Senin, 31 Desember 2007

Jessica Alba Feels The Burn

Monday, December 31, 2007


Never content to allow her pregnancy to put her out of shape, Jessica Alba returned to Emerson Hall Fitness club this past weekend. And this girl has the discipline of a martial arts guru.

Her ever-so-subtle baby bump was barely evident underneath her white hoody/black t-shirt combo. The "Awake" actress also sported some red sweatpants and a retro-looking trucker hat.

And it seems Jess doesn't really like having her picture taken, as she shielded her face from the paparazzi lens as she emerged from her Toyota Prius hybrid car.

But one thing is for sure this girl is happily on her way to the chapel, so to speak. With a ring as big as the one she's been sporting, any girl would be thrilled.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Jessica out for her daily workout, then on the UCLA campus with Cash later the same day (December 29).

McKellen, Minogue, Potter Stars Treated Royally (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Queen Elizabeth II went to the ends of the (Middle) Earth to select the latest crop of recipients of her annual New Year honors.

Ian McKellen, who will forever be known to some as the wizard Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings trilogy but whose 2007 turn as the title character in King Lear made theater tickets sell like $1,000 hotcakes in New York and Los Angeles, was named a Companion of Honor to go along with the knighthood bestowed upon him in 1991.

The 68-year-old stage and screen stars latest title is currently held by only 65 others, including Oscar winners Judi Dench and Paul Scofield and Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, with the sovereign member being the Queen herself.

The 2008 Honors (or, Honours) List further expanded into the multitasking magical set with the naming of Julie Walters, Richard Griffiths and Leslie Phillips, all of the Harry Potter franchise.

Walters, who plays the perennially concerned Mrs. Weasley and whose credits also include Billy Elliott, Calendar Girls and the upcoming big-screen adaptation of Mamma Mia!, was awarded a Commander of the British Empire, meaning she technically now has the right to sign her name Julie Walters, CBE if she so desires.

Mean Uncle Vernon, aka Griffiths, who scored a Tony Award this year for his acclaimed performance as an inspiring yet troubled academic in The History Boys, received an Order of the British Empire, or OBE.

And Phillips, best known in his native England for his comedic roles but perhaps more familiar to American audiences as the voice of the Sorting Hat, also was given a CBE. The 83-year-old actors face was last seen in the Peter OToole vehicle Venus.

But you dont have to be a Brit to rank with the Queen.

Australian pop star and breast cancer survivor Kylie Minogue was also among the list of OBE recipients.

I feel deeply touched to be acknowledged by the UK, my adopted home, in this way, the Cant Get You Out of My Head singer told Britains Sky News. I am almost as surprised as I am honored to be awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen.

This last year I have felt so much love and support from everyone as I took greater steps back into the public domain, and it is with absolute gratitude and joy that I say farewell to 2007 and look forward to what the New Year will bring.

Other entertainment industry figures among the 972 honorees included Barbara Broccoli, coproducer of the James Bond films (OBE); Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson (Member of the Order of the British Empire, or MBE); and Soul II Soul frontman Trevor Romeo, aka Jazzie B (OBE).

The Queens New Year Honors List, which recognizes people for their contributions to their industries or communities, included in 2008 actors and TV personalities, musicians, artists, authors, designers, sports stars, businessmen, lower-profile civilians such as teachers and bus drivers, and members of the Queens own staff.

Lauren Conrad Kisses Ex, Parties at LAX

Monday, December 31, 2007


It's been a busy weekend for Lauren Conrad. Between club-hopping and making out with her ex-boyfriend Stephen Colletti, this girl barely has time to breathe.

The Hills hottie was spotted out at Los Angeles' Central this past Saturday night, getting cozy with Colletti, to the point that they played a little tonsil hockey before hitting the dance floor.

And last night, LC was cutting a rug at LAX night club in Las Vegas. She partied with her fellow Hills girls, sporting a slivery cocktail gown and a mischievous grin on her face.

If you're a big fan of Lauren's and you haven't made plans for New Year's Eve yet, you may want to consider stopping by San Diego's McClellan-Palomar Airport. She'll be hosting a party with fellow Hills-er Audrina Patridge.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of The Hills girls out at LAX on Sunday night (December 30).

Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline: Round Two

Monday, December 31, 2007


For a second night in a row, Paris Hilton and Kevin Federline found themselves running into each other while enjoying the Vegas party scene - with reports claiming that Paris made a move on the former Mr. Britney Spears.

As previously reported by Gossip Girls, the two spent Saturday night partying it up at LAX nightclub, with a source close to Federline telling People magazine that "Hilton invited the aspiring rapper back to her hotel room that evening."

Continuing on with the Sin City nightlife, Paris and K-Fed both spent Sunday evening at Pure nightclub - where the former Simple Life star was hosting a party in the Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino hotspot.

And it became quite apparent that the hotel heiress had moved on from K-Fed, if there was ever really any interest at all. Paris, dressed in a sparkling pink dress, spent most of the night getting intimate with a mystery man, while K-Fed hung out with the boys as they pounded Jack Daniels straight from the bottle.

Tonight, the two are hosting separate New Years Eve parties. Hilton will play emcee at LAX while Federline is lined up to get the party started at Tangerine.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Paris and K-Fed partying at PURE last night (December 30).

Nicole Kidman is Not Expecting

Monday, December 31, 2007


With all of the pregnancy announcements flying around Hollywood, there's one rumor that is definitely false. According to Nicole Kidman's rep, she is most assuredly not expecting.

According to the Melbourne Herald Sun, the rumor is bunk. "It is incorrect. She must have had about 30 babies by now," reported her rep.

The UK's Daily Mail initiated the notion that the "Moulin Rouge" actress had a bun in the oven, erroneously reporting that Nic and husband Keith Urban were expecting their first child together.

But her rep emphatically denies the claim, stating, "She's in Australia making a film and her family is in Australia. She's happily ensconced away somewhere having a few days break. It's the silly season. As far as we're concerned, it's another rumor out of London."

However, casting doubt on the rep's words, a pal of Kidman's told press, "She did have a small baby bump a month ago, so it would be reasonable that she'd now be three months and telling her friends and family."

Celebrity Gossip

Bud Bundy Married No More (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - David Faustino is officially single. . .without children.

The erstwhile Marriedwith Children stars divorce from actress Andrea Elmer Faustino became final on Friday, according to court papers filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, ending three years of less-than-wedded bliss.

The couple separated in May of last year and the 33-year-old actor filed a petition seeking to end their union back last February, citing the usual irreconcilable differences.

He and the 32-year-old Elmer met in 1999 while visiting a spiritual center in Los Angeles. After dating for five years, they tied the knot Jan. 24, 2004 in Las Vegas.

Per court documents, Faustino and Elmer, who didnt have any kids, hashed out a settlement specifying spousal support, division of property and other assets as well as attorney fees. The terms were kept under wraps.

The actors attorney was not available for comment.

Aside from putting the wraps on his split, Faustino has been chilling out--perhaps a bit too much.

The thesp was arrested on May 12 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, on charges of marijuana possession and disorderly intoxication while arguing with his soon-to-be former missus at a street intersection. He was jailed, but the charges were later dropped.

Faustino has spent his post-Married career making guest stints on the tube, including The X-Files and The Bernie Mac Show and also, appropriately enough, headlining the stoner caper Puff, Puff, Pass. He next stars in the Hollywood-skewing comedy Working Title and is expected to pop up with fellow sitcom vets Alan Thicke and Corin Nemec in the sci-fi comedy RoboDoc, due out next year.

Motorola and Metrologic settle patent disputes (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cell phone maker Motorola Inc (MOT.N) and Metrologic Instruments Inc have settled all outstanding patent infringement disputes, the two companies said in a joint statement on Monday.

Metrologic and Motorola subsidiary Symbol Technologies Inc had been in a dispute over patents related to bar-code scanning and mobile computing since 2002.

As part of the agreement the two companies will cross-license their patents for a limited term.

