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Monday, September 26, 2011

Pan Am: What Critics Are Saying

Pan Am,” the new ABC series set in the 1960s whose focus is the lives of  stewardesses, played by Christina Ricci, Kelli Garner, Margot Robbie and Karine Vanasse, premiered Sunday night.

Naturally, critics drew comparisons to “Mad Men” and NBC’s “The Playboy Club,” other series also set in the ’60s. Here’s what they had to say.

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The Hollywood Reporter:
“Pan Am seems most intent on making the idea of the ’60s and stewardesses and ‘the jet age’ more glamorous than real. It has neither the exactitude of the times nor the talent of the writers to get at the issues, a la Mad Men, that illuminate the issues of the day. It only has the magazine ad dreams of the times – girls don’t have to be their mothers; they can also be modern women who get weighed at work and dumped at 32 for being too old.” — Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

The New York Times:
“Mad Men, which returns for a fifth season next year, is unquestionably a far better show, but ‘Pan Am,’  like ‘The Playboy Club,’ which began on NBC this week, may be a more accurate reflection of our own insecurities. Viewers may not see anything particularly fresh about this show’s foursome of stewardesses, however. The Pan Am heroines represent the dawning of the women’s movement, and they are not fully formed characters so much as stick figures borrowed from a Rona Jaffe novel.” – Alessandra Stanley, The New York Times

The New Yorker
“Pan Am has a bit of style to it, and a note of darkness, and the formula might just work. … The show makes me think of the difference between Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the movie version: Pan Am feels like a watchable version of something whose core has been removed.” — Nancy Franklin, The New Yorker


Torrey Smith feels good before game, even better after three TDs

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Torrey Smith's pregame tweet Sunday -- "I have a good feeling about today" -- may have seemed a bit optimistic for a rookie who had never caught an NFL pass and had only been thrown to one time all season.

But it turned out to be right on target, as Smith turned the first three receptions of his career into first-quarter touchdowns in the Baltimore Ravens' 37-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

"I never doubted myself for a minute," said Smith, who finished with five catches for 152 yards. "I've been playing football forever. I've been making plays forever."

Smith hooked up with quarterback Joe Flacco for a 74-yarder at the 12:20 mark, a 41-yarder at 3:38 and an 18-yarder at 1:48 to give Baltimore a 21-0 lead going into the second quarter.

"Torrey had no choice but to keep his confidence up. Our guys have been riding him for a month straight, and they were led by Terrell Suggs," Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said. "They are a band of brothers on the defensive side. They toughen you up quite a bit. Torrey fought through it and the last couple of weeks, he has really been catching the ball well in practice. I think he and Joe are starting to tie this thing together."

Linebacker Ray Lewis added: "He went out today, and everyone knew that this guy could flat-out run, and the scariest thing to do is to give him confidence."

And that's just what this game appears to have done. Smith may have been feeling good going in, but he was feeling even better about himself following his breakthrough performance.

"For me, that's what I can do," said Smith, a second-round pick out of Maryland. "I can stretch the field. To have a game like this, it definitely helps me knowing I can go deep."

Saturday, September 24, 2011

All My Children ends 41-year run

 
Walt Willey and Susan Lucci in the final episode of "All My Children."
Walt Willey and Susan Lucci in the final episode of "All My Children." / RICK ROWELL/ABC

After 41 years, the ABC daytime drama "All My Children" aired its final episode Friday and ended things with a bang.

Longtime fans who tuned in one last time found the residents of Pine Valley, the fictional Pennsylvania town in which the soap is set, all dressed up and gathered for a party at the Chandler mansion. Erica Kane ( Susan Lucci) was seen telling Jackson Montgomery ( Walt Willey) that she wasn't ready to get married again (for the 13th time!), and Brooke English ( Julia Barr, who returned for the show's final week) accepted onetime husband Adam Chandler's ( David Canary) proposal.

In true soap fashion, there was a Friday cliffhanger. A drunken J.R. Chandler ( Jacob Young) was seen lurking outside the party with a gun, then the screen went black and a shot was fired.

The cliffhanger may get resolved if "All My Children" manages to find new life on the Web. Production company Prospect Park this week announced that it has made deals with some cast members to continue the show online. Cameron Mathison and Lindsay Hartley have agreed to continue. Lucci's participation is still not certain.

Near the end of Friday's episode, longtime Pine Valley resident Tad Martin ( Michael E. Knight) summed things up during a toast: "Neighbors, family and friends, I've found all of them here. It's been my home. The best years of my life."

Etheridge fights for custody

The already ugly breakup of Melissa Etheridge and Tammy Lynn Michaels is getting uglier, according to usmagazine.com. The two split in April 2010, but they're fighting now over custody of their 4-year-old twins.

Michaels and Etheridge were married in 2003, but that seems to be in dispute, too. The rocker says the ceremony -- which took place in California, but not during the brief period in which same-sex marriage was legal -- was a nonbinding commitment. Michaels argues that it was a legal union, entitling her to half her ex's assets.

