The Wrap Sheet, November 2018 A Monthly Airing of Thoughts and Grievances
Happy Thanksgiving, you beautiful people!
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling tooooooooo.
It’s officially PAST Thanksgiving, which means we’re into the holiday season, officially.
Which means I can start playing and singing Christmas music, so shut up.
At least I’m not one of those people who plays Christmas music in July, or worse, year round.
There’s a specific pocket for Christmas music, I feel like.
For someone like me who a) lives in New York, b) does not have a car, and c) does not work in a retail store, Christmas music is something I get only a small dose of throughout the holiday season.
Some of my friends and I frequent the Pret a Manger nearest our theatre between shows, and they’ll have Christmas music playing while we sit and talk and enjoy our pumpkin bisques and coffee.
That much is fine. Christmas music is fine in small doses when you’re in a warm, comfortable place.
Living in New York, much of my life simply involves constantly passing through places on the way to my next destination. I can pass by the Winter Village at Bryant Park and say “oh, this is nice!” and then move on and let that be until I pass by it the next time.
It’s just going to suck when all the tourists start coming to town to look at all those fucking lights on 5th Avenue.
I’m sure if you have a car with a station that plays Christmas music 24/7 readily available, you’ll get sick of it a lot quicker. I mean, you could also change the station because more than one station doesn’tplay Christmas music 24/7, but if you want to be subjected to holiday cheer every waking second of every day, that’s your call.
The point is that it’s late November. And that means another Wrap Sheet.
It’s the last one of 2018, actually! Next month is the big one: According to Andrew’s Best of 2018 spread. I’m really excited, I’ve got a lot planned for you to read and judge me on.
But let’s get through this month first.
I don’t have too much to talk about, since I was a tad overwhelmed with work, but I’ll do my best to cover the big events.
We had our first big election since 2016- the midterm elections, the first big referendum on the Trump presidency.
The country came out in droves with a 49.3% turnout, the highest turnout since the 1914 midterms.
And, for the most part, the Democrats did not disappoint, taking back control of the House of Representatives, flipping (at the time of writing) 39 seats. They will now be able to impose more of a check on the Trump administration.
Although to be honest, if there wasn’t much Trump could get done with a full Republican congress, there definitely isn’t much he’ll be able to do with a split one.
I always say politics are not my strong suit, but I’ll be damned if I don’t become a junkie every two years when there’s a major election.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, once a shocking primary winner, took New York's 14th Congressional district in a landslide.
Among the surprises and results:
Kansas, a state that has had a Republican governor since 2011, elected a Democrat, Laura Kelly.
South Carolina’s first district, which has been represented by a Republican since 1981, also elected a Democrat, Joe Cunningham.
Incumbent Senator Ted Cruz defeated upstart Democrat Beto O’Rourke, retaining his seat. Despite the loss, O’Rourke still has major support on social media throughout the country, and has even hinted that a 2020 run at the presidency may be a possibility.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won New York’s 14th in a landslide. She is the first millennial elected to congress.
In my home state of Massachusetts, the state elected its first black woman congressman, Ayanna Pressley, who represents MA’s 7th congressional district. They also re-elected Senator Elizabeth Warren in resounding fashion.
And then there were the recounts and voting disputes in Florida and Georgia.
In Florida, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum withdrew his concession after recounts were ordered in nearly 70 counties whose races were too close to call.
In Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams filed a lawsuit to prevent two counties from rejecting absentee ballots that had “minor mistakes,” such as a person moving and forgetting to change their address. She claimed that her opponent, Brian Kemp, used his position as Secretary of State (which Kemp did not resign from) in order to purge the rolls of inactive voters and flip the race in his favor in order to win the election.
As of writing, both races have still been called for Rick DeSantis (R-FL), and Kemp.
I think this is just about what the country should have expected. They turned out in record numbers and made their voices heard, and made a huge change in the House. We now look forward to the 2020 elections, where an even bigger prize will be put on the line.
What I am most concerned about, if I’m a Democrat, is who your front-runner will be going forward. I think I read something about this being the first time in a while that the Democrats don’t have a favorite for the presidency in quite some time.
Beto O'Rourke lost to Ted Cruz for a Texas senate seat, but has not ruled out a bid for the Presidency in 2020.
I’m going to tell you right now I’m out on Beto. No guy who lost a midterm senate race in this day and age is going to win the presidency.
And I know what you’re thinking- Abe Lincoln did exactly that in his political career, losing a bid for congress in 1843 before becoming president in 1860.
But that came at a time when there were only 33 states in the union, three other political parties existed with fairly solid support, and people’s opinions were swayed by logic and reason in addition to gut feelings.
I can’t imagine a candidate who lost to the man with the most punchable face in America winning a presidential election against the world’s largest internet troll.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Beto and what he stands for. But I feel like he’ll need to do a lot of work between now and next year for a national campaign to take off. Not winning the senator seat for his home state doesn’t help his chances.
And then there’s been tell of Hillary Clinton emerging from the shadows to engage in a rematch with Donald Trump.
I’m gonna be the first to come out and say I’m totally against this idea.
We have yet to hear from folks like Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar. I don’t think the Democrats are in trouble just yet, but they’ll really need to do some thinking as to who their front-runner is going to be.
