The amount of preparation and practice that Cruise and the film team did ahead of the final shots of some of his most iconic stunt scenes is pretty insane. For the big motorcycle jump scene in the most recent movie “Dead Reckoning”, they created a replica ramp in England where Cruise practiced repeatedly. In the “Fallout” movie, Cruise prepped by practicing 16 hours a day on how to fly a helicopter to nail the key scenes in the movies.
A legend amongst legends. His appeal crossed generations for over 70 years as he sang with everyone from Celine Dion to Amy Winehouse to Lady Gaga. Reading his obituary is like a time capsule of the past 97 years. I knew he served in World War II but had no idea that he was on the front line of troops to liberate the German concentration camps. And I had no idea the story behind how he decided on his stage name:
At night he performed at amateur shows and worked as a singing waiter. He had just begun to get paying work as a singer, using the stage name Joe Bari, when he was drafted.
He arrived in Europe toward the end of World War II, serving in Germany in the infantry. He spent time on the front lines, an experience he described as “a front-row seat in hell,” and was among the troops who arrived to liberate the prisoners at the Landsberg concentration camp, a subcamp of Dachau.
After Germany surrendered, Mr. Bennett was part of the occupying forces, assigned to special services, where he ended up as a singer with Army bands and for a time was featured in a ragtag version of the musical “On the Town” — directed by Arthur Penn, who would go on to direct “Bonnie and Clyde” and other notable movies — in the opera house in Wiesbaden.
He returned to New York in August 1946 and set about beginning a career as a musician. On the G.I. Bill, he took classes at the American Theater Wing, which he later said helped teach him how to tell a story in song. He sang in nightclubs in Manhattan and Queens.
A series of breaks followed. He appeared on the radio show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts,” the “American Idol” of its day. (The competition was won by Rosemary Clooney.) There are different versions of the biggest break in Mr. Bennett’s early career, but as he told it in “The Good Life,” he had been singing occasionally at a club in Greenwich Village where the owner had offered Pearl Bailey a gig as the headliner; she agreed, but only on the condition that Joe Bari stayed on the bill.
When Bob Hope came down to take in Ms. Bailey’s act, he liked Joe Bari so much that he asked him to open for him at the Paramount Theater. Hope had a condition, however: He didn’t like the name Joe Bari, and insisted it be changed. Dismissing the name Anthony Benedetto as too long to fit on a marquee, Hope christened the young singer Tony Bennett.NY Times
Here are two snippets of an interview he did with Howard Stern back in 2011. The first one talks more about his time serving in World War II and how that experience impacted him. The second talked about his own trouble with drugs, how Frank Sinatra gave him a warning, and how he wished he did the same to Amy Winehouse.
Joey Chestnut once again won the annual 4th of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, downing 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Over the years, the performance of the professional eaters participating in the annual Hot Dog eating event have shown a remarkable level of improvement (if you want to call it that), starting when Takeru Kobayashi burst on the scene in 2001.
On July 4, 2001, Takeru Kobayashi, a newcomer at the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest, systematically swallowed 50 hot dogs and soggy buns in 12 minutes, doubling the contest’s previous record.
Six years later, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut dethroned Kobayashi at the Coney Island showdown and in 2021, he set an all-time record of 76 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes.
In the 20 years before Kobayashi’s debut, the average champion had to eat about 16 hot dogs and buns to win the contest’s “Mustard Belt” prize. Now, they have to eat more than that just to qualify — typically 20 dogs in 10 minutes — and at least triple that to have any hope of winning.The Washington Post
The article goes on to talk about what is the ‘perfect body type’ for extreme competitive eating and how much more a body could take to surpass Chestnut’s record of 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes (spoiler: Chestnut thinks someone could push 90 hot dogs!).
I’ll stick to what I had yesterday at a neighbor’s 4th of July celebration: a hamburger and a chicken slider, a few beers, and some great desserts.
- Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week https://t.co/i4OFJx26iA 2023-06-27
- https://t.co/NPDPENiy1p 2023-06-30
- RT @shouldhaveanima: Red panda laying on a block of ice is my spirit animal ? https://t.co/S8LI7vhF6K 2023-06-30
- RT @RexChapman: Some folks keep saying America has made so much racial progress that affirmative action is unnecessary.
