Monday, March 31, 2008

Paris Hilton Gives a fortune to the Needy In Africa

Source: http://ooopsshediditagain.blogspot.com

So inspired by her recent trip to Africa with new Boyfriend Benji Madden, Paris Hilton has pledged to give 95 percent of her net worth plus 80 Percent of her Net Income over the next 10 years to feed the hungry in Africa. Paris Hilton also issued a challenge to her nemesis Lindsay Lohan to try and come up with something even close to that.

Friends close to Paris say she is trying to outdo her Grandfather Barron Hilton's recent changing of his will. One friend is quoted as saying, Sure, Barron can give it away after he is dead, Paris is giving it away now.

Paris’s Press advisor was quoted as saying Paris was very saddened by the situation in Africa and she feels she is Wealthy enough with the Earnings from her FiancĂ©e Benji Madden’s Musical Career. She also stated, Paris wants the world to know she is concerned about world affairs and is more than just a rich Bimbo.

Sarah Michelle Gellar Tries to slip X-rated prop off Scooby Doo set

Hollywood actress Sarah Michelle Gellar has revealed that she tried to slip away with an X-rated prop off the film set for her movie 'Southland Tales' as a souvenir.

The 'Scooby Doo' star who plays a porn star in the movie said that she wanted to keep the cover of her character's bawdy video featuring her head superimposed onto another woman's body having a "curvy body and butt".

"I did try and to take the case for my character's porn video. To make the cover look authentic, they put my face on someone else's body," Contactmusic quoted her as saying.

"Normally if I see those pictures on the Internet, I'm calling my lawyer and suing someone! but because of my contract, they had to destroy all the pictures.

"They let me pick the body of the girl they put my head on: I picked one with a curvy body and butt," she added.

Top 10 April Fools Day Jokes and More

Does April Fools' Day (or the mere thought of it) strike fear in your heart? Do memories of walking into your aluminum foil-covered office still haunt you at the end of every March?

Or, do you spend 364 days of the year plotting the mother of all pranks against your co-workers?

Whichever side you fall on, 32 percent of workers say they have either initiated or been on the receiving end of an April Fools' Day prank at work, according to CareerBuilder.com's annual April Fools' Day survey.

"Pranking at work can be risky business," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.com.

"When determining whether a prank is a good idea on April Fools' Day, employees should consider the worst case scenario of their joke. Will his or her joke simply result in a laugh from fellow co-workers? Or could anybody, including you, lose their job?"





While faking a resignation, gluing office supplies to the desk and covering someone's cube in aluminum foil are among the most common office pranks, here are 10 of the most memorable jaunts from this year's survey:

1. Placed a pair of pants and shoes inside the only toilet stall in a men's room to make it appear someone was using the stall. It sat there for hours until someone called security to check if the person had died.

2. Sent a fake love note to a co-worker from another co-worker.

3. All the women in office individually spoke to the president, confiding that she is pregnant. By noon, he 'knew' that all of his female workers were pregnant and he could not tell anyone because each asked for confidentially.

4. Called electric company, used a co-worker's name and told them he was moving so the electricity got turned off at the co-worker's house.

5. Filled the vending soda machine with cans of beer.

6. Rigged the boss' chair to drop suddenly during a staff meeting.

7. Placed a sign on the restroom door that read, "The company ran out of toilet tissue; please use your own resources."

8. Paged a co-worker over the loud speaker claiming the CEO was looking for him. The worker went into the CEOs office and the CEO didn't know who he was or why he was there.





9. Shrink-wrapped everything in a co-worker's cubicle.

10. Put a 'house for sale' ad in the newspaper regarding a co-worker's home.


-----------------------------------

Here are some more:

Tuesday is April 1, a day on which we look over our shoulders, open drawers slowly and eat nothing we haven't prepared ourselves.

April Fool's Day fulfills some odd human desire to see others embarrassed, befuddled or just plain humiliated. Pranks range from the innocent and fun to the dark and mean.

The best pranks are harmless, well-crafted and malice-free. It's best when the prankster can laugh and the victim can laugh (while plotting revenge, of course).
So have a seat right here on this cushion and enjoy 10 of PDQ's favorite pranks for 2008, gleaned and adapted from the new book "The Pocket Guide to Mischief" by Bart King and the wonderful minds at AprilFoolZone.com.

The fake ad

Place a classified ad that offers an unbelievable deal, something like "Tribe-Yankees box seats FACE VALUE!" "Nintendo Wii, new in package, $50," or "free full-body massage." Then use your friend's phone number in the ad. He or she will spend the next week answering literally hundreds of phone calls from all sorts of unseemly folks.

The break-in

Borrow the keys to your victim's car. Next, put some clear glass bottles in a plastic bag and carefully break the glass. Open your victim's car, roll down the driver's side window all the way and place a few of the larger pieces of broken glass on the seat, along with a brick. Set up a camcorder to forever capture your victim's reaction.





Air-sickness snack

Before your next flight, prepare a simple yogurt-and-fruit salad and put it in a zip-lock bag. Once in the air, discreetly put the wholesome snack into an air-sickness bag. Now it's your time to shine. Pretend like you're getting sick into the bag. Then, with all the passengers watching, grab a fork, say "Yum-MEE!" and eat your fruit salad.
Lunchtime

Enjoy half of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich for breakfast. Take the remainder of the sandwich, wrap it securely in some plastic wrap and then head to work early. Bury your wrapped food in your co-worker's garbage can (careful to keep it clean). Around noon, walk over to your co-worker's cubicle and ask, "You got anything good in your trash can?" As your victim looks on in stunned silence, rifle through the rubbish, pull out the sandwich and dig in.

Tug o' war

Perfect for dorms where the hallway doors open inward. At about 7 a.m. one Saturday morning, tie one end of a rope to a doorknob, tie the other end to the doorknob directly across the hall, leaving about two inches of slack. Knock loudly on both doors. Sit back and watch the residents of the two rooms try to open their doors.

But you look so young!

Next time you're out to eat with a friend, slip away to the restroom. While you're gone, tell your server that it's your friend's birthday, adding 10 years, of course. Ask the staff to bring over a dessert and sing, including the age in the song.





Look at all the crazy people

Tape magnets to the bottom of a coffee mug and attach to the roof of your wife's car. As she drives in to work, she'll be amazed at all the people frantically waving and pointing at her.

So juvenile, so funny

On your co-worker's desk, leave the written message: "Harry Lyon called. He says it's urgent. Call him immediately." Include the phone number of an out-of-state zoo.
You may already be a winner

This is cruel. Early Wednesday morning, take note of the winning Mega Millions numbers from the night before. Rush out and buy a ticket with those numbers. Return home in time for breakfast. Put the ticket on the table and ask your husband to check the paper to see if you won last night's drawing. Soon, he'll be crying tears of joy. Break the news to him before he calls in to tell off his boss.

The fake-out

Tell your spouse to watch out, that you're planning the best and most embarrassing April Fool's prank ever. Act strangely tonight, Tuesday morning and all day. Then, of course, do nothing.

PDQ's Top 10 oldest and lamest pranks (attempt them and subject yourself to ridicule)





Glue a quarter on the floor.

Tie someone's shoelaces together.

Turn on and crank up your mom's car radio, wipers and heat.

Set all clocks an hour ahead.

Put a rubber band on the sink sprayer.

Replace Oreo filling with toothpaste.

Remove the labels on all the canned goods in the house.

Make some pinholes in a plastic cup.

Sew the legs of someone's jeans shut.

The evil troika: doggy doo-doo, a paper bag and matches.

Yahoo Target Women with Shine

Not to pimp out Yahoo, but here is another service out there.

Yahoo aims to be the top destination site in the lifestyles category, said Amy Iorio, general manager of Lifestyles at Yahoo. Women as a demographic is a good target, particularly given the number of women who use Yahoo (40 million women between the ages of 25 and 54 every month) and the fact that females tend to blog more than males.


"This is really a key audience for Yahoo," she said. "We've been calling them 'chief household officers' internally."

Yahoo's efforts at doing original content haven't all panned out, but this site is more of a hybrid. Articles and original blogs will come from a range of sources, including Glamour, Epicurious.com, Style.com, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Harper's Bazaar, Women's Health, and Good Housekeeping.

Eight editors are overseeing the various sections (such as home, parenting, fashion, culture, and career) and the editor in chief is Brandon Holley, former editor in chief of Jane magazine.

Shine readers will be able to start their own blogs and that content, if deemed worthy, can end up as some of the featured content in different sections on the site.

You will also be able to get to your Yahoo Mail on Shine, and there is integration with Yahoo Search, Food, Health, and Astrology. But there could be even more integration with things like Yahoo Messenger and Yahoo Answers.

The site will compete with iVillage and fashion- and celebrity-news heavy Glam.com, but its content partners and editors will set it apart, Holley said. Shine will distinguish itself by having more of an editorial voice than the other sites and by interacting more with readers, she said.

On a quick glance, Shine looks more aesthetically appealing and less cluttered than the rival sites, despite the fact that Yahoo is not exactly known for simple site design. The site will be at http://shine.yahoo.com.

Pastic Surgery Death Raises Concerns over Malignant Hypothermia

New concerns have been raised over plastic surgery after the death of a seemingly healthy Florida teenage girl.

Flowers and pictures were left outside West Boca High School for Stephanie Kuleba, who died after undergoing plastic surgery.

"It's really a hard thing to deal with. She was an amazing person. Everyone misses her a lot," said Stephanie's co-worker, Vicky Goldring.

The 18-year-old went under the knife for corrective breast surgery and enhancement.

The doctor told Stephanie's family they believe she suffered a very rare reaction to anesthesia called malignant hypothermia.

"Malignant hypothermia is a catastrophic condition that's caused by certain anesthetic agents that trigger a chain reaction within the body," said plastic surgeon Dr. Frederick Lukash.

Plastic surgery has gain popularity with teenage girls and research indicates breast implants for young women under 18 have tripled in the last five years.

Stephanie Kuleba's type of reaction is very rare and could not be predetermined; however anesthesia can be potentially dangerous for certain people.

"People who have problems with their heart or their lungs, who are diabetic," said Dr. Jennifer Levine, plastic surgeon.

Dr. Levine said it's very important to carefully screen patients for possible complications. More common risks are bleeding during surgery and infection, both have deadly consequences.

"You should always be aware of all the potential risks and make sure this decision is well thought out," said Dr. Levine.

Hawaii's second-largest airline, Aloha Airlines Shuts Down

Hawaii's second-largest airline, Aloha Airgroup Inc., is shutting down Monday, days after filing for bankruptcy-court protection for the second time since 2004.

The closely held carrier said marketing partner United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp., and other airlines "are prepared to assist and accommodate Aloha's passengers who have been inconvenienced." The airline said its AlohaPass frequent-flier plan will expire Monday.

The move affects about 1,900 employees.

Passengers should contact their travel agents or credit-card companies to request a refund, Aloha said. If they paid by check or cash, passengers are urged to file a claim with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu that is handling the carrier's insolvency, according to the airline.

The airline, hurt by high fuel costs and competition in its home market, filed for Chapter 11 late this month. The carrier offered 700 weekly interisland flights in Hawaii and 140 flights to six West Coast cities.

The extra business will be picked up by leading Hawaiian carrier Hawaiian Holdings Inc.'s Hawaiian airlines and Mesa Air Group Inc.'s Go!, a two-year-old interisland operation.

Aloha is majority-owned by Los Angeles private-equity firm Yucaipa Cos. The company had been for sale for the past year.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Inquest into Death of Princess Diana Nears end

London Flashing lights, swarming paparazzi, a mysterious second car at the crash site, and a multi-tentacled conspiracy allegedly directed by the husband of Queen Elizabeth II - jurors have much to sort through in reaching a judgment on the deaths of Princess Diana and her lover Dodi Fayed.

Nearly 11 years after the tragedy that shook the world, testimony has ranged far and wide in an extraordinary coroner's inquest, without shedding much light on claims that they were victims of a plot. The coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, is expected to begin his summation Monday, which may take days before going to the jury.

The key question for the jurors is whether the car crash in a Paris road tunnel on Aug. 31, 1997 was an accident.
Mohamed Al Fayed has not budged from claiming that his son and the princess died at the hands of British security agents, acting at Prince Philip's behest.

French police concluded it was an accident, caused in part by speeding and by the high alcohol level in driver Henri Paul's blood. A British police investigation concurred.

More than 240 witnesses have testified since the inquest began on Oct. 2, including Diana's close friends and former butler, Philip's private secretary and a former head of the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6. Al Fayed's late bid to force the coroner to summon Philip to testify, and for written questions to be put to the queen, was summarily rejected by a higher court.

There has been evidence that Diana feared dying in a car crash, but that she also had speculated about death in a helicopter or airplane crash; there was testimony that she feared Philip.

The basic scene is familiar: the couple's car slammed into a concrete pillar in the Alma tunnel, after apparently having a glancing collision with a white Fiat Uno, as they were pursued from the Ritz Hotel by photographers. Some witnesses said they saw flashes of light in the instant before the crash; other witnesses didn't notice any. Al Fayed's claim is that flashing lights disoriented the driver and sent the couple's car into a fatal skid.

But there was precious little evidence to back up his claims that his son and Diana were engaged, that she was pregnant and that Philip was at the head of a murder plot.

Al Fayed believes the Establishment simply didn't want Diana to marry his son, a Muslim.

Al Fayed worked his way up from a humble birth in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1929 to become one of the richest men in Britain. He owns Harrods department store, a Scottish castle, the Fulham FC soccer team and the Ritz Hotel.

As the inquest unfolded, some distance opened between Al Fayed and his lawyers.

Michael Mansfield, his main advocate, steered away from accusing Philip or claiming MI6 assassinated the couple. He did suggest that rogue agents might have been involved.

"Mr. Al Fayed ... has certain beliefs which he has made clear. He is plainly not a member of MI6 or, certainly, the Establishment either," Mansfield told the coroner.

"I have never at any stage withdrawn any of his beliefs but you will see I have focused very carefully on elements of what he is suggesting that may be true; in other words, for which there is, forensically, evidence to support his beliefs."

Mansfield has suggested that Diana's campaign against land mines was the motive for the conspiracy - that she was assembling a dossier "capable of exposing historically British involvement in Angola because of who manufactured the weaponry, how it was got in there."

When he testified on Feb. 18, Al Fayed affirmed his belief that the conspirators included Prince Philip; Diana's ex-husband, Prince Charles; Tony Blair, who was prime minister when she died; Diana's sister, Sarah McCorquodale; her brother-in-law, Robert Fellowes; two former chiefs of London police; driver Paul; the CIA; Diana's attorney, the late Lord Mishcon; two French toxicologists; Britain's ambassador to France; members of the French medical service; and three bodyguards Al Fayed once employed.

Al Fayed has claimed Fellowes was in Paris on the night of the crash sending messages to agents back in Britain. But none of Al Fayed's lawyers put that to Fellowes when he testified.

Al Fayed was the only witness to claim Diana was engaged to his son. He was told of the engagement, Al Fayed said, in a telephone call hours before the crash.

He alone definitively asserted that Diana was pregnant. The pathologist who examined her body said he saw no evidence, and others testified she was conscientious about taking her birth control pills.

So where was the proof? Al Fayed was asked.

"How can you want me to get the proof?" he said. "I am facing a steel wall of the security service, Official Secrets Act."

The coroner asked Al Fayed if he could possibly be wrong.

"No way, 100 percent," Al Fayed said. "I am certain. I am the father who lost his son. And I know exactly the situations. I know exactly the facts."

Flesh eating Virus attacks teen after childbirth

A 16-year-old girl is fighting for her life at a Montreal hospital after being diagnosed with flesh-eating disease. The teenager had just delivered a baby boy.

Doctors can't explain how Melissa Belanger became infected with necrotizing fasciitis, the medical term for the disease. They had given Belanger and her baby a clean bill of health after she gave birth on mid-March. But soon after she returned home, she was hit with high fever and abdominal pain.

"She was in great shape before she delivered, but soon after she was suffering atrocious pain," her sister, Kathy Huard, told CTV Montreal in French.

It turned out the young mother had developed the so-called flesh-eating disease, a very rare infection.

Belanger was rushed back to hospital.

"She was most likely a carrier and following the delivery somehow the infection did spread to the area which was affected by the delivery," said Dr. Ewa Sidorowicz of Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital.

The hospital had to remove the teenager's reproductive organs, and may still have to amputate some of her limbs. She's currently in an induced coma.

