Well. That was Weird.

What an utterly weird appearance was Megyn Kelly, formerly of Fox “News,” formerly of NBC News, on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, which everyone just calls “Bill Maher.”

It is useful to prelude by remembering why Kelly is now a podcast host instead of a major network news anchor. It’s not because of the “bombshell” stuff. She went to NBC after all that. Then, she asked in a roundtable session, what’s the big racist deal about white people wearing dark makeup to look like black people?

Yeah. NBC fired her three days later.

So on Bill Maher, first she says CNN’s Don Lemon is “committed to his hard left partisanship.” Funny how she mentions Don Lemon, who had this to say of Kelly’s brilliant analysis of blackface in 2018: “Listen, I know Megyn. Sometimes you say stupid things when you’re live, but I’m just gonna be honest. Megyn is 47 years old – she’s our age. There has never been a time in that 47 years that blackface has been acceptable.”

This is true. Actor Ted Danson is fortunate to have recovered from the backlash when he appeared in blackface at the Friar’s Club in 1993. Megyn Kelly is two years younger than I am, and I remember that story vividly. Blackface has not been okay for a long, long time.

To his credit, Maher tried to call out her false equivalence and in fact called it that to its face.

Maher: I agree there’s crazy on both sides, but that’s a false equivalency, don’t you think? Because what Lou Dobbs believes is that the election was stolen. I mean, I don’t agree with Don Lemon on everything, but he’s not living in an alternative reality.

Kelly: Oh, I don’t know about that.

I don’t watch Don Lemon, nor do I watch CNN much. But I don’t see his show getting canceled over a $2.7 billion lawsuit for spreading lies about election fraud.

Then, Kelly takes a swipe at Rachel Maddow.

Kelly: But look at Rachel Maddow and Russiagate, right? I mean, she went totally down the rabbit hole and was embarrassed by that. Lou Dobbs same thing on the crazy election claims. So, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Dismissing Russia’s role in American politics in the last several years is dangerous revisionism. It is an established fact that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had been in contact almost daily with Russian agent Konstantin Kilimnik during the campaign; this was established by the then Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee. Trump eventually pardoned Manafort.

The Mueller Report told us that Russian interference in the 2016 election was “sweeping and systemic” and that there were “numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign.” It did not exonerate Trump; in fact, it directly states that if the Special Counsel’s Office felt they could clear the president of wrongdoing, they would have said so. It directly states that the President was not exonerated.

Unlike Megyn Kelly’s comments on Maher last night, Maddow’s reporting regarding Russia connections were salient and supported by specific examples. For instance, we know Trump liked to parrot Russian propaganda, as now do many Republicans. Here is a good example of a key Maddow report on this tendency of Der Cheeto:

Part 1 | Part 2

Is it going down a rabbit hole to report that the President of the United States is floating the completely unheard of and weird notion that Russia invading Afghanistan in 1979 was a marvelous idea? Which rabbit hole is that, Megyn? Because from where I’m sitting (and as Maddow indicates in her reporting here), that’s an Emo Philips weird thing for a Preznit to say.

Then the interview gets really weird.

This is when Maher asks Megyn Kelly about the decision to withdraw her kids from New York City schools. Here is what she says, and I am not making this up.

“We loved our schools. We were in the New York City private school system. Our boys went to an all-boys’ school and our daughter to an all-girls’ school. Loved our teachers, loved the students and the faculty and the parents. And they were definitely leftists. You know, we’re more center-right, but that was fine. You know, my family are Democrats, it’s not like I was bothered by the fact that they leaned a bit left. But then they went hard-left. Then, they started to take a really hard turn toward social justice stuff. And, at our boy’s school in particular, it started with when our son was in third grade, they unleashed a three-week trans experimental education program on these 8-and-9-year-old boys. And it wasn’t about support. It was about—we felt like it was about trying to convince them. Like “hey, come on over!” And the boys started to get confused. And they had to implement this system where they raised their hand if you’re really confused, put up a one. If you’re just a little confused…”

Maher interjected, asking how old the kids were. 8 and nine at the time, she said. She said she and her husband and others had objected to this, and that the school had apologized. Then, she said her kindergartner was told to write a letter to the Cleveland Indians objecting to “their mascot,” who I believe was ol’ Chief Wahoo, a character who was retired in 2018 because, c’mon, that thing was just plain offensive.

Then it just got worse and is not actually worth trying to think about for another minute. Oy gevalt.

Idol Highlights, Season 19, episode 2

Season 19, episode 2

Amanda Mena – sung “Golden Slumbers”

Anthony Guzman — weird guy dressed up as Thor. But he sang “Cry Me A River.”

Hannah Everhart – 17 years old from Canton Mississippi, started with “Wayfaring Stranger” and tanked. Then took on “At Last” and did better.

Calvin Upshaw. I don’t know what the fuck he sang, but it was good.

