Monthly Archive: May 2011

Arlene Francis, Accidental Killer

“Actor and game show panelist Arlene Francis took the blame for one of the stranger accidental deaths on record,
when an exercise dumbbell fell from her eighth-story Manhattan apartment
and killed a man who had just emerged from the popular Le Pavilli

Novak Djokovic Biography: New!

Our biography of Novak Djokovic is now live.  He’s the Serbian tennis star who’s spent so much time trampling Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal underfoot this year.  In fact, Novak Djokovic hasn’t lost in 2011: he’s won an astonishing 40 straight matches (and 42 if you count the end of

Gil Scott-Heron: The Funeral Will Not Be Televised

“The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.The revolution will not make you look five pounds thinner,Because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.”Gil Scott-Heron has died at age 62.  The news came out today via a tweet from his publisher, Jamie Byng.  No cause of death was announced.

Sally Ride: A Biography in Photos for Her 60th Birthday

Dr. Sally Ride turns 60 today, and you have to love this amazing photo of her on the flight deck of the space shuttle Challenger 28 years ago.  The year is 1983, and she has just become the first American woman in space.

The Pope, The Queen, and Nelson Mandela Walk Into a Bar…

“I have known few greater honours than the opportunity to address the Mother of Parliaments at Westminster Hall. I am told the last three speakers here have been the Pope, Her Majesty the Queen, and Nelson Mandela, which is either a very high bar or the beginning of a very funny joke.”President Barack Obama, opening his speech to Parliament today with a little joke. Heh!

Connie Willis Wins Her Seventh Nebula Award

Science fiction author Connie Willis has won her seventh Nebula award, this one for Blackout/All Clear, her two-volumes-makes-a-book time travel novel.
Read the news account here. Find out more about the Nebula award by reading the rules provided by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Bob Dylan Turns 70: Three Photos

Bob Dylan turns 70 today.  Is it wrong to say that he seems older than that?Here’s how he looked in the acoustic 1960s…… electrified on his 1978 “Street Legal” world tour…

Barack Obama Carries a Big Stick

President Barack Obama channels Teddy Roosevelt as he waves a hurley — the paddle-like stick used in the Irish game of

Non-Rapture Quote of the Day

“It has been a really tough weekend.”Prophet Harold Camping, on Saturday’s non-arrival of the Rapture.

Chewbacca is 67!

Peter Mayhew, who played furry sidekick Chewbacca in the original Star Wars movies, turns 67 today. 

Greatest Movie Sandwiches

From Denzel’s pastrami to Busey’s meatball sub, they’re all here.

Happy 100th Deathday, Gustav Mahler!

The great Viennese composer and conductor Gustav Mahler died in his beloved Vienna on this day in 1911. Mahler had a weak heart, and he had been struggling with a bacterial infection of the heart tissues for several weeks. The New York Times obituary noted that his death “was precipitated by the spread of his heart affliction to his lungs, which developed a fatal pneumonic weakness during the last few days.”  He was only 50, for pete’s sakes. 

Kenyon Grads Remember David Foster Wallace

The Millions has a good little feature they call “He Was Water: Kenyon Grads Remember David Foster Wallace’s Commencement Speech”.
Here’s a video/audio excerpt:

James Franco Did WHAT Now?

James Franco had Brad Renfro’s name carved into his arm with a switchblade. That’s what the L.A. Times Culture Monster says.See our biography of James Franco for more on the actor-slash-writer-slash-carvee.

Rahm Takes the Oath

Fans of missing fingers will appreciate this photo of Rahm Emanuel taking the oath of office yesterday as Chicago’s new mayor. Emanuel lost part of his right middle finger to …..

The Six Wives of Osama bin Laden

The first was 15 when he married her; so (probably) was the last. One was divorced, one was annulled in under 48 hours, three lived with him in Abbottabad, and four are now co-widows. Tim McGirk reports on the six wives of Osama bin Laden.  (PS: He was still two wives short of Mickey Rooney.)

The Price Paid by Freedom Riders

The remarkable story of James Zwerg, beaten in Alabama in 1961 for riding a desegregated bus.

The Secret Artworks of Beryl Bainbridge

It is not a puzzle why they have been overlooked until now; Bainbridge dismissed them herself. If anyone admired a painting, “she’d pull a face and say, ‘Oh, darling, don’t be silly'”.

Cannes from the Backside

Johnny Depp lets his suspenders down as he poses for photographers at Cannes this weekend. 

The ‘Game of Thrones’ Title Sequence

The wonderful, spend-all-day-there site The Art of the Title Sequence has a great feature on the opening credits for the new TV mini-series Game of Thrones. The sequence, presented here, …..

