On this week’s ‘Not My Job’ segment of the socially-distanced NPR quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!,are Este and Alana Haim, two members of the three-sister band Haim. Their interview with host Peter Sagal is a great deal of fun as they talk with great enthusiasm, most notably about their early days as kids playing with their parents as a cover band in Los Angeles delis.
On this week’s Al Franken podcast, his guest is Dr. Anthony Fauci. Among the… – oh, okay, you probably don’t need any more information than that. You’ll either listen, or you won’t. But just to fill in the blanks, what Al writes is about the show is that among thing the things they discuss are – “When will we be back to normal? Will we be able to find a vaccine for a contagious variant? Now that I’ve been vaccinated, can I see my grandchildren?”
From the archives, this week's contestant is David Hempling. from San Francisco. It's a very easy hidden song to get. As for the hidden composer style, it's clear after hearing the answer, but I didn't find it typical for that composer so I missed it.
Yes, it's that time again. I posted this last year -- and have, in fact, posted it annually, here and on the Huffington Post, where it initially appeared in 2007, for the past 14 years. So, with the Golden Globes broadcast set for tomorrow night, here we go again.
Yet before we do, I even have another update -- which yet again shows another controversy with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization that runs the Golden Globes...and it shows (again) that all this isn't just about my opinion. Because just days ago, the Los Angeles Times had an investigation lead by Josh Rottenberg who wrote --
"...Times reporting revealed the group is still struggling to shake its reputation that the voters are easily swayed by high-priced junkets in exotic locales and cozy relationships with studios, networks and A-listers. Even as the HFPA fended off allegations brought in an antitrust lawsuit by Norwegian journalist Kjersti Flaa, some of the group’s own members have raised mounting criticisms of its alleged ethical lapses and self-dealing. The HFPA has said the allegations are unproven and “simply repeat old tropes” about the organization. (Flaa’s suit was dismissed by a federal judge in November. An amended motion is pending.)
"The Times investigation also highlighted the fact that the group currently has no Black members, further fueling criticism over this year’s Globes picks, which didn’t include any of this year’s Black-led awards contenders..."
No Black members. That on its own is bad enough. But as you read the articles below, it's context of the HFPA's history makes it all the more Standard Operation Procedure, and all the worse.
By the way, to be clear, though the lawsuit referenced above was dismissed but is under appeal, just because someone brings up your old problems -- whimsically called "tropes" or not -- doesn't mean those old problems weren't very real and didn't exist, nor does it mean that some of them, or most, or all, don't still exist today.
On with the show...
* * *
The PreCurse of the Golden Globes Rides Again
'Tis the season for awards - and that means on Sunday it was time to read and hear (repeatedly) how the Golden Globes matter because they are "precursors to the Oscars," remarkable for their mystical ability to predict the Academy Awards. Of course, if you repeat any mantra enough, people will believe almost anything But then reality rears its pesky head and gets in the way.
Indeed, the dirty little secret about the Golden Globes is that they're the biggest flim-flam scam on the American public today. Okay, other than "Mitt Romney is a far-right conservative."
(And one of the main reasons that keeps it such a "secret" is because most people don't have the slightest clue who in the world the Hollywood Foreign Press is that gives these awards. That's a little sending a congratulations gift to someone who was named "Man of the Year" and not realizing that the honor was given by an online website that sends out the certificates for $18.)
I have absolutely no idea who "won" what last night. Alas, the depth of human caring simply doesn't stretch that low. Mind you, it's not because they're just awards - hey, awards are entertainment, and can be as fun as anything. It's because the Golden Globes are to awards what a Black Hole is to French toast. There's no connection, but at least with French toast you can pour on syrup and not have human existence sucked out of the universe.
When someone said, "The show must go on," clearly the Golden Globes hadn't been invented yet.
Four years ago, I wrote about the Golden Globes, and because they keep coming back unrelentingly like a crazed zombie, I updated and edited it a year later. And now it's become a bit of an annual tradition, the same as one calls in a gardener to stop the crab grass from spreading any further. Because the foolish hype gets more out of control each year - and since if I saw someone crossing the street into an oncoming truck I'd always yell to stop - I figure it's worth revisiting that piece.
Until recently the Globes were so comatose that even a new health care system couldn't have diagnosed them to life. But three things changed: movie studios realized they could get massive free publicity. Television recognized that if celebrities attended, people would watch anything. And actors grasped they'd get to appear on TV and receive awards. It was the Holy Trinity of PR.
Before even attempting to dismiss or defend the Golden Globes, however, it's important to understand what exactly what it is. And it starts with a bit of flim-flammery.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the Golden Globes, has always had only one thing going for it - an incredible-sounding name. That name comes across like A-list journalists in trenchcoats from Paris Match, Die Welt and the Neptune Gazette. In fact, however, the HFPA, while representing many fine, individual, full-time reporters, is largely comprised of stringers (part-timers whose day job is other than journalism). And many are neither foreign, nor active in the press. Membership is whimsical: some get permanent status; others are inexplicably refused even entry. (The London Times is not a member. A reporter from the renowned Le Monde has been turned down for years. Happily there is a representative from the movie hotbed of Bangladesh. Honest.)
Yes, of course, movie awards are utterly pointless to all human life forms, except the winners. It's just faflooey. Nothing more than fluff. And the Globes are the fluff on top of the fluff. But before dismissing them further, remember: around 20 million viewers tune in to the Golden Globes. If that many people are going to spend their time on Earth watching the circus, it's at least nice to know who sent in the clowns.
And that's the kicker. At last count, the Globes are voted on by just...get this...86 people. Yes, you read that correctly. 86. For comparison, the Oscars, Emmys, and Writers Guild/Directors Guild/SAG awards are each voted on by about 6,000 professionals of their respective industries.
The good news is that with only 86 people voting it cuts down on the hanging-chad problem.
Any club is entitled to give awards. But most don't get to take over three hours of prime time on national network television.
The history of the Golden Globes is peppered with so many scandals about buying awards that Frequent Shopper points should be instituted. The most famous is when Pia Zadora's then-husband gave lavish parties to the HFPA, and she won New Star of the Year - for the ridiculed disaster "Butterfly." For the 2000 Awards Sharon Stone's representative sent gold watches to all then-82 voters. Only after this became a public embarrassment was the plunder returned. And Ms. Stone received a best actress nomination for The Muse.
But the big myth about the Golden Globes - indeed their one false hope to even a wisp of validity - is that they are an impeccable predictor of the Academy Awards.
(Why anyone cares about predicting the Oscars is another matter entirely.)
But the reality is - the Golden Globes as a "Precursor to the Oscars" is not only not close to true, it's worse than not close to true. Which is near-impossible.
Keep in mind that six of the 13 Globe categories are split into drama and musical-comedy - which allows for twice as many chances to be "right." Some categories have had as many as nine nominees. People watching at home eating cheese dip probably get half the Oscar winners right by pure guessing. (My mother correctly predicted Philip Seymour Hoffman's win, and she hadn't even seen "Capote" at the time.) Yet it's almost impressive how wrong the Globes are at "precursing."
Last year, the Golden Globes did well in all the acting categories, picking all four winners (keeping in mind that they give twice as many acting awards as the Oscars, so they have twice as many chances to be right). But they got Best Picture wrong, Best Director wrong, Best Screenplay wrong, and Best Foreign Language Picture wrong.
Going back to the year before, here are all the Golden Globe categories.
Best Picture (drama) - right
Best Picture (comedy) - wrong, not even nominated for an Oscar.
Best Actor (drama) - wrong
Best Actor (comedy) - wrong, not even nominated for an Oscar.
Best Actress (drama) - right
Best Actress (comedy) - wrong, not even nominated for an Oscar
Best Supporting Actor - right
Best Supporting Actress - wrong, not nominated for an Oscar.
