Posts Tagged ‘celebrities’

Celebs may in fact be human

March 3, 2011

A study published this week in the science journal Anthropology Today reveals that celebrities may in fact be human beings and not the ethereal specters of perfection that most of the public had believed them to be.

The investigation, led by Dr. Jonas Hampton and a team from the University of Chicago, revealed that the rich and famous are mostly comprised of the same blood, flesh and entrails that the average person contains, except that theirs is much more physically attractive.

“We had this tendency in our culture to worship these people as gods and demigods,” Hampton said. “Our research shows, however, that most if not all of them have been born of a woman approximately nine months after that woman was impregnated with the seed of a man.”

Hampton said his team’s study was completed only this week but the results were rushed into publication in an attempt to explain some of the bizarre behavior recently exhibited by television and movie stars. He said the ravings of an individual like actor Charlie Sheen may seem out of character for a superhuman, omniscient and totally hot individual with tons of money. However, this behavior may be more logical when viewed with the understanding that Sheen is a corporeal creature functioning with the same biological characteristics as most other people.

“The breakthrough finally came when we were able to gain access to Christina Aguilera following her arrest for public drunkenness,” Hampton said. “While she was unconscious, we were able to take blood and other samples that confirmed our theory that she was a member of the Homo Sapiens species, and not a goddess with the voice of an angel that had descended from heaven to entertain us.”

“It was kind of weird to touch her,” added Hampton’s assistant, graduate student Allen Hayes. “Her skin was so fair as to be almost luminescent, and I expected my hand to pass right through it. But, surprisingly, it was a solid. She’s a little hairier in some parts than I might’ve expected, but other than that, she exhibited all the traits of a person just like you or me.”

The team fitted Aguilera with a radio collar prior to her release from a Beverly Hills drunk tank, and was able to further confirm her humanity when it was noted that she stopped on the way home to pick up her dry cleaning, then drove through a fast-food restaurant for a Arby’s Junior roast beef sandwich.

“We plan a follow-up study in the next few months, and we think we have Lindsay Lohan lined up to participate,” Hampton said. “We’re still working out details of a contract with her agent, but he said she didn’t really have any movies or TV productions in the works, and he thought we’d be able to get her for a reasonable fee, perhaps as little as the cost of a six-pack.”

Even sports heroes may in fact be less the gargantuan supermen than is commonly believed. Hampton said DNA tests the group ran on NFL quarterback Brett Favre showed a chromosome count not unlike what he’d expect to see from the average individual “though there was one gene we saw that showed a predisposition toward throwing interceptions, especially on third and long.”

“However, the whole texting-his-junk thing is not otherwise inconsistent with his physical and mental make-up,” Hampton said. “It might seem a hyper-naturally stupid thing to do, though it’s not out of line with most other typical male behavior.”

Encounters with the rich and famous

March 2, 2009

Someone asked me the other day how many famous people I’ve met in my life. I guess it depends how you define “famous,” how you define “met,” and even how you define “people.”

When I was growing up in Miami during the 1960s, I had several encounters with the rich and powerful. At the time, South Florida was considered to be on the brink of becoming another Los Angeles in terms of its connections with the entertainment industry. Comedian Jackie Gleason had moved his popular television show to Miami Beach and was touting the location as having “the greatest audiences in the world,” which the audience in attendance would riotously agree with. His influence led others to visit the area, including Ed Sullivan who brought The Beatles to town.

I never met Sullivan or The Beatles, but I did drive by Jackie Gleason’s house. In the days before the gated communities and private islands that now dominate the Miami landscape, he had a home in an affluent neighborhood several miles from my house, and whenever we had out of town visitors, we’d drive them past the expansive yellow structure. We never saw him mowing the yard or rolling out his garbage, but we knew he was probably just on the other side of those stucco walls, unless he was in one of his other homes in another state or in rehab.

In addition to seeing Jackie Gleason’s house, I also saw President Lyndon Johnson’s speeding car. Shortly after he succeeded John Kennedy, Johnson flew into a suburban airport, then motorcaded to an appearance downtown. My parents, eager for me to see history in the making, thought it would be an educational experience for my sister and me to stand in a roadside ditch and watch a long black limousine pass us at 70 miles per hour. I may have seen LBJ’s famous long face peering through the dark glass, though it could’ve been his beagle.

