Monthly Archive: January 2010

Classic Rip Torn

The news of the arrest of 78 year-old actor Rip Torn — crashed out in a Connecticut bank with a weapon — gives us a chance to review this classic little bit from 1968.Beware the foul language, moms and dads, as Rip Torn and author Norman Mailer get into a nutty macho brawl, in a precursor to today’s “reality TV.”

Conan O’Brien and Robert Reich: Together Again?

What will Conan O’Brien do next? Maybe team up with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich for a detective drama. They did the pilot already on Conan’s old show.

A Selection of J.D. Salinger Links

The above ad is from It’s probably true that any first edition of Catcher in the Rye is likely to have the swear words underlined, so it’s understandable that a book that’s been scribbled in can still be considered to be in very good condition.

J.D. Salinger, Author of ‘Catcher In the Rye,’ Dead at 91

Last year we noted that author J.D. Salinger was 90 and deaf. Now, alas, he’s 91 and dead.  Salinger passed away of natural causes, according to his son, at his remote compound in Cornish, New Hampshire.

Barack Obama State of the Union Speech 2010 – TRANSCRIPT

President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union address last night, on 27 January 2010.  The speech ran for an hour and nine minutes — unusually long for a State of the Union talk.

PETA: Replace Punxsutawney Phil With a Robot!

We would like to present you with an exciting, innovative proposal — one that would benefit both Punxsutawney and Punxsutawney Phil. Please… make the compassionate decision to use an animatronic …..

Howard Zinn Dies

American historian and critic Howard Zinn has died of a heart attack. The author of the influential history book A People’s History of the United States, Zinn was 87.His obituary from the Boston Globe recounts his career and his influence on modern historians and students, and includes details of his run-ins as an agitator at Boston University.

Happy Anniversary, Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy!

It was on this day back in 1998 that Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the time the First Lady of the United States, defended her husband on NBC’s Today show and used the term “vast right-wing conspiracy” to explain why we were hearing all about Monica Lewinsky.

Famous Literary Drunks and Addicts

LIFE magazine has this terrific gallery of Famous Literary Drunks and Addicts — and it holds a few (though not many) surprises.By far “alcohol” is the most popular form of addiction here (although for Ernest Hemingway they call it “booze”).

John Updike +1

Author John Updike died of lung cancer one year ago today.

Bessie Coleman, You Wonderful Aviator, Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday to Bessie Coleman, who was born on this day in 1892.With Black History Month coming up, it’s only natural to toss Coleman an extra salute. She was a rare bird.

Spartacus vs. Spartacus: Who’s Tougher?

Who’s the tougher Spartacus: Spartacus from the new TV series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, or Spartacus from the great 1960 film Spartacus?

Al Capone Died Today in 1947

Today’s the anniversary of the death of famous Chicago gangster Al Capone — “Scarface.”Al Capone, one of the F.B.I.’s most-wanted criminals in the 1920s and ’30s, was eventually caught and convicted in 1931 of tax evasion.He was released from prison in 1939, after serving about seven and a half years of an eleven-year sentence. By the time he was released from prison Capone was in bad health. His brain was turning to mush as a result of syphilis.

Andy Dick in the News

From the What’s With That Guy? File: A photographic review from BuzzFeed to remind us of the many incidents involving obnoxious behavior by one-time comedian Andy Dick.

Here’s a Bottle and an Honest Friend!

Robert Burns, beloved poet of Scotland, turns 251 today. As a Burns birthday salute, here’s the poem “A Bottle and Friend,” published when Burns was 28. The theme is one of his favorites: the simple pleasures of life. A Bottle and FriendThere’s nane that’s blest of human kind,But the cheerful and the gay, man,Fal, la, la, &c.Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!What wad ye wish for mair, man?Wha kens, before his life may end,

Angelina and Brad PHOTOS Over Time

Call them Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, or call them (shudder) Brangelina: the actors have been an item (though they’ve never married) since they met on the set of the 2005 film Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Here are photos of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt over the years.

Happy 100th Birthday Django Reinhardt, You Old Gypsy You

Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt was born 100 years ago today — on 23 January 1910.Reinhardt grew up in a Gypsy caravan, which is where he learned to play the guitar with with that Romany swing. His background made him a rather odd duck on the Paris jazz scene for sure.

