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Archive for the ‘celebrities’ Category

Seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, doesn’t have to ride a bike. He chooses to because he knows what people facing cancer go through each day. He understands the struggle and the fear. He wants to make a difference.

So no matter what you may think of Armstrong’s comeback this year, this ad from Nike and the 31 words spoken by Lance undeniably proves he’s in it for the cause, not the attention.

LIVESTRONG.

Narrative:

The critics say I’m arrogant. A doper. Washed up. A fraud. That I couldn’t let it go. They can say whatever they want. I’m not back on my bike…for them.

Music: “Auto Rock,” by Mogwai

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Thirty-five years. If you ask anyone how a radio show could successfully knock heads for just the past decade with online interwebbing, the likely answer would be, “It can’t.” Yet a small little radio show…a show founded here in Saint Paul, Minn., will celebrate its 35th year of production this summer.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – For the 35th anniversary of his “A Prairie Home Companion,” humorist Garrison Keillor will be in “Lake Wobegon” when he reads the news from Lake Wobegon.

But don’t assume Keillor is all misty about the milestone.

“I’m not sentimental anymore. I used to be, when I was younger,” Keillor told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday at his Prairie Home Productions office, an old radio station in St. Paul.

“The thing about sentimentality is that sentimentality gets in the way of your memory. And it’s a sort of a fog. It obscures your clear memory. I’m much more interested in trying to remember clearly what went on, who I was, what we did, back in 1974 (when the show began) than I am in warm feelings about it.”

poster_400You can read this summary of Keillor’s 35 years on the radio just by Googling the AP story. I found it on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s web site. Just like a hometown paper to run an AP-written story about a local radio personality whose show is making history.

But back to “A Prairie Home…” I’ve only been once. Last October, as a birthday surprise, I purchased tickets and invited friends to join us in the balcony of The Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul. It was a warm-up show, the kind Keillor uses to determine the right comedic timing for certain skits and to ascertain just how short or long the program needs to be the following night when they broadcast it live.

For nearly three hours I found myself in admiration, laughing at the dumbest and oldest of jokes. It’s what makes Keillor’s show so popular. There’s a penchant among people to want to walk in to a show and forget their troubles at the door. They want to sit down and be entertained. They want to laugh at the slapstick and marvel at good writing, hilarious sound effects and songs performed by artists they may have never heard of before. In my case, I witnessed legend singer/guitarist Nick Lowe perform several tunes he had written for Johnny Cash. Again…awed.

So for all of Keillor’s pomposity and ostentatiousness that he’s provided Saint Paul, Minneapolis and the rest of his listening audience through the years, I say, “Congrats.”  You’ve entertained millions and in a matter of two or three hours – you help those of us who take time to leave our troubles at the door smile, recall our own simpler times and yes, forget whatever burdens we carried in with us.

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Valentine’s Day night found me at the W Hotel in downtown Minneapolis celebrating the 30th birthday of a friend’s friend. I’ve not been to the Living Room bar at the hotel, adjacent to Manny’s Steakhouse, since last October.  And unlike that first experience, which was quiet and comfortable, last night the place was rockin’ with people – beautiful, unassuming couples and ostentatious men and women whom I was embarrassed for because of their crazy costumes on Feb. 14. It’s Valentine’s Day, not Halloween, right?!?

So our small group of eight stood in the midst of all the couples enjoying their evening at a hip bar/restaurant and we drank our Grey Goose martinis or Manhattans. One lively conversation led to another and another, including the topic of Obama’s economic stimulus package recently passed by the Senate and scheduled for signing on Feb. 17.  As I talked with young 30-somethings just getting married and starting their lives, their interest in owning a home is a clear priority. But some don’t have the financial wherewithall to make it a reality. Obama’s plan allows for first-time home buyers to obtain an $8,000 tax credit if they purchase a home by Dec. 31, 2009. Not bad, but wouldn’t this stimulus plan be even better if that a$8,000 could be immediately applied to the downpayment a first-time home buyer needs to make? That would finally enable many who don’t have an adequate downpayment to push their ability over that hurdle. I guess there’s more than one way to stimulate the economy, but in our current woeful economic state, I’m of the opinion the best way to stimulate the economy is to put funds and programs directly into the hands of people who have long-term plans. Homebuyers, for example.

From the trendy and hip W, the group moved west several blocks to a bar along First Avenue called, The Ugly Mug. Here is where I had a quick glass of Blue Moon and then checked out for the night. Not only is this place designed exclusively for Gen We-ers, it’s also excessively loud. At my age, I prefer not to stand in a bar pretending to hear conversation when all I can do is see lips moving, nod in return and smile a lot.  God, I sound old.

Mickey Rourke and Marissa Tomei make “The Wrestler,” an Oscar worthy movie. I finally got to see this film on Saturday afternoon. The audience was small, but it was Valentine’s Day at 5 p.m., and this movie isn’t really a feel-good kinda show.  Those who haven’t seen Rourke since his pretty boy days of “9 1/2 Weeks,” won’t recognize him. This role was essentially written for him, and I got the impression that Rourke barely had to act to fulfill his part in the film, especially given the past two decades of his life and the hard knocks he’s lived through. Still, the story is a good one, the father/daughter struggle all to painfully real, and the wrestling scenes almost comical in a very WWE kind of way. Tomei, in her role as stripper/single mom, deserves a solid for making her part not just relevant but dominant throughout the movie. Her torn life and dream to make something more of herself become the antithesis of Randy “Ram’s” day-to-day, piss it all away rut that he can’t get out of. In the end it seems they both get exactly what they want.

