Monthly Archive: April 2010

Interview with Michael Caine

English film star Michael Caine talks about politics, and about his 2009 role in Harry Brown in this nice Q&A from The Onion’s A.V. Club.

‘Acropolis Now’

The Economist scores big with Angela Merkel in the Marlon Brando role.(Original movie poster here.)

Leslie Buck, Designer of New York’s ‘Greek’ Coffee Cup

Leslie Buck, who designed the ‘Anthora’ — the iconic Greek paper coffee cup that’s been a Manhattan favorite for 45 years — has died at age 87.

The Magic Moment happened in the mid-1960s, when Buck was the sales manager for the paper company Sherri:

Birthday Twins: Double Bonus Edition

Actor Uma Thurman and tennis ace Andre Agassi were both born on this day in 1970.  They turn 40 today.Actor Daniel Day-Lewis and ill-fated “Grizzly Man” Timothy Treadwell were both born on this day in 1957.

“Heckuva Job, Brownie!”

Five things Gordon Brown might have muttered instead:  “That ought to hold the little voters.”  “Didn’t she remind you of the Queen?  Except not as ugly.” 

Laura Bush Talks About Her Car Crash

According to this story in the New York Times, former First Lady Laura Bush finally “opens up” about the 1963 automobile crash she caused that killed a classmate.

Sandra Bullock Divorces Husband, Adds Baby

Sandra Bullock has filed for divorce from her wandering husband, Jesse James.As a lagniappe, she’s adopting a three-month old baby boy from New Orleans. People says the adoption started before her break with James, and she’s now continuing it as a single parent.

Malcolm X’s Killer Paroled

New York prisoner Thomas Hagan has been paroled, four decades after taking part in the assassination of Malcolm X. Hagan, convicted in 1966, is the only man to have admitted his role in the 1965 shooting of the charismatic leader.

Chelsea Clinton Engagement Ring Photo

Chelsea Clinton has been at the top of our popularity list all day, apparently because she flashed her engagement ring on Broadway last night.Here’s the photo of Chelsea Clinton’s engagement ring, courtesy of the New York Daily News and Sykes/AP:

Happy 45th Deathday, Edward R. Murrow!

Edward R. Murrow, journalist extraordinaire, died 45 years ago today.We offered a two-word salute to Murrow on his centennial in 2008.(Edward R. Murrow seen through an office window at CBS News in 1957.)

Garth Brooks’s Oozing Breakfast

What does a country power couple have for breakfast?  Apparently, an oozing mass called Garth’s Breakfast Bowl, which involves Tater Tots, pork sausage, bacon, cheddar cheese, tortellini and a dash of Elvis.  Brooks is “the first person I ever met who puts pasta with eggs an bacon, but it works,” Yearwood writes, adding, “Don’t worry if you can’t finish it; Garth will come along later and ‘clean up’!”The NY Times

“Don’t Mess With Grant!”

Ohio fans of President Ulysses S. Grant are fighting back against the proposal to put Ronald Reagan on the $50 bill.

Burt Reynolds Says No to Drugs

Anyone familiar with the personal history of actor Burt Reynolds will read “Burt Reynolds says no to drugs” and think “uh…again?”

Just last year Reynolds was in rehab for an addiction to prescription pain killers.

The Royal Heave-Ho

Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall, is wheeled to the stage on Thursday for the launch of British Food Fortnight 2010. The Duchess broke
her leg earlier this month “whilst hillwalking in Scotland.”(Photo Pool/Anwar Hussein Collection/

Roger Ebert is Not Loving ‘The Backup Plan’

The movie deals with artificial insemination, romance, sex and organic goat cheese, which are promising areas for investigation, but it’s so watered-down, it approaches homeopathy.Roger Ebert chuckles over The Backup Plan, the new Jennifer Lopez romantic comedy.Speaking of Nuts the terrier (as Ebert does), Lopez posed with him on the red carpet at the LA premiere this week.

Robots Can’t Placekick Worth Beans

Veteran NFL kicker Joe Nedney took on a robot this week for the placekicking championship of the world.  Nedney is 234 pounds and 77 inches tall.  The robot, Ziggy, is an intimidating 340 pounds and 14 inches.Who prevailed? Let’s go to the tape.

Charles Mingus Weird Nightmare

In honor of the birth anniversary of bandleader Charlie Mingus, here are clips from the Ray Davies (of The Kinks) documentary, Charles Mingus Weird Nightmare.To see Davies talk about the film and to see more segments, go to Weird Davies Nightmare.

It’s Bettie Page’s Birthday

Today Bettie Page was born in Nashville in 1923. A pin-up queen from “men’s magazines” of the 1950s, Page’s distinctive look is now what most people imagine when they think of that era of striptease burlesque. Page retired long ago and died in 2008.

To hear an audio interview with Page from 2007, go to this video (it includes a slideshow of typical Bettie Page poses).

James Mason at Last!

James Mason (center) with Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and Martin Landauin the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock thriller North By NorthwestEditor Paul Hehn has just profiled actor James Mason, and thank heavens. He’s a great one.

They Got Hitler!

“All those who enjoy Hitler bunker parodies, please leave the room.”(Hat tip: Mr. Hehn)

Things Were Ridiculous Back Then, Too

Here’s a 1993 clip of film critic Roger Ebert and his on-screen rival / partner Gene Siskel, playing a video game that appears to be a precursor to Wii.

Next James Bond Film Suspended

The BBC says that producers are worried about MGM’s financial problems.  Sam Mendes was in talks to direct, with a release date set for 2012 — the 50th anniversary of Dr. No.Maybe suspension is a good thing, given how dopey Quantum of Solace was. They should take all the time they need to get back to the magic of Casino Royale.

Funny Cide, Happy 10th Birthday

Funny Cide, the plucky chestnut colt who won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness in 2003, turns 10 years old today.Funny Cide raced until he was 7 years old, won $3.5 million, and is now retired to the Kentucky Horse Farm.  Alas, Funny Cide is a gelding, so it’s not the usual retirement at stud enjoyed by most Derby winners and NFL quarterbacks.  Still, he’s eating peppermints and enjoying life. 

Christina Hendricks Esquire Cover

Christina Hendricks and Esquire magazine go together. Hendricks — best known as Joan, the luscious take-charge secretary on the TV show Mad Men — is featured on the May 2010 cover of Esquire. It’s their annual ‘Women We Love’ issue.

Busy Weezy in Prison

Rapper Lil Wayne — a.k.a. “Weezy” — has a way of keeping his name in the papers, even though he’s in jail in New York.

His newest stay-in-the-public-eye scheme is a blog from his prison cell, which so far is a combination of meditations on professional sports and blatant advertisements for his most recent “rock” album, Rebirth.

Keith Urban is a Confident Man (PHOTOS)

Actress Nicole Kidman and her husband, country star Keith Urban, at the the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards last night in Las Vegas.

J.G. Ballard Died A Year Ago

Last year on this date English writer J.G. Ballard died at the age of 78. Ballard’s most famous book might be his memoir, Empire of the Sun, made into a 1987 movie by Steven Spielberg (introducing a young kid named Christian Bale).

In honor of the late J.G. Ballard, here are some links to some good sites:

A great collection of essays, videos, sound clips and links can be found at Ballardian.

Some April 19th Anniversaries

Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly married Monaco’s Prince Ranier III in 1956.

Charles Manson was sentenced to life in prison in 1971 for his role in the 1969 murder spree that took Sharon Tate’s life.

