BartCop Entertainment Archives - Thursday, 15 March, 2012


15 March, 2012

(Updated Daily)

[170 days in a row]



The (Occasional) Veterans Report

VA Health Care Budget Threatened

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Heartless), Chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, wrote that the reality of sequestration -- the congressionally mandated cuts that will automatically occur later this year due to the Joint Select Committee's failure to find $1.2 trillion dollars in deficit reductions -- is about hit home for veterans. "As it stands right now, sequestration of government programs is imminent." Miller's concern goes beyond the issue of how this will impact our national defense, Miller is worried (Yeah, right... then do something, would ya now?) that an ambiguity in the law could be used by the Office of Management and Budget to cut as much as two percent from the VA's Healthcare budget despite Congress' intent to protect VA from sequestration.

Troops May Soon Get Mortgage Relief

The President's plan will require the federal government to review thousands of service member held mortgages for illegal foreclosures and charges. As a result, eligible veterans and service members could see a sizeable payback from the mortgage companies. Under the settlement certain mortgage companies must pay back at least $116,785 plus any home equity to military homeowners who lost their homes due to illegal foreclosure procedures. In addition, service members who were charged more than 6 percent interest rate (the highest rate allowed under the Service members Civil Relief Act) will be eligible to receive four times what they overpaid in interest... (Yay!)

Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, and a commemorative poster can be downloaded from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute website. For more information on Women's History Month, including educational materials, visit the History Center, the Library of Congress website, the National Women's History Project website, the U.S. Census Bureau website, the Department of Defense Women's History Month webpage, and the website.

(They have the past 10 years posters available. I submit 2005's with words from this year's poster)

"I'm not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship"
- Louisa May Alcott

National Cemetery Update

The House Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) held an oversight hearing to examine the current state of our National Cemeteries. The National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has come under fire recently due to a series of audits revealing, to date, over 240 mismarked or unmarked graves and 8 veterans or their loved ones buried in the wrong place at 13 cemeteries nationwide. Officials reviewed NCA's progress in mending the harm revealed by the national audit, as well as to review measures taken to ensure greater accountability. The committee was told that the new leadership at Arlington and the NCA are making significant strides in addressing the issues found during the recent audit.

(I have visited only a few national cemeteries, Arlington and Ft. Custer in Battle Creek, MI. notably. Interestingly, Ft. Custer has a small section where 26 German POWs are buried. There were over 5,000 POWs held there during the war. 16 of those were killed when their farm work detail truck was hit by a train. The others died of natural causes. Every year on the German version of Memorial Day, Volkstrauertag, the German Consul from Chicago comes and they have a small ceremony. Their graves, although segregated, are tended well and are marked as all the other graves are. They use the current German flag, of course, not the swastika.)

Life Member - DAV

Thanks, B2tbBob!


Just How Sly is Mitt Romney?


Recommended Reading

from Bruce

13 Charts  (pdf file)
Obama has made real progress.

Mark Morford: Collapse of the Shiny Pretty Things (SF gate)
And then the international think tank said, you know what? It's still not working.

How Scooby-Doo and 9 Other Cartoon Characters Got Their Names (Atlantic)
The surprising inspirations behind Scooby, Winnie-the-Pooh, and more.

Jonathan Jones: What if the old masters' nudes were today's skinny models? (Guardian)
A website that reduces the waistlines and curves of nudes in famous paintings has something powerful to say about our modern ideals of beauty.

Art's great nudes have gone skinny (Guardian)
Italian artist Anna Utopia Giordano has taken some great (and, to be honest, not so great) paintings of nudes from the past and reimagined what they would look like if their bodies conformed to what the 21st-century thinks of as an ideal of beauty. The results are revealing - and quite shocking in what they say about our modern attitudes to women's bodies.

Sean O'Hagen: "Damien Hirst: 'I still believe art is more powerful than money'" (Guardian)
Damien Hirst has gone from mouthy YBA to global brand over the past 25 years - and become the world's richest living artist on the way. Here he talks about money, mortality and his first retrospective in Britain.

Tania Branigan: Ai Weiwei supporters strip off as artist faces 'porn' investigation (Guardian)
Nude photographs posted in riposte to Chinese police interrogation of videographer for picture of Ai and women naked.

Alexis Petridis on feminist rock (Guardian)
Who knew feminist rock was full of sax? Not me.

Jason Zenoman: Carrie's Mom Was Right (Slate)
Reconsidering one of the most reviled mothers in the history of horror.

Reddit: Ask Me Anything sessions can go anywhere, like it or not (LA Times)
A Q&A might have surprised Woody Harrelson, but others, including Ken Jennings, have found it beneficial.

David Bruce has 42 Kindle books on with 250 anecdotes in each book. Each book is $1, so for $42 you can buy 10,500 anecdotes. Search for "Funniest People," "Coolest People, "Most Interesting People," "Kindest People," "Religious Anecdotes," "Maximum Cool," and "Resist Psychic Death."


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Trivia Question of the Day

The record for most appearances on the old Ed Sullivan Show is 67. What act set that record?


Send your answer to Marty

Trivia Question from Yesterday

Chuckles the Clown was dressed as what character when he was killed by an elephant in a Minneapolis circus parade?

   Peter Peanut                                                      Source

"Chuckles Bites the Dust" is an episode of the television situation comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show which first aired October 25, 1975. The episode's plot centers on the fictictious WJM-TV staff's humorous reaction to the absurd death of Chuckles the Clown, an often-mentioned but seldom seen character who starred in an eponymously titled show at the station.

Chuckles is hired as the grand marshal for a circus parade, after news anchor Ted Baxter is ordered by Lou Grant to turn down the honor. Ted is upset and tries to rally Mary to his side. Mary agrees that Lou was perhaps too hasty in his order, but then tells Ted that Chuckles the Clown had been asked and has accepted the honor as grand marshal.

The next day, as Mary and Murray are watching Ted deliver the live newscast, Lou rushes into the newsroom in shock and tells the staff that Chuckles has been killed during the parade. He had
dressed as the character Peter Peanut, and a rogue elephant tried to "shell" him, causing fatal injuries. The unusual circumstances of Chuckles' death provoke a wave of jokes, especially by Lou, Sue Ann Nivens, and Murray Slaughter. Meanwhile, Ted tries his best to ad lib a eulogy for Chuckles, whom he admitted he didn't know very well. Everyone continues their uncontrollable laughter, with the exception of Mary, who is appalled by her co-workers' apparent lack of respect for the deceased.        Source

Alan J was first, and correct, with:
   Peter Peanut

Adam answered:
   A Peanut.

Charlie wrote:
   Peter Peanut

Jim from CA, retired to ID, replied:
   A giant peanut

Marian responded:
   Peter Peanut

Sally said:
   Who could forget, Chuckles the Clown was dressed as the character Peter Peanut, and a rogue elephant tried to "shell" him, causing fatal injuries - in the classic Mary Tyler Moore show!

  "Chuckles" first appearance on the show.

  Mary, becoming verklempt at his funeral.
  Oy, those were the days...
  PS: @Dale of Diamond Springs, thanks for the info on Albert Einstein, I always did like that guy! :)

John I from Hawai`i says,
   "A Peanut."

Dale of Diamond Springs answered:
   Chuckles the Clown was attacked and killed by an elephant while in the character of Peter Peanut. The funeral was one of the funniest episodic television events ever!
  Chuckles the Clown's eulogy:
     "Chuckles the Clown brought pleasure to millions. The characters he created will be remembered by children and adults alike: Peter Peanut, Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo, Billy Banana, and my particular favorite, Aunt Yoo Hoo. And not just for the laughter they provided-there was always some deeper meaning to whatever Chuckles did. Do you remember Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo's little catch phrase? Remember how, when his arch rival Señor Kaboom hit him with a giant cucumber and knocked him down, Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo would always pick himself up, dust himself off, and say, 'I hurt my foo-foo'? Life's a lot like that. From time to time we all fall down and hurt our foo-foos. If only we could deal with it as simply and bravely and honestly as Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo. And what did Chuckles ask in return? Not much. In his own words, 'A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.'"
  But alas! I still hate fuckin clowns!

Tom B responded:
   He was dressed as a peanut.
  Poor Mary Richards was devastated . . . by uncontrollable laughter.

MAM   wrote:
   'Peter Peanut' portrayed by Richard Schaal as Chuckles the Clown on the old TV series, "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". Looking for the image to go with this presented a bit of trivia of its own. The image I chose first came from the Friday June 26, 2009, Epage. Both Joe S. and I had chosen the same image. The question that was asked: "On the old TV series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, how did WJM's Chuckles the Clown meet his demise?" So, for old times sake, I will use the same image on the left!

MTM and Chuckles                                          Chuckles as Peter Peanut

Ted said:
   One of the funniest MTM shows ever. Chuckles, dressed as Peter Peanut, was shelled by a rouge elephant.
  As was said by Ted Baxter in his rememberance of Chuckles- A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in your pants

And, Joe S     replied:
   Peter Peanut, but that's not what I'm here to talk about.
  I want to talk about the 12 most beautiful lakes in the world as submitted yesterday by Bosko. Now, no offense to Bosko because he (or she, I don't know Bosko's gender) is not responsible for the content of the web site. He (or she) merely submitted the link for what it was worth. I expected to access the site and see that Lake Michigan was the number one most beautiful lake in the world. Lake Michigan wasn't even mentioned! How can this be?
  Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore was voted the most beautiful place in America, and what lakeshore is Sleeping Bear on? Yes, Lake Michigan making it the most beautiful lake in America. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself.
  This isn't Sleeping Bear, this is the beach at Pierport where I hold my famous birthday party every year.



Middle Class Political Economist


Reader Suggestion

Michelle in AZ

Anthony D. Romero: Opening a Gate in the Wall of Separation of Church and State

The Benefits of Bamboo -

Daily Kos: Arizona out-crazies other contraception bills. Use birth control, get fired.

Daily Kos: Hilarious: VA Right-Wingnut Sen. Ryan McDougle Gets a Taste of His Own (Transvaginal) Medicine!

Daily Kos: Cyber activism on AZ Majority (woman hating) Whip Debbie Lesko's Facebook and Twitter pages

Daily Kos: Church Chastity Presentation Fails to Excite

Daily Kos: Wisconsin Assembly votes to ban private insurance for abortion

Daily Kos: Pipeline spills of tar-sands oil three times as frequent as that of crude oil, and nastier

Bank of America: Too Crooked to Fail | Politics News | Rolling Stone

Daily Kos: Catholic Church tired of being 'whipping boy' for that whole molesting kids thing
     just sickening

Why Encyclopedia Britannica mattered -

HBO cancels 'Luck' after horse deaths - The Marquee Blog - Blogs

Opinion: After Kony, should kids decide our morals? -

U.S. pastor sued for anti-gay effort in Uganda - CBS News

Miss. House defiant, passes "personhood" bill - CBS News

Thanks, Michelle!


From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'

"The Problem With Young People Today"

(Crabby Old Fart)



Selected Readings

from that Mad Cat, JD
















Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music


Ark Of Darkness


In The Chaos Household

Last Night

Still sunny, but it was warmer in NYC and Chicago than here.

Tonight, Thursday:

CBS fills the night with LIVE '2012 NCAA Basketball Tourney', then pads the left coast with local crap.
On a RERUN Dave (from 2/8/12) are Ryan Reynolds, Ellie Kemper, and Dierks Bentley.
On a RERUN Craig (from 11/10/11) are Molly Shannon and Michael K. Williams.

NBC begins the night with a FRESH 'Community', followed by a FRESH '30 Rock', then a FRESH 'The Office', followed by a FRESH 'Up All Night', then a FRESH 'Awake'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Leno are Kiefer Sutherland, Kathryn Hahn, and Andy Grammer.
On a RERUN Jimmy Fallon (from 2/2/12) are Taylor Lautner, Adam Levine, and Nas.
On a RERUN Carson 'The Scab' Daly (from 2/9/12) are Gina Carano, Dee Rees, and Milow.

ABC starts the night with a FRESH 'Missing', followed by a FRESH 'Grey's Anatomy', then a FRESH 'Private Practice'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Jimmy Kimmel are Channing Tatum, Genesis Rodriguez, and the Joy Formidable.

The CW offer a FRESH 'The Vampire Diaries', followed by a FRESH 'The Secret Circle'.

Faux has a FRESH 'American Idol', followed by a RERUN 'Touch'.

MY recycles an old 'Without A Trace', followed by another old 'Without A Trace'.

A&E has 'The First 48', another 'The First 48', followed by a FRESH 'The First 48', then the FRESH 'The First 48: Missing Persons'.

AMC offers 'CSI: The 2nd One', followed by the movie 'Under Siege', then the movie 'Under Siege', again.

BBC  -   
 [8:00AM]   THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW-Ep 12 - Vince Vaughn, Sarah Millican, P. Diddy
 [9:00AM]   THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW-Ep 9 Stephen Fry, Bill Bailey, Annie Lennox, David Gray, Cesar Millan
 [10:00AM]   DOCTOR WHO-Ep 7 42
 [11:00AM]   BEING HUMAN-Episode 4
 [2:00PM]   GORDON RAMSAY'S F WORD-Episode 1
 [4:00PM]   RAMSAY'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES-Ep 1 - Spanish Pavillion
 [5:00PM]   DOCTOR WHO-Ep 8 Human Nature
 [7:00PM]   TOP GEAR-Episode 4
 [8:00PM]   TOP GEAR-Episode 1
 [9:00PM]   TOP GEAR-Episode 4
 [10:00PM]   TOP GEAR-Ep 4 Botswana Special
 [12:00AM]   TOP GEAR-Episode 4
 [1:00AM]   TOP GEAR-Episode 1
 [3:00AM]   THE X-FILES-Ep 8 One Breath
 [4:00AM]   THE X-FILES-Ep 9 Space

Bravo has 'Real Housewives Of Atlanta', 'Interior Therapy With Jeff Lewis', 'Million Dollar Listing New York', and 'Real Housewives Of OC'.

Comedy Central has '30 Rock', another '30 Rock', 'Futurama', another 'Futurama', still another 'Futurama', yet another 'Futurama', 'South Park', and 'Tosh.0'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Jon Stewart is TBA.
Scheduled on a FRESH Colbert Report is Dexter Filkins.

FX has 'How I Met Your Mother', another 'How I Met Your Mother', '2½ Men', another '2½ Men', still another '2½ Men', yet another '2½ Men', followed by a FRESH 'Archer', then a FRESH 'Unsupervised'.

History has 'Swamp People', another 'Swamp People', followed by a FRESH 'Swamp People', then a FRESH 'Mudcats'.

IFC  -   
 [6:00AM]   Tadpole
 [7:35AM]   Portlandia -No Olympics
 [8:05AM]   Portlandia -Brunch Village
 [8:35AM]   Portlandia -Feminist Bookstore 10th Anniversary
 [9:05AM]   Marie Antoinette
 [11:35AM]   FF: A Look at the American Secrets
 [11:40AM]   Mistress
 [1:55PM]   Tadpole
 [3:30PM]   Marie Antoinette
 [6:00PM]   Malcolm in the Middle -Halloween Approximately
 [6:30PM]   Malcolm in the Middle -Lois' Birthday
 [7:00PM]   Malcolm in the Middle -Dinner Out
 [7:30PM]   Malcolm in the Middle -Casino
 [8:00PM]   FF: A Look at the American Secrets
 [8:05PM]   House Party
 [10:20PM]   House Party
 [12:35AM]   Layer Cake
 [2:50AM]   Layer Cake
 [5:05AM]   Portlandia -Farm
 [5:35AM]   Portlandia -A Song For Portlandia    (ALL TIMES EDT)

Sundance  -   
 [6:00A]   Still Walking
 [8:00A]   A Town Called Panic
 [9:15A]   Toots
 [10:45A]   Bitch
 [11:00A]   Love Lust & Makeup
 [12:00P]   FREAKS AND GEEKS - We've Got Spirit (Episode 9, Season 1)
 [1:00P]   Still Walking
 [3:00P]   Love Lust & The Undead
 [4:00P]   Love Lust & Little Black Dress
 [5:05P]   Toots
 [6:35P]   L'Auberge Espagnole
 [8:45P]   Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee
 [10:00P]   The Waiting Room
 [11:50P]   This Way Up
 [12:00A]   The Wig
 [1:45A]   Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee
 [3:00A]   The Waiting Room
 [4:50A]   Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy
 [5:45A]   Next Floor     (ALL TIMES EDT)

SyFy has the movie 'Saw', followed by the movie 'Dawn Of The Dead'.

On a RERUN Conan (from 8/18/11) are Louis C.K., Jim Sturgess, and Hugh Moore.

