Saturday Odds & Sods: Gethsemane

Night Windows by Edward Hopper.

Richard Thompson-Edward Hopper month continues. We begin with with a weather bulletin of sorts. Y’all are used to my weather obsession by now.

We had a cold front in New Orleans this week. Nighttime lows hovered around 50 several nights in a row. That may not sound like much to people from the frozen north but by our standards that’s cold for mid-April. Some locals whined about the cold, but I like it. Some folks just like to bitch. You know who you are; piss off out of my virtual kitchen.

Every time I search for Hopper paintings online, I’m told he was an “American realist” painter. That’s what he called himself, but his work is deeply weird. The painting above reminds me of Hitchcock’s Rear Window. I’ve never thought of Hitch as a realistic filmmaker even if regular guy Jimmy Stewart starred in that flick. His character was a laid-up photographer turned peeping tom. That’s weird, not realistic.

Sunday is Greek Easter, so I decided to pick a Richard Thompson tune with religious undertones. According to Mark and other bible dudes, Gethsemane was the garden at which Jesus prayed before his betrayal and arrest. It still exists and is a tourist attraction with an elaborate web site.

Gethsemane is also the title of this week’s theme song. It was written by Richard Thompson in 2003 for The Old Kit Bag. It’s an ominous sounding song that opens with this ominous verse.

“Among the headstones you played as boys
Crypts and tombs like a roomful of toys
Just up the river from the smoke and the noise

We have two versions of Gethsemane for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a recent solo acoustic interpretation by the songwriter.

There’s also a song from Jesus Christ Superstar called Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say.) Here’s the original cast recording with Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan in the title role.

I suspect playing Jesus Christ Superstar was nothing like working with Ritchie Blackmore. They did, however, produce some swell music:

Christ on a cracker, that rocked.

All this talk of Jesus and betrayal reminds me of this Asia tune:

Let’s flee the garden and jump to the break.

It’s time for a random RT song and a not-so random cover of that song.

I’m keeping our second act as light as a feather this week. Just what we need after a week of mounting body counts, flattening curves, and flailing presidents*. Pandemic jargon is exhausting, let’s take a break from it.

Speaking of light as a feather:

Give it up for Flora Purim on vocals, y’all.

Our second act begins in earnest with a magnum opus about Weird Al Yankovic. I’ll let the NYT Magazine link doohickey thingamabob serve as the segment header.

I know why he’s still around. He’s good. He’s clever. He’s weird. He’s Al.

I may not like hip hop, but I love this parody:

I haven’t posted anything from Vulture in quite some time. Just call me a turkey, buzzard….

16 Essential Movies That Tell The History Of Baseball is a swell listicle compiled by Keith Phipps. It makes no pretense to be a list of the best baseball movie list since Bull Durham and Major League are omitted. Instead, it details the history of baseball from the beginning to the present as seen on the big screen.

One quibble: I like 42 more than Phipps. The performances by Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson and Toby Huss as Leo Durocher are stellar. You may remember the latter from his great performance as John Bosworth in Halt and Catch Fire. Boz was da man.

I’m glad Phipps mentioned Bingo Long. It’s been a favorite since I saw it at the budget movie theatre in Redwood City, California six months after it opened wide. We called it The Bone because one of my friends insisted on calling dollar bills bones and the price of admission was one dollar. Twas a folly of youth. Of course, Dollar Bill Jefferson was kind of bony so perhaps it was premonitive:

Any excuse to post that old attack flyer; even a feeble one such as this.

The last word of our second act goes to The Kinks:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth, Casting Edition: We resume our presidential casting series with the man I call by his middle name, Warren Gamaliel Harding.

I always have some sympathy for Gamaliel. He was a nice little man who was in over his head. He was ill-served by corrupt aides including his attorney general, Harry Daugherty.

I hope y’all enjoyed your trip to the concession stand. I needed to make a concession to your need for snacks. Pass the Milk Duds, please.

The Movie List: In earlier editions of this segment I’ve stuck to players and directors. It’s time to try something different and longer. We’re moving from a Top Ten to a Top Fifteen list. Consider this a list of pandemic era viewing suggestions.

Most of these movies focus on the courtroom, but not all. I’ve even thrown a few comedies in the mix including one about a sleazy ambulance chaser: Whiplash Willie in Billy Wilder’s The Fortune Cookie. It was the performance that made Walter Matthau an unlikely movie star.

My Top Fifteen Favorite Lawyer Movies

  1.    Inherit The Wind
  2.    Anatomy Of A Murder
  3.    To Kill A Mockingbird
  4.    Reversal Of Fortune
  5.    Adam’s Rib
  6.   The Fortune Cookie
  7.    Marshall
  8.    A Few Good Men
  9.    Presumed Innocent
  10.    Witness For The Prosecution
  11.    My Cousin Vinny
  12.    Town Without Pity
  13.    The Verdict
  14.    Primal Fear
  15.   Ghosts Of Mississippi

I’m not a fan of John Grisham so film adaptations of his work are MIA. My favorite is The Runaway Jury, which was filmed in New Orleans.

For lagniappe, here’s a list of my Top Ten Favorite Lawyer TV Shows:

  1.    Perry Mason
  2.    Rumpole Of The Bailey
  3.    The Good Wife
  4.    LA Law
  5.    Boston Legal
  6.    Damages
  7.    Goliath
  8.    The Practice
  9.    Law & Order
  10.    Night Court

Anyone surprised by Perry Mason topping the list obviously doesn’t follow Friday Catblogging and the antics of Paul Drake and the late, great Della Street. Law & Order was half cop show half lawyer show, or it would be higher on this list. Ah, the vagaries of listomania.

The last word of the segment goes to Fall Out Boy:

Saturday GIF Horse: Remember That 70’s Show? The lockdown has brought out the inner Red Forman in many of us:

Thanks, Red. You know how to call a dumbass a dumbass.

That 70’s Show had a pretty darn good theme song as well:

Weekly Vintage Music Video: Joni Mitchell has been known to be *almost* as irascible as Red Forman. She was never big on making videos to promote her records. Here’s one for the title track of her criminally underrated 1991 album Night Ride Home:

Let’s shut down this virtual jukebox with some more music.

Saturday Classic: To my unmitigated delight, I haven’t exhausted the KSAN live archives. This is not really a Byrds reunion but a McGuinn, Clark & Hillman show at which David Crosby made an extended guest appearance. It’s a charming acoustic set. I particularly like it because of the inclusion of two numbers from Hillman’s Manassas days.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to William Hopper, Raymond Burr, and Barbara Hale in Perry Mason:

3 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Gethsemane

  1. Great post – thanks. Speaking of lawyer movies, one of my favorites is “A Civil Action.” On the defense side, it was realistic; Robert Duvall’s character seemed like a composite of lawyer’s I’ve seen.

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