During my life I had zero credit card debt. I never owned anything extravagant or spent extravagantly. So why did illness drown me financially?
When I became so ill that my job was in jeopardy, my husband and I consoled ourselves with my health insurance. But that didnt last long. When I was finally diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, we started receiving weekly rejection slips in the mail. Not rejections from a credit card or loan application, but from my own insurance provider. Despite the fact that I had paid, every month, a fee so that they would provide me with coverage, the insurance company didnt feel obligated to actually pay for that coverage. MRI: denied. CT scan: denied. Specialist: denied.
I took the denials to my various doctors, asked them to write on my behalf, scan and forward my medical records. Sometimes this worked and the claim denial was reversed, sometimes it didnt work. Meanwhile, I was extremely ill after a failed first abdominal surgery, and my husband was working overtime, covering all the household duties I could no longer perform, and doing more than his fair share of caring for our three young children.
My disease was taking such an enormous toll on me by then; I could barely function. I had used all my sick and vacation days at work, and by the time I arrived home I was often unable do anything other than lie on the couch. I began to fall behind fighting the insurance company.
After spending months in research, it became clear that I needed a specialist for my next surgery. There wasnt one in San Diego where we live, so we found a specialist on the west coast, the closest we could find. My husband and I flew in and I had the surgery. A day later, I had another surgery.
Arriving home, my health despite the general pain of surgical recovery was clearly, immediately better. Many of the worst symptoms that had plagued me for years were already gone or seriously reduced, and my disease was put into remission but we paid an enormous price.
The years after my surgery have been plagued with more financial stress than I ever thought Id experience in my life. During almost all of 14 years of our marriage both my husband and I have worked. We have zero credit card debt. Weve never owned anything extravagant or spent extravagantly. Yet we ended up over $50,000 debt thanks to medical bill copays.
The IRS put a lein on us, and began taking our tax return every year, which up until that point had been a major and important source of income for our family. We would use our tax return to make major car repairs, pay for dental work, and if we had enough left, do something fun for our children.
Our credit score was annihilated, and with it our ability to get a credit card or take out a loan, right at the first time we needed to do either of those things in any real way. When we had to move, finding a renter who would work with us despite the horror-show of our credit score was humiliating and exhausting. We couldnt save money for our children. The credit checks that employers run made me ill with worry when I was looking for a better-paying job. We couldnt buy a new used car when our old car broke down. And until Obamacare, after my job ended I couldnt get new coverage because of my pre-existing conditions.
The IRS required that every year we again prove what our income was and why we could not pay off the debt, or make substantial payments instead of the very small ones we could afford. The paperwork and back-and-forth was time-consuming and intimidating. Despite the fact that we either had a deferral or made payments, we werent even touching the interest, and so the debt continued to grow. It was like this hydra-headed monster that ate our lives.
With my mothers help, we paid a lawyer and filed with the IRS for an Offer In Compromise a year and half ago. Just a few weeks ago we got notice that it was accepted. This means that the IRS has agreed to take one very reduced payment toward our debt, and in return we are finished with it. This is a huge, important step for our family in recovering from this financial ruin.
Let’s face it — there’s a certain appeal to buying stupid things just because you can. Who among us hasn’t vacantly flipped through a SkyMall catalog and imagined a life where buying something out of a SkyMall catalog was a reasonable decision? However, once we land back on planet Earth and get back to our real lives where we have to decide whether to pay the electric bill or the phone bill this month, we know bullshit overpriced junk when we see it. The following expensive, goofy-ass products are made for people who only know “paying bills” as the time they hired two guys named William to install a floating bar in their swimming pool.
A $100 Tube Of Toothpaste
Those who’ve wondered what it’s like to actually pour money down the drain can now experience the sensation right from the comfort of their bathrooms. The good people at Theodent have created a “luxury” toothpaste that, at $100 for a 3.4 ounce tube, lets you scrub your teeth with ten thousand pennies. Called “Theodent 300” and offering vague “clinical strength,” we’re guessing it’s perfect for those nights you dine in Hell.
Like most activities involving $100 and putting stuff in your mouth, brushing with Theodent is a little dodgy. Instead of fluoride, Theodent contains a proprietary substance called “Rennou,” which is derived from cocoa plants and will — allegedly — keep your teeth from rotting and help get Kool-Aid stains off your tongue.
If you’re not up for diving head first into the world of luxury toothpaste, you can play in the shallow end with the Classic or Kids versions of Theodent, which are available on Amazon for a more comfortable $12 or $13. The kids’ stuff tastes like chocolate, so good luck teaching them not to eat it.
A $250 Jump Rope
Learning to jump rope was a childhood rite of passage, as was finding “jumpable” stuff, like garden hoses, shoe laces, your mom’s good towels, death shrouds, etc. Apparently, someone didn’t get that jumping random stuff was the whole point, and created a $250 jump rope because … actually, we’re not sure why.
