While watching it though, you do nonetheless have to wonder about some people in the world, hiding under the safety of anonymity...
It's been quite a while since I've posted one of the "Mean Tweets" segment from the Jimmy Kimmel show. So, to correct that passage of time, here's an entertaining one.
While watching it though, you do nonetheless have to wonder about some people in the world, hiding under the safety of anonymity...
Well, yesterday was a special day for me on Twitter. I "blocked" my first person ever. Bring out the confetti. To be clear, I didn’t mind that he was an idiot – I’m fine chiding such folks – and I do think "idiot" is an objective observation. So, idiot is okay. That's life. But then he started sending me 10 outraged tweets to every one of mine. And that’s a wee bit beyond my acceptable limit. So, he got blocked.
This was the exchange.
His handle was “Facts Matter,” and his first note was scathing, among other things telling me that “you and Dems is ruining America.” I wrote back a simple reply that it actually should be “you and Dems are ruining America.” And I noted that I only mentioned this because, after all, “facts matter.”
This apparently outraged him because he wrote back an angry reply about how “Elsiberg, you are awful.” So, I responded very politely that it was actually spelled, “Elisberg,” something I said I only brought up because, of course, “facts matter.”
He tried to posture his way through this, saying that he would refer to me any way he believed he wanted to. I said, "No, misspelling and bad grammar is not a belief system." And added that they probably do more to actually ruin America than a tweet. Because, ultimately, “facts matter.”
And that’s when he went off mad-crazy with his tsunami of tweets, unrelenting, and so I blocked him. But I could see other people’s replies to him that were hilariously scathing.
And yet the Twitter Day was only starting. In the evening last night, I wrote a series of tweets about the huge concern of the far right, pushed by Donald Trump, of course, notably in his infamous "Second Amendment people" speech, about how Hillary Clinton wanted to repeal. the Second Amendment, something that seems to be an ongoing concern of their. Never mind that she doesn't, has never hinted that she wants to, nor have I ever heard any political leader ever suggest such a thing. (Never mind, too, that there is no Second Amendment around the rest of the world, and yet countries have gone on fine, and guns are available everywhere. The only difference is that they have far fewer gun murders and mass killers. But I digress...) The point of my tweets was that the reality is that's an INCREDIBLY HARD thing to repeal an Amendment, to the extent of it being near-impossible,. I explained that it requires 2/3 of the Senate, 2/3 of the House, and after all that, 3/4 of every state legislature. (Keep in mind that it's taken about 80 years to try and get the Equal Rights for women Amendment passed, and after almost a century to no avail. For equal right for women. There is no lost irony that for the first time in 240 years a women is running for President of the United States.)
Most of the response I received was an outpouring of Likes , Retweets and praise, though a few loons chimed in. And again, I think "loons" is an objective term. One, for instance, slammed me with every imaginable insult the person could think of for every part of me. What I replied...well, actually, no, I didn't even bother to reply. It fell into the "life's too short" category. To another, which was merely angry and hated me, I simply wrote back that I appreciated him letting me know and "Enjoy the Olympics."
The worst though showed up over overnight, and I saw it this morning. Such a fine way to start the day. It came from a guy who was saying to me that Hillary Clinton didn’t have to repeal the Second Amendment, she could just sign an Executive Order to get rid of it. I mean, seriously, what do you say to that in 140 characters? So, I kept my reply as low-key as reasonable,, basically writing, “Please, tell me you’re not serious about this. The president can’t repeal the CONSTITUTION by a mere Executive Order.” And added a “Sigh…” at the end. He wrote back to again insist that the president only had to declare “Marshall Law” (perhaps this is an offshoot of the Marshall Plan -- never mind that actual "martial law" is temporary) and could then sign an Executive Order that would repeal the Second Amendment. Once more, I simply repeated that I dearly hoped he wasn’t serious, that actually repealing an real Amendment was far more difficult than an Executive Order, and left it at that, with another sigh – knowing that others would pour on his ignorance. And so they did. Like a torrent. And he hasn't replied since.
