Today's Piano Puzzler
From the archives, this week's contestant is Andy Zerman from New York, NY. I was pleased, and a bit surprised that I got the composer whose style the song is written in. But I was stumped -- utterly stumped by the hidden song. No clue. Oddly, I thought it might be one of those 'trick songs' that pianist Bruce Adolphe sometimes does, where the song isn't a popular song, but something from the classical world. It wasn't that, but it turns out I had a good reason to think that. (I shall say no more.) Even when he slowed down the song and highlighted it, I didn't know. Only when I started at the main theme and focused on that did I guess it. That one theme, when you know what to listen for, is extremely clear. But the rest is very well hidden. Nice piece, though...
With the Women's World Cup closing in on its finals, and the U.S. women just having a significant upset victory of host-country France, this seemed an appropriate time to post this. Because of a rain delay during a baseball game the other day, ESPN re-ran a documentary made six years ago about the 1999 women’s soccer team that won the World Cup Championship. It was absolutely wonderful – really well-done and unique. What made it so special is that one of the players -- Julie Foudy -- had a video camera and filmed all the time behind-the-scenes, and they used all that. Plus, they got many of the players together to site around on the Rose Bowl field to talk about it with great insight, humor and affection, and that may have been the best part.
This comes from the ESPN documentary series, Nine on IX," nine documentaries named after.Title IX, the law that helped provide federal funding for, among other things, women's sports in schools.
The guest contestant for the 'Not My Job' segment of this week's NPR quiz show, Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me! is actress Olivia Wilde. She is very lively and upbeat, as host Peter Sagal talk with her about her new film, Booksmart, for which she made her feature film directing debut
Another Day in Hell with Trump
"Fake news...You don't have that problem here." That's what Trump quipped to Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday.
Well, no, Putin doesn't have that problem. That's because if Putin doesn't like a journalist, he just has them killed. Not theoretically or hyperbolically, but literally killed. Dead. There have been 26 journalists who have disappeared without a trace during Putin's time in office.
What else did Trump "joke" to the brutal Putin about journalists?
"Get rid of them," he quipped.
As it happens, no, that isn't a joke. But an accurate description of what Putin does. As Trump ha-ha-ha--ha laughed about it.
And here's an addendum to make this SO much more Trumpian -- yesterday, the day Trump was "joking" about getting rid of journalists -- was the anniversary of when five journalists were killed at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, the deadliest mass-murder of journalists in the United States.
And to add to all this, Trump's "jokes" about Russia not having problems with journalists and just getting rid of them comes days before he sits down to meet with Mohammad bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who had an American resident journalist kidnapped, tortured, killed and dismembered.
And Trump will be honoring this cruel, murderous despot with the great respect of an official meeting. On the heels of joking with the cruel, murderous despot of Russia about getting rid of journalists.
Perhaps they're all going over how-to tips.
And all in the midst of Trump actually snarking with Putin who smirks back (most likely thinking, "What an idiot dupe this Russian asset is") about not meddling during the upcoming U.S. elections. For the record, Russia didn't "meddle" with the U.S. elections, it attacked the United States.
The only good thing about Trump's election "quips" with Putin is that it provided a 10-second clip that Democrats should and likely will be playing over and over and over during the coming election.
Here's a preview --
A few weeks back, I wrote a rave review about a great documentary, Maiden, about the first-ever, all-female crew for the Whitbread, a 32,000-mile around-the-world sailing race in 1989, which you can read here. As I wrote, in brief, the documentary surprisingly was extremely exciting for a film about sailing, and equally-surprisingly was often deeply emotional.
The Los Angeles Times main film critic Kenneth Turan reviewed the film on Wednesday. How big a glowing rave is it? Let's just say -- I tries nots to steer you wrong. He begins this way: "Maiden tells a mighty tale about the majesty of the human spirit and the power of women, and it’s all true." And it goes from there.
Here are two, extended passages. The first --
No matter what your expectations, this heartening doc about disregarding skeptics and moving ahead has the ways and means to take you by surprise, thrill you and make you cry.
And the review ends with this --
As if more complications were needed, Edwards, 26 when the race began, confesses to self-destructive insecurities, doubts and fears that led to conflicts with crew members, including a last-minute confrontation that made her so angry with one woman “I wanted to rip her throat out.”
You can read the full review here.
I tries nots to steer you wrong.
Here's a brief, 4-minute interview with Tracy Edwards, the skipper who was the driving force putting together the team, and Alex Holmes who directed the film -- which he got the idea to make after attending a speech by Edwards at his young daughter's school.
By the way, one of the things I referenced in my original article was that the documentary leaps out because they had SO much footage aboard the boat -- along with great archival footage of Tracy Edwards' life before she got into sailing. In an L.A. Times article by Susan King that I read, it explained more in detail how this came about.
Director Holmes said that he initially envisioned the project as a narrative film, because it never occurred to him that there would be footage of the race. It was only after Tracy Edwards told him that they actually did have cameras on board that he realized it might be possible to make as a documentary.
Edwards herself fills in the holes how that surprising reality came about --.
"The Royal Naval Sailing Association, which was our race committee, had this quite revolutionary idea to film stuff. It was all very exciting. All the other boats were going 'No, no no — we’re too busy racing; we’re too serious to take cameras on board.'
"We said, 'We’ll take them.' We did feel that we wanted to, whatever happened, capture this for posterity. I think we were probably the only boat with two cameras because Jo, as the cook, said, 'I am not doing the watch, so I’ll do the filming.' And we put a camera on the mast as well. If you heard 'All hands on deck,' the job of the last person out was to hit the panic button and that would start the filming. So that’s how we got footage in extreme conditions."
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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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