Saturday Odds & Sods: River Of Life

Elegy For Moss Land by Clarence John Laughlin.

It’s been a noisy week at Adrastos World HQ. The utility company is doing some work on our block: they’ve dug holes and marked off spaces for new gas mains and meters. Here’s hoping they finish soon.

I’ve had the Neville Brothers on my mind since Art’s passing. But he did not write River Of Life; one of the most underrated songs in the Neville Brothers canon. It was written by Cyril Neville, Daryl Johnson, and Brian Stoltz for the band’s 1990 album, Brother’s Keeper.

Here are two versions of this week’s theme song. I dare you not to get up and rock:

Now that we’ve flowed with the river of life, let’s swim to the break. No drowning, please.

I gave myself an earworm with that last joke. It’s sink or swim time:

We move from a great British band to an extended profile of the new Tory Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It hurt to type that, y’all.

Boris The Trimmer: Bozza has been compared to Donald Trump by the American MSM and by the president* himself. Both have horrible hair and impulse control issues. Unlike Trump, Boris Johnson is not a dumb shit. He not only reads books, he writes them. What he really is is a shameless opportunist. Shame is out of fashion on the right in 2019.

There’s a detailed profile of the new PM by Tom McTague at the Atlantic. He takes a close look at Johnson’s career as a journalist covering the EU in Brussels. Johnson took “creative liberties” with some stories about EU regulations thereby helping to create the myth of the European super state. Now he’s reaping what he sowed many years ago.

I called the segment Boris the trimmer because he’s an unprincipled flip flopper. He notoriously wrote two columns, one pro-Brexit and one anti-Brexit, before deciding where he stood on the referendum. It’s all about Boris. That’s something else he has in common with the Kaiser of Chaos.

You didn’t really think I’d move on without linking to some of my past writing about Boris Johnson did you?

From 2010: Malaka Of The Week: Boris Johnson.

FromĀ  2016: Basil Fawlty Diplomacy With Boris Johnson.

Let’s shift gears and set the dial on the Wayback Machine to 1942.

The Case Of The Forgotten All Star Game: Historian Stephanie Liscio argues in Deadspin that the atmospherics surrounding the Negro League All-Star game in 1942 were a precursor to the end of baseball segregation. As a rank amateur, who am I to argue with a professional historian?

While we’re on the subject of baseball history, the first black man to play for the Boston Red Sox, Pumpsie Green, died recently. The BoSox were the last big league team to integrate and they did it with a marginal player with a great name. Here’s the NYT link image thingee for Pumpsie Green’s obituary:

The Pumpsie Green saga is a reminder that “liberal” Boston has not always been enlightened on the subject of race. Just ask former Celtics great Bill Russell.

We begin our third act with our newest regular feature.

The Weekly DC: This clip from the Dick Cavett Show archives is a film buff’s dream; featuringĀ  two then-young gun directors discussing old masters, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock.

Marty and Brian are now old masters themselves. Ain’t it funny how time slips away?

We continue with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth: I stumbled into this pairing by accident while diving down a different interweb rabbit hole. It’s actress/rapper/singer Queen Latifah and noted Harlem Renaissance era writer Zora Neale Hurston.

If you’ve never seen Queen Latifah as Bessie Smith in the HBO bio-pic, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s a 3 1/2 star movie and co-stars the great Michael K. Williams. He brings a bit of his Omar/Chalky/Leonard feel to his role.

Here’s a clip of Queen Latifah belting out a Bessie Smith classic at the White House:

Saturday GIF Horse: I’m in the minority on the second season of Big Little Lies. I enjoyed it almost as much as the first even though it was more of a character study than its heavily plotted predecessor. Besides, what’s not to love about the addition of Meryl Streep to the ensemble cast?

One thing that was particularly good about the second season was the manic performance of the great Laura Dern as fallen super-rich lady, Renata Klein.

Please don’t try that at home, y’all.

La Dern is almost as hammy in that clip as daddy Bruce. Speaking of whom, let’s mount a lagniappe GIF horse with an image that comes from Silent Running:

That’s disturbing as are most Bruce Dern roles. I get creeped out just by seeing his name in the credits.

Let’s wash away that creepy image with another Neville Brothers tune. This one *was* co-written by Art.

I thought a Voodoo spell was in order after silently running away from that Bruce Dern GIF. Holy jaw dropper, Batman.

Weekly Vintage Music Video: Our Neville Brothers theme continues. This song is a tribute to civil rights heroine, Rosa Parks. The video is a mini-history lesson. Thank you, Sister Rosa.

Let’s close things out with some more music; one for the Art Neville fans.

Saturday Classic: It’s a bootleg of a 1975 Meters show. It’s funkier than all get-out, y’all. I’m not sure what that means but it sounded good.

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to the Neville Brothers: Cyril, Art, Aaron, and Charles only two of whom are still with us. R.I.P. Art and Charles.