Occupation: Alpha Dog

One perk of being President of the United States:  When filling out your tax return, under Your occupation you get to write “U.S. President.”It’s the little things that count.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the Five Iron

So why didn’t anyone tell me that there’s a scene in The Girl WIth the Dragon Tattoo where a young Swedish woman waving a golf club chases a sex fiend out of the house and into his SUV and then, as he tries to careen off down the driveway, she bashes in the driver’s side window with the five iron?(It looked like a five iron to me, though that’s not specified in the movie. Just like real life!)

Finger-Snappin’ Zooey Deschanel (PHOTOS)

Zooey Deschanel: we knew she was in a band of sorts, but we haven’t really been thinking of her that way.  Yet there she was this weekend at the Coachella Music Festival, snapping her fingers and fronting the band She & Him. Good for her.  Nice dress.More photos of Zooey Deschanel from the same event:

Larry King: A “Sex Machine on Kerosene”

“I mean, he’s a sex machine. Why don’t we just admit it?  It’s running on kerosene, but still.” Joy Behar’s unlikely take on eight-times-married Larry King. Meanwhile, ABC News struggles …..

LIFE: The Einstein You Never Knew

From LIFE magazine’s archives, here’s a gallery of photos most of us haven’t seen before of that brainy feller Albert Einstein.And don’t worry, he’s not shirtless in all of them (unlike that show-offy beefcake Stephen Hawking).

Polish Pilots ‘Saw Crash Coming’

The BBC on the crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski:”The crew was
aware of the inevitability of the coming catastrophe, if only due to the
plane shaking after the wings hit the trees – which we are certain

Barack Obama IS the Six Million Dollar President

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama paid $1.8 million in taxes this year on a gross adjusted income of $5.5 million.  (Most of the dough came from book sales, and it boiled down to $4.98 million in final taxable income.)Toss in the $1.4 million he earned for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and Barack Obama is your first Six Million Dollar President!

Harrison Ford Emotes at Lowe’s

We chanced upon this brief — very brief — clip from Portland, Oregon, where Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser are filming a medical drama called Extraordinary Measures.

There he is, running through a home improvement store, right near Portland Meadows, where they still run the ponies for a crowd of about a dozen or two.

Two-Thirds of the Dixie Chicks

According to this story in People magazine, a new album is due to be released in May by two of the three Dixie Chicks.

Lead singer Natalie Maines sat out as sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire recorded an album as Court Yard Hounds. On May 4th they’re releasing an album of the same name, and that link to the People article will take you to where you can hear a sample song, the single “I Miss You.”

Say Hello to My Little Friend

We snagged this photo from this bit on the Huffington Post.It’s super-old, short movie star Al Pacino with a woman described as his girlfriend. Keep that woman away from Larry King, Al! 

Greta Garbo, Happy 20th Deathday!

Greta Garbo, the Swedish siren of the 1930s, died on this day in 1990 after 49 years in retirement.  She’d be 104 years old if she were still alive and paying taxes today.

The Six (or Seven) Wives of Larry King

TV talk show host Larry King has filed for divorce from his seventh wife, Shawn Southwick.  Irreconcilable differences, claims the NY Daily News. The National Enquirer says trouble has been …..

Happy Birthday, Daniel Clowes

Today is the birthday of cartoonist Daniel Clowes (rhymes with “rose”). He drew Ghost World and David Boring and Art School Confidential. Below are two parts of a BBC documentary on modern cartoonists, and Clowes is the focus.

Hugh Hefner is 84 and Skeptical

We noted yesterday that Christian cartoonist Jack Chick is 86.  Now his polar opposite, hedonist Hugh Hefner, is 84.

Happy Birthday, Jack Chick

We almost missed Jack Chick’s birthday — April 13th. He turned 86. Chick is the man behind Chick Publications, Christian comic tracts that have been around since 1970. The kind of little comic you might find at a bus station or in a laundromat, Chick’s publications are moral lessons meant to educate readers about the power of Jesus, and, more often than not, the terrors that await you if you don’t accept Jesus as your personal savior.

