Thursday, January 31, 2008

See it here: Heath Ledger "drug video" airs in Oz

Here on American television, Entertainment Tonight had a sudden, unexpected and out-of-character concern for the family of dead actor Heath Ledger (after all, ET cheerfully greased the skids toward Anna Nicole Smith's demise and had a grand time in its aftermath) and, after promoting and exploiting the video showing Ledger at a Hollywood party, partying the way many an ET staffer just might (and apparently not "doing drugs" after all)-- decided not to run it on ET or its sister The Insider after all.

But Australia's A Current Affair newsmagazine show ran the video depicting their favorite son and homeboy with no problems at all today, revealing that the tape is not exactly Amy Winehouse crackpipe material and that it was ET's promotion and breathless exploitation (which is what tabloid shows do when they spend half a million dollars on a two-year-old tape) that made the video seem so horrific. In other words, the damage was done. What's even more entertaining than the Ledger party segments on the Australian report, though, are the American entertainment reporters like our pal Sam Rubin, saying flat out that ET is full of shit and obviously bowed down to the powerful public relations firms who feed their fluff machine (Is razzing ET on Australian telly the equivalent of the Dixie Chicks criticising President Bush on foreign soil?).

Baras barred from Israel baseball summit in NYC

Details are trickling in on the meeting in New York City today that could decide the fate of professional baseball in Israel. Former Israel Baseball League commissioner and US ambassador to Israel and Egypt, Daniel Kurtzer led the summit. Embattled IBL founder Larry Baras was not in attendance. "No one wanted him in the room," says our spy. However, Ami Baran, manager of the IBL's Netanya Tigers, was expected to show. Haim Katz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball, Israel's baseball governing body (who recently canceled the contract that allowed the IBL to operate) was on a conference call with the room.


Dr. Ruehl's Realm of Bizarre News with A Bonus

Tabloid Baby pal and contributor Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. has been quite a hit with the video version of his Realm of Bizarre News. Today, a bonus! The latest video installment— and an all-new print chapter of this week’s Top 13 bizarre items:

* Mind-boggling photo from NASA shows a humanoid entity with long hair and an outstretched arm possibly perched on a rock, actually reminiscent of the celebrated mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark. Since this is a single photo, it can not be determined if this is indeed a statue or conceivably a living creature. You can check out the image, which came from the NASA's Spirit Rover, here.

* Stupid criminal trick: Two senior guys placed their dead pal in a wheelchair and pushed him to the Pay-O-Matic check cashing store in New York City, endeavoring to convince the clerk that he was actually alive so they could cash his $355 social security check. But a plainclothes officer happened to notice them enter and realized immediately that the pal was a cadaver! The pair were arrested on the spot.

* Myth debunked: Contrary to popular opinion, poinsettias are NOT poisonous according to researchers in Pittsburgh. Indeed, a person could ingest 500, yes, 500 poinsettias or their leaves and not fall ill (although they would probably have a bitter taste in their mouth). The myth dates back to 1919 Hawaii when an army officer's son supposedly died from having eaten poinsettia leaves.

(Trivia Q: What is the fear of flowers called? Answer below)

* Louis the Giant Pacific Octopus at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, England is so delighted with a plastic Mr. Potato Head toy he was given for Xmas that he cuddles and plays with it all day long and will not permit his handlers to touch it!

* Attorney in Bozeman, Montana is installing a fish tank in his office that will include two sharks!

(Lawyer joke: A preacher, a doctor, and a lawyer were out fishing in a rowboat when it began to sink. Sharks immediately moved in and devoured the preacher and the doctor, but allowed the attorney to swim to shore safely. Why? Professional courtesy.)

* Farmer Paul Smokov,84, in Steele, North Dakota consults pig spleens to forecast the weather. According to Smokov, whose parents brought the tradition from the Ukraine, their configurations predict upcoming weather with an 85% accuracy rate!

* Buzz! Buzz! One banyan tree in a village in southern India is home to an incredible 600 separate beehives! Bees begin arriving each fall, attracted to the tree which serves as a landmark for a prolific flowering area. Amazingly, the bees live in peaceful coexistence, with no battles among members of different hives!!

* Burglar in Berlin, Germany entered a home and found the owner dead in bed. Terrified, he immediately called the police, then fled the scene! Apparently, he didn't realize that it isn't the dead that give you trouble in life, but the living that do!

* Actress Nicole Kidman has kept part of the placenta (also called the afterbirth) from her stillborn infant that she had with Tom Cruise. While she apparently will not be eating it, Cruise stated that he would eat the placenta from his daughter, Suri. Around the globe, some individuals do indeed consume placentas: some eat them raw, some fry them, and others dry and grind them into powder that is encapsulated with gelatin, ingesting the resultant capsules. Personally, I will stick with chocolate candy!

* Ghost hunters at the St.Saviour's Cemetery in Lancashire, England were rewarded when a phantom suddenly materialized before them. They managed to secure photos of a ghostly head which appear to be authentic. You can view them here.

* A popular church made entirely of ice is proving so popular in Romania's Carpathian Mountains that it is banning candles for fear someone might inadvertently melt it down!

* Ouch! While a man was sitting on an exercise ball at a Jacksonville, FL gym, it suddenly exploded... he suffered fractures to both wrists and a forearm and serious injuries to both of his shoulders! Ouch!

* About time! An edible bowl has been invented by a Birmingham, England food firm. After consuming the soup, curry, or chili in the bowl, the consumer then can eat the bowl itself!

(Trivia answer: "Anthophobia" is the fear of flowers!)

I can present these and other intriguing reports (which can be fleshed out in more detail if needed) for you in a dynamic new 1-5 minute feature (or even 30-second microfeaturette) that can run daily, tri-weekly, or weekly on any of your existing productions, or stand unto itself as a separate 30-minute weekly entity! I am currently host of the cable TV series, Mysteries From Beyond The Other Dominion. Click here to see my demo reel.

May the Power of the Cosmos be with You!

Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.

New details in Palisades "where-dunnit" murder

The story began to unfold Monday, when we reported exclusively on a truly shocking tale of a corpse at the pumps of the Mobil station on Sunset Boulevard in the heart of Pacific Palisades, California. And now, Sue Pascoe, the talented, tireless and prolific chronicler of Palisades life for the weekly Palisadian-Post newspaper, adds some colorful new details to what has turned out to be one of the strangest sagas in the history of Los Angeles crime (and that says a lot).

As we learned yesterday, the body of Yolanda Martinez, 37, was allegedly driven to the Mobil station by her 25-year-old boyfriend, Carlos Gutierrez, after Guiterrez ran over the woman and his uncle with his Honda Prelude-- sometime after the group left The Silverlake Lounge, described as a “Latino drag queen hangout Friday through Monday,” in Silverlake in the driving rain early Monday. Then, police say, Gutierrez stuffed Yolanda's lifeless body into the back seat, his broken-legged uncle in the passenger seat, and was caught at the pumps 21 miles from where the journey began.

Due apparently to the consumption of alcohol, neither the suspect nor surviving victim could remember where the car attack took place, leading one LAPD lieutenant to call the case more a "where-dunnit" than a "whodunnit."

In Sue's Post article that's out today, the story becomes cinematic:

"It was rainy and windy early Monday morning when Pacific Palisades Mobil Station attendant Kazi Uddin took $10 for gas from Carlos Gutierrez, who was driving a red Honda Prelude. Then the night got stormier. Uddin was unaware that a second man had crawled out of the Prelude and was screaming for help. Other customers at the station dialed 911, around 2 a.m., and within minutes police were on the scene.

"'They closed the station down,' Uddin told the Palisadian-Post. 'They told me to stay inside.' It was only later that he discovered that Yolanda Martinez, 37, had been found dead in Gutierrez's car.

'How she died and how it happened, it's very shocking,' Uddin said…

"According to (Senior Lead Officer Michael) Moore, Gutierrez was taken back along the route, which was mostly along Sunset Boulevard, but couldn't remember where it had happened. 'It could have been Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, there's no way to tell where it happened,' Moore said..."

Another interesting sidebar comes from one of our readers, who suggests:

“Let's find out why the guy decided to opt for the Santa Monica Mountains gateway and the Topanga State Park locations over Griffith Park? (Note: The Mobil station is blocks away from the Temescal Gateway Park entrance to the Santa Monica Mountains.) I'm just saying that it used to be Griffith Park was the #1 body dump site, but it could be that those are serial killers rather than fits of alcohol induced rage.
 He'd have made it easy to GP without the need to gas up. Maybe he was familiar with the Palisades route from working there?”

Israel's big baseball meeting is underway

The meeting to decide the future of professional baseball in Israel was set to convene this morning at the Penn Club in Manhattan.

Our Man Elli in Israel has his spies and sources at the ready. Watch this space for details.

But hey! Elli's all the way in Israel! Are you/were you at the Israel baseball summit? Send us your tips!

Should we really be paying for this silliness?

Britney Spears goes to the hospital again.

The LA Times:

"More than a dozen motorcycle officers and a Los Angeles Fire Department ambulance swept through the front gates of Spears' hilltop Studio City residence shortly before 1 a.m., as a police helicopter hovered overhead. At 1:08 a.m., officers inside the home radioed to commanders that 'the package is on the way out.'

"Spears was rushed from a side entrance of her home into an ambulance. As she was driven down Coldwater Canyon Boulevard, her vehicle was escorted by more than a dozen motorcycle officers, two cruisers and two police helicopters. Her final destination was the UCLA Medical Center, authorities said."

More than a dozen motorcycle officers.
Two cruisers.
Two police helicopters.

Doesn't the LAPD have more important matters to attend to? And shouldn't Harvey Levin be picking up the tab?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

21-mile crime scene: Pacific Palisades murder case turns out to be one of the oddest in LAPD history

The dead body that was driven up to the pumps at the Mobil station in the heart of Pacific Palisades, California Monday morning turns out to be at the center of one of the most head-scratching mysteries in the history of Los Angeles crime.

TabloidBaby.com reported exclusively, with exclusive photos, Monday morning, on the crime scene we’d happened upon a few minutes earlier on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue. LA County Coroner’s workers were removing a woman’s corpse that had been stuffed into the back of a Honda Prelude. Police at the scene told us that the woman had gotten into a “domestic dispute” with her boyfriend—the driver-- in the middle of the rain, in the middle of the night, in the middle of Sunset, and that the boyfriend had run over her and a second male and driven the bodies to the pumps, where 911 was called.

The male victim had been taken to the hospital, the suspect was under arrest and the car was impounded as the murder weapon.

Now the story’s gotten even wilder. The Los Angeles Times catches up to the story this morning and reports that it’s one of the LAPD’s oddest cases ever-- more a "where-dunnit" than a "whodunit."

The Times reports that “after a night of drinking at a Silver Lake club, police say, Carlos Gutierrez got so angry at his girlfriend and his uncle early Monday morning that he ordered them out of his car and into a pounding rainstorm. Then he threatened to run them over.”

As the pair walked away, 25-year-old Gutierrez allegedly gunned the engine of his Prelude and plowed into them.

"Yet it's what Gutierrez allegedly did next that has some veteran homicide investigators scratching their heads."

According to police, Gutierrez piled his mortally wounded girlfriend, Yolanda Martinez, 37, into the vehicle's back seat and propped up his uncle in the passenger seat. Then he drove to the Mobil station in the Palisades, where it all came to end.

“As Gutierrez reportedly struggled to operate a gas pump…his uncle -- whose leg was shattered -- dragged himself out of the car and began screaming for help, authorities say. That's when people started calling 911.”

The Times’ Andrew Blankstein says cops call the incident “an odd one, even by Los Angeles standards.”

“Odder still is the fact that investigators have yet to determine exactly where the slaying occurred.

“The Silver Lake Lounge, in Sunset Junction, where the night apparently began to sour, and the gas station near the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Swarthmore Avenue are 21 miles apart. Neither Gutierrez nor the uncle -- whom police have not identified -- seem to be able to remember where the crime occurred.”

That could make sleepy Pacific Palisades an innocent bystander, and former Mayor Riordan's new restaurant (the target of brazen, gun-toting robbers in its earlier incarnation as Mort's Deli) all that much safer. Gutierrez is being held without bail on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. His uncle was treated for a compound leg fracture.

From the state of the Honda Prelude, we’d figured that the suspect and victim had not been on their way home from the SAG awards. But we had a feeling, with the crime scene being so close to Riordan’s restaurant and under a Sunset Blvd. street sign, and by the the distinct look of that detective (Does he look like a detective or what? A cross between Columbo, Monk and-- no offense-- Inspector Clouseau, we’d say-- and we bet he'd make a great reality show), that if it didn’t play into a Michael Connelly novel, it would at least turn out to rate an anecdote from a cop character in a Joseph Wambaugh book.

Photos © TabloidBaby.com

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The latest online lottery scam that refreshes

We've lucked out, somehow getting on a mailing list that has offered us pieces of African fortunes, the love of lonely, sexytime Russian women, and now being selected from among 29 million email addresses to win a second prize in the Online Coca-Cola Worldwide Year-2008 Promotion. Sure, it's only second prize, but they say it's worth FIVE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS (caps theirs). But before we gave them our personal, and we'd guess ultimately our banking details, to the good folks at Coca-Cola, we ran a Google search.

And we found that this one is filed under "lottery scams," to steal personal details-- and identities.

Oh well.

Here's the email:

From: notification@cocacola.com
Subject: Congratulations from the Coca Cola Company. Claim your prize now
Date: January 29, 2008 8:02:49 AM PST
To: TabloidBaby
Reply-To: mr-maxwelladams@hotmail.co.uk

Dear Lucky Winner,

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded Online Draws of Coca-Cola Worldwide Year-2008 Promotion held in United Kingdom on Monday January 28 2008 at 10:45am.

