thewayne: (Default)
News Thump is a very British parody site, not unlike The Onion. They do some very good work. I read them frequently, they do an excellent job of ripping Trump.

I'm reminded of a story of Vincent Price and Peter Lorre attending the funeral of Bella Lugosi, allegedly true: Peter turned to Vincent and whispered "Should we drive a stake through his heart, just to make sure?"
thewayne: (Default)
Jodie Whitaker will be the next Doctor Who, appearing in the Christmas Special, which should be quite interesting. Already fans are screaming, either in joy or anguish. Myself, I'm in the joy category, I think it's quite awesome. She's a great actor and I think it's high time. The lead vocalist for Blink-182 had a fabulous tweet: "Oh great a female Doctor Who. What next? Female real doctors? Female pilots? Female scientists? Female sisters and mothers? Female WOMEN?!"

Long may she reign! Or at least I'd like to see more than three years.

The BBC has a nice fan reaction piece that includes a short intro video, she looks great!

In sadder news, the passing on Saturday of Martin Landau, he was 89. Landau's first big movie was Hitchcock's North By Northwest, but I'll always remember him for Space: 1999 and Mission: Impossible. He was also the first choice for Mister Spock, but he turned it down and Gene had to go with his second choice, some guy named Nimoy. He kept himself pretty busy in his later years, pretty good for a guy pushing 90. He will also be remembered as the father of at least a two-generation acting dynasty as his daughter Juliet Landau, well-known for her work as Drusilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel is a VERY active actor herself.

On Sunday night, we lost the father of zombies, George Romero, to lung cancer. He was 77. I created a sort of zombie game called Zombie Cafe, wherein you operate a deli selling brains to zombies. There's a blog called the Zombie Rights Campaign which used to frequent horror conventions, handing out flyers and holding demonstrations, demanding an end to head shots and such: they labeled my game as Zombie Friendly as I did not advocate violence against zombies. He also gave a copy of my game to George, but I never heard anything from him. That would have been nice.

It's interesting to think of the two men, iconic actor and iconic film maker. They both left major marks in the industry and both will be remembered for a very long time.
thewayne: (Default)
I was wondering what Roger had been up to since the end of the election. It had been rumored that Trump was planning a conservative news channel and that Ailes would head it up, but then Trump made the mistake of winning the election and look at where we are now. Well, it turns out that Ailes had hemophilia. Apparently in '12 he said that actuaries said he had 6-12 years left, I guess he didn't make the odds. Still, to make it to 77 with that condition is an achievement.

Aside from heading up Fox and exploiting his position of authority to sexually exploit women, he previously was the chief media advisor to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. He also helped create the Merv Griffon Show and several other TV programs.

I can't say that I'm too sorry to see him gone. It would have been nice to see him have a reformation and make some amends for his past behavior, but it would be so totally out of character as to be all but an impossibility.
thewayne: (Default)
We lost a rocker last week, and I haven't seen word one on DW/LJ. *sigh*

J. Geils was the founder of the J. Geils Band, best known for hits such as Angel Of The Centerfold, Love Stinks, and Freeze-Frame. The band was founded in 1967! He was found dead at his home of apparent natural causes, he was 71.

The album Love Stinks was released in 1980, Freeze-Frame followed the next year and was the band's 12th album. They didn't last much longer as a band and broke up in 1985, but started the inevitable reunion tours in 1999. Geils himself went on and did several solo albums throughout the years.

I'm quite fond of Love Stinks, they were pretty solid rockers. That album, aside from the title track, also had some great ones in the forms of Come Back and No Anchovies.
thewayne: (Default)
Last week Tuesday he was felled by pancreatic cancer at the age of 71. In addition to the original BSG, he also appeared in the remake and penned five BSG novels. He appeared in many TV shows of the era, including CHiPs, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and MacGyver.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Best known for his portrayal of Father Mulcahey on M*A*S*H, I believe he was one of the few characters to be in the entire run.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Very sad! She was returning to LA from London and about an hour out suffered cardiac arrest. CPR was performed, she was rushed to the hospital was was reported to be in stable condition. Apparently that report was optimistic and she passed away this morning.

It was reported that her footage for Star Wars Episode 8 was complete, I anticipate some hurried rewrites and reshoots and a big explosion at a rebel base.

I was going to say that it's been a rough year for celebrities with the passing of David Bowie et al, but the reality that every year is a rough year for celebrities. We lose a lot of them every year, and it is sad. I just saw Carrie on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, she was talking about her new book which excerpted her diaries that she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movies. She was 19.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Lake passed away Tuesday at the age of 69 after a "stubborn battle with cancer". Cancer sucks. This comes nine months after Keith Emerson passed away.

I really liked ELP when I was younger. I still like them now, but I now recognize that the prog rock scene has more than a little bit of elements of improv jazz that I'm not a huge fan of. Still, I'll be giving my ELP+ playlist a workout today: the + is that it includes the albums Three and Emerson, Lake & Powell.

Warning: link has an auto-play video.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
mainly because I never really followed his music. I know he was talented, but I'm pretty firmly rooted in '70s/'80s rock. Maybe I'll pick up a copy of 1999 some day.

Anyway, I do have one Prince story that I can relate, not that it's personal. It involves Stevie Nicks song, Stand Back. The bass line was done by Prince, but it was done in a peculiar way. He arrived at the studio and told everyone to get out. He laid down the track and left the mix for Stevie the next day. When she heard it, she was pissed. She expected him to play it on a bass guitar, instead he programmed a synth to play it.

I find that kind of amusing. But to be honest, I much prefer Christine McVie to Stevie.

NPR's Fresh Air podcast had a recent interview with Questlove, the head of the band The Roots who are the band for The Tonight Show. Questlove met Prince on several occasions and told some very good stories. If you're interested, you can find a link to download it here.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Sir George really helped make the Beatles what they became. This tribute in Rolling Stone is quite interesting, contrasting his approach compared to Brian Epstein's. He was 91.

Keith Emerson took me by surprise. He was one of my 'introduction to rock' bands when back in the late '60s/early '70s my brother and I and some friends discovered a station wagon with boxes of LPs in the back. It was in a semi-demolished apartment complex, the car clearly abandoned and undriveable. There were albums by Elton John, King Crimson, Crosby Stills and Nash, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Moody Blues: it was an amazing find and totally changed my taste in music as my dad was an inveterate C&W listener and mom listened to whatever he did. I have no idea where my taste in classical came from.

Anyway, Keith passed Friday at 71. Comments to this Rolling Stone article (with auto-start music video) mention that he was diagnosed with cancer last year: apparently his death was a suicide and may have been from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In addition to Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith recorded with Greg Lake and Cozy Powell as Emerson, Lake and Powell and later got back together with Carl Palmer and recorded the album 3.

I don't have a lot of ELP on my phone, but I was able to put together a 15-20 song playlist and listen to it tonight while doing errands, we're in Phoenix right now for my mother's birthday so I don't have access to my full library.

Very sad. I would say that it's been a rough year for musicians, which it has, but I imagine that any given year there are lots of musician deaths.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
It's been an interesting couple of days with the passing of both Harper Lee and Umberto Eco, but I wanted to share this, which is something that a lot of people don't know about:

Harper Lee was instrumental in nudging Berk Breathed in resurrecting Bloom County.

She sent him a note pleading with him to continue producing Outland, and though it took a while, eventually he brought it back.

Berk posted this on his Facebook page today:

thewayne: (Cyranose)
Wow. Apparently he passed in his sleep, he was vacationing at a luxury hunting ranch in West Texas.

This will have a major effect on the election cycle. Two candidates, plus the President of the Senate, says Obama shouldn't nominate anyone for the position and if he does, they won't get approved. The process is that the nominee has to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee, then by the full Senate. And they have to have a 60 vote majority.

I'll write more on this tomorrow, it's not easy posting in a moving car on the interstate typing on an iPad.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Paul died of septic shock and multiple organ failure following a heart attack last year, does not sound like a pleasant way to go.

So Upstairs adds an excellent guitarist, vocalist, and song writer. I got to see Starship perform at, believe it or not, the Arizona State Fair. They did a great guitar solo that segued in to White Rabbit. Excellent show.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
I read about Abe last night, he made it to 94. He is best known for two roles: he appeared in The Godfather, but in my opinion, more importantly as Detective Fish on Barney Miller. There was a running joke: in 1982, People Magazine accidentally published that he had died, so he started appearing on talk shows to show that he was still alive. Later, someone bought the web domain, that basically had a photo of Abe and said 'he's not dead yet'.

Sadly, now he is. He was always fun to watch on talk shows.

Marvin Minsky was a VERY important person in the field of computer science, he was a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence research. If I have the story right, he was working with a group of students and assigned them to develop a program that could identify objects in a photograph, thinking it would be easy. They gave up after six months or so.

In other news, but in the field of artificial intelligence, a Google program beat a master at the game of Go! They've challenged the current world champion, we'll find out soon if he accepts.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Mojo Nixon had a song "Don Henley must die!" which contained the line "Don't ever let him get back together with Glenn Frey!" Well, Don is safe: Glenn died yesterday at age 67.

The cause was reported as pneumonia along with rheumatoid arthritis and acute ulcerative colitis, sounds like he might have had an autoimmune disorder. Sounds like a very unpleasant collection of symptoms.

