Add and subtract and as a matter of fact: Best of 1982

ABC – The Lexicon of Love
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Kid Creole and the Coconuts – Wise Guys
Duran Duran – Rio
Roxy Music – Avalon
New Order – 1981-1982
George Clinton – Computer Games
The English Beat – Special Beat Service
Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights
Prince – 1999
Lou Reed – The Blue Mask
Kate Bush – The Dreaming
The Psychedelic Furs – Forever Now
Yaz – Upstairs at Eric’s
Evelyn King – Get Loose
Imagination – In the Heat of the Night
Heaven 17 – Penthouse and Pavement
Fleetwood Mac – Mirage
Robert Plant – Pictures at Eleven
Marvin Gaye – Midnight Love
Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
Donna Summer – Donna Summer
Siouxsie and the Banshees – A Kiss in the Dreamhouse
X – Under the Big Black Sun
Warren Zevon – The Envoy
Rush – Signals

Singles 7/29

Notes:

– Boy, have I missed Danny Brown.

– Boy, have I missed Britney Spears. Ignore G-Eazy, as I am wont to do these days with vestigial rapping (see: Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q’s “All Hands on Deck”).

– I suspected 2014’s “Quarterback” was a fluke.

Click on links for full reviews.

Danny Brown – When It Rain (8)
Gepe – Punto Final (7)
Metronomy – Night Owl (7)
Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy – Make Me… (6)
Ayumi Hamasaki – Mad World (6)
Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons w/ Logic & Ty Dolla $ign ft. X Ambassadors – Sucker for Pain (5)
Miriam Bryant – Black Car (5)
Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper – Perfect Strangers (4)
Kira Isabella – I’m So Over Getting Over You (4)
Katy Perry – Rise (3)
Drake ft. Popcaan – Controlla (3)

To doubt me is absurd: Best albums of 1981

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Psychedelic Furs – Talk Talk Talk
Marvin Gaye – In Our Lifetime
The Human League – Dare!
The Go-Go’s – Beauty and the Beat
Prince – Controversy
Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Trust
Luther Vandross – Never Too Much
Merle Haggard – Big City
Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Grace Jones – Nightclubbing
Funkadelic – The Electric Spanking of War Babies
Yoko Ono – Season of Glass
The English Beat – Wha’ppen?
X – Wild Gift
The Rolling Stones – Tattoo You
Rosanne Cash – Seven Year Ache
Earth, Wind & Fire – Raise!
Phil Collins – Face Value
The db’s – Stands For Decibels
The Clash – Sandinista!
Teena Marie – It Must Be Magic
David Byrne – Songs From the Broadway Production of “The Catherine Wheel”
The Police – Ghost in the Machine
Lindsey Buckingham – Law and Order
ABBA – The Visitors
Duran Duran – Duran Duran

Check, please! ‘Cafe Society’ needs more time in the oven

As he demonstrated in 2012’s To Rome with Love, Jesse Eisenberg is the best cast of Woody Allen alter egos. Garrulous and conceding nothing to audience sympathy, he has Allen’s verbal facility and none of the writer-director’s weaknesses as an actor. Cafe Society reunites Eisenberg with Kristen Stewart, the object of affection from 2009’s Adventureland for an innocuous divertissement set in 1930s Hollywood about a jeweler’s son falling in love with his uncle’s girlfriend. In 2016 “innocuous” is the best thing I can say about an Allen comedy, and if it rises to this level of skill at all it’s in large part due to Eisenberg and Stewart.

Steve Carell plays the uncle, superagent Phil, a kind of proto-Michael Ovitz who can’t construct a sentence without mentioning that he just got off the phone with Gary Cooper or had lunch with Joan Crawford. Reluctant to be pressed into service for the sake of Brooklyn Jewish relatives whom he has spent his life avoiding, Phil gives the naive Bobby (Eisenberg) token support: invitations to brunch, nonsense job as his courier, that sort of thing. To acclimatize him to the heady air, Phil hooks him up with Vonnie (Stewart) as a tour guide. During casual lunches at Mexican restaurants Bobby falls for Vonnie; she gently rebuffs him, reminding him she’s got a boyfriend, “a journalist.” Phil, who as usual can’t seem to leave his wife, discovers his own feelings with Vonnie run stronger than he anticipated: he wants to marry her. Shattered, Bobby returns to New York to work for his older brother Ben (Corey Stoll), a gangster who cheerfully buries rivals under several pounds of cement when they cross him. After a while the nightclub he helps run becomes New York’s it place, where the elite meet and the martinis are dry.

As busy as a lunch rush, Cafe Society includes cutaways to and stop-overs at the bickering Jewish family, the most memorable of whom is Rose, played by Jeannie Berlin as a cross between Elaine May in Allen’s Small Town Crooks and Alvy Singer’s mom in Annie Hall. Self-cannibalizing is Woody’s metier; add Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hannah and her Sisters, and Manhattan to the list. And when he suspects the purple-haired biddies in the audience have fallen asleep he sticks a piece of curdled wit in a character’s mouth like, “Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living, but the examined one is no bargain.” All that’s needed is Bobby’s visit to a old windbag philosopher or rabbi, preferably blind (there’s a young philosopher in the movie, and I’m not sure Allen wants us to giggle at him). Vittorio Stotaro lights the Hollywood scenes like photos from Vanity Fair or Country Life, with an emphasis on aquas and whites, and he succeeds; Cafe Society looks crisp, the images have a glow. But if a writer’s going to title a film Cafe Society then he better write dialogue worthy of it, and the cafe scenes don’t come until more than halfway through the picture anyway. Although he keeps the thing moving at a decent clip, Allen’s lost much of his rhythm. Those family exchanges are like sitcom scenes awaiting laugh tracks. Carell fares worse. Decent at playing self-deluded fools, he merely looks foolish; it might have something to do with giving CPR to lines like “Dare I kiss you?”

If Cafe Society is a fly speck above recent Woody fare like Magic in the Moonlight, Irrational Man, and the interminable Blue Jasmine, credit Eisenberg and Stewart. With her self-contained melancholy, hooded expression, and skill with throwing away lines, Stewart can deflect any undue emoting hurled at her. She’s too modern in manner and speech for Cafe Society, which is appropriate: Woody Allen is too archaic in manner and speech.

Where’s my sandy beach? Best albums of 1980

Pretenders – Pretenders
Prince – Dirty Mind
Change – The Glow of Love
Captain Beefheart – Doc at the Radar Station
Steely Dan – Gaucho
XTC – Black Sea
Public Image Ltd. – Second Edition
Talking Heads – Remain in Light
Diana Ross – diana
The Rolling Stones – Emotional Rescue
The Clash – London Calling
The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms
The English Beat – I Just Can’t Stop It
David Bowie – Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)
The Psychedelic Furs – The Psychedelic Furs
Gang Of Four – Entertainment!
Chic – Real People
Daryl Hall and John Oates – Voices
Joy Division – Closer
George Benson – Give Me the Night
Teena Marie – Irons in the Fire
Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (Melt)
Stevie Wonder – Hotter Than July
Chaka Khan – Naughty
Siouxsie and the Banshees – Kaleidoscope
Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Get Happy!
The B-52s – Wild Planet

The bat shit furor of ‘The Fury’

If nothing else, The Fury satisfied a craving that had been gnawing at audiences since the early sixties: what was the best way to kill John Cassavetes? Revealing the manner of his death would count as a spoiler, but I’ll say that the screen’s go-to man for piss-ant sourness gets a sendoff worthy of him. I wish I’d been in a theatre to watch it.

Released in the spring of 1978, The Fury was the apogee of a subcategory of disaster pictures in which ordinary men and women discover psychic powers and screw up the lives, often inadvertently, of their loved ones. The Medusa Touch, of course, but also Carrie, the Brian De Palma hit that made a star out of Sissy Spacek and showed the world the best way to fuck with a prom. In The Fury, Kirk Douglas plays Peter Sandza, a former CIA spook in search of Robin, the son kidnapped by a colleague named Ben Childress for the purpose of training him as part of a proto-X Men group of psychic warriors. But Childress is no Professor Xavier—to establish control, he orders that these kids kill their own families. Instead of paraplegia, he’s missing an arm; worse, the socket where the arm should be still hurts. Thanks to fellow psychic Gillian Bellaver, played by Amy Irving, who works at a more benign clinic, Sandza is on to the scheme (I should note that Irving, after being the mean girl in De Palma’s earlier film, finally gets to play Carrie)