Best Director - right
Best Screenplay - right, but the Oscar-winner for Original Screenplay wasn't nominated by the Golden Globes
Best Foreign Language Film - wrong
Best Animated Feature - right
Best Score - right
Best Song - wrong, not nominated for an Oscar.
It is unlikely that these results over the past two years would win your office pool. If you want to be considered a precursor, that would seem to be the minimum requirement.
And these were both pretty good years for the Golden Globes.
In 2006, the Oscar for Best Picture was "Crash." The Golden Globes didn't even nominate it among their 10 finalists!
It becomes scary bad when you delve deeper. But having a limit on my Care-o-Meter, with zero interest to go back and check year-after-every-year, I decided to try an experiment. To be very clear, there is absolutely nothing even remotely scientific about it. Rather, it's the testing equivalent of throwing darts. No scientific meaning. Just picking a totally random year. But in its randomness, it has a separate meaning: it could have been any year.
I closed my eyes, pointed at the screen blindly and grabbed a year. The lucky winner was 2001. It looked good - it even had the name of a movie ("2001") about it. Alas, "lucky winner" turned out to be a contradiction.
The Globe winner in 2001 for Best Picture musical/comedy (Almost Famous) wasn't even nominated for the Oscar. The two Golden Globe winners for Best Actor were Tom Hanks and George Clooney. Swell actors, but the Oscar went to Russell Crowe ("Gladiator") - and Globe-winner Clooney didn't even get an Oscar nomination.
Renee Zellwegger ("Nurse Betty") won the Globe's Best Actress, musical/comedy. Alas, she didn't get nominated for an Oscar either.
It gets worse.
For supporting actress, Marcia Gay Harden won the Academy Award...but didn't even receive a Globe nomination.
In fairness, that was a random choice and therefore hardly definitive, as I said. Not proof of anything. Unfortunately, to be fair, I figured I'd at least go back one more year, and the results were as dismal. The year before, in 2000, the Golden Globes gave their two Best Actor awards to Denzel Washington and Jim Carrey - but the Oscar winner was Kevin Spacey (and Carrey wasn't nominated). Tom Cruise won the Globe for Supporting Actor - but Michel Caine got the Oscar. And remarkably, although there were nine Globe nominees for Best Original Score, their winner didn't even get nominated by the Academy, and the Oscar winner (The Red Violin) wasn't nominated by the Globes!!
Not good as far as precursors go.
Certainly, other years may show better results. Or...okay, maybe not. But the bottom line is not whether the Golden Globes are right some years or really wrong others. It's that if you're doing to be a "precursor," if you're going to be predictive, then you have to have a steady standard that can be relied upon. Every single year. And the only thing steady about the Golden Globes is that they do not "predict" anything. Set that in granite and plant the gravestone, once and for all.
All this said, this year the Golden Globes actually do have a reason to watch. Ricky Gervais is hosting again. It's why God created the DVR and fast-forward button.
Of course, underlying all of this is that the Golden Globes or Oscars are all just awards. They have no real meaning, except to those who win. For the rest of the planet, they're just entertainment. Still, even entertainment is more substantive when we value those behind it. There's a reason TV doesn't broadcast your office pool.
Further, for as little meaning that all awards shows have (including those given out by an industry to itself), the reality is that people watch the broadcasts. And they watch them because there's a perception - as in the Emmys, Tonys, Grammys and Oscars - that the people giving the awards know what they're doing. It's a perception the Golden Globes have falsely milked for decades, scamming the public.
In the end, for those who insist on watching the Golden Globes, watch them and accept them for what they are, and you can live in blissful peace - 86 members of a shaky organization that stumbled onto a goldmine with studios and networks, and who present a lively TV kegger.
And that's why Globe winners appear so goofy on the air. Because they understand what you now know. Everyone loves a good joke.
One day after writing this above, Patrick Goldstein in the L.A. Times, wrote an article about a story broken by The Wrap about the longtime, former publicist of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association suing the organization.
