Saturday, November 24, 2007

"Italian teacher revealed as Porn queen Madameweb"

from - by Peter Popham

A school teacher in Italy has revealed that she works after hours as a web-based porn star. Anna Ciriani teaches Italian in the north-eastern town of Pordenone and insists that in her work as a teacher she is a model of professionalism, who wears modest outfits and takes her job seriously.

But now she has publicly admitted that, once she leaves the school gates, she becomes the virtual porn star Madameweb. Her hard-core videos are scattered across more than a dozen websites, and her professional life is at risk of becoming a lot more complicated.

The fact that the school has a star of the adult entertainment world in its midst has been well known in for years. In 2002, some of Ms Ciriani's students stumbled across some of her videos online, printed off hard copies of some of the pictures from the sites and papered the school lavatory with them. The teacher's parallel lives continued with no disturbance but, as her online fame has spread, the balancing act has become more difficult.

Last month, she travelled to Germany for the 11th Venus-Berlin, an international pornography fair, where she proved a big hit. "Madameweb's extempore performance was one of the hottest moments at the fair," the Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported on its website. She followed it up with a five-minute YouTube video in which she appeared completely naked on a bus, on a subway system and walking along a street.

Her reception in Germany did not go unnoticed back home in Pordenone. Her antics were reported by the local and regional press and, for the first time, another teacher expressed dissent. "What is to be said?" a male colleague, identifying himself only as Fabio, wrote on his blog. "Each of us, outside work and in our private life, is free to do what he or she wants free to take whoever one wants to bed. What perplexes me is that Madameweb has a job in which, unfortunately, the private life matters – a lot. It matters for the families, it matters for the school."

He added: "When I meet Madameweb, who has always been very kind to me to the extent that some of my colleagues tease me about it, you would never imagine this is a person who has sex with 100 men at a time, without condoms." Madameweb took the bait, responding with a furious self-defence. "My behaviour at school has always been extremely professional and upright," she declared, emphasising that her clothes were always modest in cut and her behaviour unprovocative.

"We teachers must first and foremost guarantee a good cultural preparation, as well as the growth and maturation of individuals. Values must be transmitted principally by parents. We cannot substitute for a mother or father and become a model for children to follow."

Revealing her real name online for the first time, she added: "It is true I am a schoolmistress but that doesn't mean that what I am in private must change what I am in school or vice versa. I don't publish my photos everywhere but only on sites which are forbidden to minors, in which consenting persons who share desires and sexual choices meet and talk."

"Marilyn Manson Accused of Buying Child's Skeleton, Human Skin Masks"

from sky news

Shock rock singer Marilyn Manson has been accused of squandering his band's profit on a child's skeleton and masks made of human skin.

Keyboardist Stephen "Pogo" Bier filed a breach of contract lawsuit in August in which he accused Manson of taking cash belonging to the rest of the band to pay for the "sick and disturbing" purchases.

His lawyer Keith Fink has now filed additional papers adding to a list of artifacts bought by the Goth singer- many of which are illegal in the US.

As well as the skeleton and masks, Manson is said to have bought a range of stuffed animals, including a grizzly bear and two baboons.

He is also accused of using band funds to pay for a collection of Nazi memorabilia.

"Record Mart Reopens In Times Square Subway Station"

from - by Bobby Cuza
Almost nine years after it was forced to close down, Record Mart – a Latin music mecca in the Times Square subway station – is rocking once again. NY1 Transit reporter Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

In its 40 years of existence, the old Record Mart gained a worldwide reputation as a mecca of Latin music. So when it closed down in 1999, it was mourned by customers, including some famous ones.

"It's kind of an institution, down in the Times Square subway here," said actor Matt Dillon. "I buy all my Latin CDs, jazz CDs here."

Now, almost a decade later, Record Mart has been reincarnated. Invited back into a new, even bigger space in the Times Square station, Record Mart reopened Thanksgiving Day after months of work on the new store and lots of questions from passerby who remembered the old Record Mart.

"Every day, people come in, and say 'When are you opening?' and 'I used to come here when I was a kid,' and 'My father used to come here.' We hear it all the time, so it's nice," said manager Lou Moskowitz. "It'll be nice to see the old customers, and plenty will come back."

Originally forced to close because of station renovations, Record Mart is now literally just steps away from the Times Square Shuttle train and will benefit not only from a newly redone station, but also from booming subway ridership. And while the store does still carry some vinyl, its shelves are now mostly stocked with DVDs, iPod accessories, and an array of electronic merchandise – an acknowledgment of the fact much has changed in the music business just in the past nine years.

"If you go into Virgin or any of the other record stores that are left, they all carry clothing. You have to diversify," said Moskowitz. "It's just… with the downloading, it's a different business. And it's still evolving. So we'll just try and change with the times."

Record Mart is still a work in progress. At the moment there are not yet any CDs for sale. That area of the store is still being worked on, but should be ready to go sometime within the next few weeks.

"Scent Gives Malaysian DVD Pirates Away"

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A gang of pirated DVD makers tried to hide in a palm oil plantation, but Malaysian authorities caught a whiff of their crime — literally.

Police officers were conducting a routine patrol in the plantation in southern Johor state Tuesday when they detected an unusual odor, said Nor Hayati Yahaya, the Malaysian representative of the Motion Picture Association, a U.S.-based film industry group.

They traced the strong smell — caused by polycarbonate chemicals used in manufacturing optical discs — to a DVD bootlegging operation in a warehouse, Nor Hayati said Thursday.

Police arrested four men working in the location — which was believed to have operated for at least half a year — and seized manufacturing equipment and 6,200 pirated DVDs, including new Hollywood hits such as "Bee Movie" and "American Gangster," Nor Hayati added.

Officials believe intensified clampdowns on movie piracy may be prompting bootleggers to move their operations from industrial areas, Nor Hayati told The Associated Press.

"We have been raiding them. So obviously they are scared," she said. "They took the trouble to go to that extent of camouflaging their activities."

Fueled by demand, illegal DVDs — which often sell for less than a quarter of the retail price of legitimate discs — are common in illegal outlets in Malaysia, mainly in residential areas.

The government says 5 million pirated discs were seized in more than 2,000 raids last year.

"Art Found in Trash Fetches $1 Million"

This painting, 'Tres Personajes' by Mexican abstract artist Rufino Tamayo, (seen above) recently sold for a little more than $1 million at an auction. A woman in Manhattan found it in a pile of garbage while she was on her morning walk.

"Red Hot's FLEA loses his home to Malibu wildfire"

California's is reporting that Red Hot Chili Peppers' Bassist Michael Balzary aka FLEA has lost his home to the wildfire in Malibu.

"Chinese hurdler insures legs for $13.3M"

BEIJING (AP) - Chinese Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang's legs have been insured for $13.3 million. To him, though, they're beyond valuation.

"You can't really put a concrete figure on this," Liu was quoted as saying by the Beijing News newspaper on Friday. "They're priceless," Liu said.

Liu is one of China's most celebrated sports stars, prompting Ping An of China insurance to donate coverage for his legs as part of its sponsorship of the Chinese athletics team.

That came in the run-up to next year's Beijing Summer Olympic Games, at which Liu's race is expected to be one of the most watched events at the games.

Liu won the 110-meter hurdles at the 2000 Athens Olympics, set a new world record of 12.88 seconds last year, and in August won gold at the World Athletics Championships.

Ping An, China's second largest insurer by market share, said Liu had agreed to represent the company at charity events.

"I don't care how much it is. Naturally, I hope never to collect this money and just keep on staying healthy," the 24-year-old said.     

"It's pop, it's art"

from - Words: Ben Murphy

Wicked new series of music-inspired art prints and more.

Looking for that special something to cover that bare space on your wall? Can't find anything quite cool enough? It's Pop It's Art may have the solution.

A collaboration between hip design heads Airside and EMI Music Publishing, It's Pop It's Art is a series of extremely limited edition, visual 'cover versions' of iconic songs old and new: a series of beautifully designed screen prints, with the lyrics of the songs involved all rendered in their own colourful and uniquely funky way.

Featured songs in the series include Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On', The Rolling Stones disco diversion 'Miss You', Indeep's disco/boogie classic 'Last Night A DJ Saved My Life', Primal Scream's uplifting 'Come Together', Jay Z's hip-hop funker 'I Just Wanna Love U' and Amy Winehouse's 'Rehab'.
They'd be a perfect addition to any music nut's wall, and as if this weren't enough, there are also 'Last Night a DJ Saved My Life' T-shirts, coffee mugs and badge sets so you can wear your heart on your sleeve.

The screen prints are currently available from a select number of shops around the UK, including Rough Trade East, London, Mr. Scruff's Vox Pop Music, Manchester and Art Republic, Brighton, and from
, at a price of £150 each.

"U2 play surprise gig in London"

Band dust off rare track for acoustic show

U2's Bono and The Edge played a surprise gig tonight (November 23) at London's Union Chapel.

Playing as part of Mencap's Little Noise Sessions, the duo surprised the audience with a four song set which included rare track 'Wave Of Sorrow'.

The identity of the 'special guests' was shrouded in mystery when introduced by host Jo Whiley as "a new band with a lot of potential...Dave the guitarist is very nervous...If he makes a mistake forgive him, he's new. The singer is very shy."

The band opened with 'Zooropa' track 'Stay (Faraway, So Close)' with Bono reading the lyrics off a sheet on a music stand.

The singer changed the lyrics: "You can go anywhere/ Miami, New Orleans, London, Belfast and Berlin" to " You can go anywhere/ Miami, New Orleans, Belfast and Islington," which was met by roars of approval from the crowd.

After the track finished The Edge said : "I hope you like our new direction."

Launching into 'Desire', Bono ad libbed parts of INXS' 'Need You Tonight' into the track. He sang the lyrics "I've got to let you know / You're one of my kind."

He started clapping before taking out a harmonica to play on the track's distinctive finish.

Bono introduced 'Angel Of Harlem' by saying : "This is our only Christmas song."

After a false start which saw the singer sing the start of 'Like A Rolling Stone' by Bob Dylan over The Edge's riff, the duo continued.

At one point Bono said : "Merry Christmas Yoko."

When the song finished the pair shook hands.

Bono then introduced the next track by saying : "So about 20 years ago we started a tune on 'The Joshua Tree' and yesterday we just finished it. This song is based on the experiences that my lovely wife Ali had in Ethiopia.

"You forget that this was the land of the Queen Of Sheeba...I was 25 and it was an extraordinary time to be there...It was an overwhelming experience.

"This (song) has never been played before. Just don't tell Larry (Mullen) and Adam (Clayton) we're doing it...Oh Adam's here! This is for you sir."

They played 'Wave Of Sorrow' with The Edge playing the keyboards.

Bono said : "Thanks for being so generous," and The Edge said : "I hope you didn't notice there were a few mistakes but I was told that was okay...I felt the love."

"Italian Buys Texas Town on eBay"


SAN ANTONIO  —  Someone in Italy placed the winning bid of $3.8 million on Friday for an unpopulated, one-house Texas town auctioned online.

No one lives permanently in the 13-acre town of Albert, about 60 miles north of San Antonio, but the tavern created from the frame of the old general store is open on weekends.

The town also includes a pavilion, an 85-year-old dance hall, a tractor shed, a three-bedroom house, plus peach and pecan orchards.

But before town owner Bobby Cave signs the deed over, he must ensure the eBay bid is legitimate. Cave said that unlike the usual items bought through eBay, there are no contractual obligations when it comes to real estate.

"There's just not any way to insist that a guy from Italy write me a check for three million," said Cave, 47, an Austin real estate agent.

The reserve price for the town was $2.5 million. Even if the deal doesn't go through, Cave said he has about five other prospective buyers genuinely interested in the town.

Bridgeville, in northern California, was the first town ever put on the eBay auction block. The 83 acres were twice sold on the site, in 2002 (that deal fell through) and again last year.

"Freddie Mercury: Gone 16 years today"

R.I.P. Freddie - Ace:(

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Space Invaders Alarm Clock"

OK, I want one-a-these! Straight outta Japan, it's the officially licensed Space Invaders Alarm Clock! It sells for about sixty bucks (U.S.) and can be purchased @ numerous online shops.

So Santa, if your already gonna be in Japan delivering gifts anyway... - Ace;)

"France set to cut Web access for music, film pirates"

from via reuters

PARIS--Internet users in France who frequently download music or films illegally risk losing Web access under a new antipiracy system unveiled Friday.

The three-way pact among Internet service providers, the government, and owners of film and music rights is a boon to the music industry, which has been calling for such measures to stop illicit downloads eating into its sales.

Under the agreement--drawn up by a commission headed by the chief executive of FNAC, one of France's biggest music and film retailers--service providers will issue warning messages to customers downloading files illegally.

If users ignore those messages, their accounts could be suspended or closed altogether.

"We run the risk of witnessing a genuine destruction of culture," French president Nicolas Sarkozy said in a speech endorsing the deal.

"The Internet must not become a high-tech Far West, a lawless zone where outlaws can pillage works with abandon or, worse, trade in them in total impunity. And on whose backs? On artists' backs," he added.

An independent authority will be set up and put in charge of deciding when to issue Internet users with "electronic warning messages." The authority will be supervised by a judge.

The deal also creates obligations for film and music companies, who pledge to make their works available online more quickly and to remove technical barriers such as those that make music tracks unreadable on certain platforms.

The international recording industry hailed the move.

"This is the single most important initiative to help win the war on online piracy that we have seen so far," John Kennedy, head of the industry's trade body IFPI, said.

"President Sarkozy has shown leadership and vision. He has recognized the importance that the creative industries play in contemporary western economies," Kennedy said in a statement.

French consumers' groups and politicians, however, have said the deal, which was signed by several companies on Friday, is too restrictive.

Consumer group UFC Que Choisir said in a statement that the deal was "very tough, potentially destructive of freedom, anti-economic and against digital history," arguing that tough antipiracy penalties are already in place.

Sarkozy said it would take time for the effects of the new system to become clear, but it would achieve its aims.

"If it works, we will carry on the same way. If it does not work well enough, we will take the measures to obtain results," Sarkozy said.

"Georgia Man Arrested After Woman's Finger Ripped Off in Alleged Robbery"


LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (AP) —  A man was being held in the Gwinnett County Jail without bond after he was accused of tearing a finger off a woman's hand during a purse snatching.

Caesare R. Pinkins, 21, was charged with multiple felony counts of robbery and aggravated battery.

Gwinnett Police Corporal Illana Spellman said the incident took place about 2 p.m. on Wednesday in the parking lot of a Kroger store in Lilburn, a suburb about 25 miles northeast of Atlanta.

She said Pinkins drove by the victim, swiped the purse and stepped on the gas.

"As the suspect drove away, one of the victim's fingers was pulled off," Spellman said.

Attempts by surgeons to reattach the severed finger were unsuccessful.

"Sly Stone makes his first NY stand in 32 years"

from via reuters - by Derek Caney

As the horns blare with a syncopated rhythm and singers call to the crowd of about 1,000 to dance, a hunched man hidden in the wings of the stage smiles broadly, watching his band like a proud father.

After decades away from the spotlight, Sly Stone has returned to the stage with his band Sly and The Family Stone, performing in Europe this summer and this week making his first New York appearance in 32 years.

Dressed in a white sweatsuit trimmed in silver, sunglasses and Mohawk hairstyle, Stone fills the club with his rich, mellifluous voice as the band spends an hour cycling through their greatest hits, including "Everyday People," "Family Affair" and "Stand."

For those who have followed the career of 64-year-old Stone -- who was born Sylvester Stewart -- the shock is not the fact that he can still sing but that he showed up at all.

For after reinventing rock and roll in the late 1960s as a pioneer of funk, rock and rhythm and blues, Stone disappeared into a haze of death threats, financial problems and drugs.

Stone, who declined to be interviewed for this article, began missing concerts in the early 1970s on a regular basis. He has not released an album of new material since 1982.

Between 1973 and 1989, there was a steady list of arrests on drug and gun charges -- but for the better part of the last 20 years, there's been little more than silence.

However after appearing at the 2006 Grammy Awards, Stone returned to the stage this summer for a European tour and his agent, Steve Green of Artists International Management, says he how has a stack of offers including for the Super Bowl in 2008.

"He can do it," Green told Reuters in a telephone interview, sounding part salesman and part motivational speaker. "But he's got to want to do it."


Sly and The Family Stone emerged out of the San Francisco scene in the late 1960s, with anthems that came to define both the free spirit and the political turmoil of the era, with the band containing blacks and whites and also men and women.

But after a string of hits from 1968 to 1970, Stone's behavior turned erratic. He'd show up hours late for gigs, if at all. Financial problems tore the band apart.

And his own obsessive nature delayed the next album "There's A Riot Goin' On." The album is now considered a landmark, laying the blueprint for the funk sound influencing many from the Temptations, the O'Jays, to Miles Davis.

Despite a couple of flirtations with chart success in the early 1970s, Sly slipped into seclusion in California.

The turning point came a few years ago when his youngest sister, Vaetta, who sang on the Family Stone albums, was sent by his parents to care for him. She had a tribute band that played the group's old hits and cajoled him into attending one of their Los Angeles shows in 2005.

"I looked up and I saw him dancing to his own music. Since then he's been showing interest in wanting to play gigs," she said in an interview.

She said the biggest challenge was convincing agents that Stone would meet his obligations but her persistence paid off and this year's European tour was booked.

"He did all 14 shows on time," she said proudly.

Green said Stone was the most difficult act he had handled, recalling a story of Stone buying a puppy while in Europe which ended up in quarantine in London, in danger of being destroyed. Green had to intervene and find the dog a home in England.

"Sly has an amazing mind. He still comes up with lyrics that are unbelievable. But the other side of Sly is 'me, me, me'," he said.

In the meantime, Vet says Stone has a treasure trove of new music he's worked on for years. Will it be released?

"I certainly hope so," she said. "But it's got to be his decision. No one can make him do it when they want it done."


After gorging yourself on the Thanksgiving Day feast yesterday, how 'bout a nice big slab of CHEESE to wash it down with?

The year: 1987.
The question: "Hey man, is that Freedom Rock???"

Hell YES it was... Peep the commercial below. - Ace:)

"Paul McCartney's guitar fetches $120k at charity auction"

from - by Owen Williams
A hand-painted guitar, autographed by & belonging to Sir Paul McCartney has fetched $120,000 in a charity auction.

The guitar, a 10ft replica of a Gibson Les Paul went under the hammer at the IndigO2 in London on Tuesday night.

According to reports, the guitar was one of 60 sold in the auction - and all proceeds were split between Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, the Prince's Trust and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Paul, 65, said: "I'm really amazed and very happy that the guitar went for so much and for such a great cause."

The winning bidder declared he would donate the guitar to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.

"Idaho's Vinyl Preservation Society"

from - by Amy Atkins

VPS Idaho isn't just for audiophiles (but they're welcome, too)

"The purpose of the Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho (VPS Idaho) is to preserve our vinyl music heritage by fostering active, all inclusive community building amongst the passionately interested and curious to promote enjoyment and education relating to vinyl records, record collecting, record playing and all associated matters of analog musicology regardless of listening tastes. In other words, VPS Idaho is an independent social recreation enterprise dedicated to communal listening enjoyment. We also advocate the patronage of local, independent music stores who help support free-minded music lovers, including vinyl enthusiasts, in their communities."

—VPS Idaho mission statement,

Though they're eight years apart in age, brothers Chad and Travis Dryden have shared a hobby that has become a passion: they love records. And they aren't alone in their obsession.

Type the word "audiophile" into Google, and it returns 5.46 million possible hits. Ebay shows 155,377 items available under "records." Granted, not all of the hits are specifically related to vinyl. But clearly, a large number of people, some lurking in cyberspace, still have a high interest in what used to be the only medium through which people could hear the music they loved.

"We're trendspotting right now," Dryden said. "Vinyl is popular again."

A person with a large record collection is automatically afforded some cool cred among other collectors. But like anyone who collects anything, the record collector risks geek status among the uninitiated. The brothers Dryden want everyone from the older collector who possesses (and brags about) copious copies of out-of-print and rare vinyl to the teen who only recently discovered the back wall at the Record Exchange, to have a banner under which they can all come together for the same purpose: "to preserve their vinyl heritage." So they created an organization, the Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho, to further their mission. And these guys put the "organize" in organization.

Travis Dryden—a self-proclaimed "jazz nerd"—explained how important it was that VPS Idaho start off on the right track. Before the kick-off event, they secured sponsorships from the Record Exchange and the Modern Hotel, where the monthly meetings are held. They created a well-tuned, easily navigable Web site. They have a mission statement. And they started a grass-roots campaign, hanging out at yard sales and thrift stores—magnet locations for record collectors—handing out cards cut out of old cardboard album covers with the society's logo and Web address stamped (yes, they have a logo and a logo stamp) on the back.

From the outset, it seems not a detail has been forgotten, a trait more often associated with groups and organizations that tend toward exclusivity rather than an idea two brothers came up with over a couple of glasses of whiskey and some Sonny Rollins albums. But the impetus behind VPS Idaho's creation was not to keep people, regardless of their knowledge of vinyl or how big their record collections are, out of the loop. They want VPS Idaho to be a way to bring album aficionados and disc dabblers together, in a way that warrants the use of the word "society," but with a bit more of a treehouse club feel. And though one demographic Dryden foresees attending the meetings ("mid- to late-50s, male, misunderstood") may not be much of a climber, it's what that demographic will bring to the meetings that gets Dryden excited.

"We're anxious to see his collection; we're tingling with anticipation to see what beautiful examples this guy has tucked away and has no one to share it with."

But that guy, or the shy 14-year-old who just discovered Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here stashed in the attic, may not be comfortable in a social setting in which he is expected to mingle and wax eloquently on all things vinyl. He need not worry.

The organization of the society is present in every aspect of it. Dryden explained that the meetings, which will take place on the fourth Wednesday of each month, will follow an agenda. The first half-hour of each gathering will be set aside for socializing, followed by society business and guest speakers, and the meetings will finish with music appreciation and open play.

Dryden said it's also important to note that the society's main focus will be on education and awareness. A night's meeting may be on vinyl grading, and people will be invited to bring arecords in for some opinions—expert and otherwise—on its value, though he expects to see a number of folks hoping to find their fortune. "Plenty of people have a couple of scratched-up Beatles records in their collections that they think they're going to retire on," he said. "That's simply not a reality."

He said it's also important, however, not to try to become experts in areas in which plenty of specialists already exist. "There are a lot of online resources, and part of your due diligence with any group is to avoid unnecessary duplication. We don't want to try to become de facto experts."

Ultimately, what the Drydens hope to accomplish with VPS Idaho is to share the joy and passion they have not only for the music they've shared, but for the medium on which they first heard it.

"The hum of the amplifier and the drop of the needle strikes a chord with people," Dryden said. "We want to set that stage where they can come together."

"Fingerprint authenticating mouse"

Here's an item I stumbled onto while thumbing through the latest Sharper Image Catalog. Pretty sweet piece for $99.95. - Ace:)
Sequiam Biometrics ScanQ Fingerprint Authentication Scanner and Software
Use fingerprint authentication to secure your computer and encrypt your files!

According to experts, in the near future most private, confidential transactions will be authenticated not with passwords or PINs but with biology — retinal scanning, voice or face recognition, and fingerprint identification. What fun! And you can start the future today with ScanQ™ from Sequiam Biometrics® — a world leader in biometric security.

ScanQ software offers at-home and at-work fingerprint authentication for secure Windows® login, specific file encryption, screen-saver lock and many other features that are controlled by the ScanQ biometric fingerprint scanner with USB 1.1 interface. Select "Finger only" or "Finger and Password" to control access. Compatible with Windows 2000/XP/Vista. Measures 3.75" x 2" x .75". One-year warranty. A Sharper Image exclusive.


"Sony ordered to pay $5M in logo dispute"


CLEVELAND (AP) - Sony Music must pay the founder of a small record company $5 million for failing to put his company's logo on reissues of Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" album, a federal appeals court ruled.

Steve Popovich, 65, who started Cleveland International Records in 1977 and soon afterward signed the chubby singer named Marvin Lee Aday, persuaded Epic Records to release the wildly successful album.

Epic was owned at the time by CBS. Sony, which bought out CBS Records, paid $6.7 million to Popovich and his former partners in 1998 to settle a lawsuit over royalties from the album.

The settlement required Sony to place the Cleveland International logo on future Meat Loaf albums but Sony did not add the logo to "Bat Out of Hell" for more than a year.

In a 2-1 decision Wednesday, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld a federal jury's decision in 2005 awarding Popovich an extra $5 million in damages.

"I worked too hard for them and made them too much money to get robbed now, in the autumn of my life," he said.

Cleveland International's roster also includes singer/songwriter David Allan Coe and an array of polka artists including Grammy winners Brave Combo and the late Frankie Yankovic.

A call Thursday to Sony Music in New York was answered with a message that the offices were closed until Monday.

Sony has claimed that the logo omission was a mistake that later was corrected. In court documents, Sony also accused Popovich of trying to get money out of the company by trumping up the logo agreement.

"Bat Out of Hell," operatic in tone, but guitar rock through and through, has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, according to court records.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Beyonce plans Country album"


The singer is shedding her R&B roots to experiment with a new sound following the success of her live reworked performance of Irreplaceable with country band Sugarland in Los Angeles last weekend.

A source said: "Beyonce wants to try something completely different.

"She is a big fan of country music and thought that would be an interesting and exciting way to go.

"She tested the waters at the American Music Awards last weekend and she is up for it."

Beyonce is keen to team up with award-winning singer-songwriter Amanda Ghost on the new tracks.

The pair have already enjoyed chart success together. Amanda wrote Beautiful Liar, which was recorded by Beyonce and Shakira earlier this year.

She also penned James Blunt's hit single You're Beautiful.

The source added: "Beyonce contacted Amanda early this week and she is going over to work with her on it.

"She is very excited. Country is still hugely popular in the States.

"Combined with Beyonce's popularity, this could be absolutely huge."

"Munchkins Get a Star on Walk of Fame"

LOS ANGELES (AP) — They represent the Lollipop Guild, the Lullabye League — all the Munchkins, really — on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Almost 70 years after "The Wizard of Oz" premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a few of the film's Munchkins made a grand entrance Tuesday to receive a collective star. Seven of the surviving actors who played the inhabitants of Munchkinland in the 1939 classic attended, arriving in a horse-drawn carriage and trailed by a marching band.

A yellow carpet, resembling the film's yellow brick road, led them to the stage. One tap-danced, and another sang.

"We love you; you have touched our hearts," former Munchkin Mickey Carroll, 88, told the crowd.

Carroll was joined by former Munchkin colleagues Ruth Duccini, Jerry Maren, Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover and Clarence Swensen.

"I'm as proud today as my mother would have been," said Joey Luft, the son of Judy Garland. Garland, who played the movie's wide-eyed orphan, Dorothy Gale, died of a drug overdose in 1969.

Carroll was one of more than a hundred adults and children who were recruited for "Oz" to play the natives of what author L. Frank Baum called Munchkin Country in his 1900 book "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

They only made $125 a week while filming, followed by decades of recognition, Carroll told The Associated Press by phone before the ceremony.

"I'm not a Munchkin, I'm an entertainer," Carroll noted. "But the movie is great because we all grew up with it. ... It never dies."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"Wife Says No Beer, Husband Retaliates by Shooting Pet Goats"


WAUPACA, Wis —  A man who was upset with his wife for not buying beer took vengeance by shooting one of the family's two pet goats, prosecutors say.

Peter W. Mischler, 48, was charged this week in Circuit Court with mistreatment of animals, possession of a firearm while intoxicated and disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon.

The complaint said Mischler came home Saturday from hunting and became angry with his 22-year-old daughter for letting the goats out and making a mess. While she was talking on the phone to her mother, authorities said, he told her to tell his wife to bring home some beer, but his wife refused.

He then threatened to shoot the goats, according to the complaint.

After his wife arrived home, she and the daughter heard four gunshots and went outside and found one of the two goats with its entrails hanging out, authorities said. They said that goat had to be killed later by a sheriff's deputy.

Mischler posted a $1,000 cash bond set by Circuit Judge Raymond Huber and was released.

A hearing was scheduled for Dec. 4.

"Led Zeppelin reunion: band will play new song live"

from via

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page has revealed that his band will perform a track they have never played live before at their forthcoming O2 Arena show in London on December 10.

Speaking to Reuters, Page gave a vague clue as to the period the song comes from--although he offered a 12-year time zone.

"There's one number that we rehearsed, I assume that it will make it to the Dome, that we never played at any point in time," he explained. "It dates from when the band was together between 1968 and 1980. It's a really intense number."

* I have a wild theory that the song in question will be "Out On The Tiles". When Jason Bonham was doing that "Supergroup" show on VH1 they performed "Out On The Tiles", and Jason mentioned that Zep never performed that song live. I'm not saying that just because of that statement Zeppelin will do that track @ the reunion, I'm just puttin' it out there.. - Ace:)

"Keys Storms Chart With Mega-Selling 'As I Am'"

from - by Jonathan Cohen

Alicia Keys storms The Billboard 200 this week with "As I Am" (J), which debuts at No. 1 after selling 742,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That's the best sales week for a solo female artist since Norah Jones' "Feels Like Home" shifted 1 million copies in 2004.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Don't just play that vinyl. Display it!"

from - By Social Decoder

EMI showcases iconic vinyl artwork with Art Vinyl

LONDON, EMI Music UK today announced a deal with innovative designer frame manufacturer Art Vinyl to sell vinyl copies of a selection of its classic albums presented in a special 'frame plus vinyl' package.

Creating a value around the visual aspect of album artwork, the deal extends the concept of record sleeves as art in their own right.

Classic albums from the likes of Pink Floyd, Coldplay, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Gorillaz and Blur are available to purchase now, just in time for Christmas.

Giles Harris, Head of Music and Brands, EMI Music UK, comments: "These incredible album covers have become works of art in their own right and deserve to be displayed as such."

Art Vinyl's patent pending framing solution for 12" vinyl includes a unique pivot mechanism to allow easy access to the album inside – hence the product tagline 'Play and Display'.

Art Vinyl founder Andrew Heeps said: "EMI has some of greatest music and visual assets in the record industry. We are delighted to be working with them to create a premium gift package for the Christmas market."

About EMI Music

EMI Music is the recorded music division of EMI Group, the world's largest independent music company.

Its EMI Music division represents artists spanning all musical tastes and genres. Its record labels include Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol, Capitol Nashville, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Records, EMI Televisa Music, Manhattan, Mute, Parlophone and Virgin. Artists on EMI labels include Lily Allen, The Beatles, Coldplay, Corinne Bailey Rae, The Good The Bad & The Queen, Gorillaz, Norah Jones, The Kooks, Korn, Kylie Minogue, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, Joss Stone, 30 Seconds To Mars, KT Tunstall, Keith Urban and Robbie Williams, as well as international artists such as Amaral (Spain), Diam's (France), Utada Hikaru (Japan), LaFee (Germany), Radja (Indonesia), RBD (Mexico) and Vasco Rossi (Italy).

EMI has been at the cutting edge of the rapidly growing digital music marketplace since it released David Bowie's Hours as the world's first ever album to be offered as a digital download in 1999.

EMI has signed agreements with hundreds of digital partners to distribute its music across the globe. 

It continues to facilitate the development of a growing range of new digital business models to enable fans to experience and purchase its artists' output through a number of different platforms including advertising-supported online music streaming in China through Baidu, legal peer-to-peer agreements with QTrax, Mashboxx and GNAB, and a deal to offer advertising-supported videos on mobile phones in the US through Rhythm NewMedia.

For further information on EMI, please visit:

About Art Vinyl

Art Vinyl is a London start-up whose innovative 12" vinyl framing solution is leading a reappraisal of the visual and emotional power of the record sleeve.

Art Vinyl has mounted a series of exhibitions at its gallery in the East End's Broadway Market highlighting the work of independent labels such as Domino, Kent and Greensleeves.

In doing so it has tapped into a growing public affection for sleeve art which goes beyond nostalgia and into the new vinyl culture.

For labels Art Vinyl offers the increasingly unusual possibility for premium pricing of music.

For the music fan Art Vinyl offers the opportunity to showcase the music – and the record sleeves – they love.

For further information on Art Vinyl, visit:

"RIAA, MPAA urge pro-copyright vows from presidential candidates"

from - by Anne Broache

A coalition of entertainment and publishing industry heavyweights would like to see the 2008 presidential candidates champion "meaningful copyright protection" in their policy platforms.

The requests came Tuesday in the form of a letter and a questionnaire, dispatched by the Washington-based Copyright Alliance to 17 candidates vying for Democratic or Republican nominations next year. The group has requested responses to its questionnaire by early January of next year and plans to make the answers public.

The alliance's 44 members include the Recording Industry Association of America, Motion Picture Association of America, Association of American Publishers, Entertainment Software Association, Business Software Alliance, as well as companies like CBS, NBC, News Corp., Microsoft, Viacom, and Walt Disney. The same group, which formed earlier this year, staged a Capitol Hill expo last month aimed at educating staffers and politicos on its stance.

Each of the five questions rests on the premise that copyright protection is vital to the U.S. economy, and they're clearly worded with an eye toward eliciting a certain response. (As one reporter on a conference call about the announcement remarked, the approach seems a bit like asking the candidates whether they like Mom and apple pie.)

One question, for instance, asks: "How would you promote the progress of science and creativity, as enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, by upholding and strengthening copyright law and preventing its diminishment?"

Others ask how candidates would "protect the incentive to create by committing sufficient resources to support effective civil and criminal enforcement of copyright laws domestically and internationally" and "ensure inclusion of copyright protections in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements to protect creators and foster global development."

"The future of our creative output in the United States is at stake in the 2008 presidential election," wrote Patrick Ross, the group's executive director. "It is critical not only for members of the creative community but also for the U.S. economy to ensure that copyrights are respected and piracy is reduced. We are asking you to let us know what you would do to help preserve one of America's greatest strengths, its creative community."

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon, Ross said the group also intends to hold briefings with presidential campaigns about its copyright priorities, but it's not "in the endorsement game," although individual alliance members may choose to take that step.

The heads of the RIAA and MPAA both heralded the importance of the contenders' intellectual property views in posts at the Copyright Alliance's Web site on Tuesday.

"While national security and health care have dominated this season's campaign dialog, a key issue for the 2008 presidential candidates includes their commitment to recognizing the critical importance of intellectual property rights," wrote MPAA chief Dan Glickman.

RIAA chief Mitch Bainwol put it this way: "When Americans vote, they are making decisions about the values important to them. And one of those values must be a commitment to creativity. For some, that commitment will be a function of the economic significance of intellectual property. For others, that commitment will be about the power of the ideas our content spreads throughout the world. But the commitment to intellectual property rights, whatever the motivation, is what we must look for."

"Scientists Produce Embryonic Stem Cells from Skin"

from - by Joe Palca

Two teams of scientists have independently discovered a way to turn ordinary human skin cells into stem cells with the same characteristics as those derived from human embryos, a breakthrough that could open the door for advanced medical therapies.

If the work holds true to its promise, it would largely bypass ethical issues that have dogged research on human embryonic stem cells. It could also allow scientists to tailor the cells to specific individuals, eliminating the possibility of rejection.

The crux of the discovery, published online Tuesday by the journals Cell and Science, is a "direct reprogramming" technique that adds a cocktail of four genetic factors to run-of-the-mill human skin cells.

The Cell paper is from a team led by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University; the Science paper is from a team led by Junying Yu, working in the lab of stem-cell pioneer James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The discovery builds on work presented in 2006 by Yamanaka in which the same technique was demonstrated for skin cells from mice.

The two teams have been able to isolate cells that look and behave like embryonic stem cells. The researchers caution that there are still many steps to take before the cells are useful for human therapies.

Yamanaka said he knew that the real payoff would be if his work on mouse cells could be translated to human cells.

"We started working on human cells more than a year ago, but in the beginning, the four factors didn't work," he told NPR.

He said it was unclear whether the cells he produced from skin were identical to embryonic stem cells, but "all I can say is they are very similar."

While Yamanaka was working on mice to find the critical factors for transforming skin cells to embryonic stem cells, Thomson was already working on human cells. His team also reports four factors that can transform skin cells, but two of them are different from those Yamanaka found.

"It does seem that there are multiple paths to the same outcome," Thomson said. "How divergent those paths are remains to seen."

Thomson, 48, made headlines in 1998 when he announced that his team had isolated human embryonic stem cells.

Since then, the research has pitted groups that question the ethics of harvesting stem cells from human embryos against those that hope the line of research could result in important medical breakthroughs. The latest announcement from the Japanese and American teams could skirt the controversy.

"It changes everything in that these are not cells derived from embryos anymore," Thomson told NPR. But "we are back at the starting point now. These biologically ... appear to be the same as embryonic stem cells, and we still have to figure out how to differentiate them into useful things."

The whole idea of stem-cell based therapies is that the stem cells could be used to replace or repair cells damaged or destroyed by disease or injury, such as new heart cells for people who have had heart attacks or new neurons for patients with Alzheimer's disease.

"This is a huge deal," said Jose Cibelli, a researcher at Michigan State University.

"Anybody can do this procedure. It's a very simple recipe," he said. "A combination of three or four genes, and in a couple of weeks, you go from a skin cell to an embryonic stem cell. It's remarkable."

photo by Junying Yu

"Sony BMG, Yahoo Video expand partnership"

from - by Caroline McCarthy

Yahoo announced on Tuesday that it has expanded its partnership with music mega-label Sony BMG to bring the company's music videos to its Yahoo Video platform.

The two companies already have an existing content deal, but this expanded agreement will add more video to Yahoo's catalog and allow Sony BMG artists' audio to be used in user-generated Yahoo audiovisual content. Additionally, Sony BMG media on Yahoo will be available in more regions across the globe.

Sony BMG artists include Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan, Britney Spears, and Avril Lavigne.

This is the latest in a series of music video deals that Sony BMG, a joint venture between Bertelsmann and Sony Corp., has made. Last month, the label announced that it would be offering videos on, and it already has a deal in place with Google and its YouTube subsidiary, as well as several social-music sites like Imeem.

"Red Hot Chili Peppers Sue Showtime"

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Red Hot Chili Peppers on Monday sued Showtime Networks over the name of the television series "Californication," which is also the name of the band's 1999 album and a single on it.

The lawsuit alleges unfair competition, dilution of the value of the name and unjust enrichment, claiming the title is "inherently distinctive, famous ... and immediately associated in the mind of the consumer" with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

"Californication is the signature CD, video and song of the band's career, and for some TV show to come along and steal our identity is not right," the band's lead singer, Anthony Kiedis, said in a statement.

The television series stars David Duchovny as a novelist suffering from writers' block and a mid-life crisis.

The show features a character named "Dani California," which is also the title of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song released in 2006, the lawsuit noted.

The suit also names the show's creator and executive producer, Tom Kapinos, and two production companies, Twilight Time Films and Aggressive Mediocrity, Inc.

A call Monday to an attorney for Showtime was not immediately returned. Attempts to find a listing for Kapinos were not successful.

The suit seeks a permanent injunction barring Showtime and the other defendants from using the title "Californication" for the show, damages and restitution and disgorgement of all profits derived by the defendants.

In July 2007, Kapinos told reporters at a Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills that he first heard the term in reference to Oregon.

"Apparently in the '70s there were bumper stickers that said 'Don't Californicate Oregon,' because Californians were coming up there, and I just thought it was a great, great title for this show," said Kapinos.

"Sesame Street: For Adults ONLY"


Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? Yes, but only if you're 18.

The early episodes of the legendary children's TV show have been released on DVD, but uh, children will not be allowed to watch.

Volumes 1 and 2 of the programme, which was first aired in 1969, carry this warning: 'Sesame Street: Old School is adults-only.

'These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today's pre-school child.'

However, anyone expecting scenes where Big Bird lives up to his name will be disappointed.

The reasons for the warning are much less perverted.

According to the show's producers, kids today would not be able to handle watching Cookie Monster holding a pipe, which he later eats.

The character who has posed the most problems, however, is Oscar the Grouch. His crime? He is too miserable for today's toddlers.

You have to wonder, what's next? Will Jamie have to hand back his Magic Torch because it's too bright?

Will DangerMouse be forced to change his moniker because it is too, well, dangerous? MildPerilMouse just doesn't have the same ring to it.

This article was brought to you by the number 4 and the letter P.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Egyptian Woman Files for Divorce Over Husband's Refusal to Shower"


An Egyptian woman has filed for divorce from her husband on the grounds that he has not showered since they married, reported Sunday.

The wedding took place two months ago.

It was a quick courtship for Yara Saad Al-Din, 23, and Aysar Ali, 31, who got engaged two weeks after meeting on an airplane, AlArabiya reported.

But a couple of months into the marriage and the honeymoon is over. Ali recently confessed to his blushing bride that he hasn't showered in all eight weeks of their union, and now the missus is ready to change her marriage vows to "till dirt do us part."

Ali claimed he could not bathe because of a skin disease which made him allergic to water. While a doctor confirmed Ali had a skin disease, he also said it had nothing to do with water, AlArabiya reported.

Al-Din filed for divorce. When Ali refused to grant her one, she filed for khol'a – an arrangement within Islam which will grant a woman a divorce if she renounces some financial rights.

An investigation into khol'a by turned up countless unusual reasons for divorce:

- An engineer in Port Said filed for divorce because her veterinarian husband insisted on keeping cats and dogs in the house.

- A civil servant divorced her husband because he had bad breath from eating too much garlic and because he did not wash his feet.

- An Egyptian housewife filed for khol'a after her husband refused to let her go to her father's funeral.

- A sorcerer's wife filed for a divorce after he refused to give up his job.

"A Rock-and-Roll Memorabilia Mess"

from - by Tappy Phillips
For years, a local man collected rock-and-roll memorabilia and his hobby really paid off.
Rick Aubrey auctioned off his collection and got nearly $20,000 dollars. But when it came time to pay up, the money wasn't there.

It was a Beatles record collection that took a lifetime to put together. Bought for pennies at garage sales, the vintage vinyl was now worth tens of thousands at auction. But when the money was slow in coming, the collector called Seven On Your Side.

For the past 30 years, Richard has been collecting Beatles records. And now he's turning vinyl into gold.

After buying a fixer-upper, Richard decided it was time to cash in part of his collection.

"We've just purchased a house in the neighborhood and we needed some money for some home improvements," Richard said.

So last July, 16 of his collectible records went up for auction.

Tappy: "And they fetched a pretty good price?"
Richard: "Very good price."

How good? A copy of "The Magical Mystery Tour" went for eleven hundred. One album fetched fourteen hundred and a forty five of "We Can Work it Out" went for nearly three grand.

Tappy: "So you were happy about that?"
Richard: "Excellent prices, can't complain about that at all."

What Richard did complain about was payment. The auction house sent out three checks but ...

Richard: "They all bounced."
Tappy: "They all bounced?"
Richard: "And ever since then it's been a chase to get some money."

Finally, Richard got a partial payment of forty five hundred -- but the unpaid balance still topped seven grand.

Richard: "That was going to go directly to the home improvement for our new house."
Tappy: "So all of that's been on hold?"
Richard: "All that's been on hold."

So we dropped the gavel on the auction house, and two days after our call, there was payment in full.

The auction house said the payment delay was caused by a bounced check by one of their buyers. They apologized and said it was entirely their fault.

"Shirley Manson Unveils Debut LP Tracklisting"


Though it appears the debut solo offering from Garbage banshee Shirley Manson won't hit stateside store shelves until the new year, a tracklisting for the forthcoming set, which features collaborations from Billy Corgan, Beck, and Jack White, has been unveiled by the Scot-bred songstress. The yet-to-be titled LP, which also credits the Bird and the Bee constituent Greg Kurstin as a songwriter, will deliver tunes with titles like "Hot Shit," "Sweet Old World," "Little Dough," reports

Complete tracklisting:

1. "Don't Want Anyone Hurt"
2. "Don't Want to Pretend"
3. "Gone Upside"
4. "Hot Shit"
5. "Kid Ourselves"
6. "Lighten Up"
7. "Little Dough"
8. "No Regrets"
9. "Pissholes"
10. "Pure Genius"
11. "So Shines a Good Deed"
12. "Spooky"
13. "Stop"
14. "Sweet Old World"
15. "The Desert"
16. "To Be King"

"Jimmy Page Speaks"

from the bbc - by Ruth Barnes

Jimmy Page Speaks
Exclusive BBC interview on how things are going
19 Nov 2007 - In the week that Led Zeppelin make it into the UK Top 40 for the first time with "Stairway to Heaven" entering at number 37, Jimmy Page has given the BBC an exclusive interview.

The band reunite onstage at the Ahmet Ertegun tribute concert on the 10th December and Jimmy Page has said the band rehearsed in secret to see whether they could play together before announcing their comeback. Page said the band met for practice sessions before deciding to commit to a reunion gig. "We wanted to see how well we'd be playing together and once we played it was without doubt we wanted to do it," he said.

He added: "The hardest thing of having anything to do with Led Zeppelin is getting together and rehearsing without anybody finding out about it," he said. December's concert is a tribute to Ahmet Ertegun, the late founder of Atlantic Records.

Demand for tickets was intense, with punters paying £125 each in the lottery style auction. Page said they were totally overwhelmed by the response: "We were pretty confident it would sell out on the first day but the demand was totally overwhelming, I don't think anyone expected that demand in their wildest dreams."

Page also admitted the band's previous attempts to reform had not gone so well: "Live Aid was pretty shambolic," he said. "We came together and rehearsed with a drummer we'd never met before and then we were joined by Phil Collins who we'd never played with before on this great Live Aid stage. "We went there with the spirit of it but actually was pretty shambolic."

Page wasn't going to spill any beans on reports of tensions within the group, instead paying tribute to the band's legacy. "We've all had our solo careers but if I was to go out on a solo project I'd certainly play Led Zeppelin music because I love it and I really enjoy playing it." He added: "If Robert Plant is touring, he does too. There's something wrong with the picture if all of the members aren't playing together so here's the opportunity to do it," he said.

"Ian Dury - 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll'

from - by Jack Langridge

To mark the 30th anniversary of Ian Dury's 1977 punk masterstroke 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll,' the single is being re-issued in The UK through history affirming label Edsel Records. Featuring an ultra-rare recording of 'Closer to Home'- a bladdered, bluesy bar-room ditty previously only available on an limited cassette in 1981 – 'Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll' is a must for any music collection.

For many, the phrase (and song) signifies a long since dead spirit; virtually all but snuffed out of today's heavily commercialised, meticulously marketed rock groups. A brilliantly spiffing definition of the world's most popular genre of music – it's also just a cracking tune: "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll / Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll / Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll..."

Released 11/19/07 on Demon Edsel.

"R.I.P. Mr. Whipple"

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The actor who played Mr. Whipple in the Charmin commercials has died. Dick Wilson made "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" a household phrase.

A statement released by Procter and Gamble says Wilson died at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 91.

The brand manager for Charmin says Wilson "deserves much of the credit for Charmin's success." Wilson appeared in more than 500 commercials for Charmin from 1964 to 1985.

Wilson's career lasted nearly 70 years. He had roles in radio, TV, movies and theater. His TV roles included Captain Gruber on "Hogan's Heroes."

"End of Music World marks end of music-store era"

from - by LISA BLACKBURN The Daily News


Record retailer's demise sad - but also inevitable

It's the day the music died - again. Music World, the last Canadian music retailer, has gone into bankruptcy, and is expected to close all 72 stores across the country - including three in HRM. It was one of the last chains to arrive on the music-retail scene, and its closing reminds us today's music fans aren't buying the way they used to.

Last shop standing

When the dust settles, Britain's HMV will be the last shop standing in a music retail landscape that is less than hospitable.

The industry has been battered by music downloading, digital radio and mega-retailers such as Wal-Mart and Costco that can afford to sell CDs at a loss.

Record stores were once the place to hang out and meet people with similar musical interests. Back in the 1980s, there were many choices. Barrington Street had the huge A&A Records and Tapes. The chain was 100 stores strong at its peak, and owned by recording giants Columbia/CBS Records. It was a strong presence for the record--buying public, even with pressure from mail-order clubs offering "10 Records or Tapes for $1."

The Barrington Street store occupied the former Dooly's location, and had direct competition from across the street from Phinney's. I remember them having a huge display window. During my first visit, it featured a cardboard cutout of Elvis Costello.

Phinney's was one of those rare stores where you could buy a piano, a man's suit and a hunting rifle all under one roof. It became my go-to destination for sheet music of my favourite bands, despite the fact I can't play a single note. Sheet music was the way to get the lyrics of a song, and really cool photos.

In those days, the music monster was Sam The Record Man. Before Sam's set up shop on Barrington Street, its flagship store was in the old Bayers Road Shopping Centre. It was the coolest place in town for a 16-year-old girl who lived for the next record release.

The people who worked there were gods. The clerks knew everything about music and when to expect the next releases from your favourite bands. If you didn't see what you wanted, they could do special orders, and even foreign imports.

Level after level

One of the biggest experiences of my teenage life was travelling to the huge Sam's store on Yonge Street in Toronto. Not only did it have level after level of records, posters, books and collectibles, but one could spend hours just wandering around looking for autographs from music industry heavies scrawled at random on the walls.

Every store was stocked with a multi-volume reference book that had the name, release date and catalogue number of every record in existence. In the '80s, that was our Internet.

Visiting the record stores in Halifax was a Saturday ritual. I was dropped off at the Downsview Mall bus terminal to get on the 80. From there, the first stop was the Bayers Road Shopping Centre to see what Sam's had to offer. After an hour, it was back on the 80 to go downtown for a double hit on A&A and Phinney's.

At each of those stops, music fans would chat, compare opinions on the music charts and make arrangements to jam later on. God only knows how many bands I saw formed in those record stores. I made some lifelong friendships there.

According to Music World officials, operations will wind down over the next few weeks. All 648 employees will be laid off by Jan. 31.

It's the sad end of an era.

"Man hangs on, wins `Hannah Montana' tix"


TAMPA, Fla. - Some people will do anything to make a kid happy.

Jody Powell, 35, hung on to a 12-foot statue of Hannah for the better part of six days to win tickets to a sold-out concert by Miley Cyrus, star of the Disney Channel TV show. The concert will be held next week in Tampa.

"I'm ecstatic. It's like a dream come true," said Powell, holding four tickets to the show and a photo of his fiancé with her 7-year-old daughter, also named Hannah.

Twenty contestants started Nov. 8, placing a hand on the 400-pound statue in the parking lot of radio station WFLZ-FM, the contest's sponsor. They were allowed 12-minute breaks every three hours and got catered meals, but weren't allowed books, cell phones or iPods.

Powell was declared the winner Wednesday afternoon when the other remaining contestant, Lara Padgett, became distracted and let go.

"That sun really got to me today," said Padgett, who later was checked out at a hospital because she wasn't feeling well. "I took my hand off the fur-lined boot."

But the two had already made a deal. Powell gets the tickets, and Padgett will use the two backstage passes that are part of the prize package. They'll split a $5,000 cash prize.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"Woman keeps hair appointment after car crash"

from msnbc via AP

Alaskan loses control of vehicle, crashes into salon's front window

SOLDOTNA, Alaska (AP) - A woman on her way to hair appointment crashed her car through the hair salon.

Della Miller, 73, crashed into Tina's Hair Pros' windows Wednesday, knocking one customer six feet across the room, Soldotna police officer Marvin Towle said.

The parking area in front of the salon was snow-covered.

Miranda Nelson, a stylist, said she was in the back room when she heard the crash.

"I thought a bomb had gone off," Nelson said.

Two large plate-glass windows were destroyed, walls were damaged, and the stonework front outside the salon was smashed, police said. Towle estimated damage to the building to be at least $15,000, and the car at $2,500 more.

Miller, who was not injured, was not cited for the crash.

She proceeded with her hair appointment.

"MTV Looks to Conquer Middle East Market"


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — MTV is hoping Hip-Hop and reality television tailored and sanitized for a more conservative Middle East will draw young Arabs away from dozens of locally produced music video channels that already dominate the market.

MTV Arabia, which launched over the weekend, will feature 60 percent international music and 40 percent Arabic music, along with local adaptations of the channel's popular non-music shows.

But MTV, which is known for airing provocative videos featuring scantily clad women, says the Arab version of the Pop-culture channel will show less bare skin and profanity.

"When we come to people's homes, we want to earn their respect," said Abdullatif al-Sayegh, chief executive of Arab Media Group, which along with Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks International owns MTV Arabia. He explained that there will be "culturally sensitive editors going through content of the programming."

The station launched at midnight Saturday, airing a pre-taped show featuring Grammy award-winning rapper and actor Ludacris, Senegalese-born soul superstar Akon, Lebanese rapper Karl Wolf and the Emirates underground hip-hop band Desert Heat.

By emphasizing local music talent and programs addressing the concerns of Arab youth, MTV Arabia hopes to set itself apart from the other satellite music channels that saturate the Mideast market.

"We are not only a music channel, we are an entertainment channel where young Arabs will get a voice," program director Patrick Samaha told The Associated Press.

Unlike its past forays into Europe and India, MTV is not entering a virgin music video territory. Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of satellite channels in the region that feature soulful male crooners from the Gulf and female singers from Lebanon and Syria.

MTV officials say this is why their channel is focusing on hip-hop and R&B, two music genres that are underserved despite being popular throughout the region.

But to please a more conservative audience, MTV Arabia will tailor some of its programming and keep provocative hip-hop videos featuring barely dressed women and alcohol to a minimum.

"We hope to provide a platform for Arab youth to break boundaries without disrespecting their tradition and culture," said Bhavneet Singh, managing director of the Emerging Markets Group, part of MTV Networks International.

MTV Arabia's flagship tailor-made show "Hip HopNa," which means "Our Hip Hop" in English, features Saudi Arabian rapper Qusai Khidr, who will audition the best local hip-hop acts in seven different Middle Eastern cities.

The winner from each city will have the chance to record a track for a compilation CD produced by Fred Wreck, a producer who has worked rap stars like 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg.

MTV expects "Hip HopNa" to be picked up by its other channels in the coming year.

MTV Arabia also will broadcast an Arabic version of the popular car makeover show "Pimp My Ride," as well as "Al Helm" ("The Dream"), which is based on the show "Made," in which MTV transforms awkward teenagers into the successful models or rap stars of their dreams.

Shows in Arabic will be subtitled in English for foreign viewers in the region, channel officials said.

"We have a possibility to copy, paste and cut programs," al-Sayegh said. "What we are saying to young people is it's OK to have fun, it's OK to be naughty as long as you don't lose yourself."

Associated Press Writer Paul Schemm in Cairo, Egypt, contributed to this report.

** check out

"Tawana Brawley Kin Want Case Reopened"

NEW YORK (AP) — Twenty years after her allegations of a racially charged rape became a national flashpoint, Tawana Brawley's mother and stepfather want to reopen the case, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Glenda Brawley and Ralph King want to press Gov. Eliot Spitzer and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to re-examine the November 1987 incident, which a state grand jury ultimately concluded was a hoax, the Daily News reported.

"New York State owes my daughter. They owe her the truth," said Glenda Brawley. She reiterated her stance that her daughter was indeed raped by a group of white men who smeared her with feces and scrawled racial epithets on her body.

Representatives for Spitzer and Cuomo did not immediately respond to telephone and e-mail messages early Saturday.

Brawley was 15 when she went missing for four days from her home in Wappingers Falls, about 75 miles north of New York City. After being found, she made the shocking allegation that she had been abducted and raped by six white law enforcement officials.

The case quickly made headlines and drew the attention of the Rev. Al Sharpton, who became an outspoken advocate for the teen.

But a special state grand jury found evidence Brawley had fabricated her story. A former Dutchess County prosecutor who had been implicated in the case later sued Brawley, Sharpton and other Brawley advisers for defamation, winning a $345,000 judgment against the advisers and a $185,000 judgment against Brawley.

A spokeswoman for Sharpton, who was held liable for $65,000 in the case, did not immediately respond to an e-mail message early Sunday. The former prosecutor's lawyer did not immediately return a telephone message.

Brawley has changed her name and become a nurse, the Daily News reported.