There is no shortage of reasons for Americans to be wary of going to the polls in a few short weeks—a few short weeks that for many of us will feel like an eternity or two. There’s the unseen enemy known variously as Covid-19, Virus-45, or the “Chiyyyna virus,” any of which the sitting president seems to have. There are the anti-maskers who think it’s their Constitutional right to spread disease. There are threats of demonstrations that may become violent. There are many polls that won’t even open, especially if they are in districts that are defined by their minority populations.
While Don Jr., the alleged smart one of Trump’s septic spawn, is posing with a camo-decorated assault rifle and encouraging his father’s supporters (“Proud boys stand back, stand by”) to get ready for battle, I doubt that he’ll be on the front line directing fire. My guess is the whole family of crooks will be hiding in that bunker six stories under the White House fiddling with their cyanide tablets like Captain Queeg with his two metal balls at his court martial.
No, what’s really scary about this year’s election is that Danny DeVito has yet to weigh in with his slate of endorsements. At least not that I’ve seen. Nothing popped up from a 0.74-second Google search I conducted earlier this week. Actually, about 10,400,000 hits came up but who’s got time for that?
Hollywood is an important player in politics, despite its being the home of marauding pedophiles who have rendered most of the town uninhabitable—all under the direction of evil forces from Union County, New Jersey, which is uninhabitable for other reasons.
Union County is the home of QAnon, founded by a guy who looks like a poorly dressed Captain Kangaroo having a bad hair day. It’s difficult to describe QAnon without delving into why its adherents have lost all of whatever marbles they may have once had. Think of it as kind of an AA for conspiracy theorists and right-wing gun nuts. The difference is that in QAnon followers are encouraged to develop more conspiracy theories and buy more guns. In that way, it’s nothing at all like AA.
As support groups go, it’s almost as organized as antifa.
But back to Hollywood, which isn’t so much a town as it is a concept—a liberal concept that involves limousines, red carpets and women’s clothing that mysteriously doesn’t fall off, despite all odds. It’s a town where men make fashion statements by wearing retro Keds with their tuxedos, and where the tap water is actually Perrier, unless you live in Beverly Hills where it’s Dom Pérignon.
Mr. DeVito is the shortest comedic actor to have a starring role since Billy Curtis appeared in the timeless film classic, The Terror of Tiny Town, which was made in 1938, a year notable for there being hundreds of unemployed little people in Hollywood waiting to make The Wizard of Oz. A Google search for Terror, in case you were interested, revealed 17,300,000 hits in 0.60 seconds. I didn’t know there were that many people interested in the first and, so far, only all-dwarf Western musical. (I challenge my Emmy-winning friend Kirk Ellis to remedy this.)
I liked The Terror of Tiny Town, mostly for its sophomoric humor. Of course, I also liked Pink Flamingos, Happy Gilmore and Un Chien Andalou, the latter just because it’s de rigueur in my circles to like arty French films.
I’ve been told by people who would know such things, that Mr. DeVito is a nice man. Not as nice as Henry Winkler, but then again, nobody is as nice as Henry Winkler, but nicer, say, than Joan Crawford who I think is dead. Yep. (43,800,000 Google hits in 0.96 seconds.)
Mr. DeVito was a big, figuratively speaking, supporter of Bernie Sanders. I know this because I saw him on television at a rally in Santa Monica. He might have even spoken. I don’t remember. I also know that he was supporting Bernie in 2016 because I distinctly remember one day back then getting four messages in two hours from four different people about his supporting Bernie. Frankly, it ticked me off.
No offense, Mr. DeVito, but I could not care less about who you think should be President. And I don’t need your help in making my decision, not that you offered any directly.
I also don’t care who Clint Eastwood likes. Or Barbra Streisand. Or Tim Allen, Robert De Niro, George Clooney, Jane Fonda, Chuck Norris, Cher, Jon Voight, or the entire cast of The Terror of Tiny Town, the latter of which, although all dead, might nevertheless qualify to vote in Chicago.
I’d like to think that the American people don’t make their political choices based on celebrity endorsements. Yard signs, probably, but celebrities? There seems to be great interest in who’s voting for whom. Maybe it’s just curiosity, but I suspect there may be some sense of political tribalism at play.
This past week I saw an on-line brief announcing that somebody was “making a political endorsement for the first time.” I spend zero time with People magazine, so I’m never surprised to not have any knowledge of trending celebs. But this guy, who might be a professional wrestler whose name I had never heard and which I’ve since forgotten, apparently has a publicist who convinced somebody that this was big news.
By now, I imagine that most voters have pretty much made up their minds about the coming election. The process is arduous because of there being so much misleading information. The television ads are, for the most part, despicable. Many candidates say exactly what they think the voter wants to hear with little regard for their own records. They must seriously believe that the electorate is incapable of finding the truth. Or maybe they think we won’t make the effort.
I can’t think that we, as consumers, would accept that kind of misleading advertising from a soap company.
And the flyers! We recycle stuff here at the house and the stack of political “literature” is mountain-like, a deep pile of misinformation on slick card stock with nifty graphics geared to dupe the average voter. Has anybody ever picked one out of the mailbox, glanced at it, and had a forehead-slapping “ah-ha” moment of political decision-making? I somehow doubt it.
As it stands, except maybe at the local level for local politicians where issues tend to be more transparent, the political liar-flyer business is a waste of paper and an insult to our collective intelligence.
And then there are the debates. Oy.
When I was a freshman in high school, back at about the time electricity was first catching on, each and every one of us had two required courses. Each a semester long, the courses were Civics and Speech.
In Civics, we learned about the Constitution and its role in government. Unbeknownst to the people who ran the school board, it gave us the fodder we needed to resist the government and promote civil rights, voters’ rights, and end the war in Vietnam. And that’s when they stopped teaching Civics because the last thing the powers-that-be want is a bunch pimply faced adolescents calling them out for their malfeasance.
In Speech, we learned how to organize our thoughts and information into an appropriate form suitable for saying aloud. Public speaking, as it were. We also learned to debate. As I recall, a topic was assigned, and two of us would draw straws to see who was pro and who was con. Then we studied the issue and were given a date. We would then have two or three minutes to present our cases, a bit longer to rebut each other, and another couple of minutes for closing remarks. We had to do this without yelling, interrupting, or suggesting draconian retaliation for disagreeing.
We could, however, roll our eyes in disbelief.
It was an exercise in civil discourse, one that promised to shed some light on a topical issue.
This year’s first presidential debate failed to do that. And nobody knows for sure if there will be another.
I’d better call Danny.
Photo manipulation by Courtney A. Liska
Scallops alla Adagio
This was one of the most popular starters at my restaurant.
1 small carrot, minced
1 scallion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of saffron threads
2-3 Tbs. chopped parsley, for garnish
To make the sauce, put the carrot, scallion, wine, saffron, and a pinch of salt and 1/4 cup water in a pan; bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add cream.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat.
Pat the scallops very dry. Season with salt and pepper.
When the pan is hot, add enough grapeseed oil to coat the pan, then drop in the scallops, giving them enough room in between so they don’t steam.
Cook the scallops for 2 minutes, making sure not to move them or touch them at all.
Flip the scallops over and add butter to the pan. Let the scallops cook for 1 more minute, basting the scallops with the butter.
Sauce, garnish and serve.