Glenn O’Brien RIP


This was a shock, seeing that Glenn died yesterday at the age of 70. If you were any part of the art/club scene in NYC in the 1980s, Glenn was the guru of cool.



Glenn was, as his obit in New York magazine put it, a “rare polymath.” He edited Interview magazine. His TV show, TV Party, shot live at 12:30 a.m. and featured a rotating cast of downtown heavyweights like Robert Mapplethorpe and Debbie Harry, rolling joints more often than not. (We dinosaurs remember the joys of public access television back in the day, when basically anyone could rent a studio for a pittance and get a show on Channel J.) He worked in advertising. He was a journalist. He wrote books. He was the Style Guy for GQ before they stupidly got rid of him for someone younger and cheaper.


I saw him about a year ago at a screening of the film he made with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Downtown 81, which was incredibly awful and incredibly mesmerizing at the same time–let’s just say Jean-Michel could paint a lot better than he could act, but seeing him so young and vibrant, and SoHo the way it once was, when it was grungy and arty and louche, was rather unbearably poignant.


So is his death.

Don Rickles RIP


What a loss for the world. Not just the comedy world, but anyone who loved this guy, who died yesterday at the age of 90.


No one ever had the impeccable timing of Don Rickles. Somehow, he could say the most outrageously insulting things, but they came out with such an air of joy and silliness that it was nearly impossible to take offense. I don’t know how he did it. Comedians didn’t know how he did it. No one else could match his wit and his timing.


And we need him now more than ever.


But what a life. Well-lived, well-loved, well-beloved. Read these tweets and mourn the Everest of Comedy:

Slime Time


No, not another post about the current presidential administration. About real, homemade slime, which for some reason is all the rage with kids and tweens now. Reading about it made me laugh, because my son and I started making our own slime about 13 years ago after I bought a book on concoctions and experiments for kids that you could create in your very own kitchen. All you needed was a bit of Borax (great for the laundry, by the way), Elmer’s glue (had plenty of that around for other projects), water, food coloring, and plastic containers. Voila. Slime.


I guess the zeitgeist oozing out of DC has affected children, too.

The Complicit Princess


“If being complicit is wanting to — is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” said Princess Ivanka on CBS’s This Morning today.


The only way this woman will ever be a force for good is if she hands over dear daddy’s tax returns, humbly begs America for forgiveness, moves to Siberia with the slumlord she married, and then stuffs it.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko RIP


Yevgeny Yevtushenko was a beloved Russian poet who courageously stood up to Stalin, and when I was reading the obituaries after he died at the age of 84, I found it a bit amazing that he moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to teach, and that is where he remained until his death. Worldly and erudite, he was about as much a polar opposite to the hard-core conservative cowboys at the University of Oklahoma. But he adored his students and they adored him back.


Yevtushenko is best-known in America for his heartbreaking poem, Babi Yar, commemorating the massacre over several horrifying days in September, 1941, when the Nazis and the collaborating Ukrainians murdered over 33,000 Jews from Kiev over the Babi Yar ravine. where gained notoriety in the former Soviet Union while in his 20s, with poetry denouncing Joseph Stalin. He wrote the poem in 1961 when he realized the Germans and the Ukrainians were trying to erase Babi Yar from memory–despite the fact that tens of thousands more victims were shot and thrown into the pit during the war. Read this now, and weep. 

May his memory be a blessing.


Translated by Benjamin Okopnik, 10/96

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.

I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o’er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.

It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself.
The Philistines betrayed me – and now judge.
I’m in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I’m persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.

I see myself a boy in Belostok
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.

I’m thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of “Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!”
My mother’s being beaten by a clerk.

O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.

I know the kindness of my native land.
How vile, that without the slightest quiver
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves
The “Union of the Russian People!”

It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
And I’m in love, and have no need of phrases,
But only that we gaze into each other’s eyes.
How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
But much is still allowed – very gently
In darkened rooms each other to embrace.

-“They come!”

-“No, fear not – those are sounds
Of spring itself. She’s coming soon.
Quickly, your lips!”

-“They break the door!”

-“No, river ice is breaking…”

Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.

And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I’m every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.

No fiber of my body will forget this.
May “Internationale” thunder and ring
When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
The last of antisemites on this earth.

There is no Jewish blood that’s blood of mine,
But, hated with a passion that’s corrosive
Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
And that is why I call myself a Russian!

Happy National Crayon Day


With all the totally insane (and totally expected, given the source) news flooding our senses into overload via the maniacs in the White House, let’s take a step back and breathe deeply. Inhale that well-known, soothing scent.


That scent taking you back to kindergarten where the sight of a new box of crayons was cause for rejoicing.


Although I draw the line (ha, bad pun) at adult coloring books.

Sharknado, Australian version


Life is too short to waste watching any of the Sharknado flicks–although you have to admit the word itself is genius–but I can’t resist commenting on this amazing image brought to you courtesy of Cyclone Debbie. This bull shark met its maker near the town of Ayr, in Queensland, Australia, currently being flooded by a Category 4 storm.


And no, CNN, Queensland is not in Tasmania.