Once again, the rumor that legendary comic Andy Kaufman is still alive is gaining steam almost 30 years after his ‘death’. I put ‘death’ in quotes because for these 30 years, it is exceedingly obvious that no one really knows the truth about if he actually died or if he faked his death.
For those of you unfamiliar, Kaufman was a comic who in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s took the world by storm with his innovative and irreverent acts, performance art, and elaborate pranks. Watch these videos here, here and here to get a taste of his act. Oh, and he also starred on one of the most popular sitcoms of the 1980’s, Taxi.
So this week at the 9th Annual Andy Kaufman Awards ceremony, which honors up and coming comics, the rumor of his faked death was re-invigorated yet again:
During the closing ceremony, Kaufman’s brother Michael took the stage during the closing ceremonies to once again address the rumors that his brother had not passed away from lung cancer in 1984, but was actually alive, and living in obscurity.
Michael shared a story of finding his brother’s elaborate plans to fake his own death after Andy had passed on, along with a note that he would reappear on Christmas Eve 1999 at his favorite restaurant. Michael went to the restaurant, and though Andy never showed, a letter was handed to him that explained that Andy had gone into hiding to live a normal life and now had a wife and daughter—but didn’t want anyone to find out while the Kaufmans’ father Stanley was still alive.
Stanley, who established the Andy Kaufman Awards nine years ago to recognize upcoming talent in the spirit of Andy (previous winners include Kristen Schaal and Reggie Watts), passed away this summer. According to Michael, a month afterwards, a 24-year old woman came forward to him, claiming that Andy had not died 29 years prior, was still very much alive, and quite grateful that the awards recognized young people who had been inspired by his work. The young woman, who was never named, came to the stage, though McCarthy doesn’t report her sharing any sort of story.
To paraphrase Verbal Kint, “The greatest trick Andy Kaufman ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
For close to six years now, I have been using Android phones. Because the iPhone was late to join Verizon, my current wireless carrier (VZW has the best coverage where I live although I am very tempted to try T-Mobile…but I digress), I went with Android early on and then stuck with it through some of the lean early years of that platform. So when my wireless contract ended in March and I became a wireless phone/carrier free agent, I started to debate what phone I should get?
During the past 3 years or so, I have also been migrating a lot of my house to the Apple iOS/OSX ecosystem – iPads, Apple TV, iMacs, MacBook Airs, AirPorts – but during that time I was sticking with Android for my mobile phone. Yet I was starting to waver with my mobile device – do I stick with Android and go for a Samsung Galaxy 4 or do I make the move that seemed inevitable with the migration of the rest of my digital life – and go over to Apple’s iPhone.
And so a few weeks ago, I took the plunge and picked up the new Apple iPhone 5S. There was no specific attribute or feature that drove me into Apple’s hands, but more of a growing frustration with the Motorola/Android devices that I have used the past few years. With my Android phones, it always seemed that they slowed to a miserable computer processing crawl after about 10-12 months. Whenever I tried to do the most basic of mobile computing tasks – opening apps, sending messages, making a phone call (novel concept), etc. – it became an ordeal. And the real kicker was when I tried to take a photo with my Android phones – oh, the countless photos that have been missed waiting for the photo app to load. To sum it up with my Android devices, whenever I *really* needed it to work – to capture a photo, to make a phone call quickly, to find an address/location – it failed me. When I didn’t need it in a crunch, oh, it worked fine.
My initial impression of iOS on an iPhone is much different (in a good way) compared to what I have been exposed to on the iPad. The processor and the apps are really snappy. The software and iOS experience is so solid and tightly integrated. So far, my experience with my first iPhone has been great and for now, I’m not looking back.
I can’t believe that it has been ten years since this happened.
Which also means that it has been ten years (plus two days) since this happened.
If neither of these cruel things happened, we (most probably) would have had a Cubs – Red Sox World Series in 2003. Remember, that this was before the Red Sox went on to win the World Series in 2004 and 2007. If Twitter existed back then, it would have exploded. The thought of the Cubs and their (then) 95 year World Series drought against the Red Sox and their (then) 85 year World Series drought was a baseball story line that even the most sadistic sports writer could not have conceived would ever actually happen. Would there have been any doubt that the series would have gone seven games? The despair of two tortured fan bases and the thought that one would continue to suffer for who knows how much longer would have played out before our eyes.
There was a nice piece in the Times about how Steve Bartman has basically lived a life of exile within the Chicagoland area. And in many ways, the fate of his beloved Cubs has followed him into a state of exile. In the 10 years since that mid October week in 2003, the two franchises have moved in radically different paths with the Sox winning 2 World Series and are close to making it to a 3rd, while the Cubs have only made it to the post season twice and in both cases, were unceremoniously swept in the League Divisional Series.