Roger Ebert Not a Huge Fan of ‘Extraordinary Measures’

The trailers for Harrison Ford’s new movie Extraordinary Measures have been baffling.  Are they cops, doctors, journalists, er whut? And why is everyone shouting?Thanks to Roger Ebert’s review, I now see that it’s a desperately-seeking-a-cure movie — as Ebert puts it, “Lorenzo’s Oil with a different disease.”

Happy Birthday, Stonewall Jackson!

Today is the birth date of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, born in Virginia in 1824 (in Clarksburg, which is now part of West Virginia).A distinguished military tactician and veteran of the war between the United States and Mexico in the 1840s, he died in 1863, after losing his left arm as a result of friendly fire. His arm was amputated and went on to have a history all its own. Jackson died shortly after that.

Christina Hendricks Red Carpet Photos: A Brief History

Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks looked handsome on the red carpet at the Golden Globes this week. (Her look has been much discussed.) Here are photos of other recent red carpet appearances by Hendricks.

If Not for Ronald Reagan

It was 25 years ago today that Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president — in a private ceremony — for his second term.Because January 20th, traditionally Inauguration Day, fell on a Sunday, public ceremonies were held off for a day.At this point in his presidency, Ronald Reagan had aggressively upped the ante in the Cold War, told America to “just say no” to drugs (the illegal kind), seen the worst of a “slight recession” and wrassled with the Democrat majority in congress over deficit spending and budget cuts.

Buzz Aldrin 80th Birthday – PHOTOS

Buzz Aldrin — moon-walking hero and one of our favorite astronauts — was born on this day in New Jersey in 1930.A few birthday photos from his Apollo 11 days:

Robin Hood PHOTOS Over Time

Robin Hood, that dashing scalawag, has been played by many actors over the years. Now that list includes Russell Crowe in a new film due out in May 2010, with Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian.Here are photos of some of the more famous Robin Hoods through the years.

Erich Segal, ‘Love Story’ Author, Dead at 72

“What do you say about a 72 year-old man who died? That he was beautiful? Or brilliant?”Who knew Segal was a professor of classics at Oxford, or that he was the son of an Orthodox rabbi, or that he knew Ali McGraw from their days at Harvard and Wellesley?

William S. Burroughs’s Stuff: Photos

From the portfolio of photographer Peter Ross, a gallery of photos of various items that belonged to the late writer William S. Burroughs.

‘Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane that Crashed in the Mountains’ – A Who2 Review

Movie Review: Stranded: I’ve Come from a Plane that Crashed in the MountainsViewed on: A late Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati, OhioPre-movie meal: Dewey’s Pizza (half ‘Bronx Bomber’ and half ‘Socrates’ Revenge’) and a pint of Dewey’s house aleWe saw ‘Avatar’ in 3-D at a 1:00 show at the local theater.  Then, buzzed from the wild visuals, we came home and saw this DVD that’s at the other end of the movie-experience spectrum.

Conan O’Brien: The End of the Horny Manatee?

The network owns the intellectual property behind such popular O’Brien characters as Pimpbot 5000 and Conando, as well as recurring segments such as In the Year 3000 and Desk Driving. Sources involved in the settlement negotiations say NBC is keeping the copyrighted and trademarked elements of O’Brien’s shows as part of the deal. That means the bits and characters will likely never be seen after O’Brien’s “Tonight” ends its run January 22.

Devil to Pat Robertson: Haiti ‘Not How I Roll’

Earlier we noted Pat Robertson’s claim that the people had made a deal with the devil.Now Satan is having his say:”When I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth — glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven’t you seen ‘Crossroads’? Or ‘Damn Yankees?’

Happy Birthday, Super Bowl

January 10th is the anniversary of the very first Super Bowl, or, as it was cleverly called, Super Bowl I. The year was 1967, and the teams were the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers and the American Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs.The Packers were favorites to win, and they did, 35-10, behind the coaching of Vince Lombardi and the talents of quarterback Bart Starr.Here’s a recap from the Green Bay Packers.

Roger Ebert Horsewhips Rush Limbaugh

Film reviewer and internet jockey Roger Ebert came out swinging today, in an open letter to Rush Limbaugh that starts with “You should be horse-whipped for the insult you have paid to the highest office of the nation.””You should be horse-whipped for the insult you have paid to the highest office of the nation.”