But none of this horse pucky matters. What does is De Palma’s control over the stuff of teen exploitation melodramas and slasher flicks; he can’t resist mucking the distance between subject and object, observing and participating. In a scene similar in tone to the opening of Carrie, De Palma’s camera follows Amy Irving down the Sunset Strip, never taking its lens off her ass, sheathed in cut-off jorts. And De Palma takes his pleasures where he finds them—hetero- and homoerotic. In the first scene, Kirk Douglas and his onscreen son, both of whom are in excellent physical shape, wrestle on the sand while, again, the camera, panting, holds them in extreme close-up. How I long for an exegesis by the late lamented critic Robin Wood, who was alert to charged moments like this. Surely there are film majors who have argued that The Fury is the story of a young man in sexual crisis, bereft of his father and fighting the one-armed advances of another.

If cinema has any resonance in 2016, if it draws devotees of Marvel comic adaptations and of Olivier Assayas, it’s due to our healthy, edifying fascination with attractive bodies in rest and motion. As lurid as a pink rose in summer, The Fury is a splendid follow-up to Carrie and what I consider De Palma’s best pictures, 1980’s Dressed to Kill and 1981’s Blow Out. If it’s no masterpiece, blame a car chase that stops the movie cold and a bunch of aging actors thinking they’re delivering Academy Award speeches. But it has plenty of nail-biter moments—there are few images more terrifying than Kirk Douglas with his shirt off. And it’s got that ending, what critic Pauline Kael called the most spectacular send-off for a movie villain history. It’ll blow you away.

Thank you.

DNC, Day 4: Love trumps (!) hate?

11:34. A lawyer in spirit if not heart, Clinton isn’t a natural nor should she be — she’s married to the Black Hole of Empathy; her boss was the best presidential orator of his generation. Again, I can say nothing to the thousands of women in the crowd who adored it and her. She should be president, not Donald Trump. She has a left flank watching her every move, the same way the right did George H.W. Bush in 1988. I can’t remember the last time this happened — 1972? 1948?

11:17. It just hit me: what other presidential forebears can Clinton use? Obama can look at Bill, Reagan, JFK, FDR, William Jennings Bryan, Henry Clay, and what have you. Who can Hillary study?

11:14. The Israel, NATO, and climate change references have taken place in a hundred words.

11:07. I can’t remember another presidential nominee mentioning a rival so late in a speech like Clinton just did regarding student debt.

11:06. “Our economy isn’t working the way it should because our democracy isn’t working the way it should.”

11:03. “I believe in science!” she yells. We have to say this in 2016, not 1926.

10:57. I realize I’m kinda sick of criticizing her. All these dudes like me criticizing her. The women in the audience are overjoyed. And they’re right to be overjoyed.

10:53. Most commentators are men. They expect PASSION. No American woman’s ever been in Hillary Clinton’s position.

10:41. Ooof. Painful. She can’t stop a predictable Powerpoint 101 sing-song. When the crowd chants her name, she doesn’t even pause — she talks past them. About Trump she actually pronounced the clause thusly, “ISN’T SHE FOH-GET-TING THE POLICE OFFICERS?”

10:35. Bernie Sanders looks wary if not afraid of what his supporters might do. A “progressive platform into real change for America” is a phrase I never thought I’d hear a Clinton say — or a Democrat for that matter.

10:33. What’s up with her stresses?

10:28. Hillary looks nervous. Again, it’s appropriate. OF all the thousands of words I’ve written about the Clintons, let me allow myself this moment of pathos, What the fuck must she be thinking?

10:24. The most humane moments I’ve seen of Hillary Clinton happened last night when it looked obvious to me that she was clearly, powerfully moved by Obama’s speech; in response, she approached him slowly and lay her cheek against his lapel and closed her eyes. I can’t imagine any moment in American history in which formal rivals closed ranks so intimately.

10:22. “President Bush said what do you need?” “Twenty billion dollars.” “You got it.” Bipartisanship.

10:21. Clinton’s mom sounds formidable.

10:15. She does have an infectious laugh; it has something to do with her liking a good stiff drink.

10:15. Of course Hillary’s gonna be president — Morgan Freeman’s doing the voice-over.

10:14. Chelsea reminds me of Margaret Thatcher or Cate Blanchett in Lord of the Rings: “Look at me and tremble, motherfuckers.”