The Online Coca-Cola Worldwide Year-2008 Promotion draws was conducted by a random selection of e-mail addresses from an exclusive list of 29,031,000 E-mail addresses of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet in all the countries where our products exists which is our social responsibility to our valued customers. However, no tickets were sold but all e-mail addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and privacy.

After this automated computer ballot, your e-mail address emerged as one of fifty winners in the Second category for the second prize with the following data:

Ref Number: CC/941OYI/02/UKBN
Batch Number: 12/26/0034UKCC
Ticket Number: 025-11464992-750

You as well as the other winners are therefore to receive a cash prize of USD$510,000 (FIVE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS) each from the total payout.

Your prize award has been insured with your e-mail address and will be transferred to you by our affiliate Bank in United Kingdom upon meeting the requirements, statutory obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report.

To begin the claims processing of your prize winnings you are advised to contact our licensed and accredited claims agent/security company for SECOND category winners with the information below:








NOTE: All winnings must be claimed within 20 working days from today. After this date all unclaimed funds would be included in the next year stake. Remember to quote your reference informations in all correspondence with your claims agent.
Yours sincerely,




FOR ANY QUERIES, CONTACT: the-coca-cola-company@insurer.com

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bye-byes begin: Carolla loses San Francisco

Adam Carolla's notorious radio show, which has been given a third chance to succeed since the semicomic was unlucky enough to have been given the late Howard Stern's morning timeslot in LA and a few other western cities in January 2006, is on shakier ground than CBS Radio's letting on. As the colossal bore struggles on without sparkplug and attention-competing Danny Bonaduce (aced out by Carolla in a jealous coup last month), he seems happy as a pig in a mud bath in the solo spotlight, with the fawning Teresa Strasser (apparently dumped, as we'd predicted, from her role on the inconsequential whitewashed syndicated television version of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com, where her tired plainness was no match for the pretty young things who make up Harvey Levin's band of lost boys) and an obsequious amateur called Brian managing to interject occasional encouraging phrases amid his droning monologues and time-killing characters like "The Deaf Frat Guy," the Carolla show has been axed in San Francisco, as The Chronicle's (and Rolling Stone legend) Ben Fong-Torres reports at the bottom of his radio column:

WAKE-UP SHAKE-UPS: Adam Carolla, anointed by CBS Radio to be Howard Stern's replacement in major markets after Stern's move to Sirius satellite, is no longer heard in the Bay Area. He'd been on KIFR (Free FM at 106.9) until CBS ditched the rowdy-talk format last June for lack of ratings, replacing it with the return of KFRC. Because Carolla's contract called for him to have an affiliate in San Francisco, CBS moved him - and other talk shows - to KYCY (1550 AM). That is, until Dec. 31, when the deal expired. Carolla carries on in Los Angeles and a couple of other markets (CBS also dropped Free FM in New York and Philadelphia), but not here. "We just can't afford him," said Stephen Page, program director at KYCY.

Popular restaurant is nutted by reality (TV)

If ever a restaurant seemed to be a sure thing, it was The Hidden Café, the lone eatery in the exclusive Pacific Palisades Highlands housing development, high above town and connected to Sunset Boulevard only by a single, dangerous 2 1/2 mile road.

Mary Autera opened the place in 2002, and was a success from the start, with a big menu and portions. But while an injury in 2005 laid her up for close to a year, lazy employees and rotten service cost her customers in an area with no competition and began a slide that the local Palisadian-Post newspaper reports led to The Hidden Café shutting earlier this month.

The twist? The coffin lid was nailed shut by reality television. It seems Mary signed away her future to a TV show she hoped would turn things around. If you ever felt sorry for the kids who sign away their flimsy careers to American Idol, read this from the Post:

“In an effort to woo customers back, she allowed The Hidden Cafe to be part of a reality-show pilot in July (207) that pitted two restaurants against each other. In two days' time, experts had changed the decor and downsized the menu from 76 entrees to 14. Autera had to sign a contract that she would make no changes for six months.

“Unfortunately, the pilot never aired, and Autera regrets ever participating in the venture. 'Since I was out of touch, I didn't trust my own instincts,' she said. The large portions and the comfort foods associated with the cafe had been taken away by the 'experts.' Instead of bringing customers back, which was her hope with the new menu, business grew worse.

“In December, when the reality-show contract expired, Autera brought her old menu back, but by then it was too late. 'We were sunk. We had taken on too much water and we were buried in bills. It was a matter of just six months. You can buckle in that amount of time. I was really banking on the renovation and the show, and the whole thing flopped.'”

The good news? Uh, there is no good news.

“In the process, Autera lost her Santa Monica home and her 401(k). Her fiance, Mark Stimson, is now fighting liver disease. But she tries to stay upbeat. 'I have strong faith. I know it will come out all right,' she said. ' It's so sad. I'm preventing myself from saying it's unfair.'"

And here were thinking those Gordon Ramsay types could do no wrong…

Daily Show scab has a bolly good laugh at his union

Aasif Mandvi is one lucky comic actor. Born in Mumbai, India, he came to America and got his start in showbiz as part of the "Streetmosphere" (now, "Citizens of Hollywood") ensemble at Walt Disney World. Since 2006, he's been one of the "correspondents" on the left-wing, liberal nightly show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Liebowitz-- the "correspondents" and writers who write and participate in written sketches every night, even though their union, the Writers Guild of America, is striking their show's parent conglomerate, has denied the show a free pass, and is in fact picketing their studios.

Aasif, who has been given much more than many other American working stiffs and WGA members, tells New York magazine why and how he and his "boss" get away with crossing their union, violating strike rules and scabbing unmolested:

“We just sit around a table all day, telling stories and not writing. Actually, you can write. But you can’t think,” he said. “Not many people know this, but it’s just the thinking and writing at the same time that they object to. You can put pen to paper as long as there is absolutely no coherent thought. You can draw pictures, you can write words, but it can’t make any sense to anyone who has a basic education.

“I don’t cross picket lines, because they don’t start picketing until, like, way in the afternoon, and I’m home by then.”

Ha ha ha. Now they're laughing in our faces!

Aascab Mandiscab!


A “domestic dispute” in the middle of Sunset Boulevard in the driving rain led to murder in quiet Pacific Palisades sometime around midnight and a crime scene at the Mobil at the corner of Sunset and Swarthmore in the heart of town. Police at the scene say a man driving the red Honda Prelude got into a fight with his girlfriend, then ran over the woman and a second male, stuffed their bodies into the car and kept driving.

He wound up at the Mobil station. The night attendant called 911. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Her body was removed by the LA County Coroner around 8:30 this morning. The second victim is in the hospital. The suspect is in custody. The car is being impounded as the murder weapon. Police at the scene say alcohol was involved.

Hundreds of Palisadian residents and school kids got to see their first homicide crime scene on the way to work or school this morning. Details are sure change as the day progresses.

The crime scene is yards away from the new Village Pantry restaurant that former Mayor Richard Riordan opened last week on the site of the former Mort’s Deli, known to millions as a location in Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Pacific Palisades, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger once lived,  is home to many a Hollywood star and power broker, including Kate Hudson, who made a splash, and director Sydney Pollack, who was honored by Tony Gilroy, at last night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Photos © TabloidBaby.com

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Major league snag for meeting to decide baseball future in Israel: Officials want new league to pay Larry Baras' debts before first pitch is thrown!

Whoever wants to pick up the ball and carry on with professional baseball in Israel will first have to pick up the tab left unpaid by the Israel Baseball League, that’s been run out of the Holy Land because of its staggering debts and wailing wall of silence.

And that just might be the dealbreaker, as the future of professional baseball in Israel is decided far from the Holy Land, at a meeting in New York City on Thursday morning.

The summit will be led by former IBL commissioner (and US Ambassador to Israel and Egypt) Daniel Kurtzer, who quit, along with most of the IBL’s distinguished advisory board, the day after Our Man Elli in Israel revealed that the debt-ridden IBL founder Larry Baras was facing a federal lawsuit charging IBL-related securities fraud (that and the fact that Baras wouldn’t release any financial information-- as in showing where all the money went), and attended by potential investors in Israel’s baseball future.

Yesterday we told you that Israel’s governing body for baseball, The Israel Association of Baseball canceled its contract with Baras and his embattled IBL, citing “its unpaid bills from the 2007 season, and the clear inability… to produce a baseball league in Israel in 2008.”

And that’s the twist. Will the successors to Larry Baras have to pay his debts? We spoke with Elli Wohlgelernter to get the latest.

TABLOID BABY: Do you realize it's five months to the day that we ran your original exposé on the IBL's first season?

OUR MAN ELLI: Who'd have thought it would lead to this?

Not us. So?

So, we’ll know everything this Thursday. January 31st at The Penn Club in Manhattan. With five months to go until an Opening Day-- if there's gonna be an Opening Day-- the main principals are going to meet.

Do you think they’re going to serve Unholey Bagels?