This happened two… 2023-06-30
- Baseball needs more British announcers. Adds a little EPL flair to the call. https://t.co/nLXpYyA3wf 2023-06-30
- RT @mehdirhasan: 43 million Americans who were promised relief by an elected president just got screwed over by an unelected group of justi… 2023-06-30
- Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week https://t.co/o2PRgr40Sn 2023-06-20
- Dark Side of the Rainbow https://t.co/KUWq9yevsm https://t.co/m61TuB3AAI 2023-06-21
- RT @Acyn: Goldman: One of my Republican colleagues says “we will hold members accountable.”
You are the party of George Santos! Who are y… 2023-06-21
- https://t.co/Yl14C2nzl8 https://t.co/6GctqDoiER 2023-06-25
- RT @Super70sSports: It is now believed that during the 70s and 80s a dog destroyed a Nerf football somewhere in America approximately once… 2023-06-25
- RT @RexChapman: Just five normal size guys out to dinner… https://t.co/dZq6KDGLze 2023-06-25
- RT @RonFilipkowski: Who did this? https://t.co/V7vCEqh0Kb 2023-06-26
- RT @vermontgmg: Speaking as a Watergate historian, there’s nowhere on thousands of hours of Nixon tapes where Nixon makes any comment as cl… 2023-06-26
Rick Astley and the Blossoms covering “The Smiths” at Glastonbury Music Festival is just what we all need these days. They pretty much crush it. Apparently, he and the Blossoms did a full set of 16 songs from “The Smiths” and I am here for all of them.
Related: See Rick Astley covering the Foo Fighters “Everlong” during the pandemic
To start, you turn on the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, turn the volume down, and wait for the the MGM lion to roar (some say you wait for the third roar). At that point, you fire up Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” album and keep the audio on. From there, you sit back and watch as the music from that album plays in snyc with the scenes from “Oz”. It is uncanny. Like many things that combine marijuana, Pink Floyd and some unrelated movie or album, it started as an urban legend back in the 1990s – watch “Oz” while listening to “Dark Side of the Moon” and smokin’ a doobie – but really seemed to take hold in the late 1990s when an article authored by a then 19 year old Charlie Savage started to make the rounds on this new thing called ‘The Internet’.
Like other band members have done consistently over the years, Waters denied that Pink Floyd intentionally structured its 1973 album to align with the 1939 film. (As Alan Parsons, the recording engineer who helped create “The Dark Side of the Moon,” pointed out in a 2020 interview, “We didn’t have VCRs back then.”) Waters described it as more of a “cosmic coincidence.” Then he launched into a story he had heard about a cop in Louisiana who, out on patrol one night, pulled over a tour bus for weaving. Penetrating its smoky interior, he discovered none other than Willie Nelson in the back, listening to “Dark Side” while watching “Oz.”
“I don’t believe it for a minute,” Waters said, “but I like the story.”
“Yeah, I don’t even want to investigate that — I want it to be true,” Rogan replied. (Journalistic principle compelled me to email Nelson’s publicist, who wrote back four minutes later to say, “It doesn’t sound true.”)
Rogan went on: “I’ve watched ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ listening to ‘The Dark Side of the Moon,’ while high on marijuana. And if it’s not on purpose, it is a cosmic coincidence because it’s kind of amazing. It’s kind of amazing how it just flows.”
I happened to stumble across a reference to this exchange online, but there was little chance it would escape my attention for long. That’s because I have a strange connection to the phenomenon: Nearly three decades ago, I wrote the first article about it when I was a summer intern at The Journal Gazette in my hometown, Fort Wayne, Ind. In recent months, as various music magazines and websites have been putting together packages about “The Dark Side of the Moon” in honor of its 50th anniversary, I have received a surge in interview requests about this article I wrote when I was 19, which has become an absurd footnote to my career as a national-security and legal journalist.
