Saturday Odds & Sods: Time To Kill

The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins.

This week’s featured image is one of the most famous American paintings of the 19th Century. I’ve posted it to honor all the medical professionals who are fighting the good fight against COVID-19 but who wear masks and gloves unlike Dr. Gross and his cohort. Thanks, y’all.

I prefer to keep this weekly feature light but it’s hard to do in these tough times. The second act is kind of heavy, but the jokes return in our third act. Laughs are precious right now when fear is abroad in the world and our government in the hands of an evil clown, President* Pennywise. Oy just oy.

At the risk of being a pest, a reminder to support Chef’s Brigade NOLA for all the reasons set forth in this post. Thanks again, y’all.

This week’s theme song was written by Robbie Robertson in 1970 for The Band’s third album Stage Fright. It’s a joyful tune with a somewhat dark lyrical subtext.

We have two versions of Time To Kill for your listening pleasure:  the Todd Rundgren produced studio original and a live version from the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen: a 1973 festival starring The Band, The Dead, and the Allman Brothers Band.

The title certainly resonates in our era:, we all have time to kill. One of my mottos as a blogger is: When in doubt, post a Kinks song:

Now that we’ve killed time, let’s jump to the break. It won’t kill you.

Before beginning our second act in earnest, a couple of doctor songs:

The great singer-songwriter Jackson Browne was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Get well soon, sir: we need your music and passion for social justice.

We begin our second act with an ode to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Little Big Doc: One of the heroes of the pandemic is a diminutive physician from Brooklyn. There’s nothing quite as feisty as a short Italian man: Dr. Anthony Fauci is as tough as nails.

In addition to being an eminent doctor, Tony Fauci is a master bureaucrat who is famous for reaching out to people who disagree with him. Dealing with the Impeached Insult Comedian is his greatest challenge yet. There’s a debate over whether Fauci should resign or stay on the job. I think he should stay: he’s one of the few people telling Trump the truth. I feel a Clash song coming on:

There are two articles about the great man to which I’d like to draw your attention:

I stumbled onto this meme somewhere on the internets. I’m not sure when or where and I have no idea who did it but it’s a good one:

Pandemic Politics Past & Present: There’s a fascinating piece in the WaPo by William Horne that compares Team Trump’s handling of COVID-19 to the response of white Louisianians to a smallpox epidemic after the War of the Rebellion. Racism played a part in both responses. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

Ordeal By Innocence: I take my pledge to recommend quality entertainment to our readers quite seriously. Dr A and I have been on something of an Agatha Christie bender of late. Christie gets a bad rap as the author of cozies. The Miss Marple mysteries qualify but Christie wrote many dark novels comparable in tone to works by fellow Brits PD James and Ruth Rendell. Ordeal By Innocence is one of these uncozies.

Ordeal By Innocence tells the story of an heiress who adopted a raft of orphans to make her feel better about herself. It did not work: she was an awful mother and wound up murdered. The three-part mini-series is a psychological thriller, not a whodunit.

Ordeal By Innocence is a deeply weird and twisted tale featuring bravura performances by Bill Nighy, Morwen Christie,Eleanor Tomlinson, and Matthew Goode. Matthew does a Goode job as a hiss-provoking villain, which is far cry from the gentlemanly characters he usually portrays.

Here’s the trailer:

Ordeal By Innocence is streaming on Amazon Prime. I give it 3 1/2 stars, and an Adrastos Grade of B+.

The last word of our second act goes to Nanci Griffith with a song about someone unjustly accused of a crime; a description that fits several characters in Ordeal By Innocence.

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: There’s a special place in my heart for historian Michael Beschloss, Lady Liberty, and Elvis Presley. The three join forces this week:

I promised a lighter third act and I’m going to deliver it with this latter-day Elvis hit:

It’s time to introduce a new regular feature.

The Weekly Heller: In researching my We’re All Milo Minderbinder Now post, I came upon many swell quotes from Catch-22 author Joseph Heller. This is one of them:

Give ’em Heller, Joe.

Let’s all go to the lobby and make ourselves a movie list:

The Classic Movie List: Very few movie stars are so beloved that people call them by their nicknames. James Stewart is one of the few.

My Top Ten Favorite Jimmy Stewart Movies:

  1.    Vertigo
  2.    The Philadelphia Story
  3.    Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
  4.    Rear Window
  5.    Anatomy Of A Murder
  6.   The Shop Around The Corner
  7.   The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  8.   The Naked Spur
  9.    Call Northside 777
  10.    It’s A Wonderful Life

I wish I could do my Stewart impression for you, it’s pretty darn good but all I got is this goldarn montage:

One Stewart movie I regret omitting is the 1965 Civil War film Shenandoah. The least I can do is post Roger McGuinn’s version of that traditional folk song:

Saturday GIF Horse: I’ve been a Tracey Ullman fan ever since her Fox show in the late Eighties. This is her traditional show closer; much like Won’t Get Fooled Again for The Who, only with a bathrobe.

Tracey had a hit single in 1983, which was the theme song for both her Fox show and Tracey Takes Off on HBO.

Weekly Vintage Music Video: My old friend Sam Jasper reminded me on Twitter of this song by my old friends The Tubes. Like They Don’t Know, it was released in 1983. I am officially old, but Fee Waybill is older.

Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more music.

Saturday Classic: Here’s another live show from the KSAN archives. It’s a 1977 set from a very young Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. I miss Tom. Who doesn’t?

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Thelma Ritter, Grace Kelly, and James Stewart spying on Raymond Burr in Rear Window: