I first heard the words "My friends are gone and my hair is grey/I ache in the places where I used to play" when I was sixteen and, at that age, I assumed it was some sort of sorrowful commentary on the failings of the flesh. Now that I am older and all of those things are happening to me I realize that it is a rueful acknowledgment of how even the spaces which memory marks as the scenes of your happiest occasions are freighted with accumulations of sadness and regret. But also the thing about the body breaking down, because what doesn't hurt at this point, right? Anyway, [...]
Raymond Ian Burns is 60, which means this might as well be stuck in your head for a little while today. Also these.
What with today marking the 65th anniversary of the birth of Ms. Brenda Russell we are afforded another opportunity to remind you of the brilliance that is "Piano in the Dark." If you missed or were otherwise unmoved by our previous entreaties to appreciate its inspiration you are in luck, because we are all going to sit here this morning until you have listened to it all the way through and are willing to admit that you too are now convinced of its sheer majesty. No, we'll wait. We're not going anywhere until you listen to "Piano in the Dark." Yes, of course I am aware that Biz Markie [...]
Happy birthday to Ms. Shirley Mae Jones. She was great in Grandma's Boy, but she also did some other stuff of equal merit.
Rob Lowe turns 50 today which doesn't seem right because The Eighties was like 35 years ago and he was a pretty big deal back then. I don't know. It says 50, that's what I'm going with. Who even understands how time works anymore, everything is a mystery, one moment you're young and then you close your eyes for a second and open them to see Death standing in the doorway with an impatient air, happy birthday Rob Lowe.
Remember how, back when Google co-founder Sergey Brin turned 40, we noted that the occasion offered an opportunity for "those of us over 40 [to] feel confirmed in our own senses of failure in life," and gave "those of us who have not yet turned 40… however many years until we do to have our failures in life confirmed"? Well, that is true again today—although to a lesser extent because Twitter—as Christopher Isaac "Biz" Stone, who had a hand in the microblogging service, reaches the same landmark. What are you doing?
If the name David Faustino has any sort of resonance with you, the news that he turns 40 today will almost certainly fill you with a sense of dread and the realization that where once your potential spread itself out against an infinite skyline, now your visual metaphor for the days you have remaining resembles something small and fragile and insistent, like the kitchen timer you would see up on the counter that you were too small to reach. The plans you left off for the future? Abandon them. The goals you thought you had world enough and time to achieve? Do your best to dismiss and discard them, as [...]
There are some performers whose mere presence inspires laughter, and for me that is a list on which Matt Berry appears fairly close to the top. What with him having a birthday today and all I need no better excuse than to share this terrific bit of Berrydom from the second season of "The IT Crowd." The man is just comedy in human form.
Remember Carlos D.? Well He's 40 Now. Death Stands Waiting With Its Icy Fingers Beckoning You To Follow It Home.
Carlos D. is forty today, and if that means something to you you are probably pretty close to that milestone one way or another yourself. The rest of you should just remain blissfully ignorant, and maybe a little grateful.
If all you did in your life was co-write one of the few songs that it is indisputably impossible to remain sad while hearing, it would have marked yours out as a successful life, but you, John William Oates, have written a bunch of other terrific things and are part of popular music's pantheon of duos, so on this, your 65th birthday, we salute you.
We used this same clip to note the passing of Peter Falk and what's worth pointing out is how complementary these two actors were. See also The In-Laws, obviously. And if you can find it somewhere you might enjoy Arkin's Simon. I haven't seen the one he got the Oscar for but I hear that was pretty good too. Anyway, happy birthday, Alan Arkin. You had a TV show called "Harry" that lasted a couple of weeks back in the '80s which I remember as being pretty amusing. And now you are 80. Life is funny sometimes.
A very happy birthday to New York's own Julia Migenes, who, to those of us of a certain age, will always be Carmen.
My favorite Maori soprano turns 70 today. If you know her, you probably know her from this. And rightfully so. Happy birthday!
Erasure's Andrew Ivan Bell turns 50 today. You know what is one of the happiest songs I know? This is one of the happiest songs I know.
Everyone will tell you Soul Asylum was much better before they got big, but that is what everyone says about everything they love that they knew prior to its becoming popular, so a lot of times it is just wrong. I mean, no one is defending "Runaway Train"—no one could—but the back half of their career had as much underappreciated stuff as the beginning. Anyway, happy birthday, Dave Pirner. Those of us who dream of disappearing completely will always love you for this song.
Happy birthday to Mr. Richard John Thompson, one of the great underrated artists of his age. A few more follow.
Legendary is an overused word, so I will just note that Leonardo "Flaco" Jimenez is 75 today, so here are a couple of clips of various performances from over the years and if you are unfamiliar, this is not a bad place to start.