November 21, 2008

Demi Lovato Checks Out “Twilight”

Joining a long list of celebrities on-hand for the Hollywood premiere, Demi Lovato was spotted taking a moment to greet her fans on Monday night (November 17).
The Disney up-and-comer looked to be truly enjoying herself, arriving at the Mann Village’s Bruin Theater in Westwood, California to a warm welcome from the gathered masses.


Zac Efron Gets Low, Low, Low

High School Musical hottie Zac Efron lets his jeans ride low as he leaves Walt Disney Studios with a couple of scripts in his hands in Burbank, Calif. on Thursday.

With HSM 3 behind him, perhaps the 21-year-old actor is looking over roles to break out from his teen sensation background? (Or not?)

Zac is excited for actor Twilight’s Robert Pattinson, saying, “I’m stoked for him. I’m gonna be there! I’ll be watching Twilight in theaters - probably opening!”


The Jonas Brothers Book is Burning Up

The Jonas Brothers are giving you your very own exclusive backstage pass to their concert tour!

Nick, Kevin and Joe hit the bookshelves today with their very own first book, “Burning Up: On Tour with the Jonas Brothers”. You’ll get 200 never-before-seen photos from backstage, in the studio and during their downtime.

Joe, 19, shared: “We don’t have a lot of downtime. The book captures all those things that we get to do during that downtime, whether it’s whiffleball, bowling, working out, riding a segway….that was my first time riding a segway. I had so much fun. I didn’t want to get off of it.”


With the understanding that shoppers will be using the web more than ever this holiday season to compare prices and look for gift ideas, has redesigned its shopping Web site, with new features that help consumers find the best holiday deals. And though Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is two weeks away, has already launched for the holiday season with a variety of special promotions, including free shipping and dollar-off deals.

More than 600 retailers selling over 20 million products have come together on the site to feature hundreds of promotions that allow shoppers to stretch their gift budget this holiday shopping season. Retailers on the site include Barnes &,,,,, and hundreds of other companies.

New features that were a part of the redesign include:

• A robust comparison shopping engine that crawls each merchant to find the best deals on specific products. The search engine allows shoppers to search across 20 million products and offers from hundreds of online retailers by category, brand, price, and color to narrow down a huge selection of merchandise

• Savvy shoppers who don’t want to miss out on money-saving offers can enter their email address on the site to be sent a sneak peek of some of the best deals before they are announced

• A Deal of the Hour promotion on Cyber Monday featuring a different sale or promotion from a participating retailer every 60 minutes

• A new shopping category featuring “green” products

• The top five online deals in a special section on the home page

• Dedicated pages highlighting retailers with free shipping offers and gift cards was visited by more than 1.5 million people last holiday season—three times the previous year—according to Mall Networks, which powers the site. In anticipation of even stronger shopper interest, Mall Networks has increased capacity for the site again this year.

The site launched in November 2006 as a one-stop shop for consumers looking for the best online holiday promotions. All of’s proceeds from benefit the Ray M. Greenly Scholarship Fund in memory of former Vice President Ray Greenly. To date, more than $400,000 has been raised for the Scholarship Fund, which helps students pursuing careers in eCommerce.

Earlier this year, received Nucleus Research’s 2008 Technology ROI Award, which recognizes companies whose skillful deployment of IT solutions has produced a positive, bottom-line financial return on investment. In 2007, the site received two Standard of Excellence WebAwards from the Web Marketing Association.


New Moon is Sequel to Twilight Movie

As of this writing, New Moon, the second installment to the Twilight series has been rumored up to be filmed for a December 2009 release, probably stemming from a surprisingly wide anticipation of Twilight. The report is unofficial but I presume it likely.

The Twilight series, written by Stephenie Meyer, consists of five books - Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn (to be released August 2008). The fifth book is tentative, but in her website Stephenie Meyer has offered a free download of the first chapter of Midnight Sun [PDF].

I hope to get more news as the movie draws near. Twilight is set to show December 12, 2008 and stars Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and is directed by Catherine Hardwicke.

Why does the world need a Teen Vampire?

I had not known Twilight prior to when I saw the trailer. I had seen the book but not really give it much thought. That was until the casting of Robert Pattinson, the guy who played Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter franchise.

A laugh out loud choice for me but a good choice nonetheless. Hollywood’s way of stereotyping its actors gets kinda stupid sometimes - Jon Heder would have a hard time getting out of Napoleon Dynamite’s shadow, so will McLovin, and this Cedric Diggory looks like he wont find himself off the occult/dark roles anytime soon.

So far the screams seem to come from young girls, and Potter fan boys (who miss Mr. Diggory because he died), and a couple of gay bloggers. Lolz! Not surprising.

