Saturday Odds & Sods: Pretzel Logic

Me and My Parrots by Frida Kahlo,

The featured image has nothing to do with the theme song, but it ties in neatly with a second act segment. Alternate title:  Fierce Frida with Parrots.

It’s been warm in New Orleans since Thoth Sunday. We had a string of days with temps over 80. Woe is me. Relief is on the way. We have enough summer as it is.

The big local story is the Cantrell recall. I’m keeping my powder dry until the dust settles on the first court battle. Powder and dust: sounds messy. It’s fine symbolism for the clusterfuck that will happen if there’s a recall election. Stay tuned.

This week’s theme song was written by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker as the title track for Steely Dan’s 1974 Pretzel Logic album. It’s a salty song full of twists and turns. But is it crunchy? Beats the hell outta me.

I dig the album cover; so much so that it was featured in Album Cover Art in 2014. Holy self-link, Batman.

We have two versions of Pretzel Logic for your listening pleasure: the studio original and The Dukes of September live. It’s a combo featuring Donald Fagen, Boz Scaggs, and Michael McDonald.

While we’re being logical:

We begin our second act with a piece written by a ghostwriter about ghostwriting Gloria Swanson.

Gloria, Not Norma: Swanson On Swanson is one of the best show biz memoirs ever published. Wayne Lawson wrote much of the book without receiving any credit. He devised the structure which centered around Sunset Boulevard.

Gloria Swanson is perhaps the only person to not think Norma Desmond was her greatest role, so it was a hard sell for Lawson. But he closed the deal.

After forty years of silence, Wayne Lawson tells his story. For the details, get thee to Vanity Fair.

I have no idea if Gloria Swanson ever heard of Patti Smith, but I have:

You Are Not A Parrot is a New York Magazine piece by Elizabeth Weil. Her subject is not Frida Kahlo but linguist Emily Bender. Dr. Bender is concerned about the uncontrolled spread of AI technology. She’s not opposed per se but wants people to know what they’re getting into.

According to Bender people are not parrots and Chatbots are not humans. I’m down with that.

I may not be a parrot but I dig them. I used to frequent a used book store in San Carlos, California. The owner had a parrot whose name eludes me. The parrot swore like a sailor at everyone who entered the shop. What’s not to love about a colorful tropical bird telling you to fuck off?

The last word of our second act goes to Split Enz:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: Oscar winner Melissa Leo has played Mamie Eisenhower in The Butler and Lady Bird Johnson in All The Way.

This Nancy Sinatra-Lee Hazlewood song isn’t about the former First Lady but I dig the album cover:

The Movie List: This week, a three-time Oscar winning character actor who was a favorite of director Howard Hawks. When Hawks cast Walter Brennan in a movie, the actor would ask the director: “Teeth in or out?”

Brennan wore dentures. The answer was usually: “No teeth.” How could Brennan argue? Hawks directed five of the films below.

The list order is based on the quality of Brennan’s performance, not the film itself. Otherwise Meet John Doe would be farther down the list. Brennan stole that movie with his talk of helots and such.

The Walter Brennan Dozen

  1. To Have and Have Not
  2. The Westerner
  3. Meet John Doe
  4. Red River
  5. Pride Of The Yankees
  6. My Darling Clementine
  7. Sergeant York
  8. Rio Bravo
  9. Bad Day At Black Rock
  10. The Far Country
  11. Come and Get It
  12. Nobody Live Forever

I first saw Walter Brennan as  grouchy grandpa Amos in reruns of his hit sitcom The Real McCoys. I doubt if that character spent much time on the moors:

The Best Of Johnny: James Randi was a fascinating figure. He was an actor, author, magician, and debunker of bunk. Here he is on The Tonight Show:

Saturday GIF Horse: I quoted Kareem Abdul-Jabbar earlier this week. The least I can do is post this GIF. Here’s the call: Magic to Kareem. Sky Hook. YES.

Retweet Of The Week: I haven’t talked about Maybe Cousin Telly Savalas for quite some time. I love this picture of him with Francis Albert.

Wayne Shorter R.I.P. The great jazz sax player and composer died on Thursday at the age of 89. I was a huge Weather Report fan and saw them live five or six times. Wayne was always my main man in the band. It must have been a remark he made:

Shorter also played with Steely Dan. His solo on Aja made that song a classic:

One more number to round out this brief tribute. In 1975, Wayne Shorter recorded an album with a veritable plethora of Brazilian artists.

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

Saturday Closer: Tomorrow’s Sunday Dozen features the films of Humphrey Bogart. Here’s Hoagy Carmichael singing Am I Blue in To Have and Have Not:

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Brennan, Bacall, and Bogie in To Have and Have Not:

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