The Knave Abides

Here’s an update to our post about Two Gentlemen of Lebowski, that marvelous mash-up of the Coen brothers and William Shakespeare:DMTheatrics is staging what they say is the New York City premiere of Adam Bertocci’s play, which uses Shakespearean-style verse to retell the story of the movie The Big Lebowski (1998, starring Jeff Bridges).

Thanks for Nothing, Ted Sorensen

Here’s a belated book review of my most frustrating read of 2009: Ted Sorensen’s book Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History.The book came out in 2008 and it’s billed as Ted Sorensen’s frank personal memoir of his 11 years as John Kennedy’s speechwriter and right-hand advisor.

Lady Gaga Finally Gets a ‘Real Job’

Lady Gaga has signed on as the creative director at Polaroid.  (Nope, the company’s not defunct yet.) That’s Gaga flashing her business card on Twitter. Her quote: “The Haus of …..

Megan Fox Armani Ads – PHOTO

Actress Megan Fox has signed on as a jeans and underwear model for Armani. This is one of the teaser photos of Fox in Armani released by the company this week.

Pat Robertson Races to Say Something Crazy About Haiti

Up to 100,000 dead in Haiti. Fortunately, Pat Robertson is ready to put it all in perspective:Christie, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon the Third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact with the devil.

Dueling Headlines: Martha Coakley Edition

Reporter falls, clashes with aide while trying to question Democrat seeking Kennedy’s old seat    – The LA TimesReporter takes stumble chasing Mass. candidate    – The Boston GlobeWeekly Standard Reporter Attacked Outside Democratic Fundraiser

John Edwards Attacks Baby With Campaign Sticker

We’ve just added photos to our profile of John Edwards — including this irresistable shot of a baby at a 2008 Edwards campaign rally in Las Vegas. 

GM Will Resell the Tiger Woods Crash Car

How much would you pay to drive the Tiger Woods Escalade — the one he crashed in November while (allegedly) being chased with a golf club by his wife Elin Nordegren?GM has stopped loaning Tiger Woods new cars, says USA Today’s Drive On column. But buried in the story is this nugget:

Conan O’Brien Statement — Transcript

[Conan O’Brien released this statement to the public this afternoon.]People of Earth:In the last few days, I’ve been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me.  For 17 years, I’ve been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I’ve been absurdly lucky.  That said, I’ve been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate decision.

What Has Lou Dobbs Learned?

Well, according to this Esquire piece, former cable television personality Lou Dobbs has learned a whole lotta things, growin’ up on the farm out west and attendin’ that high-falootin’ yoo-nee-versity called Harverd and heck, just bein’ a good ol’ true-blue ‘Merican who’s all the time fightin’ for the little guy.Oh, and he learned the quiet virtue of humility, too.

Lurid Gossip About John Edwards

An excerpt from Game Change, the new book about the 2008 presidential election, features details of the unsavory “implosion” of presidential aspirant John Edwards. The excerpt is titled “Saint Elizabeth and the Ego Monster.”

Mark McGwire: I Would Have Hit 70 Homers Without Steroids

So Mark McGwire told Bob Costas in their interview last night.Costas: “On the 98-99-2000 seasons…”McGwire: “I learned to hit.”Costas: “Could hit 70 home runs without steroids.”McGwire: “Absolutely. I was given this gift by the man upstairs.”Oh, dude, come on.

Hank Aaron Forgives Mark McGwire

Baseball great Hank Aaron says that Mark McGwire has asked for his forgiveness for using steroids — and Aaron has granted it: “I think that it’s wonderful that he did …..

Mark McGwire Apologized to Roger Maris’s Widow

More details on the Mark McGwire steroids story from USA Today:Before coming clean publicly, [McGwire] informed his family and made apologetic phone calls to Commissioner Bud Selig, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Don Hooton, a Texas man who took up the anti-steroids fight after his son committed suicide after taking steroids.

Those Racist Democrats?

Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich — “Blago” — says in his just-released Esquire magazine interview: “I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived.”

Leno, O’Brien, Letterman: Did NBC Make a Brilliant Blunder?

A juicy thought about the Jay Leno brouhaha at NBC: If Leno goes on at 11:35, and Conan O’Brien moves to 12:05, that means David Letterman will have to fight two opening monologues opposite his show.Points out Ken Tucker.

