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Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Morning grammar nerds! And you know who you are. I must admit I no longer watch “Presidential” press conferences, but I just couldn’t resist Melissa McCarthy’s portrayal of Sean Spicer, and so I occasionally tune-in just to see what nonsense the White House is dishing up today; or, as I like to ask Bob over my first cup of coffee, “Damage report?”

Well bless his heart, yesterday poor Sean was trying to soften Mr T’s words on Twitter yet again, by placing his fingers up and gesturing “air quotes” around the word “wiretapping.” In other words, the middle school bullies really are running the show up on the Hill.

Everyone knows air quotes when they see them: the middle and forefingers of each hand wiggling to resemble quotation marks. Often accompanied by a spoken “quote-unquote,” they’re typically used to mock or disown the phrase they surround. They mean something “is ‘so-called,’” rather than real, the late William Safire, the great scholar of political language, once wrote. They cast “aspersion on the word or phrase that follows,” he said. “A sneer is built in.”             https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/03/14/an-investigation-of-air-quotes-mostly-used-to-discredit-the-other-sides-words-not-your-own-as-per-sean-spicer/?utm_term=.fe463b8a7442

And the funny thing is, even the Urban Dictionary knows that air quotes are so… one whole generation ago. “Used ad nauseam by ‘pretentious’ and ostensibly ‘intelligent’ university students, to advertise their ‘superior morals’ and ‘erudition’.” It’s like the thumbs-up sign, only worse, because air quotes exude privilege. They were (past tense) a preppy way to discredit those plebes beneath them, not in the way Sean tried to use them discrediting his boss’ words.

They belong to the 60s, where they should have stayed, along with Kellyanne’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band jacket. http://mentalfloss.com/article/80939/11-facts-about-sgt-peppers-lonely-hearts-club-band

“Walking back” their boss’ Tweets seems to be a full time job on the Hill. But trying to soften Mr T’s attack on President Obama is yet another distraction. Let’s NOT discuss special prosecutors and Russia’s “involvement” in our election. Instead, like a child, Mr T turns responsibility away from himself, to shift blame on his predecessor for “wiretapping” Trump Tower. Only now, he only meant general surveillance, like spying “microwaves.” Darn, it’s hard not to use real quotes when writing about this stuff!

I wonder if Mr T went to his grandchildrens’ Temple for Purim this past weekend? Maybe that’s why his Twitter fingers went quiet, after all the “wiretapping” and microwave memes the media consumed during the week. Ivanka’s children are 5, 3 and almost 1. These are perfect ages for Purim celebrations; my Nashville grandchildren had a blast dressing up like super heroes and attending a carnival at their Temple.

Purim is a feminist’s delight because it’s about a Jewish woman who kills an enemy of the Jewish people. Esther is one of many Persian queens, but she, like Moses, was adopted and was actually Jewish. Think about this for a second. Does Christianity have a holiday dedicated to a woman? As a child, I remember having lots of saints days named after women, celebrating martyrdom…not exactly the same. Esther had balls, she had chutzpah! We had the Annunciation, i.e. a fourteen year old girl is visited by an angel and told she will have a Virgin Birth…

Coming out of years spent celebrating Mass in Latin, I was happy to enter a Temple and make lots of noise at Purim. In fact, Purim was so much fun – mohn cookies shaped like Haman hats, dressing up like Halloween or Carnevale, and laughing and playing in the Temple – I’m pretty sure that it’s what sold me on Judaism.

But the irony of my grandchildren celebrating in a building that had to be evacuated because of bomb threats since this last election is not lost on me. The paradox of a holiday marking Jewish survival during the week another attempt at a Muslim travel ban was enacted is surreal. Putting air quotes around the words of our Commander in Chief is yet another small cut in the slicing up of our democracy.

Our President is being sarcastic; he doesn’t really mean what he says; that was just locker room banter; it’s “alternative facts.”

