Saturday, March 31, 2012

London's California Earthquake PIX

It is still magic after all these years: Slowly the black and white image comes to life in the darkroom tray at the headquarters of the California Historical Society in San Francisco. The picture is from another time, but it is sharp and clear -- it is of a huge domed building, all in ruins, as if it had been bombed.

It is the wreckage of San Francisco's City Hall (above), destroyed in an earthquake a century ago this spring. It is a remarkable picture, but the photographer was even more remarkable. He was Jack London.

London was at the height of his fame as an author in 1906, and he and his new wife, Charmian, roamed the ruins of San Francisco on assignment for Collier's magazine, making notes, interviewing people and taking photographs.

He was paid 10 cents a word, and his eyewitness account of the disaster is a classic of magazine reporting. But his pictures -- dozens of them -- have never been exhibited in public, said Stephen Becker, the California Historical Society's executive director.

The photographs themselves have been seen by researchers and scholars but have never been developed on modern equipment and superior photographic paper.

"This is the first time these pictures have ever been printed like this,'' said Philip Adam, the California Historical Society's photographer. He was busy making several of the prints Thursday morning in advance of an exhibition at the historical society. It opened Feb. 9 at the society's San Francisco gallery at 678 Mission St.


"Sunset Boulevard" star Gloria Swanson was married six times. Who was her Oscar-winning first husband ???

Wallace Beery, shown here as Pancho Villa in 1934.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

‘Go fly a kite’

John Sedberry takes advantage of a winter storm to kiteboard the Hermosa Beach surf. Photo by Bo Bridges

If someone tells John Sedberry to ‘Go fly a kite’ he is more than willing to oblige… as long as it’s on the water.

The Hermosa Beach resident is one of many extreme athletes who have taken advantage of the strong winds to hit Southern California recently while enjoying the surface water sport of kiteboarding.

Riding a small surfboard with an attached kite and up to 90 feet of line length, kiteboarders utilize the power of the wind to propel themselves across the water while jumping and surfing the waves. Laying the lines out on the sand in the correct position, boarders can walk the specifically designed kites up into the wind.

“With kiteboarding everything is magnified, particularly the jumping,” Sedberry explained. “For most converted windsurfers such as myself, kiteboarding was the light wind alternative, but with the evolution in equipment design it is now the high wind alternative as well.”

"Don't mess with Sarah"

"Conrad's anti-nuclear war sculpture"

A controversy has been bubbling over Paul Conrad's anti-nuclear war sculpture in Santa Monica, Chain Reaction, and the latest fallout may spell the end of the 26-foot tall mushroom cloud near the city's Civic Center.

With the deterioration of the steel, fiberglass and copper sculpture, mostly due to the sea air and sun, Santa Monica's Arts Commission and Public Art Committee have recommended the city deaccession the five-and-a-half-ton piece rather than attempt to preserve it. Citing public-safety concerns, the city erected a temporary fence around the sculpture in June.

Installed in 1991, the sculpture was a gift to the city by the artist, paid for by an anonymous donor for $250,000. It was supposed to have been made of bronze, which tends to require little maintenance and resists the elements over time. Instead, the piece was constructed with a stainless steel internal frame, a Fiberglas core and copper tubing for the chain links.

"Weimar Republic-era songs and French chansons"

Ute Lemper brings her reinventions of cabaret for the new century to UCLA's Royce Hall. The German singer-actress skillfully melds the songs of modern writers with an old-fashioned theatricality, and her shows are a blend of pop concert and music-hall performance. She and her backing band offer contemporary takes on some of the Weimar Republic-era songs and French chansons for which she is best known, recasting classics in jazzy arrangements without trivializing them. Royce Hall, UCLA. 8 p.m. Thu. $20.

RQ-11 Raven drones

Before the launch of a top-secret spy satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, a fleet of small drones will be doing some spying of their own.

In yet another use of robotic aircraft, RQ-11 Raven drones equipped with high-powered video cameras will fly around the craggy launch site northwest of Santa Barbara, scouring the ground below to ensure that the area is clear for blastoff.

"Public safety is our first priority during launch operations, " said Staff Sgt. Brandon Johnson, who is a Raven operator and crime prevention officer.

"Raven operations contribute to the overall safety of our mission by ensuring the area is clear of personnel while minimizing the number of people necessary to patrol the area."

The Vandenberg crew will be using the drones to scan the launch safety zone before the liftoff, now scheduled for Friday at 3:38 p.m. They'll be looking for intruders, including those who might be unaware of the pending launch or seeking a good vantage point from which to watch.

The 21-story rocket is set to lift a satellite — classified as a "national security payload," according to Vandenberg officials — into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office. The agency is in charge of designing, building, launching and maintaining nation's spy satellites.

By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

Remember when . . .

Daniel Ellsberg was the most dangerous man in America ???

Seaside Lagoon gets another reprieve

The Seaside Lagoon will remain open for another summer swimming season after the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board granted the facility another reprieve. The regulatory agency has given the city an extra year to implement a costly new water outflow testing requirement.

“Frankly, I am thrilled the board has decided to give us additional time at actually little additional cost,” said Mayor Mike Gin. “I think, and I am hopeful, that they are starting to realize how special and unique a facility the Seaside Lagoon is, so I am grateful for the additional time the council and I have to work through these issues.”

The city has struggled to meet LARWQCB requirements and has spent more than $500,000 since 2005 in water quality fines, testing, and legal costs. The regulatory agency last year threatened more than $21 billion in fines for water quality violations under the Clean Water Act, but eventually issued only $51,000 in fines and issued a new permit intended to keep the lagoon open through 2013. But as part of that agreement, the city was required to undergo a new testing regime, one that became more expensive when the LARWQCB added an array of metals last fall.

The council drew a line in the sand at that additional cost, which was about $50,000, and earlier this year threatened to close the water feature within the lagoon if the water control board did not compromise. The city has long contended that water pumped out of the lagoon – which first cools the AES power plant, then is chlorinated for swimming and de-chlorinated before discharge – is cleaner than the water pumped in from the ocean.

Photo and article from The Easy Reader

"where you come together as a community"

With the scent of apple cider and hot chocolate lingering in the air, more than 10,000 people – clad in beanies, Santa hats, or wrapped in blankets – gathered on Manhattan Beach Boulevard by the Manhattan Beach pier on Sunday for the city’s 22nd annual holiday fireworks festival.

“It’s not just our city, but all of the South Bay comes down,” said Councilmember Richard Montgomery, who helped sponsor the event, along with Mayor Nick Tell and other local businesses and families. “You can sit with old friends, make new friends – above all, this is where you come together as a community.

Photos by Ken Pagliaro. (

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"The Adventures of Tintin"

Paramount Pictures and Columbia Pictures Present a 3D Motion Capture Film “The Adventures of Tintin” directed by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay by Steven Moffat and Edgar Wright & Joe Cornish. Starring Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot,” “Defiance”) as Tintin, the intrepid young reporter whose relentless pursuit of a good story thrusts him into a world of high adventure, and Daniel Craig (“Quantum of Solace,” “Defiance”) as the nefarious Red Rackham.

Based on the series of books The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé, the film is produced by Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Kathleen Kennedy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Does it exist ???

Imagine a hulking, growling, 8-foot-tall woodland creature so elusive that professional trackers can't find it, scientists can only speculate about it and believers can't prove — definitively — that it exists.

Hiding deep in the forest may be your modus operandi, Bigfoot, but Hollywood and Madison Avenue are pushing you — however reluctantly — into the spotlight. A slew of documentary, TV and film projects including Animal Planet's current hit "Finding Bigfoot," and a Sasquatch film trilogy from "Blair Witch Project" director Eduardo Sanchez are poised to get past the old grainy images of yesterday and give the hairy 800-pound bi-ped a high def close-up.

"There's been a real upswing in scholarly interest along with this huge undercurrent of popularity among the general public," said Jeff Meldrum, the Idaho State anatomy and anthropology professor and primates expert who wrote "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science" as a companion to a Discovery Channel special of the same name. "There's something about the human psyche that really connects with this icon."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Want a steady shot ???"

Whether you're working on a slow exposure photography project or are simply the type who loves taking super-sharp photos, the GorillaPod line from Joby has you covered. Ideal for self-portraits, light painting, and all the other situations where you'd want a steady shot, these tripods are designed to be small, convenient, and durable. We looked at how well the newly released GorillaPod Hybrid, Micro 250, and Micro 800 fit and functioned on cameras of different sizes and weights.

Alex Theatre threatened

Millions of dollars' worth of planned improvements at the Alex Theatre have been put on hold, and Glendale may be forced to sell the historic venue because of the state's elimination of local redevelopment agencies.

Glendale Arts, the nonprofit group that operates the theater, said it had postponed upgrades until it determined whether transfer of the venue's ownership from the now-defunct redevelopment agency to the city was legal. If not, the theater could be sold as an agency asset.

In February, a new law took effect shutting down California's roughly 400 redevelopment agencies and redirecting the property tax money they run on to the state, counties and school districts. Glendale's agency was behind such start-up projects as the Americana at Brand and Disney's Creative Campus, but it had also taken over and revamped the Alex Theatre.