Elsewhere in the good news/bad news department, Rolling Stone spoke with David Bowie's long-time producer, Tony Visconti. Tony reports that Bowie wrote and demo'd five tracks for a new album to follow Blackstar! So there's a chance that we'll see an EP at some point if Bowie's estate decides to complete the tracks.

There was one paragraph that was particularly touching to me:

Bowie had already finished Blackstar by November. But even before then, Visconti noticed the tone of some of the lyrics and told him, "You canny bastard. You're writing a farewell album." Bowie simply laughed in response. "He was so brave and courageous," says Visconti. "And his energy was still incredible for a man who had cancer. He never showed any fear. He was just all business about making the album."

Last night my wife and I watched Galaxy Quest, what a wonderful Rickman movie. We also have Love Actually, which we watched last month, and all of the Potters. While the role of Snape was a great and memorable performance, I really don't want to watch them as a memorial to Rickman. My wife mentioned, while reading IMDB, that he also did Quigly Down Under. Not a great movie, but it had its moments. I'd like to get ahold of his movie January Man, starring Kevin Kline, where Rickman played a gay architect and did a really great job.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Man, what a shocker losing two greats in one week, and both from cancer, and both age 69.

The first movie that I saw him in was Die Hard, he was such a great villain. But I really loved him in January Man with Kevin Kilne. And, of course, he was the definitive Snape in the Potter films.

Personally I think he would have made an excellent Lord Ventinari for Discworld movies, but now that will never happen.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Wow. He battled cancer for 18 months and was 69 years old. I hadn't heard he was ill.

His final album was released Friday, I'm going to pick it up today. Well, his final except for all of the 'lost tapes' albums that we'll be getting for the next 20 years.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
He passed quietly in his sleep at the age of 66.

He is probably my favorite author, I had the honor and privilege of meeting him at a Discworld convention in Tempe, AZ a few years ago. I also got his autograph on a limited edition copy of Good Omens, now if only I could track down that other fellow who scribbled a few words for it.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Leonard Nimoy passed away Friday, and there are so many links that I'm not going to bother with one.

It cued an interesting moment. I'm now working full-time, and my wife bought me a really nice BluTooth speaker called an OontZ (by Cambridge Soundworks) so I listen to music most of the day. Yesterday I was listening to all of my Beatles, it was actually the second day of this and I finished up.

Well, I had not yet heard the news. Our network/system admin Rob came in and told it to my boss, whose office is directly across the hall from mine, and Rob turned around and told me.

I was kinda gobsmacked. I remember when Dee Kelly died, and I wasn't surprised as he was the oldest member of the regular cast. James Doohan had a massive heart attack a couple of years before he passed, again, no big surprise. And Majel Barret's passing, for some reason, was just 'another celebrity death', which is sad because she's one of the few cast whom I've seen in person.

But Nimoy had a different stature. The odd thing was that I'm not sure that I saw the original run of Star Trek, I think perhaps the first thing that I remember him in was Paris in Mission: Impossible. I know I was watching Trek in the initial reruns as we were constantly playing it in '71 when I was in the 3rd grade, and the series ran from '66 to '69. So that's probably my oldest memory of ST:TOS. And I always preferred Spock over Kirk, and my pursuit of computer science has probably reflected that.

So here's where the Beatles come back in to the picture. As Rob told me about Leonard's death, my phone was playing In My Life. I can be very sensitive to music, and I feel myself softening and being close to tears just thinking about the lyrics.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all.

Several songs affect me for various reasons: Jackson Brown's For A Rocker always puts a lump in my throat, Manfred Mann's Runner can also. So now I think I have another association.

I was the president of a science fiction/fantasy film club in Phoenix for over 20 years, and I'm still a member and still in contact with the treasurer who really runs the thing. And I sent him a link to the NPR story about Nimoy this afternoon. He replied that he felt fortunate to have seen Nimoy give a presentation at a ComicCon, I believe the Phoenix one, and he talked about his life, including a stint as a taxi driver and picking up one John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Leonard Nimoy was definitely an amazing person and leaves behind a lot of great work that we can remember him by.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
What a brilliant mind, what a tragic loss. His death is an apparent suicide, though it'll take some time before the official ruling. Apparently his depression came back of late and hit him hard.

I remember him on Happy Days, before Mork & Mindy spun off on its own. Then there was the Live at the Met performance. I have two movies of his, I'm kind of ashamed that I don't have more. One is his appearance at The Actor's Studio, the title of the other eludes me for the moment, it was the one where he became President of the United States after someone tried to rig the election for their candidate.

I remember an appearance he did on Letterman when Moscow on the Hudson opened. Letterman made a comment that Williams had to learn Russian for the movie and started egging Williams on to get him to speak in Russian, finally Robin started and wouldn't stop. Dave just smiled, nodded his head, then looked square at the camera and shrugged, like 'Stupid me, now we can't shut him up!'

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