BartCop Entertainment Archives - Tuesday, 31 July, 2012


31 July, 2012

(Updated Daily)

[308 days in a row]


Recommended Reading

from Bruce

Annabel Carberry in "A Glass of Red"
Annabel and the Lost In Translation Circus.

Paul Krugman: Crash of the Bumblebee (New York Times)
So could the euro be saved? Yes, probably. Should it be saved? Yes, even though its creation now looks like a huge mistake. For failure of the euro wouldn't just cause economic disruption; it would be a giant blow to the wider European project, which has brought peace and democracy to a continent with a tragic history. But will it actually be saved? Despite Mr. Draghi's show of determination, that is, as I said, very much in doubt.

Ted Rall: Gun Control Talk Is Cheap. A Sane Mental Health System Is Not
Setting aside the caveat that we still don't know why it happened, the big guns/crazy young white guy dynamic leads to two obvious policy prescriptions: gun control and improving access to mental health care.

Henry Rollins: Americans will Never Give Up Their Guns (LA Weekly)
America enjoys some global-high stats when it comes to death and injury via guns. Hell, America kicks ass in homicide, suicide, traffic fatality and incarceration like no other country. I am convinced that it's not the guns that make America a sometimes dangerous place to live. As always, it's the people.

'I was gutted that I'd been such a coward': photographers who didn't step in to help (Guardian)
What's it like to witness a mob attack, a starving child or the aftermath of a bomb, and take a photograph instead of stopping to help?

How to get paid to watch Netflix
Early in its existence, Netflix tested out film tags provided by external companies, but found that they failed in comparison to actual human taggers.

Lena Corner: Our dad, Joe Strummer, remembered (Guardian)
Ten years after the death of the Clash frontman, his daughters Jazz and Lola remember his freewheeling home life.

Charlie Jane Anders: George R.R. Martin breaks it down for you about sex and violence in entertainment (io9)
"I can describe an axe entering a human skull in great explicit detail and no one will blink twice at it. I provide a similar description, just as detailed, of a penis entering a vagina, and I get letters about it and people swearing off. To my mind this is kind of frustrating, it's madness. Ultimately, in the history of [the] world, penises entering vaginas have given a lot of people a lot of pleasure. Axes entering skulls, well, not so much."-- George R.R. Martin

David Bruce's Amazon Author Page

David Bruce's Lulu Storefront

David Bruce's Smashwords Page

David Bruce's Blog

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

In what year did Major League Baseball produce the first player-specific bobblehead dolls?


Send your answer to Marty

Trivia Question from Yesterday

The epitaph on her tombstone reads "She did it the hard way". Whose grave is it?

   Bette Davis                                                      Source

Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis (April 5, 1908 - October 6, 1989) was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional comedies, although her greatest successes were her roles in romantic dramas.

She is interred in Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles, alongside her mother, Ruthie, and sister, Bobby, with her name in larger type size. On her tombstone is written: "She did it the hard way", an epitaph that she mentioned in her memoir Mother Goddam as having been suggested to her by Joseph L. Mankiewicz shortly after they had filmed All About Eve.        Source

Alan J was first, and correct, with:
   Bette Davis

Charlie said:
   Bette Davis

BttbBob wrote:
   That 'Hair test' got a 'B'? No way... D+, tops...

Marian replied:
   Bette Davis

Adam answered:
   Bette Davis.

Dale of Diamond Springs responded:
   The incomparable Bette Davis. On her tombstone is written: "She did it the hard way", an epitaph that she mentioned in her memoir Mother Goddam as having been suggested to her by Joseph L. Mankiewicz shortly after they had filmed All About Eve. At least she wasn't Joan Crawford!!!!

Jim from CA, retired to ID, replied:
   Bette Davis

Sally said:
   From, her crypt at Forest Lawn cemetery:

  PS: I sure am missing my best friend. I got an 'update' today, he arrived and is undergoing 'diagnostic testing.' What, they can't see a broken hinge??
  In the meantime, my old faithful desktop guy, Blackie, is filling in as best as he can... If I could just find a comfortable chair, that would help.
  I miss you Mr laptop, hurry home...

MAM   wrote:
   Bette Davis (1908-1989)

And, Joe S     took the day off.



Middle Class Political Economist


Reader Suggestion

Michelle in AZ

Daily Kos: Romney doubles down on outrage in Israel

Westboro Baptist Church Military Protest Countered By Zombie Demonstrators (VIDEO)

Concerns of Fukushima parallel in Calif. - CNN

Warner Bros considers The Shining prequel | Film |

Surprising link found in Obama's family tree - CBS News

Dan Froomkin: Reporters Know What the 'Voter ID' Push Is Really About. Why Don't They Just Say So?

Chris Kelly: Mitt Romney: The Accidentally Insulting Tourist

'The Hobbit 3': Peter Jackson Confirms Third 'Hobbit' Film Set For Summer 2014 Release

In Colorado Shooting's Wake, The Gun Show Goes On

Thanks, Michelle!


From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'

"The Problem With Young People Today"

(Crabby Old Fart)


Reader Comment

Re: Robert Duvall dinner

Wish we knew what those Republican suckers will be served at their $25,000 a plate dinner at Duvall's home.

I ate at his restaurant in Middleburg once. I was not impressed.

Linda   >^..^<

Thanks, Linda!
Not that I'd expect all that much from the original Frank Burns.


Day 22

Gulf Fritillary

Came across some Gulf Fritillary larva on the back fence, so it looks like we'll have a third year of raising butterflies.  : )

Click on any picture for a larger version.

Caterpillar #5 (07/19/12)   Caterpillar #2 (07/20/12)   Caterpillar #3 (07/24/12)   Caterpillar #1 (07/26/12)

Expecting 'Caterpillar #5' to 'hatch' Friday or Saturday, and 'Caterpillar #2' a day later.

Here is last year's "crop" - Gulf Fritillary Butterflies

Eventually, this link will take you to this year's crop (the page doesn't exist - yet).




From the 'The Reports of our Demise are Greatly Exaggerated' File...

Michigan's recovery outpaces rest of U.S.

Michigan fell the hardest during the recession, but it's bouncing back better than the rest of the country. While economic uncertainty in Europe is creating a cloud over the U.S. economy, and the state's unemployment rate has ticked up two-tenths of a percentage point to 8.6 percent in the past two months, existing home sales and retail sales in Michigan are doing better than elsewhere in the country... Home sales are up 10 percent through June in the Great Lakes State compared with the nation's 5 percent growth rate, according to the National Association of Realtors. And the state's retail sales surged in April and May, while the national figure fell 0.2 percent...    Michigan's recovery outpaces rest of U.S.

Well... Whadda ya know? Isn't that sumpthin'? Yes, we think so... Yes, we do...

And to those that wrote us off long ago, we go...

Yeah! Take that! Put that in yer Starbucks and take a big ol' slug o' it... Har!

(OK, we know that Detroit's still a mess, but we're workin' on it. You'll see!)


Thanks, B2tbBob!


Movin' On

The Vidiot

VidiotSpeak has been out of commission for a while now so you might as well remove the link from your page.

I've moved on to other things:

Hope all is well and thanks for your linking to us when we were 'alive.' I know we got a good amount of traffic from you all.


Thanks, Rox - good luck & happy trails!



Selected Readings

from that Mad Cat, JD

















Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music


Ark Of Darkness


In The Chaos Household

Last Night

Warmer and more humid.

Tonight, Tuesday:

CBS begins the night with a RERUN 'NCIS', followed by a RERUN 'NCIS: The 2nd One', then a RERUN 'Person Of Interest'.
On a RERUN Dave (from 6/25/12) are Emma Stone, Jimmie Walker, and Diamond Rugs.
Scheduled on a FRESH Craig is Rosie Perez.

NBC fills the night with FRESH 'Olympics'.
Leno is pre-empted.
Jimmy Fallon is pre-empted.
Carson 'The Scab' Daly is pre-empted.

ABC opens the night with a RERUN 'The Middle', followed by a RERUN 'Last Man Standing', then a  RERUN 'Trust Us With Your Life', followed by a FRESH 'Trust Us With Your Life'  RERUN 'Wipeout', followed by a FRESH 'NY Med'.
On a RERUN Jimmy Kimmel (from 7/12/12) are Bill Crudup, Fred Willard, and Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.

