Sunday Reads: What shall we hang…the holly or each other?

**Post updated below**

Irish actor Peter O'Toole studying for his role in Lawrence of Arabia.

Irish actor Peter O’Toole studying for his role in Lawrence of Arabia.

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“I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony.”

Actor Peter O’Toole, who died last week at 81, in a note to himself as a young man.

tumblr_lxv6cupJ6V1qhx8k5o1_500“God, he was beautiful.”

So says a minor character toward the end of 2006’s “Venus,” looking at an obituary photo of an elderly actor named Maurice. The actor is played by Peter O’Toole, and God, he was.

Good Morning…

fc613e4495e5519970062aa71f531f37Funny, that quote above about the scene from Venus…its from the Boston Globe, but the thing is that is what I was going to use for the opening of this post. It is the only line I remember from that movie, the one line that stuck with me…that I made a mental note for, remember that one JJ, it is a good one.

f75cf8324d4009fc4f726611f6e6f1bcWhat can I say about Peter O’Toole that hasn’t been said in obituaries and blog post or commentaries posted online the last week since his death. Hell, you will be able to read a bunch of them in a minute, I’ve got plenty of links for you below.

z_otoolePeter O’Toole was more than a magnificent screen presence to me.  I don’t think there has been another actor who had such a profound effect on my life, and I know that sound sappy…but you all know how important film is to me.  I always felt his role as Henry II in both Beckett and The Lion in Winter is one of the reasons I decided to major in Medieval History. (I should say specialize in Medieval History.)

3e8d51ae2c7aaea4a5c57090828a7157Then again, my adoration of O’Toole goes back before college. Way back, to 1981 when he starred in a mini-series called Masada.

At that time girls my age had pictures of the Fonz and Scott Baio on their walls. Me? My walls had photos of Peter O’Toole, Jonathan Frid and Rod Stewart. (What can I say, I was a strange kid.)

My favorite movies star Peter O’Toole…Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year, The Lion In Winter, these films are the kind of movies that I can see over and over again, they are fucking awesome. peter_otoole(Check out some clips down at the end of the thread.)

Other films of O’Toole are outstanding as well, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Stuntman, Creator, hell…the list goes on. But for now we will get to the various links for Peter…starting with his home country of Ireland:

Farewell to hellraiser O’Toole – Independent.ie

16 December 2013

Tributes were paid last night to actor and hellraiser Peter O’Toole, who died at the age of 81.

The Connemara-born actor, who rose to fame in the 1962 Oscar-winning epic ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ (left), died in London on Saturday.

Actors Peter O'Toole and Helen Mirren attend the  Miramax Films pre-Oscar party celebrating  Oscar nominees in Los Angeles...  REUTERS/Fred Prouser   (UNITED STATES)...E

Actors Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren attend the Miramax Films pre-Oscar party celebrating Oscar nominees in Los Angeles…REUTERS/Fred Prouser

showbiz-peter-o-toole-feeds-baby-daughter-kate-1960Although he received eight Academy Award nominations for best actor, O’Toole never won the ultimate accolade. In 2003 he was given a special Oscar from his peers for his contribution to film.

He is survived by his family, including his daughters Pat and Kate, his son Lorcan, and former wife, actress Sian Phillips.

Peter O’Toole and the saucy Dublin nuns – Independent.ie

61dc2db155765cc6a475348ad78e3c24So farewell then, Peter O’Toole, the man who was either born in Connemara or Leeds, depending on who you believe.

O’Toole once said that as a boy he was terrified by “the horrible sexlessness” of nuns.

He later said this phenomenon had changed dramatically.

“They’re sipping gin and tonic in the Dublin pubs now, and a couple of them flashed their pretty ankles at me just the other day.”

Saucy nuns? It is quite possible that the notoriously bibulous O’Toole had a touch too much of the gargle, and was imagining things.

Peter the Great – Independent.ie

PETER_O'TOOLE

Asked once what being Irish meant to him, the legendary actor, Peter O’Toole deliberated slowly, before replying: “It’s almost the centre of my being.”

