Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Much Detergent Should You Use?

Carl Paladino - Just The Kind of Man You DON'T Want As Govenor!

The New York Times reports that Paladino has been angry over press inquiries about the daughter he fathered during an extramarital affair with a former employee 10 years ago. Paladino has intimated, without providing evidence, that Andrew Cuomo -- whom Paladino trails in the gubernatorial race -- had affairs of his own and that the media have not investigated.

On Wednesday, Dicker questioned Paladino about his criticism of Cuomo. Tempers flared to the point that Paladino's aides separated the two men.

"I want to know why you sent your goons after my daughter, Fred. You send another goon to my daughter's house and I'll take you out, buddy!" Paladino says in the grainy, ill-lit video, recorded on a bystander's cellphone.

If you ask me, Paladino started this whole mudslinging fest by going after Cuomo and calling him names. I mean come on Carl, grow up already. And a bit of advice for you, if you are going to sling mud make sure that it doesn't blow back and slap you right in the face. If you can't take the heat that you created in your own kitchen then get the hell out of politics all together.

Wayne Brady & Mike Tyson Parody Bobby Brown Video

Seal & Heidi Klum - Naked in Latest Music Video

Seal has a sexy new video for his song 'Secret,' thanks to the participation of wife Heidi Klum, naked.

The love song features a video of the two, shot in black and white, with lots of kissing and caressing and mutual nudity.

Scroll below the video for stills.

Beyonce Spotted At A Block Party

Beyonce sure knows how to liven up a block party. That was the case this month when she traveled to West Orange, NJ to visit husband Jay-Z's mother, as pointed out by our pals at Hello Beautiful.

Beyonce spotted the party on the same street as her mother-in-law and immediately joined in, leading the group gathered in 'The Wobble' dance (think the Electric Slide but much cooler).

The Wobble is based off of rapper V.I.C.'s 2008 single and Beyonce sure knows how to perform it.

Brad Goreski Leaving Rachel Zoe - Do You Just Die?!

Brad Goreski, the nerd glass-, bow-tie-, suspender-wearing associate of super stylist Rachel Zoe, announced yesterday that he would be parting ways with his guru Oct. 1, according to People. The two say the split was amicable, and Zoe went on to explain: “He did this with such class and elegance. And I get it. I just told him, ‘I’m here for you always.’ I don’t want to hire somebody for the purpose of the show, we just got lucky. No one’s ever going to be Brad to me.” Goreski said he broke the news to Zoe a month ago after realizing now was the time to break out on his own.

No word yet on what Goreski will do next, but what I do know is, if there’s another season of Bravo’s The Rachel Zoe Project to come, it’s going to have a bow-tie-shaped hole in it. This past season was already lacking without Taylor and the mostly mute Ashley and Jordan didn’t help, so it’s hard to imagine what will be compelling about the show besides shots of Zoe’s fabulousity.
Goreski’s next project should be somehow involve Zoe’s hair and makeup artist, Joey. Those two would shut it down, right? (You heard it here first!)

Are you surprised by Goreski’s exit? What do you think he should do next? Sound off!

Caprica - Brings on The Cylons...

Image Credit: SyFy

It’s great that Caprica wants to distinguish itself from the show that gave it life, Battlestar Galactica, but would it kill them to toss in a few more toasters? Apparently not, since the second half of the prequel series’ first season (premiering Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 10 p.m.) will feature a major uptick in Cylon activity—as evidenced by the first-look image above and exec producer David Eick’s exclusive quotes below.

“Daniel Graystone’s creation—the early-model Cylon known as the U-87—emerges as a critical story point,” reveals Eick. “Due to the bad PR Daniel has endured since his prized creation, the Holoband, [was blamed for] the emergence of terrorist cells on Caprica, Daniel shifts his company’s focus to the perfection of artificial intelligence and its proliferation throughout the culture as the ultimate `helper’: Never gets tired. Never asks for a raise. Never quits on the job.

“Meanwhile,” Eick continues, “Joseph Adama and his brother Sam—using their organized-crime muscle to seize control of Daniel’s company—see an altogether different purpose for the U-87s: to sell to the highest bidder, no matter how violent their agenda might be.”

Bottom line: If you’re a BSG fan on the fence about Caprica, now would be the time to start tuning in.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I - Movie Posters

I don’t know if I’ve ever been as invested in a movie as I am Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. I’ve already teared up reading about the cast talking about how it looks like a war film with the massive destruction done to Hogwarts. The new posters, featuring Harry, Hermione, and Ron on the run with their wands drawn and the tagline “Nowhere is safe,” preys upon that intense reaction (which was echoed by more than one reader).

They’re dirty and bruised and looking over their shoulders in a way no teen should ever have to. We’ve built such a relationship with those characters over seven thick books and six films that I almost feel like this will be a new 3-D experience. An emotional one. We’ll have the urge to reach out to help them — or run. Check out Harry’s and Ron’s posters below. Effective marketing?

Comedian Greg Giraldo - Dead at 44

Comedian Greg Giraldo — well-known for his work on such programs as Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil, several Comedy Central roasts, and NBC’s Last Comic Standing — has passed away. Both Comedy Central and NBC confirmed the comedian died Wednesday in a New Brunswick, N.J., hospital, just days after being hospitalized, reportedly for a prescription pill overdose.

This afternoon, Comedy Central released the following statement: “The tragic news of Greg’s passing hits us very, very hard. Greg has been a close member of the Comedy Central family for years, injecting his energy and wicked sense of humor into countless projects. The comedy community lost a brother today. Our thoughts are with his family.” Giraldo appeared as a judge during the seventh season of Last Comic Standing, and this afternoon, the producers of that program also released a statement: “Greg was one of the most talented comedians of our time. He was truly brilliant. His work will surely continue to influence and inspire us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Tony Curtis dies at 85

The rare Hollywood star whose off-screen character was often more colorful than his on-screen ones, Tony Curtis has died at the age of 85. He passed away at midnight Wednesday night at his home in Nevada. The actor suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was hospitalized in mid-July after he had trouble breathing.

Curtis lived a life that could easily have been made into a movie. Born Bernard Schwartz and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., to Hungarian immigrants, Curtis completed only one year of high school, spent two years in the U.S. Navy, and learned to act on the GI Bill, which led to a contract gig with Universal Studios. Graduating to bigger parts in films like 1952′s Son of Ali Baba and 1953′s Houdini, Curtis made a point of working in several genres.

As a result, his best-known films ranged from historical epics (1960′s Spartacus) to edgy noir dramas (1957′s Sweet Smell of Success) to farces (1959′s Some Like It Hot). But for every classic on his resume, he also appeared in more than his share of flops. He only earned one Oscar nomination in his seven-decade career, for the 1958 crime drama The Defiant Ones.
Curtis’ personal life was filled with great turmoil: He married five times; his first, and most famous, marriage was to actress Janet Leigh, with whom he appeared in Houdini after they had wed. The union lasted 11 years (the two divorced in 1962) and produced two daughters, the actresses Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis (Trading Places). Tony Curtis had a rocky relationship with all of his children, including his eldest son, Nicholas, who died at age 23 of a heroin overdose in 1994. Curtis himself was arrested for marijuana possession in London in 1970, and spent a month at the Betty Ford Clinic in 1984. Even into old age, he never lived quietly. “Eighty f—ing years old. I don’t feel any different now than I did when I was 30,” he told Esquire in 2006. “Dying, I just don’t feel like it.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

'Australia's Next Top Model' Host Announces WRONG Winner On Live TV

Talk about a big OPPS! Although I must admit I'd love to see something like this happen on one of the US reality shows.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DC Comics Announces it's top guests for New York Comic Con

DC Comics has revealed some of the top guests who will be on hand to meet and greet fans at the annual New York Comic Con (NYCC) which will take place October 8 – 10, 2010 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Acclaimed writer J. Michael Straczynski will join DC executive talent including co-publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee as well as superstar writer and Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment Geoff Johns as Guests of Honor.

