Club Nouveau, “Lean on Me”

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Lean On Me (Warner Brothers, 1987)

Lean On Me was written by American singer-songwriter Bill Withers in April 1972. It was his debut single off his second album, Still Bill. Lean On Me was his first and only #1 single on both the pop and soul charts in the U.S. Over the years it has been covered numerous times by a variety of different artists. It is only one of nine songs to have reached the top spot in the U.S. with versions recorded by two different artists.

In 1987 R&B group Club Nouveau covered Lean On Me and went to number one for two weeks. (It also topped the dance chart.) It also won Withers a Grammy Award in 1987 for Best R&B song because he wrote it. In addition to the American chart, Club Nouveau hit #1 in Canada and New Zealand. It was their third single off their debut album, Life, Love & Pain. Club Nouveau’s last chart appearance was with their follow up single, Why You Treat Me So Bad which peaked at #39. They never hit the U.S. pop chart again, despite releasing four more albums.

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Carter Vanderbilt

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Carter Vanderbilt Cooper (January 27, 1965 – July 22, 1988)

Carter Vanderbilt Cooper was the late son of fashion designer/heiress Gloria Vanderbilt and her fourth husband Wyatt Cooper (and older brother of journalist Anderson Cooper). On July 22, 1988, Carter arrived at his mother’s 14th floor apartment in New York City. He had recently broken up with a long time girlfriend and was moving back home. He had not slept in several nights. After dinner he retired to his bedroom for a nap requesting a blanket as he was cold. Gloria checked on him several times during his nap and he was asleep. At 7 pm, he woke up and was disoriented, asked several times “What’s going on?” and entered his mother’s room. After a short conversation in which she tried to reassure and comfort him, he ran back up to his room. She followed to see him sitting on a low wall of the terrace with one foot on the floor, his other foot on the wall. She tried to get him off the wall and tried to call his therapist. Before she could dial the number, a helicopter flew overhead, temporarily mesmerizing him and after reaching back for Gloria, he jumped from the terrace to his death. He was 23 years old. The toxicology reports showed no drugs or alcohol in his system. Gloria blames his newly prescribed asthma inhaler containing salbutamol. (Anderson claims his brother’s “suicide” is what sparked his interest in journalism.)

“Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum”

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Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2004)

In Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum a wad of bubble gum is melting in the road, one by one a variety of animals get stuck in it and have to survive encounters with a big blue truck and a grumpy black bear.

Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum was written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Harriet Kasak Portfolio and Laura Huliska-Beith.

Big Time

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Big Time

Another candy bar produced by the Hollywood Brands company was the Big Time bar. It was a bar with peanuts in a nougat center topped with caramel and chocolate.

The Hollywood Brands company was notable because they discovered a method of making fluffy nougat for candy bars that Frank Mars copied for his Milky Way bars. (Frank Mars founded the Mars, Incorporated company which makes Mars, Twix and M&M’s among others.) In the beginning as well, by using real and quality ingredients, company founder Frank Martoccio was able to sell his candy bars for 3 cents, undercutting Hershey’s 5 cent bars at the time. (This was back in the 1930s until 1955.) He sold the company in 1967 and the quality standards were not continued. Today, Hershey’s retains all the brands owned by Hollywood. The only bars that still exist today from Hollywood’s line are Zero and Milky Way.

“101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow”

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101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow (BBC, 2010)

101 Ways to Leave a Gameshow was a British game show on the BBC, airing from July 10 to August 28, 2010. Eight contestants competed for a 10,000 pound prize by picking the correct answer to general knowledge questions. Competitors that gave incorrect answers were eliminated in a variety of ways usually in a spectacular fashion. In the first four rounds of elimination, a buzzer could sound signalling an Emergency Exit round. Here, contestants were asked questions at random and the first wrong answer resulted in an elimination. For the final round, three contestants remain to answer one final question to win the jackpot.

