Stephen Miller: Jack LaLanne, Media Fitness Guru, Dies at 96 (Wall Street Journal)
With an iron man's physique and a determination verging on mania, Jack LaLanne became America's leading workout and natural nutrition guru in an era when such concerns were hardly mainstream.
Mark Morford: 10 amazing truths you already suspected (SF Gate)
Volume VI! Wine on a stick, orgasmic compliments, disco Bibles.
Henry Rollins: LA WEEKLY COLUMN #23
I don't know about you but I am an immovable object when it comes to optimism. Allow me to explain. No matter what bad news comes our way, I still think things are getting better. It can be, at times, a hard position to defend.
Froma Harrop: Deficits as Far as the Eye Can See (Creators Syndicate)
Like me, you may be wondering why 96,000 California state workers were given cell phones courtesy of the taxpayers. For, like me, you probably use a cell phone in the course of your work. And we know that if we asked our employers to pay for it, the answer would be N-O.
Jim Hightower: JOHNNIE "BUSINESS AS USUAL" BOEHNER
When John Boehner was sworn-in as the new speaker of the House, he tipped his hat to the teabag activists across the country who had fueled the Republican takeover of the Chamber last fall. He almost choked up as he promised to "give the government back to the American people."
However, Boehner was not choking back tears, he literally was choking on the flagrant hypocrisy of his words.
Richard P. Sloan: A Fighting Spirit Won't Save Your Life (New York Times)
The idea that an individual has power over his health has a long history in American popular culture, but there is no link between optimism and health.
Does College Make You Smarter? (New York Times)
Students make little progress in intellectual growth in the first two years of college. Why is that?
Shahesta Shaitly: "This much I know: Sandra Bernhard" (Guardian)
When I was growing up, the idea of fame ran in tandem with being a great performer - people loving you and celebrating you because you made them feel good and you took them places they couldn't take themselves. The reality TV culture we live in now celebrates fame without anything to back it up: people on reality shows don't inspire. They're just there to laugh at and mock. It's destructive.
Alan Cumming: King of off-message (Guardian)
One minute, he's doing Shakespeare. The next, he's starring in Garfield. Does Alan Cumming ever regret saying yes? The star talks to Hadley Freeman about his new shows, his new perfume range - and why he accepted an OBE.
Roger Ebert's Journal: Why 3D doesn't work and never will. Case closed.
I received a letter that ends, as far as I am concerned, the discussion about 3D. It doesn't work with our brains and it never will.
David Bruce has 39 Kindle books on Amazon.com with 250 anecdotes in each book. Each book is $1, so for $39 you can buy 9,750 anecdotes. Search for "Funniest People," "Coolest People, "Most Interesting People," "Kindest People," "Religious Anecdotes," and "Maximum Cool."
The Weekly Veterans Report
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
Michelle in AZ
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and windy.
It's dear old Dad's 86th birthday!
Rabbis Protest Use Of Imagery
Four hundred rabbis will publish a letter on Thursday calling on Fox News to sanction host Glenn Beck for repeated use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery and for airing attacks on World War Two survivor George Soros.
In an open letter to Rupert Murdoch (R-Evil Incarnate), the chairman of News Corp, which owns Fox, the rabbis also demand an apology from Fox News chief Roger Ailes for characterizing Beck's Jewish critics as nothing more than "left-wing rabbis."
The letter will appear as an advertisement in the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal on Thursday for which the rabbis spent more than $100,000, a spokesman said.
Beck, according to the rabbis, has made "literally hundreds of on-air references to the Holocaust and Nazis when characterizing people with whom he disagrees," compares American leaders he does not like to Nazis and has said putting the "common good" first leads to "death camps."
"... you diminish the memory and meaning of the Holocaust when you use it to discredit any individual or organization you disagree with. That is what Fox News has done in recent weeks, and it is not only 'left-wing rabbis' who think so."
Getting Comic Book Treatment
Howard Stern is coming to a comic stand near you.
The radio shock jock will see his life story play out in the pages of a comic book from Bluewater Productions that will come out in April, the company said on Wednesday.
The comic book, which will retail for $3.99, will chronicle Stern's rise to fame, and the unique and no-holds barred style he brought to broadcasting, as well as his move to Sirius satellite radio in 2006.
The comic is titled "Orbit: Howard Stern," Bluewater Productions said. The company plans other biography comics under the "Orbit" title.
Out Of Hospital
"Margaritaville" singer Jimmy Buffett was released from an Australian hospital on Thursday, a day after falling off the stage during a concert in Sydney, his official website said.
"Jimmy has been released from the hospital and is doing well," said a brief statement on margaritaville.com.
In video footage obtained by U.S. celebrity website TMZ.com, the 64 year-old singer is seen stepping off the front of the stage at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion and plummeting to the concrete floor.
Dr. Gordian Fulde, head of the emergency department at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, said Buffett "really took a very nasty tumble."
First Beatles Scholar Graduates
A former Miss Canada finalist has become the first graduate of a Liverpool university's groundbreaking degree program based on analyzing the Beatles' music and their impact on Western culture.
Liverpool Hope University officials believe the master's program offers the first advanced degree based on the life and times of the Fab Four.
Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy joined the program when it started in 2009 and graduated Wednesday. She is one of 12 full-time students of the program - "The Beatles, Popular Music and Society."
Prime-Time Ratings Slip 38%
Finding viewers after PBS continues to be a challenge for KCET-TV Channel 28.
Through the first three weeks of the year, the Silver Lake-based broadcaster has been averaging 19,000 households, a 38% plunge compared with the same period last year, according to the Nielsen Co.
KCET, once the West Coast flagship of PBS, exited the network at the end of last year after months of disputes over fees and other issues. The schedule now consists of reruns of British dramas such as the spy caper "Mi-5" and the whodunit "Prime Suspect" with Helen Mirren as well as imported news programs and documentaries. Most of KCET's former PBS lineup was picked up by Orange County's KOCE-TV, now called PBS SoCal.
As bad as the prime-time ratings are, the total-day numbers are even worse. Over the course of its entire broadcast day, KCET has lost fully half its viewers compared with last year. The station now averages just 10,000 households, a figure that suggests the station's potential donor pool will be considerably reduced. That's important because member gifts make up a large portion of the budget at public stations.
Perhaps not surprisingly, KCET has seen its greatest declines with shows that represented the biggest changes to its old PBS lineup. So the daytime block of cooking shows, which replaced the popular PBS kids shows such as "Sesame Street," has been hit particularly hard.
Baby Boy Bardem
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem are proud parents of a baby boy.
A spokeswoman for the actress confirmed Wednesday that Cruz gave birth to a boy last week. She says "both parents and baby are doing great." She provided no other details.
The 36-year-old Cruz and the 41-year-old Bardem are from Spain. They appeared together in the 2008 Woody Allen romantic comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Cruz won a supporting-actress Oscar for her role.
Bardem is nominated for best actor this year for his role in the Spanish-language drama "Biutiful." He won a supporting-actor Oscar for the 2007 crime thriller "No Country for Old Men."
Baby Boy Bardem
Officials at a Phoenix hospital say rock star Bret Michaels has been released from their care following a successful heart procedure.
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center said Wednesday that Michaels left the hospital. The doctor who treated him reported the procedure to fix a hole in his heart produced excellent results.
Surgeons Monday inserted a catheter into a vein in Michaels' groin with a closure device attached.
Doctors said the closure device will stay in Michaels' heart permanently to stop abnormal blood flow between two chambers of his heart.
Ex Sues For Custody
"Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi is steeped in a custody fight, and the ingredients are plenty complex.
Venture capitalist Adam Dell sued Wednesday for custody of Lakshmi's 11-month-old daughter. He says a paternity test has shown he's the infant's father, but Lakshmi is sidelining him and trying to cast her current flame, financier Ted Forstmann, in that role.
Dell wants custody of the baby, and he's pointing sharply to Lakshmi's career and globe-trotting lifestyle as a reason, saying she's "either unable or unwilling to moderate either her social or business travel" for the child's sake.
A lawyer for Lakshmi, Jay D. Silverstein, called Dell's claims "inaccurate and misleading," and her camp blasted the public airing of her and her daughter's personal life.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association sent a letter Tuesday to Timothy McGonigle -- an attorney representing the Michael Russell Group, the organization's former publicist, who is suing the group for breach of contract -- threatening a countersuit.
Meanwhile, McGonigle was busy filing yet another suit against the nonprofit group behind the Golden Globes over a related matter.
McGonigle filed the latest suit in L.A. Superior Court on behalf of Stars for a Cause, a charitable group run by L.A. attorney George Braunstein.
The new suit alleges, in part, that the HFPA and its president, Philip Berk, made false claims about Stars for a Cause, interfered in a contract with Chrysler and NBC, defamed it and hurt its ability to do business. They want $1 million in damages.
The suit charges, among other things, that Berk and another HFPA board member made calls about Stars and Braunstein that were defamatory and hurt their business prospects.
15 Days For Vegas DUI
Motley Crue singer Vince Neil avoided the media and quietly pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving drunk last summer near the Las Vegas Strip in a case that drew denials that he received preferential treatment.
A temporary judge who took the plea before reporters arrived sentenced Neil to 15 days in the Clark County jail and 15 days on house arrest under terms of an agreed-upon plea deal that spared him a trial on a misdemeanor driving under the influence charge. Neil could have faced up to six months in jail if convicted.
Court officials said the 49-year-old rocker was ordered to begin serving his sentence Feb. 15, a week after his 50th birthday.
Neil said nothing more than "guilty" to the charge against him, court spokeswoman Mary Ann Price said. He was also fined $585 and ordered to attend drunken driving abatement school and to view a victim impact video online.
A lawsuit against actress Suzanne Somers over a failed Kentucky-based meal-preparation business has been dismissed.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reports Fayette County Circuit Judge James Ishmael ruled Wednesday afternoon there was not enough evidence.
Suzanne's Kitchen opened in 2006 in Lexington but closed a few months later. Louisville businessman and attorney John Shannon Bouchillon sued, claiming he wasn't told the truth before or after investing $400,000.
Somers testified Wednesday that her name and likeness were used to promote the store, but the company was run by former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown. Brown was dropped as a defendant before the trial.
M1911 For Official State Firearm
State lawmakers are debating whether to designate a semiautomatic pistol as the official gun of Utah, despite protests from people who believe it's inappropriate because of recent mass shootings.
The bill to make the Browning M1911 the official gun breezed through a committee hearing this week and is scheduled to be debated by the full House as early as Wednesday.
Republican Rep. Carl Wimmer said the state should have the gun as one of its state symbols to honor John Browning, a Utah native who invented it in 1911.
Utah has 24 state symbols recognizing the history, geography and culture of the state. They include a state cooking pot, a state tree, a state hymn and a state folk dance.
Removes 'Horst Wessel' From German iTunes
Apple removed a notorious anthem of the Nazi Party from the German version of its iTunes online music store on Wednesday, a German spokesman for the U.S. firm told Reuters.
Named after a young party activist killed in 1930, the marching song "Horst Wessel Lied," was the unofficial anthem of the Nazis until it was banned in Germany at the end of World War Two.
The Apple spokesman said it had been taken off iTunes but did not say if other Nazi-era songs had also been removed.
The availability of Nazi anthems on iTunes and retailer Amazon's German website was first reported by the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung daily on Wednesday.
A Southern California porn king won't be buying "Octomom" Nadya Suleman's house.
In a statement Wednesday, Vivid Entertainment founder Steven Hirsch says his adult entertainment company wanted to help Suleman but she rejected its offer to pay off her mortgage.
That means Suleman still owes the La Habra home's owner Amer Haddadin $450,000 in a balloon payment.
Suleman's lawyer Jeff Czech says she wants nothing to do with Vivid. Czech says Suleman knows she's in no position to turn down a gift but she believes she's making the right decision.
Climbing The Step-Stool
A Phoenix radio station has offered a job to Bristol Palin.
Mix 96.9 host Mathew Blades says Sarah Palin's eldest daughter met with the station's management Friday and that they offered her a gig co-hosting with him on his morning show.
The 20-year-old daughter of the former Alaska governor hasn't accepted the offer but Blades says she seems interested.
The former "Dancing With the Stars" contestant has purchased a five-bedroom house in the town of Maricopa, which is south of Phoenix. She came to the forefront during her mother's 2008 vice presidential run when the Palin family announced that the then-17-year-old was pregnant.
Austrian Formula One legend Niki Lauda apologised Wednesday for making anti-gay comments that raised a storm on social networking sites this week.
"I... would like to apologise to all the people who were hurt by my choice of words," Lauda said in a statement posted on the Facebook page of his airline FlyNiki.
"I would like to repeat here one more time: I have never had any prejudice against homosexuals," he added.
The 61-year-old Lauda, who was three times F1 world champion and now runs his own airline, came under fire this week after criticising Austrian public television ORF for pairing the openly gay actor and presenter Alfons Haider with a heterosexual man in the upcoming dance show "Dancing Stars".
"There are so many good things in our culture and one of those is that men dance with women. At this rate we will soon have to be saying sorry because we are heterosexual," Lauda said in an interview with the daily Oesterreich on Monday.
Indonesian Rice Paddy
Thousands of curious onlookers are flocking to central Indonesia to look at a "crop circle" in a rice field following rumors it was formed by a UFO.
Though clearly sculptured by humans - it looks like an intricately designed flower - the 70-yard-wide (70-meter-wide) circle has drawn so much attention that police have blocked off the area with yellow tape.
Villagers have started charging entrance fees.
Guntur Purwanto, chief of Jogotirto village in Sleman district, said the circle appeared in the middle of the green rice paddies over the weekend.
Prime-time viewership numbers compiled by the Nielsen Co. for Jan. 17-23. Listings include the week's ranking and viewership.
1. "AFC Championship: N.Y. Jets vs. Pittsburgh," CBS, 54.85 million.
2. "AFC Championship Post Game," CBS, 31.51 million.
3. "American Idol" (Wednesday), Fox, 26.23 million.
4. "American Idol" (Thursday), Fox, 22.9 million.
5. "NCIS," CBS, 21.09 million.
6. "Hawaii Five-0" (Sunday), CBS, 19.34 million.
7. "NCIS: Los Angeles," CBS, 17.29 million.
8. "Two and a Half Men," CBS, 15.56 million.
9. "The Mentalist," CBS, 14.82 million.
10. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," CBS, 14.34 million.
11. "The Big Bang Theory," CBS, 13.63 million.
12. "Mike & Molly," CBS, 12.8 million.
13. "Blue Bloods," CBS, 12.3 million.
14. "Criminal Minds," CBS, 12.02 million.
15. "The Good Wife," CBS, 11.43 million.
16. "Harry's Law," NBC, 11.07 million.
17. "Modern Family," ABC, 10.94 million.
18. "Hawaii Five-0," CBS, 10.83 million.
19. "Bones," Fox, 10.55 million.
20. "How I Met Your Mother," CBS, 10.53 million.
Milton Levine, co-inventor of the classic Ant Farm toy that gave millions of youngsters a sneak peak into the underground lives of insects, has died at age 97.
Levine died of natural causes on Jan. 16 at an assisted-care facility in Thousand Oaks, his son, Steven, told the Los Angeles Times.
Uncle Milton's Ant Farm has sold more than 20 million copies, but it sprang from humble origins.
Levine was watching ants during a Fourth of July picnic in Studio City in 1956 when he was reminded of collecting ants in jars as a child, Levine told the Times in 2002.
Levine and his brother-in-law, E. J. Cossman, came up with a transparent habitat - a green plastic frame with a whimsical farm scene - that allowed people to watch ants dig tunnels in sand between two plastic panes.
The ants were sent by mail. Collectors got a penny apiece to grab red harvester ants from the Mojave Desert.
