Archive for Stemware

Hierarchy of knees

Yesterday I posed this slightly weird question to half of the Twitterverse:

What prompted this outburst? I had caught an episode of Henry Danger, a sort-of-superhero series on Nickelodeon, and there’s Ella Anderson, eleven, who plays Henry’s sister Piper, gliding onto the sofa like a foreshortened Claudia Cardinale. I couldn’t remember any eleven-year-old girls doing that during the period when I could legitimately be interested in eleven-year-old girls; for that matter, when I was eleven, the girls in closest proximity were fourteen or fifteen and that much closer to Grown Up, whatever that meant at the time.

Here follows a screencap of Ella as Piper, followed by a picture I found at IMDb, suggesting that this is nothing unusual for her:

Ella Anderson on and off set

Of course, I couldn’t justify bringing this up here without at least one more qualification. Apparently the young lady is a Russell Westbrook fan:

Ella Anderson in a Westbrook jersey

My pesky Inner Child, a nine-year-old girl, wants to know when she can have this much of my attention. I think I’ll just tell her to sit for awhile.

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First-degree Bern

For the moment, Simonetta Sommaruga is head of the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police, a position she has held since 2010. In 2014, she served as Vice President of the Swiss Confederation; the following year, she ascended to the Presidency — which, under Swiss law, is something like being Mayor rather than a head of state — and resumed her previous duties a year later. Born in Zug in 1960, she’s a Social Democrat and a gardener.

Simonetta Sommaruga on the sofa

Simonetta Sommaruga in the garden

Simonetta Sommaruga in black

Switzerland has four official languages, and we know she speaks at least two of them. Here, on her first day as President, she gives basically the same interview in French and in German:

The French version, for some reason, runs twenty-two seconds longer.

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Joystick optional

Computer magazines of the 1980s, as I recall, occasionally had difficulty differentiating themselves from the competition, though I’m pretty sure no one went so far as the Yugoslavians who published this mag:

May '89 computer magazine from Yugoslavia

Definitely gets one’s attention. And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a package of Xywrite.

At the link: a couple of dozen more covers with similar intent.

(Via Jeff Faria.)

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Somehow the eighth

I was mildly dismayed to learn that Octavia Spencer is just one of seven children; I was so hoping that there would be one more sibling, to make the name fit. Not that she’s concerned about such silly things: she’s very busy these days, what with the recent opening of Hidden Figures, now in theaters, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Octavia Spencer at the HFAs

Octavia Spencer head shot

Octavia Spencer has just arrived

In the upcoming The Shack, she plays God, which bothers some people:

The Shack, a film based on a New York Times bestseller of the same name, is stirring controversy among evangelicals because a black woman — Octavia Spencer — is playing God.

Is this a major overreaction?

The fictional book written by William P. Young about a father who finds his way back to faith and healing after the brutal murder of his daughter, has drawn the ire of many Christians who have labeled it heresy.

I think the operative word here is “fictional.” Here’s the trailer:

It seems to me that if George Burns or Alanis Morissette can play God, so can Octavia Spencer.

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Still silken after all these years

The ads have changed, but the product hasn’t:

Advertisement for L'Eggs Silken Mist pantyhose

The price has probably risen, though.

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Ritual comedy

Ritu Barmecha’s Twitter bio: “Actor-traveller-lover of life-Authentic-cafe person-movie lover-die-hard romantic-and a very happy girl.”

Not a bad way to be, really.

Ritu Barmecha looking demure

Ritu Barmecha in costume

Ritu Barmecha at work

She’s currently starring in the soap opera Agar Tum Saath Ho (Hindi: “If you are with…”) on Zindagi TV, describable thusly:

It is the story of love transcending class differences; the story of Neema and Ravi who belong to two completely different worlds. Neema, the daughter of an affluent and caring father falls in love with a simple middle class boy Ravi and marries him against her father’s wishes. However, her over-protective father showers luxuries on his daughter on his own accord. His constant interference brings in misunderstandings and differences between the couple to the extent that they consider parting ways. Will class difference and an opposing father destroy the relationship? Or will love prove stronger against all odds?

Now there’s a classic plot.