I believe we deserve a President who doesn’t need minions to explain his rhetorical Tweeting voice, and a Presidential Press Briefing, without air quotes. The American people don’t need to watch the “built-in sneer” from an Oval Office devoid of compassion. In fact, Andrea Mitchell is a modern day Esther, insisting on answers at press “briefings,” refusing to be escorted from a room. Maybe a pair of parentheses would help us clarify Mr T’s meaning, his intent. Instead of charging President Obama with a felony, he would be revealed in all his paranoia.

(sometimes, alone at Trump Tower, I felt like I was being watched). My tower study (an aviary that functions as my refuge), was warm and inviting this (freezing cold) morning. Here is the view of the (snowy Blue Ridge) mountains. Only hawks watch me write. IMG_0183

 

 

 

 

 

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The Bride's Prom

The Bride’s Prom

It’s that time of year again. Limos full of teens will be dashing around town, hair and nail salons will be booked far in advance. Some girls will go in a posse, some will ask a boy to go with them, some will wait to be asked. Oh, the humanity; it’s Prom time!

A friend of ours sent his youngest off with a hail and farewell. It was touch and go for awhile, should she get highlights? Would anybody actually show up? Because we all know it’s not the Prom itself that’s the draw, it’s the After-Prom Party.

And the party for the White House Correspondents Association dinner is this weekend. Lovingly called the Nerd Prom, it’s a place where the POTUS can get gently roasted, and the press, legislators, big business and Hollywood types get to bask in the glow of some jolly good fun at their own expense. I would love to be a fly on the wall this week in DC. And I love that for just the second time in history, a woman comedian, Cecily Strong, will host the dinner.

The daughter of a journalist herself, she made her name on SNL with this sketch character, “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party,” and she is an improv veteran which should stand her in good stead. Maybe she will read this Salon article and hit up some of the big money to donate to the scholarship programs for budding journalists. Although being in journalism today can be tricky, and even deadly.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/04/white-house-correspondents-dinner-117287.html#.VTpTRaa4k1g

Some of you may know that Great Grandma Ada saved my Prom picture with her son. Our group was the lunch table of future engineers, doctors, lawyers, brokers and yes journalists, aka nerds. We had no idea what the 60s would bring to each of us. I married in Boston, Bob went to Woodstock. But in 1966, we drove a convertible to the Jersey Shore for the night, never knowing we’d later – much later – marry and live in Rumson. Then send our daughter off to her Prom. Sometimes life really is stranger than fiction.

Our Prom 1966

Our Prom 1966

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Did you know that there’s actually a certain number of days after a tragic event when it becomes socially acceptable to make a joke about it? I know, I didn’t either, but statisticians study these things, what else have they got to do? It seems that Lincoln actually joked about the Civil War while it was still going on, which if you ask me is gauche. We’ve all heard of gallows humor, but that takes it to a new level. The number is 19; 19 days after the event. We all wondered how Jay Leno and Dave Letterman would be able to do their stand-up routine after 9/11. Good comedians find a way.

One of my favorite authors, a gal I sat across from at some country club luncheon soon after moving to VA while she was touring her book around, has started interviewing writers. Kelly Corrigan has begun a new series for Medium called “Foreword” with a guy who is also a stand-up comedian and wrote for the Office, the irrepressible BJ Novak! In fact, that’s how I found out about the discreet number of days it takes for us to laugh, and begin healing just when we thought the laughter died.

It’s not as if the interview doesn’t broach serious questions. Among them: How can an artist be funny about painful subjects? The mood, however, is refreshingly light and lively, and the drinking and profanity help keep it from getting too stuffy. Novak also shows his exquisite comic timing throughout. (He is, after all, a stand-up comedian who was a member of the Harvard Lampoon.) Rather than toss Novak a series of boilerplate questions, Corrigan asks, for instance, “If your mother wrote a book about you, what would it be called?” Novak’s reply: “His Ambition Makes Me Anxious, But I’m So Proud.”
http://www.sfgate.com/books/article/Foreword-a-fresh-new-digital-series-for-6003601.php?cmpid=fb-desktop

Novak talks about the “…shock of recognition and catharsis” when he tries to explain why the dark side of humor can be so funny. We think of Seinfeld and Louis CK telling it like it is, saying the things we are all thinking but too afraid to say out loud. I can’t wait for Kelly’s next interview with two other exceptional writers – NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof and California author Anne Lamott.