At the meeting. You know, the Baras bagels at the heart of the lawsuit.

Should I hang up now?

All right. We’re serious. We know Kurtzer will be there. Who else?

Marvin Goldklang will be there. He’s minority share-holder of the New York Yankees and former member of the Advisory Board of the IBL; Marty Appel, the Yankee PR legend who was the head of public relations for the IBL; Jeff Rosen—- he was an IBL investor and head of the new Israel Professional Baseball League; Michael Rollhaus, a former IBL investor of the IBL and current IPBL investor; Jeffrey Royer, IBL investor and a general partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks; and Martin Berger, the president and COO of the IBL. He’ll be representing the IBL.

Should be quite a meeting.

Oh, yeah.

What do they hope to accomplish?

Marty Appel released a statement saying they’re discussing the future of baseball in Israel with current and potential investors, and that they hope to play ball this summer. Sounds like they’re looking to pick up the pieces and get a new league rolling.

The official statement released by Martin Appel:

“It is a meeting to discuss the future of baseball in Israel involving a number of current and potential investors, as well as people who have experience and advice to contribute. It is not an IBL meeting, although issues related to the IBL's experience will be discussed. It is an in-person meeting, not a teleconference. All the participants are hopeful that professional baseball will return to Israel this summer.”

So what’s this with the new league being forced to pay the vendors and players that the IBL stiffed?

Yeah, the main issue is dealing with the enormous debt. Look, like I told you yesterday, there’s a general sense that in principle at least, any new league-- most likely the Israel Professional Baseball League shouldn’t be forced to pay Baras’ bills, but on a practical level, they’re going to have to offer some kind of partial relief.

We thought the IAB is demanding it.

They are. Peter Kurz, the IAB’s secretary-general told me, and here’s the quote: “Our policy is that whoever wants to run pro baseball and wants our licensing has to pay the debts of the IBL.” And also, remember on a PR level, this whole enterprise will be getting bad press, as others catch up to what we've been reporting. The word “failure” will be appearing in every story about baseball in Israel with the same frequency that the word “change” appears in every speech by a US candidate for president.

At least they’ll finally be getting some press.


So how much of a debt are we talking about?

My sources tell me that in Israel alone, it’s $420,000, spread out among at least twenty-three people and places, including Kfar Hayarok, where the players stayed, the bus transportation company— it goes on from there. And that doesn’t include expenses in the United States, where the IBL is based, let alone the money still owed to Berger and Dan Duquette, the league’s baseball operations director.

So Thursday’s meeting is the day before February, five months before the season should start. A little late for 0-8, no?

It's late. Very late in the game, true enough, and while the game of baseball has no clock, the business of baseball certainly does. But the good thing is that the people coming to the meeting are honest men with their heart in the right place-– they all are looking for way to make baseball happen in Israel in 2008.

Throw in the word “change” and you’ll sound like one of those presidential candidates. Very inspiring.

Hey. It is inspiring. Kurtz told me, quote, “We’re definitely trying to bring all the parties together so that there is baseball in 2008.” He also said the number of kids now playing baseball in Israel is up 30 to 40 percent.

Again, I quote: “If they can come together in any way, we are interested in meeting with them and moving forward with them. I’m optimistic there will be pro baseball in Israel this summer.”

Think the meeting will succeed?

As one participant told me: “Well, if the former Ambassador to Egypt and to Israel can't bring about some small accord here…” We’ll know more at the end of the week.

We’ll be waiting.

Right. And one more thing. Those pictures you ran yesterday, supposedly showing people mourning the death of baseball in Israel— very bad taste. There’s real suffering here that you can’t imagine back there in Los Angeles.

Hey, we have to remind people they’re getting their news from Tabloid Baby. If they want taste, they can go to the New York Times or Jerusalem Post—oh right, they can't get their news from those places, because they’re following us a week or so later...

Settle down, Beavis.

One more thing in this end— any truth to the rumour that after they’re done taking testimony on steroids from Roger Clemens, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is planning to take testimony on fraud from Larry Baras?

Good night.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Christian Brando

“May 1989… the media had the chance to capture the physical and metaphorical equivalent of Moby Dick. The great, elusive and reclusive Marlon Brando made himself available after his son Christian was arrested for shooting his sister's lover to death at Brando's house— in the same compound where Jack Nicholson lived…

"It was an incredible Hollywood story, containing a turbulent family saga, mental illness, sex, B-grade hangers-on, whispers of incest, death and, standing at a bank of microphones outside the courthouse in Santa Monica, Brando himself..."

-- Tabloid Baby, page 207

Christian Brando was a sad lost soul with a dangerous mean streak who happened to be at the center of a long-running landmark tabloid television story, with noirish blondes and Chinatown secrets, back in the day when children of little accomplishment got attention if they were the sons of daughters of people of great accomplishment, and their lack of accomplishment was pitied not celebrated. The folks behind the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com and its inconsequential whitewashed syndicated television version were working in television at the time-- some of them in news-- but most of them weren’t in tabloid, and if they were, they missed the lessons.

Christian’s sister Cheyenne committed suicide a few years after he was sent away for manslaughter. Christian, whose childhood made Britney Spears' kids look like William and Harry, stayed lost and for a while he got lost, only to turn up in the Robert Blake murder trial with a whole lot less reflected stardom. He died today at 49, of pneumonia.

He’s got a brother named Miko who once saved Michael Jackson’s life and whom a lot of us got to know as a good guy. Our condolences.

Fans mourn death of Israel Baseball League

Click here for the story.


We told you it's official. The Israel Baseball League is as dead as Heath Ledger. The Israel Association of Baseball, the nation's baseball governing body, has canceled the league’s contract and effectively kicked the IBL out of the Holy Land. In a letter to IBL founder Larry Baras and his Israel Baseball Properties, IAB president Haim Katz says he's revoking permission for the IBL to operate in Israel “in light of its unpaid bills from the 2007 season, and the clear inability of the IBP, due to its current financial situation, to produce a baseball league in Israel in 2008.”

The Katz letter is just some of the new exclusive information being gathered by Our Man Elli in Israel, the journalist who first exposed the problems behind the professional league’s maiden season. We’re not waiting for Elli Wohlgelernter to write another muckraking opus. We got him to spill the beans immediately:

TB: Just cut to the chase.

OUR MAN ELLI: Yes, the Israel Baseball League is dead. Maybe not in a legal sense, but they are done. As John Parsons, my old News director back in New York would say: "tutti finutti." The Israel Association of Baseball sent a letter to the IBL on January 9th, canceling the contract. The IAB is the governing body for baseball in Israel, and without their certification, no one can play. So the IBL is over.

My rebbe just-a wrote me a letter...

How did the letter come about?

I just spoke to the Peter Kurz, secretary-general of the IAB, and asked him the same thing. “They owe money in Israel, that's why we terminated the relationship,” Kurz told me. “We have been pressuring them for six months, and their answer was, ‘We’ll have the money next week, we’ll have it next week.’ And we got tired of it.’”

It’s always been about the money-- the enormous debt incurred by the IBL in that first season. To this day, Larry Baras, the league’s founder—

The Boston bagel baron--


The guy who invented the “Unholey Bagel”—

Right, the bagel without a hole stuffed with cream cheese. Anyway, Larry Baras still hasn’t given anyone an accounting of how much money he raised or where the money went. Though I did a little investigating and found out he’d registered at least six limited liability corporations for the league in that corporate haven, Delaware.






I’m not sure why he had to go with six LLCs. And remember, Baras has stonewalled despite a pretty good offer I’ve learned about. Back in the fall, he had a free offer to have an independent financial professional—somebody he’d find acceptable-- review and assemble the financial information of the league. Baras turned down the offer.

I don’t now. Maybe the Baras apologists can explain it all. Like IBL player Eric Holtz, who believes that all the problems are only because “I have seen in business over the last 22 years that there are vultures that try to pick off the last pieces of meat off of a carcass and to me that is exactly what is going on with this whole IPBL nonsense”; or Leon Feingold--

The professional competitive eater, right?

Right. Leon said the real problem is that “there are many people who had no patience for the problems with the current league and wanted to tear it down.” Well, there you go. Looks like the patience ran out.

What’s next? Will there be baseball in Israel?

Right now it looks like the Israel Professional Baseball League seems to have the inside track. They’re already getting their ducks in order. And there’s a general consensus that this new league shouldn’t have to be responsible for the debts of the IBL. So they’d start with a clean slate.

And what about the meeting in New York City on Thursday?


Hold it right there, Elli. We’ll let our readers digest all this first.

Stay tuned here for details on the meeting that could bring Israel’s baseball dream back to life…


The Israel Baseball league will not be back for a second season in 2008...

Talks about the possible formation of a new league will take place on Thursday, January 31st...


Friday, January 25, 2008

John Gibson apologized for the wrong offense

We can’t fault John Gibson too much for his silly comments about the death of Heath Ledger. Gibson’s just a journeyman show biz reporter who struck gold when he was recruited by Fox News and found out he’d get ratings if he began to spout the conservative party line-- the more outrageous the better. He doesn’t believe what he says. He’s like Dennis Miller, Sean Hannity or Jerry Springer— he’s pandering for a paycheck. Just look at his poufy hair. That’s no anti-gay conservative. It’s a twenty five dollar haircut on a twenty five cent head. Give the guy a break.