Also from the realm of the familiar, this scene from her first film, the Telugu-language Aha Naa Pellanta:

How did this happen? Yeah, you’ve probably seen this scene a few times too.

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Principal with interest

I always assumed that “Victoria Principal” was a screen name, nothing more. Which shows you how little I know: “Principal” is for real her surname, but her original given name was, um, Vicki.

Victoria Principal standing sort of tall

The Wiki guys describe how she got her first role:

In 1970, Principal moved to Hollywood. She had no money, no car, no agent, and no prior television or movie-making experiences beside the commercials she had made in her teenage years. She reportedly supported herself by teaching backgammon. Nine months later she had a car, an agent, a little money but auditioned and won her first film role as Marie Elena, a Mexican mistress, in Paul Newman’s The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (1972), for which she earned a Golden Globe Nomination as Most Promising Newcomer.

Victoria Principal cranks the tunes

In 1973, Playboy beckoned; Principal would do a pictorial and would take the female lead in The Naked Ape, an R-rated flesh-fest that Desmond Morris had nothing to do with.

Victoria Principal without a stitch

But she’s probably best known for her nine years as Pamela Barnes Ewing on the prime-time soap Dallas.

Principal opted out of the 2012 Dallas revival. She had Good Deeds to Do, one of which was funding the American Humane Association’s Red Star Rescue Team, which worked here in central Oklahoma to reunite lost pets with their families after the 2013 tornado on the city’s southern edge, through Moore.

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Worth all the tea

In the spring of 2006, actress Gong Li was voted Most Beautiful Person in China by The Beijing News. She was then 40 years old, and had been acting for 18 years; she’d made her English-language debut the previous fall in Memoirs of a Geisha (!) as Hatsumomo, a woman of considerable wickedness.

Gong Li looking not at all like a Geisha

Gong Li on the red carpet

Gong Li still looking not at all like a Geisha

And just incidentally, she can sing:

Today she’s 51.

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Visit historic Savannah

Savannah Guthrie, co-host of NBC’s Today Show since 2012, turns forty-five, um, today. What you might figure: she has the requisite eye-candy quality for broadcast TV. What you might not have figured: she has her J.D. degree — magna cum laude, at that — from Georgetown University Law Center.

As a TV person, though, she is expected to be on camera a lot. This first picture is from 2014, a couple months before the birth of her first child — she’s married to Democratic political consultant Michael Feldman — in which she gets to show off her “baby bump.”

Savannah Guthrie shows off her baby bump

Savannah Guthrie takes a seat

Savannah Guthrie gets her kicks a seat

I have no idea what the heck is going on here, but Natalie Morales (I assume) seems awfully amused, and for Matt Lauer, I have to assume this is in character.

And then there’s this, with Idina Menzel and Ryann Redmond:

I wonder what Gretchen Wilson thinks.

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Rather a lot of gentlemen

Sellers of hosiery had been marketing to African-American women for many years, but seldom was a black woman shown in a regular advertising series. Here, Hanes showed that it could be done without changing a thing about the campaign:

Gentlemen prefer Hanes, and that includes black gentlemen

That was late in the 1970s. Somehow, it took them a decade and a half more to get around to hiring Tina Turner:

And, you know, she would have been perfect.

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Sarah writes

In 2015, I read a novel called The Look of Love by Sarah Jio. How it unwinds:

Love, they say (for certain values of “they”), is where you find it. Jane Williams finds it in unexpected places, in an unexpected manner: something mysterious takes place in her limbic system, and she can actually somehow see it. The day she turns twenty-nine, she receives a greeting, an instruction and a warning, all rolled into a single communication: she has this gift, she is told, to enable her to identify six different types of love, which she must complete before the first full moon after her thirtieth birthday — or the consequences will be dire. Her neurologist, meanwhile, predicts a different set of dire consequences if she doesn’t have an operation on her temporal lobe, which may kill her “seeing” ability.

It was a dandy book, with an almost-satisfactory resolution — I don’t think having everything neatly tied up would have improved it any — and I looked up more Jio. I found several books, and several amazing photographs:

Sarah Jio portrait

Sarah Jio seated

Perhaps unexpectedly, she sells a heck of a lot of books in Turkey:

Sarah Jio in a Turkish paper

She does enough business there, in fact, to justify a Turkish Twitter account and this video:

This is the Turkish trailer for her third novel, Blackberry Winter:

There are eight Sarah Jio novels in print somewhere.

