Saturday Odds & Sods: Jack Straw

American Locomotive by Edward Hopper.

The New Orleans metro area had another brush with severe winter weather this week. There was only one tornado this time, but it’s our third scare in the last year. Who wants to be Oklahoma East? Not even Oklahoma wants to be Oklahoma.

Carnival parades are returning to their normal routes. I wrote about that last year in A Tale Of Two Krewes. Thoth is the biggest winner. They’ll be able to resume rolling past Uptown medical facilities and up Magazine Street.

WWL-TV news has insisted on calling the regular routes “traditional.” I’m a stickler for language: most of the Magazine Street parades have only been rolling on that part of the route since the aughties. Sixteen to twenty years does not a tradition make. Thoth, however, has rolling on variations of its route since 1947. Now, that’s a tradition.

I chose the Edward Hopper featured image because this week’s theme song is loaded with so many train images that it nearly gave me Locomotive Breath.

Jack Straw was written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. It made its recording debut on Europe ’72. It was recorded in Paris. Mais oui.

The song is *not* about the British Labour MP and minister Jack Straw. He’s definitely not from Wichita.

We have three versions of Jack Straw for your listening pleasure: Grateful Dead, Dead & Company, and Bruce Hornsby.

I’m a bit traumatized by the scenes of Dodger Stadium in the middle video. It’s not friendly territory for a Giants fan. I do not bleed Dodger blue or Giants orange for that matter. Does that make me a red-blooded American? Discuss among yourselves.

I need another train song before chugging on. Here’s one by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Mercer:

We begin our second act with a look at one of the leading liars of my youth. In fact, the entire second act consists of items featuring lying liars who lie like rugs.

In Cold Capote: Truman Capote was a nasty little man who took literary lying to new heights. Usually, writers lie in their fiction: Capote was a serial non-fiction liar.

In Cold Blood revolutionized the true crime genre. It was also full of fiction without the disclaimer you see on movies: Based on a true story.

The bio-pics Infamous and Capote are more accurate than the author’s own writing. He treated Harper Lee shamefully. Maybe that’s why Atticus turned out to be a racist in Go Set A Watchman. When in doubt blame Capote.

That brings me to the reason for this rant. A swell article in The Atlantic by Sarah Weinman. The title is perfect, When Truman Capote’s Lies Caught Up With Him.

The last word of the segment is a Harold Arlen song with lyrics by Capote:

Ginni, Ginni, Ginni: I don’t share many people’s fascination with Ginni Thomas but I dig an article at TPM Cafe by Francis Wilkinson. She read Ginni’s J6 Committee deposition transcript so we don’t have to.

Wilkinson mentions Thomas’ sacred lies. I wonder if she has a sacred harp?

Our last liar is John Stonehouse a British Labour party MP from 1957-1976. He faked his own death in 1974. I am not making this up.

Stonehouse is a wildly entertaining three-part teevee series about John Stonehouse. The MP is played by Matthew Macfayden. His real life wife Keeley Hawes plays his harried future ex-wife, Barbara. There’s also a star turn by Kevin McNally as Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More about that in our third act.

John Stonehouse is a back slapping, glad handing politician who loves the sound of his own voice. His endless blather gets him in deep trouble as does his wild spending. Where did the money come from? The Czech security service who blackmailed the horny pol into spying for them. Stonehouse was only a junior minister, so he was the world’s worst spy. He was essentially fired as a spy after Labour lost the 1970 election.

Stonehouse stages his own death but is only missing for five weeks. Lying fuck ups gotta lie and fuck up.

As a British politics buff, I was in hog heaven with the scenes involving one of my favorite PMs. We see a tired Harold Wilson who was trying to a hold a slim parliamentary majority. John Stonehouse became the bane of Wilson’s existence and one factor in his surprise retirement.

The release of Stonehouse is timely as we watch KMac struggle with a small majority that includes the bull goose loony of liars, The Talented Mr. Santos.

Matthew Macfayden is brilliant in the title role and  longtime Adrastos crush Keeley Hawes is almost as good as Barbara Stanhouse. If Succession is the only thing you’ve seen Matthew in check out Ripper Street. It’s a brilliant hardboiled crime series set in Victorian England.

Here’s the trailer for Stonehouse: 

Grading Time: Stonehouse is great fun as we watch the eventually defrocked MP stumble from misadventure to misadventure. I give it 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos grade of B+. It’s streaming on Brit Box.

The last word of our second act goes to Jimmy Cliff with a song that name checks Harold Wilson:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Kevin McNally steals every scene he’s in Stonehouse as the wily Mr. Wilson.

I’m glad Harold Wilson is back in vogue. It may foreshadow a Labour victory at the next election.

The Movie List requested the week off to work on The Sunday Dozen. We’re knee deep in Coen Brothers movies. It’s a mess but a fun mess. The Dude still abides.

Saturday GIF Horse: Speaking of The Duderino, here are two GIFs from The Big Lebowski.

If you feel like pissing The Dude off, play a song by this band:

Tweet Of The Week: It comes from First Draft reader Al Dunn. It was inspired by KMac’s Funny Valentine.

While it *might* be sacrilegious to rewrite Larry Hart’s lyrics, this is an excellent effort. Hart had a good sense of humor. I think he’d dig Al’s lyrics.

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

Saturday Closer: Tomorrow’s Sunday Dozen will be devoted to the movies of the Coen Brothers. Hence this song from the Soggy Bottom Boys: Tim Blake Nelson, George Clooney, and John Turturro. The latter was convincing as a slack jawed bumpkin despite being from New York. It’s called acting.

That’s all for this week. The last word goes to the Stonehouse triangle: Emer Headley, Matthew Macfadyen, and Keely Hawes.