Meanwhile today a cow charged my car on my way to Starbucks. It didn’t seem funny at the time, in fact I was on the phone with a 911 operator for 10 minutes because it was altogether likely somebody would plow into the cow; so I turned around and led the cow up our twisty-turny mountain road. “What does it look like?” “Brown with a white face.” “Does it have a tag in its ear?” “Ummmm, no?” The funny thing is, this is the second time I’ve found a lone cow on the loose!
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Switching from comedy to music, just in case you missed the Rocker’s turn on The Late Show with David Letterman, here it is! He hung out with Jeff Goldblum in the green room, and Letterman said “That was fantastic!” Nicole Atkins “War Torn” was anthemic; she did an outstanding job singing her heart out and the drummer, Chris, later thanked me for letting them practice in my garage all those years ago during high school. You’re welcome boys!! My epitaph will read, “Here lies a woman who let a metal band practice in her garage.”

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We’re back in the Blue Ridge, and the weather is perfect. Nights are in the 50s and it may hit 80 if we’re lucky during the day. I’ve been busy watering my withered plants and sending out a fed ex to my mid-summer dreamy birthday boy.

The Rocker is one year older and so much sweeter. photo 2He’s been working on the music score for a horror film. It’s not exactly my genre, I’m easily scared by zombies so why seek them out in the theatre? Of course, I think he will write the next big song. But did you know that “Blurred Lines” is this summer’s favorite melody…really? I must be getting older.

Robin Thicke’s risque music video was banned from YouTube because it had bare-breasted dancers prancing around him. I listened to his high falsetto voice, the semi-rap of his Euro-club sounding song, and it barely registered and certainly didn’t resonate with me. Using women as sex objects in his video, are we supposed to be surprised?

It’s a summer for Bad Political Men. Men behaving badly; it makes for humorous late-night fodder, if I could stay up that late. I just wonder why we like to malign say a mayor for groping a woman, or a would-be mayor for sexting, but we buy and celebrate Thicke’s music? “You’ve got to have it” I guess.

Enough of these political/sexual peccadilloes! I had to laugh when I found this gender bending sexy boys video, a “Blurred Lines” parody – you may have to move on to the wordpress site to watch. But fair warning, naked men ahead!

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Summer festivals are in full swing, so let me “walk the Blue Ridge” and tell you about a roots music festival starting tomorrow in Natural Chimneys Park right here in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Red Wing Roots Music Festival decided to call this more of an Americana music event, and make its premiere debut family friendly to boot. Music styles encompass Blues, Cajun, Old Time, Bluegrass, Early Country, Gypsy Jazz and all variations on a theme. Unfortunately, the Rocker will be busy hosting his sister this weekend for a friend’s Bridesmaids Party Spectacular Jersey Shore Style. I’m figuring he would have been here in a heartbeat otherwise! http://www.redwingroots.com

And speaking of Melissa McCarthy, who seems to be everywhere at the moment, there is one movie I highly recommend this summer amidst blockbuster action thrillers. Go and see The Heat! It’s a really funny, good old fashioned buddy/cop movie except both cops just happen to be women. I always loved Sandy Bullock, but now I’m head over heels gaga over McCarthy:images

“…it also doesn’t deny McCarthy the delightful contrast between her dimples and her dirty mouth, because her combination of sweetie-pie and vulgarian has always been a major element in her comedic style (which wasn’t entirely obvious before Saturday Night Liveand Bridesmaids). It’s a movie that respects her, but doesn’t patronize or try to protect her from the acting-a-fool elements of making broad comedy in order to be adequately feminist about her body.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013/06/28/196571148/the-heat-is-absolutely-revolutionary-for-being-mostly-ordinary?sc=tw&cc=share

And finally, if the real heat and humidity lately has got you down, and left you gasping for air inside your nicely air conditioned home, tune into PBS and prepare to be amazed by the latest Ken Burns feature “Lewis & Clark; the Journey of the Corps of Discovery.” If only history had been taught like this when I was a wee one. Did you know that Sacagawea (yes, that is the correct spelling) was only sixteen years old when she tagged along with these men? Did you know that she carried her newborn baby on her back, and that her knowledge and language skills were essential to their success? When you think about it, she had been enslaved and sold by her Native People, then “entered” into a plural marriage with a French fur trader who was conscripted for this expedition into the unknown – there are so many human rights violations here, they are too numerous to count.