(Reporting by Kenneth Li; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Robin Williams to open Letterman's show (AP)

NEW YORK - Robin Williams will be David Letterman's first guest upon the return of his "Late Show" on CBS Wednesday. The appearance of a Hollywood A-lister who can talk a mile a minute may be Letterman's way of quickly trying to draw a distinction between his show and his late-night rivals, who are without writers and may also have trouble booking major entertainers as guests.

NBC's "Tonight" show said Monday that Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee will appear on Jay Leno's first show back Wednesday.

Letterman announced Friday that his production company, Worldwide Pants, had reached an agreement to have his show return with writers despite the continuing writers strike, which began Nov. 5. The deal also allows writers to return to Craig Ferguson's late-night show, also owned by Worldwide Pants.

The late-night shows hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O'Brien are also returning Wednesday but have said little about who will be appearing.

Sean and Robin Head For Splitsville

After 11 years of marital ups and downs which survived two California wildfires and produced two children (Dylan Frances, 16 and Hopper Jack, 14), actors Sean Penn, 47 and Robin Wright 41, are heading for the divorce courts.

It was second marriage (the first was infamously to Madonna) and subsequent divorce of Sean Penn.

Saoirse Ronan a young actress to watch (AP)

LOS ANGELES - Her role in "Atonement" earned Saoirse Ronan a Golden Globe nomination, but she hasn't read the Ian McEwan novel the movie is based on. Ronan is only 13, and the book deals with sexual themes.

"Atonement" is Ronan's third film, but the Irish actress (whose first name is pronounced "SUR'-shuh") is already getting attention for her role as the young Briony Tallis.

In 2008, she'll appear with Bill Murray in the action-fantasy "City of Ember" and star as a con artist in "Death Defying Acts" alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones. She also has the lead role in Peter Jackson's film version of "The Lovely Bones" -- another book she hasn't read because of the mature content.

Based on the Alice Sebold best-seller, "The Lovely Bones" is the story of 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who's raped and killed. She narrates her story from heaven as she looks down on her family as they try to cope with the tragedy.

Ronan auditioned for the part on videotape with her father Paul Ronan, a well-known Irish stage actor. The teenager says she's still "trying to get my head around" the fact that she's in a film by Peter Jackson, who directed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Coupons to help buy digital converters (AP)

WASHINGTON - Millions of $40 government coupons become available Tuesday to help low-tech television owners buy special converter boxes for older TVs that might not work after the switch to digital broadcasting.

Beginning Feb. 18, 2009, anyone who does not own a digital set and still gets their programming via over-the-air antennas will no longer receive a picture.

That's the day the television industry completes its transition from old-style analog broadcasting to digital.

The converter boxes are expected to cost between $50 and $70 and will be available at most major electronics retail stores. Starting Tuesday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will begin accepting requests for two $40 coupons per household to be used toward the purchase of the boxes.

Viewers who have satellite or cable service will not need a box.

To request a coupon, consumers can apply online at starting Tuesday. The government also has set up a 24-hour hotline to take requests, 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009).

Congress, in ordering the transition to digital broadcasting, set aside $1.5 billion for the coupon program, which will fund 33.5 million coupons and other costs.

The giveaway basically works under the honor system.

The first 22 million coupons will go to all households that request them. That includes a residence that gets cable service for one television but has a spare TV that still uses an antenna, for example.

The rest of the coupons, however, are meant only for those who do not subscribe to a pay-television service.

The Nielsen Co. estimates that 14.3 million households, or about 13 percent of the 112.8 million total television households in the nation, rely on over-the-air television broadcasts for programming.

Tony Wilhelm, director of consumer education for NTIA, said the agency expects to have enough coupons to satisfy demand. "We think the high number will be 26 million," he said. "Low end is 10 million."

Members of Congress have criticized both the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission for their work on the transition to digital television.

In November, the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, released a report that concluded there is "no comprehensive plan" for the transition.

Most of the concern rests with public education campaigns. While Congress allocated $1.5 billion for the coupon program, only $5 million was for education. The Association for Public Television Stations reported in September that 51 percent of participants surveyed were unaware that the transition was taking place.

Since then, the broadcast industry has announced a voluntary public education campaign. The FCC is circulating a plan among commissioners that would make public education efforts by broadcasters mandatory.

Congress ordered the transition to digital broadcasting to make more efficient use of the publicly owned airwaves.

On Jan. 24, the FCC will auction off the spectrum currently used for analog television. That portion of the airwaves will be sold to wireless providers and is expected to bring in as much as $15 billion. A portion of the spectrum will also be dedicated for use by emergency responders.


On the Web:

FCC information:

Rosie O'Donnell is Annoyed That She's Thought of As Annoying

rosieRosie O'Donnell is pissed because she made a "Best" list for 2007. The talk show host is bothered that according to a new poll featured in Parade magazine that found half of Americans surveyed named her the most annoying person of 2007. Paris Hilton come in a distant second.

The former talk show host is so upset about her dubious distinction, that she's made a video and posted it on her website. Proving to us why she was in fact named annoying, she came out with this comment:

"I apparently am the most annoying celebrity, according to Parade magazine. And, frankly, most celebrities are annoying. So, I agree. Celebrities are annoying and the fact that I am one is annoying. And I suppose I am the most annoying. But whatever. Why? Cuz I'm loud. Some people don't like me. Barbra Streisand likes me!"

Katherine and Josh’s Winter Wedding

Katherine Heigl and musician Josh Kelley tied the knot in an intimate winter wedding in the Utah's Park City. Katherine, who shot to stardom playing the role of the unlucky-in-love Izzy in Grey's Anatomy, wore an Oscar de la Renta gown.

Source: E Online

Italian design guru Ettore Sottsass dies aged 90 (AFP)

ROME (AFP) - Designer and architect Ettore Sottsass, the figurehead of 20th-century Italian design and founder of the influential Memphis Group, died on Monday aged 90, the ANSA news agency reported.

Sottsass died at his home in northern Milan of heart failure after suffering from flu.

"(Sottsasss) talent endured throughout a century. (As a designer), he never ceased to amaze us right up until the last days of his life," the Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said in a statement paying tribute to the legendary architect.

A retrospective of the designers work was opened in northeastern Trieste in early December marking his 90th birthday on September 14.

The exhibition, titled "I Want to Know Why," includes 130 of Sottsasss creations and runs until March 2.

"I would like the visitors to leave crying -- that is, with emotion," he said at the time of the opening.

Sottsass, who was born in Innsbruck, Austria, studied architecture in northern Turin, opening his first studio in Milan in 1947.

A consultant for Olivetti from 1958 to 1980, Sottsass created the iconic portable red Valentine typewriter in 1969.

Right up until his death, Sottsass continued to produce work at his Milan studio, notably designing private homes.

K-Fed?s Lawyer Grows Impatient with Britney Spears

Monday, December 31, 2007


Given her tendency to blow off her deposition dates, Britney Spears is gaining a reputation for stalling her custody case with Kevin Federline. But that's all about to change.

The "Piece of Me" singer missed her most recent court-ordered deposition on December 12th because she claimed she was too ill to show up. But the fact that she was photographed partying later that night has caused K-Fed's lawyer, Mark Vincent Kaplan, to toughen up on her.

Kaplan told press, "Britney Spears will have her deposition early (next) year. We've got a lot to talk about."

Regarding Spears' playing hooky, Kaplan said, "She was, in fact, out later that day and night. It's not fourth grade where you get a doctor's note and it's all OK."

Despite her apparent desperation to regain custody of Jayden James and Sean Preston, Brit hasn't done anything to help the custody battle move along swiftly. You gotta wonder if she's afraid that her deposition will be a detriment to her case.

Celebrity Gossip


Hollywood Stars Prepare For New Years Eve

Monday, December 31, 2007


It's that most important night of nights New Year's Eve! And it all comes down to where you are and who you're smooching at midnight.

No matter where you are in America, there's a celebrity-laden party near you. But you'd better hurry admission lines are already forming to get in, and you'd better look your best!