"She's in intensive care right now, she's had several surgeries, she's on antibiotics," according to Sidorowicz.

The victim's sister says the hospital should have seen the infection coming after her delivery.

"My sister was being eaten from the inside and they didn't see it," said Huard.

But experts say the illness develops too quickly to be detectable.

"Tissues are attacked less than 24 to 48 hours after the first symptoms appear," Dr. Francois Lamothe, a microbiologist, said in French.

The disease -- which can be caused by a number of different bacteria -- destroys tissue and can lead to death within a day. There are between 90 and 200 cases of flesh-eating disease every year, and between 20 and 30 per cent of those cases are fatal.

The symptoms of the disease may be a high fever and painful swelling that feels hot. The skin around the injury may turn a purplish colour and then die.

Deaths at Petco spark rage

Here is a topic not so hot on the search list but of extreme importance to any pet owners out there. Petco is currently embroiled in some controversy with PETA for their unethical treatment of animals under their care.

Source: Things that Piss me Off


While looking over the hot searches I ran across the topic of "Deaths at Petco" and it caught my attention. Being an animal lover with 6 PET Chinchilla's who are treated pretty much like royalty with 3 4 foot high interconnected cages and plenty of jumping room I found this article very disturbing. Although there was very little detailed information on how it happened I can only assume Hurley was in a healthy state prior to being brought in for grooming. I did a bit of a google search for "Deaths at Petco" and came up with a few tidbits buried among some dead links. One which was particularly disturbing was a letter from a Petco Employee to Petco Head office outlining various atrocities and animal mistreatment issues at her local Petco. It is quite a lengthy post so I will only post the link http://lou1982.blogspot.com/2007/12/to-whom-it-may-concern.html
It addition I found a post from Hanna in Boulder Co who witnessed some animal cruelty in her local Petco store http://newlyindonesian.blogspot.com/2008/02/i-went-into-petco-yesterday-to-wait-for.html

There was also a blog on the topic of PETA and an investigation they had done at a Petco store. Apparently Petco is now reducing their stock of life animals and replacing them with product. http://critternews.blogspot.com/2008/02/petco-to-decrease-live-animal-inventory.html

Then of course there is a blog about a Chow which was hung to death at a Utah Petco http://mrsanonymous-nain.blogspot.com/2007/12/beware-of-veterinary-malpractice-and.html

I live in Vancouver Canada and there isn't a Petco here, but we do have several Petsmarts as well as Petcetera. Neither of which I would ever support by purchasing animals there. I have seen Chinchilla's placed in small aquariums with bright lights above them and no shelter right by noisy birds. The problem being, chinchilla's are nocturnal and are very freaked out by loud noises.

My suggestion is, if you are looking at purchasing a pet, please check out the SPCA or your local animal rescue first. There are plenty of animals waiting for good homes. Supporting these pet stores by purchasing animals there only proliferates the cruelty. You may think you are saving an animal from a pet store, but the petstores will only bring in more replacements. If the animal becomes popular this will only lead to over crowding.

Here is the original blog which started this quest. Click on the Picture to Visit Hurley's Website

Don't Support Petco by Shopping There
Hello! My name is Hurley and on Saturday, March 22nd, 2008 I was taken into Petco to be groomed. Eight hours later I was dead. My human parents rushed me to an emergency vet hospital where I was drowning from the fluid that was filling my lungs and I was coughing up blood. Two vets consulted with my parents as they did everything they could to save my life. It was determined that they needed to end my suffering and so my parents made the agonizing decision to have me euthanized. Petco wants to pay for my vet bills, but they don't want to show my parents the video of me being groomed. Petco also doesn't feel that they should give my parents a reason as to what happened to me while I was in their care. If you think that this is a rare incident, please Google "animal deaths at Petco" and see the long history that Petco has of animal abuse and neglect. Don't let me die in vain. Please don't support Petco by shopping there.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Mummy Returns AGAIN - "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor"

SOURCE: http://thehollywoodreel.blogspot.com

After a long hiatus, one of cinema's greatest archaeologists is making his way back to the big screen. But if Rick O'Connell's leading lady looks a little different, it's not the age: It actually is a different person.

And that suits Maria Bello just fine, the actress told MTV News, saying she was eager to step into the role of Evelyn Carnahan O'Connell, made famous in the first two "Mummy" films by Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz.

"Let me tell you, I like the other two movies. I love this movie," Bello said of "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" from the blue carpet at the Independent Spirit Awards. "It's so dynamic and like nothing you've ever seen. [Director] Rob Cohen has so changed the franchise." The biggest change of all, of course, being Bello herself.

The blond actress understands that comparisons to Weisz — who reportedly refused to sign onto the sequel due to script issues — are inevitable. But despite the fact that she plays the same character, Bello insists that the roles are not that similar.

"I think Rachel is so brilliant, and she was beautiful in that part, but they wrote my character so differently, I felt like it was a totally different woman," Bello said. "She has the same name, but she's quite a different character."

Part of that manifests itself in more action-oriented challenges, Bello said. While the official plot synopsis centers on father-son duo Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Alex (Luke Ford) waking the shape-shifting mummy Emperor Han (Jet Li), it's Bello, not the rough-and-tumble gentlemen, who gets the film's first kick-ass fight sequence, the actress revealed.

"In the beginning of the movie I do a sword fight with an invisible mummy," Bello said. "I had to be on wires and do sword work. It took days to do, and it was so much fun. I would do flips on the wire and I'd land down and be like a little kid."

Bello admits to having so much fun, in fact, that she's looking forward to three more "Mummy" movies, confessing that she's already signed on for a whole trilogy of sequels.

"I don't know when, but it's going," she said. "[There will] absolutely be 'The Mummy 4.' "

And when there is, Bello says she's already got an idea for where it can film.

"Something that takes place in the Amazon," Bello suggested.

"The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" opens August 1.

Another Earthquake Hits Peru

A 5.4-magnitude earthquake rattled Peru's coast near the capital early Saturday, causing alarm but no major damages or fatalities, officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck in the Pacific Ocean at 7:51 a.m. local time, 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of Peru's coastal capital, Lima, shaking startled Peruvians out of bed.

"You tend to sleep late on Saturdays. We all went running out of the house into the street," said Mirta Guzman, a 52-year-old mother of six in the Barranco district of Lima. She said her house is more than 100 years old and made of delicate adobe.

Phone lines in the capital were jammed for at least an hour after the quake.

Some residents in the Andean city of Cuzco, 355 miles (570 kilometers) southeast of Lima, told Radioprogramas radio that they felt the temblor.

The quake came about six hours after a magnitude-4.4 quake struck 40 miles (75 kilometers) north of Lima.

On Aug. 15, a deadly magnitude-8 earthquake struck near Peru's south-central coast, killing more than 500 people and destroying some 40,000 homes.

Peru sits on the seismically active Pacific Rim and earthquakes are frequent here.

On Monday, a 6.1 earthquake struck northern Chile briefly knocking out electricity to the port city of Iquique

Dakota Johnson set for modelling career



MELANIE GRIFFITH's teenage daughter DAKOTA JOHNSON is set for fame on the catwalk - she's just been signed up to a top modelling agency.
The 18-year-old, Griffith's child with former husband Don Johnson, is now represented by IMG Models and the beauty has already landed her first job on the cover of U.S. magazine Vogue.
But sensible Dakota is not letting her early career success get in the way of her studies.
She says, "I'm very excited about all of this. But I still have to go back to California and finish my final year of high school."

Walmart gives former Employee Debbie Shank the Shaft

Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq.

The 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral, but she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead, she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan.

Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses and later sued for the same amount. However, the court ruled it can only recoup what is left in the family's trust.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money. Watch this couple's story »

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.

The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart. Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq.

"They are quite within their rights. But I just wonder if they need it that bad," Jim Shank said.

In 2007, the retail giant reported net sales in the third quarter of $90 billion.

Legal or not, CNN asked Wal-Mart why the company pursued the money.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley, who called Debbie Shank's case "unbelievably sad," replied in a statement: "Wal-Mart's plan is bound by very specific rules. ... We wish it could be more flexible in Mrs. Shank's case since her circumstances are clearly extraordinary, but this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan."

Jim Shank said he believes Wal-Mart should make an exception.

"My idea of a win-win is -- you keep the paperwork that says you won and let us keep the money so I can take care of my wife," he said.

