‘Tis the Season to Judge Recent First Ladies

The long Obama farewell had begun. Donald Trump will be inaugurated one month from today. I saw a clip of Oprah’s interview with Michelle Obama about the transition, and the First Lady said something to the effect of, “This is what it’s like not to have hope.” On the day the Trumps move in, will the Obamas ceremonially hand them the keys? If so, I bet this clip will make things a bit awkward.

So here is my Christmas gift to you – a prediction of the Donald Trump/Michelle Obama interaction:

  • Donald Trump (sniffing): “Hey Michelle, we caught your interview on Oprah. I will tell you this: I’m good on TV. Everyone knows it, everyone says it. I’m great on TV. I’m terrific. You are not so great, and you showed up like a rookie, like someone wandering into Hollywood for the first time, okay? That’s what you did. How about we have a little decorum, okay? Can we have a little of that? Thanks a lot, Loser Michelle! That’s going to be your nickname, Loser Michelle.”
  • Michelle Obama (smiling brightly): “Oh, you caught my interview? I’m so glad you caught it. I was hoping you would catch it! Because I want to thank you for killing all my hope, until not a single ray of sunshine is left to say, ‘Michelle, don’t worry. It’s going to be okay.’ Because it won’t be, and that’s because of you. And yeah, I know my interview in the White House with Oprah was not as great as your Current Affairs interview on a bus with Billy Bush. Why don’t you go back to being a Prima Donna? Prima Donald, that’s your nickname.”
  • Melania Trump (stares right through them with icy cat eyes, says nothing)

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Florence Henderson, and what the Brady Bunch opening credits tell us about Humanity

Florence Henderson, Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch, died today. This is sad news; she was a good actress.

Now that I’ve paid my respects, I’ll admit I was never a huge Brady Bunch fan. Yet today’s onslaught of Brady nostalgia has uncovered all kinds of wonderful things I never noticed before.

I will not pack six lunches, nor will I pretend to be interested in Mike Brady's architecture

I will not pack six lunches, nor will I pretend to be interested in your stupid architecture, Mike Brady.

First, let’s acknowledge that Florence Henderson was a beautiful woman. In her early career, she was glamorous but by the time she got to the Brady Bunch, she was more believable as a mom.

Yet you need go no further than the opening credits to witness the cast’s horrifying deterioration, like those Faces of Meth mugshot progressions. Florence’s hair was veering into alarming territory as the seasons wore on, but she did manage to begin pulling things together in the last season.


Though I have singled her out, Florence was by no means the only guilty party.

Little by little, the girls replaced their cute mod clothing with the blandest outfits the 1970s had to offer, while all the kids’ hairstyles are a reminder that LSD can make lots of crazy things sound like a good idea.

In Season I, Greg was a little Madman, but at the end of the series he had morphed into John Travolta’s darkest days. Or look at Cindy. Her pigtails were cute when she was little, but she was still sporting them at the end of the series, when she was in her mid-40s.


If you’re thinking it’s mean and cowardly for me to anonymously mock child actors who endured the painful years of adolescence on a world stage, I have to agree. To balance things out, let’s quickly spotlight Alice, who did not change her look in the slightest degree during the show’s run. Ann B. Wilson must have mastered that gym teacher look before the show started because while Cruel Mother Nature played havoc with the Bradys, time stood still with Alice.


Here’s a larger version of that last Ann B. Wilson picture… What do you suppose was going on with Jan and Peter?


Okay, one more point on the Bradys as representatives of the human experience, and we’re done.

Can we agree that some kids are lovable and some aren’t? Parents – even pretend parents on a sitcom – know this. They may have made an effort to like all the kids equally, but they probably didn’t.

With that in mind, what do you make of Florence Henderson’s expressions as she gazes at each of her pretend daughters?

My affection for each of my children is directly correlated to my facial expression. No offense, Jan.

My affection for each child is directly correlated to my facial expression. You watch your back, Jan.

Farewell, Florence! See you on the other side.

I miss Justice Scalia already

Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in his sleep Saturday. Justice Scalia is my favorite justice; I feel sorry for everyone that he’s gone. He was a brilliant legal mind and he really cared about the Constitutional framework. He was consistent, as his supporters and detractors will tell you. If you knew the text of the Constitution, you knew how Scalia would vote.

Scalia had absolute confidence in his ability to discern truth from chaos, and relished a stormy disagreement now and then. For those of us who are never sure of ourselves, this seems almost like magical alchemy.

He was a fun guy to be around. He often brought humor to boring legal proceedings, and was always a key player in the more interesting ones. I started listening to oral arguments after first enjoying outtakes on Amicus podcast. It wasn’t until I realized how much Slate manipulated the recordings that I started listening to the full recordings on the scotus blog. Shout out to Slate’s blatant bias!

Speaking of Amicus, it was strange Slate chose to eulogize Justice Scalia with a Very Special podcast hosted by three leftists who typically froth at the mouth whenever he is mentioned: Dahlia Lithwick, Emily Bazalon, and the dour David Plotz. (Somehow “dour” and “David Plotz” go together like peanut butter and jelly.) After deploring Scalia’s political incorrectness, they eagerly moved on to how much damage the Republicans might do to themselves, should they refuse to confirm anyone President Obama nominates.

Antonin Scalia

Oh my God. I’ve got no faith in Barack Obama to nominate a decent human being, much less someone who could replace Scalia. The thought of Antonin Scalia being replaced with another ideologue like Sonia Sotomayor makes me feel weak and sick to my stomach. It’s like replacing lobster with chicken McNuggets. Telling Whitney Houston to shut up because Will Hung wants to sing. Sotomayor is a giant paint-by-number scotch-taped to a wall in the Louvre, right over Scalia’s da Vinci.

You may know Justice Clarence Thomas never speaks during oral arguments? He still authors sharp opinions and dissents but not a word does he say. But I recently learned he used to offer the occasional remark or question. Why did he stop? It turns out it’s because he is so annoyed by the “other justices” (I think we can guess who) continuously interrupting. So he’s quiet to even things out. Sorry, Justice Thomas, but it would take four monasteries under eternal vows of silence to make up for an afternoon with Sonia Sotomayor.

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