"Did you hear what He said?" ... "Did you see what He did?"
That's what we're all saying now, and everyone knows who the "he" is.
Sometimes I stay away from the news; then sometimes I have to dive again into the Trump sewer.
"This administration is running like a fine-tuned machine. Despite the fact that I can't get my cabinet approved. And they're outstanding people."
"Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting."
"Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."
"A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people and they are, they are the enemy of the people. They have no sources, they just make them up when there are none."
And then I have to turn off the TV and fold up the newspapers. Nonetheless, I absorb all the bad things that are happening in just the FIRST MONTH –
-- The worst anti-Semitic attacks in decades are occurring. (There are 166 Jewish Community Center Association locations in the US and Canada, and 68 have received bomb threats. Cemeteries in St. Louis and Philadelphia have been vandalized.)
-- Muslims have been harassed at U.S. airports, their places of worship attacked, their children bullied at school.
-- Aggressive ICE raids have started, forcing millions of Latinos, many of them long-time residents, to live in fear.
-- Transgender children, some of the most vulnerable of all, lost protection by executive edict.
-- An Indian American man was shot and killed in Kansas, in an apparent hate crime.
-- Trump ended regulations that protected America's streams, especially in the coal region.
-- The Trump campaign's dealings with Russia before the election are beginning to shake the foundations of the new administration.
-- Trump's repeated attacks on the media even caused George W. Bush to emerge from his hiding place in Texas and defend it. (OK, he's out pushing a book, but he said the right thing.)
I can't go on. I can't list any more bad things.
Instead, I'll do something positive and declare political "war" on Steve Knight, the Republican congressman from California's 25th District (around Palmdale, not too far from me.)
Knight won his district by only 6.3% in the last election. He is ripe for the picking.
Pick your target.
Don't despair – mobilize.
As Bernie Sanders used to say all the time on Thom Hartmann's radio show, "Despair is not an option."
And then there is my NO-TRUMP life:
I've been to the Oscars – once. During the TG's illustrious career in the movie business, she served a term on the Board of Governors of the Motion Picture Academy of America. (She still does a lot of work for the Academy, variously as chair of the Grants and co-chair of Nicoll Screenwriting Awards committees.)
So I went to the Oscar ceremony one year. And it's the kind of thing you want to do just once -- unless you're a nominee, in which case I imagine you could do it an infinite number of times – because going to the Oscars is a seven- or eight-hour ORDEAL.
First of all, there's the elaborate Getting Dressed part. (And I'm a guy. I basically know what I'm going to wear: a tuxedo.)
Then they want you in your seats an hour before the telecast, but since there's an impossible traffic clusterfuck of a thousand stretch limousines trying to get to one theatre – plus security -- you have to leave your home at least two hours before that.
Then there's the three-and-a-half hour ceremony to sit through. By the time you get home, it's eight hours later. I'm not complaining. It's the kind of Bucket List that I'm glad I've done ... once. (The other years, the TG took our son and daughter.)
As far as this year's broadcast, I'm fairly happy with the results. They spread out the awards evenly. My favorites of the year – LA LA LAND, MOONLIGHT, and FENCES – were rewarded.
I thought that Jimmy Kimmel did well. Lots of nice, light anti-Trump jabs. I liked the "candy from the ceiling" and "bus tour people" stunts. We fast-forwarded through the music selections. I liked the "inspiration" sequences – Seth Rogen with Michael J. Fox, Charlize Theron with Shirley MacLaine, etc. Most of the speeches were very good. It's too bad that Denzel lost to Casey Affleck.
As far as the screw-up at the end, I was sorry to see Warren Beatty make the "flub seen 'round the world." The TG had a long, up-and-down ride with Beatty – from HEAVEN CAN WAIT to REDS to BUGSY – but I didn't want to see him embarrass himself. He's 80.
(I was/am a Beatty fan: from SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS, one of the touchstones for my novel WHAT IT WAS LIKE, to BONNIE AND CLYDE, which I must have seen eight times when it came out, to BULLWORTH. I was sorry that RULES DON'T MATTER didn't turn out to be a great mellow farewell comedy from this very good filmmaker. And good Lefty.)
All in all, I think it wasn't such a huge catastrophe: the situation was righted promptly, right then and there on the air. LA LA LAND producer Jordan Horowitz was beyond gracious in handing over the Oscar to MOONLIGHT.
In all, a good night.
HEAVEN CAN WAIT -- trailer
REDS – trailer
BUGSY -- trailer
We got a sweet taste of Old Hollywood the other night. My Big Brother from New York and his Dear Wife were visiting, and we all went to Musso & Frank's Grill, the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. Opened in 1919, Musso & Frank's is the essence of old Hollywood and going there is a step back in Time.
The booths are dark red leather, the waiters wear bright red waistcoats, and the menu is strictly old steakhouse favorites. We had a party of six and sat in a corner booth – "the Rolling Stones' booth," we were told – and had a fine view of the Main Room: the high ceiling, the dark wood, and the old, peeling wallpaper.
You could just feel the ghosts of Musso & Frank's regulars swirling around the room: Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, Nathanael West, Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Bukowski, John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Orson Welles. And there are a few living actors and artists who go there regularly including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Keith Richards, and Johnny Depp.
It has been featured in movies such as ED WOOD (1994) and OCEANS ELEVEN (2001), in addition to several classic novels such as THE DAY OF THE LOCUST (1939) and WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN? (1941).
I didn't have one of their famous martinis, but I did have a very good time.
Musso & Frank Grill – a nice, quick travelogue
Musso & Frank Grill – a Vanity Fair short by Bruce Weber
Musso & Frank Grill – Manny Aguirre, one of their notable bartenders