So, feel free to boo, hiss, and pelt me with veggies. Just make sure to save some for Randy Newman.

Last week’s Life Imitates The Godfather post inspired our next segment.

Saturday GIF Horse: This week we feature one of of the best lines in movie history.

After seeing the side of Vic Damone’s head in two clips, I’m ready to rock.

Weekly Vintage Music Video: This 1995 video features Aimee in her jammies along with backing vocals by Difford and Tilbrook of Squeeze. What’s not to love about any of that?

Here’s a lagniappe 2012 Aimee Mann video. It features the great Laura Linney as Aimee’s robot double. I am not making this up.

Let’s close things down with some more music.

Saturday Classic: I posted one track from the 2013 Neil Finn-Paul Kelly extravaganza at the beginning of the post. Holy theme song, Batman.

Here’s the whole damn show live from the Sydney Opera House:

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to John Steinbeck and his beloved poodle, Charley:

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