Five Things: 6/30/20

The last one of the month! Let’s get to it.

So will there be any more “Five Things” after today? I think so! It’s a good, quick format for me, in that it covers a lot of territory regarding things I’m thinking about and/or want to share, and makes for lively comment threads that (at least so far) don’t get too bogged down on a single topic. And it gives me new stuff here on the regular, which I like. It doesn’t seem to have stopped me in going deep on specific topics I want to go deep on, either, which I was curious about. It seems like a good and useful feature, and I think I will continue it.

Will I continue to do it daily? I think I’ll aim for dailyish, which is to say if I skip a day because I wrote a longer piece, or just decide to skip it for a day because of reasons, that’ll be fine. And sometimes if I only have three or four things, I might say “close enough” and post that. But generally speaking it’s not difficult to come up with five things. So, yeah, let’s keep doing this thing for now. If I get bored with it later, I’ll drop it! But I’m not bored with it yet.

Carl Reiner, RIP: This is one of those “you knew it was coming, and you knew it was probably coming soon but still” things. The man lived to 98 and you can’t say that’s not a good run for anyone, and in his case his run included being one of the acknowledged masters of modern comedy, so there is that. My favorite thing of his was the “2,000 Year Old Man” bits he did with Mel Brooks — Reiner modestly gave Brooks the lion’s share of the credit for that, but a two-hander bit of comedy needs both hands. It wouldn’t have worked without Reiner. I liked it enough that I did my own version of it, once. It was okay. Reiner did it better. Farewell, sir.

The “Russian Bounties” thing is gonna stick, I think: The President has been saying he hasn’t been briefed on that thing, but all the evidence points to the contrary; the best you can say is that Trump ignored the material because some didn’t distill down to a single sentence and speak it at him veeeeery slooooowly, because apparently that’s what you have to do if you want the President to know something that didn’t come from a Fox News morning show or OAN. But that doesn’t make things better; it makes things worse. It’s really hard to spin “The Russians are paying for American deaths”; it does directly to the heart of the Trump constituency. Trump (or his administration) knew and did nothing about it, and it’s possible American soldiers are dead because of it. That’s going to stay.

Lights out on Broadway: Through January at least. Your further reminder that 2020 is going to be a strange, lost year, entertainment-wise. Movie releases scheduled for July have been pushed back in August, and I suspect will now be pushed back even further than that, because, surprise! Turns out the coronavirus didn’t give a shit whether we were all bored and hated masks. So rude, honestly! At least we have Hamilton on TV later this week. But that’s not exactly comfort to everyone in NYC theater currently out of a job, and out of a job for another six months at least.

Oh, look, arty roses. Krissy has upped the flower quotient around the Scalzi Compound recently and I’ve been having fun taking pictures of them. Here’s a picture of our miniature rose bush, done up in “handpainted monochrome” style. Enjoy.

24 Comments on “Five Things: 6/30/20”

  1. I wish I had your optimism about the Russian bounties thing. I am already hearing Trump loving family and friends saying it’s “fake news” and that it’s just Dems trying to scare people into voting for Biden.

  2. I don’t think the Russian Bounty will have a lot of sticking power either. It might open a door for claiming the President is illiterate, and that might do the most damage. It might even be true.

    Yes, R.I.P. Carl Reiner, a genius and a pretty good egg

  3. I commiserate with my friends in NY (many of whom were in shows): the world premiere of my very first produced script was cancelled (and ultimately pulled off the schedule, because of disputes with the producer). And I have low hopes for 2021, as audiences aren’t coming back until they have faith in a vaccine that works…

  4. John – This is to you, not necessarily to anyone else. I have read, and reread, most of your science fiction. Android’s Dream was enough to get me hooked. However, when I received The Last Emperox, read the dedication, and read your acknowledgments, I needed to know your mind better. Not creepy- wise, more sanity-wise. I can’t deal with social media. Headlines and most news rob me of sleep. I’m kind of isolated due to autoimmune disease (and geography). Your books give me entertainment, creativity, and an escape. I love your contribution to literature as well as your profound irreverence and scathing truth. Needless to say, I will take the time to turn on my computer and tune in to your commentary. I’ve done some Pandemic Ponderings and have attempted to stave off panic, anxiety, and depression. Thank you for the pro bono palliative care.

    There is no need to rationalize, explain, or apologize when you withdraw from the arena. You would not be a conscious human if you didn’t.

    A Covid Quote: We can’t outlaw ignorance; we just want ignorance to stay home. (in re: sheltering in place and wearing masks) I’m sure you knew that.

  5. I once heard a university professor interview Steve Martin on the radio, and the poor guy couldn’t figure out how to ask a question, then stay out of Martin’s way. I remember thinking to myself, I’ve always admired Carl Reiner, but never more than now.

    A genuinely funny and thoughtful person has left us, and that’s always sad.

