BANTER WITH BEN AND LISA: Tribute to Whitney Houston

The world was shocked today when music icon Whitney Houston died today at 48. Listen in as Lisa Timmons and I as well as Matt Whitfield from Yahoo! discuss this surprising turn of events. We talk about our favorite Whitney memories, theorize on how this will affect the Grammys, and wax nostalgic about the singer’s impact. It’s our tribute to Whitney!

Remember you can listen to Banter with Ben and Lisa on the Sideshow Network and subscribe on iTunes.

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TCM Out-Memoriams The Academy’s In Memoriam Sequence

Every year, one of the morbid traditions of the Oscars is trying to guess who will make the Academy’s In Memoriam montage (and furthermore, who will receive the biggest amount of applause and the money-spot at the end). In recent years, the Academy has taken heat for leaving people such as Brad Renfro, Farrah Fawcett, and Corey Haim out of the mix, but I can assure you that if the people at TCM had any say, such omissions would never happen. I say this because TCM just released its very own year-end In Memoriam sequence with such an extensive list of dead celebrities, I find it hard to believe that anyone’s still alive to run this town.

Nevertheless, take a sad trip down memory lane and pay your respects to these showbiz peeps one last time (until the Golden Globes and then the Oscars).

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‘Housewives’ Husband Russell Armstrong Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

Shocking news from the world of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Russell Armstrong, husband of Taylor, was found dead last night at the age 47. TMZ reports that the cause of death is suicide.

Taylor Armstrong filed for divorce from Russell last month. No word on how the death will impact the upcoming season of Real Housewives.

More reading:

TMZ: “Real Housewives” Russell Armstrong Commits Suicide
E! Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Russell Armstrong Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

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The B-Side Blog Guide To Not Getting Swept Away

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It seems like every week this summer, there’s been a tragic story of someone getting swept away to their death, with the latest coming today after news broke that a 19 year-old girl slipped and fell into the Niagara River, sending her over the falls where she is presumed to have died. Turns out the girl had climbed over a guardrail when she lost her footing and tumbled into the water.

Prior to this tragedy, we had several other incidents this summer, the most famous of which being a trio of hikers who were swept over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park after similarly climbing a guardrail to get closer to the raging waters. Also of note: a man who fell into a blowhole in Hawaii and was swept out to sea, and a woman who managed to cheat death after being sucked into the Niagara Falls whirlpool. “I just wanted to touch beauty,” said that survivor.

I by no means want to make light of the death that’s occurred. However, I can’t help but think that perhaps these untimely demises could have been prevented. That’s why I’ve created the official B-Side Blog Guide To Not Getting Swept Away. Details after the jump…

Continue reading

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DEAD CELEBRITIES: Bubba Smith Edition

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Sad news from the world of football / Police Academy. Former NFL star and actor Bubba Smith has died at the age of 66. No word yet on the cause of death, but the Los Angeles coroner’s office has reported that “there is no indication of anything other than natural death.”

Sad emoticon.

For more information, read the full obit here.

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DEAD CELEBRITIES: Macho Man Randy Savage Edition

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Sad news from the world of wrestling. Macho Man Randy Savage died this morning after having suffered a heart attack behind the wheel. The wrestler — one of the most popular in the 1980s, perhaps second only to Hulk Hogan — was 58.

To read more details of this untimely death and to begin your nostalgic mourning, click here.

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DEAD CELEBRITIES: Elizabeth Taylor Edition

After several weeks in the hospital, screen legend Elizabeth Taylor died today at the age of 79. The actress had battled many medical ailments over the past ten years and finally succumbed to congestive heart failure Wednesday morning.

I wouldn’t say that I had a “thing” for Elizabeth Taylor, but she’ll always have a special place in my heart for giving us White Diamonds, the gift that keeps on giving.

To read more about Elizabeth Taylor’s death (including her REAL accomplishments), check out the full story here.

After the jump, one of my favorite Elizabeth Taylor moments: her infamous Golden Globes presentation ten years ago. God Bless her. Continue reading

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Knut Is Dead

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Tragic news from the world of cute. Beloved polar bear Knut is dead. Zookeepers at the Berlin Zoo found him after he had a sudden and unexpected spasm, resulting in his death.

The fluffy, four-year-old bear became a worldwide sensation after he was rejected by his parents, and in the wake of his new fame, Knut achieved such feats as sharing a Vanity Fair cover with Leonardo DiCaprio. In recent years, Knut’s cuddly looks faded as he went from child star to awkward David Faustino adulthood, but that didn’t mean we loved him any less. I always thought Knut would last forever, but today that dream has been shattered.

RIP little guy*

*yes, I’m aware that Knut was actually quite big and probably would tear my throat open if given the chance.

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DEAD CELEBRITIES: Paul The Octopus Edition

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Sad news from the world of soccer. Our favorite clairvoyant cephalopod Paul the Octopus has died. The eight-legged critter gained international fame after accurately predicting the outcome of Germany’s seven 2010 World Cup matches, thus joining the esteemed pantheon of Teutonic animal superstars ruled by Knüt the polar bear. Sadly, Paul was not long for this world. He gave up his octo-ghost today at the ripe old age of two and a half. Let’s hope he’s enjoying himself in the big aquarium in the sky.

For a lovely tribute, click here. And for more information, click here.

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TJ Lavin In Coma

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Unfortunate news from the world of BMX and MTV. Perennial Real World / Road Rules Challenge host TJ Lavin is in critical condition following a BMX accident this week. Doctors put the athlete in a medically induced coma after he lost control of his bike during an event in Las Vegas.

For more information, click here.

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