Friday, February 15, 2008

Star Double-Crossed Lovers

In what seems to be an all-too-frequent incident we find ourselves, today, having to cope with the reality that another school shooting has taken place back home in the US. I awoke this morning to the very sad news that a gunman opened fired in a lecture hall on the campus of Northern Illinois University, shooting 21 people, killing 5 and then killing himself. As law enforcement officials are trying to piece together the reason why this tragedy happened in the first place, a shocked and saddened Northern Illinois University gathered together today to hold a candlelight vigil for the fallen victims of this latest school shooting:


The gunman in Thursday's shooting rampage at Northern Illinois University has been identified as Steven P. Kazmierczak of Champaign, Illinois. Kazmierczak opened fire on a geology class Thursday, shooting 21 people before turning the gun on himself. Five people were killed in addition to the shooter. The DeKalb County coroner's office identified four of the victims, all Illinois residents: Daniel Parmenter, 20, of Westchester; Catalina Garcia, 20, of Cicero; Ryanne Mace, 19, of Carpentersville; and Julianna Gehant, 32, of Meriden. The fifth victim, Gayle Dubowski, 20, of Carol Stream, Illinois, died at a hospital in Rockford and was identified by Winnebago County authorities. The coroner earlier had said six people died in addition to the shooter but amended the death toll Friday morning. Authorities in Polk County, Florida said police in Illinois had them question the man's father, Robert Kazmierczak of Lakeland, Florida. University President John Peters said the gunman was a former graduate student who had a good record as an undergraduate, receiving a degree in sociology at the school in 2006. A preliminary investigation has not uncovered a police record on the gunman, and records showed he had no contact with university police while a student there, Peters said. "There's no indication that there was any trouble," Peters said. The Chicago Tribune reported that the school honored the gunman two years ago for his research on the U.S. prison system, including a study of self-inflicted wounds among prisoners. He was a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Tribune reported ... Kazmierczak used a shotgun hidden in a guitar case and three handguns hidden under a coat, university Police Chief Donald Grady said Friday. Grady said authorities do not yet know of a motive. A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that two of the weapons were legally purchased February 9 from a dealer in Champaign. The bureau was still tracing the other two weapons used in the attack.

This is just about the most horrible news that we are forced to contend with ... especially in this instance when so many people are wondering why it had to happen in the first place. I simply do not have the words to express how horrible this sort of thing truly is ... my only hope is that the family and friends of those affected by this horrible tragedy at Northern Illinois University can find solace in some way. My thoughts and prayers are with those people. [Source]

It is always very difficult to write a blogpost on a day when a tragedy like this takes place ... I find it feels weird trying to be funny when there are people out there suffering with the pain of shock and loss. In the end, tho, I guess we should do our best to carry on as best we can ... it's just such a sad, sad day.

In positive news, Britney Spears continues to stay out of trouble as it seems her days of reckless partying and pointless meandering around town seems to have come to a halt. On the legal front, Team Spears has been granted even more control over her person and assets as their conservatorship has been extended and strengthened. On a somewhat relevant issues, new legislation is being proposed that would bear Britney Spears's name and hopes to regulate how celebs are to be protected from the paparazzi when they go out into public places:


Britney Spears is to have a law in Los Angeles named after her - because it was her GBP12,000 police escort to hospital last month which prompted councilmen to propose the amendment. The troubled pop star was taken from her Coldwater Canyon home to UCLA Medical Center on 31 January in an ambulance with a motorcade from the Los Angeles Police Department. The job of the motorcade, which included more than 20 police officers, a helicopter and a team of intervention specialists, was to block off traffic ahead and behind the ambulance carrying Spears to hospital, and to keep the paparazzi at bay. And the move has inspired L.A. City Councilman Dennis P. Zine to propose a safety zone be set up to protect areas around celebrities, hospitals, traffic, businesses and homes. The bill also suggests all members of the paparazzi get licenses to take photographs in the protected zones - with those breaking the law having their license revoked and royalties from the picture confiscated. He says, "The straw that broke the camel's back (idea that prompted the law) is the GBP12,000 we spent to escort an L.A. City ambulance to the hospital. I'm not infringing upon the right to take a picture. I'm concerned about the impact they have on the general public." Councilmen will vote on whether to adopt the new 'Britney Law' on 1 March

