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Topics - KamiKaZee

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In The News / Diddy Pimps Dogs!!!
« on: December 23, 2006, 07:46:59 am »
Macy's pulls Sean John hooded jackets
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer
Fri Dec 22, 6:24 PM ET

Macy's has pulled from its shelves and its Web site two styles of Sean John hooded jackets, originally advertised as featuring faux fur, after an investigation by the nation's largest animal protection organization concluded that the garments were actually made from a certain species of dog called "raccoon dog."

"First these jackets were falsely advertised as faux fur, and then it turned out that the fur came from a type of dog," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.

Pacelle added that the issue is an "industry-wide problem" and its investigation demonstrated that retailers and designers "aren't paying close enough attention to the fur trim they are selling." He added that the issue is especially problematic when "the fur is sourced from China where domestic dogs and cats and raccoon dogs are killed in gruesome ways."

Raccoon dogs — which are not domestic animals — are indigenous to Asia, including eastern Siberia and Japan, and have been raised in large numbers because their fur closely resembles raccoon, Pacelle said.

Orlando Veras, a spokesman at Macy's, a division of Federated Department Stores Inc., confirmed Friday that the retailer had removed the jackets, releasing a statement saying that it has a "long-standing policy against the selling of any dog or cat fur." He continued, "This policy is clearly communicated to all suppliers."

The Sean John jackets — one a snorkel style, the other a classic version — had been labeled "raccoon fur," but were advertised as faux fur, Pacelle said.

In a statement by Sean "Diddy" Combs released by his publicist Hampton Carney, the designer said: "I was completely unaware of the nature of this material, but as soon as we were alerted, the garments were pulled off the Macy's floor and Web site. I have instructed our outerwear licensee to cease the production of any garments using this material immediately."

Macy's removal of the coats comes on the heels of other tests conducted by the Humane Society of the United States on a range of fur-trimmed jackets from retailers such as Burlington Coat Factory, Bloomingdale's, J.C. Penney and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as from designers and clothing lines such as Baby Phat, Andrew Marc, MaxMara and Calvin Klein. Those tests revealed that most of the jackets labeled as "raccoon" or coyote" from China in fact contained fur from raccoon dogs.

Of the 10 garments tested by the Humane Society, nine tested positive as raccoon dog fur and were mislabeled, a violation of federal law.

The Humane Society is also calling upon Congress to amend the Dog and Cat Protection Act — which bans the sale of dog or cat fur in the United States — to include raccoon dog, since the organization says these dogs are so "inhumanely" killed and their species are similar to domesticated dogs.

In The News / Sorry Virginia, There Is NO Santa Claus!!!
« on: December 20, 2006, 03:25:55 pm »
Do y'all remember how you felt when you realized there was no real Santa.  I was so traumatized.
I think I'm still suffering the PTSD right now  :'(

Anyways, enough about moi.  Somewhere in Britain, the land of cruel and heartless evil grinches,
sweet little innocent girl's and boy's hopes have been dashed  -->

'Santa Claus does not exist' school tells stunned kids

A primary school has been accused of spoiling Christmas for pupils after a lesson telling them that Santa Claus does not exist.

Children as young as nine were told that only 'small children believe in Father Christmas'.

And yesterday their parents criticised teachers for taking the 'magic' out of the festive period.

The blunder came after the Year 5 pupils were given seasonal worksheets containing various festive classroom exercises.

One began by informing the children that 'many small children believe in Father Christmas'.

It then went on to explain that thousands of letters sent by these children to Santa every year are actually answered by the Post Office.

The youngsters were then asked to write a pretend letter from the Post Office to a child explaining why their requests for presents had been refused.

Now Ladysmith Junior School in Exeter, Devon, is accused of taking a decision that should have been made by the parents themselves.

One father-of-two, who asked not to be named, said: "My wife and I make a special effort to keep the belief in Santa in our daughter's mind as we believe it adds to the magic of Christmas for her and her four-year-old brother.

"We even recall her shaking with excitement some years ago when sat at the bottom of our bed rummaging through her stocking.

"What gives the school the right to decide when children should know the truth about such a harmless matter when knowing the truth does take away that little bit of magic?"

"She'll probably figure it out soon enough anyway, but we might have had one last Christmas without her knowing if it hadn't been for the school."

Yesterday the headmistress of the 460-pupil school said she had written to families to apologise and assured them the lesson will not be taught again.

Jackie Jackson said: "Having three children myself, I understand how parents feel.

"The last thing we wanted to do was take away the positive and magical side of Christmas and I have wished all the families a happy time."

She continued: "We can't go back and undo this but I have written to all the families to apologise. It was very unfortunate and a bad mistake. We are not in the business of shattering children's dreams."

Yesterday a spokesman for the Royal Mail confirmed it receives around 750,000 letters for Father Christmas from children around the UK every year.

He said: "They are all forwarded to Santa and we also send a special reply."

The worksheet was taken from the Internet and created by educational charity, the Hamilton Trust.

Yesterday the trust's director Ruth Merttens, defended the content.

She said: "I feel sorry for the teacher concerned.

"But we produce the worksheets and it is up to teachers how they use them in class."

She added: "I don't want to upset anybody but I would say by the age of ten it seems unlikely that a child wouldn't be aware of Santa's imaginary nature."

Last week a primary school teacher was sacked for telling her young class that Santa does not exist.

The supply teacher apparently decided the pupils - some as young as nine - were too old to believe in Father Christmas.

The teacher, who has not been named, is believed to have told the class at Boldmere Junior School, in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands: "All of you are old enough to know there is no Father Christmas or fairies.

If you ask your parents to tell you they will say there is no such thing.

Amanda Piovesana, whose daughter is in Year 5, said: "I am upset because it has taken away a magical part of Christmas for my daughter and a teacher should not have the right to do that. My little girl was very upset."

At yet another school, pupils went home in tears after being told Father Christmas does not exist by a teacher who was telling a class of nine-year-olds how Christmas is celebrated across the world.

Angry parents at Calcot Junior School in Berkshire said the teacher had 'ruined' Christmas for their children.

Mel Barefield, whose son was in the lesson, said: 'The teacher had said to them that Father Christmas wasn't real, Rudolph was a cartoon character and that Christmas trees come from Germany.'

A governor said: 'It's not just Father Christmas that's the problem. We also have issues with things like the Tooth Fairy.

'From now on when a child asks if Father Christmas exists the teacher should say, "I'm not sure. Go home and ask your parents"'.

Rachel McGauley, 29, whose eight-year-old daughter Shannon is in Year 4 at the school, said: "It is very bad.

"As parents it is for us to decide when we tell our children and some of the parents in that class could have got away with it for another year and now they can't.

"I just hope my little girl does not twig because she is in the year below."

Sam Horne, whose children Keiron, eight, and six-year-old Charlotte attend the school,said: "Mine still believe in Father Christmas, and when I was a kid I did not find out until I was about eleven.

"It is like a loss of innocence. Children should have the right to stay innocent for as long as possible."

In a statement issued through the local Education Authority, Devon County Council, head Mrs Jackie Jackson added: "The choice of this worksheet was a genuine mistake by a teacher which we are all very sad about.

"As a school we delight in the magic of childhood and believe that Christmas is a very special time.

"In the last week the children have been enjoying carol singing and a Christmas fair and, in the true spirit of the season, raising money for children at the Ugandan school which we support.

I have apologised to the parents and this worksheet will never be used in the school again."

In The News / Today In History - 15 December 2006
« on: December 14, 2006, 07:46:55 pm »
Today in history - Dec. 15
By The Associated Press
Thu Dec 14, 7:00 PM ET

Today is Friday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2006. There are 16 days left in the year. The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

On this date:

In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, S.D., during a fracas with Indian police.

In 1938, groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington.

In 1939, the motion picture "Gone With the Wind" had its world premiere in Atlanta.

In 1944, a single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller, who was a major in the U.S. Army Air Forces, disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris.

In 1944, during World War II, American forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines.

In 1961, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death by an Israeli court.

In 1964, Canada's House of Commons approved dropping the "Red Ensign" flag in favor of a new design.

In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6-A and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.

In 1966, movie producer Walt Disney died in Los Angeles at age 65.

In 1979, the deposed Shah of Iran left the United States for Panama, the same day the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that Iran should release all its American hostages.

Ten years ago: Boeing Co. announced plans to pay $13.3 billion to acquire rival aircraft manufacturer McDonnell Douglas Corp.

Five years ago: With a crash and a large dust cloud, a 50-foot tall section of steel — the last standing piece of the World Trade Center's facade — was brought down in New York. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that had dragged on for over a decade. Evander Holyfield was denied a fifth heavyweight championship when his third fight against John Ruiz was called a draw after 12 rounds in Mashantucket, Conn.

One year ago: Millions of Iraqis turned out to choose a parliament in a mostly peaceful election. Former U.S. Sen. William Proxmire, the Wisconsin Democrat who'd fought government waste with his "Golden Fleece" awards, died in Sykesville, Md., at age 90.

Today's Birthdays: Country singer Ernest Ashworth is 78. Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 73. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 67. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 64. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 60. Actor Don Johnson is 57. Movie director Alex Cox is 52. Actor Justin Ross is 52. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 51. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 46. Movie director Reginald Hudlin is 45. Actress Helen Slater is 43. Actress Molly Price is 41. "Crowd-hyper" Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) is 29. Actor Adam Brody is 27. Actor George O. Gore II is 25.

Thought for Today: "Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad." — Christina Rosetti, British poet (1830-1874).

General Discussion / Web Economy BS Generator
« on: December 13, 2006, 06:44:39 pm »

You Need This!!!  :)

(The direct link won't pass the smut filter, please choose from the sidebar)

Feel The Funk / Prince Does the SuperBowl!!!
« on: December 10, 2006, 05:19:52 pm »
Prince to perform at Super Bowl halftime show  :D
Sun, Dec. 10, 2006

Sports fans will get some funk with their football when groundbreaking star Prince plays the Super Bowl XLI halftime show on Feb. 4 at Dolphin Stadium, the NFL announced Sunday.

With the sometimes salacious Purple Rain-maker, the NFL moves into a slightly riskier zone than with the acts who have starred in sports' biggest entertainment event since the infamous 2004 show, when Janet Jackson's breast-baring ''wardrobe malfunction'' ignited a national controversy and earned CBS a $550,000 fine from the FCC. (The network is challenging the fine in court -- and MTV hasn't been invited back to produce another show).

Since then the NFL and CBS have put on safe-seeming artists from decades past. But critics groaned at ex-Beatle Paul McCartney's out of touch tunes in 2005, and at the Rolling Stones' elderly antics in 2006. That show had its own mini-uproar, as the Stones complained that a still-leery CBS censored them by turning down Mick Jagger's microphone for risqué lines in songs like Start Me Up.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said they were confident that Prince would appeal to the millions who tune into America's top-rated television show without creating a stir -- even though one of the Minneapolis artist's classic songs is called Controversy. ''He's an electric performer whose body of work has appealed to a wide diverse audience over the years,'' McCarthy said Friday. ``We've had discussions with Prince and his management, and they understand the spotlight that performing on the world's largest stage provides. We recognize that we are held to a higher standard in everything we do and we want to put on a show that is suitable for a mass audience.''

Over the years the Super Bowl half-time show has featured everyone from classic soul acts to current pop stars, from Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder to Mary J. Blige and No Doubt. Gloria Estefan has appeared twice, most recently in 1999, the Super Bowl's last time in Miami, along with Stevie Wonder, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, and tap dancer Savion Glover.

Cuban jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, who played Super Bowl XXIX in 1995 with The Miami Sound Machine, Patti Labelle and Tony Bennett, says it was hugely exciting.''A Latino person playing in a Super Bowl halftime, it's such an honor because it's such an American event,'' he said.

The Super Bowl announcement caps a triumphant comeback for Prince, whose '90s defiance of the mainstream music industry almost cast the superstar into obscurity. It's been a good week for the musical and Internet pioneer: On Thursday, the Recording Academy announced that his '06 release 3121 had earned Prince five Grammy nominations.

Best known for his hits in the 1980s and early '90s, including 1999 and Kiss, Prince should get some welcome attention playing the Super Bowl, which was viewed by 141 million people last year. The 41st edition of the game will be broadcast to 230 countries worldwide.

The diminutive, dandified artist is known for his creativity and eccentricity. His powerful, original combination of funk and rock, and his provocative stage persona, made him a cult figure in the late '70s. He became a superstar in 1984 with the smash hit Purple Rain. His career has zigzagged since then, with critical and commercial hits like 1991's Diamonds and Pearls as well as sprawling experiments like 1996's Emancipation.

Feel The Funk / How 75¢ Becomes $125K
« on: December 05, 2006, 09:23:43 am »
Velvet Underground Discovery
75 cents to $100,000
Montreal student Warren Hill picked up this rare recording for pennies at a street sale in New York. Now he's put the disc on eBay and a bidding war has exploded

Tuesday, December 5, 2006 
A fragile preliminary pressing of the legendary 1967 debut vinyl recording by the Velvet Underground, bought by a Canadian collector four years ago for only 75 cents, is now for sale on eBay. As of yesterday afternoon, bidding had passed $110,000 (U.S.). The auction concludes Friday evening.

The acetate -- as the acetone-covered aluminum disc is called in music circles -- was posted for sale on Nov. 28 and in less than 72 hours it had scored more than 10,000 hits, with 70 individuals submitting bids, including the kick-off offer of $26.24. Bidding leaped to the $100,000 threshold early Sunday after various collectors had slowly pushed the action into the mid-five figures.

Montrealer Warren Hill bought the acetate at a street sale in lower Manhattan in September, 2002. A history student at the time at Concordia University, Hill, then 25, didn't know what he had purchased -- but later he and a friend, Eric Isaacson, proprietor of Mississippi Records and Repairs in Portland, Ore., determined that it was, in fact, a high-quality, likely heretofore never-played alternate version of The Velvet Underground and Nico, produced in New York in mid-1966.

Yesterday, Hill said he "[didn't] want to get too excited" by the interest the acetate is eliciting. "I don't know if people are scamming or what. If it comes true, great. But I'm not going to get super excited until the auction is over and the buyer is legit. I've been excited before and it didn't pan out."

Released in March, 1967, The Velvet Underground and Nico, with a cover (of a "peel slowly and see" banana) designed by the group's mentor, Andy Warhol, reportedly sold less than 50,000 copies on its first pass. But 36 years later, Rolling Stone magazine was naming it the 13th-greatest rock album of all time.

The acetate is of the Velvets' first studio recording session and features two fewer songs than the 11-track recording that was sold. However, at least four of the songs have completely different arrangements than those on the official release while the remainder have alternative sound mixes. Songs include such classics as Heroin, Venus in Furs, Femme Fatale and I'll Be Your Mirror, most written by Lou Reed, all of which have been cited as major influences by artists as varied as David Bowie, U2, REM, Joy Division, Roxy Music and Sonic Youth.

Before going with eBay, Hill and Isaacson had thought they might sell the acetate via live auction, perhaps at one of the many collectors conventions held in the U.S., where they figured it might fetch at least $40,000. Discussions, too, were held with record companies -- but at least one label shied away from a deal after it was discovered that a Japanese bootlegger had released a three-CD set of Velvet rarities, Ultimate Mono and Acetates Album, featuring some of the same mixes on the acetate. Had the Japanese material originated from tapes made from Hill's acetate decades before he purchased it? Or was there another acetate in circulation? No one seems to know.

Click Here To See The eBay Auction =

Feel The Funk / William Smokey Robinson Receives Kennedy Center Honors
« on: December 04, 2006, 01:55:14 am »
Motown legend Robinson among five honored
December 4, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Motown legend Smokey Robinson, best known for classics such as "The Tracks of My Tears," "Tears of A Clown" and "I Second That Emotion" received recognition Sunday for his lifetime in the performing arts.

He was one of five members of the 29th class of Kennedy Center honorees.

"This is absolutely fantastic," Robinson said as he arrived for the private reception with President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush. "I'm so honored and so flattered to get this because it not only deals with your craft. They attach what impact you have on humanity to this."

Others honored this year were director Steven Spielberg, singer Dolly Parton, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and conductor Zubin Mehta.

At an evening gala at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, fellow entertainers and artists celebrated the careers of the five honorees.

CBS will broadcast the show at a later date.

General Discussion / Who governs virtual worlds?
« on: December 03, 2006, 06:55:42 pm »
By Daniel Terdiman
Story last modified Sat Dec 02 13:21:20 PST 2006

NEW YORK--As games like World of Warcraft, Second Life and EverQuest grow and develop more sophisticated communities, that question will become more and more important. So much so that a group of experts appearing Friday at the fourth annual State of Play/Terra Nova symposium at New York Law School here spent nearly two hours putting the subject in context.

When disputes arise over in-world fraud or avatars attacking avatars, for example, what law should prevail?

Despite what the designers of some virtual worlds might like to imply, the group agreed, such environments are not autonomous countries and are therefore subject to real-world national laws. But because lawmakers in countries like the U.S. have been slow to understand virtual worlds and the legal, social and economic issues that arise in them, the experts said, legislators have not yet addressed many of those issues.

Perhaps the biggest question is whether the trade in virtual goods--weapons, armor, clothing, buildings and the like, all of which have real-world financial value--is taxable. Because that is such an important question, a separate panel is planned for discussion on it Saturday.

But beyond taxation are plenty of legal issues, which the experts addressed at the event, largely an academic gathering where professors from a slew of top universities come to talk about the intellectual, legal and social issues around virtual worlds.

One of the first questions was what game designers can do to stop players from defrauding each other. Such activity can happen in many ways, including dishonest transactions of virtual assets.

"If fraud is fun, and built into the game, and people are defrauding each other with virtual items with real-world prices, you might say, 'You defrauded me,'" said Josh Fairfield, a panelist and associate professor of law at Indiana University School of Law. "Well, yes I did."

And while many players may expect that rules governing fraud are set in games' terms of service or end-user license agreements, Fairfield said that's not true.

"Contract law cannot regulate players' interactions with each other," Fairfield said.

That means there's nothing a publisher can do to stop such behavior, and players who find themselves with such complaints may have little choice other than to seek legal redress. But such help may well be slow to come, the panelists suggested.

Another issue Fairfield brought up was so-called real-money trade, the buying and selling of virtual goods for real money that occurs largely outside online games. It doesn't take place officially under the auspices of the games because most publishers say they oppose such behavior. But hundreds of millions of dollars in such goods are traded on markets like eBay each year, and the publishers have done little to stop it.

"They say publicly, 'No, we don't like it,'" Fairfield said of the publishers. "But privately, they support it...Why? Because it makes them money."

To Greg Lastowka, a panelist and assistant professor of law at Rutgers School of Law, the virtual-world governance landscape boils down to two categories: internal and external views of governance.

Internal governance, Lastowka said, is that which takes place between players and publishers. External governance is how any organization handles disputes with the real government.

As far as internal governance goes, he explained, legal disputes between players or between players and publishers are likely to be treated like any such dispute.

"The ultimate governance of virtual worlds is the state," Lastowka said. "The law doesn't treat virtual worlds as any different. The state is not going to accept" virtual worlds being treated as autonomous regions. That leads, however, to the examination of external governance, which means disputes between real governments and the community of players and designers.

Thus, Lastowka said, the question of whether real-money trades is good or bad for virtual worlds is a lot like a yacht club dispute over whether members need to wear jackets in the dining room: it's something that can be resolved without getting the law involved.

And that's probably good, as he suggested that the law is not particularly attuned to the issues revolving around games.

"Law is so close to games, in that games set up rules and structures, and try to set them up around specific rules and behaviors," Lastowka said. "The reason the law is dismissive of games is that it recognizes a similarity and wants to say, 'No, that's not what we're doing.'"

Thus, he suggested that the law of virtual-worlds is going to be similar to law of sports and other forms of private organizations.

To Thomas Malaby, another panelist and an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, governance comes from the confluence of control--of players and their behaviors--regulatory schemes, social and structural conventions and material constraints.

Malaby said any form of governance, in virtual worlds or beyond, comes from law and regulation--the idea that enforceable rules are put in place and that there are consequences for breaking them.

Yet, clearly, virtual world players want more clear lines of demarcation when it comes to governance, and when it comes to players asking for such help, publishers often reply that it's too hard to build it into their products, said Timothy Burke, a panelist and an associate professor of history at Swarthmore College.

"Secondly, they'll say, honestly, 'We're scared of the consequences of having more robust tools for governance.' Governance isn't fun. (Publishers) don't want that in their games. It's just a small group of freaks (who want it, they say) and most…don't want you to have it, because they don't like what it does to their games."

Ultimately, then, the panelists seem to suggest that if players want real governance, at least when it comes to issues between themselves, they are going to need to self-govern. As to complex issues between players and the publishers, it's likely that real disputes will need to be elevated to the courts.

"The rules players develop do stop each other from bad acts," said Fairfield, "and that's all the governance we probably need."

Latest Flicks / Morgan Freeman Releases New Movie on Web
« on: December 01, 2006, 03:21:56 am »
Morgan Freeman Releases New Movie on Web
AP Entertainment Writer

December 1, 2006, 4:50 AM EST

NEW YORK -- Just two weeks after "10 Items or Less" opens in theaters Friday, it'll be available for digital download from Clickstar, a company that Morgan Freeman's production company and Intel have founded to bring small movies to those who live far from boutique cinemas.

What's Freeman doing rethinking Hollywood's business models?

"I'm just a firm believer that things continue to grow, get better," the 69-year-old actor says in his deep, distinctive voice.

Freeman seems more full of life -- both on-screen and off -- than ever.

At his home in Clarksdale, Miss., where he lives with his wife of 12 years, he's an avid pilot, sailor and owns a blues club and a restaurant.

He has more than a half-dozen films either finished or in preproduction. Freeman's esteemed career -- which has spanned "Driving Miss Daisy, "Glory," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Se7en" and last year's "March of the Penguins" -- shows no signs of slowing down.

Moviegoers are accustomed to seeing Freeman's weary eyes exude gravitas and dignity in films -- a kind of pigeonholing Freeman has long yearned to break free of. In "10 Items or Less," he's a clearly lighter presence.

The film, directed by Brad Silberling, is a short, independent movie about independent movies. Freeman's character is an actor who has been out of the movie biz for four years who's considering signing onto "a little independent thing."

He researches the prospective part by observing a grocery store checkout girl (Paz Vega). The two quickly forge a friendship and spend a pivotal day together.

While "10 Items or Less" -- a modest film of 82 minutes, shot in 15 days -- is best viewed on the big screen (like all movies), its smallness makes a computer screen a reasonable viewing station. Perhaps more importantly, it's not a film that will play at most multiplexes or in rural areas.