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Waiting for Yaya

How does one become a professional cosplayer, anyway? Yaya Han describes how she got there:

The short answer is that I went to a con, saw cosplay in action, and got hooked. But to elaborate — I have been an anime/manga fan since childhood after watching “Saint Seiya”. By my teen years, I had read and watched tons of Japanimation and was an avid artist in Arizona. Through the local anime club I learned about Anime Expo and decided to attend the con to sell my artwork. I found the former website “A Fan’s View” and photos of the previous AX years, including pictures of people dressed up as these cool anime characters. Before knowing what this phenomenon was, I instantly became attracted to it — what better way to show my childhood love for the anime/manga fandom than to “become” my favorite characters?

Unfortunately I didn’t know how to sew back then, so I asked a kind friend to show me the basic use of a sewing machine and patterns. With her help I made my first (Asian inspired) garment and wore it to Anime Expo. Throughout the weekend I kept seeing more people dressed up and learned that this was called COSPLAY! It was all over from that point on.

A few samples:




It was this last appearance that drew my attention. (What, doesn’t everyone have a Google alert for Jessica Rabbit?) In the top photo, she’s Psylocke of the X-Men, or I guess “X-Persons” these days, and in the middle she’s done up in high Yakuza style.

Needless to say, a lot goes into these transformations:

Yaya Han is thirty-six and has been doing this for half her life. I think we can safely assume she’s awfully good at it.

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A three-peat of sorts

Andrew Crossett’s annual Best Legs survey ended pretty much like the last two:

Taylor Swift must be learning to be a really good sharer. She has now won this contest three years in a row, but she’s had to share the title each time. In 2014 she tied with Emma Watson, in 2015 with her pal Selena Gomez, and this year with fellow pop princess Ariana Grande. For being such a good sport, I’m going to make sure she finds something special in her stocking this Christmas … maybe even in both stockings. :-)

I can’t imagine anything in Taylor Swift’s stockings that could be much nicer than what’s already there.

Still, at least there’s the semblance of variety, something that did not exist when Jennifer Aniston won something like five times in a row.

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Not very forward of them

Those guys at Strutwear, circa 1940, weren’t above playing on the old woman-driver stereotype:

Strutwear hosiery ad

“Dainty lace tops,” they said, “combine with an inside out leg and foot, seams are nicely tucked in where they belong.” This results, we are told, in “that dull sheer look you admire.”

Five years before, things weren’t dull at all at Strutwear. The workers struck for 32 weeks, with incidents such as this:

The Hennepin County Farmer-Labor Women’s Club protested that the welfare board “ha[d] made an organized effort to force single girls who are on relief to accept jobs as domestics in homes at starvation wages, resulting in forcing these girls to accept employment at substandard wages and possibly forcing them into prostitution.” While the women were “heartily in favor of seeing that these girls are employed,” they condemned the board for forcing women back to work. The board yielded to public outcry and those pushed off the relief roles once again became eligible.

After Strutwear melted away into gossamer history, their building at 1010 South 7th Street in Minneapolis was repurposed as the headquarters of Marquette National Bank, which was later absorbed into US Bancorp.

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Sia later

Actually, this is Sia earlier: the singer/songwriter born Sia Kate Isobelle Furler this week in 1975 in Australia, got into the habit, circa 2014, of hiding behind a blonde bob and/or young dancer Maddie Ziegler. She explained why:

“I’m trying to have some control over my image. And I’m allowed to maintain some modicum of privacy. But also I would like not to be picked apart or for people to observe when I put on ten pounds or take off ten pounds or I have a hair extension out of place or my fake tan is botched. Most people don’t have to be under that pressure, and I’d like to be one of them.”

It didn’t keep her off the charts or anything; “Chandelier,” the lead single from her 1000 Forms of Fear album, had two official videos, one in which Sia does not appear but Maddie Ziegler dances up a storm, and a lyric video in which Sia is invisible except for that blonde bob and a pair of sneakers. So she was serious about not being seen; in fact, she sang “Chandelier” on the Ellen show with her back to the audience and Maddie jumping about.