New Kids on the Lido Deck

The New Kids on the Block pose in Miami before the NKOTB Cruise 2011, which started yesterday.  For as little as $699 you could have joined The Kids for a four-day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas.

Queen Elizabeth’s 2nd Longest Reign

Queen Elizabeth II of Britain has been queen for 21,645 days, making her second only to Queen Victoria as the longest reigning monarch in 1,000 years of British history.
She just surpassed the reign of King George III, who was on the throne from 1760 until 1820.

Michael Caine’s 6 Facial Disqualifiers for Movie Stardom

“Take a look in the mirror. Can you see the white on the top of the iris of your eye in relaxed position? Can you see your nostrils looking at your face straight on? Can you see the gums above your top teeth when you smile?  Is your forehead longer than the space between the bottom of your nose and the bottom of your chin?  If you are a man, do you have a very small head?  If you are  a woman, do you have a very big head? 

Uma Thurman Wears White at Cannes (Photos!)

Photos of the Cannes Film Festival never really get old, with the million photographers (in suits!) going crazy and the stars eating it up or enduring it, or both.  Robert De Niro is heading up the jury this year, which also features Jude Law and the beautifulandtalented

Nadal for the Win! (Well, Not the Win)

Rafael Nadal goes between the legs against Novak Djokovic in Madrid on Sunday. Nice to see Djokovic applaud the shot. Of course, he was winning. Djokovic hasn’t lost a match …..

Moby: Life After Stardom

Richard Melville Hall released the album Play in 1999. He sold millions of records, and there for a while it seemed like you couldn’t avoid hearing snatches of that record. The album made his stage name, Moby — a household word.

Woody Allen: Nasty, Brutish and Short

The many crazy files over at The Daily Beast include this recent interview with filmmaker and professional misanthrope Woody Allen.

And the Osama bin Laden Reward Money Goes to… Nobody

“As far as I’m aware, no one knowledgeably said, ‘Oh, Osama bin Laden’s over here in Abbottabad at 5703, you know, Green Avenue.'”Presidential spokesman Jay Carney, explaining why nobody will be paid the $25 million in reward money for finding Osama bin Laden.

“She Had Time to Read Some Twice”

“She had books she was reading. She had time to read some twice.”A son describes how Rita Chretien spent her seven weeks stranded in the Nevada desert. She was found, near starvation, on Friday. Her husband is still missing.

Oprah’s Last Show: 14 Ways It Might End

Oprah Winfrey’s producers say they won’t reveal the details of her very last show on May 25th. Here are 14 guesses for how that final episode will end:

Way to Pick ‘Em, Joe Drape!

“Animal Kingdom will stalk the lead pack and have the first jump at the leaders when they hit the stretch and then unleash a powerful closing kick.”Joe Drape in Saturday morning’s NY Times, picking 20-1 longshot Animal Kingdom to win the Kentucky Derby.

Charlie Sheen, Meaningless Icon

Yesterday on a walk through downtown Portland, Oregon I came upon this poster for an upcoming music show:

Jesse James Has a Book, Too!

Speaking of Dick Van Dyke’s new book, here’s another lovable, family-friendly guy with a memoir. Jesse James’s book is called American Outlaw.

Alan Shepard, Suborbital Stud

To be sung to the tune of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”:

“It was 50 years ago today
Alan Shepard was our first in space
It was just 116 miles
But was guaranteed to raise a smile.

So let me introduce to you
The astronaut you’ve known for years:

The Dogs of War

Canine commandos: a photo essay.One went along on the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Dick Van Dyke: Once a Ham, Always a Ham

And we mean that in the friendliest possible way. Dick Van Dyke is on the road promoting his new autobiography: My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business.  He’s …..

Happy Birthday, Audrey Hepburn

Today is the birthday of actress Audrey Hepburn. She was born Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston in Belgium in 1929.
She died in 1993 from cancer.
In her honor, here’s a trailer for her 1967 movie Wait Until Dark:

Rust Never Sleeps

Neil Young, solo, last night in Cincinnati. 

The Day They Got Bin Laden: Photos

The White House has released a remarkable series of photos from Sunday, as President Barack Obama and his national security team followed the attack on Osama bin Laden’s compound. 

400 Years of the King James Bible

Today is considered the 400th anniversary of the publication of the Authorized King James version of the Bible.

What Do The Rock and J. Edgar Hoover Have in Common?

Died on this day in 1972: J. Edgar HooverBorn on this day in 1972: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

On opposite coasts, at least: Hoover died of a heart attack in Washington, DC, while The Rock was born in Hayward, California.

The Secret Team That Killed Osama Bin Laden

An analysis of SEAL Team Six and its brethren.From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, the modified MH-60 helicopters made their way to the garrison suburb of Abbottabad, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard were Navy SEALs, flown across the border from Afghanistan, along with tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers.