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KN4M 08-01-08

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2008
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      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist


      Dark Knight Makes Record-Breaking $300M in 10 Days
      By Stephen M. Silverman
      Sunday July 27, 2008

      No argument: The Dark Knight is Hollywood's brightest light.

      The Batman adventure, starring Christian Bale and Heath Ledger,
      shattered another box-office benchmark this weekend – reaching
      beyond the $300 million mark in a mere 10 days.

      The movie grossed $75.6 million in its second weekend in theaters,
      bringing its North American box-office total to $314,245,000, Warner
      Bros. head of distribution Dan Fellman tells the Associated Press.

      The number breaks the record established by 2006's Pirates of the
      Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which hit $300 million after 16 days.

      Fellman says Dark Knight could conceivably reach the $400-million
      mark in about 18 days – placing it ahead of Shrek 2's 43-day record
      in 2004.

      Hold on to your life preservers – The Dark Knight might also surpass
      1997's Titanic as the highest-grossing film in U.S. history,
      according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Media By Numbers. That
      sinking-ship saga, starring Leonardo Di Caprio, made $600,788,188

      Rounding out this weekend's top five at the box office were Will
      Ferrell and John C. Reilly in Step Brothers, with an estimated $30
      million; Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!, $17.9 million; David Duchovny
      and Gillian Anderson in The X-Files: I Want to Believe, $10.2
      million; and Brendan Fraser in Journey to the Center of the Earth,
      $9.4 million.



      A-11 offense could be the future of football
      Josh Katzowitz
      Special to Rivals High

      When quarterback Jeremy George entered the Piedmont (Calif.) High
      School football coaches' office to talk to Kurt Bryan, he noticed an
      unusual formation on the dry-erase board.

      At first, George thought the formation was meant for the punt team.

      No, Bryan said, that's our new offense.

      George looked back to the board and was a little confused.

      "Initially, the first thought I had was, 'I'm pretty sure that's
      illegal,' " George said. "I've got to admit I thought it was a
      little crazy. I think most of the players thought it was crazy. A
      lot of people were a little skeptical."

      And for good reason.

      Bryan, Piedmont's coach, and Steve Humphries, the director of
      football operations, had developed an offense in which all 11
      players on the field potentially are eligible to catch the ball.
      Though they weren't certain it was legal when they first concocted
      the idea, they were willing to implement it for the 2007 season.

      After compiling a 7-4 record and a first-round playoff appearance,
      Bryan and Humphries now call their innovation a success.

      "Going into the season, we thought that either we're going to get
      fired or we're going to transform the game because of the innovative
      aspects and the wealth of ideas," Bryan said. "Luckily, it turned
      out to be the latter."

      The plan began at Humphries' house in northern California while the
      two were dreaming of ideas. The question: how to effectively level
      the playing field for Piedmont, with an enrollment of less than
      1,000, when the Highlanders faced schools with student bodies nearly
      twice that.

      Then, Humphries came up with a whopper: Why not put two quarterbacks
      in a shotgun formation and make every player on the field a
      potential receiving threat?

      "It was originally the 'Pluto offense,' " Humphries said. "We wanted
      to do something very unique, cutting edge and different. There were
      a whole variety of offensive formations that looked very different
      from a normal offense."

      What developed from that brainstorming session was the "A-11
      offense" - as in all 11 players potentially are eligible.
      The base offense is one in which a center and two tight ends
      surround the football, three receivers are split right, three more
      split left and two quarterbacks stand behind in a shotgun, one of
      whom has to be at least 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

      A description on the offense's Web site - www.a11offense.com -
      describes it as "an innovative offense blending aspects of the
      spread option, West Coast and run and shoot."

      Yes, per the rules of the game, only five players are eligible to
      catch a pass during a particular play and seven players have to set
      up on the line of scrimmage. But in the minds of Bryan and
      Humphries, you can develop an infinite number of plays with an
      infinite number of formations.

      Talk about confusing a defense.