Teens from all over the world might just fall in love with him since he’s supposedly a beautiful vampire in the Twilight franchise. A good vampire at that, who drinks animal blood instead of man’s. WTF! A round of applause please… this is soo teeny-bopper; throw in a couple of songs here and suddenly it’s High School Musical -The Holloween Party!

The vampire stereotype is already not one you’d hate. Protagonists of the dark are well known charmers - capable of love, incapable of commitment - another term for “good in bed.” Their fake fangs give them pouty lips that for some reason are exceptionally red. Vampires also have their fashion styled to red and black - elegant and classy, almost smart. Fact is, vampires are hot until they put powder on their faces.

And then there’s the idea that they’re supposedly evil, feasting on human blood in order to survive. So what do you do when a really hot, young, 17 year-old-looking vampire gives you the one in a million chance of a half-sexual, adrenaline-rushing sensation of offering the blood galloping from your neck to satisfy his lusting heart?

Trust me, from a horny mammal’s point of view, just for the excuse of saving a life, any chance to be touched inappropriately and people will most likely succumb to that offer. Maybe we need teen vampires to make us less human.


Photoshop online and free

While it's still a teaser at the moment, John Nack (senior product manager for Photoshop) has confirmed the development of Photoshop Express. It's a free online photo editor that's not meant to replace Adobe's current offerings, but "make Adobe imaging technology immediately accessible to large numbers of people." And from the screenshot here you can tell it's not even a dumbed- down Photoshop, but an entirely new product (that reminds us of something from the new iLIfe).

The announcement follows Adobe's implementation of Premiere Express, their online video editor, and it signifies a fairly progressive market plan by Adobe. In a content creation culture where every teen is a video editor, the democratization of powerful multimedia tools online allows Adobe to reach out to this new generation without abandoning their industry professional bread and butter. And it makes us want to remind kids that we once edited a movie on a VCR (after walking 30 miles barefoot in the snow, aiming our kite for lightning to capture the electricity to do our work). [adobe]


Miley Cirus: her voice in Disney's Bolt

Like so many Disney animated features across decades of nightmare-addled preteen moviegoing, "Bolt" is consumed with abandonment issues. I felt abandoned just watching it. It's a seriously withholding action comedy, stingy on the wit, charm, jokes, narrative satisfactions and animals with personalities sharp enough for the big screen, either in 2-D or 3-D. I saw it in 3-D, which helped, especially with an early, massively destructive chase through the streets and freeways of Los Angeles. Plus, the herky-jerky movements in the head and neck region of three credulous pigeons—those were funny.

But the story! A mess. And the pathos! Stop! I give, I give!

Voiced by John Travolta, the chief asset in a bland ensemble struggling with its material, Bolt is a fuzzy American white shepherd, the headliner of his own TV show co-starring his longtime owner, Penny, voiced by Miley Cyrus. Bolt has never been informed by Penny or his greasy handlers that his life-or-death adventures are fake, so when the cameras (which he never sees) stop rolling, he maintains constant vigilance, on the lookout for the show's nemesis ( Malcolm McDowell). This dog never relaxes. He's always tense. He's the star of his own depressing version of "The Truman Show."

Screenplay complications of no particular distinction separate Bolt from Penny, sending him to New York City in a parcel stuffed with Styrofoam. There he confronts the perils of a new environment, where his "super-bark" and "Six Million Dollar Dog"-type powers, which he believes to be real, are useless. This brings us to the question of realism. "Bolt," directed by Chris Williams and Byron Howard, depicts urban landscapes of photorealistic detail, then plops cartoon critters and "WallE"-inspired puffy human beings in front of those landscapes. What good is the realism? It's no fun to see Bolt ram his head into a fence or a metal crate, over and over. The story is a protracted exercise in canine frustration. When the perpetually nerve-racked dog hero dangles his frenemy, the cat Mittens (voiced by Susie Essman), over a busy freeway, the bit is neither amusing nor the right kind of suspense.

Most of "Bolt" is taken up with dog and cat making their way across the country to find Penny back in L.A., with their newfound third musketeer, the hamster Rhino (Mark Walton, who sounds a lot like Patton Oswalt's Remy from the infinitely richer "Ratatouille"). The movie offers a series of wan Hollywood in-jokes involving "Finding Nemo" and focus groups and such, en route to the moral that Hollywood is an evil, shallow place and the heartland is where it's at. Well, of course it is. But Disney can do far better than this, even in the budget-conscious range.

Starring the voices of: John Travolta (Bolt); Miley Cyrus (Penny); Susie Essman (Mittens); Mark Walton (Rhino); Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Calico); James Lipton (The Director); Greg Germann (The Agent).

Directed by: Chris Williams and Byron Howard; written by Dan Fogelman and Williams; additional material by Byron Howard and Jared Stern; art direction by Paul Felix; look and lighting direction by Adolph Lusinsky; edited by Tim Mertens; music by John Powell; animation supervised by Doug Bennett; produced by Clark Spencer. A Walt Disney Pictures release.