But the point of all this isn't Twitter, which serves only as the foundation to what's important here. And that's how reading things like this, reading from people who actually believe that Hillary Clinton wants to repeat the Second Amendment and -- far worse -- that they actually believe to such a fevered degree that a president can simply sign an Executive Order to change the United States Constitution, and are in such a gall-ridden fury over who hates America because that person hates Donald Trump, it makes it all the easier to understand how Donald Trump came to lead the Republican Party.
It's not that facts and reality doesn't matter, it's that thinking doesn't matter. It's that ignorance is the foundation and something to be cherished and even embraced. Not knowing this isn't "Civics 101" stuff, like some people pointed out. It's Social Studies in the 5th grade.
And we get Donald Trump.
And his campaign is spinning out of control and down the drain. Deservedly so, but not without damage done that will take time to repair. But it will be repaired.
Tomorrow (Thursday), the BroadwayHD website will be streaming a live performance from Broadway of the wonderful Harnick & Bock musical, She Loves Me. This is of particular note because it's the first time in Broadway history that a performance will be streamed live online. (There have been live performances on TV, though. But if this works, it would be a step for the future.)
She Loves Me has a score by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, who wrote Fiddler on the Roof, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning (and Tony Best Musical, Fiorello!. The 1963 show is based on a Hungarian play that also served as the basis of several movies, including The Shop Around the Corner and You've Got Mail.
This new production stars Laura Bernanti, Zachary Levi and Jane Krakowski. It was nominated for a Tony Award this year as Best Revival of a Musical.
You can watch it live on the Broadway HD website (which you can get here), and the stream begins at 8 PM East Coast Time. If you're a subscriber to Broadway HD, the show is included in the subscription, otherwise it costs $10.
Here's the presentation for the show from the recent Tony Awards.
This is a year late, but I only just came across it the other day, and it was SO egregious that I felt I had to write something or my head would explode. I choose the former. Besides which, you don't get to hide or claim Sanctuary under the cover of time, most especially when it serves as a spot-on example of the far rights ongoing 8-year effort to try and demean and lie about President Barack Obama and shape his legacy..
It was an article written on the InvestmentWatch website, "Spreading the truth, Empowering the people." If this is where you get your investment advice, I'd suggest trying elsewhere before you go bankrupt.
The article was headlined in big, bold letters, "Obama Rated Worst President of All Time -- Amongst Political Scientists and Scholars."
I'm not going to go into all the ways the article is a lie, but a few things will suffice.
First, if you look at the list they present from a Quinnipiac Poll (actually, they don't even mention that it's Quinnipiac, I found that out by following a link they provide) -- the description they themselves provide says, quite clearly: "Worst president since World War II" Well, gee, so much for "All Time."
Secondly, following that link they provide, it goes to a Wikipedia page. And when addressing that particular poll, it turns out not to be taken from political scientists and scholars at all (shocking, I know...), but rather it says, quite clearly: "registered voters." Well...gee, that's pretty different. And given how much hatred current Republicans have for the president, it's not even remotely surprising that Barack Obama is going to have scorned heaped on him more than any other president, since WWII -- who many of the voters may not even know much about.
And third, on that very Wikipedia page here that InvestmentWatch links to -- it does provide results of polls taken by actual presidential historians, and the chart shows Barack Obama listed as the fifth BEST of "All Time."
That's all I'll get into. I don't have the stomach for spending any more time shredding the despicable article. I also don't have any interest (at least at the moment) is tracking down much about "InvestmentWatch." I suspect it's a shoddy boiler room activity with a good-sounding name. But the point in mentioning all this is not to slam or reveal something this scuzzy from a year ago, but to address the kind of thing that goes out in the ozone and gets picked up by others and repeated and repeated and repeated. "Did you hear what InvestmentWatch said about...??!"
And at a certain point, you just have to say enough and shut-up, you're deserving of a place in Hell.
Yesterday on Twitter, I used my 140-character limit to send a tweet that read, "I like both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. It's their most-partisan supporters I have a problem with..."
That's the polite version of what I wanted to say.
Later in the evening, after reading some of the response on Twitter to the New York Democratic debate, I posted another tweet. It went, "It is not a difficult observation to make that 140 characters does not bring substance to political discourse."
That too is the very polite version.
