We’ve already shown you several silly photos of serious writers and silly photos of serious artists, but what about the less creative figures among us? After all, scientists, tsars, world leaders and intellectual innovators like to blow off steam too. As such, we’ve scoured the Internet to bring you a few photos of historical figures making faces, goofing off with friends, and posing for photos of themselves with their miniature clones (er, just one of those). Check out our mini-capsule of our favorite photos of historical figures getting silly after the jump, and if you have a tip on one we’ve missed, add it to our collection in the comments! … Read More
Oh boy. So before it was confirmed that the top secret speaker making an appearance tonight at the Republican National Convention was Clint Eastwood, there were plenty of guesses be bandied about regarding who it might be. Among the most ludicrous of the ideas (or at least, so we thought at the time), was that… Read More
Our favorite of this week’s new theatrical releases is Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Lorene Scafaria’s end-of-the-world comedy that deftly transcends what could have been a one-joke premise, turning instead unexpectedly poignant and moving. The key to that transition is the surprisingly effective romantic subplot between stars Steve Carell and Keira Knightley — and yes, we were as skeptical as you when that element of the picture began to reveal itself. But this is one of those cases where seemingly mismatched stars pair up well on-screen. Others haven’t been quite so lucky. After the jump, we remember a few of the cinema’s less believable movie couples. … Read More
Last week, the world was treated to the very first presidential letter to have ever been Instagram’d, courtesy of Zooey Deschanel. The New Girl darling tweeted, “I am SO EXCITED!” upon opening a special envelope from President Obama, who took to some White House stationery to send his warmest wishes on her 32nd birthday. Jealous? Yeah, we are too. Zooey’s not the first celebrity to receive a letter from an admiring president — check out some fan letters, get-well-soon cards, thank-you notes, and party invitations after the jump. … Read More
Last weekend, the cinemas of America were bursting with several fine films — Captain America and Harry Potter in the multiplexes, The Guard, The Future, Tabloid, Project Nim at the art houses — yet the big hit was The Smurfs, a CGI-enhanced big-screen version of the intolerable, one-joke cartoon series from the 1980s. The film has been a punch line for months, but when the receipts were tallied up, The Smurfs came within a hair of beating the weekend’s top grosser, Cowboys & Aliens, co-starring no less than James Bond and Han Solo.
Suddenly, the previous big question surrounding The Smurfs (“How the hell did that get made?”) has been replaced by a bigger one (“How the hell did that make so much money?”) and sadly, both questions have the same answer: the ’80s nostalgia factor. It is not a phenomenon confined to the singular occurrence of The Smurfs; my own visit to multiplex this weekend confirmed the existence, via trailers and posters, of similarly unnecessary and unwelcome remakes of artifacts like Conan the Barbarian, Footloose, and Fright Night. … Read More
In 1971, prior to the opening of Troy, Michigan’s first public library, children’s librarian Marguerite Hart began a letter writing campaign asking notable individuals to share their memories of reading and illustrate the importance of libraries. She hoped these notes would inspire the city’s youth. Hart received 97 letters in return, from celebrities, politicians, and authors, including Dr. Seuss, Neil Armstrong, E.B. White, Pearl Buck, Ronald Reagan, and Douglas Fairbanks. The notes are eloquent, touching and thoughtful — Michigan State University President Clifton Wharton rhapsodizes on the responsibility of knowledge while Isaac Asimov writes that a library is “a friend that will amuse you and console you.” After the jump are some of our favorite letters to Troy’s children — to see all 97, head to the Troy Public Library website. … Read More
According to a proclamation (Proclamation 5219, to be exact) that dear old Ronald Reagan made in 1984, today is National Ice Cream Day, so if you are a patriot, you will go out and eat yourself a big helping of the cold stuff. In his official 1984 proclamation, Reagan declared:
Ice cream is a nutritious… Read More
In a series he calls “Perfect Happiness,” Toronto/Brooklyn-based artist Michael Caines creates irreverent portraits of political figures as characters in fairytales or as if painted in 18th century Christian religious tradition. Though making a distinct nod to political cartooning, there is something refreshingly tender in Caines’ work — it manages to comment on the ridiculousness of our culture of political pageantry while simultaneously affirming its place in our society. Besides, who can resist Karl Rove in a gingham dress? Click through to see Michael Caines’ paintings – including Kim Jong-Il in a ballgown – and let us know what you think in the comments! … Read More
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has finally done it. Every cent — or pence as it were — of the nearly £5 million he received as an advance (and any resulting royalties) for his memoir A Journey: My Political Life will go to the Royal British Legion, a charity dedicated to the welfare of past and current UK servicemen and women. Though the book isn’t released until September 1 in the UK (September 2, stateside), The Guardian reports that Blair is already climbing the bestseller charts.
Political memoirs have always been popular. Time magazine has a list of the Top Ten Political Memoirs, which while historically sweeping, is not nearly as entertaining as the Washington Post‘s nominees for the “Least Accurate Memoirs.” Recently, with publishers leaning on celebrity authors for assured sales, there’s been a glut of this once honored format. Here, we walk you through a few of the biggies. … Read More