If you missed Last Week Tonight with John Oliver last night, his Main Story was on the "Stand Your Ground" gun laws. It's a very good piece, though without as much humor as his stories usually have, which is fairly understandable here. But he's able to work some in. There's some fascinating information in here, notably where these laws stem from -- and I thought that two sequence stand out. One is a "man on the street" series of interviews about the laws, and the other, when a black state representative in Ohio explains in the legislature what the huge problem with these laws are.
I was reading the front page of one of those news consolidation websites, browsing over the headlines, and a wide range of names popped out from the stories, which brought a few other names to mind. Among them all --
Marjorie Taylor Greene
Reading the list, the only thing that kept the soul from getting crushed as the names poured on, one after another after another, Newton's Third Law: for every action in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.
And this reaction got me thinking of Trump's infamous admonition to "Drain the swamp."
As I think has long been clear, when Trump said he would "drain the swamp" in Washington, he actually brought the swamp into his administration. But in fairness to him, I think that people misinterpreted what he meant. It wasn't a case of him lying, which -- given that this was Trump -- would be a natural assumption and sort of stunning that it wasn't that at all. Rather it was knowing what he actually meant by "draining the swamp."
To some people, indeed most people, "draining the swamp" obviously means getting rid of the putrid bilge and cleaning up the area. But that's not the only interpretation. After all, other people might look at draining the swamp not for getting rid of bad things, but as a way to find the nuggets that are left over. All the golf balls that are sitting at the bottom that you can collect and sell back, the lost possessions that fell overboard once upon a time and can now be reclaimed, the murder weapons that were thrown into the swamp to avoid being used as evidence. Drain the swamp and get all these gems back. But further, for others still -- most especially if you're a real estate developer -- draining the swamp is a Good Thing for you to use the now-drained swampland as landfill on which you can build a whole new foundation.
And so, when Trump said he was going to "drain the swamp" in Washington, I contend that he meant he was going to get rid of all that saturated wetland covering up the good stuff he could build on in the nation's capital and bring to Republican leadership and national prominence his constructed vision of Trump World -- which is how we've ended up with the MarjorieTaylorGreene, LaurenBoebert, MattGaetz, MadisonCawthorn, JoshHawley,
JimJordan, DevinNunes, MoBrooks, EliseStefanik, RudyGiuliani, LinWood, SidneyPowell, MikeLindell, LouisDeJoy, JaredKushner, RyanZinke, and BrettKavanaughs of the world as today's voices of the Republican Party. And so many others, including those on the state level, too, who had been hidden under the cruddy water as bottom feeders and could reach their full potential until Trump drained the swamp and reclaimed them.
And they could finally join the Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham, Rand Paul, William Barr, Chuck Grassley, Ron Johnson, Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Louie Gohmerts, and all the other dry rot who were already there, waiting for the additional planking to build with.
We have a new one this week, and the contestant is Brandon Martin from Minneapolis, Minnesota. This was a rarity – I not only was able to get the composer style – and get it before the hidden song, but I got it within a few notes. That’s because the opening is clearly based on a famous piece of music. And I even got the hidden song pretty quickly. I suspect many, if not most people will get both, as well.
On this week’s Al Franken podcast, he veers away from politics (as the show does on a rare occasion) and goes back to his entertainment roots. And he writes who his guest is with just one word (and an exclamation point) – Letterman! As Al puts it, “A thoroughly enjoyable one. For a change.” And he’s right, this conversation with David Letterman is thoroughly enjoyable.
On this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the guest is screenwriter Kemp Powers, who wrote the movie “One Night in Miami” (for which he got an Oscar nomination) based on his play, as well as the screenplay for “Soul,” which he co-directed and which got an Oscar nomination as Best Animated Film. So, yes, he had a good year. His interview with host Peter Sagal is open, charming, funny and full of fun stories – especially when he gets to working for Pixar. As for the quiz itself, the show always has fun coming up with a top close to the guest’s field, but just a little bit off – this is one of the better ones. Usually I don’t give it away, but since is a pun, and reads better than hearing, I’ll make an exception. The quiz is about “One Knight in Miami.”
This is a point of personal privilege. I'm only getting around to posting it now, but things have been busy. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I read the following tweet at the bottom and finally had the chance to reply directly to the fellow about something I've dealt with for a long time. No, I didn't get an answer back, but I didn't expect to. And it was still a treat to have the opportunity to write it.
I've always been a fan of Jack Benny, ever since a kid (when I probably picked it up watching his TV show with my grandmother who loved him). I particularly like his radio show, but I enjoy his TV program as well, which happily runs with back-to-back episodes on the Antenna network (channel 1258 in Los Angeles on Spectrum) every Saturday night. But I've even enjoyed a few of the movies he starred in, despite him using them as butts of jokes. (To Be or Not To Be is, in fact, very good, which Mel Brooks remade several decades later.)
