Friday, April 30, 2010

Mackenzie Phillips Completes Drug Program, Drug Charge Dropped

Actress Mackenzie Phillips has successfully completed her drug program, so the judge in her drug charge case dropped the drug charge against her. The 50 year old actress actually thanked the police officer for arresting her as it helped her to turn around her drug problems. Mackenkie's lawyer, Blair Berk, is the lawyer to many troubled Hollywood stars.

The actress was once a cast member of the TV series, ONE DAY AT A TIME, but was fired because of her drug problems.

At the heart of her drug problems might be the decade of sexual abuse she claims to have suffered at the hands of her father, John Phillips, from The Mamas And Papas. Mackenkie Phillips claims that this abuse started around the age of nine, and only stopped the day before her first marriage at the age of nineteen when she claims that her father raped her one last time for old times sake. If true, her life was so traumatic that drugs likely became an escape from all of the emotional pain.

Whether this will be the end of the drug abuse issues with the actress remains to be seen. But she certainly has our best wishes and prayers that she can move on with her life.

Lindsay Lohan....Jailward Bound

Trainwreck actress Lindsay Lohan has reportedly violated the terms of her probation for her DUI charge and will likely be sent to jail sometime during May. Just this week, Lohan was photographed being out on a party circuit as early as 5am in the morning, instead of finding the time to attend the alcohol education classes that her DUI judge ordered.

Last year, Judge Marsha Revel made it very clear that as a major condition of Lohan's probation, she needed to attend an alcohol education class at least once every seven days. The judge could not have been more clear in her warning to the troubled young actress. Yet, Lohan simply hasn't complied and not faces a likely jail stint for this serious probation violation.

Maybe a jail stint might keep Lohan away from drinking for a few days and help her towards breaking her hard party ways. But that's a stern lesson when simply following a judge's orders would have been the easy way out.

Spaced Out Customs Will Turn Your Ride Into A Rocket Ship

A way cool artists website, will turn your photo of your favorite ride into a rocket ship for a mere $29.95. Not only are the results simply stunning, but you can choose to add outrageous options such as wings, flames and smoke trailers to your ride if your heart so desires.

This artist is a design genius, and the mere $29.95 seems pretty small for such fine work. The effects are awesome. This is incredible stuff!

So whip out that old Gremlin or Studebaker photo and get ready to get your ride spaced out big time! Is this the best artist's website ever or what? This guy's got some major league talent. Good stuff!

The Sad Plight Of Detroit's Abandoned Packard Factory

Packard automobiles were once one of America's proudest luxury brands ever built. But as Packard decided to end production at the plant in 1956, the building complex was sold for a mere $750,000 and partially used by aircraft manufacturer Curtiss-Wright for few years before remaining largely unused. The once landmark plant has since become a plight on the city of Detroit and a haven for homeless people, drug abusers, criminals to strip cars, looters to dump stolen property, vandals and illegal garbage dumping.

When Packard ended production at the plant a few automobiles were left on the grounds of the factory or stored inside the building. Most ended up vandalized and eventually stolen. Sometimes automobiles were pushed off the building by drunken vandal gangs during window breaking sprees at the former plant.

Detroit currently rates as the "most ruined city" in America, where massive poverty and business bankruptcies have left the city in similar condition to extinct world empires. More civilized societies would have renovated the old Packard plant and created new manufacturing at the massive 40 acre site. Instead, the giant industrial complex looks like the ruins of ancient Rome or some other extinct society.

A succession of mayors of the city have failed to put together renovation or economic recovery programs to attract business where the city has declined into poverty and crime even during booming economic years for the rest of the country.

The abandoned Packard plant stands as a landmark to the economic decay of Detroit, and a sad chapter as a popular luxury car brand closed in the city and jobs disappeared.

Rare Bugatti Model Will Be Resurrected On Prototype Frame

A mega-rare 2010 retro prototype 1939 Type 64 Bugatti will be built on a second frame owned by an automotive museum. Peter Mullin, the owner of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard California purchased the rare #2 frame in which the body was never built. Only one complete rare 1939 Type 64 Bugatti was ever built by Jean Bugatti. But the car never made it into regular Bugatti production as tragic events changed Bugatti forever.

At one time, Jean Bugatti envisioned a future version of the Type 64 with gullwing doors. But in 1939 Jean Bugatti was killed in a serious auto accident when he had to swerve his car to avoid a drunken bicyclist. And the dawn of WWII was the final blow to Bugatti. So, the Type 64 remained a unused rarity, tucked away for generations. A search was conducted by the Mullin Museum for a body designer that could build a car that used that gullwing door design, and would be something in the spirit of a Jean Bugatti original.

Some Bugatti purists might be horrified at the concept of building a 2010 retro-type body and representing this as a Bugatti. Yet, the custom coachwork on the rare Bugatti frame will resurrect an extremely rare car and is akin to bringing back a dinosaur from extinction.

