News of the Week: Elvis Lives, Quidditch Is Real, and Michael Bublé Doesn’t Know How to Eat Corn on the Cob
Sharknado Creators Are Making a Movie About … Elvis Presley?
The people behind the Sharknado films, along with Mark Cuban’s AXS TV network, have a new project in the works, and for some reason it involves Elvis Presley. It’s called Elvis Lives! (which is, oddly, an anagram).
Cuban says the writers and producers are “crafting a unique and original storyline that explores the well-known conspiracy theories and allows our viewers to form their own conclusions.” The producers say that they “intend to do for the life of Elvis Presley what Sharknado did for flying sharks.” In other words, Elvis Lives! is going to make the Sharknado movies look like documentaries.
By the way, the Sharknado series is still going strong. The fourth film is titled Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. It debuts July 31 on Syfy, so make a note to either watch it or avoid it.
Grab a Broom
Quidditch, the game played in the Harry Potter novels and movies, has made its way into real life.
That’s right, the game that has players flying around on brooms and trying to score goals is now a real thing. People have been playing it since 2005, and there has even been a documentary made about the game. CBS Sunday Morning did a story about the game this week, and I just can’t get past how odd it looks having adults run around a field with a broom between their legs.
Some day, The Hunger Games will be real. It will be shown live on ESPN, it’ll be sponsored by Pepsi, and we’ll all make our bracket picks every summer.
RIP Prince, Doris Roberts, and Guy Hamilton
Prince has died at the age of 57.
The words icon and genius are thrown around way too casually these days, but Prince — born Prince Rogers Nelson — was both of those things. He was an amazingly talented guy, prolific, influential. This is a true loss for music and pop culture in general. It’s hard to find a bigger name in pop music the past 30–40 years.
Prince’s body was found at his Minnesota estate yesterday. TMZ first broke the news, and it was later confirmed by his publicist. Last week, his plane made an emergency landing after he became sick after an Atlanta concert.
I don’t know what song I could post here for Prince. How do you choose? But here’s some nice guitar work from him in a 2004 “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” tribute to George Harrison:
Every year is a bad year for celebrity deaths but 2016 is turning out to be one of the worst, isn’t it?
Everybody Loves Raymond’s Marie Barone is one of the great sitcom moms, and I can’t imagine anyone else but Doris Roberts playing her. She had a conniving, nosy persona, but you also liked and understood her. That’s not always a combo that’s easy for someone to pull off. Roberts passed away this week at the age of 90.
Roberts had a big career before Everybody Loves Raymond. She played secretary Mildred Krebs on Remington Steele and was a regular on shows like Angie, Maggie, and The Boys. She also appeared in a million other TV series and movies — too many to list — starting with a CBS show called Starlight Theatre in 1951.
Ray Romano released a statement about Roberts, and co-stars Patricia Heaton and Brad Garrett spoke out via Twitter:
To my beloved Marie – RIP. pic.twitter.com/TtZCySQnLK
— Patricia Heaton (@PatriciaHeaton) April 18, 2016
— Brad Garrett (@RealBradGarrett) April 20, 2016
Guy Hamilton also passed away this week. He directed what many consider one of the best James Bond movies, Goldfinger, as well as Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, and The Man With the Golden Gun. Beyond Bond, he also directed Remo Williams, Funeral in Berlin, Battle of Britain, The Mirror Crack’d, and many other films. Hamilton was 93.
Michael Strahan Now Down to Just One Morning Show
I haven’t watched Live with Kelly & Michael at all since Regis Philbin left the show (and it was called Live with Regis & Kelly, because having Michael in the title wouldn’t have made any sense). I tuned in because I like Philbin, and the young/old contrast between the two was always a source of amusement. But now that Kelly Ripa is in charge and there’s an ex-football player/current NFL analyst as a co-host, I don’t find anything interesting about it.
But this week, Michael Strahan announced that he’s leaving the show this September after four years. He’s going to be on Good Morning, America full-time now, as a co-host.
And if we’re to believe the behind-the-scenes goings-on, Ripa was “blindsided” by the news and she was “beyond angry” because Disney and ABC didn’t tell her in advance. Supposedly she’s so angry she decided to take off the rest of the week from the show without any explanation. Ana Gasteyer sat in for Ripa on Wednesday, and Erin Andrews filled in yesterday and today. Ripa will also be gone from the show this Monday, though Friday and Monday are part of a planned-in-advance vacation.
Now the search for a new co-host begins. Who could it be? Anderson Cooper is always great when he fills in, but he probably wouldn’t want to leave his CNN/60 Minutes gigs. But Reege is available!
Goodbye Andrew, Hello Harriet
Harriet Tubman is going to replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew made the announcement this week, adding that other women and people of color will appear on bills starting in 2020. Tubman was chosen because she helped free thousands of slaves via the Underground Railroad (and her spy work!).
Of course, they can’t make this move without causing some controversy. Tubman will be on the front, but there will still be a picture of Jackson on the back. I’m sure there will be protests over the fact that they couldn’t give the entire bill over to her.
As for Alexander Hamilton, who — spoiler alert! — was shot and killed by Aaron Burr, he’s staying on the $10 bill. Lew had planned to replace Hamilton but decided to put a woman on the $20 instead. Part of the reason he’s staying on? You can thank the success of the Hamilton musical, (which is now a Pulitzer Prize winner).
Somewhere in Hollywood right now, someone is creating a TV series where Alexander Hamilton and Harriet Tubman team up together to solve crimes.
Eating Corn on the Cob, Bublé Style
A picture of singer Michael Bublé eating corn on the cob caused a small uproar on Twitter the past week. I have no idea why (or even how) he eats it this way, but here’s the pic:
Next time you're feeling down just remember that Michael Buble doesn't know how to eat corn pic.twitter.com/z7XufccskT
— Greg Kumparak (@Grg) April 15, 2016
Corn on the cob is not a food you eat with one hand, Michael. It’s not a corn dog or a Popsicle or a cup of coffee. Your other hand is free — use it! And put some butter on it (the corn, not your hand).
Bublé had a good response to it, though, saying the controversy was “vegetable harassment.”
Should Texting in Movie Theaters Be Allowed?
The answer? No. Hey, that was quick. Thanks for playing!
For a short time this past week, AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron actually believed that texting should be allowed in his movie theaters because “you can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone.” But in one of the few instances in which social media freaking out actually did some good, AMC quickly put the kibosh on that idea. They reversed their position almost before the controversy could start trending:
NO TEXTING AT AMC. Won't happen. You spoke. We listened. Quickly, that idea has been sent to the cutting room floor. pic.twitter.com/JR0fo5megR
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) April 15, 2016
Maybe they realized that doing something that would make people stay home with their deluxe home theater setups and stay away from AMC wasn’t the best business strategy.
Look, we could sit here and discuss all the reasons texting (and cellphone use in general) shouldn’t be allowed in places like movie theaters and churches. The light from the phone, the ringing, the talking. But here’s another reason: Can’t you go two hours without checking your phone? Remember when going to a movie theater was for escapism, to bond with fellow moviegoers for a while? Unless you’re on the waiting list for a kidney, maybe you can just shut the phone off and enjoy the film.
How to Eat Spaghetti
Here’s some more how-to-eat-something news, this time involving spaghetti. I agree with the conclusion of this Time article, but I don’t think they had to title it “You’ve Been Eating Spaghetti Wrong This Whole Time.” Hey Time, how do you know how I’ve been eating spaghetti this whole time?
But as I said, I agree with the conclusion, which Time explains was first proposed in a 1942 article in Life. As an Italian, I’ve always twirled my spaghetti with a fork. It’s easier, it’s convenient, and you’re less prone to see the pasta fall off the fork. I’ve seen people twirl it right on the plate, which isn’t as smooth a process as using a spoon. I’ve even seen people cut up their spaghetti with a fork and knife. You can even buy “cut spaghetti” now in supermarkets. It’s great for many pasta dishes, but if it’s all cut up, it’s no longer spaghetti, is it? So just grab that fork and spoon and do it that way.
I don’t even want to know how Michael Bublé eats spaghetti. The horror …
Upcoming Events and Anniversaries
Tehran rescue attempt fails (April 24, 1980)
The mission, code named Operation Eagle Claw, was aborted after helicopters failed. One of the copters crashed, killing eight servicemen.
Hubble Space Telescope put in orbit (April 25, 1990)
After an early problem with an improperly designed mirror, the telescope has taken some incredible photos of faraway places.
Robinson Crusoe published (April 25, 1719)
You can read Daniel Defoe’s classic novel, which is sometimes called The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, for free at Project Gutenberg.
John Wilkes Booth dies (April 26, 1865)
SEP Archive Director Jeff Nilsson has the interesting and bizarre story of what might have happened to Booth’s body after his death.
Sultana explodes on the Mississippi (April 27, 1865)
Over 1,700 passengers and crew died, making it the biggest maritime disaster in U.S. history.
L.A. riots start (April 29, 1992)
The riots that started in South Central Los Angeles and spread to other areas came in the wake of the not guilty verdict in the Rodney King case.
Adolf Hitler dies (April 30, 1945)
The dictator and Eva Braun got married the day before both committed suicide.