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Entertainment News 11-2-7

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/10849526.html
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 2, 2007
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist


      Oct. 28, 2007
      Las Vegas Review-Journal

      VIN SUPRYNOWICZ: G.I. Joe was just a toy, wasn't he?

      Hollywood now proposes that in a new live-action movie based on the
      G.I. Joe toy line, Joe's -- well, "G.I." -- identity needs to be
      replaced by membership in an "international force based in
      Brussels." The IGN Entertainment news site reports Paramount is
      considering replacing our "real American hero" with "Action Man,"
      member of an "international operations team."

      Paramount will simply turn Joe's name into an acronym.

      The show biz newspaper Variety reports: "G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-
      based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating
      Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech
      equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-
      crossing Scottish arms dealer."

      Well, thank goodness the villain -- no need to offend anyone by
      making our villains Arabs, Muslims, or foreign dictators of any
      stripe these days, though apparently Presbyterians who talk like
      Scottie on "Star Trek" are still OK -- is a double-crossing arms
      dealer. Otherwise one might be tempted to conclude the geniuses at
      Paramount believe arms dealing itself is evil.

      (Just for the record, what did the quintessential American hero,
      Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine in "Casablanca," do before he opened
      his eponymous cafe? Yep: gun-runner.)

      According to reports in Variety and the aforementioned IGN, the
      producers explain international marketing would simply prove too
      difficult for a summer, 2009 film about a heroic U.S. soldier. Thus
      the need to "eliminate Joe's connection to the U.S. military."

      Well, who cares. G.I. Joe is just a toy, right? He was never real.

      On Nov. 15, 2003, an 85-year-old retired Marine Corps colonel died
      of congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, Calif.,
      southeast of Palm Springs. He was a combat veteran of World War II.
      His name was Mitchell Paige.

      It's hard today to envision -- or, for the dwindling few, to
      remember -- what the world looked like on Oct. 25, 1942 -- 65 years

      The U.S. Navy was not the most powerful fighting force in the
      Pacific. Not by a long shot. So the Navy basically dumped a few
      thousand lonely American Marines on the beach at Guadalcanal and
      high-tailed it out of there.

      (You old swabbies can hold the letters. I've written elsewhere about
      the way Bull Halsey rolled the dice on the night of Nov. 13, 1942,
      violating the stern War College edict against committing capital
      ships in restricted waters and instead dispatching into the Slot his
      last two remaining fast battleships, the South Dakota and the
      Washington, escorted by the only four destroyers with enough fuel in
      their bunkers to get them there and back. By 11 p.m., with the fire
      control systems on the South Dakota malfunctioning, with the crews
      of those American destroyers cheering her on as they treaded water
      in an inky sea full of flaming wreckage, "At that moment Washington
      was the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet," writes naval historian David
      Lippman. "If this one ship did not stop 14 Japanese ships right then
      and there, America might lose the war. ..." At midnight precisely,
      facing those impossible odds, the battleship Washington opened up
      with her 16-inch guns. If you're reading this in English, you should
      be able to figure out how she did.)

      But the Washington's one-sided battle with the Kirishima was still
      weeks in the future. On Oct. 25, Mitchell Paige was back on the God-
      forsaken malarial jungle island of Guadalcanal.

      On Guadalcanal, the Marines struggled to complete an airfield that
      could threaten the Japanese route to Australia. Admiral Yamamoto
      knew how dangerous that was. Before long, relentless Japanese
      counterattacks had driven the supporting U.S. Navy from inshore
      waters. The Marines were on their own.

      As Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige and his 33 riflemen set about
      carefully emplacing their four water-cooled .30-caliber Brownings on
      that hillside, 65 years ago this week -- manning their section of
      the thin khaki line that was expected to defend Henderson Field
      against the assault of the night of Oct. 25, 1942 -- it's unlikely
      anyone thought they were about to provide the definitive answer to
      that most desperate of questions: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines
      does it take to hold a hill against 2,000 armed and motivated

      But by the time the night was over, "The 29th (Japanese) Infantry
      Regiment has lost 553 killed or missing and 479 wounded among its
      2,554 men," historian Lippman reports. "The 16th (Japanese)
      Regiment's losses are uncounted, but the 164th's burial parties
      handled 975 Japanese bodies. ... The American estimate of 2,200
      Japanese dead is probably too low."

      You've already figured out where the Japanese focused their attack,
      haven't you? Among the 90 American dead and seriously wounded that
      night were all the men in Mitchell Paige's platoon. Every one. As
      the night of endless attacks wore on, Paige moved up and down his
      line, pulling his dead and wounded comrades back into their foxholes
      and firing a few bursts from each of the four Brownings in turn,
      convincing the Japanese forces down the hill that the positions were
      still manned.

      The citation for Paige's Medal of Honor picks up the tale: "When the
      enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position,
      P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless
      determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all
      his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly
      hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was
      destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing
      his withering fire."

      In the end, Sgt. Paige picked up the last of the 40-pound, belt-fed
      Brownings and did something for which the weapon was never designed.
      Sgt. Paige walked down the hill toward the place where he could hear
      the last Japanese survivors rallying to move around his flank, the
      belt-fed gun cradled under his arm, firing as he went.

      Coming up at dawn, battalion executive officer Major Odell M.
      Conoley was the first to discover how many able-bodied United States
      Marines it takes to hold a hill against two regiments of motivated,
      combat-hardened infantrymen who have never known defeat.

      On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige
      alone sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see
      what the dawn would bring.

      The hill had held, because on the hill remained the minimum number
      of able-bodied United States Marines necessary to hold the position.

      And that's where the unstoppable wave of Japanese conquest finally
      crested, broke, and began to recede. On an unnamed jungle ridge on
      an insignificant island no one ever heard of, called Guadalcanal.

      When the Hasbro Toy Co. called some years back, asking permission to
      put the retired colonel's face on some kid's doll, Mitchell Paige
      thought they must be joking.

      But they weren't. That's his mug, on the little Marine they
      call "G.I. Joe." At least, it has been up till now.

      Mitchell Paige's only condition? That G.I. Joe must always remain a
      United States Marine.

      But don't worry. Far more important for our new movies not to offend
      anyone in Cairo or Karachi or Paris or Palembang.

      After all, it's only a toy. It doesn't mean anything.

      Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-
      Journal and author of the books "Send in the Waco Killers" and "The
      Black Arrow." www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?



      Guitar Hero III: Five Reasons to Rock
      Gaming's biggest arena tour is about to hit your town. Here are some
      details to chew on while you stand in line for a ticket.
      by Russ Fischer

      1. Better Than A New Drummer

      Tony Hawk developers Neversoft were so into Guitar Hero while
      creating Project 8 that they were hired to make this third game
      after original publisher Harmonix was snapped up by EA. With loads
      of experience pushing established ideas forward, Neversoft has kept
      the game's classic elements and added new details to the user
      interface and player characters.

      2. Mode-tacular!

      Co-op gameplay has been given its own career mode, and you can
      finally play co-op online as well. Contentious players can check the
      Battle Mode, where axe-handlers face off playing identical tracks
      and earning attacks with Star Power. Unleash these devious deals
      against your opponent to break their concentration. You can make
      single notes appear as chords, overload the amp to make their screen
      shake, or even force the dreaded (rightys to) lefty flip.

      3. SoundScan

      Complaints against some of Guitar Hero II's song choices were heard
      loud and clear, and while there's still plenty of metal (Slayer, oh
      yeah!) there are also more genuine guitar hero choices like Eric
      Johnson, Sonic Youth, Living Color, and the reappearance of Stevie
      Ray Vaughn. More than 70 percent of the tracks are performed by the
      original artist. Of the three "holy grail" bands, AC/DC Metallica
      and Led Zepplin, one is finally on board. You'll be able to rock the
      master track to Metallica's 'One' along with all the other goodness.

      4. Play The Pros

      Guitar Hero is no longer confined to the realm of pure fantasy; now
      it's only partial fantasy with the inclusion of real-world rockers
      like Slash and Tom Morello. (Oh, and Brett Michaels.) Slash and
      Morello will be two of the game's three bosses, against whom you'll
      have to face off in the biggest battles of your career. They even
      recorded new music for their confrontations. The third battle will
      be against the most pro player of all, the guy that everyone from
      classic blues legends to Ralph Macchio have taken on: the Devil. If
      you can guess that battle, you're probably a Charlie Daniels fan.

