The other day, I posted here the utterly endearing ending of the movie All of Me with Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin joyously dancing
When my friend Myles Berkowitz followed that up by sending me a clip from the movie Pennies from Heaven, I was reminded how many things Steve Martin danced in -- and all the more, how well he did so. Rare for any actor, but incredibly uncommon for a comedian. I suspect that when most people think of Steve Martin and dancing, it's likely his "Happy Feet" bit from his old stand-up act. But all this isn't that. This is serious (even if at times comic...) dancing.
Pennies From Heaven stands out on several levels. Myles noted how incredibly gutsy Steve Martin was for what is basically going up against Fred Astaire. (And that's not meant metaphorically, but literally -- watch the video, you'll see). And it stands out, too, for absolutely terrific dancing. But further, as I recall, the whole movie was gutsy for him since the character is such an awful guy.
Mainly, though, this with Bernadette Peters is actually, really good dancing.
But it isn't just those two dances. Because not only is there a third, but it's probably the most famous of his dances. (And again, how odd to think of Steve Martin for his dancing.) There's a good chance most of you have seen it – with Gilda Radner on Saturday Night Live, and is all the more impressive for it being live.
But if you haven't seen it, we add it below to his resume. And it's so worth watching again.
Continuing our policy of embedding the best of the campaign videos against Trump and this GOP enablers, here's the latest gem from the Lincoln Project. It's about Trump's tweet suggesting that perhaps the general election be delayed.
The reality is that Trump can’t delay the election, and he’s already backed off his “delay” tweet after even Republicans in Congress were so appalled that they pushed back. (And boy, how horrific does a Trump tweet have to be that even Republicans in Congress get appalled enough by it to push back?!!) But the ad is still great because it reminds people of what Trump suggested he wanted, even if he can’t do it. It helps paint Trump for who he is and does so in wonderful historic terms. The only thing I wished is they’d included “We voted during the Spanish Flu pandemic.” But still, it was terrific.
The Last Words
As you may be aware, two days before he passed away, Rep. John Lewis wrote an op-ed for the New York Times under the condition that it be held and not printed until the day of his funeral.
If you didn't get a chance to read it, Lawrence O'Donnell's show The Last Word did something wonderful. They had someone read the op-ed -- indeed, Mr. Lewis's last words -- and producers edited some moving footage to it. But all the better, who did they get to read the piece? They couldn't have gone much higher. Morgan Freeman.
If you haven't seen the video, we have it below.
I suspect that with the long timeout of no Trump COVID press conference after his bleach debacle, his staff felt it was safe to finally start again. Hey, what could he do worse than THAT??!!
"Okay, who's next? You, with the AP."
"Sir, when you endorsed the woman pushing Demon Sperm and Alien DNA..."
"That's a nasty question. Next person."
"Yes, I'd like to follow-up on what she was asking. When you said the woman pushing Alien DNA and Demon Sperm was a wonderful doctor, what was the standard of medical care you were using for..."
"Next. No questions about Alien DNA and Demon Sperm. You, in the second row.."
"Yes, sir, I want to know if you also believe in dreamworld pregnancies, just like the women you endorsed who believes in Alien DNA and Demon Sperm?"
"I said no questions about Alien DNA and Demon...well, you know."
"It wasn't a question about Alien DNA and Demon Sperm, it was a question about dreamworld pregnancies. I only mentioned Alien DNA and Demon Sperm to help identify who.."
"You're a very, very nasty person. Is there someone here from OAN? Anyone? Ah, good, yes, what's you're question? And you're very beautiful."
"Thank you, your Grace. By the way, I just want to say upfront that we at OAN fully believe in Demon Sperm and Alien DNA, and have for a long time, so you can rest assured we have no questions about it,"
"Good people. Real news."
"My question, sir, is do you know what medical school Stella Immanuel got her degree from?"
"Who is that?"
"The doctor you were praising, the one you said was so smart and wonderful."
"I thought that was Ronny Jackson.
"No, I'm referring to the doctor who believes in Alien DNA and Demon Sper..."
"Oh. Yes. Many people say she went to a very fine medical school. You can check with them. Anyone else?"
"Sir, I can help. Our records show that Stella Immanuel got her medical degree from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. My question is -- "
"One of the top medicals schools in Nigeria. Many people say even in the world, I hear. I don't know, but it's what I hear."
My question is -- isn't Nigeria one of the 'sh*thole countries' you once talked about?"
"No, I believe you actually said that, but I have a follow-up. Do you know whether or not she's married to a Nigerian Prince?"
"You're a very nasty person."
"But I thought that what you were asking for. It wasn't about Alien DNA and Demon Sperm and dreamworld pregnancies."
"Very nasty. Does anyone here have a question that isn't about this wonderful, very fine doctor, or about Alien DN...and all that? You, in the back."
"Yes, I have a totally separate question."
"Good. Go ahead."
"I want to know about bleach."
