I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the impeachment hearings ate my week. It wasn’t a snack, it was a tasting menu of scandal, malakatude, and heroism. Democrats have found their mojo: I was proud of their performance in the face of Republican shouting and conspiracy theorizing. That was down to Chairman Schiff who refused to take any shit from committee GOPers. I’m less confident of the performance of Judiciary Chairman Nadler but the ball will soon be in his court. Stay tuned.
This week’s theme song was written by the late, great Pat DiNizio in 1986 for The Smithereens debut album, Especially For You. The band had been kicking around New Jersey for years before hitting the big time with this great rock song.
We have two versions of Behind The Wall Of Sleep for your listening pleasure: the original video and a 21st Century live version.
There’s a Black Sabbath song with the same title but metal is not my thing so I’ll pass.
Now that we’ve caught up on our sleep, let’s jump to the break.
I’m still drowsy so let’s play some more music:.
We begin our second act with a final look at the recent Louisiana election, which leaves us with a very conservative lege and a Blue Dog Democratic Governor who hopes to work with them. That may be whistling past the graveyard. Only time will tell.
More Gret Stet Goober Race Post-Mortems: You’ve presumably read my post-mortem about the recent Gret Stet election. I’d like to share some stellar work by some friends and colleagues; none of whom uses the G word: Goober. It’s mine, all mine.
Sue’s piece is of particular interest as she writes about how the candidates ignored issues of importance to women. Women, particularly black women, were crucial to John Bel Edwards’ re-election. Given his appalling record on reproductive rights, I’m skeptical about how grateful he’ll be. Hopefully, he’ll give paternalism a good name if such a thing is possible. As you can see, I’m still wearing a clothespin when it comes to Edwards.
Let’s squeeze in a coffee break before moving on:
I’ve long been fascinated with impostors, the grander the better. There’s a fascinating piece by Ellen Barry in the New York Times about a family of fake Indian royals who fooled many for decades.
We move from fabulists to a man who was the real deal.
Jack Strong, R.I.P. We went to an unusual memorial service last Saturday at City Park. The Pavilion of the Two Sisters is a swanky venue often used for weddings. That’s why it struck me as an odd place for a wake. When we arrived, I saw drinks being served and heard a jazz quartet playing. I asked Dr. A if it was the right place, then I saw a picture of the honoree, Dr. Jack Perry Strong. We were in the right place. It was his kind of party.
Jack was a distinguished scientist who died at the end of last month at the age of 91. Jack liked good food, music, and people so his family threw a party to celebrate his remarkable life.
I did not know Jack well, but he had a major impact on my life. He was Dr. A’s boss at LSU Medical School. After Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent federal flood, LSU was “furloughing” many employees because it faced an uncertain future. Dr. A was on the list of those to be laid off, but Jack Strong removed her from the list. Furthermore, he became one of her mentors and promoted her career until his retirement. Thanks, sir.
I only met Jack five or six times but I was one of his biggest fans. I usually avoid medical school events like the plague but any time Dr. A told me, “Dr. Jack will be there,” I went along as her willing sidekick. He was fun to be around and a man of many interests who was, well, interesting.
Jack was perhaps the most unpretentious big shot I’ve ever met. He took an interest in everyone who worked for him: from doctors to secretaries to janitors. I was raised to judge people by how they treat the “little people,” Dr Strong passed this test with flying colors.
Jack was also interested in his staff’s spouses. He loved Japanese culture so the first time I met him and his second wife, Mihoko, I regaled them with stories of my father. Lou learned Japanese and worked as an army translator during World War II and used the language to his advantage as a businessman in San Francisco. I learned to schmooze from him but not in Japanese.
Like most New Orleanians, Jack was a die-hard Saints fan; it’s a civic duty here. His favorite player on the Saints championship team was Tight End Jeremy Shockey who was a major character much like Dr. Strong himself. Shockey was seriously tattooed so Dr. A gave Jack some “sleeves” to go along with his jersey:
Back to the party. I rarely wear a necktie, but I wore one to Jack’s wake. I did it for Dr. A’s other mentor, Dr. Fred Rodriguez, who gave one of the eulogies. I let him know that it was for him. He’s our Saints end zone ticket connection so I try to make him happy. It’s an easy task: Dr. Rod is one of the good guys.
I wish I had known Jack Strong better, but it was an honor to be acquainted with such a remarkable man. He will be missed by everyone whose life he touched.
The last word of our second act goes to another New Orleans institution:
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth: I mainlined the impeachment inquiry all week. I’m not the only one. My friend Michael Tisserand did some hearing related doppelgangering. This combination of Mike Pompeo and Orson Welles as Hank Quinlan in Touch of Evil is a sight to behold.
Speaking of Touch of Evil, it’s one of the few flicks I ever liked Charlton Heston in even if he’s miscast as a Mexican flatfoot. He’s an unwitting bad guy who neglects his new wife, Janet Leigh. What kind of putz would ignore Janet Leigh? Charlton Heston, that’s who.
Let’s stay on the subject of the movies.
The Classic Movie List: It sometimes feels like we’re living in a Peter Sellers film. Hence this list.
My Top Ten Favorite Peter Sellers Movies
- Dr. Strangelove
- Being There
- The Pink Panther/Return Of The Pink Panther
- Two Way Stretch
- The Wrong Arm Of The Law
- The Ladykillers
- The Party
- The Mouse That Roared
- Trial and Error
Saturday GIF Horse: Who among us doesn’t love Peter Sellers as bumbling Inspector Clouseau? One of the great running gags in The Pink Panther films was Clouseau’s valet, Kato, attacking his boss. This is one of my favorites.
That was cold, man.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: Terence Trent D’Arby appeared poised for super stardom when he burst on the music scene. Things didn’t work out that way. He even changed his name to Sananda Maitreya. He should have made a few more trips to the Wishing Well instead.
Our final segment is a futile attempt to bring some class to the joint.
Saturday Classic: Itzhak Perlman loved jazz. Oscar Peterson loved classical music. They were two of the greatest musicians ever. That’s why this 1994 collaboration is a match made in musical heaven.
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to two of my all-time favorite actors, Peter Sellers and David Niven. If you’ve never read any of Niven’s books, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of The Moon’s A Balloon or Bring On The Empty Horses.