That said:

Sia and a friend

Sia live in 2006

Sia looking pensive

I have no idea who’s dancing up a storm in this video, made for the 2015 film San Andreas. The song, of course, dates back half a century.

Sia was nominated for three 2017 Grammy Awards. Maybe she’ll win one.

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Her Swiftness

On Taylor Swift’s 27th birthday — in case you’d forgotten, she was born in 1989 — it seems logical to present a few of my favorite pix.

Taylor Swift birthday pix

As always with these things, you may click to embiggen.

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Through the sky like a comet

Tomorrow Hailee Steinfeld turns twenty, but already she has enough of a CV to make you think she’s rather a lot older than that. As Mattie Ross in the 2010 version of True Grit, she garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress; in the 2016 indie favorite The Edge of Seventeen, she was a suicidal high-school junior.

Hailee Steinfeld assumes the position

Hailee Steinfeld in Harper's Bazaar 2016

Hailee Steinfeld at the 2015 American Music Awards

That last shot, from last year’s American Music Awards, reminds us that she’s also a singer. Her most recent single, a collaboration with the duo Grey, featuring Zedd, is called “Starving”:

She really sounds like she’s a long way from the edge of seventeen, if you know what I mean.

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Peer review

Yeah, it’s Friday, but this is a Thursday-night picture of Rebecca Black down near the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel, and no way am I passing up the opportunity to peer at it.

Rebecca Black in West Hollywood

Rebecca Black in West Hollywood

Says HelloGiggles: “Rebecca looks like a badass fairy queen, and we love it.”

The Hollywood Roosevelt, if you’re keeping score, is at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard; film producer Arthur Cohn (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis) has a star on the Walk of Fame just outside.

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Satisfied Wolff

It must be nice to be able to retire in your thirties. Racing driver Susie Wolff, thirty-four today, started off in karting, graduated to DTM and moved up to Formula One in 2012.

Susie Wolff rides the door

Susie Wolff stands tall

Susie Wolff with a Gullwing

In F1, Wolff was classified as a development driver, later upgraded to test driver. In general, she was good, if seldom great, and in late 2015 she announced she’d be retiring after that year’s Race of Champions, in which she failed to make it to the semifinals, though her co-driver David Coulthard did survive that long.

In 2016, Wolff was a race commentator for Britain’s Channel 4. She’s married to Toto Wolff, executive director of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team; they’re expecting their first child.

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From the “Her again” files

I figured if I waited long enough, I’d get some shots of Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, a favorite in these parts, in something other than the abbreviated gowns in which she performs, and of course I was right.

Yuja Wang dressed down

Yuja Wang informal

Yuja Wang in monochrome

Still, the obligatory performance video does indeed feature an abbreviated gown, and I swear, in this Arkady Volodos derangement of Mozart’s “Rondo alla turca,” she looks like she’s smiling.

Downright jazzy, this.

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Call her Ramya

Or don’t, if you’d rather not. Divya Spandana is her name; she was born 34 years ago in Bangalore and started acting at 21, sometimes as Ramya, sometimes as Divya. In 2013, she hinted that she might quit acting to go into politics.

Divya Spandana in blue

Divya Spandana in red

Divya Spandana in a white top

Indeed, in an August 2013 by-election, she ran for a seat in the Indian parliament from the Mandya constituency in Karnataka and won; she lost her reelection bid in the 2014 general election. She’s since appeared in one more film: Aryan, in which she plays a “sprint queen.” I guess that means she runs a lot.

In a recent visit to a Mandya market, she was booed and taunted:

What happened?

Ramya was taken to task by people here for her long absence from Mandya district. They alleged the sudden appearance in the district on the pretext of hearing people’s problems was opportunistic behaviour.

Ramya went to the Mandya city vegetable market to ask vendors if they were facing any hassles due to demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes but she didn’t realise she’d face the brunt of their anger.

She also caught some flak for saying not-nasty things about Pakistan:

Responding to a question asked at a programme in her former constituency Mandya about her recent visit to Pakistan as part of a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) delegation of young lawmakers, Ramya had said that she doesn’t agree with [Defence Minister Manohar] Parikkar’s view that going to Pakistan is same as “going to hell.”

