Sunday, November 28, 2010
Leslie Nielsen, who dazzled with deadpan in The Naked Gun and Airplane!, passed away on Sunday at a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he was being treated for pneumonia, according to the New York Times. He was 84.
The master of parody boasted a talent for delivering the most ridiculous lines in the straightest way possible, cloaking outright absurdity in straight-faced obliviousness. Ironically enough, the foundation of that earnest gravitas was built early in his career as a dramatic actor: After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force and studying at New York City’s famed Actors Studio, the Saskatchewan-born Nielsen popped up on early ’50s TV. He received his first big film break playing sturdy Commander J.J. Adams in the 1956 sci-fi flick Forbidden Planet. Over the next few decades, he established himself as a reliable, handsome, rich-voiced character actor who graced myriad TV dramas (Peyton Place, Dr. Kildare) and movies (The Poseidon Adventure).
His career took a comical hard left turn when he was cast as Dr. Rumack in the 1980 big-screen parody film Airplane! (Let us honor his famous line, which stands as one of the best retorts in comedic cinema history: “Surely you can’t be serious!” “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”) Two years later he was tapped by the Airplane! brain trust to play Lt. Frank Drebin in the cop-show spoof sitcom Police Squad! Although the series lasted only six episodes, Nielsen earned an Emmy nomination for his work, and in 1988, re-inhabited the bumbling Drebin again for the big-screen adaptation
The Naked Gun. (It may be hard to find more laughs-per-minute in a comedy film than in the film’s baseball-game scene, which culminates with Drebin foiling an assassination attempt on the Queen of England). The success of The Naked Gun paved the way for two sequels in 1991 and 1994, and Nielsen continued down the parody path in not-as-memorable films like Spy Hard, Wrongfully Accused, and Dracula: Dead and Loving It. (He did earn notice in Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4.)
Nielsen worked into his 80s, appearing in even more spoof flicks like Superhero Movie and 2009′s Stan Helsing. Surely, we can’t be more serious when we say: Leslie Nielsen, you will be missed.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The trailer also reveals a bit more of the plot, which finds Hal Jordan (Reynolds) learning new powers and overcoming his fears to protect the Green Lantern Corp. from its new enemy, Parallax. Even more, we get our first official look at Blake Lively, who plays fellow test pilot and love interest Carol Ferris, and Peter Sarsgaard, as the villainous Hector Hammond.
'The Green Lantern' hits theaters June 17, 2011
Friday, November 12, 2010
Check out the AMNY article below and hear about how some of these fools found themselves on the unemployment line.
AMNY - Emily NGO
Trash your workplace in a status update and you might throw out something else — your job.
With bosses keeping a closer eye on your social-networking life, venting employees are learning the hard way their paychecks don’t come with First Amendment rights.
“Everyone thinks, ‘I’m in America. There’s freedom of speech,’ but that’s just when the government is involved,” said Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute. “When it’s private sector, you’ve got no rights at all. If you vent a little bit about your boss, you’re toast.”
In a high-profile case last month, a Connecticut woman was ousted in part for badmouthing her boss on Facebook as a “17,” code for a psych patient.
Dawnmarie Souza is hardly the first to be digitally busted. A study last year by Internet security firm Proofpoint showed 8 percent of large companies have canned an employee for social-media-related activities, and experts predict that number has risen dramatically this year.
“The reality is that most employees have a larger potential voice than ever before because of social media,” said New York-based social media consultant Jason Keath. “A lot of companies want to avoid a PR crisis caused by one employee.”
So much so that companies are increasingly adopting social-media policies warning their workers to use common sense, Keath said.
In a twist that could benefit tech-savvy employees, the National Labor Relations Board is defending Souza in the Connecticut case, alleging she was illegally fired. A hearing is scheduled for January.
But don’t blog ill will toward your supervisors just yet.
“The legal aspect is still being hashed out,” said employment lawyer Tyson B. Snow. “There’s a lot of really, really gray area [because] the technology is so young.”
For now, you can be fired for any reason in “employment-at-will” states such as New York unless your ousting violates federal discrimination laws, Snow said.
Bronx resident Christopher Whitaker, whose cousin was fired because of a Facebook post complaining about his job, urged New Yorkers not to be so naïve.
“They forget that what they write stays out there forever,” said Whitaker, 40. “Find a confidante and talk offline, because in this economy, you better be careful of losing your job.”
Getting “Facebook fired” has become so common, it’s now a verb on urbandictionary.com. Here are notable examples:
* October: Three NYC public high school teachers were busted for having inappropriate communications with students on Facebook and got canned.
* September: A woman in the group “Fired by Facebook” said she was ousted as a McDonald’s manager for writing “F--- them nuggets” on a friend’s wall.
* March 2009: A newly hired employee on Twitter wrote “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work,” promoter her would-be boss to respond, “Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”
* March 2009: A Philadelphia Eagles stadium employee was fired for using Facebook to vent his frustration at losing a popular teammate in a trade. “Dam Eagles R Retarded!!” he wrote.
A new official single from Michael Jackson‘s posthumous album Michael will be released this Monday, his label announced via press release. “Hold My Hand” is a duet with Akon that was recorded in 2007 and leaked in unfinished form the following year. According to the press release, “A handwritten note from Michael belonging to his Estate indicated his desire that ‘Hold My Hand’ be the first single on his next project.”
Epic Records also unveiled the complete track listing for Michael, including collaborations with 50 Cent and Lenny Kravitz. The album is due Dec. 14. Check out the track list after the jump and let us know what you think.
Michael track list:
1. “Hold My Hand” (duet with Akon)
2. “Hollywood Tonight”
3. “Keep Your Head Up”
4. “(I Like) The Way You Love Me”
5. “Monster” (featuring 50 Cent)
6. “Best Of Joy”
7. “Breaking News”
8. “(I Can’t Make It) Another Day” (featuring Lenny Kravitz)
9. “Behind The Mask”
10. “Much Too Soon”
Thursday, November 11, 2010
- Try to make Social Security more solvent by reducing annual cost-of-living increases for many recipients; raise the regular retirement age to 68 years by 2050 from the current 66, and to 69 by 2075; and make benefits more progressive to help Americans in lower-earning tax brackets. But changes would only benefit the Social Security program, not broader budget deficits.
- A gradual 15-percent a gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax from the current 18.4 cents.
- Reform cost-of-living increases for early civilian and military retirees.
- Reduce Congressional and White House budgets by 15 percent; freeze federal salaries, bonuses, and other compensation at non-Defense agencies for three years; cut the federal workforce by 10 percent; and slow the growth of foreign aid.
- Eliminate all congressional earmarks.
- Eliminate funding for commercial spaceflight.
- Sell excess federal property.
- Consolidate the tax code into three individual rates and one corporate rate; eliminate the alternative minimum tax and some expense-write-off programs; increase the federal gas tax and some other user fees.
- Reduce farm subsidies by $3 billion per year by reducing direct payments and other subsidies.
- Make scores of other changes, including an end to payments to states and tribes for abandoned mines; an extension of the Federal Communications Commission's authority to auction radio spectrum licenses; a requirement that the Tennessee Valley Authority impose transmission surcharge on electricity sales.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
"I will not support 'Breaking News' and a few others [off the album] because it simply is not him," Taryll Jackson, son of the singer's brother Tito, wrote on Twitter.
Much of the song features multiple vocal tracks, making it hard to pinpoint where Jackson is, but the opening line has a single, arguably weak and shaky, voice. Listen to It Here
"Everybody wanting a piece of Michael Jackson, reporters stalking the moves of Michael Jackson, just when you thought he was done, he comes to give again," the lyric goes, over a bouncy drum and guitar line.
Without saying which parts of the song he thinks were altered, Taryll reveals he isn't alone in believing something's amiss.