This is interesting ... it seems to me that the LA City Council will have no problem passing this bill and making it law ... the question becomes whether or not it will be able to stand the scrutiny of the courts. I can understand why a law like this might be necessary, after all, we all have borne witness to the insane tactics that some paparazzi will go to just to take a picture. Anything that can keep people safe is a good idea ... I'm just not sure how the city plans to carry out this new law, should it get voted into being, without costing tax payers more money to fund it. [Source]

But getting back to the first bit, Team Spears (led by Papa Jamie Spears) was granted an extension on its control over Britney's person and assets just as Mama Lynne Spears was on her way out of town. Perhaps they think they've got everything under control so it would be OK for Lynne to fly back to Kentwood, LA for a little while ... or mebbe they just don't like the idea of Jamie-Lynn Spears being without parental supervision for so long ... in any event, Mama Lynne has flown the coup leaving Brit Brit all alone and in the care of her father and her older brother Bryan Spears:


Britney Spears's family members tightened their grip on her finances Thursday as the court extended her father's co-conservator role and granted her brother influence over her day-to-day expenses. L.A. Superior Court Commissioner Reva Goetz made the rulings amid signs that the singer's family has helped keep Britney out of trouble since her early release from a psych ward. Her father Jamie Spears has been overseeing his 26-year-old daughter's well-being and her estimated $100-million fortune since Feb. 1, when Goetz named him and Andrew Wallet temporary co-conservators – giving them the right to employ bodyguards who control Britney's actions and restrict her visitors. On Thursday, Jamie and Wallet requested that the status quo be maintained until March 10 because a psychiatric evaluation of Britney, due Wednesday, had not yet been submitted. The commissioner granted the extension, scheduling a hearing that day to consider extending the conservatorship even further. Britney's father and Wallet were also granted the power to handle the singer's taxes, and Britney's brother Bryan, 30, was named as a trustee of her trust. According to court papers, trust funds are used "to pay for Britney's continued security, and to pay for her medicine, food, other day-to-day expenses and for psychiatric and other medical services" ... Since Britney's father has taken charge of her affairs, she has kept an uncharacteristically low profile with relatively low-key outings: shopping with her mom, Lynne, and regular trips to the Millennium Dance Complex. "She's getting proper medical care and has professional security. The chaos has been removed from the situation," says one legal insider. Meanwhile, as Jamie was in court, Britney's mother, Lynne, was spotted heading out of town at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday.

Thank Jebus, Thank the Lawd! This has been the ongoing positive news that I've been hoping for months now. Whatever bad blood may have existed between Britney and her parents seems to be water under the bridge now ... she is getting the help she desperately needs and she seems to be handling it pretty OK. I realize she is still a long way from normalcy but this is such great news. I just hope the good, positive stuff keeps happening in her life. [Source, Source]

ATTENTION: LOST SPOILER ALERT WARNING

I know that I missed out on recapping last week's episode of Lost but with my traveling schedule and then the Project Runway Finale Fashion Show and then my trip to Amsterdam, well, there just wasn't any time to make up for it. Fortunately, since we got David's Slingbox to work, we were able to watch last night's ep of Lost here in Amsterdam today. And can I just say, OMG! to all the awesomeness that's been happening thus far? The show is finally back to normal ... with really great eps that make you not want to miss a single moment ... making you want to scrutinize every scene for clues ... making you want to pull your hair out because you really don't know WTF is going on. Lost is back and in a big way ... last night's ep and last week's ep have been really great ... and have really been stirring up new confounding questions ... wee!!!!