Or maybe Joe Biden will run!
My point is this: Rome wasn’t built in a day, kids.
Progress is sometimes slow and monotonous. And it’s not like the midterm elections are going to result in an automatic impeachment or anything like that.
But when change happens, boy, is it exciting.
2020 is just around the corner, and it’s going to be time to pony up and come out even stronger. There’s a lot of work to do. Get out there and stay vigilant and up to date.
We lost two giants that have defined our culture this month.
The first is the creator of many of our favorite superheroes, who inspired generations to stand for truth and goodness in this world.
That man is Stan Lee, who passed earlier this month at the age of 95.
This dude was a legend. He was a major catalyst in developing characters we know and love.
To name a few, Lee helped create:
The Fantastic Four
He helped make Marvel what it is today- one of the most successful comic book franchises and media distributors in the world. He inspired a generation to dream, to hope, and to find the hero within ourselves.
Also, he has some of the best movie cameos of all time.
Here’s to you, Mr. Lee. Thank you.
The second is more recent, and that’s Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of Spongebob Squarepants, who passed at the age of 57 only a few days before writing. He had been diagnosed with ALS a year and a half prior.
Hillenburg, I would say, was way below the radar in comparison to Lee, whereas many fans of Spongebob are more familiar with the character and his voice (Tom Kenny) instead of the creator of the show. The target audience is kids, who tend to care less about things like that. But for those of us who grew up watching Spongebobon TV, this loss is devastating.
Spongebobis probably Nickelodeon’s most successful and well-known animated show. It’s been on the air since 1999. Next year will be the show’s 13th season and 20th year on the air.
And sure, most of the successes of the show came in the first three seasons, when Hillenburg was showrunner, but that doesn’t make the lasting impact of Spongebobany less great.
The franchise spawned two movies (with another on the way in 2020), theme parks, video games, and one kickass Broadway musical.
Spongebobis legendary. He is transcendent. And because Hillenburg flew “under the radar” as a face of modern pop culture, he was able to create and develop this wonderful creation and give this gift to the world. He’s a hero as well.
Mr. Hillenburg, thank you.
Here's to two legends who helped shape and define our childhoods.
I didn’t want to talk about lettuce this month.
But YOU GUYS are so upset about romaine lettuce that I just HAVE TO, I guess.
So, if you live under a rock, there’s a romaine lettuce recall in the United States due to an E. Coli outbreak, carried on lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.
210 people from 36 states have claimed illness due to the bacteria, the first cases of illness coming from New York.
Thousands of food carriers, from super markets to restaurants, have thrown out their romaine lettuce in favor of other greens.
I can’t tell if my podcast partner Kata just hates lettuce or if she is genuinely concerned for my safety.
And it’s because she used the phrase “the lettuce is broken” that I decided to include a quick thing about it on the Wrap Sheet.
Also, you can check out the latest episode of Under Further Review HERE or by searching for us on Apple Podcasts.
Panera Bread (the same one that has wronged me, on 39th and 5th) has started using mixed greens for their lettuce substitute.
My local deli has (I believe) also done the same.
What’s funny to me (and not to quote a meme or anything) is that people will say romaine lettuce is bad and MILLIONS of people will throw it out without question. But thousands, maybe millions of people have been murdered by guns and people won’t do anything about those.
Just me? I don’t know. I’m typing this at 9:30 in the morning and the red bull didn’t take to my system so I could just be in a mood.
EDIT: AND JUST LIKE THAT THE LETTUCE IS OKAY TO EAT AGAIN.
You may all return to your daily lives.
The Best Thing I Saw This Month
Finally, the best thing I saw this month.
I went to see the movie Bohemian Rhapsody a few weeks ago.
I had heard about the mixed reviews, but I love Queen and I have wanted to check the movie out since I saw the first trailer.
Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury, the insanely talented but deeply troubled lead singer of the band. Malek disappears into the part, assuming all of Mercury’s physical traits, right down to the lip purses when he sings.
In my amateur film critic’s opinion, I feel the story was a bit glazed over at times. Right when the story was about to get to something deep and gritty, it would cut to something else, and the band would pick up just like nothing ever happened. The movie is really a biopic about Freddie Mercury, even though it’s technically about the whole band.
But the performances and the music are what make this film what it is.
The best thing I saw comes near the end of the film, and it is the replication of the band’s legendary set at Live Aid in 1985.
The additional camera angles. The reactions of some of the other band members as Freddie sings with them after not having done so in many months. The shots of the crowd. The music. The emotional payoff we’ve been building to for the entire movie. It’s all there.
Also, I’ve been on a Queen kick ever since I saw this film, and that was three weeks ago. Seeing this really solidified for me that the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” is one of my favorites of all time. Queen are revolutionary music makers, and there’s no denying that their production style is legendary and will still be relevant 50 years from now.
Do yourself a favor and go see it. And then go watch the Live Aid set and see just how on point the two performances are.
And that about does it for me, y’all.
This is the last Wrap Sheet of 2018! In December I have a lot of lists I’m trying to put out, all leading up to my Best of 2018 spread. This will be leading into the fourth year of the blog, and I’m real excited to share more of my work with you guys.
Thanks to everyone for reading along with my incoherent ramblings for the last couple of years. Here’s to many more.