Archive for the 'Pop Culture' Category

We’re running out of munchkins

The New York Daily News reports that one of the last surviving actors to play a munchkin in “The Wizard Of Oz” has died.

The 4-foot-5 Slover died of cardiopulmonary arrest Tuesday afternoon in a central Georgia hospital, said Laurens County Deputy Coroner Nathan Stanley. According to friends, as recently as last weekend, Slover appeared at events in the suburban Chicago area.

Slover was best known for playing the lead trumpeter in the Munchkins’ band but also had roles as a townsman and soldier in the film, said John Fricke, author of “100 Years of Oz” and five other books on the movie and its star, Judy Garland. Slover was one of the tiniest male Munchkins in the movie.

There’s a recent picture of him at the link. He had a remarkable hairline.

When I lived in Los Angeles, I would often hang out at the Culver City Hotel which had a restaurant where the munchkins frequently dined during the making of “The Wizard Of Oz.” John Wayne kept a suite there in his later years.

Sandusky denies pedophilia

The former Penn State assistant football coach speaks.

“I could say that I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact,”

Gee, did you fuck them in the ass without intent of sexual contact?

Duplicating Tyson’s tattoo

With all the nonsense passing for headlines these days, you might not be aware of the legal debate examining the most important question of our times: can you copyright a tattoo? Posters for the upcoming movie “The Hangover II” feature a character adorned with a facial tattoo that closely resembles the very famous tattoo worn by Mike Tyson. As a result, the tattoo talent who designed Tyson’s tattoo is ticked off and suing. The Volokh Conspiracy considers the merits of the case.

The Copyright Act sets out the requirements for copyright protection: you have to have an “original work of authorship,” and it must be “fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” There’s not much question that Whitmill’s design is an “original work of authorship” — if it were painted on canvas, for instance, there’s no doubt that it would receive copyright protection. The harder question is whether Mike Tyson’s face is a “tangible medium of expression.”

The statute says that a work is “fixed in a tangible medium of expression” when its embodiment in a material object is “sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of more than transitory duration.” By my reckoning, the tattoo here clearly fits the bill: once it’s on Tyson’s face, it can be perceived by others for more than a “transitory duration”; though the latter phrase could, I suppose, be so narrowed as to not include the “transitory duration” of, say, Mike Tyson’s life, that would be at odds with about a million copyright precedents. [The “transitory duration” language has been construed to eliminate things like a “buffer copy” of a file inside a computer, which is deleted after 0.01 seconds or so — or the evanescent images on a television screen, which vanish once they are projected onto the screen).

Back when I lived in Los Angeles, I was once passing through the parking lot of my local burger joint, “Howard’s Bacon and Avocado Burgers,” and I looked over and saw Mike Tyson walking past his car. He had the distinctive facial tattoo, and looked at me wearily as if to say, “Yeah, it’s me. Get over it.”

Pervo songwriter commits suicide

As reported at the Onion AV club:

Songwriter Joseph Brooks, the Oscar-winning songwriter and director behind 1977’s You Light Up My Life and its hit title track, has died after an apparent suicide, reportedly by suffocating himself with a plastic bag hooked up to a helium tank. Brooks was awaiting trial for allegedly luring numerous aspiring actresses to his apartment with a Craigslist ad, then sexually assaulting them. While he was charged with some 127 counts of rape and sexual abuse, he maintained his innocence in a suicide note. He was 73.

Boy, still raping at 73. He must’ve been eating a lot of Asian ginseng.

Brooks was a former writer of ad jingles like Maxwell House’s “Good To The Last Drop Feeling” and Pepsi’s “You’ve Got A Lot To Live”; he accrued plenty of wealth thanks to their success, but not the fame he desired. …he embarked on a series of his own self-financed films, beginning with the Didi Conn-starring romantic comedy that was his biggest hit—though most of that had to do with the Debby Boone version of Brooks’ title song, which ended up being the most popular record of the 1970s, staying at No. 1 for 10 consecutive weeks.

Sounds like Brooks might have had something other than coffee in mind when he wrote “good to the last drop.”


Zombies beware

It turns out architects have gone ahead and designed and built the first zombie proof house. It’s a giant square compound made of dense materials and is apparently impenetrable.

If there ever is a zombie holocaust, the owner is going to have the time of his life calling up friends and saying, “Hey Bob, so I hear there’s a zombie attack? You say they already ate your wife and daughter? I’m just hanging out here playing my Xbox.”

Remains of sexy 50 foot tall leech woman discovered!

The LA Times notes…

Yvette Vickers, an early Playboy playmate whose credits as a B-movie actress included such cult films as “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” and “Attack of the Giant Leeches,” was found dead last week at her Benedict Canyon home. Her body appears to have gone undiscovered for months, police said.

Vickers, 82, had not been seen for a long time. A neighbor discovered her body in an upstairs room of her Westwanda Drive home on April 27. Its mummified state suggests she could have been dead for close to a year, police said.

He makes it look so easy

You have to respect the genius of Charlie Sheen. Three years ago he realized that “3 and 1/2 men” was garbage, but he knew that no network would cancel their most successful show. So he initiated a seemingly nonstop binge of whoring, drug abuse, paranoid ranting and general insanity as part of his master plan to destroy an inane sitcom that was violating the basic laws of humor. Charlie, I raise my glass to you.

Sitcom democracy

Recently, I was reading something about how the publishing industry is attempting to integrate bibliophiles into their editorial process. Basically, amateur writers can submit manuscripts and novels to a bulletin board or e-mail list of people who have expressed interest in reading unpublished works. The people on that list then read the materials and make recommendations to the publishing house as to what should be published. In essence, the reading public (or a small subset of it) is taking the place of the gatekeepers of the publishing industry.

Yesterday, I was thinking that this could also be applied to the television market. Basically, production houses would make a pilot of a show, and then allow them to be reviewed online by television viewers (which is pretty much everybody on earth.) Those viewers would then give a thumbs-up or thumbs down.

It seems to me you could take this even further. Instead of actually shooting a pilot, content creators could just pitch the idea straight to Internet users. A TV producer might say, “Alan Alda is a retired bachelor living with his grown son and discovers that their couch is possessed by the spirit of a former Islamic dictator. Don’t like that? How about Johnny Knoxville and the black dude who was banging Martin Sheen’s daughter in the West Wing as co-principals at a school in the Bronx? Not interested? Okay, I haven’t figure out all the details, but something about aliens that turn radioactive when they eat too much peanut butter. Mad Men meets Small Wonder! A reality show about iguanas dressed as circus clowns!”

This is the future of television folks.

The hard rock generation gets old

I’ve rather fortuitously finally discovered where the VH1 Classics channel is on my cable box. As a result, I’ve spent substantial portions of previous nights watching their great collection of 1980s heavy metal videos. While the videos are indeed a blast from the past, there’s something disturbing about the whole process. You’re sitting there listening to awesome rockin’ songs about partying hard, banging chicks and rocking the night away, and then you find yourself watching a hemorrhoid commercial.

Cum on feel the noize

I just found out that a guy I used to see singing in various heavy metal tribute bands at my local bar is the new singer for Quiet Riot. I’m not sure how this band can really be considered Quiet Riot — the only original member is the drummer — but that’s the music business.

If you care, you can read more about it here.