Amoeblog

New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year for 2009

Posted by Whitmore, January 4, 2010 10:20pm | Post a Comment

Once again we’ve reached that wonderful time of the year, time when several Dictionaries announce their Word of the Year. We’ll start with the New Oxford American Dictionary's typically imaginative selection, whose picks are as often jeered by skeptical wordsmiths as they are lauded by sexy lexicographers throughout the English speaking world.
 
Drum roll please: The 2009 Word of the Year is:
 
Unfriend (verb), “to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook or Myspace.” Personally, I always preferred the term “destalking” ...
 
Some of the other new words considered by the New Oxford American Dictionary for the 2009 Word of the Year were:
 
Hashtag  - a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets
intexticated  - distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle
netbook - a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory
paywall - a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers
sexting - the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone
freemium - a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content
funemployed - taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests
zombie bank - a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support
birther - a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate
choice mom - a person who chooses to be a single mother
death panel - a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed
teabagger - a person who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)
brown state - a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations
green state - a US state that has strict environmental regulations
ecotown - a town built and run on eco-friendly principles
deleb - a dead celebrity
tramp stamp - a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Edgar Allan Poe auction goes stratospheric ...

Posted by Whitmore, December 4, 2009 09:40pm | Post a Comment

“Man is an animal that diddles, and there is no animal that diddles but man.”
 
At Christies Auction House today in New York, an 1827 first edition copy of an Edgar Allan Poe poetry collection, Tamerlane and Other Poems, was sold for $662,500 -- the most ever for a 19th century book of poetry. The 40-page collection, and Poe’s very first publication, was inspired by the work of British poet Lord Byron. Only a dozen copies are known to exist of the fifty initially pressed. Oddly enough Poe did not attach his name to Tamerlane; the author is only indicated as "A Bostonian." Also sold at auction was a two-page, hand written manuscript containing the first 8 stanzas (of 16 stanzas) of "For Annie" ("Thank Heaven: the crisis --- the danger is past....") from 1849, written just months before his death at age 40. The manuscript, which was written for a one of Poe's loves, Nancy L. Richmond, far exceeded the $50,000-$70,000 estimate, netting a mind blowing $830,500 at auction, breaking the 19th century literary manuscript record.
 
The book and manuscript, both somewhat worn and wrinkled, came from the private library of television producer William E. Self (he was the executive in charge of production for such classic shows as Batman, Lost in Space, The Green Hornet, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, and Land of the Giants). Both pieces were sold to anonymous bidders.
 
“As for myself, I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester — and this is my last jest.”

Happy 40th birthday Sesame Street!

Posted by Whitmore, November 10, 2009 10:40am | Post a Comment
There have been 4212 episodes.
 
The letter E has been featured 150 times.
 
There are 6 steps on the stoop at 123 Sesame Street.
 
There are an estimated 100,000 different Sesame Street products sold world wide.
 
There are 368 bottle caps are in Bert’s collection.
 
Over 440 celebrities have appeared on the show.
 
Jim Henson Company has built over 5000 puppets for the show.
 
Big Bird is 8 ft 2 in. tall; he’s been played since episode 1 by Caroll Spinney, age 75; he also does Oscar. The costume is made up of nearly 6,000 feathers.
 
Big Bird is perpetually 6 years old. 
 
The original 7 characters: Big Bird, Oscar, Kermit, Grover, Bert, Ernie and Cookie Monster. 
 
Elmo is years old. He’s been on the show for 25 years.
 
2 days before its premiere, a 30-minute preview entitled This Way to Sesame Street was shown on NBC. The show was financed by a $50,000 grant from Xerox.
 
For its debut Sesame Street reached only 67.6% of the nation, but earned a 3.3 Nielsen rating, or 1.9 million households.
 
By 1979, 9 million American children under the age of 6 were watching Sesame Street daily. 4 out of 5 children had watched it over a 6-week period, and 90% of children from low-income inner-city homes regularly viewed the show.
 
There are 20 international independent versions and is broadcast in over 140 countries.
 
Sesame Street has won 122 Emmy awards, the most ever for 1 show. 
 
All the Muppets have 4 fingers, except Cookie Monster, who has 5.
 
Sesame Street has 2 stars on Hollywood blvd 1 for Jim Henson, 1 for Big Bird.
 
“Rubber Duckie,” sung by the Muppet character Ernie (voiced by Jim Henson), reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1970.
 
4 First Ladies have appeared on Sesame Street: Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.
 
Today’s anniversary show will feature H, the 8th letter of the alphabet, and the number 40.




Soupy Sales 1926 – 2009

Posted by Whitmore, October 22, 2009 11:11pm | Post a Comment

Soupy Sales
has died. After some 25,000 pies to the face and more than 5,000 live TV appearances over the past six decades, the comedian, actor, kids show host, author and raconteur passed away at 9:51pm, Thursday at Calvary Hospice in the Bronx, New York. Sales had been having health problems and entered the hospice last week. He was 83.
 
Best known for his long-running local and network kids television shows like Lunch with Soupy Sales, he was the king during the 1950s and '60s. Known as the man who would do almost anything for a laugh including bad puns and cheap gags, his trademark was his pie-throwing and his style was improvisational; kids of all ages loved his manic zaniness and slightly blue antics and innuendos. A-list celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Curtis and Shirley MacLaine would stop by and seldom left pie free. A friend of mine tonight commented that Sales was like a “cool, hilarious big brother.”
 
The name Soupy Sales originates from a childhood nickname, "Soupy” and "Sales" was the suggested by a television station executive who knew another comic named Chic Sale. Born Milton Supman on January 8, 1926, in Franklinton, North Carolina, Soupy was the youngest of three sons and his parents ran a dry-goods store; according to legend his family, the only Jewish family in town, sold sheets to the Klu Klux Klan. Sales grew up in Huntington, West Virginia, and received his B.A. in Journalism from Marshall University. During the Second World War he served in the Navy in the South Pacific, and it was there he created some of his strange characters he would use years later, such as “White Fang, the meanest dog in all the United States.”
 
Sales began his Television career in 1950 on WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, hosting America's first teen dance show, Soupy's Soda Shop. In 1951 in a skit on his late night comedy series Soupy's On!, he got his first pie in the face on television. Two years later he moved to Detroit and WXYZ-TV, where his kids show Lunch with Soupy Sales was a huge success. After seven years on the air in Michigan he moved to Los Angeles in 1961.
 
He really hit his stride in 1964 when he moved the show to WNEW-TV in New York. The Soupy Sales Show, had amazing ratings and was syndicated throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand during its two year run. When the series ended, Sales had appeared on 5,370 live television programs, the most in the TV history.
 
In the mid sixties Sales recorded two albums and had a Top Ten single in 1965 with "Do the Mouse;" Sales even performed "The Mouse" on the Ed Sullivan Show. Eventually his single in New York City alone sold 250,000 copies.
 
His most notorious stunt took place in New York on New Year's Day, 1965 when he ended his live broadcast by telling his viewers to “take some of those green pieces of paper with pictures of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lincoln and Jefferson from their parents’ wallets and send them to him and he would send them a postcard from Puerto Rico.” Unfortunately the bit worked a little too well and money started rolling in, and though the money was returned, he was still suspended by WNEW for a two weeks. Of course, kids showed up picketing Channel 5 over Sales’ suspension and his popularity went through the roof.
 
During the 1970’s and 80’s Soupy was a regular on game shows like What's My Line, To Tell the Truth, The $10,000 Pyramid and Match Game. In 1985 he joined WNBC-AM as a disc jockey, and is perhaps best remembered as having the show between the two shock jocks, Don Imus and Howard Stern.
 
Over the last ten years Sales turned to writing. In 2003 he published his autobiography, Soupy Sez!: My Zany Life and Times, and a collection of his humor, Stop Me If You've Heard It!: Soupy Sales' Greatest Jokes. Finally in 2005, Soupy Sales received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
 
Soupy Sales is survived by his wife, Trudy, and two sons, Hunt and Tony, famous in their own right as musicians who have worked with the likes of David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop.
 
"Be true to your teeth and they won't be false to you."




Happy Birthday Arthur Tatum Jr., October 13th, 1909

Posted by Whitmore, October 13, 2009 12:25pm | Post a Comment
 
Art Tatum is acknowledged by anyone who knows anything as one of the greatest and most influential jazz pianists of all time. A child prodigy born with perfect pitch, Tatum was picking up church hymns and tunes off the radio by ear at the age of three. As a teenager, the nearly blind Tatum started at the Columbus School for the Blind where he studied music and learned Braille. His first musical heroes were his contemporaries like the stride pianists James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, and Earl Hines. Within a few years he was playing in New York settling at the Onyx Club where he recorded his first sides for Brunswick. Tatum developed an incredibly fast improvisational style, and though he rarely ventured far from the original melodic lines of a song, his technique and ideas are a direct line to the bebop revolution of the late 1940’s. One of Tatum’s great quotes was “There is no such thing as a wrong note.”
 
Though I’m often dubious of many opinions laid out by jazz critic Leonard Feather, I have to more or less agree with him when he called Tatum "the greatest soloist in jazz history, regardless of instrument." Legendary French writer and artist Jean Cocteau called Tatum "a crazed Chopin." Count Basie called him the eighth wonder of the world. Classical composer Sergei Rachmaninoff once said, "he has better technique than any other living pianist, and may be the greatest ever." Dizzy Gillespie said, "First you speak of Art Tatum, then take a long deep breath, and you speak of the other pianists." Charlie Parker, who briefly worked as a dishwasher at Jimmie's Chicken Shack in Manhattan, where Tatum regularly performed, once said, “I wish I could play like Tatum’s right hand!” One of the most famous quotes about Art Tatum was by Fats Waller, whose introduction one night announced, "I only play the piano, but tonight God is in the house." Waller also once said, "When that man turns on the powerhouse, don't no one play him down. He sounds like a brass band."
 
Art Tatum died in Los Angeles on March 12, 1955 at Queen of Angels Medical Center from the complications of kidney failure. He was originally interred at Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, but in 1991 he was moved to the Great Mausoleum of Glendale's Forest Lawn Cemetery.



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