I also had the occasion while growing up to visit the set of “Flipper,” and personally meet with TV’s favorite cetacean. My sister, an aspiring model and child actress, was riding a wave of popularity at the time from her appearance as girl number three in a sunglasses commercial. (I almost had a similar career myself, but there turned out to be surprisingly few calls for pimpled, overweight teenage boys). Her agent had the connections to get us invited to the small inlet where the world-famous dolphin resided, and he came to the pier where we stood and offered up a fin in greeting. I doubt he’d remember the encounter today, principally because he’s long since been blended into a can of tuna fish, but it made a big impression on me. For literally days afterward, I wanted to be a marine biologist.

As I noted earlier, whether any of these events constitute “meeting famous people” or not is certainly debatable. It’s similar in a way to the discussion I often have with my wife – does it count as visiting a foreign country if you’ve only changed planes in the airport? I would contend that looking at someone’s residence, being passed by someone’s car, or pawing someone’s flipper counts as a meeting. She would disagree, and I can understand why, since she’s never been to Japan and I have.

When I left Miami for college, my encounters with fame became even harder to dispute. I attended a show by then-rising comedian Steve Martin in a small on-campus pub. Since I was covering the performance for the student newspaper, I got an excellent seat at the front table with some friends of mine. Martin interrupted his act long enough to acknowledge us at one point, I called out “Steve!” and he sort of waved in my direction. He continued with the show until being tragically wounded by an arrow through the head only moments later.

The next year, CBS news anchor Dan Rather came to campus as part of a speakers’ series, and was kind enough to visit our tiny newsroom after the event. As the paper’s editor, I served as host and invited him to sit at my desk as he was surrounded by eager young reporters. We were in a bitter rivalry at the time with a fraternity-sponsored newspaper, and the editor of that publication had the nerve to show up for the symposium. I interrupted Rather’s talk just as he was about to tell us how journalism was a solid career that would prosper long into the next century, and forced the rival editor to leave. Too bad I missed that part, or I could be laid-off even today.

After I moved to the Carolinas, I jumped to an even higher level of power encounters. While he was running for his first term as president, Bill Clinton campaigned at a motel near where I worked (the choice of a motel didn’t seem odd at the time though, in retrospect, it makes sense). He was surrounded by Secret Service guards as I approached him in the parking lot, and I asked their permission before attempting to shake his hand. The agents said nothing, though if body language could be interpreted as a response, it would be “Yes, but I’ll have to kill you.” I took a chance anyway and Clinton and I had a brief exchange. He might remember me now 18 years later, though I hear he’s had a lot on his mind in the interim.

About a decade and a half later, at a Charleston bookstore, I met two different celebrities on two separate occasions. The first was former Senator John Edwards, then campaigning for his first run at the presidency and promoting his book. I bought the book and asked him to autograph it, and we had a cordial discussion in which I said I’d probably vote for him just to annoy my right-wing mother-in-law. He seemed like a nice guy and I continued to be a supporter of his until that whole unfortunate cheating-on-his-dying-wife misunderstanding.

Interestingly, the second encounter at that same store was with Dr. Ruth Westheimer. She too was promoting a book, a fictional work about how it was possible to have great sex over age 50. We didn’t get a chance to speak, though I did point at her and laugh, mainly because that although she’s known as the “tiny sex therapist,” few people realize she’s actually only 7 inches tall. I guess that would make any potential shtupping of Senator Edwards somewhat problematic, but maybe not.

The last meeting I’ll describe took place while I was visiting New York. On a business trip in 2000, I had a free Saturday to walk uptown to Central Park. It was the first warm weekend of the year, and the sidewalks were packed with families. As I passed one couple pushing a stroller, I realized the mom looked vaguely familiar. It took a few seconds for me to realize that the lesion on her lip unmistakably marked her as supermodel Cindy Crawford. As a big fan for years, I couldn’t resist calling out to her, though by then it was over the heads of a hundred people who had passed between us. “Cindy,” I yelled, “I loved your work in the movie ‘Fair Play’. It wasn’t fair that critics dubbed you the worst actress of the year. What was it like to work with William Baldwin?” She must’ve thought I was kidding, or else just another Manhattan lunatic, because she walked on without acknowledging me.

So, what do you think: have I met any famous people in my life? I would say that I have, though the celebrities in question might deny it all.

