Sunday, July 31, 2011

“The West’s Most Western Town”

Scottsdale, Arizona maintains its own identity as “The West’s Most Western Town”. Every year there is a “Parada del Sol” Parade and Trail’s End Celebration through the downtown area along Scottsdale Road as part of the Rodeo Festival. There are western wear shops and a number of art galleries featuring western artworks from some of the top artists in the country.

"What's going on here ???"

Jason de Caires Taylor’s underwater sculpture installation off the coast of Cancun, Mexico.

"Pacific Ocean Park"

Pacific Ocean Park began as the Pickering/Lick Piers in 1919 to be destroyed by fire in 1924 and rebuilt in 1926. The only structure that was not destroyed was the Ocean Park Municipal Auditorium built in 1923 which in 1958 was transformed into the USS Nautilus exhibit and the Westinghouse Enchanted Forest.

In 1958 CBS & LA Terf Club (Santa Anita) purchased the Ocean Park Pier. After several years of operation POP closed in 1967 due to costs of maintaining equipment along with insurance. POP sat vacant where it was ravaged by several fires in the early 1970's and was demolished after a major fire in 1974. It was finally demolished in early 1975.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"ghostly shadows walking the hallways"

What is known as the general dodge house in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was built in 1869 by Mr Dodge, who was a civil war veteran, it was built at 605 Third Street at the cost of $35,000, a lavish sum for that day. The fourteen-room, three-story mansion stands on a high terrace overlooking the Missouri Valley, and displays such architectural features as parquet floors, cherry, walnut and butternut woodwork, and a number of "modern" conveniences quite unusual for the period.

The ghost at this building is said to that of Mr Dodge himself, he was not thought to of died in the house, but a common belief is that ghosts are not bound to the location of their death. He has been seen numerous times by visitors to the house, appearing as an apparition in the form of a ghostly shadow, walking the hallways of the residence.

Lights, described as bright orbs have been seen in the house at night, as well as outside the building in its grounds. The other report of paranormal activity at this location is that of hearing two men argue within empty areas of the house, who they are and why their there seems to forever be wrapped in mystery.

Linda Ronstadt

Heart Like a Wheel: In the world of music memoirs, it would seem that Linda Ronstadt would have enough to put together a War & Peace size volume. Her career has included recordings in almost every genre of music, she has been on the arm of some of the most fascinating men of her time including Jerry Brown and George Lucas, and has lately become politically active. She is the owner of ten Grammy Awards in the genres of pop, country, children's recordings, Mexican-American and Tropical Latin and has been nominated for works in rock and both traditional and contemporary folk. Throw in two Academy of Country Music Awards, an Emmy, an ALMA and nominations for both a Golden Globe and a Tony and you have a wide ranging life that certainly has stories that need to be told.

On Thursday, Simon & Schuster announced that Ronstadt will pen her memoirs in the book to be titled Heart Like a Wheel. The publisher said "Few singers have been as wide-ranging or distinctive in their artistry."


In Los Angeles next weekend you can go to Marc Selwyn's on Wilshire Blvd. to see Matt Lipps large-format Cibachromes. Lipps will be showing new photographic work in “Horizon/s” and here you have a sample of the work to help you make up your mind to race across town on Saturday between 6 and 8 pm. I suggest 6th Street. You can stop for tacos along the way and not have to worry about dinner.

The "Face of 1966"

Icons of youth and beauty are not supposed to grow old, let alone grow old gracefully. They are supposed to live fast and die young, or else rage against the dying of the light with fidelity issues and plastic surgery. So it is against the odds, really, that Twiggy turns 60 ­ today still beautiful (even if the saucer eyes are now edged by fine lines rather than by the three pairs of false eyelashes she wore when she was the Face of 1966), still a working model, and with little outward sign of the squeamishness that surrounds the issue of ageing in many women in the public eye.


CARSON, Calif. — Fourteen years after the X Games began, skateboarding remains one of its biggest attractions. That was evident on Friday when fans flooded downtown Los Angeles on Day 2 of X Games 14. Most were there to see 18-year-old skating sensation-turned-pop-culture-icon Ryan Sheckler.

And "Shecks" didn't disappoint the crowd that numbered about 3,500 more than Day 2 last year. Sheckler won the gold medal in the Skateboard Men's Street Final, five years after becoming the youngest X Games gold medalist when he won the Park Final.

"Shuttle Carrier Aircraft"

The shuttle can't take off under its own power back to Florida, so it's mounted on one of two modified 747s called Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The extra effort to move the shuttle from Edwards costs NASA about 1.7 million dollars, so landing here is not a decision taken lightly. However it could be worse; to allow for all sorts of emergency contingencies there are other landing sites in such unlikely places as Gambia, French Polynesia, Saudi Arabia, the Congo and Easter Island.

50th International Surf Festival

Residents in the southern section of the Golden State continue to celebrate a golden year of anniversaries. From the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to the baseball tradition of the hot dog at Der Weinerschnitzel, 50-year marks are being feted and the South Bay is no exception.

In June, cycling enthusiasts celebrated the 50th Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix and the city will continue its jubilation this weekend with the Charlie Saikley 6-Man beach volleyball tournament, the most popular event of the International Surf Festival which also is enjoying a half century of friendly competition.

The International Surf Festival is presented by, the Chambers of Commerce and Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, the Los Angeles County Fire Department and Department of Beaches and Harbors and kicks off its competition at 7 p.m. Friday with the LA County Lifeguard Championships, the including Bud Stevenson Intracrew Medley Relay, at the Hermosa Beach Pier.

The Venice lifeguard team will be aiming for its fifth consecutive championship in the Bud Stevenson Intracrew Medley Relay after holding off teams from Dockweiler and Zuma in 2010.

Chase Smith an up and comer

Eighth-grader Chase Smith pitches in relief for Daphne High against Davidson High in the 8th annual Jubilee Wood Bat Classic at Daphne on Thursday, June 30, 2011.

(Press-Register/Robert Ladnier)

Future Club wrestler Hunter Ladnier takes down former Future Club team member and present North High wrestler, Jordan Gurrola

Ten months ago wrestler Hunter Ladnier made a commitment to himself, to his coach, and to his team: he was going to take first place at the California USA Dave Schultz KIDS Freestyle State Championship.

Last month in Fresno he did just that, claiming the championship title for the 105-pound weight class in the schoolboy division.

“He didn’t just pull it off,” said Ladnier’s coach, Rick Gurrola. “He destroyed.”

Rocketing through his preliminary matches, Ladnier met a close finish but pulled through in his seventh and final match against David San Miguel of Palomino Academy, with a decision of 4-3 in the first round and 6-5 in the second and final round.

(Photo by Ciley Carrington

Home of Fanny Brice on the Market

The Holmsby Hills area of Los Angeles is no stranger to high-end real estate. A nearly entirely renovated house from 1938, originally owned by actress Fanny Brice, is now listed with asking price of $65 million, according to Curbed Los Angeles.

The estate is now owned by Richard King, producer of such shows as "Hannah Montana" and "Blossom." The property has benefited from significant home repair and maintenance projects undertaken by the producer after he and his wife took ownership in 2001 to the tune of $15 million, according to the Real Estalker.

The eight-bedroom, 11-bathroom estate has enough amenities to make any silver screen starlet comfortable. There is a guest house on site, and the pool is flanked by a dual purpose structure that serves as both a pool house and home gym, according to Curbed. Sports fans may also enjoy the home's full tennis court.

Brice was the home's very first owner, according to the Real Estalker. The Zeigfeld Follies star sent the moving company to the estate after her split from music man Billy Rose. While there are no reports of how much Brice shelled out for the pad back in 1938, it is probably safe to say it was considerably less than the current $65 million price tag being reported by Curbed.

"New sit-in to press their demands"

Protesters returned to Tahrir Square in Cairo with tents on Wednesday, starting a new sit-in to press their demands for an end to emergency rule and changes to Egypt’s interim government, according to bloggers and activists.

Ancient Mosaic Found

Excavations in the bowels of an ancient Roman hill have turned up a well-preserved, late 1st century wall mosaic with a figure of Apollo, nude except for a colorful mantle over a shoulder.

Archaeologists and city officials unveiled the recent find to reporters Friday on the Oppian Hill. The mosaic-covered wall is 53 feet wide and at least 6 1/2 feet high. Officials think the wall continues down about 261/2 feet more.

Archaeologists say the wall appears to be in a tunnel built to help support Trajan's Baths, named for the emperor who ruled from 98 till 117. The mosaic, which also depicts a Muse, apparently embellished a room where wealthy Romans gathered to hear music and discuss art.

—Associated Press

Friday, July 29, 2011

"You couldn’t make this stuff up"

One cliché goes like this: Truth is stranger than fiction. Another cliché, or perhaps most accurately contemporary slang, goes like this: You couldn’t make this stuff up.

If any book deserves to be categorized — and praised — based on those sayings, it’s The Triple Agent by Joby Warrick, a Washington Post reporter.

"design competition for a new President’s Park South"

Today, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) announced Rogers Marvel Architects has won a design competition for a new President’s Park South, a 52-acre historic site located between the White House grounds and the Washington Monument. Redesigning President’s Park South, which is one of the most-visited landscapes in Washington, D.C., is a challenging brief for a designer. The site, which includes Sherman Park and the Ellipse, a number of monuments, and a closed through-street (E Street NW), is home to the national Christmas tree and also filled with tourists, local joggers, and sports teams year round. Any new design must meet the tough security requirements of the U.S. Secret Service but be more easily accessible for the thousands of tourists and locals who use the space. In addition, a new design must accomodate both bicyclists and those driving into work at the White House every day, and offer an “attractive environment” for visitors while maintaining the site’s ”historic integrity.” Alex Krieger, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design and an advisor to the competition, said “it’s a challenging, intriguing project” with issues that only ”some of the most creative minds in the field of design” can solve.

"Dropped from the Top"

1908 Baseball Dropped from Top of Washington Monument Caught by Gabby Street. Subsequent to the publishing of the auction catalog, it was brought to our attention that a baseball purported to be the one caught by Street is within the collection of the Baseball Hall of Fame. While Heritage would contend that an American League baseball with Street family provenance makes a more compelling argument than the Hall of Fame's National League baseball with provenance from the family of the man who tossed the ball from the Monument, this issue must be disclosed nonetheless.

It took thirteen tries until the Washington Senators catcher was able to snag one, and later the crowd that had gathered to watch Gabby Street attempt to catch a ball dropped from the top of the Washington Monument described the sound of the ball hitting Street's mitt as that of a pistol shot. The 535 foot drop took just four and a half seconds, the ball carrying two hundred pounds of force behind it as it reached Street, traveling at one-eighth the speed of a rifle bullet, as a local Washington newspaper reported.

A framed (23x31") reproduction of the newspaper article quotes Street as saying afterwards, "The ball I caught hit my mitt with terrific force, much greater than any pitched ball I have ever caught, and I have caught some pitchers who are given credit for having wonderful speed. Though my mitt is three or four inches thick, the force of the ball benumbed my hand." Presented here is the very ball that made Gabby Street a folk hero of sorts, the one he holds in his right hand as he poses for a photographer's camera at the base of the Monument above the caption "Two seconds after the catch." The shellacked, deeply toned OAL ball is boldly notated "Ball caught from Top of Washington Monument By Chas. E. Street, Aug. 21, 1908." A unique sidenote to Dead Ball era history for the cultured collector. Guide Value or Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000.

