This piece as you can see is "Korobushka -- Liebe Love Amour."
A few weeks back, I posted the video of an amazing, funny and joyous musical performance by a string quartet of four German women, Salut Salon. (If you missed it, check it out here.) I have another number from this wonderful group. What's impressive is that they're not just wildly inventive and energetic in their staging and performance -- not what you expect from string quartets... -- but they're truly excellent musicians.
This piece as you can see is "Korobushka -- Liebe Love Amour."
Yesterday, Gov. Mike DeWine, the Republican governor of Ohio tested positive for COVID-19. A subsequent test (after this article was initially written, and now edited) was negative, but that's moot to the point here -- the first test might have been false, or perhaps accurate but at the end of its incubation period. Or, for all we know, it might be the negative test that was false. At issue though is that he did, at one time, accurate or not, test positive. I wish him well, whatever the results, and whether or not he still feels he needs the 14-day quarantine he said he was imposing on himself, just to be certain and safe. I also hope that any people he's come in touch with in recent days are healthy, and that none of them get infected, by anyone.
Gov. DeWine announced this on Thursday in a thoughtful, responsible tweet.
But here's the thing. The only reason the governor is even aware that he had initially tested positive for the coronavirus is because he was schedule to meet with Trump who was arriving in the state for a campaign event and fundraising. And all people who are to meet with Trump must be tested immediately beforehand, and they get their results right away.
A few things here:
Mainly, it's therefore pure luck that Gov. DeWine found out about the positive test. If he wasn't going to be meeting Trump, he wouldn't have been tested. And wouldn't have known that he was possibly infected. And would have continued on his way, potentially infected others -- perhaps many others. Now, I know that people can't get tested every day, let alone get results back almost immediately. But when you're governor of a state and, I assume, interacting with a great many people every day, it would seem that you should get tested every day, and get the results back almost immediately.
Additionally, this is the second Republican official with the week who found out they had tested positive only because they were supposed to be meeting Trump. The other was Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) who was going to be flying back with Trump to his home state. And so he got tested. And found out he was positive for the coronavirus. And received his results almost immediately.
Which leads us to perhaps the most notable point -- that Trump, who for five months (as the COVID-19 virus spread across the country and 162,804 Americans have died, and business had to be shut down and 55 million Americans have applied for unemployment) has disparaged testing, has relentlessly and bizarrely and idiotically tried to claim that testing is the reason for the high number of infections...and it is specifically because of testing that Trump has twice, in the past week, been saved from contact with a Republican official who had COVID-19 and likely would have infected Trump. Potentially, given his age and what appears to me his poor physical condition, saving Trump's life. Because of testing. And not only testing, but getting near-immediate results.
And who knows how many other people have been kept from being in contact with Trump over the past five months because they were tested first and found to be positive with the coronavirus.
Because of testing.
Because...of...testing. And immediate results, not waiting two weeks to find out.
Meanwhile, 5,028,791 Americans have been infected by COVID-19 -- that we know of, so far. And meanwhile, 162,728 Americans have died of the virus -- that we know of. So far.
Because the lack of a serious national testing program is non-existent.
On the other hand, yesterday Trump said, "A lot of people have thanked me for fixing showers so they have enough water."
Really. He said this.
It's not true, of course, but GOD, how egregiously needy does a president, the most powerful man in the world, have to be to say this?!
You wish someone had yelled out, "Name one person who thanked you for fixing his shower!!!"
But then, the thing is, if one is desperately searching for a reason to thank Trump about something, it may be that showers are about the only thing on the table. And that's not even true.
The elected officials of the Republican Party continue to enable him, continue to stand by the lack of a national testing program, continue to twiddle their collected thumbs as 162,804 Americans have died -- so far. And are complicit. Which is why this isn't about Trump but about all these elected members of the Republican Party.
Well, I sure had a fun afternoon.
Like an idiot, I locked myself out out of my condo. I was only about a foot from the door, but a wind came by and blew it closed. It turns out that crying out, "Oh, no!!!!" doesn't help, .
I didn't feel totally terrible, because I’d put a spare key in a little lockbox and hid it away in a nook of the apartment building – but I it turns out that lockboxes aren’t allowed here, and the bolt got cut and it was thrown out. (I'd checked the lockbox only two weeks ago, and it was there, so obviously it was taken away only within the past 14 days -- after being there for six months. At this point it did feel totally terrible.
I was fairly sure I'd left a spare key with a friend, though wasn't positive, and he lives a mile-and-a-half way, so I wanted to call him first to check. But of course I didn't have my mobile phone which was locked inside. And I couldn't even get someone to call him, since I didn't know his number, which is in the address book in the phone which was locked inside.