      "It presents a different set of challenges for defenses because they
      have to account for which guys go out or might go out," Bryan
      said. "Those guys who are ineligible to go down the field and catch
      a pass, they can take a reverse pitch or a negative screen or a
      hitch behind the line of scrimmage.

      "We've opened up the game to the extreme with the rules already in

      First, though, Piedmont coaches had to make sure this offense was
      actually legal. Bryan and Humphries scoured the rulebook, met with
      league officials and submitted the concept of the offense to the
      National Federation of High Schools and the California
      Interscholastic Federation.

      "We had a 99.9 percent feeling that it was legal," Bryan
      said. "After it was approved, there was a sense of, 'OK, now what do
      we do?' "

      First, they had to install the offense during spring practice and
      during the summer. Bryan said it wasn't pretty. Even into the first
      two games of the 2007 season, contests in which the Highlanders lost
      while scoring a combined nine points, the coaching staff continued
      making adjustments.

      Then, something clicked and they went on a seven-game winning
      streak, using the A-11 offense about 60 percent of the time and a
      more traditional formation the other 40 percent. This season, Bryan
      said he wants to use the A-11 offense 85-90 percent of the time.

      "There was a lot of learning, and we put in a lot of the
      preparation," Humphries said. "We adapted every week. We learned
      from what the competitors were doing against us. We made changes and
      adjusted techniques. We saw nine different defenses in 11 games. It
      was a wealth of information on what things different defenses can do
      against this. The different techniques are invaluable."

      Now, after a year, Bryan says the interest level from coaches across
      the country is high, and Bryan has produced five instructional

      Though Bryan admits there probably is some resistance to this
      radically different offense, one of his opponents said he sees
      nothing wrong with it.

      "It's pretty trailblazing," said Hayward (Calif.) Moreau Catholic
      coach Andrew Cotter, whose squad was pummeled by Piedmont 47-7 last
      season. "The fact they came up with the idea - it takes a lot of
      work. I don't think they're trying to take an easy way out.

      "I'm a new coach coming from an old-school philosophy. Football is
      meant to line up, get your hand in the dirt and figure it out. But
      playing within the rules and trying to create an advantage is not
      something I'm against. There is a philosophy that says you need to
      line up and see who's the man. However, if you're not the man, you
      need to come up with some significant strategies to counter that."

      Now, Bryan looks to the future and ponders what this offense can

      "It is limitless," Bryan said. "Here's what's going to happen. If we
      were sitting down with football coaches and players in 50 years or
      100 years, the A-11 would be no big deal because that's what the
      game will be.

      "People can laugh at it, but that's reality."



      Gov. signs nation's first statewide ban on trans fats in restaurants
      Samantha Sondag, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau
      Friday, July 25, 2008

      California became the first state in the nation to outlaw trans fats
      from restaurants and food facilities today, as Governor
      Schwarzenegger signed off on a bill banning the artery-clogging oils
      and shortenings.

      "California is a leader in promoting health and nutrition, and I am
      pleased to continue that tradition," Schwarzenegger said in a
      statement. "We are taking a strong step toward creating a healthier
      future for California."

      AB 97, authored by Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia (Los Angeles
      County), requires professional cooks to purge their kitchens of any
      ingredient containing more than 0.5 grams of artificial trans fats
      by Jan. 1, 2010. Inspectors could impose fines from $25 to $1,000
      for violations.

      Bakers have an extra year to adhere to the ban because pastries are
      the most difficult products to make without trans fat-laden oils and

      Several cities already have ordinances banning trans fats, including
      New York and Philadelphia.

      Artificial trans fats, short for trans fatty acid molecules, are the
      result of partial hydrogenation, which changes the texture of
      cooking oils and elongates their shelf life. They increase levels of
      bad cholesterol and decrease levels of good cholesterol, increasing
      the risk of heart disease.

      "As a former fourth grade school teacher in east L.A, I saw first
      hand the problems of obesity," Mendoza said. "AB 97 is culmination
      of these concerns and works to benefit the well being of kids and

      Mendoza said he hopes the law will inspire a nationwide renunciation
      of trans fats. "It is catching on, ever since last year when we
      introduced it (the bill). Now that it's law in California, I think
      it's really going to move."

      The California Restaurant Association originally opposed the ban
      because of potential costs to restaurant owners. But a spokesman
      said today that the association is confident its members will be
      able to comply.

      "Given that our industry was already moving away from the use of
      trans fats, and the long time-frame for implementation, we're
      confident that we can satisfy mandate," said Daniel Conway. "But we
      still think such decisions should be made by the federal government
      and not on the state and local level."

      Betty Jo Toccoli, president of the California Small Businesses
      Association, said the new law may result in consumers paying more to

      "I think there will be confusion, in the end there will be an
      increase in prices, and I'll look for items being taken off of menus
      and a loss of business," she said.

      Stephen Joseph, a healthy-food activist and lawyer from Tiburon who
      worked with Mendoza on the bill, says consumers should not fear that
      their favorite dish will not taste as good without trans fat. He
      pointed to a blind taste test, conducted by Texas A&M University
      last year, in which trans fat-free French fries scored better than
      fries cooked in partially hydrogenated oil.

      "The industry lapped that up," said Joseph. "They realized that
      there was no way they could keep taking the position that it was
      going to affect taste."

      Joseph added that the difference in price between oils containing
      oils with trans fat and those that don't is minimal, if any.

      "I'm drunk with pleasure that the governor signed this bill," said
      Joseph, while sipping Champagne and noshing on trans fat free Oreos.

      E-mail Samantha Sondag at ssondag@....



      Oklahoma City Thunder/Marshalls/Energy/Wind/Barons/Bison
      July 25, 2008

      There have been reports here or there that the team that used be
      knows as the SuperSonics would be called this or that. They are
      mostly based on anonymous sources, or some evidence that somebody or
      other registered this or that web address.

      I'm holding out for some better, more solid information before I
      rename that category over there on the right.

      An alert TrueHoop reader (thanks Todd) has some insight of a kind.
      He points out that an NBA attorney recently made a number of filings
      with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

      You can search the database yourself. If you know how to search
      (it's a little complicated, but hang in there) you can see active
      trademark requests, filed July 21, for the following names:

      Oklahoma City Thunder
      Oklahoma City Marshalls
      Oklahoma City Energy
      Oklahoma City Wind
      Oklahoma City Barons
      Oklahoma City Bison

      There is also an inactive request, filed by the same attorney, for
      the name "Oklahoma City SuperSonics."

      Most unusual is that, unlike trademark applications for other NBA
      teams, these have been applied for by the NBA Development League.
      (And this whole time I thought all that fuss was about an NBA team!
      No, just kidding. Insert joke here about the quality of the Sonic
      roster.) I am not sure if that means anything or not.

      So, Thunder, Marshalls, Energy, Wind, Barons, Bison ... I'm going to
      put on my PR hat and declare that if these are the options, this
      team is certain to be called the Thunder, the Marshalls, or some
      name that has not yet come to light.

      Energy, Wind, Barons, and Bison all have fatal flaws, in my mind:

      Energy: Energy has a nice tie-in with co-owner Aubrey McClendon's
      business, and the big employers in the region. But it is not a cool
      word in this context. Using "energy" as a "rah rah" word for
      athletes strikes me as kind if eighties (like, in fact, "rah rah"
      itself). This video, in my mind, would set the mood in the locker
      room of a team called the "Energy."

      Wind: Wind? Really? Wind? Synonym of breeze? Maybe they're
      registering this for the dance team? Or as a desperate ploy related
      to promote an owner's alternative energy business? Because a team
      called the wind can never lose a game. Every headline will
      be "Lakers Break Wind," "Celtics Break Wind," "Pistons Break Wind,"
      etc. That's not good for the NBA. This one is almost more palatable
      if we interpret it as the verb, with the long "i" sound, as in "wind
      up toy."

      Barons: Clay Bennett and his cronies have behaved in a manner that
      many have likened to Robber Barons. I dare them to name the team the

      Bison: The tradition of the bison could not be mightier.
      Nevertheless, it is a reality that in 2008 rich white men can not be
      seen to be sending a predominantly black group of employees into the
      workplace with the word "bison" across their chest. No way that



      Thursday, July 24, 2008
      The Bible is Myth?!

      In November 2008, PBS will air a TV special claiming that the
      biblical patriarch Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were not historical
      persons but were "myths." The documentary will also declare the
      fabulous Israelite Exodus to be mythical, rather than representing a
      miraculous "historical" event.

      To readers of my work posted online since 1995, and encapsulated in
      my books, beginning with The Christ Conspiracy, all of this cage-
      rattling will be old hat. In that book, I laid out the case that
      Abraham and Sarah are remakes of the Indian deities Brahma and
      Sarasvati, while Moses is likewise a mythical character based on
      older gods. In Christ Con, I also show that the Exodus represents
      not a supernatural event that truly happened on Earth but for which
      absolutely no evidence has been found. Rather, it too falls in the
      realm of mythology.

      As this article about the PBS documentary relates, the evidence does
      indeed show that the Bible was composed during and after the so-
      called Babylonian Captivity of the 6th century BCE. Certain parts of
      it are older, of course, as some of the most fantastic stories could
      undoubtedly be found in the libraries in Babylon and Egypt. As I
      also demonstrated in The Christ Conspiracy almost 10 years ago, the
      Bible was not composed by the individuals claimed to be its authors,
      neither the Old Testament nor the New.

      The fact that the Nova producer in this article found the
      concept "extremely shocking" that monotheism was developed over a
      period of centuries is a reflection of the woeful state of education
      in comparative religion and mythology. As readers of my work will
      also know, monotheism did not come to a historical Moses's head via
      a bolt of lightning from the Almighty but was indeed devised over
      hundreds of years by a number of cultures, including the Indian and
      Egyptian, beginning centuries to millennia prior to the purported
      existence of Moses.

      In my books, which include Suns of God and Who Was Jesus?, I also
      name several other Old Testament patriarchs as mythical characters,
      including and especially Joshua, who is essentially an old sun god
      turned into a "real person" and who was later rehashed as "Jesus."
      Indeed, I do not stop with the Old Testament but further put forth
      the case for some of the major players in the New Testament to be
      mythical characters as well, including and especially Jesus Christ.
      In this regard, it should be noted that there is no credible and
      valid scientific evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ as a
      historical person, and everything points to him being as mythical a
      figure as Hercules.

      We can only hope that PBS and Nova will jump on this bandwagon as
      well, sooner than later.

      Holy Moses! PBS documentary suggests Exodus not real

      Hal Boedeker | Sentinel Television Critic
      July 21, 2008

      BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Abraham didn't exist? The Exodus didn't

      The Bible's Buried Secrets, a new PBS documentary, is likely to
      cause a furor.

      "It challenges the Bible's stories if you want to read them
      literally, and that will disturb many people," says archaeologist
      William Dever, who specializes in Israel's history. "But it explains
      how and why these stories ever came to be told in the first place,
      and how and why they were written down."

      The Nova program will premiere Nov. 18. PBS presented a clip and a
      panel discussion at the summer tour of the Television Critics

      The program says the Bible was written in the sixth century BC and
      that hundreds of authors contributed.

      "At least the first five books of the Bible come together during the
      Babylonian exile," says producer Gary Glassman.

      The program challenges long-held beliefs. Abraham, Sarah and their
      offspring probably didn't exist, says Carol Meyers, a religion
      professor at Duke University.

      "These stories are unlikely to represent real historical events, but
      rather there's some kernel of ancient experience in there which has
      survived and which helps give identity to the people at the time the
      Bible finally took shape centuries and centuries later," Meyers says.

      There's no archaeological evidence of the Exodus, either, she says,
      but "it doesn't mean that there's no kernel of truth to it."

