The Spectacle Blog

A Thought for Joan Rivers

By on 9.4.14 | 5:08PM

I see that Ross has beat me to the punch concerning the passing of Joan Rivers.

Instead let me share a few of my impressions of her.

I first became aware of her in the early 1980's during her stint as permanent guest host on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I mostly remember her telling a lot of fat jokes about Elizabeth Taylor although the two would later bury the hatchet as both women spent their time raising money for AIDS charities.

I also remember her falling out with Carson after she got her own talk show on the fledgling Fox network. She would be fired within six months and the show would eventually launch the late night career of Arsenio Hall.

But Rivers would bounce back in the 1990s on the E! network along with her daughter Melissa with their red carpet fashion shows prior to the Oscars and Emmys.

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Joan Rivers R.I.P.

By on 9.4.14 | 3:09PM

Comedienne Joan Rivers has passed away today at the age of 81, one week after going into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a procedure on her throat. The evening before the terrible event, Ms. Rivers joked about her age and that she could die "at any second." State health officials are investigating the clinic at which the procedure took place.

Joan Rivers was basically "discovered" by Johnny Carson and was a frequent guest and guest-host of the Tonight Show in the early 1980s.

Recently, Ms. Rivers, never a stranger to controversy, made a bit of news when suggesting that Barack Obama was America's first gay president and calling Michelle Obama a "tranny." In typical Rivers style, no apology was forthcoming for the not-particularly-humorous comment.

OK, not every joke hits its target, but for decades of sometimes-shocking entertainment and breaking the glass ceiling for female comedians, Joan Rivers deserves our appreciation.

Our thoughts are with her family and friends on this sad day.

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What Obama Offers Against ISIS vs. What Churchill Offered Against the Nazis

By on 9.3.14 | 5:00PM

During a joint press conference with Estonian President Ilves in Tallinn, President Obama vowed to "degrade and destroy ISIL."

But a few minutes later, Obama changed his tune following a question by Steve Holland of Reuters concerning his military strategy on ISIS/ISIL:

And to go back to what I said earlier....we know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem. And the question is going to be making sure we’ve got the right strategy, but also making sure that we’ve got the international will to do it.

Now compare the above with what Winston Churchill said about his policy and aims against the Nazis in the British House of Commons on May 13, 1940 during his first speech as Prime Minister:

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Why Is Eric Cantor Worth $3 Million to Wall Street?

By on 9.3.14 | 10:21AM

Predictable, sure, that Eric Cantor would wind up post-Congress with a gig wheeling and dealing. But I love the honesty of this source of Annie Lowrey's, who lays out what skills and assets, exactly, make the former House Majority Leader worth millions:

Let’s look at Cantor’s résumé. Let’s look at all his investment-banking experience. Let’s look at his capital-markets experience. He has none. He has no experience or skills that would qualify him to be even an intern at a fifth-tier firm in the financial industry. I mean, come on! I love the spin. They’re pushing back this morning. They’re saying, "This is really different! This isn’t like everybody else."

But Wall Street always goes with the sure bet and the well-worn path. They’re paying him a guaranteed — you’ve got to love Wall Street, you guarantee money because you can’t fail on Wall Street — they’re guaranteeing him $3.8 million. You don’t guarantee someone $3.8 million because you’re training him to be an investment banker.

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How Many Beheadings Will it Take for Obama to Develop a Strategy on ISIS?

By on 9.2.14 | 2:47PM

ISIS has released a video in which American journalist Steven Sotloff is beheaded. It appears to be the work of the same individual with the British accent responsible for beheading James Foley last month.

There's not much I can say at this moment other than to ask a single question. How many more Americans does ISIS have to behead before President Obama develops a strategy on ISIS?

And, no, building an international coalition isn't a strategy.

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Cole Hamels & Company No-Hit Braves

By on 9.1.14 | 11:18PM

On Memorial Day, the Philadelphia Phillies were no-hit by Dodgers hurler Josh Beckett.

On Labor Day, the Phillies were on the right side of a no-hitter as Cole Hamels and relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined on a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves. Phillies manager pinch hit for Hamels in the seventh inning after Hamels threw 108 pitches in 100 degree heat. 

The combined no-hitter is the fourth of the 2014 season. Beckett, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum have tossed the other three no-nos. It's the first combined no-hitter since 2012 when Seattle Mariners pitcher Kevin Millwood and four relievers no-hit the Dodgers. 

Today was a good day for the Phillies in a season where there hasn't been a lot of them. The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 15 games back of the Washington Nationals. 

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Astros Fire Porter; Name Lawless Interim Manager

By on 9.1.14 | 10:26PM

After less than two years at the helm of the Houston Astros, Bo Porter has been fired as the team's manager. 

Although the Astros were 59-79 under Porter this season, it was an improvement over 2013 when the Astros had only 51 wins.

Unfortunately for Porter, he did not get along with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and team owner Jim Crane backed Luhnow.

Porter has been replaced on an interim basis by Astros minor league instructor Tom Lawless. Baseball fans will remember Lawless as a light hitting infielder who took Frank Viola deep in the 1987 World Series with a bat flip to boot.  Lawless only hit two other HRs in a near decade long career. Can Lawless make the case to be Porter's full-time replacement?


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Dunn to Finish Big League Career with A’s

By on 8.31.14 | 10:28PM

The Oakland A's have acquired DH-1B Adam Dunn from the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitcher Nolan Sanborn. 

The A's desperately need offense. They haven't been the same since they dealt Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox and have lost 14 of their last 20 including a four game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels who now have a five game lead in the AL West. 

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Donald Trump Takes Ice Bucket Challenge: Dares Obama

By on 8.28.14 | 11:17AM

So Homer Simpson and Mike  Tyson challenged Donald Trump to take the ice bucket challenge.

Now, in typical Trump style, The Donald has taken the challenge.

Yes, you read that right. Take a look right here and you will see Donald Trump get dumped on — hair and all — by Miss Universe and Miss USA.

But not before challenging… yes… President Obama.

That’s right. Sitting there atop Trump Tower, hair combed and looking Trumpish, The Donald gets soaked with ice and a couple bottles of Trump Ice Natural Spring Water.

But not before challenging the President of the United States to man up and take the ALS ice bucket challenge himself.

Over to you, Mr. President.

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Thoughts on the Burger King-Tim Horton’s Merger

By on 8.27.14 | 2:01AM

I am on vacation in my home and native land. Currently I am in Toronto and tomorrow I will travel to Ottawa where my grandmother will be celebrating her 95th birthday later this week.

The biggest story in Canada right now is the merger between Burger King and Tim Horton's with BK picking up stakes and moving its headquarters to Oakville, Ontario which is about 20 miles from Toronto. For those unfamiliar with Tim Horton's, it is to Canada what Dunkin Donuts is to this country, especially in Massachusetts. Indeed, when Canadian troops were in Afghanistan, a Tim Horton's opened in Kandahar province before closing in 2011 when Canadian troops began their withdrawal.

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