Monday, April 27, 2009

Peter de Jonge's new novel, Shadows Still Remain, is a tour de force that transcends the mystery genre to take its place among the greats

We spent the weekend reading Shadows Still Remain, a new mystery thriller about a bright and beautiful NYU student who goes missing and turns up dead on the Lower East Side, and the tough rebel female detective who gets the case and spends the rest of the book trying to hang onto it.

The book’s been out less than a week in the States and already it’s got fan pages and readers asking about a sequel— and with good reason. Shadows Still Remain is the best mystery of the year so far.

We know the author. Peter de Jonge got his sheepskin from Princeton, cut his teeth on small town newspapers, polished his craft writing magazine features and made his bones co-authoring three books with James Patterson (the most successful of which contained a character named Burt Kearns, but we’ll get to that another time).

Shadows Still Remain is de Jonge's first solo and he wrings every last bloody note out of it. Through economy, empathy, detail, wit and a dark, resigned view of humanity’s potential for depravity, he brings the world and its characters to life and keeps the reader hooked as expertly as Richard Price, who covers similar territory in his latest book that’s out now in paperback.

With hard-rocking, hard-drinking hard luck girl detective Darlene O’Hara, de Jonge has created his Harry Bosch, a literary character of great unplumbed depths who’s sure to be welcomed in periodic returns over the next couple of decades.

We’re not going to give away too much. You buy a copy and try to find the time to rip through it as quickly as we did. The title Shadows Still Remain is taken from a phrase from a line in a Guns N’ Roses song highlighted by Slash’s tour de force guitar solo. Peter de Jonge’s first solo is a tour de force of his own, a novel that transcends the mystery and police procedural genres to take its place among the great works of American literature.

The Seventh Python sightings in Los Angeles

The Seventh Python is opening the Pacific Palisades Film Festival on May 14th, and our readers noticed that publicity for the screening of the Neil Innes biopic from our pals at Frozen Pictures has been showing up around the west side of LA. Advance tickets at FriendsofFilm.com.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Celeb-seeking Brit Jules Segal makes headway in quest to meet 500 stars; does public service by letting us know that Jesse Draper is a female

We told you about Jules Segal, the Brit who's in America on a mission to meet 500 celebrities and get them to sign his British flag as part of his US-Say charity project. In our role as instigator and adviser to our fellow journos-- meaning we point you to good stories to feature-- we gave you all the information you needed to get a bang-up great story about a guy who's given himself three months to complete the project (including a book about the "special relationship" between the US and UK), which he's financing by placing bets on his progress with a Brit bookmakers.

Jules has been in Hollywood the past few weeks. He reported yesterday on meeting Brett Easton Ellis and bring us up to date on the quest to meet celebs who were selected through a UK Facebook poll. OJ Simpson was at the top of the list. Fats Domino was 500th. (There are merely 499 people more famous than Fats Domino?)

"Replies are starting to trickle in," he tells us. "But it's somewhat demoralising to learn that the likes of Steve Wynn and Alex Trebek are too busy to meet me even for thirty seconds.

"But at least they got back to me, so that was nice of them."

Notice Jules isn't stalking anyone. With that proper British upbringing, he's asking-- and asking nicely, sending letters, going through channels-- in other words making the task even harder for himself. But he's made some headway.

"Children's TV presenter Jesse Draper met me at Urth Caffe in West Hollywood, although I forgot to bring the all-important flag for the 'flag signing ceremony.'

"The flag wass signed by racing drivers Al Unser Jr. and Bobby Rahal down in Long Beach the other day. I got lost in East Compton on the drive back."

"Meanwhile, Tiger Woods' old coach and all-round golfing guru Butch Harmon promised to meet me in Vegas in a few weeks time, whilst Liza Minnelli had indicated that she will sign the flag when-- or if-- I make it to New York. Bruce Campbell says he'll grant me the few seconds I need if I makes it to Miami and Dennis Rodman and Carl Lewis may also be meeting me in the next week or two over on this coast.

"So a bit of ink at the very least will make it onto the flag.

"I've even received a message from the 'Scheduling Department' of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He suggested that they may be able to shoehorn a brief meeting into Arnie's hectic schedule. I'll believe that one when I see it!"

Do you know any of the 500 from Jules' list (which you can see here)? All they need do to make history and get some good publicity is take 30 seconds to meet the young pommy and and scribble on his flag.

He comes recommended.

As for our media and journo pals: This is a good story. You oughta cover it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Oldstream media sidesteps coverage of the Tabloid Baby Pulitzer Prize screwing by Sig Gissler-- but the story manages to slip out between the lines

A postscript to the international Pulitzer Prize scandal that began on this site when we revealed that Pulitzer board administrator Sig Gissler decided unilaterally to reject Tabloid Baby's Pulitzer Prize nomination without even giving the Pulitzer board the chance to consider the entry materials:

Not surprisingly, the oldstream media have ignored Tabloid Baby's connection to and authorship of tthe story, which exposed as a sham and charade the Pulitzer board's December 8th announcement that Internet-only news organizations would be considered for the prize.

Chief among the nose-thumbers is the quirky Jim Romenesko, author of the aggregator site that was once called Media Gossip, but which now sports his name and is connected to some kind of journalism "institute" called "Poynter." Romenesko, a former crime reporter, now kisses up caters to the ivory tower j-school handwringers and 20th century print types and ignores our exclusives pointedly (or "poynteredly").

He does however, support the story we broke by linking to oldstream print stories on the subject, like the Christian Science Monitor article, "How e-Pulitzers can elevate journalism" and which Romenesko, who could elevate his own role as a media intermediary by recognizing great online journalists like the crew at TabloidBaby.com, links as "It's time to reinvent the Pulitzer Prizes," which says in part:

"This week's announcement of the journalism Pulitzer Prizes – usually a welcome jolt for the ailing American newspaper business – fell short of delivering the transfusion that is needed to bring the awards into the 21st century. In fact, the Pulitzers spoke hardly at all to the generations that now tap their news from a computer keyboard, or thumb it out of a cellphone.

"It's time to reinvent the Pulitzers... With the first Pulitzers in 1917, reporters and editors suddenly found themselves mentioned alongside celebrated novelists and playwrights. Founder Joseph Pulitzer's idea to elevate the best US newspapers helped usher in an era of excellent journalism.

"Today, if the Pulitzers recognized excellence across a wider range of print and electronic content, they could help lift journalism once more.

"Last December, the Pulitzer organization sought a desperately needed boost – in part, perhaps, to spare the awards from becoming an anachronism... It decided to allow entries in all 14 journalism categories from web-only news organizations. Of the 1,028 total journalism submissions from around the country, there were 65 entries from online enterprises. Thirty-seven online-only news organizations entered. But only one was mentioned by name in the Pulitzer results...

Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzers, won't speculate what further changes the Pulitzer Board might make at its next meeting. The board 'will continue to monitor online development,' he says, and is likely to consider some changes in future rules and guidelines. But for now, 'I think the board regards this as a successful step forward,' he adds.

"'Good journalism these days increasingly uses many tools, and there is a convergence of sorts that occurs if you're taking full advantage of what you can do online,' says Margaret Wolf Freivogel...a Pulitzer juror this year...

"Dan Gillmor of Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, caused a stir last year when he made his own recommendations public – among them a strategic expansion of Pulitzer categories to reflect today's converging media. 'Become the top prizes for journalism of any kind. Do away entirely with the distinction between newspapers and other media,' he suggested. 'There's no real alternative.'

"...As it was at the start of Pulitzer's 20th century, its prizes should be the standard of excellence for all American text-based journalism.

"That would once more elevate journalism – and elevate the Pulitzers, too. And it just might make old Joseph Pulitzer smile.

(Was TabloidBaby.com worthy of Pulitzer consideration? Head to our Baseball in Israel archive site to see all our US-Israel baseball coverage and judge for yourself.)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Legendary journalist and Dupont Award winner Abramovitz expresses shock, outrage over Tabloid Baby Pulitzer Prize c*ck block by Sig Gissler

Scandal continues to roil beneath the surface of the 2009 Pulitzer Prizes, as it was revealed here that the Pulitzer Prize board's intentions to have the entry field opened to non-print Internet news organizations was thwarted by its administrator and gatekeeper, Sig Gissler, who unilaterally prevented Tabloid Baby's Pulitzer Prize nomination from reaching the prize committee for consideration, thereby stealing from journalist Elli Wohlgelernter and the Tabloid Baby team the honor they surely would have won for their exclusive investigative coverage of the United States-based financial scandals surrounding the Israel Baseball League.

"Who is this man who has usurped transparency in the selection of prizes by the Pulitzer committee? It's shocking to believe that one human being makes the decisions, and makes them in an awful, undignified and disrespectful way."

The latest to throw his (cowboy) hat into the ring is journalism legend, author, tabloid television pioneer, practicing attorney and 1984 DuPont Award winner Rafael Abramovitz, who, like other hardworking, experienced journalism professionals who do not mix in the rarified ivory tower journalism school circles of those whose entrenched ways are leading the death of the newspaper industry, scoffs at Sig Gissler's contention that the respected, ten-year-old Tabloid Baby news organization does not "genuinely fit the criteria"-- and that its entry was not "in a binder."

"There was no transparency in the awards handed out by the prize committee this year," Abramovitz said this morning. "And I'm talking in terms of the decisions about nominations of Internet news organizations. It's shocking to believe that one human being makes the decisions, and makes them in an awful, undignified and disrespectful way.

"Who is this man who has usurped transparency in the selection of prizes by the Pulitzer committee?

"Does the word 'committee' mean anything to him?

"This is an outrage!"

Chuckling over that last line, the Resistol-sporting New York City-based journo continued in all seriousness:

"The most shocking aspect of this is what happened to the nomination of Tabloid Baby, which is known for its unique, imaginative, often fantastic reportage and has gotten that reportage on the Internet well in advance of other so-called mainline Internet sites. Print organizations are no match for Tabloid Baby. After all, it's there on the cusp of instant reportage.

"And this man whose name I have deliberately forgotten? The Pulitzer Prize committee, if they want to maintain their prestige role in journalism excellence, might want to forget it as well."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Exclusive! Brett Hudson declared cancer-free!

Brett Hudson, once and future Hudson Brother, and one of our pals at Frozen Pictures, announced minutes ago that his two-year battle against throat cancer has ended in success.

"I got my scan results today and they were negative. No cancer and no tumor. It's hard to believe but I'm actually done with treatment," Hudson wrote tonight on the Brett's Blog page of the website that promotes The Klinik, the Frozen Pictures documentary project about alternative cancer treatments.

"I will continue my vitamin C and UVB treatments because they will help me recover faster. The nurse who takes my blood said it's amazing that I beat it twice without surgery. I told her it's thanks to The Klinik in Germany. I feel kind of strange. I've been living with this for almost two years and it's over. I want to seriously thank everyone for their prayers and positive thoughts, that is the best medicine there is."

Hudson's battle has put nary a bump in his production output, while at the same time he's returned to the performing spotlight with appearances with his brother Mark at Beatles fan fests around the country. He made headlines earlier this month when he detailed his cancer battle at the NY Metro Fest for Beatles Fans forum on his new film, The Seventh Python. He recently completed a brutal chemotherapy and radiation regimen that fans and fellow cancer patients followed through his blogs, and his clean bill of health clears the stage for a potential Hudson Brothers reunion.

Tonight, he concluded:

"I will promise you this, I will not stop until we fix our medical system.

"Pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, hospitals and doctors, here we come!

"Tonight I shall celebrate with several martinis. Just don't tell my doctor."

Elli Wohlgelernter responds after being f*cked out of a Pulitzer Prize by Sig Gissler

"Needless to say, I am very disappointed, not just for the decision to reject the application, but for the reason given. If this wasn't original news reporting and coverage of an ongoing story-- over a year's worth of exclusive after exclusive coverage-- I don't know what is."

Elli Wohlgelernter reacted today to news that Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, decided on his own, without consultation, to reject Tabloid Baby's Pulitzer Prize nomination without even giving the Pulitzer board the chance to consider the entry materials, thereby denying Tabloid Baby and Wohlgelernter the award they so obviously deserved.

Former print journalist and newspaper defender Sig Gissler may have thought he was striking a blow for old school print journalism and slamming the door on upstart wiseass Internet journos when he made the controversial decision, but in doing so, he shut out a news team whose four main contributors have more than 150 years of journalism experience among them (all of which began-- and continues-- in newspapers), including veteran print and television journalist Wohlgelernter, who led the coverage of the US-backed scheme to bring professional baseball to Israel (see the complete Tabloid Baby coverage here).

Wohlgelernter, known in these parts as Our Man Elli in Israel, is a New York-born and bred journo now based in Jerusalem, said today:

"Needless to say, I am very disappointed, not just for the decision to reject the application, but for the reason given. Tabloid Baby was instrumental in exposing the ongoing sham that was perpetrated against the American Jewish and Israeli communities, while the rest of the mainstream media in Israel and the U.S. ignored-- even covered up-- the story.

"If this wasn't original news reporting and coverage of an ongoing story-- over a year's worth of exclusive after exclusive coverage -- I don't know what is. And it continues even this week, with Tabloid Baby's report on the Israel Baseball League declaring Chapter 11. How many millions of dollars were raised from American Jews, and where did the money go? Where is the rest of the media?"

In light of the insult lobbed by Sig Gissler, it's worth noting Elli's original expression of humility when he got word of the nomination in December:

"I could never have imagined in my 35-year career that I would be honored and blessed in such a way as to be nominated for a Pulitzer. When I was a kid just dreaming about the business, the Pulitzer meant more to me than the Nobel Prize... A Pulitzer? It only validates all the hard work that's gone into all the exposés that Tabloid Baby and I have uncovered and revealed..."

Sig Gissler's action has led to outrage among Internet and new journalism professionals.

Luke Ford: "Tabloid Baby shut out of Pulitzers"

Pulitzer outrage: Evidence shows Sig Gissler turned 2009 prizes into "Soylent Green deathbed handjob for terminally-ill newspaper industry"

    The scandal over the 2009 Pulitzer Prizes expands today as the Pulitzer administrator's unilateral rejection of Tabloid Baby's nomination is shown to reflect a general anti-Internet bias while revealing yesterday's awards as little more than a Soylent Green deathbed handjob for a terminally-ill newspaper industry.

    The claims that the nomination of TabloidBaby.com for its exclusive, groundbreaking coverage of the United States-based effort to plant professional baseball in Israel was blocked unfairly by Pulitzer administrator Sig Gissler (before the Pulitzer committee could see or judge it) is supported by other coverage and statements by Gissler himself.

    Tabloid Baby’s nomination was encouraged by the Pulitzer committee's December 8th announcement that the 2009 entry field would be expanded to include "news organizations that publish only on the Internet." No Internet-based news groups, however, were among the Pulitzer winners, and in announcing the prizes yesterday, elderly former print journo Gissler admitted that the awards were a sop to the ailing print industry.

    From Reuters:

    “The strength of the prize winners' work shows the power and significance of print journalism, said Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzers.

    “Newspapers are suffering badly in the recession, with massive job losses, elimination of sections and cancellation of home delivery. A few have ceased publication, slashed salaries and filed for bankruptcy.

    "’The watchdog still barks. The watchdog still bites,’ Gissler said. ‘Who would be doing this day to day if we didn't have newspapers?’

    “None of the prizes went to stories about the economy or the financial crisis..."

    The same Reuters dispatch shows that gatekeeper Gissler and the committee may indeed have been biased against the word “Tabloid”— not to mention this site’s praise of Rupert Murdoch as a champion of journalism (and former boss):

    “The Wall Street Journal, one of the nation's most prestigious daily papers, did not win a prize this year.

    “The paper has not won a Pulitzer since Rupert Murdoch bought it through News Corp's purchase of Dow Jones & Co in December 2007. In the previous 10 years, the Journal won Pulitzers in all but two years.”

    Ultimately there were no online winners in the 2009 Pulitzers.

    From Editor & Publisher:

    “There were 65 online-only entries this year, the first time it was allowed, but 21 were rejected because they came from news sites that do not do ‘primarily’ original reporting and are mainly ‘aggregators.’"

    TabloidBaby.com, it should be pointed out, is not an "aggregator," and has been lauded for its original reporting— reporting that is all too often stolen by the print media without attribution. It has in fact, called out major newspapers for doing so-- which may have been another factor in Gissler's decision to cut off Tabloid Baby's nomination at the knees.

      Pulitzer outrage spreads!

        The New York-based Gawker.com media site is among the Internet journalism organizations that have expressed outrage over Pulitzer Prize administrator Sig Gissler's unilateral decision to reject TabloidBaby.com's 2009 nomination.

        Monday, April 20, 2009

        Sig Gissler f*cks us out of a Pulitzer Prize

        The Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism were announced today. You may have noticed that Tabloid Baby was not among the winners.

        And for good reason.

        The Pulitzers' gatekeeper wouldn’t let us in.

        The Pulitzer Prize board had announced on December 8, 2008 that it had expanded its field to include submissions from Internet news organizations like ours:

        New York, Dec. 8, 2008 – The Pulitzer Prizes in journalism, which honor the work of American newspapers appearing in print, have been expanded to include many text-based newspapers and news organizations that publish only on the Internet, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced today.

        The Board also has decided to allow entries made up entirely of online content to be submitted in all 14 Pulitzer journalism categories…

        So in January 2009, the nomination of TabloidBaby.com, an internationally-known, followed and copied Internet news organization of ten years standing, was tendered to the committee that gives away the Prize named after one of the legendary names in Tabloid Journalism.

        Only to be stopped at the door by the board's administrator, a man named Sig Gissler.

        Who is this Sig Gissler? Who is he to decide what the committee should consider? After all, it was his name and phone number that was included on the press release announcing the inclusion of Internet journalists. Judging by the list of 2009 Pulitzer Prize winners released today-- a day the New York Times leads with a waterboarding story lifted from Internet bloggers, while new newspaper closures are announced) and the experience this site received at his hands, it appears that the apparent septuagenarian Sig Gissler is an old white shirt-and-tie print journo from days gone by, waging a last-stand defense of the newspaper industry as it circles the bowl.

        The announcement about the Pulitzer committee considering Internet organizations? That was just a publicity and credibility ploy. The Pulitzers were trying to look cool and "with it," like back in Sid's middle-age, when an old square would put on a Beatles wig and shout "Yeah, yeah, yeah!"


        Following the December 8th announcment, Tabloid Baby's entries and entry material were mailed to the Pulitzer committee in January. This site's editor Burt Kearns and correspondent Elli Wohlgelernter were nominated for 2009 Pulitzer Prizes for their "exclusive online coverage and editorials on U.S. businessmen's involvement in the fall of professional baseball in Israel” in two categories: "a distinguished example of investigative reporting by an individual or team, presented as a single article or series, in print or online or both"; and "a distinguished example of reporting on international affairs, in print or online or both."

        In February 18, the Tabloid Baby office received an email from Pulitzer Prize administrator Sig Gissler.

        “When we saw the email marked ‘Pulitzer entry,’ we were expecting congratulations,” says contributor and media liason Sam Peters. “Instead, we were sucker-punched.”

        The email read:

        Dear Mr. Kearns:

        Thank you for your interest in the Pulitzer Prizes. We would like to accept your entry but it does not fit within our rules.

        Submitted online material must have appeared on a Web site "primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing stories." In our guidelines, we urge entrants to ask themselves if they "genuinely fit the criteria" and we specify that an entry's cover letter should provide "ample evidence" of an online-only news organization's "primary devotion to original news reporting." We do not find the requirements to have been met.

        Further, the entry is improperly prepared. It should be in a binder with each exhibit clearly numbered.

        I am sorry to disappoint you. Although entry fees are non-refundable, we will make an exception in your case because this is a transitional period for the Pulitzers. In due course, we will return your check.


        Sig Gissler, administrator
        Pulitzer Prizes

        To quote Mr. Peters, "WTF?"

        Confident that our website had met all criteria as described on the entry form as "an eligible news organization that publishes--in print or online--at least weekly; that is primarily dedicated to original news reporting and coverage of ongoing stories; and that adheres to the highest journalistic principles," we had but one question for the fussy Sig Gissler:

        "Was the decision to reject our entry that of the Pulitzer Board or your own?

        His reply?

        Dear Mr. Kearns,

        Eligibility decisions are made by the administrator, implementing rules established by the Pulitzer Board.

        Sig Gissler


        So again, who is this Sig Gissler?

        According to the Pulitzer and Columbia websites, Sig Gissler is a midwestern print journo from an era past who retired from active journalism in 1993 and continues to preach the old values behind the ivy-covered walls of Columbia University's School of Journalism:

        "Sig Gissler has been administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes since 2002. A special faculty member at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, Gissler is founder of 'Let's Do It Better,' the school's national Workshops on Journalism, Race and Ethnicity. He is the former editor of the Milwaukee Journal. During his 25 years with the paper, he served as reporter, editorial page editor and associate editor before becoming editor in 1985. Gissler left the paper in 1993 to become a senior fellow at the Freedom Forum's Media Studies Center, exploring media coverage of race... In 1998, Gissler was voted teacher of the year at the journalism school..."

        We'd say old Sig Gissler and his Pulitzer cronies are simply elitist, liberal j-school snobs who turn up their noses at a news organization that contains the word "tabloid"-- until we take another look and see that every winner of this year's journalism prizes is an oldstream print newspaper outfit (No Nikki Finke, no Past Deadline, no Luke Ford) and then we realize that Sig Gissler's just a square and that the significance of the Pulitzer Prizes is going the way of the newspaper.

        And he still hasn't sent back the check.

        (Not even worthy of Pulitzer consideration? Head to our Baseball in Israel archive site to see all our US-Israel baseball coverage and judge for yourself.)

        (Top photo of Sig Gissler by Irina Slutsky)

        UPDATE! "Soylent Green deathbed handjob for terminally-ill newspaper industry!"

        Saturday, April 18, 2009

        Update: Israel Baseball League's controversial "interim president" and twittering, money-seeking huckster David Solomont files Chapter 11

          David Solomont has filed for bankruptcy protection.

          Solomont is the well-known and controversial Boston area investor who took over as frontman for the Israel Baseball League from disgraced Boston bagel baron Larry Baras amid the financial disarray that followed its disastrous first season, intimated that he would rescue and restart the league with his own personal fortune and connections, then promised an eleventh-hour 20-game second season that was eventually downgraded to a five-game show weekend that never took place but was never officially canceled. When last heard from in these parts last December, Solomont was still attempting to raise money from US-based Zionists and Jews for a 2009 Israeli Baseball season that had already been blocked by Israeli government sports officials.

          Solomont filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Boston.

          Solomont, who was a pioneer in announcing his business intentions and daily activities on Twitter, reportedly was a founder of the Massachusetts Software Council and a founder of CommonAngels, a top angel investment firm based in Lexington, Massachusetts.

          Solomont listed his assets as being between $1 million and $10 million. His wife, Joan Solomont, is listed as a fellow debtor.

          An attorney for Solomont refused to comment on the case.

          Solomont has faced legal troubles in the past. In 2004 he was accused in civil cases of diverting money from a startup he presided over to a holding company he ran. The outcome of those allegations is still unclear.

          Solomont's Israel baseball shenanigans and the entire exploits of the Israel Baseball league were documented here in coverage led by Our Man Elli in Israel. The entirety of our Pultizer Prize-nominated coverage can be found at our Baseball in Israel archive site.

          Friday, April 17, 2009

          We like Teresa Strasser now. We heard from Teresa Strasser and now Teresa Strasser is a Tabloid Baby pal.

          We like Teresa Strasser now. We had a problem with Teresa Strasser about a year or so ago, but we don't have a problem any more.

          The Emmy-winning writer, Emmy- nominated television host and journalist walked into our sights after she was hired to replace Rachel Perry as the "news girl" on the Adam Carolla radio program that took over Howard Stern’s timeslot in Los Angeles and other cities, a show that could only be an also-ran in comparison to the colossal enterprise that betrayed its listeners by moving to a private paid channel, but which sank lower in our estimation through its determined arrogance, amateurishness, boorishness and bullying. Teresa then accepted a job on the whitewashed syndicated television version of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com, and after we criticized her role on that fetid platform, she “called us out” on the radio:

          “… this media blogger, for some reason he just hates me, and he never writes about the contents of anything I do or my writing, he just writes about how ugly I am…. This guy has a site. I don’t want to say the name of it….But he writes about media... that’s his beat. He writes about our show here, the Adam Carolla Show, and he writes about TMZ… He’s written a book in the past and I think he used to work on Hard Copy. But he can’t work in television any more… I try to put it out of my mind because I thought this is just one guy and I’ve been really lucky I’ve had nothing but mostly nice things written about me. But I woke up this morning and the first thing… I just thought. 'I’m so ugly, I’m too ugly for television.' I started crying.”

          Words to that effect only got us going...

          So we had an old-fashioned media feud. And while it’s worth mentioning that at the time of our tiff, our online pal Luke Ford chastised us for our “low blow” criticism of Teresa (whom he described as “smoking hot”), we eventually moved on from the Carolla show (she'd left the whitewashed syndicated sister of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site after a few months). We probably last mentioned Teresa in April 2008. Earlier this year, the Carolla show was moved off the radio.

          And then, a couple of weeks ago, from out of the blue, we got a Facebook message from Teresa, explaining why she hadn’t accepted our “friend” request.

          We won’t reveal the exact contents of the note or the exchange that followed, but will say that we rarely get feedback from celebrities and that she dropped us a note because Luke Ford had vouched for us. We’ll also say that Teresa Strasser is not a phony, manufactured sob sister. What we heard on the radio is apparently what she is in life.

          Teresa Strasser is a very nice woman.

          She’s now a Tabloid Baby pal. And we are her pal.

          Teresa, by the way, is married and, we’re very happy to announce, expecting her first child.

          She writes about the impending birth, and reveals that Meredith Vieira smells of “powder, lilacs, and poise” (we’d have expected Grey Goose, Dermablend and Jeff Zucker), in her latest column, which you can read here, and which we hope will lead to a book.

          Check out Teresa Strasser’s website here. She celebrates the typewriter, which makes us like her even more.

          Thursday, April 16, 2009

          Dirk McQuickly & Paul McCartney

          Rutle Dirk McQuickly stood side by side with Beatle Paul McCartney at the dedication of George Harrison's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this week.

          The shadow of the film The Seventh Python, which had its world premiere a few blocks away at the Egyptian Theatre, hung heavily across the event, as many of the personalities who attended appear or are referenced in the Neil Innes film, from McCartney, who produced Neil Innes' first (and last) hit single (with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band), I'm The Urban Spaceman, to fellow Rutle McQuickly to Harrison himself, whose friendship, influence and passing are key elements in the film.

          Wednesday, April 15, 2009

          Rock'n'Reel mag features The Seventh Python

          “The news is 24/7. When we were young, television had the decency to close down. And peace returned to the planet. There’s no peace now; this is why I battle on about it, it’s time for individuals to come out of the woodwork and say – like the Network movie – ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take any more!’ I feel like that. A lot of people feel like that. But then is it all I can do, make jokes about it?”

          The Seventh Python is getting international magazine exposure along with the current buzz over its Golden Ace Award from the Las Vegas Film Festival, its choice as the Opening Selection of The Pacific Palisades Film Festival (May 14) and its special June 9th presentation (complete with Neil Innes concert) at the Wilmette Theatre outside Chicago.

          The March-April issue of the UK's Rock'n'Reel magazine features The Seventh Python subject and star Neil Innes in article entitled 'Songs in the key of laughter.' It's a snapshot of the self-deprecating genius on the road and the succinct writing by Boff Whalley (lead guitarist for Chumbawamba!) manages to encapsulate Innes' career, worldview, philosophy and wit in a way that should only whet the public's appetite for the nonfiction film about him.

          And of course, the article features Neil speaking about the movie:

          "The Seventh Python. Its quite sweet-- but it's difficult for me to judge! And have sort of 'dodged it' for most of my life so to be labelled The Seventh Python-- what can you do? There's a lovely moment on it -- the film makers came over to ask people in Windsor, they got photographs of me and they said to people on the street, 'Do you know this man?' and nobody knew. One woman said, 'It's not that Russian who was poisoned, was it?' It's fabulous. They did it on Hollywood Boulevard, too, asking people the same question, 'Do you know this man?' And there's this lovely moment where this guy turns round and says, 'You're making a documentary about a guy nobody's heard of?' Yes! Let's have more documentaries about people nobody's heard of, because everyone's got a story to tell..."

          Rock'n'Reel is a hip and handsome British publication, focusing on an eclectic music mix ("Roots, Rock, Blues and Beyond... since 1988"-- the current issue covers everyone from Grease Band/Wings' Henry McCullough to Gomez, and like all the great British music mags, comes with a free CD). It's got distribution in the United States (mainly through Barnes & Nobles and Borders bookstores). Look for it!

          And a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to Rock'n'Reel editor Sean McGhee for sending along the article...