"An unsung hero of the acoustic piano"

An unsung hero of the acoustic piano, Alan Broadbent is a highly lyrical and melodic bebopper/post-bopper who has cited Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, Tommy Flanagan, Nat "King" Cole, and Red Garland as some of his favorite pianists. Raised in New Zealand, he moved to Boston in 1966 to study at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. After staying on the road with Woody Herman (for whom he was a writer, arranger, and soloist) from 1969-1972, he settled in Los Angeles. Broadbent went on to work as a sideman for Chet Baker, tenor saxmen Warne Marsh and Gary Foster, and the late singer Irene Kral in the '70s, and with Bud Shank and arranger Nelson Riddle in the '80s. ))The '90s found him writing arrangements for Natalie Cole, Marian McPartland, Scott Hamilton, and others, and playing alongside bassist Charlie Haden, tenor saxman Ernie Watts, and drummer Larance Marable in Haden's Quartet West a unique and conceptual L.A.-based group that is known for including bits of dialogue from film-noir movies between bop performances. Broadbent's excellent trio albums for Discovery in the '80s and Concord in the '90s make it clear that he deserves to be much better known as a soloist.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Giant Marilyn Monroe Statue Unveiled in Chicago

A giant 26-foot statue of Marilyn Monroe, named "Forever Marilyn," has been unveiled in Chicago. In collaboration with The Sculpture Foundation, Zeller Realty Group commissioned the premiere installation of the new artwork by sculptor Seward Johnson. The statue recreates the scene from The Seven Year Itch where Marilyn is trying to keep her dress from beng blown by a draft from a subway grate. Take a look.

"these phenomenal cascading white waters"

Niagara Falls, bordering Canada on one side with Horseshoe Falls and the U.S. with American Falls, is noted as a source of power to the practical of mind. But to the romantic, it has always been the ultimate honeymoon location. For the adventuresome such as Sam Patch and Annie Addison Taylor, it has been a source of daredevil fetes as they made their jumps and survived. For Hollywood, the falls have been a source of subject matter and background in such movies as Niagara with Marilyn Monroe and Superman II. Niagara Falls is a main attraction in itself, however there are many ways to see and experience these phenomenal cascading white waters.

The "Blackness of Space"

The International Space Station Orbits Over A Blue-and-White Earth, Backdropped By the Blackness of Space, November 25, 2009

(As Seen From Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-129)

"Earth Trojan asteroid"

This artist's concept provided by NASA illustrates the first known Earth Trojan asteroid, discovered by NEOWISE, the asteroid-hunting portion of NASA's WISE mission. The asteroid is shown in gray and its extreme orbit is shown in green. Earth's orbit around the sun is indicated by blue dots. The objects are not drawn to scale.

Paul Wiegert/AP

"Edge Walk"

The City of Toronto is the largest city in Canada and the provincial capital of Ontario, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. The city has a population of 2.48 million and its metro region, the Greater Toronto Area, has a population of 5.9 million; Toronto is at the heart of the Golden Horseshoe, a region in south-central Ontario with roughly 8 million people. Canadian Press reporter Alexandra Posadzki leans back, while participating in a preview of Edge Walk on the CN Tower, which opens next month.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Thank you, 'music lovers' "

Lindley Armstrong “Spike” Jones (December 14, 1911 – May 1, 1965) was a popular musician and bandleader specializing in performing satirical arrangements of popular songs. Ballads and classical works receiving the Jones treatment would be punctuated with gunshots, whistles, cowbells, and ridiculous vocals. Through the 1940s and early 1950s, the band recorded under the title Spike Jones and his City Slickers and toured the United States and Canada under the title The Musical Depreciation Revue.


They say Phillips Club is superior to a timeshare since you acquire a 1/8 fractional deeded ownership. You are allotted 45 days a year but you can stay at the Club whenever you want, subject to the reservation policy and availability. There is a tastefully designed large living area in addition to a beautiful bedroom complete with luxurious linens. The marble bath and a fully outfitted kitchen provide everything you need for your stay. Leave your clothes and belongings in a private wardrobe which can be delivered to your room upon your arrival! There is a flat screen television with cable in the living room and bedroom, a DVD/VCR, a stereo with CD/cassette, voice mail, high speed internet and a safe in the room. Amenities include a doorman, 24 hour concierge, maid service, conference room, laundry and valet service, access to Rebok Sports Club/NY and a 24 hour parking garage adjacent to building. Here is an opportunity to own in Lincoln Square, one of New York City's most wonderful neighborhoods by Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle and Central Park.

This Western star was the REAL DEAL

Tom Mix was an expert shot and horseman.

Cowpokes Versus Death Rays

"Cowboys & Aliens" isn't the first movie to mix sci-fi and western genres. A new DVD set, "A Big Box of Cowboys, Aliens, Robots and Death Rays," features eight vintage sagebrush sagas that also enter the sci-fi zone. Perhaps the most famous is 1935's "Radio Ranch" with Gene Autry. "Radio Ranch" is actually an edited feature-length version of Autry's serial "The Phantom Empire," which finds the singing cowboy discovering a race of humans living in a metropolis under the earth. The set also features films starring such famed movie cowpokes as Tim McCoy in 1936's "Ghost Patrol," Ken Maynard in 1932's "Tombstone Canyon," Ray "Crash" Corrigan in 1941's "Saddle Mountain Roundup" and Bill Cody Sr. and Jr. in 1935's "Vanishing Riders."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Liveable Art"

From the front, a jigsaw puzzle of large poured concrete blocks suggests a baker's hat with a large tilted window carved out of its center. Four bedrooms and four bathrooms in 5134 square feet, this Home of the Week was listed at $5.85 million (June, 2010), and sold for $4.12 million in June, 2011.

(Photo by Kenneth Johansson)

Neutra's Kronish House appears to be bound for demolition

The Kronish House, one of a handful of Beverly Hills residences designed by Modernist architect Richard Neutra, appears headed for demolition.

Soda Partners, the limited partnership that owns the nearly 7,000-square-foot residence north of Sunset Boulevard, has secured a permit to cap the sewer line, a step that often precedes a request for a demolition permit, said Jonathan Lait, Beverly Hills' assistant director of community development.

The owner has not yet applied for a permit to raze the structure, an action that would require a 10-day notice of demolition. Mitchell Dawson, an attorney for Soda Partners, did not respond to requests for comment.

Rumors have spread among preservationists that a tear-down is imminent.

The house, which is not visible from the street, has been "terribly neglected, but the bones are still there," said Dion Neutra, an architect who teamed up with his late father, Richard, on the project. "The new owner thinks it would be more valuable to tear it down and have empty land."

How to turn dazzling potential into disappointment and despair

As Barry Minkow prepared to be sentenced a second time for securities fraud, he appeared in a familiar role: repentant, apologetic, acknowledging deep character flaws and expressing hope he can transform himself for the better yet again.

"The truth about me is I am a 45-year-old loser, and I am so very sorry for what I have done," Minkow wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz of Miami, who was to sentence him early Thursday for conspiring to manipulate the stock of home builder Lennar Corp.

Minkow said he let down the congregation at San Diego's Community Bible Church, where he reinvented himself as head pastor after spending more than seven years in prison for the ZZZZ Best investment scam in the 1980s. Church members he served for 14 years "never saw my criminal activity coming," he said.

The sentencing marks the latest twist in the life of a man who was once hailed as a whiz-kid entrepreneur on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" while a teenager growing up in Reseda. Even after getting out of prison, Minkow parlayed his reputation as a Ponzi schemer to build a new life as a fraud-detection specialist and government informer.

This time around, facing up to five years in prison, Minkow knew he might not be so lucky.