The family's situation is so dire that last year Jim Shank divorced Debbie, so she could receive more money from Medicaid.

Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. He's afraid he won't be able to send their youngest son to college and pay for his and Debbie's care.

"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?" he asked.

The family's attorney agrees.

"The recovery that Debbie Shank made was recovery for future lost earnings, for her pain and suffering," Graham said.

"She'll never be able to work again. Never have a relationship with her husband or children again. The damage she recovered was for much more than just medical expenses."

Graham said he believes Wal-Mart should be entitled to only about $100,000. Right now, about $277,000 remains in the trust -- far short of the $470,000 Wal-Mart wants back.

Refusing to give up the fight, the Shanks appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But just last week, the high court said it would not hear the case.

Graham said the Shanks have exhausted all their resources and there's nothing more they can do but go on with their lives.

Jim Shank said he's disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case -- not for the sake of his family -- but for those who might face similar circumstances.

For now, he said the family will figure out a way to get by and "do the best we can for Debbie."

"Luckily, she's oblivious to everything," he said. "We don't tell her
what's going on because it will just upset her."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Lindsay Lohan to star in Manson Girls

Source: Lindsayfollies.blogspot.com

Lindsay Lohan, fresh off her big-screen role opposite John Lennon's killer in Chapter 27, has signed up to star in another film about a murderer - this time, it's Charles Manson.

The 21-year-old will play one of Manson's cult followers, Nancy Pitman, in the movie Manson Girls, reports say. The site quotes the film's producer, Brad Wyman, as saying, "Yes, I am doing it with Lindsay."

Lohan will portray Nancy Pitman, aka 'Brenda,' who at 16 fled her Malibu life of wealth and joined the Manson Family, after reportedly being introduced to Charles Manson by a friend.

Pitman reportedly was with Manson the night he sent "family members" to the ex-home of former business associate Terry Mechler, which ended with the killing of actress Sharon Tate and four others.

The actress has been busy back at work since her departure from rehab last fall. She's also recording a new album and will co-star in an upcoming Jack Black movie, Ye Olde Times.

FDA Issues "Early Communication" regarding possible Deadly side effects of Singulair Allergy Medication

SOURCE: http://consumerreportsblog.blogspot.com

Some people spell it Singular Allergy Medication but it is spelled Singulair. Just making sure all those who want to see information on it do.

Singulair Side Effects
The Food and Drug Administration issued an 'early communication' yesterday that they were "investigating a possible association between the use of Singulair and behavior/mood changes, suicidality (suicidal thinking and behavior) and suicide."

It is important to note that this 'early communication' is not any kind of alert or warning and that no link has yet been found between Singulair and suicide. Instead, as with all medicines, the FDA tries to trace back reports of problems that people have while they take a medicine to see if they are actually caused by the medicine or are just a coincidence. The report on Singulair should be done in about 9 months.

While your kids don't need to stop taking Singulair for their allergies or asthma, it is a good reminder to monitor them for any new symptoms or problems that they develop once they start taking Singulair or any other medicine. And then report those problems or side effects to your pediatrician and the FDA through the Medwatch Reporting System.

MegaTooth Shark tooth found in St. Clair River


David Wentz was snorkeling off Marysville Beach in the St. Clair River last August when what he thought was an odd-looking rock caught his eye. "I didn't know what to think," the 16-year-old Port Huron resident said.

His father, Craig, said he knew right away what it was due to hours of watching the Discovery Channel.

"It's a shark tooth," Craig Wentz said. "It's petrified. It's rock."

Michigan State University paleontologist Michael Gottfried told the Times Herald of Port Huron that the 3-inch long tooth comes from an extinct species called Carcharodon megalodon, or the "megatooth" shark.

The megalodon, which went extinct 2 million years ago, was larger than any building in Port Huron, reaching lengths of more than 60 feet. By comparison, Great White sharks generally are about 20 feet long.

The megatooth shark ate about 1,500 pounds of food a day, mostly feeding on whales and other large marine creatures.

Gottfried doesn't think the tooth is from a shark that may have been in the Great Lakes region during two different prehistoric eras, dating back from a half-million years to 300 to 400 million years ago, when it was a "shallow marine environment" filled with sharks, whales and other aquatic life.

"I suspect that it was probably carried and dropped by a human inhabitant of the region, either in recent historical times, or perhaps by earlier native people in this area," he said.

"I can't say just how it came to be in the St. Clair River, but I can assure you that there aren't any sharks with 3-inch teeth living there now."

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Oh please Daddy, Can I have a new Nose???

For the past few months most men, and probably a hell of alot of women have been drooling over Ivanka Trump wondering where the hell she got the beauty from. Well definitely not her Dad the Toupee king of New York, and not that shrivelled up old prune of a mother. Well, now the truth comes out, after a series of nose jobs Ivanka's Proboscis has been transformed from a bony atrocity to this cute little bunny nose she now adorns. Looking at the original picture, it seems like there were a few more minor facial adjustments which created the modified Trumpette. For those who are interested, here are some before and after pictures of the now Beauty Ivanka Trump. I guess beauty and brains only come together in that extreme with the help of science and a butt load of cash.


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Virginia Highway closed due to Shootings

A 20-mile stretch of Interstate 64 was closed overnight because at least four cars were struck by bullets, injuring two people. The highway reopened Thursday morning.

The four cars were hit along an 11-mile stretch of highway starting around midnight Wednesday. Virginia State Police were trying to find the gunman.

Sgt. David Cooper said two people went to hospitals with non-life threatening injuries. He did not know if the victims were struck by a bullet or by glass.

Cooper said he didn't know if there was more than one shooter or what type of gun or guns were used.

I-64 was closed about 6 hours between Charlottesville and Waynesboro.

Adobe Release Free online photo editing application

SOURCE: http://techyhowto.blogspot.com/

Adobe has released its Photoshop Express web-based imaging application as a public beta. Photoshop Express uses much of Adobe's image editing technology and has been repurposed as a web-based application.

Users can store up to 2GB of images online for free, make edits to their photos and share them online. Photoshop Express also allows users to download and upload photos from popular social networking sites like Facebook.

The application provides 'standard edits', such as removing blemishes and red-eye, converting to black and white, cropping and resizing.

Photoshop Express also offers tricks like Pop Color which selects an object in an image, mutes the background colour of the photo and allows the user to swap the object's colour so that it "jumps off the page".

Sketch effects make photos look like drawings, and a Distort feature allows users to distort facial features or objects for a comical or artistic effect.

Adobe said that even users with limited photo editing knowledge can simply select what looks best from a line-up of sample photos with visual hints showing different variations of the added effect.

During the public beta period, Adobe will solicit user feedback on product features and functionality which will "continue to evolve over time".

"Photoshop is trusted technology that has changed the visual landscape of our world," said Doug Mack, vice president of consumer and hosted solutions at Adobe.

"Now Photoshop Express allows anyone who snaps a digital photo to easily achieve the high-impact results for which Adobe is known."

Robin Williams' wife Marsha Garces Williams files for Divorce

Robin Williams' second wife has filed for divorce from the US actor after nearly 19 years of marriage. Marsha Garces Williams filed the papers at a San Francisco court, citing irreconcilable differences.

The couple, who married in 1989, have been separated since December and have two children together. The pair met when she worked as a nanny for Williams' son Zachary, whom the actor had with his previous wife, Valerie Valardi and had two Children together.

According to the legal documents, Marsha, who produced Robin’s films Mrs Doubtfire and Patch Adams, wants legal joint custody of Cody - the boy will live with her and Robin will have visitation - and an undisclosed amount of spousal support. Marsha has also requested that Robin be made responsible for her legal fees during the divorce proceedings and that all community property be divided between them once their assets have been tallied.

Robin Williams rose to fame in the 1970s playing the comic space alien Mork in hit US TV show Mork and Mindy. In 1998 he won an Oscar for best supporting actor playing a psychologist in the film Good Will Hunting. Robin has been nominated three times for the best actor Academy Award for his roles in Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poets Society and The Fisher King.

Robin’s spokesperson has confirmed the split but refused to go into any further detail regarding the cause of the separation. The couple’s marriage was rumoured to have been in trouble before Robin checked himself into rehab in 2006 for help with his alcoholism.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sexy red headed Delta AIrlines Safety Video - See it here

I don't know what the big deal is, at least they didn't use the typical blonde Barbie.

From now on, all Delta flights are smokin'.

We're not talking cigarettes— they're still banned. We're talking about Katherine Lee, aka "Deltalina," now starring in the airline's cheeky new safety video. A fetching redhead who scolds against lighting up with a saucy wave of her finger, Lee's causing turbulence on the Internet, where nearly 300,000 viewers with, uh, safety on the brain have watched the short clip.

"It's crazy," said Lee, who's as bubbly as a glass champagne in first-class.

Born in Heidelberg, Germany, she has traveled ever since she can remember. Her father is from Puerto Rico and her mother is German; he was in the military, so the family moved around a good bit. Lee, 33, graduated from Stone Mountain High School in 1992 and was living in Melbourne, Fla., when she applied to become a Delta flight attendant in 1997.

"They hired me on the spot," said Lee, who lives in Buckhead and likes to hike and travel in her free time.

A Delta flight attendant ever since, she was culled from an initial pool of 1,000 candidates for the safety video, winnowed down to 82.

"It was really based on personality, comfort in front of an audience, and the ability to engage people," said Chris Babb, Delta's product manager for in-flight entertainment and media.

The clip was filmed in January at Delta's Atlanta headquarters by a Hollywood production company hired for the job. (That tantalizing finger wagging was written into the script, by the way). The casting director ultimately picked Lee. Babb says she was in his personal top 2.

"Clearly, she shone," he said. "The goal was to engage, and we thought it was important to introduce bits of humor. The idea is to get as many people to watch the video as possible."

Mission accomplished. The clip begins airing on 400 Delta flights in about a week, but it's already a hit online, where viewers have dubbed her "Deltalina."

"I love Angelina Jolie, To be compared to her is beautiful," said Lee, who's been fielding a steady stream of media requests and at least one marriage proposal. She's single, doesn't have a boyfriend, and says those pouty lips are all hers.

Asked if Delta has further plans to showcase its new star, Babb thought for a minute.

"This all just happened two days ago," he said. "We haven't brainstormed that yet. But having an individual with a great personality talk directly to customers is the way to go."

Lee is working in training right now and looks forward to flying again soon. She's already getting recognized, but doesn't mind the attention.

"I'm such a people person," she said. "It's so great because (the video) is bringing awareness of safety and how important it is. That's the bottom line —it's all about safety."



Nude Photo of French Presidents' Wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozky causes a Stir - See Picture Here

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has started his first official visit to the UK -- the day after it was reported that an auction house is to sell nude pictures of his new wife.





Sarkozy and his wife, the former supermodel Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, were greeted by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall after the presidential plane landed at London's Heathrow airport Wednesday morning. He was then escorted to Windsor, where he was formally received by the Queen and the Prince of Edinburgh before being taken by carriage through the town.

The French president will enjoy a full state banquet at Windsor Castle Wednesday night, where he will stay as the guest of the Queen. On Wednesday afternoon Sarkozy will address both House of Parliament in French.

But his wife Bruni-Sarkozy is likely to attract as much, if not more, attention than her husband during the two-day visit, during which she is expected to meet the UK royals and attend a lunch held in her honor by Sarah Brown, wife of the UK prime minister.

Auction house Christie's is to sell photographs of former model Bruni-Sarkozy, taken by Michel Comte in 1993, in New York next month, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. The agency quoted the French president's office as saying the sale is a private matter.


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The UK media has covered the president's courtship of Bruni-Sarkozy and subsequent marriage in depth, with several using her visit as reason to reprint images from her modeling career.

Many observers in France see the presidential trip as a bid by Sarkozy to regain some of the popularity that saw him elected last May. Watch why Sarkozy is slipping in approval ratings at home. Since then he has provoked controversy at home with his high-profile relationship with Bruni-Sarkozy, as well as his attempts to shake up French pension and labor laws.

On Tuesday Sarkozy hinted that he might boycott the opening ceremony on the Beijing Olympics this summer, agencies reported, following pressure at home to take a tough line on the Chinese crackdown in Tibet.

Closer co-operation on Afghanistan, the credit crunch, immigration and nuclear power are all expected to dominate talks between Sarkozy and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown.





In an interview with BBC Radio ahead of the visit, Sarkozy said that the UK and France needed to shift from "being cordial to being friendly", the UK's Press Association reported, adding that he wanted the relationship to be "fleshed out by concrete projects on the economy, immigration, security, defense."

"It has been long enough now that we have not been at war, that we are not wrangling," Sarkozy is reported to have said.






On Thursday Sarkozy is expected to have talks with UK prime minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street, followed by a UK-France summit at the Emirates Stadium, home to Arsenal Football Club, which boasts a French manager and high percentage of French playing staff.

He will then present record-breaking yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur with top French award the Legion d'Honneur at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwic

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oregon "Man" pregnant with Baby Girl

I know this sounds like something from the National Enquirer, except this "Man" is not really a man.

US man Thomas Beatie and his wife were expecting their first child in July, according to US news service TransWorldNews.

Beatie, from the state of Oregon, was born a woman but had a sex change in which he had chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy, but no change to his reproductive organs, TransWorldNews said.

He stopped taking testosterone injections to get pregnant, Beatie reportedly wrote in an article for The Advocate, a magazine for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender readers.

Doctors had refused to treat Beatie, including one that sent him to "the clinic's psychologist to see if we were fit to bring a child into this world and consulted with the ethics board of his hospital" , the article said.

Beatie admitted his situation "sparks legal, political and social unknowns", TransWorldNews said.

For a less politically correct view of this topic, visit http://shitfourbrains.blogspot.com

Light ’n Krispy Original mixes Recall

Williams Foods Inc. is recalling some 22-ounce canisters and 8-ounce pouches of select Bass Pro Shops’ Uncle Buck’s fish batter mixes because they contain milk not among the ingredients listed on the package. That could be dangerous for people with milk allergies, though the company has not received any reports of allergic reactions.

The recall includes select Light ’n Krispy Original mixes in 22-ounce canisters and 8-ounce pouches, as well as Light ’n Krispy Hot & Spicy mixes in 22-ounce canisters. The mixes were sold at Bass Pro Shops around the country. For more details, call 1-800-255-6736.

Facebook not as secure as one might think

Recently, a flaw in the design of face book has exposed millions of so called "Private" photo libraries to the view of anyone who wants to search.

Record numbers of people are posting intimate details about their lives online, despite warnings from privacy campaigners that photographs are extremely difficult to erase once uploaded to the internet. Even Paris Hilton had some previously private photo's leaked through the facebook security problem

Byron Ng, a computer technician from Vancouver, began looking for flaws in the site's security after an upgrade last week purportedly gave Facebook's 40 million users greater control over the way they shared material such as photographs with their friends.

Byron found he was able to pull up recent pictures posted by Facebook users, even if the owners intended them only to be seen by a select group of friends.

In related news, many want ban companies from trawling websites such as Facebook to gain access about potential employees, in a process known as "digital dirt-digging".

The Information Commissioner's Office recently reiterated its warning about the risk of posting details on social networking sites after a study found that the amount of information stored about us on the web will grow by a factor of ten between now and 2011.

In a statement acknowledging the security flaw, a Facebook spokesman said: "We take privacy very seriously and continue to make enhancements to the site.”

In June last year, Facebook was forced to update its privacy settings after it was revealed that certain information about users - such as their sexual preference and religious beliefs - could be ascertained by searching the site.

"Barbie Bandits" - Stripper Bank Robbers get caught

The "Barbie Bandits" were two teenage strippers who decided that robbing a bank would be "exciting." Now, one member of the duo, Ashley Miller, is getting 2 years in prison for her role in the robbery while her accomplice, Heather Johnston, is facing 10 years parole.

The two 19-year-olds met while working at a strip club called Shooter Alley near Atlanta, Georgia. Ashley's stage name was "Adrienne" while Heather's was "Charlie." They could easily make more than $1000 for a few days work, but it wasn't enough. The pair got the idea of pulling a bank heist from Miller's boyfriend, ex-convict Michael Chastang.

But not everything went as planned. For one, they took a wrong turn and almost wound up robbing the wrong Bank of America. But after that gaffe, the actual heist went off smoothly. Ashley and Heather wore jeans and designer sunglasses for the robbery and joked with each other while waiting for their money. Some bank customers didn't even know a robbery was taking place.

With the $11,000 from the heist, the Barbie Bandits went to a local mall, shopped at Gucci, and got their hair done at an expensive salon. But the party ended abruptly when they were arrested two days later.