The CW offers a RERUN 'Hart Of Dixie', followed by a FRESH 'The LA Complex'.

Faux has a RERUN 'MasterChef', followed by another RERUN 'MasterChef'.

MY recycles an old 'Cold Case', followed by another old 'Cold Case'.

A&E has all old 'Storage Wars' all night.

AMC offers the movie 'The Godfather', followed by the movie 'The Godfather, Part II'.

BBC  -   
 [8:00AM]   THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW - SEASON 8-Ep 8 - Cher, Dawn French, The Script
 [9:00AM]   THE GRAHAM NORTON SHOW - SEASON 11-Ep 7 - Cameron Diaz, Kathy Burke, Scissor Sisters, Sir David Attenborough
 [10:00AM]   DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 4-Ep 11 - Turn Left
 [11:00AM]   DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 4-Ep 12 - The Stolen Earth
 [2:00PM]   RAMSAY'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES US - SEASON 1-Ep 3 - Sebastian's
 [3:00PM]   RAMSAY'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES US - SEASON 3-Ep 8 - Lido Di Manhattan Beach
 [4:00PM]   DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 4-Ep 3 - Planet of the Ood
 [5:00PM]   BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-Ep 19 - Crossroads, Part 1
 [6:00PM]   RAMSAY'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES UK - SEASON 4-Ep 4 - The Fish and Anchor
 [7:00PM]   RAMSAY'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES US - SEASON 2-Ep 7 - Jack's Waterfront
 [8:00PM]   RAMSAY'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES UK - SEASON 2-Ep 3 - Momma Cherri's
 [9:00PM]   JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION - SEASON 2-Ep 1 - Maybe L.A. Was a Big Mistake NEW
 [10:00PM]   JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION - SEASON 2-Ep 2 - I Think I Found a Loop HoleNEW
 [11:00PM]   NO KITCHEN REQUIRED - SEASON 1-Ep 10 - Florida
 [12:00AM]   RAMSAY'S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES US - SEASON 4-Ep 2 - Classic American
 [3:00AM]   DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 5-Ep 9 - Cold Blood
 [4:00AM]   DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 5-Ep 10 - Vincent and The Doctor

Bravo has 'Real Housewives Of NYC', 'Real Housewives Of NJ', another 'Real Housewives Of NJ', followed by a FRESH 'Love Broker'.

Comedy Central has last night's 'Colbert Report', last night's 'Jon Stewart', 'Workaholics', 'Tosh.0', another 'Tosh.0', still another 'Tosh.0', followed by a FRESH 'Tosh.0', then a FRESH 'Workaholics'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Jon Stewart is Dambisa Moyo.
Scheduled on a FRESH Colbert Report is Jeff Koons.

FX has '2½ Men', another '2½ Men', followed by the movie 'Step Brothers', then the movie 'Step Brothers', again.

History has 'Pawn Stars', another 'Pawn Stars', still another 'Pawn Stars', yet another 'Pawn Stars', 'Ancient Aliens', and another 'Ancient Aliens'.

IFC  -   
 [6:00AM]    Darkon
 [8:00AM]    The Uninvited
 [10:15AM]    Darkon
 [12:15PM]    The Hearse
 [2:30PM]    The Uninvited
 [4:45PM]    The Three Stooges-Pardon My Clutch
 [5:10PM]    The Three Stooges-Punch Drunks
 [5:35PM]    The Three Stooges-Rhythm & Weep
 [6:00PM]    Malcolm in the Middle-Convention
 [6:30PM]    Malcolm in the Middle-Robbery
 [7:00PM]    Malcolm in the Middle-Therapy
 [7:30PM]    Malcolm in the Middle-High School Play
 [8:00PM]    Little Miss Sunshine
 [10:15PM]    The Brothers Grimm
 [12:45AM]    George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead
 [2:45AM]    The Brothers Grimm
 [5:15AM]    Comedy Bang! Bang!-Elizabeth Banks Wears a Red Dress
 [5:45AM]    Whitest Kids U'Know    (ALL TIMES EDT)

