May 8, 2008

Country music legend Eddy Arnold dies at 89

Legendary country music Hall of Fame member Eddy Arnold (pictured) is dead just short of his 90th Birthday.

Eddy Arnold, whose mellow baritone on songs like “Make the World Go Away” made him one of the most successful country singers in history, died Thursday morning, days short of his 90th birthday.

Arnold died at a care facility near Nashville.

His wife of 66 years, Sally, had died in March, and in the same month, Arnold fell outside his home, injuring his hip.

Folksy yet sophisticated, he became a pioneer of “The Nashville Sound,” also called “countrypolitan,” a mixture of country and pop styles.

“I sing a little country, I sing a little pop and I sing a little folk, and it all goes together,” he said in 1970.


American Idol ratings down but show still strong

An article on ABC News online wonders if American Idol has lost it’s mojo.

Ratings for the TV juggernaut are down, but critics say the show is still strong.

The ABC article says:

It's huge. It's gigantic. It's an unmatched ratings machine that other networks would kill for. So why won't the rumors subside? Could "American Idol" really be in trouble?

Katie Lachter started watching "American Idol" during her last year of law school, which was the mercurial Fox talent show's first season. Now in its seventh incarnation, the show's parade of crooning, wannabe pop stars is still appointment TV.

"It's a really fun and an upbeat thing to watch," said Lachter, now a lawyer in New York. Around her law firm, she said, "it's definitely water cooler talk."

Anne Charity hosts a weekly "Idol" party in her Williamsburg, Va., home.

"We're a regular group of six," said Charity, a linguistics professor. "We like [Idol contestant] David Cook, because he's got that rock thing going on."

Lachter, 29, and Charity, 32, are in the heart of a demographic that television executives and advertisers love to court. But these days, that sought-after group of Idol watchers is shrinking:

It's been widely reported that ratings for the Fox Network show are down this season, with a steeper decline among viewers age 18 to 49.

The ratings drop has both "Idol" fans and foes to ask the same question: Is the seven-year ratings juggernaut on its way out?

I watched most of one American Idol show and never went back. I had more interesting things to do such as rearrange my sock drawer and dust the pantry shelves.

I do, however, know better than to put auctions on eBay that close while American Idol is on TV.

It’s a mindless show but my guess is that Fox will keep it going for a few more years.


Street money

Is your city bogged by smog?

Pittsburgh edges out Los Angeles as the most polluted U.S. city according to the American Lung Association’s annual report on air pollution.

Los Angeles smog is shown bwlow:

Top 10 most polluted US cities (By short-term particle pollution):

1) Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2) Los Angeles, California
3) Fresno/Madera, California
4) Bakersfield, California
5) Birmingham, Alabama
6) Logan, Utah
7) Salt Lake City, Utah
8) Sacramento, California
9) Detroit, Michigan
10) Baltimore, Maryland / Washington, D.C.


May 7, 2008

Unique car for sale advertisement

The following is reported to be an actual advertisement found in an Irish newspaper:

Automobile for Sale

1985 Blue Volkswagen.
Only driven 50 miles.
Only first gear and reverse ever used.
Never driven hard.
Original tires.
Original brakes.
Original fuel and oil.
Only 1 driver.
Owner wishing to sell due to employment lay-off.

Click here for a picture of the car.

Empty dream homes flood Las Vegas market

The aging process quickly hits homes in Las Vegas.

There are 600 million-dollar properties built since 2004 on the market -- and many of them are considered outdated.

They blow up aging casinos in this town. Now, some are wondering what to do about yesterday's desert dream homes.

Take the foreclosed million-dollar house realty agent Michael Antos recently showed.

To the untrained eye, the four-bedroom, five-bath retreat may appear top-drawer, shimmering with granite and marble throughout, and with posh touches like a pool with a sandy beach entry.

But Antos pointed out that the house was showing its age. After all, it was built in 2000. In Vegas, that makes it as dated as a coin-operated slot machine.


May 6, 2008

Baseball star Canseco loses mansion to foreclosure

Former baseball star Jose Canseco (pictured) loses his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino to foreclosure.

Canseco owed more than $2.5 million on the 7,300 square-foot mansion.

Until the 43-year-old Canseco retired in 2001, he was one of the most flamboyant U.S. baseball players.

Canseco was one of the first Major League Baseball players to admit using steroids in his tell-all 2005 book "Juiced."

His personal life has also been controversial with two divorces and several run-ins with the law for violence.

Canseco said a good portion of the money he earned in his heyday went to pay for his divorces. "I had a couple of divorces that cost me $7 or $8 million," he said.


What will you do with your stimulus check?

Fox rethinking American Idol as ratings sag

Although American Idol is now in its sixth year and is by far the most-watched series on TV, ratings are slipping.

Last Wednesday's results show, which saw Irish singer Carly Smithson booted, was the lowest-rated episode in five years, according to trade reports.

"We're not in denial," Fox exec Preston Beckman told Broadcasting & Cable, the TV business weekly. "It's still the biggest show on TV, but that doesn't mean there are things we can't do.

One cable news analyst pointed out after the last week's Pennsylvania primaries, the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama race has gotten so exciting, "it's even beating 'American Idol.' "

That doesn’t say much for ‘Idol.’

In spite of decreased ratings, the Fox mega-hit, minus a little of it’s shine, will probably continue to ‘dumb down’ America for a few more years.


May 5, 2008

The worst of times at the New York Times

The ‘Gray Lady’ is up to her elbows in financial trouble.

The New York Times was nicknamed the "Gray Lady" for its staid appearance and style. In her heyday the “Lady” was regarded as a ‘newspaper of record’ because it was often relied upon as the ‘official and authoritative reference for modern events.’

In recent years, however, the Times has become editorially slanted to the liberal political left to the extent the paper has become the voice of the radical left-wing of the Democratic Party and as a result has lost much of its prestige.

Is the “Lady” now paying the price for her partisan editorial ways?

A report at the link below says:

New York Times' news room is bracing for a bloodbath in the next 10 days.

The word from inside is that approximately 50 unionized journalists have accepted the buyout proposal, and only another 20 non-union editorial employees have gotten on board.

That means the ax could fall on as many as 30 editorial people in the company's first-ever mass firing of journalists in its 156-year history.

It seems to be the worst of times for the New York Times.

Because of her extreme partisan editorial stance, she will get little sympathy from Republicans and moderate Democrats.


May 4, 2008

Actor Blake loses court appeal but $30M judgement reduced

Actor Robert Blake (pictured) was acquitted of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley’s 2001 murder in a criminal trial.

Blake was later found guilty of wrongful death in a civil court and was ordered to pay $30 million to the estate of Bonny Lee Bakley.

Mr. Blake had challenged the jury's award in the subsequent civil wrongful death lawsuit, claiming the trial court made procedural errors and jurors committed misconduct.

The Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles found no jury misconduct and no reversible error by the trial court, but concluded that the $30 million in noneconomic damages awarded by the jury to Bakley's estate was excessive.

The court cut the judgement in half to $15 million.

The administrator of Bakley's estate may not consent to the reduction even though Blake filed for bankruptcy before the civil trial began.

Without consent by the Bakley estate to the reduction of the award to $15 million, the case will go back for a new trial on damages.

Blake is best known for his television role as a detective in "Baretta" and a convicted killer in the true crime film "In Cold Blood,"