The occasion was an interview with US talk show host Charlie Rose to mark the release of the first part of his autobiography, Loitering with Intent in 1992.

Peter O’Toole and his eldest daughter, Kate

“Everything I think of is coloured by its history, by its literature, by its people, by its geography,” he continued.

O’Toole went on to recount how a return trip to Ireland in 1946 after the end of the Second World War, affirmed his sense of Irishness.

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“I was a bit of a misfit, a bit of an odd man out, but when I went to Kerry with my friend, Father Leo Walsh, and it all clicked. I wasn’t different at all,” he said.

This particular obit has some good stories, so be sure to read that one in full. This tidbit about an interview with Letterman is something that I remember seeing when it first aired:

131214-peter-o-toole-dead-vert-1387135132He was a chat show host’s dream guest and the theatrical format with its live audience appealed to the actor who knew exactly how to play to the crowd.

He appeared on The Letterman Show in London in 1995, cigarette in hand, astride a camel. As if that wasn’t suitably outrageous, he proceeded to open a can of beer and feed it to the animal.

Asked once by Lettermen [sic] had he thought about a message on his gravestone, he told the story of an old leather jacket he once had, stained “with Guinness and blood”, that his wife had sent to the dry cleaners.

imagesIt came back with a note pinned to it saying, ‘It distresses us to return work which is not perfect’.

“I am having that on my tombstone. That’s my epitaph,” he said.

Which is why I was smiling when I saw this tribute Peter O’Toole obit by Political Cartoonist Milt Priggee

141944 600 OToole obit cartoons

If any of you get to see the dvd commentary that goes with the film My Favorite Year, you will hear some great stories about Peter O’Toole. He sounded like one of those actors you would love to work with.  One of the interesting things Richard Benjamin said was, O’Toole had not done a comedy, and because of that…

131215170623-13-peter-otoole-horizontal-galleryPeter O’Toole was originally hesitant about doing the film. However, in the script, the date of Swann’s death was, in fact, the date of O’Toole’s birthday. O’Toole phoned Richard Benjamin to find out if they did that with all of the actors they had offered the part to. The director replied that the script had not been given to anybody else, at which O’Toole agreed to do the film.

Anyway, back to the links:

Culture Shock: Peter O’Toole – a great actor undazzled by his own star – | The Irish Times – Sat, Dec 21, 2013

mqdefaultMuch of the British commentary on O’Toole since his death has painted him as a rather anachronistic actor, a 19th-century heroic performer in an age of method psychological realism. It is certainly true that, with his fellow so-called Celts Richard Burton and Richard Harris, he was a rebel against the new method orthodoxy. What is not true is the general depiction of the trio as Romantic, emotional, hot-blooded Celts at odds with the realism that was in the ascendant from the 1950s onwards.

ca87a30b632c83f88073ab7df71aa4b9Quite the contrary: O’Toole’s acting, like Burton’s, was sceptical, cool, intellectual. Far from being a fruity thesp, he was, at his best, almost a meta-actor. His best screen performances all comment on the nature of performance.

[…]

393b56d58076e854b37cffdb36e9f6a3Of O’Toole’s other best roles, two (in My Favourite Year and in Venus) are satiric portrayals of washed-up actors and one, in The Stunt Man, is a satiric portrayal of an insane film director. O’Toole’s best performances have quotation marks around them.

But what of the role that created the star in the first place? It too is a “performance”. O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia is so uncannily beautiful, so eerily mesmerising that you almost don’t notice that he’s just another actor: a strange Englishman, dressed in foreign clothes, pretending to be an Arab. O’Toole’s brilliance is to create a man who is utterly convinced by the role he is playing. But he himself was never so convinced: what made him great was the keen, appraising intelligence with which he seems to stand outside himself, undazzled by his own star.

It looks like O’Toole had two films in production, one Katherine of Alexandria is in post-production according to iMDB.

‘Lawrence of Arabia’s’ Peter O’Toole Dead at 81

380564f9fd66f691fe98833cbd768c14O’Toole announced in July 2012 that he was retiring from acting. “The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back,” he said. He did, however, return with announced parts in Katherine of Alexandria and Mary, two films yet to be released.

