Thursday, May 31, 2007

Make His Birthday

The toughest of the tough guys turns 77 (!) today. Clint Eastwood is a total stud. I didn’t particularly care for his films, but he’s done some incredible ones as an actor: all the classic westerns like A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) and the police-action movies like Dirty Harry (1971), Magnum Force (1973) and In the Line of Fire (1993). Then he’s done some pretty cool ones as an actor-director like Play Misty for Me (1971), Unforgiven (1992), and Million Dollar Baby (2004). And as just the director, he’s made Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), Mystic River (2003), and his two recent successes, Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and its companion piece, Letters from Iwo Jima (2006). I’d say he’s already made his day… a lot of ‘em. FYI, he’s also a self-taught jazz musician and pianist who played three songs for In the Line of Fire and composed two for A Perfect World.

It’s also Brooke Shields’ birthday. She’s 42, though I must admit I found her far more attractive when she was younger. It has nothing to do with her looks, just the interviews she’s done and some of the TV shows. She seems… a little light-headed.

Lea Thompson of Back to the Future and “Caroline in the City” fame is 46, but she was really hot in All the Right Moves with Tom Cruise.

The biggest mouth in football back in the day, Joe Namath, turns 64. Why do some older athletes need to continue to try and be “the Man” and then embarrass themselves trying to hit on younger women? Ruins their legacy. Sheesh.

Oh, and for you literary types, today would have been Walt Whitman’s 188th birthday, if he could’ve just held on.

As for whom I missed over the long (apparently Star Wars-themed) weekend:

Saturday, May 26

John Wayne would have been 100. Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: A New Hope) would have been 94 (“Docking bay ninety-four...” “Ninety-four.”). Brent Musberger, sportscaster, turned 68, Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac turned 63 (!), Philip Michael Thomas (Miami Vice) is 58, and the first U.S. female astronaut, Sally Ride, turned 56. I’ll also throw in musician Lenny Kravitz, who turned 43.

Sunday, May 27

James Butler (a.k.a. “Wild Bill” Hickok) would have been 170, writer Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon – great book!) would have been 113, golfer Sam Snead would have been 95. Actor Christopher Lee, whose work includes numerous Dracula appearances, the character of Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, Saruman in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and of course, Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, turned 85. Former Secretary of State and Nobel Prize Winner Henry Kissinger is 84, sci-fi author Harlan Ellison turned 73, actor Louis Gossett, Jr. turned 71, actor Todd Bridges (Diff’rent Strokes) is 42, and tennis player Pat Cash turned 42 as well (the tennis player is for you, Steph). Athletes Ruthie Bolton Holified (40 and one of the most underrated guards in women’s basketball), George McCloud (40), Doug West (40), Jeff Bagwell (39), Frank “The Big Hurt” Thomas (39), and Antonio Freeman (35) all had birthdays as well.

Monday, May 28

Jim Thorpe, if he would’ve been in better shape, would’ve been celebrating his 119th birthday. Ian Lancaster Fleming, the creator of James Bond, would have been 99; Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, would have turned 71, but Gladys Knight did. Presidential hopeful and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is 63; John Fogerty of Credence Clearwater Revival is 62; former NBA-player Armon “Hammer” Gilliam turned 43; former Laker Glen Rice is 40(!); and hottie Kylie Minogue celebrated her 39th birthday.

Tuesday, May 29

Bob Hope almost made it to 104 – he passed away in 2003. Actor Sebastian Shaw, who we now have to qualify as the “first” Anakin Skywalker in Return of the Jedi (after Lucas replaced him with Hayden Christiansen’s “ghost” in the final scene – STOP MESSING WITH THE FILMS, jackass!), would have been 102, but he passed away in 1994. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy could have celebrated his 90th birthday, if not for The Conspiracy. Composer Danny Elfman is “all dressed up with nowhere to go / walking with a dead man over [his] shoulder,” and turned 54. Cougar Annette Bening is 49; actor Rupert Everett (My Best Friend’s Wedding) is 48; singer Melissa Etheridge turned 46; Lisa Welchel (Blair on The Facts of Life) is 44; and Noel Gallagher of the band Oasis is 40.


Hmm… I have too much time on my hands.

* * *

In really trivial history news today, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by Congress on this day in 1854 (important if you live in Kansas or Nebraska); Madison Square Garden opened its doors in 1879; 1907 was the year the first taxis appeared in the U.S., in New York, natch; the 17th Amemdment went into effect, which allowed the popular election of U.S. senators, in 1913; the first U.S. reindeer were born in 1929; the Supreme Court ordered that racial segregation was to end in all states in 1955; and the U.S. announced that it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the U.S.S.R. in 1994, just the short-range ones. Just kidding.

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