According to US Weekly, here's where to catch your favorite celebs later tonight:


Shore Club: Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz, with a performance by Eve
Mansion: Kim Kardashian
Setai: Jennifer Hudson
The Raleigh Hotel: Mandy Moore, Chace Crawford, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Elisha Cuthbert, Jeremy Piven, Samantha Ronson
Opium Garden: Nick Cannon
Hotel Victor: Adrian Grenier
Sagamore Hotel: Shannon Elizabeth


Tenjune: Ryan Seacrest
Times Square: Carson Daly, Lenny Kravitz, Alicia Keys, Miley Cyrus, Carrie Underwood, Joel Madden, Ryan Seacrest
Hammerstein Ballroom : Slash, Velvet Revolver
MTV Party, Times Square: Tila Tequila
Hotel Gansevoort: Perez Hilton


LAX : Paris and Nicky Hilton, DJ AM, Criss Angel
Tangerine: Kevin Federline
Tao: Mariah Carey
Pure: Rick Salomon and Pamela Anderson
Body English, Hard Rock Hotel : Backstreet Boys
Prive, Planet Hollywood Resort: Avril Lavigne
Moon, The Palms: Jaime Pressley
Rain, The Palms: Dave Navarro


Les Deux: Travis Barker
Playboy Mansion: The Girls Next Door's Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt and Kendra Wilkinson
House Parties: Kate Walsh and Scarlett Johansson
Party For The Cause to benefit AIDS research, Woodland Hills, California: Vanessa Williams

Celebrity Gossip

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Pitfalls on the Road to Digital TV (NewsFactor)

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, more than 50 percent of U.S. households now own a digital television -- a milestone that the industry trade groups president Gary Shapiro characterized as a "critical threshold" for the nation.

Whats more, an additional 32 million DTVs are now forecast to ship nationally during 2008, "with high definition expected to account for 79 percent of total DTV shipments in the U.S.," Shapiro explained.

However, the U.S. governments General Accountability Office (GAO) recently warned that no comprehensive plan is in place for tracking or measuring transition milestones. Having no plan raises concerns about whether consumers will have the information necessary to respond to the transition and to maintain access to TV programming, the GAO said.

"Only the FCC appears to be in a state of denial over what the GAO is telling us," FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein noted. "Rather than making excuses, we need to come up with solutions," including the establishment of an interagency task force, Adelstein said.


A comprehensive partnership between the public sector and the private sector should have accountability, clear lines of authority, and daily coordination at the highest levels, noted FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. "I agree with GAO that the FCC is in the best position to get the job done," Copps said. "But the hour is late -- very late."

Digital-to-analog conversion capabilities are included in all set-top boxes for cable and satellite TV reception -- the preferred reception mode used by 87 percent of U.S. households, which will be able to continue to view broadcast programming on analog TVs after the transition to digital. But the remaining 13 percent of U.S. households will not be so lucky.

These over-the-air reception households disproportionately represent low-income workers, the elderly, and minorities -- particularly those for whom English is a second language, the FCC noted. Once the transition to DTV begins, they will all need analog-to-digital conversion equipment to continue to receive over-the-air TV programs.

Congress has agreed to provide an initial amount of $990 million to subsidize a converter box program under which any American household will be able to request up to two $40 coupons toward the purchase of digital-to-analog converter boxes. Still, the GAO maintains that this conversion program will face several challenges, not the least of which is how best to inform consumers about their options.


Another major transition obstacle is the lack of any concerted effort to educate the general public about the technologys capabilities and limitations. "Too many consumers are confused about what television they want or what they are buying," said iSupplis principal analyst for television systems Riddhi Patel. "There are far too many acronyms, and while education at consumer electronics stores and by OEMs is improving, it is not at a level where consumers understand it all."

According to the research firms latest survey, 75 percent of those U.S. consumers who had recently bought a flat-panel TV said they believed they had purchased an HDTV-compatible model. Upon further investigation, however, most of the flat-panel displays they had purchased turned out to be lower-resolution TV sets.

"Some people are buying televisions they think are full-HD but arent," said Sonys vice president of television marketing Jeff Goldstein. "Some people believe they have full-HD programming but they dont. There is a learning curve out there that needs to be addressed."

Vonage and Nortel settle patent dispute (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Internet-based calling company Vonage Holdings Corp (VG.N) said it has agreed to settle a patent dispute with Nortel Networks (NT.TO) (NT.N) with no payment of damages, sending its share up more than 8 percent.

The settlement would put to rest the last of the major litigation against Vonage after it settled suits brought by AT&T (T.N), Verizon Communications (VZ.N) and Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) earlier this year.

"This is the last of them and were quite happy to put it behind us," Vonage spokesman Charles Sahner said.

The settlement involves a limited cross license to three Nortel and three Vonage patents and will not call for any monetary payments by any party. Claims over past damages will be dismissed without prejudice, Vonage said.

Sahner said the dispute originated in a lawsuit filed by Digital Packet Licensing against Nortel in 2004. Vonage bought that company in 2006 and Nortel filed a counterclaim to the suit earlier this month.

The dispute centered on patents behind "911" and "411" emergency and information call numbers, as well as click-to-call technology.

Vonage shares rose 14 cents to 2.14 on the New York Stock Exchange after trading as high as 2.17 early in the session.

(Reporting by Michele Gershberg in New York and Purwa Khandelwal in Bangalore; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

Vonage, Nortel settle patent dispute (AP)

JERSEY CITY, N.J. - Vonage Holdings Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp. have settled their patent litigation, allowing for cross-licensing of the telecom companies' technology.

The agreement does not call for any payments by either company.

The settlement involves a limited cross-license to three Nortel and three Vonage patents, and dismisses claims relating to past damages and the remaining patents. The settlement is subject to final documentation.

Shares of Vonage rose 11 cents, or 5.5 percent, to $2.11 in morning trading. Shares of Nortel climbed 11 cents to $15.35.

Under the agreement, Toronto-based Nortel and Holmdel, N.J.-based Vonage will cross-license each others' technology, which is used to make emergency calls and dial 411. Vonage won't have to pay Nortel for any alleged unauthorized use of its technology.

"We are pleased to resolve this issue and enter into a productive relationship with Nortel," said Vonage Chief Legal Officer Sharon O'Leary.

This year, Vonage agreed to settle four other patent suits, and in each case, promised to pay the other side for prior use of its products.

Earlier this month, it agreed to pay AT&T Corp. $39 million as part of a settlement. Vonage also has said it will pay Sprint Nextel Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. a total of $200 million to settle lawsuits.

Vonage spokesman Charles Sahner said earlier this month that the company was dragged into the legal battle with Nortel after it acquired three patents from Digital Packet Licensing last year. DPL had filed a suit against Nortel in 2004 alleging violation of those three patents, so Vonage continued with the lawsuit. Nortel countersued, claiming Vonage violated 13 of Nortel's patents, and asked that Vonage be kept from using the technology.

Despite having now settled all of its legal battles, Vonage still faces many challenges as cable companies roll out their own digital phone services and consumers increasingly opt for cell phones in place of landlines.


Ben Charny contributed to this article.

Marilyn, Dita Free to Von Tease Other People (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Its official: Brian Warner and Heather Sweet are back on the market in time for 2008.

The duo, slightly better known by the professional aliases Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese, have formally ended their marriage, nearly one year after she filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.

A judge signed off on the odd-couple uncoupling in court papers filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. Their respective legal standings were restored to the status of single persons, with the goth rocker and burlesque babe both now free to marry other people.

Financial terms of their split were not disclosed. They didnt have any children.

The 35-year-old Von Teese filed for divorce last December after just more than a year of marriage. They tied the knot in an Irish castle in November 2005 following four years of dating.

While they initially stayed mum on the details leading up to their split, the ex-spouses have since spoken out about the demise of their relationship.

Von Teese, currently a spokesmodel for Viva Glam, blames the rockers partying and alleged infidelity as contributing factors.

