Archive for Rule 5

No carping

In 2014, 17-year-old Rena Takeda did a photobook called Carp Girl, and the juxtaposition of those two words didn’t quite induce a spit take, but came close enough for me to wonder about the phrase. And it goes like this:

Japan has 12 professional baseball teams. There is a team that placed in the high ranks of NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball) for the first time in 16 years. That is Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Since it is low salary team, they cannot keep the players who declared FA (free agent) in the team. However, people in Hiroshima love Carp. Thanks to their fundraising, it has recovered from team continuation crisis.

In recent years, this team gets new fans. Japanese professional baseball mainly has male fans, and it is natural that citizens support their local team. Originally, there has been a culture that female Carp supporters are called “Carp-girls”. However, “today” Carp-girls means that women with any relation cheer Carp, which is the biggest feature that “Carp-girls” are now interested.

And it would have been nice to catch some photos of Rena doing some, um, Carping, but she was only seventeen, and there are times when I think the Japanese really prefer women in their twenties who look seventeen. So no pix in uniform. Then again:

Rena Takeda with a fan

Rena Takeda on the cover

Rena Takeda sitting around in her underwear

In the 1980s, when I was fooling around with laserdiscs, I acquired a few examples of Japanese sub-erotica, in which the camera lingers lovingly over the body without ever showing you anything even close to being R-rated, to the accompaniment of something vaguely like smooth jazz. Apparently nothing much has changed over the years:

Rena’s first acting job, in 2015, was in a film with the wondrous title Assassination Classroom, successful enough to warrant the production of a sequel.

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Little jewel

Papa John Phillips, known as such by dint of being one of the Mamas and the Papas — to my knowledge, he’s never been in the pizza business — sired five children, of which Bijou Phillips, who turned 39 yesterday, is the youngest. She’s been described as a “wild child,” probably because she quit school at 14 and moved into a Manhattan apartment. She had a brief career as a model, which she apparently didn’t like, and in 1999, at nineteen, she cut an album, I’d Rather Eat Glass.

Bijou Phillips gives you That Look

Bijou Phillips semi-formal

Bijou Phillips dresses down

She sustained an acting career for better than a decade; after a brief stint on Fox’s Raising Hope, she reported that she was going to devote herself to her family and her health. She and Danny Masterson — they were wed in 2011 — have a five-year-old daughter; in 2017, she had a kidney transplant, presumably not because of eating glass.

And from that one album, this was the single, “Wnen I Hated Him (Don’t Tell Me),” which did not chart:

Phillips has co-writer credits on 11 of the 12 songs, including this one, and wrote the last one herself.

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And the wild waters flow

We’re walking in downtown Oklahoma City, and we pause for a moment. “This,” I intoned in the manner of a tour guide who takes himself too seriously, “is Kerr Park, named for Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr.”

“No it isn’t,” came the reply.

Okay, so that scheme wouldn’t have worked. And actually, I know less about Miranda Kerr than I do about some other supermodels, not that this is a particularly high bar.

Australia’s Dolly magazine, a publication for teenage girls, used to have a modeling competition every year, and Miranda won in 1997. The resulting photoshoot was relatively modest, appropriate for a girl who didn’t turn 14 until after its publication, but apparently some people thought it excessively sexy. Said Miranda later:

“In the media at the time they were trying to cling on to anything remotely to do with paedophilia. Dolly is a magazine for teenage girls, not for old men. And I was fully clothed! Doing a winter shoot! They just made something out of nothing.”

Miranda Kerr deploys a lot of leg

Miranda Kerr displays a peace sign

Miranda Kerr disguised as a nerd

Photographer Russell James, on her appeal as a model:

We love her because she has the most incredible girl-next-door look and she’s also insanely beautiful. It means women are not intimidated by her looks and guys think they might be able to talk to her. It’s a fantastic combination … people want to be around her; she’s fun on a shoot … and she’s not stupid, which can be a very annoying trait among some models.

