Archive for Rule 5

The most direct approach

So I’m minding my own business at the start of the weekend when the little slider whizzes by with a notification. Oh, look, it’s a Twitter follower, and it’s a pretty blonde:

Twitter bio for Clara Helms

The pretty blondes I usually get are bots with numbers and nothing to recommend themselves. Ms Helms seemed to have something of a history, and so I sought out that New Single:

Yep, it’s that Eric Carmen song with the melody lifted from Rachmaninoff; I didn’t expect her to sing the verses in Italian, though. I found her My Love album, and finally figured out where she belongs on the spectrum: think Susan Boyle divided by Celine Dion. This becomes most obvious in Clara’s cover of Meghan Trainor’s “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”:

The following exchange ensued:

Meanwhile, I scrolled down her timeline and snagged a few photographs:

Clara Helms gets cuddly

Clara Helms floors it

Clara Helms is ready to go

There exists a video of Clara Helms presenting a house in Perth (Western Australia), utilizing the purest of real-estate conventions, and I got the distinct impression that she did this sort of thing only long enough to get her music career started. (Alternate explanation: she lived in this house, and sold it to finance her trip to the States.)

Had I the wherewithal — but no, I was never intended to live this high on the wombat.

And I still wonder how it is that music acts find their way to my Twitter account. I mean, yeah, I’m the sort of person who’ll give them a chance, but who knows that? How is anyone finding this out?

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We still need her

Heck, I’d even feed her; Rene Russo is sixty-four today, which means that any day now, she’s going to start looking fifty or so. A model in her late teens, she backed away from modeling in her early thirties and signed up for acting lessons; her first feature film was Major League in 1989.

Rene Russo in her younger days

Rene Russo stretches out a bit

Rene Russo at the Independent Spirit Awards, 2015

After a flop or three, she avoided the camera for six years or so before resurfacing; in 2014, she resurfaced in Nightcrawler, written and directed by her husband Dan Gilroy, which got her plenty of acclaim. She also went public with her bipolar disorder:

The chap at her side is her Nightcrawler costar Jake Gyllenhaal.


Professing misandrist

This somehow got shunted into my tweetstream last night:

Rae Sanni was indeed nominated for a Writers Guild award, for her work on The President Show. I did my usual “Why haven’t I heard of this person?” bit, and settled down to do some due diligence.

Rae Sanni wearing her 2017 Babefest shirt

Rae Sanni brandishing a bottle of vitamins

Rae Sanni doing standup

That last picture motivated me to hunt down some video of her doing standup, and this turned up quickly enough:

I laughed rather a bit more than I’d anticipated.

After The President Show completed its run, Rae Sanni moved on to NBC’s The Good Place. She also does a podcast called Misandry with Marcia and Rae, alongside Marcia Belsky.

As for the awards:

There’s always next time.

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Still super after all these years

Carol Alt is an International Supermodel. Really. Says so on her Twitter profile. Which is not a bad thing to be, especially if you were waiting tables and only got into modeling to raise some college money, which she was and did. And at 57, she’s done it all: she’s appeared on about 500 magazine covers, hawked lots of cosmetics and fashions, and gotten fired by Donald Trump.

In 2014, Sports Illustrated honored her for her, um, body of work, including the cover of the 1982 Swimsuit Issue:

Carol Alt in Sports Illustrated 2014

Carol Alt on her Twitter account

Carol Alt changes shoes

Apart from the fact that she’s the only International Supermodel who follows me on Twitter, I tend to hang on her every word, especially on Tuesday, which she and many others celebrate as #shoesday. An example of her celebration:

Like there’s a chance I’ll let myself miss something like that.


A stunner

It’s almost, but not quite, a tongue-twister of a name: Tinashe Jorgensen Kachingwe. The first name, you might think, would be quite enough; early on, she decided she agreed with you. In 2007, at the ripe old age of fourteen, Tinashe and some friends formed a singing group called The Stunners, who put out a series of heavily adolescent singles like “Spin the Bottle”:

The Stunners broke up in 2011, and Tinashe decided she could do this on her own. Six years ago this week she put out a “mixtape,” recorded in her home studio; she wrote all but one song, and brought in production assistance on some of them. Even after she’d gotten a record deal (with RCA), she continued with the mixtape format. And somehow in her apparently copious free time she found time to make her name in animation: she did a series of Holly Hobbie features for Nickelodeon, and at nine, she was the motion-capture model for “Hero Girl” Nona Gaye in The Polar Express.

