News O'Clock: You Say Good Vibes, I Say Cello
Unemployment has reached an absurdly high level in the US, Will Smith rounded up his Fresh Prince co-stars for a reunion, and an eight-part cello cover of Inspector Gadget.
Plus we clue everyone in on the BuzzFeed Book Club choice for May, read the full first chapter of “Chosen Ones” by Veronica Roth here.
It's April 30th. The time... News O'Clock!
Check out the full episode transcript here:
Hayes Brown: Millions more people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total up to 30 million. Beyonce. That's it. That's the headline. And have you ever heard a cartoon theme song that gave you chills? You will have by the end of this episode.
Casey Rackham: The date, April 30th, 2020.
HB: The time, News O'clock. Hello, friends. I'm Hayes Brown.
CR: And I'm Casey Rackham. Welcome to News O'clock.
HB: Okay, so top of the show. Just really quickly, I want to give a shout out to my dad who I'm assuming slash hoping is listening to this right now. He called me this morning to give me an update, and it just reminded me of why he's the best. You know how some millennials are like, "Oh, my parents, they're not taking the coronavirus seriously?" Like even now?
CR: Yes, definitely.
HB: Well, not my dad. No siree, no how. He is vigilant, he is adamant. He says not today, Ms. Rona. I am an older black man and you are not taking me. So he is so vigilant that he's annoying the heck out of my family, to the point that my sister is visiting him from across the state soon and he told me that the procedure for that is when she comes into his house, she must wear gloves. That way, everything she touches while inside will only be touched by those gloves, which he then will toss when she leaves, and honestly I'm like, you know what? Do what it takes to survive, Dad, do what it takes.
CR: I support your dad. I think that he's doing a great job. You know what? I'm going to make everyone do that, even once this is over. Don't touch my stuff.
HB: Welcome to my home museum. You will not bring your...with you. How are the Rackham 'rents holding up?
CR: They're good. My mom's been baking a lot, and she'll leave things at my doorstep. And then also, my dad, he's a public school elementary PE coach, and he has been going to the empty campus, bringing my sister with him, and as they like stand six feet apart, she films him doing these videos, which he's uploading to YouTube so his elementary students can watch and do exercises with him.
HB: That is so cute.
CR: But background, my dad was a comedian for 20 plus years, so it's a standup set for elementary school kids, but also jumping jacks.
HB: Oh my God. Okay, well I know what I'm doing after we finish taping. I'm going back and watching every single one of your dad's PE videos. I'm going to be...as shit thanks to your dad, Casey.
CR: And you get to recite the alphabet sometimes. The kindergarteners, their exercise stretching, it's like you do A and then you've got to do the letters as you're stretching, it's a whole thing. So it's educational.
HB: Oh, genius. Okay, today I've got three things you need to know. You ready for this?
CR: I'm as braced as I can be.
HB: Okay. Number one, another 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment claims last week, pushing the total number of unemployed to 30 million. That means one in five working age Americans, or 20%, are currently unemployed. Those kinds of numbers just haven't been seen since the Great Depression, which peaked out at 24.9%. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says that the House will be back in session in mid May to hopefully pass another bill to help those affected by the crisis. Meanwhile, with the month ending, states eager to get people back to work are prepping to end their stay at home order, even as the virus has now killed 60,000 people in the U.S. alone.
CR: I mean, it's just so tough. I have so many friends that, I mean, everyone has friends that have been affected by this, whether they've been laid off and now they're on unemployment, or they've been furloughed and on unemployment, et cetera, and it is like, it's so scary. People need to go back and they need to start making money. But also, this virus is still very much present, so all of this is still very scary.
HB: And that's why I am not a lawmaker. These are the kinds of choices we vote people in to make, and boy am I glad I'm not the one making them.
HB: Okay, number two, New York state spent $69 million on ventilators, bought sight unseen from some dude who responded to a Trump tweet. It's a really wild story from Buzzfeed News, it's Rosalind Adams and Ken Bensinger. So a Silicon Valley engineer dude named Yaron Oren-Pines, actual name, responded to a tweet from the president, saying, "We can supply ICU ventilators, invasive and noninvasive. Have someone call me, urgent," all caps. Well, New York state did call him on the advice of the White House coronavirus task force, and gave him millions of dollars to buy ventilators. As you might guess, though, zero ventilators have arrived. Surprise, surprise. And now New York is trying to get its money back.
CR: Okay. I have so many thoughts. Number one, this sounds like a scam right away. Number two, did everyone in Silicon Valley forget about Elizabeth Holmes? We went through this. Like, oh my God.
HB: I feel like they learned too well from Elizabeth Holmes. The fact that this dude got $69 million from the state of New York is not nice. For one, 69 is not nice.
HB: Number three, some cautiously good news. The FDA appears close to approving a new drug that seems effective against the coronavirus. Originally developed by Gilead Sciences, which, sidebar, sounds like an evil corporation but apparently isn't, end sidebar, as a potential anti-Ebola drug. Remdesivir is an antiviral that proved at least kind of effective in clinical trials. When given to people with COVID-19, patients who receive Remdesivir recovered 31% faster than people given placebos, which means the median time before they were well enough to be released from the hospitals was shortened to 11 days rather than 15 days.
HB: Now, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Health said that this is a big deal, not necessarily because of how much the drug shortens the virus's effect, but because that any drug at all is effective against the coronavirus.
CR: Yeah, I mean, this isn't bleach, so I'm game.
HB: Right? Also, I just love the fact that Remdesivir sounds like a word that J. R. R. Tolkien definitely made up for Lord of the Rings. It is an Elvin sword or something that is used to fight plagues.
CR: Oh boy. Well, it's time for today's good news, bad news. As you might guess from the name, this is where I bring you some of the most aww and some of the most, oh my God, no stories from around the internet. Okay, so good news for nineties kids everywhere, and especially those from West Philadelphia, the cast of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air came together for a Zoom reunion, which is wild, because I didn't know, but this September is the 30th anniversary of the show, which is, bless it for being around for that long. So Will Smith has been hosting a Snapchat show called Will from Home, because like all of us, he's clearly bored out of his mind, and thank goodness he's doing it because it led him to gathering all of his Fresh Prince costars to take part in a reunion, everyone except James Avery, who sadly passed away in 2013, and then Janet Hubert, who played the original Aunt Viv.
HB: The drama of the Aunt Vivs, like I know that it's a whole point of contention with the cast, but man, the fans do sure love us some dark skinned Aunt Viv.
CR: I do, too. I don't know, she's my favorite Aunt Viv.
CR: I guess all Aunt Vivs are good.
HB: Yes, all Aunt Vivs. So I am so glad slash not glad that Fresh Prince isn't on Nick at Nite anymore, because when that first started I felt like crawling into the grave. But now Nick at Nite is just all Friends reruns, which doesn't feel too much better.
CR: Okay. What I want to talk about is what Will brought up in the reunion was that Tatiana, who played Ashley, will always be 11 in his mind. And I think that's accurate. So I was shocked when she had a child with her. And I'm like, what?
HB: I know. Whose baby is that, I thought at first. Surely not yours.
CR: Ashley can't have babies. But you know what? This is great. I mean, the Smiths have been totally killing it on digital content right now. Will's got a YouTube page, Jada's got Red Table Talk, of course, and then he's got the Snapchat show. So I'm like, okay, yes, save us all during this quarantine with your great content.
CR: So onto bad news. For anyone who planned on releasing music this week, Beyonce and Megan Thee Stallion remixed Savage, and honestly, thank God, but also I feel so bad for anyone who released music this week.
HB: Not the time, guys, not the time.
CR: Not the time. Read the room, now's not it. So the song dropped online not long after we finished recording yesterday, and you have absolutely heard the song by now, unless you've been living under a rock, in which case here's a listen for you.
CR: Okay, so when this went up, everyone, including us, lost their minds. I mean, everyone was just messaging everyone about it. And it's great, because not only is it awesome, all the proceeds for the song will go to benefit COVID-19 relief in Houston through Bread of Life. And as one person said on Twitter, "Beyonce rapping means four extra weeks of summer," although I don't know what summer is.
HB: Summer is that period when it is warmer outside, and you can go outside and there are beaches and stuff. It's mythical at this point. I love everything about this track. We've had it on repeat in this apartment for at least 20 loops until we were like, okay, we can't get sick of this song, but we're kind of ready to hit pause for now.
CR: No. Okay, fine. You can hit pause, but then you need to go to Tik Tok, where I am always. So Keara Kiki Wilson, she's the 19 year old who originally created the Savage challenge on Tik Tok, and it's the dance to it. She's a choreographer, and she has already updated it for this new remix and it is so good, and I can't wait to see everyone doing it. And so I'm going to listen to it always on Tik Tok.
HB: I've got to say the best line of Beyonce's, the one that I just like fell over at, was "If you don't jump to put on jeans, baby, you don't feel my pain." It's so evocative.
CR: It was very good. And then meanwhile, I'm just like, I like the, "I'm a boss, I'm a leader. I pull up in my two seater," because I'm like, yes she is, and yes she does.
HB: Oh, thank God for Beyonce. I needed this. I really needed this this week.
CR: Well, we've got to take a quick break but we'll be right back. Stick around.
HB: Welcome back. So usually this would be time for Say More, where we get to spend quality time talking to some of the best people out there.
CR: Today we were all set to talk to Buzzfeed Books editor Arianna Rebolini about the Buzzfeed book club pick for May, Veronica Roth's novel Chosen Ones.
HB: But as is happening so often these days in life with coronavirus, circumstances shifted out of the blue. And you know what? Now we'll actually talk to Arianna next week.
CR: Okay. But this unexpected schedule change was actually a blessing in disguise, because now you have a whole extra week to check out the book Chosen Ones before we talk to Arianna about it next week.
HB: Yes, correct, and you may be wondering where, pray tell, might I be able to read some of this fine book club selection? Why, on the Buzzfeed website, of course.
CR: We have the entire first chapter of the book available to read for free. If you just Google Buzzfeed Chosen Ones, you'll find it, or there's a direct link in the show notes for today's episode as well, which you can find right there in your pod player.
HB: Oh and yeah, BT dubs, we put links in our show notes. Surprise. Every day, you can find links to stories we talk about in the show and usually the Twitter bios of the people we talked to, because at News O'clock, we're here to help you, the listener, get more out of your podcast listening experience.
CR: Wow. We've all learned so much. Also, if you follow that link to read the first chapter of Chosen Ones, you'll also see that you can enter our contest to win a copy of the whole book.
HB: The whole ass book, shipped to your home for your quarantine reading enjoyment. Def can't wait to read some of this book, which is apparently about reluctant superheroes trying to have a semblance of normal life 10 years after their victory over the dark one. It asks the question, the blurb continues, what happens to people who save the world after the rest of the world moves on?
CR: Okay, I'm into this, superheroes, drama. Okay, so the plan is we're all going to read this and maybe win a free book, and then next week we'll talk to Arianna about it and all of our lives will be better as a result.
HB: Sounds good to me. I can't wait. I read the first chapter of this book and I am intrigued. It sounds like some weird postscript to the Animporphs series almost. Okay. Remember, you can find a link to go read the first chapter of Chosen Ones in the show notes or just Google Buzzfeed Chosen Ones and you'll find it there, as well.
CR: It's time for the list, because if you know Buzzfeed at all, you know how much we love lists, and today we're looking at four unpopular Harry Potter opinions that are pretty much fact.
HB: Casey, this is near and dear to your heart, so you know what? I'll let you do the honors. Give me the list. Let's hear it.
CR: Thank you, Hayes. I hope you're ready for some very, very good and very, very bad opinions. Number one on the list, Hermione was more of a Ravenclaw than a Gryffindor. Number two, Umbridge is a bigger villain than Voldemort. Number three, Lupin would have been a better godfather to Harry then Sirius was. And number four, the Goblet of Fire is the best book in the series.
HB: I see you are here to stir up some shit today, Casey.
CR: I am here to stir up some shit. There are a lot of unpopular Harry Potter opinions, but I have chosen four that I agree with strongly.
HB: Oh my God. Okay, so yes, I agree that Lupin absolutely would have been a better godfather to Harry than Sirius ever was. He was responsible, he was mature. He had a fucking job, was not in prison. So you know what? Yep. For it.
CR: Okay. Sirius was unjustly convicted, just so we know that wasn't entirely his fault.
HB: That's true. The criminal justice system in the Harry Potter universe is even more malignant than ours. Yes, that is correct. But I cannot stand by Umbridge is a bigger villain than Voldemort. I get where that's coming from, but I just can't stand by that. One is mean and the other one mass murders and encourages straight up genocide.
CR: I think it's because we never really saw that. Like, Voldemort was like very much talked about, but you rarely saw him until the end of the movies or read about him till the end of the books. Whereas Umbridge in that fifth book was so concentrated, and she was like doing physical abuse to Harry for his punishments, and she was enabling murder, I'd say that, but yes, I get what you're saying. Probably the mass murderer is worse than Umbridge, but, oh man, I hate Umbridge.
HB: Wait, actually I'm coming around to this, I'm coming around to this, as I think this through. Because I don't know if JK Rowling meant to do this, who knows? She could like pop up on Twitter and say this is exactly what I meant. But Umbridge does kind of represent the people who just kind of go along with evil because it's easy and because they have shitty ideas, and so you know what, what's a few murders as long as I get my way? So you know what, I wouldn't call her a bigger villain than Voldemort, but I'd say she is definitely more dangerous.
CR: I think so. I think it's because you can relate her to people that you've seen in actual politics in the world right now. And so you're like, she's relatable in that way. And you're like, oh, fuck Umbridge. Okay, so, but, okay, what are your opinions about the Goblet of Fire? I don't think that that's the best movie, but I do think it's the best book.
HB: It's a toss up. I don't know. I can't say I agree with that, because I really believe that the sixth book is the best book. I love Half Blood Prince, so I can't. Goblet of Fire is very good and people don't give it the respect it deserves, but I can not agree that it's the best one in the series.
CR: Okay, fair. And then what about this one? The one that I'm like could go either way on is Hermione being in Ravenclaw instead of Gryffindor. She definitely is brave and stuff like that. I'm not doubting that she has characteristics that are compatible with Gryffindor, but I'm saying she's such a Ravenclaw that it's shocking that she wasn't put in there. I feel like she's a Ravenclaw sun with a Gryffindor moon, so it's just like, I don't understand.
HB: I think that honestly the sorting hat is basically just a random die generator, like it's just making shit up. It's just making it up the entire time, and when it happens to get it right, everyone, much like astrology, moves their beliefs around to fit what the sorting hat just said.
CR: Yes. Perfect. Exactly.
HB: All right. If you want to argue about more Harry Potter opinions, you can head over to buzzfeed.com and take Andy Golder's quiz, agree or disagree with these Harry Potter opinions to see which character you are.
CR: Or send us an email. You can reach us at newsoclock, all one word, at buzzfeed.com. Either write down your own unpopular Harry Potter opinion or record it as a voice memo and email it to us. That's firstname.lastname@example.org.
HB: Okay, we have time for one more thing, and it's one of the best things I came across on Twitter yesterday. A cover that makes an iconic theme song, dare I say, beautiful.
CR: Ooh, high praise.
HB: It is, and it's deserved. Samara Ginsberg is a cellist, who like most musicians, isn't able to go perform right now, and so she recorded and posted a video of herself playing the Inspector Gadget theme song.
CR: I mean, that sounds good, but...
HB: I mean, but she plays it in an eight part harmony.
CR: Oh hell yes. I love harmony.
HB: Harmonies are so good. Okay, listen to this. That's right. She's even doing the sirens from the start of the cartoon. Is that not just incredible?
CR: It's so good. And also, it's like really spooky but in a good way. I don't know why, but while I was listening to it, I just felt like I was on the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland, if only it was Inspector Gadget themed.
HB: Oh man. Walt Disney World, upgrades are necessary while you guys are closed. So I reached out to Samara, who was good enough to let us use the audio of her masterpiece. We also shot her a few questions and she was good enough to take time from her currently busy schedule to shoot us back some answers. First, we asked her why this song among all the other songs out there.
Samara Ginsberg: So I picked Inspector Gadget because it is literally just such a banging tune and I could imagine that it would sound good for eight cellos.
CR: Seriously. It is such an actual banger, and then we had to know how she put it all together.
SG: It wasn't that hard, the musical side, because it's probably worth mentioning that in my everyday pre-apocalypse life I work a lot as an arranger and a session musician, so that the musical side of it was very much within my comfort zone.
HB: Yeah, true. It took my breath away the first time I watched it and every time since. And then finally we asked her what it was like to see the whole internet exploding in joy from something that she made.
SG: I think astonished is really the only thing I can say about this. It's been the craziest 48 hours. I thought that maybe it would get a few likes and a few retweets and make a few people smile. I did not imagine getting a million views. I'm feeling a bit shell-shocked, to be honest, but obviously it's really resonated with a lot of people and I feel like maybe in such stressful times something that takes people back to their childhood is really resonating with people at the moment. I'm just really happy about it, and I feel like I kind of need to do some more videos now. I've got a few more projects in the pipeline, a few more arrangements that I'm working on, so there's definitely going to be some more content from me soon.
CR: Okay. Yes, we definitely can't wait for more from Samara. So excited for that. Serious thanks to her for sending us those responses.
HB: I wish I played an instrument, man. I am completely non-musical in that sense, and I'm so sad about it.
CR: People often tell me that my fingers would be good at playing piano, and I don't know what that means. They just look like it?
HB: You have long, graceful, wide splayed fingers that can hit the whole octave is what that means, Casey.
CR: Okay. But my true reason of why I don't play, I mean, I don't know. I was just like not good at playing instruments, but I was in middle school. I did fake play an alto saxophone for three years.
HB: Three years? Did you just carry the case around?
CR: Yeah, I carried the case around. I want you to know how good I was at fake playing it. I was so good that the head of band, what is he? Oh, the conductor. Okay. I shouldn't be in band anyway. The conductor, so we're at this public middle school, and they got some donated alto saxophones and I was the best in the whole class, so I got to check out every day the fancy one. And I went home and I didn't practice it. I would just learn the scales, and then when we were playing with everyone, I was just fake playing. I don't know. You can think whatever you want about me, I'll take it.
HB: I think that you were like summer of scam, except three years of scamming the orchestra out of getting to use the fancy saxophone. My excuse was we moved around a bunch when it was in the prime musical instrument learning ages, you know, they're like fourth, fifth grade range when someone shoves a trumpet in the kid's hands, like "Here, this is what you play now." I did not have that experience, and so I'm very jealous of everyone who did. Meanwhile, Inspector Gadget, such a great theme song, not the greatest of all time, but so good.
HB: That's it for today. Tomorrow we're talking sports as Bleacher Report's Master Tesfatsion joins us to talk about why the last dance is such a slam dunk.
CR: And remember, no matter how many of her recipes you've made in lockdown, Alison Roman is not actually your best friend yet.
HB: Be sure to subscribe to News O'clock on the iHeart radio app, Apple podcasts, or wherever you go for your sound stories.
CR: And please take the time to leave us a rating and a review. It helps us figure out what you like about the show versus what you love about the show, and tell your friends about us. Then set your alarm so you're all set for the next episode of News O'clock.