December 13, 2008

Auburn hires Iowa State's Gene Chizik

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Auburn has reportedly hired Iowa State's Gene Chizik as its new football coach.

The Birmingham News, Mobile Press-Register and Rivals.com reported Saturday that the former Auburn defensive coordinator will succeed Tommy Tuberville, who resigned following 10 seasons.

An Auburn spokesman said no announcement was scheduled for Saturday and an Iowa State spokesman also said he couldn't confirm the reports.

Chizik is 5-19 in two seasons at Iowa State after stints running the defenses at Auburn and Texas. He coached the nation's top scoring defense in his third and final season with the Tigers.

That 2004 defense allowed just 11 points a game and Auburn went undefeated.

Source: Associated Press

Cabin Fever (film)

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Cabin Fever is an American horror film about a group of college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a flesh-eating virus. The film was the directing debut of filmmaker Eli Roth, who co-wrote the film with Randy Pearlstein. The inspiration for the film's story came from a real life experience during a trip to Iceland when Roth developed a skin virus.[1][2]

Roth wanted the style of his film to make a departure from many modern horror films that had been released in recent years.[2] One modern horror film, The Blair Witch Project, did inspire Roth to use the internet to help promote the film during its production and help gain interest towards its distribution.[1] The film itself, however, draws from many of Roth's favorite horror films, such as The Evil Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Last House on the Left.[1][2] Roth was tired of what he called the "watered down PG-13" horror films of the studios, and refused to compromise on the violence or nudity, saying they were essential ingredients to an '80s-style horror film.

Plot

The film centers on five recent college graduates, Jeff, Karen, Paul, Marcy and Bert, who go to a remote cabin deep in the woods to celebrate with some wanton sex and copious amounts of alcohol. They are also visited by a stoner camper, Justin (aka Grim), who has a large dog named Doctor Mambo.

Bert goes hunting, and accidentally shoots a vagrant in the woods. Although not seriously injured, he is extremely ill with an unknown disease, and Bert leaves him to die. The man later turns up at the cabin, even sicker, asking for their help in seeking medical attention, but when he recognizes Bert, the group panics and turn him away without assistance. He attempts to steal their truck and in the scuffle Paul and Marcy accidentally set him on fire and he runs into the woods where he falls into the cabin's water supply.

When Karen drinks from the contaminated water, she becomes infected and results in a rapid onset of symptoms. Paul discovers her condition the next morning when he attempts to arouse her and finds that she has been infected when his fingers sink into the rotting flesh on her leg. Unsure whether to take Karen for medical attention or wait out her fever, the friends cannot determine the best course of action. Fearful that the truck may be infectious, or that any one of them could be carrying the disease, they begin turning on one another. In order to "quarantine" Karen, they lock her in a tool shed.

As Karen lies in the shack getting sicker, her friends seek help from several sources, to no avail. They find a farm, where a woman offers to help them find a tow truck, but have to rapidly leave when they see a photograph and find that the vagrant they burned was her cousin Henry.

Jeff and Bert seem driven mad by the situation, and while Jeff thinks only of his own safety, Bert emerges as the responsible one and begins to fix their truck. Doctor Mambo, now vicious and possibly infected, returns without his owner and terrorizes the campers. Jeff sets out on his own with his uncontaminated supply of beer because of his fear of infection.

The other members of the group contract the disease by exposure to the tainted water and other ill people. Bert shows signs of infection after also drinking the water and drives to get help; during his trip he is hunted by the local townsfolk, after Dennis, the shopkeeper's son, yelled "PANCAKES" and bit his hand. They become fearful of the disease he is carrying, and attempt to kill him to quell it.

Paul sets out to get help on foot and comes across the body of the drifter who carried the disease rotting away in the local reservoir, into which he falls due to a faulty ladder, and lands atop of the diseased corpse. He also finds the body of Grim in a cave, having either rotted or been torn in half by his own dog, Dr. Mambo. Marcy (who had drunk some of the contaminated water) shows signs soon after having sexual intercourse with Paul, and breaks out in huge lesions along her back and legs. Then she decides to go shave her legs in the bathtub full of contaminated water. After noticing her legs deteriorating, Marcy turns on the shower and rinses them in the contaminated water. Panic grips her and she runs from the cabin, but is chased down by the dog, Dr. Mambo, and savagely ripped apart.

Abandoned by everyone else, Paul returns to the shack in an attempt to finally take Karen for help. He runs right into Dr. Mambo and shoots the fierce dog. He finds Karen still alive but horribly rotted by the disease, along with Dr. Mambo gnawing his way into her stomach. He realizes that there is no hope for her and puts her out of her misery with a shovel. Around this time, a wounded and thoroughly infected Bert makes his way back to the cabin, and pleads for Paul to help him with the local hunters. Paul agrees. When the hunters find the cabin, they enter and shoot Bert, killing him, but Paul hits one in the head with a hammer, shooting another accidentally on the way down. Finally, Paul kills the third by sticking a screw driver in his ear who is frantically trying to open a box of shotgun shells.

Paul, newly infected by his fall into the reservoir, seeks a way into town. Taking the truck, he accidentally crashes into a deer whose hind legs trap him in the truck, and he is covered in blood when he is forced to shoot it to escape. Continuing on foot, he comes across a party that has a deputy of the town in attendance. The deputy had promised a tow truck to fix their broken car days earlier. As Paul stumbles into the party, bloody and infuriated, the sheriff radios the deputy and informs him that a cabin of college kids have a disease and that they've killed several people; their orders are to shoot on sight. Paul attacks the party goers in a rage and attempts to escape on the highway, where he is brought into town and dumped outside a hospital by a passing trucker.

The doctors realize they cannot treat him, and instruct the sheriff to take him to a larger hospital. The fear of further outbreak and Paul's earlier, violent run-in entices the sheriff to have Paul dumped in the woods and left to die. The deputy, whose party he ruined, obliges happily.