Tinashe at the BET Awards 2015

Tinashe expects you to think it over

Tinashe in the same photoshoot as the previous shot

That first mixtape, In Case We Die, featured a romantic number called “This Feeling”:

Her album Joyride, her third, is due this year; one track (“No Drama”) has been released so far. She’s twenty-five years old today.

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Know thyself

And while you’re at it, get to know Filipino actress/singer Kim Domingo:

“More than just a girl with a hot body,” says the lyric. This doesn’t really describe Kim when she was a contestant in the Little Miss Philippines contest in 2000 at the age of five. Eighteen years later, well …

Kim Domingo in a tight dress

Kim Domingo, probably topless

Kim Domingo appears to be pouting

Most recently, she was seen in Super Ma’am, a short-run TV series (95 episodes over 19 weeks) as the wicked sister (of course) of the heroine, who teaches school during the day and occasionally fights off mythical creatures.

And there was this photobook called State of Undress:

Truth in advertising, certainly.


Take a step or three

There’s a scene early in Robert Mulligan’s The Man in the Moon, in which we find Dani Trant (Reese Witherspoon) sprinting on down to the old swimming hole, discarding bits of clothing as she goes, and finally diving in, presumably wearing nothing but a smile. She’s facing away from the camera, which allowed for the possibility that this was actually a body double, and inasmuch as Reese was fifteen playing fourteen, this was almost certainly the case. Besides. the double had only two legs.

Okay, we’ve worn out that gag, but Reese Witherspoon does have a way to stay on one’s mind. And about six weeks from now, you’ll see her as the middle Mrs. W. in Disney’s adaptation of Madeleine d’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Ava DuVernay.

For now, here are some more sedate scenes:

Reese Witherspoon at Cannes 2012

Reese Witherspoon coming out of Whole Foods

Reese Witherspoon makes a regular stop

A Wrinkle in Time reunites Reese with Mindy Kaling; she’d guested on an episode of The Mindy Project last year.

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Two banana

If Riki Lindhome is Garfunkel, then Kate Micucci, seven inches shorter, must be Oates. And while they’ve been doing the G&O thing together for about a decade, their solo careers have diverged: in all the recent Scooby-Doo stuff. Kate’s been the voice of Velma, in the DuckTales reboot she’s Webbigail Vanderquack, and last year she appeared in The Little Hours as, um, it says here, a “lesbian Jewish nun.”

And she does clean up nicely:

Kate Micucci at the 200th episode of The Big Bang Theory

Kate Micucci at the keyboard

Kate Micucci at a gathering of fans

And for G&O fans, here are their least-favorite songs ever:

Each and every tune has its defenders, you may be certain.

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One banana

The comedy-folk duo Garfunkel and Oates has enjoyed a fair amount of notoriety over the past decade or so, partly because they fear no subject matter, and partly because they’re so gosh-darn cute. (And the name, borrowed from a couple of rock and roll second bananas, is enough to make you smile all by itself.) Riki Lindhome is the Garfunkel of the act, and she knows her way around red carpets:

Riki Lindhome rocks an LBD

Riki Lindhome in orange at Baby Driver

Riki Lindhome at the premiere of Fun Size

Fun Size, weirdly enough, is a Nickelodeon picture about the horrors of Halloween, in which Riki (born “Erika”) plays a smallish role.

She’s also recorded music separately from G&O. This song appeared on her 2011 EP Yell At Me From Your Car:

Next film: Under the Silver Lake, described as “neo-noir.” One hopes it does well: in 2013’s Hell Baby, she demonstrated that she could do funny naked, but in its one week of release it grossed less than $9,000.

