Saturday Odds & Sods: China Cat Sunflower

Tristesse du Roy by Henri Matisse.

Every January, my mind turns to Krewe du Vieux prep and the music of the good old Grateful Dead. I can’t reproduce the ambience of the Den of Muses BUT I can pick a Dead tune as our theme song.

This week’s theme song was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter for the Dead’s 1969 studio album Aoxomoxoa. The studio original is good, but the song was fully realized in concert when it was paired with the old folk song, I Know You Rider.

We have three versions of China Cat Sunflower for your listening pleasure: the studio original and live versions from 1972 and 1989.

We may be finished shooing the China Cat off the counter, but we’re not done with I Know You Rider.

Thanks, Joan. I met Ms. Baez on several occasions. She’s still with us at the age of 82. End of name drop.

Crime is the common thread connecting our second act segments. Here’s some mood music:

We begin our second act by going back to school only without Rodney Dangerfield.

Crime Students: Casey Jordan is a criminology professor and CNN analyst. The arrest of Bryan Kohlberg in the University of Idaho killings punched one of her buttons. Kohlberg was a graduate student who was studying criminology before his arrest. He’s the NOT the first such student Jordan has encountered in her career.

Dr. Jordan has written a fascinating piece on these crime students. For the details, get thee to Slate.

I originally planned to write a stand-alone review of an excellent American Experience documentary but decided to do it in this space instead. I still dig what would have been the featured image so here it is:

Documentary Of The Week: I knew nothing about the origins of the polygraph test until seeing the fine PBS documentary, The Lie Detector.

The lie detector was intended to be a tool to reform the criminal justice system. The Third Degree aka torture was an approved interrogation method in the early 20th Century. Its use so alarmed a Berkeley cop named John Larson that he devised the first reliable lie detector. Larson was a cop straight out of crime fiction: he later left policing and became an eminent scientist.

Larson is a fascinating figure but not as interesting as his more flamboyant rivals Leonarde Keeler and William Marston. The latter is best known as the creator of Wonder Woman:

Leonarde Keeler started his career as John Larson’s assistant. Much to the latter’s disapproval, Keeler took the lie detector to Hollywood then corporate America. Larson did not approve of these uses and went to war with the flashy Keeler. The latter even appeared as himself in the Jimmy Stewart-Richard Conte movie Call Northside 777:

It was Keeler’s shady use of the polygraph that led the Supreme Court to rule its results inadmissible. It is still widely used by the police and government to ferret out liars. I’m among those who is dubious of its reliability. The box can be beaten by a variety of methods.

Here’s the trailer:

Grading Time: I learned a lot from The Lie Detector. The rivalry between Larson, Keeler, and Marston made it even spicier. I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+

What’s the opposite of a lie? The truth. The last word of our second act goes to Prince:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Twitter Edition: This week, the Talented Mr. Santos and fellow scamster Ann Delvey.

I haven’t seen the Netflix series Inventing Anna about her criminal exploits yet. Santos/Devolder makes Delvey/Sorokin look like a piker.

We need a palate cleanser after that last segment.

The Movie List:  Albert Finney had one of the most interesting careers in film history. He was a dashing leading man who became a great character actor. This list is in order of preference. Chronology be damned.

The Albert Finney Dozen

  1.  Tom Jones
  2.  Miller’s Crossing
  3.  Big Fish
  4.  Two For The Road 
  5.  Murder On The Orient Express 
  6.  The Playboys
  7.   Rich In Love
  8.  The Gathering Storm
  9.   A Man Of No Importance
  10.  The Dresser
  11.  Erin Brockovich
  12.  Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

The Best Of Letterman:  During the CBS era, Dave became known for hitting the streets outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Here are a few highlights.

Saturday GIF Horse: I still have The Talented Mr. Ripley on my mind. I hope the first GIF doesn’t make anyone seasick.

Random Video Of The Week: On Wednesday, I wrote a post comparing the House GOP majority to the Our Gang gang. I was particularly proud of calling KMac Alfalfa’s evil twin. I posted the latter’s solo from Our Gang Follies 1938 but not the whole thing. It’s time to rectify that omission.

Tweet Of The Week: It comes from little old me. My dream may not be terribly uplifting but it’s funny in a punny way:

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

Saturday Closer: Tomorrow’s Sunday Dozen features the films of Martin Scorsese. This REM classic was on the soundtrack of Bringing Out The Dead, which did not make the list. The song was inspired by a random encounter Dan Rather had with a street tough. I am not making this up.

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to the Grateful Dead. Oddly, Donna Godchaux looks like Yoko Ono in this picture.

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