While not denying her claims, Manson has said he was devastated by their separation. He told Spin magazine earlier this year, She said she had tolerated the lifestyle because she hoped I would change and threatened to leave if I didnt.

The Dope Show singer has been dating 20-year-old Across the Universe star Evan Rachel Wood since the separation.

Ive found my double, my twin he said of the actress to Frances Le Parisien newspaper earlier this year. She understands I like to get up when night falls and go to sleep at night.

Come next year, the shock rocker may have to make some amends to his nocturnal schedule. Manson is currently embroiled in litigation with his bands former keyboardist, Stephen Bier.

In August, Bier, whose stage name was Madonna Wayne Gacy, filed a $20 million breach of contract suit alleging Manson shortchanged him on salary and medical support and illicitly pocketed band profits. Manson countersued earlier this month, claiming Bier failed to carry out contractual obligations, including taking part in master recordings, concerts and selling band merchandise.

NBC: Golden Globes Still a Go (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - Will the ongoing writers strike take some of the glow off this years Golden Globes? Not if NBC has anything to say about it.

The Peacock confirmed Monday it will proceed with airing the 65th annual installment of the pre-Oscar kudofest live from Los Angeles as planned on Jan. 13--despite the threat of picketing from the Writers Guild of America and fears that many of the nominated stars might not show up out of solidarity to striking scribes.

The latter possibility has sparked speculation that NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association would scotch the ceremony to avoid damaging the shows credibility and the telecasts viability. The Globes usual star-drawing power makes it a ratings success.

The WGA has refused to grant the Globes a strike waiver. Speaking to the New York Times over the weekend, WGA strike coordinator Jeff Hermanson said the guild would position strikers along the sidewalks around the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

If the Globes is telecast and it is produced by Dick Clark Productions, which is a struck company, we will picket the show, Hermanson said.

Such actions, of course, would likely prevent A-listers from attending, concerned that an appearance might garner them negative publicity as strikebusters. Publicists for many stars say their clients have already signaled they wouldnt turn out for any struck productions.

Further complicating matters is the Screen Actors Guilds own potential work action against networks and studios. SAGs current deal expires in June, and actors have threatened to follow the WGA and strike if their demands for a larger share of payments related to new-media growth are not met.

The Times quoted several unnamed insiders saying the Foreign Press Association has begun exploring ways to ensure nominees such as Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Keira Knightley, Denzel Washington, Katherine Heigl and George Clooney make the scene without incurring any sort of public backlash or embarrassment.

Among the ideas bandied about: nixing the dinner and trophy fest in favor of a Webcast or a private affair, the organizations first since 1979.

Already, CBS and producers of the Jan. 8 Peoples Choice Awards have decided to tweak the format to avoid any hassles with picketing scribes

The network announced last week that instead of airing live this year, the Peoples Choice Awards will do away with the traditional red carpet and ceremony and instead tape segments ahead of time in a magazine format hosted by Queen Latifah.

But a rep for NBC told E! Online Monday that the Globes show will go on as scheduled and declined to talk contingency plans. The network continues to run promos for the event, touting the glittery nominee slate.

Jorge Camara, president of the HFPA, says there is no intention of canceling the event.

Globes organizers arent the only ones with strike issues.

Producers for the late-night shows are scrambling to fill guest slots, as the shows are set to come back over the next few days.

NBCs Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with Conan OBrien, along with ABCs Jimmy Kimmel Live will air fresh episodes starting Wednesday without the benefit of their writers. That means each show will likely depend on its hosts improvisational skills, pretaped bits from the field (generated by producers, not scribes), more musical guests and extended interviews.

The same will apply to Comedy Centrals Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, wholl be returning to their respective anchor desks on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report Jan. 7 sans scribes.

I expect these shows to have a much harder time booking guests, WGA East spokesman Sherry Goldman told USA Today. Wed hope theyd honor the picket line and respect the fact that its a struck show.

Lenos first guest Wednesday will be a political figure, Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. No word yet on guests for OBrien and Kimmels shows.

CBS will fare a bit better. Since David Lettermans Worldwide Pants Productions wholly owns The Late Show and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, he was able to strike a separate deal with the Writers Guild, allowing both of those programs to retain their writing staffs when they resume broadcasting this week.

Letterman not only gets to do a WGA-approved monologue Wednesday, he has lined up Robin Williams as well as country star Shooter Jennings. Bill Maher, Juno star Ellen Page and the cast of Broadways Young Frankenstein will appear on Thursdays show, while Donald Trump and Lupe Fiasco will be the featured guests for Friday.

Mindy McCready released from jail (AP)

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Mindy McCready, who was sentenced in September for violating probation from a 2004 drug arrest, has been released from jail. The 32-year-old country singer was released Sunday morning, said a clerk at the Williamson County jail.

The violation occurred in July when McCready was accused of scuffling with her mother and resisting arrest at her mother's home in Fort Myers, Fla.

She still must serve two years' probation.

Her attorney, Lee Ofman, said McCready has learned her lesson and will stay out of trouble.

She had a No. 1 single in 1996 with "Guys Do It All the Time."

Mindy McCready: Free at Last (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - It may be a new year, but time will tell if its also a new Mindy McCready.

The trouble-prone country warbler was granted early release from Tennessees Williamson County Jail Sunday after more than five months in lockup on a probation violation charge.

Im so happy to be out, the 32-year-old singer said. Im the happiest girl in the world right now.

McCready was greeted by her manager and family upon exiting the jailhouse--and kissing its gates--just after 9 a.m. Sunday. The Guys Do It Every Time songbird had been behind bars since July, when she was arrested in Florida on charges of battery and resisting arrest, stemming from a domestic dispute with her mother.

McCready was formally sentenced to a year of incarceration in September as a result of the Florida bust, which violated the terms of a 2004 drug arrest. In that case, she was sentenced to three years probation for obtaining the painkiller OxyContin with a fake prescription.

At the time of her sentencing, the singer received credit for 75 days already served. Her term was further shortened for good behavior--something she plans on continuing outside the confines of jail.

McCready, whose woes include a suicide attempt, drug overdose and hospitalization after a beating from her ex-boyfriend, said she plans to turn her life around by focusing only on those things that truly matter to her.

Oh, my God, Im gonna work, she said. Work, work, work. And sing. And go see my son, who Ive missed more than anything you can possibly imagine.

McCreadys son, 21-month-old Zander McCready, has been staying with the singers mother at her Fort Myers residence since the country stars bust.

And while the sprung singer has completed her jail time, she has not yet made good on her debt to society. McCready will remain on probation for two more years.

Lohan voted worst performance in online movie poll (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As if 2007 could get any worse for Lindsay Lohan, now this: Moviegoers tagged her with the years worst performance by an actress.

Fifty-eight percent of voters in an online poll by AOLs Web site Moviefone gave Lohan that dubious honor for her turn as a woman escaping a sadistic killer in the box-office flop, "I Know Who Killed Me."

The poll, which tallied more than 3.8 million votes, had more bad news for the starlet, who recently spent a brief stint in jail for drunken driving and cocaine possession and also attended voluntary rehab.

Another of Lohans films, "Georgia Rule," finished second among voters for biggest waste of 10 spent on a movie ticket.

The No. 1 biggest waste? "Norbit," a slapstick comedy starring Eddie Murphy, whose performance in the movie was the runaway pick for worst by an actor.

Voters were given five choices in each poll category. Two box-office smashes were voted the most worthy of the price of a ticket: The blood-soaked ancient war epic "300" edged out the sci-fi extravaganza "Transformers," 28 percent to 26 percent.

"Transformers" stars Megan Fox and Shia LaBeouf were named best on-screen duo, barely beating out Michael Cera and Jonah Hill, the nerdy leads of the comic coming-of-age romp "Superbad."

"Superbad" made more voters laugh out loud than any other film, registering 37 percent of the tally, ahead of the 28 percent for the bawdy pregnancy comedy "Knocked Up." Both comedy blockbusters were from producer Judd Apatow.

Sexiest babe went to Fox of "Transformers," while hottest hunk went to Johnny Depp, from "Pirates of the Caribbean."

Ralph Fiennes dark turn as Voldemort in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" earned him best male villain honors. Angelina Jolie won best female villain for playing the mother of the demon Grendel in "Beowulf."

Voters gave Matt Damon the nod for best two performances for "Oceans Thirteen" and "The Bourne Ultimatum," the latter of which easily nabbed years best sequel.


Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, founder of Memphis Group, dies aged 90 (AFP)

ROME (AFP) - Designer and architect Ettore Sottsass, the figurehead of 20th-century Italian design and founder of the influential Memphis Group, died on Monday aged 90, the ANSA news agency reported.

Sottsass died at his home in northern Milan of heart failure after suffering from the flu, ANSA said.

A retrospective of the designers work was opened in northeastern Trieste in early December marking his 90th birthday on September 14.

The exhibition, titled "I Want to Know Why," includes 130 of Sottsasss creations and runs until March 2.

"I would like the visitors to leave crying, that is with emotion," he had told ANSA.

Sottsass, who was born in Innsbruck, Austria, studied architecture in northern Turin, opening his first studio in Milan in 1947.

A consultant for Olivetti from 1958 to 1980, Sottsass created the popular portable red Valentine typewriter in 1969.

Lindsay Lohan Loves Italian Men!

Monday, December 31, 2007


Yesterday, it was reported by Gossip Girls that Lindsay Lohan had a date with an Italian bartender on Saturday night. And it looks like he was just one of three guys she hooked up with over the weekend.

When she arrived on the island of Capri, LiLo scored a date with Alessandro Di Nunzio. And the "Mean Girls" actress was spotted playing a little tonsil hockey with the Roman stud.

But just a few hours later, she seemed to have a new kissing partner in Eduardo Costa, an actor. The pair was observed getting up close and personal, and Lindsay was loving every minute of it, according to onlookers.

For the hat trick, the "Georgia Rule" babe locked lips with long-haired actor Dario Faiella. She reportedly made out with him shamelessly, regardless of who was watching.

One witness told press, "Lindsay certainly likes her men and judging by her efforts over the weekend, they love her too. She wasn't content to share a snog with just one fella - it seemed like she wanted them all. She certainly set tongues wagging."

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Lindsay with her Italian men in Capri (December 29-30).

Gisele Bundchen and Tom Brady?s NYC Celebration

Monday, December 31, 2007


How did Tom Brady celebrate leading his team to the first undefeated NFL season in 35 years? By taking his supermodel girlfriend out on the town, of course!

The New England Patriot quarterback and Gisele Bundchen were spotted out for dinner with friends at a downtown restaurant on a rainy evening in New York City last night.

Arriving by cab, Brady and Bundchen kept it casual - with Tom sporting jeans and a collared shirt topped off with a charcoal sweater.

Gisele, meanwhile, complimented her man's look with a long black shirt under a charcoal button top with matching pants.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Gisele and Tom out last night in the NYC rain (December 30).

New energy uses for asphalt (AP)

SCHARWOUDE, Netherlands - If you've ever blistered your bare feet on a hot road you know that asphalt absorbs the sun's energy. A Dutch company is now siphoning heat from roads and parking lots to heat homes and offices.

As climate change rises on the international agenda, the system built by the civil engineering firm, Ooms Avenhorn Holding BV, doesn't look as wacky as it might have 10 years ago when first conceived.

Solar energy collected from a 200-yard stretch of road and a small parking lot helps heat a 70-unit four-story apartment building in the northern village of Avenhorn. An industrial park of some 160,000 square feet in the nearby city of Hoorn is kept warm in winter with the help of heat stored during the summer from 36,000 square feet of pavement. The runways of a Dutch air force base in the south supply heat for its hangar.

And all that under normally cloudy Dutch skies, with only a few days a year of truly sweltering temperatures.

The Road Energy System is one of the more unusual ways scientists and engineers are trying to harness the power of the sun, the single most plentiful, reliable, accessible and inexhaustible source of renewable energy -- radiating to earth more watts in one hour than the world can use in a whole year.

But today, solar power provides just 0.04 percent of global energy, held back by high production costs and low efficiency rates.

Solar advocates say that will change within a few years.

Other renewable sources have drawbacks: Not every place is breezy enough for wind turbines; waves and tides are good only for coastal regions; hydroelectricity requires rivers and increasingly objectionable dams; biofuels take up land once used solely for food crops.

"But solar falls everywhere," says Patrick Mazza, of Climate Solutions, a consultancy group in Seattle, Wash.

Compared with other energy sources, "solar comes out as the one with the real heavy lift. It's the one we really need to get at," he said.

Ooms' thermal energy system is actually a spin-off from attempts to reduce road maintenance and costs.

A latticework of flexible pipes, held in place by a grid, is covered over by asphalt, which magnifies the sun's thermal power. As water in the pipes is heated, it is pumped deep under the ground to natural aquifers where it maintains a fairly constant temperature of about 68 F. The heated water can be retrieved months later to keep the road surface ice-free in winter.

Though it doubles the cost of construction, the system is designed to provide longer life for roads and bridges, fewer ice-induced accidents and less need to repave worn surfaces.

But the same system can pump cold water from a separate subterranean reservoir to cool buildings on hot days.

"We found we were gathering more energy in summer than we needed, so we asked a building contractor what we can do with the extra energy," said Lex Van Zaane, the commercial manager. The answer was to construct buildings near the tarmac and pipe hot water under the floor.

The water usually isn't hot enough on its own, and must go through an electricity-powered heat pump for an extra boost, Van Zaane said. The installation cost is about twice as much as normal gas heating, but the energy required is about half of what would otherwise be needed. That translates into lower monthly heating bills and a 50 percent savings in carbon emissions.

Rooftop solar water heaters have been standard in some countries for decades. In 1954 Bell Labs created the first photovoltaic cells, which use sunlight to create electric current.

But it is only in the last decade that researchers have begun raising the efficiency of photovoltaic cells to economically generate electricity, and new technologies aim to make them commercially competitive without subsidies from taxpayers.

Experimental technologies involve new methods to concentrate the sun's energy by using mirrors or lenses, or devices that track the sun's path across the sky. New materials are being developed to make better cells. And scientists are working with electrochemical cells using a liquid rather than a solid component to absorb light.

"The prospect of relying on the sun for all our power demands is finally becoming realistic," says report in New Scientist.

Mindy McCready is released from jail (AP)

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Mindy McCready, who was sentenced in September for violating probation from a 2004 drug arrest, has been released from jail.

The 32-year-old country singer was released Sunday morning, said a clerk at the Williamson County jail.

The violation occurred in July when McCready was accused of scuffling with her mother and resisting arrest at her mother's home in Fort Myers, Fla.

She still must serve two years' probation.

Her attorney, Lee Ofman, said McCready has learned her lesson and will stay out of trouble.

She had a No. 1 single in 1996 with "Guys Do It All the Time."

Hot Hookup: Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere

Monday, December 31, 2007


Love is in the air for a couple of Heroes. It seems Hayden Panettiere and Milo Ventimiglia have come clean about their relationship, and they couldn't be cuter together.

What about the age gap, you ask? While Milo is a ripe old 30 years old, and Hayden is just 18 is seems to work. A friend of the couple reports, "At first it doesn't seem like there's a big age difference, but then you do see it. ... He's more proper and reserved, and she's still playful and very girly."

The dolphin-loving, blonde bombshell has been living it up in Capri, Italy these past couple of days for the Capri Film Festival, and you can be sure there has been plenty of trans-Atlantic cell phone calls back and forth between her and her beau.

And it sounds like Hayden isn't the only one crazy about Milo. A source close to the Panettiere family told press, "Hayden's mom adores Milo. She thinks he's so cute. She tells her friends that he's her boyfriend. She's very proud. He's even met her grandparents. He fits in perfectly with the family. Milo jokes around with her little brother. They're buddies."