Normally I could drive to his place, though that would require car keys, and...well, you know the drill here. They were inside.
As were my face masks and hand sanitizer I carry around when I take a walk.
So, I took off the mile-and-a-half with my handkerchief as a face mask. And fortunately my friend was in (one of the few benefits of a pandemic...), and fortunately, he had the spare key. But wasn't sure which one it was, though I had a pretty good idea. He also had a spare disposable face mask, way. And so, key and face mask at the ready, I walked the mile and-a-half back.
To be clear, the three mile round-trip wasn't that problematic. I walk a half-hour every morning, but it's more annoying when you're berating yourself for being a total idiot the whole way.
But I got back. The key worked. And all’s well.
Other than still feeling like an idiot.
"It'll go away like things go away."
-- Trump on the coronavirus, yesterday.
So, apparently realizing that him saying for five months just that "It will go away like a miracle" wasn't gaining the tracking he hoped it would, he decided to try a new tactic and give an example of what he meant. But needing a wide example to how that it was apparently the general rule of life, he went a wee bit too wide as to be totally meaningless.
So, things go away. It'll go away like things go away.
Okay, some things that didn't yet go away.
The heartbreak of psoriasis
Unsolicited phone calls during dinner.
Well, you get the idea. Mind you, there are some diseases that did go away -- but then, most of those "went away" -- or largely went away -- because scientists were able to develop a vaccine. They didn't just disappear like a "miracle. Like polio, tuberculosis, diphtheria.
In fairness, I do know of one infectious disease that did just "go away" as Trump insists things do. That was the Bubonic Plague. It did indeed just go away, because there was no vaccine to stop it. The problem with that solution though was that 50 million people died in Europe. The good thing is that in the Middle Ages there were no airplanes, trains, buses and cars, so world travel wasn't a big concern for spreading the disease. And since the New World hadn't been discovered yet, there was no one taking a boat to America -- though if someone who was infected had tried, they'd probably have died long before reaching their destination. So, the Black Death was contained to Europe. The bad thing is that those 50 million people dying meant that though the Bubonic Plague did just "go away," it killed 60% of the population in Europe. By those standards today, just "going away" like things do -- without doctors, medicines, treatment, ventilators, face masks, hand sanitizers, social distancing and more -- would end up killing 180 million Americans alone.
Just, y'know, just "going away like things go away" isn't really the ideal first choice of confronting COVID-19.
Happily, in addition to those other options above to at least help contain and minimize infections and deaths, there is another solution, as well, but there's a major irony attached to it. And that's the hopeful discover of a vaccine.
The irony of it is that, this being a major hope of Trump who keeps insisting one is close despite all evidence to the contrary, a vaccine will be the results of science. And Trump has demeaned science probably more than any other U.S. President in history. And the only reason I say "probably" is because I don't know Millard Fillmore's position on the subject. But from ignoring science on Climate Change to ignoring science from Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC guidelines, and most things in between, to have Trump rely so heavily on the research and development that scientists and doctors can accomplish the one thing he is utterly relying on to save his election chances is about as sardonic as one can get.
Also, sardonic is his belief that even if there was the discovery of a vaccine tomorrow it will save his chances, as if people will even conceivably be able to forget 161,601 deaths; 54 million Americans losing their jobs; thousands of businesses going bankrupt with no jobs to go back to; sheltering at home for month; children with no school; no movies, theater and sports; no restaurants to go to; no parties or social gatherings; and on and on and on. A vaccine -- from scientists -- would be joyous, whenever it hopefully comes. But whenever it hopefully comes, even tomorrow, the most of the public knows that life has changed, and not just changed bu 80% of Americans say the country is going in the wrong direction -- and they know the reason why.
It's because the person in charge says, "It'll go away like things go away."
One of which perhaps will be the Trump administration.
Hey, it is what it is.
Almost 12 years to the day (August 2, 2008) I wrote an article for the Huffington Post about the history behind Cubs fans singing Steve Goodman's song, "Go Cubs, Go" after every home game that they win. (I re-posted the piece here on this site a few years ago.) It's definitely not even close the prime Steve Goodman, and in fact was just written as a jingle of sort for WGN radio to lead into Cubs broadcasts. But it's lived on to carry Steve Goodman's fame to a a generation that didn't know his work but then went back to discover it, having won Grammys for his biggest hit, "The City of New Orleans," and more, like the country hit, "You Never Call Me By My Name," which he co-wrote with his close friend John Prine, though Prine didn't want any credit for it.