This met with a curiously American-sounding response:

Following her comments, a complaint has been filed against her for sedition by a Karnataka lawyer named K. Vittal Gowda, who has also called for boycott of her movies.

Oh, well.

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All about our new plant

Chemstrand, which began as a joint venture of American Viscose and Monsanto — eventually Monsanto bought out its partner — would like to show you their new plant in Pensacola, Florida, but they also figure that nobody reading whatever magazine this came from is interested in seeing their new plant. Instead, they show a product made from the output of that new plant:

Advertisement for Chemstrand nylon production facility

If you’d rather see the production facility itself, Frank Hardy has a photo of the plant in the 1950s:

At one time back in the 1950s through the 1970s, I would guess that Chemstrand was in the top five of employees in Escambia County Florida. Even though they had photography department, we were hired for miscellaneous jobs at the plant.

Monsanto spun off Chemstrand in 1997 as Solutia Inc., maker of industrial chemicals; it survives today in St. Louis County, Missouri. No hosiery, though: they sold off the nylon business in 2009.

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As serious as she needs to be

Chrissy Teigen will be 31 next week, an age when some believe dead seriousness is in order. There is, it appears, no evidence that Teigen herself subscribes to this notion.

Most of us first noticed her in Sports Illustrated, scattered around the Swimsuit Issue in 2010 and on the cover in 2014:

Chrissy Teigen in Sports Illustrated

There is, of course, that whole Baby Bump thing:

Chrissy Teigen in Australian InStyle

She and husband John Legend welcomed daughter Luna Simone Stephens in April.

In the meantime, there’s the furor Chrissy raised at the American Music Awards this week, dressed in a Yousef Akbar gown that’s slit about 20 percent farther than I imagined a gown could be slit. Someone asked a Stupid Question, and Chrissy came back with a Snappy Answer:

Chrissy Teigen on Instagram

Inevitably, something was shown that wasn’t intended to be shown, and Chrissy was up to defending that issue as well:

Chrissy Teigen on Instagram

That InStyle cover describes her as a “social-media star.” Now you know why.

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Preservation active

Robert Stacy McCain writes at Medium:

Years ago, when I was a college student, I was walking through the hall when I noticed my English instructor, Mrs. Williams, walking ahead of me. She was gray-haired and about 60, but a discerning eye could see she had been quite the dish back in her prime and, honestly, she was still pleasant to look at.

“Nice legs,” I said, prompting her to turn around. She was fighting the temptation to smile, and losing the fight, as she scolded me: “You just think you can charm your way through life, don’t you?”

Yeah, I made an “A” in Mrs. Williams’s class.

I couldn’t have gotten away with something like that, but I admit that there have been, um, opportunities.

Now: who’s 60 and has nice legs? Lots of women, I’m sure. From the archives, a 2012 red-carpet shot of Sela Ward, then fifty-six, followed by two from this year. Do the math.

Sela Ward in an LBD

Sela Ward at CinemaCon

Sela Ward in metallic

As to what Sela Ward could teach me — well, there are so many things I don’t know and probably never will.

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Amanda be reckoned with

There were times early on, I thought, that Amanda Bynes just wasn’t all there:

Amanda Bynes on the Amanda Show on Nickelodeon

Still, nothing in her early career, before becoming what Wikipedia calls “an American former actress”, really hinted at the horrors to come:

Amanda Bynes at Total Request Live

Amanda Bynes takes a seat

But everything gradually went down the chute for her:

Let your brain process these thoughts: She’s got more than $5 million in the bank, but she only gets $100 a day. She’s sleeping on a sofa in the mall, she’s telling friends she wants to get a job as a bartender and she thinks she’s so ugly she needs plastic surgery.

Things are better, if quieter, now:

Amanda Bynes in 2016

Amanda has a new life coach, Joy Stevens, who stays by her side 24/7.

“Amanda is with Joy all the time,” says a student who attends the Fashion Institute of Design & Marketing (FIDM) in Los Angeles with Amanda. “She accompanies Amanda to class and basically everywhere. I’ve never seen them apart.”