Herewith, a bit of banter with Craig Ferguson:

The guy definitely thought he could talk to her.

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Look for the Union label

Things I did not know about Gabrielle Union:

  • She had a small role in Season 6 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as a Klingon.
  • In the 2005 indie film Neo Ned, she played a mental patient who thought she was the reincarnation of Hitler.
  • In 2012, she for some reason drew the attention of TSA agents, who gave her weave a pat-down.

Gabrielle Union in a short dress

Gabrielle Union in an LBD

Gabrielle Union at America's Got Talent

And apparently her anatomy is even more extraordinary than I imagined:

She has said that when she was a girl, she believed that she couldn’t possibly be beautiful because she wasn’t a blonde. Obviously she was wrong.

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Looking at San Fran Nan

I had to think about this for a moment or three: still-decent curvature and nice legs, versus “She’s pushing eighty!” The decision: yeah, all of those are true, and so what? And so we have some recent photos of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, 78 years old and nowhere near retirement.

Nancy Pelosi resplendent in red

Nancy Pelosi visits SiriusXM

Oh, that bit about Nancy as Miss Lube Rack back in the Fifties? It ain’t necessarily so.

Nancy Pelosi resplendent in red on CNN

Nancy Pelosi in burnt orange

This two-minute clip, as of this writing, has 83 upvotes and 82 downvotes. Now there’s a delicate balance:

And I am bound to respect anyone who can give a speech for eight whole hours.

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Where are the Snowdons of yesteryear?

Lisa Snowdon is still around, as fashion models and TV presenters always seem to be. It’s perhaps worth noting that her parents spelled that surname “Snawdon,” with an A; she changed it when she signed with a modeling agency. She hadn’t planned on being a model, but she apparently decided it was better than pole-dancing.

Lisa Snowdon rides that train

Her first television job was on MTV UK; she went on to several medium-profile gigs, including Sir David Frost’s sidekick on Through the Keyhole, and the host of Britain’s Next Top Model.

Lisa Snowdon shaves her legs, presumably not with Guinness

Presumably unrelated to her work, in 2010 she contracted viral meningitis, and after recovering became a fundraiser for research into the disease.

Does this guy have the best job in the world, or what?

Of course, it takes two to tango:

She and her partner finished third on that season of Strictly Come Dancing.

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Whatever will Bea

Aisling Bea scares me. She’s thirty-five (today, actually) and she’s funny and she’s beautiful and she talks very fast and I know I’d be sitting in the audience utterly rapt and I’d be the one person in the crowd she’d never, ever see. Of course, she’s spent half her life on stage and in front of the camera learning every possible way to frighten the likes of me, though that was never what she had intended.

Aisling Bea goes beyond mere sidesaddle

She studied French and philosophy at Trinity College in Dublin. I know of no better way to prepare oneself for doing stand-up comedy.

Aisling Bea takes up the whole damned couch

There’s always room for her on a panel show, be it 8 Out of 10 Cats or Insert Name Here or Duck Quacks Don’t Echo or Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Aisling Bea a-wearin' o' the green

And she’s likely to say something like this:

When she was three, her father took his own life. In 2017, this is how she responded:

I’m sad you killed yourself, because I really think that, if you could see the life you left behind, you would regret it. You didn’t get to see the Berlin wall fall or Ireland qualify for Italia 90. You didn’t get to see all the encyclopedias that you bought for us to one day “use at university” get squashed into a CD and subsequently the internet. You have never got to hear your younger daughter’s voice — it annoys me sometimes, but it has also said some of the most amazing things when drunk. I think you would have been proud to watch your daughter do standup at the O2 and sad to see my mother watching it on her own. Then again, if you hadn’t died, I probably wouldn’t have been mad enough to become a clown for a living. I am your daughter and I am really fucking funny, just like you. But, unlike you, I’m going to stop being it for five minutes and write our story in the hope that it may help someone who didn’t get to have a box turn up, or who may not feel “in their right mind” right now and needs a reminder to find hope.