Tall blondes, Heather Lyn Johnston, 20, and Ashley Nicole Miller, 19, were worth hundreds of clicks every time their media-given moniker Barbie Bandits made a headline or meta tag.

Ashley Nicole Miller gets a hug from her mother Joy Miller after she is sentenced in Cobb Superior Court.

On YouTube alone, the bank surveillance video which showed the women wearing designer sunglasses and stylish jeans as they giggled their way through the theft of nearly $11,000 from a bank in Acworth —counted for nearly 38,000 views in a little more than one year.

The former Buford Highway strippers were the among the constellation of bright lights in the Internet world, spawning blog sites and comic re-edits of their escapade.

The information became tragically comic as news emerged that the pair, who grew up in Gwinnett County, had to call their conspirators for directions to the west Cobb bank, then used their 25 percent share of the loot to get their hair done and shop for designer clothes.

Johnston also made the morning talk show rounds and showed up on the tabloid news programs.

On Monday, both were scared young women dressed conservatively and sitting in a cold Cobb County courtroom waiting to learn whether the theft that brought them international media coverage would send them to jail.

They didn't sit together and didn't appear to acknowledge each other. Miller, a Collins Hill High School graduate, sat with her mother and a girlfriend at the front of the courtroom. Johnston, with her family, friends and minister, sat three rows behind, occupying an entire row. The Grayson High School grad chatted nervously with her lawyer and, sometimes, held hands with her boyfriend.

Separately, Johnston and Miller had pleaded guilty to theft by taking in the Feb. 27, 2007, heist at a Bank of America branch in which they had the help of a bank teller. Prosecutors had recommended both young women be sentenced to 10 years, three in jail and seven years' probation.

"I'm ready for three years; I'm not ready for 10 years," Johnston whispered to her lawyer before Superior Court Judge Mary E. Staley took the bench.

Bank teller Benny Allen III, who told the girls what to write in the demand note and handed them the money, was the first to stand before Staley. The 23-year-old was on five years' probation for a drug bust in Bartow County.

He had pleaded guilty to the bank theft, but prosecutor Bonnie Derrer said he had not upheld his agreement to testify truthfully against Michael Chastang, who was convicted of hatching the scheme and is to be sentenced today.

Staley gave Allen five years in jail and five on probation.

Miller, wearing a white blouse and black skirt and with a fresh French manicure, glanced nervously at her mother. She was next.

Her lawyer asked Staley for 12 months' probation and first-offender status, so she could have a chance to have her record expunged if she stayed out of trouble.

Miller, who once called the heist "the worst decision I ever made," told the judge: "I realize what I did was irresponsible."

Staley said she recognized Miller had come around to telling the truth, but initially had not been as truthful and willing to help as Johnston.

"I can see my way to giving you a lighter sentence than the state has recommended," said Staley, who ordered Miller to jail for two years and placed her on probation for eight.

Staley allowed Miller's mother to say goodbye, then the young woman was led off by sheriff's deputies.

Johnston's lawyer, Clay R. Thompson, was the only one to present testimony before the sentencing.

As he did at Johnston's guilty plea in August, he turned first to Danny Rager, who as pastor of Woodland Hills Assembly of God Church in Lawrenceville, has known Johnston since she was 14.

"I'm pleased with the changes in Heather's life. She's back to the girl I first met," he said. Then, Johnston, wearing a black suit, spoke:

"I know I hurt my family. I hurt my church family, and I hurt a lot of people that I love."

Under house-arrest at her Grayson home since her March 31 release from jail on bond, Johnston was the first to provide police with details. She has testified three times for the prosecution.

"I don't see much difference between the four of y'all, in terms of criminality," Staley said. But "I think it was a profound statement that you came in here in August, and you took responsibility."

Staley ordered Johnston to serve 10 years' probation, perform community service, repay the bank and pay a $2,000 fine.


Related video's

News story where the Barbie Bandits go to a salon the day following a heist asking to get their hair dyed blonde




Barbie Bandits in Court



Barbie Bandits get caught




Barbie Bandit Heather Speaks - Shows her true stupidity

Oregon Man victim of Craigslist Hoax

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. — A pair of hoax ads on Craigslist cost an Oregon man much of what he owned.

The ads popped up Saturday afternoon, saying the owner of a Jacksonville home was forced to leave the area suddenly and his belongings, including a horse, were free for the taking, said Jackson County sheriff's Detective Sgt. Colin Fagan.

But Robert Salisbury had no plans to leave. The independent contractor was at Emigrant Lake when he got a call from a woman who had stopped by his house to claim his horse.

On his way home he stopped a truck loaded down with his work ladders, lawn mower and weed eater.

"I informed them I was the owner, but they refused to give the stuff back," Salisbury said. "They showed me the Craigslist printout and told me they had the right to do what they did."

The driver sped away after rebuking Salisbury. On his way home he spotted other cars filled with his belongings.

Once home he was greeted by close to 30 people rummaging through his barn and front porch.

The trespassers, armed with printouts of the ad, tried to brush him off. "They honestly thought that because it appeared on the Internet it was true," Salisbury said. "It boggles the mind."

Jacksonville police and Jackson County sheriff's deputies arrived but by then several cars packed with Salisbury's property had fled.

He turned some license plate numbers over to police.

Michelle Easley had seen the ad that claimed Salisbury's horse had been declared abandoned by the sheriff's department and was free to a good home.

"I can't stand to see a horse suffer so I drove out there and got her," Easley said. "The horse didn't look abandoned. She is in good shape for being 32 years old."

But it looked odd, so she left a note on Salisbury's door explaining the ad. She then decided to call to make sure the ad was legitimate when the second similar ad appeared.

"I feel bad because I was a part of it," Easley said. "It felt right to call the police."

Fagan praised Easley's honestly but said prosecution was likely for anybody caught with Salisbury's property.

Items can be returned with no questions asked, Fagan said.

Detectives have contacted Craigslist's legal team to try to trace the ad.

Meanwhile, Salisbury could not even relax on his porch swing.

Someone took it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Guitar Maker Gibson Suing makers of Guitar Hero

Gibson Guitar Inc. is suing major retailers, including Wal-Mart and Target, to force them to stop selling versions of the video game "Guitar Hero," which Gibson believes infringes on a patent filed by the guitar maker in 1999.

Gibson disclosed in a statement that it sued the retailers "to protect its intellectual property and will continue to do so against any other person in accordance with the law and its rights."

Nashville, Tenn.-based Gibson claims in correspondence with "Guitar Hero" maker Activision Inc. that the patent, which covers technology meant to simulate a musical performance, is violated by the game play of "Guitar Hero," where users hit buttons on a guitar-shaped controller in correspondence with "notes" displayed on the game screen.

Gibson is being sued by video game maker Activision Inc., which wants to have the court declare Gibson's patent invalid. Activision's popular "Guitar Hero" series uses a controller shaped like the guitar designed by Waukesha, Wis.-born electric guitar inventor Les Paul.

Activision has said that by waiting three years to raise its claim, Gibson had granted an implied license for any technology.

Vicarious Visions, a subsidiary of Activision based in Menands, created "Guitar Hero" for the Wii and announced last week that it is developing another version of the game for the Nintendo DS.

Detroit Mayor Charged with purgury over sex scandel

DETROIT - Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, a one-time rising star and Detroit's youngest elected leader, was charged Monday with perjury and other counts after sexually explicit text messages contradicted his sworn denials of an affair with a top aide. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also charged the popular yet polarizing 37-year-old mayor with obstruction of justice and misconduct in office. Kilpatrick could face up to 15 years in prison and be expelled from office if convicted.

Here is a time line of the events as they unfolded

2002: A rumored, but never proven, wild party takes place at Manoogian Mansion, the Detroit mayor's home.

April 30, 2003: Exotic dancer Tamara Greene, 27, is shot to death inside her car. She is rumored to have danced at the Manoogian Mansion party.

May 9, 2003: Detroit Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown is fired by Kilpatrick for conducting unauthorized investigations.

June 2003: Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox clears Kilpatrick after a five-week investigation into the rumored Manoogian party, saying he has found no evidence of such a party. Michigan State Police investigators also say they have found no evidence of wrongdoing following claims of a cover-up.

Oct. 13, 2005: Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announces plans to conduct an independent review of Greene's death.