Peter-OToole-9430474-1-402During a career that spanned nearly six decades, the son of an Irish father and Scottish mother also received Oscar noms for his turns in Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006). No one else has ever earned as many acting noms without a win.

‘Lawrence of Arabia’ star Peter O’Toole dead at 81 | AccessNorthGa

GTY_peter_otoole_jtm_131215_16x9_992He was fearsomely handsome, with burning blue eyes and a penchant for hard living which long outlived his decision to give up alcohol. Broadcaster Michael Parkinson told Sky News television it was hard to be too sad about his passing.

“Peter didn’t leave much of life unlived, did he?” he said.

peter-otoole-2-300

A reformed – but unrepentant – hell-raiser, O’Toole long suffered from ill health. Always thin, he had grown wraithlike in later years, his famously handsome face eroded by years of outrageous drinking.

But nothing diminished his flamboyant manner and candor.

peterotoole

“If you can’t do something willingly and joyfully, then don’t do it,” he once said. “If you give up drinking, don’t go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt.”

[…]

Lawrence-of-Arabia

His sensitive portrayal of Lawrence’s complex character garnered O’Toole his first Oscar nomination, and the spectacularly photographed desert epic remains his best known role. O’Toole was tall, fair and strikingly handsome, and the image of his bright blue eyes peering out of an Arab headdress in Lean’s film was unforgettable.

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Playwright Noel Coward once said that if O’Toole had been any prettier, they would have had to call the movie “Florence of Arabia.”

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That is another good Obituary…give it some of your attention too.

I remember another story O’Toole told, about the filming of Lawrence of Arabia. The scene where he walks down the stairs after telling the general about taking Aqaba was shot a year apart. So when he starts walking down the stairs, he is one year younger than the age he is when he reaches the bottom step.

Peter O’Toole’s Most Iconic Movie Roles, From ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ To ‘Ratatouille’

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O’Toole’s last years were quiet, but that doesn’t detract from his stalwart presence throughout much of the 20th century. Here’s a look back at a handful of his most iconic roles.

Peter O’Toole: Tales of the late film icon – People – News – The Independent

peter-o-toole-with-katherine-hepburn-november-1967

Peter O’Toole, who has died aged 81, possessed a prodigious acting talent, heart-stopping good looks, and an enormous capacity for booze. Here, he is remembered by those who knew him

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Michael Caine, who had been his understudy for the 1959 play ‘The Long and the Short and the Tall’ at the Royal Court Theatre went out to dinner with O’Toole and woke up in a strange flat days later.

“There was a wild weekend that I don’t remember… ‘What time is it?’ I asked. ‘Never mind what time it is,’ said O’Toole. ‘What fucking day is it?’

I love it!

peter_o_toole_walk_of_fame_daughter_son_2011_19asil4-19asilf

Peter O’Toole with daughter Kate and son Lorcan

More pictures of Peter here: Peter O’Toole’s Life and Career in Pictures Gallery – The Hollywood Reporter

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Postscript: Peter O’Toole : The New Yorker

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The deaths, over the weekend, of Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine reminded us, once again, what a strange principality movie stardom is. Think of it as a kind of Monaco: few are born there, but many arrive, some to disport themselves at the watering holes and gaming tables, others to cultivate that notorious anonymity that is the last redoubt of fame. The church mouse may be the neighbor of the libertine. Costs of living (not merely financial) can be exorbitant, and personal loyalties prone to decay; expulsions are cruel and common, and you dare not appeal against them, for they are ordained not by a court of the land but by the judgment of the world beyond. On the other hand, re-admittance to stardom, after exile, is not unknown; in the case of O’Toole, he would drift away, out of sight but never quite out of mind, and then, just as we—and, by all accounts, he himself—started to ask if he were technically alive, he would stroll back into the light.

Now don’t forget, TCM is going to have a tribute to Peter O’Toole on Sunday, December 29th: TCM Remembers Peter O’Toole (1932 – 2013)

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BTW, we lost quite a few people this year…you can find a gallery of pictures here: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2013 Gallery – The Hollywood Reporter

Anyway, enjoy the videos below, some are clips but…the last two are full interviews. One, the Charlie Rose interview. The other is the hour-long interview with Robert Osborne. It is fantastic!

TCM Remembers…

The Lion in Winter:

My Favorite Year:

Lawrence of Arabia:

Interview with Charlie Rose:

Interview with Robert Osborn, at TCM Film Festival April 2011:

The special wraps with O’Toole providing his personal definition of acting: “In the beginning was the word and the word was made flesh. That is, to me, is what acting is. You make the words flesh.” Which is exactly what the man did…

Think of this as an open thread.

(Just a note, it is now 4:45 am and I am finally finished with this post. The formatting was a bitch! So I probably won’t be seeing you any time soon…have a great day!)

**Updated post with added links**

Since it is a very slow day, I’ve decided to just update this post with a few newsy links…in a dump-a-roo fashion.

Starting of with a bit of sad news, Claire Davis, the shooting victim from Colorado, has died:

Family of Arapahoe High School shooting victim Claire Davis issues statement – San Jose Mercury News

Photo of Claire Davis. Provided by  Arapahoe County Sheriff
Photo of Claire Davis. Provided by Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office. (Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office)

A statement from the Davis family

It is with unspeakable sadness that we write and say that Claire has passed away from the gunshot wound she received at Arapahoe High School on December 13, 2013. Although we have lost our precious daughter, we will always be grateful for the indelible journey she took us on over the last 17 years—we were truly blessed to be Claire’s parents. The grace, laughter and light she brought to this world will not be extinguished by her death; to the contrary, it will only get stronger.

Last week was truly a paradox in that we lost our daughter, yet we witnessed the wonderful love that exists in the world through the tremendous outpouring of support we received. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the first responders, the school resource officer, security guard and vice principal at Arapahoe High School, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office, and the physicians, nurses and staff at Littleton Adventist Hospital. Each played a significant role in giving Claire a chance to live, and demonstrated extreme amounts of professionalism, courage and love. Please know that we will never forget the extraordinary work you did on Claire’s behalf.

We ask that you give us time to grieve the death of our daughter by respecting our wishes for privacy.

With much loving-kindness,

The Davis Family

I don’t know what you can say about that. It is so painfully sad.

There is another heart-wrenching story out there, remember Jaycee Dugard? Jaycee Dugard’s new “terror”: Her father – Salon.com

The road back home hasn’t been easy for Jaycee Dugard. She was only 11 years old in June of 1991 when she was abducted from a California street in full sight of her stepfather, Carl Probyn. Last August, when she and the two young daughters she bore while in captivity were rescued, Probyn described their return as “a miracle.” But while her captors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido,  are behind bars and Dugard is quietly rebuilding her life with her mother and children, she now faces a new “terror”: her biological father.

Kenneth Slayton, who has had no prior relationship with the young woman, has been speaking out lately about the child he never knew, and his wish “to be united with my daughter ASAP.” To that end, he’s retained the services of scandal magnet Gloria Allred,  has filed a court petition to definitively prove his paternity of Dugard, and held a press conference last week to plead for an establishment of family ties. Slayton claims that “The first time I knew there was a possibility that I had a daughter was when the FBI told me that she had been kidnapped.”

Dugard’s family, however, tells a different story. In a statement issued last week, they claim that Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, “told Mr. Slayton when she learned she was pregnant that he was the father and again when Jaycee was born. He showed no interest. The police advised him when Jaycee was kidnapped and again he showed no interest … At no point did Mr. Slayton offer any assistance beyond what was requested of him while Jaycee was missing. It is now Jaycee Dugard’s turn to express her feelings and she has no interest.”

Read more about this asshole at the link, and then think of the real motivation behind his lawsuit…and how much it must weigh on Dugard’s emotions.

Okay, did you all catch this other news story? Like I said, I’ve been awol from the blog so I don’t know if it has been mentioned.