  6. Thanks for checking in, Mr S. It’s been a tough…what, week? Year? Probably more. Thanks for throwing your two cents in from time to time.

  7. BTW….I’m. guessing while the Republicans want the Russian thing to go away quickly….I don’t think the intelligence community want it to. Bet there will be a continual stream of leaks coming out….

  8. Very nice to have you back and commenting on this and that. That Broadway announcement was news to me.

    The states seem to think they’ll open schools in the fall. I’m having a lot of trouble understanding what that would look like for young children, especially kindergarten.
    I’ve heard about 2 days per week, but I still don’t get it.

  9. In support of glc, I would appreciate your thoughts on school and Covid in one of your posts, though it might have to be longer than “five thoughts.” I have twins starting their senior year in HS, and with at least 35% of teenagers being asymtomatic, i can’t imagine this being other than a clusterf–k. Add to that I’m a moderate risk for complications and this really seems like a bad idea.

  10. wake up call:
    #RealDead (C19 & BLM & toxic dumping due to EPA cuts)

  11. Dear Ron,

    What state and county are you in? I could look stuff up, maybe…

    pax / Ctein

  12. A Heads Up to theater lovers: Lincoln Center Presents has James Lapine’s adaptation of Moss Hart’s autobiography, ACT ONE, showing free on youtube until July 3. With a cast headed by Tony Shalhoub as George S, Kaufman (and two smaller roles), Santino Fontana as Hart, and Andrea Martin in several small roles, trust me, it is a worthwhile way to spend an evening. We enjoyed it.

    I loved the Carl Reiner was sharp right to the end, tweeting about the abomination in the White House up to the day he died, and apparently having dinner (and watching Jeopardy!) with his good friend Mel Brooks every night. RIP.

  13. Any time you only have three or four things, please feel free to fill in the last thing with more pictures from the garden. Or cats. Cats are always good.

  14. Vis-a-vis the Russian bounties mess there might be less here than it looks. This might be more Russians trying to curry favor with Afghans who were going to kill Americans anyway than Russians trying to up the kill rate. Far from a good look though. I look forward to us keeping our distance from the next Sino-Russian dust-up; anyone who messes with the “New Silk Road” is on Beijing’s shit list and this might count as such.

  15. Some corners of the wackosphere are dismissing the Russian bounties story as old news, because they claim it’s been going on since 2001 and everyone in the military knew about it. We already know there’s no limit to the capacity of hardcore Trumpers to deny reality, but I’m inclined to agree that enough of the people who were mostly just voting against Hillary are as disgusted by this story as the rest of the sane world.

  16. It looks like the sources are people who want the US to stay in Afghanistan. Trump has dug his own trust hole where people believe he’s lying even when his mouth is shut. But let’s not fly off the handle and kill some more people in a Third World country because we hate Trump.

    A) it appears this story is murkier than first reported, as I would have suspected in all cases like this
    B) if it was true, it might be legitimate to tamp this down in the interest of finishing a war. Diplomacy is not always a lily white business, even when done by your side.

  17. Alan Brady was, is and will always be my favorite character on the Dick Van Dyke show.

    I owe some of the best hours of my childhood to Carl Reiner.

    R I P. ☹

    I keep waiting to be shocked by what Trump has and hasn’t done re national security but, as is often the case, I find myself shaking my head in the way you do when terrible things long anticipated come to pass.
    As others have illustrated, his covid spreading, mouth-breathing, knuckle dragging acolytes will either twist themselves into knots trying to justify his treachery or flatly refuse to believe it.

    Once upon a time, hawkishness, unlikable donors, lady parts, four deaths in Benghazi, a lecherous, philandering husband and some emails made for a horrible, terrible, no good very bad candidate.

    More than sixty-three million misogynist democrats joined social Darwinists and sanctimonious bigots in an effort to elect a genocidal, treasonous, philandering sexual predator and domestic terrorist.

    Before long, Nazis took to the streets and right-wing officials voted for and implemented policies designed to amplify the terrorist’s hatred for anyone who wasn’t a wealthy, native born, strait, white male.

    Meanwhile, the terrorist and his inhouse helpers did their very best to burn the land and its ideals to ash.

    Long story short, we got the president we deserve.

    There is more than enough blame to go around for what has and will become of this country, and it isn’t all for Trump supporters.

    Anti-Hillary folks who ragequit the democratic process or who voted for Trump when Sanders lost need to hold out their plates, too.

    Thanks, guys.

  18. It’s still not a real good look, amplified by Trump’s unwillingness to hear and deal with anything he doesn’t like. His prior connections/common interests with the Russians make this look worse too. He could defuse this with competent public and foreign policy responses, but that’s a lot to ask of him, particularly when sanity and competence are the things his base desperately wants to avoid.

  19. I think I spotted a typo in the paragraph about the Russian bounties: “it does directly to the heart of the Trump constituency.” I’m pretty sure you meant”goes”, not “does”.