Other all-star DC creators who will be participating in various panels and activities at NYCC include John Arcudi, Art Baltazar, Matthew Clark, Amanda Conner, Tony Daniel, Shane Davis, David Finch, Franco, Derek Fridolfs, Adam Hughes, JT Krul, Francis Manapul, Sean Murphy, Dustin Nguyen, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Prado, Ivan Reis, Nicola Scott, Peter Snejbjerg, Scott Snyder, Peter J. Tomasi and Freddie Williams II.

Are you all ready for Comic Con and who are you attending in hopes of seeing?

7 Year Old Rapper on Ellen

Was it Sarah Palin Who Was Booed on 'Dancing with The Stars' ??

Sarah Palin was in the audience to support daughter Bristol Monday night, (watch Bristol's performance here) and just before host Tom Bergeron interviewed Sarah, the audience was filled with boos. But watch the video below, were the boos in response to contestant Jennifer Grey's scores or to Palin? You decide. The video is underneath the AP article on the evening, which does not mention any boos.

Watch Bristol's high-scoring quickstep here.

Brad Womack RETURNS as the New 'Bachelor'

It's official: former 'Bachelor' Brad Womack will return to the show and continue his quest to find true love, PEOPLE reports. Womack, 37, shocked 'Bachelor' fans in 2007 when he rejected both of the final two bachelorettes, DeAnna Pappas and Jenni Croft, on the finale of season 11. Now he's getting a second chance to find his soul mate.

The news was revealed during Monday's 'Dancing With the Stars.' "Brad, this time, pick somebody!" quipped 'Dancing With the Stars' host Tom Bergeron.

"At first I was skeptical," 'Bachelor' host Chris Harrison told PEOPLE. "But the more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with the idea of him coming back, getting another shot." Never before had a 'Bachelor' or 'Bachelorette' rejected both finalists.

There was quite a bit of backlash after Womack made the decision-causing him to go into hiding.

"I don't think Brad deserved as much of the anger and resentment from the fans," Harrison says of the treatment Womack received from fans. "He's come out a better man and I think he's ready to do this."

The next season of 'The Bachelor' premieres in January 2011.

Chef Joe Cerniglia's Death Ruled a Suicide

Joe Cerniglia, a New Jersey chef once featured on Gordon Ramsay's 'Kitchen Nightmares,' was found dead in the Hudson River on Friday. His death has now been ruled a suicide, the Star-Ledger reports via the New York Medical Examiner's office.

The cause of death was drowning, but blunt impact injuries were detected on his body. A 911 caller reported seeing someone jump from the George Washington Bridge an hour before Cerniglia's body was found, though an NYPD spokesman says the investigation is still in progress: "It could be a coincidence. It might not be. I don't know if it will ever be determined."

Cerniglia was a married 39-year-old with three sons. He bought Italian eatery Campania in Fair Lawn, NJ, six years ago and was featured on FOX's restaurant-revamping series in 2007. When the episode aired, Cerniglia told the Star-Ledger the phone began ringing and "didn't stop for a long, long time," adding, "For Gordon Ramsay to come in and do that, it was good PR for me."

The same newspaper earlier this year called Cerniglia's appearance on the show his "15 minutes of fame that keep on giving."

In the 2007 'Kitchen Nightmares' episode, Cerniglia said purchasing the restaurant had put him $80,000 in debt. "I am financially in trouble. The debt of this restaurant alone is overwhelming. My personal debt -- wife, kids, mortgage -- that's a lot of debt."

Ramsay was particularly dissatisfied with Cerniglia as a businessman. "Why would you decide to go into business if you haven't got a clue how to run a business?" the blunt Brit said.

Cerniglia's mother Pat said on-camera: "I worry about Joe. I worry about his stress levels."

His wife Melissa said at the time: "The hardest thing for me is people like us put everything on the line for a dream. I just want to see him succeed."

Cerniglia participated in a New Jersey version of 'Iron Chef,' called 'Ultimate Chef Bergen County,' and was recently deemed one of the five best chefs in the state by Inside Jersey magazine.

"He was just so interested in food and so animated," said Jill Hanifan, a frequent Campania guest who knew Cerniglia. "He even made you want to eat things you didn't like. He would sit down and talk to you about food, about growing food. I had made some green tomato relish, and he let me talk. He wasn't just about me, me, me, I, I, I."

The Star-Ledger once called Cerniglia's meatballs served at Campania arguably the best in the state.

The Rich Keep Getting Richer... 2010 Census Report

The income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record as young adults and children in particular struggled to stay afloat in the recession.

The top-earning 20 percent of Americans - those making more than $100,000 each year - received 49.4 percent of all income generated in the U.S., compared with the 3.4 percent earned by those below the poverty line, according to newly released census figures. That ratio of 14.5-to-1 was an increase from 13.6 in 2008 and nearly double a low of 7.69 in 1968.

A different measure, the international Gini index, found U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations.

At the top, the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans, who earn more than $180,000, added slightly to their annual incomes last year, census data show. Families at the $50,000 median level slipped lower.

"Income inequality is rising, and if we took into account tax data, it would be even more," said Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in poverty. "More than other countries, we have a very unequal income distribution where compensation goes to the top in a winner-takes-all economy."

Lower-skilled adults ages 18 to 34 had the largest jumps in poverty last year as employers kept or hired older workers for the dwindling jobs available, Smeeding said. The declining economic fortunes have caused many unemployed young Americans to double-up in housing with parents, friends and loved ones, with potential problems for the labor market if they don't get needed training for future jobs, he said.

Rea Hederman Jr., a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, agreed that census data show families of all income levels had tepid earnings in 2009, with poorer Americans taking a larger hit. "It's certainly going to take a while for people to recover," he said

The findings are part of a broad array of U.S. census data being released this month that highlight the far-reaching impact of the recent economic meltdown. The effects have ranged from near-historic declines in U.S. mobility and birth rates to delayed marriage and the first drop in the number of illegal immigrants in two decades.

The census figures also come amid heated political debate in the run-up to the Nov. 2 elections over whether Congress should extend expiring Bush-era tax cuts. President Barack Obama wants to extend the tax cuts for individuals making less than $200,000 and joint filers making less than $250,000; Republicans are pushing for tax cuts for everyone, including wealthy Americans.

The 2009 census tabulations, which are based on pre-tax income and exclude capital gains, are adjusted for household size where data are available. Prior analyses of after-tax income made by the wealthiest 1 percent compared to middle- and low-income Americans have also pointed to a widening inequality gap, but only reflect U.S. data as of 2007.

Among the 2009 findings:

-The poorest poor are at record highs. The share of Americans below half the poverty line - $10,977 for a family of four - rose from 5.7 percent in 2008 to 6.3 percent. It was the highest level since the government began tracking that group in 1975.

-The poverty gap between young and old has doubled since 2000, due partly to the strength of Social Security in helping buoy Americans 65 and over. Child poverty is now 21 percent compared with 9 percent for older Americans. In 2000, when child poverty was at 16 percent, elderly poverty stood at 10 percent.

-Safety nets are helping fill health gaps. The percentage of children covered by government-sponsored health insurance such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program jumped to 37 percent, or 27.6 million, from 24 percent in 2000. That helped offset steady losses in employer-sponsored insurance.

The 2009 poverty level was set at $21,954 for a family of four, based on an official government calculation that includes only cash income. It excludes noncash aid such as food stamps.

Arloc Sherman, a senior researcher at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, noted the effects of expanded government programs in cushioning the impact of skyrocketing unemployment. For example, the Census Bureau estimates that 3.6 million people would have been lifted above the poverty line if food stamps were counted - a number that would have reduced the 2009 poverty rate from the official 14.3 percent to 13.2 percent.

Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor, said while the U.S. has developed policies to combat poverty, it has trouble addressing ever-widening income inequality - even with a growing federal deficit and previous warnings by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan about soaring executive pay.

An Associated Press-GfK Poll this month found that by 54 percent to 44 percent, most Americans support raising taxes on the highest U.S. earners. Still, many congressional Democrats have expressed wariness about provoking the 44 percent minority so close to Election Day.

"We're pretty good about not talking about income inequality," Danziger said.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Desperate Housewives Season 7 Premiere: Remember Paul?

Welcome back to the suburbs for another hour of campy, trashy murder, deceit and mayhem. Yep, we're back on Wisteria Lane for the seventh season of Desperate Housewives. I have to confess that Desperate Housewives is yet another guilty pleasure for me. Sure, in guy circles it's easy to bash the show and its characters, but DH is one of those series' that's intensely easy to watch. And I'm secure in my manhood so I'll let every and anyone know that I watch the show - SO THERE! LOL

Tonight's season opener was topped and tailed with the return of Paul Young - a murderer who was jailed only after being framed by his victim's sister. Young is hell-bent on getting revenge on the neighbours who turned their backs on him during his court case. And he tells them so, laying on a guilt trip about how he protested his innocence during the trial WHICH THEY DID NOT ATTEND! What's really good about this is that you often forget he is a murderer, and he hasn't really got any business being indignant about their defection!

Over in Carlos and Gaby's house, secrets are springing up and being ruthlessly suppressed. Gaby learns that Bree's son was the hit and run driver who killed Carlos' mother, and Carlos discovers that a mix-up at the hospital means their daughter isn't their daughter. And in true soapy fashion, both take pains to hide their secrets from each other. But it's alright, they're trying to spare each other's feelings.

I loved how Gaby's immediate reaction was purely selfish, being annoyed that she'd have to give the bad news to Carlos and he'd somehow blame her!

Less interesting - but then I can't stand Teri Hatcher's character, Susan - Mike and Susan are starting over in a rented apartment to save themselves some money. And it seems that Susan's clunky, oversized jewellery can't save their finances. Mike wants to go work on the oil rigs for a while to raise funds, but Susan gets an unexpected offer from their landlady to become a soft porn webcam girl. Naturally, after taking a moral stance against it, Susan realises she has no choice but to appear.

I estimate it'll be about half-an-hour before one of Lynette's sons recognizes her on the web.

Bree and Orson are getting divorced, so Bree has a fight with her living room. Specifically the wallpaper, which is a nice excuse to bring in Brian Austin Green as a decorator and have him wander around in a vest top for the duration of the episode. In another hit to Bree's fragile ego, she discovers that Orson and his carer are now in a relationship, which may push the straight-laced housewife into a torrid affair with the hired help. Bring it on!

Over at the Scavo residence, Lynette gets an unexpected visit from her friend Renee Perry, played by Ugly Betty's Vanessa Williams. With Lynette being overwhelmed at home with a new baby, her family see a different side of her through Renee's eyes. Especially Tom, who discovers that she had a threesome with two football players back in the day. I loved how it didn't take him long to recover from the news and proposition his newly 'dirty' wife!

Of course, it's not going to be a fleeting visit for Vanessa Williams, and her reason to stay comes via the news that her husband is leaving her for another woman. Let's hope that she sticks around Wisteria Lane for a little while - I suspect she's going to be 'interesting' for Tom and Lynette's marriage.

I'm already loving this cycle of revenge that's emerging - Paul's out of prison, hoping to repay his former neighbours for deserting him. But all the while, his victim's sister is planning his death. I'm guessing he'll be so busy looking the other way that he'll be a really easy target - but with Felicia Tilman in prison, who's the Wisteria Lane resident that'll do the job on her behalf?

Answers in the comments section, please!

Quotes from this episode

Gaby: "No, you shouldn't have told me at all. Now I have to tell Carlos, and he's going to tell Andrew and then he's going to have to go to prison. So thank you for sending my husband to prison, Bree. Nice work."

Lynette: "Baby number 5. An entire basketball team has come out of me, so I am officially too exhausted to care."

Tom: "I'm holding the baby." Lynette: "Well spray her with some glass cleaner and rub her on the windows. I don't want Rene to know I live like this."

MJ: "So, are we poor?" Mike (to Susan): "If you field this one, I'll tell him where babies come from."

Renee: "Sometimes weeks go by without me seeing a servant." Lynette: "I'm sure you see them on whipping day."

Bree: "I'm not sure that my delicate ears could support something so large. How about Gaby? She has big strong Latino ears."

Lynette: "Renee comes across as a little stuck-up when you first meet her. Which is a real timesaver."

Susan names her terms for doing porn: "No nudity, no sex. And no-one can ever know."

Bree: "Please don't take this the wrong way, but I'm going to be serving dinner in this room. Not sailors."

Jimmy Kimmel Spoofs Sesame Street

Snooki and her 'Jersey Shore' pals recently dropped by 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' for a very good cause: to spoof the wholesome PBS kids' series that gave Katy Perry the boot this week after she wore an overly sexy frock during a duet with Elmo (like the singer whose bra squirts whipped cream would wear an Irish sweater for a TV appearance? She's a Snooki fan, by the way!). It's not usually advisable to go after a show that simply wants children to learn reading, counting, and neighborly goodwill, but who said Jimmy Kimmel likes to do anything advisable?

Long after the 'Sesame Street' demo's bedtime, Kimmel aired his clip of 'Sesame Shore,' which included important life lessons for kids about beer bongs, hot-tub birth control and counting to six on The Situation's abs. Check it out here.

Katy Perry Elmo Spoof on SNL

While Perry was in the 'Saturday Night Live' studios to be the season premiere's musical guest, she bounced (and bounced) onto the faux set of 'Bronx Beat' to be interviewed by host Amy Poehler and her fellow 'SNL' alum Maya Rudolph.

The gum-chomping ladies dished about the neighborhood scandal caused by young Maureen, the library volunteer asked to dress more modestly before reading storybooks to any more kids.

Winking at controversy certainly seems to come as naturally to Perry as singing, strutting and tweeting! Watch her 'SNL' sketch here.

Questions You May Hear At A Job Interview And How To Answer Them

Here are just a few questions you may hear during a job interview along with their translation and some valid responses to them.

Question: Tell me about yourself.

Translation: Why should I hire you?

Recommended response. Don't take the question too literally. Hiring managers don't want to hear that you grew up on a small farm in Kansas or that you enjoy world travel. Furthermore, they don't want to hear that you are a great communicator, team player, and fast learner. They want you to show tangible proof of why you would be a good fit for their organization. Outline two to four of your key competencies and couple each competency with proof of success. For example a customer service representative might showcase one of his/her competencies by saying, "I have strong research skills and can quickly resolve customer inquiries. For example, in my last job, I resolved 98 percent of all pending customer inquiries within 24 hours which was 50 percent faster than the company's expectation for problem resolution.

Question: What is your weakness?

Translation: We know what your weakness is. Prove to us it's not a liability for this position.

Recommended response. Before your interview address any potential obstacles that the hiring manager may pick up on. Perhaps it is your lack of knowledge with a specific software or your lack of experience in a particular industry. Show how you would overcome these obstacles or demonstrate how you have overcome similar obstacles in the past. For example, if you apply for a position that requires PowerPoint skills and you have limited experience, give an example of another software you are proficient in and how you gained that proficiency to prove that your current limited knowledge is a minor liability that can be quickly overcome.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Translation: Do you have a realistic perspective on what this job/company is about?

Recommended Response. Craft a response that makes sense for the employer's business environment. If it is a small company, don't say you expect to have a position with increasing responsibility -- that may not be feasible in their organization. If you are taking a job as a bookkeeper just to get a foot in the door of the company but really want to be a sales representative, don't bring that up during the interview. The hiring manager needs to know that you are committed to the job you are applying for, not already thinking about a new job. You can mention that you see yourself in a position where you can continue to learn and contribute to the company's bottom line and give an example of how you were able to successfully do that at a previous organization. This answer will help managers feel confident in your level of commitment to the current job and your future commitment to the organization.

Question: What have you been doing since your last position ended?

Translation: Why have you been out of work so long?

Recommended response. Discuss any volunteer or consulting assignments you may have had in the interim. If you have been actively interviewing but haven't been extended an offer, you can mention that you have been interviewing but haven't found the right fit yet. If you have had limited activity, you can let the hiring manager know that you have been using this time to evaluate your skills, craft your resume, conduct informational interviews, and network within professional circles. Obviously saying you've been watching re-runs of 20 consecutive seasons of 'Law & Order' won't go over well, so stick to discussing the professional activities you have been involved in.

Question: Are you interviewing with other companies?

Translation: Are you worth investing some time in or are you about to take another offer?

Recommended response. Generally it's best to be somewhat vague in your response, particularly if you are at the beginning of your search. If it is early on, let the employer know that you have just begun the interview process. If you have been in search mode for awhile, let them know that you have been actively searching but haven't found the right fit yet.

Question: Tell me about the accomplishment you are most proud of.

Translation: Is your past experience similar to what we need you to do here?

Recommended response. The accomplishment you are most proud of might not be the one that is most relevant to the organization's needs. Showcase an accomplishment that proves you have the specific competencies to do the job they need you to do. The story you select may be different for different interviews. That's OK. You can be proud of more than one accomplishment, and it is more important to showcase the right accomplishment than it is to bring up the achievement that brought you the greatest personal satisfaction.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

How To Sue A Telemarketer

If you can't stand telemarketers and want to give them a dose of their own medicine, we've got a recipe for how you can fight back and even profit from them overstepping boundaries.

Thanks to attorney Steve Ostrow, who has won lawsuits against telemarketers for fun and profit, and is now the author of , How To Sue A Telemarketer: A Manual For Restoring Peace On Earth One Phone Call At A Time.

"They are calling you and they want to make money off you and we can reverse those roles," Ostrow told Consumer Ally. "You're not turning these companies into victims. They solicited you."

When he started working at his law practice from his California home, Ostrow developed the idea for a book after unending interruptions.

"I wasn't able to get work done because these telemarketers kept ringing and ringing and ringing," he said.

He decided to fight back. First with his own lawsuits -- he has gotten more than 10 judgments against telemarketers -- and now with a book to teach consumers.

Ostrow takes consumers on a step-by-step guide from collecting information, writing a demand letter, filing a complaint, serving the complaint and, finally, going to small claims court.

"It's enjoyable reading just knowing what your rights are," he said. "What the book is about is learning to play with these people."

And it can be profitable should the judge rule in your favor. Ostrow said just having a telemarketer calling a residential phone number that is on the National Do Not Call registry is a $500 fine for the business. Add to that another $500 fine if the home phone line has caller ID and the number is blocked.


Ostrow offered the following tips for dealing with a telemarketer:

1 -Get as much information as possible. Ask the telemarketer for a call back phone number and for the company's website. "You want to play with these people," he said. If the telemarketer leaves a message on the home answering machine -- that's evidence too.

2 - Be friendly and enthusiastic and then ask for the company's Do Not Call policy manual -- which it has to supply upon request within 30 days or face another $500 fine. "What we want to do is train the homeowner almost to welcome and embrace the telemarketer," Ostrow said. "you know what your rights are and you don't get that knot in the pit of your stomach."

3 - Once you have the company's website and phone number, you've got its name and address to file the complaint. If the case goes to court, a judge will determine who is telling the truth and who isn't. Chances are, the judge has also gotten telemarketing calls. "The judge knows exactly what you're going through," Ostrow said.
Costs for filing in small claims court vary from state to state and consumers can lodge a complaint themselves.

"Lawyers are not permitted in small claims court," Ostrow said. "We're talking about Judge Judy or Judge Leroy Brown." Typically a case will take about six weeks. Companies still rely on telemarketing because if they think that a campaign will bring in money, they are willing to pay a small portion to settle claims, he said.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said that 200 million phone numbers -- including mobile phones -- are now listed in the National Do Not Call registry. States have their own versions of the registry too and consumers can get on those typically through the state's attorney general's office.

Ostrow does recommend consumers sign up for the Do Not Call registry and pointed out that once a consumer's number is listed, that consumer would have to opt out of the program to be dropped from the registry.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Goes to Jail and is DENIED bail! Good going!

It's about time that they system starts working for celebrities as it does for us common everyday folks.
Lindsay should be lucky because is some states she would be serving a jail sentence for quite some time.
But upon hearing todays decision I still wonder to myself what it would be like say if a minority celebrity say latin or
african american had done what Lohan has. Personally I think we'd be looking at a totally different thing. It happens
in sports all the time.

The 'Mean Girls' star rolled up to the Beverly Hills courthouse wearing a black top, white skirt and a smile. It was her first appearance before Judge Fox, who issued an arrest warrant earlier this the week to compel Lohan to appear. He previously outlined that he would sentence the actress to a month in jail if she failed a drug test. However, it was believed that unless Lohan requested immediate sentencing, the judge would set bail and release her until a formal probation hearing.

Instead, Fox denied bail and set Lohan's next court appearance for Oct. 22. According to reports, the shocked actress was handcuffed before being taken into custody.

The star's estranged father, Michael, spoke briefly following the hearing, saying the judge's decision was a "wake-up call" and that he was going to "pray" for his daughter's recovery. At the same time, he didn't seem to fault Judge Fox for the decision.

"The judge has to do what the judge has to do," he said.

Sesame Street's 'Cereal Girl'

Parody of Madonna's 'Material Girl'

Ashton & Demi Speak Out

Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher speak at the Clinton Global Initiative about their campaign to help end child sex slavery.

New Bank Fee's Arriving At A Bank Near You...

Well we knew this was bound to happen when the government cut a whole in the pocket of the big bad banks fees.

Here's a bank-by-bank look of what to expect.

Bank of America: Just last week, Bank of America said it plans to raise minimum balance requirements over the next 12 months and charge a monthly account fee for customers who can't maintain those balances.

"We currently estimate over time through these and other items we are working on that we will have the ability to offset a substantial majority of the revenue from the various regulatory changes," Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) CEO Brian Moynihan said in a presentation to investors last week.

Customers enrolled in the lender's new eBanking checking account will be charged $8.95 per month if they opt to receive paper statements and visit tellers instead of banking online. Since the launch of eBanking in August, nearly half of all new checking accounts fall into this category.

Earlier this year, annual fees ranging from $29 to $99 were applied to a variety of Bank of America credit card accounts.

Wells Fargo: Remember how Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) fought a pitched battle with Citigroup for the right to merge with Wachovia? Well, Wachovia customers are now being fully integrated -- including being charged Wells' higher fees. Receive images of cancelled checks with your paper statement? $2. Use your savings as overdraft protection? $10 fee every time you make a transfer.

Previously, these fees already existed for Wells Fargo customers but were only applied to a very small number of Wachovia customers.

HSBC: HSBC (HBC) is charging a $19 annual fee for customers who open a line of credit beginning July 1 and an additional $10 every day they use the credit line as protection from overdrawing their checking account.

"This is not unusual in the industry and our competitors have been charging similar such fees for some time," an HSBC spokesman said. "The change aligns us with our competitors."

Other banks let customers link their savings and checking accounts as an alternative option for overdraft protection. But HSBC doesn't, meaning customers will either pay a fee to open a line of credit (if they have good enough credit to qualify), pay a fee for overdrafting their account or get their card declined.

Citibank: Citi (C, Fortune 500) announced changes to its checking accounts this month and will now assess monthly maintenance fees of up to $30, depending on the checking account and whether the customers meet certain requirements -- such as making a certain number of monthly transactions or carrying a specific minimum balance.

Monthly maintenance fees were previously as low as $3, depending on the account.

Earlier this year, Citi imposed a $60 annual fee that could be waived if customers spent about $2,400 a year. But the new regulations banning inactivity fees led the bank to eliminate the fee soon after it was introduced.

American Express: American Express (AXP, Fortune 500) has added $29 fees to more of its cards. As of July, the new fees affect customers with Delta, JetBlue, Hilton and Starwood cobranded cards who want to recoup reward points they forfeited for paying a bill late.

The point-forfeiture fee already existed on other cards, so the bank said it wanted to be "consistent and have it across cards."

Customers jumping ship
Because of how competitive the already cutthroat industry has become, banks have to be careful how far they go -- or they risk losing desperately-needed customers.

"They have to be really careful about rolling anything new out in this environment," said Peter Garucci, a spokesman for the American Banking Association. "They've always competed for the same number of wallets, but if the number of wallets is smaller because of the down economy and new rules, the competition is going to increase and the last thing they're going to want to do is make their customers mad."

Consumers should take advantage of this increased competition to negotiate fees with their banks.

"Fees especially are very much negotiable, so if you see something show up in your account that you don't like, call and complain, and threaten to take your business elsewhere," Arnold added. "Chances are if there's a fee or interest rate you don't like one place, you'll find something better somewhere else."

Drug Cartel Wanted To Kill Danielle Staub - Really? ...

Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about former 'Real Housewife' Danielle Staub – it really doesn't get much more informative than a sex tape, does it? – along comes testimony that Pablo Escobar's Medellin drug cartel put a hit on her back in the 1980s. You read that right, folks. Pablo Escobar. A hit. Danielle Staub.

It seems that our friend Danielle used to run with a rather tough crowd. According to, long before her 'Housewife' days, Danielle was living in Miami, working as a prostitute and went by the name Angela Minelli. She fell into the world of drugs, and soon sought out opportunities to sell them to make some quick cash. But when $100,000 worth of cocaine was stolen during a deal, Staub quite literally found herself in Escobar's crosshairs.

The startling revelations came out during testimony in a deposition in a slander suit against the star filed by her ex-husband, Kevin Maher. Daniel Aguilar, who was an "enforcer" for the Medellin cartel in Miami, revealed under oath that Stuab came to him and said, "I have this guy and he wants to buy big weight ... four kilos of cocaine."

In court documents, Aguilar claims that he and Staub were "intimate friends" and that "she would do her drugs ... and sometimes I'd wonder was she hanging out for the drugs, which most girls back then did." He also claims to have witnessed Staub smoking marijuana "sprinkled" with cocaine "more than 50 or 100 times."

Aguilar, who went on to spend nine years in federal prison for extortion and drug-related charges, introduced Staub to people affiliated with the Medellin cartel after she inquired about dealing. She quickly found herself in hot water, however, when her drug transaction went off the rails and $100,000 worth of cocaine came up missing. Staub claimed she'd been "ripped off," but that wasn't excuse enough for the Medellin cartel.

"Even my men were saying, 'We should just kill her. Get her out of the way. She's nothing but a prostitute and a b**ch,'" Aguilar said in his testimony. But Aguilar was on Staub's side and pleaded with the drug lords to let him "find out what happened here."

"I cared about this woman at the time and I believed her at this point," he continued. "I didn't want her life to end."

Luckily for Staub, the FBI was already on the case. They arrested Aguilar and entered into a plea deal with Staub. In exchange for her testimony, she was given five years probation and mandatory cocaine testing but never spent any time behind bars.

For his part, Aguilar thought for some time that the cartel had caught up with Staub. "I was told by my people that she was dead," Aguilar said in the deposition. "[I was told] she's flipping and turned federal witness ... that's when my people wanted her dead; they had called me weak for letting her live ... they told me, we should have had her dead to begin with."

Her disappearance was instead, thankfully, part of a federal witness protection deal. And Aguilar can't understand why his former friend decided to resurface in such a public way: "Ain't nobody that stupid enough to make themselves publicly known after doing what they did," he said of Staub.

While the details are not clear, Aguilar alleges he paid the $100,000 to save her life after the failed drug deal, and is now attempting to get the money back.

Aguilar appeared in court as a witness for Kevin Maher, Staub's ex, who is suing the reality star for $5 million over her accusations that he raped her on broken glass and hanged her dog. He denies the allegations.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sesame Street's 'TRUE MUD'

Women Are Hissing Mad About Being Called Cougars

A new era of health care coverage in America is set to begin this week

A new era of health care coverage in America is set to begin this week, when some provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act officially begin to be enforced by law. Many of the changes will be phased in over the next several years, but the debate over whether the legislation is good for the country continues to rage on, especially as the November midterm elections draw near.

The list of the initial changes that will go into effect on Thursday.

1. Insurance companies will no longer be able to deny children coverage for pre-existing conditions.

2. Children of parents with insurance will be allowed to remain covered under those policies until the age of 26.

3. Insurance companies will be forbidden from terminating coverage for any other reason than customer fraud.

4. Insurance companies will no longer be able to cap the amount of benefits and treatment a person can receive in a lifetime.

5. Insurers can no longer charge customers for preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies.

6. High-risk pools are mandated to cover those who have been denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Joaquin Phoenix appears again on 'The Late Show with David Letterman'

It's been over a year since Joaquin Phoenix appeared on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' sporting an unkempt beard and sunglasses and mumbling his way through an awkward, often-uncomfortable interview with the late-night host. And on Wednesday, a clean-shaven Phoenix returned to the show and apologized.

It turns out it was all an act--he was playing a character for his friend Casey Affleck's faux documentary 'I'm Still Here.' Affleck revealed last week that the movie, and Phoenix's character, was fake.

"I mean, I think that you've interviewed many, many people and I assumed that you would know the difference between a character and a real person," the actor said to the late-night host. "I hope I didn't offend you in any way."

"Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no," Letterman said. "I'm telling you, it was so much fun. It was batting practice, you know what I mean? Every one of them was a dinger. I was looking for a beat down, and I got one... I want to thank you for that."

And though there have been recent rumblings that Letterman was in on the whole act, he set the record straight. "Was there a script that you and I were working with?" he asked Phoenix, who responded immediately: "No."

New Harry Potter Trailer

If the first full trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows left me riddled with goosebumples, today’s new HP7 trailer — focusing exclusively on Part 1 of the “EPIC FINALE,” out Nov. 19 — left me catching my breath. Mostly from excitement, sure, but also from exhaustion: It’s a roughly two minute barrage of you’d-better-not-blink shots designed to goose Potter-heads with glimpses of all the new (and returning) characters, and iconic sequences and moments, we’ve been practically feverish to see on screen. Ooo that’s Bill Nighy as new Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour and wait now Voldemort’s peering into Dumbledore’s tomb and oh hey there’s the gravesite of Harry’s parents and eek it’s Prof. Snape by Voldemort’s side and hang on Imelda Staunton’s back as the diabolically pink Dolores Umbridge and whoa Harry, Ron and Hermione barely missed that double-decker bus in central London and…you get the idea. Check out the jam-packed trailer for yourself:

We also get all-too-brief peeks at the seven Harry Potters; the wedding of Ron’s brother Bill to Fleur Delacour; the Death Eaters’ assault on said wedding; the flight of the said seven Potters; the fight between Harry and Ron; Dobby!; Harry, Ron, and Hermione infiltrating the Ministry of Magic; and Luna Lovegood’s father Xenophilius (Rhys Ifans), despairing at the attack on his home. What we don’t really get is a semblance of the plot. Had you not read J.K. Rowling’s seventh Potter book, not only would the preceding litany of references make little sense to you, but you’d have no idea that the first part of the “EPIC FINALE” really concerns Harry, Ron, and Hermione covertly casting about England searching for Lord Voldemort’s missing Horcruxes. Or, for that matter, why the movie is even called “The Deathly Hallows“ — and what they have to do with that strange triangle-y symbol that flashes ’round the 0:39 mark.