Wanda Sykes reveals cancer

Wanda Sykes revealed to Ellen DeGeneres on Thursday that she was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year and had a bilateral mastectomy in August, people.com reports.

While taping an episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" that's scheduled to air Monday, Sykes, 47, said she learned she had cancer after having breast-reduction surgery in February. She is now cancer-free, she said.

Briefly

• "Answer This!," the independent film shot on the University of Michigan campus last summer, is set to have a charity premiere Oct. 13 at Royal Oak's Emagine Theater. VIP tickets are $75; general admission tickets are $10. The film was made by Ann Arbor natives Michael and Christopher Farah. For more: answerthismovie.com.

• WRIF's Rocktoberfest is taking place today at Heritage Park in Taylor. The second annual event includes food, vendors, games and live music from the Kielbasa Kings, Mustache Baby, Buster Strange, Bridge and Under the Covers. It runs 2-11 p.m. rain or shine. Admission is free but there's a fee for parking. For more: wrif.com.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gary Johnson Draws Laughs With 'Shovel-Ready' Line At GOP Debate (VIDEO)

Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson drew laughs from the audience at Thursday night's Republican presidential debate with a colorful criticism he leveled at the White House. 

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"My next door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration," said the White House contender toward the end of the event. 

Johnson, a libertarian and lesser-known candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, said in a statement following the debate, "Tonight, a great many people had their first opportunity to see that there is a candidate who will actually focus like a laser on the task of reducing government, eliminating deficits, and freeing the economy to create real jobs. As Republicans, we need to face the reality that today’s out-of-control spending is as much a Republican problem as it is a Barack Obama problem, and simply paying lip service to bringing it under control won’t fly with the American people."

He continued, "Likewise, Republicans deserve to have a candidate who will challenge the notion of foreign intervention and unjustified, undeclared wars we cannot afford. I am gratified to offer that alternative."

Not long after the culmination of the debate, Johnson's name was among the top searches on Google Trends

Monday, September 19, 2011

Emmy winners include 'Mildred Pierce,' 'Modern Family'

'Mildred Pierce' Emmy winner Kate Winslet hugs fellow winner Guy Pearce.
John Mccoy/ZUMA Press/Newscom












The Good: If you really have to ask what we’re going to kick off our “good” with when it comes to last night’s 63rd Annual EMMY Awards you clearly have yet to jump on the FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS bandwagon. So, before we continue we’re going to need you to immediately put a stop to whatever you’re doing and watch all five seasons of the now award-winning NBC/DirecTV drama so that you may properly appreciate the awesomeness of what we’re about to say. Living up to their “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” mantra was the heart and soul of Texas, nominees Kyle Chandler and creator Jason Katims, both of whom walked away with much-deserved statues for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama and Outstanding Writing respectively. Continuing along the lines of deserving, albeit unexpected winners was Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama winner Margo Martindale for her fantastically received work on JUSTIFIED and the somewhat less surprising, albeit equally welcoming wins for MODERN FAMILY’s Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy duo that was the husband and wife team of Julie Bowen (Claire Dunphy) and Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy). That latter of whom gave what turned out to be one of the evening’s most moving acceptances speeches that saw him imaginging what his dearly departed Dad might have thought about him making a living by playing dress up and wearing makeup!


Also falling under the category of “good” was the hilarious beauty-pageant-esque manner that brought all six Outstanding Actress in a Comedy nominees on stage (Women of Comedy FTW!), the highly entertaining spoof featuring the newest arrivals to THE OFFICE (Including MAD MEN’s John SlatteryPARKS AND RECREATION’s Aziz Ansari and TWO AND A HALF MEN’s Ashton Kutcher) and if you’ll forgive us for dwelling on MODERN FAMILY again, co-creator Steve Levitan. Who not only took it upon himself to publicly embarrass his wife by revealing the inspiration for his Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Winning episode that saw his real-life kids walk in on him and his wife doing you know what, but for turning his Outstanding Comedy Series acceptance speech into a shout out to the show’s younger cast members who will probably never get the award recognition they so rightfully deserve. Said Levitan, “I especially want to point out all of the kids on the cast, MODERN FAMILY was this close to being animated. That’s how much we didn’t want to work with kids.”
The Bad: From Jane Lynch’s underwhelming opening number (Not-So-Fun-Fact: Leonard Nimoy was a last minute replacement for Alec Baldwin who dropped outdo due a censorship issue with Fox over a hacking scandal joke) to comedic bits that fell either fell flast (JERSEY Snoore!) or for some reason or other seemed to focus on the fact that she’s gay (Note to Hollywood: You’re here, you’re queer, we’re really okay with it!) Jane Lynch’s tour of [EMMY Hosting] duty did little but reconfirm what two seasons of GLEE has already illustrated, she is most effective in small doses.
On the hardware front, while it’s hard to argue with the likes of MAD MEN, THE AMAZING RACE and MODERN FAMILY walking away with golden-statues for their four, ninth and second consecutive wins respectively, it really would be nice if the Academy of Television Arts & Science spread the love around a wee bit (Paging PARKS AND RECREATION line one). But since that is pretty much out of our control, we’ll simply end this section of our EMMY rant by asking if MIKE & MOLLY’s Melissa McCarthy would have really won had she not made us fall out of our seat laughing for her role in this summer’s surprise smash that was Bridesmaids? Probably not.
The Ugly: As much as Hollywood loves a good comeback story, Charlie Sheen’s completely insincere image rehabilitation tour should in no way have been given center stage during last night’s celebration of television’s best and brightest. Suffice it to say, six months after the half-man-full-warlock almost cost hundreds of hard-working people both in front and behind the camera of TWO AND A HALF MEN their jobs and livelihood is far too brief a time to simply forgive and forget. And while we’re on the subject on things we wish we could forget, we believe comedianSarah Silverman said it best when she tweeted, “Whoever’s writing the voice over guy’s banter should not do that anymore.”