 [6:15 AM]      Come Fly With Me (1963)
 [8:15 AM]      Virginia City (1940)
 [10:15 AM]      Fighting Man of the Plains (1949)
 [12:00 PM]      Ride The High Country (1962)
 [1:45 PM]      The Golden Arrow (1936)
 [3:00 PM]      Racket Busters (1938)
 [4:15 PM]      Secrets Of An Actress (1938)
 [5:30 PM]      The Great Lie (1941)
 [7:30 PM]      MGM Parade Show #2 (1955)
 [8:00 PM]      Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
 [10:00 PM]      The Whole Town's Talking (1935)
 [11:45 PM]      Mary of Scotland (1936)
 [2:00 AM]      Stagecoach (1939)
 [4:00 AM]      Flesh (1932)     (ALL TIMES EDT)

Friday   -  03/16/12

 [6:00 AM]      About Face (1952)
 [8:00 AM]      No Time For Sergeants (1958)
 [10:00 AM]      At War With The Army (1950)
 [12:00 PM]      Hook, Line and Sinker (1969)
 [2:00 PM]      Don't Raise The Bridge, Lower The River
 [4:00 PM]      The Big Mouth (1967)
 [6:00 PM]      Three on a Couch (1966)
 [8:00 PM]      Jason And The Argonauts (1963)
 [10:00 PM]      Clash Of The Titans (1981)
 [12:15 AM]      Helen of Troy (1956)
 [2:30 AM]      She Freak (1967)
 [4:00 AM]      Berserk (1967)
 [5:45 AM]      Live and Learn (1952)     (ALL TIMES EDT)

Antenna TV


RTV - The Retro Television Network

This TV

Any opinions?   Marty

Or reviews?   Marty

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Actor George Clooney smiles before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing regarding Sudan at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington March 14, 2012.
Photo by Benjamin Myers


Vidiot Speak


NPR Streaming Live Today

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen fans will be able to watch and listen to his keynote speech from the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference and Festival on Thursday, thanks to a live broadcast of the event that will stream on

Springsteen's keynote speech -- which will be 1:00 p.m. ET/12:00 CT -- is the first-ever a SXSW music conference session that will be streamed online for people to watch worldwide at

In addition to watching the event live, it will also be archived at NPR Music and in the NPR Music iPhone and iPad apps. The broadcast will also air on many public radio stations across the country, including WXPN Philadelphia, WFUV New York and locally on KUT Austin (check local listings).

Springsteen recently released Wrecking Ball, his 17th studio album. He held an extended virtual listening party of sorts by unveiling each track from the album on a different website up until March 2. Mashable introduced the title track "Wrecking Ball" in late February.

Bruce Springsteen


Re-Ups 18 Shows


CBS has re-upped 18 of its shows for next season, including "2 Broke Girls," "Person of Interest" and "Hawaii 5-0."

The mass renewal includes four comedies, nine dramas, three reality offerings and two newsmagazines. It does not include "Two and a Half Men," as that show's return is still being negotiated.

The comedy pickups include the previously announced, multi-year pickups of "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory," as well as "2 Broke Girls," which proved to be a hit for the network in its first season, and "Mike & Molly."

Of the dramas, "NCIS: Los Angeles" has received the green light for another season, along with "Hawaii 5-0," "Criminal Minds," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Person of Interest," "The Mentalist," "Blue Bloods" and "The Good Wife."

On the reality front, "The Amazing Race" and "Undercover Boss" join "Survivor," which had previously been renewed.



Actor Richard Grieco poses at the premiere of "21 Jump Street" at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California March 13, 2012. The movie opens in the U.S. on March 16.
Photo by Mario Anzuoni


History Channel's First Scripted Series


History Channel has the second most popular reality series on cable TV with "Pawn Stars," and now the network is tackling its first scripted series with "Vikings."

The network announced the series will begin production for a 2013 debut. Filmed in Ireland, the series -- from Michael Hirst, "The Tudors" and "Camelot" producer and "Elizabeth" writer -- will revolve around the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, a real-life Norse hero who became the king of the Viking tribes and was reputed to be a direct descendant of Odin, the god of war and warriors.

Lothbrok was portrayed by Ernest Borgnine in the 1958 film "The Vikings."

History Channel's release further describes "Vikings" as a family saga, that, "unlike past movies and dramas that caricatured them as barbarians … will not look at Viking culture from the outside, but from within the heart of Viking society."



Returing To Hollywood & Highland


The 85th Academy Awards have been set for Feb. 24, 2013, and they'll take place once again at the Hollywood & Highland Center.

The venue, formerly known as the Kodak Theatre, opened in 2001 to be the permanent home of the Hollywood's biggest awards ceremony. Eastman Kodak Co. filed for bankruptcy protection and dropped its name from the event just before this year's Oscars were handed out.

A representative of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says the academy has a contract with the owner of the Hollywood & Highland Center through the 2013 show. Negotiations are still ongoing as to where there ceremony might take place in upcoming years.

Academy Award nominations are set for Jan. 15, 2013.



Wake-up Call


Winners Revealed

Bancroft Prize

Anne F. Hyde, Daniel T. Rodgers and Tomiko Brown-Nagin have been revealed as the three winners this year of the coveted Bancroft Prize for history.

Hyde, a professor at Colorado College, won for her "Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West, 1800-1860."

Rodgers, who teaches at Princeton University, won for "Age of Fracture." Brown-Nagin, a professor at the University of Virginia Law School, won for "Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement."

There were 175 books nominated that were considered for the 2012 prize, which is administered by Columbia University. Winners will be presented with their awards, which includes a $10,000 prize, next month.

Bancroft Prize


Emilio Fernandez Miro (L) and Joan Punyet Miro, grandchildren of Spanish artist Joan Miro, pose for photographs by Femme, a bronze sculpture at the launch of Miro's exhibition at the Yorkshire sculpture park in Wakefield, northern England March 14, 2012. The park is staging Britain's first major exhibition of 79 sculptures by Miro from March 17 to January 6, 2013.
Photo by Nigel Roddis


Baby News

Jackson Theron

Actress Charlize Theron is a mother: The actress has adopted a child.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Theron's publicist said the actress is a "proud mom of a healthy baby boy named Jackson."

No more details were provided.

Theron is from South Africa. This is the actress' first child.

Jackson Theron


The Sideshow - by Avedon Carol


HBO Cancels Horse Racing Series


The horseracing series "Luck" was canceled by HBO after a third thoroughbred died during production of the series starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte, the channel said Wednesday.

The drama about the seedier side of horseracing will air the final two episodes of its first season now in progress, HBO said. But the series won't return for the second season that began production last month, it said.

"While we maintained the highest safety standards possible, accidents unfortunately happen and it is impossible to guarantee they won't in the future," the channel said. "Accordingly, we have reached this difficult decision."

The move was made with David Milch, the show's creator, and Michael Mann, his fellow executive producer on the drama that brought film actor Hoffman to series TV. It was a high-profile project for the premium channel that stakes its reputation on such fare.



Author/co-Screenwriter/executive producer Suzanne Collins arrives at the world premiere of "The Hunger Games" on Monday March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles.
Photo by Chris Pizzello


Deliberations Begin

'Desperate Housewives'

Jurors heard alternate plotlines Wednesday about Nicollette Sheridan's departure from TV "Desperate Housewives."

Her lawyers claimed she was fired after complaining that show creator Marc Cherry hit her in the head during an on-set dispute in September 2008.

Attorneys for Cherry and ABC countered that the decision to kill off Sheridan's character on the show had been made four months earlier for creative reasons and had nothing to do with the dustup.

The different versions were laid out in closing arguments delivered at Sheridan's wrongful termination trial before the jury began its deliberations. The actress is seeking roughly $6 million in damages.

'Desperate Housewives'


Pussy Riot Scares Conservatives


Two members of an anti-Kremlin all-girl punk rock band were ordered detained in prison on Wednesday for mounting a protest 'concert' in Moscow's main cathedral, leaping around in brightly colored masks and brandishing a guitar to recorded music.

Pussy Riot's performance, posted on the internet, offended Orthodox believers. The arrest of the two women last month on hooliganism charges ignited a fierce debate over the boundaries of protest and state power. A judge declined a request on Wednesday that they be released on bail and ordered them held until April 24.

Outside the Moscow court house, fans of the feminist rock group wearing pastel colored masks that are the band's trademark scuffled with Russian Orthodox supporters who came to protest against what consider the group's desecration of a place of worship.

Pussy Riot, whose members say they draw inspiration from the 1990s U.S. feminist punk groups Riot Grrl and Bikini Kill, are one of the more bizarre groups to emerge at the fore of a nascent protest movement against Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule.

