The Spectacle Blog

Bob Crewe, R.I.P.

By on 9.12.14 | 10:38PM

Songwriter and record producer Bob Crewe passed away yesterday. A cause of death has not been released. Some press accounts say Crewe was 82 while others say he was 83. 

If you're a fan of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons then you're a fan of Bob Crewe. Along with Bob Gaudio, Crewe co-wrote some of The Four Seasons' biggest hits - "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Walk Like a Man", "Rag Doll" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You". "The Sun Doesn't Shine (Anymore)" and "Silence is Golden" were two Crewe-Gaudio compositions originally recorded by The Four Seasons, but became big hits for The Walker Brothers and The Tremeloes, respectively.

Crewe would also collaborate with Sandy Linzer and Denny Rendell on another Four Seasons hit "Let's Hang On". In the mid-1970's, Crewe and Kenny Nolan would write Frankie Valli's solo hit "My Eyes Adored You" as well as "Lady Marmalade" for LaBelle which would later become a hit for Christina Aguliera. 

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Rob Ford Withdraws From Toronto Mayoral Race; Brother Doug Steps In His Place

By on 9.12.14 | 5:00PM

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has withdrawn from the Toronto mayoral race after being hospitalized and diagnosed with an abdominal tumor. Ford's brother Doug, who is a Toronto city councillor, will run in his place.

Ford became world famous last year when video emerged of him smoking crack. Other video showed him threatening to kill someone. He also accidentally knocked over a city councillor on the floor of Toronto City Council chambers and also made crude remarks about his sex life with his wife. Ford was always a reviled figure on the Left, but his antics alienated many conservative politicians although he retains a loyal following among a constituency known simply as "Ford Nation".

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Ian Paisley Is Dead: Should We Speak Ill of Him?

By on 9.12.14 | 12:48PM

As Tim Stanley pointed out over at the Telegraph, it's hard not to do so. When Pope John XXIII died in 1963, Paisley assured a group of protestors that "This Romish man of sin is now in hell." "De mortuis nil nisi bonum" meant nothing to him.

Paisley was a wretched, mean-spirited man, a figure of Cromwellian unpleasantness. He had no tastes, no interests. (Asked by Sue Lawley of the BBC what book other than the Bible he would bring with him to a desert island, he replied "Foxe's Book of Martyrs.") The only thing he ever seems to have enjoyed was speaking in public, whether behind a podium or a pulpit. His theology, such as it was, comprised the two beliefs, held with something like equal fervor, that priests were hell-bound sodomites and alcohol was "the devil's buttermilk." A good day's work for Paisley was shouting "Antichrist!" when Pope John Paul II addressed the European Parliament and having things hurled at him by his fellow MEPS before being dragged out of the chamber by Otto von Habsburg.

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Giancarlo Stanton Hit in Face By Pitch

By on 9.12.14 | 12:41AM

Miami Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton's season came to an abrupt end when he was hit in the face with a pitch by Mike Fiers of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night. Stanton was carried off the field on a stretcher and taken to a medical facility in Milwaukee. 

Benches would clear when Fiers hit Reed Johnson (who was pinch hit for Stanton) on the hand with a pitch. The following inning Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez was hit with a pitch by Marlins reliever Anthony DeSclafani who was promptly ejected. 

Marlins manager Mike Redmond insists Fiers hit Stanton and Johnson intentionally. I understand Redmond being upset, but this is nonsense. The Brewers had a 4-0 lead in the fifth and Stanton was up with runners on first and third. Hitting Stanton would have loaded the bases and sent the tying run up to the plate. Although bizarrely the umps ruled that Stanton had swung at the pitch and would later rule that Johnson had swung when he was hit and ended up striking out.

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Richard Kiel, R.I.P.

By on 9.11.14 | 11:15PM

Actor Richard Kiel passed away yesterday. He was hospitalized last week after sustaining a broken leg. Kiel died three days shy of his 75th birthday.

Standing more than seven feet tall, Kiel has the distinction of being the only actor to play a Bond villain in more than one film playing Jaws in both The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker starring Roger Moore as 007. 

Younger audiences may remember Kiel from his role in Happy Gilmore starring Adam Sandler. Kiel's other movie credits include The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds, Silver Streak with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood. 

Kiel was also originally cast in The Incredible Hulk TV series. However, the show's producers thought Kiel's physique wasn't right for the role and Kiel didn't like all that green makeup. So the role was given to Lou Ferrigno and the rest is TV history. 

Speaking of TV, here is a clip of Kiel's guest shot on The Monkees.

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Obama’s Misdirection Play

By on 9.11.14 | 3:38PM

“ISIL isn’t Islamic,” our golfer-in-chief invited us to believe Wednesday night. Right. And La Cosa Nostra isn’t Italian. The Pope isn’t a Catholic. And a wild bear won’t…

This is just the most audacious of Obama’s many attempted misdirections. And it stands a good chance of being believed. By people who’ve spent the last 30 years on Mars, or by those who ingest large quantities of controlled substances on a daily basis.

As he spins his unique and entertaining view of the world, Dave Barry is forever telling us, “I’m not making this up.” Obama, on the other hand, clearly is.

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Obama: “ISIL Isn’t Islamic!”

By on 9.10.14 | 10:02PM

President Obama went through the motions in his 15 minute nationwide address tonight about American strategy concerning ISIS/ISIL. He seemed detached from what he was saying as if his mind were elsewhere, perhaps the 18th green at Pebble Beach.

Tomorrow I will have a piece up on the main site on the 13th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 which criticizes the manner in which Obama de-emphasizes the connection between acts of terrorism and Islam.

Needless to say, I wasn't surprised when he said, "ISIL isn't Islamic." ISIL might not represent the entire Muslim world, but it certainly represents a critical mass of it. To deny ISIL's ideological and religious motivations is absurd. It was equally absurd when Obama also declared that "ISIL isn't a state." Well, it controls a good portion of Iraq and seeks to establish a caliphate not only the Middle East, but here in the United States. How can Obama destroy and degrade ISIL if he cannot acknowledge their aims and objectives?

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Ray Rice and His Bride

By on 9.10.14 | 12:11PM

Not that I’m questioning the decision. It probably had to be made. But it’s hard to see how La Rice’s life is made any better by it. Before she was just married to a dangerous sumbitch. Now she’s married to a dangerous sumbitch who isn’t bringing home any money and who is around the house all day, frustrated and angry. These are perilous times for her. Sometimes there are just bad options and worse options.

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Telegraphing Our Punches

By on 9.10.14 | 11:48AM

The smart folks over at Investors Business Daily offered one of the most comprehensive "decodings" of President Obama's Syria/ISIS strategy -- after the president told our friends and foes alike that he doesn't have one.

Tonight at 9 PM EDT, we'll get the latest "reset" in strategy...days after a speech at a NATO meeting in which Obama basically laid out three different near-strategies within just a few minutes of each other.

At this point, the whole thing bores me, despite recognizing its seriousness.

Here are my predictions what he'll say:

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Thoughts on the Ray Rice Video

By on 9.10.14 | 12:06AM

Like millions of other people, I have seen the video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching out his fiance (who he has since married) and was disgusted by his actions.

Prior to the video's release, Rice had been suspended for the first two games of the NFL season. But with the public outrage that followed the release of the video, the Ravens released Rice and the NFL has suspended him indefinitely.

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