Sundance  -   
 [6:00A]    Love Lust & Street Eats
 [7:00A]    Nick Nolte: No Exit
 [8:15A]    Return To Rajapur
 [9:50A]    French Roast
 [10:00A]    Man in the Chair
 [11:50A]    Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
 [12:00P]    Nick Nolte: No Exit
 [1:20P]    Return To Rajapur
 [3:00P]    MY SO-CALLED LIFE - Strangers in the House (Episode 8, Season 1)
 [4:00P]    Man in the Chair
 [5:50P]    The Real Place
 [6:00P]    Love Lust & Sex Symbols
 [7:00P]    MY SO-CALLED LIFE - Strangers in the House (Episode 8, Season 1)
 [8:00P]    Always Crashing In The Same Car
 [8:15P]    Brokedown Palace
 [11:00P]    Desperate Measures
 [12:45A]    Student Services
 [2:35A]    Colin Fitz Lives!
 [4:05A]    Brokedown Palace
 [5:50A]    Vive la Rose    (ALL TIMES EDT)

SyFy has the movie 'Anaconda', followed by a FRESH 'Destination Truth', then a FRESH 'Haunted Highway'.

Scheduled on a FRESH Conan are Jeff Daniels, Chantal Sutherland, and the Fray.

TCM spends one last night with Leslie Howard.
 [6:45 AM]      Gun Law (1938)
 [8:00 AM]      The Fighting Gringo (1939)
 [9:15 AM]      Timber Stampede (1939)
 [10:30 AM]      Doomed To Die (1940)
 [11:45 AM]      The Fatal Hour (1940)
 [1:00 PM]      Cyclone on Horseback (1941)
 [2:15 PM]      Dude Cowboy (1941)
 [3:30 PM]      Meet Me on Broadway (1946)
 [5:00 PM]      The Great Jewel Robber (1950)
 [6:45 PM]      No Holds Barred (1952)
 [8:00 PM]      The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935)
 [9:45 PM]      British Agent (1934)
 [11:15 PM]      49th Parallel (1941)

 [1:30 AM]      There's Always a Woman (1938)
 [3:00 AM]      The Famous Ferguson Case (1932)
 [4:30 AM]      Miss Pinkerton (1932)     (ALL TIMES EDT)

Wednesday   -  08/01/12

TCM spends 24 hours with John Wayne.
 [6:00 AM]      Flying Leathernecks (1951)
 [7:45 AM]      Allegheny Uprising (1939)
 [9:15 AM]      Stagecoach (1939)
 [11:00 AM]      Red River (1948)
 [1:15 PM]      The Searchers (1956)
 [3:15 PM]      Rio Bravo (1959)
 [5:45 PM]      McLintock! (1963)
 [8:00 PM]      She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949)
 [10:00 PM]      They Were Expendable (1945)
 [12:30 AM]      Operation Pacific (1951)
 [2:30 AM]      Trouble Along the Way (1953)
 [4:30 AM]      Tall In The Saddle (1944)

TNT has a FRESH 'Rizzoli & Isles', then a FRESH 'Franklin & Bash'.

USA has a FRESH 'White Collar', followed by a FRESH 'Covert Affairs'.

Antenna TV


RTV - The Retro Television Network

This TV

Any opinions?   Marty

Or reviews?   Marty

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In this Wednesday, July 25, 2012 photo, Stuart Scheinman, a partner in Las Vegas-based Premier Collectibles., looks at an original negative of actress Bette Davis in the files of Movie Star News in New York. Movie Star News, a New York institution since 1939 credited with creating the concept of pin-up art, has been shuttered, and with it nearly 3-million Hollywood-related posters, vintage photographs and original negatives are destined for a different future. Last week, the Manhattan store announced it had sold its entire inventory, including 1,500 original bondage images of the "Queen of Pin-Ups" Bettie Page, to two partners of a Las Vegas collectibles company for an undisclosed sum.
Photo by Richard Drew


Vidiot Speak


Outnumber Westboro Loons


The Westboro Baptist Church had recently announced that it would be holding one of its protests outside the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in DuPont, Washington. But last Friday, the controversial group was met with a far larger group of counterprotesters-dressed as zombies.

The controversial, Kansas-based church did not explain exactly why it was protesting in DuPont, but it has held a number of similar protests outside of military funerals in objection to gay rights.

That's when Melissa Neace and three of her friends organized the Facebook event "Zombie'ing Westboro Baptist Church AWAY from Fort Lewis!"

The event page received such a positive response that the zombies outnumbered the protestors by a reported level of 300 to 8, the News Tribune reported.



Trial Begins

"Pussy Riot"

Three women who protested against Vladimir Putin in a "punk prayer" on the altar of Russia's main cathedral went on trial on Monday in a case seen as a test of the longtime leader's treatment of dissent during a new presidential term.

The women from the band "Pussy Riot" face up to seven years in prison for an unsanctioned performance in February in which they entered Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, ascended the altar and called on the Virgin Mary to "throw Putin out!"

Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were brought to Moscow's Khamovniki court for Russia's highest-profile trial since former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was convicted for a second time in 2010, in the same courtroom.

Supporters chanted "Girls, we're with you!" and "Victory!" as the women, each handcuffed by the wrist to a female officer, were escorted from police van into the courthouse.

The stunt was designed to highlight the close relationship between the dominant Russian Orthodox Church and former KGB officer Putin, then prime minister, whose campaign to return to the presidency in a March election was backed clearly, if informally, by the leader of the church, Patriarch Kirill.

"Pussy Riot"


From left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, members of feminist punk group Pussy Riot sit behind bars at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Russia, Monday, July 30, 2012.Three members of the band are facing trial for performing a "punk prayer" against Vladimir Putin from a pulpit of Moscow's main cathedral before Russia's presidential election in March, in which he won a third term.
Photo by Mikhail Metzel


Hedgehog Not Voting For Willard

Ron Jeremy

Mitt Romney had better ditch that trip to Poland and head back to the United States posthaste to shore up his teetering adult film star base. The presumptive Republican nominee just lost Ron Jeremy's endorsement, and with it the support of millions of Americans who turn to the porn legend for political guidance.

Jeremy, whose more than 2,000 adult film credits clearly make him an expert on presidential politics and the American electorate, told the Boston Herald this week that he will be casting his vote for Barack Obama.

Despite his decision to back the current White House occupant, Jeremy (porn name: "The Hedgehog") did have some nice things to say about Romney, calling him a "good man."

Ron Jeremy


Special For CW

'Dr. Horrible'

The CW network says the 2008 online hit "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" will air as an hour-long special in October.

The musical stars Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother") as Billy, aka Dr. Horrible, an inept would-be villain trying for world domination. Nathan Fillion ("Castle") co-stars as Dr. Horrible's nemesis, Captain Hammer. Felicia Day plays Penny, Dr. Horrible's crush.

"Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog" was directed and co-written by Joss Whedon ("The Avengers," ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). It's scheduled to air on CW on Oct. 9.

'Dr. Horrible'


The Sideshow - by Avedon Carol


Yep, It's A Trilogy

'The Hobbit'

Peter Jackson is adding a third film to what was planned to be the two-part series "The Hobbit."

The director of the Oscar-winning "The Lord of the Rings" movies said Monday that after viewing a cut of the first film and part of the second that there was room for a third.

Jackson says in a statement that a lot of J.R.R. Tolkien's tale of Bilbo Baggins would remain untold if a third film wasn't made. The films are set in the fictional world of Middle-earth 60 years before "The Lord of the Rings."

Jackson, his wife Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens and Guillermo del Toro are listed as co-writers of the first two films.

'The Hobbit'


Cast member Mamie Gummer speaks at a panel for "Emily Owens, M.D." during the CW television portion of the Television Critics Association Summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California July 30, 2012.
Photo by Mario Anzuoni


Works Cheap

Paul McCartney

London Olympic organizers say former Beatle Paul McCartney and other star performers who took part in Friday's opening ceremony essentially donated their time - receiving a mere pound ($1.57) - for their performances.

The nominal fee was offered to make the Olympics contracts binding - but pales in comparison to the millions big names like McCartney can command for a stadium gig.

Other performers such as Mike Oldfield, Dizzee Rascal and Emeli Sande are also thought to have received the nominal fee.

Director Danny Boyle's "Isles of Wonder" extravaganza featured British music that spanned generations, right up to live performances from two of the hottest homegrown acts of the moment: grime star Rascal and the band Arctic Monkeys.

Paul McCartney


Wake-up Call


Author Acknowledges Quotes, Resigns

Bob Dylan

A staff writer for The New Yorker has resigned and his latest book has been halted after he acknowledged inventing quotes by Bob Dylan.