As do we all, now and then.

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Double X

Let us dial back to the beginning of Kyle XY, a SF-ish series that ran on ABC Family (now Freeform) starting in 2006. Kyle, as the letters might suggest, is identified as a teenaged boy, who lacks a navel or any memory of where he came from. It seems only fair that there be an XX, and in season two, we met Jessi, a girl with a background similar to Kyle’s, and behold, there’s the obligatory love interest. Jessi was played by Jaimie Alexander, who does indeed appear to be sporting XX chromosomes:

Jaimie Alexander at the 2016 Golden Globes

After Kyle XY ran its course, Alexander materialized as Sif, companion to Thor in a couple of live-action films from the ever-popular Marvel Universe.

Jaimie Alexander showing a bit of leg

On the set of Thor: The Dark World, Alexander took a spill off a metal staircase and missed a month of filming.

Jaimie Alexander draws an interview

While shooting the NBC-TV series Blindspot, playing an amnesiac found wandering around Times Square, she suffered many more injuries, including:

Although she might have been hurt worse by London Fields, which — well, let the Wikipedant tell you:

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $168,575 in the United States from 613 theaters with a per-screen average of $261, becoming the second worst US box office opening for a wide release film of all time.

I wouldn’t pester the production company for a sequel. However, you may, and perhaps should, wish Jaimie Alexander a happy 35th birthday.

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Way ahead of third

Once again, we take our lead from Brian J.:

[WSIE] recently introduced me to Cindy Bradley who sounds a little like later Herb Alpert. She might be the second prettiest trumpeter in the world.

There was no way I was going to let that go by unnoticed:

In other news, Dubai has a jazz festival.

Cindy Bradley plays it loud

Born near Buffalo in 1977, she first studied the piano, but they weren’t teaching piano in grade-school music classes, so she picked up the trumpet.

Cindy Bradley is ready to go

And today, when she’s not recording or touring, she’s teaching band to students in New Jersey.

Cindy Bradley in portrait mode

“Massive Transit” is from her 2011 album Unscripted.

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Two-track mind

I don’t do much with Tumblr these days, mostly because all the nudists were kicked off, but once in a while I find something that addresses the needs of this site, which is why you’re getting a link to “crazy about legs”. As is the case for most of us who spend too much time checking out hemlines, our anonymous blogger has his favorites, and some of them are perhaps a little more obvious than others. There’s lots of Selena Gomez and Chloe Grace Moretz, but scarcely a day goes by that he doesn’t toss up a Taylor Swift pic. Shortly after this dawned on me, I scrolled back three pages, and each page had at least one photo of Tay-Tay. This, I decided, means something, and these were the three, as snagged last night:

Taylor Swift in next to nothing

Taylor Swift lugging awards around

Taylor Swift and squad

The squad member in that third shot is model Karlie Kloss.

Oh, and Taylor is on the cover of the UK edition of Elle (April ’19). Inside, she’s talking about writing songs:

The fun challenge of writing a pop song is squeezing those evocative details into the catchiest melodic cadence you can possibly think of. I thrive on the challenge of sprinkling personal mementos and shreds of reality into a genre of music that is universally known for being, well, universal. You’d think that as pop writers, we’re supposed to be writing songs that everyone can sing along to, so you’d assume they would have to be pretty lyrically generic … AND YET the ones I think cut through the most are actually the most detailed, and I don’t mean in a Shakespearean sonnet type of way, although I love Shakespeare as much as the next girl. Obviously. (See “Love Story,” 2009.)

And if lately she seems deliberately anti-melodic at times, well, look what you made her do. Meanwhile, here’s “Love Story,” set in Verona High School, or some such place:

I need to go through the Swift directory and check for duplicates. Out of 518 items, there almost has to be a few of them.

