Monday, 30 May 2011

Oprah Winfrey Finish the show

Oprah Winfrey, the first black woman to appear on Forbes' billionaire list, is the ultimate multimedia icon.
She and her eponymous television program won scores of Emmy awards. In 1986, Ms. Winfrey was nominated for an Oscar after her film debut in "The Color Purple" and two years later she founded Harpo Productions. In 2000, she launched "O," a top-selling magazine in which she appears on every cover. Her book club guarantees best-seller status for its selections.
Ms. Winfrey then made history by ending her blockbuster, one-hour talk fest, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and starting her own cable channel, OWN, short for the Oprah Winfrey Network, that will speak for her 24 hours a day. OWN went live to about 80 million households on Jan. 1, 2011, and its success hinges on fans being able to track down Ms. Winfrey on the upper reaches of the cable dial.

The last episode of her network show, televised on May 25, was described as the biggest moment in television since Johnny Carson quit “The Tonight Show” two decades ago. Yet Ms. Winfrey took her final bow by holding back. “There will be no makeovers, no surprises — really, no surprises,” she told her studio audience. “You will not be getting a car or a tree. This last hour is really about me saying ‘thank you.’ ”
Ms. Winfrey’s move from broadcast to cable has been a transformative moment for the television business, marking the first time a talk-show host has taken over an entire channel. The stakes couldn’t be higher for her and the coterie of television veterans that has assembled around her. For someone who has enjoyed outsize victories in almost every venture she has pursued, OWN will be the ultimate test of her power. Her goal is to build a bigger business, but the channel's early ratings so far have been disappointing.
The television critic of The New York Times, Alessandra Stanley, described OWN's debut weekend this way: "Oprah Winfrey said that she wanted to create a cable network without a trace of “mean-spirited” programming, and she has wrung every drop of it from the Oprah Winfrey Network. "OWN is a place where cynicism takes a holiday and mockery hasn’t yet been invented."

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Gil Scott-Heron Dies

Gil Scott-Heron passed away at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City on Friday. The pioneering poet, musician, and activist enjoyed a string of thought-provoking hits throughout the 1970s and was nicknamed the “Godfather of Hip-Hop” thanks to his powerful lyrics on tunes like “The Bottle,” “Angel Dust,” and the spoken word piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

Scott-Heron struggled publicly with substance abuse in the 2000s, and spent the early part of the decade in and out of jail on drug possession charges. He began performing again after his release in 2007, and in 2010 released a new album, I’m New Here. Scott-Heron was 62. The cause of his death has not been disclosed.

UFC 130 fight card: Brian Stann vs Jorge Santiago battle for honor and respect on Memorial Day weekend

You think it was a mistake that U.S. Marine Brian Stann is taking part in the Memorial Day weekend festivities tonight (May 28, 2011) at UFC 130: "Rampage vs. Hamill" on pay-per-view?
You really think so?
Well, it wasn't. As coy as Dana White may become when asked that question, it was a strategic move to place "All American" on the fight card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
But Stann is not just here because he served our country for nearly a decade; he's here because he just knocked out the iron-chinned Chris Leben a few months ago and he's knocking on the door that leads to the middleweight elite.
Standing in his way is a Japanese import who will be making his return to the UFC for his first fight inside the Octagon since dropping consecutive bouts back in 2006, to the previously mentioned Leben and the "Talented" Alan Belcher.
Sure, he's amassed an astounding 11-1 record since his release, winning a 2007 Strikeforce middleweight tournament and the Sengoku middleweight championship (that he never actually lost). But he didn't accomplish that within the confines of the eight-sided playground.
That's where it's as real as it gets ... at least, in the court of public opinion. 
That's where he'll try to pick up where he left off, only this time, with much much better results.

