Saturday Odds & Sods: Roll With It

Composition VIII by Vasily Kandinsky.

It’s April Fool’s Day. I’m not planning to prank y’all but if I were I wouldn’t tell you. I like to keep my readers off-balance with this offbeat and off-kilter feature. I hope the previous sentence wasn’t off-putting.

We’re going to a kid’s birthday party/crawfish berl today. That’s boil to you auslanders. It’s young Harper’s second birthday and she’s already out of fucks to give. She actually reminds me of Della the cat. That’s how she is. Of course, the toddler will stop being a cat whereas Della Street is defiantly feline for life. It’s a good thing that she’ll never learn how to speak: she’d never shut up.

We’re back in same title, different song country with this week’s theme songs. I hope y’all can Roll With It, baby. We begin with Steve Winwood’s tribute to Stax-Volt soul music followed by Oasis and *their* song Roll With It.

I’m keeping it relatively light this time around. It’s going to be heavy on the magic and light on the Nazis and such. Of course, *that* could be the April Fool’s joke. You’ll find out after the break.

Before rolling through the post, let’s play another song with roll in the title. Are you ready to Let It Roll?

It’s time to roll forward to our first segment.

April Foolery: I’m about to do something meta right now and it has nothing to do with the great conductor Zubin Mehta. I’m going to link to two of my old posts, which explain why I’m not into April Foolishness any more, That, however, could be the prank. I’m sneaky that way.

From 2014, Amateur’s Day followed by 2015’s It’s April Fool’s Day Every Day.

Enough tomfoolery,  let’s roll on to our next segment. I don’t think there are any barrels or caissons involved but ya never know. If there are, please stay off my caisson as we barrel forward.

Uh Oh, It’s Magic: There was a magical article about magician Derek DelGaudio in the NYT Magazine a few weeks back. Jonah Weiner has the details in an ominously titled piece: The Magician Who Wants To Break Magic.

I have no desire to break magic but I *do* have a segment theme song. It features Ric Ocasek walking on water, in shoes, no less:

I nearly held that video back for an Americans recap because it came out in 1984, but how could I resist quoting the chorus on April Fool’s Day? Besides, I can always repeat myself. It wouldn’t be the first time. Uh oh, it’s magic.

Ever wondered who or what inspired Betty Boop? If you have, the next segment is for you.

Betty Boop Meets Baby Esther Jones:  There’s a Betty Boop revival; including a new cartoon with designer and Project Runway judge, Zac Posen:

There’s only one question that I’ll be a-posen: where are Heidi, Tim, and Nina?

There’s also a fine piece at New York Magazine’s web site by Gabrielle Bellot about the origins of Betty Boop. One of the women on whom she was based was  an African-American singer, Baby Esther Jones:

Esther Jones sang in the 1920s, her beautiful, unusual voice a signature of the Cotton Club in Harlem. Boop-oop-a-doo, she would say as she performed in her flirtatious siren’s tone, her dark bob of hair fluttering. In a rare photo of Jones, she is smiling as she sits, her eyes penetrating and kind. Her voice and scat phrases sound strikingly like Kane’s and, in turn, Betty Boop’s. That was no coincidence. Kane had seen Jones perform in the Cotton Club in 1928; Jones’s manager Lou Walton revealed that he had coached Jones on how to scat, the type of singing popularized by black musicians and singers like Louis Armstrong, and Jones herself, Walton said, repurposed scat techniques into boop-oop-a-doo. In the lawsuit, Fleischer, along with all of Betty Boop’s voice actresses, testified that the flapper was, ultimately, not based off of Helen Kane but was rather a composite of many figures. The defense even brought out archival footage of Baby Esther singing, which had come from the earliest days of sound recording. It was the nail in Kane’s legal coffin. Baby Esther, it turned out, had invented Helen Kane, and, by extension, Betty Boop. Indeed, as jazz scholar Robert G. O’Meally wrote in the anthology Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies, Betty Boop “had, as it were, a black grandmother in her background.” She, O’Meally added, “also had a black grandfather” in Armstrong.

Boop-oop-a-doop. Make sure you read the entire article. It’s a winner. Believe me.

Here are Betty Boop and Baby Esther side-by-side:


The picture on the right keeps showing up on the internet as one of Baby Esther Jones. Wrong. In fact, it’s a model named Olya and the picture was taken in 2008 by a Russian lenser. I wonder if Manafort and Stone are behind this mishigas? #sarcasm

Here’s a video featuring the real Baby Esther Jones:

Now that I’ve done a bit of pranking, let’s move on to a regular, albeit stolen, feature.

Separated At Birth: Do you miss having Michelle Bachmann to kick around? I sure do. There are a whole bunch of separated at birth pictures featuring the batshit crazy former Congresscritter. I’m not sure which one I prefer so I’ll post three of them.

We begin with Bachmann and Batboy:

Linda Blair in The Exorcist anyone?

I’m not sure about that one. Bachmann’s eyes look crazed-n-glazed but she’s too clean. Btw, I think Reese Witherspoon’s projectile vomiting scene in Big Little Lies may have surpassed all previous vomitorious movie scenes. Yeah, I know: it’s made for teevee but it has more movie stars than you can shake your fist at.

Lets’s give it up for Bachmann-Possum-Overdrive. These two are known for Takin’ Care Of Business. Every day, every way:

Perhaps La Bachmann is playing possum as she plots  a comeback. I’m surprised the Insult Comedian hasn’t appointed her to a senior position. Perhaps she’ll be Rex Tillotson’s replacement after he defects to the Kremlin…

It’s time for a brand spanking new feature.

Tabloid Front Page Of The Week: It goes to the Daily Mail for a sexist front page that focuses on the extremities of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and British Prime Minister Theresa May. They discussed serious issues like a second Scottish independence vote and Brexit but Legs-it was the headline. Oy, just oy.

I guess the Mail’s editors had a bowl of stupid for brexit. The front page landed with a leggy thud and was widely mocked.

I’d kick myself if I didn’t post one last roll song. It seems to be my role in life. This one is essentially Macca’s Lennon song:

Dang, now I want a dinner roll. Rye anyone? Or is that wry? It beats the hell out of me.

Let’s move on to the token serious segment of this week’s extravaganza.

A Tribute To Robert Osborne: I am a slacker obituary blogger. I failed to mark the passing of  film historian and TCM host Robert Osborne earlier this month at the age of 84. He was a fixture on my favorite cable network since its founding in 1994. He radiated niceness and film buffery as you will see in the video below.

This modern variation on This Is Your Life first aired in celebration of TCM’s 20th Anniversary. Robert Osborne was present at the creation:

That’s it for this week. It’s time to roll out of here. In honor of April Fools everywhere, I’m giving one of the original Insult Comedians, Jack E. Leonard, the last word.