Hillary had dinner with the ADHD poster boy last night

There’s something called the Al Smith Dinner each year in New York, where the New York elite gather to raise money for the archdiocese to help poor children. But it’s also a time with political figures are invited as speakers to tell jokes about each other.

So guess who showed up:

I really enjoy how she’s being a nasty girl to the thin skinned kumquat, and I really like how she made Rudy Giuliani look like his head was going to explode. But if this is the only speech you see from the dinner, you probably think she’s being extraordinarily mean, or as Barbara Bush once said, “It rhymes with rich.”

But her opponent was on the dais before her and had a few things to say. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present you the best the Republican Party has to offer.

Here’s the thing. I really believe he thinks these jokes are hilarious. Because he’s from alt-right land, where they speak their own language, all of it horrible. To that basket of deplorables, this is the epitome of comic wit.

Honestly, I see this guy and the people who support him and I feel like I accidentally wandered into the bonfire rally in “Lord of the Flies.”

(That, my friends, is another obscure literary reference that will go over the heads of the passengers on the GOP trolley to doom. Because every literary reference to that crowd is obscure, including “The Grouchy Ladybug,” which bears a striking resemblance to the Republican standard bearer.)

The creepy clown breakdown

Well, this came out of nowhere:

Turns out that people with a lot of face makeup and bizarre, billowy hair aren’t just frightening America from debate podiums.

Creepy clowns, the ones with squirting flowers — not flags — on their lapels, are becoming a scourge across the country.

From Virginia to Florida to Ohio, police are getting calls about threatening men dressed up as clowns luring children into the woods with money, running around with machetes, pipes, knives or even guns and generally scaring the bejesus out of everybody.

OK, weird, but is it really a national concern?

During a news conference, a Bloomberg reporter asked White House press secretary Josh Earnest if President Obama was aware of the clown reports and associated arrests. Earnest said he did not know if the president had been briefed on creepy clowns, and deferring to the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on the jester specifics.

What’s going on with this clown obsession? The clowns of my childhood weren’t scary. They were happy, like this guy:


Bozo the Clown


Did I completely miss that 50 years ago? In my mind, back then, if Bozo showed up in a van and offered candy to get in, I’d have gone for the candy. I mean, what if there was candy in the van?

I was cool with clowns until this guy showed up:


This is Pogo the Clown, better know as John Wayne Gacy. Back in the 1970s, he killed 33 teenage boys and young men in Illinois. One of his lures was “the handcuff trick.” You can figure out what that was, and that it wasn’t a good idea to let him do that to you. But we don’t have to worry about him anymore. He was executed in 1994.

By the time Stephen King released “It,” his killer clown story, in the mid-’80s, I realized that a lot of the greasepaint guys and gals were creepy.

Then clown porn came along the whole clown concept was over as far as I was concerned.

Anyway, King is telling us to relax:

But, really, why is everyone freaking out over clowns in 2016? What has happened on the national scene that has gotten people so upset they’re spotting dangerous clowns all over the country?


Now you understand. It’s Freudian, but it’s true.

Meanwhile, I’m reposting my favorite creepy clown video:

Now that’s a clown that’ll give you nightmares.

A reflection on ‘Do the Right Thing’


And speaking of the opening credits:

So why are we thinking about “Do the Right Thing“?

Because Radio Raheem died this week.

Bill Nunn, a versatile actor best known for playing the role of Radio Raheem, the boombox-toting neighborhood philosopher killed by police officers in Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” died on Saturday in Pittsburgh. He was 63.

His death was announced on social media by Mr. Lee. His wife, Donna, told The Associated Press that Mr. Nunn had cancer.


Bill Nunn

What I didn’t realize was that we’ve seen Bill Nunn in a lot of things. He was in the Spider-Man movies, appeared in “Sister Act” and was a regular character actor on television.

Also, here’s something interesting to consider. Radio Raheem’s death by cop in “Do the Right Thing” happened decades ago. Very little has changed, but there has been an interesting reaction to similar circumstances today:

colin-kaepernick-time-maagzine-cover-leadAnd this is why Colin Kaepernick is taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. Because brutality that was the climax of a movie in 1989 that had pundits like Joe Klein saying that the movie was dangerous because it would make blacks want to riot (that’s right Joe, I haven’t forgotten that piece of editorial diarrhea) still happens today and doesn’t appear like it’s going to stop anytime soon.

Spike Lee was criticized for making it the focus of attention in 1989. Colin Kaepernick is criticized for making it the focus of attention in 2016.

Screenings, premieres and seeing people true stories are based on

So, I’m on my way to a baseball game, because the Washington Nationals have a deal where you can pay $75 for standing room tickets to all of the team’s home games in September. And as I’m about to go into the Metro, my brother calls and asks if I want to go to a special movie screening at the Newseum.

Let’s see: Use the $5 ticket to stand up for a nine-inning baseball game, or get in free on a movie that will cost $12 when it opens in D.C. theaters on Sept. 23. Movie it is.

But here’s where it gets strange (for me. I’m sure other people do this all the time and are used to it). It’s at the Newseum, and there’s an open bar. Free drinks!

Waiters are carrying around hors d’oeuvres. Free food!

And as we walk into the theater, there are boxes of popcorn and candy and bottled water. Free snacks!

So into the theater and head up to the cheap seats, because, like, it’s free and there’s no such thing as a cheap seat when you’re not paying anything. But someone comes along and asks us to move to one of the rows closer to the screen, because they don’t want the stars of the movie coming out to talk to empty seats up front. OK.

But before the movie, there are speeches.

So we get one from a Disney executive, since it’s a Disney movie.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from Brooklyn.

Then we get one from a congresswoman from California.

Then we get on from a senator from Delaware.

And all of them make it a point to recognize the senator from New Jersey sitting in the row in front of us.

(Is this how we do movie screenings in the nation’s capital?)

And when they’re done, they bring out two people who are the main subjects of the film, “Queen of Katwe,” based on a true story about a female Uganda chess prodigy.

And then the two stars of the movie: David Oyelowo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the movie “Selma” and Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave.”

Here’s the background trailer:

So this is the second time in a week that I’ve been to a performance where the subjects of the story actually show up at the event. Last week, it was at Ford’s Theatre (yeah, the place where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated) for the second night of a new musical about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (And yes I realize how potentially tasteless that sounds, and no, the name of the musical wasn’t “Springtime for bin Laden.”)

The musical, “Come From Away,” was very good and is headed to Broadway. It’s the story of how the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland, pulled together to take care of the people on the 38 passenger jets that were rerouted to the small island community when all of the air traffic to the United States was grounded. The special appearances were by the woman who was the captain for a Paris to Dallas American Airlines flight, and a middle aged couple (Brit man, Texas woman) who met and fell in love during their five days in Newfoundland and later got married.

Following the performance there was a half hour Q&A with the playwrights and the subjects of the musical.

(Oh, by the way. The Nats lost in 10 innings.)