See “The Wrestler,” in theaters if for nothing else to say you saw Rourke in his comeback effort and Tomei looking beautiful in her plain-Jane kinda way she does so well. Stay for the credits and hear Bruce Springsteen sing the title track to the movie.

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Apparently the rumors are false. Madonna and Guy are not getting a divorce.

People Magazine just reported, “Madonna’s husband Guy arrived in New York last night to be with his wife and family (not in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage which does not need saving),” Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s spokeswoman, said. “There are no plans for Madonna and Guy to divorce.”

Rosenberg also denied a published report of a relationship between the singer and New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.

I’m not so sure. It kinda’ looks like Madonna is winkin’ at A-Rod.

Nonetheless, let’s just be glad we can all sleep in peace tonight since this celebrity wedding is secure!

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Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson match up well in “The Bucket List.” And if there’s a better date movie playing right now, let me know. After seeing this on the big screen last night it prompted all sorts of discussion and conversation that lasted past midnight.

The premise of the movie is easy enough. Both lead characters find out they have life-ending cancers. They agree to go off together and spend a month or two doing the things they never got to do in life. Big things…like see the Taj Mahal and race around in a 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang.

But the script of the movie includes bigger themes as well. Nicholson and Freeman pulled off relevant and believable dialog on things like fidelity, faith, the meaning of life, and the purpose of why each of us are planted on Earth. Have we experienced joy? Have we shared our joy in life with others?

Seriously, the talking points resulting from the movie were endless – well they lasted through one very good bottle of red wine and two CDs.

Freeman and Nicholson have never done a movie together prior to this one. That’s hard to believe. Neither actors’ role in the picture was a stretch for him after all the roles the two have played, playing a victim of cancer with only a few months to live was a cake walk for each star. But they still made their characters believable.

Scene to remember:
Nicholson is giving advice to his personal attendant and says, “There are three things in life to remember: 1) never pass up a bathroom; 2) never waste a hard on; and 3) a fart will always surprise you.”

The audience members in the theater seemed to enjoy themselves throughout the movie. It is one that any one at any age can relate to and walk away from feeling invigorated about life and getting things done while we’re still in it.

The theme song of the movie is “Say,” by John Mayer:

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No surprise here.

SpearsLynn Spears, mom of famed (and washed up) Britney and now-pregnant daughter Jamie Lynn, had a book deal with publisher Thomas Nelson. But in light of Jamie Lynn’s revelation on Dec. 18 that she’s pregnant (no doubt trying to trump her big sister’s inability to successfully manage the fame life has handed her), Mommy Spears now faces certain financial doom if the book deal is canceled.

The real kicker is this: the book Lynn Spears was penning is a PARENTING book. Aptly titled: “Pop Culture Mom: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World,” the book was suppose to delve into her story of how she managed to raise two high-profile children while coming from a low-profile Louisiana community.”

Given the past two years of first witnessing Britney’s wrecked career and now seeing teenage and pregnant Nickelodeon actress, Jamie Lynn, take a hard fall, does America really need the wisdom *cough* of a Louisiana mother whose parenting skills mount up to “show me the money or I’ll show you the door?”

Many fans say the Spears sisters deserve a little pity. A break, perhaps, for not being able to properly manage their famedom.

Pfffft!

While Lynn Spear’s parenting may not be totally to blame for the major f-ups her two daughters are becoming, we all learn our morals, values and skills at handling life events from, you guessed it, our parents.

Lynn, you blew it – obviously failing to teach either daughter to keep her panties on. You set them up and watched them fail and now you have three grandchildren whom will no doubt be equal or even greater failures in society based on who they have to look up to as role models in Jamie Lynn and Britney.

No matter how badly you wished these two kids to be your money machine, you’ve single handedly contributed to the delinquency of young inept women. And that, my friends, is a direct reflection on Mommy Spears.

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Is this a big surprise to anyone? More like “overdue” in my book. She’s been given every chance. However, instead of K-Fed getting custody, these kids should probably be handed to parents or grandparents.

The story from the New York Daily News gives all the details…

LOS ANGELES – Britney has lost her kids!

In a devastating blow to the spiraling-out-of-control songstress, the same judge who two weeks ago found she was partying too hard has ordered Britney Spears to turn over her young boys to her ex-husband.

Kevin Federline, who has shared the two boys 50/50, “is to retain physical custody of the minor children” after noon tomorrow, Judge Scott Gordon said in yesterday’s one-page ruling that didn’t specify why he took the extraordinary action.

There were reports last night that K-Fed may already have little Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1, in hand.

Spears was spotted whisking the boys through a Carl’s Jr. drive-through for lunch yesterday before handing them over to K-Fed’s bodyguard, x17on-line.com reported.

It’s not clear whether the scandal-plagued singer knew her precious hours with her sons were numbered.

 And this photo from TMZ.com is just lovely…

Spears Kids

Good luck Spears children. You’re gonna’ need it!

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