It's a familiar problem to Freeman.

"Where I live, in my town, there's no movie house," he says. "There are many, many, many, many people who don't have access."

Freeman and his production partner, Lori McCreary, founded Revelations Entertainment in 1996 -- three years after Freeman's lone directing effort, "Bopha!"

"I want to have control over making films. I really do," says Freeman.

After Napster and online downloading changed the music industry, Freeman and McCreary began considering how Hollywood could head off similar problems -- discussions that Intel eventually joined.

"And we came up with the idea of distributing movies via the Internet on a stable platform, on something that you can control," Freeman says.

The idea isn't new;, for one, offers movies digitally for purchase and rental (with a viewing period of 24 hours). What makes Clickstar unique is that it's offering first-run movies.

"10 Items or Less" will have a two-week window of a purely theatrical release, then will be available from on Dec. 15. Freeman says its next first-run digital release will be "Lonely Hearts" (starring John Travolta and James Gandolfini) in the spring.

Other filmmakers have begun to re-examine how they release their films. Last year, Steven Soderbergh released the indie "Bubble" across three platforms over just five days: in theaters, on the high-definition cable channel HDNet and on DVD.

Freeman, however, thinks the risk of piracy with DVDs is too great (especially in foreign countries) and that coded downloads present a safer avenue for distribution. It also helps level the playing field between independent productions and the studios.

"You can come up with money sometimes to make a film, but you can't distribute it because it costs a lot to get prints and advertising," Freeman says.

The obvious fear is that digital downloads made available so close to the theatrical release could cannibalize the box office.

Silberling, whose credits include wide-release films such as "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" and "Moonlight Mile," thinks the Internet simply presents another audience to penetrate.

"I don't think broadband is going to shift viewing patterns," the director says. "I think hopefully people who otherwise wouldn't have seen it might now. People who like to go to that theater and get popcorn will go."

Both Freeman and Silberling think Hollywood doomsayers will be proven wrong on Internet distribution in the same way that fears of TV, the VHS and DVDs all (to a certain extent) turned out to be exaggerated. They believe digital downloads present the future of home entertainment and expect it to spread prominently within a few years.

But concerns about the unknown don't bother Freeman much. He recently took up golf, and to hear him speak about it, he might just as well be discussing Clickstar.

"I'm enjoying the attempt," he says with a laugh. "I'm trying to master a new discipline, which I guess is something we should all do, anyway."

« on: December 01, 2006, 03:05:22 am »
New Rules Make Firms Track E-Mails, IMs
Dec 1, 12:26 AM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. companies will need to keep track of all the e-mails, instant messages and other electronic documents generated by their employees thanks to new federal rules that go into effect Friday, legal experts say.

The rules, approved by the Supreme Court in April, require companies and other entities involved in federal litigation to produce "electronically stored information" as part of the discovery process, when evidence is shared by both sides before a trial.

The change makes it more important for companies to know what electronic information they have and where. Under the new rules, an information technology employee who routinely copies over a backup computer tape could be committing the equivalent of "virtual shredding," said Alvin F. Lindsay, a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP and expert on technology and litigation.

James Wright, director of electronic discovery at Halliburton Co. (HAL) (HAL), said that large companies are likely to face higher costs from organizing their data to comply with the rules. In addition to e-mail, companies will need to know about things more difficult to track, like digital photos of work sites on employee cell phones and information on removable memory cards, he said.

Both federal and state courts have increasingly been requiring the production of relevant electronic documents during discovery, but the new rules codify the practice, legal experts said.

The rules also require that lawyers provide information about where their clients' electronic data is stored and how accessible it is much earlier in a lawsuit than was previously the case.

There are hundreds of "e-discovery vendors" and these businesses raked in approximately $1.6 billion in 2006, Wright said. That figure could double in 2007, he added.

