Saturday Odds & Sods: Let’s Begin

Sunrise by Roy Lichtenstein

It’s been a weird week in New Orleans. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

The weather has been wacky even by our standards. You’ve heard of morning dew: we had all day dew for several days. It was so damp and humid that air conditioners came on. That was followed by a cold-ish front and it was time to turn on the heater again. The cats, of course, prefer the cold-ish weather: their beloved space heater is back in action.

It’s King Cake season at last as Carnival officially kicked off yesterday. In my town, we’re celebrating Twelfth Night, not the second anniversary of the Dipshit Insurrection. I will never forget the latter but I’d rather contemplate Carnival and Krewe du Vieux den day season. I am, however, glad that President Biden honored the heroes who thwarted the coup plot. Thanks, y’all.

This week’s theme song was written in 1933 by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach for the musical Roberta. Otto Harbach sounds like a character played by Erich von Stroheim. I wonder if he wore leather underwear as Stroheim was rumored to. I am not making this up; someone else did.

We have two versions of Let’s Begin for your listening pleasure: Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett.

Before we begin our second act, a classic tune with beginning in the title. It was featured in the Friday Cocktail Hour exactly one year ago today.

Thanks, Mel.

This is beginning to be too literal for my taste. Let’s begin again by talking nepotism, show business style.

The Boom In Nepo Babies: New York Magazine has gone nuts over nepotism with a series of features about Nepo Babies. I was amused to learn that Ethan Peck who plays Spock on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is Gregory Peck’s grandson. He didn’t get those ears from his grandfather.

Here’s a link to the Nepo Baby landing page. It’s a fun way to waste some time.

Let’s end the segment with an anti-nepotism song from Genesis:

Enough With Unprecedented: There’s an amusing article in The Atlantic by historian Julian F. Zelizer about the linguistic perils of being a tevee historian. This is my favorite bit:

Unprecedented: We use the word because it seems a surefire way of getting attention in a media environment that is constantly searching for novelty. Fundamental breaks are more newsworthy than more of the same. For the historian, it’s also a way of stepping into the shoes of contemporary observers who feel as if something could never have happened before.

 

The problem is that unprecedented can be misleading: To say something is without precedent ignores comparable phenomena in the past, even if they took a different form. Consider President Donald Trump’s penchant for false statements: To declare his lies “unprecedented” risks downplaying how much presidential lying we’ve seen throughout American history. How should we weigh Lyndon B. Johnson’s 1964 fabrication about an attack by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin—which became the pretext for one of the United States’ most catastrophic military interventions ever—with Trump’s habitual lies? Or George W. Bush’s grossly exaggerated claims about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, which proved false after being used to justify a disastrous invasion of Iraq that lasted from 2003 until 2011?

I dislike the misuse of unprecedented almost as much as hearing the likes of Chip Roy and Lauren Boebert called conservatives. Repeat after me: They’re radicals, not conservatives.

The last word of our second act goes to a song titled It’s Over that I missed in my Best of Adrastos 2022 post:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Jerome Kern composed this week’s theme song so here he is with the man who played him in ‘Til The Clouds Roll By, Robert Walker:

They look nothing alike. That’s Hollywood casting for you. Can we blame a Nepo Baby? Maybe baby:

The movie list is sick of the spotlight and asked for the week off to hang out with some Nepo Babies. That’s my new favorite term. It sounds like a wayward Necco wafer.

The Best Of Letterman: Dave and Don Rickles were a match made in either heaven or hell. Here’s a double dose or Mr. Warmth with Mr. Grumpy.

Saturday GIF Horse: The coverage of the fakakta Speaker vote has been replete with references to Aaron Sorkin and The West Wing. Since we’re rewatching that great show, it’s featured in this feature:

Holy walk and talk, Batman.

Coffin Nail Corner: I haven’t done a celebrity cigarette ad for a while. There’s no time like the present. Here’s the Oomph Girl, Ann Sheridan:

Tweet Of The Week: The great Peter Gabriel has recorded his first album of new material in 20 years. This tweet heralds his return.

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

Saturday Closer: I’ve had Bakersfield on my mind this week because of KMac. Here’s Dwight and Buck with a tune that was a big hit for both of them.

That’s it for this week. The Sunday Dozen will feature the films of Billy Wilder. That’s why the last word goes to Norma and Max in Sunset Boulevard.

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