The Cubs now have new ownership and they even took Theo Epstein from the Sox in the hopes that his ‘magic’ (which some observant Sox fans may question) would rub off on the Cubs 105 year championship curse. If I were them, I would have Steve Bartman ride into Wrigley Field on a Billy Goat from center field, stop at home plate and shotgun a can of Old Style. If that doesn’t exorcise the demons of Clark and Addison, there is always next year!
As the wonderful show Breaking Bad winds down this evening, the folks most sad about it’s departure won’t be the millions watching it on AMC and Netflix. It will be the fine people of Alberquerque, NM, where the epic series is set.
Breaking Bad’ became such a phenomenon that it helped in other areas such as tourism,” says Nick Maniatis, director of the New Mexico State Film Office. “You wouldn’t think that would be the case for a show about meth. But it was shot so beautifully. They did such a great job showing different areas of our state.”
The show’s cinematography has been so exceptionally well done over these six years, it has impacted the local Alberquerque tourism. There are now at least three city tours of Albequerque that takes tourists around specific spots featured in the show. On top of that, it has spurned a cottage industry around all things “Heisenberg Blues (Yo!)”. A local candy shop has created Breaking Bad Candy – crunchy candy styled like blue meth – while a local donut shop – Rebel Donut – has created Blue Sky donuts styled with blue icing and the aforementioned Breaking Bad Candy.
As the wise Dr. Seuss once said: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Not that this is exactly earth shattering news based on all the multitude of leaks related to the NSA’s tactics in tracking cyber-activity online, but the NY Times recently published an article explaining that the NSA is not only tracking all things digital, but they are able to crack and hack their way through any and all encryption technologies used in the public domain:
The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show.
This apparently makes the classic comic from the New Yorker null and void.
My life is shattered.
November marks the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s assassination and even to this day, the rumors and legends of who was behind his death continue to drive rabid interest.
Since 1996, a mysterious gravestone has sat adjacent to Lee Harvey Oswald’s in Shannon Rose Hill Cemetary in Fort Worth, TX which has fueled all sorts of chatter. Folks visiting Oswald’s grave couldn’t help but think that someone with a name like Nick Beef had to be associated with the Mafia. Problem is, the plot’s owner is alive, well and has no affiliation with “La Cosa Nostra” what so ever.
To begin with, Mr. Beef remains happily above the clay.
Affable, with gray-black hair slicked back, save for a stray curl or two, he sips tea at a cozy table at the Jack bistro in Greenwich Village, not far from his Manhattan apartment. With evident pride in possessing one of the more distinctive conversation starters in American discourse, he confirms that he owns the burial plot beside Lee Harvey Oswald’s.
Turns out “Mr. Beef” was at one point a stand up comic, writer, and father of two, who admits that he purchased the plot next to Oswald as somewhat of a morbid joke.
The New Yorker has a really cool interactive visual showing movements of folks using Citibikes through the months of June/July. It is a really interesting view into how people are using these much talked about additions to the NYC landscape. From the New Yorker’s quick analysis of the data:
A commuting pattern first emerged in our data on Tuesday, June 11th, when bikers travelled to a central corridor, which begins in midtown Manhattan and moves south, through the Flatiron District and down to the Financial District…Temperatures and precipitation also influence bike use, so the map displays weather information alongside bike movement…On weekends, the commutes are replaced by patternless, recreational movement, in which bikers meander around the city.
via The New Yorker
An facinating video from Wired Magazine showing how Tesla’s production line works. The most amazing part is at around the 3:30 mark where one of their robots actually installs the seats and the windshield (including applying the glue to the glass) with absolutely no human intervention.
Disclosure: I own Tesla stock.
Hat tip to Dave Pell’s Next Draft
Super awesome early early video of The Ramones playing a three song set at CBGB in the summer of 1974. The set includes:
Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
I Don’t Wanna Go Down To the Basement
Judy Is A Punk
This is a beautiful window into the NYC punk scene of the early 1970’s. And it’s pretty gratifying to see that The Ramones essentially did not change their style or sound from their earliest days before they were ‘discovered’ through to when they called it quits 20+ years later. According to the short article on Rolling Stone. this was close to two full years before The Ramones released their first album in 1976.
Pay attention to the pause between the first two songs, as they get into a funny argument over what the 2nd song should be.
I remember once seeing Joey Ramone on the streets of NYC and marveling at just how tall and lanky he was.
Hat Tip: Rolling Stone