It seems Milo is making all the right moves to ensure that this relationship gets off on the right foot. A friend of the actor told press, "They're very affectionate and very comfortable around each other. He really takes care of her, even down to the little things like giving her a back massage and going with her to work."

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Hayden at the Capri Film Festival (December 30).

Reese and Jake: Still Going Strong

Monday, December 31, 2007


Despite speculation that the romance between Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal would be a short-lived movie affair, the Rendition co-stars still seem to be going strong.

The Hollywood couple were spotted in good spirits as they stepped out in Santa Monica over the weekend for a coffee and some shopping.

Meanwhile, as their careers go, the two box office stars are hoping to rebound from the poor reviews received for their latest work - Rendition.

Reese has been busy filming Four Christmases with co-star Vince Vaughn, and also has a movie titled Tokyo Suckerpunch in the works.

Jake has a few big roles lined up, as well. The Jarhead actor has a spot in the sure-to-be hit Brothers, co-starring Natalie Portman and Tobey Maguire. Gyllehaal also has agreed to portray football icon Joe Namath in a yet-to-be titled film.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Reese and Jake out in Santa Monica (December 29).

Philips to Unveil 52-inch Multi-Touch LCD at CES (PC World)

LG.Philips LCD is planning to unveil a 52-inch multi-touch LCD (liquid crystal display) at next weeks Consumer Electronics Show, it said Monday. The screen is 5-inches larger than one it recently showed in Japan and is the largest display of its type in the world, the company said.

Multi-touch screens differ from conventional touchpanels because they allow input from more than one spot on the screen so, for example, an image can be manipulated from opposite corners. Probably the most famous current example of the technology is the display on Apples hit iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

With the technology helping to make the iPhone a smash hit display makers are now pursuing its inclusion in screens. The LG.Philips 52-inch screen uses an infrared image sensor to gauge input from fingers or other instruments and can recognize gestures such as the movement of fingers. It boasts full HD resolution (1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels).

Additionally, the company will be showing an 84-inch multi-touch display that is made up of four 42-inch panels joined together.

LG.Philips LCD will also unveil a 47-inch "triple-view" screen. This has a filter over the front that sends light from pixels in one of three different directions so that three images can be displayed at once: one to viewers on the right of the screen, one to people in front of it and one to those on the left. The feature is being positioned at public display applications for use in advertising.

Also at CES the company will show a 47-inch double-sided screen that is made up of a single backlight sandwiched between two LCD panels and a 42-inch transreflective panel for outdoor advertising use.

International CES opens in Las Vegas on Jan. 7.

Brandy Off The Hook In Fatal Car Crash

brandySinger Brandy Norwood has been completely cleared and won't be charged in the deadly car crash she was involved in last year. The LA county DA's office said Friday there was "insufficient evidence" for a jury to find her guilty of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter beyond a reasonable doubt.

Brandy was driving on a Los Angeles freeway December 30 2006 when traffic slowed and her Land Rover smashed into the back of a Honda. The driver, 38-year-old Awatef Aboudihaj, died in the accident. But ...

According to the California Highway Patrol, the investigation found that Aboudihaj actually struck the car in front of her and then slammed on her brakes before Brandy made contact.

Brandy's attorney, Blair Berk, released the following statement exclusively to TMZ:

"We are extremely pleased that after a more thorough and extensive investigation by authorities, the Los Angeles City Attorney has determined that Brandy Norwood should not be charged with any crime whatsoever relating to the accident back in 2006."

She continued, "These past 12 months have posed an extraordinary hardship for Brandy and her family, who have been unfairly forced to live under a cloud of suspicion initially caused by the ill-advised and premature press release sent out by the California Highway Patrol accusing Brandy of wrongdoing before the police investigation was even finished. However, Brandy continues to be mindful that she was so fortunate to be uninjured in this accident and there was a life lost that should be remembered."

Mischa Toying With Quitting

The 21-year-old actress has admitted that thoughts of quitting the Hollywood limelight have passed her mind more than once. Born in the UK and raised in the US, Miss Barton's self-described "roller coaster" career, which peaked with her role as Marissa in the OC is the probable reason for this change of heart.

Nicole, Keith Not Kidding Around (E! Online)

Los Angeles (E! Online) - A babymaking epidemic may be sweeping Hollywood, but Nicole Kidman is one star who has most adamantly not been hit.

One of the Oscar winners publicists has shot down the most recent report to speculate on the state of Kidmans fertility, denying a tabloid tidbit claiming Kidman is expecting her first child with hubby Keith Urban.

It is incorrect...she must have had about 30 babies by now, Kidmans Australian publicist told the Melbourne Herald Sun Sunday.

Shes in Australia making a film, and her family are in Australia. Shes happily ensconced away somewhere having a few days break. Its the silly season. As far as were concerned, its another rumor out of London.

Specifically, out of Londons Daily Mail.

The typically outrageous British tabloid made the pregnancy proclamation on Saturday, saying the 40-year-old Golden Compass star and the 40-year-old country sensation had begun breaking the stork news to friends and family over their Christmas vacation.

Now 18 months into her marriage to Urban, Kidman has not been shy about her desire to expand her family, which includes her two adopted children with ex-husband Tom Cruise, 15-year-old Isabella and 12-year-old Connor. She even recently revealed that she suffered an ectopic pregnancy in addition to the widely reported miscarriage during her first marriage.

While the tabs search for any signs of a baby bump, Kidman is enjoying a break from work. She wrapped production on Baz Luhrmanns much delayed Outback epic Australia, alongside Hugh Jackman, on Dec. 21 and spent the Christmas holiday with Urban and her family in Sydney.

Next up is The Reader, a drama costarring Ralph Fiennes that will reteam her with Hours director Stephen Daldry. Cameras roll next month in Berlin.

Nicollette Sheridan: It?s All About Location

Monday, December 31, 2007


When you're rich and famous, getting married is less about the budget and more about where to tie the knot. And Nicollette Sheridan can't wait to find the perfect spot to marry her fianc, Michael Bolton.

Apparently the location of the wedding is the only aspect holding things up. The Desperate Housewives actress told press, "We haven't decided where, and as soon as we make that decision it will happen very quickly."

Engaged since March of 2006, Bolton and Sheridan are, indeed, a match made in heaven. Nicollette gushed about her soon-to-be hubby to press, saying, "For me there's only been one person, and that's Michael."

"Michael is a wonderful human being. He has brought me a profound love and support. He is an amazing sounding board for me. I am the happiest now I've ever been in my life, feeling more grounded than I ever have."

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Nicollette and Michael on vacation in St. Barts (December 29).

Sharon Stone Nipple Slip - The Last of 2007

11:41 AM, Filed under: Home Celebrities Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone Nipple Slip Pictures
If you thought that the Nicolette Sheridan nipple slip we saw last week would be the last one for the year, well, there's always time for one more, and now the distinction of Last Nipple Slip of 2007 goes to these Sharon Stone nipple slip pictures.

And you've got to really appreciate this nipple slip, because Sharon's actually wearing two shirts, and her nipples still manage to show through. First, they wiggled their way out of her tank top, and her see-through sweater on top was absolutely no match for the tenacity of her nipples.

Well done Sharon. I don't know if you should be proud, but you are officially the final nipple slip of 2007. Now, lets just hope we get some new, and younger nipples in 2008.

Sharon Stone Nipple Slip Pictures Sharon Stone Nipple Slip Pictures Sharon Stone Nipple Slip Pictures Sharon Stone Nipple Slip Pictures Sharon Stone Nipple Slip Pictures Sharon Stone Nipple Slip Pictures

Video game looks into world of wolves (AP)

MINNEAPOLIS - The new video game "WolfQuest" allows players to follow the call of the wild in the role of a wolf in Yellowstone National Park.

Players learn quickly, with help from realistic graphics, that wolves do a lot of running -- across plains, through forests and up and down steep slopes.

"You have to learn how to hunt, survive, defend your territory and ultimately find a mate and establish your own pack," said project director Grant Spickelmier, assistant education director at Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

The first episode, "Amethyst Mountain," was officially released Dec. 20 as a free download at Spickelmier said the game had been downloaded 13,500 times by Wednesday.

The Minnesota Zoo developed "WolfQuest" with Eduweb, an educational software developer in St. Paul, on a $508,253 National Science Foundation grant. Other partners include the National Zoo in Washington, the Phoenix Zoo, Yellowstone and the International Wolf Center in Ely.

The game is aimed at ages 10 to 15 because kids that age have largely stopped going to zoos and are more interested in things like video games, Spickelmier said.

"We're hoping to capture some of those kids back with this game," he said, adding that the Minnesota Zoo also hopes to interest kids in wolf conservation and biology.

Eleven-year-old Riley Breckheimer, of Apple Valley, tried out "WolfQuest" at its launch party at the zoo and declared it "pretty cool." He said he took down one snowshoe hare and got an elk about halfway down. The game also gave him new respect for wolves.

"They can run over miles and miles of area just to get to one elk to get something to eat," he said. "It's not like humans where humans have to go just a few blocks to the grocery store."

It's not the first time a zoo has offered computer games. The San Diego Zoo, National and the New York Zoos and Aquarium have games for younger kids on their Web sites. Nor is it the first time a video game has simulated wolf life: the DOS game "Wolf" was released in 1994.

But Steve Feldman, spokesman for the American Zoo Association, said "WolfQuest" takes things to a higher level.

"The level of realism, and also the goal, which is to effect real conservation behavior change, is what make this game unique," Feldman said.

In the first episode, as a solitary wolf roaming Amethyst Mountain in Yellowstone, players chase down elk and hares, relying on their eyes and sense of smell. When the "scent vision" screen toggles on, the background goes black and white and scent trails light up. The screen also shows how old the trails are.

To howl like a wolf, players just hit the "H" key, which in future episodes will help draw in their pack.

"WolfQuest" can be played alone or with up to five players online, where players also can connect and share tips. Additional episodes due in 2008 will explore other areas of Yellowstone and allow players to establish territory (yes, by lifting a leg) and defend their elk carcasses against hungry grizzly bears, raise pups and even kill sheep on nearby ranches.

The game won praise from David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family, a group that studies the impact of media on children's health and development and often makes news for its criticism of violent video games.

"It's got great educational value while at the same time it's engaging," Walsh said. "It's a good alternative to the shoot 'em up games that are so popular with that age group. ... I think this game has the potential to chart some new territory."


On the Net:


Minnesota Zoo:


National Institute on Media and the Family:

Jay-Z Opens Vegas Club with Knowles Sisters

Monday, December 31, 2007


Jay-Z's grand opening of the 40/40 Club at The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas went off without a hitch last night (December 30).

The rap mogul showed up in a tux, but most of the attention was drawn by his girlfriend, Beyonce Knowles, and her sister Solange - who both worked the red carpet looking ever-so stylish.

During the course of the evening, which besides being a grand opening was also a birthday party for basketball star LeBron James, Jay-Z told the crowd: "I just want everyone to have a good time and not get caught up in the whole glitzy pretentious clubbing thing. But I'm up for a big night, and a big year next year. Good things are gonna happen."

A press report describing what patrons of the club can expect tells: "The 40/40 Club, named after one of sport's most prestigious achievements - 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in the same season, combines a multi-level ultra sports bar with a chic lounge all under the direction of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z." Providing the ultimate in sports and entertainment, the 40/40 Club will feature an eclectic menu including The Picnic (fried deviled eggs and southern-fried chicken sticks with the special 40/40 sauce), signature 40/40 burgers, and wings amongst other items. The sports memorabilia amidst the lavish gold and platinum decor will serve as the perfect backdrop for the ultra luxurious sports bar."

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Beyonce and Solange Knowles, along with shots of Jay-Z - all at the 40/40 club opening last night (December 30).

Jennifer Aniston Enjoys Mexico, Denies Pregnancy

Monday, December 31, 2007


For the fourth year in a row, Jennifer Aniston is enjoying the fun and sun of Los Cabos, Mexico. She and pals Courteney Cox, David and Coco Arquette touched down in their private plane this past Friday.

While gal pal Courteney has been all over the beach, running windsprints and taking long walks, Jen has been content to relax by the pool and take in some sun while reading a book.

And the big talk surrounding Miss Aniston has been the pregnancy rumors stemming from a National Enquirer report which stated that Jen allegedly admitted she's pregnant by proclaiming: "I'm having a baby!"

Since that time, however, the former Friends star's rep issued a statement which read: "She is not pregnant."

Which side is telling the truth? Take a look at the pictures of Jen in a bikini this past weekend and see what you think.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Jennifer on vacation in Mexico (December 29).

Mischa Toying With Quitting

The 21-year-old actress has admitted that thoughts of quitting the Hollywood limelight have passed her mind more than once. Born in the UK and raised in the US, Miss Barton's self-described "roller coaster" career, which peaked with her role as Marissa in the OC is the probable reason for this change of heart.

Heidi Montag?s New Lips

Monday, December 31, 2007


She's fast becoming the up-and-coming generation's poster girl for plastic surgery. And one look at Heidi Montag's kisser begs the question, "What's next?"

The Hills hottie and her beau Spencer Pratt were spotted grabbing some sushi with Pratt's sister Stephanie at Katsuya in Brentwood, California this past Saturday.

And while she was dressed ultra-chic with a black dress and black stockings, the most noticeable aspect of Heidi's ensemble was her mouth. Reportedly the previous day, she went under the knife, so to speak, having a lip enhancement procedure done.

Her new lips are just the latest "amendment" Montag has made to her body. Earlier this year, she got some new breasts, along with a new nose.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Heidi out meeting Spencer and Stephanie on Saturday (December 30).

Vonage says settles patent dispute with Nortel (Reuters)

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Internet-based calling company Vonage Holdings Corp (VG.N) said it has agreed to settle a patent dispute with Nortel Networks (NT.TO) (NT.N) with no payment of damages, sending its share up more than 8 percent.

The settlement would put to rest the last of the major litigation against Vonage after it settled suits brought by AT&T (T.N), Verizon Communications (VZ.N) and Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) earlier this year.

"This is the last of them and were quite happy to put it behind us," Vonage spokesman Charles Sahner said.

The settlement involves a limited cross license to three Nortel and three Vonage patents and will not call for any monetary payments by any party. Claims over past damages will be dismissed without prejudice, Vonage said.

Sahner said the dispute originated in a lawsuit filed by Digital Packet Licensing against Nortel in 2004. Vonage bought that company in 2006 and Nortel filed a counterclaim to the suit earlier this month.

The dispute centered on patents behind "911" and "411" emergency and information call numbers, as well as click-to-call technology.

Vonage shares rose 14 cents to 2.14 on the New York Stock Exchange after trading as high as 2.17 early in the session.

(Reporting by Michele Gershberg in New York and Purwa Khandelwal in Bangalore; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

Garner named West Virginian of the Year (AP)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Actress Jennifer Garner has been honored as the 2007 West Virginian of the Year by her hometown newspaper.

The Sunday Gazette-Mail says it chose Garner for her dedication, hard work and service as an ambassador and role model for West Virginia.

Garner is balancing the raising of her 2-year-old daughter Violet, her marriage with fellow actor Ben Affleck and a career that includes a starring role in "Cyrano de Bergerac" on Broadway, the new film "Juno," and two more films yet to shoot.

Garner is actually a Texas transplant, but moved to the Mountain State as a 4-year-old and considers West Virginia home.

Shakira Does Rome

Monday, December 31, 2007


Pretty soon, she'll be as well-known for her penchant for travel as she is for her singing. After recently visiting Bangladesh on a Goodwill Ambassador trip, Shakira treated her boyfriend to a romantic Roman holiday.

The Latin American songstress and her beau Antonio del la Rua spent the weekend in the city of Rome, taking in the sights and spending some quality time together.