Jeff emerges from his alcohol-induced stupor and finds his way back to the cabin to discover it littered with blood and evidence of the deaths of all his friends. He laments the loss of his friends, but his sadness turns into joy when he realizes that he has survived. Jeff exits the cabin exclaiming, "I made it!" only to be gunned down by the sheriff and his deputies. The bodies at the cabin are subsequently burned to remove all evidence and to cease further spread of the disease.


Ironically, Paul's dead body was dumped partially in the water as well, further spreading the disease. The film ends with shots of children collecting contaminated water to make lemonade, which the sheriff, deputies and some locals drink, and a large truck leaving with the local water to be sold as "natural spring water".

Cast

Actor Role
Rider Strong Paul
Jordan Ladd Karen
James DeBello Bert
Cerina Vincent Marcy
Joey Kern Jeff
Arie Verveen Henry the Hermit
Robert Harris Old Man Cadwell
Hal Courtney Tommy
Matthew Helms Dennis
Richard Boone Fenster
Tim Parati Andy
Brandon Johnson Ray Shawn
Giuseppe Andrews Deputy Winston
Eli Roth Justin aka Grim

History

Eli Roth co-wrote Cabin Fever with friend and former NYU roommate Randy Pearlstein in 1995 while Roth was working as a production assistant for Howard Stern's Private Parts.[1] Early attempts to sell the script were unsuccessful because studios felt that the horror genre had become unprofitable.[1] In 1996, the film Scream was released to great success, leading studios to once again become interested in horror properties. However, Roth still could not sell his script, as studios told him that it should be more like Scream.[1] Many potential financiers also found the film's content to be unsettling, including not only the gore, but the use of the word "nigger" early in the film.[1] The script was not produced until the fall of 2001, when Roth and Lauren Moews raised $50,000 to begin production with producers Evan Astrowsky and Sam Froelich. The rest of the money was raised during the shooting.

Production

The film was shot on a small budget of $1.5 million. Composer Angelo Badalamenti agreed to compose some musical themes for the film out of enthusiasm for the material. However, the bulk of the film's score was composed by Nathan Barr who has gone on to score both of Eli's Hostel films. [2] The original killer dog was so old and tired that all of its scenes had to be re-shot with a new dog. With no time or money to find a replacement, the producers cast a real police attack dog that was so vicious and unpredictable that no actors could appear with it on camera.[2]

Response

Grossing $33,553,394 at the box office internationally, the film was the highest grossing film released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment in 2003. Critical response to the film was positive, with a rave review from the New York Times and Film Comment magazine. Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of critics, gives the film a score of 63%.

Many directors such as Peter Jackson loved the film, and gave him a quote to use in all the advertising. Quentin Tarantino cited "Cabin Fever" as the best new American film in his "Kill Bill Vol. 2" interview in Premiere magazine, and called Eli Roth "The Future of Horror." The film was also #28 on Bravo TV's "30 Even Scarier Movie Moments" [3] Roger Ebert, however, panned the film, stating "The movie adds up to a few good ideas and a lot of bad ones, wandering around in search of an organizing principle." However, director Paul Thomas Anderson praised "Cabin Fever," and even references the bowling alley massacre in "There Will Be Blood," a film which ends with Daniel saying that Paul was the genius and that Eli's the fraud, at which point Daniel beats Eli to death with a bowling pin.[citation needed] The film received a "Two Thumbs Down" rating on the television show Ebert & Roeper. Richard Roeper called it an "ugly gorefest" and said "Cabin Fever is a particularly disgusting and brainless version of this all-too-familiar horror film". Roger Ebert said "Director Eli Roth is trying do about four things at once, to make a horror film, a comedy, a satire and a political parable about infectious diseases and none of them work" and he commented by saying "this movie is a mess". They ended the review with Richard Roeper suggesting to viewers "don't bring snacks, if you insist on going to this movie, don't bring any food into the theater because you'll be losing it on your way out."[4]

Sequel

Both Rider Strong and Giuseppe Andrews will be returning in Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, which is being directed by Ti West (The Roost) from his own script. Rider Strong will reprise his role as Paul and Giuseppe Andrews will reprise his role as Deputy Winston. Jordan Ladd will not reprise her role as Karen. Instead, she will be replaced by newcomer Lila Lucchetti. Larry Fessenden and Alexi Wasser also star.[5][6]


Source: Wikipedia

Cabin fever

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Cabin fever is a slang term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, for an extended period. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, forgetfulness, and excessive sleeping.[1]

The origin of the term is unknown, but was first recorded in 1918.[2] The term may originate from the United States during the time when settlers would be snowed into their log cabins in winter and would have to wait for the spring thaw in order to travel to town.[3] The phrase may also be associated with ocean-crossing sailing ships in which passengers had to endure weeks and months of slow travel while living in cabins below deck.[citation needed]

On an episode of Mythbusters, the hosts attempted to "bust" the myth of cabin fever, isolating themselves for a period of time in the Alaskan winter while being observed and taking cognitive and stress tests. The test results were unusable due to incorrect testing procedures; however, one host, Adam Savage, exhibited all four of the symptoms of cabin fever they were looking for, while the other, Jamie Hyneman, only exhibited one (excessive sleep). They deemed the myth "plausible".[1]

Many stories are based around this idea of a small group of people getting restless and irritable from being in a confined space. One of the most famous stories about cabin fever is Stephen King's The Shining which involves a family of three trapped in an isolated resort in the dead of winter. Cabin fever stories may also involve a person or group of people on a deserted island or on a long space voyage.


Source: Wikipedia

One Dollar Diet Project: Saving money on frugal food budget

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Times are tough. Money is tight. There is little margin in the budget.

Like most of us in this troubled economy looking to find ways to save money, Social Justice teachers Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard started their One Dollar Diet Project as an experiment in the possibility of saving money.

Although three billon people (or half the world's population) live on less than $2.50 a day, attempting to eat on one dollar a day is no small challenge considering the average American living in the land of plenty traditionally spends far more than $2.50 on food alone in one day.

Starting on September 1, 2008, Greenslate and Leonard chronicled the One Dollar Diet Project in the onedollardietproject.com blog featuring a food cost index, food log, sample recipes and the daily experience and challenge of the One Dollar Diet Project. The blog has continued past September, and the latest entry publishes the shocking reality that one in ten families in the US are currently using food stamps. The One Dollar Diet Project has become more than a one month project in saving money.

Source: Hope and Healing

John Lennon said it best


"You may say I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one, I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one."
- John Lennon's "IMAGINE"


Man, that song gets me every time it plays on the radio. It represents many things to me. Good song writing, a beautiful message and it is in my top ten "stranded on a desert island" music collection. The most important thing for me is the sentiment of loving everyone and always being there for people. This song means so much to me that I printed the lyrics and hung them on my kitchen cupboard. I try and glance at the lyrics every so often to remind myself of the base essential of living for today.

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During this crazy, commercially driven holiday frenzy we all could use a little less frenzy. John Lennon's "Imagine" is so brilliantly simplistic in its writing but the message is as deep as songs go. He speaks of incredible and seemingly unattainable notions. He wants us to imagine no possessions, no hunger and no war. He even says its easy. During the holiday shopping countdown my entire family is focusing on the concept of no possessions. Yes, we would enjoy a new blender, a new this or that but we decided to forgo exchanging adult gifts. John Lennon was speaking of giving up all possessions but we are not there yet. Sounds good in song but my coffee maker is a necessity.

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Most everyone secretly thinks about what their heart desires for the holidays. If you think really hard, how important would that "thing" be in 10 years? My family decided because of empty pocket syndrome this year we would only buy gifts for the kids. There are few words that can explain the relief this gave my husband and me. The choice of paying our mortgage or getting family members gifts they do not need or want is eliminated. We will splurge on fresh fruit and vegetables for our children instead of buying my Dad another sweater. Thanks Dad! No, this year we will relish the holidays as a time of just being together as our gift. Truly believing that family is the greatest gift and sharing all of your love with each other is what life is about.

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Here's a suggestion for your holiday music pleasure: Download John Lennon's "Imagine" and make it a part of your family's holiday music mix. The song is a universal plea to the world to just slow down and hug it out. Although it is a long, long road for our nation and beyond, John Lennon's simplistic lyrical world makes us pause and ponder. In this time of families struggling to stay afloat, a huge economic meltdown, wars a plenty and huge divides politically in our country-- what if we could stop judging and blaming and just love one another? I don't mean just in December, but all through the year. I might be a dreamer but that is my wish for this holiday season.

Source: Oregon Live

Ksenia Sukhinova (Photos) Crowned Miss World (Video) In Johannesburg


Ksenia Sukhinova from Russia has been crowned Miss World in a glittering, star-studded ceremony at the Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg, the City of Gold.

Miss World is the original and most popular beauty pageant in this world, which was launched in 1951.

Zi Lin Zhang (Zhang Zilin) was last years winner.

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The BBC televised Miss World from 1959 to 1979. Thames Television picked up the contract from 1980 to 1988.

The TV spectacular was hosted by top Chinese TV presenter Angela Chow, presenting Miss World for the sixth year in succession, alongside co-host South African celebrity, Tumisho Masha, making his Miss World Final debut.

The final five Miss World Finalists were:

Parvathy Omanakuttan, India

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Gabrielle Walcott, Trinidad and Tobago

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Brigite Santos, Angola

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Ksenia Sukhinova, Russia

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Tansey Coetzee, South Africa


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Source: The Post Chronicle

Christmas drinks


Source: Taste.com

Christmas around the world

Christmas is near. Here you'll find the most original recipes from around the world. Click on the images, good appetite!



Source: Taste.com

The Fairy Tulips

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Once upon a time there was a good old woman who lived in a little house. She had in her garden a bed of beautiful striped tulips.

One night she was wakened by the sounds of sweet singing and of babies laughing. She looked out at the window. The sounds seemed to come from the tulip bed, but she could see nothing.

The next morning she walked among her flowers, but there were no signs of any one having been there the night before.

On the following night she was again wakened by sweet singing and babies laughing. She rose and stole softly through her garden. The moon was shining brightly on the tulip bed, and the flowers were swaying to and fro. The old woman looked closely and she saw, standing by each tulip, a little Fairy mother who was crooning and rocking the flower like a cradle, while in each tulip-cup lay a little Fairy baby laughing and playing.

The good old woman stole quietly back to her house, and from that time on she never picked a tulip, nor did she allow her neighbors to touch the flowers.

The tulips grew daily brighter in color and larger in size, and they gave out a delicious perfume like that of roses. They began, too, to bloom all the year round. And every night the little Fairy mothers caressed their babies and rocked them to sleep in the flower-cups.

The day came when the good old woman died, and the tulip-bed was torn up by folks who did not know about the Fairies, and parsley was planted there instead of the flowers. But the parsley withered, and so did all the other plants in the garden, and from that time nothing would grow there.

But the good old woman's grave grew beautiful, for the Fairies sang above it, and kept it green; while on the grave and all around it there sprang up tulips, daffodils, and violets, and other lovely flowers of spring.

Source: The Holiday Spot

Google's Chrome Should Still Be In Beta

Count me among the surprised to see Google's Chrome browser officially out of beta yesterday. Sure, I had heard the rumors ahead of the news, and they didn't make sense to me.

So here's why I think Google's Chrome needs to stay in beta. It has not gone through the same process of development that every other major browser in the history of the Internet has undergone. Plus, we need to examine whether Chrome was ever really a beta prior to its official release.

But I digress. Let me get to the surface level of why I was among the surprised to see it out of beta this week. For one, earlier this week Google released an update to Chrome dev-channel version 0.4.154.33.

The release has an important fix in it for Microsoft's Hotmail, but more importantly it clearly identifies the fact that Chrome does not work properly with all sites and services. Even more interestingly Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) recommends that, as a workaround, users trick sites into thinking that Chrome is actually Safari. As a reminder, Google has two versions of Chrome, the dev-channel version, which is the bleeding edge of development and then there is the stable version, which is supposed to take the lessons of the dev version into account.

The official non-beta release, by Google's own admission, does not include the Hotmail fix. Google, as I blogged yesterday, has not updated the dev-channel version (which should be the leading edge of development) to a 1.x version.

Google's Chrome stable is now at version 1.0.154.36. So why would Google declare Chrome to be out of beta without migrating the dev-channel forward or basing the new stable on the dev-channel version? This seems very odd.

Furthermore, when was Chrome ever really in beta? Sure, Google has its own nebulous definition of beta. After all, the widely used Gmail is still called a beta. But Chrome never followed the traditional beta development pattern that other browser vendors have been following.

Think of how Mozilla develops Firefox today. First, there are alpha milestone releases. Then, once they get closer to a feature freeze, they create a beta milestone by calling it beta 1 (for example). In between those actions comes user testing and validation. Before a final release there is what is known as Release Candidate versions. Microsoft follows a similar process and currently is at beta 2 for its Internet Explorer 8 browser.

Was there ever a Google Chrome beta 1? No.

I'd be willing to bet that many Google Chrome users have only updated one version of Chrome. That would probably be the first time they installed it. Why? Take the PC example. When installed on a Windows PC, Google Chrome installs a process called GoogleUpdate.exe into a user's system. GoogleUpdate automatically updates the user's Chrome installation, which is why even though Chrome went through 15 updates since its first release, users didn't have to click yes to an update 15 times. That's a very different approach than either Firefox of IE.

Those who want Firefox or IE updates on browser versions typically have to download (or at least click yes to the update box) before being updated. Google Chrome does not work that way.

The Google Chrome update process means a significantly more rapid update of Chrome users overall and when combined with using the dev-channel as a base, in my view negates the needs for a beta in the traditional development model.

In my opinion, the dev-channel version of Chrome is the perpetual beta version of Chrome, while the stable version has, by definition, always been stable. Thus, by extension, it has not been a beta.

Then again let me present exhibit A from Chrome's "About Google Chrome" section, in this screen shot.

While Gmail itself still shows the beta moniker as part of its logo, the pre-1.x version Chrome did not have the same label. So, if an application was never really a beta could it then in fact come out of beta?

And while you're thinking about that question, how about this one: What came first, the chicken or the egg?


Source: Internet News

The stony faces of Keanu Reeves

Remember when Keanu Reeves was a surfer dude or a goofy guy in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure?" No? Well, he's put those days behind him. The fun smile? Gone. The laugh? Lips sealed. Air guitar? Silent.

It's long been noted that Reeves is a little less emotive than many would care for in a leading man. His latest role as a planet-killing alien in "The Day the Earth Stood Still" plays into that, and indeed, takes advantage of his stony talents. Here are some other roles and photos in which the "Matrix" actor, willingly or not, perfects the best blank stare in Hollywood.

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Keanu revealed!

Source: LA Times

Woodburn bank blast kills officer, bomb expert

Oregon State Police say a bomb explosion at a Woodburn-area bank killed a local police officer and a state bomb disposal technician.

The police said Saturday both were dead at the scene of the explosion the day before, but the police delayed announcing the death of 51-year-old Senior Trooper William Hakim so his family could be notified.

At a briefing, the police identified the Woodburn police officer who died as 51-year-old Capt. Tom Tennant.

Woodburn's police chief, 46-year-old Scott Russell, is in a Portland hospital, in critical condition.

State police say the inside of the West Coast Bank branch office was extensively damaged.

The police say they don't have suspects.


Source: KGW

Russian blonde named new Miss World

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Russian blonde Kseniya Sukhinova is the new Miss World.

Sukhinova was crowned after a two-hour spectacle in Johannesburg Saturday that combined elements of travelogue and reality show, and the kind of flag-waving usually seen at sports events. She beamed as she was crowned.

Sukhinova also had won the contest's top model award and was third in the swimsuit competition. She was a crowd favorite — though not as popular as hometown beauty Miss South Africa, Tansey Coetzee. Coetzee made the final five.

Second runner up was Miss Trinidad and Tobago, Gabrielle Walcott. First runner up was Miss India, Parvathy Omankuttan.


Source: International Herald Tribune

Miss World 2008 Live

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This year women from around the globe will be competing in the age old traditional contest of Miss World 2008. It's a pretty high ranking position as this is the oldest surviving major international beauty pageant created and many countries are anxiously waiting to see if their daughter will take home the title.

Finals for the Miss World 2008 pageant will be airing live from South Africa on CNMG television from 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 13. The finals are being held at the Sandton Convention Center in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The world's most beautiful women are being gathering in Africa, China's Zhang Zilin was the last woman to win Miss World, it should be interesting to see which of these exotic beauties will be crowned.

Source: Post Chronicle

Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight


Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight is the title of the American adaptation of Kamen Rider Ryuki, the twelfth installment in the Kamen Rider Series. It is being brought to television by Steve and Michael Wang. The series will start January 3, 2009 [2] and play throughout the year, with a wide-release theatrical film expected to release the following year.[3] Adness Entertainment chose to adapt Ryuki over the other Heisei Rider shows as it has a large number of characters (Ryuki had 13 Riders in total) as well as a female Rider.[4] It is also the first tokusatsu adaptation of a Kamen Rider series since Saban's Masked Rider, which was adapted from Kamen Rider BLACK RX. Dragon Knight is to be shown on The CW Television Network during its The CW4Kids programming block.[1]


Source: Wikipedia

Charlie Crist & Carole Rome Euro Junket $430,000

After Charlie Crist succeeded Jeb Bush as Florida Governor, there was some idle chatter about his being single, given his obvious Presidential ambitions, so apparently Crist went shopping for a ’suitable’ consort, and found one in New York - a wealthy 39 year old socialite named Carole Rome, whose family owns the Franco-American Novelty Company, which imports Halloween costumes. They dated for a year before announcing an engagement in July, just in time for Crist to become even more eligible to be a possible Republican VP nominee.

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Now the couple just got married at First United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg (Fla.) on Friday, Dec 12 2008. This is the second marriage for both of them. So far so good. Live happily ever after and all that. Or maybe not. Because now comes the scandal. Apparently, Crist went on a 12 day trade trip to Europe in July, accompanied by over two dozen people in his personal entourage, along with some 65 business executives, which cost the tax-payer about $430,000.

And Carole Rome and her sister Michele Oumano were also part of the Euro Junket arranged by Enterprise Florida, which took Crist and his entourage to London, Paris, Madrid and St. Petersburg (Russia). Worse yet, the trip was supposed to cost $255,000, but somehow ended up exceeding the budget by $175,000. Even worse yet, Crist’s expenses ($30,000) were paid for by the business execs who were part of the entourage. Meaning that inspite of spending $430,000 of tax payer funds, the Governor ended up beholden to big donors.

Fl Governor Charlie Crist and Carol Rome with His Royal Highness, Charles Philip Arthur George, The Prince of Wales.

The Governor’s London hotel stay in the Presidential Suite at the Hilton London Metropole, near Hyde Park, cost $2,179 per night, room service and minibar charges exceeded $1,300, with round trip first class airfare costing $8, 000. And to add the icing on the junket cake, Crist’s bodyguards (9 of them… ???) spent $148,000 on meals, hotels, transportation and incidentals, including nearly $630 in dry cleaning.

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Governor Charlie Crist at the Normandy American CemeteryCrist traveled in style on a high-speed Eurostar train from London to Paris, shelling out $457 for executive and lounge priviliges. In France, Crist was put up in a $1,385 suite at The Westin Paris which overlooked the Tuileries garden and Louvre museum, and the bedroom had a view of the Eiffel Tower.

From Paris, the entourage was flown in 2 private planes to Normandy. Crist’s hotel suites in St. Petersburg and Madrid cost about $1,200 per night.

Source: Trip How

Hamster On A Piano

Anne Rice's Bibliography

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Novels: (Chronological)

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Under the pseudonym Anne Rampling:

Under the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure:

Short fiction:

  • October 4th, 1948 (1965)
  • Nicholas and Jean (first ch. 1966)
  • The Master of Rampling Gate (Vampire Novel) (1982)
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Source: Wikipedia

Anne Rice

http://pedagogie2.ac-reunion.fr/lyvergerp/FRANCAIS/2nde6/Jen_Laura/images/Anne%20Rice.jpg

Anne Rice (born Howard Allen O'Brien on October 4, 1941) is a best-selling American author of gothic and religious-themed books. She was married to poet Stan Rice for 41 years until his death in 2002. Her books have sold nearly 100 million copies, making her one of the most widely read authors in modern history.[1][2][3][4]

Early years

Rice spent most of her early life in New Orleans, Louisiana, which forms the background against which most of her stories take place. She was the second daughter in a Catholic Irish-American family; Rice's sister, the late Alice Borchardt, also became a noted genre author. She has a brother named Jack.

About her unusual given name, Rice said: "My birth name is Howard Allen because apparently my mother thought it was a good idea to name me Howard. My father's name was Howard, she wanted to name me after Howard, and she thought it was a very interesting thing to do."

Rice became "Anne" on her first day of school, when a nun asked her what her name was. She told her "Anne", having felt it was a pretty name. Her mother, who was with her, let it go without correcting her, knowing how self-conscious her daughter was of her real name. From that day on, everyone she knew addressed her as "Anne".

Her first child died at the age of five from leukemia in 1972. Her second child with Stan, her late husband of 41 years, is her thirty-year-old son Christopher. Her husband Stan was a poet and a painter. Some of his work can be found in Rice's novel The Queen Of The Damned. Anne has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her first novel, Interview With The Vampire, was published in 1976.

Writing career

In 1958, when Rice was 17, her father moved the family to north Texas, taking up residence in Richardson. Her mother had died three years before of alcoholism. Rice met her future husband while they were both students at Richardson High School. She began college at Texas Woman's University in Denton but relocated with Stan to San Francisco where Anne attended San Francisco State University and obtained a B.A. in Political Science. "I'm a totally conservative person", she later told the New York Times (November 7, 1988). "In the middle of Haight-Ashbury in the 1960s, I was typing away while everybody was dropping acid and smoking grass. I was known as my own square." She would not return to New Orleans until 1989.[5]

Rice's daughter Michele was born on September 21, 1966 and died of leukemia on August 5, 1972. Their son Christopher Rice, now a novelist, was born March 11, 1978.

She completed her first book, Interview with the Vampire, in 1973 and published it in 1976. This book would be the first in Rice's popular Vampire Chronicles series, which includes 1985's The Vampire Lestat and 1988's The Queen of the Damned. Rice has also published adult-oriented fiction under the pen name Anne Rampling, and has written explicit sado-masochistic erotica as A.N. Roquelaure.

Her fiction is often described as lush and descriptive, and her characters' sexuality is fluid, often displaying homoerotic feelings towards each other. Rice said that the bisexuality was what she was looking for in her characters; a love beyond gender especially with the Vampire Chronicles because the vampires were not of human society, therefore did not go by the expectations of that society. She also weaves philosophical and historic themes into the dense pattern of her books. To her admirers, Rice's books are among the best in modern popular fiction, possessing those elements that create a lasting presence in the literary canon. To her critics, her novels are baroque, "low-brow pulp" and redundant. A critical analysis of Rice's work can be found in S. T. Joshi's book The Modern Weird Tale (2001).

Return to Catholicism

In 1998, after dabbling in Mormonism and spending most of her adult life as a self-described atheist, Rice returned to her Roman Catholic faith, which she had not practiced since she was 15. In October 2004, as she reaffirmed her Catholic faith, Rice announced in a Newsweek article that she would "write only for the Lord." She called Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, her first novel in this genre, the beginning of a trilogy that will chronicle the life of Jesus.

In an interview with Christianity Today, headlined "Interview with a Penitent", Rice declared that she will never again write another vampire novel, saying; "I would never go back, not even if they say, 'You will be financially ruined; you've got to write another vampire book.' I would say no. I have no choice. I would be a fool for all eternity to turn my back on God like that." Some of her fans reacted with shock to the news of her religious and literary conversion, admonishing her in magazine articles, internet weblogs and reader reviews found on the web. Rice responded in a post on Amazon.com (see below) that stated: "And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!"

However in an interview with TIME Rice made a comment that she may write one more novel in the series which she confirmed on her website that she may or may not make the book, but if she did it would be a Christian novel with a redemption theme involving Lestat and the Talamasca.[6] She later changed her mind yet again and issued a statement on her website denying she would write such a book.[7]

In October 2008, she released the autobiography Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, detailing her Catholic upbringing and her eventual return to Catholicism. In it the 67-year-old Rice describes the two decades she spent writing books on vampires, demons and witches as a prelude: "To be able to take the tools, the apprenticeship, whatever I learned from being a vampire writer, or whatever I was — to be able to take those tools now and put them in the service of God is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful opportunity. And I hope I can redeem myself in that way. I hope that the Lord will accept the books I am writing now."[8] [9][10]

Leaving New Orleans

Rice discovered she had Type 1 diabetes when she went into a diabetic coma in December 1998.

In 2002, Stan Rice died after a long illness. In her subsequent depression, Rice's weight rose to 254 pounds (115 kg). In response to sleep apnea and other weight-related problems, Rice had gastric bypass surgery in 2003.

On January 30, 2004, having already put the largest of her three homes up for sale, Rice announced her plans to leave New Orleans. She cited living alone since the death of her husband and her son's moving out of State as the reasons. "Simplifying my life, not owning so much, that's the chief goal", said Rice. "I'll no longer be a citizen of New Orleans in the true sense." Though she left New Orleans prior to the disaster of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, and none of her former New Orleans properties took on water, she remained an advocate for relief for the city.

Rice may also have wished for more privacy from the constant attentions of her fans, who were known to camp out in front of her house; up to 200 or more would gather to see her leave for church on Sundays.

In spring 2005 Rice moved to La Jolla, California, to be nearer her son, Christopher. She moved less than a year later to Rancho Mirage for a warmer climate and a "simpler life".

Amazon.com incident

On September 6, 2004, Rice posted a reply to a number of negative reviews that had appeared on Amazon.com regarding Blood Canticle. She titled her reply, "From the Author to the Some of the Negative Voices Here." This post generated a great deal of publicity online – partly because authors rarely post or respond to reviews on Amazon, and partly because of the tone and nature of her text, which was considered by many members of the writing community to be bitter, angry and aggressive. [11] Many previous reviews had criticized the quality of writing in Blood Canticle as lazy or shoddy; when Rice replied by writing an article, the incident became fodder for weblogs and Internet sites. Following this incident, whether at the author's request or at Amazon's own volition, the comment and several others were later removed. Rice's own discussion on the incident is available on her website.

Adaptations

Film

In 1994, Neil Jordan directed a relatively faithful motion picture adaptation of Interview with the Vampire, from Rice's own screenplay. The movie starred Tom Cruise as Lestat, Brad Pitt as the guilt-ridden Louis and was a breakout role for young Kirsten Dunst as the deceitful little Claudia.

A second film adaptation of the Vampire Chronicles came out in 2002. Starring Stuart Townsend as the infamous Lestat and singer Aaliyah, the movie combined incidents from the second and third books in the series but released under the title of the third book, The Queen of the Damned. The plot was substantially altered from that of the book, and the film was poorly received by fans and critics alike.

A 1994 film titled Exit to Eden, based loosely on the book Rice published as Anne Rampling, starred Rosie O'Donnell and Dan Aykroyd. The work transformed from a love story into a police comedy, possibly due to the explicit S&M themes of the book.

The Feast Of All Saints was made into a miniseries in 2001 by director Peter Medak.

Plans to adapt Rice's Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy into a twelve-hour miniseries to be aired on NBC were dropped after a change of studio head and subsequent loss of interest in the project.

A film version of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt was planned but later canceled.

Theatre

On April 25, 2006, the musical Lestat, based on Rice's Vampire Chronicles books, opened at the Palace Theatre on Broadway after having its world premiere in San Francisco, California in December 2005. With music by Elton John and lyrics by Bernie Taupin, it was the inaugural production of the newly established Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures.

Despite Rice's own overwhelming approval and praise, the show received mostly poor reviews by critics and disappointing attendance. Lestat closed a month later on May 28, 2006, after just 33 previews and 39 regular performances.

In 1997, a ballet adaptation of Interview with the Vampire premiered in Prague.

Fan fiction

Rice has an adamant stance against fan fiction based on her work, releasing a statement on April 7, 2000 that prohibited all such efforts. This caused the removal of thousands of fanfics from the popular FanFiction.Net website.

Music inspired by Rice's novels

Cradle of Filth briefly includes Lestat in the song "Libertina Grimm" as "Count Lestat".

Sting got the inspiration for his song "Moon over Bourbon Street" from Interview with the Vampire.

Guitarist extraordinaire Steve Vai states in liner notes for his album The Elusive Light and Sound volume 1, that his song "Loveblood" Was inspired by the film and the fact that he wished he was an actor so he could play the role. Alternative rock band Concrete Blonde's song "Bloodletting (the Vampire Song)", the title track from the Bloodletting CD, is based on Rice's The Vampire Lestat.

The Australian pop band Savage Garden found their name in The Vampire Lestat, in which Lestat describes the world as "the savage garden".

The metalcore band Atreyu declares in the song "The Crimson", "I'm an Anne Rice novel come to life."

Punk/goth band The Damned recorded a song called "The Dog" about the child vampire Claudia from Interview with the Vampire on their 1982 album Strawberries.

The Italian band Theatres des Vampires is named after a location featured in several books of The Vampire Chronicles. Their 1999 album is called The Vampire Chronicles.

post hardcore band Aiden wrote and recorded a song entitled "The Last Sunrise" - a lot of the lyrics of said song relate directly to the first book of The Vampire Chronicles, Interview With The Vampire.

Malice Mizer, a Japanese rock band based heavily on French culture, uses the phrase "Drink from me and live forever" in their song "Transylvania". "Drink from me and live forever" is a phrase from the first book Interview With the Vampire.

Mexican band Santa Sabina [1] dedicates a song to Rice's vampire character Louis: "Una canción para Louis"

Psytrance project Talamasca was named after the secret society in both the Vampire chronicles and the Mayfair Witches series. This is a solo project by the French musician Cedric Dassulle, which also calls himself DJ Lestat.

Japanese visual kei rock band Versailles first album, Noble, is subtitled "Vampires Chronicle" and also not clearly announced, the sixth song is entitled "After Claudia"...

Italian gothic rock group Last Minute's debut album, Burning Theater, was concieved as an unofficial soundtrack for Interview with the Vampire, including the title track and two others, all focusing heavily on the death of Claudia.


Source: Wikipedia

The Crow

http://www.gothicba.com/crownuevo.gif

The Crow is a 1994 American feature film adaptation of the 1989 comic book of the same name by James O'Barr. The film was adapted by David J. Schow and John Shirley, and directed by Alex Proyas.

The Crow stars Brandon Lee, in his final film, as Eric Draven, a rock musician who comes back from the dead to avenge his own murder, as well as that of his fiancée. While filming in the closing weeks of production, Lee was killed when a dummy bullet, which had become lodged in one of the guns, was fired into his abdomen.

Plot

On October 30, Devil's Night, Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) is at the scene of a crime where Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) has been beaten and raped, and her fiancé Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) is dead on the street outside, having been shot and thrown out of the window. The couple was to be married the following day, on Halloween. As he leaves for the hospital with Shelly, Albrecht meets a young girl, Sarah (Rochelle Davis), who says that she is their friend, and that they take care of her. Albrecht tells her that Shelly is dying.

One year later, a crow taps on the grave stone of Eric Draven; Eric awakens and climbs out of his grave. Meanwhile, a low level street gang, headed by T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly), is setting fires in the city. Eric goes to his old apartment and finds it derelict. He has flashbacks to the murders, remembering that those responsible were T-Bird and his gang: Tin Tin (Laurence Mason), Funboy (Michael Massee) and Skank (Angel David). Eric soon discovers that any wounds he receives heal immediately. Guided by the crow, he sets out to avenge his and Shelly's murders by killing the perpetrators.

The crow helps Eric locate Tin Tin; Eric kills him and then takes his coat. He then goes to the pawn shop where Tin Tin pawned Shelly's engagement ring the year before. Eric forces the owner, Gideon (Jon Polito), to return the ring and blows up the shop, letting Gideon live so that he can warn the others. Eric finds Funboy with Sarah's mother, Darla (Anna Levine). After killing Funboy, Eric talks to Darla, making her realize that Sarah needs her to be a good mother. He visits Albrecht, explaining who he is and why he is here. Albrecht tells him what he knows about Shelly's death and that he watched as she suffered for thirty hours before dying. When Eric touches Albrecht, he receives the pain felt by Shelly during those hours. Sarah and her mother begin to repair their strained relationship. Sarah goes to Eric's apartment and talks to him. She tells him that she misses him and Shelly. Eric explains that, even though they cannot be friends anymore, he still cares about her.

As T-Bird and Skank stop at a convenience store to pick up some supplies, Eric arrives and kidnaps T-Bird. Skank follows the pair and witnesses Eric killing T-Bird; he escapes and goes to Top Dollar (Michael Wincott), a top level criminal who controls all the street gangs in the city. Top Dollar and his lover/half-sister Myca (Bai Ling) have become aware of Eric's actions through various reports from witnesses. Top Dollar holds a meeting with his associates where they discuss new plans for their Devil's Night criminal activities. Eric arrives looking for Skank. A gun fight ensures the deaths of nearly all present, with Eric succeeding in killing Skank. Top Dollar, Myca and Grange (Tony Todd), Top Dollar's right hand man, escape.

Eric, having finished his quest, returns to his grave. Sarah goes to say goodbye to him and he gives her Shelly's engagement ring. She is then abducted by Grange who takes her into the church where Top Dollar and Myca are waiting. Through the crow, Eric realizes what has happened and goes to rescue her. Grange shoots the crow as it flies into the church, making Eric lose his invincibility. Myca grabs the wounded crow, intending to take its mystical power. Albrecht arrives, intending to pay his respects to Eric, just after Eric is shot and wounded. Top Dollar grabs Sarah and climbs the bell tower as a fight ensues, with Grange being killed. The crow escapes Myca's grip, clawing her eyes and sending her down the bell tower to her death. When Albrecht is wounded, Eric climbs to the roof of the church on his own. There, Top Dollar admits ultimate responsibility for what happened to Eric and Shelly. In their fight, Eric gives Top Dollar the thirty hours of pain he absorbed from Albrecht; the sensation sends Top Dollar over the roof of the church to his death. Sarah and Albrecht go to hospital, and Eric is reunited with Shelley at their graves.

Death of Brandon Lee

On March 31, 1993 at EUE Screen Gems Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina, there were eight days left before shooting of the film was to be completed. The scenes involving Lee and Shinas' characters in their apartment had been saved for the end of filming so that Lee could work the final week without makeup.[2] In the story, Lee's character is shot and killed by Michael Massee's character. Weeks prior to the event, a scene was being filmed that required dummy rounds to be shown being loaded into the handgun. Inexperienced crew members, who were being pressured by time constraints, purchased live ammunition, removed the bullet, dumped the gunpowder, and then replaced the bullets back into the empty cartridges.[3][2]

When it came time to film the scene where Michael Massee shoots Lee's character, the same gun was loaded with blank cartidges. Unknown to the crew, the bullet from one of the dummy rounds had become lodged in the barrel of the gun. When the gun was fired, the propellant in the blank rounds—which is used to give the visible effect of a gunshot—dislodged the bullet, which was sent into Lee's abdomen. It is believed that someone on set was playing with the gun, pulled the trigger, and inadvertently caused the primer to fire; this would have resulted in the bullet moving a couple of inches into the barrel of the gun. As the production company sent the firearms specialist home early, the responsibility of the guns were handed over to a prop assistant, who was not aware of the rule for checking all firearms before and after any handling - this included checking the barrel for obstructions when it came time to load it with the blank rounds.[3][2]

Following the accident, Lee was taken to the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina where he died about 12 hours later. Following Lee's death, the producers were faced with the decision of whether or not to continue with the film. Sofia Shinas, who had witnessed the accident, did not want to continue and went home to Los Angeles. The rest of the cast and crew, apart from Ernie Hudson, whose brother-in-law had just died, stayed in Wilmington. After two days, Ed Pressman announced that the film would be completed. The technicalities of completing the film following Lee's death added $8 million to the budget, taking it to approximately $15 million.[1] The cast and crew then took a break with script rewrites for the flashback scenes that had yet to be completed.[2] The cast returned to Wilmington nearly two months after the accident.[1]

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Reception

Critics

The Crow was well received by critics; review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes gives it a "fresh" rating of 86 percent based on 35 reviews. Reviewers praised the action and visual style.[4][5] Rolling Stone called it a "dazzling fever dream of a movie", Caryn James writing for the New York Times called it "a genre film of a high order, stylish and smooth", and Roger Ebert called it "a stunning work of visual style".[6][7][5]

The melancholy effect of Lee's death on viewers was noted; Desson Howe of the Washington Post wrote that Lee "haunts every frame" and James Berardinelli called the film "a case of 'art imitating death', and that specter will always hang over The Crow".[5][4][8] Berardinelli called it a fitting epitaph to Lee, Howe called it an appropriate send off, and Ebert stated that not only was this Lee's best film, but that it was better than any of his father's (Bruce Lee).[5][4][8] Critics generally thought that this would have been a breakthrough film for Lee, although James disagreed.[5][9][7] The changes made to the film after Lee's death were noted by reviewers, most of whom saw them as an improvement. Howe said that it had been transformed into something deeply compelling.[4] James, although calling it a genre film, said that it had become more mainstream because of the changes.[7]

The film was widely compared to other films, particularly the Batman films and Blade Runner.[8][9] Critics described The Crow as a darker film than the others,[7] Ebert calling it a grungier and more forbidding world than those of Batman and Blade Runner and Todd McCarthy for Variety said that the generic inner city portrayed in The Crow makes Gotham City look like the Emerald City.[9]

The standout features of the film for most critics were the fast-paced action and visual style. The cinematography by Dariusz Wolski and the production design by Alex McDowell were praised. While the plot and characterization were found to be lacking,[4][9][7] these faults were considered to be overcome by the action and visual style.[8][5] The cityscape designed by McDowell and the production team was described by McCarthy as imaginatively rendered.[9] The film's comic book origins were noted and Ebert called it the best version of a comic book universe he had seen.[5] McCarthy agreed, calling it "one of the most effective live-actioners ever derived from a comic strip".[9] Critics felt that the soundtrack complemented this visual style, calling it blistering, edgy and boisterous.[6][9][4] Graeme Revell was praised for his "moody" score;[9] Howe said that it "drapes the story in a postmodern pall.[4]

Negative reviews of the film were generally similar in theme to the positive ones, but said that the interesting and "OK" special effects did not make up for the superficial plot, badly written screenplay and one-dimensional characters.[10][11]

Box office

The film grossed US$50,693,129 in the United States, $94,000,000 Worldwide including $11,774,332 in its opening weekend. According to Box Office Mojo, it ranked at 24 for all films released in the US in 1994 and 10 for R-rated films released that year.[12]

Awards

In 1995, Graeme Revell won a BMI film music award for his score and the Stone Temple Pilots won the MTV Movie Award for Best Song for "Big Empty".[13] Also at the MTV Movie Awards, the film was nominated for Best Film and Brandon Lee was nominated for Best Male Performance.[13] The film received four Saturn Award nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, for Best Costumes, Best Director, Best Horror film and Best Special Effects.

Soundtracks

The original soundtrack album for The Crow featured songs from the movie, and was a chart-topping album. It included work by The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Rage Against the Machine, and Stone Temple Pilots.

A few groups performed covers: Nine Inch Nails rendered Joy Division's "Dead Souls", Rollins Band covered Suicide's "Ghost Rider", and Pantera performed Poison Idea's "The Badge".

The Stone Temple Pilots song "Big Empty" won an MTV Movie Award in 1995. It was not their original choice for the soundtrack. They recorded a version of "Only Dying", a demo they had recorded earlier as Mighty Joe Young, which was replaced following Lee's death.[14]

The bands Medicine and My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult also make cameo appearances in the film, on stage in the nightclub below Top Dollar's headquarters.
The Crow: Original Motion Picture Score consisted of original, mostly orchestral music, with some electronic/guitar elements written for the motion picture by Graeme Revell.


Source: Wikipedia