Monday, November 12, 2012

Wait... haven't I seen that before?

So I went to see Skyfall this weekend (yep, it lives up to the hype) and there were a gazillion trailers. In fact, for the FNDG crowd readers out there, my guess would've been "a gazillion" — and I woulda won.

As usual, I can't remember all the trailers but a select few.

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters — not because I'm panting with anticipation to see what looks to be a fairly ludicrous movie, but because I just couldn't bring myself to totally write it off. I mean, you've got Hawkeye/Aaron Cross himself playing Hansel and wielding some wicked cool weaponry. Also, Gemma Arterton looks eerily like Jennifer Garner from the bygone Alias days, which is not a bad thing.

 A Good Day to Die Hard looks to be right up my wisecracking alley. I'm pretty much always game to spend a couple of hours with Bruce Willis — even if he's shooting helicopters with taxicabs and taking down fighter jets with semi-trucks — he just never fails to entertain me (except maybe when he's in some incomprehensible, trying-too-hard indy flick wearing shorts the whole time, then not so much). You know, just because the line is obvious doesn't mean it's not funny.
Iron Man 3, which I hear it is to Iron Man 2 what Ocean's 13 was to Ocean's 12, except more so. We can only hope. Also, it's written and directed by Shane Black, who wrote the first Lethal Weapon and the story for Lethal Weapon 2. Remember when Riggs destroyed the bad guy's house on stilts by dragging the legs out from under it with a tow rope and his pickup truck? It's amazing what a couple of decades and a bigger budget can do... this time it's the good guy's gorgeous (and, sadly, completely imaginary) Malibu aerie that bites the bullet — or as the case may be, bites an RPG — and goes crashing gloriously and with conviction down the cliff.

Not surprisingly, both demolition derbies benefit from action rather than still photography:
(for the far more impressive Lethal Weapon 2 video clip, go here)

(this too is waaaaay more impressive in action —watch it here)

And really, that's what I walked away with after sitting through a gazillion trailers — Shane Black liked knocking a house down a cliff so much the first time, he's doing it again.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I'll take famous fathers for $200, Alex

Famous Fathers for $200: “Robin, Stefan, and Stella”
What are… famous kids with famous parents?

(photo from McCartney Fanclub)
  • R&B star Robin Thicke is the son of Alan Thicke — you might remember him from that ground-breaking TV show “Growing Pains.”
  • We have Stefan Kendal, legendary music producer Berry Gordon's son, to thank (or blame, depending) for the incessant chant "party in the house tonight" we've been hearing for over a year. Along with his son, Skyler Austen, he started that band LMFAO.
  • Isn't there a saying about fashion and rock 'n roll? Hugely successful British designer Stella McCartney just happens to be the daughter of a member of a hugely successful British band, the Beatles' Paul McCartney.

Famous Fathers for $400: “Angelina, Sofia, and Anjelica”
What are… Oscar winning kids with Oscar winning parents?

(photo from E Online)
  • Angelina Jolie won the Oscar for Best Actress for “Girl Interrupted” in 2000. Her father, Jon Voight, won the award in 1979 for Best Actor in the film “Coming Home.” Hard to say which one was better looking when they picked up the award.
  • Sofia Coppola won an Oscar for her screenplay “Lost in Translation” in 2004. Her father, Francis Ford Coppola, has won five Oscars, including Best Director, Screenplay and Picture for “The Godfather: Part II” in 1975. Neither of them won any Oscars for "The Godfather: Part III."
  • Anjelica Huston, who won the Best Actress award in 1986 for her phenomenal work in “Prizzi’s Honor,” gets Double, make that Triple, Bingo. Not only did her father, John Huston, win Best Screenplay and Best Director for "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" in 1949, but...
    Bingo #2: Anjelica is the only Oscar winner who is the grandchild of another Oscar winner. Her grandfather, Walter Huston won Best Actor in 1949 for “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” the same movie for which his father won those aforementioned two Oscars. (For all you yahoos out there who think the quote "badges? we don't need no stinkin' badges!" comes from "Three Amigos" — please watch "Treasure of the Sierra Madre," then get back to me.)
    Bingo #3: John Huston directed both his parent and his child to (in?) Oscar-winning performances; and he did it in two different movies, almost 40 years apart.
Famous Fathers for $600: “Ken, Mohammed, and Yannick”
What are… famous athletes with famous athletes for sons?

(photo from MLBlogs)
  • World Series winner Ken Griffey and record-setting Ken Griffey, Jr. are the only father-son baseball duo to have played Major League Baseball at the same time (in 1989), on the same MLB team (in 1990) and the only pair to have to have hit back-to-back home runs in a game.
  • Laila Ali knocked out her opponent in her first match in just 31 seconds — I guess she was learning about the butterflies and the bees from her dad, Mohammed Ali, when the rest of us were still on the birds and the bees.
  • French Open champ Yannick Noah was the first Frenchman to win the French Open in 37 years when he triumphed at Garros in 1983. His son Joakim apparently prefers red balls to red courts — after helping his college team win two consecutive NCAA Championships, he was drafted into the NBA. Not too shabby.
Famous Fathers for $800: “Martha, Emma and Rashida”
What are… famous fathers that might surprise you?

(photo from Fanpop)
  • The Carradines are the new Barrymores? Martha Plimpton, from “Raising Hope,” among other things is the daughter of Oscar-winning actor Keith Carradine, who, among other things, played the Sheriff in last year’s “Cowboys and Aliens.”
  • Music legend Quincy Jones actress Rashida Jones' father (she of “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” fame). As if that weren't enough, Rashida’s mother is Peggy Lipton, the uber-cool 70s chick who starred in “The Mod Squad.”
  • Emma Roberts (if you're over 35, that name may not mean much, but it will) has not only a famous aunt (Julia Roberts), her dad is Eric Roberts (remember “Star 80”? With Mariel Hemingway? Thought so.) I'm assuming you already know Julia and Eric are siblings.

Okay, is it just me, or does it seem as though famous fathers have a thing for girls' names ending in "A"? I mean, c'mon — AngelinA, EmmA, RashidA, AnjelicA, MarthA, SofiA, StellA? And I didn't even try to do that.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Oh, this old piece of geometry? Yeah, I own it.

Granted, I am not an intellectual property attorney, I'd rather see than be one, and I have never played one on TV.

Nonetheless, allow me to weigh in on the new patent Apple was just awarded — for the shape of the Macbook Air. That's right, Apple patented the wedge (known in some circles as... the triangle).

It appears that, for right now anyway, Apple's patent is limited to "ultrabooks," but with the ferocity that company's been showing recently in its pursuit of patent primacy, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that infringement warnings are to be served imminently on Renee Pascal, Bermuda, Pythagoras, traffic warning signs, and hapless first graders banging away in music classes everywhere.

You know, I seem to recall Smucker's attempt to patent the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Granted it was some horrible frozen round version (called an "uncrustable" of all names) of the classic, but at the end of the day, it was just a ravioli version of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — so sayeth the Grand Poohbah Patent Examiner and so affirmed the all-mighty appeals court. Patent denied.

Because you can't patent PB&J, and I bet you can't patent ye olde right triangle either. But what do I know? I'm just a writer.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Try to remember

So, I don't know who Nat Gertler is, and I can't get to his (her?) page on Facebook (if you can, don't hold it against me — I have it on good authority I'm technologically cursed).

I'm reasonably confident, however, that she (he?) is responsible for this little goody about the late, great Kathryn Joosten, which, given I just attended a mega double-digit high school reunion, seemed particularly apropos as well as worth sharing.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Some you know, some I betcha don't

John F.  Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, would have been 95 years old on May 29th.

1. A wreath was laid on his grave at the Arlington Cemetery in Arlington, VA on his birthday earlier this week. (See the Arlington Cemetery’s album of the ceremony on Facebook, here, and a video of the ceremony on MSNBC, here.)

2. Ted Sorenson, Kennedy’s good friend and speech writer, is considered one of the best Presidential speech writers ever.
When asked whether he or Kennedy was responsible for the phrase most identified with President Kennedy — from his inaugural speech in 1961:
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,
Sorenson invariably replied “ask not.”
(See Ted Sorenson’s obituary in the Boston Globe, here.)

3. JFK and the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, have more than a few things in common:
  •  they entered office exactly 100 years apart (in 1960 and 1860, respectively);
  • they were each elected to Congress exactly 100 years apart (1946 and 1846, respectively);
  • President Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and President Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln — Lincoln’s secretary is said to have warned him not to go to the theater and Kennedy’s secretary supposedly cautioned him against going to Dallas;
  • both were succeeded by presidents named Johnson (Lyndon B. Johnson and Andrew Johnson);
  • both were assassinated on a Friday by a shot to the head
  • both perpetrators (Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth) were assassinated before reaching trial
For more coincidences, see the list on Snopes, here.

4. Classic photo of John F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy, Jr. at the White House (for more JFK images, visit Celebrating JFK’s birthday with some rare photos of the man (30 photos) on The Chive.

5. Would the Crimson admit JFK today? JFK’s application to Harvard University was recently released; he wrote a one paragraph essay in response to the question “Why do you wish to come to Harvard?”
"The reasons that I have for wanting to go to Harvard are several. I feel that Harvard can give me a better background and a better liberal education than any other university. I have always wanted to go there, as I have felt that it is not just another college, but is a university with something definite to offer. Then to, I would like to go to the same college as my father. To be a ‘Harvard man’ is an enviable distinction, and one that I sincerely hope I shall attain."
See the full article on, here.

6. He once said, “Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.”  The quote comes from the Vanderbilt University 90th Anniversary Convocation Address he gave in May, 1963.

7. “A Thousand Days” is a 20 minute archival documentary of JFK’s time in office, produced by the U.S. Information Agency. You can find it here, and select clips on The Atlantic, here.

8. During World War II while serving in the United States Navy, Kennedy’s boat, the PT-109, was rammed by a Japanese destroyer and cut in half. Kennedy, who had once been on Harvard’s swim team, towed one crew member too badly injured to swim three and half miles to the nearest land mass. Eventually, Kennedy scratched a message on a coconut shell and persuaded some natives to take it with them in their canoe to the nearest base. They were rescued soon after. Read about the entire adventure at Smithsonian Magazine, here.
The coconut shell, which Kennedy had made into a paperweight, reads 
Nauru Isl commander / native knows posit / he can pilot / 11 alive need small boat / Kennedy.”

9. The most famous association made with Kennedy’s birthday is of course Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Happy Birthday” in 1962, which you can see on Youtube, here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Except for February, Which Hath 28 (usually)

Just so you know — finding 29 facts, myths and superstitions about leap year was NOT easy. The things I do for you. Sigh.

Ready? Take a deep breath...

  1. According to Irish tradition, February 29th is the one day women have the right to propose to men. Which probably has nothing to do with why The Proposal was so much better than Leap Year, but I thought it was worth mentioning anyway.

  2. From the "read the fine print" files:
    The hero in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance,” Frederic, happily anticipates ending his pirate apprenticeship upon turning 21. But... "not so fast ye young pirate-in-training," says ye olde Pirate King. You see, according to the precise terms of the indenture contract, Frederic's apprenticeship terminates upon his 21st birthday — which, since he was born on February 29th, is another 60 some years away. The devil's in the details.

  3. In Welsh, February is called the little month — y mis bach — because it normally has only 28 days. In America, it's just called February, because "January, Uhmisboch, March, April..." is a mouthful.

  4. Using a calendar based on the moon's rotation around the earth — which governs the tides: better than nothing. Shifting to a calendar based on the earth's rotation around the sun — which governs the seasons: pretty smart. Coming up with the leap year thing to deal with those pesky extra quarter days so seasons and months stay in sync? Priceless.

  5. Where's Irving Berlin when you need him? If we stopped having leap years, in a couple of centuries, Christmas would fall about when Halloween falls now and Michael Buble's great- great- great- grandson would be crooning (or trying to croon) something like

    I'm dreaming of a gold Christmas
    Not snowy white like sung by Bing
    Now it's pumpkins in flames and children who claim
    Only losers go caroling.


  6. “What is a frog’s favorite time?” “Leap Year.” ROTFL.

  7. Now you tell me? According to English law, February 29th is ignored as a day and has no legal status — hence crimes on that day traditionally were not prosecuted. Forget the Twinkie defense, how about this: "It's impossible for my client to have stolen the crown jewels on February 29th, your honor. There is no February 29th." Riiiiight.

  8. Hail Caesar. In 45 B.C., Julius Caesar decreed that the entire Roman empire abandon the lunar based calendar and go solar. The whole empire. No ifs, ands or buts. I know CEOs who can't even get all their employees to use the same email system.

  9. It was Caesar's ("fat and sleek-headed," I presume) astronomers who informed him that the solar cycle is actually 365 and 1/4 days long. No worries, said he — another decree, and the newly adopted calendar system included an extra day every four years. And that's how we got the Julian calendar avec leap years and all.