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At least sort of cute

There are sites where kindly folk like myself will attempt to answer your questions, and it’s disheartening to discover that the majority of those questions boil down to “I did this. How do I escape the consequences?”

Then there was one question I stumbled upon that I wasn’t even close to expecting: “Who is the most beautiful woman in the world?” I decided that the first name I encountered would go into this very slot, and that is why you’re seeing photos of H’Hen Niê, who won Miss Universe Vietnam 2017, and went on to Miss Universe 2018, where she made the semifinals.

H'Hen Niê looking regal

H'Hen Niê staying informed

H'Hen Niê showing some skin

Much was made of her being one of the Rade people of southern Vietnam and northern Cambodia. The Rade are matrilineal: the female line determines descent, and women are the owners of family property.

A brief bio, and some more pictures:

And I fished this out of her Twitter timeline:

“92,” I infer, is her year of birth.

And, said the person on Quora who sang her praises:

[S]he was undoubtedly the most impressive and bravest contestant in the Miss Universe pageant this year. She is compassionate, kind, fierce, courageous, beautiful and inspiring to women all around the world.

I think when you’re a beauty queen, they have to talk about you like that.

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Down to earth

Early in 3rd Rock from the Sun, the results of a competition:

Dick: Sally, I want you to observe her, find out what women on this planet do.

Sally: Why can’t Harry do it?

Dick: Because you’re the woman.

Sally: That brings up a very good question: why am I the woman?

Dick: Because you lost.

And so the pseudonymous “Sally Solomon,” a highly trained, decorated, combat specialist and military tactician, became, for purposes of this mission, a woman. And she didn’t much care for it — at first.

Kristen Johnston, an accomplished stage actress, really wanted that part on 3rd Rock, and won two Emmy Awards for her six seasons of work.

Kristen Johnston on the red carpet

She has worked steadily since, most recently in the CBS sitcom Mom.

Kristen Johnston for satellite radio

This latter shot perhaps needs some explanation. Around 1988, still a struggling starlet, so to speak, Johnston did a fashion shoot for Los Angeles magazine; I don’t quite remember what the concept was supposed to have been, but there she is without her head, and still better-looking than, say, Celty Sturluson.

Kristen Johnston from the neck down

In this clip, she explains her role in Mom:

Yeah, she’s put on a few kilograms. She used to drink heavily, but quit; she’s been fighting lupus for the last five years. Life can be like that sometimes.

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Racked with indecision

I think we can safely say that Meg Myles knew what she had and knew how to use it.

Meg Myles on the edge of her seat

Meg Myles with a broken bat

Meg Myles in fishnets

Meg’s Wikipedia page neglects to mention that she recorded three LPs, one of which contains “Phenix City Blues,” which she sang in the 1955 film The Phenix City Story:

She’s long since retired, but she’s still around at age 84.

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Tuck almost everlasting

Today Jessica Tuck is fifty-six, and she has enough screen credits, big screen or small, to make you wonder how she ever had time to do all that. To pick three not entirely at random: Megan Gordon Harrison, One Life to Live (1988-93, plus ghost guest appearances afterward); Gillian Gray, Judging Amy (1999-2005); Nan Flanagan, True Blood (2008-2011).

Jessica Tuck in a dark corner

Jessica Tuck near but not on the red carpet

Jessica Tuck charms a snake

From deepest 1988, here’s Jessica Tuck in Video Girlfriend, a very short short from 1988:

As Eighties stuff goes, you can’t get a whole lot Eightier than that.

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Knowing when to leave

“The smartest thing anyone can learn,” asserted Burt Bacharach.

With that in mind, let’s look at German tennis pro Annika Beck, born on this day in 1994.

Annika Beck in action

Her professional debut in 2009 was not auspicious, but by 2012 she’d climbed into the list of ranked players, and occasionally she’d make the main draw at a tournament without having to go through a qualifying round. She finished the year near the bottom of the Top 100.

Annika Beck in inaction

She won her first WTA title in 2014, her second the following year. But 2016 was not a particularly good year for Beck, and she began thinking about her next career, which, she decided, would be in the field of medicine.

Annika Beck and friend on the red carpet

Her [translated] announcement on Twitter:

In the Championships at Wimbledon in 2015, she defeated Heather Watson in the first round:

She was still enthusiastic about the game in 2015; three years later, she was gone. Perhaps she knew when to leave.

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Browning evenly

Logan Browning, twenty-nine, has been a working actor for half her life, getting started in Summerland (2004) and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide (2005) on Nickelodeon.

Logan Browning at the Do Something Awards

Browning did 106 episodes of Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, taking over the role of Brianna Ortiz at the beginning of the second season.

Logan Browning in the spotlight

Her major gig these days has been in the Netflix series Dear White People, in which she plays, um, Samantha White.

Logan Browning in the window

And, she says, female villains need to be something more than just mean girls:

More Browning? Netflix has Richard Shepard’s thriller The Perfection (2018).

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Not even slightly wasted

I suspect relatively few rhythmic gymnasts from the city that used to be Leningrad wound up completing high school in Secaucus, New Jersey. Margarita Levieva, who did exactly that, wound up with a degree in economics from NYU and the urge to act; at twenty-five, she was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in New York by New York magazine, and started getting small roles.

Margarita Levieva smiles

If you kept up with the ABC-TV drama Revenge, you’ll remember a character named Emily Thorne. If your next observation is “Wasn’t that Emily VanCamp?” the answer is kinda sorta: “Emily Thorne” turned out to be a vengeful-minded woman named Amanda Clarke; her cellmate in juvie was, um, the real Emily Thorne, played by Margarita Levieva, and now I’m more confused than I was when the series aired.

Margarita Levieva, not quite gone with the wind

Levieva’s most recent project is HBO’s The Deuce, which begins its third and final season later this year; she plays a college student who drifts into activism — and into a relationship with an entrepreneur in the porn business.

Margarita Levieva sort of gardening

In this clip (with fairly terrible audio), she talks about her early days:

She’s thirty-nine today.

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Together forever

It’s hard to imagine anyone in show business who had worse managers than Daisy and Violet Hilton, born on this day in 1908 in England and always sold as a package deal.

The Hilton Sisters in a publicity photo

The sisters were fused at the pelvis and shared the circulatory system, but had their own organs. Separation was considered, but ruled out as possibly fatal.

The Hilton Sisters by the sea

They weren’t technically Hiltons: Kate Skinner, their mother, basically sold them to her boss, Mary Hilton, who took over their training and their exploitation until her death in 1926, when they were handed over to Hilton’s daughter.

The Hilton Sisters meet a couple of guys

Their last semi-decent gig was in Tod Browning’s Freaks in 1932; a second film, Chained for Life (1951) gave them some work in their later years, playing drive-in theaters.

In 1960, following a show in Charlotte, their last manager abandoned them; they spent the rest of their days working in a grocery store. In 1969, a strain of the Hong Kong flu killed them — about three days apart.

Leslie Zemeckis’ 2012 documentary Bound by Flesh tells the girls’ story:

And in case you were wondering, their fingerprints were different.

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Nothing to get hung about

Like perhaps too many Bond girls, Strawberry Fields, played by Gemma Arterton, comes to an unfortunate end. Still, it’s part of the gig, and Quantum of Solace was Arterton’s breakout role, though I have to wonder if maybe it got her typecast early on as Woman To Be Tortured: in The Disappearance of Alice Creed, her titular character is abducted by a couple of sadists and treated just as cruelly as possible without risking an X certificate for the film. She joked later that the film crew kept the ball gag around in case she got overly chatty.

Gemma Arterton takes a seat

Gemma Arterton stretches out

Gemma Arterton gives you That Look

In general, Gemma Arterton comes off as someone to whom Things Happen; when she was born, thirty-three years ago today, it was discovered that she had inherited the family tendency to polydactylism:

In 2018, Arterton starred as Vita Sackville-West in Vita and Virginia, with Elizabeth Debicki as Virginia Woolf. I’m guessing no torture was involved.

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Gangtai style

“Gangtai” is a subset of Chinese pop music, romantic rather than revolutionary, not allowed on the mainland until the middle 1970s, though it flourished in Taiwan and Hong Kong before Beijing decided to let it come across. One of the first actual hits from gangtai was “The Moon Represents My Heart,” sung by several but not truly iconic until Teresa Tang recorded it in 1977.

Teng, born in Taiwan in 1953, got her first record deal at fifteen; five years later, she managed to crack the Japanese market, and recorded material in Cantonese and Mandarin in the expectation that she could do the same in China.

Teresa Teng on stage in the early days

Teresa Teng's Greatest Hits

Teresa Teng's dazzling smile

Beijing decided shortly thereafter that this bourgeois love-song stuff was incompatible with the revolution after all. Red China, however, was not prepared for the black market, and the ban didn’t last long. Unfortunately, neither did Teresa Teng; while on holiday in Thailand in 1995, she suffered a severe asthma attack and died.

“The Moon Represents My Heart” remains a popular-music icon today, covered by famous Pacific Rim singers like, um, Jon Bon Jovi.

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Still waters

“Mortimer,” says Behind the Name, is “derived from a place name meaning ‘still water’ in Old French.” And frankly, I like that better than the more obvious “dead sea.”

Anyway, it’s time we met English actress Emily Mortimer, who in twenty-five years (she’s 47) has rolled up enough credits to suggest that she runs deep, as still waters are believed to do; she’s appeared as a regular in an Aaron Sorkin series (The Newsroom), Inspector Clouseau’s love interest in the 2006 reboot of The Pink Panther, and voice-actor roles as diverse as Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle (as young Sophie) and Cars 2 (as Holley Shiftwell).

Emily Mortimer as the hard-line boss on The Newsroom

Emily Mortimer up front at a 2013 fashion show

Emily Mortimer in Rio I Love You

In this clip, she explains to James Corden why you should not Google yourself:

For the record, I didn’t get the same results looking her up.

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Hardy perennial

Piper Laurie is 87 today, and, per her Wikipedia page, still acting; she had a role in the 2018 film White Boy Rick as the grandmother of a teenaged FBI informant, not quite an inversion of her 1950 role as Spring Byington’s daughter. (Her brother was played by Ronald Reagan, whom Laurie dated briefly.)

Piper Laurie in a 1950s bullet bra

Piper Laurie, dressed to kill

Piper Laurie with a mysterious trinket

Piper Laurie in a swimsuit

Laurie was nominated for three Academy Awards: as Fast Eddie’s ill-fated girlfriend in The Hustler, as the estranged mother of a deaf woman in Children of a Lesser God, and the pious-to-a-fault mother of a girl with telekinetic powers in Carrie. Here, she discusses the latter role:

If all those roles seem a tad off plumb, you need to go binge-watch the original Twin Peaks, in which she played Catherine Martell, mostly-estranged husband of a lumberjack; she runs a sawmill, and there’s a plot to burn that mill down.

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Zooeypalooza 26!

She’s thirty-nine this week, and we’ve done twenty-six of these. Go figure.

Zooeypalooza 26!

Where there be clicks, there be embiggenment.

Previous Paloozas: ZP 1, ZP 2, ZP 3, ZP 4, ZP 5, ZP 6, ZP 7, ZP 8, ZP 9, ZP 10, ZP 11, ZP 12, ZP 13, ZP 14, ZP 15, ZP 16, ZP 17, ZP 18, ZP 19, ZP 20, ZP 21, ZP 22, ZP 23, ZP 24; ZP 25.

