Saturday Odds & Sods: Getting Better

Chez Tortoni by Edouard Manet.

The weather remains the leading topic of conversation in New Orleans. A tornado ripped through the city causing property damage but no serious injuries.  It took place a mere two miles from Adrastos World HQ ,but I slept through it. I seem to be turning into a cat.

First Draft contributor Ryne Hancock came over to record his podcast with yours truly as his guest.

Beatles month continues with this week’s theme song. It was written by Lennon and McCartney for 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. It’s mostly a Macca song but has a mordant aside written by John: “It can’t get no worse.”

We have four versions of Getting Better for your listening pleasure: the Beatles original, Cheap Trick, Peter Frampton & the Bee Gees, and Gomez.

Feeling better? Let’s jump to the break before it gets much worse.

Before moving on, we better play another song with better in the title:

As a grudge-holder, I identify with a line in that Townshend tune, “You’re dealing with a memory that never forgets.”

We begin our second act in earnest with a swell piece from NY Magazine.

Staten Island Stone: Richard Luthmann began his political career, such as it is, as a perennial candidate and the court jester of Staten Island politics. It’s the most conservative borough in NYC but Luthmann was originally a Democrat, that is, until he met Roger Stone.

Luthmann’s ill-fated association with Stone put him on the road to both perdition and prison. James D. Walsh has the details.

Documentary Of The Week: The featured image is Chez Tortoni by Edouard Manet after whom I named a black cat. It’s one of the artworks that was stolen from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Of Art in 1990. The missing artworks as well as the guys who stole them remain at large. It’s one of the most enduring mysteries in the arty world of art crime.

There’s an outstanding new docuseries streaming at Netflix about the heist. I know, it’s like deja vu all over again. What can I tell ya? I’m a true crime buff and Netflix has been producing some good stuff.

Native Bostonians, the Barnicle brothers, have made a 4-part docuseries about the heist. The only thing I don’t like about it is the title: This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist. It’s clunky and overlong: short and punchy would be better. I like short and punchy titles.

The series is full of larger than life characters and talking heads. My favorite was notorious art thief Miles Connor who had an alibi for the day of the heist: he was in jail on other charges. It’s still believed that Connor was involved in the planning and aftermath of the robbery.

Another stellar talking head is Dick Ellis the former head of Scotland Yard’s Antiques and Crime Squad. He shoots down the Dr. No/wealthy collector theory. It turns out that there *is* a use for stolen masterpieces They can be used as collateral to finance other crimes. I did not know that. You learn something new every day.

In the final episode, the filmmakers come up with a plausible theory as to how the heist was pulled off and whodunit. Hint: they were professional criminals.

Here’s the trailer:

I give This Is A Robbery: The World’s Biggest Art Heist 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+. I took points off for the clunky and dull title. Gimme short and punchy any day.

The last word of our second act goes to 10cc:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: I’ve been watching a swell genealogy show on Britbox, My Family Secrets Revealed. Not my family but a bunch of Brits. I only reveal secrets here not on teevee unless, that is, I get a call from Skip Gates. Perhaps we can reconvene the beer summit.

On one of the episodes of the aforementioned show, a bloke who looks like George Clooney made an appearance hoping to learn if they’re related. They are not but Jeremy Kenny does indeed resemble Rosie Clooney’s nephew.

He looks nothing like George’s cousin Miguel Ferrer who was a dead ringer for his father, Jose.

Miguel was Rosie Clooney’s son with Jose Ferrer. I loved him in Crossing Jordan. The poor dear died in 2017.

Now that I’ve given you some SAB lagniappe, let’s all go to the lobby for a snack.

Movie List: Last week, it was the master of crime movies, Don Siegel. This week his protege, Clint Eastwood. I think you may have heard of him. His politics suck but he’s a helluva director.

My Top Ten Favorite Movies Directed By Clint Eastwood

  1.   Unforgiven
  2.   Million Dollar Baby
  3.   The Outlaw Josey Wales
  4.   Mystic River
  5.   Space Cowboys
  6.   Blood Work
  7.   Flags Of Our Fathers
  8.   Play Misty For Me
  9.   Gran Torino
  10.   White Hunter Black Heart

I mentioned Clint’s awful politics. Who among us can forget his “chair speech” at the 2012 RNC?

I’ve always wondered if Clint was influenced by the talking chair in this Neil Diamond tune.

We haven’t checked in with Michael Imperoli and Steve Schrippa for a few weeks. Let’s see how they’re doing.

Talking Sopranos Moment: Frankie Valli was in da house recently with da boys. He played New York wise guy, Rusty Millo, in the final season of The Sopranos.

I wonder if Frankie made anyone cry. I guess not, there were no big girls in attendance.

Saturday GIF Horse: This week, a scene from Don Siegel’s The Lineup, which was #3 on my/his list.

Holy Tommy Udo, Batman.

Let’s revisit the wheelchair scene from Kiss Of Death. Push, Tommy, push.

Saturday Soundie: Dorothy Dandridge puts on her cowgirl outfit and sings her heart out. There’s a bit of minstrelsy going on as well but she’s the main attraction.

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

Saturday Classic: The Beatles. Rubber Soul. Say no more. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

That’s all for this week. Once again, the last word goes to Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel. The latter made a cameo appearance in Eastwood’s directorial debut, Play Misty For Me. Don is the mustachioed bartender.


5 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Getting Better

  1. Back in the 1980’s, when I was a young exotic dancer, I knew an old guy named Bill who was a dead ringer for my late grandfather … to the point where I had to wonder if my great-grandfather had stepped out on my Nana. Bill & my Poppy could have been brothers. He was even an accountant, like my grandfather had been. We became quite close & I mourned him sincerely when he died.

  2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is my favorite Eastwood film. Not because of him though.

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