I don’t know about you, but I’m still beat from the election and its aftermath. My sleep pattern resembles a crazy quilt right now. Hopefully, it will return to normal soon. I may have to perform some sort of sacrifice to Morpheus if it doesn’t.
In an indication that climate change is real, there was another late season tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico this week. It didn’t visit the Gret Stet of Louisiana so we should be grateful for small mercies. I’m also grateful that Team Biden plans to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords. Shit has gotten weird with the weather, y’all.
This week’s theme song was written on the fly in 1971 by Robbie Robertson and Van Morrison for The Band’s Cahoots album. Robertson had already started the song but finished it with the Grumpy One after he dropped by the studio.
We have two versions of 4% Pantomime for your listening pleasure: the studio original and an alternate version. The song features a duet between two great singers: Van and Richard Manuel and is loaded with card-playing imagery hence the featured image.
Now that we’ve gotten “wrecked, checked” let’s jump to the break. There’s more music awaiting us on the other side.
Van Morrison joined The Band onstage in 1976 for The Last Waltz. He sang two numbers but only one made Scorsese’s movie. The first is another duet with The Band’s Richard Manuel. The second shows more Morrisonian stage presence than usual. It made the movie.
I’ve seen Van Morrison many times. I never saw him repeat that leg kick. So it goes.
We begin our second act in earnest with a look back at the late election.
Joe & Kamala’s Dance Party was how it ended up, but it was a long hard slog to get to the end. Two election post-mortems caught my eye. The first comes from Time Magazine and was written by Charlotte Alter whose father, Jonathan, used to help write the Newsweek post-mortems back when it was a viable publication instead of whatever it is now. Once the Grahams sold Newsweek, it was doomed.
Speaking of the Grahams, the second piece comes from their old newspaper the WaPo. It was written a team of White House correspondents headed up by Ashley Parker, so it focuses a bit more on the Trump side of the equation. They declare it a massive fail. For the details, click here.
In honor of last weekend’s dance party, some music by an Australian band that wound up living in Miami:
One more dance number. This one is more obscure but it always makes me feel like dancing:
I really should do a Leo Sayer-Richard Simmons edition of Separated at Birth at some point. I have other plans today.
The International Brigades were formed to fight Fascism during the Spanish Civil War. George Orwell fought with one. Ernest Hemingway covered the war with special emphasis on the foreign fighters whose attempt to foil Franco failed.
The Guardian has published an extended excerpt from a book by Giles Tremlett: The International Brigades: Fascism, Freedom and the Spanish Civil War. It’s well worth your attention.
The last word of the segment goes to The Clash with a song kinda, sorta inspired by the Spanish Civil War:
Alex Trebek, R.I.P. I’m a lifelong Jeopardy fan. I was raised on it: my mother and I watched the Art Fleming hosted original together almost every day. When the show was rebooted in 1984, Alex Trebek was the host. He was so good at the job that he held it for 36 years until his recent death at the age of 80.
Alex was clever, courtly, and unflappable. It was a pleasure to watch him over the years as he egged on the contestants to go for a true daily double.
Vulture has published a virtual wake in which Jeopardy champions honor Alex.
His epic battle against cancer was an inspiration to all of us. He will be missed.
A: The much-loved and respected host of a popular quiz show.
Q: Who is Alex Trebek?
The last word of our second act goes to Jethro Tull:
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth Casting Edition: The Crown is returning to Netflix. I’m looking forward to it, especially because longtime Adrastos crush Gillian Anderson is playing Margaret Thatcher:
The Divine Gillian is not the first prominent actress to play Mrs. Thatcher. Meryl Streep played her in The Iron Lady:
Thatcher famously dowdied herself up when she decided to climb to the top of what Disraeli called the greasy pole. People still don’t take attractive women seriously in politics, which is crazy. Being attractive didn’t hurt JFK’s career, after all.
One person who saw through the helmet hair and dowdy facade was French President Francois Mitterand:
The Wit & Wisdom Of Van Morrison: When I proclaimed Van Morrison malaka of the week, I mentioned the Who’s Grumpy bootleg. It consists of musical noodling and audience abuse. I found it the other day. Yay, me.
Here’s a drunken ditty called I Don’t Do Those Fucking Songs No More.
The Classic Movie List: While I like the James Bond series, I’m more of a Sean Connery fan than a Bond boy. The following list reflects that.
My Top Ten Favorite Sean Connery Movies:
- The Man Who Would Be King
- The Untouchables
- Dr. No
- The Hunt For Red October
- Rising Sun
- Robin and Marian
- The Great Train Robbery
- The Wind and the Lion
Connery died on Halloween at the age of 90. His career was an extended treat for his fans. He could also rock a kilt like nobody’s business.
There is, of course, a link between Alex Trebek and Sean Connery in the form of this SNL sketch with Will Farrell as Alex and Darrell Hammond as Sean:
Saturday GIF Horse: Are you ready for more Connery content? I certainly hope so. Here he is as Bond, James Bond.
That’s a helluva hat trick and I say that as someone whose knowledge of hockey is limited to say the least. Hockey can puck off.
Weekly Vintage Music Video: Here’s Mary Chapin Carpenter singing a Lucinda Williams song.
Holy unbeatable combination, Batman.
Saturday Classic: When Moondog Matinee was released, the critics scoffed since it was a covers album. I’ve always thought it was one of their best albums.
That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Van Morrison, Robbie Robertson, and Rick Danko.