What I am tempted to add, but have thus far held off because I haven't yet figured out how to get the full point across in 140 characters (and yes, I know that letting that limitation keep you from commenting is almost a sacrilege), is that after reading the unrelenting close-minded vituperation between the most-partisan of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters, I can almost see how the Republican Party ended up with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Not that the candidates of the two parties are even anywhere remotely in the known-universe of same. Oh, good Lord, hardly. I was very impressed by the New York debate between Clinton and Sanders. It was tough, thoughtful and smart. And compared to the infantile sniping and emptiness of the GOP debates, it was Shakespeare. What I mean by my observation is how an anger that people are able to work themselves up to can stop the thinking process and create a deep, ugly divide that spins out of control.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have very real differences. Some large, but most are differences of degrees. And for the most part, they agree with one another. Even on many issues, if not most, where they even have disagreements, like what the minimum wage should be, or how to deal with climate change, they agree on the larger issues, that the minimum wage should be raised significantly and that climate change is very real and needs to be addressed in profound ways.
And yet on Twitter, you see people writing their outraged moral justifications compressed into 140-characters about how much they detest the other candidate, sometimes working themselves into such indignation that they add bizarrely how they will never ever not ever vote for that person. You want to say to each one of them, "Are you seriously out of your mind? And no, I don't mean that figuratively. You do realize that the alternative is singing "Hail to the Chief" to President Donald Trump, or President Ted Cruz, right??" But even if you could say that to each one, it is almost pointless because occasionally someone writes that they would indeed rather vote for Donald Trump to be president than the other Democrat. Which I guess answers my first question, that, yes, they are in fact seriously out of their mind.
I don't even want to imagine what the Twitter Fury is on the Republican side of the aisle. I fear that just thinking about it would make one's head explode.
As the the two Democratic campaigns grow, the Clinton-Sanders mania in the Twitterverse has seemed to feed on itself and gotten more frantic. Rather than being the convincing, impassioned arguments that those tweeting their brief expressions believe, however, the ugly nastiness and bullying is its own worst enemy. It's gotten to the point where there are times I've felt that if this is what a candidate stands for and how a candidate is inspiring their most partisan supporters, I have considered voting for the other candidate.
To be sure, these Most-Partisan who have worked themselves up into such a fever sit on both sides of the Democratic divide, supporting both Mr. Sanders and Ms. Clinton. My completely unscientific observation is that the most angry and bullying and divisive are supporters of Sen. Sanders. If that's true -- which it may not be, but to me, it appears so -- I suspect the reason is because the Sanders campaign is more one of missionary zeal, and that is more likely to attract the True Believers. And with True Believers, undying faith takes over and reflective consideration takes a backseat. It's part of the True Believe Code. In addition, there's likely another factor that drives this imbalance: as the convention draws near with the window of opportunity closing, and Ms. Clinton's delegate count remains ahead, that makes the most partisan of those who are currently behind more pressed for time and more frantic in their actions. That said, there are most definitely True Believers on the Clinton side, as well, it's just that that doesn't appear to be as much the foundation of the campaign. And besides, at present they have the comforting luxury of being ahead in both popular votes and delegates. If that lead changes, so too I'm sure will the level of the tone.
It's critically important to note that I really am only referring to the "most partisan." When you get on the fringes of anything, you enter the world of the ardently-righteous, where devout certainty is the necessary anchor that keeps one from falling off the edge into the abyss. Most supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are, I'm sure, far more even-keeled and quietly thoughtful, even if still passionate. I feel comfortable in presuming that because otherwise, if they weren't, they'd be out there on that fringe, with their eyes unable to point in the same direction.
God love the passionate, by the way. You just hope that when they run around pontificating that they aren't holding scissors.
There are other factors at play, of course. When you're dealing with a box in which to express yourself that only permits the equivalence of one long sentence, your words can't help be ultimately more empty than if you were allowed to actually express your thoughts fully. Brevity might be the soul of wit, but not everything is meant to be witty. And also, there's the critical factor of Having a Platform, where there is the sense that You are Talking to The World and You Therefore are Very, Very Important. So, if you are a most-passionate devotee to begin with, adding a holier-than-thou grandiosity to the mix can only end dervishly.
