I have heard an argument made that Ron Moody's portrayal of Fagin in Oliver! takes a character who is an anti-Semitic stereotype to begin with and blows the big-nosed doors off, but I have to say that I cannot keep from loving this money-grubbing Jewy jig and the performance behind it. He was also amazing in Mel Brooks' third-greatest film. Anyway, the man is 90 today, and good for him.
Forrest Richard Betts turns 70 today. "Ramblin' Man" is one of those songs we have all heard too many times to have any kind of valid opinion on (I have finally come around, but I can see the thinking behind all the other opinions, although in the end what does it matter? Dickey Betts don't care what you think and we are all gonna wind up in the ground regardless of our postion on "Ramblin' Man" anyway.)—"No matter how you feel about the song 'Ramblin' Man,' remember that nobody else is interested and someday you will die" is a good approximation of my philosophy of life at this point; [...]
Happy birthday to Facebook co-founder/New Republic owner/publisher/editor-in-chief/cover-chooser Chris Hughes. Even though he has more money than you'd ever see if you somehow lived three lifetimes and he is only turning thirty today that doesn't make you a failure. Or, you know, at least not a huge one. There are bigger failures than you. It is silly to measure yourself against people who until just this morning were still in their 20s, no matter how much more successful their accomplishments are, particularly when compared with the pathetic hopes and dreams upon which you have thus far wasted your time. Anyway, Chris Hughes is 30, and you suck.
This is ABSOLUTELY the way they once sold soda here in America. Maybe you should be a little nicer to everyone you know who grew up in the '80s, okay? Look at this! They never had a chance! Anyway, happy birthday to Glenn Lewis Frey. He's the one with the mustache.
Those of you who cannot hear the tune "Let's Go Band" without mentally appending "Potvin sucks" to the end of it might be interested to know that Potvin himself is 60 today. Those of you who are all, "Let's Go wha?" or "Potvin huh?" are fine too, not everyone needs to know everything about everybody. It takes all kinds to make a world.
You don't have to have spent time in New Orleans to love The Radiators, but as the years go by and memories of the band recede and their music is played less frequently and only then in their hometown, an association with New Orleans may be your best bet for knowing anything about them. Which is a shame, they were as full of joy as any other act from the Crescent City. On the day head Radiator Ed Volker turns 65, let's take a listen to what is probably their best known song, which also happens to be one of their prettiest. Happy birthday, Ed Volker.
A very happy 50th to Nicolas Kim Coppola, an actor so idiosyncratic that you might assume YouTube was invented solely to host video compilations like the one above. While I have you: Is Birdy one of the most underrated movies of the last 30 years? It says here yes.
It is a mystery to me how this film is not seen as a modern classic, but then again I have not been back to watch it since I first saw it about a quarter of a century ago, so maybe it sucks. But I doubt it. Anyway, happy birthday Thomas Edward Hulce! Most people know you from Animal House or Parenthood or the Mozart movie but I don't think you were ever better than you were here.
Happy birthday media industry obsession figure Christina Hambley Brown, who is 60 today. Is it me or does that seem like a low number?
Samuel Shepard Rogers IV is 70 today, and among the many things he has done in what any fair observer would have to call a pretty interesting life was co-write the song above, which if you start listening to now might be over by the time Sam turns 71.
I am still not sure how I feel about Norman Rush's Subtle Bodies but the fact that I am still thinking about it a month after I expressed similar doubts should be a pretty good indication that is it a book worth reading. Norman Rush himself is 80 today, which is a remarkable achievement in and of itself. Who cares what a bunch of idiots say about his book? He's done 79 full [...]
I tend to treat the young people I come across these days with a mixture of pity and envy: pity, because having once been their age I know all too well the heartbreak and anguish and pervasive sense of crippling disappointment that they are due to discover as they make their own journeys through life and learn the horrible lesson that the whole thing is one big con designed to keep you going and once you realize that it is all disappointment and despair you are too tired to do anything about it but wallow in your misery and try to convince yourself that at least it can't get [...]
Seventy. Seventy. Three score and ten, this guy. It's a funny old world.
Happy birthday to John Michael Osbourne. There are so many groundbreaking performances to choose from it seems almost comical that we're going with this one, and yet here we are. Anyway, authorities in whom I have the greatest trust on the matter assure me that 13, Black Sabbath's most recent record, is actually quite good, so if that's the sort of thing you've been waiting to hear consider it vouched for.
It seems hard to remember now that we live in an age where you can pop into any given Starbucks of a Wednesday afternoon and find "Free Man In Paris" playing on the speakers but Roberta Joan Anderson is one of the most groundbreaking and important creative figures of the last fifty years, and not just for Blue, although that album is indeed one of the "turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century popular music." Mitchell's unpredictability and unwillingness to play the proscribed roles of her era would have made her a beacon of inspiration even [...]
John Martin Maher is 50 today. We tend to identify more with Morrissey because everyone has been sad but not all of us have written some of the greatest tunes of the 20th century, and maybe also because while Morrissey has done one thing the same way for the last thirty years Marr has been all over the place to the extent that if you are a youngish band on the verge there is a better-than-even chance that you might wake up one morning and discover that he's now a member, but let us take a moment to acknowledge that even a lot of the non-Smiths stuff (and sure, [...]
Everything I know tells me I should dislike Norm Macdonald: His conservative political opinions, his weird fear of homosexuality, and his retrograde view of women are enough to discomfit even the secretest of sexists among us. And yet, there is something about him that almost always makes me crack up no matter how hard I fight it. (If you have six and a half minutes to spare, the payoff that comes from sitting through this that you get at 6:30 is almost impossible [...]