The TV program has two sides to it. One is that the episode will be a slice-of-life story that supposedly comes from his daily life. And the other is doing comedy sketch with a guest star, like the episode I posted last week here with Humphrey Bogart. I tend to prefer the former, since they're so unique in centering around his well-honed persona and also uses his regular cast of characters, though the other shows can be fun. And to be clear, the slice-of-life stories periodically incorporate a guest star.
That's the case here, with uncommon guest starts Peter, Paul & Mary. They not only get to sing a song near the beginning, , but also participate in some fun banter afterwards and then take part in a story about Jack's daily life that they fit into.
I realized that I haven't posted anything from Richard Wiseman for a while with his wonderful "Quirkology" videos. Since it's been a while, a little reminder is probably due. Wiseman is a Professor in the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, and his videos (and books and lectures) for how he deals with magic are what's got him the most attention -- what he does and talks about is really closer to parlor bets and optical illusions They cover a wide range of offbeat and fun subjects, but I'm partial to his "Bets you can always win series." Here's another --
Yesterday,. the CDC made a major announcement about how all people who were fully vaccinated for COVID-19 no longer had to wear a mask or social distance whether outdoor or indoors (with a few minor exceptions). There was more to it, but that was the big news. The really big news. Later, President Joe Biden had small press conference and addressed it all, as well.
Three things impressed me about Biden's speech, and none were the momentous news.
The first was that President Biden did not make the initial announcement. He didn't hog the limelight to get all the attention and make it seem like it was his news. Instead, since it was a CDC directive, he let the CDC itself actually make the announcement. What a concept.
The second was that in his speech, Joe Biden did not make it about him. About all he had done. About how the news was all about him and that he soaked up all the praise due him. He didn't ask thanks for himself and his great leaders. In fact, what he praised first was the incredible hard work of "the scientists and researchers; the drug companies; the National Guard; the U.S. military; FEMA; the nation’s governors, doctors, nurses, pharmacists," who he said moved Heaven and Earth to get get the country to this point. Again, thanking others first and science -- what a concept. But after that, he did what most impressed me. He went ever farther, and said --
"I need to single out one more group to praise: the American people. The American people. For more than a year, you’ve endured so much and so many lost jobs, so many businesses lost, so many lives upended, and so many months that our kids couldn’t be in school. You couldn’t see your friends or family. All the moments that mattered so much — from birthdays to weddings to graduations — all postponed. And most tragically of all: the lost lives." And then added: "You’ve endured all this. When your country asked you to get vaccinated, you did. The American people stepped up. You did what I consider to be your patriotic duty. That’s how we’ve gotten to this day.
Imagine that. He thanked the American people -- whatever their politics, and just for getting the vaccination. Making clear that it was that action, their sacrifice, the loss of human lives, their "patriotic duty" that helped accomplish this moment and ultimately brought all this science to fruition. Putting it all together with an understanding of what people actually endured.
And the third thing in his speech that impressed me He said --
"You know, some may say, 'I just feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask.' They may feel that way. So if you’re someone with a mask — you see them, please treat them with kindness and respect. We’ve had too much conflict, too much bitterness, too much anger, too much polarization of this issue about wearing masks. Let’s put it to rest. Let’s remember, we’re all Americans. Let’s remember that we are all in this together."
Imagine that. Talking about kindness. And respect. To treat people well, just for making a personal choice that makes them feel comfortable and safe. Because we're all in this together.
Yes, the medical news from the CDC was wonderful. There is still a very long way to go, most especially throughout the world, but this was a significant day. But having a leader of the country was was willing to make it about the American people and kindness and not about himself was arguably as significant for building on the moment and completing the task. Not just this one, but those to come.
I may have posted this on the site before, but if so it was a long while ago, and it's fun enough to see again. If it even is "again."
As has been known from the time the film was released, Audrey Hepburn's performance in the film version of My Fair Lady was enhanced by the use of Marni Nixon dubbing her singing. This is audio matched to the film footage of Hepburn's own singing on two of the songs -- "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "Show Me."
She does a pleasant, effective job with them. Her singing is a bit thin, and she probably wouldn't have been able to handle all the song, especially the more soaring ones like "I Could Have Danced All Night," but it's nice that she holds her own here.
The piece is party of a TV production and narrated by Jeremy Brett who played 'Freddie Eynesforth-Hill" in the film, the character who sings "On the Street Where You Live.". It's worth noting that Brett, who did sing in some later productions, was dubbed himself in this one. He also later played 'Sherlock Holmes' in a series of British TV films.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor