Hmm Weekly for April 6, 2021

Tuesday is the toughest day of the week

Another Week, Another HMM WEEKLY

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PERSONAL INJURY DEP’T.

Nobody, directed by Ilya Naishuller

THE GIMMICK WITH this John Wick–type interpersonal combat + violence movie is that it stars a less-dreamy actor, Bob Odenkirk, a highly-accomplished and celebrated sketch comedy writer and performer. The publicity churn is all about how against-type the casting is, since Bob Odenkirk is not Keanu Reeves or The Rock. Also, Mr. Odenkirk has personal experience being robbed at gunpoint, and the publicity machine has spread the word that this inspired him to get the movie made, where a hiding-in-plain-sight former Government Operative struggles with suppressing his history of violence.

There’s no spoilers here, all the ads explain the premise for the movie, they even blew the best line, so if you dig the Dirty Harry and Death Wish and Keanu Reeves violence and revenge and ass-kicking movies, and the Liam Neeson certain-setta-skills stuff, this motion picture is 100 percent for you, and you will enjoy all the nutty and inventive beatings and stabbings and murderings and car-crashing and explosions. The best set piece is when Mr. Odenkirk’s character takes public transportation and decides to beat the living shit out of a bunch of awful goons.

They kinda bugged me, the goons on the bus, because they lead to Russian bad people, which, like, was exactly the whole John Wick thing, couldn’t they have made ‘em Ukrainian or Swiss or something? Croatian? Just change it up a little bit? Bulgarian? So many tattoos. Armenian? Lichtensteiners?

Anyway, Bob Odenkirk does really well playing our hero, a repressed everyman, and he has already proven himself as a serious dramatic actor, once in a turn as a pathetic scumbag entertainment agent in The Larry Sanders Show on Home Box, and again in his continuing role as an emotionally damaged scumbag lawyer in the AMC television programs Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Another thing that bugged me about this movie is Mr. Odenkirk’s hair, he’s gotta have a better hair person. Sean Connery’s hair was always topnotch. Another-also is how quick the whole thing degenerates from a gripping, for-real examination of a person’s inadequacies in an assault and robbery and all the damaging emotional second-guessing and delayed stress it spawns (got robbed, shoulda foiled the robbers, beat their fuckin’ asses for coming near me and my family), along with the sobering consequences of seeking some sort of revenge/justice, into a comic book graphic novel type thing with a whole nest of cartoon characters ready to be activated, but again, if you like that kinda bullshit, this flick fucking kicks ass, there’s gonna be so many sequels.

Also this movie personally inspired me to start doing chin-ups, wow Bob Odenkirk can knock out a buncha chin-ups, seriously.

AURAL REPORT DEP’T.

WE INVITE YOU to experience WEATHER REVIEWS, now a feature of The Brick House Cooperative!

TOUGH GUY DEP’T.

G. Gordon Liddy, 1930–2021 

I USED TO work in a bullpen-type office environment producing a weekly newspaper, and the best thing to help the stress and time go by was listening to the radio and mixtapes and stuff. The department would take turns with the music, letting everybody take a turn as the Selector, and sometimes folks would record TV shows and movies, things like The Simpsons, Raising Arizona, and Monty Python movies, which work really well as sound-only entertainment. 

This was in the time of the wacky Morning Zoo-type shows and “shock jocks,” and one of the talk stations I’d listen to, WJFK-AM 1300, a repeater of the FM station in Washington,  started what seemed like a stunt, a midday talk show, 11 a.m to 3 p.m. (a very low-expectations part of a commercial-radio broadcast day, ratings-wise) featuring disgraced government employee and convicted felon G. Gordon Liddy. On his broadcast, G. Gordon Liddy revealed to us that he detested his first name, George. He also told us that he graduated from Fordham University, became a patent attorney, worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, and eventually became part of the administration of President of the United States Richard Milhous Nixon, serving in the Campaign to Re-Elect the President, celebrated by the press and lefties everywhere as C.R.E.E.P. He got busted for fucking up the supervision of a burglary of the Washington DC offices of the Democratic Party in the Watergate Hotel office complex. He refused to rat anybody out, so he did about 52 months in prison. That stuff toward the end I already knew, but he told it anyway. 

Sometimes he opened by introducing the show over the theme from Miami Vice (he had a gig as a recurring paramilitary drug-lord character, another casting stunt using his notorious semi-celebrity status), saying it was being broadcast from within an “eight-lane death strip surrounding Washington, D.C.” Then Mr. Liddy, “The G-Man” would share his opinions about the criminal justice system, and frequently about the prison guards: they don’t “guard” anything, they are Correctional Officers, or “CO’s,” and they are one of two types of people in prison, the first type being Convicts—not “prisoners,” mind you—who are there against their will. The CO’s, the second type, of their own volition walk into prison every day, and therefore they are dumb and despicable. Gordon Liddy was a Republican, and he was all for Law & Order.