National Intelligence Council

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) is the center for midterm and long-term strategic thinking within the United States Intelligence Community (IC). It was formed in 1979. According to its official website:

* It leads the IC's effort to produce National Intelligence Estimates and other documents;
* It supports (and reports to) the Director of National Intelligence;
* It serves as a focal point for policymaker's questions;
* It contributes to the effort to allocate IC resources in response to policy changes; and
* It communicates with experts in academia and the private sector to broaden the IC's perspective;

The NIC's goal is to provide policymakers with the best information: unvarnished, unbiased and without regard to whether the analytic judgments conform to current U.S. policy.

One of the NICs most important analytical projects is a Global Briefing. Produced every five years, the Global Briefing assesses critical drivers and scenarios for future global outcomes over a 15 year time horizon. The Global Briefing provides a basis for long-range strategic policy assessment for the White House and the intelligence community. The NICs most recent Global Briefing, "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World" was released towards the end of 2008.

On February 2, 2007, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the National Intelligence Council released the Iraq National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) - "Prospects for Iraq's Stability: A Challenging Road Ahead" Unclassified Key Judgments.


As of 2005, the Chairman of the NIC is Thomas Fingar, who had previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) at the US Department of State. The Vice Chairman of the NIC is David Gordon, previously Director of the Office of Transnational Issues (OTI) at the Central Intelligence Agency. There is also a Vice Chairman for Evaluation, a Director of Strategic Plans and Outreach, a Director of Analysis and Production Staff, a Special Adviser, and National Intelligence Officers (NIOs) and Deputy National Intelligence Officer for each of the following areas and subject matters:

* Africa
* East Asia
* Europe
* Latin America
* Near East and South Asia
* Russia and Eurasia
* Economics & Global Issues
* Intelligence Assurance
* Military Issues
* Transnational Threats
* Warning
* Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation

Chairmen of the National Intelligence Council

Name Term of Office Principal Deputy Term of Office President(s) served under
Robert Hutchings 2003–2005

George W. Bush
Thomas Fingar 2005– David Gordon 2005–2007 George W. Bush

External links

Source: Wikipedia

High School Musical 3 is best of the three

High School Musical 3 was by far the best of the three. The musical numbers were bigger and better than ever before, from the opening number Now or Never to the closing number called We're All In This Together graduation edition. Now or Never is the opening number with Zac Efron singing about the last sixteen minutes of the championship game.

Right Here Right Now followed and was a great duet between Troy and Gabriella. The glow in their eyes was amazing. They looked like they enjoyed every second of the song. Ryan and Sharpay's group song followed. I Want It All was Sharpay's way of showing Ryan what he has wanted all along. Later in the movie Gabriella was teaching Troy how to waltz in the song Can I Have This Dance.

A Night To Remember was the first musical number the seniors rehearsed for the spring musical. It was about the last few hours before the prom, the guys dreading it, and the girls fantasying about it. Just Want To Be With You was Kelsey's original duet for this high school musical. It was sung by her, Ryan, Troy and Gabriella. The harmonies in the song were amazing.

The Boys Are Back was a fun number bringing Troy and Chad back to the days when they were young boys playing in the junkyard. Their appearances went from themselves to ninjas to pirates to young boys that looked like them and back to themselves. They did many different types of dancing including break and pop. The flips, jumps and slides were terrific.

Walk Away was a sad number with Troy convincing Gabriella that she must take Stanford's offer and she leaves, leaving Troy heartbroken. His heartbreak is evident in Scream Efron's solo speaking about how upset he is always being in the middle of everything. He's sick of being the icon of the entire student body. He wants to go to a college that offers more than just basketball, but he doesn't know how to tell his dad. The other numbers were terrific and upbeat.

The relationships between the characters were more evident than ever before. Troy and Gabriella were happier than ever before and ended up missing each other terribly in the few weeks she was in California. Ryan and Kelsey were just beginning to get to know each other but they were certainly hitting it off.

Sharpay has a new assistant, Tiara Gold, who is perfect. She's loyal, sweet, caring, smart, devious like Sharpay, but is that such a good thing. Troy has a shadow, which he tricks into running through the halls with nothing but a towel on. Chad asks Taylor to the prom after being humiliated by Troy in front of the entire cafeteria at lunch. If you haven't seen High School Musical 3 you must get there soon. It's well worth your money and is the best of them all. Have a great time.


Magritte's day$File/Magritte%20-%20The%20Listening%20Room.jpg$File/Magritte%20-%20The%20Great%20War.jpg

René François Ghislain Magritte (21 November 1898 - 15 August 1967) was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well-known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images.


Magritte was born in Lessines, in the province of Hainaut, in 1898, the eldest son of Léopold Magritte, a tailor, and Adeline, a milliner. He began lessons in drawing in 1910. In 1912, his mother committed suicide by drowning herself in the River Sambre. Magritte was present when her body was retrieved from the water. The image of his mother floating, her dress obscuring her face, may have influenced a 1927–1928 series of paintings of people with cloth obscuring their faces, including Les Amants, but Magritte disliked this explanation.[1] He studied at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels for two years until 1918. In 1922 he married Georgette Berger, whom he had met in 1913.[2]

Magritte worked as an assistant designer in a wallpaper factory, and was a poster and advertisement designer until 1926 when a contract with Galerie la Centaure in Brussels made it possible for him to paint full-time. In 1926, Magritte produced his first surreal painting, The Lost Jockey (Le jockey perdu), and held his first exhibition in Brussels in 1927. Critics heaped abuse on the exhibition. Depressed by the failure, he moved to Paris where he became friends with André Breton, and became involved in the surrealist group.

When Galerie la Centaure closed and the contract income ended, he returned to Brussels and worked in advertising. Then, with his brother, he formed an agency, which earned him a living wage.

Surrealist patron Edward James allowed Magritte, in the early stages of his career, to stay rent-free in his London home and paint. James features in two of Magritte's pieces, Le Principe du Plaisir (The Pleasure Principle) and La Reproduction Interdite. [3]

During the German occupation of Belgium in World War II he remained in Brussels, which led to a break with Breton. At the time he renounced the violence and pessimism of his earlier work, though he returned to the themes later.

His work was exhibited in the United States in New York in 1936 and again in that city in two retrospective exhibitions, one at the Museum of Modern Art in 1965, and the other at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992.

Magritte died of pancreatic cancer on August 15, 1967 and was interred in Schaarbeek Cemetery, Brussels.

Popular interest in Magritte's work rose considerably in the 1960s, and his imagery has influenced pop, minimalist and conceptual art.[4] In 2005 he came ninth in the Walloon version of De Grootste Belg (The Greatest Belgian); in the Flemish version he was 18th.

Philosophical and artistic gestures

A consummate technician, his work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in his painting, The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images), which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe "This is not a pipe" (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. (In his book This Is Not a Pipe French philosopher and critic Michel Foucault discusses the painting and its paradox.)

Magritte used the same approach in a painting of an apple: he painted the fruit realistically and then used an internal caption or framing device to deny that the item was an apple. In these Ceci n'est pas works, Magritte points out that no matter how closely, through realism-art, we come to depicting an item accurately, we never do catch the item itself - we cannot smoke tobacco with a picture of a pipe.[citation needed]

His art shows a more representational style of surrealism compared to the "automatic" style seen in works by artists like Joan Miró. In addition to fantastic elements, his work is often witty and amusing. He also created a number of surrealist versions of other famous paintings.

René Magritte described his paintings by saying,

My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, "What does that mean?". It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.

In popular culture

The 1960s brought a great increase in public awareness of Magritte's work. One of the means by which his imagery became familiar to a wider public was through reproduction on rock album covers; early examples include the 1969 album Beck-Ola by the Jeff Beck group (reproducing Magritte's The Listening Room), Jackson Browne's 1974 album, Late for the Sky, with artwork inspired by Magritte's L'Empire des Lumières[5], and the Firesign Theatre's album Just Folks . . . A Firesign Chat based on The Mysteries of the Horizon.[6] Alan Hull of UK folk-rock band Lindisfarne used Magritte's paintings on two solo albums in 1973 and 1979. Styx adapted Magritte's Carte Blanche for the cover of their 1977 album The Grand Illusion, while the cover of Gary Numan's 1979 album The Pleasure Principle, like John Foxx's 2001 The Pleasures of Electricity, was based on Magritte's painting Le Principe du Plaisir.

Jethro Tull mention Magritte in a 1976 lyric,[citation needed] and Paul Simon's song "Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War" appears on the 1983 album Hearts and Bones. Paul McCartney, a life-long fan of Magritte, owns many of his paintings, and claims that a Magritte painting inspired him to use the name Apple for the Beatles' media corporation. Magritte is also the subject and title of a John Cale song on the 2003 album HoboSapiens.

Numerous films have included imagery inspired by Magritte. The Son of Man, in which a man's face is obscured by an apple, is referenced in the 1992 film Toys, the 1999 film The Thomas Crown Affair and in the 2004 short film Ryan. In the 2004 film I Heart Huckabees, Magritte is alluded to by Bernard Jaffe (Dustin Hoffman) as he holds a bowler hat. According to Ellen Burstyn, in the 1998 documentary The Fear of God: 25 Years of "The Exorcist", the iconic poster shot for the film The Exorcist was inspired by Magritte's L'Empire des Lumières.

The Spanish television show El Planeta Imaginario (1983–1986) dedicated two episodes to René Magritte: "M, el extraño viajero" (M, the strange traveller) and "La Quimera" (The Chimera).[citation needed]

Magritte's painting The Treachery of Images is referred to in The Forbidden Game: The Chase, a book by L. J. Smith, in which the difference between image and reality becomes key to solving the entire conflict. The same painting (and its caption, "This is not a pipe") inspired a graphic in the video game Rayman Raving Rabbids. The online game Kingdom of Loathing refers to this painting, as well as to The Son of Man.

Magritte appears, with some of his art, on a 2008 issue of the Belgian 500-Franc note.

On November 21, 2008, the Google homepage featured a logo dedicated to Magritte. It was a mixture of The Son of Man and Golconda.

Artists influenced by Magritte

Contemporary artists have been greatly influenced by René Magritte's stimulating examination of the fickleness of images. Some artists that were influenced by Magritte's works include John Baldessari, Sherrie Levine, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Vija Celmins, Marcel Broodthaers and Martin Kippenberger. Some of the artists' works integrate direct references and others offer contemporary viewpoints on his abstract fixations. [7]

Source: Wikipedia

Texas Tech men's basketball team signs four players

The men's basketball team announced the signing of four players, each from a different state.

Joining the Red Raiders were 6-5 forward Jaye Crockett of Clovis (N.M.) High School, 6-3 guard Mike Davis of Houston Wheatley, 6-6 forward Theron Jenkins of Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss., and 6-7 forward Brad Reese of Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla.

Crockett and Davis will enter Tech next season as freshmen, and Jenkins and Reese will start out as juniors.


Fecal transplant can cure superbug

A controversial new treatment, which involves the transplantation of human waste, can treat cases of C. difficile infection. But only a handful of physicians in Canada undertake the messy procedure.

Clostridium difficile is a superbug that commonly spreads in hospital settings and has been linked to the deaths of at least 2,000 people in Quebec since 2003, as well as in other provinces.

Though C. difficile can be kept in check by good bacteria in the bowel, problems can arise when the superbug is treated by antibiotics such as vancomycin. The antibiotics sometimes wipe out the good bacteria but fail to completely kill the C. difficile — leaving enough of it that it later flourishes.

"If you wipe out the normal bacteria by taking an antibiotic, then this bug overgrows and it releases a toxin which causes severe diarrhea," Dr. Mike Silverman, an internal medicine specialist from Ajax, Ont., told CBC News.

According to him, the diarrhea can become chronic day after day and month after month. "It's painful, people can't get on with their lives … and if doctors can't keep a patient hydrated and nourished, it can be deadly."

Calgary resident Dorothy Badry battled C. difficile for almost a year in 2004.

"You are going to the bathroom at least 40 times a day. And there is a lot of pain associated with that. Your skin starts to break down and the process is extremely painful."

During that time, Badry could not work and could not care for her disabled daughter. "I basically had to give up everything," she said.

Calgary doctor is one of few doing transplants

Fecal transplants have become the first-line treatment for chronic recurrent C. difficile in Scandinavia. As well, more and more doctors are using it in the United States.

Studies that have been published show that more than 90 per cent of patients are cured through fecal transplants — most of them after just one treatment.

But only a handful of doctors in Canada are willing to undertake the unpleasant procedure which involves taking a healthy person's fecal matter and transplanting it into a person infected with C. difficile.

They cite sanitation reasons for their hesitation.

Calgary physician Dr. Tom Louie, head of infection control at Foothills Hospital, is one of the few physicians in Canada who treats patients with chronic C. difficile with fecal transplants, or fecal therapy. He has done 38 procedures to date.

The procedure involves getting a close relative of the patient, such as a sibling, to donate several days-worth of stool. Louie tests the stool for diseases such as hepatitis and HIV and then mixes it with saline to create liquid feces. He then administers the stool to the patient through an enema.

Louie said the technique allows good bacteria from the transplanted stool to reduce the number of C. difficile bacteria in the intestines and to restore normal intestinal function.

He said the process is fairly quick.

"It takes me about an hour and I leave it in there overnight. I'm hoping that some of these normal bugs will come and find a home, and when they find a home it will kick out the C. difficile."

'It cured me,' Toronto woman says

Marcia Munro, a Toronto resident, received a fecal transplant from her sister Wendy Sinukoff after suffering from C. difficile for 14 months several years ago.

"I had to collect stool samples for five days prior to our leaving Toronto, and I collected it in an ice cream container and kept it in the fridge," said Sinukoff.

She had to then fly the samples to Calgary so that Louie could transplant it into her sister — a process that involved getting the sample through airport security.

"My biggest fear was that my samples were not allowed to be frozen, so I had to take them as carry-on luggage in the airplane and I was terrified that I was going to be asked to have my luggage searched," she said.

Munro said the transplant was a success.

"It cured me. This procedure cured me and one of reasons I agreed to do this story — because it's difficult to talk about — is I know many people die from C. difficile and I want people to know there is hope when you have this illness."


Rosie O' Donnell and son Parker

Actress and television personality Rosie O'Donnell brought son Parker Jaren, 13, to opening night of the new Broadway musical Billy Elliot in Manhattan on Thursday night. Rosie, a veteran of the Great White Way herself, funds a foundation, Rosie's Broadway Kids, which gives underprivileged New York City school children access to music and dance education.

Rosie and her wife, Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell, are also parents to Chelsea Belle, 11, Blake Christopher, 8 ½, and Vivienne Rose, who turns 6 in two weeks.


Sid Caesar

Isaac Sidney "Sid" Caesar
(born September 8, 1922) is an Emmy Award-winning American comic actor and writer known as the leading man on the 1950s television series Your Show of Shows and Caesar's Hour, and to younger generations as Coach Calhoun in Grease and Grease 2.


Early life

Caesar was born in Yonkers, New York, the son of Jewish immigrants Ida (née Raphael) and Max Caesar, who ran a twenty-four-hour luncheonette.[1][2] Caesar would help his parents by waiting on tables and it was during this time that Sid learned to mimic many of the accents he would use throughout his long career. He first tried his double-talk with a group of Italians, his head barely reaching above the table. They enjoyed it so much, they sent him over to a group of Poles to repeat it in Polish, and so on with Russians, Hungarians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Lithuanians, and Bulgarians. Despite his apparent fluency in many languages, in reality Caesar can only speak English and Yiddish. The Caesars were a funny family and Sid's older brother Dave was his comic mentor and 'one-man cheering section'. They created their earliest family sketches from then current movies like Test Pilot and Wings.

At fourteen, Caesar first went to the Catskills as a saxophonist with Mike Cifficello's Swingtime Six and would also occasionally perform in sketches. After graduating from high school in 1939, Caesar's family was still reeling from the Great Depression and he moved out, intent on a musical career. He arrived in New York City penniless and tried to join the musician's union (later he audited classes at the famed Juilliard School of Music). That first summer on his own, he played at the Vacationland Hotel in Swan Lake in the Catskills. There under the tutelage of Don Appel, the resort's social director, Caesar played in the band and learned to perform comedy, doing three shows a week.

During the summer of 1942, he met his future wife Florence Levy at the Avon Lodge. After joining the musician's union, he briefly played with Shep Fields, Claude Thornhill, Charlie Spivak, and even Benny Goodman. In September 1942, Caesar joined the United States Coast Guard. Fortunately, he was posted to Brooklyn so he was able to maintain contact with his family and fiancée. Vernon Duke, the famous composer of Autumn in New York, April in Paris, and Taking a Chance on Love, was also stationed at the same base and he collaborated with Caesar in musical revues.

Caesar's knack for wisecracks, however, got bigger applause than the musical numbers, and the show's producer asked him to do stand-up between his numbers. While still in the service, Caesar was ordered to Palm Beach, Florida where Vernon Duke and Howard Dietz were putting together a service revue, Tars and Spars. There he met the civilian director of the show Max Liebman, later the producer of his first hit television series. Tars and Spars toured nationally and then a film version was made at Columbia Pictures. He also got a part in The Guilt of Janet Ames. He married Florence Levy on July 17, 1943. They are the parents of three children.


After the war, Caesar and his wife stayed in Hollywood, but despite a few offers to play sidekick roles, Caesar decided to go back to New York where he got a club date as the opening act for Joe E. Lewis at the Copacabana nightclub. He reunited with Max Liebman, who guided his stage material and presentation. That appearance led to a contract with the William Morris Agency and a nationwide tour. Caesar also performed in a Broadway revue Make Mine Manhattan which featured The Five Dollar Date, one of his first original pieces in which he sang, acted, double-talked, pantomimed, and wrote the music.

Caesar began his television career when he made an appearance on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater. In early 1949, Sid and Max met with Pat Weaver, vice president of television at NBC (and father of Sigourney Weaver), which led to Caesar's appearance in his first series Admiral Broadway Revue with Imogene Coca. The Friday show, simultaneously broadcast on NBC and the Dumont network, was an immediate success but its sponsor, Admiral Corporation, an appliance company, could not keep up with the demand for its new television sets, so the show was cancelled on account of its runaway success.

On February 23, 1950, Caesar appeared in the first episode of Your Show of Shows, a Saturday night ninety-minute variety program produced by Max Liebman whose premier featured Burgess Meredith as guest host, and other musical guests Gertrude Lawrence, Lily Pons, and Robert Merrill. The show launched Caesar into instant stardom and was a mix of scripted and improvised comedy, movie and television satires, Caesar's inimitable double-talk monologues, top musical guests, and large production numbers. The impressive guest list included: Jackie Cooper, Robert Preston, Rex Harrison, Eddie Albert, Michael Redgrave, Basil Rathbone, Charleton Heston, Geraldine Page, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Pearl Bailey, Fred Allen, Benny Goodman, Lena Horne and many other big stars of the time. It was also responsible for bringing together one of the best comedy teams in television history: Sid, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris, and Imogene Coca. Many prominent writers, denizens of the famed Writer's Room, also got their start creating the show's madcap sketches, including Lucille Kallen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Woody Allen, Michael Stewart, Mel Tolkin, and Larry Gelbart. Sid Caesar won his first Emmy in 1952. In 1951 and 1952, he was voted the United States' Best Comedian by Motion Picture Daily's TV poll. The show ended after 160 episodes on June 5, 1954.

Just a few months later, Sid Caesar returned with Caesar's Hour, a one-hour sketch show with Morris, Reiner, a young Bea Arthur, and much of the seasoned crew. Nanette Fabray replaced Imogene Coca who left to star in her own short-lived series. Ultimate creative and technical control was now totally in Caesar's hands. The show moved to the larger Century Theater, which allowed longer, more sophisticated productions and the weekly budget doubled to $125,000. The premier on September 27, 1954 featured Gina Lollobrigida.

Contemporary movies, foreign movies, theater, television shows and even opera all became targets of satire by the writing team, whose frenetic and competitive spirit produced some of the best comedy in television history. Often the publicity generated by the sketches boosted the box office of the original productions. Some notable sketches included: From Here to Obscurity (From Here to Eternity), Aggravation Boulevard (Sunset Boulevard), Hat Basterson (Bat Masterson), and No West For the Wicked (Stagecoach). Even silent movies were parodied, which showed off the impressive pantomime skills of the entire ensemble. They also performed some recurring sketches. "The Hickenloopers" were television's first bickering couple, predating The Honeymooners. In "The Professor", Caesar was the daffy expert who bluffed his way through his interviews with earnest roving reporter Carl Reiner. In its various incarnations, "The Professor" could be Gut von Fraidykat (mountain-climbing expert), Ludwig von Spacebrain (space expert), or Ludwig von Henpecked (marriage expert). Later, "The Professor" evolved into the Mel Brooks' famous "The Two Thousand Year Old Man".

Everything was performed live including the commercials, which only took up seven minutes of the one hour show, as compared to today's shows which average about 22 minutes of commercials per hour. Famous Hollywood movie stars (or their agents) clamored to be on the show but in reality doing a sketch in one shot with no cue cards and minimal rehearsal time was a challenge for many of the famous stars used to languid preparation and numerous retakes.

In his book Caesar's Hours, Caesar describes the essence of his comedy as 'working both sides of the street', the deliberate blending of comedy and pathos in the tradition of the great comedians of the Twenties and Thirties--his idols Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, and W. C. Fields. His sympathetic portrayal of the follies and foibles of his characters resonated with a weekly live audience of over 60 million Americans. He was a master of impeccable timing, careful preparation, and quick-witted flexibility, relying heavily on an endless variety of rapidly changing facial expressions and a strong physical presence. Though by nature shy, Caesar reveled in his characters. The most difficult moment of the show for Caesar was the opening, when he had to say 'good evening ladies and gentlemen'.

Caesar's Hour was followed by Sid Caesar Invites You, reuniting Caesar and Coca, and in 1963 with the The Sid Caesar Show, which alternated with Edie Adams in Here's Edie. Caesar also teamed up with Edie Adams in the Broadway show Little Me, a successful Neil Simon play, with choreography by Bob Fosse and music by Cy Coleman in which Sid played eight parts with 32 costume changes. Caesar and Edie Adams played a husband and wife drawn into a mad race to find buried money in the mega-movie-comedy It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

<>Later years

Throughout the 70s and 80s, Caesar continued to make occasional television and night club appearances and starred in several movies including Silent Movie, History of the World, Part I, Airport 1975 and as "Coach Calhoun" in Grease and its sequel, Grease 2, in 1982. In 1971 he starred opposite Carol Channing and a young Tommy Lee Jones in the Broadway show Four on a Garden. In 1973, Sid and Max Liebman mined their own personal kinescopes from Your Show of Shows (NBC had 'lost' the studio copies) and they produced a feature film Ten From Your Show of Shows, a hilarious compilation of some of their best sketches. In 1977, after blanking out during a stage performance of Neil Simon's The Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Sid gave up alcohol 'cold turkey'. His autobiography, Where Have I Been, published in 1983 and his second book, Caesar's Hours, both chronicle his struggle to overcome alcoholism and barbiturates.

Although advancing in age, Caesar has remained active by appearing in movies, television shows, at award shows and autograph signings. In 1997, he made a guest appearance in National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation and The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit in 1998 based on a Ray Bradbury novel. Also that year, Caesar joined fellow television icons Bob Hope and Milton Berle at the 50th anniversary of the Primetime Emmy Awards where the three were greeted with a long standing ovation. He reprised his famous double-talk skit in an episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway? in 2001. In 2003, he joined Edie Adams and Marvin Kaplan at a 40th anniversary celebration for It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.[3] In 2004, Caesar's second autobiography, 'Caesar's Hours', was published, and in March 2006, Caesar was presented with the 'Pioneer Award' at the 2006 TV Land Awards. Although appearing quite frail, Caesar performed his famous double-talk for over five minutes.[4]


Year Award (number) Result
1987 Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy
2005 DVDX Award Won
1997 Emmy Award Nominated
1995 Emmy Award Nominated
1958 Emmy Award Nominated
1957 Emmy Award Won
1956 Emmy Award Nominated
1954 Emmy Award Nominated
1953 Emmy Award Nominated
1952 Emmy Award Nominated / Won
1951 Emmy Award Nominated
2006 Pioneer Award
2001 Career Achievement Award
Unknown Star on the Walk of Fame

Further reading

  • Sid Caesar and Eddy Friedfeld, Caesar's Hours: My Life in Comedy, with Love and Laughter, January 30, 2005.
  • F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, Sid Caesar's Broadway debut, New York Daily News, October 18, 2004. [1]

Source: Wikipedia

iPhone 2.2 Software Update Details unveiled

As reported earlier Apple has released the new iPhone 2.2 software update today via iTunes. Now the Apple iPhone software update page got updated with the new features and details of the new iPhone firmware. By the way the BlackBerry Storm launches today - coincident?

The new iPhone 2.2 Software update features Enhancements to Maps, Enhancements to Mail, Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application, Decrease in call setup failures and dropped calls, Improved stability and performance of Safari, Improved sound quality of Visual Voicemail messages, Pressing Home button from any Home screen displays the first Home screen and Preference to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard Settings.

The most visual improvement in the iPhone 2.2 software is the Google Maps application. You now get Google Street View, Public transit and walking directions, Display address of dropped pins and Share location via email.

The iPhone 2.2 software update is a nice upgrade to the current iPhone software, definitely worth while getting it.
More details about the iPhone 2.2 software update are available on the Apple site.


Mukasey Collapses During Address in Washington

Mukasey remained at the hospital overnight for observation but a Justice Department spokesman said Mukasey had strong vital signs and was "in good spirits" after the incident, which occurred at an annual Federalist Society gathering. A person who attended the dinner said Mukasey was visibly shaking and perhaps slurring his words before he fell to the floor.

Video footage showed a tuxedo-clad Mukasey, 67, staggering behind a lectern as FBI agents in his security detail raced to his side.

D.C. fire and emergency services personnel were called to the Marriott Wardman Park hotel in the 2600 block of Woodley Road NW for a report of a man who had fainted in the main ballroom. Rescuers found a man suffering from a fainting spell, said Alan Etter, a D.C. fire department spokesman. Another source said the medics worked on Mukasey for about 10 minutes before taking him out of the ballroom on a gurney.

Etter declined to identify the man, citing privacy laws. The patient was conscious, had no trouble breathing and was able to speak with rescue personnel, Etter said.

A man other sources identified as Mukasey was taken to the hospital as a priority one patient as a precaution but apparently had a "general illness" that was not thought to be life-threatening, Etter said.

A second man, 29, from the audience was also taken to a hospital for observation after reporting that he was upset by the fainting spell, officials said. The two episodes prompted authorities to take hazardous material tests for potential dangers, but officials found no sign of harmful chemicals at the hotel.

A lawyer from New York at the black-tie dinner said Mukasey's speech became noticeably slower, and it appeared at first that he might be choking up.

"He was clearly struggling. Then his face went limp, he started shaking as if he were having a seizure, and then he fell back," said the lawyer, who was sitting 50 yards from the stage.

His security detail immediately ordered all the lights in the room to be dimmed and told guests not to leave the room. It took paramedics at least 15 minutes to arrive, a witness said, during which time the room was virtually silent. After Mukasey was taken out on a stretcher, someone asked that everyone say a prayer for him before the gathering dispersed.

Former Indiana representative David McIntosh (R) led the group in prayer after the incident.

Justice Department officials including Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip gathered at the hospital. In a formal statement released near midnight, department spokesman Peter Carr said: "The Attorney General is conscious, conversant and alert. He is receiving excellent care and appreciates all of the good wishes and prayers he has received. The doctors will keep him overnight for further observations."

Mukasey has served as the nation's chief law enforcement official since last winter. He is a retired federal judge from New York who accepted the taxing job because of his interest in counterterrorism and national security, a topic his remarks last evening addressed.