Entertainment News 12-01-10
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Hollywood publicist could have been killed by contract killer
Jon Swaine, New York
19 Nov 2010
Police in California believe a Hollywood publicist, whose death has shocked the film industry, was most likely to have fallen victim to a contract killer.
Ronni Chasen, 64, was killed early on Tuesday morning while driving through Beverly Hills on her way home from a film premiere and party.
Detectives are working on the belief that Ms Chasen's killer, who may have been driving a sports utility vehicle or a truck, drove up beside her Mercedes and shot her through her passenger-side window.
Analysts have said that the location where Miss Chasen was shot, her high profile and the absence of any apparent robbery suggested that her killing was premeditated or even contracted.
No suspects have emerged, however, and investigators are still puzzled as to what motive the killer could have had.
Jimmy Delshad, the Mayor of Beverly Hills, who was briefed on the inquiry by detectives, said: "Most indication is that it was targeted. A random killing wouldn't have happened like this."
Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent who is now a private detective, said: "On the profile of this woman, you certainly have to look at the potential that somebody wanted to harm her."
However further confusion has been caused by the shots being fired to the chest, rather than the head, where an assassin would typically be expected to target.
Family, friends and colleagues have said they are baffled at the thought that Ms Chasen, reputedly clean-living and well-liked, could have made such an enemy.
"She was just a terrific person, a great sense of humour, and great energy," said Larry Cohen, Miss Chasen's brother. "Certainly didn't deserve anything like this to happen to her."
Michael Levine, a friend and fellow publicist, said: "The mystery is extraordinary, and excruciating."
Carol Connors, a film songwriter and close friend, said: "A publicist doesn't make that type of enemy."
A $100,000 (£63,000) reward has offered for information leading to a conviction. All six major Hollywood studios are to co-host a memorial after her funeral on Sunday.
The killing caused shock in the surrounding area, one of California's most affluent. It was the third murder this year in Beverly Hills, where there were none reported in 2009.
Ms Chasen was found crashed into a lamp-post on Whittier Drive, just south of Sunset Boulevard. The street is lined with multi-million dollar mansions and runs alongside the Los Angeles Country Club.
Detectives have taken CCTV recordings from houses near to the crash site, including one belonging to Sherry Hackett, the widow of the late comedian Buddy Hackett.
Gina Hope, a local resident, told reporters: "Nothing ever happens in Beverly Hills. That's what we say, and why we live here - because it's one thousand per cent safe."
November 17, 2010
Anyone with a penchant for comic books from yesteryear has encountered the story of the 97-pound weakling. Losing his girl after having sand kicked in his face by a bully, he discovers the miracle of "dynamic tension" and comes back a mountain of muscle, exacting revenge upon his former tormentor. This comic strip advertisement would be enough of an enticement to get millions of males between the ages of 15-25 to send Charles Atlas their money and make him a household name the world over.
Born in Italy in 1893, Angelo Charles Siciliano was a sickly child who was self-described as pale, skinny and weak. An incident at a Coney Island beach one day, where sand was indeed kicked in his face, would serve as a catalyst for his desire to perfect his physique. He did everything he could, from training at the gym to becoming a student of Alois Swaboda's renowned muscle-building techniques. This intensive training gave him a body to die for. When his gym buddies notices a resemblance to the mythical character, Atlas, it gave Siciliano inspiration and he legally changed his name to Charles Atlas. With a combination of the techniques he had learned, mixed with various observations he had made of tigers and how they keep their muscles in shape, he developed a system that would come to be known as "Dynamic Tension," a virtual tug of war between muscles that anybody could do, no matter their location, and with absolutely no equipment necessary.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of his techniques, Atlas signed up for a Coney Island circus sideshow and wowed the crowds by hammering nails with his bare hands, ripping telephone books in half, and laying upon a bed of nails while people stood on him. He began to get the attention of artists, always looking for an ideal physique to model. As a result, the sculpted body of Charles Atlas was immortalized in a number of famous works of art such as the sculpture of Alexander Hamilton that stands in front of the U.S. Treasury building, "The Dawn of Glory" in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, and the torso of George Washington in Washington Square. He was even the model for Abraham Lincoln on one occasion.
When the publisher of "Physical Culture" magazine decided to have contest at Madison Square Garden in 1922 for "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man", Atlas took first place. The following year, he did the same. At this point, the contest was discontinued as those running it felt that Atlas really had no competition. Using the money he had won, Atlas started a mail-order business to share his muscle-building methods with the world. In 1928, a man named Charles Roman would take over the marketing and the familiar comic strip was born. It would make Atlas a millionaire many times over.
Over the years, Charles would personally train such athletes as Rocky Marciano, Max Baer and Joe DiMaggio. He would travel the country bending railroad spikes and pulling such items as cars, trains, and boats with his mighty musculature. The world's most perfectly developed man spent his final years sculpting driftwood and signing autographs in Palm Beach, Florida before passing away at the age of 79. And yet, the Atlas legacy and the company with his name continue on to this day.
It is no surprise that a man as iconic as Charles Atlas would be honored with numerous popular culture references. He is sung about by name and mentioned numerous times in the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. An eclectic mix of artists such as Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd and The Who have referenced the famous strongman in song. And author, Kurt Vonnegut made mention of Atlas in his book, Cat's Cradle. But none of these have managed to promote the superhuman image of Charles Atlas quite as effectively as a simply comic strip that guaranteed to make you a man, big and strong enough to ensure that you were never the victim of a merciless sand-kicking in front of the lady folk.
Ana de la Reguera: The best reason this side of a White Russian to buy Kahlua...
Anne Hathaway on SNL
And from the AMAs:
Stoner Cooking: Caramelized Doughnuts
Friday, Nov 19, 2010
Crisp caramelized doughnuts: Thanksgiving dessert bailout
Sometimes things go wrong. Pies fall out of your hands. That's why you need this brilliant Plan B
Everyone knows Thanksgiving dessert is all about pumpkin pie, just like dinner is all about turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and insert-Uncle-Bennie's-once-a-year-specialty-here. This week, we've offered you a few unusual ideas and recipes for new or unconventional traditions for the holiday. But we haven't touched on the greatest Thanksgiving tradition of all the WTF OMG freakout.
I am a firm believer that Thanksgiving dinner should not be an exercise in discovering your panic attack trial time. And yet, year after year, food magazines and websites flash their neon disaster-porn nudie signs: DON'T JUMP! FINALLY, A STRESS-FREE THANKSGIVING. It's cynical culinary fear-mongering at its worst, and it doesn't mean we're entirely above it here at Salon Food. Because there are, sometimes, occasions to freak out. Like when you drop your pie on the way to the table. I hate to even bring it up, but as someone who 1) was That Guy who slipped on his way to getting a diploma at high school graduation and was also 2) That Guy who celebrated a friend's housewarming by tripping up the stairs and sending my lovingly made pot of homemade hot fudge flying all over the living room, I feel like it's important to have and to share emergency go-tos.
And my greatest emergency dessert go-to is unparalleled in its showstopper points-to-minutes-spent ratio, a little something I picked up from a diner in Charlottesville, Va., called the White Spot. Say hello to my little friend: crackly, caramelized doughnuts.
Gussied-up doughnuts? What did you expect, a 30-second microwavable yogurt sponge cake good enough to serve in a four-star restaurant? You go to my man Michael Laiskonis for that. The ace up my sleeve came from a menu that also features a dish of sausages and gravy called "ONE HELL OF A MESS." But that doesn't take anything away from the startling surprise and the utterly satisfyingly pleasure of biting into a warm, squishy, chewy doughnut whose glaze unexpectedly crackles with a caramel shell.
The key is in sugar's always-amazing ability to take the form of syrup, chewy candy or brittle glass, with just temperature as the cue for these transformations. Once you recognize that the glaze on a doughnut is really little more than pure sugar, it's not a hard leap to understanding that, with a little sear on a hot pan, you can turn that thin coating of sugar into caramel, and let it cool into crispness. Serve it with some ice cream, and you're givin' 'em something to talk about.
So I wish you the best of luck in your Thanksgiving adventures. But while you're shopping, you might want to slip a little box of glazed doughnuts into your cart, just in case.
Crackly caramelized doughnuts
Adapted from the oddly named Grillswith, at the White Spot in Charlottesville, Va.
Glazed doughnuts (I prefer raised doughnuts for this, and Krispy Kreme is unassailable)
Vegetable oil, as needed
Ice cream, for serving
Special equipment: A thin metal spatula is very, very handy
1.Heat a large, heavy pan or griddle over medium-high heat. Lightly coat it with oil. When the oil is shimmering, place the doughnuts down and let them sear. Stay alert and keep sniffing.
2.As soon as you smell caramel, flip the doughnuts, being sure to scrape tightly against the pan to scoop up any of the hot sugar. When the second side caramelizes, remove the doughnuts, flipping again so that the first side you seared lands on the plate. (The sugar on that side should have cooled to the point where it's solid again.) Let them cool slightly, just enough so the cooked glaze hardens to a thin, thin shell, and serve with a scoop of ice cream.
Francis Lam is a Senior Writer at Salon. Email him at flam@..., and follow him on Twitter: @francis_lam
Ed Niles Mansion For Sale in Beverly Hills
Dubbed the "Salad Spinner" house by some oglers, this Beverly Hills mansion has turned heads for its unique architecture by Ed Niles and for its price tag. The 6-bedroom, 7-bathroom home with 7,500 sq. feet of living space is on the market now for $10.9 million, a drop from its original $11.9 million asking price from May.
Lindsay Lohan Dropped from Linda Lovelace Biopic
11/20/2010 by Bryan Alexander
'Inferno' moving on with new actress replacing the troubled star
Inferno Director Matthew Wilder is moving ahead with his biopic of porn star Linda Lovelace without actress Lindsay Lohan in the lead role.
"We are withdrawing our offer from Lindsay Lohan," Wilder tells E! News. "We are currently in negotiations (with another actress) and working out the legalities of bringing her on board."
Ultimately Wilder said the issue came down to "the impossibility" of insuring the actress "and some other issues."
Lohan has been in and out of jail and rehab over the past year and is currently living at a sober living facility in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
"We have stuck by Lindsay very patiently for a long time with a lot of love and support," Wilding said.
The actress' replacement is expected to be announced shortly.
Lohan's rep said it was a joint decision: "Together they decided to move forward without her."
Humor Break: Beanee Weenees and Faggots
Here's a recent photo of Beanee Weenees, a mixture of beans with slices of hot dog made of beef and chicken in a tomato sauce, brought to you by Van Camp's.
(Credit to Travis J. for the photo.)
On a similar note to the Beanee Weenees are Faggots, a tasty pork meatball which hails from the UK. Here's a story from 2003 of the then newly crowned Faggot Family, who were given the title to launch National Faggot Week to raise awareness of the dish...
Monday, 27 January, 2003
Family of faggot fans fly the flag
The Doody family hope to raise profile of faggots
A West Midlands family is playing a central role in the quest to raise the profile of a forgotten British dish - faggots.
The Doody family from Wolverhampton has been crowned The Faggot Family in a national competition, and to kick off their reign they will launch National Faggot Week.
The family will be touring the country extolling the virtues of the dish, which is best-known for its links with the Black Country.
The Doody family were chosen to front the campaign after impressing judges at the Savoy Hotel in London in November.
They displayed their fanaticism for the delicacy during quizzes, role-plays and mock commercials.
"The nation knows that the Cornish pasty, Yorkshire pudding, haggis and fish and chips are great British dishes, but all too often the faggot is left off that list," said Janet Doody.
Her husband Fred added: "It's unfair because faggots were a British delicacy long before any of the others.
"The great British faggot is full of flavour and a great belly warmer at this time of year."
The family, including Lewis, 13, and Grace, 7, eat faggots twice a week, with mashed potato and mushy peas, and will be launching the awareness campaign on Tuesday at Liverpool University, followed by visits this week to Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.
The competition was organised by faggot producer Mr Brain's Faggots.
Faggots were called "savoury ducks" in the Middle Ages
Faggots were named after the Latin word for bundle
Faggots were originally made with pig's liver and offal
Faggots are now made from pork liver and pork
Fans have published the Good Faggot Guide
Great Quotes: Harrison Ford
When asked by Conan O'Brien what he would do if found in the same situation as 'Sully' Sullenberger, the pilot who famously landed his Airbus of passengers safely in the Hudson River after experiencing engine failure:
"I'd shit and die."
Bonus points for Harrison Ford being stoned off his ass during the interview...
Photos courtesy of DailyMail.co.uk
Top 10 Movie Plot Holes You Probably Never Noticed Before
November 16, 2010
It's a rare movie that has no plot holes at all. Even movies nearly everyone likes, like Star Wars (I speak of Episode IV, in case that's unclear), are occasionally rife with them. Of course, for many geeks myself included part of the fun of seeing a movie is identifying and discussing its plot holes afterward.
Here, then, are ten plot holes from geeky movies that, in my judgment, are ones that are easy to miss even though some of them seem pretty obvious once you think about them. Please feel free to add your own favorite plot holes in the comments, and check out the first and second lists of plot holes (AKA "unanswered questions") we've published on GeekDad before. (Note: The list below contains spoilers for the movies listed, out of necessity.)
10. The Matrix - The machines are keeping humans alive for their body heat, right? But they also have nuclear fusion reactors, and (while I haven't run the numbers) I'd be willing to bet that a single fusion reactor would generate more net energy in an hour than all the humans on today's Earth would in a day. Plus, fusion reactors are considerably less likely to try to escape, so it's pretty clear the only reason the humans are still around is so the movie can exist. Oh, and while we're at it, how come the simulated world everyone's living in still has computers? Wouldn't it be much smarter to remove the computers, thus significantly reducing the likelihood of someone like Neo making an appearance?
9. Jurassic Park The scientists clone dinosaurs from the DNA in the blood in a preserved prehistoric mosquito. The problem is that blood cells in many animals (humans included) don't carry DNA, and when they do they don't carry nearly enough that the frog DNA they use to fill in the gaps wouldn't dominate the bits of dinosaur DNA. Plus, of course, they would have no way to determine which DNA strands came from which dinosaur and which from the mosquito itself!
8. Spider-Man 2 - Doctor Octavius is trying to find Spider-Man, and Harry suggests he talk to his good buddy Peter Parker, because Pete is always taking photos of Spider-Man. Doc Ock promptly finds Peter and Mary Jane at a coffee shop, and introduces himself by throwing a car at them through the window, which would certainly have killed them if Peter hadn't been Spider-Man, sensed the danger, and pulled himself and MJ to the floor. But Doc Ock has no idea that Peter is Spider-Man, so why would he try to kill the person he wants help from?
7. Superman & Superman II It's just astonishing how Superman conveniently acquires new powers whenever his already-impressive selection of powers is inadequate to the task. In the first film, Lois Lane dies in the massive earthquake caused by the nuclear missile hitting the San Andreas fault. Superman, understandably distraught, suddenly and miraculously not only has the ability to turn back time by flying around the Earth really fast a lot of times, but somehow knows that he has that ability, despite it never having been mentioned previously. Then, at the end of the second film, the same thing happens again only this time it's an amnesia kiss. How exactly is he supposed to be able to remove the memory that Clark Kent is Superman, while leaving other memories intact? It's never explained at all.
6. Star Trek II & Star Trek III - At the end of STII, the Genesis device creates a planet out of the Mutara nebula and the USS Reliant, right? And that's fine as far as it goes, because scientists do in fact think that planets form out of nebulae. There's just one tiny little question, though: Where did the sun for the planet to orbit come from? It sure wasn't there before the device detonated, and if the device could create a star from a nebula, you'd think Carol Marcus would've mentioned it.
5. Batman Begins Ra's al Ghul (AKA Ducard) and the Scarecrow use the microwave emitter they stole from Wayne Enterprises to vaporize all the water in Gotham City, thus making people inhale the toxin contained therein. A creative idea, to be sure, except that human beings are 60-75% water (depending on age and other factors). So everybody in Gotham should be boiled to death in their own tissues.
4. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith The final, climactic battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin rages all over and around the river of lava on Mustafar. Then it ends when Obi-Wan leaps onto the bank and tells Anakin he's lost because Obi-Wan has the high ground. He turns out to be right, as Anakin leaps into Obi-Wans flashing lightsaber. Seriously, though, how does being on high ground matter when you're both wizards who can levitate objects with your minds, leap incredibly high, and move astonishingly fast?
3. The Princess Bride When the Brute Squad is cleaning up the Thieves' Forest, Fezzik finds Inigo and nurses him back to sobriety. He tells him about Vizzini's death and, more importantly, about "the existence of Count Rugen, the six-fingered man." That's great, except how does Fezzik know Rugen is the six-fingered man? We see Westley notice Rugen's extra digit, but he's knocked out and taken directly to the Pit of Despair, so he clearly had no chance to tell Fezzik. And even if Fezzik had seen Rugen, is it really likely he'd have noticed? Fezzik isn't that bright or that observant. (Incidentally, I looked this bit up in the book, and it doesn't explain how Fezzik knew, either.)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - This is a problem in the book as well, but it's in the movie so it counts. Barty Crouch, Jr., disguised as Mad-Eye Moody, arranges for the Triwizard Cup to be a portkey to take Harry to the graveyard in Little Hangleton so that he can be used to bring Voldemort back to life and then killed. He's in the guise of a teacher at the school, so he had any number of opportunities to make a portkey out of, well, pretty much anything that he could be sure Harry would touch Harry's schoolbooks, his shoes, whatever. It's been argued that Voldemort wanted to keep his existence a secret and make it look like Harry perished during the task, but really, having Harry just disappear without a trace wouldn't be any more suspicious. And, incidentally, why did he make the cup a two-way portkey? It's been established that most portkeys are one-use, one-way only. Why not make this portkey one of those, so that Harry had no way to escape?
1. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Once Luke starts to figure out that the silly-acting, funny-looking little creature he's with is in fact Yoda, Yoda's mood changes. He criticizes Luke (legitimately, it must be said) and argues that Luke shouldn't be trained to be a Jedi. Obi-Wan has to argue with him to get him to change his mind. Really, though, what choice does Yoda have? He either trains Luke or what? The Empire wins? Good plan, Jedi Master.