I’m getting vaccinated this afternoon at the Morial Convention Center. I’m a bit nervous and uncertain as to which vaccine I’ll be getting. I’m fine with any of them. The one-shot J&J variant has considerable appeal because I hate needles. Here’s hoping I get jabbed by someone with a light touch. Just don’t give me a smiley faced Band-Aid. I hope that’s not too much to ask. Enough jab jabber.
It’s pollen season in New Orleans. The mighty oaks are spewing forth their yellow poison (to me) and my eyes are red and runny. If I were a Republican, I’d turn this into a culture war grievance but I’m not so I won’t.
This week’s theme song was written in 1971 by Pete Ham for Badfinger’s Straight Up album. It was a smash hit across the globe hitting number 4 on the Billboard charts in the US&A. The song was produced by George Harrison and featured George on slide guitar and Leon Russell on piano.
We begin with the Badfinger original:
I had no idea that the second version existed until I checked out Second Hand Songs. Ladies and gentlemen, Bradyfinger:
The Brady Bunch kids cut two albums of then contemporary hit songs. It’s weird to hear a chirpy version of Pete Ham’s mournful song. If it weren’t so damn funny, I’d give it the finger, then eat a Butterfinger. Candy is the cure for many of the ills of society including Bradyfinger.
Speaking of fingers:
It’s time to cut out (cut off?) the finger jokes and jump to the break.
I know I promised to stop the finger jokes but how could I riff on the other F word without posting something from Sticky Fingers?
Enough with the jokes. We begin our second act in earnest with a serious look at the state of the law in the Gret Stet of Louisiana.
Gret Stet Dissenter: Bernette Johnson is a great New Orleanian. She served on the Louisiana Supreme Court from 1994 to 2020, the last seven years as Chief Justice. She’s a pioneer: the first Black woman to serve on SCOL. I may be the first writer to use that acronym, which doesn’t work as well as SCOTUS. So it goes.
There’s a fabulous piece about Justice Johnson by Elon Green at The Appeal. This tagline says it all:
Former Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson’s fiery dissents on mass incarceration and sentencing in America’s most carceral state garnered international attention. But the rise of the first Black woman on the court was characterized by one battle after another with the Deep South’s white power structure.
It’s time to change the channel to one of my personal favorites, Turner Classic Movies.
Reframed Classics: University of Chicago professor Jacqueline Stewart is also a pioneer. In 2019, she became the first Black host at TCM.
“promises wide-ranging discussions about 18 culturally significant films from the 1920s through the 1960s that also have problematic aspects, from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Mickey Rooney’s performance as Mr. Yunioshi to Fred Astaire’s blackface routine in “Swing Time.”
I missed the first episode featuring Gone With The Wind. Here’s Stewart’s intro:
Reframed Classics is airing every Thursday In March. For a list of the movies discussed click here. I’m playing catch-up on this feature, alas, but these versions of the films can also be seen on TCM On Demand and the TCM app. Hopefully, they’ll archive the introductions on their web site or YouTube.
One more video for the road featuring my main man Noir Alley host, Eddie Mueller:
Eddie says no. Trust Eddie. He’s not kidding.
Fifty Baseball Books For The Ages: I like listicles. I like reading them, I like writing them. My 2019 Louisiana movie list was the topic of much discussion on an acquaintance’s Facebook feed this week. One of the commenters said “fuck this guy” because I disliked the remake of The Cat People. It made me laugh.
I stand by the line that dude found objectionable: “Cat People is a dog. I can hear it bark at my house upriver from the Zoo.”
The Society For Baseball Research is better known as SABR. It’s celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. Hence the list of fifty baseball books. It’s a good ‘un. Enjoy.
The last word of our second act goes to Terry Cashman:
Did he say Willie Mays? Now we’re talking baseball.
We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.
Separated At Birth Casting Edition: New writer Shapiro suggested this pairing from Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, which I reviewed here at First Draft. I give you a stern-looking Thaddeus Stevens and the man who played him, Tommy Lee Jones.
I do a pretty darn good Tommy Lee Jones impression, but it doesn’t work in print. So it goes.
The Movie List: This week’s list was inspired by this book cover that was posted in the latest malaka of the week post:
Sanders may have been a cad, but he was a great character actor.
My Top Ten Favorite George Sanders Movies
- All About Eve
- Foreign Correspondent
- Man Hunt
- While The City Sleeps
- This Land Is Mine
- The Picture Of Dorian Gray
- Witness To Murder
- The Strange Affair Of Uncle Harry
Sanders also starred in five movies as the Saint and four as the Falcon. In the latter series he was replaced by his brother, Tom Conway. Reportedly, Tom Sanders changed his last name after losing a coin toss to his kid brother George. Sounds apocryphal to me.
Sanders also received a shout-out from Ray Davies: “If you covered him in garbage, George Sanders would still have style.”
Yeah, you right, Ray.
Saturday GIF Horse: The George Sanders theme continues with this GIF from All About Eve.
If you’re keeping score the other players are Gary Merrill who’s smoking, Celeste Holm, and the back of Bette Davis’ head.
Random Weekly Earworm: Brian Wilson cracked up in the early Seventies and didn’t participate in some of the Beach Boys’ albums or tours at that time. One exception was 1973’s Holland. Not surprisingly, it’s one of their better efforts.
Funky Pretty is a song Brian co-wrote with his asshole first cousin Mike Love and the band’s then manager Jack Rieley. The lyrics are astrological gobble-de-gook, but the melody and harmonies are to die for.
There’s no love lost between Brian Wilson and past malaka of the week Mike Love:
Are you ready for more Beach Boys? I hope so. You have no choice.
Saturday Classic: Since I bragged on Holland as one of the Beach Boys better albums, here it is via Spotify.
FYI, Elvis Costello and Tom Petty agree with me about Holland. Does that make us three Dutch uncles in search of a nephew? Here are mine in 2016 with a finger sight gag:
You didn’t really think I was finished with the finger jokes, did you? Pass the fingerling potatoes, then I’ll STFU.
That’s all for this week. The last word goes to Marilyn Monroe and George Sanders in All About Eve: