Monthly Archive: September 2009

Happy Birthday, Truman Capote

In honor of what would have been Truman Capote’s 85th birthday (he died in 1984), here are a couple of video interviews from 1966, as he talks about working on In Cold Blood.In this video he tries to explain what he means by “non-fiction novel.”In this video he talks about what it was like to arrive in Kansas.

Fans Name the Next Chamillionaire Album

Coming in December is the new album by rap star Chamillionaire. He gave fans the opportunity to vote on the title, offering 10 candidates.The possible titles included Reverse Psychology, Back for Revenge and Karma. Chamillionaire also gives dictionary-style explanations for each title. Our favorite is for Wake Up Call: “A wake up call happens during the times when people are sleeping. You set a wake up call when its [sic] time to wake people up.”

William Safire Dead at 79

Political columnist and conservative guru William Safire has died at age 79.Safire had been under hospice care for pancreatic cancer, reports the Jewish news agency JTA.

Roman Polanski Arrested in Switzerland

Maybe the film festival wasn’t such a good idea.76-year-old director Roman Polanski was supposed to be honored at a Swiss film festival this week. Instead, he was arrested as soon as he landed at Zurich airport. He’s still officially a wanted man in the United States, and the Swiss have an extradition treaty with the U.S.

WIRED on Spike Jonze

Here’s a brief article from Wired on how Spike Jonze worked the special effects for the film version of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

Mackenzie Phillips, Eddie Van Halen and the KISS Kasket

We’ve just posted a new profile of actress Mackenzie Phillips. You may remember her as scrawny li’l Carol from One Day at a Time, but now she’s in the news for some rather far-out comments about her dad.

Separated at Birth?

Dr. Jonas Salk and comedian Larry David:Don’t believe us? Here’s about a “photo illustration” to help you see it:

Happy Birthday, Scott Baio!

In honor of Scott Baio’s 48th birthday, we present this little video:

Dan Brown’s Worst Sentences?

An amusing list from the U.K.’s Telegraph recalls twenty bad sentences from the novels of Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code. Some are pretty bad, and in case you’re not sure why they’re bad, don’t worry, this article will tell you.Which means it sounds nit-picky. Which means the comments section ends up being one big debate over who is stupider-er. Great!

Happy 75th Birthday, Leonard Cohen

His singing style has been called “a sort of musical Method acting,” and in his trademark fedora he looks something like a cross between Tony Bennett and William S. Burroughs.From our profile of moody troubadour Leonard Cohen, who turns 75 today.Happy birthday, Mr. Cohen, wherever you are!

Happy 35th Death Day, Walter Brennan!

Died on this day in 1974.The late Mr. Brennan is still the forgotten Oscar champ — and still tied with Jack Nicholson for the all-time male lead.

Cowboys Stadium: Disney Smackdown!

Here’s one thing that can be said for the new Cowboys Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys will play their first home game of the regular season on Sunday against the Giants: it’s not Mickey Mouse architecture.

Mary Travers Dies at Age 72

The great Mary Travers of the folk group Peter, Paul & Mary has died.The cause was side effects from chemotherapy for leukemia, a disease she had battled since 2004. She rallied after a bone marrow transplant in 2006, but faded this year.

Millions and Millions Served

Leonard Rhomberg, age 68, has been working at the same McDonald’s near St. Louis for 50 years.Patrick Hillmeyer and Tom Hillmeyer, the owners… presented him with a cake. They also gave him a Cardinals jersey with his name on it, a card from employees, and several gift cards.And, one hopes, an honorary PhD from Hamburger U.Let’s do the math.


This rather long excerpt from Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush is a fascinating look behind the scenes at the White House during last year’s economic crisis.There are plenty of funny parts, too, even though it reveals confusion at the top that’s not really all that funny. The excerpt is from Latimer’s new book, Speech-Less: Tales of a White House Survivor.

Patrick Swayze Dead at 57

Actor Patrick Swayze has died after a long fight with pancreatic cancer.Photos from his career here.

Nutty Moonman Drama at the VMAs

Kanye West got nutty at last night’s MTV Music Video Awards. Taylor Swift was accepting her “Moonman” award for best female music video when Kanye grabbed the mic to deliver …..

Hudson in Manhattan, 1609

Explorer Henry Hudson and his Dutch ship Halve Maen (Half Moon) stopped in Manhattan on this day in 1609.Four hundred years ago, on a day of “faire and very hot” weather, they anchored and spent the night in what is now the Hudson River.A replica of Half Moon has been sailing around New York in celebration. You can see photos of it here.

Dinner with Sarah Palin?

As a benefit for the charity, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is auctioning off an evening at dinner.Here’s a link to the EBay ad. Don’t forget to read the fine print before bidding — a background check is mandatory if you win, for example. Also, Sarah won’t spend more than four hours with you. And if she doesn’t like the idea of dining with you, too bad, the deal’s off.

Ford Pardons Nixon, 1974

Today is the 35th anniversary of the full and absolute pardon of President Richard M. Nixon by his vice president and successor Gerald Ford.

Oliver Stone’s South of the Border

Here’s the (lengthy) trailer for the new documentary film by Oliver Stone. It’s called South of the Border, and it features interviews with South American leaders, including Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Lula da Silva of Brazil.It looks like the U.S.A. takes it on the chin in this movie.

“I Was In Hitler’s Suicide Bunker”

I watched as they wrapped Hitler up. His legs were sticking out as they carried him past me. Someone shouted to me: ‘Hurry upstairs, they’re burning the boss!’ I decided not to go because I had noticed that Mueller from the Gestapo was there – and he was never usually around. I said to my comrade Hentschel, the mechanic: ‘Maybe we will be killed for being the last witnesses.’The BBC interviews Rochus Misch, the last survivor of Hitler’s bunker.

Levi Johnston Was Born on May 3rd, 1990

In honor of the first anniversary of the 2008 Republican Convention, we’ve profiled Levi Johnston. He was just an unknown Alaska teen before he was hustled into the spotlight at the convention, courtesy of his role as the father of Sarah Palin’s unborn grandchild.

Sex and the Monkey Suit

Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of the Sex and the City sequel in Manhattan yesterday.The man behind her is unidentified. Why are they making him wear those clothes?

Short Review: Inglourious Basterds

Yesterday I saw Quentin Tarantino’s new movie, Inglourious Basterds.I like Tarantino, but I don’t love Tarantino. Pop in Pulp Fiction and I’ll watch it any time. Pop in Reservoir Dogs and I’ll watch most of it, if not all of it. For Jackie Brown I’ll stay to see Pam Grier and Robert De Niro. Probably.

Kim Clijsters is Back!

Injured and exhausted at age 23, she retired in 2007. Had a baby in 2008. And returned in 2009. Kim Clijsters is back at the U.S. Open, godblessher. She won her first-round match in 58 minutes yesterday.