Geeze ... where to begin ... we have all these questions about who Naomi was and who she was working for ... and what the relationship is between the team of "rescuers" who have come to the island with her. Last week's ep just really blew the storyline wide open and opened up a new avenue of brand new questions. The first season focused on the main survivors, the second season focused on the Tailie survivors and the third season focused on The Others ... it would appear that this season is focusing on yet another contingent that we aren't fully aware of yet. Could it be that the DHARMA Initiative is back for revenge against Ben Linus for his hand in their extermination from the island they settled? Based on what I've seen so far, that is my guess ... but, of course, it could be totally wrong cuz not all of the information has been presented yet. This week's ep had a lot of new, puzzling questions. Since we don't know for sure, let's assume that the Sayid stuff with Elsa takes place in the present (after he gets off the island) ... his flash-forward is the most puzzling one so far (Jack's has been straightforward so far, as has Hurley's ... they both have a hard time coping with being part of the Oceanic 6 ... Kate's is still a mystery). The big kicker at the end is that we learn that Sayid is working for Ben as an assassin (my guess against the DHARMA Initiative). This makes sense ... if DHARMA went after Ben on the island (by way of the "rescuers") and failed then he would want to wage an offensive against them as well. He enlisted Sayid's help by saying they would be protecting "his friends" (remember, at the end of the ep, Ben said something like "You want to protect your friends, don't you?"). But we still don't know who Elsa's boss is. And speaking of, I loved her inclusion in the story ... it was a nice twist that I wasn't expecting. Since I was focusing so much on Sayid's betrayal, I failed to see that she might be a double-crosser, too. Just brills!! While all of this flash-forwarding stuff was going on, we also got to see that Dan's experiment on the island seemed to prove that there is some sort of time warp/delay going on with the island. The beacon that was shot from the plane to his location was 31 mins, 20 secs. late ... very odd. Especially when you consider that the Hatch computer blew up and there is no electromagnetic interference happening on the island anymore ... or at least, that we know of. Blah ... all of this stuff is maddening ... and I love it. Naomi's bracelet means something ... as do the initial's R.G. The thing about Elsa's boss not being an "Economist" must mean something too ... it's too specific a vocation title. Also, did you note the name on Ben's fake passport that Sayid found in his desk drawer in his hidden room on the island? The name read Dean Moriarty -- which is the name of one of the protagonists in the Jack Kerouac novel On the Road. All that currency, all of those clothes (suits, even) and all those fake passports seem to imply that Ben has been going off the island for some time while they all were on the island ... mebbe tracking the DHARMA Initiative? More info will be revealed as the eps continue ... and I can't wait. I miss the days when Lost HAD to be watched moment by moment so that no clue could slip by. Thank Gawd the show got back on track again :) [Source]

Yesterday we found out that z-list celeb Bai-Ling was arrested at LAX airport this week for shoplifting $16.00 worth of magazines and batteries from a terminal shop ... today we have her lovely mug shot and her pitiful excuses:


Actress Bai Ling is blaming her recent shoplifting bust on a case of the Valentine's Day blues. The 37-year-old former Playmate was arrested Wednesday at Los Angeles International Airport after reportedly shoplifting $16 worth of celebrity magazines and batteries from a terminal convenience store. It was an "emotionally crazy" day, she explained to E! News on Thursday. Why? She was coping with the "huge problem of breaking up [before] Valentine's Day." Ling, a former guest star on Lost and Entourage added, "Wrong boyfriend."

Really? Is she really blaming her arrest on a guy she broke up with? How about blaming her need to shoplift on the fact that she is prolly just flat broke, period. Well, I guess I don't blame her for milking this incident for all the attention it's worth ... after all, would we even be talking about her in the first place if she hadn't gotten busted for stealing? [Source]

Vicki B. and her partner in crime little Cruz Beckham were spotted making a break for it at Newark Airport in New Jersey this week:


Hahahahaha ... it looks like Posh was trying her best to go incognito underneath that black hat, black sunglasses and black trenchcoat. She even dressed her son in black to add to the effect ... I'm amazed that she was able to be detected at all. Maybe next time she should try camouflage. [Source]

Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds are keeping their distance this week in what seems to be an attempt to play down rumors that they are engaged or what have you. Here are pics of each of them spending time apart, even resorting to playing mum when posed questions about their personal life:


You'd think that if you were gettin' it from Scarlett Johansson, you'd definitely want to sing about it to the hills and everything and everyone else. Or, not. We caught up with Ryan Reynolds in SoHo yesterday, and our reporter absolutely blistered the "Definitely, Maybe" star with questions about his Valentine's Day plans ... and whether Scarlett was pregnant, and whether they were engaged, and ... Ryan went nowhere near any of it.

