On Tuesday afternoon, in the middle of my drinking a Dark & Stormy with a shot of espresso in it, my boyfriend asked me, “Did the Beatles have any dogs?” which was the number one question I’ve ever been asked that I was most excited to answer. I pulled out my phone and immediately started showing him pictures of Paul McCartney hanging out with his adorable Old English Sheepdog Martha, AKA the Beatles-dog to end all Beatles-dogs. We came across this super-charming photo of double-lavender Bocci-ball Paul (PS look how ripped his THIGHS are; thanks to Andrea for calling his THIGHS to my attention), which very well may be the only picture of Paul McCartney in the public domain that I've never seen. Seriously- it's been about seven years since the last time I saw a picture of a Beatle I hadn't seen before, not counting pictures of Paul or Ringo that are taken in the present.
Anyway, every time the subject of Martha the Sheepdog comes up in life I always use it as an opportunity to tell this really heartbreaking story about Olde English Sheepdogs (I don't think there is actually an "e" in the Olde of Olde English Sheepdog, but I think it would be cool if there wasso I'm just going to be the master of my own fate here and write Olde exclusively) that my dad told me when I was a kid. SO: I guess when Paul first bought Martha and that information circulated throughout the media, Olde English Sheepdogs became the big "it dog" of 1967 or 8, like pugs in 2005 or Boston terriers in 2007 or Shiba Inus in 2013. But the tragic part is that Olde English Sheepdogs are a really high-energy and high-maintenance breed that all these lame hippie posers copycatting Paul McCartney couldn't commit to in practice, so, for some reason, in this story my dad was hanging out at an animal shelter, or maybe just walking by an animal shelter, and all these hippies were walking into the animal shelter giving their Olde English Sheepdogs away- I feel like maybe my dad was exaggerating this part of the story. I feel like it was probably only one guy, with one Olde English Sheepdog. Or maybe he lived close to an animal shelter, and it was several guys with several OESes spread out over a period of several months. But yeah, so this one mean hippie who I am picturing as being Ginger Baker from Cream, gave his OES away to the animal shelter and the OES was such a good and loyal pupper and was so HAPPY and LOVING, jumping up and down and licking his owner as his dick owner GAVE HIM AWAY. So I think that tale calls a really important amount of attention to what a legendarily responsible human being our Paul is. Leave it to Paul McCartney to balance taking excellent care of an extremely high-maintenance dog breed with being the bass player of the most famous band in the world. I mean, he was more than just the bass player.
To further answer Mark's question: Ringo had a curly little white-haired dog which was an extremely appropriate dog choice for Ringo. John Lennon was a crazy cat lady, which makes a lot of sense. I feel like the last thing John Lennon ever needed was to deal with a dog. I bet sometimes Paul would "bring Martha round" (that was in quotes because it sounded like something a Beatle would say. It's only an imagined quote, though.) and Martha would probably smell a little bad and slobber all over John Lennon and it would be hot out and John would just be so over it and maybe, like, say "GIT" to Martha, and Paul would be SO judgey about it- he might even whisper a snippy little comment to his fellow Beatles-dog-lover Ringo. And I support Paul in that. Dogs are the best, and John Lennon's kind of an asshole.
Lastly, I can totally see George as being one of those people who is nonplussed by pets in general but kind of likes horses, though I do know that in the seventies he had a cat named "Joss Stick." So congratulations, George Harrison! Cool job on picking out the WORST NAME FOR A CAT EVER.
LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Stoner-Baby Louie
This week's episode of Louie meant a lot to me. It's called "In the Woods" and it's mostly set in the past, in a year that I'm assuming is 1981, when Louie was an eighth-grade stoner in the suburbs of Boston. The actor who plays stoner-baby Louie is amazingly named Devin Druid, and I deeply appreciate how he's such a perfect mix of "what 12-year-old Louis C.K. probably actually looked like" and Mitch from Dazed & Confused. He's got serious Mitch Kramer-y vibes in general; he's nervous and sensitive but there's some sense of self-assurance underneath all that, a quiet kind of courage. He's also a little bit Sam-from-Freaks & Geeks-esque, especially when he's getting dressed for the dance and trying to make his V-neck happen:
I loved watching junior-high Louie and his mom, who is the coolest and realest single mom on TV since Bill Haverchuck's. I love when she gives Louie ten bucks so he can go get Chinese food after the dance - I'd forgotten the whole aspect of early adolescence, how going out for Chinese food kinda-late-ish on a Friday night is pretty much as glamorous as it gets. Remember the Freaks & Geeks when the geeks take the cute new girl out for all-you-can-eat-ribs? That was so real too. I like to see sweethearted and awkward children trying out grown-up things and feeling overwhelmed by them, but also excited and so proud of themselves.
AND WHOA, JEREMY RENNER. I want Jeremy Renner to win an Oscar for his performance as "Jeff Davis." I never cared about him until the big dumb movie American Hustle, which I loved, especially the part where he's smoking a cigarette and talking to Christian Bale and says, "The clams, the spicy clams!", and his eyes go all dreamy and you just want to pinch his pasty cheeks. His face was built to play a dirtbag with a heart of gold on the outskirts of Boston in 1981: he's so convincingly terrifying (the part where he asks Louie, "You think 'cause you're a kid I'm not gonna hurt you?" made my stomach hurt), but then he's so truly a big cute lug who just loves his cat. And I very much want the bits where he's singing "Brother Louie" to be ad-libbed, even though apparently Louis C.K. doesn't allow much improvisation on the show. Hmm.
And yikes, Jeff Davis's creepy girlfriend. Her Boston accent was perf (as was the bully kid's - shout out to his wearing that cross-pendant necklace over his turtleneck, btw).
But you know who's not creepy is the science teacher's daughter! What a cutie. The science-teacher storyline was heartbreaking, and beautifully done.
And then the present on top of all the other presents is Josh Hamilton showing up in the last few minutes of the episode. I feel like it's my responsibility to Internet-ramble about how wonderful Josh Hamilton is at least once a year, and I haven't done that since October 2012, so here we go. Casting him as the social worker in "In the Woods" was so genius: he has such beautiful and sensitive early-'80s-social-worker-y eyes. I also think it's fun how we're pretending Josh Hamilton didn't already play an entirely different character in another pot-themed Louie episode, the one where he wore that fantastic T-shirt I still desperately want to make my own.
If you don't know Josh Hamilton: he's in the underrated/underseen Big Star-y movie Diggers, he's in Kicking and Screaming (Noah Baumbach, not Will Ferrell + soccer), he was on American Horror Story which I've never watched, he's in the dinner party scene in Frances Ha. When I saw Frances Ha for the first time I detested it up until the dinner party scene, and at first I thought it was because the movie takes some cool turn at that moment. That's probably true, but it's also got to do with how Josh Hamilton softened my heart with his warm and lovely and elegantly rugged presence. Josh Hamilton is psychic corduroy.
In her book I Love You and I'm Leaving You Anyway, Tracy McMillan writes about how marijuana is for "sensitive fantasists," which I mostly agree with. Of course Louis C.K. is going to have a mostly grim take on adolescent stonerism, and of course it's going to be pretty heavy-handed and there's going to be tragedy, and I totally value that. I'm just really compelled by the "In the Woods" universe, and think it would be neat to see it through the sensitive-fantasist lens. So what I want is for Devin Druid, Jeremy Renner, Josh Hamilton, and the science teacher's daughter to all star in a movie that's a spinoff of "In the Woods," written and directed by someone who tends toward a more romantic temperament/vision - ideally Richard Linklater, or maybe Cameron Crowe and Amy Heckerling could team up again, and Jeff Spicoli could be in it too. There'd be more time actually in the woods, and an elaborate Josh Hamilton-centric subplot (maybe he can go out with the mom!), more Jeff Davis and more Jeff Davis's cat, and a billion-dollar soundtrack budget: all the Led Zeppelin our hearts desire. That is definitely my favorite imaginary movie of all time.