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Swedish opera tenor, Nicolai Gedda, died at the spry age of 91.

How does a bastard, orphan, son of a waitress and a Russian, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in Stockholm by providence, impoverished in squalor, grow up to be an tenor opera singer?

I have no idea.  Read his goddamned autobiography if you’re that interested.  I’m sticking to Wikipedia.

Gedda was widely admired for his sensitive musicianship, masterly tonal control and impeccable diction.  Is it me or does all that sound just a little bit dirty?

Over a quarter-century, he sang 367 performances with the Metropolitan Opera, which means that this lazy jackass only worked about one day a month.  I’m so sick of these damn welfare queens!  Just mooching off the system.  Lazy tax-stealing bastards.

His roles included Des Grieux in Massenet’s “Manon,” Hoffmann in Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann,” Nemorino in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore,” Ernesto in his “Don

Gedda-Nicolai-3

Was Bill Murray always that fat?

Pasquale,” Roméo in Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette,” Connard in Écrivain Prétentieux’s “Mots Aléatoire” Edgardo in his “Lucia di Lammermoor,” and the title role in Berlioz’s “Benvenuto Cellini.”

I know exactly one of these roles.  Another one is made up.  You’ll have to use Google Translator to see which one.

One reviewer once said that Gedda’s voice was “an ideal union of responsiveness to word and musical line, a demonstration of vocal and technical mastery and varied and beautiful tone, and an expression of wise and” -Oh my God, this is why everyone hates opera!

This hit goes to:  Really?  Babysitter again?  He now has 100 points!  He made triple digits!  And all because he Googled his list.  The rugby player died way back in February and this guy in January.

Word to the wise: Google your list every now and then.

Erin remains at… wait, let me do the math… [carry the one… …factor in the variance of population data… aaaand…] …zero points!

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Lee Kwang Soo!: – 170 (Alice Drummond – 20, Dr. Henry Heimlich – 10, Hashemi Rafsanjani – 20, Lola Albright – 10, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – 60, Darren Daulton – 50)

Josh: 140 – (Florence Henderson – 20, Grant Tinker – 10, Gordie Tapp – 10, Terry Edwards – 60, Chuck Barris – 20)

Wes: 140 – (Holly Dunn – 50, John Glenn – 10, Debbie Reynolds – 20, David Penrose Buckson – 10, Erin Moran – 50)

Morrigan’s Mirror: 120 – (William Christopher – 20, Mary Tyler Moore – 20, Moulton “Pete” Marston – 20, Michael Bond – 20, Haruo Nakajima – 20, Barbara Cook – 20)

Team Sushi: 100 – (Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka – 30, Roger Moore – 20, Manuel Noriega – 20, Martin Landau – 20, Ara Parseghian – 10)

Jami: 100 – (Fidel Castro – 10, Bernard Frost – 20, Zsa Zsa Gabor – 10, George Michael – 50)

Babysitter: 100 – (June Foray – 10 – Glen Campbell – 20, Joost van der Westhuizen – 60, Nicolai Gedda – 10)

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 70 – (Ralph Branca – 10, Craig Sager – 40, Sam Ard – 30)

M: 30 – (George Romero – 30)

Joanne: 30 – (Judge Joseph Wapner – 10, Helmut Kohl – 20)

M: 30 – (Sir John Hurt – 30)

Jodi & Husband: – 20 (Bill Dana – 20)

Gianna: 20 – (Leonard Cohen – 20)

The Mumblers: 10 – (Don Rickles – 10)

Nathaniel: 10 – (Peter Sallis – 10)

Mary: 10 – (Chuck Berry – 10)

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Mike “Mighty Atom Jr.” Greenstein died at the spry age of 95… in February.

Listed under the “names-you-should-Google-to-see-if-they-are-still-alive,” Mighty Atom, Jr. was a Cony Island mainstay.

Mighty was known for being able to pull a car with his teeth.  When he was in his 90s.  HIS NINETIES!  I can barely pull a car with a tow truck!

It should be be noted that his father was actually known as Mighty Atom, Sr.

His father became a strongman who toured with the USO during WWII (the big one).  Mighty, Jr. was inspired by his father.  

He decided to start an act of his own to entertain the troops by bending bars, breaking chains, and pulling passenger-filled cars with his hair or his teeth.

As he grew older and settled near Coney Island, he became known for the whole pulling-vehicles-with-his-teeth-thing.

Did I mention that he was only five foot four?

Mighty Atom Jr

Mighty, shown here eating a Sugar Daddy.

Once, the New York Times was interviewing him when the mailman showed up.  He brought the reporter outside, attached a chain to the mail truck and pulled it up a hill.  But that wasn’t enough!  He then started pulling his Buick around the parking lot.  He went too fast and smashed into his neighbor’s parked car.

Do you think Allstate would let him use his accident forgiveness on that one?  “Yeah, I hit my neighbor’s car with my car… no, I wasn’t driving…. Yes, I was the one who hit the car… No.  I wasn’t driving!… come on, how complicated is this?”

As an added note: his Buik had a handicap plate on it.

Mighty, Jr. took care of his teeth by brushing them with kosher salt.  Wait?  Is that a thing?  Will my teeth be forever strong by brushing with kosher salt?  Or is that just a Jewish thing?  …OK, I just did some research (which means I Googled it) and all of these health and beauty sites promote it and being good for your teeth and gums.  I found one dentist advocating salt water rinse instead of mouthwash… I guess it’s a thing!

This hit goes to: ME!  Because I Googled my list, I found a hit!  I’m now only 40 points behind the leader!

Happy pooling and Go-Go Google!,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami: 170 – (Scott Weiland  – 60, Pat Harrington, Jr. – 20, Umberto Eco – 20, Rob Ford – 60, Erik Bauersfeld – 10)

Tailgating w/ Jesus: 140 (Dolph Schayes – 20, Meadowlark Lemon – 20, Monte Irvin – 10, Muhammad Ali – 30, Pat Summitt – 40, Buddy Ryan – 20)

Lee Kwang-Soo (Giraffe): 130- (Daniel Fleetwood – 70, Abe Vigoda – 10, Nancy Fucking Reagan! – 10!, George Martin – 10, Elie Wiesel – 20, Mike “Mighty Atom, Jr.” Greenstein – 10)

Occupy the Casket: 100 – (Natalie Cole – 40, Vanity – 50, Boutros Boutros-Ghali – 10)

Joanne: 90 (Joey Feek – 60, Joe Garagiola – 10, Julius La Rosa – 20)

Team Sushi: 80 (Chyna, aka Joanie Laurer – 60, Morley Safer – 20)

The Girl on Fire: 80 (Wayne Rogers – 20, René Angélil – 30, George Gaynes – 10, James Noble – 10, Doris Roberts – 10)

Mostly Mike: 60 (Marvin Minsky – 20, Mihaly “Michu” Meszaros – 30, Janet Waldo – 10)

Age of Aquarius: 60 (William Guest – 30, Merle Haggard – 30)

Harmony: 60 (Harper Lee – 20, George Kennedy – 10, Frank Sinatra, Jr. – 30)

Mortician’s Daughter: 50 – (Justice Antonin Scalia – 30, Bud Collins – 20)

Gianna: 40 (Robert Stigwood – 20, Lois Duncan – 20)

Nathaniel: 10 (Alan Young – 10)

Let this be a lesson to all who poo-poo me when I tell them to Google their lists!  We have a new leader!  On draft day!

Author of such classics as Gold Unicorn, Elephantasam, Red Unicorn, Volkhavaar, The Gods Are Thirsty, Metallic Love, and Black Unicorn (apparently, there was a whole unicorn series), Tanith Lee, (yes, Tanith) died at the spry age of 67!  

It was rumored that the English author was the daughter of actor Bernard Lee.  This was patently false.  She was the daughter of actor Bruce Lee.

Although her childhood was happy, she was the “traditional kid that got bullied.”  Probably because her parents named her fucking Tanith!

The first work that she sold was an essay called “Eustace” about a lonely, nerdy man who works as a hapless clerk at a broken-down old building and loan.

Most of Lee’s books were all about dragons and unicorns (as seen above) and shit like that.  But, she also wrote lesbian fiction under the name Esther Garber.  

Somehow, I doubt that’s as exciting as it sounds.  Probably a little less “Well, you are my sorority sisters and college is for experimenting,” and more “I’m in love with a woman and am being rejected by family and friends and there’s all this

Let's play the "Guess What Decade This Picture Was Taken" game!

Let’s play the “Guess What Decade This Picture Was Taken” game!

oppression and shit.”

See Tanith was all about the girl-power.  One of her overpowering themes was feminism.  Meaning that all the unicorns were saved… by a kick-ass woman!

This hit goes to:  who the fuck do you think?  I mean, all the unicorns were actually saved…. and by a kick-ass woman!  Of course it’s Pirate!  Occupy the Casket has occupied the lead because her picks have occupied so many caskets this year!

See, I don’t catch every hit.  So, I tell people to Google their more obscure picks.  No one does this (Nora, I’m looking at you).  Maybe this year you guys will learn a valuable lesson… oh, who the hell am I kidding…

Congrats to Pirate for winning the 2014-2015 Do Not Do Heroin Ghoul Pool!  (Unless people unearth better hits today.)  With 200 points, it’s an impressive win!

Nancy Reagan, somehow, continues to live.

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Occupy the Casket: 200 – (Sir Terry Pratchett – 66, Lauren Hill – 90, Maureen O’Hara – 10, Tanith Lee – 40)

The Girl on Fire: 180 – (Mario Cuomo – 20, Richard Dysart – 20, Anne Meara – 20, Denise McCluggage – 20, Bobbi Christina Brown – 80, Frank Gifford – 20)

Jami: 140 – (Diem Brown – 70, Sam Simon – 50, Dick Van Patten – 20)

I-Steve (a.k.a: The Arch-Bishop!): 130 – (Fiorenzo Angelini – 10, Jorge María Mejía – 10, Cardinal Karl Josef Becker – 20, Roberto Tucci – 10, Giovanni Canestri – 10, Giacomo Biffi “the Vampire Slayer” – 20, William W. Baum – 20, László Paskai – 20, Cardinal Ján Chryzostom Korec – 10)

Tailgating with Jesus: 130 – (Jean Béliveau – 20, Ernie Banks – 20, Jerry Tarkanian – 20, Minnie Minoso -10, Al Rosen – 10, Chuck Bednarik – 20, Louise Suggs – 10)

Gianna: 110 – (Ahmad “Real” Givens – 70, Vincent Bugliosi – 10, Dean Jones – 20)

Team Sushi: 100 – (Marion Barry – 30, Omar Sharif – 20, Dave Benton – 50)

Nikki: 90 – (Stuart Scott – 60, BB King – 20, Yogi Berra – 10)

Fearless Ghoul Pool Administrator: 70 – (King Abdullah – 10, Joe Franklin – 20, Alex Rocco – 30, Milton Delugg – 10)

Anne: 70 – (Lesley Gore – 40, Joe Cocker – 30)

Babysitter: 60 – (Leonard Nimoy – 20, Gary Gahl – 30, Al Delvecchio – 10)

Nora the Explorer: 50 – (James Best – 20, Ben E. King – 30)

Mostly Mike: 40 – (Ralph H Baer – 10, Edward W. Brooke III – 10, Dickie Moore – 20)

Anne: 30 – (oops, I forgot who Anne had – 30)

Nathaniel: – 10 – (Christopher Lee – 10)

Erika: 10 – (Jayne Meadows – 10)

The Mortician’s Daughter:  10 – (“Little” Jimmy Dickens – 10)

Milton Delugg, accomplished accordionist (those two words aren’t seen together often), one-time band leader for The Tonight Show, and former musical director for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, died at the spry age of 96…

…back in April.  

See, Uncle Milty (as he was known) is not the type of guy who shows up in most news feeds.  This is why it’s a good idea to Google the more obscure names in your list.

Delugg (which translates to: The Lugg) worked as band leader at Slapsy Maxie’s in Hollywood.  And, although he enjoyed working for a cartoon character, he quickly moved on.

He popped up in a lot of different places in the pop-culture pantheon.

He was the composer of “Hooray for Santy Claus”, the catchy theme song for the low-budget 1964 motion picture Santa

I know, I'm shocked too... an accordion player in a bow tie?

I know, I’m shocked too… an accordion player in a bow tie?

Claus Conquers the Martians (which I own, if anyone wants to see it).

He co-wrote,”Orange Colored Sky”, which was best remembered as a hit for Nat King Cole.  And, holy shit, is that a great song.  Don’t worry: no accordian.

He was down with the Chuck Barris scene, so he wrote the theme to The Newlywed Game in 1966. He was musical director of The Gong Show (appearing with his “Band With a Thug”).  Delugg’s “Hoop Dee Doo” became a fixture on The Gong Show, and was used whenever the contest winner was chosen.

You know The Gong Show, right?  It was an entire show that was the first part of every American Idol seasons, with the bad acts that you make fun of.

Delugg remained the musical director of the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade through 2013.  So, he picked the songs for people to lipsynch.  This is also how he ended up on my radar.

Yes, even I get hits every now and then!  This whopper gives me ten points and elevates me into a tie with Anne for We-have-no-chance-of-winning Place!

Nancy Reagan, somehow, continues to live.

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

The Girl on Fire: 180 – (Mario Cuomo – 20, Richard Dysart – 20, Anne Meara – 20, Denise McCluggage – 20, Bobbi Christina Brown – 80, Frank Gifford – 20)

Occupy the Casket: 150 – (Sir Terry Pratchett – 66, Lauren Hill – 90)

Jami: 140 – (Diem Brown – 70, Sam Simon – 50, Dick Van Patten – 20)

Tailgating with Jesus: 130 – (Jean Béliveau – 20, Ernie Banks – 20, Jerry Tarkanian – 20, Minnie Minoso -10, Al Rosen – 10, Chuck Bednarik – 20, Louise Suggs – 10)

I-Steve (a.k.a: The Arch-Bishop!): 120 – (Fiorenzo Angelini – 10, Jorge María Mejía – 10, Cardinal Karl Josef Becker – 20, Roberto Tucci – 10, Giovanni Canestri – 10, Giacomo Biffi “the Vampire Slayer” – 20, William W. Baum – 20, László Paskai – 20)

Gianna: 90 – (Ahmad “Real” Givens – 70, Vincent Bugliosi – 10)

Nikki: 80 – (Stuart Scott – 60, BB King – 20)

Fearless Ghoul Pool Administrator: 70 – (King Abdullah – 10, Joe Franklin – 20, Alex Rocco – 30, Milton Delugg – 10)

Anne: 70 – (Lesley Gore – 40, Joe Cocker – 30)

Team Sushi: 50 – (Marion Barry – 30, Omar Sharif – 20)

Nora the Explorer: 50 – (James Best – 20, Ben E. King – 30)

Babysitter: 50 – (Leonard Nimoy – 20, Gary Gahl – 30)

Anne: 30 – (oops, I forgot who Anne had – 30)

Mostly Mike: 20 – (Ralph H Baer – 10, Edward W. Brooke III – 10)

Nathaniel: – 10 – (Christopher Lee – 10)

Erika: 10 – (Jayne Meadows – 10)

The Mortician’s Daughter:  10 – (“Little” Jimmy Dickens – 10)

Baseball coach and inspiration for Doctor Who’s Slitheen, Don Zimmer, died at the spry age of 83.

Image

Zimmer (right) was the inspiration for a Doctor Who alien (left).

Zimmer (The Zim-man to douchebags who tried to ingratiate themselves by giving him a nickname) was in baseball for over 60 years, right up to his death.  He got married on the field.  When he was on dialysis, he still showed up at Tropicana Field (named after team founder, Joe Tropicana) to advise the Rays.  This guy lived, ate, drank, breathed, peed, pooped and ejaculated baseball.

Back in ‘53 he was hit in the head by a pitch and was knocked out cold for two weeks.  Two weeks!  Yeah, they started using helmets after that.  (Phil Rizzuto was the first to use a batting helmet, which he purchased using a loan from the Money Store.)

Zimmer shot Trayvon Martin and got away with it because this is an unfair, racist world we live in-  Hold on, let me double-check that… Googling… Zimmer… Trayvon… Oh… that would be George Zimmerman… that bastard is still at large?  Man, this is an unfair, racist world we live in.

Zimmer hit his high with the world-champion Brooklyn Dodgers and he hit his low as one of the original New York Mets… can’t slip much lower than that.  That’s like, Nixon resigning low.

In 2005, Zimmerman’s jowly visage was co-opted for the Slitheen by the BBC for their re-boot of the classic Doctor Who series.  The show is little more than an Abbot and Costello rip-off where two guys sit around and argue about misunderstanding a doctor’s name.

This hit goes to: well, duh, Tailgating with Jesus!  The Beaner hits triple-digits with this hit!  But he’s still 90 points behind Jami.

Happy pooling,

SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami: 190 (Ariel Sharon – 20, Philip Seymour Hoffman – 60, Peaches Geldof – 80, Rubin “The Hurricane” Carter – 30)

Tailgating with Jesus: – 100 (Jerry Coleman – 20, Ralph Kiner – 10, William Clay Ford – 20, Ralph Wilson -10, Jack Ramsay – 20, Don Zimmer – 20)

Starving Writer: – 100 (James Avery – 6’ 5” – 40, L’Wren Scott – 6’4” – 60)

Gianna: 80 (Tom Laughlin – 20, Alicia Rhett – 10, Mae Young – 10, Ruth Robinson Duccini – 10, Pete Seeger – 10, Fred Phelps – 20, Marc Platt – 0)

SPMI: 70 (Peter O’Toole – 20, Joan Fontaine – 10, Sid Caesar – 10, Dave “Sick-motehrfucker” Herman – 30)

“Imaginary” Steve: 70 (Cardinal Domenico Bartolucci – 10, Cardinal Ricardo Carles Gordo – 20, Emmanuel III Delly – 20, Marco (Polo!) Cé – 20)

Joanne: 70 (Ace Parker – 0, Nelson Mandela – 10,  Ray Price – 20, Maximilian Schell – 20, Connie Marrero – 0, Al Feldstein – 20)

Babysitter: 60 (Mikhail Kalashnikov – 10, Russell Johnson – 20, Mickey Rooney – 10, Ann B. Davis! – 20)

Good to the Last Drop (© Maxwell House): – 60 (Frederick Sanger – 10, Maxine Kumin – 20, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. – 10, Gary Becker – 20)

Team Sushi: – 50 (Bob Hoskins – 30, Maya Angelou – 20)

The Girl on Fire: 50 (Eleanor Parker – 10, Dave Madden – 20, Ralph Waite – 20)

Occupy the Casket: 40 (Ronnie Biggs – 20, Harold Camping – 10, Dick Ayers – 10)

Nora the Explorer: 20 (Jeremiah Denton – 20)

Mostly Mike: 20 (Shirley Temple Black – 20)

Carol’s 1%: 20 (Harold Simmons – 20)

Dick in Town: 10 (Hiroo Onoda – 10)

The fourth Oldest Major Leaguer, Freddy Schmidt, died at the spry age of 96.

Connie Marrero, Ace Parker & Mike Sandlock are the three that are older than him, so that should save you a Google search.

Schmidt wasn’t old enough to play with, say Honus Wagner.  He didn’t even get a chance to have Ty Cobb kick his dog.  But Phil Rizzuto lent him money from The Money Store once.

Schmidt, shown here re-telling his classic story about giving simultaneous hand-jobs in the bullpen.

Schmidt, shown here re-telling his classic story about giving simultaneous hand-jobs in the bullpen.

Years ago, he was discovered when he was working at a foundry when the Cardinals sent him an invitation to a public tryout…. I don’t think they do it that way any more… do they?  How do I get this invite?  I’ll learn ‘em something about how to play the game!  No one can beat my intimidating strategy of not being able to throw from the mound to the plate.  When they see how long it takes me to get to first, they’ll all say, “clearly, he doesn’t have to run fast!”  And nothing will say confidence like being able to drop a fly ball without breaking a sweat…. But I digress.

Schmidt is survived by Connie Marrero, Ace Parker & Mike Sandlock.

This hit goes to: Joanne!  Yes, another rookie on the board!  I think that babysitter just might be losing some of the swagger he had during his big 10-points-to-nothing lead.

There’s now a 5-way tie at 10 points.  Jami still holds the lead… but you will note that she’s not telling anyone to be running scared or anything… This ain’t her 1st time at the rodeo.

Happy Pooling,
SPMI

Current Standings:

Jami – 20 – (Larry Hagman – 20)

Joanne – 10 – (Freddy Schmidt – 10)

Tailgating with Jesus – 10 – (Marvin Miller – 10)

Gainna – 10 – (Lucille Bliss – 10)

“Sister” Mary Sheila – 10 (Lee MacPhail – 10)

Babysitter – 10 (Clive Dunn – 10)