Well, it's that time o' year. I was going to start our annual Holiday Music Fest tomorrow, when he hit December, so I figured I'd end November with this terrific comedy interview from this week on The Tonight Show. But as I was getting it ready, I realized that the center of it is a holiday song. So, though a bit offbeat for the Fest, it fits -- and let's start things off this way. 'Tis the season, after all.
If you watch Saturday Night Live, you know James Austin Johnson's eerie and hilarious impersonation of Trump -- not just from the voice, but the syntax of changes topics in mid-sentence and rambling on about meaningless subjects.
He was a guest on The Tonight Show this week and had an interesting conversation, talking among other things about his process and going through impersonations of Owen Wilson, Nicholas Cage, Joe Biden and Trump. But it's about six minutes into the interview when he gets around to doing his uncanny impersonation of Bob Dylan singing "Jingle Bells" in the different stages of his career that blows everyone away. I sent this to a friend who's a borderline-obsessive Dylan fan, and he was overwhelmed, saying that Johnson got them all perfect.
I saw a posting yesterday on social media from a talk-show host in Arizona who made a claim about Republican stupidity in the state that was so weird I had to check it out. It concerns Cochise County refusing to certify their votes. And it turns out he was 100% correct.
When someone takes an action that causes a problem for themselves because of what they knowingly did, they have no one to blame but themselves. But what the board of supervisors did in Cochise County takes that concept to such high levels, their picture should be in the dictionary under "Forced Error." Their only saving grace is that it is SO stupid that it also falls into the "Dear Lord, Please Save Us from Ourselves" category and so there likely won't be any ramifications from their lunatic action.
What's hilarious about Cochise County not certifying its votes -- which must be done by next Monday -- is that if the state didn't sue to get the votes certified (which they will do, of course), then after next Monday the state would canvass all the certified votes and by law not count Cochise County…which is heavily Republican. (In fact, Kari Lake won it!) That would not only likely flip some state races to Democratic, but it would probably also flip the Arizona 6 congressional race (which is very close) to Democratic.
This won't happen, because the state will sue (and may have already), but never mind that certification is required by law and not doing so is illegal -- the mere fact that Cochise County isn't certifying its votes shows the sheer "intentionally shooting oneself in the foot" stupidity of it.
The larger point in all this is that while the extreme right of the Republican Party is just as virulent about all their fascist angst, that seems to have blinded them to the reality that it's losing them elections. And not just that reality, but they keep compounding those problems on themselves, which will only create a greater wedge between their extreme and the rest of the country.
What isn't widely known is that Mike Nesmith of The Monkees was an accomplished songwriter before becoming part of the TV group. And probably the best-known he wrote was "Different Drum."
This video is of Nesmith and fellow Monkee Micky Dolenz in concert singing the song, with Dolenz. It comes from Sept. 15, 2021, not long before Nesmith passed away in December, so it's clear that he's not in the best shape here, though Dolenz is enthusiastic and sings the lead. Dolenz introduces it with a wonderful story about how Nesmith wrote the song before The Monkees, but it hadn't sold yet and offered it to the producers -- and explains why they didn't end up singing it.
(He's a guest on an episode of the Naked Lunch podcast I've been posting here, and tells the story in even greater and funnier and more loving detail. I'll be posting it in the coming weeks, though have a bunch of other episodes before it.)
It's hard not to prefer the glorious version by Linda Ronstadt, which just soars -- and which started a great career. But the driving rendition here is terrific, as well. And the studio version of the song that Dolenz recorded for his Dolenz Sings Nesmith album is longer and even better, I think, than the live performance here on stage.
Okay, just for the sake of completeness and comparison, here is that studio recording I mentioned above. It's got a different, better arrangement. I still prefer Linda Ronstadt's rich, ethereal version, but this is very good, and a very valid, strong "driving" interpretation. Hers comes across perhaps more about personal independence, and this seems a bit more about not being ready to put down roots anywhere.
It gets worse for Trump in a way even HE would hate. After saying how much he liked Nick Fuentes praising him, Fuentes himself now says that Kanye West bringing him to dinner was all a set-up planned by white supremacist Milo Yiannopoulous -- who adds it was to make Trump's life "miserable."
Here's the article from NBC News about it.
This is the new that was released yesterday from the Warnock for Senate campaign. And it’s brilliant. I don’t want to give away why.
It runs about two minutes. You may have seen excerpts on the news, but this is the whole thing. I'll just note that one commentator said that the ad is so smart not only for what it does, but also because this is the second campaign of the same race, and Georgians are probably getting sick of the same old political ads they've seen endlessly, so this by comparison is a huge breath of fresh air.
This is a clip from the “Morning Joe” show on MSNBC where they ran the whole thing. The ad itself starts at the :50 mark –
The annoying problem that the NRA has these days is that when they send out their "thoughts and prayers for the families of victims of the mass shooting," if they're not fast enough with their statement, it's impossible to tell which mass shooting they're referring to. I was going to write about this Tucker Carlson broadcast last week, but the holiday and weekend got in the way. And not surprisingly, there was two more mass shootings that followed
The good news for Carlson is that at least he has some input in the whole matter. And being Tucker Carlson, he handled the Club Q mass murder in Denver with all the panache he can. And as it happens, he invited a guest on his show last Tuesday who said that shootings like that at Club Q are going to keep happening "until we end this evil agenda" of gender-affirming care.
I look forward to Carlson's attempt to explain away the mass shooting at Walmart in Virginia the very next day. (And then days later, another mass shooting in Atlanta.)
What will his guests say about these? That mass shootings will continue "until we end this evil agenda of discount shopping..."??
Or until we end the "evil agenda" of going to school? Or the evil agenda of going to church or temple? Or being on a bus with teammates? Or...??? Or...???
By the way, what will also ensure that shootings like the one at Club Q keep happening is having demagogues like Tucker Carlson continue to rile up people with guns who watch his show with guests on spewing hate about "evil agendas."
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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