He also talked about how somebody sweated him in jail one time, so he broke the guy’s knee. He’d discuss his love of firearms and gun control (i.e., hit what you aim at), in this weird, staccato-nasal delivery, not unlike the voice of Don Adams from the cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo, which made him sort of a natural for AM radio. It was unnecessary, but that high-frequency tone of his cut through the air in the manner of old-timey radio announcers, so the show was sort of a stunt, but he got the gig because somebody thought it might pay off.

I got tired of the show almost immediately because he’d cycle through all the above stuff, FBI, Nixon, John Dean is a rat, etc., and then he’d go off on tangents about the size of his testicles and how he couldn’t wear short pants. Then he’d take calls from haters and sycophants, and that was boring, especially the fans. He’d give a lotta advice about how to fuck people up in a fight, and it was hard to not take him as an overcompensating tough guy, but he def seemed crazy. 

As the show aged he sorta ran out of shit to say, so he’d start reading articles and op-eds out of the Washington Times, which was hilarious radio, the rattling of papers and the monotonous, stumbling, unrehearsed text-reads. Since he hated the Washington Post, on account of reporters Woodward and Bernstein basically putting him in jail with their Watergate scoop, he’d do a bit where if he had to say the name of the paper, they’d bleep it like he said the F-word. The Washington BLEEP.

The show compelled me to read Will, his autobiography, as in “Triumph of the,” no kidding, he talked about his fascination with Hitler in his book, and it’s impossible to forget the opener, where he recreates his abject fear of a massive phallic symbol, an overflight of the dirigible the USS Akron, flying over his childhood home in Hoboken, N.J. Then he described trapping a rat and cooking its heart to conquer Fear, hoo boy. 

The reports of his death said it was from Parkinson’s, so I guess there isn’t any record of his thoughts on the fascist regime we recently experienced. G. Gordon would frequently announce on his show that he planned on living to 120, the “design limit” of the human body or something like that, so checking out at 90 wasn’t in his plan, but he probably also didn’t plan on being best known as a shitty burglar, either, so we’ll see him on the other side.

THOUGHT DEP’T.

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ADVICE DEP’T.

THE SOPHIST is here to tell you why you're right. Send your questions to AskTheSophist@hmmweekly.com, and get the answers you want.

SANDWICH RECIPES DEP’T.

WE PRESENT recipes for sandwiches from Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Copyright 1916, by David McKay, Publisher, and now in the public domain for the delectation of all, written by Marion Harris Neil, M.C.A., former Cookery Editor, The Ladies’ Home Journal, author of How to Cook in Casserole Dishes, Candies and Bonbons and How to Make Them, Canning, Preserving and Pickling, and The Something-Different Dish.

SANDWICH BUTTERS

1. The Butter for sandwiches can be improved by working it up with whipped cream, the proportion of one cupful of butter to one-half cupful of cream. Mash these together with a wooden spoon, and then add salt and mustard to taste, or a little grated horseradish, chopped parsley, chopped chives, or curry paste or powder.
With such butter as a foundation most appetizing sandwiches can be made of beef, tomato, chicken, game, fish, cheese, or eggs.
2. Scald and dry a small bunch of parsley, strip it from the stalks, chop it very fine or rub it through a sieve. Wash, bone and pound four anchovies. Cream one cupful of butter, add the parsley, anchovies and paprika to taste and pound well together.
3. Rub the yolks of four hard-cooked eggs through a sieve, add five washed and boned anchovies and one-half cupful of butter. Pound well together and use.
4. Chop one-fourth pound of cold, cooked ham, and one-half cupful of butter, the yolks of two hard-cooked eggs and white pepper to taste. Pound together until quite smooth, and color with a few drops of red color.
5. Mix four teaspoonfuls of freshly grated horseradish with two tablespoonfuls of butter and two teaspoonfuls of lemon juice.
6. Cream five tablespoonfuls of butter with two teaspoonfuls each of chopped pickles, capers and olives, two teaspoonfuls each of lemon juice and tarragon vinegar, one-half teaspoonful each of paprika and French mustard and a dash of pepper. Mix well and use.

If you decide to prepare and employ any of these sandwich butters, kindly send a picture to us at hmmweekly@substack.com.

HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe MacLeod, creative director. If you enjoy Hmm Weekly, please let a friend know about it! If you're reading this because someone forwarded it to you, we invite you to sign up for a copy of your own right now. Thanks for reading, and any time you want, email us at hmmweekly@substack.com.