"Michael Russell, who ran press for the show for 17 years, has charged the HFPA with fraud and corrupt practices. He claims that a number of members of the organization accepted money, vacations and gifts from studios in exchange for nominating their films in addition to selling media credentials and red carpet space for gifts. He also says the HFPA accepted payment from studios and producers for lobbying other members for award nominations."
Over time, I've seen a lot of productions of The Music Man. (Or to call it correctly, Meredith Willson's The Music Man.) In fact, it was the very first professional stage musical I ever saw, not much past a wee toddler, at the Shubert Theatre in Chicago. When people say how no one could top Robert Preston as 'Harold Hill' -- and to be clear, I pretty much agree with that, it's a remarkable iconic performance -- I always say that I saw someone who was awfully great, and someone who fit the role to a T, as well, as a charming, conniving con man: Forrest Tucker. And pretty much everyone pauses a moment and then says, "Yeah, I can see that. He'd be pretty good." And he was, he was great. I even recognized that at that age.
In fact, I still have the program!
(The actress opposite him was Joan Weldon, who is still around at age 90. And to my surprise, I recently saw her in an old episode of Have Gun, Will Travel. She played an aspiring opera singer who Paladin has to give some training advice to.)
Perhaps because this was my first professional show ever to see -- I still remember my reaction to it at intermission, right after "76 Trombones," being enthralled by what I had witnessed for the first time, still just halfway through, and even hopping about and turning my little sportcoat around, like 'Harold Hill' does to turn his jacket into a bandleaders coat. (See above...) And I recall the bemused smiles by all the adults in the lobby watching this weirdly-happy kid -- or perhaps because it really is such a classic, wonderful musical, I have been a bit of self-proclaimed connoisseur of the show One other thing I remember about that matinee -- it was delayed because Maurice Chevalier was in the audience, and some of the cast came into the auditorium to get his autograph!
I should add that the show contains one of my favorite lines in any musical. It comes near the end when Harold is being chased and appears about to be caught by the angry townspeople. He finally confesses his actions to Winthrop, the little brother of Marian who he's just realized he's fallen in love with. And when Winthrop cries out in accusation, "There isn't any band, is there?." Harold replies -- "I always think there's a band, kid."
Another notable actor I saw in the role of 'Prof. Harold Hill' was Dick Van Dyke in Los Angeles. He was wonderful, as you might imagine, and a joy to see. Though I don't think he was right for the role. I think it works best when the character contrasts the townspeople and is a big city fast-talker, as opposed to trying to sort of blend in with everyone and charm them as, which is how he played it. That was also the quibble I had with Matthew Broderick's interpretation in the TV remake.)
I also saw Eric McCormack do the show at the massive Hollywood Bowl. This was probably 20 years ago, at the height of when he was starring on NBC in Will & Grace. My recollection is that he played the role as sort of combination of the two styles -- in part "aw, shucks" and in part the cynical city hustler. I thought he did a good job. No better than that, but not worse either. A very solid performance. (Though I think to get the most out of the role, it calls for more than solid, it calls for owning the stage.) I wrote about that a few years ago and even included a video of him singing "Marian the Librarian" when they took the production to Broadway. You can read the piece and see the video here.
I wrote here about seeing the seeing the show a couple years ago at the acclaimed Goodman Theatre in Chicago. I had high hopes for that because their standard is so high, and though I liked the production, I was surprised how mediocre I found the lead. Definitely not the standard for the Goodman, for my taste..
I mention this all because it turns out that I found about 10 minutes of footage of Eric McCormack playing the Professor. It seems his performance at the Hollywood Bowl held him in good stead, because when the show had its Broadway revival in 2000 with Craig Bierko, McCormack briefly took over the role for three months in 2001 during a summer hiatus in Will & Grace's run.
So, here's that footage. It's mostly "76 Trombones," but afterwards the video also includes him performing "The Sadder but Wiser Girl."
Although not intended this way when I wrote my article yesterday, today we have another "Things I Don't Get" musing. Not getting Ron Johnson is one thing -- but Republicans not supporting the Covid Emergency Relief Bill is another. I just don't begin to get it.