10:11. Mr Gingrich said we will bury you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It would be such a beautiful thing to do
If the Clintons read to their children too

10:08. “I never had to worry about a safe neighborhood. They taught me to care about what happens in the world.” Chelsea Clinton sounds like Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing talking about the Peace Corps.

10:07. “When [Hillary Clinton] went to France to examine their child care system” is an odd sentence.

10:06. The Clintons sure love autobiography.

10:03. In twenty-four years of mild acquaintance, I’ve never heard Chelsea Clinton speak.

9:59. Cutaways show Bill Clinton and Tim Kaine deep in conversation, presumably about replacing Katy Perry with Jessie Ware for 2020’s convention.

9:56. Well, this performance should please the Human Rights Campaign gays.

9:54. “I don’t have a formal education. But I have a voice,” Katy Perry warns the crowd before reducing them to pebbles with her singing. She says something about Hillary Clinton dresses in her closet and Iowa.

9:52. Sorry, y’all. I was introducing The Fury at a De Palma film festival. I watched Xavier Becerra, forming part of what MSNBC commentator Joy Reid calls without irony the “extravagant display of patriotism” seen this evening. This includes a Pakistani citizen whose son died in service. “Have you even read the U.S. Constitution?” Khizr Khan asks the crowd of Trump, and I can hear the gasp.

I’ll tell you about her for you oughta know : Best of 1963

A trio of songs about erotic devastation, followed by the euphoric release.

Roy Orbison – In Dreams
The Ronettes – Be My Baby
George Jones – You Comb Her Hair
The Crystals – Then He Kissed Me
Jan and Dean – Surf Party
Dionne Warwick – Don’t Make Me Over
Bill Anderson – Still
Martha and the Vandellas – (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave
Buck Owens – Act Naturally
Lesley Gore – It’s My Party
Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire
The Drifters – Up on the Roof
Jackie Wilson – Baby Workout
Solomon Burke – If You Need Me
Sam Cooke – Another Saturday Night
Ray Charles – Take These Chains from My Heart
Bobby Bare – 500 Miles
Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters – Baby, Don’t You Weep
Wilson Pickett – It’s Too Late
The Surfaris – Wipe Out
Marvin Gaye – Hitch Hike
The Chiffons – One Fine Day
Ben E. King – I (Who Have Nothing)

Barack Obama, master synthesist

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Drone wars. The killing of a “radicalized” American-born cleric without due process of law. The deportation of illegal immigrants. Daring to think he could treat with John Boehner. The hilarity of hiring former Wall Street people to run the economic recovery in 2009 when eighty years ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a worldwide depression on his hands and wouldn’t even let Andrew Mellon onto the South Lawn. I can enumerate the ways in which Barack Hussein Obama reminds me of every egomaniac who’s run for the presidency. That his much vaunted cool allows him to put Malia and Sasha to bed at night while signing off on who gets vaporized by a drone strikes me as sociopathic or psychopathic is the kind of passing judgment I’ll leave to the Robert Dallecks and Jon Meachams.

But the speech he delivered at the Democratic National Convention last night ranked with his best works: a reminder that as the child of mixed race and a lover of literature he has the talent and the ego to situate himself as the person on whom the audience projects its grandest aspirations. Obama’s self-regard and his constituency’s desire for self-realization are indivisible: as he acknowledged, he wouldn’t be on that stage without their faith in him; he wouldn’t be president without the audience defining him. Aware of his role as a synthesist, he dared the audience to disagree: “That’s why we can take the food and music and holidays and styles of other countries, and blend it into something uniquely our own.” The cords that bound him and them gave the speech’s most stirring bit its pathos:

We’re not a fragile people. We’re not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that We the People, can form a more perfect union. That’s who we are. That’s our birthright—the capacity to shape our own destiny

Charles Pierce, the white writer who has come closet to divining Obama’s mystery, shakes his head in wonderment:

If he has done nothing else, and he has done a great deal, Barack Obama has developed an aesthetic of cool that is his alone. It expands and extends from the way he does his job; the video prior to his appearance emphasized how he always was the calm presence in the middle of heated policy debates. It also includes the way he has carried himself in office, and the way he has carried the office itself—lightly, in its ceremonial aspects, but carefully and reverently in those parts of the job that belong most importantly to the rest of us.