A few weeks back, I got a Direct Message on Twitter from Jesse Dukes, a radio producer for the well-regarded WBEZ in Chicago, one of the first charter stations for National Public Radio. He was working on a sort of documentary story about the history of "Go Cubs, Go," and had come across my article. We set up a time for a phone interview, and later spoke for about 15 minutes or so.
None of the interview got included in the finished product, but that's fine because he also spoke to people who knew a lot more of the story than I did, notably author Clay Eals, who wrote the definitive 778-page biography on Steve Goodman (that I wrote about here after he contacted me about my original article) and the producer at WGN radio who actually came up with the idea for Goodman to write the song for the baseball broadcasts, . And the finished show has now aired. It was made for WBEZ's podcast, Curious City, and is called "The Man and the Music Behind the Baseball Ballad 'Go Cubs, Go.'"
(Very thoughtfully, Jesse Dukes does give me a totally unnecessary, but appreciated acknowledgement at the end of the broadcast.)
I thought that Dukes did a very nice job with his entertaining and substantive report -- which runs for an enjoyable 20 minutes.. And as far as I can tell from what I know, he got the story pretty close to right. (I think WGN ended up using the song before the game, not just as a bumper between innings, as the piece says.) I do feel that it starts a bit unfocused and rambling as he talks with the Curious City host, who seems not to know much on the subject. (That's not a criticism of her, just a description.) But a few minutes in, the story kicks in, and it's flies by from then on. The conversation between the two ends up adding a personal quality to it all.
Here are a few additional, albeit lengthy thoughts about the broadcast before we get to the show itself:
When Clay Eals mentions Steve Goodman in high school, what got cut from the report is that one of his Class of 1965 classmates was...Hillary Clinton! She's said that they weren't friends but she definitely knew who he was.
One thing I don't agree with Clay Eals about is his theory on why Steven Goodman didn't break out like John Prine. It's not because he was too nice. He was nice -- as the legendary story Eals tells shows -- but a tough guy, very determined, very driven especially knowing the leukemia life-sentence he was facing. He didn't have time to screw around and just "be nice." (All of which does comes across very clearly in Eals' book.) From what I know working in the entertainment industry, executives like things that are simple, easy to grasp so you can identify who someone is in one quick look. They like stories that can be described in "Give it to me in one sentence." They like someone who is a country singer -- or a folk singer -- or a rock musician. But Steve Goodman was none of those, he was spread all over the place: he has songs that are folk, country, comedy, standard ballads, jazz and rock. I just think record producers and radio stations didn't have any idea what to do with him and how to market him.
I thought it was very touching that host/producer Dukes got emotional at the end -- because it is an emotional story. But the reason why I think the story of "Go Cubs, Go" is a "happy" ending story to Steve Goodman's life, different from what was discussed. Most entertainers, and perhaps especially singers, get forgotten once their time on the charts, writing and performing passes. And by all rights, as great as Steve Goodman was, he was really on the verge of being forgotten by the general public (though not remotely his fans). But "Go Cubs, Go," not only kept him remembered, but I think also ended up bringing up new fans who wanted to look up who this guy was. And that's a joyous ending.
Again, it's a very nice piece and well-worth listening to. The song has a wonderful story behind it, not to mention a wonderful singer-songwriter, and it's told me. Unfortunately, I can't embed it here, but you can get to it by clicking this link.
And for those who don't know the song, especially how it's sung with home fans at Wrigley Field after a win, here it is after Game 5 of the World Series in 2016 which the Cubs won, sending the Series back to Cleveland -- where the Cubs won the final two games to win their first World Series in 108 years. Which is why the 41,000+ plus fans singing along with the recording of Steve Goodman are so delirious.
First, an important disclaimer --
I swear this is real. It was tweeted yesterday morning, not four years ago. You can see the date.
Before double-checking everything and being absolutely certain that this was real, a few other possibilities came to mind.
Like, maybe the Trump account was hacked.
Or perhaps it was a parody account.
Or it turns out that he really does have a profoundly-advanced case of dementia and doesn't know what he was writing.
Or he'd had an unreported exorcism.
But no, in the end, it's just that the tweet is real.
Now, that being said, what would would be cool is if Trump explained why voting by mail in Florida -- and Florida alone -- is safe but others supposedly aren't. After all, not only is that weird on general principle, but of all states to proclaim their voting is "Safe and Secure, Tried and True," this is...freaking Florida.
It's just hard to imagine. Providing one has no imagination. I mean, gee, could it possibly be that Trump absolutely, 100% has to win there, because if he doesn't, he hasn't almost no path to win -- and he's far behind at the moment, and the state has a lot of elderly residents who likely will not be going to the polls in November and risk their lives? Oh, hmmmm....??
Man, if anything shows how terrified they are about losing Florida, this may be it.