The show caught on enough for several international versions (Argentinian, Chinese, German, Israeli, Italian, Mexican, Swedish, Turkish and American). Interestingly, Italians played for no prizes.

Baz Luhrmann, “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”

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Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) ( 1998)

Australian director and screenwriter Baz Luhrmann had a one hit wonder in 1998 with a spoken word piece in which he recites the poem Wear Sunscreen by journalist Mary Schmich (not Kurt Vonnegut) which she wrote as a theoretical speech to a graduating class. It all makes sense now.

The “single” came from his 1998 album, Something for Everybody, containing ambient versions or either newly recorded or remixed music from his films and plays. Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen) actually topped the charts in Ireland, Scotland and the UK as well as Canada’s adult contemporary chart.

“Forces of Nature”

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Forces of Nature (Dreamworks, 1999)

Ben (Ben Affleck) has to get from New York to Savannah for his wedding to Bridget (Maura Tierney). Everything is under control until an eccentric young woman named Sarah (Sandra Bullock) literally falls into his life and atmospheric conditions become decidely unstable. Despite being detained, derailed and disrobed, panic doesn’t really set in until Ben realizes that he’s developing a definite attraction to Sarah…and the feeling is mutual.

The 1999 romcom just barely made Dreamworks its money back with it’s worldwide gross of almost $94 million. Forces of Nature was initially marketed as a loose remake of Planes, Trains and Automobiles. A year after the release, Bullock actually survived a plane crash when a corporate jet that she was flying in skidded off the runway. Forces of Nature was actor David Strickland’s final film (he played Steve). He committed suicide on March 22, 1999 in a Las Vegas motel room by hanging himself with a bed sheet after a night of partying. Strickland suffered from bipolar disorder.

“Lady in Satin”

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Lady in Satin (Columbia, 1958)

Lady in Satin was jazz singer Billie Holiday’s 11 studio album and the last released during her lifetime. (Her final album, Last Recording was released just weeks after her death in July 1959.) Lady in Satin was a return of sound to full orchestra arrangements that she wanted to sound in the same contemporary vein of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. The biggest “failure” of the album was that Holiday’s voice (due to years of drug and alcohol abuse) had lost its earlier range and took on a fragile, raspy sound. Whether you prefer Holiday’s earlier powerhouse voice, she never lost her emotional range and was still able to give you shivers no matter the stage of career. Lady in Satin was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000.

Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan) was diagnosed in early 1959 with cirrhosis. On May 31, 1959, she was taken into the hospital for treatments for liver and heart disease. As she lay dying, she was handcuffed and arrested for drug possession, having her hospital room raided and placed under police guard. On July 15, she received her last rites, dying in the early morning hours of July 17 of pulmonary edema and heart failure caused by cirrhosis of the liver. She was only 44 years old. During her final years, Holiday had been swindled out of much of her earnings and died with a mere 70 cents in the bank. A horrible ending for such an illustrious, celebrated career.

Shimajiro

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Shimajiro (Japan)

In Japan, Shimajiro is the most popular children’s education character. He has his own animated TV shows, shorts and movies as well as several licensed products such as books, DVDs, toys and is featured on products like disposable diapers, toothbrushes, shoes, clothing and on food products. In 2006, Shimajiro took on toilet training via a cartoon and a toy. On the toy, the two buttons actually produce encouragement.

Kiss a Ginger Day

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Kiss a Ginger Day (January 12)

If you know and love a natural redhead, then January 12 is the day to let your redheaded loved one how much by participating in Kiss a Ginger Day. You can kiss them on the cheek or the lips, wherever you want. The unofficial holiday started in 2009 thanks to Derek Forgie as a day of appreciation and to combat stereotypes and bullying. Started via social media, it quickly took off.

Some facts about individuals with red hair: Scotland has the highest concentration of red hair at 13% while Ireland has the second highest concentration at 10%. The percentage of red hair in the world population is only 2%. Bees are most likely to sting redheads. Redheads require more anesthesia during surgery. Redheads have a higher chance of skin cancer and bruise more easily.