He remains a graceful, cosmopolitan democrat, not unlike Thomas Jefferson, not unlike Langston Hughes, not unlike Albert Murray. His patriotism is wide and generous. It has no definite frontiers. And that’s what was born in Louisiana, in the streets and the clubs and the brothels. It came from there and it fought racism to at least a draw. It came from there and it conquered the world.

His legacy I’ll leave to the historians, but as personage he defines his historical moment as much as Bowie did his musical one.

Roisin Murphy and Nice as Fuck

Roisin Murphy – Take Her Up to Monto

Seven years separated Overworked and last year’s Hookless Tunes – uh, Hairless Toys. Now that the Irish singer’s on the assembly line it’s time to face facts. To her credit, she has no interest in recording a dance pop classic as febrile and playable as Overpowered, but quasi ballads with exquisite latticework aren’t her strength. I fooled myself into admiring Hairless Toys and still listen to “House of Glass,” but Take Her up to Monto can’t shake itself out of its mid tempo rut. As a headphone experience, though, it’s a trip. After a brisk start with “Mastermind,” in which Murphy vocoders a stream of consciousness monologue over “I Feel Love” sequencers, the orchestral swells, synth string pizzicatos, marimba, and theremin-like whistles of “Pretty Gardens” buttress a performance of beguiling divahood; Murphy excels at playing the grand dame, treating her scratched contralto as a pair of green fingernails, as a feather boa tossed over a shoulder. Solo George Clinton is not an inapposite comparison. The “Girl From Ipanema”-inspired “Lip Service” is pretty – they’re all pretty, all appropriate changes of pace on a dance pop album. Take Her up to Monto has nine of them.

Nice as Fuck – Nice as Fuck

Well, they’re right. Also boring as fuck. Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Forster and the Like’s Tennessee Thomas join Jenny Lewis for the post punk heebie jeebies: the oddest of detours for Lewis, who solo and in Rilo Kiley has mastered the southern California singer-songwriter ethos of wrapping a stiletto in a handkerchief. Imagine Lewis singing over Joy Division bass pokes and drum accompaniment and Seventeen Seconds-era Cure grimacing through the affected gloom and with enough echo to give the impression that she’s singing from the basement of a Manchester steel plant. Of course you can’t: imagine Linda Ronstadt fronting Wire. An estimable one-off if the songs had been any good. “Home Run” sounds like Blondie’s “Rapture” taken seriously. “Cookie Lips” wants to be libidinous but finds no hook worthy of its title or sampled screech. As project, this 25-minute album is innocuous. As a piece of trolling, it’s expert.

Somebody’s watching me

Through the haze of a news cycle in which Democratic supporters used the word “treason” to describe Donald Trump’s encouragement of Russian eavesdropping, this story first reported by Buzzfeed a few weeks ago looks more interesting:

At Mar-a-Lago, the Palm Beach resort he runs as a club for paying guests and celebrities, Donald Trump had a telephone console installed in his bedroom that acted like a switchboard, connecting to every phone extension on the estate, according to six former workers. Several of them said he used that console to eavesdrop on calls involving staff….

…The managing director of Mar-a-Lago, Bernd Lembcke, did not respond to emails. Reached by phone, he said he referred the email query to Trump’s headquarters and said, “I have no knowledge of what you wrote.”

At the 126-room Mar-a-Lago mansion, Trump keeps an apartment set aside for himself and his family, and rents the rest out to guests and members.

BuzzFeed News spoke with six former employees familiar with the phone system at the estate.

Four of them — speaking on condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements — said that Trump listened in on phone calls at the club during the mid-2000s. They did not know if he eavesdropped more recently.

They said he listened in on calls between club employees or, in some cases, between staff and guests. None of them knew of Trump eavesdropping on guests or members talking on private calls with people who were not employees of Mar-a-Lago. They also said that Trump could eavesdrop only on calls made on the club’s landlines and not on calls made from guests’ cell phones.

Each of these four sources said they personally saw the telephone console, which some referred to as a switchboard, in Trump’s bedroom.

None of the four supports Trump’s bid for president. All said they enjoyed their time working at Mar-a-Lago.