Does this trailer do its job of setting up the first part of the final two Harry Potter movies? Or are you left wanting for something a bit more…coherent?

Terri Hatcher to play Lois' mother on Smallville

Teri Hatcher is returning to a role she was once familiar with. The "Desperate Housewives" star, who once held Clark Kent's love on "The New Adventures of Lois and Clark," will be guest starring in "Smallville" as Lois Lane's mother.

She won't be playing Lois herself, as she had already done during her younger years, but she will be playing the dead mother of Erica Durance, The CW's new Lois.

In episode 8 titled "Abandoned," Lois discovers old videotapes of her mother Ella, which will of course show Hatcher.

The tenth and final season of "Smallville" will debut September 24.

Hatcher now plays Susan Mayer on the ABC show.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

American Idol - And the New Judges Are....

These are your 'American Idol' judges: Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.

Host Ryan Seacrest announced the news in a press conference that streamed live at

The official confirmation ends weeks of speculation about the judges' line-up. Recent rumors surfaced that Lopez had signed a deal, while Tyler's participation was reported by friends and bandmates of the Aerosmith singer.

Jersey Shore's Snooki on Letterman

NBC's The Event - One Part Intrigue, One Part Annoying

This review is not “the event.” I mean, probably.

But who knows, really? Certainly not the stars of NBC’s The Event. I’m hoping the creators and writers have some idea, but I’m not holding my breath. The first episode—which I’ve now viewed three times—was clunky, overstuffed, and needlessly confusing. I’m going to keep watching just in case the show does become the next Lost, as it so desperately wants to be. But let's not forget that it could also be the next FlashForward, an overwrought journey that never paid off.

For now, let me give you an analogy. Puzzles are fun—who doesn’t like putting them together? (If you don’t, just pretend you do and work with me here.) You get all the pieces, you sort through them, and you slowly create a picture that makes sense. It’s tedious and often frustrating, but you’re satisfied in the end. At its best, Lost was a puzzle. But what if the puzzle has been done for you already? And then, instead of just giving you the full picture, the same jerk who did the work for you shakes the hell out of it and asks you to pick up the pieces? Are you annoyed yet? That’s The Event.

I’m OK with confusion. I’m OK with shows that take time to make their point. But The Event was difficult for the sake of being difficult. Part of the thrill of shows like this is in unraveling the mystery along with the characters. In The Event, everyone seems to know more than we do. While they work to make sense of the strange happenings going on around them, the show confounds us with an endless stream of flashbacks. There’s enough wackiness here that The Event could work with a more straightforward format—there’s no reason that it would diminish the potential for twists, turns, and “holy crap” moments. As it stands, the show is, frankly, a pain in the ass.

"But flashbacks were essential to Lost," you say. And I agree. Now think about those flashbacks compared to the ones on The Event, and you’ll see the root of the problem. For the most part, Lost moved forward—yes, sometimes at a snail’s pace—and the flashbacks fleshed out the characters we were following. Occasionally they provided key information, but more often than not, they were used to underscore the emotional resonance of a character’s storyline, to give further insight into their arc. In The Event, the flashbacks are an “eff you” to the audience; indeed, the first episode repeatedly cut away from the action, jumping around frenetically to avoid offering any sort of conclusion.

You can’t make a show “the next Lost” just by proclaiming it to be “the next Lost.” You also can’t create event television simply by calling your series The Event. I admire the ambition of this show, but I’m not convinced it’s going to achieve the greatness it aspires to. Yes, the cast is charming and full of familiar faces, which is usually enough for me to set up my Season Pass. And yes, the show's mysteries, however vague, have piqued my interest. But the execution of the series premiere was weak. No matter how loudly the hype machine shouts, The Event, so far at least, is a victim of poor storytelling and obvious audience manipulation.

Of course, we can still speculate on what “the event” is. I’m sure we will in weeks to come, and I welcome the water-cooler discussion. Let’s just hope it’s something worth talking about.

Victoria Beckham Wants to Celebrate a Woman’s Curves

Has Victoria Beckham finally arrived as a designer? Certainly sounds like it! The star visited The View on Friday, just in time to relive the glory of her Fashion Week. “It’s been a real whirlwind. I’m in my fifth season and just showed my fifth collection during Fashion Week and it was a huge success, I mean the reviews were great,” she said. “To be on the cover of WWD is such a big deal.”

And it’s not all glitz and glamour, as Posh explained her working process. “It was me in my studio, with a meter and a half of parachute silk, draping it on myself and tying it in a knot and saying ‘Ok what do I think?’…It really is a dream come true.” In addition to her models, who Victoria insists be healthy and not too young, stars such as Demi Moore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Drew Barrymore support Victoria’s sophisticated, sexy designs. But, Michelle Obama has yet to join the fan club. “I actually dressed Sarah Jessica Parker for an event at the White House so I’m getting there, I’m in the door!” she joked. And the reason that so many women are responding to her designs? “I want to celebrate a woman’s curves, though you’re right, I don’t have that many myself,” she says. “I love a woman’s body and I want to make women look and feel fantastic

Still Paying For These... Get Them For Free

1. Checking account
Free checking was once offered free by many banks as a way to keep customers. That's changing, with many big banks offering the service only if customers maintain a high balance, bank through self-service channels such as an ATM, or frequently use the bank's debit or credit card. These days, banks need new ways to make money, and giving away free checking accounts wasn't paying off for them.

How to get yourself free checking? Go to a small bank. Or switch to your local credit union. Or find one of the large banks that still offer this perk, including Chase, and Wachovia.

2. Corkage
Restaurants make a lot of money selling wine, and having every customer come in with their own bottle of wine instead of buying it at the restaurant could force some businesses to close their doors. No one wants that. But no one wants to be charged a corkage fee for the simple task of opening a wine bottle, either.

How to get it free? Cheap or free corkage restaurants can be found on such websites as Yelp, where it's pointed out that such restaurants may not have a liquor license and that they could start charging for corkage in the future when they do. Call ahead to see if it's still free.

3. Information calls
Calling 411, or directory assistance, is one of the many small charges that phone companies have to throw at customers. You might not notice it on your phone bill, but keep an eye out for "directory assistance" or "other" charges.

How to get it free? Google offers all kinds of free services, but this is one of the best. Instead of paying your cell phone company to call 411, use Google's 411 information service for free. For only the price of a call or text message, you can find a business and be connected to it. It will give you the phone number and connect you to the business for free by calling 1-800-GOOG-411 from any phone. You then state your location and type of business you're looking for, and are connected to the business for free.

The same thing can be done by texting your query to "Google," or 466453, via the Google SMS on your mobile phone. For example, type in "local pizza" and your ZIP code, and a list of pizza restaurants will be texted back to you. It's free from Google, although your phone carrier will charge you text message rates.

4. Driving cross country
A cross-country road trip is part of the American dream. But at 2,143 miles from California to New York, it's an expensive trip that could put a lot of mileage on your car, not to mention your wallet, unless you're planning on camping every night.

How to get it for free? Drive somebody else's car across the country. How? People who are moving, for example, don't want to drive their car, so they go to companies like Auto Driveaway to either have it delivered on a truck or driven there by a safe driver such as yourself. Drivers must be at least 23-years-old with a clean driving record, pay a $350 refundable security deposit, and will get a full tank of gas, a certain number of days and appropriate amount of miles to complete the trip.

There are other car delivery companies, so check around if one in your area doesn't have cars going where you want to go. When you want to go back home, either buy a one-way plane ticket home or find another car to deliver.

5. TV
The average cable TV bill is $75 a month, which cable companies attribute to franchise fees to ESPN and other stations. Cable companies also sell stations in bundles, requiring customers to pay for several small channels they might not want so they can get big channels. Cable companies say that a la carte pricing would raise, and not lower, customers' prices because less popular channels would have to lower their advertising rates. The difference would be made up with higher subscription fees.

How to get it for free? Drop your cable TV bill to zero with an antenna, including HDTV. Make sure your HDTV has a built-in "HDTV tuner," which is also called an "integrated HDTV." Without it, you'll have to buy a separate HDTV tuner to connect your HDTV to an antenna. Find the best antenna for your home and find out online which direction the strongest signal is.

6. Movie rentals
If you're getting free TV, you might as well get free movie rentals from all of the coupons offered by Redbox. Blockbuster, Redbox and Netflix are the major players in the DVD rental business, and they're competing for your entertainment dollar.

How to get it for free? Redbox is going after customers with coupon codes to get them to try its rental kiosks. It has free promo codes each week, which the company e-mails to registered users. The free codes can also be found at sites such as Inside Redbox, which lets people share the most recent codes. The site Redbox Codes requires registration to see the free codes, which seems silly since they're free elsewhere. And there's always the local library to rent movies from for free.

7. College tuition
The average student loan debt for college graduates is $23,200, which makes buying a used car look like a bargain. College isn't free, and student loans can follow a graduate for years.

How to get it for free? Students who are going into teaching, nursing, law, the ministry or have economic hardships can have their student loans forgiven under certain circumstances. New teachers, for example, would have to work at a low income public school in critical subjects such as math or science.

Working at a nonprofit for 10 years will also erase the debt. Even for students not in those fields, there is some relief. The Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 caps student loan repayment at 10% of monthly discretionary income starting in July 2014 on new loans.

8. Books
Amazon and other booksellers didn't become big businesses by giving away books. The average price of a new hardcover book is $26, and e-books can be half that price. Hardcover books cost so much because so many people are getting a piece of the pie. According to a New York Times story, for a $26 book, the bookseller will pay the publisher $13. Of that, the publisher pays about $3.25 to print, store and ship the book. About 80 cents is paid for cover design, typesetting and copy editing, marketing costs $1, the author gets a 15% royalty per book, or $3.90 in this case, leaving the publisher with $4.05 after write-offs to pay for overhead. Think of that next time you go to a bookstore.

How to get it for free? Many e-books are free to listen to, mostly public domain books where you won't see the latest bestsellers. But if you want to hold a book in your hand and not have to buy it, go to your local public library. They're everywhere and most have the latest bestsellers to check out (you might have to put your name on the waiting list, but it'll get to you) -- along with events such as sleepovers for teddy bears. Or an even simpler idea: query your Facebook friends about whether any of them have the title you're looking for. Chances are somebody will. And a "friend" is more likely to send it off to you for free. If you ask nicely.

9. Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes are usually cheap, a few bucks at most stores, although a rechargeable electric toothbrush can be more costly.

How to get it for free? If you have dental insurance, be sure to get a free toothbrush and dental floss every time you visit your dentist. Most offer it, but if they don't, ask. If that doesn't work, there are online sites that give away toothbrushes, especially for kids, in exchange for registering and getting on a mailing list.

10. Online games
Since the idea that the Internet is supposed to be free is still alive for the time being (it may be the death of newspapers, but most news sites are still free), you might as well take advantage of it and play online for free. Some people pay to clothe their avatars, for example, and virtual currency has been found to be legally exchanged for actual cash in the real world.

How to get it for free? There are lots of free places to play games online. Just look. They're practically everywhere. They might not be as fun as all of those iPhone apps you're paying for, but they're free and free is fun.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Exhausted" voter puts President Obama on hot seat

A "deeply disappointed" supporter put President Obama on the grill yesterday at a town-hall meeting, telling him that he hasn't lived up to hopes, that she's grown exhausted defending him and that she is fearful about returning to the "hot dogs-and-beans era" of her life because he's not helping the financially strapped middle class.

"I've been told that I voted for a man who said he's going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people, and I'm waiting, sir," Velma Hart told Obama.

"I'm waiting. I don't feel it yet," the mom and Army Reserve veteran continued.

"And I thought, while it wouldn't be in a great measure, I would feel it in some small measure."

Hart, the chief financial officer for the veterans group AMVETS, was among the roomful of businesspeople pressing Obama for answers at a televised town hall in Washington sponsored by CNBC.

Hart lives with her husband, Karlton, who works as a facilities administrator at DC's Verizon Center, and their two teenage daughters in suburban Maryland. Yesterday she said she feels their middle-class lifestyle slipping away.

"I'm also a mother. I'm a wife. I'm an American veteran, and I'm one of your middle-class Americans. And, quite frankly, I'm exhausted," she said.

"I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now."

"I have two children in private school. The financial recession has taken an enormous toll on my family," Hart said.
"My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs-and-beans era of our lives. But, quite frankly, it is starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we are headed again."

Hart concluded, "Quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality?"

Obama responded: "As I said before, times are tough for everybody. So, I understand your frustration."

He insisted that the policies he has already implemented, including more college scholarships and consumer protections against credit-card and mortgage companies, will help the Hart family.

Obama said Hart represented the "bedrock of America."

"The life you describe -- one of responsibility, looking after your family, contributing back to your community -- that's what we want to reward," Obama said.

Last night, Hart told The Post that she was not completely satisfied with Obama's answer.

She complained that he didn't say whether these tough times are a "new reality" or just temporary.
"He didn't answer that," she said. "That was the heart of my question. Like most Americans, fear is starting to take hold, anxiety is taking hold.

American's Love Mac's Best

Americans' satisfaction with their personal computers has been on the rise for the past decade, but consumers still overwhelmingly prefer Apple's Macs to Windows PCs.

An American Customer Satisfaction Index report released Tuesday shows all PCs steadily improved in 2010, with consumer satisfaction rising an average of 4% over the past year. Consumers are the happiest that they've ever been with their computers, the 16-year old survey found, with PCs scoring a rating of 78 out of 100. That's up from 75 a year earlier.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ, Fortune 500), Dell, Acer and other PC makers achieved higher ratings this year than they did in 2009: They all tied with a satisfaction rating of 77. The year before, all PC makers scored a 74 rating -- except for Dell which had a score of 75.

But Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) satisfaction rating also rose last year, blowing past its rivals with a score of 86, up from 84 in 2009. This year marks the seventh straight year in which Apple led the PC category.

"The biggest asset Apple has had for a long time is its commitment to innovation," said David VanAmburg, managing director of ACSI, an Ann Arbor-based research group. "Others are improving, but the whole world watches Apple when it comes up with its new products each year."

Some of that excitement is comes from Apple's famed "reality distortion field," in which a combination of brilliant marketing and Steve Jobs' aura of being ahead of the curve creates an inflated degree of excitement about the company and its products.

Apple's recent dominance in PC satisfaction is also fed by the company's halo effect from its other devices. Apple dominates the portable music player market with its iPod lineup, it kicked the smartphone market into high gear with the iPhone, and it reinvented the tablet market with the iPad.

Apple maintains that by creating great customer experiences around its popular devices, it can generate positive associations with its other products, including its Macintosh line.

The strategy is clearly paying off: Sales of Mac computers set an all-time high last quarter.

Still, Apple's PC market share is comparably tiny. In the United States, it commands just shy of 9% of the market, according to IDC. Globally, it's even smaller, with about 5% of computers running Mac OS, according to Net Applications.

Apple's puny market share has a lot to do with its prices. Its entry-level, bare-bones Mac Mini starts at $699, and the most basic MacBook will set you back $999. Though Apple's high prices have fostered a small, loyal niche of rabid fans, cheaper alternatives from competitors are getting much better, especially now that PCs are shipping with Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) vastly improved Windows 7 operating system.

While Apple's MacBook laptops scored at or near the top of each measurable category in a recent Consumer Reports survey, the influential magazine ranked Toshiba's 13-inch, $599 Satellite T-235 laptop higher than Apple's $999, 13-inch White MacBook. It also said HP's 17-inch $1,150 dv7 laptop was better than Apple's 17-inch MacBook Pro, which sells for exactly twice as much: $2,300.

"Windows 7 has become very popular, and PC prices are coming down," VanAmburg said. "The biggest concern going forward for Apple is that competitors will soon start rivaling Apple's quality but will offer their PCs for much less."

For now, with a nine-point lead over its nearest competitor on ACSI's index, Apple appears safely entrenched at the top of the consumer satisfaction ratings.

By contrast, HP's all-but-forgotten Compaq line, seems to have a lock on the bottom. Compaq's satisfaction rating, unchanged from last year, was the lowest of all those surveyed for the ninth straight year. It was the only PC brand that didn't improve from 2009.

Nadya Suleman, says she only has enough money to last her "maybe a week."

Dancing With The Stars - We Got A 'Situation' and it needs some help STAT!

The Season 11 premiere of 'Dancing With the Stars' was a situation, all right. Florence Henderson took a page from Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino's playbook during Monday's premiere, lifting her shirt to reveal a white bra (and matching abs) to viewers during a taped segment on the show. "Mama Brady flashed her boobies on our show tonight!" judge Carrie Ann Inaba said after the two-hour premiere.

"So, what do you give me?" Henderson, 76, asked the judge.

Judges didn't hand out any perfect 10s during Monday's show, but they did give three 8s to 'Dirty Dancing' star Jennifer Grey, making her the night's top scorer with 24 points out of 30. The actress and her professional partner, Derek Hough, performed a Viennese waltz to a song featured in 'Dirty Dancing' that moved Inaba to tears.

The pair was pleased with their performance, but Hough said scores weren't on their minds. "Tonight we don't think about scores, first or front-runner," he said. "Tonight was just special. We got to dance to a song that is so iconic."

There was another tie at the bottom of the judges' leaderboard: Comedian Margaret Cho, reality star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and actor-singer David Hasselhoff all landed in last place with 15 points each.

Sorrentino had only five days to practice the cha-cha with professional partner Karina Smirnoff, and judges said the performance lacked polish. Tonioli said he saw in the dance "a very, very faint thing that may or may not be talent." But head judge Len Goodman told the famously muscular 'Jersey Shore' star: "You've got the guns, but not the ammunition."

Sarah Palin wasn't on hand to cheer for daughter Bristol, who danced a cha-cha to Three Dog Night's 'Mama Told Me (Not To Come).' But the former vice-presidential candidate did give her some advice before the show, Palin said: "She just told me to be confident, smile and have fun."

Here's how the leaderboard stacked up:

Jennifer & Derek: 24
Brandy & Maks: 23
Kyle & Lacey: 23
Rick & Cheryl: 22
Audrina & Tony: 19
Kurt & Anna: 19
Bristol & Mark: 18
Florence & Corky: 18
Michael & Chelsie: 16
David & Kym: 15
Margaret & Louis: 15
The Situation & Karina: 15

'Dexter' star Michael C. Hall in Remission

When 'Dexter' star Michael C. Hall was diagnosed with a potentially deadly form of cancer last year, he thought his worst nightmare might be coming true. The actor says he had always wondered whether he'd live to be 39, the age at which his father died of prostate cancer when he was just a little boy. Hall was 38 when he found out he had Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"I think I've been preoccupied since I was 11, and my father died, with the idea of the age 39: Would I live that long? What would that be like?" Hall told The New York Times. "To discover that I had the Hodgkin's was alarming, but at the same time I felt kind of bemused, like: Wow. Huh. How interesting."

But his 39th birthday came and went in February, with Hall's cancer in remission. The actor, who plays a sympathetic serial killer on the hit Showtime series, had announced the previous month that he was undergoing chemotherapy.

To discover he'd developed a disease that could be fatal shortly before his 39th birthday while he was starring in a show about death seemed like a doubly uncanny coincidence.

Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma while he was in the midst of filming the fourth season of 'Dexter.' He says he kept his illness a secret on the set. Shortly after he disclosed that he had cancer, he accepted a best actor Golden Globe wearing a knitted cap, since the chemo had left him bald. Many in the audience were moved to tears.

The effects of the treatment have now completely worn off. Hall says he feels newly energized.

But the actor doesn't think it's happenstance that the characters he's played on TV have a tendency toward repression -- first the closed-off funeral director David Fisher on 'Six Feet Under' and now the reserved, guarded Dexter Morgan on 'Dexter.'

Hall speculates that it's because he, too, is repressed.

"Maybe it has to do with not knowing quite what to do with the storm of feelings that accompanied my father's death. Maybe it's a learned behavior," he told the Times. "Now I'm taking it to the bank."

What did you think of NBC's 'The Event'?

It’s a good thing Jason Ritter is front and center on The Event, because he’s just about the only element in this new series that wasn’t trying to avoid actually doing something. For a big-blast next step in serialized storytelling, The Event was alternately coy and timid, strenuously avoiding tipping its hand.

Ritter, who’s been so good in recent years, such as his work in Parenthood, has a gift for playing earnest men who aren’t merely neurotic dweebs. In The Event, he’s Sean Walker, a seemingly ordinary guy who just wants to propose to his girlfriend, Leila (Sarah Roehmer). But she disappeared. And when Sean searched for her, he found there was no record of her having been aboard their romantic cruise trip.

The other side of Sean was a bit more manic: He disrupted an airline flight; he has a gun. In the cockpit was Scott Patterson, playing a pilot who also happens to be Leila’s dad.

Jumping around in time and location, we saw an Alaskan version of a detention camp holding 97 prisoners, one of whose overseers was Laura Innes’ Sophia. (Since it was said of the detainees that they “may not be Americans,” I’m guessing The Event doesn’t have the stomach to make them foreign political prisoners and all the thorny real-world issues that require tackling, but will take an easier route: Aliens, you think?) The latest TV-President of the United States, Blair Underwood’s Elias Martinez, was looking into this Alaska set-up, making it clear he stands for justice and fairness, even though he has Zeljko Ivanek as one of his advisors, and any time you see Ivanek on TV (and I always welcome that sight), you can be pretty sure he’s either up to no good or covering something up.

Unfortunately for The Event‘s premiere, pretty much everything was covered up, including narrative sense. The show’s time-line was scrambled not so much as a metaphor for the confusion “the event” can/will cause, but simply to keep you in front of the screen, trying to revitalize your Lost big-picture-puzzle mind-muscles.

By the time Pres. Martinez and his family were cowering in a Presidential SUV to protect themselves from a big crash, The Event had become a bit of an irritating tease. Yes, I’ll tune in next week to see if there’s more revealed. But The Event had better give us more characters than just Ritter’s Sean to care about if it wants to build a following, don’t you think?

The show’s producers have promised to let loose with a lot more info early on in the series’ run. There’s a good interview by AOL TV critic Maureen Ryan with Event creator Nick Waulters here that is encouraging, and if you want to start tracking more Event info, the show has a Twitter account, @truthseeker5314 (the number refers to Sean and Leila’s cabin room), that you may want to start following.

Are you hooked enough to keep watching The Event?