The ex-con who reinvented himself as a pastor and crime fighter was given five years, the maximum sentence on the single count of conspiracy to which he had pleaded guilty. He was also ordered to pay $583 million in restitution to the home builder Lennar Corp. for attacks that battered its stock price.

"There's some religion in here somewhere"

When preeminent British historian John Julius Norwich tells us in the introduction to his sweeping history of the Catholic papacy that his job is to give us "a straightforward single-volume history" of the world's "most astonishing social, political, and spiritual institution ever created," he's hit the nail on the proverbial head. The centuries-old Roman papacy truly is a universally unrivaled institution, and in dense detail, Norwich's book shows us the historic playbook.

As Norwich says upfront, "Absolute Monarchs" is a political history more than anything, and with his unstuffy and sometimes witty writing style, he walks us through what could otherwise be a stifling couple of thousand years of popes, antipopes, endless political power struggles, war, greed, torture, inquisitions, egomania, incest, fornication, bastard children and orgies. . Reading page after page of this cacophony of temporal sin, one begins to wonder whether this is a history of a religious institution at all.

"One of the greatest chess players in history"

Garry Kasparov is a former world chess champion who is considered to be one of the greatest players in history. He held the title from 1985 to 2000 and was ranked No. 1 in the world for 20 consecutive years, from 1986 through his retirement in 2005. After retiring, he became active in Russian politics and an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin, then president and later the powerful prime minister.

He became the leader of the umbrella opposition group known as The Other Russia and briefly attempted to run for president.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"stunning narrative"

In this riveting and relentless nonfiction thriller, award-winning investigative reporter William C. Rempel tells the harrowing story of former Cali cartel insider Jorge Salcedo, an ordinary man facing an extraordinary dilemma--a man forced to risk everything to escape the powerful and treacherous Cali crime syndicate.

Colombia in the 1990s is a country in chaos, as a weak government battles guerrilla movements and narco-traffickers, including the notorious Pablo Escobar and his rivals in the Cali cartel. Enter Jorge Salcedo, a part-time soldier, a gifted engineer, a respected businessman and family man--and a man who despises Pablo Escobar for patriotic and deeply personal reasons. He is introduced to the godfathers of the Cali cartel, who are at war with Escobar and desperately want their foe dead. With mixed feelings, Jorge agrees to help them.
Once inside, Jorge rises to become head of security for Miguel Rodriguez Orejuela, principal godfather of the $7-billion-a-year Cali drug cartel. Jorge tries to turn a blind eye to the violence, corruption, and brutality that surround him, and he struggles privately to preserve his integrity even as he is drawn deeper into the web of cartel operations. Then comes an order from the godfathers that he can't obey--but can't refuse. Jorge realizes that his only way out is to bring down the biggest, richest crime syndicate of all time.
Thus begins a heart-pumping roller-coaster ride of intensifying peril. Secretly aided by a pair of young American DEA agents, Jorge races time and cartel assassins to extract damaging evidence, help capture the fugitive godfather, and save the life of a witness targeted for murder. Through it all, death lurks a single misstep away.
William C. Rempel is the only reporter with access to this story and to Jorge, who remains in hiding somewhere in the United States--even the author doesn't know where--but has revealed his experience in gripping detail. Salcedo's is the story of one extraordinary ordinary man forced to risk everything to end a nightmare of his own making.

(From the Hardcover edition)

You can become famous too !!

Above, John Wayne Bobbitt, the man who became famous after his wife cut off his penis as he slept. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

“space-aged” and "fantastical"

American modernist architect, John Lautner, is often lauded as a brilliant futurist. His works are often described as “space-aged” and fantastical - and there can be no bigger fan than I. His most notable houses defy convention as they swoop, swing, and sway like playful sculptures in a Dali-esque fantasy. (Bob Hope joked that his Lautner-designed house in Palm Springs would attract space aliens.)

Instead of designing a house and plopping a roof on top like the lid on a box, he famously believed the roof should be “of the house, not on the house”. This is most evident in some his best-known houses where there are no walls, no roofs, only surfaces that rise out of the ground and curve overhead to create a protective canopy.

But there’s nothing particularly ‘futurist’ about this. In fact, Lautner is borrowing from one of the oldest building methods that ever existed. Long before balloon-frame construction was invented and perfected by early Scandinavians, homes were built Lautner’s way with no regard to ‘walls’ and ‘roofs’. Whether they be the igloos of the Inuits, the mud-huts of Northern Africa, the grass-huts of Central Asia, or the teepees of North America, homes were built Lautner-style under domes or curved-and-leaning planes. Perhaps these ancient builders were the true ‘futurists’.


When God tells you what to do, you do it. In 2344 BC, He told Noah to build an ark, and Noah did so to his precise specifications. In 1477, He told Torquemada to cleanse the world of non-Christians, and the dedicated friar went about his task with zeal. And in 1963, as if Chartres, Hagia Sophia, the Vatican, and Salt Lake City weren’t enough, God told televangelist Oral Roberts to “Build Me a University. Build it on My Authority, and on the Holy Spirit.” So build it Roberts did.

As evidence of God’s immaculate good taste, he apparently instructed Roberts to build it in the latest architectural style, befitting the budding space age. Futurist architect Frank Wallace heard the calling and designed a sprawling campus for 5,000 students that could double as an astronaut training center. At the heart of it all is a 200-foot tall prayer tower inspired by Seattle’s Space Needle, tweaked to resemble a cross with a stylized crown of thorns. Upon the tower’s completion, Roberts was so giddy he declared a three day celebration of prayer and fasting.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sue Tilley in "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" by Lucian Freud

The painting holds the world record for the highest price paid for a painting ($33.6 million) by a living artist. It was sold at Christie’s in New York in May 2008 to oligarch billionaire Roman Abramovich.

"Welcome to one of the strangest boating experiences London has seen"

Ever wanted to row around a pea-green pond while quaffing a cocktail and enjoying the sights across central London? Welcome to one of the strangest boating experiences this capital has seen.

The Truvia Voyage of Discovery art installation on the roof of Selfridges is part of a marketing campaign aimed at launching a new natural sweetener onto the British market.

It has been lovingly put together by Bompas & Parr (the experience creators who love playing with their food – what would their parents say?) who have faced quite a few challenges to get this off the ground. Getting to the roof itself requires a special lift covered in classic books including Treasure Island and Fear Of Flying. The roof itself is below a specially-built platform upon which a boating lake (with twelve boats, a waterfall, a cocktail booth and a lifeguard) and a cocktail bar have been mounted.

All ticket holders get two crystals which can be exchanged by Truvia-enhanced cocktails, coffee or tea. Our tip for the boat ride is to either go solo or find someone of similar weight; even though the lake is quite shallow, we don’t recommend a dip (unplanned or otherwise) in the fluorescent water.

"wearing the trademark red and blue"

Superman movie on which fans had nothing much recently has some interesting bits and pieces revealed so Superman movie now has its fans somewhat enlightened about this currently underway project. So far there were only few details revealed about the projects such as casting and it was only recently that director Zack Snyder appeared to have decided to open up a bit about his new directorial venture. Many basic and primary details about matters like storyline or the villain is yet to be revealed and even the movie titled is yet to be confirmed. However opening up about the new project in hands director had some comments which might help fans to form an idea about what they can expect when final result of a movie hits theaters.

One of the significant comments made by director on Superman movie had been that he is looking forward to make this movies as realistic as possible unlike in previous installments which had featured the super hero character. Among these comments director had said that actor playing titular role Henry Cavill is quite busy these days working out hard to get in shape to wear the trademark red and blue costume. Moving back to his hopes for the movies director had emphasized the fact that this is going to be the most realistic movie he has done so far. He sure sounds quite enthusiastic about the projects and with his upcoming Sucker Punch many fans will be wanting to see that so they can form an idea about style of director.