The toy was an instant hit. The product has remained essentially the same over the decades, although some small changes were made. The original glue was toxic to some ants, so it was replaced. The sand was switched to whitish volcanic ash in order to make the ants more visible.
Levine's company became a multimillion-dollar business and today offers a range of science and nature toys, including butterfly and frog habitats and Star Wars-themed items. It was sold to Transom Capital Group last year for tens of millions of dollars.
Levine sometimes joked that the ants' most amazing feat was putting his three children through college.
In addition to his son, Steven, Levine is survived by his wife, Mauricette, daughters Harriet and Ellen; two sisters and three grandchildren.
Actor Bruce Gordon, who played a mobster on the television series "The Untouchables" from 1959 to 1963, has died at his Santa Fe home.
Before taking on his most famous role as mobster Frank Nitti in "The Untouchables," he played police officers, detectives, prosecutors and cowboys.
He appeared on such television programs as "The Hallmark Hall of Fame," "Gunsmoke," "Maverick" "Perry Mason" and "Bonanza."
Retired actor Abel Fernandez of Whittier, Calif., who worked with Gordon on "The Untouchables," says Gordon was fun to work with because he gave so much.
Charlie Louvin, half of the Louvin Brothers duo whose harmonies inspired fellow country and pop singers for decades, died early Wednesday due to complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 83.
The unique sound of Charlie and his brother, Ira, was highly influential in the history of both country and rock and they were inducted into the hall in 2001.
Among their hits were "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby," which was No. 1 in 1965, "When I Stop Dreaming," "Hoping That You're Hoping," and "You're Running Wild."
The brothers decided to disband their duo in 1963. Ira died in a Missouri car accident two years later. Charlie later recalled that differences in personality and Ira's drinking created friction between them, but said they probably would have reunited if Ira had lived.
Charlie Louvin recorded regularly after his brother died, most recently releasing "The Battle Rages On," a collection of war songs, last winter. His biggest solo hits were "See the Big Man Cry" in 1965 and "I Don't Love You Anymore" in 1964.
The Louvins influenced harmony acts from the Everly Brothers onward. Emmylou Harris had a hit with their "If I Could Only Win Your Love" in 1975. The Notting Hillbillies recorded the Louvins' "Weapon of Prayer" in 1990.
Their association with rock 'n' roll would get stronger when Gram Parsons introduced The Louvins' sound to The Byrds and other willing acolytes in the late 1960s, most notably on The Byrds' groundbreaking country-rock album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo."
Charlie Louvin was born Charles Loudermilk in Henager, Ala., in 1927. He and Ira, born in 1924, worked in the fields on the family farm and began singing together as teenagers, developing the harmony that would become their trademark.
"I'm the biggest harmony lover in the world," Louvin said last year. "If a song's worth singing you ought to put harmony on it."
German movie producer, director and screenplay writer Bernd Eichinger, who produced well-known films "The Neverending Story" and "Downfall," has died. He was 61.
Eichinger suffered a deadly heart attack Monday night during a dinner with family and friends in Los Angeles, German production firm Constantin Film AG said in a statement Tuesday.
One of his most successful productions was the 2004 film "Downfall," for which he also wrote the screenplay. The movie depicts the last days of Nazi Germany in Adolf Hitler's bunker in Berlin and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005.
His 2008 movie "The Baader Meinhof Complex," devoted to the history of Germany's left-wing terrorist group Red Army Faction, was also nominated for a foreign-language Oscar.
Eichinger also produced "The Name of the Rose," based on an Umberto Eco's novel and "The House of the Spirits," which was based on Isabel Allende's book. He also co-authored the screenplay of the successful 2006 movie "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer," after pressing author Patrick Suesskind, a friend of his, for years to sell him the movie rights.
Eichinger, born 1949 in southern Germany, started his career at Munich film school in 1970, and founded his first production company four years later.
Eichinger, who lived in both Germany and Los Angeles, is survived by his wife Katja and a 29-year-old daughter from an earlier relationship.