Saturday Odds & Sods: Watching The Wheels

Wheel by Paul Strand.

December 8, 1980 is another day “which will live in infamy.” It was the day that John Lennon was murdered. I keep meaning to mark the day here at First Draft but somehow keep missing it. This year, it was Athenae Tuesday so at least I have a good reason.

All Beatles fans who were alive and sentient 40 years ago remember where they were when they heard the news. I was a typical college kid: I was doing laundry at my parents’ house and watching Monday Night Football with my father. Howard Cosell made the announcement. I was shocked and saddened. Lou made it worse by saying, “He was probably buying drugs on the street.” My mother shushed him but my aggravation level hit 100. That’s the not terribly interesting story of where I was when John Lennon was killed.

John Lennon wrote Watching The Wheels in the year of his death for the posthumously released Double Fantasy album. He was returning home from a recording session when he was murdered. I should have told my dad that rock stars didn’t score on the street but had their drugs delivered to them in the studio.

We have three versions of this swell song for your listening pleasure: the Lennon original and covers by The Samples and Chris Cornell.

This is the second time this fall that I’ve used a wheelie tune as the Saturday post theme song. Here’s a Kiwi wheelie song before we jump to the break:

Now that we’ve been fortified by the Crowdies, let’s do it. See you on the other side.

I’m feeling like a wheeler dealer right now so here’s a Tom Petty tune:

I would be derelict in my wheelie duty if I omitted the good old Grateful Dead. Here’s a medley of The Wheel/I Need A Miracle/Uncle John’s Band:

It’s been a stressful week so I’m keeping our second act as light as a feather. We begin with a piece about one of my favorite recent teevee comedies.

The Veepiest Moments Of The Trump Era: Veep showrunner David Mandel helped Politico’s David Choi and Daniel Lippman compile an epic list of Trump Regime moments where life imitated fiction. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.

Rumor has it that the Veep team is considering doing another season inspired by the Trumpiness of recent politics. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea, but I said the same thing when Larry David brought back Curb Your Enthusiasm. I was wrong in that case

There was a Netflix docuseries that had everyone buzzing in the early days of the pandemic. I resolutely refused to watch something that was clearly trashier than the Real Housewives of New Jersey or Shahs Of Sunset. My taste for tawdry trash teevee led me to give in a few weeks ago. Here’s my report from enemy country.

I’m Going to Hell For Liking Tiger King: This reeking pile of teevee refuse focuses on the putrid people who put wild felines on display. It focuses on two in particular: Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin. They had a feud that eventually led to criminal charges and jail for the man who should be renamed Joe Prisoner.

In the early episodes, I thought Carole was a better person than Joe, but I was wrong. They’re pieces of shit in a pod. Is that possible? Discuss among yourselves.

I’m not going into gruesome detail about this rubbish, but I found it weirdly entertaining, which is why I’m going to hell for liking it.

Here’s the trailer:

Dr. A refused to watch Tiger King with me so she’s not going to hell. My life would be purer without images of Joe Exotic’s mullet dancing in my head. FYI, he’s petitioned the Impeached Insult Comedian for a pardon and he’s not even a corrupt Texas politician.

I give Tiger King 3 stars, an Adrastos Grade of B, and a T for Trashy.

Speaking of tigers, I recently watched the Bowery Boys in Smuggler’s Cove. There was an outstanding pun exchange about a Bengal tiger skin rug that Satch tripped over. The head was still attached. How’s that for gruesome?

Satch: It’s a bagel tiger.

Slip: No it’s not. It’s a beagle tiger.

You say beagle, I say Bengal. Let’s call the whole thing off.

The last word of our second act goes to Buck Owens:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: Dr. A and I are watching season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery. When I learned that it would revisit the character of Captain Christopher Pike, I joked that the actor who played him was unlikely to look like Jeffrey Hunter. I was wrong. Except for the blue eyes, there’s a strong resemblance between Hunter and Anson Mount.

I didn’t know until recently that Jeffrey Hunter was from New Orleans. He had a weird career. He was groomed for stardom by John Ford then accepted an offer from the great Nicholas Ray to play the lead in his next film. Unfortunately, it was a jinxed part: Jesus in King of Kings. Hunter’s career never recovered from playing the Nazarene carpenter. It wasn’t helped any by bowing out of Star Trek, which made Shatner a star. Hunter often told fellow thespians, “Whatever you do, don’t play Jesus.” He died at 43 before he was able to mount a comeback. The moral of this story: Don’t play Jesus.

I like Discovery but one thing I don’t care for is Spock’s beard, no not the prog band, the beard worn by Ethan Peck in the role. He’s otherwise well-suited for the part but I call him Hipster Spock every time he comes onscreen. It strikes me as against the Vulcan ethos to have facial hair. All is forgiven if it’s a tribute to the band who get the last word of the segment:

I’d forgotten that Spock had a goatee in one episode of the original series: Mirror, Mirror. I don’t recall heckling him as Beatnik Spock but it’s possible.

The Movie List overslept and asked for the week off. Request granted.

Saturday GIF Horse: Ready for more Veep? Here are two GIFs featuring the dread Jonah Ryan aka Jonad:

Patton Oswalt Jonah Ryan GIF by Veep HBO - Find & Share on GIPHY

That was Patton Oswalt at the end of the second GIF. Here’s a bonus GIF of him as Constable Bob in Justified:

Now that we’ve watched nice Patton Oswalt fire his weapon, let’s move on.

Weekly Vintage New Video: Tom Petty’s great 1994 album Wildflowers was recently re-released in a boxed set with previously unreleased tracks as Wildflowers & All The Rest. The Petty estate commissioned a brand spanking new video for one of the new to us songs:

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

Saturday Classic: Dr. A is the Christmas music lover in our family. I can take or leave much of it but Dwight Yoakam’s Come On Christmas is a winner. The highlight is a Conjunto-style reworking of Silver Bells.

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to those zany Veepsters.

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