Right now the frame is on display, along with the artist renderings of what the resurrected Bugatti model will look like. The resurrected Bugatti should be an awesome automobile when finished and a priceless rarity. Rare Bugatti automobiles command prices in the stratosphere, and are among the most valuable of any collector cars ever built. As beautiful as the new Bugatti is, it will probably be too rare and too expensive ever to be driven. And Bugatti cars of the past just begged to be driven and were like rolling palaces on wheels.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bret Michaels Hopes To Tour In One Month?

It certainly sounds overly optimistic, but the official website of Bret Michaels still voices plans for the ailing rock star to begin his tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd in June as previously expected before his life-threatening brain hemorrhage. Claiming that Michaels is "devoted" to his fans, the website still claims that somehow the singer will tour as previously planned. Okay.

But, you can't fault hope or optimism. That's certainly better than the alternative.

There is some positive news for the singer, as some reports now claim that he's doing a little better after suffering some complication a couple days ago. The singer's sister even reported that he's making some steps towards recovery.

Haulin' Final Rides

Yesterday, we reported about a controversial motorcycle funeral arrangement. In that same vein, we present a few interesting final rides for you....
Hey, if you gotta go.
Interestingly, THE MUNSTERS' coach was built by car crafter genius George Barris. But a little controversy remains whether it was a Ford Cobra 289 or Ford Falcon 260 as the basis for the engine. But, regardless the ride looks good and hauls. And the little dragster from the show looks good too. Remember how Herman built it when he brought a "box" home from work.

Jenna Jameson & Tito Ortez Deescalate Their War Of Words

Following his arrest on domestic violence charges, UFC champion fighter Tito Ortez and his live-in former adult film star girlfriend, Jenna Jameson, had a nasty war of words. Now, both seem to be taking back some of their claims. Ortez claimed that Jameson was an Oxycontin addict. However, likely in fear of losing custody of her two boys to authorities, Jameson took a drug test and it turned up clean of any drug such as Oxycontin, meth, marijuana, cocaine, etc. This drug test disproved the claims of Ortez, who now seems to be backing off from his earlier comments.

Ortez also claimed that the arm injury to Jameson was due to a fall into the bath tub. Jameson now has backed off of her earlier claim that Ortez injured her in a newer, but complicated


Prosecutors no doubt really love screwy domestic violence stuff like this make an allegation, take an allegation back stuff. And domestic violence incidents are some of the most dangerous for police officers as well.

BTW, who'd ever think that some former adult film stars don't sometimes lead F'd up lives?

Steve Carell Plans To Leave THE OFFICE

Popular comic actor Steve Carell has sounded out that he plans to leave THE OFFICE after next year's upcoming season seven. THE OFFICE is NBC's highest rated and most acclaimed comedy series and their anchor Thursday night comedy. Steve Carell has had major success in acclaimed comedy movies such as DATE NIGHT, and likely wants to concentrate on these films.

In an interview for BBC Radio, Steve Carell let it slip out that his contract for THE OFFICE series ends after season seven, and that he is unlikely to renew his contract. Probably, his success in film as well as fatigue with THE OFFICE may be leading to his decision. Likely, Carell didn't expect the series to last this long or have this much success.

The American version of THE OFFICE is adapted from the popular UK version of the show.
Interestingly, THE OFFICE's theme song is performed by American rock star, Jay Ferguson, who also had hits songs with Spirit and the less successful Jo Jo Gunne. Spirit's biggest hit was, "I Got A Line On You", although some songs like "Morning Will Come" feature some of the best instrumental and vocal work by the band. And as a solo artist, "Thunder Island" was a big hit for Ferguson. Ferguson's music evolved from The Beatles influenced rock of Spirit to doing TV and movie soundtracks. The original 1984 TERMINATOR film and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5:THE DREAM CHILD are among his movie scores.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sandra Bullock Files For Divorce

Who couldn't see this coming all the way up Broadway? Sandra Bullock finally officially filed for divorce from Jesse James in a Austin, Texas court house. Apparently, Sandra Bullock attempted to keep the divorce semiprivate by using her initials backwards, B.A.S., and Jesse James' initials, J.J.G. G stands for Gregory by the way.

Sandra Bullock has made other news as well today, with her adoption of an African American baby. Bullock also made it known how horrified to learn of any interest by Jesse James in the Nazis.

America's sweetheart is trying her best to move on without Jesse James it seems.

Death Bike

Last Thursday, young 22 year old David Morales Colon was shot dead in Puerto Rico. Because he was so fond of his motorcycle, his body was posed on his bike for the funeral home presentation to his family and friends. It had to be one of the more unusual funeral arrangements ever made.