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It’s a Kotak moment

Karishma Kotak was born in London, and in the UK she’s known as a TV presenter and model. In India, she’s known as a model and actress. This career path suggests a certain degree of, um, visual appeal:

Karishma Kotak definitely has a reflection

Karishma Kotak, television presenter

Karishma Kotak in something resembling a gazebo

Her most recent film was 2016’s Freaky Ali, which, so help me, is a Hindi remake of Happy Gilmore. Billed tenth, Kotak didn’t make the trailer. So for our video, we go back to her days as a model, on behalf of Titan, a luxury-goods house owned by Tata Group, which also owns Jaguar and Land-Rover:

Since you asked, she’s thirty-five.

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Florrie of activity

Florence Ellen Arnold took up the drums at age six, and when she was twenty, she landed a gig with the Xenomania production house in Kent, having foreshortened her name to simply “Florrie.” She’s twenty-nine now, and her solo career has produced four EPs and not a single album — yet.

Florrie has descended the stairs

Florrie has ascended to the stage

Florrie has taken a selfie

Florrie signed to Sony Music in 2014 and turned loose “Little White Lies”:

She describes her oeuvre as “a big mixture: kind of a sixties, organic feel merged with modern pop beats and electronics.”

Her most recent solo release is the single “Real Love,” not related to the Doobie Brothers’ song of the same name:

I assume she’ll turn loose a full-length album eventually.

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Oh, snap

On the couch, about three-quarters of the way through a therapy session. As it often does, the subject turned to the alleged “writing” I do here, and I allowed that I probably had a slightly twisted power of description. I rattled off a couple recent examples you might have seen, and she wanted to know how I’d sum her up. About 1.5 seconds worth of pause, and then: “About a 7/8 scale Lupita Nyong’o.”

Which geometrically, at least, doesn’t work at all, since Lupita Nyong’o is only 5’5″, and doesn’t really have an eighth to spare. And I have yet to see anything quite like this in the examination room:

Lupita Nyong'o in something white and textured

Lupita Nyong'o in something red and flowing

Lupita Nyong'o at the premiere of The Jungle Book, 2016

Lupita Nyong'o at the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

In between The Jungle Book and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Lupita Nyong’o appeared in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, which partially explains this clip:

Do enough of thqt, and it’s downright therapeutic, if you don’t bust a knuckle.

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The Ice Cream Blonde

That’s what they called her, sometimes. Thelma Todd made over 100 films, most of them talkies and most of them funny, though perhaps she’s most remembered these days for playing Miles Archer’s widow in the pre-Code The Maltese Falcon (1931), the one with Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade, in which she wasn’t the least bit hilarious.

It was Hal Roach who saw her potential as a comic, and after trying her out as a foil for Laurel and Hardy, paired her off with ZaSu Pitts, then Patsy Kelly, in a series of comedy shorts. Demand for her services was enough to persuade Roach to lend her out on a regular basis, which explains how she ended up in two Marx Bros. films.

Thelma Todd not wearing a whole lot

Thelma Todd posing for some leg art in 1933

Thelma Todd possibly wearing even less

Thelma’s last film was a full-length Laurel and Hardy feature, The Bohemian Girl, released in 1936 after her death by carbon-monoxide poisoning. Roach, worried that a dead star would not be good for the box office, reshot her scenes, though he left in her one musical number:

Thelma Todd was only twenty-nine when she died.

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Rhymes with “glee”

Ladies and gentlemen, we present your new Captain Marvel, Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers, otherwise known as Brie Larson, whom we haven’t mentioned in a couple of hours. (See “Rice is nice,” at a URL near you.) She has rather a lot of screen credits for being only twenty-eight, the biggest being Room, a squalid place where she’d been held against her will for seven years, along with her five-year-old son. (Don’t ask.) She won a shelf’s worth of awards, up to and including the Oscar®.

Brie Larson takes home her SAG Award for Room

Brie Larson rests a bit

Brie Larson gets casual

Brie also launched a music career, which so far has yielded up a handful of good songs and scarcely any sales: her 2005 album for Casablanca, Finally Out of P.E., sold about 4,000 copies. The first single, “She Said,” just missed the Top 30:

Admittedly, I dote on Radio Disney stuff like this. Brie was 15 when she recorded it, and by then, she’d already done a Disney Channel Original Movie: Right on Track, about two sisters determined to break into drag racing. If that doesn’t prepare one to be Captain Marvel, nothing does.

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The dish on Disha

Disha Patani is an actress, born in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on some date in the early 1990s. And it gets more confusing after that:

Tiger Shroff’s rumoured girlfriend Disha Patani needs to grow up — literally. A video from her Miss Indore contest which was held in December 2012 has her saying that she is 20 years old.

Her date of birth being June 13, 1992. Also, her surname was Patni. But somewhere down the line, the newcomer decided to become younger.

Disha now claims she is 20 and her date of birth is July 27, 1995. The newbie has taken three years off her age. At the same time, she has gone from being Patni to Patani. Wonders never cease.


Disha Patani is thinking it over

Disha Patani has lots of hair

Disha Patani is just modest enough

Disha and the aforementioned Tiger Shroff made some waves in this 2016 music video of the Meet Brothers’ “Belikra”:

They’ll also be together in Baaghi 2, which is a martial arts film. I think. The trailer doesn’t make much of anything clear:

The first Baaghi (“Rebel”) came out in 2016 with Tiger, but not with Disha.

Side note: I duly followed @DishPatani on Twitter, and the service gave me one “Suggested”: Tiger Shroff. Imagine that.

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Fluttery and all

Singer Ellie Goulding, thirty-one today, wasn’t always sure she really was a singer:

“I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself — I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was,” she says. “And as the stakes grew, I was afraid of letting everyone, including myself, down.”

She fought off her mental reservations with purely physical means: boxing and kickboxing. It did knock a few pounds off her, but that wasn’t what she had in mind:

“It wasn’t about any change in my outward appearance; it was about seeing and feeling myself get better and stronger,” she explains. “It carried over into other areas of my life, and now I truly feel that exercise — however you like to work out — is good for the soul.”

Ellie Goulding is not revealing as much as you think

Ellie Goulding leans back

Ellie Goulding is revealing as much as you think

It hasn’t changed her voice either: still high and breathy and fluttery. And to me. it’s never been better than when she recorded (in 2010) a version of Elton John’s “Your Song,” a UK Number Two with sales of over 800,000, but a non-starter in the States.

I assure you, I don’t mind.


Perm Rep

It’s too long to fit on her business cards, but this is Nikki Haley’s official title: “Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.” You may address her as “Madam Ambassador,” and by “you” I mean this worthless little slimeball.

Rather a lot of globalist panties were rendered into a wad by Haley’s mic-drop in front of the General Assembly last week, which has had some Republican pundits starting to speculate as to her chances in further domestic elective office. I think this is way premature. But I have to admit, it’s fun to think so, especially when you consider some of the GOP back-benchers who will try to claw their way into the public eye. None will be as easy on the eye as Nikki Haley.

Nikki Haley meets with the Israelis

Nikki Haley surrounded by books

Nikki Haley at the podium

Nikki Haley at Women In the World

Her 2012 autobiography, Can’t is Not an Option, I have not yet read, but I have no reason to think it’s a cut above the usual political palaver; the one review I’ve seen, by Vani Saraswathi in The Hindu, dismissed it thusly: “It is obviously not meant for a wider audience. It is clearly for her vote bank.” Which describes almost all such books, actually.

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Not to be confused with the Gulf

The Gulf of Tonkin is the northern arm of the South China Sea. Phoebe Tonkin comes from Australia, which is much farther south. After studying dance (at four!) and theater, she landed a role in the series H2O: Just Add Water, in which she played one of three teenage girls who, after a supernatural-ish incident, become mermaids after ten seconds of wetness. (Had this been a risqué show instead of a fantasy show for kids, they could have named it Ten Seconds of Wetness.) H2O ran for three years; after that, she relocated to the States and won a role in The Secret Circle, a short-lived witches’ tale on The CW, followed by five seasons of The Originals, a spinoff from The Vampire Diaries.

Phoebe Tonkin stands tall

Phoebe Tonkin brings a stool

Phoebe Tonkin on the panel

Phoebe also did one music video: “Don’t Let Go” by Miles Fisher (2011):

Looks vaguely supernatural there, too.