In a defensive move, officials shifted ownership of the historic landmark from the redevelopment agency to the city. But it's possible that deal could be undone, and in a report to the City Council last week, city officials warned, "there are more questions and uncertainties than clear answers."

"one long continuous wailing chant"

It was the desperate cries for help that haunted John "Jack" Thayer after he witnessed the death throes of the Titanic as it reared, roared and plunged into the North Atlantic.

The shouts from those thrown into the icy water swelled into "one long continuous wailing chant", noted the teenage son of an American railway baron.

"It sounded like locusts on a midsummer night in the woods. This terrible cry lasted for twenty or thirty minutes, gradually dying away, as one after another could no longer withstand the cold and exposure."

Lost for several decades, his searing first-hand account will be published next month to mark the centennial of the catastrophe in April 1912. Amid the slew of books, documentaries, films, auctions, exhibitions and cruises commemorating the 100th anniversary of the disaster, A Survivor's Tale stands out for its power, intensity - and indisputable authenticity.

From his vantage point clinging to an upturned lifeboat, Jack watched the unthinkable befall what was supposed to be the unsinkable. All the more poignant was that his father, also called John Thayer, was among the 1,514 who perished in the seas in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

"We could see groups of the almost 1,500 people still aboard, clinging in clusters or bunches like swarming bees; only to fall in masses, pairs or singly, as the great after-part of the ship, 250 feet of it, rose into the sky, till it reached a 65 or 70-degree angle," he recalled.

In 1940, those recollections still vivid, he put them into print in privately-printed edition of just 500 copies for family and friends, which sat largely forgotten on relatives' bookshelves for the next seven decades.

Now, however, his compelling story is to be published by Thornwillow Press, specialists in hand-made letterpress printed books, after one of the originals was found by Lorin Stein, editor of the literary magazine Paris Review and a distant relative of the Thayers. The copy was inscribed to his great-grandfather.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Napoleon had it right

Revolutionist, brilliant military strategist, fearless solider, charismatic speaker, tyrant, all of these words could be used to describe the life of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. One thing that is undeniable is that Bonaparte was an astounding leader. This Corsican born soldier who was teased as a child for not being able to speak proper French, showed fearless determination on the battle field and an extraordinary ability to lead people which enabled him to raise to become the of emperor of France by the age of 34.

Standing only 5’2”, Napoleon was both admired and feared throughout Europe during his reign. On his first battle as Commanding general, one of his generals to said to his colleague, “I don’t know why, but the little bastard scares me.” His leadership style was considered unorthodox at the time but today we see that he had all of the major and minor characteristics that make a brilliant leader.

Getting Attention

Getting positive, easy-to-monetize online attention comes down to two things: anticipating the critical problems facing your target market, then providing effective solutions.

The key to successful sales — and let’s not kid ourselves here, we are selling — is threefold. Identify a problem, convince your audience that you’ve diagnosed their problem, and then offer the solution. This problem can be as real as lower back pain or as imagined as a temporary state of mind such as boredom.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"the last of the Aztec rulers"

Cuauhtemoc (ca. 1496-1525) was the last of the Aztec rulers and a heroic defender of his empire against the Spanish conquistadors. Cuauhtemoc is revered by many Mexicans as the symbol of the Indians and as the representative of Mexican nationality.

Cuauhtemoc was born in Tenochtitlán (modern Mexico City), capital of the Aztec empire, the son of the Aztec emperor Ahuitzótl and the princess Tlilalcapatl. When he was 15, he entered the calmecac, or school for the nobility, devoted primarily to the study of religion, science, and art. Then he participated in a number of military expeditions to bring neighboring peoples under Aztec rule. Because of his military exploits he was appointed techutli, a term indicating an upper military and administrative position. In 1515 he was also appointed lordship of the region of Tlaltelolco.

In 1519 the Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernán Cortés, began the conquest of Mexico. Cortés captured the Aztec emperor Montezuma and ruled the empire from behind the throne. In 1520, however, the Indians under the leadership of Cuauhtemoc's uncle Cuitlahuac, who had succeeded Montezuma as Aztec emperor, rebelled and expelled the Spaniards. Cortés regrouped his men and prepared to recapture Tenochtitlán.

By this time Cuitlahuac had died, and Cuauhtemoc had inherited the throne. Cortés now faced a determined and courageous Indian leader. In May 1521 the Spaniards began the siege of the city. The Aztecs fought valiantly, but the water supply dwindled when the Spaniards cut the aqueduct, and by August, with most of the city in ruins, the Aztec defense finally collapsed. Cuauhtemoc attempted to escape but was captured by Cortés's men. Cuauhtemoc asked to be killed, but Cortés refused, taking him to his headquarters in Coyoacán and keeping him under house arrest.

Cuauhtemoc remained in captivity for a long time. On one occasion he was subjected to brutal torture because the Spaniards, believing that he knew where Aztec treasures were hidden, decided to force Cuauhtemoc to reveal the locations of the gold. Cuauhtemoc endured the suffering and revealed no secrets.

During his captivity Cuauhtemoc accompanied Cortés on several expeditions, including one to Honduras in October 1524. For months Spaniards and Indians traveled through Central America, and many of Cortés's Indian allies died of starvation. Cortés became convinced by his men that Cuauhtemoc was urging Indians to rebel. Although Cuauhtemoc protested that he was innocent, Cortés insisted that he and several other Indian leaders must die. Cuauhtemoc was hanged near the town of Itzancanal on Feb. 26, 1525.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"final stage show tour in Australia comes 57 years after her debut"

CANBERRA, Aust — Dame Edna Everage, the Tony Award-winning drag act known for her purple hair and oversized rhinestone eyeglasses, will soon open her final stage show tour in Australia. It comes 57 years after her debut.

Barry Humphries, the actor and satirist who created Australia’s self-proclaimed housewife-superstar, wants to take the farewell show “Eat Pray Laugh!” to Britain and New York over the next two years following the two-month Australian tour that begins in Canberra on June 22, his publicist Kerry O’Brien said Tuesday.

At 78, Humphries said the time had come to retire all his various alter egos from the stage, the most famous of whom is Dame Edna.

“She’s a little weary of touring and strange hotels,” Humphries told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio in Canberra, explaining his most enduring character’s decision to retire

“Nino Fidencio” a miracle please

A believer asking “Nino Fidencio” for a miracle is helped to submerge in the mud at “El Pozito” in El Espinazo, Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state, March 19, 2012. Thousands of believers took part in a procession along the town of El Espinazo to ask for miracles to “Nino Fidencio”, a famous Mexican ‘curandero’ (folk healer), whose spirit still heals people, according to the legend.

(Julio Cesar Aguilar/AFP/Getty Images)

Joe likes being in the news

This is the image that was used when Maricopa County officials voted to retain a mediator to approve payouts to themselves of frivolous claims against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Such blatant self-dealing by government officials was made possible by Arizona's judiciary – including some of the judges now seeking millions of dollars in greedy, undeserved payouts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ashton Kutcher has signed up as an astronaut tourist

(Reuters) - Ashton Kutcher has signed up as an astronaut tourist on Richard Branson's first spacecraft.

The British entrepreneur said on his blog that Kutcher, star of television comedy "Two and a Half Men," will take a ride on a Virgin Galactic flight into suborbital space, which gives passengers a few minutes of weightlessness.

"I gave Ashton a quick call to congratulate and welcome him. He is as thrilled as we are at the prospect of being among the first to cross the final frontier (and back!) with us and to experience the magic of space for himself," Branson said on his blog.

Virgin Galactic, a part of Branson's Virgin Group of companies that includes Virgin airlines, expects to test fly a spacecraft beyond earth's atmosphere this year with commercial passenger service to follow in 2013 or 2014.

Kutcher was the 500th person to sign up for rides on SpaceShipTwo, a six-passenger, two-pilot spaceship being built and tested by Scaled Composites, an aerospace company founded by aircraft designer Burt Rutan and now owned by Northrop Grumman.

The suborbital flights cost about $200,000 per person, are designed to reach an altitude of about 68 miles (109 km), giving fliers a few minutes to experience zero gravity and glimpse earth set against the blackness of space.

Branson said he and his children will be on the first commercial flight and considers Virgin Galactic, which is the most visible of a handful of companies developing spaceships for tourism, "the most exciting business we have ever launched."

Eurovision hopeful Engelbert Humperdinck

Eurovision hopeful Engelbert Humperdinck has admitted he is "nervous" after learning he will be the first performer of the night at the contest.

But he said his fears will spur him on to "come out fighting".

The 75-year-old singer is representing the UK with the song Love Will Set You Free at Baku in Azerbaijan in May and believes it has the "potential" to win.

The song - written by a duo with a strong track record - was premiered yesterday. It emerged earlier today that he will be first on the bill when the show is staged.

"I'm nervous about that but it's also a good position to be in," he said.

"When you lose your nerves, you've lost everything. No matter where I go, no matter how many performances I do, I always have that slight nervous reaction before I go on. It's like being a boxer."

Humperdinck added: "I think it's a good thing - it gives you that edge and makes you come out fighting."

The star - who divides his time between Los Angeles and Leicester, where he was brought up - said Eurovision could be the source of as much British pride as the Diamond Jubilee and Olympic celebrations this year.

He went on: "I feel like an athlete, I really do. I'm in the running. People who meet me are always shaking my hand and saying good luck."

Asked if he thinks it stands a chance of winning, he said: "It has the potentiality of it - I think it's a great song and it all depends on the performance."

Monday, March 19, 2012

"A tribute to the dreamers"

"To all who believe in the power of dreams...welcome! Disney's California Adventure opens its golden gates to you. Here we pay tribute to the dreamers of the past...the native people, explorers, immigrants, aviators, entrepreneurs and entertainers who built the Golden State. And we salute a new generation of dreamers who are creating the wonders of tomorrow...from the silver screen to the computer screen... from the fertile farmlands to the far reaches of space. Disney's California Adventure celebrates the richness and diversity of California... its land, it's people, its spirit and, above all, the dreams that it continues to inspire."

Michael D. Eisner

Madison Square Garden still vital

Home to the New York Rangers, New York Knicks, New York Liberty, St. John’s men’s basketball, the Big East Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, and some of the most memorable entertainment performances ever, Madison Square Garden is a staple in the New York City landscape.

Opening on February 11, 1968, it is the longest active major sporting facility in the New York Metropolitan area, and is the fourth incarnation of the arena in the city. Located in Manhattan on 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets, The Garden is an historical piece of sports and entertainment real estate.

The Spirit and the Liberty Bell

Where Liberty stands out!

One Liberty Place is located at 1650 Market Street and is the second tallest building in Philadelphia and 62nd tallest building in the world. Built from 1984-1987 One Liberty Place has 63 floors (945 feet) and is a mixed commercial building with office and retail tenants as well as a hotel. One Liberty Place was the first building to exceed the height of the William Penn Statue on top of Philadelphia City Hall which is 548 feet and was built in 1901. One Liberty Place is located right in the heart of Philadelphia within walking distance of the first class hotels and restaurants in the city.

The Warner Grand Theatre

The Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro, California is a lavish, art-deco theater opened to the public on January 20, 1931 during the magical decades for films in the 1920s and 1930s. Jack Warner called it "The Castle of Your Dreams." The Warner Grand Theatre was designed by architect B. Marcus Priteca and interior designer A.T. Heinsbergen. Mr. Priteca designed three lavish art-deco palaces which were located in San Pedro, Beverly Hills, and Huntington Park. The Warner Grand is the last of the three original theaters left intact and has been undergoing gradual refurbishment after a thirty-year decline. Priteca later designed Hollywood's famous Pantages Theater.

This is to be the new home of the Civic Light Opera of the South Bay Cities

Pittsburgh Union Trust Building

This Flemish-Gothic style building was built by Henry Frick as a shopping arcade, known as the Union Arcade, with 240 shops and galleries on four levels.

Lively terra cotta dormers and ornaments decorate the steeply pitched mansard roof of the former Pittsburgh Union Trust Building, above which rise two chapel-like mechanical towers. The interior is organized around a central rotunda capped by a stained-glass dome. This building was built on the site of Pittsburgh's nineteenth-century Catholic cathedral. The architect, Frederick Osterling, was one of Pittsburgh's premier architects, and also designed the Arrott Building (1901-02), and the County Mortuary (1901-03). It was built between 1915 and 1917 and is now known as Two Mellon Bank Center.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Polar Bears in the Arctic

After growing up in England and studying anthropology and biology at Oxford, Vanessa Berlowitz embarked on a career in documentary filmmaking that’s taken her from the nightclubs of L.A. to the mountains of Pakistan. After producing two episodes of Planet Earth, the epic natural history series that aired in the U.S. in 2007, she became the series producer of Frozen Planet, which premieres on the Discovery Channel on Sunday, March 18. Like Planet Earth, Frozen Planet uses high-definition production techniques to capture intimate animal behaviors in rarely seen natural environments—in this case, the regions surrounding the North and South Pole.

How to beat the high cost of gasoline

When Harry Mallin commutes to work on his motorcycle, he stops at gas stations only to pick up a Diet Coke.

He rides a Brammo Enertia, which won't ever be mistaken for a loud, heavy "hog." The Enertia is a plug-in electric motorcycle.

"I never have to stop at the pumps," said Mallin, who rides 25 miles round-trip to his job as a lawyer in Kansas City, Mo.

Electric motorcycles, though still a rarity on the nation's byways, have been available for years. But with new models coming out that can go freeway speeds and travel more than 100 miles on a single charge, electric motorcycles could be poised to move beyond novelty status.

Also helping to boost their prospects — the high cost of gasoline.

Is Vegas on a roll?

