“You know how to whistle, don’t you?”

Lauren_bacall_promo_photoIn a sultry voice, looking back with her famous “Look,” Lauren Bacall  instructed Humphey Bogart to “put your lips together and … blow.”

That scene firmly affixed Bacall’s star in the Hollywood firmament.  She was only a teenager at the time, and it was her first movie, “To Have and Have Not.”  Bacall captivated a generation and her costar as well. From that time forward, she and Bogart became an item, then costars and partners in a marriage  that lasted until Bogart’s death.

I’ll never forget Bacall in her Tony-Award winning role as “Woman of the Year.” She was 56 and she dominated the stage. She played a beautiful, competent woman caught in the classic cliché: professional career or satisfying love life.  She says she can have both: “I’m one of the girls who’s one of the boys.”

RIP, Lauren Bacall.

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Robin Williams and the relentless grip of depression

Robin_WilliamsRobin Williams died four days ago, and tributes to his comic genius and his generosity continue to feature prominently in the news, competing with the atrocities in Gaza, Ukraine and now Ferguson. The  New York Times reports that the announcement of his death drew a greater number of readers than any other news event this week.

We knew Robin Williams. He was a lot closer to us than the Yazidis stranded on a faraway mountaintop or the tanks in Ukraine. Apparently he resonated with NYT readers even more than the crisis spurred by the murder of an unarmed teenager by militarized local police in Ferguson, Mo.

The outpouring of grief has predictably led to the examination of a familiar topos — the pain behind the comedian’s jokes — but also to discussions of debilitating depression. Continue reading

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“I don’t do easy” -Robin Williams

358px-Robin_Williams_2008Shocked.

That’s how everybody reacted to the news of the suicide of Robin Williams, the comic genius who so brilliantly made us laugh. Comedy so easily turns into tragedy.

My most vivid recollection of Williams the comic actor is watching him play the ghost of a tiger, slaughtered in the first scene of “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.” The tiger roars impotently from his cage in a heaven he doesn’t believe in. Bombs and explosions continue the relentless massacre while the tiger considers his own place and reason for being in the cosmos.. Humanity baffles him. Williams provides plenty of laughs, but they can’t dispel the savagery of war.

“It’s a bit like ‘Godot’ in Iraq,” Williams told an interviewer. “It’s not an easy play, but I don’t do things easy.” The drama was Williams’ Broadway debut.

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RT @timkmak: Tim Howard: American badass

RT @timkmak: Tim Howard: American badass http://t.co/NMwzv4nKZH

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What a nail-biter! #Ger usu in possessio

What a nail-biter! #Ger usu in possession, but #USA defense tops-esp goalie Tim Howard

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Jennifer Lawrence pukes and tells all

Love that girl!

Visiting  Seth Meyers in his new role as host of “Late Night,” Jennifer Lawrence fesses up to drinking so much that she puked at a fancy after-party on Oscar night.

But why did Lawrence let her friend Laura persuade her to keep drinking until she got sick? When Laura kept prodding her to greet Brad Pitt, Lawrence overcame her uncharacteristic reticence, called out his name and noticed that he smelled of sandalwood as they chatted. That was a good thing.

But why couldn’t she stop there? Continue reading

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Turmoil at the Times

JillAbramsonAs I woke up and scanned the headlines, I was jolted into consciousness when I read that Jill Abramson, executive editor of the paper of record, was suddenly and unexpectedly gone from the newsroom of the New York Times. Not just gone, but fired.

Ken Auletta speculated that the NYT‘s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.was put off by Abramson’s complaint that her pay package was considerably less than Bill Keller’s, her predecessor. Auletta also raised the gender flag by noting that Abramson, the first woman to head the editorial side of the Times, has been called brusque and “pushy,” a term usually reserved for forthright and ambitious women. (Did you ever hear a man called “pushy”?)

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