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Listeriosis infections linked to cantaloupe



(Jennifer Domenick/THE WASHINGTON POST)
As many Americans enjoy the final days of summer and the fruits that come with it, about two dozen people have been sickened by bacteria-tainted cantaloupe.
Twenty-two people in seven states have been infected with a strain of Listeria, according to theCDC. Four deaths have been reported, according to the Associated Press, while the CDC says only two deaths have been linked to the outbreak.
Listeriosis is an infection that can cause fever and muscle aches as well as gastrointestinal issues, according to the CDC. It particularly affects the elderly, pregnant women and people with weak immune systems. In severe cases, it can also cause confusion and convulsions.
The FDA announced Wednesday that Colorado-based Jensen Farms had recalled its Rocky Ford cantaloupes, which are believed to be the source of the contamination. A spokesperson for the farm told the AP that one of its cantaloupes had tested positive for Listeria. But further tests are needed to determine whether it’s the same strain from the outbreak.
Already, a Colorado couple is planning to sue the company and the place where they bought the cantaloupe, ABC 7 News Denver reported. A lawyer for Charles Palmer said he ate a cantaloupe purchased at Wal-Mart and was hospitalized shortly after with the infection.

Brian Urlacher back with Bears after mom's death


Brian Urlacher (54) of the Chicago Bears rests on the bench during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(AP)  
LAKE FOREST, Ill. - Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher has returned to practice.
Urlacher was back on the field Thursday, a day after missing practice following the sudden death of his mother, Lavoyda, at her home in Texas.
Urlacher is expected to play Sunday at New Orleans (0-1) in the first road game of the season for the Bears (1-0).
Urlacher had 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble return for a touchdown in Chicago's opening win over Atlanta. The 33-year-old Urlacher is in his 12th season with the Bears.

MICHAELE SALAHI 'Wild Sex' Claims with Journey Guitarist

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Michaele Salahi
 was bragging about the "wild sex" she had with Journey rocker Neal Schon ...even before she left her husband Tareq Salahi ... TMZ has learned.

Sources extremely close to the alleged White House crasher tell us ... Michaele and Neal first met in 1998 -- while she was engaged to Tareq -- and the two felt an instant attraction.

We're told, Michaele and Neal managed to restrain themselves at first ... but in 2009, things came to a head -- and the relationship turned sexual. Michaele even bragged about the "wild sex" to friends through emails.

Michaele and Neal managed to keep the affair secret for the past two years ... but last week, things ramped up again ... and Michaele decided it was time to make a move.

As TMZ first reported, Michaele ditched Tareq on Tuesday to meet up with Schon -- and she's been with him ever since.

Tareq claims he's devastated -- and has told friends he feels "betrayed" by his wife.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

LivingSocial's Whole Foods offer a hit

PORTLAND, Ore. – Daily deal site LivingSocial hit a record selling pace Tuesday with an offer at Whole Foods Market Inc., its first nationwide grocery deal.

 
 
The offer let shoppers buy $20 worth of products at Whole Foods for $10. LivingSocial said it was selling roughly 115,000 an hour, which company spokesman Andrew Weinstein said is its fastest-selling offer ever. That's about 30 deals sold per second.

"It is a staggering rate," he said.
The company planned to sell up to 1 million of the deals. They went up for sale at 5 a.m. ET and was scheduled to run until the same time Wednesday. However, by midday Tuesday about half were gone, and the deal was expected to sell out early.

The offer is available to anyone who registers for LivingSocial or is an existing member of the site.
Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, which already is seeing higher traffic and sales trends in its stores, was not immediately available to comment. The company plans to donate 5% of the sale price to its Whole Kids Foundation, which supports children's nutrition and wellness.

LivingSocial, based in Washington, D.C. and the second-largest daily deal company behind Groupon, has run grocery offers before for regional or specialty retailers. But large supermarkets and grocery stores typically shy away from such deep discounts because they already operate on thin profit margins and offer a host of other promotions already.

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