The groups dissident songs and radical performances calling for Putin's ouster including on Red Square have gone viral.



A musician plays a traditional instrument during the last rehearsal with North Korea's Unhasu Orchestra and Radio France Orchestra in Paris, March 14, 2012. South Korean maestro Chung Myung-whun invited North Korea's Unhasu Orchestra for a joint concert with the Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra in Paris tonight at the Salle Pleyel.
Photo by Philippe Wojazer


Fox Pulls Plug On Movie


Kiefer Sutherland is furious at 20th Century Fox, which has called a halt to the movie version of his hit television show, "24," over budget and star salary issues, TheWrap has learned.

The movie based on the conspiracy-terrorism-action show was in pre-production and set to start shooting next month, but has now ground to a halt because Fox will greenlight a budget no higher than $30 million, while Sutherland and producer Brian Grazer feel the budget needs to be in the low $40s at its tightest.

"We're still working on a script, and hope to make when Kiefer next has time," said the Fox spokesman. "But this all came down to timing, and seven weeks is not enough time to prep a movie like this."

But insiders on the project refuted that version of the situation. According to them, the Fox television star feels insulted that Fox has offered him a relatively measly salary of $1 million to do the movie.

Times are tough in this business, but why Fox would nickel-and-dime a star like Sutherland, whose show has an international as well as a strong domestic audience is a mystery. Yes, Sutherland has gotten inordinately wealthy off the series and, yes, star fees have come down in recent years -- but still.



Appeal For Help

Greek Archaeologists

Greek archaeologists appealed to art lovers across the world on Wednesday to protest against austerity cuts taking a toll on the debt-stricken country's ancient monuments, temples and museums.

Since the debt crisis flared in 2009, Greece has imposed a series of spending cuts to satisfy lenders and avert bankruptcy. The culture ministry's budget has been cut by 35 percent and it has axed 2,000 staffers, mostly workers on temporary contracts.

The budget cuts have hit museums and archaeological sites hard, forcing some to shorten visiting hours or shut down and prompting concern about the level of security at some of the most precious archaeological sites.

"Our cultural heritage is not for sale," said Despina Koutsoumba, the head of the Greek Archaeologists' Association. "We don't want markets to rule over our cultural heritage, our history and our democracy."

Greek Archaeologists


A Kashmiri woman carrying traditional teapot called Samovar in a basket on her head walks on the outskirts of Srinagar March 14, 2012.
Photo by Fayaz Kabli


Rhinoceros Horn Cups

"Antiques Roadshow"

Five rhinoceros horn cups that had been appraised on the popular television show "Antiques Roadshow" could fetch $1 million when they will be sold at auction next week, Sotheby's said.

Douglas Huber, a Vietnam veteran from Oklahoma, had brought his set of Qing Dynasty carved rhinoceros cups, which he started collecting in 1969, to a filming of the show in Tulsa, Oklahoma last year.

Appraiser Lark Mason valued the set of five intricately carved horns at $1 million to $1.5 million -- the highest value in the show's long history.

The auction house will sell the cups on March 20 in New York at its sale of fine Chinese ceramics and works of art. It has estimated the group will fetch between $700,000 and $1 million, with individual ones estimated as $120,000 to $250,000.

"Antiques Roadshow"


Spreading Hate

Dunkerton, Iowa

The principal of an Iowa secondary school that allowed members of a Christian rock band to espouse their anti-gay, anti-abortion views while showing students images of fetuses that had apparently been aborted is resigning, the district superintendent said.

Mike Cooper, who oversees grades 7-12 at the school in Dunkerton, will tender his resignation Monday and remain on the job through the end of the school year, Dunkerton Superintendent Jim Stanton told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier for a story published Tuesday.

Stanton said Cooper's decision is not related to Cooper's recommendation that the district invite the band Junkyard Prophet to perform at last week's assembly, and said the plan had been "in the works" for nearly a month.

Several students and parents said they were puzzled at why the band was invited to the school in Dunkerton, which is 70 miles northwest of Iowa City. The band is affiliated with a Minnesota group, You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, that describes itself as a Christian ministry and that states its extremely conservative views on social issues on its website. The Southern Poverty Law Center classifies it as a hate group.