And remember that when a Fox News-paid talking head like Gibson gets news that a star of Brokeback Mountain is dead, he’s duty-bound to make a Brokeback Mountain joke. And he’s bound to be callous because the rulebook says he’s got to mock Hollywood celebrities, especially a celeb that's become an icon for the gay rights crowd. His comments weren’t too offensive. And despite his awkward attempts at Sternian adlibs, his brief statements about Ledger’s seeming obsession with death at his young age and with a daughter, was food for thought. Gibson was onto something there. But he’s not a wit or a wag. He's a newsreader dogpaddling in the Roger Ailes trout pond.

Where Gibson really went wrong and offended all, was when he read out an inaccurate report on Ledger’s death from corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com, then stated that “TMZ is right about everything, about 90 percent of the time.”

That’s offensive! And that’s something Gibson, and all mainstream news organizations who cite TMZ as a source, should really apologize for.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bombshell!! Dr. Ruehl on the death of Sonny Bono: "A 50-50 chance that Sonny was murdered!"

From time we started up the Tabloid Baby website in late 1999, we have asked why a possible conspiracy was not investigated in the death of US Representative Salvatore Bono.  No one witnessed the skiing accident said to have claimed his life on January 5th, 1998 at the Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, California. Sonny Bono, an expert skier who knew the slopes, was skiing alone. He was reported missing around 4:30 p.m. and his body was found two hours later. Authorities said he had apparently crossed under a chairlift and slammed into a tree. One report said that no blood was found in the snow.

Bono’s mysterious death took place five days after Robert Kennedy’s son Michael died in a similar accident in Aspen, yet the coincidence led only to jokes like these:

Q: Why did Sonny Bono ski into the tree?
A: It's always been a good political move to keep up with the Kennedys.

Q: Why did Sonny die in a ski accident?
A: After being a mayor and a congressman, he wanted to be a Kennedy.

The general public can be forgiven for viewing the Bono tragedy as a bizarre Hollywood Babylon episode. After all, Sonny Bono was best known as a goofy, squeaky-voiced foil to his ex-wife Cher.

But journalists should know better. What happened during those two lost hours? The savvy producer-turned-politician was involved in the highest levels of power—and controversy. A former mayor of Palm Springs, California (where Frank Sinatra's mother and factotum were killed), Bono was a close ally and adviser to House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He was was the number one fundraiser for the Republican Party. He fought major corporate interests in his efforts to clean up The Salton Sea saline lake in the southern California desert. He’d become a Scientologist, yet was distancing himself from the Church.

And there’s much more. We asked Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and conspiracy expert Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. to give us his view of the death of Sonny Bono.

Boy, did he ever:

Was Sonny Bono The Victim Of A Mob Hit?
by Dr.Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D.
Is it possible, just possible, that pop legend Sonny Bono's tragic death from slamming into a tree while skiing was a subtle gangland assassination? At first glance, his demise at Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Resort on Monday, January 5, 1998, appeared to be nothing more than a horrific accident.

However, his tough stance as a Congressman against narcotics, such as his co-sponsorship of the Methamphetamine Elimination Act of 1997, earned him the wrath of drug traffickers. Specifically, there is speculation that the Russian mob, endeavoring to cut out a piece of the lucrative southern California drug market for themselves, targetted Bono. After failing to blackmail him into cooperating with trumped-up allegations of drug abuse, they decided to off him.

One hypothesized scenario suggests that a three-person team coordinated his accident. The female team member faked a fall on the side of the ski trail Bono was using. Crying out for help, she attracted his attention. As he headed in her direction, two associates on skis suddenly emerged from hiding and pursued him. Whether they cleverly choreographed his crash into a tree or he conveniently collided with it as he fled their clutches is academic: the assassination appeared for all intents and purposes to simply have been an accident.

Support for this conspiracy theory is embodied in the following points:

* Bono was a superb skier quite conversant with the slopes at Heavenly Resort;

* An autopsy revealed no signs of alcohol and only minor traces of prescription drugs in his system;

* Three pages of a DEA report allegedly describing how informants had been providing Bono with inside information on mob drug activities were suspiciously blacked out for reasons of security;

* Bono's mother Jean expressed a feeling that his death was not accidental.

While it is, of course, conceivable that Bono's death was purely accidental, the possibility of a hit is certainly feasible.

Overall, I would assign this particular conspiracy theory a coefficient of credibility of 50%, that is, a 50-50 chance that Sonny Bono indeed was murdered.