In Egypt, it was once common for kings and queens to buried along with their possessions. A few persons have been buried in their cars before.
Some folks are afraid of motorcycles. Some think they're deadly. But, now death bike has a whole new meaning.

Pita Pit Franchise Offers Fresh Flavor & Healthy Eating Alternative

Pita Pit is an interesting newer entry into the crowded field of franchised eating establishments. Besides really great tasting food, Pita Pit lets you build your pita your way. You can add a huge variety of great items to your meat, vegetarian or vegan pita. Do you like tomatoes, onions, feta cheese, lettuce, sprouts, swiss cheese, a variety of dressings? Pita Pit puts you in charge.

One of the newest Pita Pit franchises just opened nine days ago at 4121 S.E. Hawthorne in Portland, Oregon. And the new store is open from 10:30 to 3:00am most days, and until 4:00am on weekends. With these incredibly long hours as well as a menu that lets you build your own pita, Pita Pit fills an interesting spot in the competition among fast food enterprises.

While Pita Pit has an amazing fresh tasting food menu, much like a fresh garden salad in many ways, the franchises are attempting to sell a largely a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean concept idea to America and Canada where burgers and pizza are king. This might be a hard sell.

While Americans want to eat healthier, Pita Pit counts on being in their future. But, customers can be very fickle. Health food stores flourish such as Wild Oats and others. And Pita Pit is counting on being a part of that healthy eating future.

Pita Pit certainly has very good food. And some burger establishments such as some McDonalds locations have witnessed a market erosion over the years as some customers switch to more healthy food. But, can Pita Pit really fill that vacuum? Will the market really swing that much in their favor. The philosophy of waiting for a business to build usually turns out to be flawed concept. Unless many products are popular right off the ground, then major success may not come. People know what to expect from burgers, pizza or Mexican food for example. But does everyone even know what a pita is?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bret Michaels Suffers Setback

Former Poison lead singer Bret Michaels has suffered a setback in his recovery from a brain hemorrhage that may put him at high risk for seizures if he recovers. It had to be bad news for singer who remains in intensive care and in very serious condition. The source of the bleeding is at the brain stem, which isn't a particularly good place either because serious hemorrhages at the back of the head can often prove fatal.

If the singer can recover from this serious health issue, then he likely faces up to months of difficult recovery.

SEINFELD Star Jason Alexander Hits A Bicyclist

Former SEINFELD star, Jason Alexander, was involved in an unfortunate accident that caused some minor injuries to a 14year old boy on a bicycle, when the two hit in traffic. Alexander wasn't cited by police, which seems to indicate that he didn't violate any traffic laws in the accident. And, Alexander stayed with the boy after he hit him and did his best to comfort him.

It was likely an unfortunate accident, with neither at fault. And Jason Alexander probably feels terribly, even though the accident likely wasn't anyone's fault.

Hey Elaine, George Constanza came through big time.


Unfortunately, dvds often become a dumping ground for a few cheaply produced made-for-cable TV films. ICE TWISTERS is such a disappointing use of a dvd. While the film has an interesting premise of a new cloud seeding experiment gone horribly wrong, producing freezing and destructive twisters, slow action and the lack of a really decent enough budget to work with really leave this low budget disaster film pretty unfulfilling.

The premise of a group of scientists accidentally unleashing ice twisters headed to destroy Portland, Oregon is a good enough disaster movie plot. But, more money was really needed to make a much better film here. Disaster movies really need big budgets to work. A disaster movie on a small budget falls real short of any intended goal.

The bottom line: A great plot, hampered by little production money. Mostly unfulfilling. ++(Two stars out of four, or only fair. And that's mostly for a good, but unfulfilled plot).

Monday, April 26, 2010


The LEGEND OF THE SEEKER syndicated series is being canceled by the Disney-ABC distribution company that produces the series due to low ratings as well as high production costs. The series has been on two years, and is a first rate production using expensive sets and special effects. If anything, this illustrates the difficulty of producing an expensive program just for syndication.

Last month, a number of Tribune stations dropped the series for programming or scheduling reasons , looking for higher rated programming. That was probably the final blow to the hopes of a third season.

LEGEND OF THE SEEKER hoped to lure an audience similar to XENA: THE WARRIOR PRINCESS, but struggled for two seasons to really establish that audience.

Jenna Jameson Emerges From Drug Store With Arm Brace

According to a new TMZ story, Adult actress Jenna Jameson emerged from a CVS drug store today where she purchased a arm brace because her arm was apparently injured in this weekend's domestic violence incident at her home.

Jameson decided to quit Twitter today, because unfortunately a few fans of her UFC fighter live-in lover, must have posted some abusive comments. But Jameson was kind enough to tell a photographer that she's grateful to her fans, and that her abuser is in jail right now.

Part of what makes Jameson so popular is that she's always very good to her fans and deeply appreciates them. Despite the very difficult weekend for the actress, she has made every effort to assure her fans that she'll be fine once her injuries heal.

Update: An official from the UFC made a statement that the UFC may ban Tito Ortez over the domestic violence episode upon conviction. Apparently, using his professional fighting skills against anyone, especially a woman is a real no-no in that organization.

Domestic Violence At Jenna Jameson's House Results In Arrest

Reportedly, adult film star Jenna Jameson suffered some physical injuries at the hands of her live-in boyfriend, Tito Ortez at her Huntington Beach, California home. This resulted in the arrest of Ortez on domestic violence charges. The couple have two children together and appeared to be a very happy couple until the violent situation this weekend.

Jenna Jameson is so popular, that she has become a mainstream personality as well. Jameson is far and away the most popular actress in adult cinema at this time, although she actually has moved on to produce and manage filmmaking and other major business ventures now. Jenna Jameson's 2004 book became a major NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER as well. Jameson is one of America's smartest and greatest businesswomen by all means.

Tito Ortez is an UFC ultimate fighting champion and highly successful in his own right. The relationship of two paired two very popular special market superstar entertainer figures together.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kate Gosselin & Kids Will Be Back For New TLC Reality Series

Kate Gosselin has gained approval from the Pennsylvania Department Of Labor for her 8 kids to star in a new reality series for TLC called "KATE PLUS 8". However, so far, no approval for the kids to star in another spin-off, "TWIST OF KATE" has been issued by the Department Of Labor.

It certainly looks like Jon Gosselin is the odd man out here. Not much profit in not having a hit TV show for poor Jon.

The Oak Ridge Boys And Diamond Rio Win Dove Awards

The Oak Ridge Boys and Diamond Rio managed to win major awards at the Dove Awards which were televised Sunday evening. The awards event for Christian and Gospel music was actually held on Wednesday, however the event was televised on April 25.

The Oak Ridge Boys have mulled retirement over the last few years, however they have loaned their talents to fund-raising efforts for Christian charities such as Pastor Larry Jones' Feed The Children Organization, and have even recorded special albums just to raise funds for this organization. The Oak Ridge Boys actually started out as gospel music artists back in 1945, and have been a revolving door of performers until vocal group by the late 70's took on a decidedly more commercial sound and had crossover hits on both the country and pop charts with big chart hit such as "Elvira". For The Oak Ridge Boys, things have now gone full circle. From gospel to mainstream country, back to gospel and a Dove Award.

Diamond Rio has had decent country music success and awards before, however a Dove Award is a first for this major country music group.

Nice Bikes. But, Where's The Engine?

These look like choppers. But, they're actually custom bicycles. Pretty rad.

But, I still think they need an engine. Looks like something's missing to me. What do you think?

Ellen DeGeneres Wants You To Save Pets & The Post Office Both

Ellen DeGeneres has a new crusade. The popular comic and TV host wants you to buy stamps that support dogs and cats, and to use the post office to help save Saturday delivery. Maybe, Ellen DeGeneres can make a difference for a few dogs and cats. But the perpetual problems that the U.S. Postal Service finds itself in seem without end.

While Ebay and other auction sites mean huge transfers of merchandise, the U.S. Postal service finds itself in competition with UPS, FEDEX and other delivery services. And letter volume is down as well, thanks largely to the use of Emails and FAX machines.

Can Ellen really make a difference? Well, it's a little bit like the old story: A man rescues a star fish by tossing it back into the ocean. He didn't save every star fish. But, he made a difference for that one.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Dropped From Film Project

Controversial celebrity, Lindsay Lohan, was reportedly dropped from the film project, THE OTHER SIDE, after producers of the project just didn't believe her to be a "bankable" commodity. The film's other stars include Woody Harrelson, Giovanno Ribisi, Dave Matthews and Alanis Morrisette.

It was more bad publicity for the troubled actress. Earlier this week, TMZ reported that Lohan was being considered a suspect in the theft of a Rolex watch valued at about $35,000.

As Lohan remains controversial, she finds her ability to land worthwhile new projects rapidly shrinking. But, I guess that's the nature of trainwrecks.

Who Likes Short Shorts?....I Like Short Shorts

Jennifer Aniston, Vanessa Hudgens and Kate Bosworth are all trying their very best to bring short shorts back into style. Well, good for them.

And a big tip of the hat goes out to the cool folks at Stylelist for reporting this great new fashion trend. Check out their website for more cool fashion trends.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Brett Michaels In Stable Condition From Brain Hemorrhage

Brett Michaels, the former lead singer of Poison and CELEBRITY APPRENTICE reality TV star, has suffered a serious brain hemorrhage and remains in critical, but stabilized condition. The singer was previously known to suffer with Type 1 diabetes.