Amanda, 30, originally enrolled at FIDM in 2014, but students claimed she seemed “clearly high” on marijuana back then. It was also alleged that she attempted to pay people to do her homework. Now, Amanda has apparently begun to apply herself.

Sometimes what you need is a single powerful influence for good.

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Dammit, Lilakoi Moon

Lilakoi Moon, should you wonder, is the legal name, since 1995, of the actress more commonly known as Lisa Bonet, and perhaps best remembered as Denise Huxtable on The Cosby Show:

Lisa Bonet in the director's chair

Lisa Bonet and her legendary wave

Lisa Bonet on a dark night

She continues to act, billed as Lisa Bonet; she was a recurring character in Season 4 of Ray Donovan on Showtime and appeared in SundanceTV’s The Red Road alongside second husband Jason Momoa, anent which:

First hubby was Lenny Kravitz, with whom she eloped in 1988; she and Kravitz have one daughter, Zoë Isabella Kravitz. Lilakoi and Momoa have two children: Lola Iolani Momoa and Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa.

I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around the fact that she’ll be forty-nine tomorrow.

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Demi, or not Demi?

According to some sources, Demi Moore’s first name is actually Demetria; Demi demurs. “Moore,” at least, is easy to explain: she was married to musician Freddy Moore from 1980 to 1985, though apparently she adopted his surname before they were actually wed. In 1980, she was all of eighteen years old — Freddy was 30 — and she had left high school to pursue showbiz interests.

The usual sequence followed: model, then actress. For a bit over a decade, she was a legitimate superstar; she may have faded (slightly) into the shadows, but not so much that she can’t find work.

Demi Moore for Versace

Demi Moore in late 2012

Demi Moore from the future

Much is made of her film career, and perhaps even more of her latter-day high-profile celebrity husbands. I’d like to dial back for a moment to the days of Freddy Moore. Demi apparently co-wrote three songs with Moore, and she appears in the music video for one of them: “It’s Not a Rumor,” recorded in 1980 by Freddy’s band The Nu-Kats.

Perfectly reasonable power pop, if you ask me. Rhino Records, then a Los Angeles indie label, put out a five-track 10-inch Nu-Kats LP called Plastic Facts, including both “It’s Not a Rumor” and “I Was a Teenage Shoplifter.”

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Running Deepika

It was expected that Deepika Padukone would become a professional badminton player, as her father was. But being a fashion model paid better, and eventually, she meandered into film, becoming one of the highest-paid actors on the Indian subcontinent. She won her second of three Filmfare awards for Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, a 2013 take on the old Romeo and Juliet story.

Deepika Padukone in shorts

Deepika Padukone promoting shaving cream

She does promote a lot of products, yes.

Deepika Padukone at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016

This latter is from this past weekend at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Deepika has been very out front about her battle with depression:

She’ll be thirty-one in early January.

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Eventual backfire

Guys of the era, I’m pretty sure, surrendered pretty easily:

Vintage Cannon hosiery ad

Cannon made its fame making sheets and towels and bedspreads; they came late to the hosiery game, but they did manage to get a seat at the table. This particular ad — they repeated it with variations for years — dates to 1964.

Fieldcrest-Cannon made it into the 1990s before the inevitable death spiral:

In September, 1997, Fieldcrest-Cannon was sold to the Pillowtex Corporation for $700,000,000. Sales slid, and problems began to appear as Pillowtex lost money. According to a former CEO of Pillowtex, its largest product buyer, Wal-Mart, encouraged the company to move production overseas [to remain competitive] but Pillowtex refused. It was undercut by competitors (producing overseas at lower prices) and when its prices were no longer competitive stopped (or lost) its opportunity to supplying Wal-Mart.

The Cannon brand still exists, should anyone wish to license it from its current owners.

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The song retains the grain

You know, I wouldn’t blame her if she really couldn’t sing it anymore:

But that was good fun, and hey, the mousy little 13-year-old from the “Friday” video turned out Rule 5-worthy and then some. Recent shots of 19-year-old Rebecca Black:

Rebecca Black outside Time Inc. in New York

Rebecca Black's jeans are ripped

Rebecca Black goes all 80s

This latter shot she described as “my mom, circa 1983.”

And I’m not about to try to explain this:

Then again, it’s CVS. Perhaps no explanation is necessary.

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