HMMMMMM. Do you think something's up? You have to question the happiness of a couple that deliberately chooses to stay apart just for the sake of protecting their supposed happy relationship. Meh, they're prolly just "good friends". [Source]

Here are a couple pictures of Legally Blonde: The Musical stars Orfeh and Andy Karl doing an in-store performance and meet-and-greet at a Borders book store in NYC last night:


Photo credit: Wireimage

Aww ... these two are the cutest ever ... not only do they play the love struck couple made up of Paulette and the UPS Delivery Guy in the musical but they are a real life married couple as well. Love it. As I've mentioned on the blog before, Legally Blonde is one of my fave Broadway shows going on right now ... and Orfeh and Andy really add to my lurve of the show :) [Source]

Uh Oh ... the world famous Naked Cowboy is going head-to-head with the world famous Mars candy company over a little matter of trademark infringement ... or something like that. You see, the Naked Cowboy is world famous for hanging out in Times Square in NYC while wearing nothing but a hat, underwear, a pair of boots and a guitar. Mars, the makers of M&Ms, thought it would be a good idea to put up a video billboard featuring a Naked M&M wearing the same thing ... hence, the trademark infringement:


This from CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin: Most New Yorkers and visitors to Times Square know of The Naked Cowboy. For the past 10 years, he's the guy you've seen on the sidewalk, with the great body, strumming his guitar and singing, dressed in a cowboy hat, cowboy boots and underwear -- and nothing else, even in the dead of winter. As a native New Yorker, I will admit that at times, it has been my guilty pleasure to walk or drive by The Cowboy to see if he can bear the elements. To my amazement, he's always there and pretty naked -- in rain, sleet, snow, heat or bitter cold. I've even taken pictures. Well, it seems that Mars Inc., the makers of M&Ms, also knows about Robert Burck (The Cowboy's real name). Burck sued Mars this week for $6 million in federal court in New York. The allegations: trademark infringement under the Lanham Act and violation of his right of publicity under New York Civil Rights Law §51, arising from a video billboard for M&Ms. The video ad depicts an M&M frolicking around New York, in what kind of looks like Times Square, in what kind of looks like The Naked Cowboy's outfit -- briefs and nothing more than a smile. There have been plenty of jokes about the lawsuit, and I'm especially fond of the ones found on The Wall Street Journal Law Blog on Thursday, such as:

"If his lawyers' briefs are as tight as his, he will certainly win." -- Acepilot

"Thought this was about a naked cowboy. If the plaintiff is wearing briefs then he is not naked. No case." -- Akex

"I'm going to sue Burck. I walk around in my underwear all of the time -- he is ripping me off!" -- woz

All jokes aside, I think he may have a case. In order for him to show trademark infringement, The Naked Cowboy has to be trademarked; has to prove that Mars, without his consent, infringed upon the trademark; and has to show there's a "likelihood of confusion" between his trademark and the allegedly infringing mark -- in this case the naked M&M. To state a claim under New York's civil rights law, Burck has to show that Mars used his name, portrait or picture for purposes of trade or advertising, and without his written consent. Surprising to some -- at least to me -- The Naked Cowboy's name and likeness are in fact registered trademarks owned by Burck. According to the complaint, Burck has licensed The Naked Cowboy name and/or likeness to companies for the purposes of advertising and endorsement. His character is part of the USA Network's "Characters Welcome" campaign; he appeared in a music video for the song "Rockstar" by the multiplatinum artist Nickelback; and he's featured singing in the video game "True Crime: New York City at Times Square." He also has appeared in several movies and television programs, including "Starship Dave," "Survive This," "Mulva: Zombie A** Kicker," "Steve Harvey's Big Time," "New York Minute," "Creature Feature," "Lonely Planet," "Troma's Edge," "American Icon" and "The Howard Stern Show." He even appeared in a Chevrolet commercial that debuted during Super Bowl XLI.


