One of the lesser-noticed achievements at the Academy Awards ceremony was the emergence of just the twelfth member of the EGOT club – people who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. This year Robert Lopez picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song (“Let it Go”) which completed the quatrain of entertainment’s major awards. In fact, Lopez has two Emmy’s, three Tony’s and a Grammy. He joins this list of stars (and it took him only 10 years to make the club, the shortest span of all; the average time-to-completion was 27 years): Richard Rodgers, Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Whoopi Goldberg and Scott Rudin.
(It’s fitting also to mention Bob Fosse who was not a member of the EGOT club, but did win a Tony, Emmy and Oscar – all in the same year of 1973.)
I only wish that Lopez had won the Golden Globe award which he was nominated for this year. Then he would have been granted membership to the even more exclusive GOT EGG club.
Radio Shack Set to Shrink
I read with dismay that Radio Shack, following a devastating $400 million loss in 2013, is planning to shutter 1,100 stores. Now what am I going to do the next time I need a fuse for my Marantz Vacuum Tube Model 9-70-R power amplifier? Or a head-cleaner for my 8-track? I wonder if I’ll still be able to get service on my TRS-80 PC… Jesus! Will the government please come in and bail out Radio Shack? Please!?
Radio Shack started in 1921 with a mission to supply parts for the fast-growing ham radio community. Obviously, the name of the company made sense at its founding, but came to sound old fashioned and out-of-touch by the late 20th Century. (It was called Tandy for a while.) I suspect people associated the stores with nerdish kit builders and creepy loner inventors like Ted Kaczynski.
But I suppose Radio Shack isn’t the only victim of ill-conceived or funny-sounding names. Just walk the halls of any mega-mall.
I remember a shoe store named the Athlete’s Foot, which I believe was around the corner from Painful Rectal Itch. And of course, every mall has a Crabtree & Evelyn, which I’ve been told was originally going to be called Crotchrot & Enema. And what about Häagen-Dazs, the ubiquitous ice-cream store founded in the Bronx and bestowed a Danish-sounding name that is meaningless. The owners just wanted an exotic-sounding name. I believe their first choice, Skräachen-Zsnif, was already trademarked.
And how about Stuckey’s restaurant? Not a staple of malls, but definitely an eyesore along the highways and byways of the interior US. Evoking the image of an uncomfortable mess, what name could be worse for a restaurant chain – especially one whose showcase delicacy is called “The Log”?
@GSElevator Headed for the Basement
I penned a blog recently about what I thought was a serious mistake waiting to happen: the publication by Simon & Schuster of a book written by a supposed-Goldman-Sachs trader who posted insider gossip on a highly-popular Twitter feed called @GSElevator. Even after the enigma behind @GSElevator, John Lefevre was revealed to be a fraud who had never worked at Goldman, and wasn’t even a New Yorker who might have had close second-hand info, Simon & Schuster reconfirmed their plans to publish the book, “Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking.”
Given the millions of books that have been “pulped” over the years by publishers at high cost after the authors were unmasked as liars and plagiarists, why would a major publisher proceed knowing in advance their star author was less than forthright?
Turns out, they won’t. According to the New York Times, “The publisher, Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster … released a terse statement saying: “In light of information that has recently come to our attention since acquiring John Lefevre’s ‘Straight to Hell,’ Touchstone has decided to cancel its publication of this work.””
My take: Simon & Schuster was more worried that Lefevre was not in a position to dish decent dirt than about his history of prevarication.
Perhaps they can make it up on a new book deal about the secret world of the NSA with the blogger behind @EdwardSnowdensSistersTrainersHairdresser.