Monthly Archive: July 2008

Gapper: Laurence Olivier

‘Gapper’ is our term for a profile we probably ought to have had long ago.

Feist Counts to Four on Sesame Street

Can’t get enough of this charming video of the singer Feist on the new season of Sesame Street:If the tune sounds familiar, you may recognize it from the popular iPod Nano “a little video for everyone” commercial…

McGregor Ridiculed Publicly

Google celebrates Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter today with a doodle on their home page.Once again, poor Mr. McGregor can only wave his rake and rage on while a cuddly rabbit steals his livelihood and gets all the good press. It’s sad.

Happy 100th, Joseph Mitchell!

The terrific writer Joseph Mitchell was born 100 years ago today.Mitchell wrote with a “fondness for the eccentricities of New York life,” as The Associated Press put it in their 1996 obituary. His stories, mostly published in The New Yorker, are full of saloonkeepers, Bowery bums, oystermen and oysters, beefsteak cooks, crazy storytellers, and the uncream of Manhattan.

Did This Man Kill Chandra Levy?

The Washington Post has concluded its 12-part series on the death of Chandra Levy and has named a suspect: a Salvadoran immigrant named Ingmar Guandique.

‘Last Lecture’ Professor Dies

Randy Pausch, the professor whose frank and uplifting “Last Lecture” made him an unexpected public hero, has died at age 47.Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006 and told he had 3-6 months to live. Soon after, he gave a funny, heartfelt last lecture to students and faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, on the topic of achieving childhood dreams.

My Name is Number 16 Bus Shelter

We were poking fun at celebrity names the other day. But it turns out the celebs have got nothing on New Zealanders.

Olympic Swimmer Update

We’ve just posted new profiles of two Olympic swimmers: Natalie Coughlin and Dara Torres.Couglin was the hit of the 2004 Athens Olympics, where she won five medals (two gold, two silver, one bronze). Torres won five medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 (two gold and three bronze).Torres is a wee bit more famous right now because she’s 41, the mother of a two-year-old, and has been semi-retired since her 2000 Sydney heroics. She’s the oldest swimmer ever to qualify for the Olympics.

Novak Nails Pedestrian

Columnist Robert Novak has been cited by police after hitting a 60-something pedestrian in downtown Washington, D.C., according to Politico.The website says Novak tried to leave the scene but was stopped by a bicycle commuter, who blocked Novak’s black Corvette with his bike and dialed 911. “I didn’t know I hit him,” Novak reportedly said, although Politico also quotes the bicyclist as saying the pedestrian was “splayed across the windshield.”

Obama’s Remarks From Jordan

Senator Barack Obama held a press conference today in Jordan after his visits to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Washington Post has the transcript.(Elsewhere, Haaretz columnist Bradley Burston offers Obama ten MIdeast traps to avoid.)

Jay Leno in a Bald Wig

The date is set for Jay Leno’s forced retirement from The Tonight Show. His last day will be May 29th, 2009, and he’ll be replaced three days later by Conan O’Brien.

Six Hairs of Lyndon Johnson

The Times of London offers up a list of eBay’s “10 most bizarre bits of political memorabilia.” Included are six snippets of graying hair from Lyndon Johnson (“comes with a notarized affidavit from the family of Steve Martini, White House barber”) and the coffee-stained to-do list of Jacqueline Kennedy.The stain is artfully described as being “perhaps from Mrs. Kennedy herself.”

Kurt Cobain’s Kid Poses for Harper’s Bazaar

Wow: Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, is 15 and posing for Harper’s Bazaar.The fashion magazine also has a rather breathless story.

Creative Baby Names for Depressive Celebrities

Cheerful Hollywood parents give their kids inventive names like Knox and Sunday Rose. What about our gloomier celebs? A half-dozen ideas:Felicity AnginaEnnui BlueCreosoteMonday MorningMaginot LineBupkesAny other suggestions, commenters?

Greg Norman Is Married to Who?

The Associated Press reports that “blissful newlywed” Greg Norman shot a surprising 70 on day one of the British Open, cheered on by his wife, Chris Evert.Wait, what? Chris Evert and Greg Norman are married?Apparently so. They married last month in the Bahamas. Both split recently from their previous spouses — Laura Andrassy for him, skiier Andy Mill for her.

Nelson Mandela is 90

South African leader Nelson Mandela is 90 years old today.

Starbucks Lists Doomed Stores

Not that it has much to do with biography (though we do have a profile of the corporate namesake), but we found it rather fascinating that Starbucks has released a complete list of the 600 stores it plans to close.We salute their transparency.