Er, yeah ... I think the point is that Mars made a very bad decision. They prolly assumed that the Naked Cowboy was a trademarked entity ... and for that mistake they're bound to be paying him big bucks. I wouldn't expect this case to go to trial or anything, I'm sure there'll be some sort of monetary settlement. I wouldn't expect the Naked Cowboy to give up his day job either ... he seems to like hanging out in Times Square year-round clad in only his underwear ... now if David Beckham would just take up that vocation, too. [Source]

Lily Allen likes to party ...


... hard. LOL. [Source]

Amy Winehouse, sporting a very colorful turban head wrap around her beloved beehive hairdo was spotted paying a little visit to her imprisoned hubby Blake Civil-Fielder this week ... and she came bearing gifts this time around (well, a gift basket to be exact) ... do you suppose she's feeling guilty for anything she may have done behind his back?


After all, she was seen cavorting around town with a new guy (also named Blake) this week which I'm sure her hubby wouldn't appreciate, especially since he's locked up behind bars and isn't able to keep an eye on his wandering wife. Perhaps Amy thought it would be wise to gain her hubby's favor with a basket full of goodies ... goodies that I'm sure he'll be happy to share with his prison mates. If I were to be asked whether or not I thought this would curry his favor, I'd have to say No, No, No ... well, actually I'd sing No, No, No but you see my point ;) [Source]

Ruh-ro ... the very single, unmarried and divorced for the 10 millionth time Pamela Anderson was on the prowl for a new man to sink her teeth into for Valentine's Day yesterday:


Fortunately, no one was dumb enough to fall under her sway ... but give her time, she's bound to be trapsing down the aisle with some unlucky fella soon enough. [Source]

Xtina Aguilera has decided to introduce her son Max Liron to the world by way of glossy magazine ... Hello! in Europe and People here in the States ... here are a couple pictures from the respective magazines who also happen to share the exact same photos:


She tells Hello! magazine:

We can't stop staring at him," says the platinum-haired singer in the exclusive interview, which appears in next week's issue of the magazine. "We study him; he studies us back. It's an unbelievable experience, a beautiful time in our lives."

And she tells People magazine:

"He's completely changed my life."

Which is usually the exact same thing that all celebs say after they give birth to their first child. Not that it really matters, I don't know that people will be picking up these magazines which go on sale this week for the blurby interview ... folks will be shelling out the bucks to get a good luck at her little baby boy. Mother and child really do make a nice pair ... Xtina looks so blissful and serene in the second pic. OK, altogether now ... AWWWWWWWWW. [Source, Source]

Danity Kane are back with their sophomore album, which they have titled Welcome to the Dollhouse, and have released what the cover artwork will look like:


I'm sorry, you can't put out an album titled Welcome to the Dollhouse and have no mention of Dawn Wiener anywhere on it. This album is doomed to fail. Doooooomed, I say. [Source]

And finally ... Trekkies in this galaxy and beyond are going to have to wait a little bit longer for the release of the new JJ Abrams directed Star Trek prequel which was due for release later on this year. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the film has been pushed back to 2009:


Paramount is pushing back the release of J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" from Dec. 25 to May 8, 2009, saying the pic's gross potential is greater as a summer tentpole ... "Star Trek" has no competition in its new slot -- at least not so far, although it opens one week after 20th Century Fox bows "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and one week before Sony is slated to bow sequel "Angels and Demons."

Boo. I'm not a crazy die-hard fan or anything (altho, I do love me some ST:TNG and ST:Voyager very muchly) but I was really looking forward to seeing this film this year. I guess I'll just have to find some other nerdy outlet to keep me occupied until the movie comes out next year. I have been thinking about taking up stamp collecting ... maybe now's the time? [Source]

Les News:
Okay ... so David and I are having the absolute best time here in Amsterdam this week. All of the great memories we have from our last trip came flooding back and have helped us navigate the city so that we can make new ones. Last night, we went out for food and drink in town:


And this morning we got an early start and went shopping. We walked all over the place ... the weather was beautiful and the city was just so welcoming:


I just love it here. I know it's only day 2 but I'm already bummed that we'll have to leave so soon ... I wish we could stay longer, just being in the city together is so invigorating. There's talk of dancing tonight ... and we're planning on bike-riding tomorrow ... so fun!!!

I hope things are well back home in the States ... cuz things are very well here in the Netherlands :) I am out!