The pair hired a tour guide to escort them around the famous landmarks native to the historic city. And the "Hips Don't Lie" singer wasn't taking any chances of catching a cold, wearing a winter coat and gloves.

Shakira and Antonio stopped by a couple of museums (the Capitolini and Berberini) and checked out the Pantheon, the Forum Ruins, and Popolo Square on their sightseeing tour.

Celebrity Gossip

Enjoy the pictures of Shakira and Antonio vacationing in Rome (December 29).

Get real: People will want to connect in 2008 (

Next year, our friends in China will be feting the Year of the Rat. Well have no such luxury. Here in the USA, itll be the Year of Getting Real. Or so says a brain trust of marketers, activists and cultural anthropologists who live to dissect our shopping, eating, viewing, networking and lifestyle habits.

The coming 366 days - yes, its a leap year - promise to be rife with drama, considering the Hollywood shutdown, the real estate downturn and a scrappy upcoming election. In reaction, they predict, well be all about avoiding artifice and affectation and embracing the tangible and practical.

Here are seven back-to-basics shifts to look forward to in 2008:

Social networking 2.0

So far, the bulk of the hoopla surrounding MySpace and Facebook has focused on kids connecting with kids. But the coming year will see social networking expropriated like never before by Mom and Dad as they push to make more efficient use of their time as well as stay in touch with their aging parents.

"In the 1950s, multiple generations lived if not with each other then certainly in the same town. Today, that model is dead, and sites like Facebook are essentially a replacement for that nuclear family," says Peter Sealey, a longtime tech-industry marketing adviser and founder of The Sausalito Group.

"Adults will turn to these sites to ask three questions of their loved ones: How are you? Where are you? And what are you doing?" he says. "The conversation on these social networking sites will flow between kids, parents and seniors."

Sealey says the increasing pace of everyday life makes the once simple act of picking up a phone to see what book a friend has read seem time-consuming.

"With social networking sites, you can tell friends what movie youve just seen or find out that your mother is going to be playing bridge for the day, seamlessly and efficiently," he says. "As the Wi-Fi network grows nationally, this is the way well stay in touch."

Expert central

The Web may well have put the world at our fingertips, but many of us are feeling as if its getting a wee bit crowded out there. In 2008, those companies that can help us navigate that sea of information and misinformation will become trusted friends, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research giant The NPD Group.

"This new year will be all about simplification," Cohen says. "Well be looking for help in eliminating clutter in our lives, and that means looking for names and brands that we trust. In a way, its like going back in time."

He says that means companies with brick-and-mortar locations will fare better wooing customers than Web-only outfits. Cohen also suspects that blogging and other amateur online efforts will wane. "The average person may well be shouting I want a say, but thats created an absence of legitimacy on the Web," Cohen says.

What consumers will value most isnt innovation but expertise. "Well listen to those we deem worth listening to, because were tired of all the noise out there," he says. "Maybe itll be Oprah, or maybe its Consumer Reports, but were going to stick with those brands that offer reliable information. In that sense, bigger will be better."

Group think

The enormity of our pressing national issues will cause us to band together to push governmental and business leaders to provide relief and guidance, says Hans Eisenbeis, senior editor at Iconoculture, a consumer trends research company based in Minneapolis.

"Consumers are saying reality bites, and they want elected officials as well as corporate chiefs to step up and help find some solutions," he says, a significant shift away from "the do-it-yourself, less-government-is-better-government attitude of past years."

Eisenbeis says we should expect to see more examples of "people banding together to help each other out," whether its groups picketing home loan companies or individuals starting so-called peer-to-peer lending programs to assist those experiencing foreclosure and personal bankruptcy.

"Theres a were all in it together feeling out there thats only going to grow as more people get affected by issues such as housing and health care," Eisenbeis says. "People are going to lean on each other and push those in power to find the necessary solutions."

Green redux

The message delivered by An Inconvenient Truth and its Nobel Peace Prize-winning star, Al Gore, was both simple and dire: Work to stop global warming now, or else. That mandate probably left many feeling either overwhelmed or bullied into a narrowly focused green to-do list.

Next year, people will take a step back from that mass movement and make up their own minds about the ways in which they can contribute to the planets health, says Zem Joaquin, editor in chief of, a blog aimed at showing that style and eco-consciousness can walk hand in hand.

"What started as a reactionary movement - you know, Poor polar bears, but what can I really do? - will really turn into something more personal next year," says Joaquin, whose home just north of San Francisco was outfitted with the environment in mind, from its vintage furniture to its concrete countertops.

"Itll be about picking out what matters to you and pursuing that," she says. "For me, its about material choices (in furnishings) and indoor air quality. But the cause will be different for each one of us, and thats OK."

And for the less-than-motivated, the good news is that you may not have to do much to be green as companies make the eco-changes for you. "A good example is Wal-Mart, who continue to push their suppliers to reduce the packaging used with their products," Joaquin says. "So itll be even easier to go green."

New civility

No, next year were not likely to find all our doors held open or stacks of thank-you notes in the mailbox. But theres a feeling that the hardships were likely to face next year will be met by a return to manners, says Peter Post, great-grandson of etiquette maven Emily and lead presenter of the Emily Post Institutes Business Etiquette seminars.

"Etiquette used to mean rules for rules sake, and thats not what were talking about here," Post says. "Whats really at issue is a civility that helps take the stress out of our daily lives. Its about using etiquette as a tool to achieve pleasant personal and professional relationships, which in turn will only help with our overall lives."

Post says he doesnt expect to see men laying down their coats over mud puddles. But he does believe that more people will work on not letting disagreements explode into vitriol, which is particularly possible with a hotly contested election coming up.

Next year could prove a tipping point in favor of a renewed appreciation of etiquette, Post says, a reaction to a "me-centric, informal world that runs on technology, which requires that we respond to people quickly and not thoughtfully, and at a distance instead of face to face. I think well wake up to the fact that our lives will be more pleasant by being nice."

Radical acceptance

Anthropologist Robbie Blinkoff is convinced that the new year will find more people responding to the problems affecting the USA - such as the war and the economy - by setting out on a soul-searching mission that eventually will lead them to engage fully with the questions at hand.

"We heard so much about people trying to live off the grid, but theres no such thing as that. Its really about reconnecting to the grid and finding out what youre really meant to do on it," says the co-founder of Context-Based Research Group in Baltimore, which helps product planners read the cultural landscape. "The first step is accepting the situation at hand, to know that you cant know what will happen, and be OK with that."

Blinkoff says arriving at a place of "radical acceptance" - a term derived from a book of the same name by psychotherapist Tara Brach - is a process that requires conquering the inevitable fear that comes with bad news.

"Whats great about the term radical acceptance is that it implies, rightly, that we dont have any choice but to confront the reality of our lives," Blinkoff says. "So maybe you cant personally stop a war. But you can help a neighbor in need. And hopefully that will ripple."

Pleasure revenge

OK, being nice to neighbors could be a way in which we regain our true sense of self. Then again, theres another possibility: glorious, damn-the-torpedoes, guilt-free indulgence - pleasure revenge, in the words of Faith Popcorn, founder of BrainReserve marketing consultancy.

"We just cant take all this bad news, so to some degree you start to understand the lets fiddle while Rome is burning attitude, which will only increase," Popcorn says. "People will be eating more red meat, drinking, smoking."

Celebrity culture offers up a template "that says, Let me party now, Ill take care of the rest tomorrow, whether its a quick divorce or a trip to rehab," she says. "So the rest of us figure, fine, well just have our own bacchanal."

Popcorn says evidence of escapist behavior can be found everywhere from Second Life (the virtual world where online players take on alter egos, even marrying other avatars) to Las Vegas (whose pitch-perfect ad campaign slogan, "What happens here, stays here," speaks for itself).

"People feel like, I cant keep track of the terrorists or save the planet, so the heck with it, Im going to have fun, " she says.

"But the big repentance will come," she cautions. Just not now.

"Look for that in 2009."

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