Saturday Odds & Sods: Circle Back

Blue Night by Edward Hopper.

Today is supposed to be the Krewe du Vieux parade. It was cancelled because of the pandemic. The timing was good for me: last year was the worst Carnival season I’ve had since coming to New Orleans in 1987. I wrote about some aspects it in a piece called The Cursed Carnival?

Shorter Adrastos: I needed a year off from Carnival so I’m not as unhappy with the situation as most people are. Some of the Krewe du Vieux sub-krewes including Spank are presenting art installations instead of marching. Since I wasn’t feeling it, I did not participate. So it goes.

John Hiatt wrote this week’s theme song for his 2003 album Beneath This Gruff Exterior. It’s one of his fatherhood songs as it describes taking his daughter to college. It also rocks much harder than the cradle ever should.

We have two versions of Circle Back for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live version. Both feature Sonny Landreth and the Goners.

I mentioned Hiatt’s fatherhood songs. Here are two more:

Now that we’ve rocked the cradle, let’s jump to the break before we get too dizzy.

I somehow missed a song that was inspired by the songwriter’s father’s love of messing with his kids. Oh, the simple pleasures of life.

We begin our second act by revving up the Wayback Machine:

The Radio Priest: Charles E. Coughlin was a rabble rouser and a demagogue. He was the Rush Limbaugh of his era. He was also a Catholic priest.

Father Couglin began as an ally of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal but, much to FDR’s relief, he turned against him. The Radio Priest’s obsession with bankers led him to tread the dark path of anti-Semitism, which in turn led to what we’d now call his deplatforming in 1938 and 1939.

Another factor in Coughlin’s removal from the airwaves was his vitriol against President Roosevelt. Catholics were among the most loyal members of FDR’s base, which led to complaints from laity and clergy alike as Coughlin’s attacks on the president intensified. Finally, he was ordered off the air by the church hierarchy who were embarrassed by his bigotry and attacks on a president popular with their flock.

Thomas Doherty has written an outstanding piece for Slate in which he compares Coughlin’s deplatforming to that of the Impeached Insult Comedian. I don’t know about you, but I do not miss Trump’s twitter feed, which was a locus for disinformation in our time as Coughlin’s radio show and magazine were in his.

In 1988, the PBS documentary series, The American Experience did a show about Coughlin’s rise and fall:

If you’re interested in the subject, you might want to watch it soon. These things have a way of disappearing from the YouTube. Holy copyright violation, Batman.

Enough demagoguery, it’s true crime time.

Documentary Of The Week: The Night Stalker was a serial killer who terrorized Los Angeles and environs in the 1980’s. He was extra-hard to track down because he was less ritualistic and predictable than most serial killers. Most of his murders were crimes of opportunities that happened spontaneously and at random. That ramped up the terror factor to 100.

The new 4-part Netflix docuseries tells the story of the Night Stalker through the eyes of survivors and the lead investigators on the case, Frank Salerno and Gil Carillo.

Here’s the trailer:

I give Night Stalker: The Hunt For A Serial Killer 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+.

Trivia time: Detectives Salerno and Carillo worked for the Los Angeles county sheriff’s department. The sheriff between 1958 and 1981 was Pete Pitchess who was my father’s second cousin. I met him several times and he was as right-wing as they come. I recall him yelling at me when I called a certain president Tricky Dick. He knew and liked Nixon. I think the only reason my nose wasn’t bloodied was that I was a blood relation. Oy just oy.

The last word of our second act goes to one of the ultimate LA bands:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa was Robert Kennedy’s white whale. The colorful and criminal union boss has been depicted on film more than a few times. He’s been played by Robert Blake, Al Pacino, and Jack Nicholson. The worst movie among the three was Blood Feud with Blake as Hoffa who is the actor who most resembles Hoffa. So it goes.

Blood Feud was actually a two-part mini-series about Bobby Kennedy’s pursuit of Hoffa. The title was better than the show itself.

The last word of the segment goes to a bloody song by Genesis:

The Classic Movie List: Dr. A and I have watched two Alan Ladd film noirs in the last month. Ladd was one of the handsomest actors of his day. In The Blue Dahlia, the detective investigating the murder says the description of the suspect could fit a thousand guys. The suspect was Alan Ladd’s character, which led me to interject: “There aren’t a thousand men as handsome as Alan Ladd.”

Uh oh, I seem to have a man crush on Laddie.

My Top Ten Favorite Alan Ladd Movies:

  1.  Shane
  2.  The Blue Dahlia
  3. The Glass Key
  4.  This Gun For Hire
  5.  Two Years Before The Mast
  6.  Botany Bay
  7.  OSS
  8.  The Badlanders
  9.  The Man In The Net
  10.  13 West Street

Oddly enough, I’ve never seen the 1949 version of The Great Gatsby with Ladd in the title role. He’s perfect casting for Gatsby. Beats the hell outta me why I’ve missed it since it’s also one of my favorite novels. Yo, TCM, play it. That is all.

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake made 7 movies together. He also made 6 movies with the great character actor William Bendix who should probably get his own list someday.

Saturday GIF Horse: Dr. A and I were big fans of the NBC sitcom Mad About You. We somehow missed its 2019 reboot but recently watched it on Amazon. Here’s a pair of GIFs including one from the reboot.

One thing a GIF cannot capture is Paul Reiser’s incredible delivery. The man cracks me up with the simplest zinger.

We stay in New York with our next segment. Let’s see what Michael Imperioli and Steve Schrippa are up to.

Talking Sopranos Moment: One of the best episodes was when Michael and Steve had writer Terry Winter on the podcast. Winter and I have something in common: we’re both lapsed lawyers. I wish I had written something as good as The Pine Barrens episode of The Sopranos.

Here’s Terry Winter on the fate of the Russian guy in that wintry episode:

Tweet Of The Week: It comes from me. White House press secretary Jen Psaki is one of the breakout stars of the Biden administration. I was curious about the origin of her last name so I consulted with Mr. Google:

I felt compelled to follow-up with a self retweet:

Ms. Psaki *is* part Polish. I’m proud to claim her as my countrywoman.

Random Benign Earworm: All this talk of parenting songs has given me dueling earworms.

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

Saturday Playlist: I enjoy making compilation CDs. It’s a challenge to boil down the music of some of my favorite artists to 80 minutes or less. I decided to replicate my latest effort on Spotify. It features January’s artist of the month, John Hiatt.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to January’s featured artist, Edward Hopper: