Potty Training Charts



Among the solutions parents and specialists have already found for convincing children of all ages to get accustomed to urinating and defecating in the potty, there is also the approach that uses potty training charts. If you are unhappy that you cannot convince your child to use the potty or the toilet and give up nappies, you should know that there are lots of other parents in the world who have found the answer to this problem and who share their experiences on the internet.

Just do some research and you will find the right solution for your child. In as far as using potty training charts is concerned, you can find not only stories, information and advice or how to... instructions, but also a lot of sites that provide you with printable potty training charts.

Actually, there are incredibly numerous potty training charts for you to choose from and use with your children. Stores, specialists in the field as well as individuals have designed various potty training charts to suit different age groups, styles and preferences, gender, etc. Thus, there are potty training charts especially designed for boys and for girls. The difference in potty training charts is made through different colors or different patterns and drawings.

Therefore you can find boys potty training charts in which blue is the dominant color and the drawings are mainly cars, rockets and other boy stuff. Consequently girls potty training charts will mainly be colored in red or pink and will feature dolls, princesses and other girl things.

When you decide to use potty training charts you can either create them yourselves or together with your child, or you can choose from the wide existing variety. Besides the paper and card and stickers potty training charts you might also find magnetic boards or strips that you can attach on the fridge or other metal objects in the house.

Anyway, how do potty training charts work? What can they do to convince Junior to pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty? The principle by which potty training charts work is to a certain extent based on the idea of rewarding the child for something s/he does, except they do not get to spoil the child as if in actually rewarding them by giving them some candies or other things they want.

After you decide to use potty training charts, you must establish a set of very clear use about applying the method and let everybody in the family know what these rules are, in order to get consistence in using it. Every time the child does the thing properly, show him/her how it is rewarded with a sticker placed on the chart.

At the end of the chart place a shiny star in the last square and let the child see that that is the great prize for completing the cycle.
- - by: Mande Publications and Read Blog News

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For information, call 410-887-1905.?Horton the Elephant, Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, the Grinch and even teeny Cindy Lou Who are coming to Parkton when the Youth Theatre of Northern Baltimore County presents "Seussical the Musical" at Our Lady of Grace Church June 21-24.The story centers around Horton, who guards an egg abandoned by the flighty bird, Mayzie. He also protects a speck of dust on which the entire population of Whoville lives."If you ever read aDr. Seussbook, you know they're magical," said Mary Miller, the show's director. "There's singing and dancing and the whole play is really like going back to your childhood." Miller, who heads up the Youth Theatre of Northern Baltimore County, always tries to pick a play entertains and inspires. "InDr. Seuss's moral universe, the dreamers and the good-hearted prevail over the flighty, small-minded, sour people. 'Seussical the Musical' is a parable for all of us, young and old, conveying the deeper truth about life, hope, love and faith," she said.The play's cast of more than 50 from all over Baltimore County ranges from first-graders to college students.Robert Harris plays Horton; Jack Owen is the Cat in the Hat; Caroline Dias is Jo Jo, a Who; Celine Schmidt is Mayzie; Kaitlyn Fowler and Adriana Capizzi are Thing 1 and Thing 2; and Ben Mann and Kaitlyn Jones are Mr. and Mrs. Mayor of Whoville.The show will be held at Our Lady of Grace hall at 7 p.m. on June 21, 22 and 23. The June 24 performance is at 1 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door.Audience members are asked to bring a non-perishable food item that will be donated to local food banks.For tickets, email Miller at .Our Lady of Grace is located at 18310 Road, Parkton.?Regardless of which way you voted in the recent presidential election, most of us can agree that we'd rather avoid the following TV-watching scenarios: There you are, sitting on the couch with your 6-year-old nephew and 67-year-old dad, when suddenly Joey Tribbiani's sister asks the "Friends" exile to feel her breasts. Or, flipping over to in search of a mind-less list show, you come across a nearly naked Brigitte Nielson on "Surreal Life," and soon the romping Swede is locked in an ickily suggestive embrace with one of her housemates. Or, after a passing glimpse at "The O.C.," your nephew adds a new and colorful word to his vocabulary, one that you're going to have a hard time explaining to his mom. Or how about this: You check out "Third Watch," where detectives discover the naked body of a dead girl among the trash in a Dumpster, or you sample any of the "C.S.I.s," where severed body parts and kinky crimes (clown fetishes?) are more common than hors d'oeuvres at a holiday party. It's not really a stretch to say that we're living in a TV environment that inundates viewers with sexual situations and innuendoes, casual profanity and an astonishing range of violence. Even the relatively gore-free and admirably watchable "NCIS" has featured loving close-ups of severed limbs, and it's nearly impossible to find a network sitcom that doesn't make an offhand reference or 20 to sex (in most cases because the writers have nothing truly funny to say). And while I'll staunchly make the case that programs featuring blood, sex and swear words can make for worthy TV entertainment, the fact is, that's not the sort of thing I want to sit down and watch with any middle schooler I know. There are a few more-or-less guaranteed family-friendly shows on network TV. In the scripted realm, there's "Joan of Arcadia" and "7th Heaven" and in the unscripted genre, and are guaranteed crowd-pleasers. But if you're in search of more family-friendly programs -- shows the whole family can watch without risk of a risque hot tub scene, naughty words or grisly violence -- we have a few suggestions.View-for-all We channel-surfed to come up with our list of best family shows Whether or not you're concerned about "moral values" or what those are up to, or whether you've ever been tempted to call the FCC to register a complaint about what's transpiring on your TV screen, chances are, at some point in your TV-watching life, you've wished you had at your disposal a list of programs that won't make you blush in front of your dad. This is our list, one we compiled after ranging far and wide through the TV schedule for overlooked gems. The Family Friendly Programming Forum compiles its own list for its Family Television Awards presentation. This year's 6th annual awards took place last week, honoring "Joan of Arcadia" for best drama and for best . But we'd love to hear what your favorite family-friendly fare is: E-mail your suggestions to moryan@tribune.com, and we'll post the best responses at chicagotribune.com/tribtv. One final note: This is not a list of good TV for kids (and please don't e-mail suggestions along those lines). There are a ton of great shows out there right now for young kids, tweens and even older kids. What we've listed here are shows that are entertaining and perhaps even thought-provoking for all manner of kids, teens and adults. Note: The times and days listed below denote when new episodes usually air, but many shows, especially cable programs, repeat several times a week. Consult your TV listings for additional airings of these programs.BEST SCRIPTED DRAMA (7 p.m. Sundays, ): Before you fire off that e-mail, we already know that this NBC show has an unwed mother in its cast. But the thoughtful "Dreams' " greatest strength is its ability to take seriously the moral decisions faced by members of the Walker and Pryor families, who are struggling to maintain their composure and even find some prosperity as the turbulent '60s unfold. It's refreshing in this age of knee-jerk cynicism that on "Dreams," questions of faith aren't played for laughs or stripped of their complexity (in a recent episode, Patty Pryor asked a nun at her school how Pryor could become a saint, and, perhaps by doing so, help bring her missing-in-action brother home from Vietnam. Even the nun was a bit flummoxed by that one). And the music education that younger folk will get from seeing current-day music idols re-create vintage performances by the likes of Fontella Bass, and is a big bonus.BEST REALITY SHOW "Cold " (9 p.m. Tuesdays, PAX): This reality show features many of the familiar staples of the genre: a group of residents living together in a funky mansion, personality clashes and parties by the pool (though, thankfully, there's no hot tub). But the participants gathered together on PAX's first high-profile reality series are all trying to kick smoking, not win money or find a mate. Their struggle to lose that habit is compelling, as well as a modest hit with viewers (a new season of "Turkey," which finishes its first run on Tuesday, has been ordered for next year). Sure, you can ask family members to steer clear of smoking, but it might be more effective to have them tune in to the gripping episode where the "Turkey" group meets a woman with advanced lung cancer.BEST HISTORICAL REALITY SHOWS?Another in America. And as important as the awards are, all eyes will be on the red carpet as celebrities arrive, en-masse, greeted by throngs of adoring fans and the flashes of thousands of paparazzi cameras.So you want to look your best right? Wrong! Tonight we'll take a look at what many fashion critics have called the ten worst dresses in Oscar red carpet history.Coming in at number ten: beautiful actress , who arrived at the 2001 Oscars in an outfit that made us wonder if she was a missing Mandrell sister. Number nine: country singer . In 2002, Faith looked like she rolled herself in one of those cotton candy machines before she rolled down the red carpet.Number eight: , wildly considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. So why would she show up to the 2000 Oscars dressed like Morticia Addams? I wonder if she got dropped off in a hearse instead of a limo!Number seven: . OK, I've gotten dressed in the dark before, but I never managed to put my clothes on backwards. Check out Celine's reverse white zoot suit from the red carpet in 1999.Number six: Laura Flynn Boyle. Why would she show up to the Oscars in 2003 wearing my little sister's dancing review tu-tu? What a mess!Numbers five through three: the queen of the Oscar's worst dress category, . Here we are in 2000, where the Oscar winner looks more like the host of a bedazzler commercial than a serious actress.How about this little see-through number from 1988, the year she won best actress for "Moonstruck." Kinda fitting, as you can see the moon through that dress.And here we are in 1985. Take a look at this wearable train wreck. Aw, forget it. There are no words.Amazingly though, Cher doesn't even make it into the top two worst dresses.Number two goes to , who wore the same thing to the 2004 Oscars that wore to marry .And number one could only be own , who in 2001 looked like she ran over a swan and then wore it's body as a dress. Certainly one of the most bizarre outfits to ever grace the red carpet.So, here's to the 2011 oscars, and the hopes that there are no fashion disasters. But we all know that won't happen.?In the first since his death last June, was saluted in an elaborate tribute that mixed 3-D technology, a rousing all-star chorus and a poignant appearance by two of his children.After an introduction from , television viewers and the audience were instructed to put on 3-D glasses and view footage for a film originally produced for . The film showed a little girl in an ecological paradise that is destroyed by bulldozers. As images of the girl playing in lush forests unfolded, Jackson's voice was heard speaking about his awe for nature. After the opening lines of "Earth Song," , , , and appeared one by one to accompany Jackson's voice.Some in the star-studded crowd applauded politely, while others cheered with urgent enthusiasm. Beyoncé could barely stay in her seat, and filmmaker vibrantly bobbed his head. Beyoncé's husband, , did not wear the 3-D glasses.However, everyone seemed captivated by two of Jackson's children, and Paris, when they appeared on stage to accept their late father's lifetime achievement award. It was one of the first public glimpses of Jackson's children since their emotional appearance at his televised memorial service last year.Prince Michael said his father's songs had a simple message -- love -- "and we will continue to spread that message." Paris said her father had planned to perform at this year's Grammys. Both children ended their short speeches with "I love you, Daddy."Times staff writer Geoff Boucher contributed to this report.?"NEVER BEGIN anything with a quote!" is the advice given by that fascinating observer, .But we began the Liz column ages ago with an opening quote and consider it bad luck to start changing everything around now. So I was heartened to see a big celebrity saying something astute in Time magazine. Here's -winning on what she feels whenever she hears the omnipresent music of "My Heart Will Go On" from the 1997 movie "Titanic."Kate: "I wish I could say, 'Oh, listen, everybody! It's the song!' But I don't. I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll. I do .""" finally passed the $2 billion dollar mark in lifetime ticket sales over the weekend -- the recent 3-D re-release edged it up. Thus, James Cameron is the only director to have two movies under his belt that have reached that milestone -- "Avatar" was the other one.Mr. Cameron does not feel like throwing up.FIRST OFF, I extend my sincere congratulations to and Brad Pitt on their upcoming wedding. They are nice people and good stars. That is, they are as glamorous as we're going to get these days, so we might as well accept it and enjoy it. And they do good deeds in a naughty world.But (sorry, but there's always a "but"!) the announcement of this engagement is truly a surprise. Can everything we're hearing be true -- the French chateau, the lavish preparations, the big ring, etc? Really? A wedding like that seems to fly in the face of the manner in which this couple has lived their life together for seven years. The explanation is that they are "doing it for the children" who have begun to ask questions as to why the pair are not married, because "people get married in the movies." It was never my impression Brad and Angie's kids were watching a lot of movies where people get married, or watching a lot of movies, period.And if the children's angle is true, why go through all this fuss? How about a quick marriage with close friends, family and concerned kiddies attending? How about a secret wedlock just sprung on us? No need for months of hysteria.And yes, it can be done. Nobody should ever forget the great example set by Jr. and Carolyn Bessette. The media wasn't quite as pervasive as it is today, but it was plenty intrusive. Yet, John and Carolyn were literally on their honeymoon by the time the first photos of their intimate wedding were being released to a stunned media.I don't question Angelina and Brad's affection or sincerity, but I wonder about this uncharacteristically "movie star" moment. They generally save that sort of thing for public appearances at award shows -- Miss Jolie's leg pose at the Oscars is still a subject of hot debate.And to be honest, I feel for in all this. Oh, not because she harbors any lingering feelings for her ex. But this means an eternity of "poor tragic Jen" on the covers of the weekly glossies. She is hardly that, and such a perception of her makes her crazy.I will only assume that if the Jolie-Pitt wedding culminates in the already expected extravaganza, proceeds from the sale of photos, etc., will go to charity. That will be a positive thing.IT DID my heart good to see the amount of space given to the rumor of 's possible departure from "" after the third season airs. (It is filming now.) This news topped a number of online gossip and movie sites. It is a credit to the wild popularity of the show, but also to Miss Smith's legendary status as one of the most vivid, talented and long-lasting actresses of her time. Of any time! (Youngsters know her as Minerva McGonagall in the "" movies.)Miss Smith -- who won the Oscar in 1970 for "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie -- apparently thinks three seasons on TV is enough, even if it is . The rumors suggest she wants to get back on the big screen and stage.Miss Smith's Dowager Countess will be missed, if the tale of her leaving is true.It doesn't get any better than this exchange between the countess and an unwelcome guest to Downton Abbey:"I don't think you'll be seeing me again," the guest says."Do you promise?" says the countess, wringing all that is scathing and dismissive out of three little words.I'VE warned my theater readers several times already that the memoir of the late Shubert titan, Gerald Schoenfeld, is about to come out from Applause Books. Many a star, director, producer, etc. will be trembling in their boots.Almost every time I go to Swifty's nifty restaurant up on Lexington Avenue near 72nd Street, I run into Gerry's widow, the ubiquitous Patricia Schoenfeld, and she reminds me. I see this lady, too, at every opening night. She is the living memorial to Gerry.These days, my long-lost relative, Mr. Phil Smith, is running the Shubert Organization and things are much calmer, if not quite as exciting, for those of us who try to follow "theatah."So, if you want to get invited to the book party Pat is giving for her dear, departed husband, you have to e-mail rory/(at)shubertorg.com and explain why you are worthy to come celebrate the advent of "Mr. Broadway."I loved Gerry Schoenfeld, a man who dominated the theater world for many years, and I also had many contentious run-ins with him. But I admired and got a great kick out of him. He had a wonderful sense of humor. His memoir should be a blast and I'll tell you all about it once I read his book and if I can get into his party on April 30 at 6 p.m.(E-mail at , or write to her c/o Tribune Media Services, 2010 Westridge Drive, Irving, TX 75038.)?CANNESSpaniard Antonio Mendez Esparza's emigration "Aqui y alla" won the 51st Critics' Week top nod, the Nespresso Grand Prize. "Aqui," Esparza's feature debut, turns on a man who returns to his mountain village in Mexico after having lived in the U.S. for years and struggles to reclaim his place in society.Pic is produced by Aqui y Alli in Spain and Torch Films in the U.S. New French sales agent Alpha Violet is handling international sales.Pic was chosen by a jury of film critics, including Variety's Robert Koehler, and headed by helmer Bertrand Bonello.The new Visionary Prize, backed by pubcaster France 4, went to Bulgarian Ilian Metev's "Sofia's Last Ambulance," a darkly-comedic documentary following three overworked paramedics in Sofia, a city of more than 2 million people where there are only a dozen ambulances.Repped by Berlin-based Films Boutique, doc sheds light on Burgaria's crumbling medical system.It is produced by Sia, in association with Chaconna Films, Sutor Kolonko and Nukleus Film.The Visionary jury was headed by French director Celine Sciamma and was made up of young film critics.Israeli Meni Yaesh's theological thriller. "God's Neighbors." won the nod of Gaul's Society of Authors, Directors and Composers, decided by a jury of filmmakers that included Bertrand Tavernier."Neighbors" is sold by Gaul's Rezo, which will also distribute in France.The ACID/CCAS support for distribution was awarded to "The Wild Ones," the directorial debut of Argentinean screenwriter Alejandro Fadel, who co-wrote Pablo Trapero's "White Elephant." "Wild" is sold by Memento Films Intl.'s arthouse label, Artscope.A key platform for emerging talents, this year's Critics' Week was the first under new artistic director Charles Tesson.Only selecting first and second films, Critics' Week has discovered numerous helmers, notably Olivier Assayas and Jeff Nichols, whose "Take Shelter" won last year's Critics' Week Grand Prize. Nichols presents "Mud" in Cannes competition on Saturday.Click for more film news on Variety.com.?BEC-Tero Entertainment Plc is confident its performance will be outstanding next year after securing exclusive music licensing and distribution rights for , , and from Music (Thailand) and LOVEiS.The company expects 2013 revenue will exceed its average annual growth of 10%. The new division will target both Thai and international music markets under the banner of BEC-Tero Music.BEC-Tero Music is expected to contribute at least 7% to its total revenue next year. Total revenue was 2.6 billion baht last year and is expected to reach 3 billion this year. Of last year's revenue, TV contributed 50%, concerts 25%, radio 10%, concert ticket sales 6-7%. The company will be the exclusive licensee and distributor for Sony Music (Thailand), LOVEiS, Bakery Music and Blacksheep in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. BEC-Tero Music supervises marketing, distribution, and artist management for both local and international markets.Sony Music represents some of the biggest names in international music such as , , Pink, , , , and .Local artists are Slot Machine, Singular, and Scrubb. LOVEiS artists include Boyd Kosiyabong, Stamp, Two Popetorn, and Room 39.Pattra Boosarawongse, general manager of BEC-Tero Music, said BEC-Tero Entertainment's channels include TV programmes, radio stations, digital media, street teams and concerts & events, enabling it to synergise content to support all these artists."We will provide new applications for fans to listen to our music online and download digital content of Thai, Asian and international artists via QikPlay," she said.Like most labels, piracy has affected Sony's physical music sales. The hope is that BEC's platforms (online, physical and digital music, concerts, and events) will help it gain revenue.BEC-Tero believes the deal will increase Sony's market share for both physical and digital music to 6-7% next year from 5% this year. Total music sales for the year are projected at 2 billion baht.Like dislike 0 people liked / 0 people disliked this article ___(c)2012 the Post (Bangkok, Thailand)Visit the Bangkok Post (Bangkok, Thailand) at Distributed by MCT Information Services?LOS ANGELES -- It's a tribute to the Grammys' success at becoming more amusical spectacle than an awards show that on the night she madehistory, was just another face in the crowd.Pop's reigning diva earned six Grammys on Sunday, more than anywoman on a single night of the 52-year-old awards show. Her anthem"Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)" was song of the year. But shedidn't come onstage to accept that - her collaborators said she wasprepping for a performance - and four of her other awards cameduring the non-televised pre-show. The Grammys' four biggest awards were split four ways:20-year-old country chanteuse won album of the year;family rockers won record of the year for "UseSomebody"; and the was named best new artist.The Grammys in recent years have tried to emphasize the musicmore than the awards, particularly by pairing younger performerswith veterans. This year, producers nailed it, with a doublealbum's worth of memorable performances.Among the best were the , who sang "I GottaFeeling" with a stage filled with what looked like dancingtomatoes and robots. was predictably over the top,singing "Poker Face" and getting tossed into a bucket of firebefore emerging singed and combining forces with an equally dirtiedand bemused . turned its "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" into asoaring beauty by joining the cast of a new musical based on its"American Idiot" album. Opera singer held his ownwith a powerful, and heart-breaking rendition of "Bridge OverTroubled Water," done for the benefit of Haitian victims.An acrobatic turned her "Glitter in the Air" into aCirque de Soleil-like performance, hanging suspended over theaudience as she sang. "That was amazing," an impressed said after she was done.Memorable pairings included the white-haired, white-bearded andwhite-hatted Leon Russell joining the Zac Brown Band; andRobert Flack singing a silky-smooth "Where is the Love"; and, looking like a protective mom, joining Swift on her and 's "Rhiannon."An arresting performance of "Forever" and "Drop the World"with rappers Drake and was rendered virtuallyincomprehensible by craters of silence inserted by censors. Andthe 3-D tribute to proved overrated, with , , , and looking like they'd joined a production number from "AmericanIdol."Swift, who won four Grammys, was the night's most visiblewinner. She beamed during her duet with Nicks, and seemed thrilledin her two acceptance speeches - while staying poised enough tothank her record company for letting her write her own songs, andexpress pride at bringing the album of the year prize to Nashville."This is for my dad," she said. "Thank you for all the timesyou said I could do whatever I wanted to do."Beyonce was low-key during her one time onstage to accept hersixth trophy of he night, for best female pop vocal on the ballad"Halo." She offered thanks to her fans for their support.Stagecraft was smooth; Lady Antebellum singer Hillary Scott, hitin the head by a falling curtain, calmly brushed it aside withoutmissing a note.Host followed the new model of awards showhosts: coming out in the beginning for a handful of jokes thendisappearing - except to accept a Grammy of his own, for hissurrealistic Christmas musical.He bemoaned the absence of from Grammy night."You may be the coolest people in the world," Colbert said, abarely amused looking on, "but this year your industry wassaved by a 48-year-old Scottish cat lady in sensible shoes."-----?PARIS French director Bertrand Bonello and Portuguese helmer Joao Pedro Rodrigues will serve as jury presidents at the 51st Cannes' Critics Week.Bonello will preside over the Grand Prize Nespresso Jury of four international film journos, who will award one of the seven features playing in competition. His "The Pornographer" played in Critics' Week in 2001 and nabbed the Fipresci nod. His most recent film, "House of Tolerance," played in the Official Competition section at Cannes last year.Rodrigues will preside over the Discovery Jury, which will honor the best short in Critics' Week.One of his best-known films is Un Certain Regard player "To Die Like a Man" in 2009.The 2012 edition -- French critic Charles Tesson's first outing as artistic director -- is comprised of mainly non-English-language feature debuts.Prizes will be awarded during the sidebar's closing ceremony on May 24.In a separate move, Gallic director Celine Sciamma, whose soph pic "Tomboy" was a critical and sales hit at Berlin last year, will preside over a jury of four student or young professional film writers who will award a new Critics' Week kudo, the Prix Revelation France 4.Click for more film news on Variety.com.?The Tokay Tigers girls tennis team improved to 2-0 in Tri-City Athletic League matches with a 9-0 sweep of the Stagg Delta Queens at Delta College on Tuesday.In singles, Alexa Abdallah outlasted Claudette Caceres 6-4, 4-6, (10-7), Ana Vigueras beat Wang Xiong 6-3, 6-1, and Jessica Kaye beat Lynzie Vang 6-0, 6-0.Maya Hastings defeated Cathleen San Marcus 6-1, 6-3, Emma Brink beat Victoria Chom 6-0, 6-1, and Maryam Qamar defeated Jessica Rholen 6-0, 6-1. In doubles, Meera Solanki and Bailey Stone beat Chao Xiona and Diane Doon 6-2, 6-2, Kianna Fernandez and Missy Batth beat Rajada Ealey and Sereena Nano 6-1, 6-4, and Rachael Boyle and Mckenzie Stone defeated Mariah Nieves and Celine Lopez 6-0, 6-1. ___(c)2012 the Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, Calif.)Visit the Lodi News-Sentinel (Lodi, Calif.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services?A hotel executive recently told me that flying is so pleasant, losing a bag became a positive experience. Airline staff apologized profusely, delivered the bag within a few hours and gave him a free flight.It made him want Airlines to lose another of his bags. It was no surprise, then, to see that Singapore Airlines dominated Business Traveler magazine's reader-voted 23rd annual business travel awards.Singapore Airlines won seven top honors in the global travel category, including best overall airline, best first-class service, best business-class service, best economy-class service and best in-flight services in the world.It also underscored the disparity between American and foreign airlines."What stuck out to me is the up-and-coming travel providers — especially Middle Eastern and Asian air carriers — seem to be taking a lot of good things from the playbooks of the legacy carriers and going the extra yard," said Dan Booth, editorial director for trade publications Business Traveler and Business Travel Executive."The question is what are (legacy carriers) going to do to step up to that challenge in an international marketplace?"Of American legacy carriers, Delta acquitted itself best, winning best North American airline for first-class service and business-class service, among others. was able to snag an honor (best airline for North American travel). The full list of winners can be found at tinyurl.com/c4lbyl2.Conspicuously absent: and , the latter of which was bested at its own game — best low-cost airline in — by .Bright, spacious Denver International won best airport in North America."If anybody in commercial aviation is getting it, it's the airports," Booth said. "Pittsburgh, to my mind, was the first terminal building built with the idea of supporting a reasonable flow through security. They're starting to see where the customer service hot buttons are."Love among hotel chains was split, with Hyatt winning best overall customer service, Hilton getting best business hotel chain in North America and Marriott winning best hotel loyalty program.Least surprising was the best convention and conference city. Think and gambling. That's right: Las Vegas.Other notable winnersBest car-rental company in the world: HertzBest frequent-flier program: Best aircraft type: 777Best in-flight service in North America: Air CanadaBest North American airline for international travel: Air CanadaBest website for booking travel: Best airport in the world: Changi Airport SingaporeBest mobile phone coverage: AT&TBest noise-canceling headphones: BoseDo you have ideas for Business Class about the latest in business travel? Write to at . Include "Business Class" in the subject line.?There were Daiquiris aplenty but no butter sculptures at the Double Seven Meat District after-party for Radius-TWC's "Butter" preem. Regarding Hollywood's first-ever up-close look at a previously low-key enterprise, "Butter" star set the record straight Thursday night at AMC Lincoln Square theater in Gotham. "Butter sculpting is a huge deal," said the thesp. "When we say that more people saw butter sculpting at the Iowa State Fair than saw 's farewell concert tour in Vegas and the combined, we mean that! It is that popular." The satiric, politically oriented comedy originated on screenwriter Jason Micallef's post-college road trip where, in the midst of a Des Moines heatwave, he found himself at Butter Hall. Butter sculpting is "pretty funny," the scribe said. "But up close they're great! These are talented people. You wonder why they don't pick up a chunk of marble instead of marble, but why not?"Click for more film news on Variety.com.?PARIS -- French paybox has ordered the first season of Haut et Court-produced series "Les Revenants," a E11.4 million ($15 million) skein with strong international potential.Scribe-helmer Fabrice Gobert, whose feature debut "Lights Out" preemed in Cannes' Un Certain Regard, loosely adapted the series from Robin Campillo's 2004 movie "Les Revenant" (They Came Back). The skein, which had been in development for over four years, comprises eight one-hour episodes. Co-helmed by Gobert and Frederic Mermout, the French-language "Les Revenants" turns on a group of people of different ages and backgrounds who died years ago and mysteriously return home, determined to resume their lives, without realizing they've been gone for a while.Gobert collaborated with several high-profile scribes, including Celine Sciamma ("Tomboy"), Emmanuel Carrere ("La Moustache"), Nicolas Peufaillit ("A Prophet") and Camille Fontaine ("Coco Before Chanel").Cast boasts several up-and-coming thesps, notably Clotilde Hesme and Gregory Gadebois, who both nabbed Cesar nods for their breakthrough perf in "Angele and Tony," as well as Cesar-nommed Guillaume Gouix ("Jimmy Riviere"), Celine Sallette ("House of Tolerance") and Frederic Pierrot ("Polisse")." 'Les Revenants' marks one of rare homegrown fantasy TV productions," said Jimmy Desmarais, who is producing the skein with Benjo."It's not a show about zombies: Fabrice Gobert depicts the complexity of each character with genre atmosphere and a realistic approach; and as the series advances the plot turns supernatural."Founded by Caroline Benjo and Carole Scotta, Haut et Court is a leading independent shingle, which has produced such critically acclaimed arthouse pics as Palme d'Or winning "The Class" and starrer "Coco Before Chanel."Canal Plus' fiction department, headed by Fabrice de la Patelliere, has been powering up with original French shows -- for instance "Braquo," "Spiral," Pigalle La Nuit" and "Hard" -- which have scored hit ratings on the paybox, sold to major international territories and helped increase the net's subscription basis.Click for more articles on Variety.com.?After performing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino's The Joint for a few years, has moved his residency onto the Strip to his new home, Mandalay Bay's more intimate House of Blues.In some ways, Santana is a strange fit for Las Vegas. While the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer is one of music's most innovative, enduring and talented performers, he doesn't have the wealth of top 40 hits that fellow Vegas residents like , or draw upon to lure in the tourists and conventioneers. Instead, his show, billed "Greatest Hits Live: Santana-Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow," is more about unyielding musicality. Songs meld seamlessly into each other, unified by an unparalleled level of musicianship and his glorious guitar playing. Santana, who moved from the Bay Area to Las Vegas during the Hard Rock residency, often talks about his concerts as spiritual experiences, and watching him play with eyes closed, head tilted back just far enough so that his hat doesn't fall off, it was easy to believe that the music flowing through him was channeled from some higher place. No matter how many of the dozen musicians on stage were playing at any one time, his razor-sharp notes rose above all. There was a purity, grace and crispness to his playing that remains undiminished since he stunned audiences at Woodstock in 1969.Though enjoyable, it took a few songs for the show to find its footing on opening night. About 30 minutes in, Santana launched into "Black Magic Woman," which is really the melding of three songs: "Singing Winds, Crying Beasts," "Black Magic Woman" and "Gypsy Queen." By the time Santana howled into the ferocious "Gypsy Queen," it felt as if the room could levitate.While singers Tony Lindsay and Tommy Anthony certainly added to songs like "Maria, Maria" and "Smooth," and served as cheerleaders of sorts to rally the enthusiastic crowd, this show was about the players, not the singers. Santana and timbales player Karl Perazzo, congas player Raul Rekow and drummer extraordinaire Dennis Chambers often got locked into such a Latin funk/jazz pocket that it felt as though they were one. As hyperbolic as that sounds, there was something transcendent about seeing, feeling and hearing musicians communicate at this level that, at its pinnacle, was breathtaking.Santana spoke little, but when he did it was to spout his now familiar and heartfelt, if esoteric, messages about eternity and positivity. "I want to talk about forward thinking," he said, after performing "A Love Supreme," by his musical hero . "Forward thinking is being present with love. Do it with love or just don't do it at all. When you put love in it, everything is delicious."The encore included a sweeping, expansive version of instrumental "Soul Sacrifice," which he played at Woodstock. Although the audience was rapturous in its applause, Santana seemed to feel he could have done better. He somewhat abruptly thanked the crowd, adding "This is our first time here. We intend to make more everything: more finesse, more energy." With a two-year residency ahead of him, he'll have more than enough time to sort out any kinks, even if he's the only one who can see them.Click for more music reviews on Variety.com.?Diamond baubles from Cartier glittering in one window, Louis Vuitton's signature leather bags beckoning from across the street and another storefront displaying ' silk scarves.Within months this is the scene that will greet visitors to Miami's Design District, as the neighborhood begins its dramatic metamorphosis into the new hot spot for luxury shopping.Cartier and have just opened their doors. Louis Vuitton will do so on Oct. 19. Hermes and Men are under construction. Right behind that will be Pucci. By the time and the holiday shopping season arrive, there should be 8 to 10 luxury brands lining the Design District's Northeast 40th Street corridor. These openings are a sign of Miami's ascent as a fashion destination."For most luxury brands Miami is one of the top three markets in , along with New York and Los Angeles," said Valerie Chapoulaud-Floquet, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton North America. "The Miami market has grown quicker than the rest of North America."For decades the Bal Harbour Shops offered the only option for luxury in Miami-Dade County. But no longer is having one store in the market enough for these luxury brands."Miami has been under retailed for luxury because of the strength of the local market and the strong growth of tourists coming to Miami," said Emmanuel Perrin, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America. "This market can support several Cartier boutiques. It was just a question of time before the luxury market evolved. Everyone has been waiting for the right project to come along."Louis Vuitton and Cartier both left Bal Harbour Shops last summer because the mall didn't have the space for them to expand. The retailers were also prohibited from opening a second store within 20 miles unless Bal Harbour's owners got a piece of the new store's revenue.Now, Louis Vuitton already has opened another store at Mall and Cartier is assessing the market. It's all part of an unfolding game of musical chairs that ends the monopoly of Bal Harbour, which has controlled the luxury retail market since 1965.By 2014, developer Craig Robins expects to have 40 to 50 luxury brands spread throughout the Design District, creating a new urban destination for fashionistas. Already committed to the area are about 30 tenants, including , Bulgari, Pucci, De Beers, Zegna, Tom Ford, Burberry and Marc by . They will join the district's original fashion tenants Christian Louboutin, and Martin Margiela."We're starting to build critical mass," Robins said. "We continue to find that more and more brands are interested in coming. This is an exciting moment for the Design District. People are going to feel the transition and the power of integrating fashion with art, design and food."Many of the brands are giving up space at Bal Harbour, which the International Council of Shopping Center recently designated the top producing mall in the world. But they say they don't believe the move will have any negative impact on their business."We have made a seamless transition," said Vira V. Capeci, president of Celine. "Our clients have followed us to this exciting location."Right now, Cartier's name sparkling against the backdrop of a bronze storefront may look a little out of place as the area undergoes a transition. But soon Louis Vuitton will make a dramatic statement across the street with a storefront covered by an original work of art from graffiti artist Marquis Lewis, known as RETNA.There may be growing pains in this gentrifying neighborhood. Will consumers be willing to spend thousands of dollars on jewelry, handbags and clothes just a few blocks away from some of Miami's more impoverished neighborhoods?At Cartier a security guard stands close by watching over an offering that includes a rare yellow diamond and a $310,000, diamond-encrusted panther pendant and necklace."I like the idea of an urban neighborhood where you have crackheads here and Cartier over there," said Denia Roth, a Miami resident who was lunching this week at Michael's Genuine in the Design District. "The diversity brings everyone together."The retailers have more freedom to design the look of their stores and open bigger showrooms featuring a wider variety of offerings. Cartier's new store is three times larger than what it had at Bal Harbour.And these stores are only the beginning. Cartier and Louis Vuitton are among several brands opening temporary locations, until they can design and build flagship stores. When these stores open in 2014, they're expected to be among the brands' largest stores in the U.S. outside of ."We want to take our client experience to the next level and serve our clients in comfort," Perrin said.Louis Vuitton felt it was important to get into the Design District early."We like to be part of building a story, it's part of our pioneering spirit," Chapoulaud-Floquet said. "We think we're going to be able to communicate with a very different clientele that is younger, more trendy and much more open to art and culture."Although it's been a year since Louis Vuitton and others started leaving Bal Harbour, operating partner Matthew Whitman Lazenby says same store sales continue to grow -- up 16 percent for the first six months of the year compared to last year.But Lazenby says his family has had a change of heart about allowing tenants to remain at Bal Harbour and still open a second location in Miami-Dade County."You can't deny there has been demand expressed by more than one tenant," Lazenby said. "Miami has reached the point in its evolution where more than one store can be sustained. We are adapting to the marketplace and trying to accommodate the needs of our tenants." ___(c)2012 Visit The Miami Herald at Distributed by MCT Information Services?An estimated 1,200 people celebrated the short life of at her memorial service Tuesday morning at the .The emotional service for the deceased 2-year-old is into its second hour. The Anthony family, minus jailed mother , took the pulpit after a series of faith-based messages and songs. Lee Anthony, the brother of Casey Anthony, spoke to mourners and asked them to "fill their hearts with compassion and truth.""If it's closure you seek, I hope you find it," Lee said, while his mother rubbed his back.Lee Anthony began to cry and then kissed the band around his wrist that shows Caylee's name."CMA [Caylee Marie Anthony] I miss you. CMA I am so proud of you. I hope you're proud of me, too," Lee Anthony said. "I will never forget." followed by saying, "I am proud to be the grandfather of Caylee Marie."He spoke for 10 minutes about his granddaughter and received a standing ovation when he was finished.Next came Cindy."I remember the day Casey came to me to tell me the news I was going to be a grandmother. I knew that our lives were going to be blessed.""I knew she would be a very special child. Caylee was a perfect baby."Pastor David Uth presided over a service that featured a mixture of sermons and songs, as the Anthonys listened attentively in the front row.A large photo of Caylee was on the church's large screen.Uth delivered a message focused on Jesus' special relationship with children. He seemed to look directly at the Anthonys for most of it.The Anthonys appeared calm, holding hands and occasionally leaning on each other. They showed faint smiles from time to time as the pastor spoke.Singer Nancy Rodriguez sang 's "My Heart Will Go On," the theme song from the 1997 film Titanic. George Anthony blew a kiss at her and clapped at the end, smiling.Shane Stutzman, the Anthonys' former pastor at Eastside Baptist Church, talked about dealing with Caylee's death."I realize there are many of us that have questions," Stutzman said. "In times like this, it's OK to have questions. It's human to have questions. I wish I could answer each question every person here has."Stutzman said "my role is to remind you who has the answers."?WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ( ) -- Singer gave birth to twin boys Saturday at a hospital in , Florida, according to her rep.The babies were born at 11:11 a.m. and 11:12 a.m. at St. Mary's Medical Center. One baby was 5 pounds, 4 ounces, and the other was 5 pounds, 10 ounces. They're said to be doing well, but will be in an incubator for a few days.The 42-year-old singer was hospitalized Monday, four weeks before her due date, as a precautionary measure to prevent the babies from being born too early.Doctors had wanted her to carry the twins until at least the first week of November -- when she would have been 37 weeks along.After six rounds of in-vitro fertilization, Dion and her husband, Rene Angelil, 68, announced her pregnancy in July.They already have a nine-year-old son.?Tamara Sims-Dorway RD, LD is a native Floridian with over 10 years experience working in nutrition. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida, she completed her dietetic internship with the Pasco County Health Department, which included rotations through Shands Hospital(Gainesville), the St. Augustine School System and affiliated hospitals in Jacksonville, FL. Currently, she is actively pursuing board certification as a specialist in Pediatric Nutrition.?From what I'veread so far, the capsizingof the Costa Concordia appears to have been perfectly preventable.The captain's foolhardy navigation, as well as (per this Italian Coast Guardtranscript), may indeed prove to be criminal. But there are always lessons to be learned from even the most tragic situations. Here are a few:1. Pay attention to thelifeboat drill. Most cruise ships have a muster drill, often before leaving port. ( requires such drills within 24 hours of leaving port.)Passengers report to their muster stations, typically wearing their life preservers. On some ships, the drill is a video. On others, it's a meeting point that's a lounge. On the Carnival Pride, which sails out of Baltimore, the muster drill takes place on deck within view of your actual lifeboat.Some cruisers try to avoid this interruption that may come just as you're having your first martini on the Lido Deck. Don't. 2. Know the ship. In particular, know where your cabin is in relationship to the rest of the ship. What deck are you on? How many decks are above you? How many below? Instead of taking the elevator everywhere, take the stairs. Note how many flights from your room to the muster station or evacuation point. Check out the vessel diagram on the back of the cabin door.3. Know your fellow passengers.At the muster drill, assess your fellow passengers standing elbow to elbow with you. Is there someone who may need additional help? Are there children or babies? Disabled or elderly? In an emergency, be ready to offer firm and calm support to help speed things along.4. Know your crew members. Start with your room steward andgo up from there - officers in particular. Ask them questions about their training procedures. Ask about their families. Be friendly. Yes, there are a lot of stories about Costa Concordia crew members who saved themselves first. But 95 percent of the peoplewere safely evacuated fromthat ship, so there must have been at least afew crew members who knew what they were doing.5.Stay calm, but expect chaos. Even ifan evacuation goes exactly as planned, you can't count on thousands of individuals to remain calm and even-tempered. Act with urgency, but maintain your cool even if others do not.6.Be a good swimmer . If you are taking a cruise, youreally shouldknow how to swim. It justmay increase your odds of surviving a disaster. Many of the Costa Concordia survivors swam a short distance to shore - and one woman who could not swim told a newspaper that her husband gave her his life jacket but then she never saw him again. Tragic.7. Keep your passport with you at all times - and a little cash. You don't typically need any money on a cruise because everything gets charged to your cabin. Many of the survivors ended up on land withoutmoneyoridentification or even shoes. And some passengers reported that the cruise line was slow to offer assistance for clothing and the like., a travel store,offers passport wallets that can be worn around your neck or strapped to your chest. Might also be helpful to include emergency numbers or other info about your travelitinerary.8.Reconsider travel insurance. I've never been a huge fan of travel insurance, but if you're more than a 1,000 miles from home and traveling via multiple modes of transportation, it might come in handy. But about what's covered and stay away from waivers. Look for coverage that lets you cancel for any reason.(By the way, , but the losses could total more than $1 billion.)9. Taking a cruise has its risks. If you didn't know that before, you know it now. Seriously, though, the risks are very, verysmall. But they do exist. Fire on a ship isthe thing that scares me the most. Sinking is a close second.10. Avoid watching the film Titanic.Lots ofsurvivors compared their experience aboard the Costa Concordiato the 1997 movie starring and Leonardo diCaprio. That meansTitanic was so good it left an impression - or scars -that lasted more than a decade. (That song from didn't help.) Of course, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the grand ship is coming up in April and it might seem the perfect time to watch the movie again.Butif you ever, everplan to takea cruise, skip it.?The final strains of the Toronto Film Festival belong to and longtime collaborator .Dion has recorded "Unfinished Songs" as the end-credits tune for "Song for Marion," which closes the fest Saturday night at the Roy Thomson theater. Written by Warren, who's been nominated six times for but never won, "Unfinished Songs" is among more than a dozen collaborations with Dion, including "Because You Loved Me." "We go way back and I think we're a good combination, particularly for this song," Warren told Variety. "She had done her show from 7:30 to 9:30 that night and then recorded between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. That's why Celine is Celine -- she really has an amazing work ethic."Warren said "Unfinished Songs" fits well with "Song for Marion," a music-based dramedy starring , and . Pic centers on a grumpy elderly man whose wife persuades him to join an unconventional local choir. The Weinstein Co. is handling domestic release.Cutting Edge Group CEO Philip Moross, who is producing alongside Ken Marshall, brought together Dion and Warren, who saw the film in rough cut. It's the first feature production credit for Cutting Edge, which has provided music services for more than 200 films."As a connoisseur of great movie songwriters, my dream has always been to work with Diane Warren," Moross said. "What Diane was able to do with her work on 'Song for Marion' was to find the heart of the movie and put that heart into a beautiful chorus for Celine. It was amazing to witness."Four-year-old CEG has gained notice by ponying up the money for scoring, clearances and music supervision in a film; it then recoups from such sources as soundtrack and sheet-music sales, licensing and royalties from international ticket sales and TV deals. Earlier this year, it closed a multi-picture slate deal with Endgame Entertainment and entered into an agreement last month with Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures.CEG has invested in over 200 films, most notably "The King's Speech," in exchange for music publishing rights. CEG's films at include the opening night selection "Looper," "Song for Marion," "End of Watch," "Seven Psychopaths," "Imogene" and "Writers."As for Warren, she hopes that "Unfinished Songs" may lead to that elusive Oscar."I'm a six-time loser," Warren said, "so maybe this is my lucky seventh."Click for more film news on Variety.com.?-- The 14th Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Film opens April 11 with debut helmer Armando Bo's local dramedy "El Ultimo Elvis" (The Last Elvis), about an impersonator.Bo co-wrote "Biutiful" with Mexican director . Ursula Meier's Berlin-winning "L'Enfant d'en haut," a sibling tale set in a Swiss ski resort, will close the country's biggest festival, and showcase for Latin America, on April 20.The fest will screen 449 films with a focus on helmers' first and second features.The main competition, for international films, includes 15 titles competing for film, director, screenplay and thesp kudos.Argentina has three world premieres in the lineup: Gabriel father and son "La Arana vampiro" (The Vampire Spider), Maximiliano Schonfeld's farm drama "Germania," and Alejandro Fadel's "Los Salvajes" (The Wild Ones), which follows a group of kids in the outback.Others making their world preems include Chilean Elisa Eliash's seducer tale "Aqui estoy, aqui no" (Here I Am, Here I'm Not); American Zach Weintraub's "The International Sign for Choking," about a scriptwriter trying to find himself in Buenos Aires; and "La Casa Emak Bakia" (The Search for Emak Bakia), a documentary by Spaniard Oskar Alegria.Also in the competition are Australian Justin Kurzel's serial killer tale "Snowtown," Chilean Cristian Jimenez's love story "Bonsai" and U.S.-Canadian co-production "Francine," directed by Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky, about a woman coming out of prison.Other entries are Philippine Marlon N. Rivera's satirical comedy "The Woman in the Septic Tank," Dutch helmer Sacha Polak with father-daughter story "Hemel," Israeli Nadav Lapid's "Policeman," about a clash between anti-terrorist forces and young rebels, and Serbian Maja Milos' "Clip," about a sex-crazed teen.Rounding out the slate are Valerie Massadian's childhood story "Nana" and Celine Sciamma's "Tomboy," about a girl who changes her identity, both from France.Fourteen features, most of them world premieres, will compete for film and director in the Argentina competish. Entries include Berlin-screened holiday drama "Salsipuedes" by Mariano Luque, Nadir Medina's coming-of-age tale "El Espacio entre los dos" (The Space Between Us) and Luis Ortega's street tale "Dromomanos" (Roamers).There also is an 19-strong competish for new cinema including the world premiere of "Crazy and Thief," a childhood adventure tale by American Cory McAbee.The 9th Buenos Aires Lab, one of the world's biggest markets for Europeans to find Latin American co-productions, will run April 13-15.Click for more international news on Variety.com.?Financing and production plans for Steel Mill Pictures' comedic thriller "Filth" have firmed up, with principal photography set to start next week.Cast includes , , , , Joanne Froggatt and Imogen Poots. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh ("Trainspotting"), "Filth" is written and directed by Jon S. Baird ("Cass"), who's also producing through Logie Pictures. Ken Marshall of Steel Mill is producing in partnership with Jens Meurer and Egoli Tossell Film. Financing the film and also producing are Maven Pictures' and Celine Rattray, Film House Germany, Film I Vast and Creative Scotland. Will Clarke exec produces.Sierra/Affinity announced during Cannes last May that it would represent international sales on "Filth" for Steel Mill, with Lionsgate releasing in the U.K. and Icon distributing in Australia.Story is centered on an Edinburgh police detective who manipulates everyone in his path to secure a promotion and win back his wife and daughter.Shooting is set for Scotland, primarily Glasgow, as well as locations in Sweden, Belgium and Hamburg.It's the second feature for Maven, which is in post on "Imogene," starring , and .Click for more articles on Variety.com.?This week the Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne catches up with Packers tight end . The third-year tight end out of Miami (Ohio) talks about his touchdown on a fake field-goal attempt against Chicago, his love of music, ' storytelling and his family.Has your phone ever blown up like it did after that touchdown in Week 2? No, not quite. I probably got more responses to that than any other play or game.Did you get more calls after the game than after your kids being born? (laughs) Well, that's a little more spread out and predictable. People don't bother you. They know you're busy with your kids and everything. Yeah, it was still probably more of a response than my children being born. What was the first thought in your head when the call came in? More than anything, I was excited. I had a good feeling about the play. It's something we really worked on a lot. We were prepared for it. So I had a good feeling about it. It was just a matter of catching it and not tripping on my own feet.Still, it's fourth and 26. Any concerns? I mean, I knew I had to score pretty much unless by some weird happening I got tackled at the 1-yard line. I knew I had to score. Like I said, we prepared for it. I knew if it came open, we knew we'd catch them off-guard. I just used my speed.See any good concerts this year? I'm not seeing any coming up. I saw the back in the summer. But other than that, I'm not planning on going to anything. I'm just trying to be more low-key and just focus on football, and when I'm at home I'm with the kids and the family. I kind of do that stuff in the off-season more.What was the Foo Fighters concert like? It was amazing. It was just incredible how they got there. It didn't seem like there were any breaks or lapses in the set. They played for about 21/2 hours, non-stop, one song after another. It's amazing how many great songs they have. They had a ton of energy the whole time. And obviously is one of the best front men right now. He just had a ton of energy. And the crowd was crazy at the Marcus Amphitheater. When you looked back, even up in the lawn, there were no empty spaces. It was packed. It was a pretty cool experience. We were about 20 rows back, center of the stage. We had a great view. We could see everything perfectly. It was awesome.How is the music scene in Green Bay? I've seen Chevelle at the Brown County Arena. Avenged Sevenfold was at the Resch Center. The (Green Bay) Distillery had . They were here. There are some good rock bands that come through here. It doesn't happen very often but it's nice when they do.What's your favorite genre? I've kind of been all over the place lately. It's so broad to say "rock," but I'm all over the place. The harder rock, metal, stuff like that. Alt rock, some more mellow stuff. It kind of depends what mood I'm in, I guess. You can't be head-banging all the time I guess.During camp, D.J. Williams said you listen to . Is that true? No. He also told you guys he wrestled cows and you believed that, too.Did he make that whole thing up? Oh my gosh. You guys. You guys. You guys will just latch onto anything. You love that, don't you? It's OK. He's a good storyteller.So no Celine Dion? Not at all. In fact, that's one of his favorites. It really is. I think he listens to it when he wrestles cows.How mellow do you get with music? I listen to satellite radio a lot. So Alt Nation is pretty good for more mellow music. I'll listen to that sometimes. One band I started to listen to that's pretty cool is .Your life change a lot with a family now? Yes, I'm definitely more family-oriented now, having two little kids. All my free time now, I enjoy spending it with them. My son's at the age now where he loves football and he's asking to throw the ball around. He's always running up to me and trying to tackle me and hanging on my leg. It really changed my perspective on some things and what's important. I'm not really worrying as much about stuff outside of the family. Not really sweating the little things as much.What do you and your 2-year old son do back home? He definitely likes to be outdoors and go to the park. We take him out, play football, go to the park and go on the slide and swing.Did he see your touchdown on TV? If they don't come to the game, he watches on TV and my wife says he paces in front of the TV the whole time. He can point me out on TV. I think he gets it a little bit.Good to be back on ? Yeah, I like it. I was glad I stopped during camp just because camp is a lot more. We're pretty much here all day. There's not enough time to be goofing around on Twitter. So it was nice to be away from it for a month. But right now, I still really appreciate the fans that enjoy what I have to say. I like giving back to them. So that's kind of why I didn't want to stay away too long.Do you want to settle down in Green Bay long term? Oh, for sure. I love it. My wife, my family love it. We definitely love it. We met a lot of good people in the community, outside of football. So it'd be nice to be able to stick around. ___(c)2012 the Milwaukee Journal SentinelVisit the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at Distributed by MCT Information Services? Amanda Dube punched in the winning goal with 4:32 left in overtime as Poland snuck away with a 2-1 victory over Freeport in a field hockey game Saturday.Emily Gibson redirected a corner kick toward the Freeport net, but the ball was deflected. Dube was there to send the ball into the net and Gibson was credited with the assist.In the first half, Kyla Sturtevant scored to give the Knights (3-4-1) a 1-0 lead, but Freeport's Olivia Bubar scored an unassisted goal to tie the game and bring it into overtime. Poland goalie Melora Lavoie made 10 saves and kept Freeport out of the net in overtime.Brewer 3, EL 2BREWER -- Ann Keri scored both goals for Edward Little, but it wasn't enough as the Brewer Witches (5-3-2) shook off the stubborn Red Eddies (2-7) with a 3-2 victory in a field hockey game Saturday.In the first half, the Red Eddies struck first before the Witches scored three straight goals.Amy Ballence, Rachel Karp and Chelsea Richard each scored for Brewer, which outshot EL, 19-9, and held the advantage in corners, 20-6.Messalonskee 10, Lewiston 0OAKLAND -- Kristy Bernatche scored four goals and teammate Emily York had three as Messalonskee rolled over Lewiston with a 10-0 victory in a field hockey game Saturday. Lewiston goalies Ravon Palmer and Kaylyn Labonte shared duties in net but could not contain the Eagles.Skowhegan 10, Oxford Hills 0SKOWHEGAN -- Renee Wright turned in a hat trick and Makaela Michonski scored two and picked up three assists as Skowhegan walloped Oxford Hills, 10-0, in field hockey.Skowhegan (10-0) had the game firmly in hand by the first half, taking an 8-0 lead.Sarah Finnemore and Allison Lancaster each scored two goals Skowhegan. Mikayla Toth also scored.Hebron 8, Gould 0BETHEL -- Taylor Fowler crafted three goals as Hebron Academy sailed to an 8-0 victory over Gould in field hockey action Saturday.The Lumberjacks (1-1) netted five goals in the first half. Hannah Hearn tallied a goal in each half.Goalie Sierra Gardner made 13 saves for Gould (0-2), while goalie Michaela Clark was idle in net for Hebron during the winning effort.Girls' soccerSt. Dom's 5, Telstar 0?Hammond field hockey earned a tall drink of victory water after its 1-0 win over Oakland Mills Friday night.It was the Golden Bears' first win since 2010, and their first win under coach Terry Smith.The game winning goal came in a corner situation with a little more than seven minutes left in the game. The ball was inserted to Hadiya Hewitt who then passed to Maureen McGowan, who had the magic touch as she shot the ball past Oakland Mills keeper Celine Manneville (8 saves). “I don’t even remember thinking anything. I was just at the goal at the right time and my team passed to me so I just shot it in the goal and I was lucky and got it in," McGowan explained. The tension was high in the stands, as the first half saw mostly domination from the Scorpion squad.“We’re always right there in the first half, even with the big dogs,” said Oakland Mills coach Nikki Trunzo, whose team had two offensive corners in the first half and several shots on goal. “Our team this year has an issue playing the whole 60 minutes and going to ball the entire game."Indeed, the Golden Bears took control by earning nine offensive corners, one of which provided the opportunity for the win.Throughout it all, there was plenty of heart and effort on both sides of the field. As the minutes dwindled down, Hammond fought to secure the victory, while Oakland Mills mounted a last ditch effort to send the game to overtime. But for this contest, it was Hammond’s turn to shine.Hewitt, who played a strong, fast game, said, “I’m really excited. This was our first win of the season and I think we really deserved it. We’ve been working really hard for this moment.”McGowan echoed the same sentiment: “We finally made it. We finally won. We’ve been working so hard and we won. That was exciting.”Coach Smith recognized her team’s ability to work together as one of its biggest accomplishments this year, as well as the leadership of her goalie, Shannon Burt (6 saves), who she says has “become so confident and so strong.”Hammond 1, Oakland Mills 0Goals — Ha: McGowan; OM: none.Assists — Ha: Hewitt; OM: none.Saves — Ha: Burt 6; OM: Manneville 8.Half — 0-0.Around the leagueMt. Hebron 3, Howard 2Mt Hebron found itself on the winning side of a tough encounter with Howard Friday afternoon. Howard started the game hard and strong. Cailey Tolson scored the first goal of the game just 42 seconds in off an assist from Courtney Barnwell. Mt Hebron’s Tianna Wallpher evened it up on a penalty stroke merely four minutes later. The game would stay tied until the last minute before the half when Tolson found the back of the net again.Mt Hebron scored two unanswered goals in the second half to secure the win. Both teams had opportunities and shots, however, Mt Hebron got it done. This win propels them into a fun filled homecoming weekend.Goals — MH: Wallpher, Linn, Sutton; Ho: Tolson 2.Assists — MH: Bishop, Ukenholz; Ho: Barnwell.Saves — MH: Fisher 7; Ho: Jakubek 9.Half — 2-1 HoAtholton 8, Wilde Lake 1Rachel Day led the Raiders offensively as they defeated Wilde Lake 8-1. This is the third game in a row that they have won with the same result.Goals — A: Day 3, Stine, Graybeal, Cardea, Belson; WL: CavanaughAssists — A: Stine 2, Graybeal 2; WL: noneSaves — A: Clinch 1; WL: Sudduth 12Marriotts Ridge 3, Long Reach 0Marriotts Ridge blanked Long Reach 3-0 Friday afternoon. After some line-up readjusting, Jasmine Williams found a spot on the Mustangs’ forward line. In the past two games she has had 3 goals and 2 assists.Goals — MR: Williams, Kerr, Berdy; LR: none.Assists — MR: Williams, Tuma, Nelson; LR: none.Saves — MR: Hamilton 0; LR: Cote 8.Half — 2-0 MRGlenelg 12, Centennial 0The Glenelg Gladiators had eight different players score as they defeated Centennial 12-0.Goals — G: Russo, Asher (4), Taylor, Baker (2), Vanderwall, Pelkey, Philie, Lee; C: none.Assists — G: Baker (2), Philie, Taylor (5), Vanderwall; C: none.Saves — G: Goodman 4; C: Cosentino 27. Standings (as of Sept. 28)Atholton 6-0 county, 6-1 overallGlenelg 5-0, 6-1River Hill 5-1, 8-1Mt Hebron 5-1, 7-1Howard 4-2, 6-2Marriotts Ridge 4-2, 6-3Long Reach 2-4, 4-5Centennial 2-4, 2-7Hammond 1-4, 1-5Wilde Lake 1-5, 1-5Oakland Mills 0-6, 1-6Reservoir 0-6, 0-9Glenelg Country (IAAM B) 2-2, 3-3?Hereford High School's theater department captured seven Cappies awards for its play "Figments," performed in March at the school. The students attended the Ninth Annual Cappies Baltimore Gala at the on May 20.They received 15 nominations for "Figments" and received seven awards, the most the school has ever won.The Cappies program features high school theater and journalism students who are trained as critics. They attend shows at other schools, write reviews and vote for the awards. The following Hereford students were honored: Benn Mann, comic actor; Maura Vananzo, supporting actress; Will Meister, lead actor; Kristen Essel, Teddy Mullin, Benn Mann and Ashley Pruitt, ensemble; Tyler Wolfe, Savannah North and Hudson Imhoff, sound; Zach Robertson and Hudson Imhoff, props and effects; and Kaitlyn Fowler, Joe Wixted, Emily Mignini and Jen DeGroot, marketing and publicity. The members of Hereford's Cappies team are: Will Meister, Celine Schmidt, Taryn Quaytman, Michaela Bubier, Ashley Pruitt, Abby Kousouris, Aiden Meehan, Amber Bollinger, Katelyn Fowler, Shannon Heffernan, Hudson Imhoff, and Anna Passaniti.?Hereford High School's last play of the school year will have audiences seeing double."Figments" features playwright Rick Jacobs who creates figments of his imagination for himself, the people in his life and even the characters in a play he's trying to write.Each figment of Jacobs' imagination talks and acts in the way his creative mind would like them to. Director Chris Rose double-cast all roles, with one cast performing on March 22 and 23, while the other is on stage March 24. The story takes place in Jacobs' apartment where he is suffering from a serious case of writer's block. Will Meister and Joe Wixted play Jacobs, while Noah Konkus and Robbie Palmisano play his figments."This play is really hilarious," Palmisano said. "His imagination has created all of us. As his figment, I tell him things like what to say to his bossy mother, but he won't do it."Maura Vananzo and Maggie Cave play Jacobs' domineering mother.Vananzo, a senior, had never been in a school play and auditioned on a whim. She said she's having fun talking with a thick New York accent. Natalie Fitzgerald and Kaitlyn Fowler play Mama's figment.Jacobs is secretly in love with his neighbor, Loni, played by Celine Schmidt and Maia Morgan. When she visits, his figment says what he is too shy to say. At the same time, her figment, played by Taryn Quaytman and Lina Mann, is much bolder than Loni.As if those figments aren't enough, there are also figments for Jacobs' deceased father, his former girlfriend and Loni's current boyfriend.Jacobs' imagination also creates a figment for each of the four main characters of a murder mystery play he's struggling to write.Eventually, the real people and their figments interact with the figments from his play, causing mayhem on stage.The play begins at 7 p.m. on March 22, 23 and 24. Tickets are $6 online and $8 at the door. Hereford High is located at 17301 York Road.To buy online, go to http://www.edline.net/pages/Hereford_High and click on The Arts and then Hereford Theatre.?Cameron Abass Abedi, Alexandre Xavier Ahmarani, Raveena Kaur Ahuja, MichaelOsmund Amon, Evan Douglas Anderson, Stefan Thomas Armington;Riley Alexander Babcock, Luke Hensell Baker, Sara Jean Barnett, Zachary Kenneth Bartlett, Daniel Michael Battle, Zachary John Beil, David Scott Benson, Ryan Maurice Bernstein, Blake Daniel Betsill, MarissaDelle Bosley Betsill, Gregory David Betts, Dana Marie Bieker, William Eric Bittner, Ina Serena Boegel, Amber Michele Bollinger, Krysten Marie Boone, Zachary Taggart Bosley, Edward Artie Bradford IV, Anni Huan Braine, Jacob Thomas Brooks, Austin Timothy Brown, Casey Thomas Brown, Joshua David Brown, Justin Alan Brown, Michael Joseph Brown, Jr., Frederic Jackson Bryant, Michaela Stratmann Bubier, Randi Nicole Bulkley, Jesse James Bunker, Marcell Emil Butler;Kaitlyn Nichole Canarr, Madeline Amelia Capozzi, Derek John Carr, Alex Martin Carter, Jesse AramintaCarter, Katherine Ariel Ceron, Nathaniel Taylor Champion, Baijie Benjamin Chen, Peter Younghyun Chin, Hunter Lloyd Christensen, Caroline Gallagher Clancy, Peter James Clark, Brian Patrick Clarke, EdwardJosephClarke, Megan Rose Clarke, Brianna Marie Collacchi, Tyler Scott Conklin, Jake Michael Connor, Stephanie Erin Copenhaver, Jillian Marie Cornwell, Timothy Rowe Councill, Connor, CharlesCovell, Dylan Coverdale; Sean Anthony Danielczyk, Katelyn Elizabeth Davis, Michael Andrew Davis, Theodore Chris Demiris, Ricky David Dingman, Jr, Sheldon Daniel Dipnarine, Brooke Ann Divenanzio, Jacklyn Rose Di Virgilio, Justin Tyler Donadio, David Franklin Donaldson, Tyler Burke Donaldson, Danielle Emma Drecchio, Brian Redmond Duffy, Brendan McEvoy-Waibel Durkee; HannahRose Eber, David Burton Eldridge IV, Samantha Mohamad Elzein, David Andrew Endres, Jacob Bosley Ensor, Nicholas Andrew Esparza, Kristen Emily Essel, Carley Marie Evans, Emily KatherineEvans;James Robert Falco, Sunya Jabin Faridi, Melanie Lynn Fassio, Susannah Laura Ferris, Alexander Eager Finney, MelissaLee Fisher, Natalie Nicole Fitzgerald, Kendall Lane Flanagan, Emiline Chandler Fogarty, Emma Kate Foster, Heinrich Willis Fourie, Adam Marcus Fox, Kathryn Elizabeth Francis, Maryann Michelle Franco, Alexander James Frasier, Tara Kristine Funk;Johnathan Phillip Gain, Jonah David Gallagher, Matthew Edward Geckle, Alyssa Michelle Gianotti, Calvin Andrew Gibson, Paul James Gill, Allison Leigh Goodwill, William Matthew Gough, Zachary Eugene Gover, Parker , Maura Rose Griffin, Gross, WilliamCary Gruber;Alisha Nicole Hackley, Nicholas Timothy Hall, Esmail Gustav Hamidi, Kara Lillian Hammersla, Emily Joan Hanley, KathrynLee Harnett, Destiny Sierra Harris, Brianna Leigh Harrison, Heffernan, Philip Bryan Herold Jr., Kathleen Elise Hilberg, Sarah Kathleen Hild, Monica Burke Hiller, Allison Ann Hollins, Catherine Johanna Hunt;Dylan Christopher Inglefield, Jake Patrick Ingram, Christopher Patrick Innis;Bria Danielle Jackson, Erin Laselle Jackson, Julie Jang, Rachel Marie Julio;Gerrit Raymond Anthony Kamps, Ashley Marie Kanagy, JeremyNathan Karp, Corey Ann Karwacki, JessicaJoy Karwacki, Olivia Rosemary Keithley, Jazlyn Patrice Kelley, James Logan Kellner, Lauren Harrell Kennedy, Nicolette Frances Keznor, Sean Wallace King, Tyler J.Kirchner, Katherine Louise Kobbe, Eric Raymond Kopins, Charles Leroy Krause III, Jessica Nicole Krummel, Samuel Edward Kubala, JoshuaTyler Kufera, Markell Marie Kunzelman, Luke Thomas Kurtz;Heather Lafex, Katherine Alexandra Lagatare, Sarah Marie Lagna, Melissa Joy Lamborn, Paul Perkins LaMonica, Spencer Jamison Larrimore, Douglas Norman Lasure Jr., Dalia Jo Lawrence, Anthony Renzo Leaf, Morgan Emily League, Rachel Margueritte Lebo, Sydney Michelle Ledford, Rachel Tamar Lee, RichardYunho Lee, Molly Catherine Levin, Wilson Randolph Lewis, Tawney Sherrill Linko, Lisa Nicole Litwak, Lorianna Attadale Livingston, Emily Nicole Logan, Maclaine Marie Lorenz, Richard Ernest Lory Jr., Samuel Thomas Lotz;Conor Patrick MacLellan, Brenna Louise Madill, Veronica Maria Mancia, Madeline Kennedy Mann, Nicholas Anthony Maragos, Benjamin Allan Marconi, Alec Schultz Marschke, Cara Shea Martin, Dale Wallace Martin, Grace CourtneyMartin, Gina Marie Maskell, Ian Chandler Masters, Matthew Robert McArthur, Justin Michael McClure, Lindsey Nicole McEvoy, Julia Leigh McLaughlin, John Henry McNeal, Aidan Maria Meehan, Samuel Follmer Meister, William Bacon Meister, Jacob Hollman Meseke, Brandon Alan Michael, Emily Joy Mignini, Kimberly Jean Miller, Zachary Michael Miller, Joanna Mae Mitchell, Jonathan Blake Moffett, Christopher Michael Mohr, Anthony Robert Monaco, Jessica Brenda Monroe, Maia Shane Morgan, Zachary Samuel Morrell, Anna Solveig Mowell, Brittany Marie Muhler, Taylor Paige Muller, LindseyMorganMyers;Megan Laleh Najafali, Morgan Nicole Nally, Diana Luisa Nambo, Ian Anthony Napolillo, Ashley Nicole Nash, Melissa Ann Nawojski, Jonathan Sebastian Nedeau, Aaron Michael Neely, Olivia Pefinis Newport;Mariah Lynn O'Marrah, Robert Stephen Oaks, Alvin Sueryun Oh, Bradley Terence Olver, Blessing Chibundom Onyewuchi;Maryl Lauren Pac, Jordan Lee Packett, Taylor Bethanie Parks, Anna Elisa Passaniti, Sarah Elizabeth Platt, Ryan Thomas Poffenbarger, Amber Nicole Pohlhaus, Alexander Maxwell Poling, Daniel Bryan Popowski, Bridget Nicole Powers, Lauren Nicole Powers, Brian Taylor Poynter, Angela Christine Price, MorganWingate Pritchett Jr., Rebecca Emerson Probst, Ashley Victoria Pruitt, Storm Tyler Pryor, MichaelThomas Pusloskie;Kayla Rose Quante, Taryn Elizabeth Quaytman;EliannaKylie Radcliffe, Garrett Jeffrey Radcliffe, Joseph Daniel Ramsel, Emily Brewer Randall, Victoria KathrynRassa, Bethany LaurenRay, Kara Marlene Reachard, Jonathan Vincent Scott Reilly, Brittany Anna-Marie Remeikis, Kristen Ann Renda, David Alexander Rice, Dakota Leigh Riley, Seth Tyler Robertson, Joshua Brett Rogers, Teresa Jane Stebbing Rudner, Benjamin Aaron Rudy, Devon Anthony Rumsey, Holly Nicole Rush;MorganNicole-Valentine Sager, Gordon Lee Saltzberg, Appalachia Johanna Sanford, Rachel Erin Schaefer, Benjamin Ashton Schiaffino, Celine Nicole Schmidt, Elizabeth Marie Schofield, John Andrew Schretlen, Luke Frances Schriver, Melissa Gail Seitz, Meena Tellington Sekar, Jennifer Marie Seman, Rachael Amanda Shaeffer, Nathaniel J. Shaw, Melissa Ann Sheeler, Bryan Christopher Simon, Olivia Pauline Sindall, Jonathan Sitz, Craig Hudson Slebzak, Kyle Daniel Smith, Rebecca Renee Smith, Jeremiah Lee Snow, Jason Hunt Solomon, Thomas William Sparks, Spencer, Madeleine Elise St. Ville, Katie Elizabeth Starr, Elizabeth Reilly Stettinius, Katherine Marie Stuller, Danielle Rebecca Stultz, Ryan William Swift, Kayla Dominique Szmajda;Rennie Marie Tankersley, Jaimie Michelle Tarnai, Samantha Josephine Taylor, Amanda Nicole Thiell, HannahElisabeth Thomas, Alison Nicole Thompson, Reyna Elizabeth Tillman, Madeline Rose Toannon, Caroline McCook Townsend, Jacob Michael Troxell, Spenser Twigg-Wirtz;Christopher David Vaillancourt, Maura ChristineVananzo, Emily Ann VandeWater, Lacey Ann Velleggia, Amaranta Villegas;Jacob Ryan Waechter, Wannlund, Emily Alexandra Wareheim, Elliot Thomas Warns, Josiah Caleb Watts, Taylor Nicole Webster, Abigail Christy Wenck, James Charles Wenzl, David Michael Wheatley, John Price Whelen, David Andrew Wiedel, John William Wiedel, Susan Rosaria Wiedel, Laura Lee Eldredge Wight, Bailey Nicole Wilhelm, Taylor Leigh Wilhelm, Samuel James Williams, Cassidy Dawn Wilson, Renee Ashley Wilson, Ryan David Wilson, Shannon Marie Wirtz, Samantha Jo Wisnom, Joseph Teachman Wixted, Jessica Cathryn Wojciechowski, Allison Patricia Wolk, Matthew JosephWolk, Matthew Stephen Wolter, Rachel Nicole Wood, Cheyenne Elizabeth Wright;Devon Michael Young;Ryan Patrick Zelinsky, Jocelyn Marie Zemanek, RichardPaul Zentz.?This was the year that the finally had a chance to be hip, if could just keep everyone's wardrobe in place. In retrospect, keeping , , and Pharrell Williams from imitating the Beatles would have been a good idea, too. Yet even the Grammys' penchant for overblown musical numbers couldn't undermine a strong showing by , who took home five awards to lead a night of overdue recognition for R&B and hip-hop. Beyonce's five trophies tied a record set by , and for the most by a female act. 's genre-bending commercial and critical hit, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, was honored as album of the year and best rap album. The hit "Hey Ya!" took the award for best urban/alternative performance. OutKast's Antwan "" Patton and Andre 3000 accepted the best album award after Andre closed the show with an outrageously choreographed "Hey Ya!" featuring a marching band. Beyonce teamed with to open the show with a medley of songs from Purple Rain, a landmark album celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. "Performing was enough for me," she told the crowd moments later, accepting the best contemporary R&B album award for Dangerously in Love. "I'm just so honored." Beyonce also was honored for best female R&B performance for the song "Dangerously in Love," as well as for best R&B song and rap/sung collaboration for the hit "Crazy in Love," which she recorded with boyfriend Jay-Z. That song won for best remixed recording. She shared the award for R&B performance by a duo or group for "The Closer I Get to You" with , a nominee in five categories. Vandross, who was unable to attend because of a stroke last year, was saluted with a musical tribute by Alicia Keys and . He took home the best male R&B vocal performance award and best song trophy for "Dance With My Father," a song he co-wrote with . Dance With My Father also was best R&B album. It was the evening's most sentimental victory - the R&B crooner's first win in a major category in his 20-year-plus career. He was unable to attend but sent a videotaped message, his first public remarks since his April 2003 stroke. "I want to thank everyone for your love and support," said a weak-looking Vandross. "And remember, when I say goodbye it's never for long, because" - and he sang a line from one of his many hits - "I believe in the power of love!" Although the focus was on R&B, a few rock acts managed to take major awards. Evanescence prevailed over favored as best new artist and took best record for "Clocks," an award they dedicated to and Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Overdue for mainstream acknowledgment by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, hip-hop and R&B stars were showcased last night at the in Los Angeles. In addition to Beyonce, , OutKast and producer Pharrell Williams were each up for a leading six nominations. Nine acts were nominated for five awards each, including Vandross, , , , producer Chad Hugo, country singer Ricky Skaggs, rapper 50 Cent and rock band Evanescence. The Wind, the final album from rocker , also garnered five nominations. It took home the award for best contemporary folk album. The song "Disorder in the House," a duet with , won for best rock performance by a duo or group. Johnny Cash, who died at 71 on Sept. 12, won for best short form music video for "Hurt," his version of a song. Cash's wife, June Carter Cash, was honored for traditional folk album for Wildwood Flower, released after her death last spring. She also won best female country vocal performance for "Keep on the Sunny Side." had been scheduled to introduce the Vandross tribute, but didn't attend after the "wardrobe malfunction" at her performance with Timberlake. There were no one-liners about the incident, but Timberlake apologized as he was accepting the award for male pop vocal performance for "Cry Me a River." "It's been a rough week on everybody," said Timberlake, who also won for pop vocal album for Justified. "What occurred was unintentional, completely regrettable, and I apologize if you guys are offended." Despite a tightly scripted show devoid of outrageousness or spontaneity, Janet Jackson's breast flash remained the major subplot. CBS and Jackson offered conflicting reports about why she was not at the show, which was televised on a delay to avoid anything like the Super Bowl incident. CBS need not have worried - the already staid Grammys were even more conservative than usual. Curses and cleavage were in short supply, with the exception of 's dangerously low-cut pink dress. The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper. The Associated Press contributed to this article.?Paybacks can be painful.A year ago Howard defeated Marriotts Ridge, 1-0. Tuesday, the Mustangs turned the table on the Lions, winning 1-0.It was Howard's first loss of the season. Molly Fleming scored the game winner 5 minutes into the game. "Jenna Kerr brought the ball down the field and passed it Bri Hanlon," Fleming said. The senior took her shot from right inside the circle and directed it toward the right post."I knew it was going to be a close game," she said. "We had a lot of opportunities to score, but Howard has a defensively strong team."And so does Marriotts Ridge."Our defense really stepped it up," Fleming said. "Rylie Whiting kept us in the game." Whiting and her defensive teammates often turned the ball back before it reached their keeper, Sophia Hamilton, who made two saves."We just couldn't get over the hump. That's pretty much it," said Howard's Katja Randazzo. "I feel like we didn't play to our potential. …We were down there but we couldn't finish."Howard's loss drops the Lions into a three-way tie with Marriotts Ridge and Mt. Hebron for second place in the county standings. Glenelg is undefeated.Goals: MR - Molly Fleming. Ho - none.Assists: MR - Bri Hanlon.Saves: MR - Sophia Hamilton 2. Ho - Lani Sasser 3.Halftime: Marriotts Ridge. 1-0.Mt. Hebron 2, Atholton 0Goals: MH - Yun, Sutton. A - noneAssists: not available.Saves: MH - Maddy Fisher 2. A - Camille Bulte 13.Halftime: Mt. Hebron, 1-0?Marriotts Ridge pulled away from Wilde Lake in the second half to win, 7-0. The halftime score was 1-0."Marriotts Ridge picked it up in the second half," said Wilde Lake coach Lindsey Startt.The Wildecats numbers on the sideline have been low, due to injuries. Startt pulled a JV player up for yesterday's game against Mt. Hebron just so she would have a substitute. "We need to get healthy," she said. Wilde Lake keeper Krina Suddeth turned away 28 Marriotts Ridge shots. Goals: MR - Bri Hanlon 4, Nicole Leaf, Jenna Kerr, Ji Hong. WL - none.Assists: MR - Molly Fleming 2, Nicole Leaf, Jenna Kerr, Bri Hanlon, Ji Hong.Saves: MR - Sophia Hamilton 0. WL - Krina Suddeth 28.Halftime: Marriotts Ridge, 1-0.Atholton 2, Centennial 0Goals: A - Carly Pontell, Paige Fielhauer. C - noneAssists: A - Brianna Stine, Sheila O'Malley.Saves: A - Camille Bulte 4. C - Caitlin Cleveland 2, Amanda Hendrix 6.Halftime: Atholton, 1-0.Mt. Hebron 3, Reservoir 0Emily Bishop scored her fifth goal in two days as Mt. Hebron defeated Reservoir, 3-0.Goals: MH - Emily Bishop, Tianna Wallpher, Haley Sutton. Re - none.Assists: MH - Sam Brookhart, Kelly Jones, Monica Linn.Saves: MH - Maddy Fisher 3. Re - Olivia Lynch 9.?Turnover is just part of the high school athletic routine. Athletes grow up, graduate and move on. Coaches change too. But officials? This is new for the county.Following a sudden end of contract, the county elected to hire a new board of officials. Some of the officials from the Howard Carroll Officials Association have joined the new board, the Central Maryland Officials Association, but for the most part there will be a lot of new officials on the field. The teams met some at the play day and are hopeful for a smooth transition.Also looking for a smooth transition are the new coaches. There are seven new JV coaches looking to provide a strong foundation of skill for their respective programs. Two programs will be welcoming veteran coaches into their varsity positions, Martie Dyer at Atholton and Lindsay Beil at Reservoir. Maintaining consistency in head coach positions can ensure that the perennial front-runners will continue to be tough to beat. As always there are teams that are prepared and eager to upset the favorites. Powerhouse Glenelg will be the team to beat. The Gladiators have been county champions for four consecutive years. The reigning Class 2A state champs are looking to "three-peat", which may be extremely plausible as they "really only have four positions to fill from last year's team" according to coach Ginger Kincaid. Missing from the line-up will be three-time Player of the Year Alyssa Parker and her talented teammate Mary Kate Olson. Both have moved on to play collegiately. Although notable players have graduated, the rising upperclassmen will maintain the level of competitive play those before them have established.With great skill comes a great target and there will be a long line of teams seeking to take the county crown off of Glenelg's head.Mt. Hebron will field a strong team with 10 returning varsity players. The 2011 3A state semifinalists will seek to draw strength from returning all-county first-team players Tianna Wallpher, Lindsey Dewey and keeper Maddy Fisher.Also vying to make a mark in the county will be River Hill, led by Kat Varga, also a first team all-county pick and second team all-state. She tallied 20 goals last season, second only to Alyssa Parker.It would be amiss to not mention Atholton, Howard and Marriotts Ridge. Howard has a strong core of club players who play year-round as does Atholton, which only graduated two seniors. Marriotts Ridge, a school with a history of strong athletes is also returning a strong keeper in Sophie Hamilton.Simply put it is anybody's year. Only time will tell the story of who is willing to do the work to earn it.ChangesThere are not many rule changes this year. One change is that opponents need to be five yards away from the ball as opposed to the seven yards used previously.Also new this year will be artificial turf fields at Atholton, Hammond and Howard. It is in the plans to provide turf to the remaining nine schools by 2015.The teamsATHOLTON2011 record: 6-5 county; 7-6 overallTop players: Seniors Kelly McQuilkin (M), Ellie Matthews (M) and Briana Stine (F); juniors Rachel Day (F) and Nikki Martin (D); sophomores Jen Bleakney (F) and Emily Clinch (GK).The scoop: Atholton graduated only two players and with eight seniors the Raiders are hoping to make a stand in the county. "Our strength is our fast-breaking capabilities with a powerful forward line," coach Martie Dyer said.First-team all-county player McQuilkin will most likely control the midfield, but look for Bleakney to have a great impact as well. According to Dyer, "[Bleakney] is a dedicated year-round player with tremendous potential to be a powerhouse in the county." Another impact player, Day, will be appearing on the forward line; this is a change in perspective for her as she spent the majority of the 2011 season on defense.The Raiders pack a lot of skill and committed players. Although not a powerhouse last year, they may just surprise some teams this year.?The deadline for submitting sports copy is 9 a.m. on Mondays. We prefer email (howardcountysports@patuxent.com). We do not accept results by phone. When two Howard County teams play, players from both teams (first and last names) must be mentioned in the write-up. Questions? Call 410-332-6578.Field hockeySpitfire Field Hockey Club Four Spitfire Field Hockey Club teams will be playing in USA Field Hockey National Indoor Tournaments next month. The club, run by University of Maryland Coaches and former USA National Team players Barb Weinberg and Dina Rizzo, has players from 11 of the 12 Howard County high schools and, along with The Gaels of Severna Park, is one of only two clubs in the state invited to send four teams to the prestigious tournament. U-19 players include Arielle Abrams (Howard), Alexandra Barrett (Reservoir), Courtney Barnwell (Howard), Emily Bishop (Mt. Hebron), Gabriella D'Angelo (Mt. Hebron), Lindsey Dewey (Mt. Hebron), Didi Ertenu (Wilde Lake), Nicole Grabowski (Long Reach), Brianna Hanlon (Marriotts Ridge), Heather Jenney (Paint Branch), Kelly Johnson (Glenelg Country School), Cassie Malane (South Carroll), Celine Manneville (Oakland Mills), Megan Minarcin (Oakland Mills), Maddie Price (North Harford), Madeline Schroeder (Howard), Julia Sergent (Mt. Hebron), Casey White (Howard), Rylie Whiting (Marriotts Ridge), Jessica Slingluff (Damascus) and Mckenzie Williams (Long Reach).The U-16 team includes Rachel Baca (North Harford), Meghan Bennett (Catonsville), Emily Blanchard (Reservoir), Beatrice Chaudoin (Severna Park), Noelle Frost (Glenwood Middle), Riley Gentner (Mt. de Sales), Juliana Keagle (Catonsville), Molly Milani (Glenelg), Emily Penn (Howard), Lexi Rieu (Glenelg Country) and Dani Schwab (River Hill).The U-16 team placed second in the most competitive (A) pool at last weekend's Maryland Club Championship, falling to the Washington Wolves, 2-1, in the championship game. The team scored 19 goals and gave up only three in five games. Schwab (five goals), Chaudoin (two unassisted goals), Baca, Blanchard, Gentner, Keagle and Penn found the back of the net,Milani contributed several assists and Bennett played solid defense.Howard County's Sarah Holliday (Bullis) and Morgan Philie (Glenelg) played outstanding defense for the Wolves.Spitfire's U-14 Inferno team placed third in the President's Day Big Apple invitation-only tournament in Pennsylvania, and will send the following players to the national tournament: Natalie Adamez, Ashley Caldwell, Leanne Duncan, Noelle Frost, Marybeth and Megan Nemecek, Marissa Penn, Taylor Reed, Zoe Summa and Delaney Treacy.Spitfire's U-14 Firecrackers team won the B pool in the Maryland Club Championship. Bringing home the gold medal were Ashley Bates, Savannah Cheuvront, Jennifer Gabelman, Madeline Land, Megan and Marybeth Nemecek, Emma Walsh, Abby Williams and Madison Zehring.Spitfire's U-14 Flames took home second place in the C pool at the Maryland Club Championship. That team consists of Mary Margaret Baldy, Allison Campbell, Samantha Dinoto, Annette Jaroz, Mia Moshang, Bailey Schwab, Maggie Sullivan and Peyton Taylor.RunningHoward County StridersBrooks Ward and Alison Suckling were the one-mile winners and Steve Prinzivalli and Kendra Smith led the way in the 5k race Feb. 19 at the Howard County Striders winter series races at Swansfield.One-mile results: 1. Brooks Ward, 5:21; 2. Ted Poulos, 5:52; 3. Anders Chattin, 6:09.2; 4. Chris Chattin, 6:09.7; 5. Alison Suckling, 6:13; 6. Bill Andrews, 6:15; 7. Leonard Supsic, 6:17; 8. Eric Johnston, 6:33; 9. Michael Dusenbery, 6:43; 10. Alan Murray, 6:48.11. Mike Ward, 7:18; 12. Alan Tominack, 7:21; 13. Eric Hermstein, 7:23; 14. David Rowe, 7:44; 15. Kash Hartz, 7:51; 16. Frederick Rowe, 8:02; 17. Mats Chattin, 8:06; 18. Carina Chattin, 8:10; 19. Natalia Diaz, 8:48; 20. Pam Rowe, 8:57.21. Martha Rowe, 9:00; 22. Susan Ward, 9:17; 23. Evan Griffiths, 9:18; 24. Richard Griffiths, 9:19; 25. Ginger Rowley, 10:10; 26. Steve Reading, 10:20; 27. Angelos Diaz, 10:39; 28. Annie Sarlin, 11:35; 29. Jennifer Sarlin, 11:36; 30. Barbara Calvert, 11:44.31. Melissa Burger, 11:57; 32. Alex Harris, 12:45; 33. Tim Orman, 13:12; 34. Pat Huffman, 13:13.5k results: 1. Steve Prinzivalli, 16:54; 2. Brian Keane, 18:43; 3. John Chall, 19:06; 4. Steve Muchnick, 19:14; 5. John Way, 19:50; 6. Michael Mbugi, 19:55; 7. Luis Diaz, 20:07; 8. Kendra Smith, 20:08; 9. Bob Burns, 20:13; 10. Lochlann Boyle, 20:22.?The new Palms resort boldly hypes itself as Las Vegas' sex-iest adult playground--a way-cool, celebrity-studded, off-Strip boutique hotel and gambling joint. It's a big boast in a town that calls itself Sin City.My wife and I decided to find out for ourselves, making the 4-month-old Palms our anchor for a weekend of classy food, high-class art and classic rock 'n' roll. For context, know that Jeanne and I are a combined 100 years old, enjoyed Liberace when he performed at the Las Vegas Hilton, and a year ago paid to see --and actually liked him.For our getaway last month, we booked a standard room a few weeks in advance at $159 a night plus tax. But Vegas hotel rates fluctuate almost daily, and the night before our arrival, I noticed prices had dropped to $139. A Palms clerk cheerfully adjusted our rate.After a smooth Friday evening check-in, we were in our supposedly "oversized guest room" with "extraordinary views of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip."Well, not quite. The room felt cramped, and while we could see the Strip a few blocks away, our view was mostly the glare from the building's exterior floodlights. In fact, at bedtime we had to push two chairs against the curtains to cut the amount of light pouring in.A large armoire held a 27-inch TV and a mini-bar. (Be advised: If you take a beer out of the fridge to make room for dinner leftovers, a computer will detect the motion and charge you for the beer. Call the front desk to have the charge removed.) The bathroom was nicely appointed but surprisingly dark, and as we competed for the same sink and mirror, we wished the vanity were larger.Then we were off to dinner at Nine, an offshoot of a popular Chicago steakhouse. The walls are spare, the room done in silver and black, and the center occupied by a caviar bar beneath a vaulted ceiling illuminated in soft lavender light. Jeanne thought it a pleasant, spaceship ambience. It was as noisy as an engine room, too, with conversations competing with canned music heavy on the bass. Am I sounding crotchety?We were won over, however, by a fine dinner. Jeanne started with lobster bisque poured around a spring roll; I had a Caesar salad. We both chose filets, done perfectly, and shared two sides, sautéed spinach with caramelized garlic and a "Yukon gold potato puree trio"--twice-baked potatoes to you and me--each topped with lobster, horseradish or caramelized onions.We capped the evening at Ghost Bar and its open-air balcony on the Palms' 55th floor, as famous for who's seen inside as for the view that can be seen outside. The cover charge on weekends is $20, but the hostess at Nine (who didn't know I was a reporter) phoned our names upstairs and we slipped in for free.Inside a chrome-and-glass room with undulating couches apparently taken from the Jetsons' home, the sport is people-watching. The DJ's selections included the Beatles, hard rock and something he called electro jazz.Because we're 100, we didn't stay long.We strolled around the casino and found it lacking distinctive features. It has a sports book, a poker room, plenty of the newest slot machines and blackjack tables covered in lime-green felt. The ceiling created an industrial ambience, highlighted by what looked like burlap-covered turbine blades. Tropical meets techno.Saturday was more to our taste, far from the cacophony of casinos. We headed first to Steve and Elaine Wynn's art gallery, the Wynn Collection, at what had been the Desert Inn. Wynn, who introduced fine art to Las Vegas when he built the Bellagio, continues to grace the community with masterworks, including Picasso's "Le Rêve" (The Dream), for which he has named his next casino, soon to be under construction at this site. We don't know what Wynn paid for the painting, but the previous time it sold at auction, it went for more than $40 million.The gallery is unpretentious, with 13 works by Cézanne, Gauguin, Manet, Matisse, Modigliani, Van Gogh and (a portrait of Wynn). Listen to Wynn's recorded commentary and you'll learn a few things--and laugh too.While you're there, examine the pattern of the rug, then the background of "Le Rêve," and ask yourself whether the similarities are just coincidence or reflect Wynn's subtle fun with interior decorating.We drove a couple of blocks to the Venetian to view the Guggenheim Hermitage Museum's inaugural show, "Masterpieces and Master Collectors." It is the historic collaboration between the in New York and the State Hermitage Museum of Russia, the show unabashedly situated in Las Vegas so that the masses can enjoy the masters.The 44 pieces included works by Pissarro, Gauguin and Picasso that have been held in St. Petersburg and never before viewed in the United States. The bright gallery, designed by architect , is itself spectacular: The paintings hang by magnets on rust-colored, Cor-Ten steel walls that look almost velvety.Unlike Wynn's gallery, where a tour includes recorded commentary, the Guggenheim Hermitage folks charge extra for audio accompaniment that's not as detailed.?Kelly Dalla Tezza, a Fulbright scholar who planned a career in the , died Friday in an automobile accident in . She was 22 and lived in .Family members said she had a flat tire while driving on a road near Rabat and lost control of the vehicle."She was the most fearless person I have ever known," said a close friend, Ashleen Williams of , who is also a Fulbright scholar. "She was willing to go anywhere and do pretty much anything. She spoke Arabic and between the two of us, on our travels together, we were quite effective." Born in Baltimore and raised in Parkville, she attended Villa Cresta Elementary School and Loch Raven Academy Middle School. She was a 2007 graduate of Towson High School, where she participated in the school's Law and Public Policy Program. She was her class salutatorian.Her mother said that throughout much of her childhood, she competed in Baltimore County gymnastics. From ages 3 to 10, she took dance lessons at . She was in Baltimore County soccer recreation leagues and played the flute."I was there to cheer her on," said her mother, Meg Doxzen Dalla Tezza of Parkville. "She never followed the crowd. She just followed her dreams. She worked very hard to achieve all her successes."Ms. Dalla Tezza earned a bachelor's degree in Islamic civilization from in 2011. As a senior, she had an internship at the American Islamic Conference. Family members said that during her junior year in college, she studied in , Spain, and later in Amman, Jordan. She stayed on in Jordan the following summer and worked at a publishing firm. She spoke Spanish and Arabic."She was the hardest-working person I have ever met," said her cousin, Baltimore attorney Joseph Tivvis, for whom she worked at times in the summers. "She always went above the call of her position. She learned fast and often looked for new assignments. She was quiet but not a pushover, and very serious about her job. When her day was done, she enjoyed a joke."He said that while she was a summer worker, she made valuable suggestions to improve his law office downtown."If she needed to get something under my nose, she pushed ahead and did it," said Mr. Tivvis. "If someone else were not working hard, she had a way of giving them a certain look."Ms. Dalla Tezza had recently passed the 's Foreign Service Officer Test. She had also been accepted into graduate programs at the Johns Hopkins, Harvard and George Washington universities.At the time of her death, she was a graduate Fulbright researcher at the Institute for International Education in Bahrain. According to her resume, she was conducting research on "women's political influence in Bahrain" and had been interviewing women prominent in civil society. This month, she had spoken at a Fulbright-sponsored conference, held in Morocco, on women's political roles in Bahrain.Ms. Dalla Tezza also kept a blog of her experiences in the Islamic world. She traveled widely throughout the Middle East and mixed easily with those she met.In one post, she wrote, "Adopt a Kuwaiti grandpa." She said that after leaving the National Memorial Museum, she met a Kuwaiti "who hangs out for fun at the super depressing museum."He offered to drive her and friends "around for the rest of the day," she wrote on the blog. "This included rocking out to in his enormous Ford on the way to the Martyr Museum, which by the way I recommend. Then, he drove us around to various tourist sites and paid for everything. He told us that Turkey is the best country in the world because it has bars and mosques."A funeral Mass will be held at St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church, and Gibbons Avenue. No date has been set.In addition to her mother, survivors include her father, Chester Dalla Tezza of Parkville; a brother, Jeffrey Dalla Tezza, a junior; her paternal grandmother, Rose Dalla Tezza of Baltimore; and maternal grandparents Michael and Marguerite Doxzen of Baltimore.?--Finnish auteur nabbed the Louis Delluc Prize for "Le Havre" at a ceremony held on Friday in Paris. The film, which reps in the foreign-language Oscar race, bowed in competition at Cannes and won the Fipresci nod. "Le Havre" has played at a flurry of fests around the world, notably at Karlovy Vary, Locarno, Dubai, Pusan, Chicago and New York. Pic is sold by The Match Factory, and produced by Finland's Sputnik, France's Pyramide Prods. and Pandora Film. Described by Kaurismaki as a "semi-realistic fairy tale," E3.8 million ($5 million) offbeat dramedy turns on Andre Wilms as a Bohemian scribe-turned-shoeshine man on a mission to help an African stowaway. "Le Havre" beat Valerie Donzelli's "Declaration of War," ' "The Artist" and Celine Sciamma's "Tomboy," among others. Djinn Carrenard's "Donoma" nabbed the Louis Delluc prize for best first film. A comedy produced by Donoma Guerilla, the pic was reportedly made on a $200 budget. "Donoma" played at Cannes in 2010. The Louis Delluc prizes were chosen by a jury presided by prexy Gilles Jacob, and comprised of French film journos.Click for more film news on Variety.com.?Director has wrapped production on "Before Midnight," a sequel to the helmer's indie hits "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." and reprise their roles as star-crossed lovers Jesse and Celine. Linklater's longtime collaborator, John Sloss of Cinetic Media, exec produced the pic and will handle domestic sales.Producers include Linklater's Detour Filmproduction, Christos V. Konstantakopoulos and Sara Woodhatch of Faliro House and Jacob Pechenik of Venture 4TH, as well as Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer of Castle Rock Entertainment. Pic will be released worldwide next year.Written by Linklater, Delpy and Hawke, "Before Midnight" lensed under the radar in Messinia, Greece. "It's great to be back together again, this time in beautiful Greece to revisit the lives of Celine and Jesse nine years after Jesse was about to miss his flight," the scribes said in a joint statement. The trio previously earned nomination for co-writing 2005's "Before Sunset."Stuart Ford's IM Global specialty label ACCLAIM is handling international sales.Linklater's dark comedy "Bernie," starring , and , is currently enjoying a long run in arthouse theaters after opening in May.Click for more film news on Variety.com.?LONDON — With smiles on their faces and gold medals hanging from their necks, gathered and together late Saturday night at North Greenwich Arena.The three shook hands. Who knows what time and upcoming talent will do to the pact the players made to return for a fourth Olympics at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games? But this much is as clear and convincing as the U.S. women's basketball team's 86-50 victory over France: What a run it's been and remains."I usually don't get very emotional when we win," said. "But for some reason, when I was walking through the arena afterward, it hit me: You know this might be my last. It also might not be. But after three of them, they're really hard, even if you win by 30."The whole process is really difficult to try to get 12 really good players to buy into one thing. It takes a lot of effort and sacrifice. But in the end, we succeeded."Indeed, the most dominant program at these Games posted its 41st straight Olympic triumph and collected an unprecedented fifth straight gold medal. Fittingly, all 12 players scored, a testament to the depth that defined this 8-0 run with an average margin of victory of 34.3 points.The 36-point victory marked the largest margin for a gold-medal game in Olympic history.'s 21 points and 11 rebounds led the balanced offensive effort, and swarming defense forced France into 28 percent shooting with 21 turnovers. Captain Celine Dumerc, who helped lead France to its first-ever basketball medal, managed just 2-for-10 shooting and often couldn't even initiate offense due to harassing defense from Taurasi and company.Parker's dominant second quarter featured 11 points, including six straight that featured a coast-to-coast drive and nifty finger roll to close."Candace was huge," said.Parker averaged 10.5 points, one of four players to score in double figures in these Olympics. Taurasi's 12.4 points-per-game average led.And when it ended, emotion washed over all."It does feel different," Taurasi said. "As you get older, maybe you reflect a little more on everything you had to overcome to get you here. I looked back at all the things I've been through — good, bad, personal on the court. And it was a good feeling."With 11 points, Bird also reached double figures. She will be 35 when Rio's Games arrive."For me, Dee and Catch, it's pretty special to experience this three different times," she said. "They're great players. They're great people. It's been a good ride."We had a handshake. I don't know what handshakes mean. Ask me in three years. It'll depend on how I feel. There's so much talent in the U.S. There might be some little point guard who comes up and kicks my butt."Taurasi will be 34 for the 2016 Games. Catchings, the oldest player on this team, will be 37."Each experience has been so different," Catchings said. "First, I had role models I had with Dawn (Staley), Lisa (Leslie) and Sheryl (Swoopes) and then the second time I got a little more responsibility and then this year stepping into a leadership role and trying to help the younger players. It just builds off our legacy and the players and teams that came before us and are still to come."Taurasi, as is her nature, wouldn't let go. Granted, the program remains in capable hands. This year's team got huge contributions from the 26-year-old Parker, the 23-year-old and the 23-year-old .Long after the handshake, Taurasi remained in Catchings' ear."I said this is my last one, but Diana is yelling, 'One more! One more!' " Catchings said, laughing. "This is likely to be my last one. And that makes it special."As Catchings spoke, the gold medal glistened as noticeably as the tears forming in her eyes.Twitter @kcjhoop?Once upon a time, a little boy named Pierre got a stuffed animal monkey."Pierre named him Boo-Boo Monkey," writes his mother, Celine. "It is his best friend, he takes him everywhere, he wanted me to put some diapers on monkey (because according to Pierre Monkey is still a baby and needs diapers .... so cute) and some days I had to make some clothes too (LOL I can't believe I did it with paper towel), and of course Monkey would join us for dinner and always sleeps with Pierre."Or at least Boo-Boo Monkey did sleep with 4-year-old Pierre until the stuffed animal went missing somewhere in . "So you can imagine how hard it is for my little guy," writes Celine, who shared her plight with me but not her last name."Not a big deal for us, so we bought another one on amazon and gave it to Pierre, but it did not do the trick, Pierre knows that it is not his monkey."If there is a happy ending to this tale, it hasn't been written yet. Boo-Boo remains missing.Having gone about the usual ways of searching for lost toys, they've come up with an unusual one: lost posters, like the kind you'd see for missing cats and dogs.The poster, which former Baltimore Sun reporter Diana Sugg brought to the newsroom's attention, bears a photo of the brown furry fellow under the word "LOST.""My name is Boo-Boo Monkey," it reads. "I was lost on June 10th, 2011. I have a zipper on the back of my head and a diaper made with paper towel. REWARD $10."Celine does not hold out much hope that Boo-Boo will turn up, but she said they had to do something."I am pretty sure we will never find it again," she writes, "but Pierre was happy to put some flyers."?The plight of every coach is to get his or her team to play to its potential for the entire 60 minutes of a contest. The Marriotts Ridge and Howard field hockey teams made their coaches proud on Wednesday night, with both teams reaching a crescendo over the last 13 minutes, and the Mustangs prevailing, 3-2.Rebecca Biegel scored the game-winner with 5:38 left to play in the game. It was a fast break situation with an odd-man advantage for the Mustangs, which Biegel jumped on as the ball was crossed her way on the right post."I usually don’t play right wing, but that's where I was. There was a cross to the post and I hit it in," she said.The game didn’t start off exciting. In fact, it didn’t start until 4 p.m., 30 minutes past its scheduled start time. The reason for the delay was the condition of the field and whether it was suitable and safe to play. The officials finally decided to go ahead with the game. After the elongated warm-ups, both teams started sluggishly.Howard’s Casey White said, “It was kind of a tough game, especially starting late with the field conditions. It brought the mood down a little bit. So I thought when the game started it wasn’t intense for either team. As the game progressed, it picked up especially when goals started being scored.”That scoring took a while to get going. The first goal of the game came off a penalty stroke scored by the Lions’ Emily Penn more than halfway through the first half. Howard controlled the ball and the field for the majority of the half. Marriotts Ridge managed to create a couple of fast breaks and a series of corners. After one of the Mustang corners played out, there was traffic in front of the cage and Jenna Kerr put it past Lions keeper Alli Jakubek (4 saves) with 3:41 left in the half.The second half saw more fight from both sides. Just six minutes in, another penalty stroke was called and Penn stepped up again. This time, however, her shot was wide. The play evened out between the Mustangs and Lions. The Mustangs’ keeper Sophia Hamilton (15 saves) made some really impressive saves in traffic to keep Marriotts Ridge in the game.It was almost as if an alarm sounded signaling that time was running out because at about the 15 minute mark, both teams started to play with an extreme sense of urgency. Maddie Courtney tallied the first goal of the second half at 12:45 off an assist from Kerr as the result of a corner play. Howard answered back six minutes later. Hamilton had gone down for a shot and White collected the rebound and rocketed it into the goal. It was even for exactly 33 seconds until Biegel answered with the game winner.“It was very exciting and good for them to recognize that you can come back after a goal is scored against you and score again and it doesn’t have to take 5 minutes. It can happen in less than a minute,” said Marriotts Ridge coach Stacie Gado. “That’s a confidence booster for them.”Howard retaliated 1:15 after Biegel’s goal when White apparently scored on a corner play. But the officials ruled the shot illegal, stating it was a lifted drive (not allowed on a corner hit) and not a flicked ball. The goal was called back. The game ended.Howard out-shot Marriotts Ridge 17-7 and had an advantage in corners 16-5.In hockey it’s not how many opportunities you have, but rather what you do with what you’re given. In this contest, Marriotts Ridge was able to finish one goal ahead.Marriotts Ridge 3, Howard 2 Goals — MR: Kerr, Courtney, Biegel; Ho: Penn, White.Assists — MR: Kerr 2; Ho: None.Saves — MR: Hamilton 15; Ho: Jakubek 4.Half — 1-1. Around the leagueReservoir 2, Oakland Mills 0Freshman Carly Clarke scored the game-winner and junior Shayna Tiller added an insurance goal as Reservoir earned it’s first victory of the season. Celine Manneville recorded nine saves for Oakland Mills in the loss.Goals — Re: Clarke, Tiller.Assists — Re: Blanchard.Saves — Re: Lynch 4; OM: Manneville 9.Half — 1-0.Long Reach 3, Centennial 2 (OT)Clarissa Lopez-Diarte scored one in regulation and one in overtime in Long Reach’s victory over Centennial. Goals — LR: Lopez-Diarte 2, McClelland; C: Maclean, Uribe.Assists — LR: McClelland, Williams; C: Maclean, Mongilio.Saves — LR: Cote 10; C: Cosentino 13.Half — 1-1.Glenelg 14, Hammond 0Ivy Meissner and Stephanie Asher each had a hat trick in Glenelg’s victory over Hammond. Shannon Burt had 23 saves in goal for the Bears.Goals — G: Meissner 3, Asher 3, Philie 2, Regan 2, Baker 2, Taylor, Vandewall.Assists — G: Asher 2, Taylor 2, Russo, Baker, Vandewall.Saves — G: Hoyt 0, Goodman 1; Ha: Burt 23.Seton Keough 1, Glenelg Country 0Saves — GCS: Bates 9, Johnson 10.Standings (as of Oct. 3)Atholton, 7-0 county, 7-1 overallGlenelg, 6-0, 7-1River Hill, 6-1, 9-1Mt Hebron, 5-2, 7-2Marriotts Ridge, 5-2, 7-3Howard, 4-3, 6-3Long Reach, 3-4, 5-5Centennial, 2-5, 2-8Wilde Lake, 1-5Hammond, 1-6, 1-7Reservoir, 1-6, 1-9Oakland Mills, 0-7, 1-7Glenelg Country, 2-3 IAAM B, 3-4?Maven Pictures' and Celine Ratray have come on board "Rollin' Thunder," a comedy set in the world of the Atlanta hip-hop scene, with Federal Films' David Schulhof and Monte Lipman also producing.Screenplay has been penned by Kenny Smith, Jr., co-executive producer, writer, and director of the series "." Lipman is also president and CEO of Universal Republic Records, which will handle the soundtrack. "Thunder" centers on a former bowling champ turned ex-con who sees in a city-wide bowling tournament the chance to get back in the game, prove his innocence to the tycoon who owns Atlanta's biggest bowling alley, and mend bridges with his estranged teenaged daughter."This film paints a unique picture of a world that hasn't been portrayed onscreen," said Styler and Rattray. "Between Kenny's sharp writing and the opportunity to work on a music-driven project based in the world of hip-hop, it's something new and exciting for us here at Maven."Smith's credits include "The Show" and "Pair of Kings."Maven's first feature, Kirsten Wiig comedy "Imogene," premiered at the and sold to Lionsgate/Roadside. The banner is in post-production on "Filth," starring , , , and Imogen Poots.Schulhof, currently managing director of G2 Investment Group, and was formerly VP of Miramax and Dimension Films with executive music supervisor credits on "Chocolat," "The Cider House Rules" and "Life Is Beatiful." Universal Republic Records handled soundtracks for "Ted" and "The Hunger Games."Smith is represented by Gersh; Josh Adler, Mike Goldberg, Matt Ochacher and Mike Pelmont at New Wave; and Rick Genow at Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson & Binder.Click for more film news on Variety.com.?Maven Pictures' Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray have come onboard to produce the screen adaptation of Colum McCann's ballet story "Dancer."Davide Azzolini will produce along with Maven. "Dancer" is the story of Russian dancer Rudolph Nureyev, who was born during , defected at the age of 23 and became one of the best known dancers in the world before dying of in 1992."It's a moving tale -- one that really fits with Maven's commitment to stories with riveting characters," said Styler and Rattray.McCann's book imagines Nureyev's story from the perspectives of those who knew him. The tale follows Nureyev throughout his life, from a 6-year-old making his first dancing appearance, for wounded soldiers, to a brash young man leaving his family to study in Leningrad to a dance world sensation traveling Europe."Dancer" received the Hughes & Hughes Irish Novel of the Year Award. McCann was the recipient of the National Book Award for his 2009 novel "Let the World Spin."Maven currently has "Filt" and "Imogene" in post-production. Azzolini just finished producing the documentary "Enzo Avitabile Music Life," directed by .Click for more film news on Variety.com.?Afforded a night away at college, something he never experienced when he was young, Roger Sobrado had an idea: toga party! Alas, he couldn't get enough of his middle-aged cohorts to sign on. So he had to settle for dining hall chow and a blandly furnished dorm room. But that was enough for Sobrado, whose daughter is an incoming freshman at McDaniel College in Westminster. "I personally did not have the college experience, living in a residence hall and eating in the dining room," he said. "It's amazing. I got to see where she'll be walking, where she'll be eating. It really put my mind at ease." Sobrado was one of about 200 McDaniel moms and dads who spent two days earlier this month on campus for "Parent Preview." The program, in its second year, is designed to give parents a taste of what their children will experience when school starts at the end of August. Given rising college costs and a generation of parents used to being deeply involved in their children's lives, similar programs are springing up around the country — a new method of customer service for an industry sometimes accused of being aloof in the face of runaway inflation. Other area schools, such as the and theUniversity of Maryland, , offer parent orientations on the weekends when incoming students are dropped off. But McDaniel — where the close-knit community is a selling point — opted for a more in-depth approach. "We felt like we needed to spend more time with incoming parents," said Beth Gerl, the college's vice president for student affairs. "Moving-in day is extremely wearing physically and emotionally. So we thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to get them in here earlier when they can experience everything imaginable?'" During their whirlwind 29 hours on campus, parents sat through briefings on financial aid, health services and dorm life. They peppered current students with questions about roommate relations, ideal study spots and computer needs. The only difficulty, Gerl joked, was getting the parents to bed after a beer and wine reception. The program, which costs $125 per adult, has proven popular, with some parents flying in from Alaska, Texas and California. Over the two sessions, about 200 parents participated from an incoming class of 445 students. "This is like the insider's view to know what's going to happen when you first get here," said Donna Stanton, whose daughter, Kiara, recently graduated from Loch Raven High School in . "We feel more welcome, now that we've been here like this," added her husband, Michael. Debbie Mayer of Arnold already has sent three children to college but said she was impressed by McDaniel's efforts to explain the campus culture. Based on the preview, she said, she'll tell her son, John, that the school really wants him to succeed. "If you have any question at all, reach out," she said she'll tell him. But do students want their parents digging so deeply into an experience traditionally cherished as a first leap toward independence? Gerl said she encounters some students who are "a little blown away" by how much their parents know after the preview. Tricia Meola, a sophomore from New Jersey, said she was mystified when her parents left for the first preview weekend in 2011. "But once they came back, I was more comfortable, because they were much more comfortable with everything," she said. "I would absolutely recommend it, especially for first-time parents of college students. It lets them know the truth versus the myths." Robert Simon and his wife, Celine, flew in from Los Angeles to experience the environment where their daughter, Anijke, will make decisions that will shape her life. "It gives us a really good feel for the school, for the programs, the people," Simon said. "It's going to be a major change and, in some ways, it's going to be very hard, but very good for her. You have to leave the nest sometimes, whether you're five miles away or 500." Simon said he would leave the preview with a sense that the McDaniel faculty and staff will watch out for his daughter's well-being, both in terms of safety and education.?LOS ANGELES -- two oldest children made an appearance at the in Los Angeles Sunday night during a tribute to their father.Music stars , , , , and mingled their voices with a recording of the late king of pop in a musical tribute, while a special 3-D video clip Jackson made of "Earth Song" for use in his was shown. Free 3-D "Grammy" glasses were distributed at Target stores nationwide so viewers could watch the show in 3-D from their living rooms.Clad in black suits with red armbands, , 12, and Paris, 11 accepted their father's lifetime achievement award from Smokey Robinson."Through all his songs his message was simple: love. We will continue to spread his message and help the world," Prince said.Sunday evening's Grammy Awards marked the first public appearance for Prince Michael and Paris since the public memorial service 12 days after their father's death last summer.The children were originally going to take part in a much smaller Grammy event Sunday, at which they were going to accept their father's Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.Instead, the children appeared on stage after a change agreed to by their grandmother and legal guardian, . Jackson's former manager, Frank Dileo.The youngest of the three Jackson children, 7-year-old did not attend the awards show.Michael Jackson was 50 years old when he died June 25, 2009, just two weeks before he was to begin the London concert series.The Los Angeles County coroner ruled his death a homicide resulting from a combination of drugs.Jackson's personal physician, , has been the focus of a criminal investigation, but no charges have been filed. Murray was with Jackson at the time of his death.?On an afternoon in early October, I sat in a pew in an old church and took in Mass. A woman dressed all in white sang a soothing hymn, and then a priest in an intricate, green robe read from a prepared sermon; behind him, an imposing pipe organ dominated the sparsely-crowded room. I didn't understand a word. The service, the song, the Bible — everything was in French. This was the Notre-Dame Basilica in , a nearly 200-year-old gem that's been the site of state funerals and, perhaps as notable, 's wedding. A very lapsed Catholic, I only go to church on Christmas, but to leave Montreal without stepping inside this landmark would be like leaving Disney World without riding . The hour I spent there, pretending to listen to the service, while I really just gazed at the stained-glass windows, the towering ceiling and all the immaculately preserved religious icons, was a welcome respite. Montreal is a city that moves at ten different speeds — you can stroll around Old Montreal, casually dine on foie gras at one of the locavore-friendly restaurants in town, or you can go dancing and stay up past 4 a.m. It's an ideal fall vacation. While the city has a reputation for hipness and sensuality, I found that it appeals to both the history buff and the restless urbanite, the big spender and the traveler on a budget. Motivated by affordable railway fares — until Nov. 23, Amtrak is offering double-reward points on all travel — I went on a bit of a expedition this month, taking the train from Baltimore to Toronto for $140, and then to Montreal. I stayed four nights in the city, and for the return trip snagged a $78 direct train ride back home. Toronto has its pockets of curiosities, but it ends up being a reminder of many cities in the Northeast. It's not for nothing that it often doubles for New York in movies. It's the no-fun house to Montreal's love shack. Canada's second-largest city, on the other hand, offers historic architecture, exceptional dining, nonstop music and all that … Frenchness. In Montreal, you don't need to remember your high school 'je m'appelle's'; everyone, except maybe bus drivers, speaks English too. But the vibe, from the food to the nightlife habits, is distinctly Gallic. The club scene I arrived in Montreal on a Friday night and went directly to L'Addresse du Centre-Ville, a handsome, spacious and affordable ($90 a night) bed-and-breakfast listed on a handy travel site (www.bedandbreakfast.com). With a convenient location near the Beaudry metro station on Saint Catherine Street, it is close to any number of attractions — the Montreal Botanical Gardens, which from September to late October is decorated with hundreds of traditional Chinese lanterns, or a late-night screening of at the Cinema Imperial (showing through Oct. 31). But after five hours on a train, what I needed was a beer. In the Mile-End neighborhood, the Royal Phoenix was throwing a party by an American expat who specializes in arcane . I walked through graffitied streets — "Well Come to Montreal" was scrawled under one bridge — past some ominous-looking warehouses and cut through train tracks to get to the nondescript but hip bar. The neighborhood reminded me of Baltimore's district. Though scruffy-looking, it's an area known as a hub of artists and filmmakers. Phoenix was roomy enough for an open dance floor and a full-service bar; my beer was $5 Canadian, or about $4.93. It also had a better-than-usual bar grub menu, with items like tofu po'boys. The night was early, though, and on the dance floor, only a few stragglers swayed to the music. For more high-end — read "pricier" — bars, try the martinis at Reporter, at the Westin Hotel downtown, or KoKo, which is said to have visited. Flashy and exclusive, KoKo boasted an epic line of well-dressed, patient patrons waiting to be let into the inner sanctum. I wasn't as patient and left to try Vauvert, an equally clubby, dimly-lit restaurant in Old Montreal that turns into a bar after dinner and hosts dance-music . For some serious dancing, I went to , which is located in the gay district, itself one of the best spots in town for people-watching. Clubgoers and drag queens outnumber the taxis, and the sidewalks are their runways as they try to outdo each other with ever more exaggerated ensembles. The club was a labrynth that spread over three smoky, hard-to-make-out-the-person-next-to-you floors. There was even a patio on the top floor that overlooked the village. The music, of course, was predictably relentless, and left me beat. ?LOS ANGELES -- More than 75 mega-stars gathered Monday tore-record the 1985 charity anthem "We are the World" in the sameHollywood recording studio where the original was cut 25 years ago., , , the , , , , Akon and other musical luminaries stood shoulder to shoulder on risers at Henson Recording studios,singing their hearts out and hoping to help . , who produced the 1985 anthem, announced last weekthat he planned to redo the song to benefit recovery from thedeadly Jan. 12 in Port-au- .Written by and , the original "WeAre the World" thundered up the charts when it was released on theradio and in record stores in March 1985.An unprecedented number of top pop musicians gathered at A&M thenight of Jan. 28, 1985, following the , torecord the tune. The song featured 45 American superstars,including Jackson, Richie, , , , , , and .The record raised more than $30 million for USA for Africa, anonprofit organization founded by the singers to fund hunger reliefin African nations.True to her diva reputation, recorded her soloover and over, completely absorbed in the recording process andstopping only to correct her pitch.While reporters watched a video feed of the session in a nearbyroom, stars like West mingled outside with friends, greeting hisbuddy, , with a hug.Julianne Hough from "Dancing with the Stars," who is also acountry singer, was only 3 years old when the original tune cameout. She said she felt honored to lend her voice to the effort andsing next to so many talented musicians."It's just iconic. Celine (Dion) is just so gracious andamazing and such a pro," she said.The session was all the talk at Sunday night's Grammyfestivities. Music producer RedOne said being asked to participatewas "the biggest honor a musician can ever do.""Having Quincy, our father of music ... and Lionel Richieasking me to contribute and help, I said of course, because this isnot about me," he said. "It's about Haiti."? plugged his plan to increase taxes on millionaires yet again Wednesday morning, but this time with a new twist – appearing alongside rich people who support the signature tenet.The proposal would require that people earning $1 million a year or more pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class families. Obama calls it the “ rule” after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has famously complained that he pays a lower rate than does his secretary. To help make the point, the endorsers showed up with their assistants. Appearing on stage with Obama were Abigail Disney, president of the Daphne Foundation, and her assistant, Celine Justice. Whitney Tilson, managing partner of T2 Partners LLC, appeared with her assistant, Kelli Alires; retiree Frank Jernigan joined with his assistant, Teresa Gardiner; and Lawrence Benenson, of Benenson Capital, appeared with his assistant, Carmen Peterson.None of those millionaires has told him they’re excited about paying more taxes, Obama said.But “they agree with Warren,” he said. “This should be fixed.”The measure is highly unlikely to pass the divided Congress this election year. But the message was live on network television this morning, same as Tuesday, giving the president’s “tax fairness” message the kind of exposure that money can’t buy.Original source: ?LONDON -- In a race in which showed there is nothing wrong with his game, the U.S. men's freestyle relay team was passed in the final strokes by France to lose the gold medal and settle for silver. But it wasn't as if the U.S. looked bad Sunday. It's just that a very strong performance by Yannick Agnel allowed him to chase down on the anchor leg. Phelps had the fastest split joining and on the team. got things started strong for the U.S. by winning the 100 butterfly in a world record time of 55.98. Ying Lu of China got the silver and Alicia Coutts won the bronze. In other finals, won the silver in the women's 400 freeestyle. The winner was Camille Muffat of France, who broke the Olympic record. Homecountry favorite Rebecca Adlington picked up the bronze. And, Brendan Hansen got a bronze medal in the men's 100 breaststroke. Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa set a world record in winning the gold. Christian Sprenger of Australia was third.Archery: The U.S. women couldn't duplicate the medal performance of the men losing to China in the quarterfinals. Miranda Leek, Khatuna Long and Jennifer Nichols will now focus on the individual competition. The gold was won by South Korea, which beat China in the gold-medal match. Japan won its first ever archery medal by finishing third.Badminton: The U.S. men's team of Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan lost to Keat Koo and Boon Heong Tan of , 21-12, 21-14 for their second straight loss and virtual elimination from the tournament. They face Naoki Kawamae and Shoji Satoof Japan in their last match on Monday. Rena Wang, the lone U.S. singles player, will go up against Xin Wang of China on Monday.Basketball: The U.S. Dream Team started slow and then rolled easily over France, 98-71. Kevin Durant was the high scorer with 22 points and nine rebounds. Kevin Love had 14 points and had 10. The U.S. outrebounded France, 56-40. In other games, Nigeria beat Tunisia, 60-56; Brazil topped Australia, 75-71; Spain beat China, 97-81 and Russia stopped Britain, 95-75.Beach volleyball: Americans continued to advance on the second day of competition. and had an easy time with Kentaro Asahi and Katsuhiro Shiratori of Japan, 21-15, 21-16. Next they play Adrian Gavira Collado and Pablo Herrera Allepuz of Spain on Tuesday. and Jennifer Kessy also had it easy with a win over Argentina's Ana Gallay and Maria Virginia Zonta, 21-11, 218. Their next opponent is Marleen van Iersel and Sanne Keizer also on Tuesday.Boxing: The reimagined U.S. team continued to advance its boxers to the round of 16 as and Errol Spence both won. Ramirez just got by Rachid Azzedine of France, 21-20. His next opponent is Fazliddin Gaibnazarov of Uzbekistan on Thursday. Spence had it a little easier beating Myke Ribeiro de Carvalho of Brazil, 16-10. He will fight Krishan Vikas of India on Friday.Canoe/kayak: It wasn't much of a day for the U.S. team. Casey Eichfeld finished 14th in the men's single canoe and failed to make the final 12. Michael Martikan of Slovakia was the leader. In the men's single kayak, Scott Parsons, also did not advance, finishing 16th. The top 15 advance in that event. Hannes Aigner of Germany was the leader.Cycling: Britain got its first medal of the Games when Elizabeth Armistead got the silver in the women's road race. The race was won by Marianne Vos of the Nethlands. Olga Zabelinskaya of Russia, who traded spots with the first two for most of the last six miles, got the bronze. was the high U.S. finisher in seventh. She suffered a flat tire near the end of the race s killing any chance of a medal. Other U.S. finishers were Evelyn Steven (24th), (35th) and (36th).Diving: It was quite a surprise when and won the silver medal in the women's 3-meter synchronized competition. It was the first diving medal for the U.S. since 2000 and the first ever medal in synchro. Not surprisingly, the winners were the Chinese pair of He Zi and Wu Minxia. Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans of Canada got the bronze.Equestrian: Everyone came to see Zara Phillips, granddaughter of , and while making a minor mistake finished 24th of 74 riders after the first of three disciplines--the dressage. But a lot can happen with cross-country and show jumping to follow. After one event Germany was leading followed by Australia and Britain. The United States was seventh. In individual competition Yoshiaki Oiwa of Japan was leading with Stefano Brecciaroli of Italy in second.Fencing: Two U.S. men were able to advance to the quarterfinals of the sabre competition but that's where their medal dreams stopped. Daryl Homer lost to Romania's Rares Dumitrescu, 15-13, and Tim Morehouse was beaten by Diego Occhiuzzi of Itlay, 15-9. The other U.S. fencer, James Williams was beaten early by Nikolay Kovalev of Russia. Hungary's Aron Szilagyi won the gold by beating Diego Occhiuzzi of Italy, 15-8. Kovalev won the bronze. Field hockey: The U.S. women's team dropped its opening match of the tournament, 2-1, to Germany. Lauren Crandall scored the lone U.S. goal on a penalty corner. Their next next match is Tuesday against Argentina, which beat South Africa, 7-1. In other matches the Netherlands beat Belgium, 3-0; China stopped South Korea, 4-0; Britain beat Japan, 4-0 and New Zealand over Australia, 1-0.Gymnastics: The U.S. women matched the men's team by finishing first in qualification for the final. Russia, China and Romania followed them. However, the scores do not move to the next round so everyone starts even. The U.S. also qualified in the vault, in the uneven bars, and Douglas in the beam and and Raisman in the floor. Raisman and Douglas will also compete in the all-around. In a bit of a shock, Wieber, the defending all-around world champion, could not overcome several mistakes and did not make that final.Team handball: In men's preliminary action it was Iceland over Argentina, Sweden beating Tunisia, France over Britain, Croatia stopping South Korea, Spain beating Serbia and Denmark beating Hungary. Judo: North Korea got its first gold of the Games when An Kae Um beat Acosta Bermoy of Cuba in the women's 115-pound class, the match went to overtime. Priscilla Gneto of France got the bronze. In the men's 145-pound class, Lasha Shavdatuashvili of Georgia beat Miklos Ungvari of Hungary for that gold. Rosalba Forciniti took home the bronze. There were no Americans in the competition.Rowing: The U.S. women's eight, unbeaten in six years, won its heat and advanced to the finals and a showdown with Canada. The Canadian crew was a split-second short of upsetting the U.S. in a recent regatta. The final will be held on Thursday. In the lightweight men's four, the U.S. won the repechage competition and was allowed to advance to the semifinals.Sailing: After one day and two races, the competition started to take shape. In the men's Finn, Jonas Hogh-Christensen of Denmark was leading followed by Ben Ainslie of Britain. The highest ranked U.S. sailor was Zach Railey in 15th. Brazil was leading Ireland in the men's Star racing. The U.S. boat of Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih was 10th. And, in the women's Elliot round robin standings, the three teams ahead were Australia, Spain and Russia. The U.S. crew of Anna Tunnicliffe, and Molly O'Bryan was fourth.Shooting: Kim Rhode became part of U.S. Olympic history when she medaled in her fifth straight Olympics. She won the gold in the women's skeet in a nearly flawless performance. She missed only one of 100 targets. It was still an Olympic record. It was her third gold to go with a silver from Beijing and a bronze in Sydney. Wei Ning of China was awarded the silver (she missed nine targets) and Danka Bartekova of Slovakia took the bronze. She had to beat Marina Belikova of Russia in a shoot off. In the women's air pistol, Wenjun Guo of China took the gold, followed by Celine Goberville of France and Olena Kostevych of the Ukraine. Sandra Uptagrafft was the highest U.S. competitor in 28th. Soccer: FIFA, soccer's governing body is looking into the hit to the face that U.S. player suffered against Colombia. Wambach claimed to be "sucker-punched" by Lady Andrade. No action is expected before Monday. In men's games, Senegal beat Uruguay, 2-0, Britain over United Arab Emirates, 3-1, Mexico beat Gabon 2-0, South Korea over Switzerland, 2-1, Honduras beat Spain, 1-0 and Japan 1, Morocco 0.Table tennis: Ariel Hsing, the lone U.S. player left in singles competition, extended the No. 2 ranked player Li Xiaoxia of China to six games before falling. Bill Gates, a friend of Hsing's, was there to watch. Earlier in the day, Hsing beat former world champion Ni Xia Lian of Luxembourg. The U.S. now has to wait until Friday to join team play, opening with Japan.Tennis: Rain was the winner at as 32 matches were postponed and four suspended. But those on Centre Court, where there is a roof, were able to be completed. Among those winners were over of Israel, 6-2, 6-0, and of Germany, Britain's and of France. , playing on Court 1, beat of Italy in three sets.Volleyball: The U.S. men's team opened play with an easy win over Serbia, 25-17, 25-22, 25-21. Their next game is Tuesday against Germany. In other games, Bulgaria beat Britain, 3-0; Argentina over Australia, 3-0; Poland stopped Italy, 3-1 and Russia beat Germany, 3-0. Water polo: It was tougher than expected for the U.S. men's team but they beat Montenegro, 8-7. scored three goals for the U.S. with , , , and each getting one. Their next match is Tuesday against Romania. In other matches, Croatia beat Greece, 8-6; Spain over Kazakhstan, 14-6; Italy over Australia, 8-5; Serbia over Hungry, 14-10 and Romania handled Britain, 13-4.Weighlifting: On Yun Chol of North Korea lifted more than triple his weight to win gold in the men's 123-pound class. He set an Olympic record in the clean and jerk. Wu Jiangbiao of China got the silver medal and Valentin Hristov of Azerbaijan took home the bronze. In the women's 117-pound class, Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan had a world record in the clean and jerk and won the gold. She topped Hsu Shuching of Taiwan and Cristina Iovu of Moldova on the medal stand. There were no Americans in the competition.?One of my guaranteed chuckles at our theme parks is during MuppetVision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Kermit the Frog and company are producing a musical spectacular and he asks what the title is. "It's 'A Salute to All Nations … But Mostly America,' " replies Sam Eagle. Ah, right on target. Let's laugh at ourselves, even in these triumphant Olympic times. Another line that stands out for me is during the Amazing Adventures of ride at . Our web-slinging hero says "this could be the most dangerous night of my life [dramatic pause] and yours!" He points at us twice on the "and yours" part, using the 3-D effect to fullest effect. I like to point back at Spidey and say "and yours" with him, as if the ride included crowd participation a la "." (I still think that would be awesome. Who's in?) The parks have loads of prerecorded messages in shows and queues, some humorous, some instructional, some poignant. I've assembled a few in quiz form (answers are in the gray area to the side). In what attraction would you hear these words? And what character is speaking? 1. "Everything looks good. I think ... I think this time it's … going to work! … No! No! No! No!" Clue: It's not easy being green. 2. "This chamber has no windows and no doors ... which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out!" Clue: But vertical stripes are so slimming. 3. "I hate smiling." Clue: Perhaps he has come down with boogie fever. 4. "Leaving so soon? I think not." Clue: Think old-school lost continent. 5. "Prepare to forfeit your souls! Death is only the beginning!" Clue: That's a wrap! 6. "We may come from different places and believe different things, but what makes us American is a shared spirit — a spirit of courage and determination, of kindness and generosity." Clue: It's a commander but not Commander Coconut. 7. "Thank the Phoenicians" ?'s thriller "Guilty Wives" is headed for the bigscreen, with Maven Pictures' Celine Rattray and and James Patterson Entertainment onboard to produce.Leopoldo Gout will produce along with Maven; James Patterson and Steve Bowen of James Patterson Entertainment exec produce. "Guilty Wives," penned by Patterson and David Ellis and set to be published in March, is the story of a woman who had everything -- a handsome, successful husband; beautiful children; and cool, jet-set friends. But she steps into a terrible trap on a girls' weekend in Monte Carlo and wakes up sentenced to life in the treacherous French prison system and begins a quest to set things right again.The prolific Patterson's best known for his series centering on psychologist Alex Cross, with "Along Came a Spider," "Kiss the Girls" and the upcoming "I, Alex Cross" adapted into features. He is also the creator of detective series "'s Murder Club," from which the ABC series was adapted.Rattray and Styler said, "It's an ideal project for Maven as we expand into more commercial territory."Maven's first feature film, "Imogene," starring , and , is currently in post-production, and Maven is in development with New Regency on "Second Act," with set to produce and star, as well as " Vixen," with starring.Maven's also producing with on "A Fair Marriage" as a potential starring vehicle for Parker through her Pretty Matches banner with partner Allison Benson (Daily Variety, Oct. 21).Click for more articles on Variety.com.?Some people are happy collecting fast cars or nice watches. But the ultimate vanity purchase may be the private island.Billionaire Richard Branson owns several. Magician David Copperfield has a dozen. Singer is trying to sell hers. And tech titan is closing a deal to buy nearly all of the Hawaiian island of Lanai. Although private islands are often associated with the very rich, they aren't always that exclusive or even all that expensive.Private Islands Inc., a Toronto-based island marketing firm, lists about 500 islands worldwide from less than $50,000 to more than $100 million, Chief Executive Chris Krolow said.U.S., Canadian and British buyers make up about 80% of the market; far-flung locales such as the Caribbean have a more international buyer base, he said. The Bahamas and Belize are hot, as is Panama. In the Mediterranean, Greek islands are popular."Before the recession, a lot of islands were priced by owners who had what we call Coke-bottle glasses," Krolow said. "They put crazy price tags on their islands."Price drops in areas such as the Bahamas and a sense that values have bottomed out have brought increased interest in island ownership."It has opened the door to people looking," Krolow said. "They are more comfortable now."Ego, extravagance and identity play roles in some high-profile trophy purchases, experts say, but others are motivated by privacy and security."These types of people are looking to create something for themselves, to put up a flag and say, 'This is my own little country,'" Krolow said. "They all tend to be very entrepreneurial. Not just the wealthy, but those who are determined to do something different."Celebrities have long populated the ranks of island owners, including , and . Even those not pursued by paparazzi can understand the desire for seclusion these days, said clinical psychologist Stephen Goldbart, co-founder of the San Francisco-based Money, Meaning & Choices Institute."We are all living in a world where there isn't much privacy," said Goldbart. One of his clients has bought an island, and several others are interested in making their own purchases. "The need for feeling safe and secure has increased radically since the economic downturn."Island buyers tend to fall into two groups: people who are making lifestyle choices and entrepreneurs developing resorts.Oracle Corp.CEO Ellison's recent deal to buy 98% of Lanai could be considered an example of a trophy purchase since ownership has been a money-losing proposition for seller David Murdock, the Los Angeles billionaire who controls Dole Food Co.The estimated $500-million deal makes little sense from a financial standpoint, said , who teaches real estate at the Anderson School of Management. Among the reasons he cites are a lack of resort potential because of a mostly rocky beachfront and scant infrastructure."It is probably more of a quality-of-life investment — a pride-of-ownership purchase," Habibi said. "Who wouldn't want to own a Hawaiian island?"Murdock, though unloading the 141-square-mile island, is keeping his Lanai home and some other assets, including a woodworking shop and 1,000 rare orchid plants.Dion and her husband, Rene Angelil, put their private island up for sale in Quebec in late spring. The couple, who also own a home in Florida, could seldom get to their island mansion because of Dion's touring schedule, so they listed it for sale at more than $29 million.?Pyramide Films has acquired French rights to 's Venice Competition hit "Killer Joe."Sold by Voltage Pictures, which also produced with ANA Media, "Joe" stars as a Dallas detective hired by a drug dealer () to kill his mother for a $50,000 insurance policy. A black comedy with memorable violence, "Joe" scored top marks in a Venice critics' poll. Liddell Entertainment has U.S. distrib rights.For French critics and auds, "Joe" has many things going for it: A Hollywood director whose ability to make multi-prized films within the Hollywood system -- "The Exorcist," "The French Connection" -- ranks him as a serious auteur; plus film noir overtones, which appeal to a country with its own film noir tradition." 'Joe' is a bit out-there. Some scenes can achieve cult-status. French critics should love it," said Pyramide prexy Eric Lagesse.One of top arthouse labels, Pyramide has also acquired French distribution and foreign rights to "Here Below," from Jean-Pierre Denis, whose latest movie, "Murderous Maids," played Berlin's Panorama.Preeming at the 14th Unifrance Paris Rendez-Vous, which begins Wednesday, "Below," based on true events, toplines fast-rising actress Celine Sallette ("House of Tolerance," "Rust and Bone") as a nun who falls for a French Resistance fighter.The story of "increasingly desperate, destructive love," in Denis' words, bows on around 50 prints in France Jan. 18.Click for more international news on Variety.com.? Lexi Josefik scored in two goals and had an assist to pace Bald Eagle Area to a 5-4 goirls' soccer victory over West Branch on Saturday.Makayla Donley and Haley Giedroc each had a goal as BEA (2-2) took a 2-0 lead at the half. Josefik scored twice and Meghan Peters added a goal in a wild second half. Emilee Hoffower had two goals and an assist in the second half for West Branch.Makennah Dyke made four saves for BEA, which nexts plays host to Penns Valley on Tuesday. State College tumblesSTATE COLLEGE -- Redland's Bryce score the game's only goal midway through the first half to hand State College a 1-0 loss on Saturday.Redland held a 9-5 edge in shots and corner kicks against the Lady Little Lions (3-3). State College goalie Sarah Hartman stopped six shots.The Lady Little Lion travel to Mifflin County on Tuesday.Boys' soccerLittle Lions roarBETHLEHEM --Jake Garrigan and Will Edwardseach had a goal and an assist in the first half as State College blanked prviously unbeaten Redland 3-0 on Saturday.Garrigan scored in the 11th minute on an assist from Edwards and returned the favor on Edwards' goal about seven minutes later.Joe Thomas closed out the Little Lions scoring 13 minutes into the second half on an assist from Denali Lumpkin.State College plays host to Mifflin County on Tuesday.Cross CountrySt. Joseph's Hopple runner-up in Altoona meetALTOONA -- St. Joseph Academy's Christian Hopple placed second overall to lead all area finishers in the Altoona Mountain Lion Invitational on Saturday.Hopple, who finished 16 minutes, 54.90 seconds, and winner Jordan Jackson (16:43.08) of Wellsboro were the only runners to break 17 minutes on the 3.1-mile course.Stephen Forstmeier (18:36.86) was 43rd as St. Joseph's placed 14th among 22 teams competing. Altoona (67 points) easily won the team title, topping second-place Westmont Hilltop by 80 points.Philipsburg-Osceola placed 22nd. Kaleb Bennett (114th, 20:55.09) was the Mountiers' top finisher.In the girls' event, Philipsburg-Osceola was 19th.Taylor Guelich (107th, 25:21.42) andTesha Harned (108th, 25:26.75) led the Lady Mounties.Valerie Guardado (127th, 26:47.58) was the lone runs for St. Joseph's.?First off, big thanks to Diane Trap for covering for me last week when I was traveling. Secondly, I HATE THE NEW FORMAT OF THE SHOW THIS YEAR.So last week, we didn't vote, but this week we do, but next week is the actual finale, even though last week they called this week's show the finale? STOP DRAGGIN' MY HEART AROUND, Nigel.I absolutely love Cat's red dress tonight. So classic, so pretty, and so shiny. Judges tonight are Nigel, Mary, and Rob Marshall (director of Chicago). Eliana and Cyrus have a paso doble. And Jason Gilkinson has decided to switch the roles, with Eliana as the matador and Cyrus as the cape. And it's all set to Daft Punk,with Cyrus wearing a skirt over his pants, so we already know it's gonna be unusual. Y'all look, I love Cyrus's personality as much as the next fan, but Eliana clearly outdanced him there. It was slowed down far too much and lacked some of the in-hold moves I like to see in ballroom.Nigel heaps praise on Eliana, but points out that Cyrus's technique still needs some work. Mary comments that she could've done without the cartwheel and one of the leaps (so, basically, the things put in specifically to play to Cyrus's strengths) and then comments that Eliana was "on fire." Rob praises Eliana's ability to tell the story.There's a cute moment when Cat asks Cyrus to give her his best "Blue Steel" and he charmingly obliges.Tiffany has a routine with Season 4's William Wingfield in a Sonya Tayeh routine. I don't remember Wil having these braids during his season and they look really good on him. I like this Moloko song they're dancing to, "Time Is Now."Mary calls Tiffany a "fabulous" dancer and calls her with Will "a perfect partnership." Nigel praises tiffany as more than the "girl next door" and adds she's a fabulous dancer.I'm so excited that with Chehon and Eliana being paired up we're getting an honest to goodness ballet routine. In this case it's choreographed by Marat Daukayev and is set to music from the Nutcracker suite. Also, we get Chehon in ballet tights, so that's a plus. Well, that went about as well as you'd expect with one dancer who attended the Joffrey and another who was at the Royal Ballet School.Rob says that routine is what "separates the men from the boys." Nigel praises how good Eliana is and then throws out a lot of French ballet talk to back up his point. He also praises how easy Chehon made the lifts look. Mary's near tears with how special the dance was.Cyrus and Tiffany have a lyrical hip hop choreographed by Tessandra Chavez, who I think is new to the show. I still remain bored by "lyrical" hip hop. I wish we could have swapped out half the lyrical hip hop routines this season for some sort of ballroom, particularly more tangos and quicksteps.Nigel congratulates Cyrus and Tiffany on never being in the bottom per America's votes and then calls them both "incredible." Mary says they "killed it." Rob says both of them have "abandon", something he loves in dancers.And now it's a group dance for all four finalists, choreographed by Tyce D'Orio. Eliana's en pointe and Tiffany's in heels, so I like it already. It starts out with the traditional classical "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" but it's a remix that occasionally allows Cyrus to get weird. Overall, I give it a "meh."In her clip package, Eliana makes some of the cutest goofy faces. Her favorite routine may have been partnering with Alex Wong. Her solo is done in toe shoes and doesn't feel that different from what he saw her do last week.Stacey Tookey is choreographing for Allison Holker and Chehon to a song from During rehearsal, Stacey gets the giggles over just how good Chehon is. Gorgeous routine and it ends with a kiss, which makes the audience go wild. I have to admit, I watched it twice immediately and got chillbumps both times. The way they used their arms to communicate the emotion of the dance... just breathtaking. Cat points out he did a one-handed lift. So now I'll go watch it a third time to look for that. The things I subject myself to for you, loyal readers. Ah, there it is - he puts her up with both arms and then pulls one arm away to hold her with, yes, just one hand. Day-um.Mary screams long and loud, she liked it so much. Oh, Mary, I don't think you're allowed to quote to describe a dancer, no matter how good it was. Rob says he gets now why Stacey was so ecstatic in rehearsals. Nigel spends too much time talking about Allison - she's not the contestant! When he starts talking about Chehon, he praises him for showing his emotional range. They show Chehon's parents in the audience and they're so European, it's adorable - all funky glasses and eff you hair.Ray Leeper is "taking burlesque to Broadway" with a pole involved in their routine to "When You're Good to Mama" from Chicago (Rob Marshall synergy!). Side by side like this, it's no question to me that Eliana is the better dancer. Also, she's the only one that does any actual pole work - the most Tiffany ever does is hold on to it.Rob says he's trying to imagine doing that (She had that role/song in the movie version, even though they danced to the 1996 Broadway revival version.) The judges are unanimous in their praise, easily glossing over how Eliana was miles better than Tiffany.Cyrus has a solo which looks like every other solo he's done. I generally find the solos so uninteresting, because these terrific dancers aren't usually terrific choreographers. And the solos are so short, it's difficult to develop any kind of character or story, so it's just about the tricks.Tiffany talks about how her lack of exposure in the early shows made her think she wasn't going to make the top 20 and then how dancing with her lookalike Audrey was a hindrance. She's impressed that she's made it as far as she has. And not to say she isn't a good dancer, but I share her surprise. Tiffany does her solo. See above re: solos.?Spring merchandise has officially hit the stores, and one trend should be immediately noticeable: bright colors. They were everywhere on the spring-summer 2011 runways, including at the show, where candy colors managed to look minimal when shown with crisp white shirts or layered with sleek black coats, and at and Burberry, where various tones of shocking aqua and cobalt were paired for a cool (and somehow punchy) look. Color blocking, as seen on the runway, is another major trend.Other designer and contemporary brands explored the color wheel as well. "For spring we bought a lot of color, from acid pinks to orange-red to cobalt blue to tangerine," says Jeannie Lee, owner of 3rd Street's Satine Boutique, which stocks lines from designers including , , and . Retailer Hillary Rush, who owns her eponymous boutique, also on 3rd Street, has already starting seeing the color craze take effect with customers. " The oversized raglan shirt from Monrow has totally sold out in the hibiscus color," a coral-orange Rush says. "When a bright color like that sells out before the black or white, it's always a statement that people are wearing color that season."On the other end of the spectrum, shoppers are likely to encounter lots of white. The natural, yet luxe look of an all-white ensemble (which also works in winter, but is a lot more practical in the warmer months) looked fresh in the runway collections of , and . is also turning out a number of white items, from easy button-downs to wide leg trousers, all in shades of white and off-white and in stores this summer. And there's no shortage of white jeans, which are showing up in the spring and summer lines of J Brand, MIH and 7 for All Mankind.Shoppers may also notice a '60s and '70s aesthetic dictating the shape of denim this season."Denim flares are really hot," says Caprice C. Willard, vice president-regional planning manager for Macys, where brands such as and Levi's have incorporated the style. Flared and wide-leg jeans are also big sellers on the boutique level; Satine's Lee says wide-leg jeans have been flying off the shelves.On spring-summer 2011 runways such as 's, models wore wide-leg jeans with tucked-in white button-downs and chic wedge sandals. On the street we're bound to see a more relaxed version of the look, with women wearing bell bottom-style jeans with T-shirts and sandals or perhaps flared jeans with a tucked-in tank top and a blazer for evening.The other denim trend for spring is a gamine, '60s crop. The pant leg ends at least 2 inches above the ankle. The jeans look great with ballet flats or a low-mid wedge sandal.The '70s vibe also includes versions of the maxi-length skirt and dress. Floor-grazing styles were featured in the collections of and Jil Sander and are showing up in stores such as the Gap, and Club Monaco. "The maxi-dress is really important this season and we are seeing a resurgence with it," Willard says. "The maxi length actually stays important in Southern California all year long."?Emily North, of Baldwin; Kathryn Nunn, of Parkton, and Roderick Lancaster, of Phoenix, have been named to the dean's list at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pa.Daniel Weinel, of Jarrettsville, a freshman music recording technology major, was recognized as a first-semester freshman and transfer students for making an impact on the campus as a new student at Lebanon Valley College, Annville, Pa.Andrea Pace, of Monkton, Ellen Hartig, of Parkton, and Shannon Meehan of Upperco, were named to the dean's list at Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y., for the fall 2011 semester. Robert J. Montgomery, of Parkton, has been named to the dean's list for the fall 2011 semester at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. The following students have been named to the dean's list at University for fall 2011.Jennifer Abel, and Anne Stanley, of Freeland; Bryan Crabbe, James Gough, Kelly Jent, Richard Moffett, and Jackson Sides, of Parkton; Meghan Dwkozlowzki, William Reid, Melanie Stickles and Stacey Weigel, of Phoenix; Jenifer Manning and Desmond McNelis, of Sparks; Christina Bell and Rachel Ensor, of White Hall; Holly Gilmore, of Monkton, and Kayla Cullum, of Upper Falls.Jason Andrews, of Freeland and Maggie Benson, of Sparks have been named to the dean's list at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Va.Nicole Mank, of Jarrettsville, and Erin Fitzhugh, of Monkton, have been named to the dean's list at , Oxford, Ohio.Emily , of White Hall, has been named to the dean's list for fall 2011 at Gettysburg College, Pa.Quentin Zdanis, of Glen Arm, has been named to the dean's list at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.Adam Tsao, of Sparks, was named to fall 2011 dean's list at Washington University,St. Louis, Mo.The following students have been named to fall 2011 dean's list at Loyola University Maryland.Diana Parks, and Samantha Wheeless, of Monkton; Wallace Knobel, of Glen Arm; Emily Schehlein, of Phoenix; Christopher Munoz, of Freeland; Andrew English, Gia Fontanazza, Joseph Curran, and Elizabeth Ford, of Baldwin.Thomas Linsenmeyer, of Jarrettsville, recieved a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in December.Olivia A. Cypull, of Baldwin, a senior at Loch Raven High School has been named a National Merit Scholar Finalist 2012. One of 15,000 students nationally to advance to the finals.Kiley Friedrich, of Phoenix, and Cara Shipley, of Glen Arm, graduated from University of Delaware, Newark, Del., in January.Anna Schmitt, of Parkton, was selected to play a lead role in York College of Pennsylvania theater production of "The Children's Hour".Bryan Crabbe, of Parkton, recently graduated from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Science in management.The following from High School have earned "Gold Key" for art, the highest achievements offered by the national 2012 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.Gina Maskell, drawing; Taylor Parks, photography; Elianna Radcliffe, drawing; Celine Schmidt, drawing and art portfolio.?Last Tuesday's Oscar nominations were both exciting and intriguing -- and only intermittently outrageous. But they remind us that Academy Award races are usually taken seriously for the wrong reasons (their possible commercial effects) and not seriously enough for the right ones (their lasting cultural achievements). There were cultural achievements justly applauded on Tuesday: "The Pianist," "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" and "Gangs of New York" would be exceptional movies in any year. And though I wasn't knocked out by either "The Hours" or "Chicago" -- the gaudy -inspired movie musical based on the 1942 noir comedy "" -- motion picture academy members apparently are. The front-runner so far, with 13 nominations, "Chicago" joins another 2002 Oscar juggernaut: parent studio Miramax, which racked up an awe-inspiring 40 nods for six films. There were other early winners: Little Focus Pictures (home of "The Pianist" and "Far From Heaven") took the spotlight and so did the competitors in all of the acting categories, especially the unusually strong female ones. There were controversial nominees: notably and . Indeed, the best picture in this year's Oscar race, "The Pianist" suffers from the fact that director Polanski is too controversial: widely seen as a felon and fugitive unworthy of honors. And the best director, Scorsese, has been nominated for a film so disliked by some that his probable win has already been stigmatized as undeserved payback for past efforts. Still, contest in which Scorsese and Polanski are controversial nominees and gets squeezed out of the best actress lineup the same year she breaks the record for most nominations in a career. is not in bad shape. As for Miramax, their success only proves that blitz publicity works -- and that it also helps to make the kind of movies critics and Oscar voters prefer. The nominations this year gave the lie to charges that those critics suffer a disconnect in taste from the audience. If they do, it's a disconnect also suffered by filmmakers themselves. All five of the best picture nominees were among the 11 best reviewed movies of 2002, according to Moviecitynews.com. What do the nods mean? So what does it all mean? Will an Oscar night victory for "Chicago" (Miramax) help spark a renaissance of the movie musical? Will a win for "The Hours" (also Miramax, with Paramount) inspire more literary subjects and stories about women? Will a director's trophy for Scorsese (Miramax again) mean he finally gets the Oscar monkey off his back? Far too many articles are churned out pondering how Oscar nominations will impact the box office and far too few grappling with the artistic or social merits of films like the ones just mentioned -- and "About Schmidt," "Adaptation" and "The Quiet American." Or, even "Chicago" -- which, after all, has very pointed things to say, expressing through its razzle-dazzle numbers a massive genial cynicism about the justice system and the media. This year there is also an unusually large cargo of backstage -- including 's successful battle (despite Miramax) for his "Quiet American" nomination. In Polanski's case it's sordid drama that has already cheapened some of the discourse about the great film that got him back in the limelight. Without downplaying the gravity of the charges against him -- Polanski, now 69, fled the country to avoid sentencing after pleading guilty to a statutory rape charge involving a 13-year-old girl -- we should recognize, here as elsewhere, that the art and the artist are separate. Polanski's past really shouldn't affect consideration of the merits of "The Pianist": for me, the best dramatic feature ever made about and an achievement that will long survive its maker. Of course, the scandal will affect the vote; for many in Hollywood, honoring a convicted rapist may be comparable to genocide. They forget that great art sometimes is produced by people of dubious character, morality or sanity. Yet 's operas or the novels of Louis-Ferdinand Celine or are not diminished because the first two were virulent anti-Semites or the last a fascist collaborator, and we don't trash 's plays because of his criminal character, or the music of Schubert or Delius and the paintings of Manet because the artists may have died of venereal diseases. Polanski's past is not irrelevant to the law's treatment of him, but it shouldn't count against the superb movie he made, partly by distilling his own horrific past as a Jewish boy from Krakow eluding the during the Holocaust years. "The Pianist" is easily the best movie in competition -- unless you count all three parts of "Rings" as one film -- but it probably can't win. Scorsese probably will win, but he has been subject to abuse as well, just not for his private life, but because some writers detest "Gangs of New York" and believe that -- like ' 1935 "Dangerous" Oscar, 's for "Scent of a Woman" or 's for "True Grit" -- any "Gangs" Oscar would be sentimental compensation for past efforts,Delayed Oscars tradition But would that be bad? Delayed Oscars are as much a part of Academy Award tradition as long TV shows and egregious omissions -- and the fact that Scorsese was beaten out before by John Avildsen (for 1976's "Rocky"), (for 1980's "Ordinary People") and (for 1990's "Dances With Wolves") in the years he was up for "Taxi Driver, "Raging Bull" and "GoodFellas" doesn't mean that the mistakes should never be addressed. Nor should he suffer the same unjust fate of well-deserving directorial non-winners such as , , , or . I happen to think "Gangs of New York" is a terrific film -- if a flawed one -- and I suspect it's being attacked in part for the same reasons "Taxi Driver," "Raging Bull" and "GoodFellas" were trashed in their day: because some voters feel it's too profane, violent and disturbing, even if they claim it's bad storytelling that offends them. What about the slight suffered by another director, the unnominated , whose ongoing "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is the most popular with audiences? Here, more than likely, many voters deferred on "Rings" as a work in progress. "This year, it's `Chicago,'" my smartest movie-reporting friend told me right after the announcements. "Next year, `The Lord of the Rings' runs the table."Ripple effect What's most interesting about the race may be the ripple effect of the possible victories. I think "Chicago" is overrated -- a great musical show vividly translated but lacking great musical performances. But I'd welcome its victory if it sparks more interest from the studios in movie musicals, a form sadly moribund since 1972 and the movie "Chicago" most copies: "Cabaret." On the good side, we can applaud the wealth of great female performances in the acting categories -- something not as notable even five years ago. On the bad side, isn't a foreign language film process that continually eliminates films such as "City of God" and "Talk to Her" (made by surprise best director nominee ) -- and that nixed past classics such as "Persona," "Ran" and "Three Colors" -- drastically in need of reform? (A suggestion: Add five discretionary picks a year by the academy itself, so films such as "Talk to Her" or "Ran" aren't penalized if their countries fail to submit them.) Finally, we should note the sheer formal and stylistic daring of many nominated films. Some have gutsy content ( "Bowling for Columbine"), some are technical marvels (feature cartoon "Spirited Away") and a number play excitingly with the idea of narrative, stripping bare storytelling mechanisms with admirable panache -- like "Adaptation" (a movie about writing movies), "Far From Heaven" (a movie pastiching other movies), "The Hours" (a three-stranded narrative in which life duplicates art) and even "Chicago" (a bravura theatrical piece that may take place inside the anti-heroine's mind). The public generally dislikes such film experiments -- just as critics often love them -- but this year the moviemakers liked them as well.?-- Gaul's kudos season kicked off Friday with ' "The Artist" winning best film and actress for at the Lumieres Awards, the French equivalent to the . The pic, which has been on an award-winning spree ever since bowing at Cannes, and is nommed for six Golden Globes, beat out other Cannes titles vying for the Lumieres best film nod: Pierre Schoeller's "The Minister," Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache's smash hit comedy "Intouchables," Bertrand Bonello's "Apolonide" and 's "Le Havre," winner of the Louis Delluc prize, which is handed out by French critics. "The Artist," which was produced by Thomas Langmann's La Petite Reine, was released Stateside in November by The Weinstein Co. Competing against Hazanavicius, Bonello and Kaurismaki, Maiwenn picked up best helmer for her third feature, "Polisse," a gritty ensemble centering on cops working in a child protection unit. Omar Sy, who stars opposite Francois Cluzet in "Intouchables," won best actor, beating out "The Artist's" , among other strong contenders. Before his breakthrough performance in "Intouchables," Sy was best known in France as a small-screen comic on "SAV," a daily comedy show that airs on . Sy also starred in Nakache and Toledano's previous two films, "Those Happy Days" and "So Happy Together." "Intouchables," Gaul's second biggest B.O. hit ever, was produced by Quad Films and co-produced by Gaumont. Weinstein Co. has acquired the film for multiple territories, including U.S. distribution and remake rights. Denis Menochet nabbed best newcomer for his part in "Les Adoptes," a family dramedy that marks the directorial debut of thesp (""); while three of "Apollonide's" thesps, Alice Barnole, Adele Haenel and Celine Sallette, shared the best female newcomer prize. Quebec helmer Denis Villeneuve's heart-wrenching drama "Incendies," based on a play by Wajdi Mouawad, won best foreign film in the French language. A critical success, "Incendies" repped Canada in last year's foreign-language film Oscar race. Taking place during the Unifrance's mini-market, Rendez-Vous, the Lumieres Awards are voted on by foreign correspondents based in Paris.Click for more articles on Variety.com.?NEW YORK — Robert Pulcini and 's debut feature, the offbeat comic book adaptation "American Splendor," was greeted with so much success when it came out in 2003 that the filmmaking duo couldn't imagine things going any other way."We had this level of delusion that a lot of first-time filmmakers have but maybe multiplied because of the reception," Pulcini said of the movie, which HBO's film division allowed them to make with little interference and which went on to become nominee and art house hit. "We thought, 'It's always going to be this easy.'"It wasn't. They battled with over tone and scenes in their 2007 adaptation of the bestseller "The Nanny Diaries." Then they had to contend with viewer and critical skepticism on their 2010 cross-dressing quirkfest "The Extra Man." They became mired in rights issues on their based-on-a-true-story HBO film "Cinema Verite" in 2011. And those were the movies that the husband-wife team got made. But at the on Friday, Pulcini and Springer Berman will get a shot at redemption when they unveil a comedy about a thirtysomething playwright () trying to hold her life together and deal with the dysfunctional people around her, including her gambling-addict mother () and her mother's boyfriend (). The hook is that Wiig's character stages a suicide to attract the attention of an ex but fakes it so convincingly she ends up attracting the attention of psychiatrists.The setting adds an extra dollop of color — "Imogene" takes place partly at the Jersey Shore.The movie is the first Wiig shot after was released in spring 2011. (She was cast before "Bridesmaids" came out, and Pulcini and Springer Berman watched with excitement as that movie grew into a phenomenon.) Given the other appealing stars in "Imogene" — up-and-comer Darren Criss is also featured — and a relatively relatable premise, Pulcini and Springer Berman hope the movie will return them to the film world's good graces."We knew coming in that 'Extra Man' was going to be a challenge. This has always seemed to us like a more accessible story," Springer Berman said, sipping drinks with Pulcini at a downtown cafe this week.The movie, seeking a U.S. distribution deal at Toronto, was shot last summer during Wiig's short hiatus from It was produced by (wife of ), Celine Rattray and Anonymous Content. The first draft was written by a rookie, Michelle Morgan, who based some of the story on her own experiences.Though the subject matter and structure of "Imogene" are rather different from "Splendor" — the earlier movie had a more complex story line based on the life and graphic memoir of the late comics artist Harvey Pekar — the films do have things in common."I think both movies are about characters who are likable but not in the obvious ways," Springer Berman said. "What we appreciated about both Paul and Kristen is that they don't try to make you like them in every scene."The New York-based filmmakers, both 48, began collaborating at Columbia University film school. They cut their teeth making documentaries and found that "Splendor" benefited from their nonfiction background.The pair take turns writing, sometimes taking weeks before swapping pages. On set, they divide labor such that Pulcini spends more time behind the camera while Springer Berman interacts more with the actors.The pair don't expect a "Splendor"-like reaction at Toronto. (The initial screening of that film, at the , generated a huge response and had in the audience to boot.) But they do believe that viewers will go for something different, and even difficult, if it comes wrapped in a certain humanity."There are ways to put our stamp on a film and also attract mainstream interest," Pulcini said. "I think we learned that on this film."?Erin Sveinbjornsson's long goal early in the first half proved to be all Palmyra needed Tuesday afternoon, as the Panthers held on to edge visiting Trenton Catholic, 1-0, in a Burlington County League girls' soccer game.The sophomore defender's goal was unassisted in the 10th minute as she dribbled by herself before targeting the shot from 20 yards.Sarah Bearint had four saves to post the shutout and was aided by a strong defense led by stopper Christina DeJoseph. In other Burlington County League action, Janea Dockins scored a pair of goals and Nefertiti Northern posted eight saves for the shutout as Cinnaminson blanked Willingboro, 6-0.Lauren Branch, Kristen Kozak, Amanda McHugh, and Rachel Waite added goals.Florence and Pemberton exchanged first-half goals en route to a 1-1 tie at Florence. Devan Ross tied the game with 26 minutes left in the first half on a shot from 20 yards. Pemberton had taken the lead on a 13th-minute goal by Raquel Delgado.Missy Callahan and Kasie Shively combined for nine saves as Maple Shade held off host Riverside, 2-1. Kenzee Hudson and Carly Newman scored goals, and Kasie Shively added an assist.Clare McAdam's two goals and two assists helped Holy Cross roll to an easy 7-0 win at Delran. Ashley Shackleford and goalkeeper Rachel Schaeffer added assists. Schaeffer had three saves.Field HockeyCourtney Aquino's two goals helped Hammonton turn back host Lower Cape May, 4-0, in a Cape-Atlantic National game.Camille Maimone and Paige Mortellite added goals, and Jennifer Plummer recorded the shutout with four saves.Colonial. West Deptford needed just two minutes to find the net as the Eagles raced to a 9-0 win over visiting Sterling. Lauren Henry and Amanda Hojnowski scored twice each. Ali Yip had 18 saves for Sterling.Kim Flacco's three unassisted goals helped Haddon Township roll past Woodbury, 8-0. Sara Gawrysiak aided the effort with three goals. Jillian Caputo needed three saves for the shutout.Melissa Cunningham scored three times and Krista LaMaina had two goals as Collingswood cruised past host Haddonfield, 8-0. Becca Hall had just two saves for the shutout, and Kelsey Walsh had 10 for Haddonfield.Nonleague. Alicia Belko's first-half goal helped Rancocas Valley pull out a 1-0 win at Lenape. Rickerhauser posted the shutout with four saves, and Lenape's Amanda Cohen had three.Sarah Applegate and Rylee Fennell scored as Moorestown Friends slipped past host Burlington Township, 2-0. Sam Liberatore had nine saves for the home team, and Nicole Hovatter had one for Moorestown Friends.Cross-CountryKaitlin Clark's second-place finish helped Kingsway score a 24-33 win over visiting Tri-County Conference foe Delsea.Clark navigated the course in 20 minutes, 24 seconds, and the Dragons recorded three of the top five finishers. Celine Mazzi of Delsea grabbed first place with a time of 20:02.Burlington County. Madison Parry and Carley Oldfield finished three seconds apart to lead Cinnaminson to three victories at Rancocas Valley. Parry finished in 22:15, followed by Oldfield in 22:18.Contact staff writer Matt Breen at or @matt_breen on Twitter. ___(c)2012 Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at Distributed by MCT Information Services?Shannon Duick brushed away tears as a technician fixed electrodes onto the head of her infant son, but as a machine sent beeps and clicks into his , the baby slept in her arms, unaware.He slept as the machine came up empty, as it showed his brain registering none of those sounds and as they moved to a quieter room to try again. He slept as they took the clock down from the wall in case the ticking was interfering. He slept as they tried a different room, farther away from the noisy elevator. With each beep, each click, Duick's anxiety grew. The tech tried again and again, over and over for several hours, to detect a positive sign. And finally, somehow, he saw whatever flicker on the monitor he needed."We left that hospital under the assumption that our son can hear," Shannon Duick recalls. "I remember that sigh of relief, that exhale."It would be months before they figured out that Zachary was profoundly deaf. He couldn't hear beeps. He couldn't hear clicks. If a jet landed right next to him, he wouldn't even turn his head at the noise.Zachary would become 's first patient to have cochlear implants placed in both ears.The approved implants for adults in 1985, and children have been getting them since 1990.Putting implants in both ears is slowly becoming more common. Experts say being able to listen with two ears can help children better understand speech and make it easier to determine where sounds are coming from. Since Zachary got his first implant in 2007 and the other side in 2008, GBMC has done only 34 more double implants.And one of those was Zachary's younger brother.The birth of their first child was a long-anticipated landmark for Bill and Shannon Duick. The York, Pa., couple relished decorating a nursery and filling it with toys that rattled and squeaked and played the baby lullabies every day. In their blissed-out days after Zachary arrived on 2005, the couple, who both have normal hearing, hardly considered that anything could be wrong — even after the harrowing results from the hearing test. With big brown eyes, smooth skin, and charming pink ears, Zachary seemed perfect.In time, the doubts crept in. Their pediatrician asked if Zachary jumped when the dog barked or when someone dropped a pot. They went home to clang and slam things, and sometimes, it seemed, the baby turned his head. But he was never startled. And at the age when toddlers start saying "mama," "dada" and defiantly shrieking "no," Zachary only babbled.The audiologist who retested Zachary never said the word "deaf," but he suggested the Duicks hurry the child to a specialist. When they got the diagnosis at GBMC, Shannon said, it was like having the wind knocked out of her.But someone at GBMC had mentioned the possibility of a cochlear implant. And though Shannon hardly knew what it meant, she latched onto it because it sounded like hope.Cochlear implants are essentially synthetic ears, devices that allow a person with no natural ability to hear — in some cases, almost normally.By 2010 more than 42,000 people in the country had them, the FDA estimates, about 28,000 of them children.Cochlear implants are nothing like hearing aids, which merely turn up the volume for people whose hearing needs a boost. Implants skip right over the ear, ferrying sound frequencies right to the aural nerves and onto the brain.The device comes with three tiny, complex parts. The implant itself is surgically placed behind the ear, just beneath the skin and hair. It has a long tail that reaches into the core of the inner ear, where it anchors a cluster of electrodes. A processor hugs the back of the ear to pick up sounds and send them to the implant through radio waves. Then a remote control that looks just like an can adjust the settings for particular environments.Regina Presley is the senior audiologist at the hospital's cochlear implant center. The Duicks first met her there with Zachary when he was about 18 months old. Presley says children who get an implant before turning 2 can catch up to their hearing classmates by kindergarten. Babies must be at least 12 months old to get an implant, according to FDA rules.The first thing visitors see walking into Presley's narrow, sunny office is the latest in implant technology — it's on a shelf right by the door. The pieces aren't necessarily a discreet, hearing-aid beige. There are pinks, blues and greens, swirls and checks — even soccer balls. It's to let people know, kids in particular, that these things are not something to be ashamed of. They can even be a sort of style statements.?In concert tracker Pollstar's wrap of the 2011 concert biz, U2's 360 tour was the dominant road show internationally, grossing $156 million in and $231 million worldwide. The top 25 North American tours grossed $1.19 billion collectively, off about 4% from $1.24 billion in 2010. The top 25 worldwide tours brought in a $2.1 billion gross, virtually flat compared to last year. U2 sold 1.7 million tickets, at an average cost of $91.67, in North America during the year, for an average of 81,000 tickets per show. The elaborate stadium tour mounted 25 shows in 21 markets. Domestically, country was hot this year, with (grossing $97.7 million) and ($84.6 million) occupying the No. 2 and No. 3 slots respectively among North American attractions. Other top North American live acts included ($63.7 million), ($57.1 million), ($51.8 million), Sade ($48.6 million), and ($48.3 million), ($44.4 million) and ($41.2 million). Dion is something of an anomaly in the top 10, since the Canadian did not actually tour: Her gross was produced by 57 shows at Las Vegas' Caesars Palace. The singer boasted the highest average ticket price in the top 10 at $166.71 per ducat. Worldwide, the British boy band Take That, whose reunited lineup includes U.K. solo superstar , ranked No. 2 behind U2, taking in $224 million off 34 appearances. Other top international acts included Bon Jovi, Swift, , John, , Chesney, Sade and . Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni said the touring outlook for 2012 looks positive, with reunion jaunts by the , , Black Sabbath and , dates by top attractions like Madonna and and a possible 50th anniversary trek in the offing.Click for more music news on Variety.com.?After your surgery, the report will help doctors determine the stage (from 0 to 4) of your . This is based on the size of your tumor and whether cancer is in your or has spread beyond the breast. The pathologist determines whether cells are cancerous, precancerous (at high risk of becoming cancerous) or benign (harmless). This information is key for your medical team to develop a treatment plan. Before you read the report:Go to and find the celebrity talking dictionary. You can hear words that you may see on your report pronounced and then defined by the likes of , or . When it's time to go over the results, first check the top of the report to make sure the name and procedure are yours.Be sure you have all the pieces of information. Sometimes tests lead to more tests so wait to get all the results. You will need the whole picture to help make decisions about your treatment. describes the parts of the report. They include:Clinical diagnosis: This is the diagnosis doctors were expecting before your tissue was tested.Gross description: This talks about the size, weight, and color of each sample.Microscopic description: This describes the way the cells look under the microscope.Special tests or markers: This section reports the results of tests for proteins, , and how fast cells are growing.Schedule time with your doctor just to go over the report. The language can be intimidating. Don't be afraid to ask questions. And don't be afraid to ask for a second opinion. It is a common request and most doctors are comfortable with it, says the American Cancer Society. In fact, some insurance companies require you to get one before you start treatment.?The passing of was a sad undertone to this year's show. But several marquee artists -- including , Usher and -- will pay tribute to the pop icon in a telecast special that airs Nov. 16 on and tapes in a concert in Los Angeles.The , "We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston," will be taped at the on Oct. 11. The event features sets by those artists performing from Houston's catalog, along with clips from her most beloved performances and several artist interviews.Tickets to the show . Ticket prices range from $25 to $50, not including service fees. Orchestra and VIP packages are available for $125 and above. The concert coincides with the release of Houston's new posthumous greatest hits album, "I Will Always Love You -- The Best of Whitney Houston," which comes out Nov. 13.Houston died on the eve of the in February from an accidental drowning, complicated by and cocaine use, in her Beverly Hills Hotel room in February.ALSO:?Visual effects, it seems, are in Montreal's DNA. A couple of the most innovative and influential vfx software outfits of all time -- Softimage and Discreet Logic -- were homegrown ventures. Their legacy continues today with such providers as Rodeo FX, Moment Factory and Hybride Technologies. In fact, so robust is the effects biz in Quebec's largest city that it's pulling back many artists who had once left for other centers, says Rodeo FX prexy Sebastien Moreau, who himself spent years working at Industrial Light and Magic in San Francisco before returning home to set up his own shop six years ago. His chief technology officer Jordan Soles caught the Montreal effects fever too -- leaving Imageworks to join Rodeo a couple of years ago. The Quebec tax credit for visual-effects work done in the province is a big factor in this boom, but so is the quality of the work being done in the city, Moreau says. "They get good value for the money they spend." Rodeo worked for all the major Hollywood studios, including the "Twilight" franchise, "Mirror Mirror" and "." Multimedia company Moment Factory raised its profile earlier this year when it provide the eye-popping visuals for 's halftime show. It had already made its mark through its work for , Jay-Z and the stunt at the music festival during which it launched 1,500 illuminated beach balls into the crowd. Moment Factory co-founder Sakchin Bessette says Montreal's high-tech prowess is due to synergies among the city's theater and performance scene, its robust vidgame business, and its tradition of vfx software development. All this "makes people think, 'Yeah we can do it!' It makes the impossible seem possible," Bessette says. "Like the . If they can pull it off, why can't we?" Located several miles north of Montreal, Hybride celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. The studio was bought four years ago by French games giant Ubisoft, which has a major presence in Montreal. Hybride has worked with all the main Hollywood players over the past two decades. The company collaborated with on several pics; came calling to complete work on "Avatar"; and "Hunger Games" lists the company in its credits. Hollywood is not coming to Quebec just for the tax-credit savings, according to Hybride prexy Pierre Raymond, echoing many of his colleagues. "They're coming for the production values," he says. "If they can get more shots without jeopardizing the quality, then they'll call." Marc Bourbonnais, head of vfx shingle Modus FX, stresses that town's shops are not dependent on Hollywood films shooting in Montreal; they're looking to provide effects for films shot anywhere. "Montreal has depth," adds Emilie Dussault, head of business development at Mokko Studio, which recently worked on the "Chronicles of Riddick" sequel, set for a 2013 release, and built its rep with Discovery docu "Last Day of the Dinosaurs." "I don't think people realize yet the potential that Montreal can offer."Related Links:** Canucks give U.S. a breakClick for more international news on Variety.com.?A year after losing to their cross-town rival 10-9, the Warriors' tennis team dominated Victoria East Tuesday afternoon in a 16-3 victory."Of course, it feels really good," first year West coach Jeff Davidson said. "They kids were really excited. This is something they've focused on since last season."The Lady Warriors won every match they played on East's campus, including two 6-0, 6-0 matches by Alex Giles and Yessenia Martinez in singles play. Martinez defeated Gabe Hise 6-0, 6-0 and Giles won over Whitney Jefferson. In all, the Lady Warriors lost just 12 games to East.On the boys' side, the Titans lost all but one singles match -- a 6-0, 6-0 victory by Joseph Garland over Wyatt Marks.Garland was also part of the other East victory in boys doubles, teaming up with Seamos Carlin in a 2-6, 6-4 (10-5) victory over Marks and Antonio Villarreal.Co-captain Chase Bennett and Paul Cobler each won close singles matches, in which they had to bounce back after losing the first set. Bennett defeated Collin Janecka 1-6, 7-5 (10-8). Cobler won his match after dropping the first set as well, 4-6, 7-5 (10-3).The duo combined to win their doubles match after being down three games in the first set. Bennett and Cobler wouldn't lose another game en route to a 6-3, 6-0 victory."They were upset last year," Davidson said about the players. "They were really focused today and worked hard."In the No. 1 girls' single match, Celine Wappler defeated Teresea Wang 6-2, 6-2. In the No. 2 match, co-captain Nicole Cobler won 6-1, 6-1 over Maria Garcia.In girls double action, Wappler and Cobler lost just one game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory. McKinley Pruski and Alex Giles combined to sweep Shelby Tesch and Gabie Hise 6-0, 6-0 and Yessenia Martinez and Brittany Heibel won 6-1, 6-0.The Titans won the lone mixed doubles match 7-5, 6-1.In all, Davidson was happy with the way things played out for the Warriors, but not without some nerves heading into Tuesday's rivalry game."I was nervous going in," Davidson admitted. "It was very close in some of those games. I'm happy with how we fought and the kids believed in themselves. They were all paying attention, too. There wasn't anybody on a cell phone."Tuesday's team victory was also the first of the season for the West squad, but also the first time the entire team had been present at a match."We had one or two miss the first match with ," Davidson explained. "There was also some paperwork that needed to be done, too."For Davidson, there was no one player that stood above the others, but he did say he was proud of the way his two captains handled their responsibilities."Everybody stood out to me," Davidson said. "But our captiains -- Chase (Bennett) and Nicole (Cobler) have done excellent jobs of supporting everybody and getting the entire team to support one another." ___(c)2012 Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas)Visit Victoria Advocate (Victoria, Texas) at Distributed by MCT Information Services?In years past, Sima Blue would never have dreamed of stocking her Green Spring Station boutique with ivory sheath dresses, cream lace blazers and eggshell pleated skirts this late in the season.But times are changing. With major designers including and showcasing white frocks and accessories for their fall collections, white will not only be accepted after this season — it will be considered fashion-forward. The trend starts now and will lead up through more traditional "winter" whites."I've never seen as much white as I've been seeing this season," said Blue, as she pointed to a rack filled with pieces from designers such as and . "It used to be you put white away after Labor Day and didn't bring it back until , but those days are over. White is like black — you can wear it all year round."For decades, many Americans have followed the unwritten rule of fashion to steer clear of white after Labor Day. White has been considered a summer color, said Latease T. Lashley, founder of Creatively Speaking, a Baltimore-based public speaking company specializing in fashion commentary. "The rule may have originated from the Victorian echelon under the notion that the color white was ... a status symbol for new members of the upper and middle classes in the late 19th and early 20th century," Lashley said. "But whoever is responsible for this rule, it is clearly dated."This spring, in shows from New York to Paris, popular designers peppered their coming autumn collections with an array of white, including shades such as ash, eggshell, creme, pearl, bone and bleach. For example, "Project Runway" alum featured a sheer ivory ball gown skirt and chalk-colored trench-dress. And 's Paris show — helmed by designer Karl Lagerfeld — was highlighted by a military-inspired chalk jacket and flared skirt, a sheer feather-adorned blouse and wide-leg crepe pants.Celebrities have also been leading the charge — some well before this season.At February's , turned heads dressed in a white Tom Ford dress with a cape. Two years before, Paltrow wore white during the December screening of her movie at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.Singer Mary J. Bligeappeared at the in Los Angeles last November with a low-plunging ivory suit. A month later, she arrived at the "VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul" show in in a sparkling, beaded, sleeveless white dress.And who could forget at the 2009 inaugural balls in her white chiffon one-shoulder gown adorned with beading and snowy appliques by designer ?"The color white works on most skin types and always reads 'pure, timeless' and always comes across chic if you know how to pull it off," Lashley said. "White is a great transitional color that crosses seasons seamlessly. Break the rules — wear white trousers with a navy blazer or pair white jeans with a jewel tone. Wearing white after Labor Day is like wearing black to a wedding. Everyone is afraid to do it, but you will stand out in a good way if it's done right."At local boutiques, owners have noticed a recent shift in attitude and acceptance of the white trend."You can see it especially with the younger shoppers," Blue said. "People want to be creative and individualistic."Blue said white has appeared in fall before, but it has mostly been relegated to flannel or crepe pants. Now, she said, it's being shown in September to be worn in September. "It's in dresses," she said. "It's not just in pants. It's in complete pieces."Jones & Jones, the Cross Keys boutique, has a number of white-hued options this season, including a cream petal dress from Theia and a slick off-white raincoat from Creenstone."White is no longer seasonal," said Florence Sokol, owner of Jones & Jones. "It can be worn all year round. It's the new black."Nancy Lattman, owner of L'Apparenza in the Lake Falls Village shopping center, is expecting a majority of her customers to start purchasing white clothes in the coming weeks."Some people already have," she said.Lattman loves that designers have offered a number of what she considers "stunning" pieces this season. Her favorites? A Theory pants suit in pearl, anAlice +Oliviawhite leather laser-cut sleeveless dress and a cream and metallic gold sheath dress also from Alice + Olivia.But one note of caution before you pull on those white cotton pants: Just because it's white doesn't necessarily mean its right for the season, said Karen Ciurca-Weiner, buyer and manager at Jones & Jones. Ciurca-Weiner warns fashionistas about the type of fabrics they purchase during the colder months."It should be a fall fabric — and weather-appropriate," she said. "Don't drag your summer clothes in white into fall."?Say "so long" to short skirts and hello (again) to the 1970s. Get ready to banish black from your wardrobe and get creative with color.Now that the spring runway shows are over in New York, Milan and Paris, it's up to department store fashion directors and boutique owners to package the big ideas. Chanel's garden party, Balenciaga's punk brigade and Marc Jacobs' 1970s show were all memorable on the runways, but will they make it to store racks? Here, retailers offer their takeaways from the season, and ideas about how the trends might trickle down to you.Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Big idea: The vintage effect, fueled by the major YSL retrospective exhibition that just closed in August in Paris. On the runway, designers nodded to Saint Laurent's rich peasant look, Orientalism and "le smoking" [his signature tuxedo].Must haves: Fluid, sheer fabrics and longer hemlines (just above the ankle or to the floor) as we saw at Lanvin, and wide-leg trousers and a white pantsuit with Bianca Jagger swagger. The tuxedo jacket, it's not just evening wear anymore. For accessories, it's all about flat sandals because as a woman begins to add longer hemlines to her wardrobe, flat sandals work best with the new proportion.I'm also loving what I'm calling the "Helmut language" [a reference to Helmut Lang's utilitarian designs from the early 1990s], and the idea of adding a sporty attitude to dressed-up clothing using color-blocking, buckles, straps or parachute fabrics.Will punk take to the streets? Not now. We just cycled through a moment when the 1980s were really influential, along with strong shoulders, so punk doesn't look new to me. But where it ends up, we'll have to watch the runways to find out.Colleen Sherin, fashion market director, Saks Fifth AvenueBig idea: The color story. Bold, bright, vibrant color worked into color-blocked effects and combining colors in unexpected ways.Must haves: A longer-length skirt or dress as seen at and Proenza Schouler in New York, D&G and Fendi in Milan and Chanel in Paris. Open-weave knitwear in natural white, ivory or beige crochet, macramé, mesh or fishnet, as seen at Rag & Bone, Alexander Wang, for Tse, Alberta Ferretti and Celine. And a crisp poplin shirt. We saw it with slouchy wide-leg trousers and skirts for a pared-down look. We also saw it as a play on masculine and feminine at Balenciaga, Stella McCartney and Celine. A trench coat looks great with a longer hemline peeking out. I love the sheer organza ones at Phillip Lim and Christian Cota, and the matte python trench at Emilio Pucci.In terms of accessories, fringe is everywhere — on handbags, jewelry and scarves. A shoulder or flap bag is key because it fits into the 1970s trend, as does a pair of platform wedges.Will punk take to the streets? Not in a big way. We've done that trend recently with leathers and studs and grommets, and not enough time has passed to go back. But it may be something we will touch on in our contemporary department.Stephanie Solomon, fashion director, Big idea: Color and print. And this is a serious shift because we've been in love with black for so long.Must haves: A dress or skirt with a hemline hovering around the knees or below. In New York, Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, Derek Lam, Marc Jacobs, and Rebecca Taylor all had great longer lengths. In Milan, we saw it at Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Jil Sander and Roberto Cavalli. Sometimes these longer skirts have asymmetrical hems or slits, which we saw at Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Stella McCartney.It sounds like a myth that hemlines matter, but they do because when you go longer, you have to change your shoes and you have to change your coat. You need flat, wedge or platform sandals. And the long trench coat is chicest with this length. I'm also liking boyfriend jackets over longer skirts.Will punk take to the streets? In a way. You have to have the rock 'n' roll element, otherwise it would get too boring. I would take a studded leather jacket, something that looks worn and torn and ragged from Burberry Prorsum or Givenchy, and put it over a really frothy feminine dress like we saw at Dior. That dichotomy looks right. Or you can be a punk one day and a virgin the next!?A little more than a year ago, the makers of took the to the Ontario Mills 30 multiplex for a test screening. The talking-animals film had been scheduled to be released in October 2010, but the brass were so electrified by the audience feedback — the marks from kids were so good that one executive thought that the data must be wrong and needed to be recalculated — that the studio decided to move "Zookeeper" into the heart of this summer's box-office battle. had other reasons to shift "Zookeeper" to July. With the next movie delayed until summer 2012, the studio was short on big releases for the season. "It plays like a big, big summer movie," Rory Bruer, Sony's distribution president, said of "Zookeeper" at the time of the release-date switch. "And this move is all about opportunity." But now that summer's here, that window of opportunity may be narrower than it seemed."Zookeeper" is opening this Friday, the weekend after Paramount's third blockbuster and a week before ' final "" film, both rated . The PG-rated, $80-million "Zookeeper," which Sony co-financed with , is struggling to attract audience interest, pre-release surveys show.The only other new movie in wide release this weekend, Warner Bros.' R-rated comedy looks poised to deliver better opening returns than "Zookeeper" by a comfortable margin.Hollywood's polling, though, has been a bit unreliable this summer: Surveys suggested that Sony's Disney's Paramount's and Universal's all would do less business on their opening weekends than they actually did. Sony executives declined to comment for this article, but some at the studio are quietly hoping that Hollywood's surveys are faulty again.The most recent audience surveys show negligible interest in "Zookeeper" from any demographic group aside from very young children. But even if "Zookeeper" grosses less than $20 million in its premiere weekend, some believe the film could play to relatively full houses for weeks afterward if the word of mouth is good.A mediocre opening for the film would be a setback for James, the veteran of "The King of Queens" whose last Sony movie, "," did surprisingly big business in 2009. Made for about $26 million, "Paul Blart" cast James as a security guard who foils a heist at a New Jersey shopping center.The film debuted to three-day returns of $31.8 million over the Presidents Day weekend and by the time all the North American tickets were sold, had grossed $146.3 million — more than "Taken," "Angels & Demons," or made in domestic release. In 2010, James costarred with in which grossed $162 million domestically, but this January's where James played opposite , was a washout, taking in just $48.5 million.At the start of "Zookeeper," James' character, Griffin Keyes (who is, of course, a zookeeper), is dumped by his fiancée as he's proposing to her. He then starts taking advice from some unusual therapists — the caged creatures he cares for, voiced by Sandler (a monkey), (a lion) and directors (an elephant) and Jon Favreau (a bear). Before long, Keyes is the king of the dating game jungle.At a Las Vegas convention of movie theater owners this spring, Sony showcased "Zookeeper" by building a small petting zoo inside Caesars Palace and screened the film at the Colosseum, the theater that normally hosts . Reaction was largely positive, with several theater owners predicting that the movie would be one of the summer's surprise hits.But "Zookeeper" never really gathered much momentum afterward. People who worked on the film say that when talking animals appear in a film's previews, the movie can look as if it's aimed at a younger audience than it really is. Sony couldn't easily sell the film's cameo voices, and by pitching too much of the romantic comedy story, the studio risked alienating families. And just because James can sell tickets in January — as he did with "Paul Blart" — doesn't mean he can do the same in July.At the same time, the definition of "family entertainment" seems to be rapidly evolving. Anybody who's been in a multiplex lately knows that many parents have been taking their preteen children to see grown-up fare like rated PG-13 for "sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction and for language, some sexuality and innuendo."Even if "Zookeeper" can establish a small toehold this weekend, it faces "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2" in a week. Audience surveys hint that the final movie about the boy wizard could come close to the opening weekend record, currently held by 2008's "The Dark Knight" at $158.4 million.Cleaning up after the animals, it seems, may be the least of Kevin James' problems.?Four or five years ago, a reader of some of my columns bought the domain name jamesaltucher.com and gave it to me as a birthday gift. It was a total surprise to me. I didn’t even know the reader. I hope one day we meet.Two years ago a friend of mine, Tim Sykes, insisted I had to have a blog. He set it up for me. He even wrote the About Me. I didnt want a blog. I had nothing to say. But about 6 or 7 months ago I decided I wanted to take this blog seriously. I kept putting off changing the About Me which was no longer really about me and maybe never was.A few weeks ago I did a chapter in one of the books in Seth Godins The Domino Project. The book is out and called . Mohit Pawar organized it (here’s ) and sent me a bunch of questions recently. It’s intended to be an interview on his blog but I hope Mohit forgives me because I want to use it as my new About Me also.1. You are a trader, investor, writer, and entrepreneur? Which of these roles you enjoy the most and why?When I first moved to New York City in 1994 I wanted to be everything to everyone. I had spent the six years prior to that writing a bunch of unpublished novels and unpublished short stories. I must’ve sent out 100s of stories to literary journals. I got form rejections from every publisher, journal, and agent I sent my novels and stories to.Now, in 1994, everything was possible. The money was in NYC. Media was here. I lived in my 10×10 room and pulled suits out of a garbage bag every morning but it?didn’t?matter…the internet was revving up and I knew how to build a website. One of the few in the city. My sister warned me though: nobody here is your friend. Everybody wants something.And I wanted something. I wanted the fleeting feelings of success, for the first time ever, in order to feel better about myself. next to me. I wanted to build and sell companies and finally prove to everyone I was the smartest. I wanted to do a . I wanted to .But everything involved having a master. Clients. Employers. Investors. Publishers. The market (the deadliest master of all). Employees. I was a slave to everyone for so many years. And the more shackles I had on, the lonelier I got.(Me in the Fortress of Solitude)Much of the time, even when I had those moments of success, I didn’t know how to turn it into a better life. I felt ugly and then later, I felt stupid when I would let the success dribble away down the sink.I love writing because every now and then that ugliness turns into honesty. When I write, Im only a slave to myself. When I do all of those other things you ask about, Im a slave to everyone else.Some links:(one of my favorite posts on my blog)2. What inspires you to get up and start working/writing every day?The other day I had breakfast with a fascinating guy who had just sold a piece of his fund of funds. He told me what fracking was and how the US was going to be a major oil player again. We spoke for two hours about a wide range of topics, including what happens when we can finally implant a google chip in our brains.After that I had to go onto NPR because I firmly believe that in – we are graduating a generation of indentured servants who will spend 50 years or more paying down their student debt rather than starting companies and curing cancer. So maybe I made a difference.Then I had lunch with a guy I hadnt seen in ten years. . I felt bad I hadnt helped him when he was at his low point. Then I came home and watched my kid play clarinet at her school. Then I read until I fell asleep. Today I did nothing but write. Both days inspired me.It also inspires me that Im being asked these questions. Whenever anyone asks me to do anything Im infinitely grateful. Why me? I feel lucky. I like it when someone cares what I think. Ill write and do things as long as anyone cares. I honestly probably wouldnt write if nobody cared. I dont have enough humility for that, Im ashamed to admit.3. Your new book has just come out. What is it about?When I was a kid I thought I needed certain things: a college education from a great school, a great home, a lot of money, someone who would love me with ease. I wanted people to think I was smart. I wanted people to think I was even special.? And as I grew older more and more goals got added to the list: a high chess rating, a published book, perfect weather, good friends, ?respect in various fields, etc. I lied to myself that I needed these things to be happy. The world was going to work hard to give me these things, I thought. But it turned out the world owed me no favors.And gradually, over time, . Several times. ?Ive paced at night so many times wondering what the hell was I going to do next or trying not to care. The book is about regaining your sanity, regaining your happiness, finding luck in all the little pockets of life that people forget about. Its about turning away from the religion youve been hypnotized into believing into the religion you can find inside yourself every moment of the day.[Note: in a few days I'm going to do a post on self-publishing and also how to get the ebook for free. The link above is to the paperback. Kindle should be ready soon also.]Related link: 4. Is it possible to accelerate success? If yes, how? Yes, and its the only way I know actually to achieve success. Its the only way I know to exercise every muscle from the inside of you to the outside of you. I firmly believe that happiness starts with that practice.5. You say that discipline, persistence and psychology are important if one has to achieve success. How can one work on improving psychology part?Success doesnt really mean anything. People want to be happy in a harsh and unforgiving world. Its very difficult. Were so lucky most of us live in countries without major wars. Our kids arent getting killed by random gunfire. We all have cell phones. We all can communicate with each other on the Internet. We have Google to catalog every piece of information in history! ?We are so amazingly lucky already.How can it be I was so lucky to be born into such a body? In New York City of all places? Just by being born in such a way on this planet was an amazing success.So what else is there? The fact is that most of us, including me, have a hard time being happy with such ready-made success. We quickly adapt and want so much more out of life. Its not wars or disease that kill us. Its the minor inconveniences that add up in life. Its the times we feel slighted or betrayed. Or even slightly betrayed. Or overcharged. Or we miss a train. Or its raining today. Or the dishwasher doesnt work. Or the supermarket doesnt have the food we like. We forget how good the snow tasted when we were kids. Now we want gourmet food at every meal.Taking a step back, doing the I outline in the question above. For me, the results of that bring me happiness. Thats success. Today. And hopefully tomorrow.6. You advocate not sending kids to college. What if kids grow up and then blame their parents about not letting them get a college education?I went to one of my kids music recitals yesterday. She was happy to see me. I hugged her afterwards. She played the star wars theme on the clarinet. I wish I couldve played that for my parents. My other daughter has a dance recital in a few weeks. I tried to give her tips but she laughed at me. I was quite the breakdancer in my youth. I want to be present for them. To love them. To let them always know that in their own dark moments, they know I will listen to them. I love them. Even when they cry and dont always agree with me. Even when they laugh at me because sometimes I act like a clown.Later, if they want to blame me for anything at all then I will still love them. Thats my what if.Two posts:7. Four of your favorite posts from The Altucher Confidential.As soon as I publish a post I get scared to death. Is it good? Will people re-tweet? Will one part of the audience of this blog like it at the expense of another part of the audience. Will I get Facebook Likes? I have to stop clinging to these things but you also need to respect the audience. I dont know. Its a little bit confusing to me. I dont have the confidence of a real writer yet.Here are four of my favorites. (and lost another in the process)Although these three are favorites I really don’t post anything unless it’s my favorite of that moment.8. 3 must-read books for aspiring entrepreneurs?The key in an entrepreneur book: you want to learn business. You want to learn how to honestly communicate with your customers. You want to stand out.The Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence CunninghamThe Thank you Economy by Gary VaynerchukPurple cow by Seth Godin9. I love your writing, so do so many others out there. Who are your favorite writers?Jesuss Son by Denis Johnson is the best collection of short stories ever written. Im afraid I really dont like his novels though.Tangents by M. Prado. A beautiful series of graphic stories about relationships.Other writers: Miranda July, Ariel Leve, Mary Gaitskill, Charles Bukowski, Celine, Sam Lipsyte, William Vollmann, Raymond Carver. Arthur Nersesian. Stephen Dubner.(Bukowski)Many writers are only really good storytellers. Most writers come out of a cardboard factory MFA system and lack a real voice. A real voice is where every word exposes ten levels of hypocrisy in the world and brings us all the way back to see reality. The writers above have their own voices, their own pains, and their unique ways of expressing those pains. Some of them are funny. Some a little more dark. I wish I could write 1/10 as good as any of them.10. You are a prolific writer. Do you have any hacks that help you write a lot in little time?Coffee, plus everything else coffee does for you first thing in the morning.Only write about things you either love or hate. But if you hate something, try to find a tiny gem buried in the bag of dirt so you can reach in when nobody is looking and put that gem in your pocket. Stealing a diamond in all the shit around us and then giving it away for free via writing is a nice little hack, Being fearless precisely when you are most scared is the best hack.11. I totally get and love your idea about bleeding as a writer, appreciate if you share more with the readers of this blog.Most people worry about what other people think of them. Most people worry about their health. Most people are at a crossroads and dont know how to take the next step and which road to take it on. Everyone is in a perpetual state of where do I put my foot next. Nobody, including me, can avoid that.You and I both need to wash our faces in the morning, brush our teeth, shower, shit, eat, fight the weather, fight the colds that want to attack us if were not ready. Fight loneliness or learn how to love and appreciate the people who want to love you back. And learn how to forgive and love the people who are even more stupid and cruel than we are. Were afraid to tell each other these things because they are all both disgusting and true.You and I both have the same color blood. If I cut my wrist open you can see the color of my blood. You look at it and see that its the same color as yours. We have something in common. It doesnt have to be shameful. Its just red. Now were friends. No matter whom you are or where you are from. I didnt have to lie to you to get you to be my friend.Related Links:12. What is your advice for young entrepreneurs?Only build something you really want to use yourself. Theres got to be one thing you are completely desperate for and no matter where you look you cant find it. Nobody has invented it yet. So there you go C you invent it. If theres other people like you, you have a business. Else. You fail. Then do it again. Until it works. One day it will.Follow these 100 Rules:And, in particular this:In my just released book I have more chapters on my experiences as an entrepreneur.13. I advocate the concept of working at a job while building your business. You have of course lived it. Now as you look back, what is your take on this? Is it possible to make it work while sailing on two boats?Your boss wants everything out of you. He wants you to work 80 hours a week. He wants to look good taking credit for your work. He wants your infinite loyalty. So you need something back.Its the best way to get good experience, clients, contacts. Its a legal way to steal. Its a fast way to be an entrepreneur because you see what large companies with infinite money are willing to pay for. If you can provide that, you make millions. Its how many great businesses have started and will always start. Its how every exit Ive had started.14. Who is a “person with true moral fiber”? In current times are there any role models who are people with true moral fiber. I dont really know the answer. I think . I hope Im someone like that. And I pray to god the people Im invested in are like that and my family is like that.I find most people to be largely mean and stupid, a vile combination. Its not that Im pessimistic or cynical. Im very much an optimist. Its just reality. Open the newspaper or turn on the TV and .Moral fiber atrophies more quickly than any muscle on the body. An exercise I do every morning is to promise myself that Im going to save a life today and then leave it in the hands of the Universe to direct me how I can best do that. Through that little exercise plus the described above I hope to keep regenerating that fiber.15.?? Your message to the readers of this blog?Skip dinner. Read more posts on ?Meredith Galante/Business InsiderJane Saidenberg, CEO of handbag company Jane MarvelInside a Riverside Drive penthouse, where a music studio used to be, there is now a family room filled with children's artwork.The penthouse, which was once music producer Andy Marvel's bachelor pad, has been converted into a family home where his wife cooks dinner and their two sons do homework.Marvel and his wife, Jane Saidenberg, are a New York power couple. Marvel is best known for writing Celine Dion's "Treat Her Like A Lady," and Jessica Simpson's "With You." Saidenberg is the founder and CEO of , a handbag company that sells affordable, fashionable totes.Marvel purchased the main floor of their current home in 1995. In 2002, after he andSaidenberg had wed and were expecting a second child, the couple purchased the upstairs penthouse and redesigned both apartments into a two-story home.The total cost of renovations, which included knocking down walls and building a staircase, cost around $800,000. Their "dream home" spans nearly 2,800 square feet, not including out door space. It has three bedrooms, and three bathrooms, and has even temporarily served as office space for both Marvel and Saidenberg."My entire family, we all know how lucky we are and how rare this space is," Saidenberg said.We recently stopped by to meet Saidenberg and take a tour of her Upper West Side home.?Business InsiderEvery Thursday from 3:30-4:30 PM EST I answer questions on twitter.The questions can be about anything ranging from money to sex to stocks to love to startups to marriage to whatever.I answer the questions via but I then summarize and give expanded answers by Saturday.I don’t think I know all the answers to anything. I’m not trying to be egotistical by saying I have answers. But it’s fun for me and I’ve been through a lot so I hope some of my answers are useful to people.WHAT IS SUCCESS?@texandcoda asks: In your opinion/experience, what defines success?ANSWER: When I first made a lot of money I thought, “This is it. I succeeded in New York. I’m on top of the world.”Less than three years later I was dead broke and lost my house. I was worse than dead broke. I was probably over a million in debt. And I had no friends. I lost them all. “Success” was just the midwife to the worst failures a man can have. [See, “”]Then I did it again. And again and again. And each time I let it give birth to an uglier and uglier failure.So I had to redefine it for myself. What does success mean to me now? . I don’t want houses, or boats, or big vacations. I want . Freedom to get in shape, to stay emotionally healthy (which means 100% surrounding myself with uplifting people), mentally healthy (the ability and time to write this blog helps that), and spiritually healthy (the ability to read and have time and reduce my desire for all the toys that success in America usually implies). I want to die when I’m an old man knowing I was successful at these four items.That is success. Am I there? I don’t know. But I hope I get closer every day.SHORTCUT TO SUCCESS@kehindabajo asks: if there was a shortcut to success.what would it be?I can only say what’s worked for me: the only shortcut to success is by doing the steps outlines every day. I also provide modifications to it in In the post I say specifically that in six months your life will be completely different. I know this because it’s worked for me.Why does this work? Because it keeps you healthy, it keeps you from being distracted by emotional intrigue, it keeps you smart, and it helps you reduce the passions and needs and wants that will ultimately keep success from ever being your complete grasp. And here are the . Avoid those and you are off to a good head start.FAVORITE COMEDIAN, SHOW, BEATLES SONG, BOOKS, etcSeveral people asked me my favorites on a variety of topics so I supply them here:Favorite Comedian: Louis CK and Jim Norton couldn’t be more different from each other. But I love them both. Jim Norton I went to school with, and . The other, Louis CK, I’ve probably watched every episode he’s been on TV (in the series, “Lucky Louie” which also featured Norton, and in his new series “Louie”, which is much better) and I’ve watched every Youtube clip with him.Favorite Vonnegut book: “Slaughterhouse Five”. The most autobiographical – it details Vonnegut’s experiences in Dresden during and after the fire bombing that destroyed the entire city. It shakes up Vonnegut’s spirit to the point where the main character can’t even stay fixed in time. The book is surreal and I think represents Vonnegut’s purest voice and philosophy.Favorite Freaks n Geeks episode: The 14th episode. “Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers”. Specifically the scene at the end when Bill is crying because he can’t handle the fact that his mom is going out with the coach of the school. Bill is the ultimate geek and he scorned the coach and everything he stood for.I related to Bill and felt like crying when he was crying. Also, the first scene where food is falling out of his mouth while he is laughing at Garry Shandling (one of my favorite comedians) is classic.Favorite book about software: You don’t have to be a programmer to appreciate “Joel on Software” by or “Hackers & Painters” by . Both guys are (or started as) programmers, built up successful business and learned how to apply their programming skills to deeper issues in both business and life. I recommend both.Favorite business book: “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley is the perfect book for business. It shows with science and sound reasoning why the doom-and-gloomers will always be wrong. Economic development has saved country after country from the disasters of infant mortality, illiteracy, war, terrorism, and so on. I also like “The Science of Getting Rich” written in 1900 by Wallace Wattles.Favorite Beatles song: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” – by George Harrison, the most underrated Beatle and perhaps thebest songwriter among the four. Even the title is like an entire poem by itself.OCCUPY WALL STREET: Several people asked about this.ANSWER: I’ve written about this several times. But, here’s the thing.OW!That’s what the Occupy Wall Street people are feeling. They are in pain:All of the above happened to me. Specifically in 2008. I could easily be down there protesting for the same reasons.BUT, I actually lived there for several years. On Wall Street. My roof overlooked the New York Stock Exchange.You never saw a sorrier, sadder group of pe ple going to work every day than on Wall Street in March, 2009. The actual people who WORK on Wall Street are low-level people who are slaves of the banks.These people lost everything. Now, to top off their depression, the protestors are waving signs in their faces as if the Wall Streeters are the guilty ones.Let me tell you something: the guilty parties live in Greenwich, CT. Work on Park Avenue and Washington, DC, and they are more than happy to see Occupy Wall Street all the way downtown on Wall Street.Because of the lack of organization, the Occupy Wall Streeters think they are protesting something symbolic: the greed of Wall Street. The rich bankers are 5 miles north laughing their way to the bank.Lets get the banks to start lending again. Lets let the stock market go up instead of protesting it. When there is more money in the system, more people will get hired, more people will find opportunities, more businesses will get funded. Being angry at the people who lost the most won’t help anyone.?<iframe src="http://www.businessinsider.com/embed?id=4e40132869bedd9d01000006&amp;width=600&amp;height=430" width="600" height="430" border="0" frameborder="0"></iframe>?Courtesy Sotheby's International Realty/WikipediaSongstress Celine Dion and her husband are , the reports.The island, just 15 minutes from downtown Montreal, is around 20 acres and has a private bridge and security station.Furniture and art are included in the sale price; we hope the buyer appreciates Dion's ornate taste.?If you thought details of the Costa Concordia disaster couldn't get much stranger than the captain saying he didn't lead the evacuation, well, get a load of this: Two of the ship's passengers told a Swiss paper that the theme song fromTitanicwas playing in one of the dining rooms just as the ship started to list. So, as people no doubt started to panic, Celine Dion'sMy Heart Will Go Onwafted through the restaurant. Thealso reports a second Titanic connection: One of the women to survive had relatives aboard in the 1912 sinking.This originally appeared at This story was originally published by.?The music business continues to decline, but Sony's Howard Stringer is determined to make a go of it anyway, and he's willing to pay a premium. He's just purchased partner Bertelsmann's 50% stake in the Sony BMG joint venture. In an oddly structured deal, Sony will end up spending about $1.2 billion on the deal, but will end valuing Bertelsmann's half at $900 million.The details, via a Sony release:First, a portion of Bertelsmann’s interest in SONY BMG will be redeemed for approximately $600 million of cash by SONY BMG (SONY BMG has not been consolidated by Sony and will not be consolidated until after this transaction closes). Sony’s U.S. wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America, will then purchase the remaining interest from Bertelsmann for approximately $600 million. As a result, Bertelsmann will receive approximately $900mm in value for its 50% stake plus $300mm of its share of cash on Sony BMG's balance sheet. Sony views this as approximately $600mm net cash cost as it does not consolidate Sony BMG’s cash.By our count, that would imply a total value of $1.8 billion for the whole company. That's a little less than half of Sony BMG's 2008 FY revenues of $3.9 billion, and about 11x net income of $178 million.By comparison, Warner Music Group (WMG) which has similarly sized revenues ($3.46 billion) is trading at a .34 price/sales ratio. Warner comes with a good-sized publishing catalog, and the music publishing business (which deals with the rights to song compositions, not the song recordings themselves) is in relatively decent shape. But Sony BMG doesn't include publishing rights: Bertelmann sold its publishing business to Universal Music Group last year, and Sony's valuable publishing business has long been separate from its music label.But for argument's sake, let's say the two are apples-to-apples comparisons, anyway. Applying that same .34 ratio to Sony BMG's $3.9 billion sales (it's actually shrunk in last three months, but bear with us) implies a value of $1.3 billion for the company. Which means that Sir Howard should have been paying about $650 million instead of the $900 million. That seems like an awfully steep premimum for an asset that's going to keep shrinking for some time to come - in a best case scenario.Excerpts from three releases follow:Main deal announcement:New York, August 5, 2008 – The international media and entertainment companies Sony Corporation and Bertelsmann AG today announced that Sony has agreed to acquire Bertelsmann’s 50 percent stake in Sony BMG. The music company, to be called Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (SMEI), will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. Sony and Bertelsmann AG originally created the Sony BMG joint venture in August 2004...Once the transaction is completed, Sony Music Entertainment Inc. will be comprised of premier music labels such as: Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, RCA Records and Zomba. Key recording artists will include Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Jay Chou.As part of the transaction, the parties have also agreed to continue to share the company’s manufacturing and distribution requirements between Sony’s manufacturing subsidiary, Sony DADC, and Bertelsmann’s services company, Arvato Digital Services GmbH (“Arvato”), by extending the agreements with Arvato for additional terms of up to six years. In addition, Bertelsmann will be taking over selected European music catalog assets from Sony BMG.Financial detailsThe transaction will be structured as follows: First, a portion of Bertelsmann’s interest in SONY BMG will be redeemed for approximately $600 million of cash by SONY BMG (SONY BMG has not been consolidated by Sony and will not be consolidated until after this transaction closes). Sony’s U.S. wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America, will then purchase the remaining interest from Bertelsmann for approximately $600 million. As a result, Bertelsmann will receive approximately $900mm in value for its 50% stake plus $300mm of its share of cash on Sony BMG's balance sheet. Sony views this as approximately $600mm net cash cost as it does not consolidate Sony BMG’s cash. In addition, Bertelsmann will be taking over a limited amount of selected European music catalog assets from SONY BMG. These catalogs represented approximately $20 million (less than 1%) of SONY BMG’s revenues in calendar year 2007. The parties have also agreed to continue to share the company’s manufacturing and distribution requirements between Sony’s manufacturing subsidiary, Sony DADC, and Bertelsmann’s services company, Arvato Digital Services GmbH (“Arvato”), by extending agreements with Arvato for additional terms of up to six years.The closing of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including approvals ofregulatory authorities in certain jurisdictions.Berteslmann plans for remaining music assets:he international media company Bertelsmann is gearing the business of its Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) towards music rights management. The realignment is connected with the sale of Bertelsmann’s stake in the Sony BMG Music Entertainment joint venture to the Sony Corporation of America. Bertelsmann is taking over selected European catalogs of music rights from Sony BMG as part of the transaction. They comprise the works of more than 200 artists. The catalogs will continue to be distributed by Sony Music.Taking over these catalogs is an important step towards the planned establishment of a licensing and management platform for exploiting and marketing music rights under the BMG brand. The designated managing director of BMG, based in Berlin, is Hartwig Masuch, an experienced music industry executive, who most recently advised Bertelsmann in the negotiations with Sony. Maximilian Dressendörfer, Vice President BMG, will also be part of the management team.Bertelsmann’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Rabe, who is responsible for the music division on the group’s Executive Board, stated: “The many new distribution paths are causing an increase in the demand for music use rights. In view of this fact, we believe that building a business for the management and exploitation of such rights in Europe is an attractive proposition. We want to take advantage of our opportunities and position ourselves with the strong, well-established BMG brand and a management that is highly regarded in the market”.?A clip from Electronic Conspiracy's music videoA French porn star is suing rapper Bow Wow, claiming he stole a video clip of her performing in a French band's music video and used it in his own video without her permission.Celine "Katsuni" Tran, who has won several adult film industry awards, as a "club dancer" in Electronic Conspiracy's music video, according to Courthouse News Service, which reported the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon.Bow Wow, real name Shad Gregory Moss, took that clip of Tran dancing and inserted it into his "Drank in My Cup" music video without her permission, according to Tran's lawsuit.Tran is also claiming the clip of her dancing "dominates" Bow Wow's video and that the rapper engages in "intimate activities" with a Katsuni body double, according to CNS.?Denise Rich, the celebrity songwriter who has written music for such notables as Celine Dion, Jessica Simpson, and Diana Ross, is putting her Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment up for sale, forThe .Rich is asking for $65 million, making this apartment the most expensive co-op to ever reach the New York selling block.This luxurious co-op features an upper-level grand salon, a wrap-around terrace with a stunning view of Central Park, and a professional recording studio.?People around the world really love In-N-Out.The west coast "better burger" chain has been on a tour ofAsia, putting up pop-up stores in Tokyo, Shanghai and more.Its latest pop-up store was in Singapore, and it sold out in just five minutes, .Folks started lining up at 9:30 AM to get their hands on a burger. It's rumored that there were 300 wristbands for burgers, and the promo was supposed to run from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.At 11:05 AM, the remaining people had to be turned away by the manager. They did get free t-shirts as consolation.Amy McKeever at that Singapore beat Sydney, whose throng of burger-lovers took an hour to snatch all the burgers at their pop-up store, though we don't know how many patties they had brought in."An adoring burger-eating world demands more In-N-Out," she writes. "Or, you know, at least more than 300 patties next time."NOW SEE:?Four or five years ago, a reader of some of my columns bought the domain name jamesaltucher.com and gave it to me as a birthday gift. It was a total surprise to me. I didn’t even know the reader. I hope one day we meet.Two years ago a friend of mine, Tim Sykes, insisted I had to have a blog. He set it up for me. He even wrote the “About Me”. I didn’t want a blog. I had nothing to say. But about 6 or 7 months ago I decided I wanted to take this blog seriously. I kept putting off changing the “About Me” which was no longer really about me and maybe never was.A few weeks ago I did a chapter in one of the books in Seth Godin’s “The Domino Project”. The book is out and called . Mohit Pewar organized it (here’s ) and sent me a bunch of questions recently. It’s intended to be an interview on his blog but I hope Mohit forgives me because I want to use it as my new “About Me” also.1. You are a trader, investor, writer, and entrepreneur? Which of these roles you enjoy the most and why?When I first moved to New York City in 1994 I wanted to be everything to everyone. I had spent the six years prior to that writing a bunch of unpublished novels and unpublished short stories. I must’ve sent out 100s of stories to literary journals. I got form rejections from every publisher, journal, and agent I sent my novels and stories to.Now, in 1994, everything was possible. The money was in NYC. Media was here. I lived in my 10×10 room and pulled suits out of a garbage bag every morning but itdidn’tmatter…the internet was revving up and I knew how to build a website. One of the few in the city. My sister warned me though: nobody here is your friend. Everybody wants something.And I wanted something. I wanted the fleeting feelings of success, for the first time ever, in order to feel better about myself. next to me. I wanted to build and sell companies and finally prove to everyone I was the smartest. I wanted to do a . I wanted to .But everything involved having a master. Clients. Employers. Investors. Publishers. The market (the deadliest master of all). Employees. I was a slave to everyone for so many years. And the more shackles I had on, the lonelier I got.Much of the time, even when I had those moments of success, I didn’t know how to turn it into a better life. I felt ugly and then later, I felt stupid when I would let the success dribble away down the sink.I love writing because every now and then that ugliness turns into honesty. When I write, I’m only a slave to myself. When I do all of those other things you ask about, I’m a slave to everyone else.Some links:“”(one of my favorite posts on my blog)2. What inspires you to get up and start working/writing every day?The other day I had breakfast with a fascinating guy who had just sold a piece of his fund of funds. He told me what “fracking” was and how the US was going to be a major oil player again. We spoke for two hours about a wide range of topics, including what happens when we can finally implant a google chip in our brains.After that I had to go onto NPR because I firmly believe that in – we are graduating a generation of indentured servants who will spend 50 years or more paying down their student debt rather than starting companies and curing cancer. So maybe I made a difference.Then I had lunch with a guy I hadn’t seen in ten years. . I felt bad I hadn’t helped him when he was at his low point. Then I came home and watched my kid play clarinet at her school. Then I read until I fell asleep. Today I did nothing but write. Both days inspired me.It also inspires me that I’m being asked these questions. Whenever anyone asks me to do anything I’m infinitely grateful. Why me? I feel lucky. I like it when someone cares what I think. I’ll write and do things as long as anyone cares. I honestly probably wouldn’t write if nobody cared. I don’t have enough humility for that, I’m ashamed to admit.3. Your new book “” has just come out. What is it about?When I was a kid I thought I needed certain things: a college education from a great school, a great home, a lot of money, someone who would love me with ease. I wanted people to think I was smart. I wanted people to think I was even special. And as I grew older more and more goals got added to the list: a high chess rating, a published book, perfect weather, good friends, respect in various fields, etc. I lied to myself that I needed these things to be happy. The world was going to work hard to give me these things, I thought. But it turned out the world owed me no favors.And gradually, over time, . Several times. I’ve paced at night so many times wondering what the hell was I going to do next or trying not to care. The book is about regaining your sanity, regaining your happiness, finding luck in all the little pockets of life that people forget about. It’s about turning away from the religion you’ve been hypnotized into believing into the religion you can find inside yourself every moment of the day.[Note: in a few days I'm going to do a post on self-publishing and also how to get the ebook for free. The link above is to the paperback. Kindle should be ready soon also.]Related link: 4. Is it possible to accelerate success? If yes, how?Yes, and it’s the only way I know actually to achieve success. It’s the only way I know to exercise every muscle from the inside of you to the outside of you. I firmly believe that happiness starts with that practice.5. You say that discipline, persistence and psychology are important if one has to achieve success. How can one work on improving “psychology” part?Success doesn’t really mean anything. People want to be happy in a harsh and unforgiving world. It’s very difficult. We’re so lucky most of us live in countries without major wars. Our kids aren’t getting killed by random gunfire. We all have cell phones. We all can communicate with each other on the Internet. We have Google to catalog every piece of information in history! We are so amazingly lucky already.How can it be I was so lucky to be born into such a body? In New York City of all places? Just by being born in such a way on this planet was an amazing success.So what else is there? The fact is that most of us, including me, have a hard time being happy with such ready-made success. We quickly adapt and want so much more out of life. It’s not wars or disease that kill us. It’s the minor inconveniences that add up in life. It’s the times we feel slighted or betrayed. Or even slightly betrayed. Or overcharged. Or we miss a train. Or it’s raining today. Or the dishwasher doesn’t work. Or the supermarket doesn’t have the food we like. We forget how good the snow tasted when we were kids. Now we want gourmet food at every meal.Taking a step back, doing the I outline in the question above. For me, the results of that bring me happiness. That’s success. Today. And hopefully tomorrow.6. You advocate not sending kids to college. What if kids grow up and then blame their parents about not letting them get a college education?I went to one of my kid’s music recitals yesterday. She was happy to see me. I hugged her afterwards. She played “the star wars theme” on the clarinet. I wish I could’ve played that for my parents. My other daughter has a dance recital in a few weeks. I tried to give her tips but she laughed at me. I was quite the breakdancer in my youth. I want to be present for them. To love them. To let them always know that in their own dark moments, they know I will listen to them. I love them. Even when they cry and don’t always agree with me. Even when they laugh at me because sometimes I act like a clown.Later, if they want to blame me for anything at all then I will still love them. That’s my “what if”.Two posts: 7. Four of your favorite posts from The Altucher Confidential.As soon as I publish a post I get scared to death. Is it good? Will people re-tweet? Will one part of the audience of this blog like it at the expense of another part of the audience. Will I get Facebook Likes? I have to stop clinging to these things but you also need to respect the audience. I don’t know. It’s a little bit confusing to me. I don’t have the confidence of a real writer yet.Here are four of my favorites.Although these three are favorites I really don’t post anything unless it’s my favorite of that moment.8. 3 must-read books for aspiring entrepreneurs?The key in an entrepreneur book: you want to learn business. You want to learn how to honestly communicate with your customers. You want to stand out.The Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence Cunningham“The Thank you Economy” by Gary Vaynerchuk“Purple cow” by Seth Godin9. I love your writing, so do so many others out there. Who are your favorite writers?“Jesus’s Son” by Denis Johnson is the best collection of short stories ever written. I’m afraid I really don’t like his novels though.“Tangents” by M. Prado. A beautiful series of graphic stories about relationships.Other writers: Miranda July, Ariel Leve, Mary Gaitskill, Charles Bukowski, Celine, Sam Lipsyte, William Vollmann, Raymond Carver. Arthur Nersesian. Stephen Dubner.Many writers are only really good storytellers. Most writers come out of a cardboard factory MFA system and lack a real voice. A real voice is where every word exposes ten levels of hypocrisy in the world and brings us all the way back to see reality. The writers above have their own voices, their own pains, and their unique ways of expressing those pains. Some of them are funny. Some a little more dark. I wish I could write 1/10 as good as any of them. 10. You are a prolific writer. Do you have any hacks that help you write a lot in little time?Coffee, plus everything else coffee does for you first thing in the morning.Only write about things you either love or hate. But if you hate something, try to find a tiny gem buried in the bag of dirt so you can reach in when nobody is looking and put that gem in your pocket. Stealing a diamond in all the shit around us and then giving it away for free via writing is a nice little hack, Being fearless precisely when you are most scared is the best hack. 11. I totally get and love your idea about bleeding as a writer, appreciate if you share more with the readers of this blog.Most people worry about what other people think of them. Most people worry about their health. Most people are at a crossroads and don’t know how to take the next step and which road to take it on. Everyone is in a perpetual state of ‘where do I put my foot next’. Nobody, including me, can avoid that.You and I both need to wash our faces in the morning, brush our teeth, shower, shit, eat, fight the weather, fight the colds that want to attack us if we’re not ready. Fight loneliness or learn how to love and appreciate the people who want to love you back. And learn how to forgive and love the people who are even more stupid and cruel than we are. We’re afraid to tell each other these things because they are all both disgusting and true.You and I both have the same color blood. If I cut my wrist open you can see the color of my blood. You look at it and see that it’s the same color as yours. We have something in common. It doesn’t have to be shameful. It’s just red. Now we’re friends. No matter whom you are or where you are from. I didn’t have to lie to you to get you to be my friend.Related Links:12. What is your advice for young entrepreneurs?Only build something you really want to use yourself. There’s got to be one thing you are completely desperate for and no matter where you look you can’t find it. Nobody has invented it yet. So there you go – you invent it. If there’s other people like you, you have a business. Else. You fail. Then do it again. Until it works. One day it will.Follow these 100 Rules:And, in particular this:In my just released book I have more chapters on my experiences as an entrepreneur.13. I advocate the concept of working at a job while building your business. You have of course lived it. Now as you look back, what is your take on this? Is it possible to make it work while sailing on two boats? Your boss wants everything out of you. He wants you to work 80 hours a week. He wants to look good taking credit for your work. He wants your infinite loyalty. So you need something back.It’s the best way to get good experience, clients, contacts. It’s a legal way to steal. It’s a fast way to be an entrepreneur because you see what large companies with infinite money are willing to pay for. If you can provide that, you make millions. It’s how many great businesses have started and will always start. It’s how every exit I’ve had started. 14. Who is a “person with true moral fiber”? In current times are there any role models who are people with true moral fiber.I don’t really know the answer. I think . I hope I’m someone like that. And I pray to god the people I’m invested in are like that and my family is like that.I find most people to be largely mean and stupid, a vile combination. It’s not that I’m pessimistic or cynical. I’m very much an optimist. It’s just reality. Open the newspaper or turn on the TV and .Moral fiber atrophies more quickly than any muscle on the body. An exercise I do every morning is to promise myself that “I’m going to save a life today” and then leave it in the hands of the Universe to direct me how I can best do that. Through that little exercise plus the described above I hope to keep regenerating that fiber.15. Your message to the readers of this blog?Skip dinner. Read more posts on ?Bukowski was disgusting, his actual real fiction is awful, he’s been called a misogynist, a Nazi, overly simplistic, (and probably all of the above are true to an extent) and whenever there’s a collection of “Greatest American Writers” he’s never included.And yet… he’s probably the greatest American writer ever. Whether you’ve read him or not, and most have not, there’s 6 things worthy of learning from an artist like Bukowski.I consider “Ham on Rye” by Bukowski probably the greatest American novel ever written. It’s an autobiographical novel (as are all his novels except “Pulp” which is so awful it’s unreadable) about his childhood, being beaten by his parents, avoiding war, and beginning his life of destitution, hardship, alcoholism, and the beginnings of his education as a writer.I’m almost embarrassed to admit he’s an influence. Many people hate him and I’m much more afraid of being judged than he ever was.1) Honesty. His first four novels are extremely autobiographical. He details the suffering he had as a child (putting his parents in a very bad light but he didn’t care), he details his experiences with prostitutes, his lack of interest in holding down a job, his horrible experiences and lack of real respect for the women he was in relationships with, and on and on.His fiction and poetry document thoroughly the people he hates, the authors he despises, the establishment he could care less about (and he hated the anti-establishment just as much. One quote about a potential plan the hippie movement was going to do: “Run a pig for president? What the fuck is that? It excited them. It bored me.”)Most fiction writers do what fiction writers do: they make stuff up. They tell stories that come from their imagination. Bukowski wasn’t really able to do that. Whenever he attempted fiction (his last novel being a great example) it fell flat. Even his poetry is non-fiction.There’s one story he wrote (I forget the name) where he’s sitting in a bar and he wants to be alone and some random guy starts talking to him: “its horrible about all those girls who were burned” and Bukowski says (I’m getting the words a little off. Doing this from memory), “I don’t know.” And the guy and everyone else in the bar starts yelling, “This guy doesn’t care that all those little girls burned to death”. But Bukowski was honest, “It was a newspaper headline. If it happened in front of me I’d probably feel different about it.” And he refused to back down and stayed in the bar until closing time.He had very few boundaries as to how far his honesty could go. He never wrote about his daughter after she reached a certain age. That’s about the only boundary I can find. Every other writer has so many things they can’t write about: family, spouses, exes, children, jobs, bosses, colleagues, friends. That’s why they make stuff up. Bukowski didn’t let himself get hampered by that so we see real raw honest, a real anthropological survey of being down and out for 60+ years without anything being held back. No other writer before or since has done that. For a particular example, see his novel, “Women” which detailed every sexual nuance of every woman who dared to sleep with him after he achieved some success. Most of these women were horrified after the book came out.I try as hard as possible to remove all boundaries. 2) Persistence. Bukowski got two stories published when he was young (24 and 26 years old) but almost all of his stories were rejected by publishers. So he quit writing for ten years. Then, in the mid 1950s he started up again. He submitted tons of poems and stories everywhere he could. It took him years to get published. It took him even more years to get really noticed. And it finally took him about 15 years of writing every day and writing thousands of poems and stories before he finally started making a living as a writer. He wrote his first novel at the age of 49 and it was financially successful. After 25 years of plugging away at it he was finally a successful writer.25 years!Most people give up much earlier, much younger. Both my grandfather and father wanted to be musicians, for instance. Both gave up in their 20s and 30s and took what they thought was the safer route. (The safer route being, in my opinion, what ultimately killed both of them).And this persistence was while he was going through three marriages, dozens of jobs, and non-stop alcoholism. Some of this is documented (poorly) in the move “Barfly” but I think a better movie about Bukowski is the indie that Matt Dillon did about his novel, “Factotum” which details the 10 years he was going from job to job, woman to woman, just trying to survive as an alcoholic in a world that kept beating him down.He wrote his first novel in 19 days. Michael Hemmingson who I write about below, wrote me and said Bukowski had to finish that novel so fast because he was desperately afraid he was going to be a failure at being a successful writer and didn’t want to disappoint John Martin, who had essentially given him an advance for the novel.3) Survival. When I think “constant alcoholic” I usually equate that with being a homeless bum. Bukowski, at some deep level, realized that he needed to survive. He couldn’t just be a homeless bum and kill himself, no matter how many disappointments he had. He worked countless factory jobs (the basis of the non-fiction novel, “Factotun”) but even that wasn’t stable enough for him. Finally, he took a job working for the US Government (you can’t get more stable) working in the post office for 11 years. He didn’t miss child support payments (although he constantly wrote about how ugly the mother of his child was), and as far as I know he was never homeless or totally down and out from his early 30s ’til the time he started having success as a writer.And despite writing about the overwhelming poverty he had, he did have a small inheritance from his father, a savings account he built up, and a steady paycheck. The post office job is documented, in full, in his first “novel” called, appropriately, “Post Office”. Many people think that’s his best novel but I put it third or fourth behind “Ham on Rye” and “Factotum” and possibly “Women”. He also wrote a novel, “Hollywood” about the blow-by-blow experience of doing the movie “Barfly”. All the names are changed (hence its claim to be fiction) but once you figure out who everyone is, its totally non-fiction. Like all of his other novels (not counting “Pulp”, which was the worst American novel ever written and published).4) Discipline. Imagine working a brutal 10 hour shift at the Post Office, coming home and arguing with your wife or girlfriend, or half-girlfriend, half-prostitute that was living with you, finishing off three or four six-packs of beer and then…writing. He did it every day. Most people want to write that novel, or finish that painting, or start that business, but have zero discipline to actually sit down and do it. If there was any talent that Bukowski had that I can’t actually figure out how he got it, its that discipline.When he was younger (early 20s, late teens) he spent almost every day in the library, falling in love with all the great writers. The love must have been so great it superseded almost everything else in his life. He had to write like them or he really felt like he would die. He had to “put down a good line” as he would say. And every day he would try. And good, bad, or ugly, he probably ultimately ended up publishing (many posthumously) everything he ever wrote. I try to match that discipline. Even when I don’t post a blog post I write seven days a week, every morning. At least 1000 words and a completed post. I used to do this in my 20s when I was trying to write fiction. My minimum then was 3000 words. I did that for five years.It adds up. The average book is 60,000 words. If you can write 1000 words a day then you’ll have 6 books by the end of the year. Because poetry books are much smaller, Bukowski probably had around 80 or so books published by the time he was dead and I bet there are more coming.5) His “literary map”. He was inspired by several writers and he inspired many more. Some of my favorite writers come from both categories. He was probably most inspired by three writers: Celine, Knut Hamsun, and John Fante. I highly recommend Celine’s “Journey to the End of the Night”. Celine is almost a more raw version of Bukowski. He was constantly angry and trying to survive and do whatever it took to survive. The thing about Bukowski, as opposed to many other writers, is he didn’t concern himself with flowery images or beautiful sunsets. He totally wrote as if he were speaking to you and Celine does that to an extreme but he’s so raw and smart that the way he “speaks” is like an insane person trying to spew out as much venom as possible. 600 pages later his first book is a masterpiece and I often use it in my pre-writing hour every morning when I read stuff to inspire myself to write.John Fante wrote the underappreciated “Ask the Dust” which was completely forgotten until Bukowski’s publisher republished it and all of Fante’s books. (I also recommend the movie with Colin Farrell and a naked Salma Hayek).Bukowski was almost afraid to admit how much Fante directly influenced him. He wrote in one “short story”, “I realized that admitting John Bante had been such a great influence on my writing might detract from my own work, as if part of me was a carbon copy, but I didn’t give a damn. It’s when you hide things that you choke on them.”Note he spelled “Fante” as “Bante”. That’s the extent of Bukowski’s fiction. Another interesting thing is the last line. Nothing flowery, nothing descriptively beautiful, yet a line like that is what made Bukowski unique and one of the best writers ever, getting at the hidden truth of what was really happening in his head, rather than telling yet another boring story filled with flowery descriptions like most books and stories are.Then there’s the authors Bukowski influenced. Michael Hemmingson wrote an excellent review of Bukowski in the book “The Dirty Realism Duo: Bukowski and Carver” which I highly recommend. Raymond Carver comes from the same genre of down-and-out, oppressive relationships that were beyond his ability to cope with them, and realist, simple writing that was mostly autobiographical (although that’s a little less clear in Carver’s case). I’d also throw Denis Johnson’s book of short stories (Jesus’ Son) in that category (Johnson studied with Carver) and more recently, books like the above-mentioned Michael Hemmingson’s “Crack Hotel”, “The Comfort of Women”, “My Date(Rape) with Kathy Acker” and other stories. I’m dying to find other writers in this category.I read how Denis Johnson needed $10,000 to pay the IRS. So he threw together some vignettes he had forgotten about, called the collection “Jesus’ Son” and sent it off to Jonathan Galassi and said, “here, you can have these if you pay the IRS”. So I Facebook-friended Galassi and asked him if he could tell me one author in Denis Johnson’s league but I’m still waiting for a response.I wish I could find more writers like these. Perhaps William Vollmann who wrote “Butterfly Stories” but his bigger fiction is too difficult for me to read (anecdote: he wrote the afterward to the recently re-published Celine’s “Journey of the Night” so all of these writers tend to recognize their common lineage.)6) Poetry. I really hate poetry. When I open up the New Yorker (blecch!) and read the latest poems in there I can’t understand them, they all seem like gibberish to me, they all seem too intellectual. And yet, out of all the poets I’ve read, the only ones I really like are: Bukowski, Raymond Carver, and Denis Johnson. Poetry allowed them to master making each word in a sentence effective and powerful. It was this training that allowed them to destroy the competition when they sat down to write their longer pieces. It makes me want to try my hand at poetry but even the word “poetry” sounds so pseudo-intellectual I just have no interest in doing it.Bukowski: Alcoholic, postal worker, misogynist (there’s a video you can easily find on Youtube where he must be almost 60 and he literally kicks his wife in anger while he’s being interviewed.), anti-war, anti-peace, anti-everything, hated everyone, probably insecure, extremely honest, and he had to write every day or it would kill him.In his own words, words which I hope to live by: “What a joy it must be to be a truly great writer, even if it means a shotgun at the finish”.————————Suggested Reading:Biographical:- Michael Hemmingson: The Dirty Realism Due: Charles Bukowski and Raymond Carver- Howard Sounes: “”Bukowski’s Writings (that I recommend):Other fiction in the “Dirty Realism”category: Poem:by Raymond Carver.Article: Movies:“Factotum”If anyone can think of anybody else in this specific “dirty realism” category, please put it in the comments. I’d also like to read women in this category but I think it’s a particularly male category. Jack Kerouac falls somewhere in there but he’s more “beat” which I think is different. And Chad Kultgen’s recent books (“The Average American Male”, for instance) are also somewhat in the realism category but not quite “dirty” enough.Read more posts on ?fhm.comLady Gaga is the , bringing in $90 million between May 2010 and May 2011, according to .That's about $10,300 an hour. You could buy a lot of meat dresses with that.After Gaga, there's a steep drop-off. The top 10 looks like this:The list looks like what you might imagine, though we're surprised Pink is still raking in that kind of money. Raise your glass, indeed.?TMZ reports: Michael Jackson could become the next Celine Dion, and we're not just talkin' wardrobe.We've been able to connect the dots and it seems the guys who just bailed Jacko out of Neverland debt may be angling to put him on stage in Vegas.These money men run Colony Capital, a group that owns the Las Vegas Hilton. Colony just forked over the green M.J. needed to keep Neverland out of foreclosure.So, you ask, what's in it for Colony? We're told Vegas money is on Jackson headlining there and raking in a much-needed jackpot. Colony has the venue -- it's where Barry Manilow performed -- and now the leverage to moonwalk his ass back on stage.Jacko's peeps didn't return our calls for comment. ?Madonna tops of the highest-earning musicians of 2008 with $242 million in revenues mostly from concert ticket sales. The list further illustrates the value of touring as a revenue stream as the top five money makers also earned the most on tour, in the same order, according to Billboard's calculations.Madge only had the 50th best-selling album but earned her spot atop the list from the highest-grossing tour of the year, which pulled in $230 million. Higher-margin merch sales also made $18 million for the Material Girl.The full list:1. Madonna: $242,176,466 2. Bon Jovi: $157,177,766 3. Bruce Springsteen: $156,327,964 4. The Police: $109,976,894 5. Celine Dion: $99,171,237 6. Kenny Chesney: $90,823,990 7. Neil Diamond: $82,174,000 8. Rascall Flatts: $63,522,160 9. Jonas Brothers: $62,638,814 10. Coldplay: $62,175,555 11. The Eagles: $61,132,213 12. Lil Wayne: $57,441,334 13. AC/DC: $56,505,296 14. Michael Buble: $50,257,364 15. Miley Cyrus: $48,920,806 16. Taylor Swift: $45,588,730 17. Journey: $44,787,328 18. Billy Joel: $44,581,010 19. Mary J. Blige: $43,472,850 20. Kanye West: $42,552,402?It was really horrible what I did to them. Grad school! All my classes paid for plus an entire $1100 stipend a month to live on. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, I was rich. I was Jimmy Rockefeller. I felt like every worry in life had now shed off me. I was free. And then I really committed a foul crime for it that I’m ashamed of.On $1100 a month I was able to live for the first time all by myself. Loneliness was so precious to me then. My apartment was in back of a gas station. I loved the smell of the gas and breathed it in all day long. I ate chocolate pretzels or pancakes every morning. I ate out every night (who cooks when so wealthy?)Id write notes to all the waitresses politely telling them I loved them and would they please go out with me? (“No!”) I learned how to . ?I bought t-shirts and used-books and saw movies and . And lo and behold, at the end of the month there was another check with my name on it. Science and magic mixed together. I was like a radioactive spider created by a mad scientist. Life could not have been more wonderful.(I had a severe waitress fetish)But, some might say…I stole the money. For two years I didnt attend any classes. Almost all of my professors would’ve been better off dead. That’s what I thought of them. What good did they do? Nothing. Every chance I could I lied to them just to keep that $1100 money spigot flowing. While they backstabbed each other mid-race for tenure-ship I quietly began to fail every class (I never showed up) and didn’t let them in on my secret.At the end of each quarter they would say, what the hell is wrong with you? but I would beg and plead, just one more semester. ?I had new research, I said. New ideas that would save the world. ?If you combined computational theory with robot vision I could create a new Planet of the Apes! ?I didnt want to be cut off from that $1100 a month. That was my pig that shat gold!The real world looked frightening and dangerous. All of the men and women from the real world had a contagious desperate look in their eyes that I was afraid I would catch. I would see them on buses, flipping from face to face like a viewmaster of the Chernobyl aftermath. They would touch me at night in the dark until I woke up scared and alone.So I convinced grad school to even give me a fellowship and stipend for the summer between my first and second year. I promised to do such amazing research it was like Fermat was a piece of dust to me. I would crush his theorem. I could send toilets into space with my inricate calculations, never discovered prior. Instead, I spent the summer 300 miles away, smoked pot every day, drank, and tried LSD for the first (and only) time, and failed to have sex with any of the dozen or so women I pursued. the state of knowledge about highly esoteric and useless artificial intelligence but that was it. Maybe that was enough for them to keep me going. That was the last diesel gas in my sputtering truck engine.I got hit by a very bad illness my second year of graduate school (the effects of one tab of LSD linger for a long time). I suddenly wanted to write stories and books. ?What a stupid pleasure, in retrospect, when I could’ve just spent all my wasted time lying down on the grass doing nothing. [See. (I only had one my entire life. I think the effect is still there 21 years later).Around the age of 22 I started writing and reading for about ten hours a day. All of my friends got sick of me and one by one they stopped wanting to be around me. Particularly when I insisted we all experiment with a 25 hour a day schedule. Who made the rule that humans need a 24 hour day? Eventually I was always asleep when they were awake and vice-versa. And somehow we never got sync-ed back together. They had moved to an 18 hour a day schedule. It was all messed up. Magic lightning bolts couldn’t fix what had happened.I stopped going into my little graduate school office (particularly moved out of my office to go to IBM without me). ?I instead spent hours at the library. Id read literary journals to see what authors I liked and then Id look up those authors in this massive encyclopedia series called Contemporary Literary Criticism. Every author imaginable is in there. I looked it up on Amazon and there are around 100 editions with each one costing about $300.I first read Denis Johnson in the literary journal Epoch. Then I found other stories he wrote in The Paris Review and then The New Yorker. When the collection of his stories finally came out Jesus Son, I excitedly told one of my professors when I ran into him in the street that was this was the greatest day in literary history. Within hours of that I was officially thrown out of graduate school.n?(I never saw the movie. Is it good?)Then I read Mary Gaitskills collection Bad Behavior. It was excellent and inspiring because all of her stories had been rejected (just like me!) before they were finally compiled into the best-selling collection that made her name as a writer. ?All her stories were a greasy mixture of sex and relationships. Greasy because the chemicals never got it quite right but it was too late to stop them from exploding once a match lit up.One of my favorite writers, Reginald McKnight, wrote maybe the best unrecognized novel ever: ?I Get on the Bus. You can buy it now for one penny on Amazon. When I finished the book, the last line was so powerful I thought my brain was going to explode in joy. I forced my girlfriend to sit down and listen while I described the entire plot over the course of an hour or so just so I could read to her the last line. Recently she de-friended me on Facebook which is the modern equivalent of…I don’t know…defriending me via Morse Code.I wrote McKnight a letter analyzing his last line. By coincidence he taught on campus. He responded to the letter and said I should sit in on his class.So here I was, a grad student in Computer Science, not attending a single comp sci class but religiously attending three days a week McKnights class (each week was a different perspective C first person stories, third person, even second person (You),? stories told in letter form, etc. ) Wed write stories and hed critique each week.Turns out. Wed go to all the comic book stores or flea markets, buy comics, then eat dinner and read them.? I think I insulted him once though. I told him some advice that I now forget. I concluded my un-asked-for advice with, youll really have a career as a writer then. And he said, I already have a career as a writer.I never saw him again after that although one time I called him with a long rambling message about how I hated my girlfriend at the time. He never called me back.Then I fell in love with Steve Ericksons books. Tours of the Black Clock. What a beautiful title. He also wrote a book about the 1988 election, Leap Year . It was brilliant, particularly the prophetic and beautifully written synopsis of perennial loser ?Al Gore. So I decided I would call him up and interview him for a magazine. I made up the name of a magazine and I got him on the phone.(Great cover)He sent me a review copy of his as yet-unreleased “Arc DX”. I think I ended up physically licking every word on the page I liked it so much. (although requires reading all his prior novels to fully appreciate). And then I proceeded to call him no less than 500 times trying to arrange the interview. I would call and usually nobody would answer. Then Id call 5 minutes later, someone would pick up, Id say Hello? and hed hang up. Then Id call again. And again. I never got the interview.During this time I found William Vollmann. The guy writes about 10,000 words a day and has such bad carpal tunnel syndrome he has to type with two pencils and hold them as if they were his fingers. I started with the Rainbow Stories (out of control good!) and then Whores for Gloria, “Butterfly Stories”, ?and a few others.I played a prank on him. I wrote him a letter through his publisher and said that he should be careful what he writes. How I, like the main character in “Butterfly Stories”, went to Thailand and got AIDs and now regret it. I have never been to Thailand.He then called me! In a very whispery voice he left a voicemail saying he was sorry about what had happened to me and I could call him any time, that there were always people I could talk to. What a nice guy he is! What a bad guy I was!I went through a 1920s phase (Dos Passos, Hemingway, Fitzgerald), then a 1950s phase (Mailer, Heller, Kerouac, Vonnegut, later Hemingway), then a 1960s phase (puke! Pynchon, Farina, Roth, Updike, Bellow, blah), then a 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s phase. A brief 1800s phase (Chekov, Dostoevsky, ?Tolstoy). ?A mostly unpleaseant experimental phase (Lish, Calvino, Marquez, and Ill even throw David Foster Wallaces first novel in there (Broom of the System) which I despised, and Rushdie, who is so unreadable makes me wonder how he gets so many women to like him).Even had a genre phase (John Grisham, not as bad as I thought, Stephen King (unreadable to me but people tell me I didnt give it a chance), Robert Ludlum (Bourne not so bad), Anne Rice (vampire series a pageturner but then got somewhat flat). ?And, of course, a brat pack phase: Jay McInerney, Bret Easton Ellis, Tama Janowitz (loved her!), Donna Tartt, and various others.(Tama Janowitz - I liked her hair)Then I started writing my own horrible novels (you can imagine by the titles: The Book of Orpheus, The Book of David, The Pimp, the Prostitute, the Porn Novelist, and Theyre Lovers) and maybe over 100 short stories that I still have buried in some pile somewhere. [See,?] Id go into grad school (and later, work, after 29 out of 30 professors who voted on it finally kicked me out of school when they came to their senses. I never found out the one professor who voted for me. If you are the professor who voted for me, please tell me.) late at night and use all the copy machine paper to print my stuff out to send to 30 different publishers only to receive 30 form letter rejections. Then Id repeat the process again and again. I never lost hope. But it was hopeless.Everyone around me went on to start Internet companies they but I kept pushing. I wanted to be a published writer. Only then would I be worthy of RESPECT. Finally, I applied for a job at HBO and got it, figuring NOW Ill finally make some connections .This was the only thing stopping me. I needed to be in the big city!Instead I totally . Then veered completely. And even further and further away. How lost can you truly get from your dreams until you can no longer say, “this is who I really am”. At some point (usually after exposure to Gold Kryptonite) you lose your super powers and only become “Clark Kent”, mild-mannered reporter. Its only in the past eight months I feel real happy creatively again.Because of this blog, all the comments, new friends, ?people who send emails, people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and learn from. I feel blessed. I feel I can finally be honest when most others in the past industries I’ve immersed myself in are still lying out of fear. What a horrible decade it was for everyone. And to step out of line is scarier than ever so we feel we have to lie to hide and protect ourseleves. But it’s possible.This is a long way of saying….thanks.Summer reading list:These are either books Ive just read and will read again in the summer,? or Im planning to read. I might update this list throughout the summer. All of the books are fiction. BUT they are almost all a particular style of fiction that is almost 99% autobiographical without the authors admitting it.A) ? ?I had a book here. But I just got it from Amazon, read the first two chapters and it was no good.B)???? ,??by Bukowski. I happen to think this is the greatest American novel ever written. Not sure why its not taught in high school literature classes while meanwhile the un-aborted Bronte Sisters/Jane Austen (aren’t they all the same creature?) continue to bore generation after generation of people out of reading. I plan on re-reading this summer. Note, they says it’s a novel but I’m pretty sure its 100% autobiographical. I don’t really like Bukowski when he veers into fiction. The more autobiographical, the better, for him.C) ? ? The entire book is like the raving of a mad-man who hates everyone and his one grasp on sanity is that he strongly doesnt want to get his head blown off in a war (WWI). Im about 1/3 of the way through. The writing is raw, angry, desperate, and beautiful. Supposedly he became a raving anti-semite mentally ill nazi towards the end of his life which is unfortunate but Id kill to have to the powerful voice in this book. What’s interesting is that Vollman writes the afterward, Vonnegut refers to Celine in his autobiographical book “Palm Sunday”, and Bukowski wrote his last novel more or less about Celine. All of these writers with strong voices recognize each other and stick together.