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The Kobayashi Maru, sir

With those words, interior designer Kirstie Alley became Lt. Saavik on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, arguably the best of the Trek films with the, um, original cast. And I figure that after dealing with intergalactic horndog James T. Kirk, Beantown horndog Sam Malone must have been a cinch.

Kirstie Alley as Lt Saavik

Kirstie Alley on the stairs

Kirstie Alley curls up on the chaise

Come to think of it, how did our beloved Backseat Becky deal with Sam?


(Kirstie’s 68th birthday is today.)

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Salmon coquette

In 1999, Zöe Salmon was named Miss Northern Ireland; she was the last winner under the old rules, in which she’d go on to the Miss United Kingdom competition. (Starting in 2000, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales send representatives to Miss World, and the one who places highest is given the Miss United Kingdom title. I never could figure out these beauty pageants.) She has a law degree from Queen’s University in Belfast, so naturally she wound up as a host on a kids’ show.

Zoe Salmon wears a tiara

Zoe Salmon wears a swimsuit

Zoe Salmon on the almost-red carpet

Salmon served as a presenter on Blue Peter for three and a half years, departing in mid-2008. In the decade since, she’s appeared on a dizzying variety of television programs, including Al Murray’s Compete for the Meat, a 2011 game show on the Dave network in which contestants compete for, well, meat.

And here, she gears up for a dip into a not-even-slightly-warm pool:

I am told that these were outtakes from Blue Peter. Wow.

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Carrie on and on

Carrie Ann Inaba was one of the original Fly Girls on the In Living Color series, appearing in the first three seasons. (Which means that for one season she was dancing alongside Jennifer Lopez, but let that pass.) This was the first place we saw her, but we might have heard her before that, if we were Japanese record buyers, which, alas, we aren’t. She recorded a handful of singles in the late 1980s, the most popular of which was “Party Girl,” before returning to the States.

The Fly Girls from In Living Color

Carrie Ann Inaba grabs a last-minute snack

Carrie Ann Inaba on the unred carpet

Inaba and Diane Mizola played twin sisters Fook Yu and Fook Mi (subtle!) in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002). She was the lead choreographer for the Miss America pageant for five years. And as of this week, she’s a permanent member of the panel on the CBS series The Talk:

That empty chair had belonged to Julie Chen.

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It’s Yoon in Yanuary

I have always assumed that, in this country anyway, the fawning over a New Year’s baby serves mostly as consolation for not having a December birth and the personal exemption for the whole previous year. This may or may not be a fluke of our tax system. I am pretty sure, however, that no one gets anything for being born on the second of January.

With that in mind, say hello to Yoon Se-ah, born 2 January 1978 in South Korea, a working actor for the last 14 years or so, doing lots of television and the occasional film. These aren’t exactly prestige productions, I’m guessing: one’s expectations for a film called Funny Neighbors (2011) or a TV series with the title The King of Head-Butts (2006) tend to be on the modest side.

Yoon Se-ah before she turned thirty

Yoon Se-ah, about the time of A Gentleman's Dignity

Yoon Se-ah in a photoshoot for Marie Claire Korea

Yoon Se-ah doing that fashion-plate thing

She is, as it turns out, fun to watch. From early 2018, a scene from the TV series Good Witch:

No scenery goes unchewed.

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A meme unto herself

“Hello, Fourteenth District. You’ve just elected a callow youth to the House of Representatives. How do you feel?”

I suspect they feel just fine. If nothing else, people will now know the district exists, because said Representative has a knack for gathering headlines:

Nothing is built in America these days.  I just bought a T.V. and it said Built In Antenna.  I don't even know where the hell that is

I doubt Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ever actually said that, but I have no doubt she’s capable of coming up with stuff on that level; her ability to troll the press is second only to that of Individual-1. And while I generally can’t abide her politics, I have yet to find a reason to find her dislikable. Maybe that’s just me.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on stage

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the waiting room

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a question

As I’ve noted before, there will always be a demand for photogenic socialists.