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Kim lives

“I don’t think I was ever cut out to have a Hollywood life,” said Kim Novak. Certainly she didn’t follow the conventional wisdom; these days she’s best known for Hitchcock and Vertigo, though she didn’t think it was her best performance: that would be Middle of the Night, opposite Fredric March. And the studio system generally, and Columbia head Harry Cohn in particular, treated her with something resembling disdain. Cohn, in fact, came up with “Kit Marlowe” for a stage name for Marilyn Pauline Novak, dismissing her surname as being a “Polack name.”

Kim Novak exits the tub

Kim Novak dressed for Vertigo

Kim Novak under water, sort of

Cohn, for his part, really hated Hitchcock’s script for Vertigo, but figured it had potential as a prestige item. Novak, who liked the script, decided she wasn’t going to take it at the salary Cohn was paying. (Cohn eventually yielded and gave her a raise.)

Last time I saw her was a 19-episode stint on Falcon Crest (1986-87), playing a woman with a shady past who poses as Peter Stavros’ dead stepdaughter; her real name was, um, Kit Marlowe. Take that, Harry Cohn.

She may tweet occasionally as @KimNovakActress, but her Web site,, tells you where her interests lie these days.

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In Swiftness and in health

So I was moving 438 pictures of Taylor Swift to their own directory, and I was forced to ask myself: “Self, why do I have four hundred thirty-eight pictures of Taylor Swift?”

No answer. But since it is her birthday, here are nine of ’em.

Nine pictures of Taylor Swift

That first split-personality whateveritis was pieced together by someone going by the name of “Chief”; I think he did this for deviantArt.

As usual, you can embiggen any individual photo with a simple click.

And happy birthday, Taylor.

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Is this not a perfect name?

Reiko Aylesworth, born on this day in 1972 in Evanston, Illinois, gets to carry around a pure Anglo-Saxon surname and a Japanese given name. (I have no idea what her middle name is, if she has one, but she does have an initial M in there somewhere.) To make this even better, her first stage role, in Springfield, Illinois, was as Consuelo in West Side Story. She started out on television in the daytime soap One Life to Live.

Reiko Aylesworth at the 300th episode of ER

Reiko Aylesworth not wearing a whole lot

Reiko Aylesworth not looking too comfortable

After one-shots in two incarnations of Law & Order, she won the role of CTU agent Michelle Dressler on 24.. (Her character was killed off by a car bomb at the beginning of Season 5.) Subsequently, she worked all over the place in film and TV, including 14 episodes of ER, three episodes of Lost, and seasons 3-4 of Scorpion </SCORPION>.

A fan put together five minutes of snippets because, well, she’s a fan:

Happy birthday, Reiko.



Samantha Kate Winward has been “Sammy” as long as I can remember, which isn’t very, since she’s only thirty-two. Then again, she’s been in front of one camera or another for half her life: in 2001, she signed up for the long haul on the British soap Emmerdale, a student first seen in detention with a boy she subsequently marries. Twice.

Apart from not quite a year’s worth of maternity leave, she stayed on Emmerdale until 2014, and was brutally killed off that winter in a scene with her brother-in-law, whom she’d been seeing on the side.

Sammy Winward gets horizontal-ish

Sammy Winward on the sofa

Most recently, she appeared in another ITV drama, Fearless, which ran for six episodes this year.

Sammy Winward gets somewhat less horizontal-ish

Sammy Winward, not rolling in the hay

From ITV’s talk show Loose Women (!), Sammy talks about her post-Emmerdale existence:

I can’t imagine her missing a whole lot of work, you know?

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Curry favored

In 1997, Ann Curry became the news anchor on the Today Show, a position she would hold for fourteen years. (Only Frank Blair, who started during the J. Fred Muggs era, served longer.) Oddly, it was a position previously held by Matt “Bag of Dildos” Lauer, for whom Curry was the understudy.

Ann Curry on the 60th Anniversary of the Today Show

Ann Curry fooling around with Jay Leno

Ann Curry sort of semi-formal

After the departure of Meredith Vieira in 2011, Curry took over as Today’s co-anchor, alongside Lauer. She lasted a year. She drew other assignments from NBC, but she left the network entirely in 2015.

And this is what she’s doing now:

That, and not discussing Lauer.

