Today's lunchtime round-up only had one article about current politics:
Finally, I came across an interview actor Michael Shannon gave Playboy in 2018 that's worth the read.
The sun came out today for the first time since last Sunday, it seems, so I plan to spend most of my day outside. But I have these to read as I sip my morning tea:
And finally, tomorrow at the office I'll listen to the Nerdette Podcast's breakdown of Pulp Fiction.
I'm going into my downtown Chicago office twice a week, even though I'm the only one on the floor, just so I can get some variety and also more monitors for my work laptop. Last week the building started piping classical music into the main lobby. They, or the streaming provider, have chosen pretty basic stuff: Mozart piano concerti, Haydn symphonies, the occasional string quartet.
Today the walk-on music was Barber's Adagio for Strings. Think about the movies that used this piece and ask yourself, is this what people want to hear walking into their office building at 8:45 on a Monday morning? During a global emergency? Ten weeks before the most consequential election in the last 75 years?
I will now sob briefly before coding a fun demo.
This colorized and upscaled video is fascinating:
– He lollygags around the Rose Garden. He lollygags on his way to the Hill. He lollygags in and out of the Oval. Do you know what that makes him? Larry?
– A lollygagger!
– A lollygagger. What's his record, Larry?
– Won in '16!
– Won in '16. How'd he ever win one?
– It's a miracle!
– It's a miracle. This is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. You got it? Now we have got a global pandemic raging for months. Hearing's at 8 in the morning.
– Ball, catch, throw, elephant, TV!
– Donnie, this is the toughest job a country has. But...the electorate wants to make a change...
Just when you thought the Republican Party couldn't become more anti-science and pro-profit (at the expense of workers), the Wisconsin Supreme Court just struck down Wisconsin's stay-at-home order on a 4-3 party-line vote.
If only that were all:
- Jennifer Rubin points out that "Trump's abject hypocrisy shows us where he's failed."
- Not only has Trump "lost the plot," he "has no plan," according to two articles this week in The Atlantic. How is this news cycle different from all other news cycles?
- The US Supreme Court listened to arguments this week about the electoral college and Trump's tax returns. It seems likely the nation will lose both cases.
- The judge presiding over Michael Flynn's case has asked a retired judge to brief him on whether to hold Flynn in criminal contempt for perjury, after the Justice Dept. sought to end its prosecution of Flynn.
- The City of Chicago has ordered food delivery services to disclose the fees they charge restaurants so consumers have more transparency. Restaurants have complained about price-gouging from GrubHub and others.
- Meanwhile, Uber is in talks to buy GrubHub. If we had a functioning FTC, this would never happen.
- David Kamp brings back my childhood with his paean to Zoom, the children's television show I watched religiously when I was a kid.
- Anthropologists have found a 45,000-year-old midden containing homo sapiens tools, bones, and jewelry in a cave in Bulgaria. It's evidence of the earliest modern humans in Europe.
- The New York Times has an oral history of Mad Max: Fury Road, which the author calls a "modern action classic." (It's one of my faves as well.)
Someday, we'll all look back on this time, laugh nervously, and change the subject.
Julie Nolke is a Canadian actor, comedian, and writer:
I have tons of experience working from home, but historically I've balanced that by going out in the evenings. The pandemic has obviously cut that practice down to zero. Moreover, the village of Oak Park will start shelter-in-place measures tomorrow, so I expect Chicago to do the same in the next couple of days. The Oak Park order seems reasonable: stay home except for essentials like food and medicine, stay two meters away from other people, it's OK to walk your dog, and so on. Since I'm already doing all of those things, a Chicago order would only affect my friends who, for example, own book shops and can't work remotely for other reasons.
In other pandemic news:
- As of yesterday a record 41,000 Illinois residents filed for unemployment benefits in a 48-hour period.
- Two luxury hotels have closed in Chicago with others expected to follow.
- Bruce Schneier calls attention to a work-from-home security awareness kit and worries about how the pandemic will increase overall infosec vulnerability because people don't actually know how to secure their home offices.
- Josh Marshall worries we're flying totally blind, because we haven't collected vital data about the pandemic's spread.
- The pub where citizens took refuge in the Zombie apocalypse comedy Sean of the Dead has shut because of the pandemic. “We stayed open during a zombie plague, ISIS attacks on London, an alien invasion and the news that Genesis were reforming, but we’ve had to take expert advice and close our doors this time”, said landlord Simon Williams.
- Republican US Senator Richard Burr briefed "a small group of well-connected constituents" about COVID-19 three weeks ago, according to a secret recording obtained by NPR. Another Republican asshat, US Representative Don Young (R-AK), joked about the "beer virus" and suggested people continue going out as normal. (Even if I hadn't specified the party affiliations of these tools, you'd know which party, wouldn't you?)
- Former US Senator Al Franken calls Trump's response "the last straw."
- Peter Nicholas writes in the Atlantic that "this is how Donald Trump will be remembered."
Also, today is the 92nd anniversary of the debut of "Amos 'n' Andy" on Chicago's WMAQ radio.
For one thing, he'd make it interesting, as he says in an interview with the New York Times' David Marchese:
Given your inclination toward politics and idealism, is there a Democratic presidential candidate who’s connecting with you? No. It’s funny. I was emailing with a friend about this topic. There are grand gestures out there to be had, and no one is going for them. We’re drowning in timidity.
I’m sure you have thoughts about what those grand gestures could be. Mm-hmm. As long as we’re crystal clear that I understand the difference between the real world and “The West Wing”?
T.B.D., but go on. Fair enough, T.B.D. Here’s what would happen on “The West Wing.” Joe Biden would say: “You know what? If it’ll get John Bolton testifying to the Senate under oath, swear me in too. I’ll answer any questions you’ve got.” Suddenly all the attention would be on him. It’s a “Mr. Smith” moment. He gets to sit in front of hostile Republican senators and show us how well he can handle them. If he did it right, if he was performing a “West Wing” script where I got to decide what everybody else says too, it propels him right to winning.
Sorkin also answers questions about his anti-heroes, the conflict beteen Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden, and of course, writing.
Last week, the Washington Post's Dan Zak and Amy Argetsinger opined on the Best Picture winners from 1976 through last year, and suggested...corrections:
Nominees: All That Jazz, Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, Kramer vs. Kramer, Norma Rae
Best Picture winner: Kramer vs. Kramer
The actual best picture: Apocalypse Now
What a bonkers roster. “Kramer vs. Kramer” is a gorgeously spare, simple movie about divorce and parenting — can you believe that 105 minutes of talking without CGI or explosions was not only the Oscar winner but the box-office champ for 1979? But it’s hard not to love every shot of “Apocalypse Now,” which routinely makes Top-10 lists of the best films ever. If this lineup were voted on today, “Apocalypse” would win in a landslide.
I'll be interested to see if they update the article after yesterday's win by Parasite.