Still Reunited Apart
There are still a couple of Josh Gad's Still Reunited Apart programs left, and today we have him getting back together the cast and filmmakers of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
The show starts with Matthew Broderick as his only guest, but then adds one at a time, as the surprises pop in. There aren't too many behind-the-scene stories passed along, but more than most of the shows is a lot of the cast recreating scenes from the original film.
There's also a nice tribute to the late writer-director John Hughes. And one word of warning -- stick around to the very end.
Veep: the Live Version
On Tuesday, a photograph surfaced of notes Joe Biden was holding for his speech, and it showed a few bullet points about Kamala Harris. This got pundits analyzing the notes for a hint on her Vice Presidential chances, especially since the points weren't especially strong or glowing, though in fairness all were positive.
Two things: first, you can't make a case for what Joe Biden is thinking based on small notes. After all, they're, well...just notes, bullet points, quick reminders to him of larger things to talk about. And second, the analysis missed the far-larger point. And that is -- Kamala Harris was the only potential VP candidate Joe Biden had notes about!
By the way, I'm not suggesting that that's evidence of who Biden is going to select. Just that Kamala Harris being the only potential VP candidates Joe Biden had notes to talk about is the only thing that's substantive about the notes.
I do happen to think that Sen. Harris is the likely choice, but I could make a case for any of the names who have been mentioned. Incidentally, the newest person who has been added to the mythical Short List is Rep. Karen Bass. I mention this because she's my congresswoman. I've been to several of her town halls, and participated in her "phone town halls," and she's very bright and talented. My sense is that she'd be a good VP or even great in the cabinet, though if she became president, while I think she'd be good, she's more "measured" than I most care for in a president.
But I'd be fine with her as the VP nominee. Indeed, I'd be fine with any of the people who have been suspected as being on the Short List. I think they all have impressive strengths...and each some downsides. But then, I think the same of Joe Biden. And most every politician. And human.
There point here, though, is not which person on the Short List would be the best, especially considering that all the candidates are very talented. The point is...it doesn't matter who Joe Biden picks. And it doesn't "not matter" because of who Joe Biden is or because of who these candidates are. It's because historically when people vote in a presidential election -- they vote for the person leading the ticket. Only. The VP candidate generally makes almost no difference at all, if not no difference. In fact, the only time I've read where the VP candidate made a difference was Sarah Palin. And that wasn't because of what she added to the ticket, but because her utter incompetence and cluelessness scared people and drove them away from voting for John McCain.
It is presumed that a vice presidential candidate might possibly help the ticket win the state where that person is from. And that may be the case. May. But at best, that may be the only benefit. May. Because mainly, when people vote for president, they vote for the president.
And I think that's even more pronounced this year, no matter how talented the candidates are. No matter if the nominee is a women. And no matter if the nominee is most likely the first black woman on a national ticket. I even think that if Biden even selected a white male (he won't), no matter show surprised and outraged many people would be, they would still vote for Joe Biden, even if angrily. The driving point in this election is -- do you want Trump re-elected or not?
During the Democratic primaries, we all heard countless people say, "I don't care who the party's nominee is. If it is a fire hydrant, I would crawl on glass to vote for it." Even during the pandemic, without knowing the VP nominee, people have reiterated that they would risk their life to stand in line for hours to vote for Joe Biden to ensure that Trump doesn't get re-elected. I can't even begin to imagine that whoever is selected as the VP nominee would cause people to say, "Ohhh, okay, that's different, now I'm not voting for Biden."
If people were willing to vote for the Democratic nominee if it was a fire hydrant, they will be absolutely happy for the Biden ticket if the Vice Presidential candidate is a human, let alone a talented woman.
I do think the VP selection for Biden makes a slight difference for Republicans willing to leave the party and vote for Biden. But even there, if the choice was so problematic for them, I don't think most would still vote for Trump, they'd probably just not vote for president. But that person would have to be seriously an issue for them. And none of the people on the Short List are even remotely that problematic. Susan Rice might bother some Republicans for her ties to President Obama -- but Barack Obama probably looks a whole lot better to them now than when they hated him. And Trump is still the alternative to Biden. And Stacey Abrams' lack of experience might be an issue for some Republicans considering voting for a Democrat -- but she's smart and eloquent. And the alternative to Biden is still Trump.
So, while the press likes to make a horse race of the selection and rate people and give odds, not only do they actually have no idea, but it also doesn't matter. It doesn't matter who they guess because all the names are good. It doesn't matter who they guess because they don't know. It doesn't matter who they guess because whoever gets picked will have little to no impact on whether people vote for Joe Biden. And mostly, it doesn't matter who they guess because if you just wait a few days, Joe Biden will tell us next week who he has, in fact, chosen.
I'm very curious who Joe Biden will pick. I think all on the Short List are good. I think some are better. But what I think most of all is --
Who Joe Biden picks as his vice presidential running mate doesn't matter. Because in the end it comes down to only one question for the American voting public: do you want Trump to be president of the United States for four years or Joe Biden?
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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