Mia Sara Makes a Mean Crab Salad

Mia Sara has been at the top of our search list the last two days, apparently due to a rush of online searches for “where is Mia Sara?”  We can’t figure out the reason — she doesn’t seem to be in the news.  It’s one of life’s mysteries.

John Paul Stevens, Nice Guy

A clerk remembers retiring Justice John Paul Stevens: During William Rehnquist’s tenure as chief justice, a lawyer was
arguing in the court for the first time. When asked a question by
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the nervous lawyer started her response with,
“Well, Judge –Chief Justice Rehnquist interrupted her. “That’s
Justice Kennedy,” he said.

Conan By the Numbers

TV By the Numbers likes Conan O’Brien’s move to TBS.Ken Tucker concurs, with a few jabs at Conan’s fan base.

Broadway’s Perfectly Mortgageable Musical!

It was just a matter of time until someone wrote the Great American
Musical about credit default swaps.  With a shove
from This American Life, we have the first song, penned by Robert Lopez
of Avenue Q: “Bet Against the American Dream.”

Wedding Biz Fizzle: Liz Says No Shizzle

That’s right, the rumor that actress Elizabeth Taylor would marry for the umpteenth time has been deemed untrue.

Dame Liz herself said so, on her Twitter page.

Yes, Dame Elizabeth has a Twitter page. About her so-called engagement, she says the rumors “simply aren’t true.” She adds that her rumored betrothed, Jason Winters, is her “dearest friend.”

Here’s a photo of Liz with her fourth husband:

Tina Fey, Better-Than-Prime-Time Player

Tina Fey hosted Saturday Night Live this weekend and got better ratings than anything in prime time.Chalk it up as another victory for Sarah Palin if you like: people tune in just to see her parodied.  The video clip’s below — Fey starts slow, but picks up steam.  The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ moment is a good one.

John Paul Stevens: The Coin Flip That Changed His Life

Art Seder: “When we graduated in 1947, the Northwestern faculty had an understanding with Justice Wiley Rutledge of the Supreme Court that he would take one Northwestern student as a law clerk.”But the faculty, Seder says, didn’t want to pick between him and Stevens.Seder: “So they asked us to flip a coin to decide who would go down to Washington as law clerk.”Nice piece from CPR on retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Pro Wrestling Photo of the Day

The caption, as provided by our friends at WENN: “WWE champion John Cena faced former WWE champion Sheamus for the title
belt at The O2 arena and after long battle Cena won when Bret ‘The
Hitman’ Hart distracted the Irishman. But after Sheamus’ homecrowd booed
and jeered Cena he handed the belt to Sheamus to delight of the
Dubliner’s fans.”

Phil Mickelson Wins the Masters… Again!

Phil Mickelson has won the Masters for the third time.  He shot a 16-under 272, beating Britain’s Lee Westwood by three strokes.Mickelson also won the Masters in 2004 and 2006.  His wife has been battling breast cancer, making the win just a little more meaningful.  It’s his 38th PGA Tour win and his fourth major win: he also won the 2005 PGA Championship.

Munchkin Coroner: Peace Out

He’s really most sincerely dead: Meinhardt Raabe, who played the singing Munchkin coroner in The Wizard of Oz, has died at age 94. He passed on in Florida, where he lived in a retirement community.Raabe was born in 1915, so he was about 22 when the film was shot. TV Guide says he used the money from the shoot to pay for college.  Here’s his big moment:

“Tiger Woods, You Suck!”

Tiger Woods pulled his tee shot on the par-3 6th hole at The Masters today, and the boys in the CBS control booth didn’t cue up the phony bird sounds fast enough.  Instead they caught Tiger’s reaction:

Liz Taylor to Marry?

US magazine reports that screen legend Liz Taylor is planning to get married again, for the ninth time.
The lucky man is Jason Winters, “who recently became Janet Jackson’s manager.” Winters works for Sterling Winters Management and is 49 years old. Liz is 78.

