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Today’s item is dedicated to the memory of Norbert Pearlroth, head researcher for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, who sat in the same spot in the research room at the New York Public Library for 52 years - just about every day.

Thank you Robin Finn, who wrote the terrific column Secrets of the Stacks last week for The New York Times. I adore pieces like this one where you learn bizarre and quirky facts about such a place. There’s Norbert of course. And also The Cabinet of Curiosities, which apparently contains the cane that Virginia Woolf left behind on the riverbank before committing suicide - and the original Winnie The Pooh. And the fact that the library contains a collection of 40,000 restaurant menus dating back to the 1850’s. Read the article for other interesting tidbits.

And that’s my Way Cool Item of the Day.

Very very early on the morning of October 3, 1980, I got into my friend Kim’s little red Datsun in a driveway in Brick, New Jersey. I think there were actually five of us packed into that tiny car. We proceeded to drive from the Jersey shore straight through to Ann Arbor, Michigan, parking the car just in time to see Bruce Springsteen’s tour bus roll in to the parking lot of Crisler Arena. We jumped out of the car (which, after hours of travel, seemed to have gotten smaller) and lined up with other fans to shake hands with Bruce as he went into the venue. It was the opening night of The River Tour. The album itself would not be released for another week.

That night was the first time I ever bought a scalped ticket, and I blindly grabbed the first one that was offered to me at $50. This was a huge expense since the base price was I think $11. It was my third Springsteen concert, the previous two being in 1978 during the traveling medicine show that was the Darkness Tour.

I traveled to Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Chicago that week in Kim’s car seeing shows, for the most part either sleeping in the car, or renting one hotel room for the five of us and sneaking the others in to save money. We were young.

There were many other shows on that tour, many trips out of town, and at the end - a year later - I actually quit my boring soulless job typing art auction catalogs to go to the entire last week of shows. The tour ended almost a year to the day it began: September 14, 1981 in Cincinnati.

There have been many concerts since, and many Springsteen concerts, through the past 17 years. I know it’s a cliché but Bruce Springsteen changed my life in too many ways to count.

All of which is to say that I am thrilled beyond belief that Sunday night November 8 at Madison Square Garden for the first time since the long ago River Tour, and never before in album sequence order, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will play the entire River album onstage.

And that’s my Way Cool Item of the Day.

John Cooper Clarke is an English performance poet from Manchester who came to fame in the punkish late 1970’s, reciting his rapid fire poems whilst opening for such bands as the Buzzcocks, New Order, the Sex Pistols, Joy Division, and the Fall. His sparse, urban, bleak and beautiful “Evidently Chickentown” memorably ended one of the episodes of The Sopranos, launching it forever into the cultural zeitgeist - where it definitely belongs. Excerpt follows:

the bloody pies are bloody old
the bloody chips are bloody cold
the bloody beer is bloody flat
the bloody flats have bloody rats
the bloody clocks are bloody wrong
the bloody days are bloody long
it bloody gets you bloody down
evidently chicken town


Thanks to the bloody great blog Stupefaction, who posted this yesterday, I’m making John Cooper Clarke’s poetic genius the Way Cool Item of the Day.

The new media magicians at Sawhorse Media, who brought us the amazing site Muckrack awhile back (which curates twitter feeds by journalists all over the world, sliced and diced and categorized every which way to Sunday…totally addictive) have now unveiled Listorious, a site which curates twitter lists. Talk about falling down the rabbit hole…

Listorious is a site which curates the best lists of Twitter users on any given topic. How about a list of Employers Recruiting? Onion Editorial Staff? Staff at the New York Times? NFL Players? Los Angeles Food Trucks? Angel Investors? Catch my drift? It goes on and on. You can spend hours here.  And after you’ve registered on the site, you can add your own lists, recommend twitter feeds for posted lists, see if you’re on anyone else’s lists, et cetera.  So go. Tweet. List. Curate.

And that’s my Way Cool Item of the Day.

A year ago this week, the American people went to the polls to vote in the Presidential Election. And in record numbers, a true democratic majority elected Barack Hussein Obama to be our President. All the mud thrown at him - when push came to shove - did not stick. Even now, I’m still thrilled. When I’m having a bad day, I remember, oh yes, yes we did. Which proves that we can, whenever we have a mind to.

We dodged a really scary bullet that day - the chance, however slim, that Sarah Palin would be riding shotgun to the next President of the United States. Forgive the gun metaphors but it’s actually eerily appropriate for this moose-killin’ mama, the Thrilla from Wasilla.

The Daily Beast has uncovered the speeches Palin longed to make the night of the Election - both her planned concession speech and her planned victory speech. It’s really worth a read. The speeches (and more details) are fully covered in the new book Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar by Scott Conroy and Shusannah Walshe.

And that’s my Way Cool Item of the Day.

My idea for the next spin-off from THE HILLS is…….drum roll, please:

Stephanie Pratt.

Consider this:
She’s a total airhead - California style (the funniest kind)
She’s the sister of Spencer Pratt - need I say more?
She’s the sister in law of Heidi Pratt - let’s not even go there

Now that THE HILLS is woefully Lauren-less, that husky voiced bitch Kristin Cavallari just doesn’t cut it for me in the Drama Dept. On the few recent occasions my remote has snagged the show, my only entertainment is scenes that include Stephanie…she’s a complete headcase. Last season when Lauren hired her to work at the PR co. and she brilliantly fucked up, and couldn’t even answer a phone correctly, was tres entertaining, n’est-ce pas? Imagine a whole show that revolved around that person.

SP is fascinating to me, in the way that an animal growing in a petrie dish or something along those lines is. Bring it on, MTV, bring it on. Audrina, Lo, snore, snore, Kristin, Spencer, Heidi, snore. Mark my words. Stephanie’s the Next Big Thing.

And that’s my way cool item of the day.

This past week, all in the same 24 hour period, we lost Senator Ted Kennedy, Ellie Greenwich, and Dominick Dunne. This sucker punch to the soul inspired today’s blog post.

It used to be that celebrity deaths seemed to come in threes. For some reason that rule was upended this year starting in June. The Grim Reaper seems to have gotten greedier than usual and snatched far more than his usual share. The last week of June he started really racking them up: Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Sky Sunlight Saxon on June 25. In July we lost Merce Cunningham, Gordon Waller, and Walter Cronkite, among others.

August 2 we lost Billy Lee Riley, August 5 Budd Schulberg, August 6 Willy DeVille and John Hughes (aged 58 and 59, respectively), Les Paul on August 13, Jim Dickinson on August 15, and this week’s trifecta, alongside quite a few more.

I was especially saddened by the loss of Ellie Greenwich (whom I had the privilege to meet and speak to on several occasions). Ellie was responsible for some of the greatest music of our age. She was a singer, songwriter, and record producer. Leader of the Pack, River Deep, Mountain High, Be My Baby, Da Doo Ron Ron, (Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry, Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Not Too Young To Get Married, Cherry Cherry, are only a few of the amazing songs she wrote or co-wrote with her writing partner Jeff Barry. She also co-wrote, along with Jeff Kent and Ellen Foley, the spectacular and extremely underappreciated Keep It Confidential which was recorded by Nona Hendryx and was a 1983 R&B hit.

Senator Ted Kennedy was ill for a long time and his death was not a shock per se, but it is certainly the end of an era. The last of the three golden brothers, and the only one to die a natural death. I certainly see the cold truth in Henry Rollins’ column on the Vanity Fair blog, but I also mourn the Kennedy family’s - and our country’s - great loss. Leaders like Ted Kennedy do not come along every day. We won’t see his like again.

And, finally, Dominick Dunne. He provided many an entertaining hour for me as I read his Vanity Fair coverage of the rich and famous getting away with murder, or trying to. His pieces were always the first thing I looked at when I got my monthly VF fix in the mail. No one wrote like him; no one touched nerves like he did. After the murder of his daughter, Dominique, he was a tireless advocate for the rights of murder victims. He provided a glimpse into high society’s rarefied circles for decades. He knew everyone. He wrote about many. I’ll miss him greatly.

For all three, and for the many we’ve lost this summer and this year, I offer Jane Siberry’s beautiful ode, “Calling All Angels.”

…and every day you gaze upon the sunset with such love and intensity
it’s almost…it’s almost as if you could only crack the code
then you’d finally understand what this all means

but if you could…do you think you would trade in all the pain and suffering?
ah, but then you’d miss the beauty of the light upon this earth
and the sweetness of the leaving

calling all angels
calling all angels
walk me through this one
don’t leave me alone

- Jane Siberry

For those of you who give a rat’s ass (as I do), the new season of Project Runway started last Thursday night, August 20, with a three and a half hour Runwaypalooza on its new home, the Lifetime Network. I broke it down for Huffington Post thus & so;

Project Runway All-Star Challenge

Project Runway, Episode One, Season Six

Models of the Runway

in no particular order…films I will never forget, that will live in me forever.

1. Harold and Maude
2. Whistle Down the Wind
3. All Fall Down
4. Rapture
5. Amarcord
6. Annie Hall
7. Bus Riley’s Back In Town
8. Orlando
9. Dr. Zhivago
10. Lord Love A Duck
11. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
12. To Kill A Mockingbird
13. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
14. Isadora
15. Performance
16. King of Hearts
17. Breakfast at Tiffany’s
18. Splendor in the Grass
19. To Sir With Love
20. Black Narcissus
21. Nashville
22. A Clockwork Orange
23. A Hard Days Night
24. The Day of the Locust

Dear Readers... it’s been awhile. Now we’re staring straight into the hindquarters of August and I must needs explain myself as I’ve done exactly what you’re not supposed to do when starting a blog. I’ve neglected it for weeks. In late June I found fulltime & fabulous employment as a publicist for independent documentary and feature films, for which I am very grateful indeed. But, after being freelance for just about 4 years for the most part, it was a bit of a shock to realize that my writing time had shrunk immeasurably.

I must tell you that my pride & joy, The Weekend Horoscoop, which I kept up weekly for well over a year, bit the dust even before the fulltime job. Honestly, the column took a full day every week, and I just don’t have that kind of time anymore. I would love to resurrect it and I know it had a lot of followers, but unless someone pays me to do it… it’s over for now. Not forever though, at least I hope not. It may come back in another form soon, one that doesn’t take as much time to do.

I am going to start posting regularly again though however. For those that don’t know, I cover television, music, and pop culture once or twice a week on the Huffington Post. Currently I’m recapping Weeds and Project Runway for the site. I heartily invite you to visit me there and I’ll cross post those columns here as well.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.

- Holly