Another expense will likely stem from the additional time lawyers will have to spend reviewing electronic documents before turning them over to the other side. While the amount of data will be narrowed by electronic searches, some high-paid lawyers will still have to sift through casual e-mails about subjects like "office birthday parties in the pantry" in order to find information relevant to a particular case.

Martha Dawson, a partner at the Seattle-based law firm of Preston Gates & Ellis LLP who specializes in electronic discovery, said the burden of the new rules won't be that great.

Companies will not have to alter how they retain their electronic documents, she said, but will have to do an "inventory of their IT system" in order to know better where the documents are.

The new rules also provide better guidance on how electronic evidence is to be handled in federal litigation, including guidelines on how companies can seek exemptions from providing data that isn't "reasonably accessible," she said. This could actually reduce the burden of electronic discovery, she said.

Sports Talk / Mike Tyson To "Work" At Heidi's Stud Farm
« on: November 18, 2006, 08:52:36 am »

Iron Mike Tyson to become Heidi Fleiss' gigolo!

New York, Nov 17: Now that notorious Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss has moved to a place where prostitution is legal, she trying her best to persuade former boxing heavyweight Mike Tyson to become her prize "stallion" at her male escort service.

Fliess, who has opened up her legit escort service called 'Heidi's Stud Farm' in Nevada, revealed that she had put the idea across the former World Champion, and confirmed that he was certainly interested in the idea of becoming the "big stallion" on her "farm".

"I said, 'You're going to be my big stallion.' He said, 'I don't care what any man says, it's every man's dream to please every woman ... and get paid for it.' And it's every man's fear that their girlfriend will go for Mike Tyson," the New York Daily News quoted her, as saying.

As for the fact that Tyson happens to be a convicted rapist, well Fleiss says that his past really doesn't seem to matter to a lot of women, for she's being besieged by letters telling her no to waste time bringing the boxer to the farm.

"I'm already getting letters from women who say, 'Hurry up, Heidi,'" she added.

« on: November 18, 2006, 01:30:53 am »
Rapper 'The Game' Arrested
UPDATED: 6:20 pm EST November 17, 2006

NEW YORK -- The rapper known as The Game has been arrested for allegedly impersonating an undercover police officer, authorities said.

At around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Jayceon Taylor, the hip-hop star known to his fans as The Game, flagged down a Lincoln Town Car at 56th Street and 7th Avenue, police said.

The driver of the taxi, Muhammed Butt, said that The Game claimed to be an undercover policeman and told him to race through several traffic lights on Lexington Avenue, police said.

Police officers pulled over the taxi at 43rd Street and 6th Avenue for driving erratically, at which point the driver told them that his passenger was an undercover officer. After running a check, the officers found that that was not the case.

Hudlin TV / Chris Rock Is Getting A D-I-V-O-R-C-E
« on: November 06, 2006, 11:48:41 am »
Chris Rock to divorce
Nov. 6, 2006 09:04 AM

Comic star Chris Rock is to divorce his wife of ten years Malaak Compton-Rock.

The 'Dogma' actor - who was named by Time magazine as "the funniest man in America" - has reportedly hired a high-powered divorce lawyer to represent him.

No reason has been given yet as to why the couple are splitting.

Rock - famous for his controversial hosting of last year's Oscars when he repeatedly mocked Jude Law over his affair with his children's nanny - married Malaak in November 1996. They have two daughters, four-year-old Lola and two-year-old Zahra, together

Malaak is the founder and executive director of StyleWORKS, a non-profit salon that provides free services for women leaving welfare and entering the work force.

Rock - who has just finished shooting new film 'I Think I Love My Wife' - once revealed in an interview that he felt his marriage had taken over his life.

He said: "Marriage is beautiful. But, if you're a guy, your self is dead. Get rid of you. Take yourself to the door, wave and say, 'Hey, see you later.' It sounds horrible. I'm happier than I've ever been now that I've shot myself in the head."

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