And here she is, seven years ago, speaking on greatness and how it is achieved:

If nothing else, this speech demonstrates that she didn’t just assume a persona for public consumption.

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Now go over there and lie down

If at times our relationship with Turkey seems a bit muddled, at least some of it has to do with our traditional American insularlty: often, we can’t be bothered to find out what’s happening on the street. I didn’t do such a hot job of it when I was actually there, though I can pass off “security” as a reasonable excuse.

I wasn’t there when Makbule Hande Özyener was born in 1973. (Got there about 14 months later.) Of course, I had no way of knowing that she was destined to be a pop star. In 2000 she released her first album, Senden İbaret, from which “Yalanın Batsın” (“you lie down”) was the lead single, heard here in a clip from a TV show:

Senden İbaret moved about three-quarter of a million copies, and Hande Yener, her newly shortened name, was on her way. She continued to make serious chart noise until about 2007, when she abruptly turned to purely electronic sounds. Perhaps anticipating the response, she titled her 2007 album Nasıl Delirdim? “When did I go crazy,” indeed.

Hande Yener shakes it off

Hande Yener takes a seat and a drink

Hande Yener on stage

Some received the new style well; others turned on Yener after singer Serdar Ortaç somehow incurred her wrath. Said Yener:

“I’m not making music only for commercial purposes and I don’t make a music that can’t be understood. Every time one of his albums are released, he keeps talking about me in his interviews. I don’t want to be compared to those who make ‘grocery music’.”

This sounded even more pretentious than it was, and Ortaç shot back:

“If I’m making grocery music I’m proud of it. Grocery is a music genre that appeals to every corner of the society.”

The feud eventually played itself out, and after one more album of electronica to fulfill her record contract, she signed with another label, only to find herself at odds with the label’s management. Lawsuits ensued.

And Hande Yener’s life is still turbulent; now considered a gay icon, and a friend, or perhaps an enemy, of the ruling AKP party, her image now seems protean. If you say this sounds kind of like Madonna, she’ll probably smile.

The current single, her first in English, is called “Love Always Wins.”

Sounds a little Madonnaesque, now that I think about it.

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Where no one has gone before

Agnes Milowka would have been thirty-seven tomorrow.

Born in Poland in 1981, she wound up with several university degrees, although the one perhaps most pertinent was her 2007 degree in Maritime Archaeology from Flinders University in South Australia. Underwater photography was a specialty, although she might have told you that getting there is more than half the fun. National Geographic once brought her to the Bahamas, where she served as an underwater grip and as a photographer.

Agnes Milowka overlooking a series of caves

Agnes Milowka at cliffside

Agnes Milowka on dry land

Here, she tackles a cave in north Florida:

James Cameron was the executive producer for Sanctum, which opened the first week of February 2011, and which contains this scene:

While exploring the entrance to the new system, Judes (Allison Cratchley) experiences a problem with her air tank hose. She loses use of her air mask forcing Frank (Richard Rosburgh) to buddy breathe. After a few exchanges, Judes panics and tries to keep the mask on, but Frank forces the mask off of her knowing he will not have enough air otherwise to make it back to the team.

Shades of The Cold Equations! But that’s not Cratchley you see drowning: that’s Agnes Milowka, hired by the production company as a stunt diver. Some scenes were filmed near Mount Gambier, in South Australia, and one of the caves along the coast proved to be her undoing:

Agnes Milowka, 29, from Melbourne, failed to return from a dive in Tank Cave, near Mount Gambier, on 27 February.

According to Australian press reports, Milowka entered the 8km-long cave system, one of Australia’s largest and most complex, with a buddy.

She got into difficulty after parting company to explore a tight constriction which necessitated going solo, a common practice amongst cave divers.

Searching divers located her body the next day, in a small space some 600m into the cave system.

“There is no greater feeling in the world,” she had said, “than finding a passage that no one ever in the history of the world has seen before.”

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