Saturday Odds & Sods: Wouldn’t It Be Nice

The Great Wave by Hokusai.

I’ve been having wild dreams lately. I actually dreamt about writing The Truman Myth. The opening line came to me in my sleep: “I was present at the creation of the Truman myth.”

Present At The Creation was the title of Truman’s Secretary of State and unlikely friend Dean Acheson’s memoir. It’s not quite as fanciful as Miller-McCullough Man but it comes close.

It’s been crazy hot this week. I’ve been huddling under ceiling fans with the AC roaring and I’m still sweating. Oh well, what the hell.

I realize that the featured image has become something of a cliche since it appears on tchotchkes and such. Don’t blame the Hokusai guy for that or me for using it. It fits the Beach Boys like a glove.

This week’s theme song was written by Brian Wilson, Tony Asher, and Mike Love for the Beach Boys finest album Pet Sounds. Even professional asshole Mike Love did something right from time-to-time.

We have two versions of Wouldn’t It Be Nice for your listening pleasure: the studio original, the Beach Boys at Live Aid, and Alex Chilton.

Nice was my mother’s favorite word. She used it to praise people, places, and things. She liked this nice song as well:

Now that we’ve made nice let’s jump to the break,

Enough with all this niceness:

We begin our second act with a segment about a teevee show whose characters are not nice.

Hacks: Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) is a veteran comedian whose shtick has gotten stale. Her residency at a Las Vegas casino is on the ropes when we first meet her. Ava (Hannah Einbinder) is a mouthy young comedy writer who got fired from her last job over an obnoxious Tweet. They share an agent, and he brings this 21st Century odd couple together.

The first two episodes of Hacks are an extended meet cute. Deborah thinks Ava is a snide punk who hasn’t paid her dues and Ava thinks Deborah is a washed-up hack, but she needs the job. It’s a promising premise that keeps getting better as the first season progresses.

This viewer noticed that Deborah and Ava are essentially the same person. Opposites may attract but similar people clash. In this case, hilarity ensues as two very funny women learn to work together.

I was late to watching Hacks on HBO Max but eagerly await the second season. As always, Jean Smart is brilliant as the acerbic Deborah. She’s sort of a shiksa Joan Rivers. Hannah Einbinder is a revelation as Ava who is convinced of her own assholery. Deep down neither of them is as awful as they seem. BTW, Hannah is SNL OG Laraine Newman’s daughter. Funny runs in the family.

Hacks is streaming on HBO Max. I give it 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A. It’s a classic in the making.

The last word of the segment goes to Nina Simone with a song that was featured in the season finale of Hacks.

Speaking of things I don’t care about, the Olympics is one of them. I didn’t even care when my diminutive countryman Bob Costas was the host. I did, however, like Shapiro’s piece about Simone Biles.

That brings us to a segment about a weird 19th Century sport that is largely forgotten, I’d never heard of it until stumbling into an article about it on the internet, but it used to be a sensation. Things were boring in the Victorian Era.

Pedestrianism: That’s right, Pedestrianism. There’s a fascinating article by Zaria Govett at BBC Future about Pedestrianism. That’s right, Pedestrianism.

The tagline says it all: “Pedestrianism was a sport of epic rivalries, eyewatering salaries, feverish nationalism, eccentric personalities and six-day, 450-mile walks.”

So it was the World Cup before the World Cup? Who knew? Not me.

The last word of our second act goes to Chris Isaak:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Last Monday, I wrote about Boris Johnson and his feud with his former right-hand man, Dominic Cummings. The latter was played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2019 movie, Brexit.

Benedict Cumberbatch is an actor I’ve never warmed up to. He’s good but I don’t care for him. One would think that I would given my Anglophilia and his punworthy name. Oh well, what the hell.

Tweet Of The Week: Boris Johnson is a toon. He proves that in this battle with a brolly much to the amusement of Prince Charles.

The Movie List: Dr. A and I were watching an Ava Gardner movie on Noir Alley not long ago. Every time she came on screen, I said “now there’s a movie star.”

The camera loved her as did audiences and Frank Sinatra.

My Top Ten Favorite Ava Gardner Movies

  1.  The Killers
  2.  The Barefoot Contessa
  3.  Seven Days In May
  4.  The Night Of The Iguana
  5.  The Snows Of Kilimanjaro
  6.  The Sun Also Rises
  7.  Mogambo
  8.  The Naked Maja
  9.  My Forbidden Past
  10.  The Life and Times Of Judge Roy Bean

Saturday GIF Horse: We continue the Ava theme with two GIFs from Hacks.

Jean Smart Lol GIF by HBO Max - Find & Share on GIPHY

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

Saturday Classic: I promised Satch Plays Fats yesterday and I try to be a man of my word. Red beans and ricely yours, Adrastos.

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to Ava Gardner and Humphrey Bogart in The Barefoot Contessa.

 

6 thoughts on “Saturday Odds & Sods: Wouldn’t It Be Nice

  1. I love “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” … one of my fav Beach Boys songs. & I ADORE Ava Gardner. She did exactly what she wanted to & she didn’t give a flying F what anyone thought.

  2. MICHAEL D STOREY says:

    Francis Albert and Nice and Easy. One of my favorite Sinatra ditties. A Sinatra ditty is a little song that just rolls out, like the crimson silk kerchief used to show blood in the final scene of Romeo and Juliette. Makes ya wanna dance with a smile that makes your face ache.

    I never was a Beach Boy fan, and was what is sometimes referred to as a mature adult before I realized Chuck Berry’s contribution to surfing music.
    But when i hear Nice and Easy, I wanna come in the house and find Judith and get a kiss. Thanx for this.

  3. Ten Bears says:

    That wave turns up a lot these day’s: the cover of a couple of books in my collection, a recent library promotional, here and there around the cybersphere; I’ve even seen it as a tattoo.

    As product of mid-fifties promiscuous pregnancy and sixties serial Southern California divorce, the Beach Boys were more of a fantasy than naught. Upper middle-class kids fall into a cute late fifties niche and made a few really good albums for the time that didn’t necessarily reflect the times. Don’t get me wrong, it was great music to grow up to, but it didn’t reflect the realities of East LA. I don’t find it as distasteful today as I long did, having literally heard it all my life, though I do find the industry, the cash cow, worthy of no more than a few words at an obscure blog somewhere.

    • Peter Adrastos Athas says:

      It was a fantasy for the Beach Boys too. The Wilson family was barely middle class. Father Murray quit his job and became the band’s tyrannical manager.

  4. rob says:

    Thank God for Al Jardine and Brian Johnson.
    Mike Love is the Sheryl Osborne of that band.
    rob

    • Peter Adrastos Athas says:

      Carl Wilson was a huge loss. He was able to get along with Love and protect Brian as well.

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