This sense of self-importance manifests itself most blatantly in the User Names that fly by on one's monitor. "Californians for Hillary." "Americans United for Bernie." The reality, of course, is that they are not that at all, but rather just the one person expressing that series of 140-character thoughts.
And the larger reality is that on Twitter you're not talking to The World. With the speed that tweets zip by, there's a good chance that most people are talking to about eight people. No matter how many "followers" you think you may have.
This is not to say that Twitter is without value. That's not even close to the truth. It may be soul crushing at times, but hey, it's Twitter, that'll pass in a couple seconds.
It is also not to say that the Democratic Party is divided. The most partisan are divided, as the most partisan of anything always are.
It's just to say to some people -- get a grip.
There! And I was able to say that all in less than 140 characters...
Readers here may likely remember that I've written half a dozen or so articles about a very talented, up-and-coming triple threat writer-director-actress Jessie Keinweiller who makes off-beat, very quirky, sometimes edgy, charming black comedy short films and webseries. (I suspect that's a decidedly uncommon category.) Her first series of note was Dude, Where's Your Chutzpah, which I wrote about here, and she's built from there.
(I got to know her because her wonderful grandfather, Lou, is a very long-time friend of my dad's.)
I mention all this because she was just nominated for a Webby Award, now in its 20th year, for her webseries, The Skinny, as Best Drama: Long Form or Series, in Online Video or Film. Hey, like I say, we tries not to steers ya wrong. And like her other work, this is...well, off-beat, very quirky, edgy, charming and a very black comedy, at times raunchy, but in many ways incredibly admirable. That's because it's semi-autobiography, and she spares no expense showing her warts and making herself unlikable at times, but very vulnerable and believable.
She plays a character named Jessie, who is trying to start up a career with online videos, while struggling with bulimia and doing her best to get some control on her life. The 12-minute or so episodes are often very funny, but it's just as often dark. And though it is definitely not for everyone, it's a notable series for its openness, with no winks at the audience that hey, everything's okay. But you nonetheless always feel a respectable sense of hope. (Of course, one of the things that helps is that, even though it never says All is Well, the fact that it's semi-autobiographical means you understand that the real person behind it all has moved well-enough on to write-direct and star in this thing...)
For such a low-key production, there are some good credentials behind it all. One of the executive producers is Jill Soloway, the creator of the series Transparent. And the regular cast includes actors Illeana Douglas and Paul Dooley as Jessie's parents.
It will nonetheless be an uphill battle for the show to win in this category. One of the shows that The Skinny is competing against is an NBC production based on Heroes Reborn. And another is an adaptation of Star Trek. But to be among the five is high cotton. If you do want to vote, just go to the Webby site here, register and click. Voting goes for about another 10 days.
Here's the first episode. As I said, it's definitely not for everyone. But hat's off to Jessie not only being able to pull off something this raw, dark, charming and funny, but getting a Webby nomination in the process.
It’s not remotely as vibrant as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu, but the other day I came across a webservice called, TubiTV which streams movies online – for free.
The thing is, it’s not just random discount-barrel films, but a great many gems including Heaven Can Wait, Amistad, La Cage aux Folles, Lilies of the Field, Some Like It Hot, Reds, and even some films not yet on Netflix, like Woody Allen’s Small Time Crooks and his Shadow and Fog. (It lists many others, but I double-checked a few, and Netflix now has them.). Plus there are foreign films, music concerts, TV series (including British TV shows), comedy concerts, a Latest Additions section, and a huge amount more.
I checked out a few and saw that ads run at the beginning of each film, though only just a couple, and there are periodic commercial breaks throughout. (Hey, the site is free, and that's how they pay the bills.) Some movies appear to rotate out of the collection, since there is a category, Leaving Soon, which included The Falcon and the Snowman, Sweet Smell of Success, and the wonderful, original British version of Death at a Funeral.
(I loved Death at a Funeral, though it’s not for everyone. It’s a dark comedy, quirky, and done in the frenetic French farce style, building its pace as the lunacy grows. But I found it hilarious. It stars Mathew Macfadyen and Rupert Graves, directed by Frank Oz. If you do like this sort of film, I suggest checking it out before it does “leave” the site. You can find it directly here. As for the American remake, I didn't see it, so you're on your own with that one.)
