Archive for February, 2018

I was watching The Carol Burnett 50th anniversary special in December 2017. Carol noted that Bernadette Peters was on her very first episode on 11 September 1967. How could that be?

Because Ms. Peters was a member of the Actors Equity union the age of nine, with two television credits from 1958! Moreover, she was in two short-lived roles, and was an understudy for a third, on Broadway before she first made the Burnett show, uncredited. She made at least ten more appearances.

Bernadette Peters is a Broadway legend who has won Tony Awards for her performances in Song and Dance (1985) and in the 1999 revival of Annie Get Your Gun.

Her numerous other Broadway credits include starring roles in Into the Woods, Sunday in the Park with George, and Gypsy. She is considered by theater critics to be among the best interpreters of Stephen Sondheim’s work.

The actress, born Bernadette Lazzara, also made her mark in movies such as The Jerk and Pennies from Heaven, both with Steve Martin, whom she dated from 1977 to 1981. And she was in Annie (1982) with the aforementioned Carol Burnett.

Peters married investment adviser Michael Wittenberg on July 20, 1996. He “died at age 43 on September 26, 2005, in a helicopter crash in Montenegro while on a business trip.”

She has recorded six albums, performed in many concerts and serves on the Board of Trustees of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, among other works.

Starting on January 20, 2018, she has been starring in Hello, Dolly, an iconic role that been played by Barbra Streisand on screen, and Ginger Rogers, Ethel Merman, Pearl Bailey and, of course, Carol Channing on stage. She replaced Tony winner Bette Midler; Victor Garber follows David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder.

Charles, who directed me in Boys in the Band way back in 1975, saw the current production and declared it “spectacular.” He said, “Bernadette Peters has grown into a mature, comic actress who can also break your heart.”

Happy birthday to a performer who is still going strong, Bernadette Peters.

I’m not much of a monarchist, though I take passing notice of the activities of Prince Harry and Prince William of England, they being, roughly, my wife’s 20th cousin once removed, or something like that. Lady Diana Spencer, about whom a musical is planned (!), and my spouse had a common ancestor in the middle of the 14th century. Really.

The fact that Harry was going to marry an American actress named Meghan Markle who I, frankly, was not familiar with, really didn’t interest me that much. I have never seen or heard of the TV series Suits.

That is until the racial backlash began. Meghan’s mother, Doria Radlan, is African-American, and her father, Thomas Markle, is Dutch-Irish. She was raised by her mother when her parents were divorced when she was six, raised by her mother and often estranged from her father.

Meghan describes herself as “a strong, confident mixed-race woman.” after growing up enduring racial abuse because her mom’s skin tone wasn’t the same as hers. “While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that.”

I wonder if such a match with Harry were possible if he were closer to the throne. With not only his father Charles and his brother William, but now nephew George, niece Charlotte and William and Kate’s new baby in line, Harry can be less restricted, I would think. Not that QEII would have cared, but would the United Kingdom accept a divorced, mixed race mother of the future king or queen?

Yeah, I know the whole system is all rather archaic. At the same time, it has allowed for a bit of measuring of societal change over time and that intrigues me.

Incidentally, despite the close relationship my wife has with Harry, we have NOT been invited to the wedding. I suspect the invitation got lost in the overseas mail, alas. We’ll have to watch it on the telly on May 19 like the rest of the commoners.

For ABC Wednesday

One of the things the Daughter knows about me is that I’m far less likely to get irritated by something I see if I’ve been given fair warning. So one consecutive days in November, she called me at the office after she got home from school.

The first time was to tell me that there was yellow, crime-scene tape running from our neighbor’s porch to ours, blocking the walkway between the two residences. And why was this? Because contractors, in the process of fixing their roof, had thrown down the old roofing material from that roof to said walkway.

And did the absentee landlord bother to let us know that this was going to happening? He did not. The only warning was the load of materials sitting on their lawn for about a week earlier.

The second time the Daughter called me was to tell me that the tape was gone, as was some of the debris, but that there was a Dumpster parked, partially on the neighbor’s lawn but mostly on ours, blocking, yet again, the walkway.

This meant, again, walking my bike through the house to the shed in the back yard.

By the time I had gotten home, my wife explained to the contractors where the property line was. (But did they REALLY think the neighbor’s property line extended to the porch railing of OUR house?)

In any case, the Dumpster left the next day, only to return the following day. At least it was entirely off our property. And there it stayed for weeks, as a cold snap scuttled their plans to work on the roof. It looked atrocious out there, this orange behemoth, but what is there to do?

I suggested, jokingly – I THINK it as jokingly – that we should chuck our garbage in their Dumpster. Of course I didn’t.

Still, I’m glad The Daughter gave me the heads-up, twice, regarding our insensitive neighbor.

The US has been downgraded from a “full democracy” to a “flawed democracy”

John Oliver: America is a ‘beautiful mess of contradictions’

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns

Gun Control Advocates Look to Connecticut

Does the Exploding Federal Deficit Matter?