The link has been a recurring intrusion into my thoughts for years. Alerts I set up to deliver email to my inbox when someone writes about one of my New York Times articles also bring word of new references to that old Journal Gazette piece. And if those fail, friends and family text or email me whenever they see it mentioned in the wild. Every year or so, another co-worker stopping by my desk or a government source I’m meeting for a drink brings it up with a chuckle. At some point, somebody stuck the fact into a brief Wikipedia entry about me, and since then whenever I give a talk about something like surveillance or drone strikes or presidential power, people introducing me have often mentioned it — much to the audience’s amusement.
I didn’t come up with the idea of pairing these two works. I’m not the inventor of “The Dark Side of the Rainbow.” But in a strange sort of accident, I played a key early role in its becoming a cultural phenomenon. Before my article, “The Dark Side of the Rainbow” was just a word-of-mouth thing on an early internet message board. Hardly anyone knew about it, and those who did had no idea who came up with the idea or where it started.Charlie Savage, The NY Times
There are many urban legends like this out there related to Pink Floyd, The Beatles and other bands. While none of these ‘collaborations’ appear to be intentional, it is yet another example of how creative people can get when they have some time, some music, some movies and a doobie.
- Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week https://t.co/kapPcH6W5Q 2023-06-13
- RT @KatiePhang: And I’ll bet you Jack Smith didn’t blink. 2023-06-13
- RT @RollingStone: BREAKING: Trump Doubles Previous Record for Presidential Arrests https://t.co/HiC8V09Qqb 2023-06-13
- RT @JohnSmithChgo: I’m looking to redo my bathroom… https://t.co/pXREJeOha6 2023-06-14
- Just responded via DM. Tix would be for my daughter and her cousin. They would love to go and we would drive out t… https://t.co/m06IJaZAcf 2023-06-15
- Wyndham Hotels not sponsoring Wyndham Clark is a big miss.
- New Post: Twitter Tuesday – Tweets From The Past Week https://t.co/QMzTe8G9ph 2023-06-06
- RT @KenRob: Tom Wambsgans is reportedly leaving ATN to replace Chris Licht at CNN. https://t.co/tembDxVdeS 2023-06-07
- RT @Brieyonce: Allow me to introduce you to the most ridiculous yet amazing thing you will see this week. https://t.co/MHlGmz9Ph2 2023-06-08
- Bowie in the USSR https://t.co/bOdA28RzWz https://t.co/HPgMNQfVx1 2023-06-08
- RT @mgsiegler: A very secure shower. The most secure shower. A GREAT shower. 2023-06-09
- RT @iamkory: https://t.co/p08WrIczuO 2023-06-09
- RT @CraigWeekend: https://t.co/ubU3iJMgmZ 2023-06-09
- NY Times making sure to note that the fire and collapse of Rt 95 in Philly was right near Four Seasons Total Landsc… https://t.co/9NWItboZUk 2023-06-11
- RT @IanSMcIntyre: A big day ahead for ?@CuseMSOC? and we are bringing gifts! ????? https://t.co/nNNCuJWvjK 2023-06-12
We lost rock legend David Bowie way too soon, however there is not a shortage of footage of the rock icon to remind us how supremely cool and influential he was. At the Wende Museum in Culver City, CA is a very intimate collection of photos of Bowie as he traveled by train, boat and automobile from Japan to Europe because he was not comfortable flying:
In 1973, after performing in Japan as part of his Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane tour, Bowie headed home to Europe through the Soviet Union. He was fearful of flying and journeyed by boat, car and train with a close childhood friend, Geoff MacCormack, a percussionist and backup vocalist on the concert tour. The trip included a week on the Trans-Siberian Express from the city of Khabarovskto Moscow, where they stayed for two days.
Before they embarked on their trip, Bowie bought a 16mm movie camera in Japan and MacCormack, who later made a living as a songwriter and producer in advertising for 20 years, bought a Nikkormat camera. They documented their journey on and off the train, capturing the landscapes whizzing by, their fellow travelers and each other, both posing for the camera and in candid moments. Footage from Bowie’s “The Long Way Home” film is also on view at the Wende.