More celebs to rewrite history

January 24, 2009

Film actor Tom Cruise revealed last week that he had a childhood dream of killing Adolph Hitler. While on a world tour promoting his new movie “Valkyrie,” Cruise told reporters he regretted that time travel was not available for him to show up in 1930’s Europe and personally take out the Nazi leader responsible for the deaths of millions.

“I always wanted to kill Hitler, I hated him,” Cruise, 46, said. “As a child studying history and looking at documents, I wondered, ‘why didn’t someone stand up and try to stop it?’”

News of the Hollywood star’s desire to transcend the laws of time and space in an effort to preemptively remove the brutal German tyrant represented a new high-water mark among celebrity do-gooders. No longer content to adopt Third World children and raise funds to fight disease, today’s idols won’t limit themselves to what’s physically possible as they aspire to help humankind and promote their vanity projects.

Here’s a look at what other kinds of murderous retro-vengeance are on the minds and lips of the stars:

Kirsten Dunst: “When I was a very young girl, probably not more than two or three years old, I harbored a desire to kill (Hall of Fame Detroit Tiger) Ty Cobb. He was a very racist, very mean man. He may have held the all-time base-stealing record for decades, but he did it with a cleats-up style that injured many a second baseman. I really, really hated him.”

Bruce Willis: “I’ve always had a very strong distaste for the Chinese Cultural Revolution that led to the deaths of uncounted thousands. I’m not saying I’d want to kill (then-Chinese leader) Mao Tse-Tung because he did some good things to fight the Japanese during World War II. I’d just like to have been on hand to advise him against some of the more heavy-handed aspects of his efforts to overhaul his society.”

Marg Helgenberger: “Given half the chance, I’d put fifteenth president James Buchanan on my hit list. He did virtually nothing to head off what everyone could tell was going to become all-out civil war, plus he was our only bachelor president. He was a real bungler, and we’d all be better off today if his sorry ass had been eliminated before his 1856 election.”

Carson Daly: “For me, it kind of depends on how far back in time I could go. If there was no limit, I’d want to kill Alexander the Great. His reputation, as the nickname implies, is that he was an enormous political and military talent. Though he did bring Western culture as far east as India, he was very pushy about it, killing many tens of thousands of innocent people. If, however, I’m limited to just the last century or so, I’d kill (Russian tyrant) Josef Stalin.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman: “Rather than bring physical harm to flawed-but-human creatures, I’d go back to 1935 to prevent so much devastation from the Labor Day hurricane that ravaged the Florida Keys. I’m not naïve enough to think I could’ve prevented formation of the storm, but I do think I could use my histrionic acting style to warn many hundreds of residents to move to higher ground.”

Meryl Streep: “I’d kill Vlad the Impaler and I’d do it with my bare hands. Even though he was the basis for the great dramatic character of Dracula, that whole impaling thing just rubs me the wrong way.”

Roger Moore: “I’d kill Ivan the Terrible. He was just terrible – what more can you say?”

Rene Russo: “I’m not sure I’d go so far as to kill him (Oliver Cromwell), but I’d definitely do something to seriously hamper his more vicious tendencies. While I sympathize with his anti-royalist tendencies, there were more constructive ways to achieve the ascent of the Parliamentarians without all the fighting and executions.”

Dennis Quaid: “I’d kill either (Roman emperors) Caligula or Nero, I’m not sure which. Caligula was mad, so I guess you could say he had something of a medical excuse for his virtual ruin of Rome. Nero, though, you know he fiddled while Rome burned. That’s very un-cool.”

Orlando Bloom: “There’s not one individual I could name, because I was never very good at history, but I’d definitely want to do something to prevent the Spanish Inquisition. I’m a big believer in freedom of religion, so you can imagine how I feel about the idea of Catholics burning alleged heretics alive. By the way, watch for the upcoming release of my film ‘Elizabethtown,’ coming to DVD on January 31.”

John Mayer: “I know Tom Cruise is already taking care of Hitler, so I’d say I’d want to kill (Italian fascist) Benito Mussolini. He would’ve been as bad as Hitler if he had the skills, but things just didn’t quite work out for him.”

Osama bin Laden: “I’d go back in time to kill the mother and father of Mike Meyers. That ‘Love Guru’ movie absolutely sucked.”