Well, maybe not a roll but certainly trying to push its way clear of a recession that showed its unemployment, 3 1/2 years after economy tanked, at 13.1% in January. (That’s an improvement from 14.4% in January 2011.)

Some more glimmers of hope (the opening this month of the Smith Center For the Performing Arts was one of the first) come from the announcement this week of two overhauls of downtown Vegas casinos. The Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, at 1 Fremont St., will remain open while it pours $14 million into expanding the casino and hotel, which opened in 1906 as the Hotel Nevada. It’s been 50 years sinice the property has had "meaningful expansions or renovation," said Mark Brandenburg, president and co-owner.

Look for the addition of a five-story hotel tower, with two penthouses and 14 suites, to what Brandenburg calls a boutique hotel. A 16-room addition (bringing the total number of rooms to 122) is "fun to talk about in the context of Las Vegas," where some Strip hotels boast more than 4,000 rooms in a single property.

The Golden Gate also will add 4,000 square feet to its casino, which, Brandenburg said, is unique, not just for its dancing dealers but for its vibe. "Our casino feels like no other casino in town," he said. "There is no other that says they've been here for every sunrise since the town started."

Renovations are expected to be completed by mid-summer. Oh, and the $1.99 shrimp cocktail that's almost synonymous with the Golden Gate? Will that return? "The intent is to keep it at $1.99," Brandenburg said, noting it had been that price for 17 years. (That's the price in the deli; it's $2.99 in the restaurant.)

Nearby, Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel is transitioning to a new name -- the D -- and a new look (contemporary). If you go to the old Fitzgeralds website, you’ll find that it already clicks over to the D. In honor of that transition, on Saturday, patrons who buy in at table games for $300 or play $100 in slots will receive a kelly green shirt (it’s St. Patrick’s Day, remember) that says, on the front, "I got lucky at the D" and on the back "Started drinking at Fitz and woke up at the D."

Its 638 rooms and suites will be renovated, and the casino will be on two floors: The first will be the contemporary casino, which will features the D's dancing dealers. Taking the escalator to the second floor, patrons will find an old-fashioned casino, including vintage slots. The property, like the Golden Gate, will remain open during the redo and is expected to be completed later this year.

Friday, March 16, 2012

"an anti-molestation device for women"

New Delhi: A young inventor, Manu Chopra, may soon change the way women travel in the country. He has invented an anti-molestation device for women, which can be worn as a wrist watch.

Many women from the national capital have faced terror on the roads of Delhi, which has a high rate of crime against women. Some of them may have survived to tell the tale, but it has not been easy dealing with the aftermath.

But the young teenager Manu Chopra now has invented an anti-molestation device for women, worn like a wrist watch. This device works to give electric shocks to attackers based on the speed of nerve impulses.

The average speed of nerve impulses transmitted from the brain to other parts of the body is 60 metre per second. In case of any attempt of molestation, the speed of the nerve impulses increase to 119 metre per second. It is then that this device detects the increased nerve impulse and stings the attacker with a small electric shock of 0.01 amperes. On contact, the attacker is left paralysed for a few moments, giving the victim time to escape.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The undeniable classic, "Casablanca"

While "The Godfather" is busy celebrating its 40th anniversary this year (and got a re-release courtesy of Cinemark Theatres), another American celluloid treasure will be turning 70 and getting it's own fresh look on screens later this month.

Michael Curtiz's undeniable classic, "Casablanca," premiered in November of 1942 before being released into theaters in early 1943. The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart, who lost to Paul Lukas in "Watch on the Rhine"), Best Supporting Actor (Claude Rains, who lost to Charles Coburn in "The More the Merrier"), Best Black-and-White Cinematography (lost to "The Song of Bernadette"), Best Film Editing (lost to "Air Force") and Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (lost to "The Song of Bernadette").

Ingrid Bergman was nominated for Best Actress, though not for Curtiz's film. She was cited instead for Sam Wood's "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

If somehow you're a film lover and have never seen "Casablanca," I think you should probably remedy that soon. I don't think it's the kind of film that can be over-hyped, fortunately, as every praised element is absolutely inarguable

In any case, Turner Classic Movies has announced a 70th anniversary event for "Casablanca" to be held one day only in theaters nationwide. A new digital transfer will land on over 450 screens March 21 (curiously far removed from the actual anniversary date, though I guess the annual Oscar glut would make a latter-year release a little more difficult to achieve effectively).

I caught "Casablanca" on the big screen (and on film, no less) a long time ago. It was a truly wonderful experience. I imagine if you haven't seen it, you could certainly do a lot worse than catching it for the first time on the big screen and via a slick transfer.

But wait, there's more. Notes the press release, "The event will begin with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne taking audiences behind the scenes of this epic love story in a special original production showcasing stories from those who were on set and those who simply admire this timeless classic."