Oct. 21, 2005: A jury orders the city to pay $200,000 to former police Lt. Alvin Bowman. The jury rules that Bowman's transfer was in retaliation for his probe into the alleged Manoogian party and Greene's death.

Aug. 28, 2007: Kilpatrick Chief of Staff Christine Beatty testifies in a whistle-blowers' trial that she did not have a romantic or intimate relationship with the mayor in 2002 and 2003.

Aug. 29, 2007: Kilpatrick denies under oath that he had an extramarital affair with Beatty in 2002 and 2003.

Sept. 11, 2007: A jury awards $6.5 million to two former police officers in the lawsuit, capping the three-week trial. Kilpatrick vows to appeal.

Sept. 28, 2007: Michael Stefani, attorney for the officers, subpoenas SkyTel, the city's communications provider, for text messages transmitted on Beatty's city-issued paging device.

Oct. 5, 2007: Stefani gets the text messages.

Oct. 17, 2007: The city and the whistle-blowers reach a settlement worth $8.4 million. It includes a clause referring to the text messages.

Oct. 19, 2007: The Detroit Free Press files a Freedom of Information request to see the settlement.

Oct. 27, 2007: Kilpatrick rejects the terms proposed for the settlement from Oct. 17.

Nov. 1, 2007: Kilpatrick approves the terms and conditions of an agreement approved Oct. 23 by the City Council. One part is for the public to see — not mentioning the text messages — but the other remains confidential.

Nov. 13, 2007: The Free Press files a second FOIA. It and The Detroit News later file a lawsuit seeking documents.

Jan. 23: The Free Press posts stories on its Web site, citing text messages that allude to Kilpatrick and Beatty having a physical relationship in 2002 and 2003 and that they misled jurors about Brown's firing. It is unclear how the newspaper obtained the text messages.

Jan. 25: Worthy says she has opened an investigation into whether Kilpatrick and Beatty committed perjury during the whistle-blowers' trial. She says the independent investigation "will be fair, impartial and thorough."

Jan. 30: Kilpatrick delivers a televised public apology about the text-messaging sex scandal from his church with his wife, Carlita, at his side.

Feb. 5: Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo Jr. orders that documents detailing the confidential settlement agreement from the whistle-blowers' lawsuit be made public. The mayor's office later appeals that ruling.

Feb. 8: Kilpatrick gives a radio interview saying he believes he's "on an assignment from God" and vows not to resign as Detroit mayor. Beatty's resignation as chief of staff becomes official.

Feb. 13: The Michigan Court of Appeals agrees with Colombo's ruling.

Feb. 15: Kilpatrick's attorneys appeal the Court of Appeals ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Feb. 19: The Detroit City Council asks the state Supreme Court to refuse Kilpatrick's request to stop the release of the documents.

Feb. 27: The Michigan Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal. The documents are released.

March 11: Kilpatrick gives his annual State of City address in which he singles out City Council President Ken Cockrel Jr. for not sitting on the stage with him. Cockrel would become mayor if Kilpatrick leaves office. Kilpatrick also uses the N-word to describe threats he and his family have received and describes opposition and media coverage as a "lynch mob mentality."

March 12: Cox calls on Kilpatrick to resign, accusing him of race-baiting during the State of the City address.

March 13: Cox says his office will look into new claims concerning the rumored Manoogian Mansion party.

March 18: The City Council votes 7-1 on a nonbinding resolution asking Kilpatrick to resign.

March 21: Colombo rules some text messages that indicate a romantic relationship between Kilpatrick and Beatty may be made public.

March 24: Worthy authorizes a 12-count criminal information against Kilpatrick and Beatty on charges including perjury and obstruction of justice.

5 Dead in Iowa Shooting

Multiple people were shot to death Monday morning in a home on Iowa City's east side, authorities said.

"Yes there are multiple fatalities," said Jessica Lown with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

A statewide police bulletin said authorities were searching for a suspect who was possibly armed.

No details were available on how many people were shot.

The scene was wrapped in crime tape, and an ambulance was in the home's driveway.

"Lots of family needs to be contacted," Iowa City Police Sgt. Troy Kelsay told The Gazette, a Cedar Rapids newspaper.

Kelsay told The Des Moines Register that dispatchers got a call at 6:31 a.m. saying officers needed to get to the address immediately. The caller then hung up.

Students and faculty at the University of Iowa received text and telephone messages warning that there was an active shooter in the Iowa City area. The message said police were looking for a white man in his 40s, driving a 1998 tan Toyota Sienna minivan.

Iowa City schools were under lockdown as a precaution, according to a report from KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids.

Police say they were not able to locate the adult male resident, Steven Suppel. The family's van was missing. He is also scheduled to go on trial next month for stealing about a half-million dollars from the bank where he worked.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Jamie Lee Curtis poses topless for AARP


To celebrate her 50th birthday, Jamie Lee Curtis doffed her swim suit in favor of her birthday suit at least partially.

The cover of the new issue of AARP The Magazine shows Curtis topless in a swimming pool.

"If I can challenge the old ideas about aging, I will feel more and more invigorated," Curtis said in an interview for the magazine's May/June issue.

This isn't the first time Curtis has "dared to bare" to challenge Hollywood's definition of beauty. In 2002, Curtis posed for More magazine in her underwear and bra, sans makeup, stylists and flattering camera angles or lenses.

The resulting photos showed Curtis as more middle-aged mom than glamour queen complete with a sagging belly and chunky thighs.

This from the woman known for her bodacious body and starring roles in high-profile movies like "Trading Places," "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Halloween."

"Much of the shoot was Jamie's idea she was very involved in the creative concept," AARP The Magazine deputy editor Nancy Graham said. "It is certainly groundbreaking for us, and for women of this age. We're thrilled to have such a Hollywood icon embrace her age and show everyone it's OK to be comfortable in your own skin."

Whether everyone will get the message is another story.

Kathy Kater, a body image specialist with a private practice in St. Paul, Minn., said that from what she sees in her clients, women of all ages from grade school girls to 50-ish moms still compare themselves to the unrealistic ideals they see in the media.

"It's become less PC to talk about it, but when these women are in my office they're all saying the same thing. 'I feel so fat, my thighs are gross. I want to lose weight,'" she said. "I had an eighth grade girl say to me, 'If I don't lose 10 pounds I may as well not even go to high school.'"

Although there has been a lot of publicity and media attention about body image issues over the last few years, Kater said it has actually made it harder for women to come to grips with their own issues.

"Even though women are more educated about it, they don't want to be thought of as having some disorder," she said. "They know these are just images they see in magazines, not real people, because they're all made up. Nonetheless, women continue to hold themselves to that same standard, that ideal of beauty in general."

That ideal of beauty is reinforced on the pages of fashion magazines, on entertainment shows and even on celebrity gossip sites.

But experts point out that most of those images are highly stylized, created with the help of an army of personnel whose sole objective is to make the model or celebrity look good.

Take, for instance, the case of 21-year-old Lindsey Lohan and her recent nude photo shoot for New York magazine. Photographer Bert Stern wanted to recreate his last series of photographs with Marilyn Monroe and chose Lohan as his model.

New York magazine released a list of people who were involved in the photo shoot and helped Stern and Lohan achieve the final product. That list included Lohan's manager, her security guard, her younger sister, Ali, a makeup artist and assistant, a hairstylist and assistant, a stylist, a manicurist, Stern, his manager and two photo assistants.

Judging from that long list, even though Lohan posed nude, the look was not exactly au naturel.

The shoot made a splash in the media and on the Web. Blogs picked up the story and commenters gushed. So many people tried to view the photos online that the magazine's Web site crashed.

It's hard to say how much impact the Curtis photos will have.

Kater said she thinks it's unfortunate but "I don't think the piece is going to have much of an impact on younger women." As she pointed out, the photos are being published in a magazine that bills itself as the "definitive voice for 50+ Americans."

Curtis said she wanted to pose topless to bring some attention to her desire that everyone should try to "age wisely and well."

"I feel way better now than I did when I was 20. I'm stronger, I'm smarter in every way, I'm so much less crazy than I was then," Curtis said. . And perhaps her photos will show some people that gray hair and bare skin is just as eye-catching as blonde hair and a young bod.

How to tie a necktie - instructional video

With it being Easter, it appears many poor saps are out there searching for how to tie a necktie. I guess since tying a tie is not a common course in high schools, it is quite obvious many would need to know.
So in the spirit of everyone is searching for it so here it is. Here is a helpful video on how to tie a necktie.

Cantaloupe Recall Issued After Salmonella Scare

The FDA has issued a recall for all cantaloupes from a Honduran manufacturer as they believe the fruit may be contaminated with salmonella. Salmonella outbreaks have been reported in 16 states. Those states are: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The melons are believed to have come from Agropecuaria and Montelibano. The United States government is seeking to ban all imports of the melons coming from those areas.

Grocers have been advised to pull the recalled melons off their shelves. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning are nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Friday, March 21, 2008

X-Prize Foundation announces $ 10 Million award for most fuel efficient car

Source: http://allautomobile.blogspot.com/

An insurance company and a nonprofit group today announced plans to give $10 million to the team that designs, builds and brings to market the most viable and efficient vehicle that can get 100 miles per gallon of gasoline.

Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. and the X Prize Foundation jointly made the announcement at the New York International Auto Show.

The international competition, called the Progressive Automotive X Prize, was launched to help break the world's addiction to petroleum and stem the effects of climate change, according to the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit group that sponsors contests encouraging innovation.

The foundation billed the contest as independent and technology-neutral. It is open to teams from around the world that can design green vehicles that people want to buy and that meet market needs for price, size, capability, safety and performance.

"The Progressive Automotive X Prize is a call to action to promote and inspire innovation," said Peter H. Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, in a statement. "The environmentally friendly cars created as a result of this competition will affect everyone who drives in ways we can't even imagine today."

The foundation said that so far, more than 60 teams from nine countries have signed a letter of intent to compete. Four teams and their vehicles were on hand at the auto show during the announcement today.

"Development of a superefficient car would be a major step forward in the fight against global warming, and it would help us reach our goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 30% by 2030," said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who attended the press conference today. "The Progressive Automotive X Prize is an excellent example of how the private sector can spur solutions to our most complex challenges."

The foundation will be accepting applications for the competition until midyear.

Teams and their plans will be examined for safety, cost, business plans and production feasibility. The teams that are accepted into the competition will race their vehicles across the U.S. in various legs in 2009 and 2010. Overall performance will be rated, along with emissions standards and their placement in the races.

Host cities for the races will be announced "soon," according to the X Prize Foundation.

In 2004, the X Prize Foundation awarded a $10 million prize in a global competition to design a private suborbital spacecraft.

Courteney Cox and David Arquette Start campagn to raise money for Epidermolysis Bullosa

Courteney Cox and David Arquette have a challenge for their famous friends: help raise $1 million in two weeks for Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare skin condition that primarily affects children.

Joining Cox and Arquette in the awareness- and money-raising effort are Jennifer Aniston, Orlando Bloom, Kate Beckinsale, Rashida Jones, James Marsden and Eva Longoria Parker. All will lend their famous faces and financial support to the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, where Cox, Arquette and Aniston serve on the honorary advisory board. (Brad Pitt, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale are also members.)

"EB is very personal to me so I'm happy to be a part of this $1 million challenge," Cox said in a statement to The Associated Press. "Now is such an important time to put the spotlight on EB and ensure that research can continue at a fast pace."

Epidermolysis Bullosa is a debilitating genetic disorder that causes the skin to blister and break at the slightest touch. Victims are often covered in burn-like sores that never heal and most don't live beyond age 30.


On the Net:
http://ebkids.org/

BACKGROUND: Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a rare genetic disease characterized by incredibly fragile skin tissue and recurrent blister formation from minor friction or trauma. The severity of the condition varies depending on the form (Simplex EB, Junctional EB, Recessive Dystrophic, or Dominant Dystrophic). The latest figures from the national EB registry find the condition affects less than 10,000 children and adults in the United States. It occurs in all racial groups and genders in equal numbers. Infancy is an especially difficult time for patients with EB. Blistering can be caused by the slightest touch of skin, clothing or, in severe cases, air. The blisters can lead to infection, sepsis and even death. Severe forms of EB increase the risk of mortality during infancy -- patients with the Herlitz or Letalis form of juvenile EB have the highest risk of 87 percent during the first year of life.

Patients with EB lack anchors that hold the layers of skin together. Any activity that rubs or causes pressure to the skin results in painful sores and blisters. Even bathing these children is difficult because water touching the open wounds causes incredible pain and washing the skin can lead to further blistering. Many patients must live on a liquid diet or eat only soft foods because the esophagus can also blister. Over time, repeated healing and scarring on the hands and feet can cause the tissue to form “stumps” where the tissue has overgrown the digits. The condition can also lead to squamous cell carcinoma -- an aggressive skin cancer.

TREATMENT: Many parents find bandaging children with gauze and ointment from head to toe can prevent skin damage. However, damage can still occur beneath these bandages because pressure can also lead to the painful wounds. While ointments and skin grafts have shown some success and are being tested to see if they will help treat the disease, there is no known cure or treatment for EB. New stem cell therapy is being tested at the University of Minnesota by way of bone marrow transplants from healthy people who are matches to patients with EB. A 100 day trial is currently underway in Minnesota to find out if the treatment worked for a young boy with the disease. Results are not yet available, but both doctors and the boy's family are hopeful and feel they have seen some progress so far.

PASSING ON EB: The genes that cause EB can be either dominant or recessive. The dominant forms (Simplex and Dominant Dystrophic) are caused when a parent is a carrier of the dominant gene. A dominant carrier parent has a 50 percent chance of transmitting the abnormal gene with each pregnancy. Rarely, children can be born with a genetic mutation that causes the disease when neither parent is a carrier. The affected child will also have a 50 percent chance of passing the disease to his or her children.

Junctional and Recessive Dystrophic EB conditions are caused by a recessive gene expression. If both parents are carriers of the unexpressed gene, with each pregnancy, they have a 25 percent chance of the genes expressing themselves in the child, causing EB.

Leaping Sting ray kills woman in the Florida Keys

A 75-pound stingray killed a Michigan woman Thursday when it flew out of the water and struck her face as she rode a boat in the Florida Keys, officials said.

Judy Kay Zagorski, 57, of Pigeon, was sitting in the front seat of a boat going 25 m.p.h. when the spotted eagle ray, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet, leaped out of the water in the Vaca Key area, said Jorge Pino, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The collision knocked Zagorski backward onto the floor of the boat, Pino said.

The impact likely killed the woman, and she did not appear to have puncture wounds from the ray's barb, Pino said. An autopsy is planned, he said.

Zagorski's sister was standing next to her when the stingray appeared but was not injured, Pino said.

The Spotted Eagle Ray, which can grow up to 17 feet long and 500 pounds, is known for leaping out of the water and sailing through the air. The stinging spines, which can be found at the dorsal base, number from 2-6, and are used exclusively for defensive purposes.

Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive, Sara Olson released Early

The former Symbionese Liberation Army fugitive who hid for years by posing as an ordinary housewife has been released from prison after serving time for trying to bomb police cars, corrections officials said Thursday.

Sara Jane Olson, formerly known as Kathleen Soliah, walked out of the Central Women's Facility in Chowchilla on Monday, said Bill Sessa, a state Department of Corrections spokesman.

In 2001, Olson pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempting to bomb police cars in 1975 with the SLA, the group best known for kidnapping newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. Olson vanished soon after she was charged in the attempted bombings and reinvented herself as a Minnesota housewife.

Olson later pleaded guilty in 2003 to second-degree murder in the 1975 shooting death of a customer during a bank robbery in Carmichael, near Sacramento. She was serving a concurrent, six-year sentence in that case.

"Like all inmates in her circumstance, she earned time for her good behavior in prison, she wasn't treated any differently than anybody else," Sessa said. He declined to discuss terms of her parole, citing security concerns.

Olson's attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, said her client was spending time with her family, who came to California to be with her. Olson still needed to work out the terms of her parole and whether she will be able to return to Minnesota, Holley said.

"Every time I've spoken with her, she just sounds happy and relieved, and happy to be with her family," Holley said.

Olson was caught in 1999 when her minivan was pulled over by police near her home in St. Paul, Minn. She had changed her name and was living with a husband and three school-age daughters.

After she was returned to California for trial, Olson pleaded guilty to the attempted bombings.

The union that represents Los Angeles police officers was dismayed her release.

"She needs to serve her full time in prison for these crimes and does not deserve time-off for working in prison," Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tim Sands said in a statement.