      Nova series producer Paula Apsell says she found it "extremely
      shocking" to learn that monotheism was a process that took hundreds
      of years.

      "I was always brought up to believe that the minute Abraham and the
      patriarchs came on the scene, the Israelites accepted one God and
      there was just always one God and that was it," Apsell says. "I
      think people are going to really be stunned by that."

      Another shocker: The program contradicts the biblical view that the
      Israelites came from somewhere else into the land of Canaan. "The
      film shows that they were Canaanites," Apsell says.

      Posted by Acharya S

      Labels: abraham, acharya, Bible, christ conspiracy, d.m. murdock,
      exodus, moses, myth, mythology, nova, pbs



      New! The Simpsons Ride

      Voted World's Best New Attraction for 2008 by the readers of

      The Simpsons™ are visiting Krustyland, the low-budget theme park
      created by famed TV personality and shameless product huckster
      Krusty the Clown!

      You are there right alongside Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie as
      you enter through the carnival-like midway.

      Once you board your vehicle you're in for one surprise after another
      as you embark on a wild, over-the-top ride through the park… flying,
      floating, and more or less crashing your way through Krustyland's
      kiddie attractions, stunt shows, and thrill rides.

      Guests must be at least 40" tall to ride

      "Visually stunning experience...It's high octane eye candy for the
      wired age."
      -LA Times Travel

      "This ride will absolutely be a hit with families and other park
      -Robb Alvey, themeparkreview.com

      "The ride is a total blast, with plenty of laughs as well as
      thrills."- Elise Thompson, LAist.com"The Simpsons Ride at Universal
      Studios Hollywood truly delivers - with loads of in-jokes and satire
      for serious fanatics and tons of thrills and fun for casual fans."
      - Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times



      Leonardo DiCaprio eyes the 'Zone'
      Warners, Appian Way in early stages of 'Twilight' feature
      By Steven Zeitchik
      July 25, 2008

      Could the eerie music of "The Twilight Zone" soon be playing again
      at the movies?

      Warner Bros. and Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way
      are in the early stages of seeking material for a feature take on
      one or more episodes from the classic TV series.

      The studio and production company are quietly putting out word to
      creators that they are looking for pitches and script ideas based on
      the show for feature development.

      The companies are not seeking to remake an episodic movie, as the
      only big-screen version of the show did 25 years ago, but rather
      hope to build one continuing story line based on one or more

      Warners is negotiating for rights to the Rod Serling-penned
      episodes, which is owned by the Serling estate. The episodes
      comprise the bulk of its 1959-64 run. The Serling shows include
      famous episodes such as "To Serve Man," about giant aliens who land
      on Earth to serve humans as food, and "Eye of the Beholder," about
      an inverted society where the attractive are considered ugly. About
      155 episodes of the original series exist.

      A feature adaptation could be a passion project of sorts for
      DiCaprio, who in interviews has cited "Twilight Zone" as his
      favorite show.

      Thanks to syndication -- the show runs on Sci Fi Channel -- and many
      pop-culture homages, "Twilight Zone" continues to have a devoted, if
      somewhat older-skewing, fan base nearly five decades after it left
      the airwaves.

      In 1983, Warners released a four-segment film based on the series.
      Each segment was helmed by a different director -- Joe Dante, John
      Landis, George Miller and Steven Spielberg -- with three of the
      segments remakes of classic episodes.

      The movie drew modest boxoffice and was known mainly for a supposed
      curse after Vic Morrow and two child actors died during production.

      The news of a possible Twilight Zone movie comes as "The X-Files,"
      another film adaptation of a paranormal-themed television series,
      opens this weekend.

      There have been other attempts at "Zone" updates over the years,
      particularly on television; CBS made a TV movie in 1994 based on
      several Serling episodes, and a short-lived show aired on UPN six
      years ago. On the film side, Summit is currently working on a film
      version of the Richard Matheson-penned "Countdown," about astronauts
      who land on a planet only to find a spacecraft that looks remarkably
      similar to their own.
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