Meriwether Lewis was born on a farm right around the corner, in Albemarle County, VA. Monuments in his honor speckle the landscape. He and Mr Jefferson were good friends, and Burns’ narrative kept me glued to the first part of this PBS documentary long past my bedtime.  http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/

It was a staggering feat to walk, ride and keelboat their way through the northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean; a herculean task in 1804 to set off from St Louis’  “…Camp Dubois “under a jentle brease, Clark writes.” And only the small Native American bride has seen the mountains to the west of the Mississippi.

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Good Morning Followers! Finished your coffee and croissant? It’s back to work for Bob and laundry for me. Sorry to say, I like getting very little French news on our island. Diving back into American culture photo copy and listening to CNN has left me with a headache; the Pope is leaving (really?), Woodward has been “threatened” by the White House (I doubt anyone could threaten this man), and John Kerry has announced we’ll be giving Syrian rebels some “non-lethal” aide (so we send them money to buy our guns?).

Being an old newshound, I found my way to Politico for the Woodward story. Instead I clicked on the piece about John Kerry speaking French, mon Dieu! “Secretary of State John Kerry decided to show off some of his French-language skills during a press conference in France Wednesday.” Ha, not all reporters have gone to Rome! It seems that while running for President it’s better not to speak French, but knowing how to speak a few different languages might be helpful for a Secretary. http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/02/kerry-busts-out-some-french-158056.html?hp=r23

Now about our old friend Bob Woodward: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/exclusive-the-woodward-sperling-emails-revealed-88226.html?hp=t1_3 Breaking News!! It’s semantics people. The word “regret” was used about implying that sequestration was a manufactured idea by POTUS. I find it fascinating that a little tete a tete between two people is more newsworthy than the actual bit about those humongous budget cuts that just may cut the legs off of our economic recovery. Hello!

Needing a break from such serious matters, between the rinse cycle and the 2nd cup of coffee, I thought I’d leave you with this little pick-me-up. Our First Lady, in her continuing effort to fight obesity, taught Jimmy Fallon a few, fine Mom Moves. Couldn’t help but rock that cardigan Madame Michelle! Altogether now, get up and dance!

PS Thank you Aunt Cait for the picture of Fourchue Bay!

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A big Thank You to the great state of Pennsylvania! My birth state hasn’t exactly struck down its voter ID law, but a PA Commonwealth Court Judge had the good sense to put it on hold until after the election. It’s such a blatantly racist, and ageist piece of legislation, I had to wonder how it managed to get as far as it has in so many states…oh, yeah, the Tea Party. If foul language offends you, don’t watch Sarah Silverman’s video.

“Supporters of the measure, passed by a Republican state legislature and Republican governor, said it would help prevent electoral fraud. However, the state government conceded that there has never been a known case of in-person voter fraud.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19804500

Now if you live in PA, you may be asked for your valid, state sanctioned photo ID before you vote, just to intimidate you a little more, but have no fear. You can still vote even if you don’t have this particular piece of paper. But if you live in Indiana, Georgia, New Hampshire and possibly South Carolina you will have to comply with these new voter ID laws in order to solve a problem that doesn’t exist in order to get Mitt elected.

Please know your rights this November before you head out to the polls. In VA, we have until October 15th to register to vote…13 days from now. Make sure your name (did you marry or divorce and change your name?) and your address are current. Sarah’s nifty website can help you figure out if you’re good to vote: http://letmypeoplevote2012.com

Let freedom ring people!

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