Kimberley O’Brien is on kind of a musician kick this week. I just found out about Tim O’Brien the bluegrass musician, and now I learned about Derek O’Brien, a drummer who joined punk band Social Distortion when he was still in high school! That’s pretty impressive. Kimberley O’Brien knew lots of musicians in high school, but none of them were in “real” bands. And Social Distortion isn’t the only band that Derek O’Brien has worked with. He also did some stuff with Tom Morello (Chicago native and member of Rage Against the Machine) and The Adolescents. Later, when he became a studio musician, Derek O’Brien worked with even more well known musicians including Lucinda Williams, Flogging Molly, and Fishbone.
Tim O’Brien is an award winning country and bluegrass singer. He has released ten albums and he has even had a song in the Billboard Top Ten Country Music Singles. O’Brien was born in Wheeling, West Virginia and he started performing music when he was a young teen, when he and his sister, Mollie O’Brien started playing local coffee shops. They mostly played covers of Peter Paul and Mary songs. Since then, Tim O’Brien has gone on to have a very successful career. He won a Grammy award in 2005, which is pretty impressive!
So, I’ve been focusing mostly on places and works of fiction named “O’Brien” so I thought this week I’d return to people named O’Brien. And I’m kicking things off with Pat O’Brien, a sportscaster, radio host, and writer. Pat O’Brien is best known for hosting CBS Sports, Access Hollywood, and The Insider. He has also covered several high profile sports events like the Olympic Games, the Super Bowl, and the World Series. Pat O’Brien is also notable for his public struggle with alcohol abuse. His alcohol problems came to light after a woman shared some graphic voice mails that O’Brien left when he was drunk. After the voice mails got out, he went into rehab. Kimberley O’Brien says, Good for him. Alcohol abuse and addiction is a difficult thing to deal with, and more power to Pat O’Brien for taking charge of his life.
So, this TV show is a little bit before my time (really, it’s a LOT before my time – it was on in 1965!) but it sounds like it was kind of interesting. In The Trials of O’Brien, Peter Falk played a lawyer who liked to quote Shakespeare. Aside from the Lawyer named O’Brien, the other two major characters on the show were O’Brien’s secretary and his ex-wife. That’s pretty interesting – you didn’t see a lot of divorced people on TV back then and you rarely saw divorced people who had relationships with each other post-divorce! I guess Peter Falk really liked The Trials of O’Brien – but it wasn’t on for very long. There are only 22 episodes of The Trials of O’Brien. Maybe the whole divorced guy thing was too progressive for 1965? Maybe the Shakespeare references were too much? Either way, I’d love to see this show for myself. And it sounds like there were a lot of really interesting guest stars on this show, too – here are just a few of the folks who guest starred on The Trials of O’Brien: Milton Berle, David Carradine, Buddy Hackett, Gene Hackman, Rita Moreno, and Martin Sheen! That’s pretty impressive list of guest stars considering that The Trials of O’Brien was only on for 22 episodes!
Okay this is my most favorite O’Brien-related thing EVER in the WHOLE WORLD: There is an actual planet out there called 21774 O’Brien!!!! Isn’t that the coolest thing ever??!!! The O’Brien planet was discovered at the Anderson Mesa Station in Arizona in 1999 and it was named after scientist David O’Brien. It’s a minor planet – but hey, it’s a planet, right? Not many people can say they share a name with a whole freakin’ planet! And I thought a state park was cool!
Here’s a cool one: There’s an entire 180 acre state park named after an O’Brien! It’s in Minnesota, and it’s named after William O’Brien, who was a Minnesota lumber baron in the 19th century. Even though he was a lumber Baron, William O’Brien didn’t buy this land to cut all the trees down – he actually bought it because he wanted to live there! I’m not sure if he ever built a home there, but in the 1940s after he died, his daughter donated the land to the state of Minnesota! That’s pretty nice, I think. The park is very popular to this day – it features two campgrounds and even today it is one of the most popular parks in the state of Minnesota! Anyone been there? As you know, Kimberley O’Brien is a Chicago city gal so I have pretty limited experience with camping, but I’d love to try it! Maybe I should pay a visit to William O’Brien state park some time!
Here’s another awesome find – this is why I love doing this blog. Ever heard of a comic book series called “Monkeyman and O’Brien”? Me neither! But tell me if this doesn’t sound super cool: Ann O’Brien is a seven-foot-tall superhero who gained super strength after a radiation accident. She joins forces with “Monkeyman” – a super-intelligent gorilla named Axwell Tiberius — to find Ann’s missing scientist father. I have never seen or heard of this comic and it looks like it was only around for a few years in the late 1990s when it was published by Dark Horse Comics. The premise is kind of crazy – but what comic book doesn’t sound crazy? I’d love to get a copy and see for myself.
Okay, so I’m leaving the “People named O’Brien” category for a while and going back to places named O’Brien. This time, we’re going to the Midwestern United States to Minnesota, where you will find O’Brien Township, which has a population of an astounding 56 people – living in 23 households! That’s tiny! The whole place is only 36 square miles! The nearest major highway is Minnesota State Highway 89, and there are a ton of lakes nearby, including Alaska Lake, Island Lake, Mina Lake, Moose Lake, Rice Lake, and Ten Mile Lake (it’s no wonder that Minnesota is called “Land of 1,000 lakes – I think half of them are here in O’Brien Township, LOL!).
Anybody been to O’Brien Township? Heck, has anyone out there heard of O’Brien Township, Minnesota? I’d love to hear more about it – I love hearing about small towns!
There sure are a lot of writers named “O’Brien” out there. So, I’m not totally sure what to call Cathy O’Brien. But I guess “conspiracy theorist” works because she has some, shall we say, unusual opinions and beliefs about the United States government and what it has the power to do. Cathy O’Brien has published several books about her belief that she was the victim of a mind control project called Project Monarch. During her time with Project Monarch, Cathy O’Brien says she was subjected to all kinds of abuse: She claims that she was a sex slave and that she was forced into the mind-control sex slave program by her dad, who abused her as a child. She also says she has multiple personality disorder and she only remembered what had happened to her under hypnosis. She has written two books about her experiences: One is called “Trance Formation of America” and the other is called “Access Denied: For Reasons of National Security.” Although she is quite vocal about what happened to her, it has been difficult for anyone to prove or research the abuses and sex slave accusations as they are all related to top-secret government projects. Some people say that none of that stuff happened to her. Others say she is speaking the truth about something the government would like to keep hidden. Kimberley O’Brien isn’t sure what to think, but it sure is a fascinating story.
Soledad O’Brien has been on several leading national TV news broadcasts on channels like CNN, the Discovery Channel, HBO, and Al Jazeera America. She got her start on local television news in Boston and New York. Soledad O’Brien has an interesting background: Her dad is from Australia and has Irish ancestors and her mom is Afro-Cuban. Soledad O’Brien’s parents met while they were students at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, but Soledad O’Brien never lived in Maryland; instead, she grew up in New York because when her parents were married, the place they were living had laws against people of different races getting married! Kimberley O’Brien was shocked when she read that – what kind of backwards law is that? It’s amazing what people thought was okay back then. But anyway, Soledad O’Brien is very proud of her interesting and diverse heritage – and she even refused to change her name when she started working as a TV personality – I guess people told her she should change it to something less ethnic but she refused. And I say good for her! More people should stick to their guns about name changes. Be proud of your name! I’m proud to be an O’Brien like Soledad O’Brien, LOL!