This week's contestant is Allison Tolz from Montreal, Canada. And I didn't get either the hidden song or composer style. It's a tough one. I will say, though, that my first guess for composer style was one of the three that the contestant thought it might be -- and the correct answer has a connection to them. So, I made another guess and was right. When composer Bruce Adolph slowed the piece down, I did guess the hidden song right before host Fred Child gave a big clue -- though that doesn't count either. I'll add that, once knowing what the hidden song is, and it's very famous, I still had a very difficult time picking it out. There are a few places where you have a chance of guessing it -- but if you do, and get the composer style, too...hat's off!
I figured we'd do something a little different this week with Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me!, the NPR quiz game show. Usually I just post their 'Not My Job' segment, but since this is the show's 20th anniversary, and they did something a little different, I thought it only appropriate that I do, too. What host Peter Sagal did is invite back all the different panelists they've had over the years, and have them pop up and participate throughout the broadcast. So, rather than just posting the 'Not My Job' segment, here's the entire hour-long 20th anniversary show.
Which is a lot of wait, waiting...
What I find amazing is how a president can be so cold, empty and clueless about his responsibilities, decency and basic human empathy.
So, 14 bombs were sent to prominent Americans including TWO former presidents. And 11 Jews were shot do death in their synagogue. And Trump tweets about not grasping baseball.
Then again, this is the same man who earlier in the day told a crowd -- "This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil, hard to believe, and frankly, something that is unimaginable.," adding that "This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age.”
Which brings us back to the whole "clueless" thing. After all, when Trump said after Charlottesville that there were "many fine people" among the neo-Nazis and didn't condemn them, OF COURSE this was imaginable, if not inevitable.
Just like the 14 bombs.
And to be clear, this is all on the elected officials of the Republican Party who have enabled Trump for the past two years.
A quick side note for a moment, if I may. This to the gun manufacturer corporate-owned NRA fringe terrorist organization -- In case you were having a staff meeting and wondering, yes, it is too early for you to say that if only the people in the synagogue who had been praying and attending a baby-naming ceremony all had guns this wouldn't have happened. Mind you, if perhaps they prayed for strong gun laws and fewer available bullets...that's another matter entirely.
Okay, we return to the "thoughts and prayers" division of the Republican Party.
I wish I could say more about Trump's comments yesterday, but when I saw he decided to get to yet another rally for himself, and was talking about the police, the mean-old news media, and himself, while making up a lie about how the New York Stock Exchange opened the day after the 9/11 attacks (Reality Check: it didn't. It was closed for a full week) and blaming the synagogue -- yes, you read that right -- actually blaming the synagogue for not having armed guards (yes, this sick man did go there...), I turned it off because there is a limit to how much I can take in the name of being informed. After a while, when you fill a glass with information, it's full, and if you keep pouring in more of the same information, it will just overflow and remain just as full as before.
The good news is that we haven't yet had a tweet from Lou Dobbs wondering if the synagogue massacre was a fake shooting or a false flag that maybe the Jews did to themselves...
And again, to repeat: this is not about Trump. We know who he is. We get it. We expect this, and the horrors he brings forth. This is about the elected officials of the Republican Party who enable it.
I was hoping to go to today's Northwestern football game, but the only seats were near the endzone, so I figured it was not to be. But then for a series of unexpected occurrences -- which began with me contacting my good, close, personal friend Morty Schapiro, president of the beloved Northwestern, about a totally different matter (well, okay, perhaps "occasional email buddy" is closer...) -- and with a helpful assist from Bob McQuinn (to round out the tale), it ended up with me getting a ticket on the 37-yard-line. Huzzah.
What's additionally odd about this is that my dad had had season tickets to Northwestern for 51 years -- and I went through the exact same gate to get to the seats. (They were one section over, but still... The same gate!) While that initially struck me as wonderfully bizarre, I realized that it probably made sense. He had his tickets from being on the medical school faculty, so these are probably the same NU section. Odd that it maybe hasn't changed much in all this time, but it seems reasonable.
By the way, not to worry, this isn't all about sports. I'll get to the other part in just a moment. But it would be inappropriate to overlook the game -- since Northwestern was an underdog, and playing #20 Wisconsin. And they won! 31-17. The game wasn't even that close, as NU had a lead 31-10 with about 7-1/2 minutes to go.
The thing is, Northwestern is actually a bizarre team this year. They lost to Akron (who lost to mighty Central Michigan today). And had to come from behind in the last minute to beat both 1-7 Rutgers and 0-6 Nebraska. Yet they're 5-3 and just beat #20 Wisconsin. And lost to #5 Michigan by only three points, when Michigan came from behind in the fourth quarter to score with only four minutes left. I can't figure it out. They are either the best 5-3 team in the country, or the worst 5-3 team in the country. But I'm glad they've won five games. One more win and they're eligible for a bowl game.