Joplin mo Hits Missouri City, Killing Many

Joplin, which the reports said was in the direct path of the tornado, was left isolated and in the dark after the destruction, with telephone connections largely cut off and many homes without electricity after the twister touched down around 6 p.m.
Reuters quoted the Newton County coroner, Mark Bridges, as saying about 30 people had been killed, and 11 bodies had been recovered from just one location.
A major hospital in town, St. John’s Regional Medical Center, had to be abandoned, witnesses said, and the triage unit set up on its grounds to care for the patients had to be temporarily moved across the street when the hospital caught fire.
The tornado was just the latest in a string of deadly twisters that have killed hundreds of people in recent months, with Tuscaloosa, Ala., still recovering from one that also tore through the center of the city in late April.
Initial reports from Joplin said that schools, apartment buildings, megastores and fire stations were ravaged by the tornado.
“There was panic — firefighters were pulling themselves out of the debris and then helping others,” said Mike Bettes, a meteorologist for the Weather Channel who arrived in Joplin 10 minutes after the tornado touched down, as part of the show “The Great Tornado Hunt.”
Hours later, he said, the scene was “very serene — dark, relatively quiet.” He and his Weather Channel crew had set up to report from the hospital grounds, he said in a telephone interview, and “we are on a hill and the only lights we see are on the fire trucks or ambulances.”
Joplin’s was by far the worst damage on a day of brutal storms in the Midwest, including a tornado in Minneapolis that city officials said left one person dead and dozens injured in an area that covered several blocks. By Sunday night, Missouri’s governor, Jay Nixon, had already activated the National Guard and declared a state of emergency. 

President Obama said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was being sent.
“FEMA is working with the affected area’s state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts, and the federal government stands ready to help our fellow Americans as needed,” Mr. Obama said.
Weather experts were still trying to assess exactly what had produced such damage. “The power lines have gone down — we can’t reach anyone there,” Bill Davis, a meteorologist at the Springfield, Mo., office of the National Weather Service, said in a telephone interview. He said any assessment of exactly how strong the tornado was would have to wait until tomorrow, when experts would drive to Joplin. However, he said, on a scale from 1 to 10, the tornado looked to be “on the 8-9 level.”
He compared it to a tornado that struck in May 2008 and left a dozen dead in the same part of Missouri. “It very much looked like that supercell,” he said, though that storm managed to spare Joplin a direct hit.
Joplin, a city of about 49,000 people, sits at the edge of the Ozark Mountain region.
Mr. Bettes, the meteorologist, said that the storm that hit Joplin had been hard to read — which was why his crew was willing to travel so close to it. “It was a rain-wrapped tornado,” he said. “When it is obscured by rain, you can’t tell what the danger is.”
One Joplin resident, Donald Davis, described to The Springfield News-Leader driving through the city, saying that Joplin High School’s windows were broken out and part of its roof was missing. A church across the street was demolished, he said. He also described damage to a grocery store and a large apartment building.
“They’re flattened,” Mr. Davis said. “You just can’t believe it. There must have been 150 units. One lady had a bathrobe around her. Others just had blankets around them.”
The scene at St. John’s hospital was equally overwhelming. “I spoke to a couple of nurses who were on the sixth floor,” said Mike Jenkins, a senior producer at Weather Channel who was with Mr. Bettes at the hospital. “They told me they received a warning, that a tornado or possible tornado was 20 minutes away. They took their precaution, ran through their steps, and five minutes later the windows were blown out, people were blown across the hall.”

Roland Garros keeps French Open

The French Open will continue to be played at Roland Garros in Paris after officials rejected proposals to move the Grand Slam event to another venue.

Three other projects, from the suburbs of the French capital, were bidding to host the clay-court event from 2016.
However, all three were more costly as they needed building from scratch.
An official statement said: "We back the project to create a new Roland Garros venue, extending and modernising the historic venue at Porte d'Auteuil."
The Federation Francaise de Tennis (FFT) rejected Gonesse in the first round of voting, while a proposed site near the Palace of Versailles was dismissed in round two.
The Roland Garros venue, which is situated in western Paris, then polled two-thirds of the vote in the final round to beat off competition from the eastern suburb Marne-la-Vallee, which also hosts Disneyland Paris.
"It's a historic choice, probably the most important for our federation since its creation. Our aim was to offer an ambitious project," said FFT president Jean Gachassin.
"This decision has been made against the fashion for having things on giant scales but it's a project which is resolutely focused on the future. This hasn't been a default choice. The Paris project was the most beautiful of the four."
Roland Garros, which has been home to the French Open since it began 86 years ago, spans 8.5 hectares, less than half the size of the 18.5 hectares at Wimbledon's All-England Club.
It is the smallest of the four Grand Slam venues that also includes the Australian Open at Melbourne and the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York, however, the new site is expected to be expanded to 13.5 hectares.
But France's retired former world number one Amelie Mauresmo led criticism of the FFF's decision, believing the plan to be flawed.
"I think that in Paris we don't have the possibility to have the necessary space to develop Roland Garros," said the 31-year-old two-time grand slam winner.
"We are the smallest of the four grand slams and I think it is important to have the chance to grow, and for the public to have more room."
Among the renovation options are building a retractable roof over centre court (Philippe Chatrier) and a constructing a new court with a capacity of 8,000 spectators.
The costs to renovate Roland Garros were estimated at £210m while the other three projects ranged from £400m-675m.

Friday, 27 May 2011

ABC's new summer reality show Wipeout

  ABC has started production on their new summer reality series Wipeout. The show features 24 thrill-seeking contestants who will race in the world's largest extreme obstacle course. According to the press release, the course was designed to create the "most spills, face plants and wipeouts ever seen on television." I can't help but wonder if anyone at ABC has seen MTV's Jackass. Just a thought.

The obstacles and contestants change every week. Some of the obstacles are "Dizzy Dummy," "Dirty Balls," (there's a bad joke in there somewhere), and the "Dreadmill" which gets contestants to jump hurdles on a 40-foot long treadmill moving at "warpspeed" (ABC's words, not mine).

Here's something of interest: John Henson (Talk Soup) will be co-hosting with John Anderson of SportsCenter. Henson is reason enough for me to give this show at least one go-round. What about you? Will you tune in to Wipeout?

Week's Events Show WNBA's Relevancy To Life

WASHINGTON – As much as the WNBA was developed as a way to showcase the nation’s top women’s basketball players, as time has gone on the league has shown a relevancy to reflect life in all aspects both on the court and more importantly away from the sidelines as well.

The week is not over and besides featuring the preseason competition such as the one here in the Verizon Center Thursday in which the Washington Mystics completed a back-to-back morning sweep of games by beating the Chicago Sky 66-55 the league has been in the news by either leading or being in association with several other events.

On Tuesday, former CBS news anchor Katie Couric received the top honor in New York City at the WNBA’s annual Inspiring Women awards luncheon.

On Wednesday, the same day Washington helped New York open its new summer venue for the next three seasons at the Prudential Center across the Hudson River in Newark, N.J., with a morning win over the Liberty, one of the host team’s rookie hopefuls – Jessica Breland out of North Carolina – was named this year’s Honda Inspiration Award winner for battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a similar honor that went to former Drexel star Nicole Hester several years ago for likewise battling the disease.

Overseas the WNBA runner up Atlanta Dream is engaging in international diplomacy in England prior to Sunday’s exhibition in Manchester against the Great Britain contingent.

Sadly, as much as the focus has been on joy, triumph and survival, on Friday another one of those unfortunate moments struck with the news that former 7-foot-2 center Margo Dydek, the overall No. 1 pick of the 1998 draft for the WNBA’s second season, died in Brisbane, Australia, at age 37 from complications of a heart attack suffered a week ago.

Nicknamed “Large Marge,” while few stateside had heard of the native of Poland who was then selected by the former Utah Starzz, which later became the San Antonio Silver Stars, she proved her worth by being a shot-blocking demon.

Dydek, who was coaching in Australia and was pregnant with her third child, which also passed away, when she was put into an induced coma, later played for the Connecticut Sun and then the Los Angeles Sparks before retiring.

Though many print publications will probably only have a paragraph or two on Dydek’s death, though the Associated Press has a sizeable obituary, a photo display at the website offers a glimpse as to her skill and personality.

Actually, it may be safe to actually refer to Dydek as the first overall No. 1 draft pick in league history because prior to the WNBA’s launch the previous season several star players were delivered to teams based on local appeal, such as former Southern Cal All-American Lisa Leslie to Los Angeles, former Texas Tech sensation Sheryl Swoopes to the former Houston Comets, which won the first four titles, and former UConn star Rebecca Lobo to New York.

Tina Thompson, the last of the original roster players from the WNBA’s first season and who is now with Los Angeles, was a first-round pick by Houston after deciding to play in the WNBA at the last minute over the former American Basketball League.

The wonders of today’s technology through facebook, google, and twitter, allows those with interest to find a pretty accurate portrayal of Dydek’s contributions as a player and as a mom.

Though Dydek had been retired several seasons, the league has also suffered tragic losses of others who have performed, most notably Kim Perrot, a walk-on to the Houston team who became a key star in the backcourt and then had her life cut short several years later by breast cancer.

The league’s annual Sportsmanship Award is named in Perrot’s memory.

Fortunately, the WNBA’s moments have been more joyous as was the case here in which a school-age dominated crowd of 9,502 fans saw Washington perhaps in its best-ever shape going into a season, especially being fueled by the 2010 run to the Eastern Division co-championship with New York and acquiring the No. 1 seed in the conference for the playoffs.

Alana Beard, who is back on the court after missing last season because of an injury, agreed and disagreed with the premise based on the former Duke star’s eight years in the nation’s capital in the league.

“Just being here for eight seasons, I think we’ve made a lot of progress in the little time that we’ve had,” said Beard, who was scoreless in her near-24 minutes of playing time but still provided leadership for the Mystics.

“Credit a lot of that to the coaches and their coaching style,” Beard said of Trudi Lacey, who has taken over following a promotion from assistant to former coach Julie Plank.

“It’s huge advantage of her already knowing the players and personalities and how to handle each and every player,” Beard said. “She brought in players such as Kelly (Miller) and she’s familiar with her and knows how to coach her.”
Miller, a former Georgia star and whose twin sister Coco previously played for Washington, scored 12 points. Former Maryland star Crystal Langhorne picked up where she left off as one of the top developing stars. The native of Willingboro, N.J., near Philadelphia, had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Former Rutgers stsr Epiphanny Prince had 12 points for the Sky, while Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles scored 10 points.

Rookie point guard sensation Courtney Vandersloot from Gonzaga, the third overall pick in April’s draft, had seven points but also committed seven turnovers for Chicago.

Beard wants to quash the idea of last year’s success immediately translating to forward progress this season.

“Last year was last year,” she said. “Trudi is different. We still have a lot of new players and that’s a challenge but I think she’s done an unbelievable job helping everyone jell together and helping each other’s games.

“Yeah, we won two games, but we have a long, long way to go. But the sky is the limit for this team and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”

Langhorne also likes the chemistry that’s developing quickly.

“We’re still a little rusty but I think our young kids like (former Duke stars) Jazz (Jasmine Thomas) and Karima (Christmas) are going to keep getting better as time goes on and get used to the system, but I think we’re looking pretty good.

Joplin suffers 'direct hit' from tornado; 24 deaths confirmed thus far

Authorities say at least 89 have died in the massive tornado that struck the southwest Missouri city of Joplin.
City manager Mark Rohr announced the number at a pre-dawn news conference outside the wreckage of a hospital that took a direct hit from Sunday's storm. Rohr said the twister cut a path nearly six miles long and more than a half-mile wide through the center of town. 

Much of the city's south side was leveled, with businesses, homes and restaurants reduced to ruins.Among the worst hit locations in Joplin was St. John's Regional Medical Center, which appeared to suffer a direct hit from a tornado. The staff had just a few moments' notice to hustle patients into hallways before the storm struck the multistory building, blowing out hundreds of windows and leaving the facility useless.In the parking lot, a helicopter lay crushed on its side, its rotors torn apart and windows smashed. Nearby, a pile of cars lay crumpled into a single mass of twisted metal. Matt Sheffer dodged downed power lines, trees and closed streets to make it to his dental office across from the hospital.

"My office is totally gone. Probably for two to three blocks, it's just leveled," he said. "The building that my office was in was not flimsy. It was 30 years old and two layers of brick. It was very sturdy and well built."
St. John's patients were evacuated to other hospitals in the region, said Cora Scott, a spokeswoman for the medical center's sister hospital in Springfield. She had no details on any deaths or injuries suffered at the hospital in the tornado strike.
Details about fatalities and injuries were difficult to obtain even for emergency management officials, because the tornado knocked out power, landline phones and some cellphone towers, said Greg Hickman, assistant emergency management director in Newton County.
Triage centers and shelters were setup around the city. At Memorial Hall, a downtown entertainment venue, nurses and other emergency workers were treating critically injured patients.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Jamie Foxx Crops Up in Horrible Bosses Posterz

The thoroughly hilarious trailer for Horrible Bosses has been out for a couple of weeks now (if you haven’t seen it you must check it out – if only for Colin Farrell’s comb over monstrosity) and now a poster highlighting one of the many co-stars has been released.

Filmofilla have unearthed the character banner for Jamie Foxx’s nasty-looking, ex-convict character, who acts as a ‘murder consultant’ for a trio of desperate employees (including Jason Bateman) who are all planning on offing the characters who make up the film’s title.
The film is released over here on the 22nd July, so no doubt we’ll see a few more of these in the coming weeks. Here’s hoping Farrell is next in line.

All-New 2012 Toyota Prius V

The new Toyota Prius V vehicle will make a full debut in North America this coming autumn. The hybrid crossover is one of three regional variants that are planned for the Prius family.
In Europe the Prius+ and in Japan the Prius A will offer an additional third row of seats that will not be made available in North America. To make room for the additional seating the new Toyota Prius crossover will include a smaller lithium battery with higher output. This will be neatly tucked under the centre console for maximum space.

Toyota have revealed that the new Prius hybrid crossover will come with a 1.8litre 2ZR-FXE engine, complete with a 60kW traction motor all of which are supported by a 201V Ni-MH battery pack. For extra efficiency the heat exchanger transfers wasted heat to the engines coolant system.

As expected from a new crossover model from an existing range the suspension has been developed to improve handling and ride quality. Hodgson, Toyota Newcastle dealer looks forward to welcoming the new Toyota Prius in Newcastle in the near future. Hodgson sell a wide range of new and used Toyota cars in Newcastle and have a full collection of Toyota hybrid models.

Tom Jones On American Idol, Mick Jagger On Grammys - Ageless Rockers

The American Idol finale produced a gamut of music stars including Tom Jones, Tim McGraw, Tony Bennett and even Steven Tyler singing his famous 'Dream On' classic at the end of the show.  The American idol finale featured former winner Carrie Underwood singing with one of the finalists.

Many of the top men's grouping sang a variety of songs with Tom Jones coming out to round out the performance singing 'It's Not Unusual' which is a classic for the featured Vegas entertainer for over three decades.

Other performers taking to the stage for the final show of the tenth season included Lady Gaga and her elaborate stage show as well as outfit.  Marc Anthony, husband of judge Jennifer Lopez, sang with his wife providing backup dancer flavor to the crowd.

The night ended with winner Scott mcCreery winning the coveted AI trophy over Lauren Alania. 

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

'DWTS' Backstage Q&A: Hines Ward and Kym Johnson on Winning the Mirrorball Trophy!

Cab driver from Irving arrested after bomb squad removes suspicious materials from home near D/FW Airport

A cab driver from Irving was arrested Sunday after a bomb squad removed suspicious materials from his apartment.Sharif Ahmed Nour, 41, was charged with possession of prohibited weapons after the FBI determined that the unspecified didn't add up to a federal offense. Irving firefighters found the materials after extinguishing a small fire at Nour's home in the 3600 block of Block Drive, near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force assisted in the investigation. The materials were ultimately determined not to be an imminent threat. Nour is originally from Somalia and has been driving cabs at the airport for years, a friend told WFAA-TV (Channel 8).
Watch Channel 8's full report below:

'Dancing With The Stars' Winner: Hines Ward, Kym Johnson Win Season 12 Mirror Ball Trophy

LOS ANGELES — It's become a proud athletic tradition: Winning "Dancing With the Stars."
When Hines Ward took home the mirrorball trophy on the hit show Tuesday, he joined its winningest group of alumni: Athletes. Professional athletes have taken the "Dancing" title six times in the past 12 seasons.
Since the show premiered stateside in 2005, three Olympians, two football stars and one race-car driver have been named "Dancing" champs. Three other NFL stars and an Olympic skater finished the popular show in second place. Ward, a Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and former Super Bowl most valuable player, credits his professional dance partner, Kym Johnson, with their dance victory. He plans to keep his new mirrorball right next to his Super Bowl trophy.

"It's special," the 35-year-old said, glittery trophy in hand. "With football, it takes all 53 guys. With this mirrorball, it was just Kym and I together in the studio putting in the hours. I'm just glad I didn't let her down."
Ward consistently posted high scores throughout the 10-week competition, and judges praised his showmanship and dedication.
"We've had some great footballers on `Dancing With the Stars,' but I don't think any compare with Hines Ward," head judge Len Goodman said during the season finale.
Ward was up against Kirstie Alley and Chelsea Kane for the season 12 title. The actresses finished second and third respectively.
His commitment was especially evident after Johnson suffered a serious neck injury during rehearsals two weeks ago. The couple triumphantly returned to the dance floor, earning perfect scores for their performance and drawing tears from Ward, Johnson and judge Carrie Ann Inaba.

The Winner of The Biggest Losser is...

Olivia Ward is now a living, breathing testament to the benefits of determination and putting one's mind to accomplishing a goal, no matter how substantive. After an incredible 129-pound weight loss over a span of eight months, the New York City opera singer was crowned Season 11's Biggest Loser on NBC Tuesday.
Here's a before-and-after display of what she achieved:



Ward and sister Hannah Curlee became breakout stars following a sensational run during the trip to New Zealand earlier this year, both making the finals. Also in the final four ahead of the finale were Irene Alvarado and Jay Jacobs, who vied for America's vote and the right to compete for the ultimate prize.Joining Hannah and Olivia in an all-female final three was Irene, who became a best buddy to the Purple Team during the season. All four were worthy.In the end, it was Olivia Ward who edged the competition and was crowned the winner. But obviously, all of these giant losers were winners last night!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Hopkins defeats Pascal to become oldest major champion

MONTREAL — Bernard Hopkins became the oldest champion in boxing history Saturday night by winning a unanimous decision against Canadian Jean Pascal to claim Pascal's WBC title belt before a disbelieving, record Canadian indoor crowd of 17,560 at the Bell Centre here.

Hopkins, who turned 46 in January, eclipsed the record set in 1994 by George Foreman, who knocked out Michael Moorer in the 10th round to win the heavyweight title when he was 45. Hopkins and Pascal started out slow, but their dislike for each other showed through as the fight wore on. Both fighters taunted each other repeatedly. Hopkins stuck his tongue out at Pascal several times and even came out before the seventh round doing pushups to prove he was not tired. The tongue-wagging by Hopkins seemed to touch a nerve in Pascal, who responded by charging like a bull at Hopkins, who was able to avoid most of the punches and appeared to enjoy the process.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

New York Daily News Iphone 4 Review

The iPhone 4 is no small thing to review. As most readers of Engadget are well aware, in the gadget world a new piece of Apple hardware is a major event, preceded by rumors, speculation, an over-the-top announcement, and finally days, weeks, or months of anticipation from an ever-widening fan base. The iPhone 4 is certainly no exception -- in fact, it may be Apple's most successful launch yet, despite some bumps on the road. We've already seen Apple and AT&T's servers overloaded on the first day of pre-orders, the ship date for the next set of phones pushed back due to high demand, and die-hard fans in line outside of Apple locations a week before the phone is actually available. It's a lot to live up to, and the iPhone 4 is doing its best -- with features like a super-fast A4 CPU, a new front-facing camera and five megapixel shooter on the back, a completely new industrial design, and that outrageous Retina Display, no one would argue that Apple has been asleep at the wheel. So the question turns to whether or not the iPhone 4 can live up to the intense hype. 
Can it deliver on the promises Steve Jobs made at WWDC, and can it cement Apple's position in the marketplace in the face of mounting competition from the likes of Google and Microsoft? We have the answers to those questions -- and many more -- in our full review, so read on to find out!