A company called Hock decided they could improve upon the classic version of a rope that you jump over by combining “minimalist style with innovative technology.” Those willing to forego groceries in favor of walnut handles and anodized aluminum parts can launch their upper-class asses over nine (adjustable) feet of natural leather rope.
Sadly there’s no quantity discount, so if you’re planning to Double Dutch, be prepared to cough up the full $500 for a pair of these bad boys.
A Plain, Ordinary Candle That’s $470
If you literally have money to burn, then we’ve got the product for you. Thanks to Jo Malone London, you can watch your money go up in smoke while enjoying the “compelling” scents of “Lime Basil And Mandarin” or “Pomegranate Noir,” the latter of which you may recognize as a phrase that is fucking meaningless. Should you choose to indulge, each candle will set you back one (or two, or three) month’s car payment of $470.
Jo Malone Featuring the exhilarating aroma of flaming money and bad decisions.
If you’re trying to rationalize this particular waste of money, let’s be clear on what you’re not buying. It doesn’t contain any expensive essential oils, it’s not used for “aromatherapy,” and it’s not some long-lasting, slow-burning piece of survival gear that will provide illumination in the event of a zombie apocalypse. It’s just a candle. And a damn expensive one.
It does include “complimentary” matches, so … there’s that. Although at that price point, the matches should be doing your tax return.
A Leather-Wrapped Plastic Igloo Cooler For $1800
You may not be familiar with the adage “Leather and water go great together,” possibly because nobody has ever said it ever. That small fact didn’t dampen the spirits of the Lappas company, who decided a leather-wrapped cooler was just the thing for rich people needing to terrify party guests and keep their drinks cold at the same time.
Neiman Marcus “You remember my old business partner? Let’s just say I finally found a use for him.”
There is just one tiny detail: the thing costs $1800, which is the price of several mini-fridges and perhaps an old car. But hey — shipping is free!
We’re guessing that the people responsible for this abomination are counting on the leather wrapping to distract potential buyers from realizing that what’s inside this stamped-leather eyesore is a plain old plastic Igloo cooler, which you can buy at Walmart for $15.
Fortunately for pigs, they don’t make footballs like they used to. While no one is throwing around literal pigskin anymore, the options available for football material have never been more diverse. In fact, if you’re itching to impress your friends with a super-deluxe session of catch, you can even toss a ball made out of python.
If you’re prepared to pony up $1220 for a fucking football, the folks at Bergdorf Goodman are standing by to help swankify your life’s football-related moments. The ball comes in black and natural (read: snakeflesh), and has absolutely no special powers or features. It’s just an ordinary (and very, very expensive) football that won’t transform you into a snake or Brett Favre. That said, it might produce a Tim Tebow moment or two when it’s time to pay your credit card bill.
14k Gold Staples For $118
When you are genuinely out of ideas and at a loss for what to spend money on, you can always spring for some solid gold staples. Sold by Garmentory, you can get 24 gold staples — plus a nifty box — for $118. While that seems pretty steep, it works out to just $4.92 per staple, which is perfect for those really special moments when a stack of papers needs just a little bit extra to keep them together.
Unfortunately, they are just staples after all, so to use them, you still have to put them in your $8 Swingline stapler and hope it doesn’t jam. You should also really, really try not to forget a page.
The folks at Garmentory would like to remind you that there are all sorts of uses for $118 gold staples, such as haphazardly punching them into your clothing for a look that screams, “I have lost all concept of value and social convention”:
We guess they figure if you can fork over that much cash for gold staples, then you shouldn’t mind tearing a bunch of tiny holes in your clothes to show them off. However, since you could just spend $5.50 on some identical-looking yellow (or blue or pink or green) staples on Amazon, this probably isn’t the best way to get a big bang for your bougie buck.
A $100,000 Wet Razor
If you have a hundred large lying around, or if your facial hair is the consistency of Kevlar, you might be in the market for the world’s most expensive razor. It’s made out of iridium, a substance that comes from meteorites and is so incredibly hard it’s mostly used to make rocket engines. Obviously, the next best use for this material, right after propelling things into orbit, is removing hair from your body.
It’s manufactured by Zafirro, who says their facial hedge clipper “pushes the boundaries of technology while creating an aesthetic that could be the centerpiece of a gallery collection.” In other words, it’s needlessly high-tech, but it’s also kinda pretty. It’s available only in limited quantities, probably because iridium is only available in limited quantities. If you’re overburdened by a hundred grand and have questionable judgment, you can pre-order it on their website, and the purchase does include free service on the sapphire blades and pure platinum screws for 20 years. We assume the only shaving cream worthy of this little gem is made of jellied pearls stripped from the ocean’s rarest clams, but Zafirro’s website neither confirms nor denies this.
A Designer Toothpaste Squeezer for $195
For those days when your own fist simply won’t do, you can eke out a perfect glob of toothpaste with this designer toothpaste squeezer. According to theline.com, “This chrome-plated brass device affords a precise start and end to each day by ensuring you get the most out of every tube of toothpaste.” It’s the perfect thing for anyone looking for completely unnecessary items to fill up counter space in an overly large bathroom.
For the bargain price of $195, you can have the satisfaction of wringing the last fraction of a cent of toothpaste out of each tube, and rest in the knowledge that if you live to see 150 years you might eventually break even (please note this does not apply if you are using Theodent 300).
A $100-A-Month Toilet Paper Subscription
If you thought toilet paper was the great equalizer, and that rich people wipe their asses with the same paper squares as the rest of us plebes, think again. There is, in fact, toilet paper for the astoundingly wealthy. And it isn’t just dollar bills.
Zurich-based Joseph’s Toiletries offers a monthly toilet paper subscription for the bargain price of $100. Per person. Calling itself “toilet paper reinvented,” the natural “tissue pads” come with a bottom wash infused with vitamin B5 and zinc, which gets your asshole all those vitamins it’s no doubt been missing.
Among our many questions is what metric they used to determine an appropriate monthly ration of toilet paper. Did they make allowances for taco truck days and bad sushi? And how did they settle on a size for the pre-cut pieces, which could be extremely wasteful or woefully inadequate, depending on factors such as poo consistency and splash radius? Even more importantly, what happens if you exhaust your monthly allocation of butt wipers early? Can you get more, or are you left kissing your bunghole with common tissue like the poors?
The classic car speeds through the English countryside, a lovingly-maintained example of motoring heritage.
It rounds a left-hand bend, negotiates a tight right corner, and gracefully dips out of view, a petrol-fuelled gazelle.
This is a collectable automobile that has seen its value soar in recent years. Proud owner Ed Hughes is a very happy man.
Yet the 45-year-old’s set of wheels isn’t what most people would imagine when they think of a classic car. It isn’t a vintage Ferrari, Lamborghini or Jaguar, for example.
Instead, it’s a 1994 Lada Riva, the boxy, four-door Russian runabout that regularly features in “worst cars of all time” lists.
Mr Hughes’ example has a 1.5 litre engine, 80,000 miles on the clock, and a top speed of 95mph (153 km/h). And he loves Ladas so much that he owns five of them.
While some might scoff at the suggestion that a Lada Riva is a classic car, it does in fact meet the generally agreed criteria – it is an old car that is no longer in production, and there is enough interest in the vehicle for it now to be collectable rather than scrapped.
And like any classic car worth its salt, there is money to be made, although not Ferrari-style tens of millions. Mr Hughes bought his red Riva 14 years ago for 50. It’s now worth 2,000.
As the global classic car industry continues to grow strongly, an increasing number of previously unheralded cars are now being avidly collected. But why the Lada Riva?
Mr Hughes, who gave up a career in teaching to write full-time for Practical Classics magazine, admits that Ladas were “deeply unfashionable” for years. But as his father had owned a few of the Soviet cars when he was growing up, Mr Hughes says “he’d always liked them”.
So in the late 1990s he started buying Ladas, including the Riva, which was available in the UK from 1983 to 1997.
“As happens with old cars, people were throwing them away as their value decreased, and I started rescuing some of the nicer models,” says Mr Hughes.
“What they lack in fit and finish they make up for in being quite well built mechanically.”
Mr Hughes says there are two main reasons for the big rise in the value of Ladas in the UK in recent years.
“Firstly, a new generation of people in their 20s and 30s like the car’s shape – there is nothing like it on the road. They’ve now become a fashion statement.”
Secondly, they are being snapped up to be exported back to Russia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Mr Hughes explains: “There’s a small but avid market for Ladas in Eastern Europe, specifically for nice right-hand drive models made for export to Britain.
“Hungarians go berserk for them [in particular] because they think it’s utterly amazing they were built for sale to the ‘capitalist West’ as it were.”
In addition to his five Ladas, Mr Hughes’ collection of “Eastern European motoring delicacies” includes three Wartburgs and a Trabant from former East Germany; a Moskvich from Russia; and a Zaporozhets and a Tavria from Ukraine. He also has “a half-share” in a Izh Oda, also from Russia.
Mr Hughes says he wouldn’t swap his collection for a Ferrari, because he argues that anyone with a “big enough chequebook” can pick up an old example of the Italian sports car, while it “requires a bit more skill, care, and so on, to own a fleet of motoring’s less-loved specimens”.
Motoring journalist Dave Richards says that the big increase in the number of formerly “prosaic” or ordinary cars now considered to be classics certainly isn’t limited to former Soviet vehicles.
Instead, he says that cars such as old Ford Cortinas and Capris, the original Mini, and even the Austin Maxi, are in big demand. Plus the Citroen 2CV and the original VW Beetle.
“Many of these cars are practically extinct now, you hardly ever see them on the road, but there is a real demand for those that are still out there… this limited supply means that prices are being driven ever upwards,” says Mr Richards, who is also co-owner of car restoration business Project Shop, based near the Oxfordshire town of Bicester.
The company makes a good living restoring classic cars to their former glory.
At the UK branch of US car giant Ford, it celebrates its old cars in a quiet corner of its factory in Dagenham, east London.
Its Ford Heritage Collection is an Aladdin’s Cave of more than 100 Ford cars from the past 80-plus years.
The jewel in the crown is a Ford Escort 1850GT, which won the first London-to-Mexico rally in 1970.
Ivan Bartholomeusz, who helps to look after the collection, estimates that this car is worth at least 500,000.
Yet the museum of cars is also home to Ford Fiestas from the 1990s.
Mr Bartholomeusz says that the best Ford Cortinas made in the first half of the 1970s can now sell for 18,000, but back in the 1980s were worth as little as 100.
However, Mr Richards cautions that there is still some risk to buying a classic car, be it a Lada, Ford or Ferrari.
“Don’t trust your own judgement,” he says. “Instead, elicit the help of a car club who might know the vehicle in question, or take someone from that club with you to look at that car.
“This is better than saddling yourself with a car that could cost you a packet.”
Of course, owning a classic car isn’t just about money; some people do it for the sheer fun.
Bronwyn Burrell was 25 when she took part in the same 1970 London-to-Mexico rally as the feted Escort, co-piloting an Austin Maxi.
After a 47-year hiatus she’s now taking the very same Maxi racing again, and is due to take part in the London-to-Lisbon classic car rally later this month.
Ms Burrell says: “It’s such good fun, a really exhilarating drive. It’s just like I’m 25 again, reliving my youth.
“I wouldn’t sell the Maxi unless I had to. As far as I’m concerned she’s priceless.”
The most popular trophy in sports won’t be the only historical artifact on display next week when Pittsburgh Penguins center Matt Cullen shows it off in the Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, metropolitan area.
The Stanley Cup will be next to a Stanley car.
A West Fargo antique car museum is tuning up a 1936 Rolls-Royce that belonged to Edward Stanley, himself a hockey player and son of the man who founded the trophy that goes to the NHL champion. His father, Frederick Stanley, was the Governor General of Canada and became interested in hockey because Edward and his siblings played the game.
The car has been at the Bonanzaville museum since the early 1970s, when Marv Koeplin loaned it to the museum. Koeplin died in 2002. His daughter, Mary Dickinson, said her father had an “extreme interest in education” and would have loved having it as part of the Stanley Cup event.
“My goodness, it is just a wonderful connection with the Stanley family,” Dickinson said. “I’m very happy that a piece of history, a historical artifact, can rise again like the Phoenix to go next to the Stanley Cup.”
The antique car display at the West Fargo museum includes more than 50 vehicles. Brenda Warren, executive director of the historical society and museum, said the Stanley Cup and Stanley car are a perfect pairing.
“I think it’s a great association,” Warren said. “It’s a beautiful luxury car that has great historical significance behind it.”
Cullen, a 20-year NHL veteran who grew up in Moorhead and lives in the area with his wife and three kids, will pose for pictures with the cup and the car on July 30. All players on the cup-winning team get the trophy for 24 hours.
The 3-foot high, 35-pound trophy is the oldest professional team sports trophy in North America. Frederick Stanley bought the cup from a London silversmith and donated it to Canada’s top amateur team in 1892. In 1910, it was given to the champion of a professional competition and remained that way until it became the property of the NHL in 1917.
It is the second Stanley Cup for the 39-year-old Cullen, who won his first with Carolina and also has played for Anaheim, Florida, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Minnesota and Nashville.
Many of them are so overwhelmed with belongings that theyre on the verge of a breakdown. I advise them to simplify and let go. Its transformative
My day is busy from dawn until dawn, installing pretty containers, colour-blocking books within designer spaces and folding socks, Marie Kondo style. I wish. Professional organising is in actual fact dirty, physical and disappointingly almost never involves styling.
I might organise the removal of an old car or a pile of excess bricks. I sometimes declutter a paper-filled office or pack up a deceased persons estate. I could even track spending and create a budget for someone whose poor organisation tumbles out of their wallet.
I have always been highly organised, even as a child. I heard about organising as a career in a magazine and pursued it, not knowing how to translate my skill set into consulting with clients. I had worked for nearly 20 years as a nurse, but felt organising was my calling and it has not disappointed since I took it up in 2000.
Im self-employed and make a good hourly rate which I discount if I get a lot of work from a client. I dont turn down any jobs, unless the person involved is showing signs of hoarding behaviour; I have no mental health training, so I dont really feel I can help.
I love big jobs when I can transform an entire home or workspace, but thats a big commitment from a client and they must trust and like you for it to work.
Most people outside of the organising industry think we tidy up, but tidying is only a visual thing. What a good organiser does is help with the functionality of a space for example, making sure that frequently used items are in prime storage areas. Or maybe having a system in place to manage bills that arrive on email. Whatever it is I am helping with, I also want to teach my client how to tackle other areas of their space or life when Im not there.
About 90% of my work is hands on going through what is owned, reordering what is kept, and taking away items for charity or recycling. If I had once piece of advice for people it would be that 80% of the items you think you need are only fit for the tip, recycling or donation. Want to save some time? Use the bin, my friend.
Sometimes prospective clients break down on the phone before Ive even met them. They are so overwhelmed with stuff, so overcome with shame at the mess they have created. For them I have nothing but compassion. There are so many factors that can impact a clients ability to stay on top of things: illness, change in circumstances, relationship troubles, relocation to a new home, poor time management. Most often its washing dishes and doing the laundry that people struggle with. I dont mind mucking in to get a backlog under control, and advise clients of methods to stay in control, particularly getting all members of the household to contribute.
Clients often cry with gratitude at my results. I often cry, too. Its thoroughly rewarding to help people on such a practical and emotional level. To take an unusable space and make it usable again, or to empower someone to take charge of an aspect of their life that is not working for them is incredibly satisfying.
I encourage clients to make sound choices about what to do with their overwhelming belongings: the things weighing them down that are not contributing in a positive way. But Ill never to force them to discard even the smallest item; the choice always needs to be theirs. Some people are very easily lost in the minutiae of their possessions and cant see the forest for the trees. I bring perspective.
What makes my job so satisfying is hearing peoples stories. Am I a voyeur? Perhaps a little, but I have had ample opportunities to read things like personal letters and Ive always turned my head. Discretion is very important and I have never taken advantage of the trust placed in me.
Surprisingly Ive had very few clients I didnt warm to, but the rude ones stand out. One in particular springs to mind because she didnt want to get her hands dirty and sadly you cant make decisions about the many things in someones domain without their input. At times like these I try not to judge. I didnt know her full story and what caused her discomfort with me trying to help her.
On the flipside, a good number of clients have become close friends. I am lucky that Im able to separate the people I enjoy working for from their sometimes unsettling behaviour. A family I adored had cats and dogs that they allowed to go to the toilet inside and no one would attend to it promptly. Urine would soak into the floorboards and faeces got mushed into whatever was left on the floor. When you are constantly in an environment that is chaotic and smells, you become desensitised. So while it may seem extreme to you or I, the owner of the clutter barely notices it.
Of course you see all sorts of things and luckily it doesnt bother me in the slightest. I thought it was funny when a client saw me spot lube in her bathroom and she said: Oh, Im sorry you had to see that. Do they think I dont have lube at my house?
Being at the coalface of unwanted belongings has changed my relationship with stuff. I rarely shop, I encourage friends and family not to give me gifts and I easily discard unwanted items. Im a sucker, however, for saving things from clients like plastic bags they put in the bin, which I find wasteful.
I often come home from work and feel that my small apartment is like a five-star hotel: clean lines, most of the washing put away, and I know exactly what is in the fridge. I highly value that my down time is truly my own with nothing to do after hours. So many clients I see are playing catch up, with paper, belongings, information. When you simplify and let go, life has so much more grace.
Organising is very physical work, mentally demanding at times as you are constantly problem solving and sometimes an emotional journey when the client is struggling. The hardest is when a client has a difficult life or if they are in denial about the cluttered and unhealthy environment they are forcing their family to live in. But despite the dirt, the emotions, and the overwhelming stuff, I really wouldnt change my job for the world. Well, maybe just a bit more colour-coding would be nice.
Are you a flight attendant, a firefighter or an anaesthetist? We want to hear your candid accounts of what work is really like. Find full details on submitting your story anonymously here
Cinema is an art form capable of telling stories that can entertain, reflect, and inspire — but let’s face it, 100 percent of us have sat through a whole movie just on the off chance that there would be even a brief glimpse of nudity. (If you have HBO, make that “a whole TV series.”)
But the truth is, shooting even the steamiest sex scene is secretly as awful and uncomfortable as, well, sex in real life. And then you have famously erotic moments that took the behind-the-scenes awkwardness to a whole new level, like in …
The Wolf Of Wall Street: Margot Robbie’s Sex Scene Left Her Covered In Paper Cuts
Margot Robbie got to live out the fantasies of every ’90s teenager who wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to draw them like his French girls when she appeared in The Wolf Of Wall Street, where she shared a number of pretty steamy scenes with him. The movie tells the story of Wall Street huckster Jordan Belfort — which, frankly, works better when viewed as an Inception sequel in which DiCaprio seriously abuses those dream-entering powers.
Paramount Pictures After firing his whole thief crew and getting a far better one.
Naturally, there’s a lot of sex in the movie, mostly between Belfort and his wife (played by Robbie). At one point they even do it on top of a huge pile of money, because a scene where they copulate on a bed full of electric bills and soiled pizza boxes would be too depressingly familiar for most of us.
Paramount Pictures That money is now worth twice as much from having touched the butts of attractive people.
Behind the scenes, though, things were decidedly unsexy. Sure, life could be worse than being paid to simulate sex with an Oscar-winner and former Growing Pains cast member (as long as his name doesn’t contain the words “Kirk” or “Cameron”). It obviously wasn’t too bad a deal for Leo either. But for Robbie, the scene had an unintended consequence — when she got up to get dressed, the crew gasped because her back, they said, was covered in “a thousand red scratches,” as if she’d been whipped. Or like she’d been having sex on top of a pack of rabid cats, we guess.
It seems that, while it may look cool (and might be some kind of complex allegory for America), sex on top of money is super unpractical, as it leaves you with more paper cuts than a bloodthirsty Kinko’s employee. Robbie definitely didn’t recommend it; even the back seat of an antique car on a doomed steamship sounds more comfortable. We should note that, in the interest of journalistic accuracy, we carefully examined every available photo of Robbie taken thereafter and couldn’t find any permanent scars, so there’s that.
Last Tango In Paris: Brando Couldn’t Remember His Lines, Wanted To Write Them On His Co-Star’s Butt
Last Tango In Paris is the story of a recently widowed man (played by Marlon Brando) having loads of anonymous sex with a young woman in 1970s Paris. It was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and, we’re guessing, paid for by the Paris Tourism Board.
United Artists If Paris hadn’t bid highest, this could have been called Last Tango In Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
Well, according to various biographies, Last Tango In Paris was no exception. Brando found dumber and dumber ways to hide his lines, like the time he scribbled some dialogue down on the sole of his shoe, which must have required some rather elaborate positioning to read (then again, it’s a sex movie). Another scene found him gazing to the heavens over his wife’s dead body — but even that poignant moment hailed by critics was him reading off some cards hidden on a far wall. It’s hilariously obvious when you know what’s going on.
United Artists “Even if a husband lives 200 fucking years, he’s never going to be able to discover his wife’s real nature. Wet paint. Do not touch.”
Oddest of all, with so many love scenes leaving no garments to hide cue cards, Brando came up with the suggestion of writing his prompts on Maria Schneider’s rear. Bertolucci said no, but it’s still disturbing to learn that Brando wanted to use his young female co-star’s butt as his personal butt-shaped teleprompter.
For those wondering if at least the filmmaker behind the picture wasn’t also crazy: He was quoted as saying that the actors and actresses making the movie were the “prolongation of my penis” and, “Like Pinocchio’s nose, my penis grows.” So, yup, this Oscar-nominated flick was made by a guy who needed script prompts from an ass and a director who subscribed to the most dubious penile enlargement method ever.
Basic Instinct: The Director Tricked Sharon Stone Into Exposing Herself
The early-’90s thriller Basic Instinct is remembered less as a movie and more as an endurance test for the pause buttons of Blockbuster’s perviest patrons. In the most famous scene, Sharon Stone’s character (an accused killer) is grilled by the police and, instead of the good cop/bad cop routine, they employ the little-known tactic of lighting the interrogation room like an underwater Abercrombie & Fitch and staring at her like she’s 3D puzzle art.
TriStar Pictures Why does this interrogation room have nicer chairs than most presidential palaces?
Of course, we all know what happens next: She crosses her legs and isn’t wearing any underwear — either because she forgot to put on undies while she was busy murdering people or this is a shameless, throwaway bit of nudity. Still, it’s an intensely erotic scene … that also keeps cutting to fucking Newman from Seinfeld, making one wonder if this whole movie isn’t just some kind of academic project researching boner confusion.
TriStar Pictures To be fair, every ’90s movie was legally required to hire this guy.
Anyway, while a lot of us were surprised to see Stone’s vagina in a movie, so was Stone. According to her, she was talked into going commando because otherwise the white of her panties would be visible in the shot, but her character’s nudity was supposed to be communicated through “innuendo.” She specifically told the director, Paul Verhoeven, she didn’t want to actually reveal anything on camera. She said, “And he’s like, ‘No, no you’re not going to.’ So I gave him the underwear, put them in the pocket of his shirt.” The director put her underwear in the pocket of his shirt? That’s not a film production; that’s an American Apparel shoot gone … well, alarmingly routine.
Even shittier, no one bothered to inform Stone that her scene had been turned into the cinematic equivalent of a sex offender’s iPhone until she was watching it on the big screen with a crowd of people that almost certainly weren’t all doctors. Adding to the sleaze-factor, Verhoeven claimed he was taking “revenge” on Stone for not doing nudity in Total Recall. Thankfully, Stone barged into the projection booth and slapped Verhoeven in his lying face — something the movie-going public would all want to do only a few years later.
MGM/UA “Why isn’t Jessie freaking out about Slater and the SATs? This movie has no respect for canon.”
Eyes Wide Shut: Tom Cruise’s Part Was Originally Intended For Woody Allen
In Stanley Kubrick’s sex-filled final movie, Eyes Wide Shut, Tom Cruise plays a well-to-do New York doctor who gets involved in a creepy underground fuck-fest after his wife (played by Nicole Kidman) admits she likes another dude. A real-life couple at the time, Cruise and Kidman appear in a number of surprisingly graphic scenes, but they were probably just happy to point out that there other crazy cults in the world besides the one they belonged to.
Warner Bros. “Hail Hydra.” (What cult did you think we were talking about?)
In addition to being naked quite a bit and having simulated sex, Cruise famously pops by a crazy orgy for rich people with Phantom Of The Opera fetishes … but another beloved Hollywood icon almost did those things. Hint: His first name is a synonym for “penis.”
ABC Studios This is exactly as unfeasible as him voicing the lead character in a DreamWorks family movie.
Turns out Kubrick had been developing the project since the ’60s, when Cruise was presumably just a glint in the eye of the alien overlord who psychically impregnated his mother. According to Kubrick’s long-time producer and brother-in-law, Jan Harlan, the original casting choice to lead the erotic thriller was the poster boy for neuroses and marrying your girlfriend’s kids: Woody Allen — which, given what we now know about the guy, might have ended up testing the boundaries of human regurgitation.
The idea was to make a cheap black-and-white art-house movie with Allen, then a burgeoning comedian, playing the New York doctor. Kubrick put the project aside because it was too difficult at the time, but he tried to pursue it again the ’70s … at which point he thought the lead role was perfect for Steve Martin. This was back when Martin was known for being almost inhumanly wacky, long before he started taking more challenging roles like Cheaper By The Dozen 2 and The Pink Panther 2. If nothing else, we’ve learned that Kubrick apparently thought Tom Cruise was fucking hilarious.
Warner Bros. “So, anyway, there’s this ancient alien soul in your body making you unhappy, and …” “HIRED!”
Masters Of Sex: Michael Sheen Was Vomiting Between Takes
Sony Pictures Television
Masters Of Sex is the Showtime program about Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, pioneers in the field of the academic study of getting busy. It stars Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen, whom we’re guessing is the actor Martin Sheen tells people is actually his son.
Sony Pictures Television It looks feasible.
The show tells the story of the real-life Dr. Masters (who for some reason didn’t change his name to Dr. Phd after attaining his degree) and the research assistant who eventually becomes his partner and wife. Since having a show about Masters without sex would be like making Breaking Bad with no meth or The Walking Dead without petty squabbling, there’s understandably a lot of doing it. One key moment in the show comes when the two partners rub their naughty bits against one another under the guise of furthering their research.
Filming the scene, though, was less erotic and more “morning after your 21st birthday” shitty. For starters, Caplan says, as they approached the moment when Sheen had to touch her breast, she noticed he looked “bad” and his hands were shaky and “clammy.”
Sony Pictures Television “I’m just such a big fan of you. ‘Hot N Cold’ and ‘California Girls’ meant a lot to me.”
This actually helped Caplan feel better about her own nervousness … until Sheen released her boob and immediately walked over to a garbage can and puked. Unbeknownst to Caplan, Sheen was suffering from food poisoning. After finding out that she wasn’t the cause of his abject nausea, Caplan and Sheen got through the scene, proving that you can eat discount seafood the night before filming a love scene and still perform adequately enough.
The Seven Year Itch: Marilyn Monroe’s Iconic Dress Scene Was Originally Full Of Horny Gawkers
20th Century Fox
When you picture Marilyn Monroe, your mind’s eye likely conjures the iconic scene in which she lets the draft of a subway train get to second base.
20th Century Fox New York’s mole people masturbated themselves into oblivion after this.
The scene is from the Billy Wilder movie The Seven Year Itch, about some guy’s midlife crisis and not a particularly virulent strain of chlamydia. But, despite the timelessness of the image, it has a pretty terrible backstory. The original shoot of the scene was done on location in New York, not to capture a sense of authenticity not possible on a soundstage but to drum up some cheap publicity. A good 5,000 people gathered around — less to watch cinema history be made and more to gawk at Monroe’s legs and take mental images for later use.
20th Century Fox Their eyeballs now fetch thousands on eBay.
The mostly male crowd shouted things like, “Higher! Higher!” probably referring to her dress and not just the American economy of the ’50s. Of course, a crowd shouting lewd comments is usually antithetical to moviemaking, and not surprisingly the scene had to be totally reshot on a soundstage. But, because his endgame was seemingly creating public interest in his movie even at the expense of his star’s dignity, Wilder continued to shoot the scene because of the newspaper reporters gathered, for at least 15 takes.
Some even suspect that this event may have led to her divorce from Joe DiMaggio, who supposedly stormed off the set because, according to Wilder, he “didn’t like his wife putting herself for display.” Of course, this is coming from the guy who was actually the one putting her on display instead of making the damn movie.
CNN (CNN)A Mississippi man who was killed by police in an apparent address mix-up was shot in the back of the head, a family attorney said.
“It is so troubling to learn that not only this man died but that this man died running away from people who were trespassing on his premises after he was in bed lawfully,” Murray Wells, an attorney representing the family of Ismael Lopez, told reporters.
Lopez, a 41-year-old car mechanic, was at his Southaven home late Sunday when the deadly police shooting unfolded, Wells said.
Police were looking for a man suspected of assaulting a woman at a gas station in nearby Tate County, according to an incident report. But authorities said the officers responded to the wrong address.
In a Friday news conference, Wells said an independent investigation commissioned by his firm revealed that Lopez died of a single bullet to the back of the head.
“Our conclusion is not a conclusion of the coroner’s office but it is very simple to understand what happened when you look at the physical evidence,” he said. “It couldn’t be any clearer.”
A coroner’s report has not been released.
Since the shooting, Wells and the DeSoto County District Attorney have given multiple versions of what happened when police showed up at Lopez’s residence.
DeSoto County District Attorney John Champion said Southaven police officers knocked on the door of the residence to ascertain if it was the correct location, but the Lopez family didn’t hear the knock. He said they only heard their dog barking, and Ismael Lopez went to find out why.
Police officers say that when Lopez opened the door, his pitbull charged at them, and they shot and wounded the dog. When they looked up, Lopez was pointing a gun at them, Champion said. The officers commanded him to lower the weapon, and fatally shot him when he did not comply, Champion said.
The Lopez family attorney said police shot through the door of the home, killing Ismael Lopez, who was unarmed. Wells said bullet holes can be seen through the front door.
There were two guns in the house, Wells said, but none were near Lopez’s body. The man’s wife told Wells he didn’t hear the officers’ voices.
Southaven police has not released their police incident report and they would not comment on the status of the officer or officers involved in the case. On Friday, Southaven Police Department Chief Steve Pirtle declined to respond to Wells’ allegations.
CNN has reached out to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which is handling the police shooting investigation.
‘No reasonable explanation’
As the investigation continues, the Lopez family attorney is now asking for the Department of Justice to look into the case because he believes criminal charges should be filed. He also called for the resignation of the Chief of Police, all officers involved in the fatal shooting and any politicians who may have given false information about what happened.
“What we’ve heard since this case started over, and over again are stories of bad acting by the Southaven Police Department,” Wells said.
The Lopez family remembered him as “a loving husband, guiding father, mentor to the youth in this community and a hard worker,” in a statement released through their attorney.
“There is no reasonable explanation about why or how this happened to our Ismael but we believe his memory demands answers, accountability, and justice,” the statement said. “We will not rest until we know the truth.”
Even Trump has said Greenwichs hedge fund guys get away with murder but can this debt-ridden state afford to close the loophole known as carried interest?
Just emerging from their blanket of winter snow, the lush and leafy lanes of Greenwich, Connecticut, are usually quiet on a Saturday morning. Behind high walls and long drives sit the manicured mansions of some of the worlds richest people. After a long week making more millions, the last thing the residents want is the help disturbing their beauty sleep. This weekend, though, was different.
On Saturday morning, a coachload of local workers, bullhorns in hand, took to Greenwichs windy lanes for a protest organized by union-backed local community groups and billed as the Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless bus tour.
Chanting El pueblo unido / Jams ser vencido (The people united / Will never be defeated) and Hey hey, ho ho, tax loopholes have got to to, a couple of dozen protesters, gently shepherded by local police, left giant tax bills totaling close to $3bn for some of the worlds richest hedge fund managers.
The protesters, and many others in Connecticut, are hoping they can force the state to reclaim such tax from its richest residents as it wrestles with massive debts and prepares to sack thousands of local workers.