Saturday Odds & Sods: A Hazy Shade Of Winter

Houses Of Parliament, Fog Effect by Claude Monet.

It’s been foggy this week in New Orleans. I love the fog as long as I don’t have to drive in it. It’s a by-product of growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Monet loved the fog too. Perhaps I should have named my black cat Monet instead of Manet. Oh well, what the hell.

It’s runoff election day. If you’re in New Orleans, please vote. I’m eager to see the backs of several candidates, but even if they prevail I’ll be glad it’s over. No more lying fliers. Huzzah.

There’s a measure on the ballot in nearby St. Tammany Parish that would bring a casino to the dull suburban burg of Slidell. Both sides are spending buckets of money on teevee ads and making extravagant claims about the impact of a casino. It cracks me up: casinos are never as beneficial as their proponents would have you believe or as bad as opponents claim. So it goes.

A reminder that you can hear my views on today’s election by listening to The Ryne Show.

This week’s theme song was written by Paul Simon for 1968’s Simon & Garfunkel album, Bookends. It’s my favorite S&G record. It’s both arty and garfunkelly at the same time.

We have three versions of A Hazy Shade Of Winter for your listening pleasure: The S&G original, followed by the Bangles, and Hugo Montenegro:

If you’re feeling hazy, let’s shake it off by jumping to the break.

A foggy song set in a foggy town for a foggy week:

We begin our second act with a story about a papal mystery.

The Last Italian Pope: I’m not Catholic but I’ve always been fascinated by how the cardinals select a new pope. It’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma ending in a puff of smoke.

John Paul I was a modest man who was elected as a compromise candidate. His eventual successor was a strong contender, but the Italian cardinals wouldn’t hear of a Polish pope. The circumstances surrounding John Paul I’s death changed that.

John Paul I was the last Italian pope. A Pole, a German, and an Argentinian followed him. Sounds like a “three guys walk into a bar” joke to me.

Was his death by foul play or natural causes? Beats the hell outta me. That’s why I read about it in a WaPo article by Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli.

The last word of the segment goes to George Harrison:

Ripped From The Headlines: Most people don’t know that I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. To this day, it has a substantial Greek American community. My grandfather ended up in Utah because a recruiter from Kennecott Copper offered him a job not long after he landed in America, He didn’t tell my papou that it was a theocracy. So it goes.

We have another piece from the WaPo, which tells the history of Utah’s two most powerful newspapers: the Deseret-News and the Tribune. The latter was established as a counterweight to Mormon power whereas the former was owned by the LDS church. Until reading this article I did not know that the Salt Lake Tribune has become a non-profit thereby making it a model for newspapers everywhere.

Daryl Austin has the details in the WaPo’s Retropolis feature.

Speaking of Utah history:

Let’s move from Utah to the mean streets of Baltimore in the 1980’s.

Can I Get A Witness? The New Yorker’s Jennifer Gonnerman tells the story of Ron Bishop who at the age of 14 was pressured into testifying against some fellow teens in a murder case. The case caused a sensation because it was said to be a dispute over a Georgetown team jacket back when John Thompson made the Hoyas Black America’s basketball team.

The murder was what Lt. Giardello on Homicide: Life On The Streets called a red ball. It resulted in Bishop giving false testimony under pressure from Detective Donald Kincaid. Kincaid threatened Bishop with jail if he didn’t lie on the stand. The defendants were convicted, and three innocent men went to prison. Bishop’s testimony cast a pall over an otherwise successful life.

In 2019, Bishop recanted his testimony, and the three men eventually went free.

I’m usually tough and cynical about the criminal justice system but this story moved me. It’s a must-read piece.

I’ve already posted the Marvin Gaye version of this song so the last word of our second act goes to The Rolling Stones:

We begin our third act with a modified version of our favorite stolen feature.

(Not) Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Detective December continues with actors who have played Sherlock Holmes.

Here are the players starting with the top left corner: Arthur Wortner, Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Roger Moore, Tom Baker, Jeremy Brett, Rupert Everett, Robert Downey Jr,, Benedict Cumberbatch, Johnny Lee Miller, and Ian McKellen.

My favorites Sherlocks are Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone, but all these actors brought something distinctive to the role. You can put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Coffin Nail Corner: Basil Rathbone did a cigarette ad dressed in Holmes-ish mufti:

The Movie List: It was the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor this week. I didn’t mark the date on the day, so I’ll do it here.

My Top Ten Favorite World War II Movies

  1.   Casablanca
  2.   The Best Years Of Our Lives
  3.   From Here To Eternity
  4.   The Bridge On The River Kwai
  5.   Saving Private Ryan
  6.   To Be Or Not To Be (1942)
  7.   The Great Escape
  8.   Hail The Conquering Hero
  9.   The Dirty Dozen
  10.   Kelly’s Heroes

I picked several movies about the home front because it’s just as interesting as the battle front. Besides, The Best Years Of Our Lives is one of the best films of Hollywood’s Golden Age and Hail The Conquering Hero is one of the funniest. It’s hard to beat Preston Sturges when it comes to comedy.

Saturday GIF Horse: I’ve been going on about fog, so here’s a GIF from John Carpenter’s 1980 movie The Fog:

Tweet Of The Week: Casey Nolen is a reporter for KSDK-TV in St. Louis. After seeing the Mothertucker and a guest claim that a bozo in red was a “government agent” who infiltrated the Dipshit Insurrection, Nolen debunked that bunk. The bozo in question is a fanatical St. Louis Cardinals fan who is a Busch Stadium character, the Rally Runner.

Be sure to watch the report embedded in the Tweet.

This Mighty Casey didn’t swing and miss. He hit a homer.

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

Saturday Classic: I went on about Let It Be Naked in my Get Back review so I felt honor bound to post it here. Not really, I just like it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to the Bangles and Paul Simon.

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