Saturday Odds & Sods: Mean To Me

My Brother Imitating Scherzo by Andre Kertesz

The cold weather is back but it’s not as bad as last month’s hard freeze. As I watch things unfold in Jackson, MS, I realize how lucky New Orleans was. Our water infrastructure is just as ancient and with a more prolonged freeze it could have been us. We dodged a bullet this time. Our luck is bound to run out at some point. Our pipes are old, old, old.

I posted a version of Mean To Me when I wrote about Neera Tanden before her nomination was pulled. I stand by what I wrote then, but I should have added that, in some ways, she was a surrogate for those on the far left and right who hate Hillary Clinton.

As far as Joe Manchin is concerned, I’m beginning to think he likes being the key vote in the Senate and was flexing his muscles on the Tanden nomination. I guess Tanden had a blind date with the Man of La Manchin, not destiny. So it goes.

Neil Finn wrote this week’s theme song in 1986 for Crowded House’s eponymous debut album. It’s the first track on the record and is a frequent set opener when the band plays live.

We have two versions of Mean To Me for your listening pleasure: the original promo video and a 1988 live version.

It’s time for a visit to disambiguation city with a 1929 song of the same title. We have a double dose of Ella Fitzgerald. First with the Nelson Riddle orchestra followed by a more intimate recording with Oscar Peterson:

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Oscar Peterson? That goes for Ella Fitzgerald as well.

On that upbeat note, let’s jump to the break. And I mean it this time.

In order to give some meaning to the festivities, ladies and gentlemen, The Rolling Stones:

We begin our second act in earnest with a piece about a man who was never mean.

Henry Aaron In Milwaukee: I was derelict in my duty as First Draft’s obit specialist in January and did not write about the passing of Henry Aaron at age 86. Woe is me.

Aaron was a great player and gentleman who spent much of his stellar career in the shadow of his fellow Alabamian Willie Mays. He was a quiet man who preferred to be called by his given name Henry, but never complained when they called him Hank.

There’s a swell piece at Slate by James E. Causey about Aaron’s early days in Milwaukee and his relationship with the local civil rights community. As I said, Henry was a quiet man but when he spoke out, it meant something. I knew that Stan Musial had campaigned for JFK in 1960 but did not know that the Hammer had done so too. Get thee to Slate for the details.

The last word of the segment goes to The Who with a John Entwistle tune that works for Henry Aaron too:

A hush falls over the room as we segue awkwardly to our next segment. To hell with that, I’ll leave it to John Cleese.

Maybelle Carter At Work: I’m fascinated with the early days of country music, especially the Carter Family. There’s a fine piece by NPR’s Jessica Wilkinson about Mother Maybelle Carter’s life offstage. Hint: it involved mothering and housework, which we don’t usually associate with music legends, but it was another time and place. It wasn’t easy being the mother of country music.

The last word of our second act goes to the Carter Family followed by Maybelle’s granddaughter Carlene with a song about the hardest working woman in show biz:

We begin our third act with our favorite stolen feature.

Separated At Birth Casting Edition: I’ve finished re-watching The Americans but apparently cannot get enough of one of its stars. Matthew Rhys played Daniel Ellsberg in The Post. Here they are side-by-side.

Speaking of Side By Side, here’s Dino from one of his Matt Helm movies:

The movie list requested the week off. I gave into to its demands. I didn’t want it to send out any mean tweets…

Saturday GIF Horse: I made what I thought was a pretty darn funny Abbot and Costello reference in my Freedom, Man post. Here’s Lou Costello doing a happy dance in a frilly apron. The mere sight of it makes me smile.

Weekly Random Earworm: I’ve been using the term Before Times lately. I stole it from an episode of the original Star Trek. I only steal from the best. That theft, in turn, has given me an optimistic earworm.

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

Saturday Classic: I nearly posted this pre-superstardom Peter Frampton set last week but I needed a snack, so I posted the SNACK set instead. I’m full now so here it is:

That’s it for this week. The last word goes to Henry Aaron, Stan Musial, and a less-famous Cardinals player Wally Moon. His name does, however, fit our recent lunar fixation so why the hell not?