Today's guest contestant on the 'Not My Job' segment of the NPR quiz show Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is Grammy-winning Hip Hop artist Big Boi. His interview with host Peter Sagal takes an unexpected turn when they talk at length about his love of animals. If there isn’t a lot of applause and laughter compared to usual, that’s because…oh, you know – it was recorded after the coronavirus broke and so there’s no audience.
A few minutes ago, I was watching a show on cable, when this scathing political ad about Trump ran. It was odd to see something like it on actual television as a real ad, rather than part of Saturday Night Live, but there it was. However, after 20-seconds, a nagging idea hit me, and I thought, er, maaaybe it was a real product. I kept watching, and then I realized it was real. Apparently, this product has been out for a year.
But to advertise the "Trumpy Bear" NOW -- now, during the coronavirus pandemic and economic meltdown into recession is...weird. Really weird. Yes, yes, I know that during such times there are people who likely feel a need to support their demented leader even more. And yes, I did just say "Trumpy Bear." But even for an cultish acolyte to support Trump this way now is...weird
And as I finished typing this, the same channel ran the ad again. About 15 minutes later. The company is clearly really pushing it. It's...weird.
And again, no, this is not a parody ad from Saturday Night Live.
This is also on the list now as a nominee for Tweet of the Year.
Even better than the voice (which is great) are the words, syntax and thought process which he has nailed impeccably.
Skip reading the text he wrote (which gives away some of the jokes), and watch the video first. You can always go back and read it later...
Today, we have our second edition of musicians performing from home and sending out videos of their playing. Today's is an absolute gem -- this falls into the "Trust Me" category. It's 18 members of the Rotterdam Philharmonic who are all isolated at home, but when put together and what they play...well, this is glorious.
Yesterday, Joe Biden had his hour-long town hall on CNN about the coronavirus, hosted by Anderson Cooper, which pre-taped questions from viewers. It was good, not brilliant, but there's a limit to what he can say for an hour when he's not the president. But he was compassionate, personal and heartfelt, while addressing what's been missed by the administrations, what's needed, and that he wrote an op-ed about this back in January, despite Trump saying "No one knew."
Here’s the last two minutes. It’s not brilliant, but warm and touching. Also telling about Biden is of notice the moment near the end when he starts to say something, and then catches himself and explains why he stopped, but goes on in a sort of tangential way to say the same thing but less directly. I don’t want to give it away, but it’s pure Biden.
But mainly, the reason I'm posting this is because I watched this and thought -- Imagine the debate between Biden and Trump, and a question is asked about the human cost of the pandemic. Biden gives an answer along these lines, and then it's Trump's turn.
Last week, rather than embedded one of his podcasts, I posted a link to a scathing article, titled "The Last Straw" that Al Franken wrote on his website. Today we're making it two in a row, because his article this week makes the previous one look almost tame. It's called, "The President is Crazy."
Throughout the blunt article about Trump's continuing, dangerous failures, Franken makes a number of pointed statements about Trump's mental health, each with an asterisk. When you jump down to the end to find out what all these observations of Trump's psychological state refer to, it's Franken's acknowledgement of fairness and transparency, noting -- "*I am not a psychiatrist. Nor have I personally examined the President."
Still, he remains pointed in his comments. For instance, Franken writes --
"The president’s mental illness* allows him to be both intellectual sloth and supremely confident jerk, ever convinced that he (and he alone) can do everyone else’s job better than they. Generals, climate scientists, public health experts. And he’s always right. Because he’s a psychopath*. And this Donald Trump brand of psychopath* is never wrong. Even when being wrong will cause the additional deaths of perhaps hundreds of thousands of Americans."
But as subjective as the article is, the article may be at its harshest when Franklen lists a lengthy timeline of how Trump's coronavirus inaction has played out -- in Trump's own words. As I noted yesterday when posting the two video ads against Trump, it is this -- Trump's own words -- that I'm sure are going to be at the forefront of Democrats' criticism of him in the coming campaign. And so, this is just one more.
You can read the full article here.
Since people are homebound these days, I thought it would be a good idea to head back to the folks at Epicurious for another of their fun "50 People Try to..." videos. Today, we go to something which should be pretty easy -- making a grilled cheese sandwich. But not only do an inordinate amount of people surprisingly have difficultly with this basic task, but there are some tips it's good to know from their chef at the end that everyone probably doesn't do. The fun here though isn't so much learning how to make a grilled cheese sandwich properly -- since, honestly, it's pretty basic -- but the challenge far too many people have.
A lot of entertainers have been posting videos of them performing songs from home. I thought I'd periodically post some when I come across ones I particularly like. Here's Yo-Yo Ma.
On tonight, Friday, March 27.
From CNN --
"The Coronavirus Pandemic A CNN Democratic Presidential Town Hall with Joe Biden" will air at 8 p.m. ET and feature questions submitted by individuals living in some of the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus. CNN's Anderson Cooper will moderate the hourlong discussion on the impact to Americans' health, the repercussions for the nation's economy and the human toll to US society."
Not only interesting that they are doing this, but fascinating that they are doing it with Biden only. Now, it's possible that they might do another later on with Bernie Sanders, but for the moment this is all we can go on.
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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