“This exhibition is basically holiday snapshots,” says Olya Sova, who guest-curated the Wende exhibition. “Not David Bowie in the studio, no makeup or posing with lights. It’s just two friends traveling together and having fun and exploring places that are really different from their reality.”Deborah Vankin, The Los Angeles Times
I really love when candid, intimate photos of famous people surface in today’s world – photos from before they became really famous – and these few shots fit that bill. I would love to get out to LA to see the full collection before the exhibit closes!
h/t: Laura Olin
An interesting thing transpired this week out in the San Diego market. Major League Baseball teams here in the US have traditionally relied on local networks to broadcast the majority of their games to the fans in the team’s region of the country. So, for example, I live in the NYC metro area so the Yankees and the Mets are broadcast locally via YES and SNY respectively – cable networks partially or fully owned by the teams themselves. Out in San Diego, where the Padres play, the broadcaster Diamond Sports Group (who operates as Bally Sports) a few weeks ago failed to pay the licensing fee to broadcast Padres games. Once the grace period to pay the fee expired, Diamond Sports Group effectively, and apparently willingly, broke their contract and rescinded their rights to broadcast Padres games.
Diamond, the Sinclair subsidiary that operates under the name Bally Sports, skipped its payment to the Padres a couple of weeks ago and had until the end of its grace period on Tuesday to make the team whole and maintain their long-term agreement. Choosing not to meant Tuesday’s game against the Miami Marlins was the last Padres game under the Bally Sports umbrella. Moving forward — starting Wednesday, continuing through the end of the season and resuming in perpetuity — MLB will air Padres games through its streaming service and on different cable channels.
MLB will provide Padres games through its MLB.TV app for free through Sunday. After that, in-market fans can continue to stream games for $19.99 a month or $74.99 for the rest of the regular season on MLB.com and Padres.com (postseason games air on national platforms). Through this process, Padres games will no longer be subject to blackouts. Local fans can also watch Padres games through a variety of cable providers — AT&T U-Verse, DirecTV, Cox and Spectrum — on a different channel. fuboTV will also continue to air Padres games through its platform.
In a release issued late Tuesday night, MLB stated that the new approach would increase the Padres’ reach from 1.13 million to about 3.2 million homes within the team’s TV territory.Alden Gonzalez, ESPN
What we are seeing here is the the first crack in the local/regional sports broadcasting ecosystem as a result of the rampant “cord cutting” that is happening around the country and the world. The significance of this can not be understated. We may very well see a few more teams/regional networks suffer the same fate and that will mean that the league(s) will start to take over “local” broadcasting services. The economic implications on the league will be very interesting to watch as the sky high valuations of many MLB teams have historically been tied to the value of the regional sports networks that the individual franchises have huge stakes in. If those broadcast rights shift to the leagues, how does that impact the individual teams, especially if the streaming subscription dollars do not add up to the ‘per household’ fees traditionally paid through cable packages?
Another interesting element this highlights and also brings into focus is one that has been around forever – the fact that not all fans of said teams are located in that region of the country. I am a displaced New Englander who lives in the NYC metro area. For as long as I have lived here, the only way I have been able to watch the Red Sox on broadcast or cable TV has been if the Red Sox were playing the Yankees or Mets (or the Braves on TBS), or if they were being broadcast nationally (regular season and/or playoffs).
If I wanted to be able to see all the games of my favorite teams – basically to mimic what I would be able to watch if I was living in New England – I’d have to subscribe to ‘league pass’ services from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and drop an additional $750/year. And that’s not even counting if I’m a soccer fan where an MLS subscription would be another $100 via the new Apple TV+ deal or that the English Premier League has many games broadcast on NBC’s Peacock premium streaming service.
If I wanted to be able to see all the games of my favorite teams – basically to mimic what I would be able to watch if I was living in New England – I’d have to subscribe to ‘league pass’ services from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and drop an additional $750/year. And that’s not even counting if I’m a soccer fan where an MLS subscription would be another $100 via the new Apple TV+ deal or that the English Premier League has many games broadcast on NBC’s Peacock premium streaming service. Or, I could just move back to the New England region.
