Friday, February 29, 2008

Lewis Bailey has tickets to see Elizabeth Cook perform Saturday night at the Grand Ole Opry

Our pal Lewis Bailey of Bailey Mountain, Georgia, Tabloid Baby's mainline to country-western music, made a phone call to one of superstar friends and got himself Gold Circle seats for tomorrow night's show at the Grand Ole Opry, with a lineup including Ricky Scaggs, Terri Clark, James Otto and Elizabeth Cook. You remember Elizabeth Cook. She's the gal Lewis turned us on back in May as the latest next big thing in country-western music. Elizabeth Cook looked to be one smart alt-country hellcat, with album called Balls produced by Rodney Crowell and a debut single that made things clear by stretching out the title to Sometimes it Takes Balls to Be A Woman.

Lewis writes: "Cook has had very little play on CMT and GAC. Nashville can be a hard town."

And Elizabeth could be a hard fit. Heck, her latest single and video (above is a song from the Velvet Underground! But it does fit. The Opry Live show at the Ryman Auditorium will be televised tomorrow at 8 on GAC. And look for Lewis in the Gold Circle section. He's the handsome one without the hat.

Carolla's "news girl" brags to the lovelorn

From this morning's
broadcast of
The Adam Carolla
Radio Show:

Bobby Slayton: "Valentine's Day was on a Thursday--"

Carolla: "It was a Wednesday."

Teresa Strasser: No. Thursday. That was the day I got engaged."

Teresa Strasser, the former cable television hostess, short-lived reader on the inconsequential whitewashed syndicated television version of the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com, and "news girl" and self-proclaimed "co-host" of the radio show that replaced Howard Stern in LA and a few other markets, is using her recent engagement to relaunch her sideline career as a stereotypical, pre-liberation, unlucky-at-love, single Jewish girl sob sister columnist.

Her latest essay appears this morning in The Jewish Journal:

"There's nothing more smug and insidious than a girl who has finally fallen in love and thinks she now has all the answers. She can save you from your sad, pathetic, damaged love life and cure you of your nasty man-repellant habits. No matter what condescending tip she's giving you, it always drips with the self-satisfied knowledge that the spinster bullet she so artfully dodged is headed straight for you.

"I hate that girl.

"I can't turn into her, and maybe that's why I haven't written for the past nine months, since I met and fell in love with the first man I've ever been sure about. When it finally happened, it felt much more like dumb luck than brilliant man maneuvering. More dice than poker. I can't be gloating all the way to the altar because the fact is, I'm just a girl who left the house one Saturday night to have dinner with her girlfriends, saw a cute guy across the room and hit the jackpot.

"The only magical insight I can share with you has to do with the leaving the house part. Even Eli Manning can't throw a touchdown if he doesn't break out of the huddle. That's really all I can tell you for sure..."

"When I ask myself how I finally stopped screwing up my love life, the only answer that comes to mind is the same one famously used by one of Ernest Hemingway's characters to explain how he went bankrupt: 'Two ways, first gradually then suddenly.'

"The gradual part was the usual therapy in Tarzana... The suddenly part was meeting a guy who is so boundlessly good-natured and patient that he makes me want to bake him cakes and write syrupy e-mails..."

Teresa moves on to the cliche of connecting creativity with her neuroses and happiness, confirming the bond, by name, to Sixties columnist Erma Bombeck, and though the column ends on the cute-- "Three days after writing this column, she got engaged. She is very happy -- hopefully, not too happy."-- repeating the claim that "love" has kept her from writing "a darn thing" in nine months, hinting that in a passive-aggressive fashion, she's blaming her new beau for her lack of creative output (rather than focusing on months of abuse in Carolla's shadow), which doesn't bode well for the writer's-blocked days to come. We wish her the best.

(And a tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to our pal Luke Ford...)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

File under: Zac Efron, gaiety, back door, man

Hey, we don't care one way or another if Disney's preteen idol Zac Efron is gay or not, but amid the slow-boiling scandal over that topless boy kiss photo that's been circulating on certain websites (with a promise of more to come)-- and pointedly ignored by others-- we have to point out these photos of Zac this week on the set of his new movie, Me and Orson Welles, which is filming in the British Isles. Zac is pictured-- and we kid you not--

at the back door...

of the Gaiety Theatre...


You've gotta admit. That is pretty funny. You couldn't make that up!

As our pal Joey Adams used to say: "It's to laugh!"

But what about that photo at right?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cream cheese-filled Israel Baseball Bagelgate! Investigation shows IBL founder Larry Baras' greatest "invention" was invented by someone else!

“A filled bagel dough product has a hollow spherical shell filled with cream cheese. The dough is formed into an open ball, which is sealed after insertion of a scoop of cream cheese. The filled ball is steamed to skin outer and inner crusts, then baked to provide a dense crumb. The resulting product is freezable for long shelf-life.”
---Abstract from U.S. Patent #5514395,
“Filled bagel dough product and method,”
awarded to Alvin Burger of Miami, Florida

Larry Baras. Baseball, Baras. Baras, bagels. Bagels, Baras… Any thanks due Boston businessman for bringing the American dream of professional baseball to Israel in the Summer of 2007 have been overshadowed by shouts that he be spanked for messing up and leaving behind a million dollars in debts and an uncertain future like some kind of sporting Max Bialystock. But even after Our Man Elli in Israel's reporting brought down his house of baseball cards, one thing you couldn’t take away from the guy was the fact that he invented something no Jew would have imagined possible: a bagel with a schmear you could eat in the car without having the cream cheese schplutz out and schplat onto your lap.

