For me, this was a huge treat. While I know that not everyone enjoys Louis Armstrong's singing -- I love it. I even saw him in concert at the Ravinia Musical Festival when I was a kidling. And while I know that not everyone is a fan of Jimmy Durante's singing -- I am. In a big way. So, to find a video of the two together is, for me, a total joy. And making it all the more fun is that it's a lively song that they do wonderfully together, "Old Man Time."
This looks like it comes from the old Hollywood Palace show on ABC, and it appears to be a tribute to Louis Armstrong's 50 years in show business.
In the end, when you get Louis Armstrong and Jimmy Durante together -- a song called "Old Man Time" is about as appropriate as it gets...
Over on my pal Mark Evanier's website he has an article here about the proper way to mount a roll of toilet paper. Yes, sometimes websites do tackle the knotty issues of the day. As we are here, following up upon Mark.
As Mark notes, based on the original patent for a roll of toilet paper, the only proper way to have your roll is with the paper running with a front overhang. Thereby proving the point to which he heartily agrees. And writes, as well -- “I can't think of any reason to have it hang down the back “
Well…as I wrote to my friend, I shall give him one.
Years ago – maybe 20 or more – I was watching local news here in Los Angeles, and they did a segment on the best way to install toilet paper. (See? Even television thought this was a knotty issue of the day...) And what they said was -- hang it down the back.
And yes, they had a reason. If you have young kids in the house, they’ll sit at the toilet, stare at the roll, and usually get bored or curiously and start swiping at it, Thwacking down on the roll. And if the toilet paper is hanging in the front, as the patent says it should, it will unravel and keep doing so endlessly as long as the kid continues hitting the roll. However, if the paper is hanging down the back, the kid can swipe at roll all day, and it will simply spin – not a single square of toilet paper will unravel.
Of course, if one doesn’t have any little kids, or expect any in the house (or doesn't have any pets which might make a play for that attractively-spinning roll), then this doesn’t matter. But there you have it – an actual reason to have it hang down in the back. And it’s one I’ve remembered and used for years.
As you might have noticed, I spent a couple of weeks posting videos of the musical, Fiorello! This is not that. But it has a connection.
Videos from an NYU production of that musical formed the core of my postings. And the star of that production was a young actor named Kenny Francouer who played Fiorello LaGuardia. In my various searches for material, I came across another performance by Mr. Francoeur in what appears to be a college concert or recital -- and it's from another show by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock who wrote Fiorello! -- as well as Fiddler on the Roof, among others. So, there's a lot of kismet going around. (Except, no, this is not from the show Kismet, which is by Forrest and Wright.) This is the title song of their show She Loves Me -- which is the story that the film, You've Got Mail is based on.
The title song is a fun number, usually performed with great exuberance by the singer, coming at the point of the show when he knows that the young woman is his secret pen pal, but she doesn't know it yet. And he's gone over to her apartment when he learns she's under the weather. He leaves, sure he's on the right track and sings this song.
But while a fun exuberant number, it often gets overwhelmed by the performer's energy, dancing wildly around the stage, full of lively emotion. Kenny Francoeur takes it the other direction, and milks every bit of subtle nuance from the song, and it is probably the funniest interpretation of the song I've seen, finding every wonderful joke in the lyric. Rather than exploding around the stage in joy with what he's discovered, in Mr. Francoeur's hand he is utterly exhilarated but rightly stunned that it all came about. And for an audience at a recital seeing the song completely out of context, yet already laughing from the very beginning...that speaks volumes about his craft. To be clear, honestly I don't find it as "hilarious" as much of the audience -- but I like the performance. If some in that audience find it's hilarious, so be it. To me, it's just a really good performance that brings out the charm, affection and humor of the song so well.
One note: at a couple of points in the song, he makes funny noises. That's not him ad libbing and hamming it up, they're to a large degree written into the lyrics.
Well, huzzah. Wave the big glove with the even bigger index finger raised singularly in the air. Just a quick note to say that A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge jumped up to #1 on Amazon's Best Seller list for humor/parody in ebooks -- for the second year in a row.. No, that is not the most prominent list around, a few steps above "Buy milk and lettuce" but it beats not being #1.
The epic is on sale this week for a whopping 99-cents, something which if taken advantage of is appreciated by the guy who ruminates about this site, and you can find it right here.
It was close to stunning reading over the Thanksgiving weekend Trump's Twitter meltdown (sadly, get used to that phrase) -- and most especially stunning reading it after he had first chided Hillary Clinton for supporting recounts, but then went on his bizarre multi-10-Tweet rant making bogus claims how, despite losing the popular vote to her by 2.2 million votes (the number still rising), "I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
Two immediate thoughts crossed my mind.
The first was that this sounded almost exactly like an interview I heard on ESPN with a little 12-year-old boy whose team had just lost the finals of the Little League World Series by a score of 8-3. He said, in total seriousness with the hilarious, oblivious illogic of a 12-year-old child, "If it wasn't for the fourth inning, it would have been a tie."
The second though was -- oh, dear Lord, if this is how Trump acts after winning the Presidency of the United States, and he's SO pathetically insecure that he spins wildly out of control because reality shows his opponent actually, literally got more popular votes than him, we are in for a very long four years. Or however many years he's able to remain in office before the Justice Department or AMA intervenes.
There are a lot of reasons people have postulated for Trump's tweetstorm on losing the popular vote and by so much. One is that it's laying the groundwork for a campaign to "crackdown" on imaginary illegal voting and "voter fraud." Another is that he's trying to change the perception of the concept of trusting facts and the truth. Some of all that might be at play, as well as other reasons. But I still like my position that he's just chronically and pathologically insecure. And he is absolutely unable to take that someone is more popular than he is, especially a woman.