Although a major figure in 1980's hair metal music, the singer has become one of TV's most used reality figures in recent years. He's starred in VH1's, ROCK OF LOVE WITH BRETT MICHAELS, NASHVILLE STAR and now the CELEBRITY APPRENTICE show with Donald Trump as host.

What makes the condition of the singer so serious is that the serious hemorrhage is at the base of the brain stem. This makes this sort of hemorrhage so life-threatening.

This is the second medical crisis this month for the singer. On April 11, he was faced with an emergency appendix operation.

Cigarette Industry Confronts New FDA Rules

New FDA rules on the cigarette industry are creating some interesting new changes for both retailers and cigarette producers. As of June 22, when The Family Smoking Prevention And Control Act Of 2009 becomes law you will see some changes in cigarette POS(point of sale) advertising as well as new names for cigarettes once called "lights". For example, Camel "Lights" will be renamed Camel "Blue". And the specialty blend, Kamel "Lights", will be renamed Kamel Red Smith Taste. Certainly, these changes where the term "light" can no longer be used according to the new FDA rules will create some buyer confusion. But, the FDA feels that the term "light" has been deceptively used by the industry, where all cigarettes contain the same toxic ingredients.

Lawyers for the cigarette industry did manage to get a small court victory, though. Industry lawyers sued the government over a provision of the act that outlawed POS advertising in color or with visual images. Back on January 5, a federal court ruled that such provisions in the bill violated the 1st Amendment.

But, cigarette consumers and retailers will still see some other advertising changes such as larger warning signs than the past. And any advertising using descriptions such as "lights" will be gone forever. But, the cigarettes once called "lights" will still be around, just with new names. But, like all laws, the laws regarding the sale of those products just became more complicated.

Will these changes make any difference at all in smoking as the original bill intended? Probably not much at all. But, new laws like this keep the lawyers busy.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

David Allan Coe: Marriage #6 For Country Music's Outlaw Singer

For country music outlaw David Allan Coe, it's marriage #6. The 71 year old music legend wedded his 48 year old long-time girlfriend, Kimberly Hastings, this week. But, compared to other country music singers who like to carry the "outlaw" label, David Allan Coe claims to have once been on death row in prison for murder and other serious crimes. And Coe has been a member of two motorcycle groups, including one recognized by law enforcement as a criminal enterprise.

While a few in country music love the rebel and outlaw image, David Allan Coe claims to be the real deal. However, ROLLING STONE Magazine has questioned a few of the claims of his "criminal" past, including being on death row. However, David Allan Coe is a unique presence in country music and certainly has his fans.

But will marriage #6 be the charm?

Heather Locklear Might Just Dodge Prosecution

Heather Locklear might just be the most lucky woman around. Thanks to a quick response by her lawyer, Blair Birk, to raise doubts about who was actually driving her 2005 black BMW SUV into the street sign on Saturday morning, and the lack of witnesses, and a poor quality street surveillance tape, prosecutors might have a difficult time charging the actress with hit and run. The surveillance tape allowed police to find the BMW parked at Locklear's home, and a piece of the truck that was torn off in the accident matched the damage to the vehicle. But, Locklear doesn't have to self-incriminate herself or state who was driving her truck in the early morning by law, so she's probably dodged prosecution for any more serious vehicular driving offense.

Another strange factor working in Locklear's favor is that unlike hitting a parked car, and leaving a note, hitting a sign in the early morning and not leaving any note also works in favor of the actress. That's wrong. But, it's probably better than facing either hit and run or even possible DUI or other charges. Dumb luck?

But, at the same time prosecutors are looking at whether the actress somehow violated the terms of her probation deal stemming from earlier charges when a 2008 DUI charge was downgraded in court to a lesser offense in 2009. If the actress violated those probation terms, then she could still end up in jail for up to 90 days for a probation violation.

GM Makes $8.1 Billion Government Loan Payback

A good sign that GM has survived the worst of the economic storm was their newly announced $8.1 billion dollar loan repayment to the federal government. And this repayment was way ahead of schedule as well. Between 2004 and 2009, GM had lost $88 billion in business, and the company was teetering on collapse. GM's problems would mean massive job losses all around the country as well as the loss of a major defense contractor for the United States military. The situation at GM forced the new incoming Obama Administration to weight the options at hand for the economy and national security. The situation at GM then forced a controversial government rescue loan bailout. But, it involved many tough sanctions on GM and forced their then CEO to leave.

Sadly, GM had to downsize their number of brands and dealers to survive. A few years earlier, the Oldsmobile brand died. But, the latest problems at GM meant the end of the Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Hummer brands, as the company sought to trim their losses.