Jonah Lehrer released a statement Monday through his publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, that some Dylan quotes appearing in his book "Imagine: How Creativity Works" did "not exist." Others were "unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes."

Lehrer said he acknowledged his actions after being contacted by Michael Moynihan of the online publication Tablet Magazine, which earlier Monday released an in-depth story on the Dylan passages in "Imagine"

"I told Mr. Moynihan that they (the quotes in question) were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan's representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr. Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said," Lehrer wrote in his statement.

Houghton Mifflin said in a statement that Lehrer had committed a "serious misuse." Listings for the e-book edition of "Imagine" will be removed and shipments of the physical book have been stopped. "Imagine" was published in March and had been selling well, ranking No. 105 on as of midday Monday.

Bob Dylan


Jordanian chefs decorate the world's biggest falafel, after an Guinness World Records official announces a new record set, at Landmark hotel in Amman July 28, 2012. The current record beats the pervious record at 74kg.
Photo by Ali Jarekji


ABC Pulls Show

Fred Willard

Fred Willard's improv series is a wipeout with ABC.

The network is pulling the last two original episodes of "Trust Us With Your Life," a move that comes two weeks after Willard's lewd conduct arrest at an adult movie theater.

Reruns of ABC's "Wipeout" will replace the Tuesday show hosted by Willard. The 72-year-old actor already had lost his job as narrator of a new PBS series, "Market Warriors."

In an appearance last week on Jimmy Fallon's late-night show, Willard said he was embarrassed by his July 18 arrest but insisted he had done nothing wrong.

Fred Willard


Sale OK'd By Feds


Federal antitrust authorities have officially cleared Comcast's sale of its shares of the A&E network to the Walt Disney Company and the Hearst Corporation, theFederal Trade Commission has announced.

The $3.03 billion deal will involve cash and a note issued by A&E. Disney and Hearst will each control half of the company, which Comcast picked up as part of its 2011 purchase of a controlling interest in NBC Universal.

With the sale of Comcast's stake, A&E now has a valuation of $20 billion, a clear indication of the high premium that investors put on cable channels with their strong advertising and retransmission revenues.

As a minority shareholder, Comcast had the option to sell its stake in the company, which was created after the 2009 merger of A&E and Lifetime, which Comcast also owns.

In return for selling A&E, Comcast gets cash that it can use to bolster NBC's flagging primetime line-up or acquire a larger interest in NBC Universal. Comcast hopes it can buy out General Electric's stake in the entertainment company by 2014.



A man packs fresh dates into baskets for drying at a farm during harvesting season in Larkana in Pakistan's Sindh province July 30, 2012. According to Islamic traditions, dates are eaten to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
Photo by Nadeem Soomro


'Weeds' Finale; 'Big C' To Wrap


The end is near for Showtime's "Weeds" and "The Big C."

The cable channel said Monday that the series finale of "Weeds," the drug comedy starring Mary-Louise Parker, will air Sept. 16. "The Big C," which stars Laura Linney as a woman facing cancer, will wrap its run with four one-hour episodes, Showtime said.

Two Showtime dramas, "Homeland" and "Dexter," will begin their new seasons on Sept. 30, the channel told a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

On tap later this year on Showtime: a 10-part documentary titled "Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States." Stone's take on American history will debut Nov. 12.



Early Sketches Of Muppets To Auction

Jim Henson

A handwritten pitch and drawings for the television pilot episode of "The Muppet Show" by creator Jim Henson are among items being sold at an upcoming sale of Hollywood memorabilia, auction house Nate D. Sanders said on Monday.

The collection of illustrations, which includes an original Polaroid of Miss Piggy and Henson's handwritten pitch of story ideas, marks the early stages of development for the lovable characters including Kermit the Frog that have become an American pop culture staple.

The complete Muppets lot is expected to fetch between $35,000 and $40,000 at the July 31 auction.

Henson's characters, which include Kermit, Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear, helmed "The Muppet Show" on TV between 1976 and 1981, before appearing in numerous films including 1992's "The Muppet Christmas Carol," and most recently, 2011's "The Muppets" movie.