Visitors of Walt Disney World know that paper or card tickets don’t exist; guests get “Magic Bands,” which not only have the magical power to store tickets, hotel and dining reservations, and hotel room access, but magically act as remote GPS units tracking guests around the park. I imagine WDW’s IT headquarters rivals the NSA. Which is to say that this creepiness is legal. But the story if true adduces his Nixonian tendencies. Just stop using landlines, okay?

(h/t Digby)

DNC, Day 3: No more war edition

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11:59. Good night!

11:45. As tactics, a masterful speech, moving into the center that the GOP thinks it has occupied. As rhetoric, it meshed his gift for the demotic with the phrasemaking, the latter not often among his strongest suits. I suspect “homegrown demagogues” and “We don’t look to be ruled” will be alluded to for many years.

11:38. “You are the best organizers on the planet, and I appreciate the change you made possible.”

11:26. Magnaminous salute to #feeltheBern.

11 p.m. “Our promise doesn’t come from a self-proclaimed savior; we don’t look to be ruled….America has never been what one person can do for us. It’s what we can achieve together.”

10:55. I will never escape — we will never escape — “City of Blinding Lights.”

10:46. The pundits aren’t wrong: Barack Obama’s hair has greyed damn fast.

10:40. Conor Friedersdorf

I just figured out the Tim Kaine pick: he is too bland and indistinct for any conceivable Donald Trump insult nickname to stick.

10:35. Presidents Jefferson and Wilson will not comment on the use of their Christian names.

10:31. Guys, he’s cutting of his g’s, it’s serious.

10:26. The crowd loves Kaine’s awful Trump impersonation. He looks like he tries to cop a a feel after a sip of Icehouse. But I think of Gandalf: “A fool. But an honest fool.”

10:19: “Can I tell ya a funny thing about the Senate?” Tell us one funny thing, please.

10:18. Ohhhhh…I’m sure he regretted that well-intentioned Bernie remark.

10:16. “Tough times don’t last; tough people do” — I’m bored of this muscle flexing.

10:15. I can’t imagine Tim Kaine getting mad at a shoe that won’t fit.

10:11. man do I pick on my straight Jesuit-trained friends for “Men for others.” Campaign slogan?

10:07. SEMPER FI! Trump’s remarks earlier today called for the flag-waving.

10:06. I dunno about that tie and shirt combination on Kaine: red, black, and grey-striped tie against slate grey shirt.

10:01. Senator Tim Kaine looks like a nice, innocuous man, i.e. a traditional vice president.

9:58: Tonight’s Jay Nordlinger Watch: @jaynordlinger

It’s Lisa Bonet’s husband! Ah, Lisa … #memories

9:58: Chris Matthews on Bloomberg: the speech was a defense of “pure capitalism at its finest.”

9:54. Bryan Williams: “This could be a law firm: Kravitz, Scott, and Kaine.”

9:48. Meanwhile on Earth-3, Tucker Carlson chooses to address Nancy Pelosi’s remarks, which are “under fire” for attacking Trump supporters. Not a word about Panetta, Biden, and Bloomberg. This tells me they’re worried.

9:42. Stone cold silence when he said Democrats got in the way of education reform.

9:41. Bloomberg letting his New Yawk accent out: “I don’t understaynd!”

9:39. “I’ve often encouraged business leaders to run for office…but not all.”

9:36. Understanding the strategic imperative for having Michael Bloomberg as the spokesman for independent voters doesn’t mean I have to like his prissy-smug Joe Lieberman act.

9:26. “We lead by our power rand the power of our example” is too jingoistic a line for me to endorse, but Joe Biden is the only one whose rhetorical force can give it poignancy.

9:24. “Literally.”

9:19. “Listen to me without booing or cheering.”

9:10. I still brace when an official calls the president by name. Impossible, for example, to imagine Spiro Agnew calling Richard Nixon “Dick.” Actually, I can.

9:04. Glossy promo film prefacing Vice President Joe Biden’s address. Cool clip of the young Biden, with hair and a firm voice, berating Secretary of State George Schultz for the Reagan administration’s coddling of South Africa’s govenmen.

8:59. Hi! We’re back. Long day. The former defense secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta was shouted down by, reportedly, Bernie Sanders’ California delegation. Of course this offends Very Serious People. I don’t care. It’s creepy as hell to have a former defense secretary and CIA director Leon Panetta endorse a candidate and watch a crowd shout “USA!!!” even if I’m offended by Donald Trump’s remarks.