Here’s Leering At You, Kid

Weird tale of the day: The Joker, leering arch-enemy of Batman, is based on an actor from the movie Casablanca. No, not Ingrid Bergman.

Billy Joel Closes Down Shea Stadium

Billy Joel is playing the last two concerts in New York’s Shea Stadium. It’s being torn down in a few months. Joel gets rave reviews in today’s Newsday and New York Times.

Actor Deceased, Film Released

The Boston Globe offers up a photo essay of actors who had films released after their deaths.Including Bruce Lee (Enter the Dragon), Chris Farley (Beverly Hills Ninja) and, of course, Heath Ledger (Batman).

Poppin’ Hot Birthdays

Happy birthday to sultry actress Barbara Stanwyck and popcorn maven Orville Redenbacher.This is a photo of either Stanwyck or Redenbacher. Both were born on June 16th of 1907.

The ‘Fishy’ Name of Salmon P. Chase

“In addition to the humiliation he felt over his speaking voice, Salmon Chase was tormented by his own name. He fervently wished to change its ‘awkward, fishy’ sound to something more elegant. ‘How wd. this name do (Spencer de Cheyce or Spencer Payne Cheyce),’ he inquired of [his friend Charles] Cleveland. ‘Perhaps you will laugh at this but I assure you I have suffered no little inconvenience.'”The touching words of ambitious young Salmon P.

10 Grams of Baby Fat

It’s not the most crucial issue of the day, we know, but: Have news reports garbled the weights of the Jolie twins, Knox and Vivienne? It looks like it from here.

The Post Looks Again at Chandra Levy

“At 23, she exuded a blend of innocence and sensuality, but she was not a party girl. At heart, Chandra was a bit of a nerd.”The Washington Post has launched a major 12-part investigation of the 2001 murder of intern Chandra Levy.

Bergman +90

Happy 90th birthday to three-time Academy Award winner Ingmar Bergman! He was born in 1918 and died just about this time last year.

Angelina Jolie and Brat Pitt Have Twins

[An update on the twins’ weights: 10 Grams of Baby Fat]The BBC, People, and Agence France-Presse all report that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are the proud parents of a new boy and girl.

Bush: “Goodbye from the World’s Biggest Polluter!”

“The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: ‘Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.’

Richard Petty Is Still the King

Q: What’s it like to be called ‘The King’?A: I don’t know. I ain’t never been nothing else.The Kansas City Star interviews Richard Petty on the 50th anniversary of his first NASCAR race.

Joe Cocker With Subtitles

This wonderful clip has been making the rounds lately: Joe Cocker at Woodstock, with helpful subtitles.Thanks to Mark Evanier for the link.

Nadal Ends Federer’s Wimbledon Streak

The streak is over. Roger Federer had won five straight Wimbledon championships… until today, when Rafael Nadal beat him in a five-set thriller to claim the 2008 men’s singles title.

Rush Limbaugh in the New York Times

“My father expected me to be a professional man. The problem was, I hated school. I hated being told what to do. In the Boy Scouts I never got a single merit badge. In school my grades were terrible. I just didn’t want to be there. I just wanted to be on the radio.”–Rush Limbaugh, in a detailed new profile from The New York Times Magazine.

George Bush Loves Birth-Mate Sylvester Stallone

Turns out George W. Bush and Sylvester Stallone were born on the exact same day: 6 July 1946.Stallone was born in New York City, Bush in Connecticut.The Internet Movie Database claims that Stallone is one of Bush’s two favorite actors. The other? Chuck Norris.

Joey Chestnut Is Your ‘Sudden Death’ Hot Dog Champ

Eating expert Joey Chestnut won the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest in extra-horrifying fashion on Friday, beating former champ Takeru Kobayashi in a five dog eat-off.Both men finished the regular 10-minute competition with a total of 59 dogs. That led to extra franks, with Chestnut barely beating Kobayashi to the gullet.

Thurgood Marshall +100

Happy 100th birthday to Thurgood Marshall. The first black justice of the U.S. Supreme Court was born on this day in 1908.(Why is he not on the Maryland state quarter?)

Did Josephus Mention Jesus?

Religion and Romans editor Paul Hehn has posted a new profile of Flavius Josephus, the Jewish leader who was conquered by the Roman general Vespasian but then became pals with him anyway. (Conquerors were open-minded in those days.)

Here’s the ‘Quantum of Solace’ Trailer

The trailer is out for the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.[July update: The trailer was available on YouTube, but it’s been taken down. Now you can find it on the film’s official site.]

Aykroyd and Bucky

Comedian Dan Aykroyd turns 56 today, and it’s been 25 years since philosopher Buckminster Fuller died.