Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

Happy 75, Elvis

Today, January 8th, is Elivs Presley’s birthday.  He would have been 75 years old today.  Happy birthday, Elvis.


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Farewell, MJ


The King of Pop is gone.  Rest in peace, Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958-June 25, 2009).



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London’s Slowing Down


London is slowing down.  Well, at least that’s the hope of the sponsors of the novel “Slow Down London” campaign which is encouraging Londoners to relax, turn off their connected devices, and enjoy life more slowly.  The campaign, which officially runs from April 24 to May 4 features a variety of events across London, including:

*  A slow group stroll across Waterloo Bridge, the campaign’s official kickoff event;
*  Lunch-time yoga events;
*  Slow walking programs across London;
*  Craft lessons; and more.


Here’s an excerpt from the Slown Down London website regarding the purpose of the campaign:


To learn more about the Slown Down London campaign, go to their official website by clicking here.

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2008 Farewells

In 2008, we lost many well-known individuals, including the following:

January 15 - Brad Renfro, actor (Mark Shay in “The Client”) age 25
January 17 - Bobby Fischer, world class chess champion, age 64
January 18 - Lois Nettleton, actor (Evelyn in “Crossing Jordan”) age 80
January 19 - Suzanne Pleshette, actress (”Bob Newhart Show” and “Rome Adventure”), age 70
January 22 - Heath Ledger, actor (”Brokeback Mountain” and “The Dark Knight”), age 28
January 26 - Christian Brando, son of actor Marlon Brando, age 49
February 1 - Shell Kepler, actress (Amy Vining on “General Hospital” ) age 49
February 2 - Barry Morse, actor (Lt. Philip Gerard on “The Fugitive”) age 89
February 5 - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, taught transcendentalist meditation to the Beatles, age 96
February 10 - Roy Scheider, actor (Police Chief Brodie in “Jaws”) age 75
February 13 - David Groh, actor (Rhoda’s husband, Joe, on “Rhoda”) age 68
February 27 - William F. Buckley, author and conservative commentator, age 82
March 18 - Arthur C. Clarke, writer (”2001: A Space Odyssey”) age 90
March 19 - Paul Scofield, actor (”A Man for All Seasons”) age 86
March 24 - Richard Widmark, actor (”How the West Was Won,” “Madigan” ) age 93
April 5 - Charlton Heston, actor (Moses in “The Ten Commandments”) age 84
May 5- Jerry Wallace,1950’s musician (1950’s country singer) age 79
May 26- Sydney Pollack, Academy Award winning director, actor and producer (”Out of Africa”) age 73

May 29- Harvey Korman, actor (best known for his role on the Carol Burnett Show) age 81
June 1- Yves Saint Lauren, fashion designer, age 71
June 2- Bo Diddley, musician (one of the founding fathers of “Rock & Roll”) age 79
June 7- Jim McKay,sportscaster (anchored ABC Wide World of Sports)
June 13 - Tim Russert, political journalist and host of NBC’s “Meet the Press”
June 22 - George Carlin, Comedian (best known for his use of off color language) age 71
July 4 - Sen. Jesse Helms, (5 term Senator from N Carolina and outspoken conserative) age 86
July 22- Estelle Getty, actress (best known for her role on The Golden Girls) age 85
August 9 - Bernie Mac, comedian (starred in his own sitcom titled The Bernie Mac Show) age 50
August 10- Isaac Hayes, musician (famous for writing the musical theme to Shaft) age 65
September 26- Paul Newman, Academy Award winning actor, race car driver, philanthropist (starred in 50 films best known for “Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid” and “The Color of Money”) age 83
October 17- Levi Stubbs,Singer (front man for the Four Tops) age 72
October 19- Richard Blackwell, fashion critic (best known for his “Ten Worst Dressed Women” yearly list) age 86
October 24- Merl Saunders, musician/keyboardist (played with The Grateful Dead) age 74
November 4-  John Michael Chichton, author (best known for his best-selling book, “Jurassic Park”) age 66
December 1 - Paul Benedict, actor (best known as the quirky neighbor on the Jeffersons), age 70
December 7- Dennis Yost, singer/musician (best known as lead singer with the Classics IV), age 65
December 12- Van Johnson, actor and dancer, age 92
December 16- Samuel “Sam” Bottoms, actor and producer (best known as Lance Johnson in “Apocalypse Now”), age 53
December 18- Mark Felt, retired Associated Director, FBI (best known as “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal), age 95
December 24- Harold Pinter, Pulitzer-prize winnning writer, director and actor (best known as the writer of “Betrayal”), age 78
December 25-  Eartha Kitt, singer and entertainer (best known as “Cat Woman” in the TV series “Batman”)
December 27-  Robert Mulligan, film director (best known as director of the film, “To Kill a Mockingbird”), age 83


Above (left to right): Sydney Pollack, Tim Russert, George Carlin, and Paul Newman

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2008 Top 10 Words

“Change” is the Top Word of 2008 according to the annual global survey of the English language by Global Language Monitor.  Meanwhile, the estimated number of words in the English language has increased to 998,751, just 1,249 from the million-word mark.


According to Paul JJ Payack, President of The Global Language Monitor, “Global English has been driven by three notable events during the course of 2008: The US Presidential Election, the Financial Tsunami, and the Beijing Olympics.”  He added, “For 2008 our words were culled from throughout the English-speaking world which now numbers some 1.58 billion speakers and includes such diverse cultures as India, China, Philippines, and the EuroZone.”


The analysis was completed using GLM’s Predictive Quantities Indicator (PQI), a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. The words are tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets, factoring in long-term trends, short-term changes, momentum and velocity.


TOP 10 WORDS OF 2008


1.  Change – The top political buzzword of the 2008 US Presidential campaign.
2.  B
ailout – Would have been higher but was not in the media until Mid-September.
3.  O
bamamania – Describing the worldwide reaction to Barack Obama’s campaign and subsequent victory in the US presidential race.
Greenwashing – Repositioning a product to stress its Earth-friendly attributes.
Surge – Military and political strategy often cited as reducing violence in Iraq.
Derivative – Exotic financial instruments used to cleverly package junk-grade debt.
Subprime – Mortgages that were packaged as derivatives.
Foreclosure – The end-result of the sub-prime mess.
Phelpsian:  New word coined to describe the Phelpsian Pheat of winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.
Chinglish – The often amusing Chinese/English language hybrid that Beijing tried to stamp out before the Olympics began.


Source: Global Language Monitor


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Top 10 Irritating Phrases

Researchers at University of Oxford have announced their list of TEN MOST IRRITATING WORDS AND PHRASES FOR 2008.  According to Jeremy Butterfield, lexicographer and author of Oxford A to Z of English Usage, the ten words and phrases were identified based on results from the Oxford University Corpus, an extensive and dynamic database that compiles texts—both written and spoken—in electronic form. Containing over 200 billion words of 21st century English, the Oxford University Corpus provides evidence of actual and contextual language usage worldwide. The database documents various forms of the English language ranging from literary novels, specialist journals, magazines and newspapers to blogs, chatrooms and emails.

The database alerts them to new words and phrases and can tell them which expressions are disappearing. It also shows how words are being misused.

In an interview, Butterfield said “We grow tired of anything that is repeated too often – an anecdote, a joke, a mannerism – and the same seems to happen with some language.”


1 - At the end of the day
2 - Fairly unique
3 - I personally
4 - At this moment in time
5 - With all due respect
6 - Absolutely
7 - It’s a nightmare
8 - Shouldn’t of
9 - 24/7
10 - It’s not rocket science


What do you consider the most irritating word or phrase for 2008?

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