I also noticed that it has an absolutely wonderful, charming but moving little film from 10 years ago that’s close to unknown, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. I thought that Julianne Moore's masterful performance deserved an easy Oscar nomination but the problem was that…well, pretty much no one ever saw it. Woody Harrelson plays her well-meaning but much-too troubled husband. It’s a true story, based on a memoir written by a daughter, one of 10 children, about how their mother in the 1950s had an uncanny ability to stay relentlessly upbeat against pounding challenges and keep the family financially afloat by, of all things, winning write-in contests. (The full name of the book’s title is, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less. You can find it here.) The film has one line which is so impressive that for the only time in all my years watching movies at the Writers Guild, the audience literally gasped in appreciation. It also has the single greatest last sequence of a “true story” movie I have ever seen. And I’ve never told anyone – nor will I here – what it was, so as not to ruin the impact. Anyway, I heartily recommend the movie (which has a 7.3 rating out of 10 on iMDB, and the book has 4-1/2 stars on Amazon), and hey – it’s free! And you can watch it directly here.
The tubiTV site is well-designed, and has convenient categories and a Search feature. It’s not necessary to register, though for some films (it seems like the ones that are R-rated), you do have to log in.
As you’ve probably figured out, I think it’s really worth at least checking out. Again, you can find the website here.
A preview has just been released for the seventh season of Jerry Seinfeld's web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. If you have never seen it, the show is basically almost-exactly what the title says -- Seinfeld is loaned high-end cars, goes to pick up his comedian guests, and they drive to a coffee shop, where they talk over their beverage.
He looks to have some good guests this season, including Steve Martin, Will Ferrell and Garry Shandling. But stick around to the very end when you'll get just the briefest taste of who his guest will be in just over a week, on December 30.
By the way, though I can't embed the video here, you might enjoy clicking here to see an episode from this past year. It's not the funniest they've had, but one of the noteworthy. It only took six seasons, but his guest is Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The affection they have for one another comes through.
The Internet is bursting at the seams with news sites, some with first-hand content but most are consolidators, gathering information from news sources elsewhere. No doubt you have your favorites that you go to every day to catch up on what's happening in the world. The last thing you likely need is another one.
Here's another one.
It's called the Miniver Press Post. It's a bit different from most others, and therein lies why it's worth checking out. It's not overflowing with articles pushing their way for your attention with sensory overload. There are seven topics (from World to Politics to Business, as well as Leisure), along with an Editor's Pick section. And then within each topic a column of articles. All high end, all thoughtful. The sources are well-marked and come from such places as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, the British Library, the NY Times Review of Books, and so on. It's well-laid out, and low-key with brief excerpts
Nice, too, is that you can create your own "paper," but signing in and choosing your particular interests. At the moment there is nothing about the Chicago Cubs, but I'm sure that's because the publication is new, and it's probably just an oversight...
Literature tends to be a significant focus, but that's not surprising since the news site is an off-shot of Miniver Press, a small but impressive publisher of high-quality books (which you can find here). If you can't read their description above, they say about themselves that "Miniver Press is a publisher of lively and informative ebooks and print books. Our top titles include books on the Beatles, WWII aviation, the Negro Leagues, heavy metal, KISS, and corporate governance."
Long-time readers of these pages may be interested -- and not shocked -- to learn that the guiding force behind Miniver Press is the oft-mentioned and highly-admired Nell Minow, who I wrote at length about here -- and about a dozen other places. I haven't spoken to Nell yet about why she started up the Miniver Press Post, but I'm glad she did. It's definitely worth checking out. Even though it's covers general news, the Miniver Press Post will not replace your favorite general news sites. But it's not supposed to. It's a compendium of highly-informative articles that augment the general news you read elsewhere.
You can find the site here. At the moment, clicking on the link is the best way to fly because the URL address is convoluted, just a few steps because hieroglyphics. Hopefully an easy-to-remember alias-address will eventually be set up that will then forward readers to the site. But for now, at least, just click
I came across this Tweet the other day from BorisVvZ, @Boris, and just love it.
You may have to click on a "Play" arrow icon in the middle of the graphic.
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, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild of America. 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.