Casey Bishop. Mötley Crüe – Live Wire then Sara Vaughan. This was a brilliant audition, in that she took a hokey metal song and recognized its roots. She sang it as blues. And she did this with this incredible insight at age 15. This was the audition of the night.

Cassandra Coleman — “The Way It Was” by the Killers and then they made her play some shit on the piano

Willie Spence “Diamonds” by Rihanna

Headrush

The phrase “does superman shit” can be either a question or an answer to a question. Discuss.



I have had the band Django Django in the back of my mind since I’ve been redoubling my efforts this year to become familiar with new releases in 2021 that don’t suck. I had listened to some of the band’s previous releases and was kind of digging them, but then tonight in Spotify, I clicked on the latest release, Glowing in the Dark, and I liked it right away. This does not happen often.

This band’s press says they’re a real genre-bender, and they aren’t kidding. This opener, “Spirals,” connects the sparse emo of Robert Smith’s Cure but smacks of the Hollies’ “Stop Stop Stop” or The Byrds. If I had to draw a straight line from them to any other band I’ve enjoyed, it might be Of Montreal or Poster Children. Maybe Love & Rockets without so much of the rockets. INXS with a bit of the excess shaken off. But sometimes, this band spouts its inner Beach Boys.

So far…

  • Revolutionary Love — Ani DiFranco
  • Welfare Jazz — Viagra Boys
  • OK Human — Weezer
  • Human — Shai Maestro
  • I Told You So — Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio
  • Glowing in the Dark — Django Django

So, there’s snow again, might be 7 inches by morning. It’s enough that I wish there were a market for the stuff. If we could sell snow by the pound, we’d all be rich and the roads would be clear.


Anyway, I actually watched and, yes, enjoyed the season opener of American Idol.

The highlights…

Alex Miller, the 17-year-old country singer who ended up dueting Merle Haggard’s “Big City” with Luke Bryan.

Jason Warrior, dude who previously yelled at Meghan Trainor on some other singy talent show. He sang “What’s Goin’ On.”

Anilee List, who has Tourette’s. She sang “Blue” by Aaron Taylor.

Nia Renee, 17, who sang all the juice out of “Chain of Fools” and therefore didn’t need a stupid story.

And, Grace Kinstler, who it sounds like she lost her Pop to Covid, though they don’t say that on the TV. She double-wowed with “Midnight Train to Georgia” (in which one does not even mind that one must hear the Pips in one’s head alone) and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

The lowest lowlight: Claudia Conway, who is the daughter of George Conway and KellyAnne “Alternative Facts” Conway, auditioned. Among the other things this 11-minute segment accomplished was to help make KellyAnne seem more relatable. You know. As a weird gigantic blurry hologram on the wall. Vince Lombardi at the Super Bowl was more lifelike.

One American Idol. Two singers performing Aretha Franklin songs and doing them well. That’s not bad.

Still No Mothers

Rock Hall inductions today.

Carole King
Chaka Khan
Devo
Dionne Warwick
Fela Kuti
Foo Fighters
The Go-Go’s
Iron Maiden
Jay-Z
Kate Bush
LL Cool J
Mary J. Blige
New York Dolls
Rage Against the Machine
Tina Turner

I have long given up on The Mothers getting inducted (my perennial whine). But it ought to happen. Carole King was more prolific than anyone else on this list. And that “Tapestry” just turned 50 certainly gives her nod some heft. Dionne Warwick was one of Burt Bacharach’s greatest finds whose list of hits reads longer than some legislation does. And, New York Dolls is the most rock & roll thing on this list and should be a no-brainer vote.

Super Bowl LV

Well, that was an exciting game.

NOT.

The most exciting thing about it was watching my Dear Old Dad’s reaction to two “pass interference” calls in a row that were complete nonsense.

Yes, my Dad came over to watch the big game. He has been vaccinated. I have not, not yet. I know this doesn’t make it safe as houses, but at least I can’t kill him with the Covid.

I was already planning a menu and mentioned to him that I’d purchased a huge pork shoulder. Yeh, he heard “pulled pork” and wanted in. It was nice to watch the game with him, even if it wasn’t the best game. (Super Bowl games seldom are.)

But I got to cook. So, that was nice.

This was pulled pork on a cornbread waffle with Marty’s Carolina BBQ Sauce (which Dad said was some of the best sauce ever–good news, Dad, this stuff is local, though it currently shows as “out-of-stock”), macaroni and cheese, and slaw.

I Told You So

Dear Delvon Lamarr: You had me at “Organ Trio.”

This crew is everything you’d expect them to be just from the moniker “Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio,” sometimes hash-tagged to DLO3. Delvon Lamarr on organ. Jimmy James on guitar. Dan Weiss on drums. Think Meters. Think Booker T and the M.G.s. Think Wham!

Eh?

Yeah. These fellas rip up “Careless Whisper.”

Suffice it to say: The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio’s new album I Told You So is as cool as you think you look shooting pool.