  10. This year,  56 countries are recognizing February 29th as “Rare Disease Day,” a movement that supports research into — shocker — rare illnesses. Personally, I'm not sure how much progress they'll make for their cause campaigning only every four years, but what do I know?

  11. Run, Forrest, run! In Scotland, it was once illegal for a man to turn down a proposal of marriage from a woman made on February 29th. Supposedly fines were levied if the man refused — "anti-alimony?" Or maybe, "ante-alimony."

  12. Julie turns into Greg. No surgery — just some math, ma'am.
    Sometime in the 16th century, the church noticed Easter was falling earlier each year. Putting two and two together, they came up with 11 — turns out the solar year is 11 minutes shy of a full 365 1/4 days — over time, those missing 11 minutes began to mount up and make some noise. Like three days every 400 years kind of noise.
    Pope Gregory XIII decreed (what, you thought only Roman emperors did that?) by papal bull — a perfectly ironic euonym if ever there was one — that, to make up for the missing time over time, a leap year would be skipped every century, except for every fourth century. And although not part of the papal bull, the Julian calendar was no more; long live the Gregorian calendar. ("Papal bull" — don't you just love that?)

  13. The odds of a person both being born and dying on leap day are 1 in over 2 million. For the rest of us shmos, the odds of dying on our birthday is a measly 1 in about 133,000. Not that I would ever call Ingrid Bergman (August 29, 1915-August 29, 1982) a shmo.

  14. Don't ask, don't tell. The technical term for a leap year is “bisextile.” In Caesar's time, the extra day wasn’t added to the end of the month as it is now, but on the sixth day before the Calends of March ("calends" being Latin for the first day of the month) — so in leap years, two of these extra days would occur in February — hence “bi” (for two) and “sex” (for six). All I can think is that it would make scheduling your next hair appointment a real pain,
    "How is Tuesday, February 24th for you, ma'am?"
    "Hmmm, does he have anything available on Wednesday, the 24th?"
    "No, sorry, the 24th is all booked."
    "Didn't you just offer me an appointment on Tuesday, the 24th?"
    "Yes, we still have some time on that 24th."

    Who's on first? He sure is.

    Oh, you want to know why the Romans added the day on the 24th, rather than the end of the month? So do I.

  15. Remember "keep it simple, stupid?' Ha! To be a leap year, the year must a) be divisible by 4 and b) NOT be divisible by 100, unless c) it’s also divisible by 400. Or you could just Google it.

  16. What do Giacchino Rossini (composer—Barber of Seville), Dinah Shore (singer and Burt Reynolds' ex), Ja Rule (rapper), Al Rosen (baseball player), Tony Robbins (really rich motivational speaker and tanorexic), Jimmy Dorsey (band leader) and Aileen Wournos (serial killer) have in common? One guess. (Hint: it has to do with their birthdays).

  17. Oh, yassum she did! For her portrayal of Mammy in GWTW, Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to win an Academy Award, which she did for Best Supporting Actress on February 29, 1940.

  18. "Eight days a week... is not enough to show I care" — or so say the Beatles. How about 15 months a year? That Caesar was a busy guy; in addition to the whole "so long lunar, hello solar" thing, he also decreed that the year 46 B.C. be 15 months long to make up for the seasonal discrepancy that had accumulated to that point. Really bad news for those criminals sentenced to a year of punishment.

  19. From the "oh no, she di'int!" files:
    Karin Henriksen of Norway gave birth to three children on three consecutive leap days — in 1960, 1964 and 1968.

  20. People born on leap day are called "leaplings" or “leapers.” People born on other days are called "babies."

  21. Leap years are the only year when there are five instances of the same day in February — February 2012 is a month of Wednesdays. 2032 is the next time February will be a month of Sundays. In case you were wondering.

  22. It is considered unlucky in Scotland to be born on leap day. Which means there are 39 seriously pissed off Scots cursing the day they were born.

  23. From the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" files:
    In 1928, Henry Craddock — the head bartender at the Savoy Hotel in London — introduced the Leap Year cocktail (4 parts gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part orange liqueur, with a dash of fresh lemon juice).
    We suggest that after a night of those, you start off your next morning with Craddock's infamous Corpse Reviver #2 ("four taken in swift succession will un-revive the corpse again") — a refreshing, or deadly, mixture of equal parts fresh lemon juice, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and gin, with a dash of absinthe.

  24. All leaplings are born under the sign Pisces, and, according to astrologers, have unusual personalities and talents. Which sounds a lot to me like the Chinese curse, "may you live an interesting life." I'm just saying.

  25. It is called a “leap year” because in England the extra day was not recognized under law, the day was ignored — or “leapt over.” And because it's easier to say than "intercalary year."

  26. According to legend, it was the nun, St. Bridget, who campaigned St. Patrick in the 5th century for women’s right to propose — something previously inconceivable. St. Patrick finally relented — and permitted women to propose to men one day every four years. Big of him.

  27. In 1712, Sweden had two leap days, February 29th and February 30th — to facilitate the country’s switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. At least they didn't have two February 29ths. 'Cuz that would have been confusing.

  28. In America, once every four years just isn't enough. Thanks to Al Capp, we have an annual role reversal day: “Sadie Hawkins Day," so named for the comic strip character whose father bemoaned ever marrying her off. He instituted an annual footrace for the single gals to chase the unmarried Dogpatch men — and marry the one they caught. Think "The Bachelorette" meets "The Amazing Race."

  29. The beginning of this century, the year 2000, will be the last century to start with a leap year until 2400. (I told you, 29 facts is hard!)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Couldn't have said it better

I had to share an excerpt from Ramin Setoodeh's "One For The Money Review: Does Katherine Heigl Have Fans?" from The Daily Beast:

On Friday morning at 12:01 a.m., I went to the movies to see One for the Money, the new Katherine Heigl crime caper that’s so lousy the studio wouldn’t screen it early for critics. I had to watch it at the first public showing in a Manhattan theater, with all of Heigl’s groupies, if they exist. Here’s what happened, as recorded in real-time on my BlackBerry.

11:50 p.m. A 26-year-old man working at the concession stand tells me how much he enjoyed Heigl’s performance in Zack & Miri Make a Porno. I point out that Heigl was not in that film.
11:53 p.m. I find my seat. Number of people inside the theater, including me: 1.
12:00 a.m. I am still the only person here. This is worse than going to your high-school prom alone.
12:04 a.m. A few others have trickled in. Number of people inside the theater, including me: 5.
(blah blah blah)
12:35 a.m. Number of people inside the theater, including me: 3. Two teen girls have already fled.
(blah blah blah)
1:03 a.m. At this point, Heigl does the impossible: handcuffed naked to her own shower pole, she’s still boring.
(blah blah blah)
1:37 a.m. Heigl is shot in the butt. Is that supposed to be a metaphor.
I'm guessing he's not a fan.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Down or Not - genius

By now, you might have an idea that I'm something of an inveterate surfer (web not water). As far as I'm concerned, when a site goes down, it qualifies as a natural disaster.

Of course, when a site goes down — and I'm talking an ordinary, every day kinda site — my first thought is that it's my fault. There must be something wrong with my browser, my network, my internet connection. Which does in fact turn out to be the case... occasionally. More often, shockingly, the problem has nothing to do with me (yeah, yeah, I know... there's a larger life lesson in there).

Downed sites were really a cause of angst and frustration... until I discovered (good lord, I sound like an infomercial... "my acne was so bad, I was embarrassed to go outside, until I discovered Boa Balm"). Rest assured, I have not been paid, compensated or otherwise remunerated for this post.

Anyway, my point is, now instead of immediately going to "it's not you, it's me," I go to downornot.

Man, am I in trouble if downornot goes down.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How do I love thee, David Pogue?

I'm hoping if you use the internet, which you do almost by definition if you're reading this, you've been following — even peripherally — the whole SOPA/PIPA controversy. (By the way, doesn't the British pronunciation of that word — con-TRAH-versy — sound so much more elegant than ours?)
As with most controversies, the right and wrong on this one is not clear-cut. Not exactly. The goal of finding a way to better protect copyrights and reduce online piracy is in and of itself a pretty good idea. The way Congress has chosen to approach achieving that goal, however? Not so good.
David Pogue — my all-time favorite geek-gadget-tech-cool-things columnist — took a step back for a better look at the issue in yesterday's blog post, Put Down the Pitchforks on SOPA. I highly recommend you read it — only Pogue could so clearly break down the issue and the merits and flaws of the opposing positions, while still getting in zingers like these:

"In a perverse stroke of curiosity, I thought maybe I’d actually study these bills."