Happy Birthday, Tom Lehrer

Today is the birthday of Tom Lehrer, whose comic songs of yore include “The Vatican Rag,” “Pollution” and, performed here, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.”And, according to this YouTube channel loaded with Lehrer stuff, there’s a CD/DVD set due out next week.

Where’s Buzz? Out On His Ear!

Buzz Aldrin with partner Ashly DelGrosso-Costa on Dancing With the Stars.  Photo: ABC

Astronaut and super-stud Buzz Aldrin got the boot from Dancing With the Stars last night.

Tiger Woods Tee Time: 1:42 pm

Tiger Woods tees off in The Masters on Thursday at 1:42 pm Eastern time.  That puts him in the next-to-last group of the day.  (Coincidence, or are those crafty old hound dogs at Augusta National milking the drama?)

Dean Kamen’s TED Talk

Inventor Dean Kamen’s talk at the TED conference was about a mechanical arm he devised for wounded veterans. It’s nearly 20 minutes long, but if you can spare the time and relax enough for Kamen’s steady, sincere delivery, this video is worth watching.

Happy Birthday, Raphael

Today is the anniversary of Raphael’s birth. He would have been 517 years old today if he had lived. And had been a sorcerer. Or a descendant of Methuselah.
Raphael was one of the most influential Italian Renaissance painters, working in Florence and Rome in the early part of the 16th century. He died young, at the age of 37.
It’s also the anniversary of Raphael’s death. Yes, he died on his birthday, in 1520. Bummer.

Our Reliable Tabloids

ShowBizSpy, January 5:  George Clooney ‘Ready to Marry Elisabetta Canalis’ShowBizSpy, April 6:  George Clooney Dumps Elisabetta Canalis

Prince Rainier III + 5 Years

Prince Rainier III of Monaco died five years ago today. Prince Rainier ruled Monaco for just about 56 years, from 1949 until his death in 2005.  “Ruling” is a funny term for running Monaco, the sunny tax-free playground for the rich. Not that it’s easy to do well, but it’s also not exactly like “ruling” a traditional country.

Tiger Woods’s ‘Masterclass in Evasion’

Tiger Woods held a press conference yesterday at Augusta National, and journalists weren’t too satisfied.  John Hopkins of The Times called it “a master class in evasion.”

One Boring Shining Moment: Duke Wins Again

Coach Mike Krzyzewski won his fourth NCAA basketball championship as head coach of Duke University last night.  Boring old powerhouse Duke beat plucky, lovable, far-more-deserving Butler 61-59.Thereby assuring that thousands of boring bracketeers who picked obvious choice Duke to win the tournament are now blandly and smugly satisfied.Not that we’re bitter. 

Presidents on TV: Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter

Here’s an amusing clip of former U.S. president Gerald Ford appearing on the television game show What’s My Line. At the time of his appearance he was still a congressman (and House Minority Leader). He signs in as the “mystery challenger,” and the panelists — including Gene Rayburn — are blindfolded. At the end he gets to do a little politickin’ on behalf of President Richard Nixon.

One Shining Moment: Obama Takes Down Clark Kellogg

President Barack Obama played former NBA first-round draft pick Clark Kellogg in a game of P-O-T-U-S (standing in for H-O-R-S-E) yesterday at the White House. And Obama took him down!

Just a Nice Photo: Dr. Dre

Throwing out the first rhyme: Rapper Dr. Dre shows off his Beats headphones — now with Red Sox branding! — at opening day in Fenway Park yesterday.Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/

Weird Al’s Grammar Patrol

A short video from Weird Al Yankovic, in which he corrects the grammar on a road sign. It’s one of several of his videos on his YouTube channel. Here’s another …..


John Forsythe is Dead

John Forsythe, the famous Georgia governor, senator, and Secretary of State under Andrew Jackson star of Charlie’s Angels and Dynasty, died this week at the age of 92 in Santa Ynez, California.  It was pneumonia what got him.