"I KNOW my Uncle's voice and something's seriously wrong when you have immediate FAMILY saying it's not him," he writes, later adding, "Sounding like Michael Jackson and BEING Michael Jackson are two different things."
TJ Jackson, another son of Tito's, calls the track a sham and criticizes Sony for pushing the single, which he claims was not a priority of Michael's.
"There's many MJ vocal impersonators. Some better than others. But there is only ONE Michael Jackson. Deceptively merging shady vocals with MJ samples (from prior MJ records) will never fool me. Why they would ignore the obvious, look the other way and rush a suspicious track that was NEVER on my Uncle's radar is beyond me. I'm disgusted, disappointed and saddened."
Even Jackson's sister, LaToya, has weighed in, telling TMZ, "That doesn't sound like him."
Responding to the controversy, Sony said in its statement that it had "complete confidence in the results of our extensive research, as well as the accounts of those who were in the studio with Michael, that the vocals on the new album are his own."
Monday, November 8, 2010
Could Keith really be Bree’s future?
All bets were against it, especially given their 17-year age difference, when this season started. But on the episode "A Humiliating Business," Bree confesses to Keith that she has begun menopause and he takes it in sexy stride.
Keith does, of course want kids, but Bree is over that stage of her life, more interested in hot sex and learning new aerobic actvities. After all, she is a grandmother, remember.
The irony of Bree’s gyno being Keith’s mother was a good twist, especially when Mary told Keith that Bree’s signature red hair is not her natural color. Awkward!
Speaking of unnatural: is it just me, or was it a bit of a stretch to try to imply that Carlos could be flipped by gay neighbor Bob? I just didn’t see it, but I suppose it did provide a good set up for some of the best quotes of the night. To wit:
Gaby [to Lee]: Use the back door.
Lee: I always do. |
Gaby [on Carlos]: He's not going to give up these chimichangas, for a plate of frank and beans. |
Although that mini storyline did not have me convinced, it did have me laughing.
In other humiliating Lane news, kudos to Renee and Lynette for starting their own business. A bit random that they chose interior design, however. I mean, it’s not like either of them have any experience, and, let’s face it, Lynette does not exactly have a high style home of her own. Then again, she's just the brains behind the operation.
I actually felt bad for Susan when she was asked to be the nanny instead of a part of the design team. She actually would have been a good addition considering she is an artist, and clearly has a better eye for it than gold digging Renee and Mom of the Year Lynette. But it’s Mary Poppins-ville for Susan this time around. Man, from an Internet porn maid to a nanny all in one swoop – now that’s progress!
Vengeance is the key for both Paul and Beth, and as predicted, Beth is a co-conspiritor with Felicia Tillman to get revenge. Although we’re not sure what their plan is yet, we can’t wait to see what comes next. Beth, the demure and naïve wife, may just have the last laugh in this marriage. She’s showing signs of the other Desperates on the Lane: blackmailing an ex con. Sounds like she’s catching on quickly.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Epic Records/Sony has opted to keep a lid on most other details about 'Michael,' but has released the stunning cover art, which features a sort of "This Is Your Life" collection of Jackson images from throughout his blockbuster career. Front and center is the singer in the role he yearned for most: King of Pop.
"The creative process never stopped for the King of Pop, who was always planning for his next album," a statement said.
It's not certain whether his last "new" song, 'This Is It,' will be on the album. That track, co-written by Paul Anka, was actually recorded by a Puerto Rican singer 18 years ago.
In their announcement, the label said 'Breaking News' was recorded in 2007 at a friend's home. Starting Monday, fans will be invited to hear it on the late singer's official website.
The other songs were recorded at studios in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and it's been reported that he was working with will.i.am, Akon and Ne-Yo before his death last summer.
The album artwork comes from an oil painting by Kadir Nelson, who tried to explain the collage in an e-mail to Reuters: "Michael wears a golden suit of armor and stares at the viewer as he is crowned by cupids. He places his hand over his heart and looks directly at the viewer, a symbol of Jackson's big heart and strong connection to his fans and music. A monarch butterfly sits on his shoulder, another symbol of Jackson's metamorphosis as a singer and entertainer, as well as a symbol of royalty. His musical history unfolds behind him."
Jackson's last album of original material, 'Invincible,' was released in late 2001
Monday, November 1, 2010
It was yet another tragic night for Susan Delfino—and no, not only because of the peculiar Halloween costume she was wearing. Since we're on that note, however, let's momentarily delay digging into her deeper issues and discuss Susan’s unfortunate get-up: What, exactly, was she supposed to be? Raggedy Ann gone pink? A rouged-up Little Bo Peep? A barmaid from a bizarre, Germanic version of Candyland? What??!? Or perhaps it's more like whatever. Either way, Susan had bigger troubles than trying to put together a coherent Halloween costume.
Those troubles are mainly courtesy of the ever-sadistic and mysterious Paul Young, who last week threatened to blackmail Susan by spilling the beans about her soft-core porn job if she didn’t sell him her house on Wisteria Lane. Susan decided to detonate Paul Young's leverage by simply telling Mike the truth about the website, and surprisingly, he wasn’t that mad at her. Mike’s reactions instead centered around how he hadn’t personally done enough to support the family and how much he wanted to bash in Paul Young’s face. (I’m just realizing… Paul Young is totally one of those characters who requires the use of a last name, no? Let's test this theory for the rest of the recap!)
Instead of letting Mike loose on Paul Young, Susan decided to take matters into her own hands (because she’s typically so good at being calm and collected, you know!) and confront her tormentor directly with—what else, when you're a Wisteria Lane veteran?—a basket of muffins. But Susan's motive for the visit wasn't really about showing off her aptitude in the kitchen: She wanted to figure out a way to get Paul Young out of the house he was renting from her. So Susan found a thumbtack he’d put in the wall and claimed that their lease agreement had been violated.
Her tactic led to this funny exchange: “This is you…” she said, gingerly placing one of her raisin muffins on the countertop. “This is you,” she continued, after she smashed it dramatically with a hammer, “if you tell anyone and Mike finds out.” Before she left—her planned eviction executed—she pointedly added: “Oh, and enjoy those raisin muffins. At least I hope they’re all raisins—my apartment has rats.” (Side note: Between this scene and later in the episode -- when Susan crazily attacked Paul Young with a club she stole from MJ -- I have to admit I was enjoying the hate-hate chemistry between Teri Hatcher and Mark Moses. Anybody else with me?)
In the end, though, Susan's confession to Mike wasn't the "checkmate" move she was hoping it would be: Paul Young blabbed the news about Susan's website shenanigans to parents at Oakridge School -- where she apparently still works as an art teacher; not that we've seen much of the gig in season 7 -- and Susan got the boot. That loss of income led directly to Mike finally deciding to take the oft-discussed job in Alaska. Here's the weird part, though: Despite the tension Susan's freelance work and subsequent firing caused, you'd have thought she and Mike would be devastated at the prospect of a three-month separation. But I couldn’t have felt less emotion between the pair as they said goodbye before Mike's trip to the north. Hell, Paul Young and his weirdo bride Beth almost had more touching moments tonight than Mike and Susan did.
Speaking of Paul Young andBeth, the pair continued their odd, passion-less dance they call marriage for most of last night’s episode. They even saw a therapist at one point to figure out why Beth din't want to consummate their relationship. Turns out she’s a virgin. Which leads me to: What is this woman’s dealio? As much as I initially thought Beth might be an innocent bystander in this whole strange Paul Young thing, it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that she may have something more sinister up her sleeve.
What pointed toward possible plotting from Beth was cryptic phone conversation with her mama. “I’m trying to make it work,” she whispered urgently. “I know I made a commitment, but I am so unhappy.” Was Beth referring to the commitment she made to be Paul Young's wife? Or some other commitment to a larger plan that involves bringing Paul Young down? We'll have to wait and see. But that phone call seemed deliberately vague, a hint that the writers may have something interesting in store. Beth did eventually show her “commitment” by threatening Susan with a gun after she attacked Paul Young on Halloween night, and then giving her man a big smooch on the lips. There’s first base for you, Paul Young! Whether the rest of the evening turned out to be trick or treat was left to the imagination. But truly, Beth should be scared if her murderous hubby doesn’t slide into home soon, because his “I want you gone” line to her earlier in the episode sounded a lot more like a threat than a gentle want for her to leave his house.
Lynette's story arc was just as weighty as Susan's, but played out in the most peculiar way. The short of it was that Tom’s mother Allison, who had been staying with the Scavos to help them with their new baby whatchamacallher, began descending into dementia—a plot thread that culminated with Allison getting lost in the midst of Wisteria Lane's Halloween festivities. Now look, I don't want to diminish the positive aspects of the Housewives' writing staff tackling a terrible and sadly common problem—my own family grappled with my grandmother's dementia a while back, so I certainly can feel the Scavos' pain—but I've got to ask: Does Allison’s dementia have any larger effect on what’s happening on Wisteria Lane? Where is it all leading? I kept waiting for Grandma Scavo's illness to have consequences that didn’t feel so confined specifically to Tom and Lynette, but if that’s not what’s going to eventually happen, then why go to the trouble of even opening this can of worms? Just to show the always-vulnerable state of the Scavo family?
The rest of the ladies on Wisteria Lane were dealing with much smaller potatoes than Susan, Paul Young, and Lynette. Gaby continued her insanely rude fawning over her biological daughter Grace, while the daughter she raised, Juanita, watched angrily from the sidelines. I’ve said it many times before, but Madison de la Garza—who plays Juanita—is one of the standout actresses on this show. How good was she while demanding to be a princess like Grace? Or after she snipped away Grace’s hair to remove the stuck tiara? Or when she told off her mother at the end of the episode? That grin alone should win her an award of some kind.
As usual, Gaby’s storyline contained many of the best zingers of the evening. “You’re either going as a dog or a little Mexican girl,” Gaby told Juanita, after she complained that she wanted to have a princess costume like Grace's. “And in this neighborhood, we both know which one’s getting more candy!” And Gaby nailed it again after she called Juanita a dog and proceeded to fill up her candy bucket to satiate the child. “Don’t worry,” she told Allison. “It’s cheaper than therapy.”
Bree,meanwhile, discovered things about her new boyfriend Keith. First, that he has a young, female roommate. Second, that Keith has a history of violence—he’s been arrested for assault in the past, “defending” the women he’s dated. Natch, the problem reared its ugly head when a guy got aggressive with Bree at the party and, in turn, Keith got aggressive with him. But it all served as a bridge for both Keith and Bree to reveal more about themselves. “Do you wanna talk about my perfect lawn?” Bree asked Keith, after he said she should break up with him for his anger issues. “Nine years ago, my son found me face down drunk on it. It’s true! He had to turn the sprinklers on to wake me up. Did you not know you’re dating the biggest lush in Fairview?” Everything is on the table between these two now.
Finally, we get to Renee, who truly had very little to do last night besides throw the Halloween party where Bree and Keith’s situation went down; dress in the same sexy Marilyn Monroe costume as Lee (winner: Renee, duh!); and offer up one of the funniest moments of the night. I loved it when, after she waltzed into Lynette’s house to tell everyone about her Halloween party, Allison Scavo picked up the invite and exclaimed, “Oh, a party!” Fully channeling Ugly Betty's Wilhelmina Slater, Renee shut it down in a minute: “No,” she intoned in that way that only Vanessa Williams can. That kind of brilliance shouldn't be wasted, but then again, I suppose Vanessa can’t rule Wisteria Lane every single week, as much as I might like her to.
What were your thoughts on the episode? Any definitive theories on what Susan's costume was supposed to be? Who did Marilyn Monroe better: Renee or Lee? Do you see something else in the Allison Scavo-getting-dementia storyline that I don’t? And how long before Grace and Juanita figure out the truth about their biological mothers?