Sir Edmund Hillary, +2 Years

Stud mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary died two years ago today. His family marked the occasion by walking a new seaside trail named for him in New Zealand. Hillary was 33 …..

Katy Perry Engaged to Russell Brand

Singer Katy Perry is engaged to British comedian Russell Brand.[Editor’s note: Yup, they married later in 2010.] 

Two Gentlemen of Lebowski

Fans of the Jeff Bridges movie The Big Lebowski should love Adam Bertocci’s terrific blend of William Shakespeare and the Coen brothers:Two Gentlemen of Lebowski.

In Honor of Nikola Tesla

To honor the death in 1943 of Nikola Tesla, we’ve hauled out a few links to enjoy.

Happy 55th Birthday, Mr. Bean!

Another few decades and he’ll be a has-bean. (Nyuk!)Rowan “Mr. Bean” Atkinson turns 55 today.

Anhedonia, Here I Come!

“Annie Hall,” the Oscar-winning 1977 film by Woody Allen, was originally titled “Anhedonia.”  So says Jon Carroll (and so agrees the New York Times, in this great little time capsule interview.) Anhedonia is “a psychological state where nothing gives a person pleasure.”

Jayson Williams in Trouble Again

NBA veteran and former New Jersey Nets player Jayson Williams is making the news again, this time for crashing his car under suspicious circumstances.According to this story from TMZ, Jayson Williams was arrested for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, after crashing his car in Manhattan in the wee hours of the morning.

John F. Kennedy on Twitter

The John F. Kennedy Library has begun following John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign on Twitter.You can get updates (quotes, mostly) from here (or sign up to follow the tweets). Spoiler: Kennedy won that election, beating out Richard Nixon. Barely.

Brian Eno Interview

Yes, it’s a couple of months old, but this interview from Pitchfork is still a great treat for fans of Brian Eno, music producer (U2, Talking Heads, Coldplay) and rock star (“Baby’s On Fire” and Music for Airports).

Happy Birthday, King Camp Gillette!

Today is the 145th anniversary of King Camp Gillette‘s birth. Born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, King Gillette was a traveling salesman who came up with the disposable shaving razor. …..

White House Had Third, Less-Attention-Hoggy Gate Crasher

Turns out that while Tareq and Michaele Salahi were busy crashing the White House state dinner in November, another more discreet gate crasher was also making his move. (No, not Buzz Aldrin.)

Isaac Newton Was and Wasn’t Born on Christmas Day

Sir Isaac Newton is the Schrodinger’s Cat of birthday boys: He both was and wasn’t born on Christmas Day. And he both was and wasn’t born in 1642.How is, Mr. Man? How can be? Let’s talk it out. 

Happy 35th Birthday, Bradley Cooper

Happy birthday to you, The Hangover star Bradley Cooper. You were born on this day in 1975.Dude, still looking good!

Realistic but still artistic interpretation by Mr. Hehn

Erwin Schrodinger

In honor of Erwin Schrödinger’s death, we offer this simple illustration as an explanation of that whole deal about his cat.[[wysiwyg_imageupload:73:]]It has something to do with a light saber, a box of radioactive material, and an unsuspecting cat (as if there is such a thing).

Where’s Buzz? Seeing Avatar!

Stud astronaut Buzz Aldrin and his wife, Lois, attend the premiere of Avatar in December at Grauman’s Chinese Theater.See Buzz in other places >>(Photo credit: Nikki Nelson /

Bible Scholar Says World Will End on May 21, 2011

A San Francisco evangelist has set a firm date for the Rapture: May 21, 2011.Harold Camping lets out a hearty chuckle when he considers the people who believe the world will end in 2012.

George Clooney PHOTOS Over Time

George Clooney is tipped to be an Oscar nominee for his performance in the new romantic comedy-drama Up In the Air.  Here are some photos of George Clooney over the years.

Rush Limbaugh Released from Hospital; “Nothing Wrong” With Heart

Rush Limbaugh didn’t have a heart attack and said Friday that tests show nothing wrong with his heart.The talk radio czar was rushed to the hospital with heart pains on Wednesday. But now he has been released from The Queen’s Medical Center in Hawaii. “The pain was real, and they don’t know what caused it,” Limbaugh said in a press conference on Friday.