"Hide Me Among the Graves"

Millikan Pi Day

Dean Sherman Gardin takes a pie in the face from a student during Pi Day at Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times / March 14, 2012)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Gone with the Wind"

Stage versions of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind" seem to be as cursed as the 1939 movie was successful. Will the third time be a charm?

A new stage version of "Gone with the Wind" is scheduled to have its world premiere in Canada in 2013. Adapted by actress and playwright Niki Landau, the drama follows the life of Scarlett O'Hara, a vain and manipulative Southern belle who must learn to fend for herself through the devastation of the Civil War.

The play is scheduled to have its premiere at the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg. It is set to run Jan. 10 to Feb. 2.

In 2008, a musical adaptation of the novel directed by Trevor Nunn opened and closed quickly in London. Another stage version, called "Scarlett," debuted in the early '70s and had a run in Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion before a planned Broadway berth.

But under the weight of negative reviews, the show closed before making it to New York.

"a more affordable all-electric sedan"

It’s been a long road for Coda Automotive, the electric car start up out of California trying to introduce a more affordable all-electric sedan for the driving masses.

The company now seems to have reached an important milestone in its path to what it hopes will be prosperity, driving its first production model off of the factory floor yesterday.

Coda EV hits the roadCoda, which we first started covering in September 2010, has seen its share of ups and downs, including some rather lengthy to market delays.

The start up now looks to put that all behind it, as its new sedan prices at around $37,250 before select federal and individual state savings and credits (which, at press time, could drop the price to around $27,250). 

Will this be a price mainstream drivers can get behind? It depends upon what they expect out of this vehicle.

The Coda Sedan has an 88 miles per charge EPA rating, which the car company thinks drivers could eek up to 125 miles if they have good EV driving habits. What may also help with this is the vehicle’s active thermal management system, which reportedly provides constant battery care to help optimize the battery pack’s performance in hot and cold weather conditions.

The thrill ride "arms race"

For most people, a 400-foot free fall from a steel tower is a hair-raising adventure.

Not for thrill-ride enthusiast John Gerard, who can't wait to try what Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia is billing as the world's tallest vertical drop ride, set to open Memorial Day.

"I'm really excited about this," the San Diego doctor said. "I think there are many others like me too."

The ride is the latest example of what theme park fans call the thrill ride "arms race," global competition among theme park operators to set world records for speed, height, distance or greatest number of corkscrew turns in a ride.

On the Six Flags ride, dubbed Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, riders will be strapped into a set of seats attached to a cable that will pull them to the top of a 400-foot tower before they drop to the ground, reaching a speed of 85 mph.

The current record for this category is held by the Giant Drop at Dreamworld in Queensland, Australia, which drops riders from a height of 390 feet. By contrast, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride at Disney's California Adventure peaks at 183 feet.

Thrill rides, Gerard and other enthusiasts say, include roller coasters, drop rides and any extreme attraction designed to frighten passengers. Even an extreme carnival ride might fit the category. Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, for example, added a new swing ride last year that hoists riders 300 feet in the air instead of the modest 20 or 30 feet of most carnival swing rides.

Such extreme rides appeal to thrill seekers like Gerard, who says he has ridden more than 650 roller coasters and drop rides around the world. But theme park officials say the rides also boost overall park attendance by sparking a buzz among theme park fans.

"first published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768"

CHICAGO (AP) - Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. said Tuesday that it will stop publishing print editions of its flagship encyclopedia for the first time since the sets were originally published more than 200 years ago.

The book-form of Encyclopaedia Britannica has been in print since it was first published in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1768. It will stop being available when the current stock runs out, the company said. The Chicago-based company will continue to offer digital versions of the encyclopedia.

Officials said the end of the printed, 32-volume set has been foreseen for some time.

"This has nothing to do with Wikipedia or Google," Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc. President Jorge Cauz said. "This has to do with the fact that now Britannica sells its digital products to a large number of people."

The top year for the printed encyclopedia was 1990, when 120,000 sets were sold, Cauz said. That number fell to 40,000 just six years later in 1996, he said. The company started exploring digital publishing the 1970s. The first CD-ROM version was published in 1989 and a version went online in 1994.

The final hardcover encyclopedia set is available for sale at Britannica's website for $1,395.

"Gypsy," with Barbra Streisand

The on-again, off-again movie adaptation of "Gypsy," with Barbra Streisand in the lead, is officially on again. Universal announced Tuesday that the movie project is moving forward with "Downton Abbey" creator and writer Julian Fellowes coming on board to pen the screenplay.

