Saturday Odds & Sods: All That You Dream

Drawing for Dante’s Divine Comedy by William Blake.

The weather has been wacked out this week in New Orleans. The temperature dropped 40 degrees in 24 hours. Mother Nature decided to skip fall and move on to winter. That means I’m looking for my winter clothes and turning on the heater early this year. That usually happens after Thanksgiving. Mother Nature is a card.

The response on social media to my Paul Barrere tribute has warmed my icy blue heart. Paul deserved no less. This week’s theme song was written by Paul and Billy Payne for Little Feat’s 1975 release, The Last Record Album.

We have three versions of All That You Dream for your listening pleasure: the Little Feat original with Lowell George on lead vox, a 2010 live version with Paul singing lead, and a 1978 cover by Linda Ronstadt.

It’s time to awaken from our collective dream and jump to the break.

One more Paul Barrere tune before we move on:

Our second act is on the apocalyptic side; at least the segment titles are.

Campaign Apocalypse? New York Magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi has filed a superb story about the Biden candidacy. I think the title says it all, The Zombie Campaign: Joe Biden is the least formidable front-runner ever. Will it matter?

I think it will. Biden’s campaign appears to be stalled in the early states even though he remains the national front-runner in all the polls. That does not matter: just ask the alumni of the Muskie administration. Nuzzi captures the essence of Biden’s problem in this paragraph:

But it’s not just his age itself. It’s his tendency to misspeak, his inartful debating style, and — most of all — his status as a creature from another time in the Democratic Party, when the politics of race and crime and gender were unrecognizably different. It’s not just that the Joe Biden of yesteryear sometimes peeks out from behind the No. 1 Obama Stan costume. It’s that the Joe Biden of today is expected to hold his former self accountable to the new standards set by a culture that’s prepared to reject him. And though he’s the party Establishment’s obvious exemplar, he can’t seem to raise any money — spending more in the last quarter than he brought in and moving into the homestretch with less than $9 million in the bank (roughly a third of what Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders has on hand). For political reporters, marveling every day at just how well this isn’t going, watching Biden can feel like being at the rodeo. You’re there because on some level you know you might see someone get killed.

On one level, I feel sorry for Biden. I like him as a person but this is not his time. 2016 might have been but he did not run. 1988 might have been but his campaign collapsed.

Thus far Biden’s campaign has not collapsed but I think it will in Iowa where he’s being outspent by Warren and Sanders and out organized by them as well as Corey Booker. The latter is the sleeper in the campaign. If nothing else, he’s the ideal running mate for Warren as Biden was for Obama in 2008. It’s not Biden’s time.

Athenae usually patrols the media beat here at First Draft but I’m taking a shot at it today. Why the hell not? She won’t mind.

Magazine Apocalypse? I was a Newsweek subscriber for many years. My parents took Time but it was too conservative for my taste so I went with the competition. It’s been ages since  I subscribed or Newsweek was relevant. That’s why Daniel Tovrov in the Columbia Journalism Review wonders why Newsweek still exists. Me too.

Our second magazine story is also our second story from New York Magazine. I guess that makes me a second story man.

Anyway, Reeves Wiedeman looks at the faded glory of the Conde Nast empire. Former Vogue editor Anna Wintour has been brought in to whip things into shape but it remains to be seen if that’s possible.  I’m not even sure if her Devil Wears Prada alter ego, Miranda Priestly, could pull it off. I hope so: glossy magazines are one of my guilty pleasures.

The last word of this peripherally apocalyptic segment goes to Elvis Costello:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: I was among those who thought Drew Brees shouldn’t start last Sunday’s game against the  Arizona Cardinals. We were wrong. He’s back with a vengeance. I wonder if his wingnut pals prayed for his speedy recovery?

This week’s paring is almost eerie: Drew Brees with a young, clean-shaven Rutherford B. Hayes.

Ain’t nothing Rutherfraudulent about that image. Did Lemonade Lucy Hayes like the beard? Ah, sweet mysteries of life.

Let’s set the dial on the Wayback Machine to the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The Movie List: William Wyler was one of the most successful directors of his time. He won Oscars as best director for Best Years Of Our Lives, Mrs. Miniver, and Ben-Hur. I hate the latter movie so it’s not on the list. Charlton Heston is one of my least favorite movie stars and even the Wyler touch can’t make him palatable.

My Top Ten Favorite William Wyler Movies:

  1. The Best Years Of Our Lives
  2. The Little Foxes
  3. Roman Holiday
  4. The Heiress
  5. The Desperate Hours
  6. Friendly Persuasion
  7. The Letter
  8. Wuthering Heights
  9. The Collector
  10. Mrs. Miniver

Wyler had a distinguished record as a military documentarian during World War II. His film Memphis Belle is a classic of the genre.

I used clown imagery in my last Bayou Brief column so we might as well here too.

Saturday GIF Horse: I loved the recent film versions of Stephen King’s It. Chapter One was better but what’s not to love about a movie featuring the scariest clown of all Pennywise?

It also inspired one of my favorite Trump nicknames: President* Pennywise.

I just gave myself an earworm so I might as well post Might As Well:

Weekly Vintage Video: There were few stories that pleased me as much as Roy Orbison’s comeback in the 1980’s after David Lynch featured In Dreams in Blue Velvet.

Orbison’s album Mystery Girl was released posthumously and was one of the biggest hits of his illustrious recording career. You Got It was the first track and first single off the album. Here’s the video:

Since I just mentioned Roy’s coulroric tune In Dreams, here’s a live version from A Black and White Night:

Let’s close things out with some more music.

Saturday Classic: When I was growing up in the Bay Area, I saw  roots rocker Elvin Bishop many times. He was a frequent support act at Bill Graham Presents shows. Elvin was always good, occasionally inspired. Here’s a 1973 performance broadcast on Jive 95: KSAN.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Russell, and Fredric March in William Wyler’s greatest film, The Best Years Of Our Lives: