|SIDNEY LUMET DIES|
Sidney Lumet, director of Hollywood classics '12 Angry Men' (1957), 'Serpico' (1973), 'Dog Day Afternoon' (1975) and 'Network' (1976) passed away on Saturday, the New York Times reports, at his home in Manhattan. The four-time Oscar nominee, who died of lymphoma, was 86. The Philadelphia native was a child actor on Broadway and radio, after which he worked as a TV director for CBS in the 1950's. He helmed televised productions of dramatic plays by Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill, before becoming a prolific, acclaimed director of more than 40 feature films.
|RUSSELL BRAND WINS & LOSES AT BOX OFFICE|
The biggest box office headline of the weekend was overseas, where the 3D cartoon Rio opened to $55 million to score the top opening of 2011 for any title anywhere. Rio debuted in most of the world a week ahead of its domestic launch. In the U.S., Arthur opened well below expectations at the domestic box office, grossing just $12.6 million. Brand's other movie, Hop, stayed at No. 1 in its second weekend, grossing an estimated $21.7 million. Arthur was almost beat by action-thriller Hanna, which overperformed with an estimated $12.3 million at number two. Soul Surfer also did better than expected, grossing an estimated $11.1 million. The Bethany Hamilton biopic, played strong to teen girls and faith-based audiences, promising good word of mouth.
|PIA TOSCANA ALREADY HAS A RECORD DEAL?|
As a season 10 standout, she was a favorite finalist among judges, and countless 'American Idol' fans expressed shock over singer Pia Toscano's elimination this week. But while her former competitors on the hit series keep on warbling for votes, Toscano has moved at lightning speed to capitalize on her new fame, and make her mark in the music industry. The New York native, 22, is reportedly entering the recording studio as soon as possible to lay down tracks on a debut album, thanks to a brand new contract with Jimmy Iovine's Interscope label. "Pia is being signed to a deal with Interscope Records, who are rushing her into the studio to record an album ASAP," an insider tells Us.
|COLDPLAY INVITED TO OPEN 2012 OLYMPICS|
Organizers of the 2012 Olympic Games in London want Coldplay to perform the official Olympic song at the opening ceremony. The band, fronted by Chris Martin, tops the list of U.K. music stars in contention for the prestigious gig, and would perform a specially-commissioned 'Welcome Song' for a TV audience in excess of two billion. An inside source told the U.K.'s Daily Mirror, "Chris is at the top of the list to front the official record. He's a huge star and a British musical icon, with an international profile. We're pulling out all the stops to get hold of him, ideally with the rest of Coldplay involved, too." The source added, "Coldplay are the biggest stadium rockers in Britain today, and their style of anthemic music would be perfect for the Olympics. It needs to be something inspirational. The hope is that they would perform at the opening ceremony, as well as [produce] the track, which could help fund good causes."
|CHARLIE SHEEN STILL UNEVEN ON THE ROAD|
A pattern is emerging on Charlie Sheen’s My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat Is Not an Option tour: Crash and burn at one show only to “win” at the next. He did it once again this weekend, scoring a standing ovation at Connecticut’s Oakdale Theatre last night after a disastrous show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall Friday. Some highlights from the Hollywood Reporter: Sheen encouraged the audience to smoke marijuana, answered questions from the crowd about bacon and masturbation, removed his shirt, and at one point retrieved a man security had kicked out … and had him play a harmonica on stage. Hartford Courant critic Roger Catlin, however, was not impressed. Sheen and his interviewer “had nothing prepared and nothing really to offer but catchphrases that had already sounded a bit dated (and ‘Winning!’ started to sound an awful lot like its opposite),” he writes, contending that the show was just as bad as if not worse than Radio City’s: “The difference is that the Connecticut crowd cheered his every boorish declaration instead of booing it.” Sheen was back at Radio City Music Hall last night—or, as he referred to it during his Connecticut show, “Radio Sh**ty Music Hall.” Things went much better the second time around, with the show considered a success. Click to catch up on his tour stops so far.
|STRESSED? REACH FOR SALTY SNACKS|
Bartenders may put out pretzels and chips to keep customers thirsty, but something deeper might be at play. All that salt helps ease social anxiety and keeps people loose, suggests a new study. Researchers found that rats exposed to stressful situations were much calmer when loaded up with sodium, which seemed to increase levels of the so-called "love hormone" oxytocin and decrease stress hormones, reports Time. "We're calling this the Watering Hole Effect," says the lead author from the University of Cincinnati. "When you're thirsty, you have to overcome some amount of fear and anxiety to approach a communal water source. And you want to facilitate those interactions—that way everyone can get to the water source." The study also might improve our understanding of what role these hormones and neurocircuits play in autism, notes Drug Discovery & Development.
|BOSTON BANS SODA ON CITY PROPERTY|
No more soda on Boston city property, or sports drinks or sweetened ice teas, for that matter. In an effort to reduce the city's rising obesity rates—and the soaring health costs associated with obesity—Slashfood reports that Mayor Thomas Menino has banned all sugary beverages from vending machines, cafeterias, and concession stands. “I want to create a civic environment that makes the healthier choice the easier choice in people’s lives, whether it’s schools, worksites, or other places in the community," said Menino in a press release.
|10 THINGS THAT SUCK THE SEX OUT OF MARRIAGE|
Twenty percent of married couples have sex less than 10 times a year. And once that sex routine is established, it often stays that way, warns sexologist Carol Queen, author of Exhibitionism for the Shy. "For many people," she says, "if erotic behavior slows down, it's hard to rev back up," regardless of whether it has tapered off because of kids, illness, hectic schedules, or anything else. She continues, "Certainly some partners with low frequency are well-matched and don't care that they aren't having more sex, but in some of these relationships, both partners may wish they were getting it on more often, but have entered a phase where it just doesn't happen."
Fifty-two percent of men over 40 experience difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. "Instead of popping Viagra," counsels Queen, "a man should exercise, eat a healthy diet, not drink or drug too much, quit smoking, and ask his doc whether any of the meds he may be taking are likely to affect erections." Midlife men are often overworked and overstressed, and may also be experiencing, for the first time, ailments such as diabetes that can have a lessening effect upon sex drive. "Finally," Queen adds, "lots of guys just don't understand that their [sexual] response will change as they age and they'll need more direct, physical stimulation to get an erection than they did when younger."
Over 60% of divorces are initiated by women in their menopausal years, during which they experience decreased libido. The Change of Life is reverse-puberty hormonal hell -- worsened, Queen says, by unhappiness among women and their spouses over weight-gain and other body changes. "The unsung issue with midlife women," Queen explains, is "that many are living distinctly unhealthy lives as far as arousal and libido are concerned. Being sedentary and not exercising are the worst culprits; smoking, certain meds and fatty foods also play a real role in restricting circulation and adversely affect one's ability to become aroused."
Forty-three percent of married couples claim that their loved one isn't as attractive anymore. "Letting yourself go" usually means gaining weight and giving in to other side-effects of an unhealthier lifestyle, says Wendy Strgar, author of Love That Works: A Guide to Enduring Intimacy and founder of the Good Clean Love line of organic sensual products. "So much of a relationship comes from your commitment to your own health. The whole catch-up thing does not work. If you're with somebody who hasn't built that commitment into the relationship, it won't just be your sex life that's suffering."
Men are over five times more likely than women (45% versus 8%) to think of sex at least once a day. A key component of sexual dissatisfaction, says Queen, is "erotic incompatibility, in which one partner really likes something different than the other." That "something different" can include techniques, times of day, or a variety of other factors, including how frequently one wants to have sex. Differing desires can lead to pressure, blame, resentment, "anger management issues, disrespectful talk, unreasonable expectations, and the list goes on." Gender-based differences in desire are biologically built into any heterosexual union.
Sixteen percent of married people have affairs; infidelity shatters trust, which withers intimacy. Advocating polyamory, David Steinberg, author of The Erotic Impulse, says "affairs can be enhancers. In open relationships where it's permitted to have sex with other people without secrecy or guilt, you end up having better sex at home. I've done it for the last 35 years. Having sex with a new partner opens up your sexual energy. If jealousy and competition aren't issues, your primary partner is suddenly more attractive too." Strgar disagrees: Extramarital affairs "go against human nature," she says, and happen "when you don't want to do the hard work" of mending your marriage.
Thirty percent of women say they experience no sexual pleasure at all for the entire first year after giving birth. "Some of these women are still hormonally affected," Queen explains. "All of them, most likely, are suffering from exhaustion and stress." Few couples fully anticipate the true impact of having an infant around the house -- a change which leads to a complete transformation of schedules, rhythms, intimacy, and activities that "takes a toll on the young dads as well." In her work as a sexologist, Queen says, "I talk to young mothers who tell me tales of exhaustion, plus occasionally the unbelievably insensitive husband."
Women's sexual pleasure drops by as much as 39% during the third trimester, according to research published in the British Medical Journal. Queen expands by saying, "Pregnancy is fraught with impending role changes for both parents, body image issues for the visibly pregnant woman -- and sometimes her partner does not react with arousal to those changes -- and hormonally-based changes in a woman's body that can absolutely affect her sexual response. [...] For many young couples, pregnancy is the first time these responses really change, and some may not understand this."
In a Woman's Day survey, nearly three times more women described their marriages as "boring" than as "exciting." Relationships stay interesting when each partner maintains his or her identity, says Strgar. "Don't blur together. Celebrate your differences, including sexually. A marriage is a safe space to act out all your crazy fantasies. You don't even have to talk about them; they could just be playing in your head." Boredom is also sometimes hard to distinguish from depression. In one study, 61% of depressed people reported loss of libido, compared to only 27% of non-depressed people.
Eighty percent of married couples blame their declining sex lives on being "too busy." Who ever thought you'd reach a point when you were too busy to bone? "If you're not prioritizing your sexuality, then you need to think about why," urges Steinberg. "Men need to organize their lives less around success and career and how many hours they need to work to buy that fancy car. After arguing with subcontractors all day, you just want to smoke a joint or have a martini. A 60-hour workweek will eat your sex life."
|ALEC BALDWIN BACKPEDDLES ON '30 ROCK' COMMENTS|
NBC must not have been too happy to hear Alec Baldwin tell a New York gala crowd Tuesday night that 30 Rock would soon be ending when the cast contracts expire in 2012. Soon after the news broke, an NBC source said the network has had "no conversations about 30 Rock ending next season." Baldwin then wrote a blog note clarifying his comments: "Gosh. I want to take the opportunity to state that although my days on network TV may be numbered, I hope 30 Rock goes on forever. Or at least as long as everyone involved desires. Next year hopefully won't be the last. Kenneth can run the network. Jenna will get her own talk show. Tracy will become Mayor of New York. Then resign to go raise exotic reptiles. And Lemon will go do.... just about anything she sets her mind to. Here's to five more seasons."
|JERSEY SHORE SPIN-OFFS ANNOUNCED|
MTV announced that we will be seeing a lot more of Snooki, JWoww and Pauly D. The three "Jersey Shore" cast members will be featured in two as-yet-untitled reality projects set to debut on MTV in 2012. Snooki and JWoww will be living in a yet-announced location, but the girls planned to be roommates even if the cameras weren't rolling. "It was a concept before the show [was green-lit]. We legitimately just wanted to buy a house together," JWoww revealed. "She wanted to get out of her dad's, and I wanted to move out of the home that everyone could see on TV, so they were like, 'Let's shoot it!' The cameras will follow him (and his blowout) as he continues to pursue his dream of becoming one of the most successful and recognized DJs in the music business. Both untitled series will be 12 episodes, and production begins later this year.
|KATE GOSSELIN SUED BY MARRIAGE COUNSELOR|
Kate Gosselin is being sued for allegedly skipping the bill on more than $10,000 in marriage counseling fees. A complaint filed by Creative Energy Options in Pennsylvania's Freeland District Court claims that Gosselin owes $10,476 in unpaid fees. The filing is for an "unpaid balance due for services 2/4/09 to 3/23/09. Client requested Dr. Sylvia Lafair fly to Los Angeles California to perform marriage counseling then refused to pay for travel fees." Dr. Lafair confirmed the suit had been filed, but would not comment on any specifics regarding the counseling which took place with Gosselin. Her ex-husband, Jon, is not named in the lawsuit.
|SPENCER PRATT WANTS TO BE RYAN SEACREST'S INTERN|
Spencer Pratt is hoping to land a job as Ryan Seacrest's intern. Pratt recently wrote an email to Seacrest's talent booker asking for a five-week gig as his intern. "I'm trying to change my image and make myself more likable," he wrote. Yesterday morning he called into Seacrest's radio show to discuss. "How do you go from being hated to even a little bit likable? It's about who you're around," Pratt said. "I've learned you need to be around likable people to even start to be likable. Who's the most likable person in America, if not the world? That would be Ryan Seacrest." He continued his pitch by insisting he's ready to change. "I got a nice nine-month vacation living on the beach collecting sand dollars, and I really got to reflect and realize that in entertainment, you can definitely go too far," he said. "I'm ready to start a whole new [chapter]." No word if Seacrest hired him.
|FBI RELEASES FILES ON NOTORIOUS B.I.G. MURDER|
The FBI has released a thick—albeit heavily redacted—file detailing its investigation into Christopher "Notorious BIG" Wallace's fatal 1997 shooting, and it provides at least one tantalizing clue. Wallace was killed with an extremely rare piece of ammunition, the Gecko 9mm, which is manufactured in Germany and available through only two distributors in the US. But that same ammo was found at the home of a corrupt ("like, seriously corrupt," Seth Abramovitch notes on Gawker) former LAPD officer, David Mack, who was arrested later in 1997 for masterminding a bank heist and was just sprung from jail last May. Mack had known ties to Death Row Records, the label of Wallace rival Tupac Shakur, who had been killed six months earlier. Police found a shrine to Shakur in Mack's home ... as well as a black Chevy SS Impala, the same type of car that pulled up alongside, then fired at, Wallace. As Abramovitch points out, this information isn't new, but the file reveals that the FBI "specifically noted a remarkable failure on the part of the LAPD: the failure to connect to the crime the literal smoking-gun evidence found at the home of the very bad man who owned the exact same car as the murderer." E! delved even deeper into the file, noting that it also reveals the rapper had connections to organized crime in New York.
|'PALIN' GAINING POPULARITY AS BABY NAME|
The number of families who chose the name "Palin" for their babies in 2008: three per million. The number in 2009? Twenty per million, according to the BabyCenter website. A good bump, but not exactly the hot new baby name, a naming expert tells Today. Despite the jump in "Palin" popularity, naming babies after politicians is still seen as risky ever since Nixon's Watergate scandal. Plus, the name is already declining in popularity: In 2010, it was down to 16 per million. But, the expert adds, we probably will see a future generation full of Bristols, Pipers, and Willows.
|27% OF SENATE PRESS RELEASES TAUNT THE OTHER SIDE|
A Harvard professor analyzed the writings of Congress members, and found that about 27% of the time, they're just insulting each other. “It’s jarring and surprising,” he tells the Washington Post. "The entire government may go bankrupt, I guess. This week, right? We probably want our representatives to be listening to each other rather than calling each other names." The professor analyzed 64,033 press releases sent by US senators between 2005 and 2007 and separated them into categories: "credit-claiming," "position-taking," and "advertising." But a fourth category emerged when he realized that, "sometimes, they just stand up there and taunt the other side." As a follow-up, the professor analyzed a week's worth of recent news releases from three top Democrats and three top Republicans in Congress; he found that 20% were mainly focused on jeering.
|ANOTHER SLEEPING AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER|
After a DC air traffic controller fell asleep on the job, the FAA learned of a second one who did the same thing—but this one did it intentionally. The Knoxville air traffic controller went so far as to find cushions and a blanket to use for his nap, Reuters reports. While he slept, during a midnight shift on Feb. 19, the airport tower controller was forced to cover the other man's duties. An FAA administrator revealed the story during House transportation subcommittee hearing yesterday, and said the agency is looking to fire the snoozing controller. During his nap, seven planes landed over a five-hour period, the Washington Post reports. In a statement, the FAA says it is "conducting a nationwide review of the air traffic control system, including overnight staffing at selected airports around the country.”
|GLENN BECK GETS CANCELLED|
Glenn Beck is leaving his daily television show with Fox News, amid falling ratings. The controversial 47-year-old radio and television host "intends to transition off of his daily program," called "Glenn Beck," later this year, Fox News and Beck's production company, Mercury Radio Arts, said in a joint statement on Wednesday. Fox said Beck will "develop and produce a variety of television projects" for Fox News and other platforms in the future, but did not give details. Beck's show draws an average of about 1.9 million viewers, dwarfing the ratings for other cable news shows in the time slot. But his ratings for the first quarter of this year are down 30 percent in average viewership. In the coveted cable news demographic of viewers ages 25 to 54, his ratings have fallen nearly 40 percent.
|BRITNEY DEBUTS AT NUMBER ONE|
Britney Spears' new album, Femme Fatale, debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 1, selling 276,000 copies in its first week. It's the sixth number one album for Spears, who first accomplished the feat with her debut, ...Baby One More Time, over a decade ago at age 16. She's now a 29-year-old mother of two. This most recent success means she is tied with Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson in third place for the most No. 1 albums from a female artist. Only Madonna, with seven, and Barbra Streisand, with nine, top her.
|GRAMMYS MAKE BIG CHANGES|
The Recording Academy has announced a series of broad and sweeping changes to the Grammy Awards that will see the number of prizes presented reduced from 109 to 78 and gender-based categories in pop, R&B, rock and country stripped away entirely with awards for "solo performance" in each genre being awarded instead. "Every year, we diligently examine our awards structure to develop an overall guiding vision and ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process," Recording Academy president Neil Portnow said in a statement. "After careful and extensive review and analysis of all categories and fields, it was objectively determined that our Grammy categories be restructured to the continued competition and prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music."
|NETFLIX TO STREAM MAD MEN|
Netflix is flexing its muscles again: It bought the rights to stream episodes of Mad Men starting this summer, reports the Wall Street Journal. The deal with show producer Lions Gate Entertainment is worth somewhere between $75 million and $100 million, which means Netlfix is paying about $1 million per episode. Starting in late July, viewers will be able to stream the first four seasons. Season five doesn't air on AMC until 2012, but it and subsequent seasons will be available for streaming once they've been on TV.
|NEW JOLIE TATTOO SPARKS RUMORS|
After sharp-eyed reporters spotted a seventh tattoo on Jolie's upper left arm, reports erupted that kid No. 7 was being added to her brood. After all, the other six tattoos mark the latitude and longitude of the birthplace of each of her six children. People reported that the new seventh tattoo, difficult to read from a distance, appeared to identify a location in northern Africa, where Jolie is visiting now as a UN special envoy. Except, err, not even close. Perez Hilton reports, by way of a source, that the ink represents Brad Pitt's birthplace: Oklahoma.
|TEEN DRUG ABUSE ON THE RISE|
Substance abuse has trended upward among American teens over the past three years after a decade of declines, according to a report issued on Wednesday by the Partnership at Drugfree.org. It said marijuana and ecstasy use among teens shows marked increases while attitudes toward alcohol use have become more relaxed. The study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation and the 22nd in an annual series, found that between 2008 and 2010 teens who said they had used marijuana in the past year climbed to 39 percent from 32 percent. Between 2008 and 2010, teens who said they had used the "party" drug ecstasy in the past year increased to 10 percent from six percent. The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, which based its findings on a survey of around 2,500 high school students, found that 45 percent said they do not see a "great risk" in heavy daily drinking, while 31 percent strongly disapprove of their peers getting drunk. A total of 68 percent of those surveyed said they had had at least one drink in their lifetimes. Among them, the average age for that drink was 14.
|WORKING MORE THAN 8 HOURS COULD KILL YOU|
Should you need another reason to call it quits at 4:59pm today: A new study has found that people who clock 11 or more hours of work a day are 67% more likely to have or die from a heart attack over a 12-year period. A group of 7,000 Brits without heart disease entered the study between 1991 and 1993; they were screened for heart disease every five years until 2004. The good news is that overachievers can still overachieve a little bit: The risk didn't jump until workers passed the 11-hour mark, notes Time. The "why" isn't totally clear, but the study's authors think chronic stress could be a factor. Time points out that sedentary office work has been shown to increase one's chance of having a large waist and upped levels of blood fats, two big heart disease indicators. But in more "can't win" news, Gawker today reports on another study that finds that being unemployed ups the risk of premature death by 63%.
|MEDITATION IS A GREAT PAINKILLER|
Researchers found that a little more than one hour of meditation training was enough to "dramatically reduce" pain, the Telegraph reports. Fifteen newbie meditators attended four 20-minute training classes on mindfulness meditation as researchers induced pain via heat and studied their brain activity. After meditating, pain ratings were reduced for every participant, anywhere from 11% to 93%. In addition, brain activity in the area that is involved with processing pain fell from very high levels before the class to undetectable levels during meditation. Brain activity in other areas, where coping mechanisms are stored, increased during meditation. "We found a big effect—about a 40% reduction in pain intensity and a 57% reduction in pain unpleasantness," says one researcher. This is greater "than even morphine or other pain-relieving drugs, which typically reduce pain ratings by about 25%."
|10 UNIQUE SUMMER DATE IDEAS|
Wash her car
This summer date idea gets both of you into a bathing suit and comes across as a generous act of service on your part. Remember, it's only a chore if you make it into one, so have fun. After you've sprayed the car and soaped it down, rinse it until your "pathetic" aim makes her glisten like a Hawaiian Tropic model. She'll know a water fight was pretty much inevitable and, honestly, she'll think it's flirty. Don't go overboard though, and grant her plea for mercy. Otherwise, the fulfillment of this sexual fantasy will draw to an early and perhaps violent close.
Garage sale hop
In the same way that you would hop from bar to bar, spend a morning with your girl visiting the garage sales and flea markets in your area (consult your local newspaper and signs around town for time and location). The eclectic items at each colorful scene lend themselves to lively conversation, humor and affordable entertainment. Don't be afraid to poke around either. Try on garments, hand her things you think she'll like and ask the vendors questions. As you do, you'll definitely make a few tickling discoveries about each other, and with so many bargains, one of you will undoubtedly come away with a sweet deal.
Fly a kite
This date sounds like it's for kids, and that's precisely what she'll love about it. Invest in a decent kite, one you can count on to soar reliably without snapping or nosediving. Then, on a breezy day, find a large open field and prepare for liftoff. Successful launch and steady flight require communication, coordination and collaboration. Essentially, it takes teamwork, which is the groundwork for a good relationship. Once the kite is airborne, you and your date have the freedom to relax, take turns as pilot and roll in the grass.
Play in the water
Depending on the weather and water temperature, strip down or suit up for maritime activities like windsurfing and boogie boarding. Or, if you have access to a boat, request your girl's company for a day on the water. Don't forget the fact that water sports like wakeboarding really get the adrenaline pumping, which is a bonus for flirting and sexual innuendo. Some girls prefer man power to motors, in which case kayaking and canoeing can be a quiet, intimate alternative. Since your extremities remain safely in the boat, risk of shark attack (or any other oceanic dangers) plummets. Whichever you decide, equipment is fairly easy to rent and reasonably priced.
Go to a drive-in movie
Drive-ins aren't as common as they once were, but they're as fun as ever. A classic summertime favorite, this amped-up approach to the typical, yet unoriginal, theater outing prevents her from asking herself, "Is he boring?" The privacy of your vehicle creates wonderful opportunities as well: You can bring your own candy and popcorn, no one will shush you as you giggle and banter aloud, and PDA becomes a non-issue should the mood strike.
Go for a stroll
Exploring your town or city together gives fresh perspective to the old experience of "been there, done that." Start by taking each other to your personal points of interest -- favorite coffee shops, secret hangouts, dream houses, and so on. Along the way, dive into summer's natural beauty by admiring the flora and fauna. If your girl has a dog, bring it -- pet owners love to talk about their animals and showing "Rover" some affection with a game of fetch demonstrates your respect for the things that are important to her. Finish up with a visit to an ice-cream parlor, where you can taste samples, recommend flavors and trade licks.
Take a drive
There's no need to steal a Ferrari, but get your hands on a decent set of wheels and invite your date for a ride. Be sure you have fuel in the tank and a scenic route selected before you pick her up. With babe on board, roll down the windows, pop open the sunroof or drop the top if you have a convertible to let her catch some rays and feel the breeze in her hair. Conversation will emerge from your choice of destination, the road trip playlist and fond highway memories. Pull over at the rest stops that only RVs bother with so that you can snap a few pictures of the vistas.
See an outdoor concert
Some of the best music venues keep their doors shut until summertime when a captive audience can enjoy songs in the warmth of a pleasant evening. Find out when a rockin' band will be playing and grab tickets. You and your date can dance, mingle with those around you, sing along, peruse the merch, and wrap yourselves in the same blanket as the night cools off.
Go to an amusement park
It's all in the name. Few dates wring out more raw, undiluted fun than a trip to Six Flags, Disneyland or one of their rollercoaster-loving competitors. The walks between rides and (hopefully brief) waits in line allow for plenty of get-to-know-you time. Before hopping on any ride with a flip or corkscrew, tease her about the outrageous height, number of Gs pulled or questionable safety. Instilling a little fear will have her reaching for your hand on every descent, mild or wild. Win her an over-size teddy bear (or her sympathies for trying) and there may be a kiss waiting for you at the top of the Ferris wheel.
Take her on a picnic
Tried and true, here's a summer date idea that can't miss. If you're a competent chef, prepare a sensuous and simple meal with in-season ingredients. On the other hand, if you're a liability in the kitchen, the supermarket deli section will be your new best friend. Either way, go the extra mile by using real utensils, dishes, napkins, and glasses as opposed to the cheap paper and plastic. Top off the setup with a nice bottle of wine and a clean blanket to rest on, but leave the book of sonnets at home.
|MAN FINED FOR TATTOOING 3-YEAR-OLD SON|
A Georgia father who tattooed "DB"—for "Daddy's Boy"—on the shoulder of his 3-year-old son has been fined $300 and sentenced to a year's probation. The tattoo was discovered when workers from the state's Department of Family and Children Services made a home visit, reports the Rome News-Tribune. It is illegal in Georgia to tattoo anybody under 18. The father—who told police he was drunk and didn't remember tattooing the letters—is no longer allowed to have contact with the toddler. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of tattooing a minor. The district attorney called the case "egregious," though the judge appeared to have her doubts. "I am trying to figure out why this is illegal,” she said. “Is it illegal to pierce your little girl’s ears?"
WHAT AGE SHOULD YOU PIERCE A BABY'S EARS? GET A TATTOO? DYE HAIR?
|COUPLE WALKING 2.5K MILES TO WEDDING|
Here's one idea for avoiding the travel costs associated with a destination wedding: Walk there. That's what Joseph Crist and Laura Brunett are doing. The 24-year-olds, who met in middle school, are leaving Michigan on April 15 so that they can make it to their wedding, at Nevada's Lake Mead, by September. "Only crazy people" would do such a thing, Crist tells WJBK, and "we're extremely crazy." The couple will traverse more than 2,500 miles, including a pass over the Rockies, and plan on walking around 15 miles a day. As for washing their hair on the trip: "I'm shaving my head, she's shaving her head. All sanitary," Crist says. Brunett says the trip will prepare them for married life together; the couple calls it "creative marriage counseling."
|MAN BLOWS NOSE & GOES TO JAIL|
All Alfred Murphy wanted to do was blow his nose, and he ended up in jail. The problem? The paper towels Murphy chose to use Monday afternoon came off a maintenance cart at an Atlanta subway station. A MARTA police officer who spotted Murphy told him he couldn't take the towels, but the man kept on pulling them from the cart and blowing his nose as the officer continued telling him to stop. Murphy insisted that since he paid his fare, he should be allowed to use the towels on the cart, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. When the officer asked Murphy to leave, the man instead went to a MARTA police phone. According to the police report, he "began to make incoherent statements about being assaulted and officers trying to kill him ... then became violent and began to struggle while holding on to the telephone receiver." He allegedly hit one officer in the face and punched another in the nose. Once arrested, police discovered Murphy was on probation. He was booked on charges of battery and trespassing.
|PLAN AHEAD FOR LAST RITES|
There's a shortage of Catholic priests these days, and that means that dying Catholics need to plan ahead if they want to get last rites. "Try to anticipate. Look at your last days instead of your last hour," one hospice minister tells USA Today, adding that sometimes it can take a couple days before a priest can be found—which, in some cases, means the patient dies without being anointed. He recalls one incident when hospice struggled to find a priest for a dying patient; eventually, the bishop himself came out to perform the sacrament. Gone are the days when priests could make deathbed calls with little notice, says another reverend. Now, the church is "more generous with giving the last rites. There's a change in thinking. It's not like in the Bing Crosby movies where you waited until the last minute." In fact, a retired bishop urges Catholics who want last rites—officially knows as the anointing of the sick—to simply take the sacrament whenever they are ill, pregnant, or in the hospital. "It's not just a sacrament for the dying," he says. "It's for the sick and the recovering."
|CELEBRITIES REAL NAMES|
1. Martin Sheen real name (Ramon Estevez)
2. Lady Gaga real name (Stefani Germanotta)
3. Triple H real name (Paul Michael Levesque)
4. Meat Loaf real name (Marvin Lee Aday)
5. Nate Dogg real name (Nathaniel Hale)
6. Charlie Sheen real name (Carlos Estevez)
7. Pink real name (Alecia Moore)
8. Nicki Minaj real name (Onika Tanya Maraj)
9. Judy Garland real name (Frances Ethel Gumm)
10. Flo Rida real name (Tramar Dillard)
11. Miley Cyrus birth name (Destiny Hope Cyrus)
12. Katy Perry real name (Katheryn Hudson)
13. Eminem real name (Marshall Mathers)
14. Snoop Dogg real name (Calvin Broadus)
15. John Wayne real name (Marion Morrison)
16. Fergie real name (Stacy Ann Ferguson)
17. Gene Simmons real name (Chaim Witz)
18. Wiz Khalifa real name (Cameron Thomaz)
19. Mark Twain real name (Samuel Clemens)
20. Dr. Seuss real name (Theodor Seuss Geisel)
|CAVITIES CAN BE CONTAGIOUS|
Tooth decay can actually be contagious, scientists have found. That’s because cavities result from bacteria hanging around in your mouth—and these germs can be passed from person to person, the New York Times reports. It’s a noted problem in young children; they can pick up cavities when, for example, their mothers taste their food to check if it’s cooled. It’s also an issue among couples. “In one instance, a patient in her 40s who had never had a cavity suddenly developed two cavities and was starting to get some gum disease,” a dentist tells the Times. Turns out she’d just started dating a guy who hadn’t visited the dentist in 18 years. The best way to avoid a similar fate, the dentist says, is to floss and brush often, and try chewing sugar free gum: it stimulates saliva, which can rinse away the germs.
|YOUR COMPUTER IS WORTH MORE THAN YOU THINK|
How much are computers really worth to us? Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta actually tried tackling that question, and they came up with $500 billion—or, on average about $1,700 per person. That's equal to about 5% of total consumer spending in 2009, reports the Wall Street Journal. To come up with that number, the economists had to calculate "welfare gain," the difference between how much people pay for computers and how much benefit they receive. As costs for desktops, notebooks, hard drives, and other computer-related gear has fallen, their benefits have increased—by comparison, the welfare gain back in the computer Dark Ages was between zero and $6.
|10 SIGNS YOU'RE NOT ROMANTIC|
You only have candle-lit dinners to save on electricity
Candles are always an ideal way to set the mood, be it at the table or in the tub. Never be a cheapskate when it comes to romance, and shell out for some decent candles in a specialty store. Then use them to light an exquisitely-prepared dinner for her.
You go on romantic walks... to take out the trash
Women love getting attention, but if the only time you escort her outside is to run errands, you'll be the one getting kicked to the curb. Romantic walks are an ideal way to spend some time together. A moonlit walk on a warm summer evening will definitely get her heart racing.
You buy her gifts with yourself in mind
When buying her a gift make sure it's for her and her alone... that's the point of a gift. Steer clear of appliances and household gifts like ironing boards. She'll merely interpret such presents as a suggestion to do more domestic chores and wait on you. And despite what you may think, that's never a good thing. Instead, buy something special like jewelry, and always make sure to include a heartfelt card -- she'll appreciate the sentiment.
Your idea of a chick flick is lesbian porn
It's no secret that women like the occasional sappy film, but what you might not realize is that that these movies also get them in the mood for love. Make an effort to take her to at least one period drama or Drew Barrymore film a month.
You celebrate your anniversary at a buffet
More is not always better. On such a special occasion as an anniversary, the last thing she wants to see is you unbuckling your belt after assaulting a buffet. The key here is to take her somewhere different; somewhere intimate where she's never been. The surprise of a new eatery could very well lead to some nice surprises in the bedroom later.
You buy her flowers from the gas station
If there's one thing women know, it's flowers. She'll easily see those limp, fume-tainted weeds for what they are, and you'll be in trouble. Remember that you don't have to spend a lot to impress her -- in fact, you don't have to spend anything at all. Pick her some flowers yourself, and she'll love that you took the time and effort to do so.
All the ingredients for your romantic dinner come from a can
When she hears the words "romantic dinner," she'll assume that you're going to be slaving away to make something special. Don't disappoint by sitting her down to instant soup from a can or Chinese takeout. Get a cookbook or do a search online for a good recipe -- preparing a nice meal from scratch is a lot easier than you might think.
You only buy her chocolate when it's on sale
She'll definitely sense your true unromantic nature if the only time you get her candy is in the days following Valentine's Day and Halloween, when it's all on sale. Be spontaneous and buy her some quality chocolate when she least expects it.
You always use "handyman" verbs in the bedroom
When it comes to the bedroom, romance and sensitivity will get you far. So try to avoid relying on terminology from the handyman profession like hammering, screwing and banging. Instead, be complimentary, and seduce her with your charm and wit.
You only kiss her as a prelude to sex
Women love kissing and prefer to get it in regular doses. So if you're kissing her only before sex and neglecting to continue doing so throughout and after the process, she's going to conclude that you're only after one thing. Make her feel special by giving her regular lip contact.
|TURKEY SHOT THAT WAS 'WRECKING HAVOC'|
Police in southern New Jersey shot and killed a wild turkey that authorities say was "wreaking havoc" in traffic. The bird had been in the township for months. However, it recently moved from residential areas to busy Route 72. Efforts to trap it were unsuccessful. Police told the newspaper the turkey caused a motor vehicle accident when a car jammed on its brakes and was rear ended by another on Wednesday. The turkey was shot by a police officer in the woods.
|WOMAN CITED FOR WALKING DOG FROM CAR|
A 70-year-old Wisconsin woman has been cited for letting her dog walk free down the street while she followed it in her car. The woman told Madison police she walks the dog that way because she's disabled. A police spokesman says the officer was sympathetic but told the woman she couldn't exercise her dog that way. He suggested fencing off a yard or exercise area. The officer issued a $114 citation for permitting a dog to run at large. Police were clued in to the woman's routine after neighbors complained. An officer spotted her on Monday, slowly trailing a little white dog. When the woman stopped to talk to the officer, the dog jumped onto her lap as she opened the car door.
|DENTIST GETS 31 POUNDS OF POT IN THE MAIL|
An orthodontist in New York City opened a mysterious package that had been delivered to his dental clinic and was stunned to find that it contained 31-pound bale of marijuana. Dr. Richard Lyons said he has no idea who sent the drugs, or why. The package was delivered by UPS at around 3 p.m. Friday. It was postmarked from Katy, Texas, a suburb of Houston. The package appeared to be addressed from a person with the same last name as Lyons, although he says they aren't related. Lyons says he called police as soon as he realized what he had in his hands.
|CARRIE ANN INABA GETS ENGAGED ON TV|
Yesterday morning, while Carrie Ann Inaba was subbing for Kelly Ripa on Live With Regis & Kelly, her boyfriend of two years, Jesse Sloan, showed up by surprise and proposed to her live on the air. The Dancing With The Stars judge had joked earlier in the taping about then-false wedding rumors, and guest Jake Gyllenhaal even presented her with a mock ring. Then in the closing minutes of the show, Regis pretended to answer a viewer's question on how best to propose to his girlfriend - which prompted Sloan, along with live violinists, to come in and pop the question. Carrie said yes.
|JUDGE JUDY OUT OF THE HOSPITAL|
Judge Judy is out of a Los Angeles hospital after an overnight stay and says "all is well" with her. In a statement released Thursday, 68-year-old Judy Sheindlin said she was on her way home and expressed appreciation for the "loving messages" she had received. She was taken by ambulance from her show taping Wednesday to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for an undisclosed condition. She plans to return to work on Judge Judy as scheduled on April 12. Sheindlin, who presides over small-claims cases on her syndicated show, offered a few words of advice: "See you in court. Be on time."
|BILLY JOEL CANCELS HIS MEMOIR|
Billy Joel is canceling his planned memoir. The Book Of Joel was scheduled for publication in June. The book was billed as an "emotional ride" that would detail the music legend's failed marriages, including his union with Christie Brinkley, as well as his battles with substance abuse. Earlier this month, HarperCollins revealed the cover photograph for the book, and Joel's editor promised it would contain details "he has never revealed before." But in a statement on Thursday, Joel said he had changed his mind. "It took working on writing a book to make me realize that I'm not all that interested in talking about the past, and that the best expression of my life and its ups and downs has been and remains my music," he said. HarperCollins confirmed Thursday that the deal had been canceled. Joel had turned in a finished manuscript, but that no copies had been printed. The publisher had planned a first printing of 250,000 copies.
|BETTY WHITE TO HOST OWN REALITY SHOW|
Betty White is taking on reality TV with a hidden-camera show that turns senior citizens into pranksters. NBC has ordered 12 episodes of Betty White's Off Their Rockers, the working title for a series based on a hit Belgian program that has been produced in other European countries and South Korea. The reality show follows seven seniors who band together to play pranks on younger people and conspire to put one over on "the unsuspecting youth of America." An air date for the series was not announced.
|STEPHEN KING / JOHN MELLENCAMP MUSICAL COMING ALONG|
A new musical dreamed up by rocker John Mellencamp and horror writer Stephen King will make its world debut in Atlanta next year. The Alliance Theater has announced that it will produce "Ghost Brothers of Darkland County," what it calls "a riveting Southern gothic musical." King's story is based on the real 1957 deaths of two brothers and a young girl. Mellencamp is in charge of the "roots and blues-tinged score." The Alliance's artistic director Susan V. Booth will direct and legendary producer T. Bone Burnett will provide musical direction. It is scheduled to run from April 4th to May 13th, 2012.
|HANDS-FREE FAUCETS ARE FILTHY|
Electronic faucets may be touch-free, but they are far from germ-free. In a new study, researchers at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine report finding higher levels of disease-carrying bacteria on hands-free faucets compared to conventional, manually operated faucets. Their discovery led to the removal of all such faucets in clinical areas at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the cancellation of plans to install hands-free models in a hospital building now under construction. Of the 108 water cultures taken from the electronic faucets, half were found to have grown the bacterium Legionella spp., which causes Legionnaire’s disease. Only 15% of the manual faucets were contaminated. Attempts to clean the faucet components with chlorine dioxide were only partially successful. After flushing them with disinfectant, 29% of the electronic faucets tested positive for bacteria, compared to 7% percent of the manual faucets.
|GADGETS KEEPING ELECTRIC BILLS HIGH|
Heating technology and many major appliances have gotten drastically more efficient since 1978, yet as of 2005, American homes are still using essentially the same amount of power, according to figures from the US Energy Information Administration. Taking a closer look at the numbers it's easy to see why, according to Fast Company: We just keep buying electronic gadgets. The report shows that heating has indeed fallen from 66% of total home energy use to 41%, while the “appliances and electronics” category has almost doubled from 17% to 31%—and again, that’s despite major efficiency gains for appliances like refrigerators, clothes dryers, and even light bulbs. But to swing the pendulum the other way, nearly half of American homes in 2009 had three TVs, a computer, and at least four rechargeable devices.
|10 WAYS TO MAKE HER REMEMBER YOU|
Start a stimulating conversation
Most guys make the classic mistake of talking about BORING and PREDICTABLE topics on dates. "What do you do?"... "Where do you live?"... "Do you have brothers and sisters?"... These are all questions that do NOTHING to separate you from all the other guys she's dated. It's far better to think of topics that would actually be FUN and INTERESTING to talk about. Humans -- and women in particular -- love to talk about drama, comedy, adventure, and scandal. With this in mind, try teaming up with her and playing "psychology experts" with society. Guess what's going on with another couple nearby... or discuss some current celebrity gossip. Women find this stuff FASCINATING... and it will make her find YOU exciting.
Be "Cocky & Funny"
There's a magical formula that's like CRACK for attraction, and it's called "Cocky & Funny." The secret is to have both arrogance and humor in just the right amounts and you'll drive women absolutely CRAZY for you. But you want a balance of both. Too much cocky, you'll seem arrogant and insecure. Too funny, and you'll come across as goofy. Instead, start off by coming up with an arrogant statement, and then say it in a funny way. For example, "That girl has a big butt" becomes "J-Lo is in the house." Use this formula when you're with a particularly attractive woman, and not only will it help you laugh and relax, but you'll spark that magical feeling of attraction deep inside her.
Work on your beliefs
Most men don't know this, but one of the best things you can do to make a woman remember you is to work on your BELIEFS. What a man believes about himself, and about women, is SO powerful that if you don't have the right beliefs, no amount of techniques, pickup lines, or "moves" is going to help make you memorable to her. One way to rewire your brain so you believe positive things is to repeat silently to yourself: "I don't let women use their looks to get special privileges with me," or "I'm a confident guy and could care less what others think," or even "I live in my reality, and she's a guest." When you start to honestly believe powerful things about yourself and your relationship with women, your success will SKYROCKET.
Do you want to be a lover or a provider?
Most men don't realize that when a woman meets a man who could be a potential mate, she subconsciously categorizes him as either a "Lover" or a "Provider." The "Lovers" are the men she is intimate with, and the "Providers" -- you guessed it -- are the men she sees as being good providers for her and her future children. We could talk about why women categorize men this way all day long, but for now let's just talk about why a woman will put a man into one category versus another. If you show a strong command of body language, sexual awareness and confidence, then she'll feel instant ATTRACTION and see you as a Lover. But try to win her affection with attention, compliments, dinners, gifts, and other favors, and she will see you as a Provider. When it comes to the "dating game," Lovers are pursued and Providers do the pursuing. If she sees you as a Provider, a woman will withhold sex, play hard to get and test you to see how good of a provider you'll be. If she sees you as a Lover, she'll have a tendency to get physically involved with you very quickly, and YOU will be in control of where the relationship goes. Now... which guy do YOU want to be?
Start the date at your place
The secret to getting a woman back to your place starts way BEFORE the date or meeting. On the phone you can say, "Why don't you just stop by my place, ring the bell and we can leave... I know a great coffee shop down the street." When she shows up, let her in for just a minute... then quickly leave. This sets up in her mind that you're not needy or trying to take advantage of the fact that she's in your house. When you're out with her, make it a point to NOT get too "touchy feely" and she'll feel even more comfortable with you. When you go back to your house to drop her off, look at your watch and say "Well, I have some things I need to do... but OK, you can come in for a few minutes..." Use a tone of voice that says "You talked me into it," and she'll feel comfortable and compelled to check out your pad... and hopefully more.
Never whine about the following things...
A sure way to KILL the attraction a woman is feeling for you is to WHINE. So never complain, whine or even mention: being single... being lonely... having bad luck with women... how long it's been since you've had a date... etc. You may think that putting yourself down or being "honest" about your situation will help her open up to you, but all it'll do is turn her OFF... and make her turn to the waiter and say, "Check please!"
Ask direct questions by acting suspicious
Most men have a lot of anxiety about asking certain questions that are "taboo." But if you want to ask a woman her age, if she's single, or any other "not usually asked directly" type of question... just use a somewhat suspicious, direct tone. Put your eyebrows together, lean your head back slightly, and in a tone that says "I suspect something..." ask your question quickly and directly. You can get almost any question answered if you seem like she's acting suspicious, and you're trying to get to the bottom of the issue. You'll be blown away -- women will answer any type of question -- from how old they are all the way to if they're bisexual or not -- right at the beginning of a conversation with this technique.
Prime the pump
Some guys ask, "How am I supposed to play hard to get and act like she's picking up on me, when I don't even know if she likes me?" The answer is to "Prime the pump." Give things a little push by interpreting her comments and behaviors as signs that she is coming on to you, and then resist them. When she does anything that could be interpreted as showing interest in you, say "You're moving kind of fast for me," or "I don't think this relationship is going to work out" in an over-the-top, teasing sort of way. Or if you want to tell her you like her, turn it around instead and say, "You like me," with a smirk on your face. Don't be afraid to provide that initial spark or spin that gets things headed in the direction YOU want.
Hold her hand
Holding hands early on makes a woman feel safe and it warms her up to you. While you're holding hands, why not try reading her palm in a creative, funny way... as you lightly brush your finger tips across it. Or massage her hand a little while saying, "This will help you relax." After you hold her hand, give it back to her, then start up again. This way she'll feel more comfortable with your touch... she'll look forward to it later.
End it right
Many guys do an OK job of being cool on a date, but they end up blowing it BIG TIME at the end by turning into a wussy... acting needy... or just freaking out. Don't make this mistake yourself. Always be the one to end your time together. Have something to do, somewhere to go, someone to see, etc. Say to her: "Now don't call me three times a day... I had fun too, but no stalking." Or tell her: "I'm busy tomorrow, but if you tempt me with a good enough offer, I might make time for you the next night..."
|SIX UNUSUAL COLLEGE DEGREES|
1. Race track management
The Race Track Industry Program at the University of Arizona is the only program of its kind, providing students with the background necessary for a number of career paths in the horse racing industry. Should students choose the "animal path," they will graduate prepared to work as a horse trainer or breeder. Those opting for the "business path'" will be suited to work on the management side of the industry. So how do students fare in the real world after graduating from such a unique program? According to Douglas Reed, the program's director, graduates do pretty well. "We have a placement rate in excess of 80 percent immediately upon graduation and [students] receive jobs in all facets of the industry due to the nature of the two paths and the broad based knowledge they receive," Reed says. "Some students start at a racetrack in mid-level management or entry level jobs, others work with the horses either on farms or at the track for a trainer. Still others enter the business in related companies [like those] that process wagers or service the industry."
Students who enroll in one of the nation's few undergraduate packaging programs don't spend four years learning to think outside the box. They learn to think about the box. A degree in packaging teaches students how to create the most economically, aesthetically, environmentally and technically sound packages for the good we use on a daily basis. According to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, graduates of its packaging program go on to work for companies like Snap-on Tools, Frito-Lay, Kohler and FedEx. In a survey on 2009 graduates of the UWS program, in the months following graduation, 95 percent of packaging graduates were employed, 90 percent in a field related to their major.
3. Viticulture and enology
In laymen's terms, Cornell University's Viticulture and Enology Program is it's school of Grapes and Wine. Though the school began offering coursework in the discipline in the early 1990s, Viticulture and Enology only recently became an official major at Cornell. According to Kari Richards, Cornell's Viticulture and Enology Major Coordinator, there are currently about 35 students enrolled in the major and 20 enrolled in the minor. "Of the approximately 20 graduates over the past five years, the majority are involved in the industry," Richards says. "Some have continued enology-related studies in graduate school, others travel worldwide to gain experience in harvest and crush, [and a] few will or have returned to the home winery/vineyard."
The University of Connecticut is one of only two schools in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in puppetry arts, and the only school in the country offering a Master's program. According to the program's website, enrollment is limited to only 22 students, who take classes like "Trends in Contemporary American Puppetry" and "Marionette Construction." According to the site, "graduates of the program perform and design for theatres around the world; appear in, build for and manage internationally recognized television programs and films; write books; design toys; teach children; and direct prominent schools and museums."
5. Decision making
Indiana University's Kelley School of Business offers a Doctorate degree in decision sciences, a program literally designed to help future business leaders analyze and make decisions. Though the name may make this degree sound like fluff, the course of study is quite rigorous. According to the program's website, "Decision Sciences is devoted to the study of quantitative methods used to aid decision making in business environments. Using mathematical models and analytical reasoning, students examine problems ... and learn how to solve these problems by using a number of mathematical techniques, including optimization methods (linear, integer, nonlinear), computer simulation, decision analysis, artificial intelligence and more."
6. Turfgrass management
Michigan State University is one of a handful of schools in the country that offers a turfgrass specialization. Under its College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, students in the MSU program learn to maintain golf-course greens, athletic fields and parks by taking classes like "Golf turf irrigation,""Management of turfgrass weeds" and "Plant genetics." Graduates of the program have nabbed some pretty notable jobs, too. According to Jill Cords, a career consultant with the college, two alumni actually faced off at last year's World Series. One alumnus was a groundskeeper for the Texas Rangers, and another was working for the San Francisco Giants.
|COPS GET JAIL IN HORRIFIC KATRINA CASE|
Calling the crimes inexcusable and barbaric, a judge sentenced two former New Orleans police officers to prison today for their roles in the shooting death of an unarmed man whose body was later set on fire in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The judge gave David Warren 25 years for shooting 31-year-old Henry Glover and Gregory McRae 17 years for burning Glover's body afterward. Warren had said he thought Glover had a gun and posed a threat when he shot him outside a police substation at a strip mall. District Judge Lance Africk called his testimony absurd. "You killed a man. Despite your tendentious arguments to the contrary, it was no mistake." A good Samaritan drove Glover's body to a police compound at a school, where McRae commandeered the vehicle and set it on fire. "Your conduct was barbaric," said the judge. "At a time when more was expected of you, you failed miserably." Click for background on the case here and here.
|POT CALLS KETTLE BLACK|
The war between Microsoft and Google just ratcheted up a notch: In its first-ever antitrust complaint against a competitor, Microsoft asked European regulators today to go after the search giant. Google is stunting competition and attempting to “entrench its dominance” on the Web, Microsoft complained to the European Commission. In a blog post explaining the filing, a Microsoft exec says Google has “engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Among Microsoft’s examples of Google’s anti-competitive practices: disadvantaging competitors by degrading access to YouTube, manipulating search algorithms to make competing sites rank lower, and using exclusivity agreements to promote its search boxes. The complaint is the latest in a string of increased scrutiny for Google, Politico notes; the Justice Department, Federal Trade Commission, and state attorneys general are all looking closely at the search giant’s practices.
|THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOME IN AMERICA, EVER|
A Russian billionaire investor has purchased a lavish, 25,500-square-foot mansion in Silicon Valley for $100 million, believed to be the most ever paid for a single-family home in the United States. The Wall Street Journal reports that 49-year-old Yuri Milner, an investor in Facebook, Groupon and Zynga, has no immediate plans to move into the home. Milner is the founder of Digital Sky Technologies, an investment firm he started in 2005. The mansion is a French-style chateau set on 18 acres in hills overlooking San Francisco Bay. It has a ballroom, wine cellar, gym, spa and pools inside and outside. The Journal says the sale price beats the previous high of $95 million in 2008 for an estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
|BASEBALL PLAYERS SACRIFICED CHICKENS FOR LUCK?|
Police in the Dallas area are investigating whether two high school baseball players sacrificed chickens in a bid to improve their games. Authorities say a 15- and 16-year-old "engaged in acts that caused the death of two baby chickens. It appears that superstition relating to a slump in baseball performance could have played a part." Western Hills High School baseball coach Bobby McIntire says he has not had a chance to talk to the students about why they did it. He said that "baseball is very superstitious" and the idea possibly came from movies. School officials say the boys have been kicked off the team.
|MISSING NYC COBRA FOUND|
Workers at the Bronx Zoo found their missing cobra curled up in a corner of the zoo's Reptile House, reports the Daily News. She had slithered out of a fiberglass box nearly a week ago but apparently never made it out of the building. Zookeepers shut the Reptile House after the great escape, kept it dark and quiet, and finally found the snake this morning on one of their daily sweeps. She's under observation but appears none the worse for wear. "We found our snake and we're very happy," says the zoo's director. "We knew it was going to be a game of patience. We set the place up to make it easier to search." The zoo will review its procedures, but nobody has been fired over the incident, notes the New York Post. Conspiracy theorists, take note: The snake's Twitter feed hasn't confirmed the capture yet.