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Not distressed

Now and again I turn up a photo and go “Who the heck is this?” In this particular instance, this the heck is Canadian actress Serinda Swan, thirty-three, whom I’d seen exactly once before: in the music video for “So Happy” by Theory of a Deadman, back in 2008.

Like she’s at all forgettable.

Serinda Swan resplendent in red

Serinda Swan sits up

Serinda Swan as Medusa

The third photo here is Swan as Medusa, from the short-lived Marvel Cinematic Universe series Inhumans, which started out as an IMAX film, playing for two weeks in theaters before moving to ABC-TV, where it lasted eight episodes. I saw none of them, so I pulled up Wikipedia, which describes Medusa as “the wife of Black Bolt and Queen of Attilan, who has the ability to control and move her hair.”

I stared at that statement for a minute or two, then went hunting for video.

At least there weren’t any reptiles involved.

Also up Swan’s way: The Veil, a post-apocalyptic film by Brent Ryan Green, who lives down the road a piece. Shot entirely in Oklahoma, which you gotta admit is a heck of a place for all things post-apocalyptic, it spent a few days on the big screen (except in Brazil, where it was a hit) and then was squoze down to DVD size. The trailer:

Regrettably, her hair doesn’t do a thing in The Veil.

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And still she runs

Last time we looked in on Deepika Padukone, we probably spent more time than we needed to on her product endorsements. Then again, how could we have predicted that a year later, there would be a price on her head?

A Hindu nationalist politician has offered a $1.5 million bounty for the heads of a movie star and her director amid backlash over a Bollywood film that allegedly misrepresented a Hindu legend.

Suraj Pal Amu, leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, offered the reward for the beheadings of popular actress Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who worked on the movie Padmavati together.

The hotly-anticipated film has sparked controversy for depicting a forbidden romance between a Hindu queen and a Muslim ruler. It which was due to hit cinemas on 1 December, but its release has now been postponed.

The trailer for the film:

Deepika Padukone in a big chair

Deepika Padukone bares her midriff

Deepika Padukone with Bugs Bunny

Deepika Padukone stops for a cup

What’s all the fuss, you ask?

Based on a 16th century Sufi epic poem, the film tells the story of a Hindu queen who chooses to kill herself rather than be captured by a Muslim sultan. Over the centuries, the tale has come to be seen as history, even though there is little historical evidence to support it.

But a romantic dream sequence between the film’s protagonists — the queen (played by Padukone) and a Muslim invader — has caused outrage in India, with opponents claiming history is being misrepresented.

And speaking of misrepresentation:

On 24 November 2017, a dead body was found hanging in Nahargarh Fort, with a sentence scribbled on a nearby rock wall stating in Hindi, “Padmavati ka virodh” (in opposition to Padmavati). The graffiti also included a warning, “We don’t just burn effigies, we hang them.” NDTV reports, “The police say it’s not clear if this is a case of suicide or murder.” The death, initially thought to have been committed against the release of Padmavati, was later found to have been committed to bring about communal riots by turning Hindus against Muslims, by giving an impression of the murder having been committed by Muslims in support of Padmavati.

So, is this film doomed?

“Nothing and no one can stop this film,” says Deepika.

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That’s how she spelled it, originally. “Delloreese Patricia Early,” says the Official Record. At 13, she got a gig with Mahalia Jackson’s gospel group, which was a big deal for a smallish young woman from Detroit. By 1950, she’d foreshortened her name to “Della Reese,” and she took up the fine art of jazz. And in 1957, she got a fair-sized pop hit with “And That Reminds Me,” an Italian instrumental with some post-hoc English lyrics:

Amazingly, the Four Seasons covered “And That Reminds Me” in 1969, reaching (barely) the Top 50.

A very young Della Reese

Della Reese waves

Della Reese with her book Angels Along the Way

Starting around 1970, she added “actress” to her CV; she did dozens of guest shots and in 1994 signed for a lightly regarded TV series called Touched By an Angel. It was canceled after 11 episodes; tons of letters from fans got it a reprieve, and it ran for 200 more episodes.

And I can’t let this go by without “Don’t You Know,” the adaptation of “Musetta’s Waltz” from act two of Puccini’s La Bohème that became Della’s biggest hit in 1959. This salvaged-from-somewhere recording features a latter-day Duke Ellington orchestra:

“The right height for you?” Well, she was only five foot two, but she never sounded small.