Superman movie director also had some interesting ideas about to share with fans on casting of stars like Diane Lane and Kevin Costner who will be playing the roles of Martha and Jonathan Kent adoptive parents of Superman. With these top stars on board for those characters it seems that this time much prominence will be given to those two roles unlike in previous efforts which did not have substantial significance given to those two roles. Moreover actress Amanda Seyfried is heard to have auditioned for a role but had to give up due to her commitment to Big Love which signals that the vacancy of leading lady is yet to be filled.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"Forty-five years late"

• Dolly Parton @ The Hollywood Bowl. Perhaps Los Angeles should apologize for our poor manners: Forty-five years after Dolly Parton first went pro, the legendary country singer makes her Hollywood Bowl debut with two shows in the open air. Her Tennessee-lonesome weepers (“Jolene,” “Down From Dover”) and devoted odes to true love (“I Will Always Love You”) will no doubt charm the dickens out of the Hollywood -– or Dollywood? -– Bowl. The Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. Friday. Also Saturday. Tickets range from $12-$134, not including surcharges. -- Randall Roberts, L A Times

Sharks Reef at the Mandalay Bay Hotel

One of the most amazing aquatic experiences to be found in Las Vegas or anywhere. Nearly 75 species of aquatic life including tropical fish, reptiles, and yes -- sharks! The centerpiece of the attraction is a 1.3 million gallon tank with a tunnel that runs through the center of it. Guests gaze at more than 100 sharks swimming all around them, including above and below. In with the fishes are scuba-suited experts who wear special headsets that allow them to educate visitors about the sharks and other marine life within the reef. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Last admission at 10 p.m.) Purchase tickets at attraction: around $12.95 for adults, $9.95 for children 12 and under.

Million Dollar View

The Mandarin Bar is located on the 23rd Floor of the newly opened Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas' City Center. The layout of this hotel is unique and unlike any other. When you enter on the first floor there is no one to greet you... just elevators and lavishly chic Asian decor. When you enter the elevator, there are only two buttons to pick from, one of them being the 23rd floor. When you arrive on the 23rd floor you enter a "sky lobby" with large check-in desk and adjacent Tea Room (a place where you can enjoy English tea and cupcakes all day). To the left is the restaurant, Twist by Pierre Gagnaire and to the right, Mandarin Bar.

"Captain America"

No one makes a more sympathetic hero than a 98-pound weakling. If he's bullied, orphaned and asthmatic - if he gets beaten up by jerks in alleyways on a regular basis - why, all the better. Behind that concave chest beats the heart of a lion.

Meet Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), the stick figure who becomes the strapping wartime Nazi hunter in the sturdy-framed "Captain America: The First Avenger," the latest in this summer's long succession of highly muscled hero movies. What distinguishes Cap is his humble backstory, which involves neither hairy gods nor hot-dogging test pilots but a kid from Brooklyn who just wants to fight for freedom.

Five times Steve has tried to enlist, but each time he's been rejected. Then he catches the eye of Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci). Erskine is a gentle German scientist, now working for the Americans, with an awesome new serum that can turn a runt like Steve into a super-speedy, superstrong super-soldier. And so is created Captain America. After being misused by the government to sell war bonds and star in movie shorts, Cap will go on to fight this particular movie's villain: Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving), a nutcase Nazi who controls a spooky blue energy source that hails from the Nordic gods.

"Captain America" serves as both an energetic intro to the character and a cheerfully retro nod to simpler times. What it lacks in fresh ideas, it makes up for with gung-ho action and a sincere lead performance by a star whose usual MO is frat-boy quippiness

"Human Fuse"

The 47-year-old Brian Miser is the star of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s new show, ‘Fully Charged ’. Called the ‘Human Fuse’, Miser launches himself from a giant homemade crossbow more than 100 feet through the air at 65 miles per hour – while on fire!