To be clear, I get Republicans not wanting to spend money to help the general public in need. That's sort of their official branding. And I also get some Republicans, maybe even most Republicans, choosing to commit political suicide in order to please their base whatever the consequences. And I even get some Republicans, maybe even most Republicans, not wanting to help Americans during a pandemic because that would be admitting that the coronavirus exists and they've been deadly wrong for the past year. I get all that.
What I don't get is basically ALL Republicans in Congress refusing to support a bill that 76% of Americans support -- and that 60% of Republicans support! And which would help all Americans -- Republicans included -- with health measures and assistance for opening schools and support for local businesses and aid to states, but more importantly by giving every American household $1,400. Giving away money to constituents is Politics 101, the easiest thing a politician has to do in office. Especially when 76% of Americans think this is A Really Good Idea, including 60% of your own party.
And again, I get some or many Republicans not wanting to do this because they're Republicans and that's how they roll.
What I don't get is (as far as I can tell) Every Single Republican in Congress NOT SUPPORTING this Emergency Relief Bill -- that gives $1,400 in free money to voters -- in the middle of probably the biggest crisis the country has faced in 100 years. Every single Republican in Congress.
And to be clear about something: most issues in politics are very subjective and wide open to debate, full of gray areas, so even when they generally support something, the public has a barrage of conflicting opinions thrown at them, trying to make sense of the detailed specifics at stake. But pretty much the one thing the public grasps pretty well is when the government sends them $1,400. They may be uncertain about some of the nuance in aid to schools and businesses and states and coronavirus distribution -- but they absolutely get receiving $1,400.
These are professional politicians at the highest level. They absolutely know what the TV ads will look like in two years. Democrats will run ads that say -- we gave you each $1,400. And money to help open schools. And money to help open businesses. And money to your state to help pay for services they needed. And money to help organize the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. And our opponent voted against that, against all of that. And every Republican voted against all that. Every one of them. So, vote for the party that gave you $1,400 and money to help make your life better and normal again and helped organize the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine that helped save your lives.
That's what the ads will be. Of course, it's what the ads will be. Republicans know that's what the ads will be. And still, it appears that ALL Republicans are against the EMERGENCY relief bill. And against giving voters $1,400. Every single Republican in Congress.
And we haven't even touched on the insurrection to overthrow the government, and 147 Republican House members voting in basic support of that, and 43 Republican Senators voted to acquit Trump who incited it -- and who lost the White House and left office with around a 39% approval.
No, for now, this is just about the Emergency Relief Bill and giving away $1,400 to those in need during a disaster.
Yet there was Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) blasting this Emergency Relief Bill as being so socially -- or, I guess, communistic -- that it was "left of Lenin." And all that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer could do was say on the Senate floor with total bewilderment that he didn't know what in the world Mr. Kennedy was referring. "Left of Lenin???" he asked. A bill that helps schools and businesses and medical workers and states and the health of the nation??
So, it's sort of like Chuck Schumer doesn't get it either.
I have the sense that Democrats would like to have Congressional support on this Emergency Relief Bill from Republicans because that would be very good for the nation -- but that Democrats are perfectly fine if Congressional Republicans don't support it, because a) they know they have Republican support from Republican officials on the state level, and Republican support of the public, and b) that gives them free sailing in the 2022 mid-term elections. See above.
I absolutely get the concept of Republicans acting irresponsibly and not helping people in need. But what I don't get is ALL Republicans committing political suicide by ALL of them refusing to pet puppies while giving you $1,400 for letting them. Every single Republican in Congress. They didn't even apparently get together and say, "Y'know, this is a Really Bad Look for the entire party not supporting this. So, how's about we let two or three of you who represent purple states or purple districts vote 'Yes," because that will be good for you, and good for us as a party because then we won't be able to be painted as ALL being against it." But they couldn't even do that. Not one single Republican in Congress. I don't get it.
By the way, if for some reason in the end two or three Republicans do vote for the Emergency Relief Bill, that still doesn't really help the Republican Party. Because it will still be their overwhelming brand, and because all those other Republicans who voted "No" will still have to run on that record and face that onrushing ad campaign they know is coming. It's just that voting unanimously against it -- every single Republican in Congress -- makes branding them oh-so much easier.
That today's Republican Party has become fascist is one thing. That the entire Republican Party in Congress doesn't want to do the brain-dead easiest thing for any politician to do which 60% of their own party supports -- and 76% of the entire nation -- and which helps helps in proving EMERGENCY relief during the nation's biggest crisis in 100 years is another matter entirely.
I don't get it.
But maybe that "brain dead" reference is a good place to start.
When posting the video yesterday with Sam Levene, who created the role of 'Nathan Detroit; in the original Broadway production of Guys & Dolls, it got me to thinking of the famous actors who came after him to play the role -- including Frank Sinatra in the movie, Nathan Lane in the 1992 Broadway revival, and (of all people) Bob Hoskins in the 1982 National Theatre production in London's West End (which I happily saw on a trip there)
There's also another "almost" who would have topped them all -- Sir Laurence Olivier. He had long said he would love to play the role, and in 1971 they had actually worked out schedules for a National Theatre production and even got as far as beginning rehearsal. However, he got sick and the production had to be scrapped. To be clear, this was not his final illness -- in fact, he lived another 18 years -- but the schedule never permitted re-mounting it, and then he got too old for the role. This remains one of the great "if onlys." The National Theatre finally did mount a production in 1982, and that's the one with Bob Hoskins.
Anyway, I thought I'd post a couple of these other Nathans. I'm pretty sure I've posted them here in the past, but not together and not overlapping with other Guys & Dolls material, including that of Sam Levene yesterday singing "Sue Me" with the original Adelaide, Vivian Blaine.
First, here's an actual Nathan in the role of 'Nathan Detroit' -- Nathan Lane, in the 1992 production. There's some tenderness in his interpretation, but as you can see they play it much more for laughs -- which is not unreasonable given that it's both an offbeat love song and a comic number. Here he is with Faith Prince, who won the Tony Award that year as Best Actress in a Musical.
And here is Bob Hoskins in that 1982 National Theatre production. I don't have any video of him singing "Sue Me," but this is from the cast album I have. He wasn't especially known to American audiences at the time, so honestly I didn't realize that he had even been in the production. It wasn't until years later when I read about it and then checked the details.
To be clear, he wasn't unknown. He'd made The Long Good Friday, and a couple of excellent PBS Masterpiece Theatre productions -- Pennies from Heaven and Flickers. But I hadn't seen any of those yet, and it wasn't until four years later that he made Mona Lisa and two more years after than, in 1988 when he had his big, star-making breakthrough in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
His interpretation of the song -- most definitely a comic one -- is an offbeat mixture of some lovely sweetness and explosions into pent-up anger. And it's certain fun to hear him. And great to have seen him -- even if I didn't realize it at the time... He performs it opposite Julia McKenzie, who won an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical. (Some viewers may recognize her for playing 'Miss Marple' in -- for my taste -- a dismal reimaging of the character that the producers attempted for a later revival on PBS Masterpiece Mystery, far outpaced by the version done with Joan Hickson 20 years earlier. But all that's a separate matter.) For now, here's the point of it all --,
As a bonus, there is at least some video of that 1982 National Theatre production, and here's an eight-minute montage. Unfortunately there no footage of Bob Hoskins signing, though he does have an extensive dialogue with with 'Big Julie' than comes around the 4:15 mark, in case you want to jump to it.
By the way, this production was a huge hit -- it ran for four years, which is around 1,600 performances. The original Broadway production ran for 1,200 performances, about three years. Also of note, a year into the run Julia McKenzie left the show and was replaced by Imelda Staunton, who has won four Olivier Awards -- including Best Actress in a Musical for Gypsy and Sweeney Todd, and will be playing Queen Elizabeth in the next incarnation of The Crown. Just more Fun Facts to throw into the mix...