This is horrific stuff, a person like this in the White House, the most powerful man in the world, in control of nuclear bombs -- as well as overseeing all the small stuff (small, in comparison to nukes and global power) that he's in charge of, often without even needing to go through Congress for approval. But there you have it -- mere weeks after winning the election for President of the United States, Trump is creating an avalanche of maniacal whining that the truth is not true for the basic reason that he really, honestly lost the popular vote.
But as I was doing my best to keep my rolling eyes in their sockets and keep my spinning head on my neck, I realized something. Maybe Trump has a point here.
I mean, seriously -- if Trump says that "millions of votes were illegally cast" -- maybe we should believe him!!! Maybe that's why he "won." Hey, it's his words, his insistence, not mine... Yes, I know it's hardly the sort of pronouncement you'd expect to hear from someone who surprisingly got more electoral votes than expected but was crushed in the popular vote. But if he's the one (the winner!) who says millions of votes were illegally cast -- I for one am willing to consider his words.
And to correct this apparently grievous miscarriage of justice of illegal votes that he insists wee supposedly cast, I eagerly await Trump joining in the chorus of calls for recounts to set the matter straight!!
This is a pretty fun idea, and it works out fairly well. The payoff isn't as great as one would wish, but it's all charming and amusing.
It comes from the Funny or Die folks, and they had the idea of disguising the singer Jewel and have her go to a karaoke bar to perform her own songs. The video is very nicely done, and Jewel has a good time with it all, playing a very shy office worker -- and the make-up is excellent.
Fun, too, for me, is that the bar where this all takes place, The Gas Lite, is actually very close to where I live. In fact, I passed it a couple of days ago, on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. (They clearly proud of their participation in this event, since they note it out front.) The place is probably about 3-4 miles away from me. I've never been there, but driven by often.
Huzzah. As I noted yesterday, it's remarkable how few book sales are need to affect one's position on Amazon. On the second day of my promotion for A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge, it keeps going up the chart, and is now #2 in Amazon's Best-Seller List for Humor/Parody in ebooks.
Yes, yes, it's not quite a major Best-Seller List (nor has it reached the level of even a minor Best-Seller List, but more a case of a "Well, that's nice, for what it's worth" Best-Seller List. But it beats not being on the list...
So, if you've bought a copy this year, either for yourself, or as a gift, or just as a way of dropping 99-cents into the Elisberg Industries Appreciation Till, thanks very much. In the meantime, one can get it here.
If it happens to go higher by one spot, I'll be sure to let you know.
This is a pretty amusing video for a very pointed and serious subject. It's part of an original series from the Huffington Post called "“Celebs Have Issues,” where famous people use comedy to raise awareness about important issues.
Here we have "A Safety Guide for Brown People" done by Aasif Mandvi -- unfortunately based on real life tales.
On this week's "Not My Job" segment of the NPR pop culture quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!, host Peter Sagal's guest is a bit of semi-nepotism, the husband of a previous guest, who had been Tricia Yearwood. That means it's country megastar Garth Brooks. The interview stars off low-key, and then slowly become pretty giddy and fun.
'Tis the season. Yes, it's that time o' year. Fa la la, I once again have a one-week holiday promotion sale of my book, A Christmas Carol 2: The Return of Scrooge. Through Saturday, the Kindle ebook edition is now just a whopping 99-cents.
I'll note, as well, that last year it hit #1 on Kindle's Best Seller List for Humor/Parody. Not quite the NY Times Best Seller List, but I'll take it.
As you might imagine, this is the time of year when the book sells. Hence, promoting it now. Bizarrely, I do actually get a few sales during the year, which always stuns me, but who am I to quibble. Maybe it's people who like to do their holiday shopping early. Or those who live their life with the holiday spirit in their heart the whole year round. Or maybe they're from Australia and live their life upside-down. Or who knows why?? God bless them, everyone.
The story continues Dickens' tale as the ghost of Scrooge returns to visit his former clerk Bob Cratchit, who has inherited the counting house from his employer, and mixed into the adventure are a couple dozen characters from other Dickens novels, like Oliver Twist (who doesn't feel he's being paid enough in his job and is chosen by his fellow-clerks to ask for a raise), Mr. Pickwick, Miss Havisham, Little Nell, Fagin, Mr. McCawber, and many others.
By the way, the book is also available in paperback, for a very reasonable $6.95. I actually prefer the paperback -- not for the price (honest) -- but because the book is full of humorous footnotes that tell a secondary tale if you're paying attention, and I think footnotes work better in a paperback than ebook. (They work fine in the ebook edition, using hyperlinks, I just personally prefer them there right on the page, rather than as endnotes and jumping back-and-forth. Chacun a son gout, as the British say..)
I'll mention one other thing. I don't pass the hat for this website, so if anyone feels that buying a 99-cent ebook is a fine way to leave a tip, I won't quibble. Even if you've already bought the book for yourself, you can give it as a gift to a friend or needy urchin. Or just have a second copy because it's 99-cents and a nice thing to do! You can even just delete the downloaded file if you don't want it hanging around. Hey, it's 99-cents, that's the point. I say all this because you have no idea how just a handful of sales can make a Kindle ebook skyrocket on one of these Amazon sub-genre best-seller lists (like humor/parody) -- and that raises its visibility, which in turn increases sales. So, a simple 99-cent purchase has far more impact than most people think.
Just by way of perspective -- when I got up this morning and got around to checking, the book was ranked #192 for ebook Humor/Parody. Two hours later, after the promotion started, it's now #42..!!
(UPDATE: four hours later, it's up to #30.)
Okay, enough of that. Get the book or not, your choice. Have a good holiday season regardless. End of tidbits for now.
I'm guessing this may not be the first time I mention this...
If you do choose to get a copy, you get find it 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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