      5. It's All Wireless

      No more being tethered to the amp, er, console, by a cord that's too
      short for rocking. Activision broke through Microsoft's resistance
      to third-party wireless controllers and so the Gibson Les Paul
      controller, with a removable neck for easier travel, will be
      wireless on all consoles. (The PS2 gets its own wireless controller
      modeled on the Kramer Pacer.) Special bonus for Wii players: by
      slotting the remote into the guitar, you'll hear extra sounds pumped
      through the remote's speaker.

      Posted: 24 Oct 2007



      Second 'Gone With the Wind' sequel ready
      Sun Oct 28, 2007

      Rhett Butler, the fictional Southern charmer who walked out of
      Scarlett O'Hara's life in "Gone With the Wind," returns to Georgia
      next weekend — on a book tour of sorts.

      The book, to be unveiled Saturday, is a kind of retelling of
      Margaret Mitchell's masterpiece from Rhett's perspective and traces
      Butler from his roots in South Carolina to Georgia, where he met the
      dramatic Scarlett.

      An Atlanta committee charged with protecting Mitchell's novel
      authorized the book, "Rhett Butler's People."

      The novel begins long before Scarlett ever uttered her first "fiddle-
      dee-dee" and goes on for nearly 100 more pages beyond where Mitchell
      ended things with "Tomorrow is another day."

      The book was written by little-known Civil War novelist Donald
      McCaig, 67. Though his occasional use of the N-word in his
      manuscript initially gave the committee pause, it accepted the

      This is the second companion novel authorized by the Mitchell
      committee. The first, "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley, released in
      1991, was a financial success but unpopular with critics.

      "Scarlett" sold more than 6 million copies and spawned a CBS

      Much has changed since then, though. "Scarlett" was splashed cross
      the pages of the now-defunct Life magazine, but Rhett Butler and his
      book have a MySpace page.

      "The public itself wanted another sequel," said Paul Anderson Jr.,
      part of the three-lawyer committee that advises the Mitchell estate
      on protecting and exercising the original book's copyright.

      "But this is not like 'Rocky.' We're not coming back every time we
      think we can make another book," Anderson told The Atlanta Journal-



      Dubai strike threatens building boom
      By BARBARA SURK, Associated Press Writer
      Sun Oct 28, 2007

      DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Thousands of South Asian construction
      workers went on strike Sunday over harsh working conditions in the
      latest threat to a spectacular building boom already endangered by a
      falling currency and labor shortage.

      While laborers have long complained about working conditions in this
      Gulf city known for its avant-garde skyscrapers, luxury dwellings
      and archipelagoes of artificial islands, their recent action comes
      as contractors are struggling to find workers to complete their
      ambitious projects.

      Dubai is home to the world's tallest building — the Burj Dubai,
      expected to be completed in 2008 — and the first Armani luxury
      hotel. Authorities report an annual average growth rate of 12
      percent over the past decade, largely driven by construction.

      The boom has been possible due to plentiful investment from oil-rich
      neighbors and armies of non-unionized south Asian workers whose fear
      of deportation, until recently, kept them from voicing discontent
      over low wages.

      "The cost of living here has increased so much in the past two years
      that I cannot survive with my salary," said Rajesh Kumar, a 24-year-
      old worker from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh who earns
      $149 a month.

      The laborers ignored the threat of deportation and refused to go to
      work, staging protests at a labor camp in Dubai's Jebel Ali
      Industrial Zone and on a construction site in Al Qusais residential

      They demanded pay increases, improved housing and better
      transportation services to construction sites. On Saturday, workers
      threw stones at the riot police and damaged to police cars.

      Emirates' Minister of Labor Ali bin Abdullah al-Kaabi described
      workers' behavior as "uncivilized," saying they were tampering with
      national security and endangering residents' safety.

      They could have registered their complaints peacefully but
      instead "turned themselves into rioters," he told state news agency
      WAM. Those who damaged public property will be deported, the labor
      minister said.

      Companies, however, do not want more workers to leave as they
      struggle to find enough to complete existing projects following an
      overwhelming response to a government amnesty program to persuade
      illegal laborers to leave.

      In June, the government offered, no questions asked, a free one-way
      plane tickets to illegal workers hoping to leave. They have since
      been swamped by 280,000 workers who, fed up with a rising cost of
      living and low wages, were ready to go home.

      A booming economy in India also means that many there no longer see
      the need to travel to Dubai and the Gulf, said Bernard Raj, managing
      director of the Dubai-based Keith International, which supplies
      Indian workers.

      "In the past, when we go for recruitment of workers we were able to
      choose whomever we wanted. Now the turnout of candidates is very
      low," he said, estimating that at least 40 percent more workers were
      needed for the city's projects.

      With the usual labor markets like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and
      Sri Lanka drying up, labor companies are turning to less traditional
      places like Tibet and North Korea.

      At the root of the problem is the Emirati Dirham's close connection
      to the U.S. dollar, which has seen it plummet in value, further
      decreasing laborers' already low salaries.

      Kumar and his fellow workers said they asked their employer, Al
      Habtoor Engineering Enterprises, for a pay increase several times,
      but management was not willing to address the issue.

      "We were left without any choice but to stage the protest," Kumar

      Other workers said similar requests to the other main labor company,
      Al Mussa Contracting, were unsuccessful.

      "I can not save anything," said Sunder Raj, a 32-year-old worker who
      at the end of the month has nothing to send to his family in India
      from his salary of $162.

      "We are working hard for nothing and there is no way for us to
      continue like this," said Mohammed Hussein, a Bangladeshi worker.

      K.V. Shamsudheen of the Pravasi Bhandu Welfare Trust, a group that
      helps workers, said it is the unskilled labor force that has been
      especially hard hit, with many no longer able to send money home.

      "The low exchange rate of dirham against Indian Rupee left laborers
      without any savings," he said. "The only way for the UAE to attract
      workers is to set competitive salaries and assure better living

      While Mohammed al-Shaiba, a UAE-based labor analyst, criticized the
      strikes, saying they could only harm an economy gripped by a labor
      shortage, he acknowledged that the government had to do something.

      "Now it's the right time to set a minimum wage," he said, adding
      that government should require companies to pay workers at least
      $272 a month.

      "If they allow a strike today, tomorrow there will be another one,"
      he added.


      Leonardo's "Last Supper" Goes HiDef Online

      MILAN, Italy, Oct. 27, 2007

      (AP) Can't get to Milan to see Leonardo Da Vinci's masterpiece "The
      Last Supper?"

      As of Saturday, all you need is an Internet connection. Officials
      put online an image of the "Last Supper" at 16 billion pixels -
      1,600 times stronger than the images taken with the typical 10
      million pixel digital camera.

      The high resolution will allow experts to examine details of the
      15th century wall painting that they otherwise could not - including
      traces of drawings Leonardo put down before painting.

      The high-resolution allows viewers to look at details as though they
      were inches from the art work, in contrast to regular photographs,
      which become grainy as you zoom in, said curator Alberto Artioli.

      "You can see how Leonardo made the cups transparent, something you
      can't ordinarily see," said Artioli. "You can also note the state of
      degradation the painting is in."

      Besides allowing experts and art-lovers to study the masterpiece
      from home, Artioli said the project provides an historical document
      of how the painting appears in 2007, which will be valuable to
      future generations of art historians.

      The work, in Milan's Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, was
      restored in a painstaking effort that wrapped up in 1999 - a project
      aimed at reversing half a millennium of damage to the famed artwork.
      Leonard painted the "Last Supper" dry, so the painting did not
      cleave to the surface in the fresco style, meaning it is more
      delicate and subject to wear.

      "Over the years it has been subjected to bombardments; it was used
      as a stall by Napoleon," Artioli said. The restoration removed 500
      years of dirt while also removing previous restoration works that
      masked Leonardo's own work.

      Even those who get to Milan have a hard time gaining admission to
      see the "Last Supper." Visits have been made more difficult by
      measures to protect it. Twenty-five visitors are admitted every 15
      minutes to see the painting for a total of about 320,000 visitors a
      year. Visitors must pass through a filtration system to help reduce
      the work's exposure to dust and pollutants.

      "The demand is three of four times higher, but we can't accommodate
      it because of efforts to preserve the painting," Artioli said.

      On the Web: www.haltadefinizione.com

      By Associated Press Writer Colleen Barry
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