I'm not terribly interested to get too deeply in the pathetic sickness that is Ron Johnson, but it's hard to let him pass without at least mention. Certain shameful people I at least get -- the Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes, Josh Hawley, Louie Gohmerts of the world. They're either mean or crazy or boot-licking lackeys or fascist, or panderers,, or idiots, or some combination of the above. But I just don't get Ron Johnson.
What I most don't get is that he knows he's up for re-election in Wisconsin in 2022. And somehow, on top of everything else he's said and done -- like traveling to Moscow over the Fourth of July -- he seems to think it's a winning gambit to suggest that the insurrection mob that tried to overthrow the U.S. government and five people died was just a sort of festive party. To be clear, I wouldn't get that at any time -- but as a foundation to a re-election campaign, it's just out of my realm of grasping. Especially in a state that is not solid red, but purple shading to blue. And voted for Joe Biden in 2020. And gives Sen. Johnson a very low favorability.
Now, in fairness to Johnson, it possible that he has decided not to run for re-election, which has been discussed, given his deep unpopularity and vulnerability in the state. And if so, that strips away one layer of the Enigma that is Ron Johnson. But since that's just the covering veneer, it still leaves the actual "I don't get Ron Johnson" ball that rolls around directionless.
Also in fairness to Ron Johnson, it's possible that when he described the mob insurrectionists as being "festive," he was just referencing the classic episode of Seinfeld that dealt with "Festivus," the holiday invented by George Costanza's father Frank for those who don't want to celebrate the traditional winter holidays. "Festivus for the rest of us" was his slogan, where you grab the Festivus pole and rant about all the things that make you angry. The more I think of it and want happen with the "festive" (tm Ron Johnson) insurrectionist mob, the more I think that could make sense, and he just misspoke. Because no other explanation works.
On MSNBC yesterday, former Senator Claire McCaskill said that she doesn't like to talk out of school about the Senate in terms of what's behind closed doors. But she said she sort of felt compelled to talk about Ron Johnson, and in as a polite a way as possible seemed to suggest that he was pretty much a clueless idiot who really didn't get it.
That seems to get to the heart of the matter pretty well. Mind you, that still only confirms what we see. But it sill doesn't explain the "Hunh, say what???" part of who he is. I mean, as I said, I get the cluelessness of Louie Gohmert and his asparagus. He's clueless. But I get the sense that he knows he's clueless and flails away because of it, trying to make a big noise since that's the only way he'll get heard. But I still don't get Ron Johnson. He's sort of the guy who sees an electric socket, knows you're not supposed to stick your finger in it, but sees an electric socket that controls the power grid for his neighborhood, licks his finger to make sure it's thoroughly wet, and then decides to stick his tongue it in the socket, giving himself a life-endangering, massive electric shock and creating a blackout for others.
So, no, I don't get Ron Johnson. I do get that there's a reasonable chance he won't be around in the Senate after 2022. God-willing.
Yes, yes, I know I said I'd wrap things up yesterday with that medley by Vivian Blaine from Guys & Dolls. But after posting it, I wanted to check some information and found this video which I think you'll agree I couldn't pass up. Sue me.
Guys & Dolls opened on Broadway in 1950. When they took the Frank Loesser musical, with a book by Jo Swirling and Abe Burrows, to the London West End in 1953, some of the original Broadway cast went along, including Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide and Sam Levene, who played Nathan Detroit, her fiance for something like 12 years, the reason she sings "Adelaide's Lament." And when the show was running there, Blaine and Leven recreated the number "Sue Me" for British television.
By the way, Sam Levene had a long career in the theater, and that included starring in Neil Simon's comedy, The Sunshine Boys opposite Jack Albertson in 1972. (Happily, I got to see both on stage when they toured in the show to Los Angeles, and I happened to be in town on a short trip.)
This is a real treat. And interesting to see, since it's a much more tender interpretation of the song than the more big comic rendition it often gets. And interesting to see from the opening shot of the London poster that since Blaine was from the original Broadway production, she got top billing here.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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