"Gypsy" will be produced by Streisand and Joel Silver, but a director has not been announced. Fellowes, who won an Oscar for his screenplay for "Gosford Park," will write the adaptation of the classic stage musical, which features songs by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim and a book by Arthur Laurents.

Streisand, who turns 70 next month, will play Mama Rose, the overbearing stage mother grappling with raising two young daughters during the Depression. The musical is based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous vaudeville performer and striptease artist.

Last year, "Gypsy" appeared to be dead in the water at Warner Bros. after Laurents said that he didn't want the new movie version to happen and that he had withdrawn his permission for it. Laurents died in May at the age of 93.

But it wasn't the film he opposed, only certain stipulations regarding oversight by the original authors that couldn't be worked out at Warner Bros., according to his former agent, Jonathan Lomma of WME Entertainment. Lomma, who continues to represent the estate of the legendary Broadway writer and director, said Tuesday that Universal quickly stepped forward with an offer that garnered Laurents' blessing prior to his death.
"Gypsy" debuted on Broadway in 1959, with Ethel Merman in the role of Mama Rose. Other actresses who have played the iconic part on Broadway include Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters and, most recently, Patti LuPone.

The only other time "Gypsy" has been adapted for the big screen was in 1962, in a version starring Rosalind Russell, whose singing voice was dubbed. Bette Midler played the role in a 1993 TV adaptation of the musical.

No release date has been set for the Streisand version.

Piatigorsky International Cello Festival

Niall Ferguson’s YouTube tastes are admittedly a little bit different from his peers at Santa Monica High School.

“I search cellists on the Internet and whatever pieces I’m interested in hearing, and I’ve created a library of my favorite cellists,” says Ferguson, a senior.

The 17-year-old recently added himself to the cellists on YouTube as part of an audition for a spot in the inaugural Piatigorsky International Cello Festival, a 10-day extravaganza that began Friday night. Ferguson will be one of 110 cellist performing at Walt Disney Concert Hall in the finale of the festival.

"world record for free diving"

Plantation, FL -- William Trubridge set a new world record in unassisted free diving at Dean's Blue Hole on Long Island in the Bahama Out Islands. On April 11, 2007, with a dive time of 3’09” and without the assistance of fins, ropes or weight belts, Trubridge reached an unassisted free dive depth of 82 meters at Dean’s Blue.

Two days prior, Trubridge made free diving history by reaching 81 meters, shaving a meter off the previous record set by Czech diver Martin Stepanek in 2005. The 27 year-old from New Zealand is now known as the man that holds the new world record for free diving.

Don't be wasteful !!

A World Record for the Youngest Psychologist

Mexico City, Mexico -- Mexican teenager Andrew Almazan Anaya, 16, considered a child prodigy for his intellectual precocity, has graduated as a psychologist - setting the world record for the Youngest psychologist - and will go on to finish his last few semesters of medical studies.

Monday, March 12, 2012

"his very own Batcave"

DUNAJSKA STREDA, Slovakia (Reuters) - His utility belt might not be as well-equipped as the TV version and he hasn't had to fight Penguin's henchmen yet, but Zoltan Kohari has nailed the superhero look and grit needed to fight evil in the southern Slovak town of Dunajska Streda.

Dressed in his home-made, all-leather Batman costume with the bat symbol proudly displayed on his chest and pointy ears on his cowl, Kohari, 26, cleans the streets, helps old people out and calls the police when he sees something suspicious.

"I have decided to do good for the people. I take care of order and help clean up the environment so we can keep living on this planet," Kohari told Reuters.

There are some slight differences in the storylines of the real-life Kohari and fictional millionaire Bruce Wayne, the man behind the mask in Batman comic books, TV shows and films.

For one, Kohari is a real-life person, whose path to the side of truth, justice and a tidy neighbourhood once strayed to the wrong side of the law.

The trained house painter spent eight months in jail last year and attempted suicide after he was released, before realising he had a mission to make life in his community better.

Lacking a full-time job, he moved into a dilapidated concrete apartment block on the edge of town where he turned an empty apartment - with no electricity or running water -- into his very own Batcave from where he launches his street patrols.

Kohari's Batman impersonation follows the emergence of a trend in the United States, where ordinary citizens began donning superhero costumes and performing public services in the wake of Hollywood films such as "Kick Ass" and Woody Harrelson's "Defendor", which tell the tale of "real-life" superheroes.

Kohari says he never resorts to physical violence and some people in his town think he is a bit batty, but his neighbours said he is an honest and good man.

"He's had a tough life but he is very dependable and we like him. He helps us out, keeps an eye on public order, and he is a hero for my son and his schoolmates," said Jana Kocisova, a mother of two who lives in a neighbouring apartment block.