Our nation’s theological leaders should be torchbearers for morality, not enablers of ethical decay

Bombshell Exposé; the Affairs and the Coverup

‘Did he “call for bipartisanship”? Of course, he did, the way a carny barker calls for suckers

Satire: Military Refuses to Participate in His Parade, Citing Bone Spurs, plus a real response from a retired army general

Snollygoster: One, especially a politician, who is guided by personal advantage rather than by consistent, respectable principles

Lawsplainer: “Fruit of The Poisonous Tree” And The Special Counsel Investigation

The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy

Gun Reform: Speaking Truth to BS, Practicing Civility, and Affecting Change

CAN YOU SAY…HERO? Fred Rogers has been doing the same small good thing for a very long time… (from Nov 1998)

They slayed Tony the Tiger: Chile’s war on obesity took cartoon icons off junk food boxes and added black warning labels. Could it be a model?

The Science Of Why SWEARING Physically Reduces Pain

“If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything”

What Can’t a Billion Dollars Buy?

in-flight magazine on Norwegian Air


Winners Of The 69th Annual George Polk Awards In Journalism

My wife and I saw The Bodyguard at Proctors and liked it a whole lot more than this reviewer

RIP for John Mahoney

Steve Gerber, 10 years gone

Marty Allen, R.I.P.

Film Theory: The Tide Pod Challenge – EXPOSED! (selected by The Daughter)

The SORRY! state of board games

Hangry in the OED

The Things That Come to Those Who Wait: A sociocultural history of the line

The Bronze Medal Which Took Fifty Years to Win and The Wrong Richard at the Wrong Time and What History Smells Like and A Penny Earned and Coming Alive at a Snail’s Pace and The Day Care Fine that Backfired and The Man Who Owned Google for a Minute and The Island with No Garbage

“if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything”


Super Bowl Opening Night; Sheila E., Morris Day (the niece Rebecca Jade in the very first shot) or here (official version; loads slower)

David Byrne teamed up with Choir! Choir! Choir! to cover Bowie’s ‘Heroes’

Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture

With or Without You – April Meservy

The late composer Johann Johannsson

Puedes Sentir El Amor/Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Adrienne Walker (Nala) and Agustin Arguello (Simba)

The Manhattan Transfer returns!!

Picture Show – John Prine with Tom Petty

Coverville: 1204: Cover Stories for Sarah McLachlan and Lucinda Williams and 1205: Celebrating the music of Neil Diamond, Paul Simon and Elton John and 1206: The Un-Valentine’s Day Episode and 1207: George Harrison for (what would have been) his 75th birthday!

Karl Goldmark’s Sakuntala Overture

Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante

Mardi Gras In New Orleans – DIRTY DOZEN BRASS BAND

This is Getting Old – Young@Heart Chorus (E*TRADE ad during the Super Bowl)

Quincy Jones in conversation

Life being what it is, I’ve only seen six of the nine Best Picture nominations so far. That won’t keep me from picking who will, and should, win. I’ll limit this to the major categories.

Worse, I have watched ZERO of the five animated feature flicks, though I wanted to see the inevitable winner, Coco, and Loving Vincent, which looked fascinating in previews.

Links to my reviews at first mention:

Best Picture:

Call Me by Your Name (pictured)
*Darkest Hour
Get Out – getting buzz after Writers’ Guild award
*Lady Bird – with ranked voting, and some people hating Shape of Water and/or Three Billboards, this, or Get Out, could actually win
*Phantom Thread
*The Post
*The Shape of Water
*Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – my personal favorite

Lead Actor:

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
*Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
*Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour – will win, and probably should
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Lead Actress: I’ve seen then all!

*Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
*Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – my pick, and will likely win
*Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
*Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
*Meryl Streep, The Post

Supporting Actor:

*Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project – wish this film had gotten more love
*Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water – my favorite performance in that film
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World – best replacement actor at the last minute, standing in for Kevin Spacey
*Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – he’s deserving of the win he’ll likely get

Supporting Actress:

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
*Allison Janney, I, Tonya – will and should win
*Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread – she was very good
*Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird – so was she
*Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water


Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan
Get Out, Jordan Peele
*Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig – I’m rooting for the first-time director
*Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson
*The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro – won the Director’s Guild award, which makes him a virtual lock

Adapted Screenplay:

Call Me by Your Name, James Ivory – it’s the only Best Picture nominee in the lineup, and Ivory is 89
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter, and Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank and James Mangold, and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees – if it isn’t Ivory…
Original Screenplay:

*The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani – I was rather fond of this
Get Out, Jordan Peele – I’m picking the one film I didn’t see to win
*Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
*The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor – suffers from a recent plagiarism allegation
*Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh
Did the Oscars Blow Its Big Bet?

Bess Flowers – She appeared in 5 Oscar-winning films and appeared in 23 Oscar-nominated films. She worked with all the best directors. Plus a lot more movies, TV and commercials. And 25 Three Stooges shorts.

Movie Theaters Are Dying Because They Mostly Suck

Sure to be In memorium: John Gavin, Actor in ‘Psycho’ and ‘Spartacus,’ Dies at 86

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