Students said the March 8 assembly kicked off with a performance by the band and discussion about how some music can negatively influence young people. They said the group then tried to impress upon students that homosexuality, sex and abortion are wrong, displaying images of aborted fetuses on a screen above the stage.

Dunkerton, Iowa


A woman poses in her dress made from crisp bags on Ladies Day, the second day of racing at the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meet in Gloucestershire, western England March 14, 2012.
Photo by Stefan Wermuth


Ripping Off Clients

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs faced an unprecedented assault from one of its own after a banker published a withering resignation letter in the New York Times, calling the Wall Street titan a "toxic" place where managing directors referred to their own clients as "muppets."

It was the latest blow for the storied investment bank, which has long supplied senators and cabinet secretaries to Washington but now draws comparisons to a "great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity."

In an opinion column in Wednesday's Times, Greg Smith, who worked in equity derivatives, said Goldman had become "as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

"It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as 'muppets,'" Smith said.

In the United States "muppet" brings to mind lovable puppets like Kermit the Frog, but in Britain, "muppet" is slang for a stupid person.

Goldman Sachs


Found In Pa. Attic

Movie Posters

A rowdy band of bloodsuckers, gunslingers, wily wise guys, jaded private eyes, hardboiled reporters and good girls gone bad, stuck in an attic together for 80 years, is going its separate ways.

Nearly three dozen movie theater posters from the Golden Age of Hollywood found in a Pennsylvania attic are expected to fetch $250,000 at auction in Texas this month. They were stuck together with wallpaper glue when they were purchased for around $30,000 at a country auction last fall in Berwick, near Wilkes-Barre in northeastern Pennsylvania.

The buyer, who chose to remain anonymous, consigned them to Heritage Auctions in Dallas, where the stack of 33 Depression-era posters were painstakingly steamed and gingerly separated over the course of several weeks.

"As we started to peel them apart, it was one of the greatest treasure troves from a beautiful period of poster printing," said Grey Smith of Heritage Auctions, where the posters go on the block March 23.

"A number of them were in very, very nice shape. ... The colors had not seen the light of day in 80 years," Smith said. They were glued, one atop the other, apparently as each new release came to town. The find most likely came from one of the three big movie houses in Berwick during that era, Smith said.

Movie Posters



In Memory

Pierre Schoendoerffer

Pierre Schoendoerffer, an Oscar-winning French filmmaker who was held prisoner in Indochina and chronicled the pain of war on screen and on the page, has died. He was 83.

The French military health service confirmed that he died Wednesday. France's Le Figaro newspaper said Schoendoerffer died in a hospital outside Paris after an operation.

Born in central France on May 5, 1928, Schoendoerffer served as a cameraman in the French army in the 1950s and volunteered to be parachuted into the besieged fortress of Dien Bien Phu, where the decisive battle of the French war in Indochina was fought.

When the stronghold fell to the Vietnamese guerrilla army in May 1954, Schoendoerffer was captured and spent four months in a POW camp before being repatriated.

After the war, Schoendoerffer became a war correspondent in Algeria, and also worked in Malaysia, Morocco, Yemen and Laos.

He first gained fame as a film director for the gritty realism of his 1965 film "The 317th Platoon," which traced of a doomed group of French and Laotian soldiers retreating through the jungles ahead of the final rebel offensive in 1954. Critics have described the black-and-white film as a masterpiece among war movies in general, and among the best Vietnam War films ever made.

Schoendoerffer also made his mark as a screenwriter for his 1975 film "Drummer Crab" - based on a book he wrote by the same name - and the 1982 film "A Captain's Honor."

In 1991, he returned to Vietnam to film "Dien Bien Phu," a big-budget docudrama about the 55-day battle that ended France's colonial rule in Indochina and marked the start of the U.S. involvement there.

Schoendoerffer won an Academy Award in 1968 for his documentary "The Anderson Platoon," filmed in Vietnam.

Pierre Schoendoerffer



A medal depicting polar bear Knut is presented next to a sculpture at Berlin Zoo, March 12, 2012. The medal is on sale for twelve euros, the design is based on the planned memorial sculpture "Knut - The Dreamer" by Josef Tabachnyk that is dedicated to Knut who became a worldwide media sensation as a cub in 2007 after his mother rejected him and zookeepers decided to hand raise the polar bear.
Photo by Tobias Schwarz


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