A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 25, 2011.
Editor's note: Despite last week's column's promise to deliver all the celebrity news our readers would ever need to read, as you will see, we had to publish this story.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The body of actress and comedienne Shari Lewis has been exhumed, the Los Angeles Medical Examiner announced today, initiating a new investigation into of the circumstances surrounding to her death in 1998. The death which had originally been investigated as a suicide but ruled "death by natural causes" is being reopened as a probable homicide.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office denied that this move bore any relation to the posthumous publication this week of Ms. Lewis's autobiography, entitled "Socks, Lies and Videotape." The book details the rocky relationship between Ms. Lewis and her protégé, co-performer and longtime companion, Lamb Chop.
Observers have long noted that the witty on-air banter between Lewis and Lamb Chop became increasingly acrid over the years, paralleling the increasing warmth of relationship among Lewis, Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse.
According to his close associate Oscar, Lamb Chop always resented the "cute" Lamb Chop name, as well as getting second billing to Lewis. "They treat us like their little marionettes," said Oscar. "And who do you think wrote our best stuff? Henson? Lewis? Right." Adding, "Neither one of them could improv their way out of bag puppet. Just one time, I'd like to Punch and Judy them."
The interview with Oscar terminated quickly when the topic of Henson's untimely death was raised.
In her autobiography Lewis reveals that in late 1996 she began to develop an allergy to wool "which put a barrier between Lamb Chop and me." Lewis also said that Lamb Chop often complained of "being used." She quotes him as saying to her, "How would you like to try to perform comedy with someone's hand stuck up your . . ." just before throwing himself onto the middle of the bedroom floor in tears.
"Toward the end," Lewis wrote, "our friendship was just an act."
Attorney Levi Cohen, of the law firm of Cohen, Kohein, Cohn, Cahn, Cone, Kohn, Kahn and possibly Katz, which represents the Lewis family, said that regardless of how the investigation turns out, he is sure his firm will make lots of money.
Buzz Berkeley, of E. F. Mutton and Associates, the public relations firm representing the artist formerly known as Lamb Chop, said that "Chopper had moved on in his life" and that "this travesty would do nothing but unravel old wounds."
Chopper, who was a "sock of interest" in the original investigation into Ms. Lewis's death, parlayed that notoriety into a new career as part of the controversial rap duo Chops and the Ice Kween. According to figures from Amazon.com, sales of the latest C/IK CD, "Bust Yer Chops," spiked immediately following the exhumation announcement.
LAPD investigators said technology unavailable in 1998 may bring to light new information regarding the death of Lewis. "For example," said Detective Kram Manfuhr, "the previously unexplained rash on Lewis's neck may have been caused by contact dermatitis." Manfuhr was quick to note that while the investigation was "not focusing" on any one individual, "Mr. Chop was the only one in the room at the time of Ms. Lewis's death."
Gary D. Gaddy has been a fan of Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop for decades, beginning perhaps as early as one of their first guest appearances on Captain Kangaroo, but was certainly a regular viewer of the Shari Lewis Show.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 18, 2011.
Copyright 2011 Gary D. Gaddy
READERS MAY WISH TO CLIP this special special-edition column and save it to read every week, or even every day if necessary, as it allows an individual to keep up with all the important celebrity news without maintaining a subscription to People magazine, buying the latest National Enquirer or even watching tonight's Entertainment Tonight.
HOLLYWOOD – Academy-Award®-winning actor was arrested again on substance abuse charges following a fray at a currently notable night club. Actor could not be contacted for comment. Celebrity attorney says that Oscar®-winning client has checked into well-known drug rehabilitation facility.
CHICAGO – Following persistent rumors of numerous affairs, Hall-of-Fame athlete has been slapped simultaneously with multiple paternity suits. Published pictures of the individuals filing suits indicate that all of the paramours are all natural or bleach blondes. Famous athlete is reported to have bought current wife one or more items of multi-carat diamond and gold jewelry.
LOS ANGELES – Person famous for no other reason except being famous was arrested again for driving under the influence. Latest mug shots make this person look even worse than usual. On-scene photos show famous person drives a notably expensive status symbol even when DUI.
MIAMI – Famous person is divorcing person famous for marrying famous person. In written statements, both famous person and soon-to-be ex-spouse of famous person say that they hope to remain friends. Other terms of divorce settlement are not disclosed. Unnamed sources say large sums of money will be involved. Follow-up stories indicate amicable breakup is not so amicable.
LOS CABOS – Formerly ordinary person made notorious by extended appearance on a popular reality television series has been arrested for: a) trashing hotel room, b) assaulting hotel staff and c) manhandling local celebrity who called in hotel staff to their shared room. Incident resolved as reality TV star is paid substantial sum for interview with entertainment news channel which money is used to a) reimburse hotel for damages to room, b) pay off hotel staff and c) buy back affection of local celebrity, who is now, it is announced, reality star’s significant other.
ANTIGUA – Person newsworthy for their inherited wealth was taken to the hospital for bizarre, psychotic behavior while on a large luxury yacht moored in an exclusive marina. Famous heir/heiress quickly released when psychiatrist recognizes person and realizes famous rich person is just eccentric.
NEW YORK – Notable politician specifically known for his very public views supporting family values was arrested after a not-very-well-known stripper and/or minor porn star accused him of stalking her. Politician's wife stood by him uncomfortably at his press conference while notable politician admitted to a generic addiction and asked prayers and/or forgiveness from the "great people of this state" and says he has been "humbled by the experience," not specifying whether the humbling came from the recognition of his moral failing or being caught in it.
AUSTIN – Once notable quasi-country musician, now famous for his multiple drug possession arrests, is arrested for drug possession. Charges dropped.
RALEIGH – Prominent politician charged with several crimes related to corrupting and/or being corrupt announces he has retained a celebrated attorney who always goes by first name, middle initial and last name, as well as the suffix of IIIrd, IVth or Vth. Said eminent attorney at law, who always looks distinguished in his dapper attire, informs the assembled press that his client has been a "faithful steward for and a tireless servant of the great people of this great state," but is being crucified in the media because he stood up "against powerful interests and for the common man," one of which, notable attorney notes, his client is.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If, when you have completed reading the above, your celebrity news craving is not stemmed, please return to top and begin again. Repeat as many times as necessary.
CAUTION: DO NOT COMBINE WITH PERUSING SUPERMARKET TABLIODS, WATCHING GOSSIP TV OR READING ANY NEWSPAPERS OR NEWS MAGAZINES. OVERDOSE MAY RESULT.
Gary D. Gaddy wishes, if he ever were to be charged with a generic crime, to be represented by an attorney with a prominent middle initial who goes by IVth, Vth or VIth.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 11, 2011.
Copyright 2011 Gary D. Gaddy
THIS PAST WEEK'S SPORTS NEWS featuring the Tar Heel Nation illustrates several fundamental principles of the sporting life. The most prominent being: "It does not matter what you say about me, just make sure you spell my name right."
The Tar Heel Haters, of whom there are not a few, have enjoyed the last six months of bad news regarding the University of North Carolina's beleaguered football program. The NC State fan base of the Tar Heel Haters, of whom there are not a few, have particularly enjoyed watching the Tar Heel Nation squirm under the unforgiving light of multiple serial and simultaneous NCAA investigations.
But, and here comes, "It does not matter what you say about me, just make sure you spell my name right." It turns out "UNC" is hard to misspell. (And hardly anybody, it seems, confuses the University of North Carolina with the University of Northern Colorado.) All this negative press, and the prospect of NCAA probation and other sanctions, should have killed UNC's football recruiting, right? Wrong.
This week included the most important date of the football season: "Signing Day," the day in which football-playing high school seniors sign their binding letters of intent. And, in case you haven't noticed, players are what make up football teams. In the various national recruiting rankings, UNC, bad press and all, was listed as 19th, 15th and 13th in three different polls, while NC State, which had nothing but good press, what little there was of it, ended up 67th in one and unranked in the other two.
As for basketball, ESPN GameDay covered, on national television, for seven long minutes, more than a week after the fact, Roy Williams' televised press conference tirade against a "fan" who criticized his team and Williams' subsequent apology for his rant during his radio call-in show. This is, some would say, the kind of distraction that could knock a team off of its game. Some would be wrong.
The supposedly soft Heels proceeded to demolish a talented NC State team and obliterate a veteran Boston College squad. Former Duke player and Duke Law School graduate, Jay Bilas* said of Williams' rant, "I loved it because he was standing up for his players," adding, "I liked what Roy Williams said, and I'm sure his players did, too." I'm sure they did, too.
The Duke women and the Duke men let me down this week. The Duke men lost to St. John's, the eleventh place team in the Big East, by 15 points. Duke, as the only ranked team in the ACC, made the rest of the conference, including my Heels, look even more pathetic. Now we'll have to beat them to feel good about ourselves.
Likewise it goes for the Duke women’s team's loss to the University of Connecticut Huskies. As little a fan as I am of Joanne P. McCauley, I am even less a fan of the most undeserving coach in all of coachdom, Geno "I yell obscene things at teenagers because it makes them play better"** Auriemma. I pulled hard for the Devils until the game was over, that is, ten minutes into the game when the score was 23-2 Huskies. Now we'll have to beat them to feel good about ourselves.
* My lawyeresque wife once had an on-campus interview at a law school which shall remain unnamed with attorney Bilas for a summer internship at his law firm. She shocked some of her younger co-ed classmates with the frank evaluation she made of him afterwards: "He's cute!!"
** Auriemma’s player-directed obscenities are not a rumor or a second-hand report or even the transcript from a lip-reading friend of my wife who once interpreted Mike Krzyzewski's "comments" to an official during a televised game. It comes from an ear-tingling personal experience several years ago when I sat behind the UConn bench in the Smith Center. I won't tell you what Auriemma said because I don't repeat such things even in a whisper and certainly wouldn't put them in a family newspaper. One disgusting thing Auriemma once yelled at one of his players which I will repeat: "I don't even know why I recruited you!!!" Sweet guy, ain't he?
Gary D. Gaddy's wife, despite her Wahoo grad degree and her devilish legal credentials, is now and ever shall be, true Tar Heel blue.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 4, 2011.
Copyright 2011 Gary D. Gaddy
THE HAGUE -- The International Court of Justice, operating under the Lucerne Conventions Concerning Blogging and Hacking, today presented an indictment of Gary D. Gaddy, the originator, author and sole proprietor of GaryGaddy.com, for "multiple and serial violations of blogging protocol."
Gaddy, court officials hope, may be the first person convicted under the new conventions.
"The Lucerne Conventions are an unfortunately necessary adjunct to the expanding scope of the worldwide web," said the Court's standing Rules Committee member Judge Antônio A. Cançado Trindade. According to Trindade, formalization of the formerly informal rules of blogging were inevitable given the expansion of access to the internet to those not inculcated in its shared culture.
Gaddy was indicted under four separate articles of the Lucerne Conventions, including Section 8, Subsection C, Article I, "failure to use appropriate quantities of abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons," which Gaddy is accused of repeatedly violating. Expert witnesses said that Gaddy had regularly posted entries of up to 675 words without including so much as a single "u" or "&" or “BTW”.
Gaddy was charged with, under Section 3, Subsection B, Article II, "being clothed in attire other than underwear or pajamas or other sleepwear while composing materials intended for online posting," Gaddy has, on several occasions, according the indictment, written and/or edited material for internet posts while wearing “street clothes, socks and shoes.”
Under Section 3, Subsection B, Article I, "authoring and/or editing while clean shaven," officials claimed as evidence a cordless electric razor found in Gaddy’s domicile that was not only “regularly and recently used” but “shows clear evidence of recent automated cleaning.”
Under Section 10, Subsection A, Article IV, Gaddy was charged with maintaining an image "inappropriate for online viewing." Gaddy, the indictment claims, appears in at least one posted webcam photo “wearing a necktie or cravat tied with a four-in-hand knot.”
The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has its seat at the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
In related news, U.S. law enforcement agencies are studying placing federal criminal charges against Gaddy, contrapositively related to the charges filed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which were made under the Espionage Act for Assange's publication of classified U.S. diplomatic cables. The proposed charges against Gaddy are for nondisclosure of unclassified disinformation, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday. No further information was released.
Amish scientists invent time machine
LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Amish scientists reported today that they have designed, developed and implemented the world’s first practical time machine. Aaron Garber, who was also the lead engineer for the design and construction of the Amish fireplace, also known as the Heat Surge® Roll-n-Glow® electric fireplace, with Amish-made wood mantle, led the effort.
One drawback to the Amish Time Traveler’s® innovative buttonless operational design, the Garber reports, is that the engineers have not determined how to reverse the polarity of function and thus travel into the future or, more significantly, return from the past.
While the Amish Time Traveler® is not currently available for purchase, Garber noted that the Amish Mantle Heat Surge® miracle heater is currently on sale at HeatSurge.com for as little as $298, not including shipping and handling.
Gary D. Gaddy has a long legal record, beginning with his first court appearance in the summer of 1963 for disturbing the peace and the illegal discharge of Class C fireworks.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 28, 2011.
Copyright 2011 Gary D. Gaddy
A COUPLE OF OCTOBERS AGO my sweet wife and I had the opportunity to travel to Sicily for a vacation, so we took it. We were invited by my step-daughter's husband's parents, which makes them . . . some people from Juneau, Alaska? (We'll give you their email addresses if you ever want to go on a great vacation that involves lots of walking, lots of talking, lots of eating and more ancient ruins than you can shake a stick at.)
Because the Lutchanskys are from Juneau, they travel a lot. (Trust me, if you were from Juneau, you'd travel a lot too. For example, what month would you say generally has the best weather in Juneau? If you said August, you would be correct. In the August preceding their vacation in Italy, it rained 30 out of 31 days. That's the good weather.) So, Leo and Llewellyn invited us to join them in Catania for the last 10 days of their month-long trek across Italy.
Some background: Sicily is the football at the bottom of the boot which is the peninsula of Italy. Sicily is a wonder of the ancient Mediterranean. According to our unbiased Sicilian tour guides, Sicily was the most important place in the ancient world, strategically if not culturally. The island of Sicily is the center of chessboard militarily. If you wanted to control the Mediterranean, you needed to control Sicily. That's what they said, and I believe them.
I learned a lot more on our wonderful trip to Sicily.
For example, whatever you might think of the “Victory Mosque at Ground Zero,” we went inside a Roman temple that became an early Christian basilica that became a Moslem mosque and then, via the Norman conquest, became a Baroque Roman Catholic cathedral. Such are the ebbs and flows of history – which is always written by the victors.
I also learned I don't like Baroque. Right off, it's screwy. If you've ever seen a Baroque column (and known what you were looking at), you will know what I'm talking about. Baroque boasts too much. Baroque’s the brat who is always yelling, "Look at me! Look at me!" If there ever was a self-centered, ostentatious architecture, it's Baroque. Happily, Sicily has but a little of it.
One thing my lovely and talented and wine-drinking wife learned quickly to like about Sicily was how they do dinner. Nicer Sicilian restaurants have a per capita “table charge” which covers plates, dinner ware, napkins, bread and, here's the kicker, the wine. They bring to your table freely refillable pitchers of red and white wine. It's like they do the sweet tea at Allen & Sons BBQ.
And the wine is good, and, as the bottomless carafe suggests, quite affordable. One of my most memorable memories from our very memorific time in Sicily was a service station, or at least what I thought was a service station, in Palermo. It had glass-paneled garage-type doors and we could see people at two pumps filling large 20-liter containers (like you might use if you use kerosene space heaters to heat your house). One pump said "vino rosso" and the other "vino bianco." It was a wine filling station, where they sold wine by the liter.
The food in Sicily was meraviglioso. Italy has been at the forefront of the "slow food movement." Sicily, to the best I could see, never left it. Meals in Sicily can last hours, and the food is universally exquisite. We stopped once at an actual service station where I got the best Italian sub sandwich I ever put in my mouth.
We stayed at a B&B set in a vineyard/olive orchard and asked the proprietor to recommend a “good restaurant.” He led us in his rattling little pickup to what looked like a biker bar way out Highway 54. It was the best homemade pasta I ever tasted.
Our trip to Sicily was, as we put it afterwards, "the search for the bad Italian restaurant." What this means we will have to return, 'cause we didn't find it.
Gary D. Gaddy got a laugh from his Italian hosts when he told them he was a Lupo.*
* Lupo was his Sicilian grandmother’s maiden name. In Italian it means a crazy person.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 21, 2011.
Copyright 2011 Gary D. Gaddy
I AM GETTING SOCIALIZED. Over the last months I have become expert in the new social media such as Tweeter, MyFace and Spacebook. [Excuse me for a second.] I'm sorry. My wife says it's Twitter, MySpace and Facebook. Anyway, you knew what I meant.
But here is how it is settling out. I inadvertently got LinkedIn but I am now trying to get LinkedOut. My MySpace page is a vacant lot. I think I need a lot more readers before I really try Tweeter. (Admit it, Tweeter does sound better than Twitter. And further why do they call it Twitter if what you send are Tweets anyway?)
In any case, Facebook is the place for me. I am friending, befriending, defriending and being unfriended all day long these days.
I realize now how disconnected I was from the world around me. But, with the help of Facebook, I am now friends with dozens of people I never met. With the assistance of marvelous social networking tools, I get to re-live my years at Robert E. Lee Junior High School — without undue risk of getting beaten up again by the 15-and-a-half-year-old hoods with the slicked-back hair in gym class.
It is a good thing that my wife is not the jealous sort, what with now-ex junior-high-school cheerleaders chasing after me again. (Just like back in junior hi.)
And, through Facebook, not only can you get together with old flames from high school, but you don't need to go out on a single actual date to be reminded why you broke up with them in the first place.
Furthermore, Facebook is an intergenerational treasure trove of information that just a few years ago would have taken a small army of private investigators to uncover, but now is delivered to my digital doorstep free of charge. Last semester I could know which bars in Buenos Aires my niece was happily hopping amongst. (Boy is Franklin Street going to be bore, bore, boring this semester for her.)
Now I am told, by a reputable source, that my mother-in-law is on Facebook, which is causing me to re-think this whole intergenerational transfer of information thing. Gotta go. Need to check if I have any new friend requests.
The $50 billion question
Facebook is a privately held company, so it would normally be hard to know what it is worth. Its most substantial asset is me, and, also, people like me, i.e., Facebook users. Recently that changed, and the Wall Street Journal Online posed this question: "Goldman Sachs and Russia's Digital Sky Technologies have invested $500 million in Facebook Inc., a deal that gives the social-networking site a valuation of $50 billion. What do you think? Is the company worth more than eBay, Yahoo and Time Warner?"
Here are some selected online responses to that question.
Maciej Janiec wrote: "$50 billion means that every Facebook user is valued at about $100. I wonder how to extract this money out of the users?"
Stephen Borsher wrote: ". . . That valuation is absurd. Looks to me like we are headed for another dot-com bomb; or, more likely, a meltdown of unclear [Editor’s note: perhaps this is a typo, and should have said ‘nuclear’] proportions."
Tommy Butler wrote: "If your marketing strategy is ‘pump and dump,’ then the current value is irrelevant. You simply have to locate a gullible buyer. . . .You can't be serious. Surely these shares were purchased with the thought that they will be re-sold at a higher price, soon."
Justin Murray wrote: "Reminds me of 1999. Soon it will remind me of March 2000." [Editor’s note: March 2000 is when the dot-com bubble first began to burst.]
Gary Gaddy says: "Please friend me on Facebook, so I can help these poor investors out — and have a Joy-filled New Year!"
Gary D. Gaddy really does want you to friend him on Facebook. Please do mention that you saw him first in the Chapel Hill Herald.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 14, 2011.
Copyright 2011 Gary D. Gaddy