GM's CEO Ed Whitacre announced the loan repayment at GM plant in Detroit in which the company is investing $257 million into. This new investment should mean more job security for workers at the plant, and is the opposite of Chrysler, which seems to be phasing-down many U.S. production plants as they reorganize. But, Chrysler is still in serious financial trouble, while GM has trimmed their losses down considerably. Next quarter, GM should be showing the first quarterly profit in years.

GM still owes another $45 billion to the federal government. But should be able to pay this off ahead of schedule as well. And a smaller sum is also owed to the Canadian government as GM sought the survival of their Canadian business as well.

Part of GM's recent success has been not only improved U.S. auto sales, but a booming market in China for GM products such as Buick brand cars which are sought out by the wealthy of China. GM's Chinese division is doing very well, and is certainly helping the entire company to climb out of it's financial woes. GM's sales in China are up 67% over last year, compared to much smaller sales increases in the U.S. market. So, Shanghai General Motors is a vital component in the GM comeback story.

Politically, the bailout of GM has been troublesome and unpopular for the Obama Administration. However, White House spokesman Larry Summers was quick to give the president credit for being willing to do what was politically unpopular for the larger good of the nation as a whole. But, the decision to give both GM and Chrysler a government-backed rescue lifeline only came when both were willing to make major changes in their businesses to climb back into profitability. For GM it meant axing those brands that were losing massive amounts of money, and for Chrysler it meant an affiliation with Fiat.

While GM is climbing out of their problems, Chrysler is having less success. The sales of Chrysler products remain weak overall, largely because of poor sales of Dodge products dragging down the company. Chrysler and Jeep models are showing some strength, as are the Dodge Challenger, but other Dodge products are simply lagging. If Chrysler can survive for the next few years, some Fiat designed models will get an opportunity to sell in the U.S. market. But, whether U.S. buyers will respond to these new models is a question that remains to be answered.

Final SHREK Film Has Grand Red Carpet Roll-out

Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers and all of the major voices for the final chapter in the SHREK series showed up for last night's read carpet premiere of SHREK FOREVER AFTER. Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas also reminisced about their character roles in the wildly successful series. The cast also seemed to be almost closing the door on the possibility of a fifth film. The film will go on massive theater release on May 21.

The SHREK series has been the biggest hit series by far for the former SNL cast member, Mike Myers. But Mike Myers also did well with his AUSTIN POWERS series, which was a send-up of 1960's JAMES BOND-type spy films as well as his WAYNE'S WORLD films with costar Dana Carvey.

Interestingly, the cast members seldom met during the films voice work, so last night's red carpet event was an opportunity to pull the cast together for the final time.

SHREK FOREVER AFTER ought to add nice closure to the series and should be a huge box office hit as well as a big home DVD and Bluray success. So far the franchise of films has grossed a billion dollars. Not bad for a tale about green ogres.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Autopsy Results: Drugs Not Involved In Suicide Of Marie Osmond's Son

Advance information of autopsy results from Marie Osmond's son, Michael Bryan, did not indicate the presence of drugs. The cause of death appears to all be trauma related to jumping to his death. Other information is that this was actually the third suicide attempt by the troubled son of the singer.

Bad grades and a visit from a former girlfriend pushed the teenager towards more depression, and the events seemed to be more than he could handle before jumping to his death.

Gallup Polling Indicates Improving Business Climate & Economy

Good news for both Wall Street and "Main" Street, is that the latest round of Gallup Organization polling indicates more signs of continued improving economic conditions with an improving business climate and easing unemployment issues. Gallup found that more than 1.5 million American workers who claimed to be underemployed are now finding themselves with longer work days as the business climate continues to improve and more workers are needed. This job creation index is recording the best improvement numbers recorded since at least 2008.

Consumer spending figures are also ticking upward according to a separate poll. This indicates more cash flow to businesses.

A third poll regarding economic confidence is ticking upward as well.

These three polls seem to suggest that the improving business climate is being driven by improvement of unemployment issues as well as increased consumer spending. The entertainment industry should see some of the benefit of this improvement as consumers look to spend more of their paychecks on fun activities rather than just paying bills as more money flows through households.

Heather Locklear Arrested In Hit And Run Incident

Actress Heather Locklear was arrested for a hit and run incident in which her car seemed to have left the street and hit a sign on a sidewalk. The actress was cited for the misdemeanor offense, but not taken to jail.

About 4 am Saturday, residents on a Westlake Village, California street heard noise as a car plowed into a no parking sign on a sidewalk and then fled. Somehow police were able to trace debris from the accident to the black 2005 BMW owned by Locklear, suggesting that the front license plate must have been knocked off in the accident.

The 48 year old actress has had a history of vehicular offense problems in the past, including a DUI charge of driving under the influence of prescription drugs , that was dropped in a plea arrangement deal to a lesser offense at a 2009 .

Locklear's lawyer, Blair Berk, has suggested that it has not been determined who was actually driving the BMW at the time of the accident, only that it was the automobile belonging to the actress that was at the scene of the accident. This seems to be an important legal ploy to shield the actress from any further prosecution if another DUI offense might be suspected by the authorities.

The actress has a record of being hard working and dependable in Hollywood, although she was once named as one of the worst actresses by an awards event, the Golden Raspberry Awards. Locklear is also part of the small group of conservative and Republican leaning actors in Hollywood, although she declined to be part of an AMC documentary about what it means to Republican in the largely liberal and Democratic leaning Hollywood community. Locklear was once married to Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and later to guitarist Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi.

Locklear is known for being easy to work with, and well sought out in Hollywood because she tends to be mostly problem-free. However, this latest series of traffic incidents cannot be very helpful to her good image of having a strong work ethic.

This booking photo is from her 2008 DUI arrest.

Japanese Adult Star Becomes Leading Soldier For Internet Freedom Effort In China

The fight for Internet freedom in China is being led by an unlikely source. Japanese adult video star Sora Aoi(also known as Sola Aoi) called on Chinese citizens to leap the "Great Firewall" and to access material that the Chinese government blocks such as political dissent, Falun Gong religious material and adult content. Sora Aoi is very popular in China, and is actually a cult figure among young Chinese men. The 26 year old actress is one of the leading actors in the huge Japanese adult video market in which roughly 11,000 new videos are produced each year, compared to around just 2,500 in the United States.

Information on how to defeat the Chinese government's firewall efforts have actually been slipped into at least one Chinese newspaper. And like computer users all over the world, young Chinese computer users are pretty good are figuring out ways around any government effort to block content that they wish to access. With the huge growth of trade from China, and a huge growth of computers, keeping the genie in the bottle becomes increasingly difficult for the government.

Interestingly, while censorship of Internet content remains the most restrictive in mainland China, the situation is also restrictive in both Taiwan as well as Hong Kong. Yet, popular Japanese cult figures such as Sora Aoi are favorites of many younger men in all three markets in the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Japanese adult material works with some interesting content restrictions that date back to the country's constitution which was drawn up in the days of the U.S. occupation of Japan after the war. In the nation's constitution one paragraph forbids the depiction of genitals, however a large market of illegal adult material exists outside of this constitutional restriction. In the United States, the adult industry is hampered by some interesting legal paradoxes as well.

The U.S. Bill Of Rights offered complete freedom of speech for all content, including even material deemed to be of an obscene or pornographic nature from 1791 when the Amendments went into effect. However, in 1840 a Massachusetts book dealer was arrested without charge for selling a copy of the racy European novel, FANNY HILL. Because his arrest was without a charge, lawmakers in Massachusetts worked to write an unconstitutional law a year later to justify the arrest charge, even though the U.S. had no such constitutional restrictions on content considered pornographic or obscene. For years, states and even the federal government sought to enforce clearly unconstitutional laws restricting pornographic or obscene speech, sometimes arresting citizens on unconstitutional charges.

In 1973, a Supreme Court loaded with socially conservative appointees of President Nixon, narrowly ruled 5 to 4 that "local communities" somehow have the right to restrict controversial speech based on "local standards". However, this ruling was in effect unconstitutional because it was an attempt by the court to abridge freedom of speech without the legal path of a constitutional amendment. Further, local standards meant a patchwork of rules from city to city, where local officials could decide what level of speech would be tolerated. The nation's Founding Fathers never intended that some local police chief, politician or judge should be in charge to decide what level of free speech should be tolerated in that community. And later social conservative Supreme Court cases even wrongly gave the federal government the green light to enforce unconstitutional restrictions on free speech as well. This led to a strange legal paradox where if some film or book producer violated local obscenity laws, then he was in violation of federal law, where the same material may be completely legal in the next town or community.

Even worse, was a bill passed by congress written by social conservative North Carolina Republican Senator Jesse Helms that allowed as few as two items ruled obscene by a jury in a local community to be treated as a racketeering offense, allowing up to 20 years in prison and fines that could run into millions of dollars. In Virgina, the new law was used by the federal government to destroy a seven store video store chain and a New York distributor who sold videos to that store. Although most the videos sold or rented were of a general audience nature, 7 adult videos were put on trial by the government, but just three were ruled obscene by a jury, resulting in the government seizure of all seven video stores, bank accounts, homes, cars and property of the couple in addition to $1 million in fines and a possible 90 year prison sentence for the store owners. The wife suffered a mental and emotional breakdown from the trial. It was pure evil on the part of government. The equivalent of the death penalty was used to stop a video store chain because they sold or rented a small number of adult videos in addition to their large selection of general videos. Government in the United States decided that making selling controversial items an offense equal to the death penalty might be enough to crush free expression by controversial filmmakers and book producers. Yet, still book sellers and film producers take the risk and play RICO roulette, where at random some controversial producer is chosen by the government to have both their business and life squashed like a common house fly.

