The Spectacle Blog

Marcia Strassman, R.I.P.

By on 10.26.14 | 11:13PM

Actress and singer Marcia Strassman passed away on Saturday after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. She was 66.

Strassman is best known for her portrayal of Julie Kotter on the 1970's sitcom Welcome Back Kotter. The cast reunited in April 2011 and since that reunion Robert Hegyes, Ron Palillo and now Strassman have died. 

In 1989, Strassman would co-star with Rick Moranis in the Disney film Honey, I Shrunk The Kids and its 1992 sequel Honey, I Blew Up The Kid. 

In the late 1960's, Strassman tried her hand at a singing career. Here she is singing "The Flower Children" which was co-written and produced by Jerry Goldstein (who would later have success with the band War) which had some modest success on the West Coast in both the U.S. and Canada. 

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Oscar Taveras, R.I.P.

By on 10.26.14 | 9:53PM

Prior to the fourth inning of Game 5 of the World Series between the Royals and Giants, Ken Rosenthal announced that St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras was killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. He was only 22. 

Taveras was the top prospect in the Cardinals organization and was touted by many as the next Albert Pujols. Although he hit a home run in his big league debut on May 31st against the Giants, he would only hit two more over his next 232 regular season at bats in a rookie campaign in which he hit .239 and struggled defensively. But Taveras had a memorable moment in Game 2 of the NLCS when he tied the game with a solo HR in the seventh inning off Giants reliever Jean Machi. 

It should have a sign of things to come. Instead, two weeks after his greatest triumph on a baseball field, the life of Oscar Taveras was snuffed out in an instant.

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Thoughts on Baker’s 9 Point Lead in Massachusetts

By on 10.26.14 | 7:57PM

On Friday, The Boston Globe came out with a poll which gave Republican Charlie Baker a 9 point lead over Democrat Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race. 

While I suspect this poll is an outlier, I do think Baker will prevail. Baker is, of course, isn't particularly conservative and has been trying to reach out to Democrats who are less than pleased their party nominated Coakley once again. In one of his campaign ads which features his daughter Caroline, she praises him for being "totally pro-choice". But Baker is competent (having rescued the health insurer Harvard Pilgrim from bankruptcy) and this quality is always in short supply. On that count, Baker is infinitely better than Coakley. Having lost to Scott Brown in the special Senate election in 2010, I am not sure what possessed Democrats to nominate her yet again. 

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Jack Bruce, R.I.P.

By on 10.25.14 | 1:20PM

Jack Bruce, the former lead singer and bass player for the supergroup Cream, has passed away following a lengthy battle with liver disease. He had received a transplant in 2003. Bruce was 71.

Born in Scotland, Bruce was a classically trained musician at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music who fell in love with jazz and blues during the early 1960's. He cut his teeth with Alexis Korner's Blues Inc., John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers and Manfred Mann before rising to the top with Cream which famously included Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker and guitar legend Eric Clapton.

While Cream mostly covered blues standards, Bruce and lyricist Pete Brown contributed a number of original songs such as "White Room", "I Feel Free" and "Sunshine of Your Love".

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Maddon Resigns as Rays Manager

By on 10.25.14 | 12:18AM

Joe Maddon opted out of his contract as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. In nine seasons and a 754-705 record, Maddon was the winningest manager in Rays history. In 2008, Maddon shocked the baseball world by leading the Rays to an AL pennant. The Rays would also make post-season appearances in 2010, 2011 and 2013. 

However, 2014 was a trying year for the Rays. After a horrible 24-42 start, the Rays went 29-13 to get within striking distance of .500 by the end of July. But then at the trade deadline, the Rays dealt Cy Young winner David Price to the Tigers and went 24-30 the rest of the way. The Rays finished in fourth place in the AL East, 19 games back for the Orioles. 

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NYC Hipster Doc Probably Gave Everyone Ebola

By on 10.24.14 | 1:33PM

Until yesterday, the biggest danger hipsters posed to our quiet culture was the possibility that they'd bring back farmer overalls and fanny packs and keep Pabst Blue Ribbon in business. While many of us understood the cultural havoc that people with organic cheese fetishes and New Wave record collections were to the society at large, we were fairly certain that, while industrial modern would become a much more pervasive trend than anticipated, it would hardly lead to a gruesome and painful death (unless, of course, you are one of the chosen few who actually attempt to install edison bulbs in your household fixtures).

And then, we come to find out, that a New York doc, who recently returned from overseas where he treated Ebola patients, somehow managed to skip through the extensive CDC screening process of self-reporting, misunderstood the parameters of self-quarantine, and might have infected half of Williamsburg with the the deadly virus (provided Williamsburg residents are licking street vomit, I guess). 

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Madeleine Albright Owns Conan on Twitter

By on 10.24.14 | 1:16PM

If you were considering Tweeting Queen Elizabeth today, on her first day on Twitter, you may want to rethink your social media strategy. As late night talk show host Conan O'Brien found out yesterday when he tweeted at former Secretary of State Madeleine Albreight (that saucy minx!), you can't always be sure that elderly stateswomen are tasking their staff with their accounts

Please apply cold water to the burned area.

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Re: DHS Wants Your KC Royals Panties

By on 10.24.14 | 10:21AM

I appreciate Emily for briefing us on this government sponsored panty raid.

There are many things I'd like to say to Homeland Security, but they are unmentionable.

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Craig Shirley, Laura Ingraham on Reagan’s Time for Choosing

By on 10.24.14 | 9:04AM

Craig Shirley and Laura Ingraham have written a superb piece in the Los Angeles Times on the Reagan Time for Choosing speech 

Among the important points the two made was this:

… Yet in the face of the failed big-government Republicanism of recent history and the failed collectivism of the Democratic Party, men like Jeb Bush say the country and the GOP need to move past the “nostalgia” for Reaganism’s heyday. A top Republican consultant, Ford O'Connell, recently wrote: “Ronald Reagan is dead. Accept it. The Reagan fixation is a drag on the future.”

So what are the Bush Republicans missing? Reagan's New Federalism was the most successful governing philosophy of the 20th century, and that includes the New Deal, which never did solve the Depression. Only the Lend-Lease program and our entry into World War II did that. New Federalism was certainly more successful than the Great Society.

Reaganism is not about Reagan, who often said,“Don’t trust me, trust yourself.” He believed in the individual over the state.

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DHS Wants Your KC Royals Panties

By on 10.23.14 | 5:10PM

Everyone wants to show their support for their home team in their own way. For some of us, who live in the same city as the Cubs, we prefer to simply wear paper bag headwear during the post-season. For others, like the racy ladies of Kansas City, a pair of lovely blue panties emblazoned with a hand-drawn Royals logo is just the thing. After all, this is America, and if you want to wear your team pride on your ladyparts, you have a God-given right to do so.

Unless the Department of Homeland Security thinks you shouldn't. And then, they'll conduct an armed panty raid (literally) at the direction of Major League Baseball. Because if there's anything we need the Department of Homeland Security focusing on right now, it's what it says on your ass under your pants.

Homeland Security agents visited the Crossroads store and confiscated the few dozen pairs of underwear, printed in Kansas City by Lindquist Press.

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