The Fix

The silent hybrid car threat. Guide to actor bands. Plus: Britney throws up, then parties?

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First Word

Goldman subpoenas Simpson records: Fred Goldman is continuing his attempt to collect some of the $33.5 million his family won in a civil lawsuit against O.J. Simpson over his son Ron’s death — the newest front involves going after Simpson’s residuals from his various TV and movie appearances. Filing subpoenas Monday in Los Angeles for records kept by the Screen Actors Guild, the Producers Guild of America and the American Federation of Television Radio Artists, Goldman’s lawyers are looking for any money Simpson might be making from airings of the disaster classic “Towering Inferno” or TV series. “We’ve all seen ‘Naked Gun’ repeatedly on cable. Each time it’s shown again, his residuals add up,” Goldman’s attorney, David J. Cook, told reporters. “This is a matter of turning every stone.” (Associated Press)

Mile-high Fiennes: Ralph Fiennes’ alleged antics on a recent Qantas flight have sent an airline attendant into hiding. Fiennes reportedly got up to no good in a business-class bathroom with crew member Lisa Robertson en route to Mumbai, India. (Page Six notes that he was headed on a UNICEF tour of the country to raise STD awareness, though it weirdly keeps referring to her as Robinson.) Her statement to the airline paints the scene: “While conversing with Mr. Fiennes during my break, I expressed a need to go to the toilet. I went to the nearby toilet and entered it; he followed me. I explained to him that this was inappropriate and asked him to leave. Mr. Fiennes became amorous toward me, and, after a short period of time, I convinced him to leave the toilet, which he did. I left a short time later.” But the couple was caught exiting the lavatory by two other crew members; they reported Robertson, who has since been suspended without pay. (Daily Mail, Page Six)

White noise … The new German version of Vanity Fair reports that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have just bought a place in Berlin and are planning to relocate to SoTo, or South Torstrasse. (Gridskipper) … The Police (right) made their expected announcement yesterday in Los Angeles that, yes, they’re reuniting for a world tour, to begin at the end of May. (Los Angeles Times) … Kate Winslet is threatening to sue British magazine Grazia over what she says are “completely untrue” rumors about her seeing a dietary specialist in Los Angeles. (People) … Britney Spears proved her quick-recovery powers Monday, according to Page Six — after spending a night throwing up in the bathroom of one club in New York, she was seen out dancing the next night at a different hot spot. (Page Six)

Talkers

Best Larry King Feature Ever! I Loved It! The awfulness of Larry King isn’t just confined to his doze-inducing interview style or requisite suspenders. King, as the Los Angeles Times reports today, has a thriving sideline in providing movie blurbs. Quick to point out “I’m not a critic!” King says that his approach to blurb writing works like this: “If I like the movie, I give ‘em a quote. If I don’t like something, I’m not gonna rap it.” While most of his packaged quotes are notable only for their heavy use of the exclamation point — “The Best Spy Movie Ever!”; “Fun and Very Funny!”; “The Best Movie About Gambling Ever Made!” — it sometimes doesn’t matter if he actually liked the film or not. His blurb was used for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” — “Finally, a Movie Worth Seeing Over and Over Again!” — even though he didn’t enjoy it: “I told the CNN person to tell the studio, ‘I didn’t understand the damn movie at all. I’d have to see it over and over again to figure out what happened.’ And then they went and used it!” (“King of the Blurbs,” L.A. Times)

Silent running: For the environmentally minded, hybrid cars are an obvious boon — great gas mileage, low emissions. For the blind pedestrian, though, there’s a big downside: The cars, when in electric mode, make almost no noise, so it’s difficult to be aware of them. While hard numbers on accidents involving the cars and the blind are hard to come by, some groups have swung into action. As the Wall Street Journal writes, “The National Federation of the Blind, an advocacy group, says all hybrid vehicles should emit a sound while turned on and is calling on the auto industry to make changes.” Several schools for guide dogs reportedly will soon start to include hybrid car training with their animals. (“Blind Pedestrians Say Quiet Hybrids Pose Safety Threat,” Wall Street Journal)

Your Guide To

Actor bands: What with Scarlett Johansson confirming at the Grammys on Sunday that she’s still planning to go ahead with that Tom Waits cover album, we thought it time to take a look at the side-project bands of the stars. Keanu Reeves’ Dogstar has been put to sleep, and Samuel L. Jackson’s career as a foulmouthed bluesman for “Black Snake Moan” is unfortunately merely a one-off, but don’t fret: There are plenty of other actor bands whose MySpace pages you can browse. A sampling:

ACTOR BAND ROLE VIDEO CAREER HIGHLIGHT
Adrian Grenier The Honey Brothers Drummer “Some of Them Are Nice Days” 3 sold-out shows at New York’s Bowery Ballroom
Jared Leto 30 Seconds to Mars Lead singer “The Kill” Leto’s well-publicized fight with Elijah Wood
Ed Burns The Blue Jackets Rhythm guitar “Typical” Inclusion of two songs on the soundtrack of “The Groomsmen,” directed by … Ed Burns
Russell Crowe The Ordinary Fear of God (30 Odd Foot of Grunts dissolved in 2004) Lead singer “Testify” A lengthy tell-all published by Australian writer Jack Marx about doing guerrilla P.R. for Crowe’s band
Juliette Lewis Juliette Lewis and the Licks Lead singer “Hot Kiss” Sold-out show at Hyde Park — opening for Foo Fighters — last summer

Buzz Index

; )

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“Farmer Exasperated With Wayward Donkey” (Associated Press)

Judgment

Hollywood daze: In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani looks at Jane Smiley’s latest effort, “Ten Days in the Hills.” She writes that while Smiley clearly wants to satirize the recognizable Hollywood types that populate the book, “her narrative all too often devolves into a sort of tape-recording of her characters’ conversations, so that we are treated to endless, unedited transcripts of bedroom, dining room and poolside dialogue, combined with pages and pages of R-rated (sometimes X-rated) accounts of their sexual shenanigans.” (Those same shenanigans caught the eye of John Updike in an earlier, kinder review in the New Yorker: “The sexual descriptions set a new mark for explicitness in a work of non-pornographic intent.”) Still, for all the naughtiness going on among the book’s 10 principals (and both Kakutani and Updike note the connection to Boccaccio’s “The Decameron”), Kakutani finds “more often than not, the reader feels that Ms. Smiley is simply shooting overdressed fish in a gilded barrel, laboriously illustrating observations about Hollywood that have been made many times before.” (“Hollywood Decameron, Without All the Fun,” New York Times)

“I hear Aaron Sorkin is in Los Angeles wearing the same dress — but longer, and not funny.”

— “30 Rock” writer Tina Fey, wearing a revealing dress, dissing the rival “Saturday Night Live” takeoff show, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” during the Writers Guild Awards on Sunday night. (Rush & Molloy)

Numbers

Bestsellers:
No. 1 new fiction on next week’s New York Times list: “Plum Lovin’,” by Janet Evanovich
No. 1 new nonfiction on next week’s New York Times list: “The Audacity of Hope,” by Barack Obama
No. 1 seller on Powells.com: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” by J.K. Rowling
No. 1 seller on Amazon.com: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” by J.K. Rowling

Turn On

On Tuesday night, “American Idol” (Fox, 8 p.m.) is finally out of the audition stage and heads to Hollywood, dogs and their owners compete in “The 131st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show” (USA, 8 p.m. EST), and PBS airs the first episode of the four-part series “Frontline: News War: Secrets, Spin and the Future of the News” (check local listings), which covers WMD and Plamegate, featuring interviews with all the major players including Judith Miller.

Talk

SHOW GUESTS
The View (ABC, 11 a.m. EST) John Stamos, Dave Koz and Anita Baker, guest co-host Jo Frost
Ellen (Syndicated, check local listings) Peter O’Toole, Dominic Monaghan, Keith Barry
Oprah (Syndicated, check local listings) Dr. Oz
Charlie Rose (PBS, check local listings) Ban Ki-Moon
Larry King (CNN, 9 p.m. EST) Judge Judy
Jon Stewart (Comedy Central, 11 p.m. EST) Christopher Horner
Stephen Colbert (Comedy Central, 11:30 p.m. EST) Sheryl WuDunn
David Letterman (CBS, 11:30 p.m. EST) Peyton Manning, Dan Horn with Orson, the Cat Empire
Jay Leno (NBC, 11:35 p.m. EST) Dennis Miller, baker Marjorie Johnson, Taylor Swift
Jimmy Kimmel (ABC, 12:05 a.m. EST) Ryan Phillippe, Josh Jutcherson
Conan O’Brien (NBC, 12:35 a.m. EST) Eva Longoria, Lily Allen
Craig Ferguson (CBS, 12:35 a.m. EST) Aisha Tyler, Harry Shearer, Taylor Williamson

 

Bookmark the Fix here | See a directory of recent columns | Send tips to thefix@salon.com

Fix contributors: Heather Havrilesky, Scott Lamb, Kerry Lauerman, David Marchese, Laura Miller, Andrew O’Hehir, Amy Reiter, Stephanie Zacharek

Fix logo by Rhonda Rubinstein

Scott Lamb is a senior editor at BuzzFeed.com.

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