Climate change expert’s fraud was ‘crime of massive proportion,’ say feds – Investigations

The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.

John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits  over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a “crime of massive proportion” and “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.

Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales.

If you want a good report of these “tales” check out the video of Jon Stewart here: Jon Stewart Goes Off on Perhaps the Best Political Scandal of All Time | Mediaite

There are scandals, and there are SCANDALS. And the story of an EPA official who cheated the agency out of a million dollars with an incredibly elaborate hoax might very well be, in Jon Stewart‘s opinion, one of the most amazing and unbelievable political scandals of all time. But despite the sexiness of this story, Stewart said, “this man is a liar and boring as f*ck!” John Beale even lied to get a handicapped parking space, which wasn’t even necessary, because “he could have gotten a handicapped parking space for a legitimate medical reason: his gigantic balls.”

But hey, not all of us can lead exciting lives: Hullabaloo

by digby

Oh boy. Howie has the latest on the Duck Dynasty flap:

Do you know what a fluffer is? The clinical Wikipedia definition: “A fluffer is a person employed to keep a male adult film star aroused on the set. These duties, which do not necessarily involve touching the actors, are considered part of the makeup department. After setting up the desired angle, the director asks the actors to hold position and calls for the fluffer to ‘fluff’ the actors for the shot. Fluffing could also entail sexual acts such as fellatio or non-penetrative sex.” …

Fluffer is also the name of a 2001 gay porn film that got a buzz because Blondie (Debbie Harry) was in it. But it will have a whole new life now because so was Scott Gurney, the creator of Duck Dynasty.

Howie’s got clips at the link. They’re actually quite tasteful, all things considered. Mr Gurney played one of the leads by the name of Johnny Rebel. He’s quite attractive.

Read more about Johnny Rebel at the link…

Since we touch on the subject of right-wing shitstorms…Keep Fox News out of the classroom! Rupert Murdoch, Common Core and the dangerous rise of for-profit public education – Salon.com

Take a look at that, but it isn’t only right wing…a big portion of the for-profit group is Bill Gates and friends.

Following the rich people connection: These 2 Cities Are Now Exclusively For Rich People

Few cities in the U.S. embody the growing divide between rich and poor quite like New York and San Francisco. In just the past 20 years, both have changed from economically diverse melting pots to exclusive playgrounds for the rich.

The change is clear in striking new visualizations from the U.S. Census Bureau, crunching data from its latest American Community Survey of population and income.

In each of the pictures below, the image to the left represents median household incomes in 1990 (“before”), and the image on the right is 2012 (“after”). Darker shades correlate with higher income, and brighter shades represent lower incomes. Use the slider tool (the button in the middle) to go back and forth in time between 1990 and 2012.

That is a fun interactive map, but to be honest…San Francisco hasn’t changed all that much.

Meanwhile: Prosecutors were ready to charge Va. Gov. McDonnell, but final decision delayed by Justice officials – The Washington Post

‘Hobbit’ Star Makes Truly Awful Joke About ‘Rape, or Whatever’

Women’s rights sold out again: McAuliffe’s betrayal – Salon.com

That story about McAuliffe is disgusting and it pisses me off…although it doesn’t surprise me.

Two links on the Boston Bombing brothers:

The fall of the house of Tsarnaev —Tamerlan’s dreams in shards, the voices inside grew louder – The Boston Globe

The fall of the house of Tsarnaev —Dzhokhar, the youngest, was drawn to risk and spiraled into infamy – The Boston Globe

Some history articles for you:

Women in the public life in late medieval England: A study through contemporary sources in the 1400s

Here Be Monsters by Marina Warner | The New York Review of Books

Parallels With The Era That Led To The First World War – Business Insider

And a couple of Christmas stories:

Why It Takes 8,500 Pairs Of Pointe Shoes To Put On ‘The Nutcracker’

pointe shoes

The pointe shoe room

I look at that picture and I know what those new pointe shoes smell like.

But What If Elf Was Remade Entirely With Pugs Though [VIDEO] | Geekosystem

And finally, tomorrow is Festivus!