"For the record, I think the movie companies have approached the digital age with almost slack-jawed idiocy."

"In this case, the solution is to work on the language of the bills to rule out the sorts of abuses that the big Web sites fear. (And to fix the other minor point, which is that the bills won’t work....) " did this great infographic on SOPA/PIPA (click on it so it gets big enough to actually read — it's pretty nifty).

And for those of you keeping track — I haven't forgotten I owe you the list of the other nine EGOT champs. Patience, grasshopper.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Now, THAT'S a list I can get behind

You know that post I wrote about the surprising Kris Kristofferson? Truth is, I really meant to write about Mel Brooks. People get those two confused all the time, don't they? No? Fine. Be that way.

So anyway, back to Mel... I stumbled upon this awesome article on Topless Robot (I stumbled on it, I didn't name it) — "10 Kickass Things Mel Brooks Did (Besides His Movies)" — which led me to my 'unknown brainiac' spiel... which led to Mr. Kristofferson... which led to... oh, to live in my brain. But today — today, I really am going to write about Mel Brooks.

Here are the "10 reasons you should be impressed besides how many times he got you to watch Blazing Saddles and still laugh." I could try to put it better, but why work that hard? (Many kudos to Topless Robot for this list.)

Created Get Smart. Yep, that was him — with Buck Henry, who, by the way, besides playing Liz Lemon's dad on 30 Rock, was nominated for an Oscar for writing The Graduate, which starred Anne Bancroft (see below) — there is just no end to these brainiacs in hiding.

Photo from

Gave us Max Brooks. If nothing else, Mel's son has been credited (or blamed, depending) for the recent uptick of zombies in pop culture — his 2003 book, The Zombie Survival Guide, pre-dates the truly hilarious Shaun of the Dead, Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake, the film adaptation of I Am Legend (you know what I think about that movie), the Cinderella story movie (the actual movie, not the plot) Zombieland, AMC's The Walking Dead, to name a few. That and his next book, World War Z, are both on their way to the silver screen. Plus — how cute is Mel's grandson, Henry Mel?

Rocked Broadway. You know all those movies that have been musicalized and transported to the Great White Way? Blame Brooks. His production of The Producers won 12 Tonys, and Young Frankenstein was nominated for three. Next up, he's writing the book and music for a Broadway version of Blazing Saddles. "The sheriff's near."

Wrote in comedy's version of the Brill Building. If it weren't true, it would be ridiculous. Nah, it's still ridiculous. Wrap your mind around this round table: Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Daniel Simon, Larry Gelbart, Selma Diamond, Michael Stewart and Mel Tolkin. Uh huh. In one room. Writing for one guy (Sid Caesar). For the record — those minds brought us (just a sampling, mind you): Blazing Saddles, Manhattan, The Jerk, The Odd Couple, Sleeper, Young Frankenstein, My Three Sons, Bye Bye Birdie, Diff'rent Strokes, M.A.S.H., Hot in Cleveland... you get the drift.

Discovered Dave Chappelle. Betcha didn't know that. DC's first film role was in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Thanks for that, Mel.

Got the EGOT. Mel Brooks is one of only ten people — EVER — to win the grand slam of entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. I know, I know — you want to know who the other nine are. Hey, I need something to write about tomorrow.

Won the heart and hand of Anne Bancroft. A duo right up there with Newman & Woodward for Hollywood romances that make you believe in "wuv, true wuv" (recognize that? It's from a movie directed by Carl Reiner's son... see how that works?). And proof positive that women go for men who make them laugh. Really.

Brought us The Elephant Man. Not only did Brooks produce this far from funny story of the "classic wandering Jew" directed by David Lynch, he was on set every day. Though... would you believe it was Brooks' kids' babysitter who gave him the script? That's at least a little funny.

Defused landmines. No, really. Brooks joined the Army Corps of Engineers when he was 17. Legend has it that when the Germans began blasting propaganda at the American troops through loudspeakers, Brooks set up his own loudspeakers and blasted back with his impression of "Toot Toot Tootsie." Take that, you stinkin' Krauts!

Gave us Gene Wilder. Further proving my beautiful-women-love-funny-men theory, it was Anne Bancroft who introduced Mel to Gene after she worked with him on stage. Three years later, Mel cast Gene as Bloom in The Producers, after which we got Gene as Willy Wonka, Gene as Young Frankenstein, Gene as Jim, The Waco Kid. Happy days.