RIP Alaina Reed (Olivia from Sesame Street) (VIDEO)

Alaina Reed, who played friendly neighbor Olivia for 12 years on Sesame Street, passed away from cancer Thursday at the age of 63:

Actress Alaina Reed-Amini, best known for her long-running roles as Olivia Robinson on the children’s program “Sesame Street” and Rose Lee Holloway on the comedy “227,” has died.

Reed-Amini lost a two-year battle with breast cancer at St. John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, on Thursday, according to reports.

Reed-Amini, who changed her named from Alaina Reed Hall after she married Tamim Amini in 2008, turned 63 last month. In 1976 she joined the cast of “Sesame Street” as Olivia, a professional photographer and the kid sister of Gordon the teacher. She left the program in 1988 for a role on the NBC sitcom “227.”

When I heard the news, I didn’t even recognize the name, but then I searched on YouTube and found this video from Sesame Street in the 80’s. All the childhood memories of watching Sesame Street flooded back and I realized that it was Olivia from Sesame Street who had died.

So thanks Alaina, for playing a part in my development during my formative years. You will always have your place on Sesame Street:

Lady Gaga before she became famous (VIDEO)

Hard to believe, but singer Lady Gaga used to perform in a more restrained and traditional manner. At that time, she went by her birth name Stefani Germanotta and attended New York University.

Check out this video from the NYU Inter-Residence Hall Council of Lady Gaga singing and playing piano  at the NYU Ultraviolet Talent Show. She ended up coming in third place.

The first song is called Captivated and the second one is Electric Kiss.

The best part is that one of the judges said she thought Lady Gaga would be the next Norah Jones. Perhaps you could see why she said that, but uh, no, not exactly Norah Jones…

Listen Along: Imogen Heap’s Hide and Seek (VIDEO)

Listen along with me as we check out the progression of “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap.

The original:

And then the second chorus was heavily sampled in Jason Derulo’s “Watcha Say”:

And of course “Hide and Seek” made an appearance on Australian Idol in Season 5 by contestant Ben McKenzie:

What really made the song famous was it’s inclusion in a scene of the (now-defunct) teen drama The O.C.:

That inspired a Saturday Night Live Digital Short parody of The O.C. finale, called “Dear Sister”…

Check this out here (it was playing automatically).

And then someone parodied the parody on YouTube:

And then, of course, there are parodies of the parodies and parodies of the parodies of the parodies. And parodies using Lord of the Rings scenes and parodies using The Office, etc.

So what does Imogen Heap think of the sampling, at least in Jason Derulo’s hit version of the song?

She spoke about it recently with the BBC:

Finally, I have to ask you about Jason DeRulo’s single Watcha Say – which samples Hide and Seek. It seems to have split fans right down the middle: Some love what he’s done and others are literally out for his blood. What do you think of it?

I really believe a song has a life of its own, so when I heard his version, I actually thought it was pretty good.

Even the first time? I found it took a bit of getting used to…

First time I heard it, yes. I understand that for some people, it’s their favourite song and it feels like he’s butchered it and butchered their memory of it. But, to me, I’ve heard it in so many contexts – by a choir, by a marching band – I loved that it was completely different.

You just can’t keep a good song down!

Thanks for listening along!

Senator Al Franken blasts a supposed healthcare expert on medical bankruptcies (VIDEO)

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is working hard to get healthcare reform passed… pushing through all the rhetoric and nonsense about socialized medicine that’s out there these days:

Al Franken, like many Americans, is sick and tired of listening to conservatives throw up strawman arguments about health care reform intended to scare Americans into accepting 47 million uninsured fellow citizens, increasing out-of-pocket costs and skyrocketing personal bankruptcies due to health care costs–all the while decrying “socialized” medicine. Below, he schools Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Hudson Institute–which until recently employed disgraced health care “analyst” and serial liar Betsy McCaughey–on how people in other “socialized” countries don’t go bankrupt trying to stay alive.

Now that’s refreshing to see, isn’t it? Enough with the scare tactics, let’s get healthcare reform passed!

I Love NY: Taxi Drivers Fight in Times Square (VIDEO)

No one has ever doubted that cabbies are some of the toughest people on earth. One of the greatest benefits of living in New York is the ability to see these random confrontations happen daily.

And as long as no one gets seriously injured, its all just part of a New York day.

Wow, I guess the penny cab driver got away this time. Unless the NYPD finds this video online. Hard to say who’s to blame. The road rage seems to have got the best of both of them.

Of course, tossing the garbage can was probably going over the line, sir. Some would call that assault… unless they’re WWE fans. :P

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