My activity on Twitter from the week ending 05.26.23, just in case you may be interested.
- RT @NUFC: ONE STEP CLOSER.
- RIP to a Syracuse legend. https://t.co/pU30vYqSQk 2023-05-19
- Syracuse legend #44
- RT @Coach_McNamara: Congratulations @carmeloanthony! National Champion @Cuse_MBB, All-Time @NBA GREAT and a LEGEND in this game! No one deserv… 2023-05-22
- RT @ProjectLincoln: https://t.co/K0IuxnEmWG 2023-05-24
- To me, it sounds like he said Rondi Santis and I can’t stop hearing it. https://t.co/GEt0EMi2WU 2023-05-24
- RT @therecount: Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-FL) calls out Republicans who “clowned” him for “not having best credit … and being denied an apartme… 2023-05-25
Several years ago, when out in Los Angeles, we took a ride over to see the original Brady Bunch house. From the outside, it ‘felt’ surprisingly small and if you did not know the significance of the structure, you would probably miss it in it’s non-descript neighborhood nestled nearby one of the many freeways out in LA. Back in 2019, the fine folks at HGTV purchased the house and renovated it to all its Brady glory, down to the olive green fridge and the orange Formica in the kitchen. And today, you can purchase the house for a cool $5.5 Mil.
The five-bed, five-bath spread still largely resembles the home fans remember. For instance, the living room is a near replica of the original set. HGTV faithfully recreated the famous floating staircase and green floral sofa. Plus, they even 3-D printed a horse statue that viewers saw positioned atop a credenza.Yahoo News
The actual real estate listing for the house is here.
On an average day, with an average golfer, the odds of hitting a hole in one is about 12,500 to 1. For professional golfers, the odds of a hole in one fall significantly to 3,000 to 1. Most hole in one shots are similar – the ball, which is 1.68″ in diameter, lands on the green, rolls towards the cup, which is 4.5″ in diameter, and then falls in, which is then followed by vigorous celebration and high fives all around. So then, what do we think the odds are of a golfer of any skill level making a hole in one on the fly? Meaning, that 1.68″ diameter ball doesn’t touch the green and literally lands right in the 4.5″ diameter hole. The odds have to be astronomical. And that is exactly what happened at this weekend’s PGA Championship when Michael Block, a golf course pro from California (not even a PGA Touring pro!!), aced the 15th hole at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY. Take a look at the video. It is a stunning shot. It even took Mr. Block several minutes for it to register that he aced it.
Continuing with my continuing high level of interest (obsession?) with the wreck of the Titanic (for whatever reason, I just can’t take in enough detail about the topic), some very high detail digital scans of the wreck site were released yesterday, showing it in amazing detail. It is so detailed in fact that you can see the serial number on one of the ship’s propeller blades. From the article:
The Titanic has been extensively explored since the wreck was discovered in 1985. But it’s so huge that in the gloom of the deep, cameras can only ever show us tantalizing snapshots of the decaying ship – never the whole thing.
The new scan captures the wreck in its entirety, revealing a complete view of the Titanic. It lies in two parts, with the bow and the stern separated by about 800m (2,600ft). A huge debris field surrounds the broken vessel.
The scan was carried out in summer 2022 by Magellan Ltd, a deep-sea mapping company, and Atlantic Productions, who are making a documentary about the project.
Submersibles, remotely controlled by a team on board a specialist ship, spent more than 200 hours surveying the length and breadth of the wreck.
They took more than 700,000 images from every angle, creating an exact 3D reconstruction.Rebecca Morelle from the BBC
The 2022-23 season in the English National League (England’s 5th tier football league) has been defined by the phenomenal race at the top of the table between Wrexham AFC and Notts County. As good as Wrexham was this season, Notts County was equal to the task, keeping everyone in suspence all the way to the critical match at the Racecourse on April 10. It was a battle for the ages with (essentially) automatic promotion to League 2 (England’s Fourth Tier) to the winner, while the 2nd place team likely had to reckon with the playoff round for the final promotion spot. And as we all know, just about anything can happen in a playoff round, as Wrexham found out last year.
