×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
July 14, 2014

The rise of YouTube means that anyone can share their own parodies of songs like "Wrecking Ball" or "Gangnam Style" — but the undisputed king of the genre is "Weird Al" Yankovic, who has been churning out parodies of top pop hits for more than 30 years. The singer's latest album, Mandatory Fun, is on the way, and his first music video is vintage Yankovic: "Tacky," a parody of Pharrell's inescapable "Happy."

Clad in clashing colors and patterns, Yankovic and a series of comedians including Jack Black, Aisha Tyler, and Eric Stonestreet lip-sync the song. "Wear my Ed Hardy shirt with fluorescent orange pants. Got my new resume — it's printed in Comic Sans," sings Yankovic. "Think it's fun threatening waiters with a bad Yelp review. If you think that's just fine, then you're probably tacky too."

Mandatory Fun — which also includes parodies of Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," Lorde's "Royals," and Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive — comes out tomorrow. --Scott Meslow

12:39 a.m. ET
iStock

More than two years after Wanda Roberts and her family threw a message in a bottle into the Pacific Ocean, it was found by Edward Paulino, thousands of miles away in Guam.

Roberts' late father, Bob Mahan, loved to camp out by the ocean, and on Sept. 9, 2015, the family gathered on the beach in Navarro, California, sending a message in a bottle out to sea. It ultimately reached the shores of Malojloj, where it was discovered on Feb. 3 by Paulino. Paulino's daughter, Gerika, told the Pacific Daily News her dad likes "collecting interesting items on the beach," and when he found the bottle he urged her to contact Roberts. "It's amazing that the bottle traveled such a long distance," she said.

The faded pink bottle contained a letter from Roberts, explaining why she had thrown it into the ocean, and a small container of bubbles sporting a picture of Mahan's favorite cartoon character, Mickey Mouse. Gerika Paulino messaged Roberts, who lives in Washington, on Facebook to let her know the bottle had arrived in Guam, and Roberts was thrilled. "Social media is a wonderful outlet connecting us to another part of the world," she said. "This brought back fond memories, and all of the family agrees that my dad would have loved to know we did this." Catherine Garcia

12:08 a.m. ET

Sure, presidential historians have their own rankings of presidential greatness, but President Trump grades on a different scale, according to Late Night's "Donald J. Trump's Guide to U.S. Presidents, Vol. 1." Trump, naturally, ranks No. 1 and his predecessor, Barack Obama, was barely worth a mention, but Trump also weighed in on Grover Cleveland ("He always cracked me up when I would see him on Sesame Street"), George Washington's wife, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton's wife. Watch below. Peter Weber

February 19, 2018
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump, who once called Mitt Romney a "mixed up man who doesn't have a clue," someone "so awkward and goofy," and "one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics," announced on Monday that Romney has "my full support and endorsement" in his quest to become the next senator from Utah.

Romney, who once called Trump "a phony, a fraud," and someone whose "promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University" who's now playing "the American public for suckers," accepted, tweeting: "Thank you Mr. President for the support. I hope that over the course of the campaign I also earn the support and endorsement of the people of Utah."

Ah, politics. Catherine Garcia

February 19, 2018
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Peter Wang died a hero, and his friends from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School want his burial to reflect that.

Wang, 15, was one of 17 people killed last week during a mass shooting at the school in Parkland, Florida. Witnesses said Wang, who was a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet, was helping his fellow students to safety when he was fatally shot. His friend Aiden Ortiz has put together a petition asking for Wang, who was wearing his JROTC uniform when he was killed, to be buried with full military honors. "I want people to know that he died a hero, that he died saving many people," Ortiz told WPLG. Classmate Rachel Kuperman also remembered Wang as a caring person, saying that last Tuesday, one day before the shooting, she forgot her lunch, and Wang bought her candy, snacks, and a Sprite from a vending machine. "He put others before himself," she said.

The petition is on the White House's We the People site, and if more than 86,000 people sign it, the White House will respond. As of Monday night, the petition had more than 33,000 signatures. Wang's funeral will be held on Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

February 19, 2018
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The White House saw last week's shooting at a Florida high school, which left 17 dead and 15 injured, as "a distraction or a reprieve," one official told The Washington Post on Monday.

"A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled," the official said, referring to several scandals of the administration's own making, including Cabinet members using taxpayer money to fly first class and top officials evidently ignoring documented accusations of domestic abuse made against former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter by his two ex-wives.

The unidentified aide added that while the spotlight isn't quite as bright on the White House right now, "as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we'll be back through the chaos." Catherine Garcia

February 19, 2018
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The ghosts of James Buchanan and William Henry Harrison are feeling pretty good right now.

Professors from the University of Houston and Boise State University sent current and recent members of the presidential politics section of the American Political Science Association a survey on presidential greatness, asking 170 historians to grade each president. In bad news for President Trump, he came in dead last, bumping Buchanan — faulted for bringing the United States to the brink of civil war — up a spot. Abraham Lincoln came out on top, followed by George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson, while Harrison, who died of pneumonia just 31 days into his term, joined Trump and Buchanan at the bottom.

The survey was last conducted in 2014, and this year, Barack Obama moved up 10 places, coming in eighth. Out of other modern presidents, George W. Bush ranked 30th, Bill Clinton 13th, George H.W. Bush 17th, and Ronald Reagan ninth. There was some consensus with Trump: He ranked in the bottom five for Republican, Democratic, independent, liberal, conservative, and moderate historians, and he did win one category: "Most polarizing." Catherine Garcia

February 19, 2018
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now interested in President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner's attempts during the presidential transition to get financing from foreign investors for his family company, people familiar with the matter told CNN.

Kushner was a lead contact for foreign governments during the transition, and he told congressional investigators he had "over 50 contacts with people from over 15 countries." Mueller had already been looking into Kushner's contacts with Russian officials, CNN reports, and during interviews held in January and February, investigators asked Kushner about discussions he had with foreigners as he tried to get financing for the New York City office building 666 Fifth Avenue, a Kushner Cos.–backed property that is having financial difficulties.

CNN reports that Kushner was asked about a meeting he had one week after the election with the chairman and other executives of the Chinese company Anbang Insurance; Kushner was close to finishing a deal to get Anbang Insurance to invest in 666 Fifth Avenue, but talks imploded in March 2017, The New York Times has reported. Kushner's attorney, Abbe Lowell, told CNN "there has not been a single question asked nor document sought on the 666 building or Kushner Companies deals." Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads