Today, Tuesday, I'll be checking in with the great Milt Rosenberg at 1590 WCGO Chicago at 5pm Central, and then with Sean Hannity on Fox News, coast to coast at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific. Not sure what we'll be talking about, but the big news this morning is that Turkey, a Nato member, has shot down a Russian jet, which is a complication when President Hollande is inviting Obama to join him in teaming up with Putin to fight Isis.
The official line from Obama and Kerry is that the world is safer than it's ever been - except for a few pockets here and there. You'll recall that, when I spoke at the Danish Parliament seven weeks ago, the US State Department issued a travel advisory warning US citizens to steer clear of me and that particular neighborhood of Copenhagen. All very specific, and leaving plenty of other places for Americans to visit. However, the State Department has now expanded its area of concern and issued a "Worldwide Travel Alert", advising Americans basically to steer clear of the entire planet until February 26th. Claudia Rosett says reassuringly that travel abroad is still safe for Americans if you can "teleport into rural New Zealand". Absent that, shelter in place for the next three months.
As Obama, Biden et al crowed only three years ago, the terrorists are on the run, and they've apparently run everywhere. Is this all the President's fault? Well, he is "the leader of the free world". Which sounds like a demanding job. But happily, in terms of places it's safe to visit, the free world seems to be getting a lot smaller.
~It takes more than a State Department advisory to stop me, though. So, if you're one of our many Australian readers, you may find this announcement of interest. My last Oz tour was a sellout, so we hope this one goes equally boffo. It will be my first visit to the country under Malcolm Turnbull's premiership or whoever it is by then. During that last tour, I wound up singing "Kung Fu Fighting" at every stop, for reasons I explain here. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Attorney-General George Brandis, QC, and about half the present Oz cabinet were among those who gamely endured my Seventies disco sensation.
But I'm not like the Stones, sloughing off the same old stuff every time. So I was thinking about what number I should sing on my forthcoming Aussie tour this February. And, much to my horror, this season's samizdat anthem of defiance appears to be "My Boomerang Won't Come Back", now banned Down Under and erased from the ABC computers.
The healthiest response to Charlie Drake's impressively inept novelty song was the cunning revenge number "Someone's Pinched Me Winkles" by Australia's own Rolf Harris, but he's now the BBC's second most famous celebrity paedo, so that's probably not going to help. So instead "My Boomerang" won't come back from being banned.
I serenaded Australians with "Kung Fu Fighting", a Number One hit in the Seventies, because a performance of it in an Isle of Wight bar led to a criminal investigation.
In 2011, Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing", a Number One hit in the Eighties, was banned from the airwaves by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council because of the use of the word "faggot", which Mark Knopfler offered to replace with "fudger", which oddly enough only made things worse.
Last year, after 32 years of loyal service to the BBC, David Lowe was sacked for accidentally playing "The Sun Has Got His Hat On", a Number One hit in the Thirties. Which he only played as a last-minute substitution for the listener-requested "Abdul Abulbul Amir", a Number One hit in the 1870s, which he felt might get him into trouble with the Islamophobia crowd. And "The Sun Has Got His Hat On" was revived in the Seventies by the BBC's fourth most famous celebrity paedo, Jonathan King. (I think the third is Stuart Hall.)
First they came for "Money For Nothing" and I did not speak out, because I was not a Dire Straits fan. Then they came for "Kung Fu Fighting", and I did not speak out because I'm not a Seventies disco aficionado. Then they came for "My Boomerang Won't Come Back", and I did not speak out because it's complete garbage...
Once upon a time, there was a very reliable variety-show gag:
JUNIOR DETECTIVE AT CRIME SCENE, SIFTING THROUGH THE EVIDENCE: Looks like he had a criminal record, sir.
SENIOR DETECTIVE: A criminal record?
JUNIOR DETECTIVE: Yes, sir. [PRODUCES LITTLE JIMMY OSMOND LP FROM BEHIND SOFA]
Update as needed, with Rick Astley, Milli Vanilli, Justin Bieber, etc.
Except that now the joke is literal. In Australia, Britain, Canada and elsewhere, records are being criminalized. So on my Oz tour I may be driven to sing "My Kung Fu Faggot Has Got His Boomerang On His Hat".
PS Tim Blair adds:
This may be the first George Martin-produced track to be banned by the ABC following one complaint from a solitary Tasmanian.
Will no discerning Tasmanian file a complaint about "I Am The Walrus" or "Octopus' Garden"?
HANNITY: Joining us now with reaction to this, as well as my interview with Texas senator Ted Cruz, columnist Mark Steyn, by the way, who released a new musical album titled "Feline Groovy: Songs for Swinging Cats"? (INAUDIBLE) What is this?
MARK STEYN: It's my cat album. Last time...
HANNITY: A cat album?
HANNITY: No because eggnog is disgusting! I don't understand drinking eggnog..!
STEYN: And you call yourself a great American?
STEYN: And ten minutes later, Mitt Romney loses the election.
HANNITY: Oh, there's a connection.
STEYN: Yes, yes.
HANNITY: I criticized eggnog.
STEYN: Yes. You attack the cat album, Hillary's going to win 48 states.
HANNITY: Oh, forget it. I love the cat album.
Feline Groovy is available for pre-order from iTunes, and also from Amazon, in CD and digital format. Much to my surprise, on the jazz chart I'm currently sandwiched between Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.
~Also on the plug front, in that excellent Aussie publication Quadrant, Dr Steven Kates puts in a good word for "a wonderful and hilarious book by Mark Steyn called 'A Disgrace to the Profession'". This passage by Dr Kates did, however, give me pause:
Bearing in mind that Steyn is being sued for defamation, there is something very unusual in that he describes Mann in print as "Mr Fraudpants" and runs articles with titles such as this on his website: "Michael E. Mann: Liar, Cheat, Falsifier and Fraud".
It is outrageous to suggest that I have ever referred to a distinguished figure such as Michael Mann as "Mr Fraudpants". I'm always very careful to refer to him as "Dr Fraudpants". His Nobel Prize is false, but his PhD appears to be genuine, at least at the time of writing.