And while we're on such whimsical pronouncements, it turns out that last week emails went out from the Republican Party in Pennsylvania telling its voters in the state that there was now a safe way for them to vote in November, and it's that they can -- are you ready? -- "Vote at home." Yes, really. Not vote by mail or absentee vote, but..."Vote at home." It sounds SO sweet and calm and safe and good. You can now vote at home!!
But...but...why in the world would Republicans push that. One wonders if, oh, I don't know, maybe because the GOP discovered in the Pennsylvania Primary back in June that their members had been terrified away from voting by mail because of Trump's anti-mail campaign about how supposedly unsafe it was, and the Pennsylvania GOP made a major push in the last days of the primary to convince Republicans voters that it was actually okay -- and...and because Trump is solidly behind in Pennsylvania which is another Must Win battleground state.
There was an old ad campaign in the 1980s for Dry Idea anti-perspirant with the tag line -- "Never let them see you sweat."
The sweat is pouring out of Trump and the Republican Party, and we can see it pouring down.
Heading back to What's My Line?, here's a fun Mystery Guest segment. That's because the contestant is Jonathan Winters. Unlike most celebrities who come on the show, he doesn't use just one fake voice, but -- not surprisingly, this being Jonathan Winters -- but continually changes voices.
If you want to jump right to his appearance, it starts at the 19:30 mark.
Someone posted this wonderful Letter to the Editor on Twitter. I don’t know where it’s from, but it…is…great.
Also, a brief clarification. I don't think it's at all necessary, but I sent this to a friend who totally misunderstood it, so I don't want to take the risk. This is not serious. This is not a letter from someone defending not wearing a face mask. It is a satire that ridicules people who don't want to wear face masks.
As I said, that should be clear. But I'm not taking any chances here...
So, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office has said that it’s investigating the Trump Organization for for possible fraud and for bank fraud. I have no idea if they have the evidence or can prove the case. I do feel near-certain that from the first this has been Trump's biggest nightmare, as I've written about here for a while.
This isn't even New York State, but a city D.A. (which must be even mortifying to Trump -- the most powerful man in the world). It means that he can't be protected by his consigliere Attorney General William Barr, or by the Department of Justice. It also means that if that if others in his organization -- especially his children -- are under threat, he can't dangle a pardon in front of them. Worse, it means that if he himself is found guilty, he can't be pardoned.
Also, not knowing whether there is evidence here, or whether it can be proven, I would suggest that it is believably likely that the charge Trump exaggerated his assets to qualify for high loans at lower rates and diminished his assets on his IRS tax returns to pay lower taxes. Why do I think it's believably likely? Because his former lawyer Michael Cohen said so under oath. Because we've seen how Trump operates for the past 3-1/2 years (actually decades longer). Because Trump has judgments against him for fraud. And because he's been fighting like a wounded lion to keep from releasing his tax returns ever since promising in 2015 that he'd release them soon, when his supposed "audit" was finished, even though it's perfectly fine to release the information at any time. No, none of this is proof that he did lie about those two things. But it's why presuming so is believably likely.
And this doesn't include all the other charges the Manhattan D.A. might be persuing.
Even better, what a lawyer friend said is that oral arguments have to be completed by mid-August, and documents that are needed to support their positions should all be public. Whether the deadline for those documents are the oral arguments in two weeks, or written arguments that are later, I don’t recall. But I’m pretty sure he said the oral arguments.
In the Be Careful What You Wish For Department, Trump’s lawyers had complained that the Manhattan A.D. subpoena several weeks back wasn’t specific enough. So…oops, okay -- they got specific.
Also important news yesterday– Deutsche Bank announced that it was starting an internal investigation into Trump's the longtime personal banker and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.. The bank is looking into their own employee Rosemary Vrablic after she and two colleagues bought an $1.5 million apartment in 2013 from the same company that Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump have a partial ownership in.
Further, Kusher and Trump were both clients of Ms. Vrablic and got $190 million in loans from Deutsche Bank the same year she bought the $1.5 million condo -- and later got several hundred million in loans from the bank.
None of this may be illegal. The apartment purchase could have totally above board. Jared Kushner could have nothing to do with decisions made by the company. But Trump family history seems that's a thin wire to dance on, and it seems reasonable to think that if a bank employee was facing jail time, that person might be willing provide evidence to prosecutors that would be helpful in this and in other cases. Or not. Who knows?
But it certainly is the wrong time to overlap with the Manhattan D.A. if you're the one dancing on the wire.
Which, it only follows, brings us to Rodgers & Hart, and a few updated lyrics for Ella Fitzgerald.
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.
Feedspot Badge of Honor