She retired from performing in 2014, and died this week at 86.

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For all the milk tea in China

Zhang Zetian, twenty-four today, is the wealthiest woman in all of China, though you might not have guessed that from this early photo:

Zhang Zetian as the original Milk Tea Girl

The origin of this picture:

In 2009, Zhang Zetian was an ordinary high school student. One day, as she was leaving class, a friend snapped a photo of her with a Chinese milk tea drink in her hand, backpack slung over one shoulder. Zhang’s photo was then posted on, a popular social networking site. Complete strangers then forwarded the photo hundreds of thousands of times, proclaiming the “Milk Tea Girl” to be “adorable!” and “fresh faced!”

Zhang Zetian does a split

This is not, however, how she piled up $8 billion. That story starts in New York City in 2014, when Zhang spent a year as an exchange student at Barnard, and she met Liu Qiangdong, a fortyish entrepreneur (, China’s second-largest online retailer) who was studying at Columbia and hoping to arrange an IPO. They hit it off at once, rumors began to fly, and Liu’s IPO was successful; the following year they were wed in Sydney, Australia, and in 2016 Richard and Nancy (maybe you need an English-sounding name if you’re a Chinese billionaire) had a daughter. Their investments overlap to a certain extent, though apparently her 17 percent of Bubs, an Australian baby-food company, is through her company, not Liu’s.

Zhang Zetian crosses the ocean again

While she works diligently to promote JD’s line of luxe goods, she’d just as soon do the sneakers-and-jeans thing:

And yes, you can find her on Instagram.

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Working girl

Olga Kurylenko’s trip to the top began with a holiday in Moscow when she was 13; within three years she had modeling gigs in Paris and was supporting her mom back in Ukraine. By the time she turned 26, she was being offered small parts in film, which later blossomed into bigger parts; in 2008, three years in, she’d become a Bond girl, opposite Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace. (One of the women she beat out for the role was Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot.)

Olga Kuryenko does a fashion spread

Olga Kuryenko rests a bit

Olga Kuryenko sports some high couture

Of course you know someone who looks like this would have driven Craig Ferguson nuts:

She’s done some TV, too, notably the two-season Starz series Magic City, former Cuban night-club dancer who subsequently married a Miami Beach night-club operator. Coming up on the big screen: the third Johnny English film, a vehicle for Rowan Atkinson. And Terry Gilliam has finally wrapped The Man Who Shot Don Quixote, which first went into preproduction in 1998 (!) and which was recast several times; Kurylenko was brought into the production in 2016, opposite Jonathan Pryce’s Quixote.

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Doody calls

Irish actress Alison Doody turns 51 today. She’s never exactly been a household name, but she has had some seriously distinctive roles: as Dr. Elsa Schneider, an archaeologist from Austria with some, um, pro-German tendencies in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; as the youngest Bond girl (18) ever in A View to a Kill; and as an investigator in We Still Kill the Old Way.

Alison Doody takes a seat

Alison Doody gets casual

Alison Doody gets seriously uncasual

Apparently that’s the same dress in the first and third pictures.

The chemistry between Indy and Dr. Schneider was, um, not exactly organic:

Next Doody project: S. A. Halewood’s dystopian thriller Division 19.

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Neither six nor ten

About the time Linet Munyali (born 4 August 1987, Nairobi) started singing professionally, circa 2008, she took the name “Size 8.” And that name works for me: I know exactly two Kenyan women, and neither of them wears size 8. Her first single was “Shamba Boy”:

Traditionally, the shamba boy is irresistible, the old-style alpha male:

[W]hen you have a white-collar man who can barely fix the kitchen bulb and Mr Shamba Boy can uproot a tree with his bare hands, it is not very hard to see why he gets the perfumed girl in the end.

Size 8 stands tall

Size 8 close up

Size 8 on stage

In 2013, she announced that she had been born again, and began singing gospel songs, of which “Mateke” was the first:

Also in 2013, she was married to Samwel Muraya, better known as DJ Mo. Their daughter Ladasha — spelled without punctuation marks, thank you very much — is coming up on her second birthday.

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