A few years later, liberal Senators such as Joe Biden and Ed Kennedy did absolutely nothing to stop some a huge Edwin Meese inspired package of laws known as the "Obscenity Enforcement Act" from becoming law. These liberal turncoats actually voted for this awful piece of unconstitutional legislation. One unconstitutional provision allowed prosecutors to go after video or book dealers all over the nation if one particular book or video was found obscene in one small local community. Other provisions strengthened laws against interstate shipping nor receiving of obscene materials, where even individuals could be charged with a crime for ordering perfectly legal materials from one community by mail order into a conservative community with stricter local community standards. In Florida, a local judge committed suicide after he was caught up in a local scandal for ordering a couple of bondage oriented porn films that were freely and legally sold in most other big cities in the U.S.

But, in both the United States and Japan, it was an attempt to use law to enforce religious values that was the main force behind efforts to control adult oriented entertainment. General Douglas MacArthur felt that forcing Christian religious values on the Japanese would make them less warlike, although the history of religion in the world has been largely a very violent history. The current war with terrorism around the world is largely a war by some Muslim religious extremists to force their religious views on the Christian world. And Catholics and Protestants continue to have icy relations in Northern Ireland. Rather than offering freedom to mankind, religion largely has become another tool of repression and fueled wars and conflicts. Instead of beliefs in myths and legends fueling hope for many persons, religion often ruined their lives instead and allowed the powerful to rule over the weak.

And now a figure in Japanese adult entertainment, Sora Aoi is leading an effort to rock the government and rigid culture of China. As outrageous as adult entertainment often is, it is interesting that these rebel figures, including Larry Flynt and others are sometimes the leading soldiers in the ongoing battles to challenge both the government and religious control of citizens, and promote open and free societies with wider artistic freedom and expression. In China, this is a huge task. But actress Sora Aoi feels that she is ready for that fight and is so confident of victory that she's even learning to speak Chinese.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Son Of Michael Douglas Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Drug Dealing

Cameron Douglas, the 31 year old actor son of Michael Douglas was sentenced to five years in prison today, for his dealing in both methamphetamine and cocaine. The young actor, reportedly played a major role in the sale of both illegal drugs. Earlier this year, while under house arrest the actor fell into more legal problems after his girlfriend tried to smuggle heroin to him hidden inside an electric toothbrush.

Michael Douglas, the actor's father, wrote a heartfelt letter to the sentencing judge, which might have helped somewhat because the young actor actually faced a 10 year to life sentence because of the major amount of drugs involved. It was about half a pound of meth that was seized by federal drug enforcement agents.

Cameron Douglas has starred in four films so far. Now that acting career looks on ice for a few years.

Toyota's Latest Recall

It just seems like poor old Toyota just can't get a break these days. Now 600,000 of their Sienna minivans are being recalled due to rust problems with a spare tire cable that may cause the tire to fall off on the road causing a serious road hazard to cars following a Toyota down the road. The problem it seems is caused by road salts in some states.

So, now it seems like the only moral thing for some Toyota owners to do is put "Danger: Falling Parts!" signs on their cars.

And Toyota's reputation is beginning to suffer as well. About a third of adults polled by the Gallup organization had safety doubts about Toyota products. That's one of the worst percentages of safety doubts about any product ever. Yet, Toyota sales are solidly in third place among all automobile brands and aren't experiencing nearly as much slippage as some brands have in the past that have slipped into oblivion.

Toyota's problems seem similar to what happened to Sony some years ago. A high quality brand gets too popular, builds too many products, and gets complacent about quality control issues in the rush to get new products to the market. Now, Toyota needs to do a great effort to rebuild their reputation. New ads are a first step. But, actually improving quality control is the most important step.

Michael Jackson's Estate And Cirque Du Soleil Ink Big Deal

The estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque Du Soleil have inked a new mega-business deal that will have a new joint show honoring the late pop star touring the country in Fall of 2011. The show will include the songs of Michael Jackson along with the acts of Cirque De Soleil. A second show will book the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas for a season and include awesome digital technology effects and enhancements.

Both the estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque Du Soleil are expected to split both expenses and profits of the show that easily will take in millions of dollars during each tour.

Cirque Du Soleil is considered to be perhaps the best circus in the world, while Michael Jackson was long considered to be the "King Of Pop", so combining the two mega-entertainment acts should easily exceed the power of 1919 of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey merger to become "The Greatest Show On Earth" at the time.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Ginger" From GILLIGAN"S ISLAND At 76

Tina Louise, the actress who once played "Ginger" in GILLIGAN"S ISLAND has been spotted in public again recently. The 76 year old actress was once a fan favorite, but declined to star in later TV-movie reunions of the cast. But it's so good to see her again.