Saturday Odds & Sods: Suspicious Minds

Charing Cross Bridge by Andre Derain.

It’s Pearl Harbor Day. This Saturday might live in infamy for another reason: we’re attending a top-secret event in an undisclosed location this evening. I can’t tell you what it is but if you’re a member of a certain benign but bawdy organization, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you may be feeling thoroughly befuddled. So it goes.

Speaking of bombs, the 2019 British general election is heading into the homestretch. I haven’t written about it because it’s so depressing. The two big parties have terrible leaders neither of whom is fit to be Prime Minister but Corbyn is the lesser of two evils. Bozza the Bozo who currently holds the job has bad hair and an even worse slogan: “Get Brexit Done.” The pro-European Union Liberal Democrats shot themselves in the foot by declaring they could win the election when they currently have 20 seats. They’re still limping away from that absurd declaration. Making matters worse is that the Tories deserve to lose and there’s a good chance that they’ll win.

This week’s theme song was written and recorded by Mark James in 1968. His version bombed but Elvis Presley’s did not. It became the King’s’ biggest hit of the Sixties.

We have multiple versions of Suspicious Minds for your listening pleasure: Mark James, Elvis, Waylon Jennings & Jessi Colter, and a reggae version by the Heptones.

Now that you’re suspicious, let’s clear the air by jumping to the break.

You didn’t really think I’d skip Dwight Yoakam’s version did you? It first appeared in a movie I loved: Honeymoon In Vegas. What’s not to love about parachuting Elvi?

We begin our second act with a provocative piece from TPM Cafe.

Reimagining The Civil War: The myth of the Lost Cause has prevailed for decades. The Civil War was once called the War of the Rebellion by the winning side. Gregory Downs makes a strong argument for revisionism in an essay at TPM. Actually, it’s an excerpt from his book. Y’all know that I like excerpts. They’re like free samples at the grocery store or Costco; only not as aggressive as the folks at Costco, Enough, already.

Downes argues that what we call the Civil War was more revolutionary than what we call the American Revolution. I quite agree: the war led to the abolition of slavery and the stirring 13th and 14th amendments to the constitution.

I believe that it’s high time to change how we teach the Civil War. The Lost Causers have wreaked such havoc that 46% of Republicans think that Trump was a better president than Lincoln. And you know those red hats are Southern wool hats.

At the very least, the Civil War should be called the Second American Revolution, which brings a song to mind:

If you’re undecided about whether you’re in or out, our next segment might help but only when it comes to the movies.

Thumbing A Ride With Siskel & Ebert: Looking at the movie listings the other day reminded me of how much I miss Gene & Roger; known as the Sweater Boys in our house. I didn’t slavishly follow their opinions, but I respected them. They turned me on to a lot of good “little films” over the years. Thanks, guys.

I’m not the only one who misses Siskel & Ebert. There’s a wonderful piece at Longreads.com by Dipti S. Barot who feels likewise. It deserves an exuberant thumbs up.

While we’re on the subject of hitchhiking, here’s an obscure blast from the past:

That’s Vanity Fare with an RE, not to be confused with the magazine, Vanity Fair. I just learned that the band is still out there plugging away on the casino circuit. Who knew?

When Robbie Met Marty: I saw The Irishman last Sunday. It knocked my socks off, I tried finding them in the dryer without success. The musical director was, once again, Robbie Robertson. Longtime readers know that I’m obsessed with The Band. I’m also obsessed with Scorsese.

Robbie recently sat down for an interview with Vulture’s Drew Fortune about his 40 year collaboration with Marty.

I learned a new euphemism in The Irishman. DeNiro’s union boss/hit man character is asked several times if he paints house. A new term, to me. for a contract killing. You learn something new every day. Bada-bing bada-boom.

The last word of our second act goes to Robbie Robertson and a true Irishman, Van Morrison.

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: This is more of a casting entry than a bona fide doppelganger. I still think Kurt Russell was the best fictional Elvis. It launched his career as a grown-up actor, not the cute teen in the Disney movies.

The last word of the segment goes to you know who with a song written by the Gret Stet’s very own Tony Joe White:

As much as I love Elvis’ music, I will never compile a list of my favorite Presley pictures. I like Love Me Tender, Viva Las Vegas, King Creole, and Jailhouse Rock and prefer to forget the rest. I can still smell the one where Elvis played a priest. Oy, just oy.

The Movie List: This week we turn our attention to a German born director who made some brilliant films after coming to America.

My Top Ten Favorite Fred Zinnemann Movies:

  1. From Here To Eternity
  2. High Noon
  3. Act Of Violence
  4. A Man For All Seasons
  5. Julia
  6. The Sundowners
  7. The Day Of The Jackal
  8. The Seventh Cross
  9. A Hatful Of Rain
  10. The Men

Zinnemann directed spectacle and intimate scenes with equal aplomb. He was particularly good with actors; coaxing career best performances out of more players that I can count. I only have ten fingers after all.

Speaking of From Here To Eternity, next up is a GIF from that Oscar winning movie,

Saturday GIF Horse: Borgnine plays. Sinatra and Donna Reed dance. I wonder if Ernie had Oscar envy. Not to worry: he’d win one for Marty a mere two years later.

Ernie wasn’t playing the next song in that scene. He was too busy pondering how he’d brutalize Maggio in the stockade. Fucking Fatso Judson.

I’d never heard of Billie Eilish, so I didn’t give a rat’s ass that she knew bupkis about Van Halen. The banter on twitter was okay for a while but was, as always, beaten to death.

Weekly Vintage Music Video: Twitter is a place to “go ahead and jump” to conclusions as is this classic video.

It’s time to go ahead and jump to our new closing feature. That’s the last jump joke in this post. I pinky promise.

Saturday Odds & Sods Goes To The Movies: I didn’t plan to lead off the first two weeks of this segment with Richard Conte films, but life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

I was gobsmacked to see Call Northside 777 for free on YouTube. The story was ripped from the headlines long before Law & Order. It stars Jimmy Stewart as a reporter trying to help Richard Conte who’s in prison on a bad rap. I give it 3 1/2 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B+ and two big thumbs up in honor of the Sweater Boys.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to the cast of From Here To Eternity. You’re not seeing double, I used it when I did my Burt Lancaster list.

One thought on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Suspicious Minds

  1. czha says:

    Gregory Downes’ book echoes Eric Foner’s new book, The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution. I’ll be interested to see how they compare.

    Liked by 1 person

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