Today's Second Bonus Video Link

For my favorite movie back in the early sixties, a singing group called The Shirelles recorded a song called "31 Flavors" that was heard briefly in the film. It was part of some sort of cross-promotion tie-in with the Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores that I won't pretend I understand. But they also recorded their version of the title song for my favorite movie. So here are The Shirelles with "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" — though with alternate lyrics and maybe a lack of enthusiasm…

Today's First Bonus Video Link

Andrew Lloyd Webber or some company of his has been posting videos of full productions of his musicals on YouTube during The Pandemic. They have two goals, it would appear, one being to cheer up people who are stuck at home during a time when there is no theater. That's a fine goal. The other is to raise money for The Actors Fund, which is also a fine goal, though I'd like to think that the richest man to ever work in live theater is also sending them Phantom-of-the-Opera-sized checks.

Each musical posted is only available for online viewing for a limited amount of time. A year ago this week, it was this version of Cats, which is not the recent movie. It's a filming done in 1988 of the production that ran slightly less than forever at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane. It has Elaine Paige, Sir John Mills and other fine performers in its cast and it's about as good a presentation of this show as you'll ever see.

I find myself often defending Cats even though I'm not a huge fan of the musical. But I don't hate it as some folks do and I certainly don't do what some do and call it an affront to mankind and decency akin to The Holocaust, only with tails and slightly worse songs. Some people were that way about it before it even debuted, insisting that a show that dressed actors up like felines could not possibly have any merit whatsoever.

I remember smug articles in theater-fanzines of the day predicting a failure of massive proportions and then, lo and behold, it went on to become at one point the longest-running Broadway show in history. It's still at #4, behind The Lion King, though it'll probably soon be overtaken by Wicked, which is reopening shortly. And some who predicted the failure of Cats are still refusing to believe anyone ever liked it. They sound like Trump supporters insisting nobody voted for Joe Biden.

If you think the whole notion of actors in cat costumes is an abysmal concept, don't go see it. I know a few people who I think did just so they could say, "Yeah, I went to see it so I could see if it was as horrible as I knew it would be and I was right." That's like saying, "Yeah, I jumped off the roof just to see if I'd break my leg as I knew I would and I was right."

But if you're curious about the show or saw it and would like to see it once more, it's online again for a week, minus the few hours since Sir Andrew or his minions put it up. Tell Mr. Mistoffelees and Rum Tum Tugger I sent you…

Dispatches From the Fortress – Day 429

For what it's worth, I've decided there's no reason to modify my mask-wearing. I wear one when near others except folks in my home and no one gets in here unless they're vaccinated. I still have no desire to dine in a restaurant or be in a theater. I will decide about things like parties and conventions when I'm invited to one that I might wish to attend…which might be quite a while off.

This morning, I'm intrigued by this story that a band of self-styled spies ran an elaborate sting operation, trying to trap various officials of the Trump organization into saying insulting things about Trump on hidden cameras. But this was not a group that hated Trump and wanted to bring him down. These were Trump loyalists who wanted to identify those within the Trump organization who deep down thought such things about the president.

They tried hard but were unable to entrap anyone. I'm going to guess that was due to inept trickery because there certainly were folks within that organization that thought that Trump was a dummy with severe mental problems. More than a few described him as an idiot after they left the administration or even while they were in it. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called him an f'ing moron without the contraction.

And the amazing thing about this is not that the spy ring couldn't snare anyone. It's that they felt the project was necessary. They knew there were people around Trump who felt that way about him. And the reaction to that was "We've got to weed out those people and get rid of them." It was not "Gee, maybe those people who are working with Donald Trump and came to that conclusion are accurately reporting what they've observed."

No, I don't know any more about the "Special Edition" Comic-Con in San Diego this Thanksgiving than I did weeks ago. Well, I do know that the convention center has taken the line about an expected attendance of 130,000 off its online calendar. It's still listing the event to occur November 26-29 but with no estimate of attendees. I'll bet the folks who stage this con are still not sure of how a big a convention they're planning…and if they can pull it off.

Today's Bonus Video Link

I love the musical stylings of the a cappella group Voctave even though their membership roster seems to have changed a bit since last we linked to a Voctave video. This one was just released and it's a medley billed as the themes from Disney animated shows of the nineties. They fudged a little to include Muppet Babies which didn't become a Disney show until this century but who cares? It's fun…

Sign of the Time

You're probably seeing some version of the above announcement all over your Internet today. It's nice to see…or is it? Most folks — particularly those who never liked the idea of masking-up in the first place — are going to see that and toss their masks into waste receptacles. But that's not really what the CDC proclamation says…

There are a few caveats, however. People who have compromised immune systems, for example, should talk to their doctors about continuing with mitigation measures. And even fully vaccinated people may still be asked to wear masks in certain places, such as in hospitals or other health care settings, as well as public transportation.

The graphic above, which was tweeted by the office of The President of the United States, says nothing about "certain places." It says nothing about how private businesses and offices may still require masks. It says nothing about state and local laws that may still require masks.

And if they thought that somehow, this would encourage the unvaccinated to join the ranks of the vaccinated, I think it'll have the opposite effect: "Oh boy! Now we can go maskless and everyone will just assume we're vaccinated!"

I ain't throwing mine away.