Yesterday, Notts County took on Boreham Wood with the winner going to Wembley for the National League Playoff final. Boreham Wood has the best defense in the National League. Notts County accumulated a record 107 points this season, a clear 25 points better than Boreham and only bested by Wrexham’s 111. All those facts didn’t matter yesterday, as Boreham took a 2-0 lead in the first half. And from there, Notts County staged a comeback for the ages – scoring the tying goal in the 97th minute of regulation – literally the last minute of the game (And you must remember, the April 10 game against Wrexham was decided in the last minute as well) – and then scored the winning goal 30 minutes into extra time. Just watch the highlight reel above. It is an amazing summary of the game – especially because each team had ample opportunities to score throughout the entire game.
The quality of football in the English Premier League is world class – there is no argument there. However, the energy, passion and enthusiasm that we have witnessed through this year’s National League season has been every bit as spectacular.
The movie drops in November. I am sure there will be a few other trailers that will drop between now and then. I really enjoyed the first movie – I honestly think that as time continues to hurtle forward, it will be looked back on in the same light as the original Star Wars. Villeneuve did an amazing job of creating a world in the first movies and clearly defining the key players. I am confident that Part 2 will continue the build on the strength of the first movie.
I admit it. I jumped onto the Wrexham AFC bandwagon as soon as I heard about Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney purchasing the club, and then went head first all in after watching the wonderful 1st season of their documentary “Welcome to Wrexham”. I started following Wrexham on ESPN – tracking their every game and checking the standings religiously. I carved out a Wrexham section in Apple News, salivating for any tid bit of news or information about the team and its upcoming matches, since the English National League (England’s 5th level soccer division – something similar to single A baseball here in the US) does not get much attention. I have been trying to purchase the Wrexham baseball cap that has their crest on the front. And as this season has progressed and it became apparent that Wrexham was in a record setting steel cage death match with Notts County (both teams have surpassed 100 points this season, an unheard of level of success for one team, much less two in the same season!) for promotion from the English National League to the EFL League 2 division (the English Football League’s 4th division) and that the April 10 match vs Notts County at Wrexham’s Racecourse Grounds was going to be an important match. And oh, did it deliver. Wrexham won 3-2 but that does not begin to tell the whole story. Take a few minutes to watch this short highlight video from the match – because it had literally everything, from Wrexham coming from behind to win, to the 40 year old goalkeeper who used to play for Manchester United (English football royalty), who came out of retirement a month ago to join Wrexham because their lead goalie was injured, making the game winning save on a Penalty Kick in the 96th and last minute of extra time. Yes, even Hollywood could not have written this.
What is most appealing to me about this whole story is how ‘all in’ both Reynolds and McElhenney are with their responsibility to the club and the city of Wrexham. There was a lot of conjecture early on that they both were doing this as a publicity stunt, but it is obvious from the documentary, from the way they have engaged with the Wrexham community, and from the level of investment that both have made to the club and the north Wales region, that they are fully 1000% committed for the long haul. Hell, Reynolds just bought a home outside of Wrexham. League 2 is just the first step in their quest. They have their sights set on the English Premier League. And the scary thing is – they may just get there. Earlier this year, Wrexham participated in the FA Cup – an elimination tournament that all English teams from the EPL to the National League participate – and went to the round of 16 by beating 3nd Division Coventry City at their home field, and then came thisclose to beating 2nd division Sheffield United. (Had they won that Sheffield United match, they would have hosted Harry Kane and Totteham Hotspur on Wrexham’s home field, The Racecourse Ground, which would have be an off the charts event). This team is legit and can hang with many of the top teams in English soccer.
I sincerely hope that Wrexham succeeds in their goal to achive automatic promotion to League 2. And I sincerely hope that Notts County wins the playoff to secure their promtion to League 2 as well, because they are just as deserving. I am, and will always be, a Newcastle United fan first – who themselves are having a spectacular season in the EPL – however I am unapologetic about joining the many newly minted Wrexham fans out there and look forward to riding this as long as they will let me.