Jim Henson



In Memory

Chris Marker

Chris Marker, the influential French filmmaker whose career spanned six decades, has died, France's Culture Ministry confirmed Monday. He was 91.

President Francois Hollande led tributes to the director, whose large body of work includes the 1962 classic "La Jetée" - an award-winning post-apocalyptic movie that's often ranked among the best time-travel films ever made.

Set in a post-World War III nuclear-devastated Paris, "La Jetée" tells the story of a prisoner sent to the past and future to save the present. The film was one of the first to use sci-fi notions of circular time and has since spawned a myriad of references.

"La Jetée" will probably be best remembered as the inspiration behind Terry Gilliam's 1995 feature "Twelve Monkeys," but many critics say its influence stretches as far as James Cameron's 1984 and 1991 "Terminator" movies.

Marker - born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve and still active into his 80s - was also known for the documentary style seen in his other famous work 1983's experimental essay-film "Sunless (Sans Soleil)," which again takes up the time themes used in his earlier material.

In "Sunless (Sans Soleil)," the thoughts of a world traveler are narrated and used to look at the failings of human memory; especially in creating world history.

Marker's work was often politically engaged, and in 1967 he produced "Far from Vietnam," a documentary film featuring pieces by Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais that opposed U.S. involvement in southeast Asia.

Chris Marker


In Memory

Tony Martin

Tony Martin, the romantic singer who appeared in movie musicals from the 1930s to the 1950s and sustained a career in records, television and nightclubs from the Depression era into the 21st century, has died. He was 98.

A peer of Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Martin sang full voice in a warm baritone that carried special appeal for his female audience. Among his hit recordings were "I Get Ideas," ''To Each His Own," ''Begin the Beguine" and "There's No Tomorrow."

Although he never became a full-fledged movie star, he was featured in 25 films, most of them made during the heyday of the Hollywood musicals. A husky 6 feet tall and dashingly handsome, he was often cast as the romantic lead.

He also married two movie musical superstars, Alice Faye and Cyd Charisse, and the latter union lasted 60 years, until her death in 2008.

Martin found his escape through music while growing up in San Francisco and Oakland amid a poor, close-knit Russian Jewish family, enduring taunts and slights from gentile classmates.

Performing on radio led to his break into the film business. His first singing role came in the 1936 "Sing, Baby, Sing," which starred future wife Faye and introduced the Ritz Brothers to the screen as a more frenetic version of the Marx Brothers.

As a contract player at Twentieth Century-Fox, Martin also appeared in "Pigskin Parade", "Banjo on My Knee", "Sing and Be Happy," ''You Can't Have Everything", "Ali Baba Goes to Town" and "Sally, Irene and Mary."

In 1940 he shifted to MGM and sang in such films as "The Ziegfeld Girl", "The Big Store", "Till the Clouds Roll By," ''Easy to Love" and "Deep in My Heart."

Martin had fallen in love with Faye while at Fox, where she was one of the studio's biggest stars. Married in 1937, the newlyweds were considered one of Hollywood's handsomest couples. But the marriage eroded because of career conflicts and his distaste for becoming known as Mr. Alice Faye. They divorced after two years.

In later years, Martin and Charisee put out a 1976 double autobiography, "The Two of Us," and often toured in a singing and dancing shows. He continued appearances into his 90s, his voice only slightly tarnished by time.

Martin was born Dec. 25, 1913. His parents divorced when he was an infant.

He attended St. Mary's College of California, where he and other students formed a popular jazz combo, The Five Red Peppers. After college, he formed Al Morris and His Orchestra, and played in San Francisco nightclubs like the Chez Paree, often appearing on late-night national radio.

World War II brought the one big scandal in his life. He enlisted in the Navy in 1941 and was given a specialist ranking. A year later, a Navy officer who facilitated Martin's enlistment was court-martialed, accused of accepting a $950 automobile from him. The singer was not charged but was dismissed from the Navy for unfitness. He asked his draft board for immediate induction into the Army and served three years in Asia.

The scandal lingered over Martin's head after the war, but he managed to rebuild his career with radio, films, personal appearances and records.

He is survived by stepson Nico Charisse.

Tony Martin



A leopard walks into the jungle at Yala National Park in Yala, about 300 km (190 miles), from central Colombo, July 22, 2012.
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