Saturday Odds & Sods: Wild World

Hirondelle Amour by Joan Miro.

We’re gearing up for a municipal election in New Orleans and I’m disinterested at this moment. One reason is that two of the major offices, mayor and one at large city council seat, have pre-determined outcomes. Mayor Teedy will be reelected as will Council President Helena Moreno. I’m resigned to the former and pleased about the latter, but my level of interest is not high right now. Oh well, what the hell.

We received letters this week informing us that we won’t be voting at the Catholic school where we’ve voted since Katrina. I’m old school and still prefer casting my ballot on election day. Sorry, Shapiro. Instead, we’ll be voting at the former HQ of NOPD’s second district. I wonder if we’ll get to see the former holding cells. Beats the former hell outta me.

This week’s theme song was written by Cat Stevens for his 1970 album Tea For The Tillerman. In addition to being his commercial breakthrough, the album title inspired several Tea For The Tillerson posts in the early days of the Trump regime. It’s a pity that Rex hasn’t spilled any tea about the man he called a “fucking moron” when he was secretary of state.

We have three versions of Wild World for your listening pleasure: the Cat Stevens original as well as covers by Jimmy Cliff and Maxi Priest:

Oh baby baby it’s time to jump to the break.

I’m still feeling a bit wild after that jump:

That act of guitar pyromania made my heart sing or some such shit.

We begin our second act in earnest with a swell piece about Cat Stevens and the strong feelings he evokes to this day.

You Say Yusuf, I Say Cat: Cat Stevens was a huge star in the 1970’s. He was well-known for reinventing himself as well as his music. The segment title could have included his real name, Steven Georgiou. That’s right, he’s one of my ethnic countrymen, so I have a soft spot for him. My father was even known to use his stock line about Greeks who made it big: “Cat Stevens. He’s Greek, you know. He’s doing very well.”

I recall being shocked when Steven/Cat/Yusuf supported the fatwa against Salman Rushdie over his impenetrable novel, The Satanic Verses. I was a law student and I recall one of my classmates saying, “Cat Stevens, a hater? My wife is going to be crushed.” Oh baby, baby, I felt the same way.

The fatwa remains a sensitive subject for Steven/Cat/Yusuf  as I learned from a fabulous piece in the WaPo Magazine by musician/writer Howard Fishman. Fishman takes a personal approach to the subject and produces one of the best things ever written about Yusuf Islam.

I’ve made some name jokes here, but I’m inclined to honor name changes. It came off as churlish and racist when white sportswriters continued to call Muhammad Ali, Cassius Clay. So Yusuf it is.

The last word of the segment comes from my favorite Cat Stevens album, Catch Bull At Four.

I don’t know about you, but I love quirky small museums. Let’s take a trip to one in the Old Line State of Maryland.

The Booth Museum: The Booths were the Barrymores of the 19th Century, a widely respected acting dynasty. That changed on April 14. 1865 when John Wilkes Booth murdered Abraham Lincoln in a theatre of all places. John Wilkes was what they called “seecesh” his brother Edwin was loyal to the Union. His brother’s crime damaged Edwin’s life and reputation. Poor bastard.

I commend your attention to another WaPo Magazine piece by Eddie Dean. It’s about a museum in Bel Air, MD dedicated to the Mad Booths of Maryland. It used to be their home.

The last word of the segment goes to some guys from kinda sorta nearby New Jersey:

House, house, we, we used to live in.

Speaking of Jersey, my Sopranos bender continues.

James Gandolfini Agonistes: It’s book excerpt time. This time, a segment about the troubled and gifted James Gandolfini of Tony Soprano fame. It comes from an upcoming book by James Andrew Miller: Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers. Sounds hot, y’all.

Get thee to Vulture for the details or someone will swoop down on and eat the meat off your bones. That was creepy, wasn’t it?

The last word of our second goes to the Pointer Sisters with a ghoulish, not girlish, tune:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: There was a terrific 1998 teeve mini-series about the Temptations. It was called The Temptations. What else?

Below you have the reel Temps and the real Temps.

I doubt if any of them ever lived in a Psychedelic Shack. Sounds cramped to me even if it’s where it’s at, y’all.

The Movie List: This week, one of the great stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Gary Cooper. It was inspired by this GIF I posted last week:

My Top Ten Favorite Gary Cooper Movies

  1.    High Noon
  2.    Ball Of Fire
  3.    Mr. Deeds Goes To Town
  4.    Friendly Persuasion
  5.    Love In The Afternoon
  6.    Man Of The West
  7.   Sergeant York
  8.   The Pride Of The Yankees
  9.   Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife
  10.   Meet John Doe

Tony Soprano adored Cooper’s strong and silent shtick but was weak on the details of the actor’s life. He was the son of a distinguished federal judge, not some poor yutz from the sticks. Sorry, Tony.

The last word of the segment goes to Ella Fitzgerald with an Irving Berlin song that rhymes Gary Cooper with trooper:

HBO’s great “rich people are awful” show, Succession is back. Let the backstabbing begin.

Saturday GIF Horse: I give you Logan Roy being arrogant and his son-in-law Tom throwing shit at Logan’s hapless nephew Greg. Stay tuned.

Makes me wanna duck and cover.

Weekly Weird Clip: This one popped up the other day when I opened YouTube. I didn’t go hunting for it, but the algorithm gets me.

I dig seeing Maybe Cousin Telly as Kojak yakking with Dominic Chianese better known to the world as Corrado Soprano.

If Dominic had been playing Junior in that scene, he would have told Telly to stick his lollipop up his fucking ass.

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

Saturday Classic: I’m not sure if a 12-year-old radio performance qualifies as a classic but Steven/Cat/Yusuf certainly does.

Oh baby, baby that’s all for this week. The last word goes to the cast of Ball Of Fire, the number two movie on the Gary Cooper list. It’s a great film directed by Howard Hawks with a script by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder.