Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Telling the truth

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a few minutes ago, addressing his father: “Do not worry. I will be fine for telling the truth.”

WordPress 5.3: Kirk

The latest version of WordPress, 5.3, is named Kirk, for Rahsaan Roland Kirk.

[“Cabin in the Sky” (Vernon Duke–John La Touche). Kirk, manzello; Tete Montoliu, piano; Tommy Potter, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.]

Lots of Kirk recordings on YouTube, pre- and post-Rahsaan (a name he added in 1970), but not that many filmed performances. This one is my favorite, found long ago via Music Clip of the Day. Aside from the music — and what music! — I love Tommy Potter’s puzzled look at the end. Who needs a rest?

At the movies

Holden Caulfield is killing time at Radio City. The stage show has ended, and “the goddam picture” begins:

The Catcher in the Rye (1951).

The summary that follows — an amnesiac duke, a failing publisher, a meet-cute, a sudden bestseller, the return of an old fiancée, the end of amnesia, temporary complications, happy endings all around — sounds an awful lot like a Hallmark Christmas movie. It’s still 1951, in some ways, and people still hate-watch the goddam movies. They really do.

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All OCA Salinger posts (Pinboard)

Monday, November 18, 2019

Robert Walser on TAL

In Episode 687 of This American Life, “Small Things Considered,” Lilly Sullivan looks at the life and work of Robert Walser: “What the Eye Can’t See.” A photograph of a Walser microscript appears on the episode’s front page.

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Word of the day: franistan

[“Torking the Sneem.” Zippy, November 18, 2019. Click for a larger view.]

Th’ word franistan rings a bell. Readers of a certain age will recognize it from I Love Lucy : in the episode “The Publicity Agent” (May 12, 1952), Lucy poses as the Maharincess of Franistan. But franistan, no cap, has a longer history, which goes back to the comedy of double-talk. Here’s a short piece that mentions both franistan and kravistate (also in today’s strip). And then there’s frammis. I love harmless nonsense.

Here are samples of double-talkers Al Kelly and Cliff Nazarro at work. I’m pretty sure that the fellow who asks “How’s th’ thingamajig, Zippy?” in the last panel of today’s strip is a cartooned Kelly.

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All OCA Zippy posts (Pinboard)

[Click for a larger Kelly.]

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Domestic comedy

[It’s Hallmark season again.]

“Do we have to watch this? It looks really stupid.”

“Can we find something stupider?”

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Saturday, November 16, 2019

What’s up with Trump?

Something strange here:

~ Unannounced indeed: when I checked the presidential public schedule at Factbase this morning there was no mention of a trip to Walter Reed. Trump’s first two physicals as president were announced in advance.

~ Those physicals took place on January 12, 2018 and February 8, 2019. This one is taking place a little over nine months after the previous one.

~ Nothing White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham says can be believed. Her claim about taking time on a “free weekend” is plainly laughable. Total time for this visit, including travel from the White House to Walter Reed and back: three hours and twenty-five minutes, probably less time than it takes Trump to play a round of golf on one of his unfree weekends.

~ The press secretary’s subsequent claim that “the President remains healthy and energetic without complaints, as demonstrated by his repeated vigorous rally performances in front of thousands of Americans” is plainly dubious. Standing and yelling are not typically considered signs of good health. Standing and reading robotically from a teleprompter are not typically considered signs of good health. The joke about “without complaints” writes itself.

~ It seems to me reasonable to suspect that something is wrong or that Trump and company have begun laying the groundwork for resignation. Don’t laugh. I’ve been telling family and friends for weeks now that I think Trump might resign rather than face the humiliation of impeachment. A medical diagnosis of some sort might pave the way for a brokered resignation, with a deal to cover his trouble with the Southern District of New York. It wouldn’t be the first time Trump relied on a doctor’s diagnosis to avoid trouble.

~ Finally, since nothing the president says can be believed, his insistence in June 2019 that he, unlike Richard Nixon, won’t leave in the face of impeachment counts, I think, for naught.

There’s more about today’s unannounced trip at CNN.


Trump’s explanation of this visit changed via tweet later last night:
Visited a great family of a young man under major surgery at the amazing Walter Reed Medical Center. Those are truly some of the best doctors anywhere in the world. Also began phase one of my yearly physical. Everything very good (great!). Will complete next year.
So now we’re meant to think that he went to Walter Reed to visit a family, and — because he was already there? — he “also” began his physical? None of it makes sense.

Hi and Lois watch

[Hi and Lois, November 16, 2019. Click for a larger view.]

Beware of Irmas bearing gifts. But I think the butt in the ashtray blurs the joke, especially if you’re given to overthinking.

Thirsty Thurston first appeared in Hi and Lois on June 9, 1961. In 2017 I noticed that he was still smoking. He has now been smoking for more than fifty-eight years.

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Today’s Saturday Stumper

Today’s Newsday Saturday Stumper, by Matthew Sewell, looked to me like a sea of troubles. I drifted to the middle of the sea — 38-A, seven letters, “Quack creation” — before finding a way to proceed. That answer gave me 24-D, four letters, “Old-style ‘used to be,’” which in turn gave me 23-A, five letters, “Had a home plate.” That answer let me make an educated guess at 9-D, six letters, “What sweetens some soy sauce,” which yielded 20-A, seven letters, “Foxy.” And then more drifting. The northeast and southwest corners gave me the most difficulty, and I managed to solve by trying and giving up on one corner, then the other, over and over. I know that seas don’t have corners though.

Some outstanding clues: 11-D, seven letters, “They fly for a union.” 28-D, five letters, “One shooting stars.” 37-D, eight letters, “Veggie dish specification.” 45-A, nine letters, “Explanation for passing.” 60-A, nine letters, “Bursting in.” And 66-A, nine letters, “They’re not drips.”

No spoilers: the answers are in the comments.

Friday, November 15, 2019

NYT commentary

Better late than never: The New York Times has a running commentary on today’s impeachment hearing, with seven reporters. Very helpful.