It’s September and it’s still hotter than hell in New Orleans. Pandemic fatigue is widespread here just like everywhere else. Unfortunately, America didn’t do the work needed to suppress COVID-19 so we’re still muddling through.
The NFL season opens this week and I find myself utterly indifferent. I’m mildly amused by wingnut fans who say that they’ll boycott the season because the NFL has gone BLM on their asses. These are the same people who claim they want sports and politics on separate plains, make that separate planets. The Saints will be playing on Sunday at an empty Superdome. It’s hard to get excited about any of this. So it goes.
This week’s theme song was written by Tim Finn in 1982 for Split Enz’s Time and Tide album. It refers to the amount of time that it took British pioneers to sail to New Zealand and is also a metaphor for the songwriter’s nervous breakdown. That’s a lot of substance for a song that still rocks like crazy.
We have three versions of Six Months In A Leaky Boat for your listening pleasure: The Split Enz original; a 2000 live version by Tim Finn, Bic Runga, and Dave Dobbyn and a 2006 performance by a reunited Enz featuring some stellar keyboard work by the great Eddie Rayner.
Kiwi singer-songwriter David Dobbyn has his own nautical classic:
Now that we’re all seasick, it’s time to don a life jacket and jump to the break.
One more nautical anthem before beginning our second act in earnest. This time from an American band you might have heard of:
Why didn’t anyone tell me that Dwight Yoakam had performed Sloop John B? I am incapable of not sharing it:
It’s time to leave the sea behind and return to dry land with a Vanity Fair cover story.
The Breonna Taylor Blues: One of our finest writers, Ta-Nehisi Coates, has written a touching story about Breonna Taylor. We’re all familiar with her tragic and needless death at the hands of Louisville, Kentucky police. I knew little about her until reading Coates’ story, which co-stars Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer. It gives us a better-rounded picture of Ms. Taylor’s life. It makes her death even more tragic.
Let’s move from real life cops to fictional cops. We all wish they were alike, but they rarely are.
The Mod Squad, Kojak, Real Life Cops and Me is a fine piece at Vulture by Mark Harris in which he revisits his childhood. Harris had me at the headline since Maybe Cousin Telly Savalas is a Saturday Odds & Sods mainstay.
Teevee cop shows were one way that Harris bonded with his father. I identified with that part; only in my case it was sports although Lou and I shared an affection for The Rockford Files and Kojak. The latter was, of course, mandatory viewing in our house.
When my dad and I watched The Rockford Files together I found myself wishing that we could be more like Jim and Rocky, but it was not meant to be. We had the squabbling bit down pat but just couldn’t connect otherwise. Oh well, we always had Maybe Cousin Telly.
Let’s circle back to Tim Finn and Split Enz.
Walking Down The Road: Split Enz In The UK 1976 is an interview of Tim Finn by Donald Robertson that was unpublished until 2014. I stumbled into it while looking for images for this week’s closing meme. Sometimes you strike gold while down an internet rabbit hole. This was one of those times.
The last word of the segment goes to (who else?) Tim Finn with an achingly sad song:
Repeat after me: Sad songs are always the best songs.
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Cate Blanchett won an Oscar for her performance as Kate Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. It’s a controversial film among Marty cultists but I like it.
Pondering The Aviator gave me an earworm. The movie used Al Jolson’s version of Blue Skies, but I prefer this one:
Claire Trevor was a petite woman who specialized in playing tough broads. She would have felt at home with the two wise guys below. New cat Claire Trevor would dig hanging out at the Pork Store. What feline wouldn’t?
Saturday GIF Horse: My favorite relationship in The Sopranos was the one between Tony and Christopher. This GIF captures it pretty darn well.
Weekly Vintage Video: You heard Bic Runga singing backup earlier. Here’s one of her best known songs.
Let’s close down this virtual honky tonk with some more music.
Saturday Classic: 1977’s Dizrythmia is my favorite Split Enz album. It features some of their best and quirkiest songs. What’s not to love about a song called Parrot Fashion Love?
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Split Enz at their quirkiest. Quirky is what they did best.