Making the day all the more fun is that, as part of the kindly offer of a ticket to the game, I also got invited to the "president's pregame brunch" that's held at a building in the stadium parking lot. A bit more elaborate than a tailgate party. Scrambled eggs, frittatas, lox and bagels, grits, muffins, croissants, biscuits, yogurt parfaits, fruit and lots to drink, including some stronger libations. A wonderful way to start the day. They even had a small contingent from the NU marching band come in and play three school fight songs and the alma mater (the latter written to the music of Brahms Variations on a Theme by Haydn...)
By the way, for those of you who watch Pardon the Interruption, you can know that Michael Wilbon is a bit Northwestern support and has an NU football helmet behind him on the set. In fact, he's also a member of the university's board of trustees. If you've ever wondered, though, if it's mainly for television and a sports show -- it's not. Though that should be eminently clear, it was nailed down for any doubters when he was there at the pregame brunch and even served as host for the few presentations. (After talking with my pal Morty, I briefly greeted Wilbon who had come by to visit with the president. At least that's my assumption, since I don't think I was his first choice.)
For those who like to take notes, that's Morty Schapiro off to Wilbon's right in the dark purple sweater. Next to him is the school's excellent athletic director, Jim Phillips.
When Schapiro gave his speech, it was clear why he's been so successful at the school. He was not only charming, he was extremely funny in his comments and off-handed quips. Afterwards, though, I told him that much as I liked visiting with it, it was his wife I wanted to meet, and he introduced us.
I wasn't being facetious. His wife, Mimi Rothman Schapiro, is a fellow-Writers Guild of America member. She's written half a dozen TV movies, most (if not all, but I'm not sure) for the Lifetime channel. Among them, she wrote A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story, about the Russian Gold Medal figure skater, and the challenges she faced. (You can see her other credits here, including an episode of Diagnosis: Murder.)
What really impressed me though is something that requires a bit of background.
I first came into contact with Morty Schapiro, when I wrote a lengthy piece six years ago about two stories that concerned my dad and his 51 years having season football tickets to Northwestern games. It got to his attention, and offered a wide range of kindnesses to my dad -- like sweatshirts, scarves, caps and other paraphernalia from the school's recent Gator Bowl win, as well as an invitation to see a game in the president's box. That got us in email contact, as I said, and we've lightly stayed in touch over the ensuing six years.
Anyway, when Morty brought me over to his wife and introduced us, her first words were -- "I loved the stories you wrote about your dad!" I was floored. You have to remember: we'd never met, never spoken, never exchanged emails, the articles were written online and not anything I'd sent to her, we'd had zero direct contact -- I think at most maybe she had been aware of my novel, The Wild Roses, and had perhaps bought a copy six years earlier -- but that's it. We were absolutely total strangers. And six years later, he first words to me were an immediate recognition and reference to the article I'd written about my dad. We also talked about Los Angeles where she's from, and us both working at the Universal Studios tour (me as a tour guide, her at the Prop Plaza area). As I told Morty afterwards, "You married well."
The whole event was enjoyable. Tom Brokaw was there, since his granddaughter goes to Northwestern, and it was Family Weekend. (I had a brief chat with him, because I wanted to mention we had a friend in common -- news producer Clare Duffy, who I've written about here often, usually during the Olympics when she covers them, producing Brokaw's pieces. He said, "I don't just know Clare Duffy, we're joined at the hip.") Also there was Mike Adamle, a football great who was the Big Ten MVP and earned All America honors. I mention this because we had had one class together -- not quite a highlight for him, I suspect, since he was a senior and I was a freshman and...well, he was the Big Ten MVP and had no idea who I was. But it was a small class, about 20 people, so I remember him because...well, he was an All American. He went on to play in the NFL for six years, broadcast for NBC, and later co-hosted the show American Gladiators.
And after all that, Northwestern won the game.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a Capsule Review here about the upcoming movie, Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy as a sad, snarky misanthrope, based on a true story, which I liked very much. At the end, though, I noted --
"I'm tempted not to post the trailer because, though it tells the story very well and presents the acting effectively, it gives a poor sense of the film. This makes it look like a tense crime thriller -- in fact, as I said, it's often extremely funny is far more a character study of the woman and later, her relationship with her acquaintance."
I did, however, end up posting the trailer, and, no, it didn't give a good sense of the film. Last night, however, I saw a :30-second TV ad which, though it didn't give a substantive idea of the story, it gives a far-better sense of the film's mix of drama, threat and humor.
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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