The Unholey Bagel (such a name!), inspired by the jelly donut and first marketed in 1997 by Larry’s SJR Foods, inspired a dream of another kind: Natalie Blacher’s dream to market through Larry’s innovative blintzlike bagel around the world. To those ends, she says she invested $275,000 in the Unholey dream-- only to wind up suing Larry Baras-- now known as “Boston bagel baron Baras”-- in federal court for securities fraud complaining that he used her money on personal expenses and setting up his big deal league.

And now— oy, the pain!— mega giant conglomerate Kraft Foods comes out with its new substance-filled Bagel-er bagel-like sticks! And with it comes a real pickle: evidence that Larry Baras did not invent the cream cheese-filled bagel after all.

A story posted yesterday on the blogsite So Good (“an absurd look at the world of food”) contends:

“…The ‘Unholey Bagel’… was released by SJR foods in 1997. Larry Baras is credited as the inventor by some sources.

"However, A U.S. Patent for the idea of a cream cheese filled bagel was issued on May 7, 1996 to a man named Alvin Burger. It is unclear what Burger’s involvement with the ‘Unholey Bagel’ is, but he was working to patent the idea around the same time, after he lost the rights to a product he invented called the ‘Bagel Ball’ while he was the owner of Roasters & Toasters.

“Alvin Burger holds a U.S. patent not just for the idea of a bagel pre-filled with cream cheese, but for the boiling process, steaming process and forming process involved in making it. He is also credited with founding Al’s Famous Filled Bagels, and for creating Bagel sticks and New Orleans style bagel sticks.”

And looking back, our team finds a trail of factoids and obvious clues that some in the mainstream media and businessworld overlooked. For instance, The Boston Business Journal reported on January 24, 1997:

"One year ago, Larry Baras had a business epiphany.

"'I used to have to eat in the car. So one morning, I went to Dunkin' Donuts for a bagel and cream cheese.

"'As I was driving around, I opened the bag to find an unsliced bagel, a plastic knife that couldn't cut much of anything, a tube of cream cheese and a napkin. So I tried to cope and put the cream cheese on the bagel while I was driving. Eventually, the cream cheese ended up all over my suit and the car upholstery. And then I thought, "There's got to be a better way."

"From that point on, Baras was on a culinary mission: Make the world's first bagels with preinstalled cream cheese and sell them. Lots of them."

A USA Today article from March 5, 1997 that’s posted on Baras’ SJR Foods site reads in part:

"Can you teach an old bagel new tricks?

"Larry Baras thinks so.

"He has created the UnHoley Bagel, which not only has no hole but also comes pre-filled with cream cheese.

"The 44-year-old Boston-based financial planner frequently found himself eating one on the run, which usually meant grabbing a bagel and cream cheese at a convenience store. But he often ended up with more cheese on his tie and the steering wheel than on the bagel.

"`They call it a convenience food, but I knew there had to be a better way.'

"So Baras, riding a boom in the $2.6 million bagel business, worked with a local Boston-area bakery to develop a bagel that could be pumped full of cream cheese after baking."

But midway between those two publications, on February 28, 1997, The South Florida Business Journal came out with an article that made it clear Baras was no (Alexander Graham) Bell of the bagel— though his claim of a brand new thing apparently “rang a bell”:

So Larry Baras didn’t even invent the cream cheese-filled bagel? It was actually invented in the same place where Natalie Blacher lived around the same time Baras claimed to have come up with the bagel brainstorm? Say it ain't so, Schmoe! What’s next? An admission that there won’t be a second season of the IBL?

Hey, how about a Broadway show?

Buddy Miles

The Buddy Miles Express was our first rock concert. Poco was the opening act. Playing bass guitar with Buddy was David Hull, cousin of our pal Brian Butler, who had a Ludwig drum set just like Ringo's. David Hull's buddy Charlie Karp played guitar. Them Changes had just hit the charts; it included a great version of Down By The River and a song written by Charlie called I Still Love You, Anyway. Buddy Miles had drummed with Jimi Hendrix in Band of Gypsys. After Jimi died, David and Charlie played at his graveside service. Then they made an album with Arthur Lee and came home to Connecticut and formed the band White Chocolate, and later, The Dirty Angels. In 2006, David Hull filled in for Tom Hamilton on tour with Aerosmith. Somewhere along the way, Buddy Miles went to prison for shoplifting and sang on the California Raisins commercials. He died yesterday.

He'd made it to 60.

Is this photo the reason they're floating that rumour about a Zac Efron-Vanessa Hudgens sex tape?

Forensic Analysis:

The Rumour.

The Photo Scandal

Dr. Ruehl's Realm of Bizarre News: Special edition! Reporting while wearing a scruffy old lab coat!

The Realm Of Bizarre News, Episode X

Tabloid Baby pal, contributor and columnist Dr. Franklin Ruehl, Ph.D. explains:

"This is a special edition-- "The Amazing World of Bizarre Medicine"-- where I am wearing a scruffy old lab coat. It is my contention that seeing MDs and lab techs on TV and in films always wearing sparkling white lab coats is unrealistic! If they have been with patients or in the lab, then their lab coats will be scuffy, like mine!

"May the Power of The Cosmos be with you! Yes! Yes!"

Who remembers William F. Buckley & Gore Vidal?

Now they knew how to debate. Forty years later, the parallels are obvious, no?

(...with condolences to David Frye)

Exclusive first look! Legendary Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show coming to DVD at last!

Stand back, Jann Wenner: The Hudson Brothers revival and grassroots campaign to place the influential trio in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is about to grind into third gear with the long-awaited DVD release of their monumentally-influential Seventies television series, The Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show. Our exclusive look at the box art for the three-disc set that will be taking up prime space in stores and online in May is the next step in giving the Beatlesque pop icons their due as rock 'n' roll and comedy innovators.

Razzle Dazzle's live-action display of music and mayhem was a surreal comedic wakeup for the Brady Bunch generation (and morning-after bong material for the older kids), proving the Hudsons to be more Marx than Jonas Brothers and earning them the title of “The Kings of Saturday morning” from none other than their good pal John Lennon.

Produced by esteemed Laugh In (and Elvis ’68 Comeback special ) writers Chris Bearde and Alan Blye, the half-hour variety series ran from September 1974 to August 1975, on the heels of the Hudson Brother’s landmark summer series that replaced Sonny & Cher’s comedy hour. Considering the relevant and busy careers of Bill, Mark and Brett Hudson today, it’s hard to believe that the wacked-out Razzle Dazzle was last seen thirty-three years ago, but it’s remained hardwired in a generation’s memories thanks to its rock ‘n’ roll irreverence and memorable characters like Chuckie Margolis, young network VP Fabulous Freddie and Rod Hull*’s talking emu.

The Razzle Dazzle set will include fifteen Razzle Dazzle shows and one of the Hudsons' hourlong CBS prime time summer shows. Apparently the rest of the The Hudson Brothers Shows have gone missing. Archivists, completists and TV collectors contact us here if you’ve got the collection stored away.

Another tip: The campaign to induct The Hudson Brothers into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame begins officially on March 12th, the morning after such rock ‘n' roll stalwarts as Leonard Cohen and Madonna are inducted in a ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria.

*Fun Fact: Rod Hull died in March 1999, after falling from the roof of his house in Great Britain, while trying to adjust the TV aerial in order to get a better picture for a football match he was keen to see.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Olbermann rips off our Stewart-Obama story

We took a little stick yesterday for calling out WGA strike scab Jon Stewart for sliming Barack Obama at the Academy Awards-- linking the name of Hillary Clinton's opponent to Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and Adolph Hitler on the world-viewed Academy Awards less than 24 hours after his fellow neolib Tina Fey (who, as headwriter, did more than anyone to neuter Saturday Night Live's political bite in favor of Harvey Levin celebutard worship) interrupted the SNL news for an overwrought Clinton appeal.

So it's funny to see pretentious, pompous, pear-shaped nutjob Keith Olbermann getting credit for his bravery after ripping off our story and highlighting it on his show on the Obamaphile MSNBC about twelve hours after we published. Of course, Olbermann had to muddy the waters by comparing Stewart to comedienne Ann Coulter, just so he could continue to link his own name to popular conservatives and carry on a phony Fred Allen-Jack Benny media feud, but an equally obvious point is that the mainstream media, most especially phony-Murrow autism cases like Olbermann, aren't good at giving credit where credit is due.

Free advice for radio host Adam Carolla

#101: When doing a phone interview with a heavyweight comedian like Larry The Cable Guy, don't cut him off and then keep him on hold for four minutes while you go into a bit about comics being forced to do the acts of others, cracking yourself up the entire time while Larry's mic is shut off. Generosity is a key to being a good radio host and getting guests in the future.

Note to his "news girl" and self-proclaimed "co-host" Teresa Strasser: While it certainly serves you well to polish the apple of your sexist boss Carolla by chirping in with repetitive words of reinforcement, as in...

Carolla: "Larry, we have to do a television show where every comedian has to spin a wheel and do the other comedian's act..."
Strasser: "The wheel of comedy!"
Carolla: "Blather blather blather..."

...this is not exactly Robin Quivers-level radio work.

Adam Carolla, the personal trainer-turned-quasicomic and former sex show wisecracker who was handed Howard Stern's radio slot in LA and a few other markets two long years ago and has driven it into the ground ever since, has recently shown himself open to change, with a reported feminization of his anti-entertainment show and a very "gay" upcoming stint on Dancing with the Stars. So we're sure he'll be open to suggestuons from a group of frequent listeners.

Stay tuned here for more Free Advice for Radio Host Adam Carolla...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Israel Baseball: Our readers go to bat

We’ve given up on figuring out the blogsites suddenly spurting out overly-optimistic and even blind-to-reality spinposts about the Israel Baseball League in and around the IBL’s own surprise resurgence of spin. It appears that sites like The Bleacher Report simply regurgitate press releases, while blogs like Japan’s My World of Baseball are merely six months behind the ball, definitely overlooked our most recent report from Our Man Elli in Israel or are no more than rubber bouncing boards of other people’s propaganda, as in this latest curveball in its talk of the World Baseball Classic:

"…In 2013 it has been announced that the World Baseball Classic will be expanded to 24 teams. This would accommodate teams in countries that baseball is growing such as Israel, which announced the opening day of its second season for June 22. If the Israeli Baseball league can survive their financial struggles they would be a team added along with probably two additional teams from Europe. Two teams in Europe would allow a first round matchup to be played there. "

If the Israeli Baseball League can survive their financial struggles?”


See what we're up against? As it turns out, four days away from the drop-dead deadline for someone to get plans for a professional baseball summer season locked down, the most sensible responses and suggestions about come from the readers of this site (the clearinghouse for Israel baseball news, and thanks to the reportage and hard work of Our Man Elli, the definitive, first source and site-of-record).

"Let's please note the good and bad
so we get a complete picture
of the league as it was."

Some readers took umbrage at our snide—and probably unjust-- dismissal of IBL players who’ve signed to other, better-respected pro leagues:

Anonymous said...

Come on now! Let's be real here. You make it sound like none of these guys have any talent, and the entire thing is a joke. LET'S GET SERIOUS AND GO DOWN THE LIST BEFORE YOU START RIPPING ON THE PLAYERS!

You don't mention Maximo Nelson who got 6 figures to play in Japan for their league champion!

Juan Feliciano was offered AAA contracts by three teams, and turned them down for more $$$ in Mexico.

The Yankees don't just throw away money (except on A-Rod), Reese and Rodriguez were signed because they can help the organization, and have the tools to succeed. Publicity Stunt my a$$!

By the way, have you looked at the rosters of the teams Feliciano and Rodriguez played on this winter in the Dominican? 10 major league players, and 16 at AAA. Is that a publicity stunt also?

The players struggling in the minors are playing for Independent league teams - the equal to AA -AAA in the afiliated minor leagues. These guys do get signed directly to major league rosters, and they are available to ANY major league team!

How many players do you think get invites to spring training? Everyone knows someone, and if everyone got a gift invitation, there would be 100 invites at every camp.

I say kudos to Dan Duquette - at least someone was doing their job!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the person above.
 There was lots of talent in the IBL. The problem was, its difficult to see talent when your players are food-poisoned, forced into summer camp living conditions, play in 90˚ heat with high humidity at mid-day, and play on fields that represent...well, nothing comes to mind to explain how bad it was playing in Gezer and Sportek.
 I'm sure that 'Tabloid Baby' doesn't have any baseball experience ever, so it's easy to criticize when his view of baseball is following Sportscenter, but the truth is that the starting lineups, and many of the pitchers, were all-conference at every level of college, and have played minor leagues, meaning that people with baseball knowledge saw these players as near the top of the game, enough to invest in them.

If you put random MLB players in the IBL, they would have similar season statistics, because most would detest the horrendous situation. The Players of the IBL deserve to be applauded for overcoming the shortcomings of the IBL Brass (and officials) to have provided an entertaining season.

Thanks guys, and thanks TabloidBaby for providing us with the updates (even if they are full of barely stomach-able cynicism) :-)

Anonymous said...

The IBL HAS provided others than are even mentioned in Duquette's note with the chance to continue in baseball. I noticed on the web that Ra'anana infielder Brendan Rubenstein has been signed to play in the Frontier League for this year. Give credit where credit is due, a fair number of the stronger players HAVE gotten the exposure to continue their quest to move up the baseball ladder because there was an IBL. The financial and moral problems of the league have been well documented and are all too real, but there was some good that was produced also. Let's please note the good and bad so we get a complete picture of the league as it was.

"For baseball to succeed in Israel,
you need good, solid baseball players
who can relate to the fan base
and can promote the game."

Others debated how a successor to the IBL would best serve their own interests, the interest of the sport, and the interest of the fans in Israel:

Seth said...

Everybody here is missing the point. Everyone wants to talk about how great the players were, and how amazing it is that they're getting exposure and new contracts in other professional baseball leagues. Mazel tov to them, whoopee.

The bottom line is: NOBODY IN ISRAEL CARES. For baseball to succeed in Israel, you don't need AAA players. You don't need players from 8 countries or whatever. You don't need 90-mph fastballs and knee-buckling curves.

What you DO need is good, solid baseball players who can relate to the fan base, and can promote the game. No kid from Tel Aviv can tell the difference between a single-A and a double-A quality player. He doesn't give a damn whether the pitch is going 92-mph or 82-mph, or probably even 72-mph. What he can do is tell the difference between someone who speaks his language (or makes an effort to communicate in some form or another) and a bunch of randoms who are trying to showcase their talents for leagues abroad.

As long as Duquette thinks the IBL "will be the league of choice for international players," this league is doomed. I hope Rosen realizes that he needs more Israelis and less foreigners. He needs more personality and less unpredictability. And most of all, he needs a freaking Marketing major to explain to him that Israel is not America, and that he should approach this league like a not-for-profit organization, at least for the first few years.

Best of luck. Sure hope somebody's reading this.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree with you more. You don't think that you need high level talent to succeed? Why has there been a 30% increase in enrollment in youth baseball since last season. You think that kids won't notice the 41 year old center fielder who keeps dropping the ball and can't run anymore, or the 3rd baseman who throws every other ball into the bleachers and bats .097, or the pitcher that walks 10 and strikes out 1.

Having international players is important. The game is international, and the Israeli players need to see that there are options and opportunities in other contries. How many Israeli kids know that they play baseball in Canada, Australia, Korea, Switzerland, Germany, Russia, France... It's not just an American game. Did the kids cheer less loudly for the Dominicans, than the Americans? It's also a chance to meet players from a different culture, and get over the fear and distrust many of the children as well as the adults have of anything foreign.

Yeah, you do need good solid baseball players. Baseball games can take 4 hrs when you have pitchers who don't throw strikes, and hitters that can't hit a ball over a fence, and runners who trip over the bag, and 7 errors every game. Do you think any kid will stay and watch that?

I live in the US, and I sure know the difference between a good and a bad soccer team, and I hate soccer! I'd watch a National team, but sure as heck won't watch a DIII soccer game. Kids are a lot smarter than you think, and they watch ESPN even in Israel and have some understanding of the difference between good and bad baseball.

I'm not in total disagreement though. Having Israeli players is important, and there should be a minimum, which should be increased each year up to at least 50%, but more important is every team should have an Israeli assistant coach to really learn the game so they can teach the game properly when the season ends. We need players to help run clinics, and players who care enough to participate, and communicate with the children. We need Israeli coaches to take part in the clinics, as well as some of the local HS aged players. Most of all you need time and patience, because the game will catch on, just as basketball did, and soccer has in the US.

By the way, Our Man Elli’s description of Boston bagel baron Larry Baras as “The Wizard of Iz” in last week’s interview was shorthand for “The Wizard of Israel”-- a reference to “the Wizard of Oz,” who as generations know, was not really a wizard at all, just a man behind a curtain.

Is Jon Stewart part of Obama "smear" campaign?

Jon Stewart took time from his Academy Awards® joke monologue to point out to 30 million viewers that Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama's middle name is "Hussein" and that his last name rhymes with "Osama"? It came off as less a joke than a Hannityesque political statement attached to a lame punchline; far more blatant, and reaching far more viewers than Tina Fey's girlie Hillary Clinton diatribe on Saturday Night Live. Could Stewart be a Hillary supporter, as well?

Or, in light of the Obama "smear picture," circulated simultaneously by Clinton's camp and front and center on Drudge this morning, could this be part of something bigger-- and uglier?

Jan. 18th, HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher:

Newsweek international editor Fareed Zakaria: I think somebody wrote, “Imagine this Pakistani jihadi, you know, sitting there looking up at Barack Hussein Obama. It’s very tough to say to yourself, you know, I’ve got-- I’ve got to wage a jihad to bring down this guy.”

Maher: Right. He’d probably see “Hussein,” and go, “Hey…” [laughter] All right, so--

Zakaria: Do you know what? Actually, a couple of people in Pakistan actually did tell me-- and these were not militants, these were Pakistani businessmen – but they said, “You know what? I love the fact that somebody with the middle name, ‘Hussein,’ can run for president in America.” I said-- I said to them, “That’s because nobody in America knows his middle name is Hussein.” [laughter] [applause] Wait – wait until the Republicans bring that up in the – in the general election.

Right, well, wait until the Republican slime machine gets hold of that middle name. [laughter] Trust me, it won’t be quite as cute.

Feb. 24th, Academy Awards® broadcast
before 30 million American viewers:

Jon Stewart: You have to give Barack Obama credit, he’s overcome a great deal. Not just he’s an African-American. Barack Hussein Obama is his name. His middle name is the last name of Iraq’s former tyrant. His last name rhymes with Osama. That’s not easy to overcome. I think we all remember the ill-fated 1944 presidential campaign of Gaydolf Titler.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

SNL avoids the Obama blackface issue

Lorne Michaels’ Saturday Night Live has never displayed much worry about white castmembers playing “blackface” (think Darrell Hammond as Jesse Jackson). But in the case of Barack Obama, who made a cameo appearance in the last episode before the WGA strike, there was some hand-wringing in the media about the need for a regular, politically-correct Obama character, and, with young Kenan Thompson too fat for the role, rumours that a tall, lanky African-American Obama player was about to join the cast (instead, a chubby white girl was added to replace Maya Rudolph).

In the end, they used Fred Armisen. Any controversy was immediately deflected because the makeup was laugh-out-loud good. And they sidestepped the “blackface issue" on a couple of counts: Armisen didn't need more than a light bronzing, as both he and Obama are of mixed race heritage (Obama with a white mother and Kenyan father; Armisen is Venezuelan on his mother’s side and part Japanese).

By the way, last night's SNL episode was one for the time capsule: the first consistently- funny show since the fifth episode of the second season (and as a reminder, Steve Martin made an appearance). The sketches were tight and actually laugh-inducing, and with the exception of Carrie Underwood’s subpar performance (why do the musical acts always sound so bad on this show while there’s never a problem on Conan?) and Tina Fey’s desperate Hillary-flogging during the news segment, the show held up to the end! As it was the first fresh SNL since the start of the Writers Guild Strike, the solution to SNL's quality control problem is obvious (Ben Silverman take note): cut back Saturday Night Live to once every 16 weeks.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

We share the wealth

We pulled this one out of the Tabloid Baby mailbag this afternoon, and because we're too busy with similar simple get-rich offers from the UK, Africa and Russia, we pass this on to you:

From: nielkrozen <nielkrozen@libero.it>
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2008 20:05:06 +0100

Dear business partner,

I am Mr. Niel Krozen, a postbank offshore accountant (www.postbank.nl) based in The Netherland. I am late Mr.Martin King's private accountant. My client passed away On the 5th of October, 1999. My client's is worth 15,500,00.00 and his account will be declared redundant if a next of kin is not provided soon. I seek your consent to present you as the Next-Of-Kin of the deceased so that the proceeds of this account can be paid to you, you will in turn receive a very good percentage of this fund. Please send your full names, tel/fax numbers, occupation, age, E-mail address to the E-mail address below for more information on this issue and how to proceed.

Best regards,
MR. Niel Krozen
The Netherlands
Email: postbnkoffshore@netbusiness.com

Hey, at least email Niels and let us know what happens next.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Adam Carolla goes gay, explores feminine side

We haven’t done any extended listening to the Adam Carolla Radio Show in a couple of weeks, and we have to admit we haven’t missed the amateurish borefest that two years ago had the misfortune of replacing Howard Stern’s brilliance with its host's solipsism, insecurity and arrogant mediocrity.

We’ll admit, we threw up our hands when Carolla engineered the ouster of the entertaining Danny Bonaduce, whose presence on the show in 2007 saved it from certain cancellation, before Carolla staged a backstabbing coup, just in time for Christmas. Without Bonaduce’s genius crowd appeal, Carolla seems to be on the exit ramp once again, but recent events have shown he’s tap dancing to stay afloat on the rolling log of show business survival. He crossed picket lines to appear on Jay Leno’s show; this week it was announced he’ll join other D-listers competing on Dancing with The Stars; and according to another regular listener, he’s shifting his show focus to appeal to an audience beyond the xenophobic, women-fearing fratboy crowd he was molded to serve.

“Sam V,” like us, was banished from even viewing the Adam Carolla Show Message Board for posting an item that the webmistress found inappropriate (translation: “Not worshipful to Carolla”). In a message to Tablidbaby.com, he offers a different take on the show, which we post, with footnotes:

After being banned from the "Official Adam Carolla Show" board (1) for the fourth time. I thought I would write you with the new direction the show is going.

Since Adam's show will never be a male ratings contender anymore, it seems like Adam is now targeting chicks and gay dudes (nothing wrong with that):

* Adam is now on Dancing with the Stars
* Lynn and Alex America’s favorite gay couple (3)

* First they had Teresa's "fake" wedding

* Now they made a big deal about Teresa's engagement
(4) (she even barged into Frosty, Heidi, and Frank (5) to yap about it, who cares?)

I can list dozens more examples, but If the topics aren't gay or female-related they are boring crap like one of this week’s topics:

* "Wedding Songs that you WANT to hear, and Wedding Songs you DON’T want to hear.

* Movie reviews that you can't understand because a guy with a Nicaraguan accent
(6) reads them ( I get it, funny the first dozen times).

I don't see how this show can stay on this long.

On the upside, I can’t wait for Adam’s fans to see him wearing spandex doing the tango. I can hear it now: “Is this The Man Show
(7) Adam?”

1 See TabloidBaby.com, January 11, 2008: “Carolla, unfettered! Carolla, unlistenable.”

2 Tabloidbaby.com, February 19, 2008, “Adam Carolla is the new Heather Mills.”

3 A West Hollywood gay couple who competed on The Amazing Race 7, they have gone on to market themselves as stereotypical "gossip queens,” and, like Perez Hilton, have been regular guests, and targets of ridicule, on the Carolla show.

4 A former third-tier cable television presenter and writer affiliated with Carolla mentor Jimmy Kimmel who was recently fired from an on-air role on the inconsequential whitewashed syndicated television version of the corporate porn-pushing website TMZ.com, Teresa Strasser cultivated a “smartypants” image when she joined the show as newsreader, but gradually emerged with a pre-liberation self-pitying, luckless “single girl” persona, whose recent engagement serves to continue the character arc that will surely end in disappointment. Allows Carolla and his jock sidekicks to refer to her “V” and to refer to her as a “Jewish news girl.” Now that Bonaduce is gone from the show, she serves to encourage Carolla’s droning monologues by parroting the end of his sentences. Warning to Carolla: refers to herself as “news girl and co-host” on her MySpace page (where her picture shows off an "engagement" ring-- apparently from a pre-engagment photo session). Tabloidbaby.com, January 8, 2008, “While Carolla gets a third chance to make his radio show work, his ‘news girl’ could use a new photo”; October 5, 2007, “Exclusive! TMZ-Carolla-girl Teresa Strasser nude!”

5 The radio team that follows Carolla’s show in Los Angeles is distinguished by regular injections of forced, fake, mirthless laughter throughout their conversations. Tabloid Baby, December 12, 2006, “Carolla Forced to partner with Danny Bonaduce!

6 Carolla has regularly humiliated a Nicaraguan construction worker named Ozzy, laughing hysterically and mockingly as he has the man read movie reviews and song lyrics in his thick accent. Carolla excuses the racism by pointing out that he gives Ozzy work and that he is a “close friend.” See Tabloidbaby.com, Adam Carolla search.

7 An old Comedy Central series originally hosted by Carolla and mentor Kimmel, celebrating loutish, racist, sexist males also known as “couch potatoes.”

Dr. Ruehl has this week's Realm of Bizarre News

The Realm Of Bizarre News, Episode IX

Harvey Levin bends over for Gene Simmons

We haven’t wasted much space lately on the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com, and especially not its inconsequential whitewashed, boy-beatifying syndicated television version, figuring we'd leave it up to their corporate overlords at Time Warner and AOL and their wives to cluck with pride over the site headlines like the ones over past day or so:

J.Lo Finally Pops Out A Pair… a Boy and Girl!

You Must Be This Tall to Ride Ms. Zeta-Jones

Bette Gets the Clap in Vegas

African Men Like Bush

Siegfried & Roy Do Bette Midler

Amy to Stranger - Sure I'll Put You In My Mouth

Paris -- Any Pole Will Do

Ride Me Tate Donovan!

Gary Dourdan -- Douchebag of the Year?

Brit's Vajayjay Takes Its Daily Stroll

Anyway, you get the idea. What caught our eye this morning was TMZ's first mention of that Gene Simmons sex tape that hit the Internet earlier this week.

And not because the post was given the clever, droll and very hip headline:

Gene Simmons to Sex Site: Suck My Copyright!

TMZ reports, without mentioning the historical precedent, that Gene is fighting the company that's selling, by claiming copyright ownership-- much as Poison frontman and Tabloid Baby pal Bret Michaels did with the sex tape he made years ago with Pamela Anderson.

With its usual mealy-mouth hypocritical cowardly, the website that has for years pitched, teased, named, advertised, pushed and directed readers to sales sites for celebrity porn tapes, notes with uncharacteristic modesty:

BTW, the tape was shot without Simmons' permission or knowledge -- and may well be illegal. That's why TMZ hasn't run it.”

That's why TMZ hasn't run it? Does anyone believe that? Does anyone believe these jealous, hateful revenge queens who send amateurs with cel phone cameras to chase unstable young women in traffic and ambush hard-working celebrities give a toss about someone's right to privacy? The real reason is more likely twofold (and that’s not counting the fact that Gene is over 21).

Reason #1: Gene had his lawyers send TMZ and other sites a cease-and-desist letter so threatening that, to use the TMZ parlance, Harvey Levin probably shit his pants. No way would the former lawyer stand up to the threats in the name of free speech, as Nick Denton and Gawker did when the Scientology legal team tried to stop their posting of the Tom Cruise tape or, in the case of the Simmons video, the much less powerful gossip site Valleywag.com, which posted the Simmons’ lawyers letter and this response:

"The short clips we posted are newsworthy and will not be taken down."

The second reason TMZ isn’t running the and promoting the Gene Simmons sex tape is more obvious: TMZ doesn’t have a money deal with the sellers of the tape. No one’s getting a kickback.

Note: Though the brave TMZ team credits most all of its offensive postings to “TMZ staff,” one individual is being hung out to dry. The TMZ site now “credits” Gillian Sheldon as “TMZ.com supervising producer.” Harvey Levin’s name is nowhere to be found, though his obsessions are everywhere.

Who is Gillian Sheldon? Is he or she a real person? Help our Tabloid Baby investigation by sending a picture or bio.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Our Man Elli: Israel baseball deadline near

This just in:

* The Israel Professional Baseball League has canceled
its scheduled February 24th tryouts in Florida.

* The IPBL has lined up playing fields and
player accommodations for a 2008 season.

* Governing body, The Israeli Association of Baseball,
has not decided if it will license the IPBL.

* March 1st is the "drop dead date" for a decision
that will allow professional baseball in Israel in 2008.

* The IAB's president says, “Tabloid Baby will not
determine when the process will be finished!”

We learned that and more when we debriefed Our Man Elli in Israel this afternoon:

Tabloid Baby: So. Bring us up to date.

Our Man Elli: No hello?

Hello. So, what's new with the Israel baseball? Will Robin’s boy Itai get to sit in the bleachers this summer?

I saw your item on the blog from the woman from Tel Aviv. It’s a nice site. The Internet brings the world together, doesn’t it?

What about all those IBL postings that showed up on various sites this past week—

And then the IBL puts out its first press release since the first week of January. Bizarre.

So who’s spinning it?

Everybody’s spinning. The spinning never ends. You know that better than anyone else.

What’s that supposed to mean?

It means I thought you wanted a status report.

Right. What’s new with baseball in Israel?



It’s on hold. We’re on hold. That's the official position. One source told me, and I quote, "We've heard that Jeff Rosen's group remains interested in proceeding for 2008 and is hoping the IAB”—that’s the Israel Association of Baseball—“relents in not requiring that 2007 obligations be settled as part of a licensing arrangement. I don't believe any final decisions have been made."

The IAB governs baseball in Israel and they want any new league to pay the debts left behind by the IBL.

Right. Another source said, quoting again, "I heard a rumour”—a rumour, mind you—

A fourth-hand rumour now.

“--a rumor that that IAB will sanction Jeff Rosen’s group."

That’s the Israel Professional Baseball League. The renegades.

I wouldn't say "renegades. "Upstarts," maybe. Anyway, I took the Rosen rumour to the IAB's president (Haim Katz) a couple of days ago, and I asked whether there would be baseball this summer, or whether he is planning on sanctioning the IPBL. And he wouldn’t give me a straight answer.

What did he say?

He hemmed. And then he hawed. I asked him when the IAB will decide if it will sanction the IPBL, and said, quote, "When the time is right, there will be an announcement. If there’s something to do, then we’ll say something. As of today we have not sanctioned anybody yet. There’s a whole process going on, and we’re continuing with this process. Nothing’s ripe enough to go public. We'll come out with a statement as soon as possible. As soon as we have some certainty as to what will be happening with baseball this summer, then we will come out with a statement. At this stage, I can’t come out with a statement as to what will be happening."

Hemming and hawing.

Right. There were a few more variations on that theme. My favorite was: "Tabloid Baby will not determine when the process will be finished."


He said that twice. And I’d never even mentioned Tabloid Baby. Which is a great compliment to your site. Tabloid Baby is recognized as the source for news on baseball in Israel.

Everyone thinks you’re Tabloid Baby.

That, unfortunately, is not a compliment.

Anything else with Katz?

I asked him about a rumor that Larry Baras and the IBL were going to sue the IAB if they didn't sanction them to play in the summer of ’08 because of the agreement they signed before last season. Katz said, "I know nothing of any lawsuit if we don’t sanction them."

I also asked about the IBL’s million dollar debt, including $420,000 in Israel, and whether the IAB would push the IPBL to pay off that debt before sanctioning them. No answer. But Katz did say that "The debts of the IBL are the IBL's, not the IAB's."

Bottom line. Any chance of a 2008 season?

It's February 21st. The summer draws near. It is nearly too late. But we will know for sure by the end of next week. March 1st. I do know that the IPBL has been working on the ground in Israel. They’ve found playing fields and housing for the players.

But if they get the sanction to play baseball, they can expect the supporters of the IBL to try and spread dirt about Rosen, as they’ve already done with comments on this site, like about the baby who who died after swallowing tiny magnets that fell out of toys made by a company once owned by Rosen.

Magnetix. We covered that back in November.

That's why this is the site of record.

The IPBL is set to hold tryouts at the end of this week. What do you know about that?

No one tells me anything, at least on the record. But I have found out that the tryouts scheduled for this Sunday have been canceled. One source says, quote, “It was too rushed.” As it now stands, they've pushed back the tryouts to April 6th. And truth be told, of all the details needed to get the league up and running, procuring players is the least problematic of them all. Players are to be found all over, even good ones.

But the IPBL did run into one hitch. Seems a lot of the IBL players from last summer want to return to Israel to play ball, but they don't want to try out.

That sounds fair, no?

Yeah. Frankly, for all what the players went through, there should be an automatic bye for all IBL alumni. Not that all of them were such great players, but when all is said and done, the players are the backbone, and those players deserve that gratuity.

Even the competitive eater Feingold, and "Mr. .097," Holtz.


You were off praying at the time when we posted the story about Henry Waxman and the possible Congressional hearings into the IBL.

Give me a break.


First of all, don't knock religion, you goy. I was praying for the truth about how much money Larry Baras took in, how much was paid off and where the difference went. As for the Waxman story, you guys in the home office have a good sense of humor.

We’re in his district.

Well we have something in common, then. We’re both represented by Jews.

We have sources, too.

Next question.

Back to those bloggers suddenly writing about the IBL, all of a sudden giving Baras the benefit of the doubt. What’s up with that?

Look, Larry Baras is a master spinmeister.

A bullshitter?

He's the Wizard of Iz. I gotta tell you, in the two years that I've been covering this story, what has surprised me most is that no matter what’s been said and written about Larry Baras, his ability to charm people and make them believe in him has overridden everything he's done, everything he's been accused of doing, every fact exposed about his operation, and every question about his business ethics and practices. He’s lied to people and there’s still been no accounting of any of the money he raised, and no accounting of where it was spent.

Even players who haven’t been paid parrot the line of, "It was a start-up league, people make mistakes, cut him some slack, I'm sure we'll get paid." The last pitch was thrown August 19th. It’s six months later, and not only the players but many, many others have not been paid. Yet the apologists continue to defend him. That, I find to be incredible.

The so-called “mainstream media” hasn’t exactly done its due diligence.

The media, like everyone else, got suckered in, waxing poetic about the dream of baseball in Israel for months and months before the IBL season began, and then dropping the story. Except That Putz Greenberg, who revisited it when he stole my translated story. But the media pack will be back in the spring, asking questions that have been answered here for the last six months. I already hear the strains of "Something is happening here, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

That’s because we’re singing it. “Do you, Mr. Chass? Do you, Mr. Greenberg?” Anything else?

One interesting story emerged today. Major League Baseball has announced the field for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. And it's the same 16-team field they had in 2005. In other words, Israel wasn't added on. And that raises the question of whether Larry Baras killed Israel's chances of making it into the WBC.

Wasn’t that one of the goals of the IBL?

That’s what he was talking about two years ago. But when MLB pulled out of the IBL in November, like the rest of The IBL 10, it pretty much put a kabosh on any possibility that Israel would field. How could Bud Selig take a chance of sullying his name, and that of the MLB, by tying in with the IBL?

Elli, before we hang up, we want to take this time to say this about all the work you’ve done.

Quite seriously, we just want to say-- Whoops. We cut off, just like the latest IBL press release.



(See all of Elli Wohlgelernter's groundbreaking reporting on the IBL and baseball in Israel, here, on our Baseball in Israel archive site.)

Cristina courts a Daytime Emmy, doggedly

The Daytime Emmys have come out with a new "Outstanding Legal/ Courtroom" category, finally recognizing the special nature of "courtroom shows," the staple of daytime television pioneered (and re-invented) by Tabloid Baby pal and mentor Peter Brennan of A Current Affair, Hard Copy and Judge Judy fame. And chief among the potential nominees has got to be this entry from Latina crossover superstar Cristina Perez:

Cristina's Court is produced by Peter Brennan himself. Man does know his tabloid.

Watch the episode here.

And, thanks to a new twist in Daytime Emmy rules ("...for the first time, all of those entered into the Daytime competition will have their achievements viewed by judges..."), you might even be able to vote for it. Find out more here.

Israel Baseball spin leads back to IBL website

We told you something was up. That rosy spin of the Israel Baseball League that’s suddenly been churning from blogsites around the world is now spinning furiously on the IBL website itself. After lying dormant for weeks (and still advertising player tryouts on December 23, 2007), the IBL site has unexpectedly been updated with a self-congratulatory press release that puts a history-revising spin on the league’s first season and gives a hardy pat on the back to director of baseball operations Dan Duquette:

IBL Player signings with Pro Clubs
02/20/2008 3:43 PM

IBL Players Signed by MLB and International Pro Leagues

The Israel Baseball League is pleased to announce that eight of its players who starred this past summer in the inaugural IBL season have now been given the opportunity to advance their baseball careers and pursue their dreams. Thanks in no small measure to the efforts of Dan Duquette, the IBL’s Director of Baseball Operations, these players came to the attention of professional teams across the globe and has led to signings and invitations by Major League teams and teams in other premier global professional leagues.

“One of our stated goals has been to become the 'Go To' league for the international player. It isn’t easy to establish credibility on the professional level, so it is extremely heartening to see the opportunities that have presented themselves to our players after just our first year of play," Mr. Duquette said."

Duquette is a former Major League Baseball front office exec who runs a sports camp in Massachusetts. He’s best known as a former general manager of the Boston Red Sox who was ridiculed for releasing pitcher Roger Clemens from his contract in 1996 in the “twilight” of a career that saw its greatest success in the decade to follow. But the recent steroid allegations against Clemens have put Duquette back in the spotlight, and recast him as something of a sage.

This IBL press release continues the rehabilitation of Duquette’s reputation, at a time when there’s speculation that he would soon join IBL commissioner Dan Kurtzer and its advisory board and skedaddle as far as possible from embattled fellow Bay Stater and Boston bagel baron Larry Baras. And though it's clearly intended to praise to Duquette for his efforts and keen instincts, a closer look at the players listed shows that the “spin” cycle is in motion. Two have been invited to try out for Duquette’s former employers the Red Sox; two were signed to the New York Yankees organization— a move that at time of the announcement was seen by many as a publicity stunt by IBL advisory board members connected to the club; two more are struggling in minor leagues; and another is in Mexico.

The question now is whether this apparently concerted IBL spin campaign is intended to salvage reputations or in hopes of actually moving forward with a new season sometime in the future.

Another question is whether the press release was dashed off during a document-shredding session, for it ends mid-sentence:

In addition to the eight players listed above, several Israeli players are planning to extend their baseball careers by playing college ball this coming season in the .

(Read the entire IBL press release here, at our Israel baseball archive site, Baseball in Israel.)