For Memorial Day, we have a bonus edition of Piano Puzzler. From the archives, the contestant is Genevieve Wilde from Quakertown, Pennsylvania. I could hear the tune, and almost clearly, but just couldn't get it. It's definitely known, and I got it later when pianist Bruce Adolphe brought the music out more, but it was tough, even though known and clear. The composer style seemed to be from an era that I overlap a lot of people, so I took a guess. I was surprised that I was somewhat close, but didn't get that either.
Polls are pretty much only meaningful in perspective -- how they compare to other polls, or how them compare to their own polling from week to week.
Therefore, it's important to put into perspective this is the new poll from Rasmussen Polling. Rasmussen is the Republican polling service that is an outlier, regularly skewing pro-Trump. When you read about Trump pointing to how well he's doing in polls, it's almost always Rasmussen he's referencing. It’s the one poll that once had him over 50%, at 51%
So, this then is his best, favorite poll -- and it now gives him just 43% approval. Down five points. With a 55% disapproval. But also, “Strongly Approve” is 31% and “Strongly Disapprove” is 47%. That makes his “Approval Index” a minus-16. For perspective, only nineteen days ago on May 6, Trump's “Approval Index” for Rasmussen was only minus-4. A drop of 12 points in less than three weeks.
Again, this is Trump's best, favorite poll -- now giving him just 43% approval. And 55% disapproval.
And with 99,448 Americans dead and 43 million having filed for unemployment. And millions of Americans across the country believing Trump that it's safe to "open" America as they flock out together form Memorial Day Weekend, ensuring that the numbers will soar.
The other day, the Chicago Symphony had what they called a "Watch Party" and streamed a 2013 concert of the Verdi Requiem conducted by Music Director Riccardo Muti. Along with the Chicago Symphony Chorus and soloists, it was glorious -- and at least for the time being it appears to still be up online.
Even if you don't want to watch the whole thing -- it's long, about an hour and 22 minutes -- it makes for absolutely wonderful music to soar in the background as you go about your Memorial Day.
From the archives. This week's contestants are Peter and Mary-Bess Staffel from Bethany, West Virginia. This is an oddity: although I got both parts, it was touch-and-go that I would. I could tell the composer of the hidden song right away, but it took me a short while to "sing through" the song to get the title, but I did get it. It's well known, but might not be so for everyone. And the composer style was very guessable...but...it came down to two possibilities who overlap a bit. But I guessed right.
On this week’s Al Franken podcast, the title says it all – “Steve Schmidt Tears Trump and the Republican Party a New One.” As Al writes, “Steve Schmidt the former GOP strategist trashes Trump and his enablers. And gives a surprisingly personal explanation of why it took him so long to leave his old party” Not shockingly, this is a really good one. It’s not nearly as “fiery” as the title suggests, but very thoughtful and detailed.
The front page of today's New York Times.
The sub-headline is difficult to read here. It says -- “They were not simply names on a list. They were us.”
Within the paper, the Times wrote --
“Numbers alone cannot possibly measure the impact of the coronavirus on America, whether it is the number of patients treated, jobs interrupted or lives cut short. As the country nears a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths attributed to the virus, The New York Times scoured obituaries and death notices of the victims. The 1,000 people here reflect just 1 percent of the toll. None were mere numbers.”
This week is another Stay at Home edition of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! with no studio audience. The guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment is actress Allison Janney. Her interview with host Peter Sagal is very personable, as she talks about moving back to Ohio to help take care of her parents, and also about her film-work, notably her Oscar-winning role for I, Tanya.
The Goodman Theatre in Chicago has started a series they call "Live@5," where they stream conversations on Fridays in the afternoon. Yesterdays was between their artistic director Robert Falls and Nathan Lane.
(Falls, by the way, is pretty acclaimed in his own right. He’s been the Goodman’s artistic directors for 25 years, and won a Tony Award for directing a revival of Death of a Salesman that starred Brian Dennehy.)
Here's the hour-and-15-minute conversation. It's fairly entertaining, as they discuss the theater and fill in the spaces with behind-the-scene stories of people they've worked with. Lane in particular has several amusing tales of working with George C. Scott, who Falls crossed paths with, as well. There's also a very good, extended clip of a Goodman production of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh that starred Brian Dennehy and Lane.
The sound mix is awful for the first 19 minutes, with Falls being quite loud and Lane very soft. They adjust it, but not enough. They finally get it -- if not "right" -- much better about 33 minutes in, after working on it during the Iceman Cometh clip.
Also, I'm having difficulty getting this to start from the beginning. If it doesn't, just grab the scrollbar and drag it all the way to the left.
This is an SGN bonus of sorts. As part of one of his earlier "Some Good News" shows, John Krasinski included a short bit with Steve Carell. However, setting all that up took much more time, and allowed for a much-longer conversation. And Krasinki released the full 10-minutes. It's entertaining, as among other things hey reminisce at length about their days on The Office, and the affection between the two is clear.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, is a regular columnist for the Writers Guild of America and was for the Huffington Post. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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