(nice cover)D)??? . Supposedly the inspiration for much of Bukowskis work. Curious to check it out.E)???? s??I don’t think I’ve ever read it. Recently re-read “Slaughterhouse 5″ and thought it was beautiful.F)????? . I like the TV show on HBO roughly based on this. He has a strong literary voice (I read his first novel probably 15 years ago) even though almost everything he writes is memoir-ish. He has an extreme honesty that I aspire to.G)??? . Rereading.? Its packaged as fiction but I’m sure its borderline memoir. ?Every word is infused with severe love addiction and artistry.H)??? . This is a Bukowski summer. Another guy that supposedly influenced his works.I)?????? ,??Ive read everything Raymond Carver wrote a billion times over . I might even re-read him again this summer. ?Hempel was one of his students so I figured Id read her.J)?????? s, literary nonfiction by a great fiction stylist. Read the first essay and it was excellent.K)??? . Read a few of them and I like the voice. I hate writers who tell a great story but add nothing with their voices. She seems (like everyone on this list) to have a strong voice.L)???? J. ?I reread it probably once every month or so. ?I wish I could find just one writer who comes close but I’m afraid it’s impossible. I wish I could write 1/10 as good as him.M) . Rereading. Heck, maybe I’ll play the same trick I played on him 18 years ago.N) . The one “non-fiction” book on the list. Claudia has gotten me into the philosophy that underlies yoga and this is a particularly readable interpretation. Patanjali wrote the yoga sutras around 400BC almost as a response to Buddha. It was like Hindu marketing. Buddha kept stealing the customers so Patanjali wrote 195 lines in response. In my opinion the 195 lines basically describes Buddhism, and throws in the physical aspect (which we call “yoga”) and the breathing aspect.? my most popular posts in the past month are secretly based on just two of the 195 lines.O) Please add more suggestions in the comments. Self-promotion encouraged.Theres more on the list but this is enough for now. And Im going to add to this, particularly if I read stuff that turns out to be so good I want to recommend it.Ill close this list with a quote from Jesus Son. Maybe it will share why I love the book so much. ?This quote comes from the first story in the book:“Down the hall came the wife. She was glorious, burning. She didn’t know yet that her husband was dead. We knew. That’s what gave her such power over us. The doctor took her into a room with a desk at the end of the hall, and from under the closed door a slab of brilliance radiated as if, by some stupendous process, diamonds were being incinerated in there. What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! I’ve gone looking for that feeling everywhere.”Read more posts on ?Dr No wannabes are finding that medium-priced islets were no great investment after all.Cave Cay in the Bahamas, complete with beach huts, airstrips and breathtaking views, is going for $110m.Eilean an Seamraig, an uninhabitable Scottish isle featuring drizzle and rocks, costs a mere £45,000 ($71,000). The market for private islands has never been so unsteady, says Farhad Vladi, a Hamburg-based island broker with more than 120 isles from 22 countries on his books.At the top end, the market is still firm. Luxury islands, which make up about a tenth of the market, have good access to food and water, few irksome bugs and a hospitable climate. Owners past and present include stars such as Johnny Depp, Celine Dion and Diana Ross. Demand for these islands is holding up, even in harsh economic times.Elsewhere the story is different. Owners of so-called "adventure islands"--cheap, with fewer amenities--are ditching their retreats. Before the bust, prices soared as these places were seen as good investments. Mr Vladi says a Panamanian resort he sold for $100,000 in 2003 was given a price tag of $3m five years later. Now prices are declining. A densely wooded isle in Florida reckoned to be worth $1.6m before the crash sold for $260,000 in June.Many islanders have wearied of the upkeep. Owning an island requires a lot of commitment, says Frits Hannenberg, who manages small island resorts for absent owners. Installing and running a water supply is tricky and costly. A desalination system costs up to $50,000 (you can buy an islet for that). Then the plants need looking after too. Locals can help, says Mr Hannenberg; in the Fiji archipelago, they are zealous at keeping the flora in order. But isle-buyers like solitude: , an actor, gave up his after a row with tribesmen.Other uncertainties include building rules and environmental hassles: islands (except when owned by villains in adventure films) are still subject to somebody else's laws and taxes. Nicolas Cage, a film star, found he could not add developments to his refuge in the Bahamas, because an endangered iguana lived there; he has since sold up. A seller feared he would be unable to dispose of two Pennsylvanian islands, after one got flooded by a river. He gave them to charity. Climate change could mean sea-levels rising. That would put many island investments underwater.?, long derided by the French left as an uncultured oaf, has been boning up on his cultural greats, reports Sarkozy apparently watched 15 Alfred Hitchcock films back to back, and later did the same for Roberto Rossellini, Frank Capra, Ernst Lubitsch and Federico Fellini.He's also been reading classic novels. "Just like a revision programme, he functions by author," a guest told Libération newspaper.Sarkozy had previously been mocked by , including, reportedly, a soft spot for Celine Dion.?With their saucy captain Simon Cowell leaving American Idol's judging table next season, Fox desperately needs to him and keep young people viewing and voting.The network thinks they have found their man, but they might need to brawl for him — with Simon himself.According to Nikke Finke and Mike Fleming , Fox sources say the man who can save television's No. 1 show is Tommy Mottola, the former Sony Music chief best known as Mariah Carey's ex-husband and the top executive behind Michael Jackson's music. But Simon Cowell also to be a judge on his other Fox show debuting this fall, The X Factor.Mottola's made a name for himself as . During three decades in the industry, he has nurtured acts like Hall & Oates, Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen. At Sony, hesigned stars including Dixie Chicks, Destiny’s Child, New Kids on the Block, Ricky Martin, Celine Dion, and Jennifer Lopez.Mottola left (or was pushed out?) of Sony in January 2003, when the company had lost $132 million in the first six months of its fiscal year and album sales had plummeted by 11 percent across the industry. He's now co-owner of Casablanca Records, a joint venture with the Universal Music Group, and launched the careers of Usher and Lindsey Lohan as a singing sensation. He is also married to Mexican pop singer Thalia.Mottola's star-studded past and showmanship might bring in enough viewers to save American Idol (and keep Fox's advertisers happy). He will have to build some sexual tension between the judges to bring back that Paula-Simon magic — and practice delivering mean .Yet signing Mottola onto American Idol will turn Fox executives against Simon — their star that they need to keep happy and turn The X Factor into a success.According to one of Deadline.com's sources: "Mottola has remarkable leverage because of this tug of war and will get a big payday from somebody." That's for sure.Read more: ?: The music business continues to decline, but Sony's Howard Stringer is determined to make a go of it anyway, and he's willing to pay a premium. He's just purchased partner Bertelsmann's 50% stake in the Sony BMG joint venture. In an oddly structured deal, Sony will end up spending about $1.2 billion on the deal, but will end valuing Bertelsmann's half at $900 million.The details, via a Sony release:First, a portion of Bertelsmann’s interest in SONY BMG will be redeemed for approximately $600 million of cash by SONY BMG (SONY BMG has not been consolidated by Sony and will not be consolidated until after this transaction closes). Sony’s U.S. wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America, will then purchase the remaining interest from Bertelsmann for approximately $600 million. As a result, Bertelsmann will receive approximately $900mm in value for its 50% stake plus $300mm of its share of cash on Sony BMG's balance sheet. Sony views this as approximately $600mm net cash cost as it does not consolidate Sony BMG’s cash.By our count, that would imply a total value of $1.8 billion for the whole company. That's a little less than half of Sony BMG's 2008 FY revenues of $3.9 billion, and about 11x net income of $178 million.By comparison, Warner Music Group (WMG) which has similarly sized revenues ($3.46 billion) is trading at a .34 price/sales ratio. Warner comes with a good-sized publishing catalog, and the music publishing business (which deals with the rights to song compositions, not the song recordings themselves) is in relatively decent shape. But Sony BMG doesn't include publishing rights: Bertelmann sold its publishing business to Universal Music Group last year, and Sony's valuable publishing business has long been separate from its music label.But for argument's sake, let's say the two are apples-to-apples comparisons, anyway. Applying that same .34 ratio to Sony BMG's $3.9 billion sales (it's actually shrunk in last three months, but bear with us) implies a value of $1.3 billion for the company. Which means that Sir Howard should have been paying about $650 million instead of the $900 million. That seems like an awfully steep premimum for an asset that's going to keep shrinking for some time to come - in a best case scenario.Excerpts from three releases follow:Main deal announcement:New York, August 5, 2008 – The international media and entertainment companies Sony Corporation and Bertelsmann AG today announced that Sony has agreed to acquire Bertelsmann’s 50 percent stake in Sony BMG. The music company, to be called Sony Music Entertainment Inc. (SMEI), will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America. Sony and Bertelsmann AG originally created the Sony BMG joint venture in August 2004...Once the transaction is completed, Sony Music Entertainment Inc. will be comprised of premier music labels such as: Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, Jive Records, RCA Records and Zomba. Key recording artists will include Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake, Usher and Jay Chou. As part of the transaction, the parties have also agreed to continue to share the company’s manufacturing and distribution requirements between Sony’s manufacturing subsidiary, Sony DADC, and Bertelsmann’s services company, Arvato Digital Services GmbH (“Arvato”), by extending the agreements with Arvato for additional terms of up to six years. In addition, Bertelsmann will be taking over selected European music catalog assets from Sony BMG.Financial detailsThe transaction will be structured as follows: First, a portion of Bertelsmann’s interest in SONY BMG will be redeemed for approximately $600 million of cash by SONY BMG (SONY BMG has not been consolidated by Sony and will not be consolidated until after this transaction closes). Sony’s U.S. wholly-owned subsidiary, Sony Corporation of America, will then purchase the remaining interest from Bertelsmann for approximately $600 million. As a result, Bertelsmann will receive approximately $900mm in value for its 50% stake plus $300mm of its share of cash on Sony BMG's balance sheet. Sony views this as approximately $600mm net cash cost as it does not consolidate Sony BMG’s cash. In addition, Bertelsmann will be taking over a limited amount of selected European music catalog assets from SONY BMG. These catalogs represented approximately $20 million (less than 1%) of SONY BMG’s revenues in calendar year 2007. The parties have also agreed to continue to share the company’s manufacturing and distribution requirements between Sony’s manufacturing subsidiary, Sony DADC, and Bertelsmann’s services company, Arvato Digital Services GmbH (“Arvato”), by extending agreements with Arvato for additional terms of up to six years.The closing of the transaction is subject to a number of conditions, including approvals ofregulatory authorities in certain jurisdictions.Berteslmann plans for remaining music assets:he international media company Bertelsmann is gearing the business of its Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) towards music rights management. The realignment is connected with the sale of Bertelsmann’s stake in the Sony BMG Music Entertainment joint venture to the Sony Corporation of America. Bertelsmann is taking over selected European catalogs of music rights from Sony BMG as part of the transaction. They comprise the works of more than 200 artists. The catalogs will continue to be distributed by Sony Music. Taking over these catalogs is an important step towards the planned establishment of a licensing and management platform for exploiting and marketing music rights under the BMG brand. The designated managing director of BMG, based in Berlin, is Hartwig Masuch, an experienced music industry executive, who most recently advised Bertelsmann in the negotiations with Sony. Maximilian Dressendörfer, Vice President BMG, will also be part of the management team. Bertelsmann’s Chief Financial Officer Thomas Rabe, who is responsible for the music division on the group’s Executive Board, stated: “The many new distribution paths are causing an increase in the demand for music use rights. In view of this fact, we believe that building a business for the management and exploitation of such rights in Europe is an attractive proposition. We want to take advantage of our opportunities and position ourselves with the strong, well-established BMG brand and a management that is highly regarded in the market”.?This is what passes for good news in the music business today: Sony-BMG's sales didn't decrease during Q3. Sony (SNE) said its JV with Bertelsmann sold some $1.47 billion worth of music in the last 3 months of 2007, essentially unchanged from last year.The label's profits did decrease 12%, from $236 million from $208 million, but it blamed the drop on restructuring charges and an "industry-wide legal settlement". We can't recall offhand but we assume this has to do with the remnants of the Napster litigation from many moons ago.So why did the label thrive (relatively speaking) while the rest of the business falters? Pretty women who sing, apparently. Sony-BMG says it was helped in large part from sales of new albums from Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood and Celine Dion.?"American Idol" executive producer Ken Warwick now that in light of Pia Toscano's early exit, he's considering "tweaking" the voting system next year.Just what changes he'll make are unclear -- but it's clear who he blames for the need for change."The texting, the tweeting, the social glue we strive for--we were aware that voting would be skewed," Warwick said. "Young girls and (mothers) are a driving force (in the voting). So how can we keep it fair? We're not going to start fiddling with the voting now -- but there are many ideas on the table."Maybe it's true that more women vote than men -- across all age groups.But the idea that jealous women brazenly withheld votes from Toscano -- an idea Steven Tyler himself asserted -- is a load of crap.If producers really believe the competition has boiled down to women voting blindly (or, rather, deafly) for cute guys, then how do they explain last week's exit of Paul MacDonald?The bottom line on Toscano's exit is this: Her voice rivals Celine Dion. People widely assumed she was safe and cast their votes for underdogs.Women aren't making Warwick's show look bad. Warwick is making Warwick's show look bad. Nearly three weeks after she was cut loose, Toscano is still making headlines -- and just booked an appearance on next week's "Dancing With the Stars."So if Warwick needs to tweak anything, it's the contracts that allow offed competitors to sing elsewhere while the season is still ongoing.And while he's at it, he can tweak his attitude on his female viewers.Maybe he doesn't like the way their votes are coming in -- but he ought to remember that when Toscano's first album comes out, it's not going to be boys lining up to buy it.?As highly as we might think of the Web, there's nothing quite as powerful as a television commercial. It takes millions of ad budget dollars and the perfect slot during the most widely watched show of the week. When it's done correctly, a great car commercial doesn't just capture eyeballs, it rivets us, and makes us consider something we may never have imagined ourselves driving.Whether they were funny, sexy, ironic, or just plain weird, this year's best car ads showed off the power of the TV spot. And they weren't confined to television: since Web streaming's become ubiquitous, those clever TV ads went long-form on the Internet, in some cases finally making more sense than in their brief 15- or 30-second televised form.With 2011 coming to a close, it's the time to take a look back at some of the best car commercials from the past year. Plug in your earbuds, and see if your favorites make it to the top of this list. The first batch takes us from the controversial, to the lighthearted, to the purely puzzling:15) First up is Ford's . This controversial ad put GM and Chrysler on notice that their bankruptcies weren't sacred cows when it came to selling cars. Ford pulled the ad down for a brief period, but posted it again when it was clear the ad resonated with lots of viewers.14) Not everyone deserves a parade, but driving the 40-mpg Ford Fiesta earns one in this clever ad. The Fiesta's a pretty big deal for Ford, and this car ad from the 5th Annual Nielsen Automotive Ad of the Year Awards, so it sneaks into the 2011 consideration.13) How do you promote a minivan to guys? Loud rock music, fireworks, and panthers. Panthers, of course! Honda conned us into loving the new Odyssey van with this ad and with one that showed today's kids aren't all awful, since at least 12) It's a good thing when automakers thrash their own cars in their ads. Earlier this year directly when it claimed it had to detune the Corvette to meet racing standards. That's a stretch if you know enough about the race cars versus the roadgoing cars, but it made for great ad copy, and for an entertaining commercial.11) Lexus worked hard to get the word out when it came to the new CT 200h hybrid. We like because of Ben, who clearly is a brilliant kid, since he knows the sound a hybrid makes, though we don't quite understand how it fits into Lexus' message of "The Relentless Pursuit of Perfection."10) Earlier this year Infiniti launched its first hybrid, and it's being marketed as a performance model. If you buy into that, you'll buy into the commercials--especially the that uses Lexus' tag line against them.The next group of videos leverages two very powerful media outlets to create buzz. The NFL's Super Bowl reaches more viewers than just about anything else save for Formula 1 or the Academy Awards. The other channel? The one in your head that's mostly for adults only.9) BMW spent big dollars during the Super Bowl earlier this year to promote the new made-in-America 2011 X3. isn't groundbreaking or hilarious, it shows the company's pride in its South Carolina operations, and that we can appreciate.8) Another Super Bowl ad we enjoyed this year was Meredes-Benz's cinematic full-line ad. With P. Diddy and quite a few hot classic models, had fans of the pointed star salivating.7) Another Chevrolet commercial that caught our attention was the Camaro's Super Bowl spot. Who hasn't been hot for teacher?6b) What to make of Jennifer Lopez' ads for the new Fiat 500? Her left many puzzled. The was confusing and short, and the long-form ad elaborated on the storyline. We say elaborated, because "explained" may be too strong a word.6a) The J-Lo ads actually began with the Fiat 500 Gucci edition, and a brief spot that highlighted her new track "My World" as much or more so than the car. Later, we learned in any scene in the ads, either--so much for street cred. Chrysler's been down this road before with Celine Dion, and it ended badly. So why include these ads among the very best of the year? Lopez' star power alone.Now we're down to the very best car ads we've seen this year. In all of these, the ad crafters found a way to meld the perfect message with the hallmark of the car--whether it's a calling-card set of doors, a funky freshness, a gritty revival, science fiction or pure hormonal appeal.5) Everyone loves a triumph, including Mercedes-Benz. We love how Benz' ad crew integrated the new SLS and its hallmark gullwing doors into so seamlessly, and put them in perfect context.4) The hamster-riffic Kia Soul commercials have been a huge hit, and our list wouldn't be complete without them. This year the hamsters won over bad-ass, butt-shaking aliens on a desolate planet populated only by charcoal, smoke, and LMFAO's ubiquitous and maddeningly catchy "Party Rock Anthem"--the soundtrack to .3) One of the two most talked-about commercials during this year's Super Bowl was the ", which featured the new 2012 Passat. Cute, funny, and warm-hearted, the ad hits all the right notes, especially for Gen Xers raised on Star Wars.2) VW's ad felt right, but Chrysler's 200 ad blew a hole in the game telecast with a darkly cinematic tone and its bracing gospel take on Eminem's Lose Yourself. At a little over 2 minutes long, the ad lured in viewers just by being on screen so long. With Eminem as the star of , Chrysler drummed up quite a bit of buzz, even though the 200 sedan wasn't its best foot forward, and despite the semantic issues with its "Imported From Detroit" tagline. , it's still a hot topic on YouTube to this day.1) Our single favorite car ad of the year? The . Hilarious, sexy, and aggressive, the ad somehow finds a way to play the usual car-ad sexism for maximum fun, and impact. We could get used to car ads with a brain and a body--car ads like this one.This story originally appeared at Read more posts on ?If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own private island, now might be your chance.Weak demand and rising inventory for private islands around the world has created a buyer’s market, with prices down between 20 percent and 80 percent.There are now more than 600 private islands for sale around the world, according to Chris Krolow of , which helps market and sell islands. Inventory is up by more than a third since before the recession.You don’t even have to be a millionaire anymore to have your own piece of paradise. There are dozens islands around the world priced at $200,000 or less, and a few for under $50,000 (though don’t expect a villa and sandy beaches in the Bahamas for that).Brokers say that demand remains healthy for high-quality islands—those that have houses, that are close to major population centers, with good beaches. But prices are sinking for the large and growing supply of undeveloped, remote islands that have become the castaways of the high-end real-estate market.“The recession has divided this market in two,” said Farhad Vlaid, of , one of the world’s largest private-island brokers, with offices in Germany and Toronto. “The quality islands are strengthening. But what I call ‘adventure islands,’ that are not inhabited, don’t have a hospital nearby and there’s maybe a problem with local politics and climate, that market is weakening. The sellers just don’t love their islands as much.”Puangiangi Island, a 155-acre rock outcropping off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island, was priced at close to $4 million was recently sold for less than $800,000. Buenavista Island in Panama, with more than 200 meters of beaches, was priced at $3 million and is now going for $750,000.Even bigger bargains include Leaf Cay in the Bahamas. The pristine island has three beaches, deep water docks (perfect for mega-yacht parking) and easy access to a nearby golf course. Leaf Cay was on the market for $24 million, but is now priced at $7 million.Bucks Island, near Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, comes with a stone mansion perched on a cliff with 360-degree views. It also has infinity pools, clubhouses, marinas for fishing boats and plenty of white sandy beach. It was priced at $50 million but can now be purchased for $35.5 million, Vladi says.Private Islands Inc. has more than 130 listings for $500,000 or less—and a few for less than $100,000. There is an island off the coast of Panama listed at $30,000. It's 3/4 of an acre and doesn't have a house, but it does have plenty of parrots and toucans.There are many reasons the island market is sinking. The global economy is weak, even for the super rich. Many of the newly wealthy snapped up islands as the ultimate status symbol before the recession hit, when high-profile island-owners like , Johnny Depp and Celine Dion made owning an island glamorous.But the reality of owning a private island has turned out to be less charming than many buyers expected. Building a house or buildings on a private island requires costly permits that can take months, even years. Local governments in the far corners of the world are often rife with red tape and corruption.The logistics of getting to an island, by plane, then boat or a connection to a smaller plane, turns out to be a hassle for the time-pressed wealthy. And some families rarely visited their island because of the demands of their businesses or families., the telecom tycoon, bought the 780-acre James Island off the coast of Vancouver in 2006 for $26 million. It’s got an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, a 5,000-square foot house, six guest cottages, an airstrip and fake “western village.”McCaw told the that while he “adores" the island he doesn’t visit often enough. He said his school-age kids have so many activities at their home in California and “no one wants to be left behind." He is now selling James Island for $75 million.Mark Lester, the marketer for James Island and the senior vice-president of the of Sotheby’s International Canada, said he has seen strong interest in the island—especially from prospective Asian buyers. He said some of the interest from local buyers is from consortiums—a group of 10 people, for instance, who want to split the cost and upkeep.The island can be divided into 80 lots, but Lester says the ideal size would be 10 lots, “so you preserve the privacy and use that the land affords now.”He said he is careful to screen prospective buyers for their ability to do a deal, since showing an island can be time consuming and expensive. “I want to make sure I’m not just taking someone out for a picnic and day on the island,” he said. “We’re very rigorous about pre-qualifying people.”Greece epitomizes the current state of the private-island market. The country's economic troubles have led to many great bargains on some of the most beautiful islands in the world, but Chris Krolow of Private Islands Inc., who has several new listings in Greece, has not closed any deals since there is so much red tape and uncertainty in Greece.For the right person, though, one of Krolow's latest offerings could be a steal. He's showing a chain of five islands selling as a group for 4.9 million euros.“You could buy all five islands,” says Krolow. “So when you’re at a party with other rich guys and they ask, ‘How big is your island?' You could say, ‘Well, I have my own archipelago.’ That’s when you’re really rich, when you have your own archipelago."This story was originally published by .?In October 2009, country music megastar Garth Brooks after nine years of retirement. Billionaire business magnate Steve Wynn convinced Brooks to come out to Vegas by doing what the billionaires do: showing Brooks the money. "I told him he couldn't afford me," Brooks . "I was wrong."Wynn isn't the only one who showed Brooks the money. Music lovers from across the country spent big money to see Garth Brooks live in concert, according to Bundle data, which comes from the U.S. government, from anonymous and aggregated spending transactions from , and third party data providers.After examining our data, we ranked the top 10 most expensive concerts based on average ticket purchase size from Ticketmaster from July 2010 to June 2011. Country star Garth Brooks ranked first on our list with concert goers spending an average of $618 per purchase from Ticketmaster. Although not everyone listens to country music, the sound is uniquely American, and Brooks has been the top-selling U.S. album artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, . Rap legend , whose career has spanned more than two decades so far, ranked second our our list with concert goers spending an average of $603 per purchase from Ticketmaster. Country music makes another appearance at number three with the concert, which this year featured country superstars like Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Toby Keith. That concert got concert goers to spend $552 per Ticketmaster purchase. Rockstars round out the top 5 most expensive concerts. Ranking fourth is , which featured rockers like Motley Crue, Poison, Staind and Whitesnake this year and got concert goers to spend $551 per Ticketmaster purchase. Jon Bon Jovi ranked fifth on our list with concert goers spending an average of $520 per Ticketmaster purchase. This year, ranked Bon Jovi as the second highest-paid musical act in the world. Here are the top 10 most expensive concerts by average Ticketmaster purchase size: 1. Garth Brooks, $618 2. Jay-Z, $603 3. Country Megaticket, $552 4. Rocklahoma, $551 5. Jon Bon Jovi, $520 6. Andrea Bocelli, $494 7. Coachella, $469 8. Celine Dion, $465 9. Jay Chou, $464 10. Z100's Jingle Ball, $457This originally appeared on .?I used the term singing in the loosest sense of the word here, because what the Minnesota Timberwolves were doing was not so much singing as it was off-key screeching not unlike you would hear feral cats making when they are in heat.? Still, they give it a pretty decent effort, and from the looks of it, the whole exercise was a great moment in team bonding.I’ve watched this video, with the sound down of course, multiple times, and I’m still undecided as to who my favorite T-Wolves crooner might be.? Even though he doesn’t sing, Ricky Rubio’s adorableness is intoxicating, and he’s so devilishly handsome that he actually could have been in a Spanish ‘N Sync cover band.? Kevin Love is seven kinds of cool, coyly trying to pretend he doesn’t know the words to “Tearing Up My Heart” when I would be willing to bet he has the entire ‘N Sync catalog on his iPhone.And then there’s Michael Beasley, who starts off slow, flashing the white man’s overbite and mumbling through his first few lines before attacking the song with the passion of Celine Dion on opening night in Vegas.? In the end he owns the song, and my heart as well.Remove all dogs and young children with developing auditory canals from the room and crank this sh*t up…Sure my ears might be bleeding just a little, but I still like this version much better than the original.[H/T to ]Read more posts on ?Cheng XinThe largest luxury conglomerate in the world, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said revenue continued to grow at a breakneck pace during the first few months of 2012 as pent up demand for high-end goods boosted sales.LVMH reported organic revenue surged 14 percent to€6.582 billion, against expectations for€6.386 billion."The Group continued its excellent momentum at the start of the year with particularly fast growth in Asia and in the United States and good progress in Europe despite the contrasting environment," LVMH said in a statement.It's largest division, fashion and leather goods, which includes its namesake Louis Vuitton label, saw organic revenue growth of 12 percent. LVMH also attributed the increase to the strong reception to Celine, under creative director Phoebe Philo.Recent acquisitions, including , fueled growth in its watch and jeweler segment.Below, segment earnings provided by LVMH.LVMH?This may be the most bromantic thing I’ve ever seen.Good to see Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference is secure enough in his sexuality to play “Rose” to Zdeno Chra’s “Jack.”? Of course, when you’re paired up with a 6-foot-9, 255-pound beast from Slovakia, you pretty well have no choice but to play any feminine role in your blossoming bromance.? Pretty sure had Chara been on the original Titanic the iceberg wouldn’t have stood a chance.Stare at this picture long enough and you’ll swear you can smell the sea while Celine Dion ‘s My Heart Will Go On plays softly in your ear.[via ]Read more posts on ?A Stormtrooper's day off... or how Darth Vader's minions enjoy themselves when no-one is lookingBy UPDATED:16:10 GMT, 17 November 2009The Star Wars film series is certainly an epic, following a tale of Good versus Evil over the landscape of an entire universe.But even with a running-length of over twelve hours, George Lucas's story could not hope to explore every last detail of the Stormtroopers - those poor minions who have to do the bidding of Darth Vader.Luckily, a new blog has appeared to fill us in on the day-to-day lives of the Stormtroopers when they're not protecting the Death Star from those pesky Jedis.This is believed to be a record of that day the heating broke down, and the gallant Stormtroopers had to tackle Upper Galley 13.17 of the Death Star to fix it. Or it's an ovenYou won't find these on Endor: Luckily the Stormtroopers know how to handle pigeons After their triumphs over oven and pigeons, the Stormtroopers were sent on a free holiday. To SkegnessStormtroopers 365 is a year-long photo project, using the Flickr picture service, starring two Stormtroopers in the Galactic Empire Army.The project began on April 3rd this year, and a new picture is added to the series every day.Stormtrooper 2 had to lie to get his sworn enemy, Stormtrooper 1, to save his life. In desperation, he blurted out any old thing, and told him he was his father Naturally, Stormtrooper 1 wanted to do all those father-son activities, so they went break-dancing ...And then they went on the Father-Son edition of Wheel of Fortune, and won a spin-offLater, bored with Death Star duties, the Stormtroopers played Execute the Apple (it's worth pointing out in the 2008 re-release, the apple actually shot first) Enjoy your moment, Stormtroopers, because in half an hour the Death Star will be flooded with saltwater while Celine Dion sings The Stormtrooper practised his Jedi mind-tricks on the cat, but the feline knew to shut his eyes'There's Jabba', 'That's not Jabba', 'I'm sure it is', 'It's not, don't embarrass us...' The cat was back, and this time it had Obi-Wan's training to get him through the battle of wills Warned of the impeding arrival of Luke and Princess Leia, the Stormtroopers had a cunning plan to crush the pair in a vat of jelly bellies. Eventually they used a garbage disposal 'Excuse me sir, we're looking for two robots': Unfortunately, these two Stormtroopers were not on the ball, and the result was three forgettable sequelsStorming the beach: The Galactic Empire soldiers take a break for some quiet reflection Behind the scenes: This revealing picture shows how these stunning photographers were captured Having disturbed Stormtrooper 1 having a luxurious Imperial bath, Stormtrooper 2 at least had the decency to cover his eyes ?Your essential A-Z of summer styleFrom jumpsuits and Fedoras to zig-zags and snakeskin (yes, really)By UPDATED:08:01 GMT, 12 May 2011A ... is for all-in-one All-in-ones are everywhere and are super glamorous, channelling Bianca Jagger circa 1976. This one was on the Marc Jacobs catwalk, while Oasis has a dotty halter-neck jumpsuit (65) which is bothaccessible and chic.B... is for braceletsThe coolest wrists right now are adorned with a plethora of contrasting jewellery; hippy beads and braided metals, twinkling charms and friendship bracelets. It’s all about the mix of old and new.C... is for couture tee Sequinned, bejewelled and embroidered T-shirts — Chlo, Balmain — are transforming a one-time basic into something more luxurious.Hot new looks: From left: Marc Jacobs jump suit, glam Victoria's Secret Fashion T-shirt and an outfit by ethical brand Suno D... is for Dior There is feverish speculation over the fashion job of the century: Successor to John Galliano at Christian Dior. Riccardo Tisci from Givenchy (front-runner), Peter Copping at Nina Ricci or Bill Gaytten, Galliano’s long-serving No 2?E... is for extra longLong and languid looks are the coolest options for summer. Antik Batik By Malene Birger and French Connection all have airy maxis in a variety of colours.F... is for festival FromGlastonbury to V, summer festivals are a chance to showcase your style.This year the sell-out literary festival at Port Eliot is going one step further with workshops and talks from Anita Pallenberg, Luella Bartley and Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki (porteliotfestival.com)G... is for green Ethicalbrands are transforming themselves into bone fide labels, and the hottest is Suno, designed in New York and produced in Africa, India and South America. The Pollock-esque splatter-print silk dresses are in demand.H... is for hats Thereturn of the hat to fashion has been rumbling on the front rows for a few seasons. Practise your hat pose, like Kylie, this summer with a panama — Livia Firth (wife of Oscar-winning Colin) sells Pachacuti’s Fair Trade panamas (47.50) through her Eco Age shop and website, or trythe contrast weave hat at Warehouse (16).I... is for initials Even Coleen Rooney’s monogrammed Louis Vuitton wheelie bag can’t diminish the passion for all things personalised.J... is for J Brand jeans in bright coloursSkinny jeans in super- bright colours are the sell-out success of the season. J Brand’s figure-hugging ‘811’ cropped jeans come in blue, yellow, pink or, most exotically, Shanghai red (205).K... is for the Kate effect Afterthe long wait for The Dress, next up is the Royal Tour Wardrobe. The Duchess of Cambridge will visit Canada and Los Angeles from June 30 until July 8 and we are praying for her stamp of approval on more Brit brands, starting with Erdem.L... is for layering As in roomy knee-length tunics over matching trousers. Best of all this clever look conceals all lumps and bumps.M... is for men's shoesFromboyish brogues to loafers, mannish footwear for women is set to be a huge trend. Celine’s flat loafer with chain detail is the fashion editor’s most wanted.N... is for nude shoesThechicest heels are in fleshy tones. Wear nude head-to-toe as seen on theChlo catwalk or mix nude shoes with a crisp white dress and tanned legs. Try Kurt Geiger’s textured Bellisimo point-toe court (110).O... is for one-piece Packaway your bikinis and rejoice! It is all about the one-piece as championed by Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan. Try Topshop’s op-art scallop print one-piece, 30.On trend: From left, British brand Erdem on the catwalk, layering from Paul & Joe and the preppy look from Tommy HilfigerP... is for preppy Stripedtees and crisp shorts, boyish shirts and denim A-line skirts — the preppy wardrobe is a summer classic being given added allure this timeround thanks to Tommy Hilfiger’s pop-up preppy shop, which is touring the world this summer.Q... is for quick holiday Perfectlymanicured nails are every summer’s essential. Salons will do a mani andpedi using two therapists in just 30 minutes. Try Essie’s gorgeous Geranium shade for a serious pop of colour (9.95, johnlewis.com).R... is for retro shoulder Whileroomy totes have their place, the ongoing obsession with the Seventies means that shoulder bags are the season’s key shape. To celebrate the arrival of the American designer Coach on Bond Street later this year, Net-a-porter is reissuing some of the brand’s classic styles from that decade.S... is for snakeskinBythe end of the summer, the mania for all things snake will have commenced — from python-print chiffon blouses to accessories in all colours. Start with a subtle accessory, such as Reiss’s cream snake-embossed shoulder bag (120).T... is for T-shirt TheBreton top has morphed into dresses with oversized proportions thanks to designers including Junya Watanabe and LA label ALC. For a simpler take, this slightly slouchy black and white striped T-shirt dress (120) from Me & Em’s has a flattering cut.U... is for urbanIt’staken several summers for city shorts to look like a viable alternativeto skirts, but the latest crop is super chic. Neat and tailored, they look fabulous with a sharp blazer and tanned legs. Try the Cissy Bow Shorts (pictured) by Whistles (75).V... is for varsity jackets DesignerIsabel Marant has made this Eighties must-have cool again. Topshop has aslinky cream and red version (42) or try See By Chlo’s cotton linenbaseball jacket with an oversize logo (295, Asos). Wear with skinny pink jeans and high-heeled court shoes.W... is for white jacketThisis quite possibly the most versatile piece of clothing for summer. Wearit to smarten up draped silk or jersey dresses, to instantly glamorise jeans or as a cool, crisp evening cover-up. Try Topshop’s linen blazer, 60.Summer essentials: From left, a Me & Em's T-shirt dress, Diane Kruger modelling a slashed dress and a white jacketX... is for X-rated slashesNOTfor the faint-hearted, but if you are wearing long for evening then make sure you have a thigh-high slit. It’s a look that was done to perfection by Diane Kruger wearing Jason Wu at this year’s Met Gala in New York.Y... is for Yesteryear This month sees the release of Vidal Sassoon The Movie, which charts the career of the man who revolutionised women’s hair in the Sixties. It’s a timely release — thanks to Miuccia Prada and Christopher Bailey at Burberry, Sixties shifts, kinky boots and swing coats are back.?Tina Turner and a 'me' generation that no longer knows how to cope with deathBy UPDATED:05:43 GMT, 22 October 2009A vicar in Kent, the Reverend Ed Tomlinson, has said that he ‘feels like a lemon’ when asked to officiate at modern funeral services which have been cobbled together by the family or friends of the dead person. ‘I wonder why on earth I am present at the funeral of somebody led in by the tunes of Tina Turner, summed up in the pithy platitudes of sentimental and secular poets and sent into the furnace with I Did It My Way blaring out across the speakers.’ I have a lot of sympathy with this vicar. We live in a largely secular age. Yet Church of England clergy are expected to be on hand whenever we feel the need for a bit of ceremony in our lives — for Christmas, for weddings and, of course, for funerals. Such is the egomania of today’s me-generation that we are no longer content with the services which the Church has devised specially for these occasions. Instead of solemn hymns at funerals, we prefer to play self-affirming hits such as My Way, the single most popular song at British funerals today. In contrast, when the moment of death came in the old days — and I am speaking only of 20 or 30 years ago for the huge majority of people — it was natural to have a funeral which followed the old formularies of the Church of England. This service was largely composed of words from the Bible, whichhave entered the language: ‘We brought nothing into this world, and itis certain that we can carry nothing out . . . Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live . . . In the midst of life we are in death. . . ’ How can the words of Tina Turner or Frank Sinatra compare with this? Death is a part of life which none of us can escape. Nor can we escape the fact that many of those whom we most love are going to be taken from us. We need, we most desperately need, to learn how to face these facts, and a funeral service is a tremendous help in doing so. The funeral service is, you might think, primarily to honour the passing of the dead person and — if you are so minded — to offer prayers for the departed soul. But the ceremony is just as vitally important for the survivors.More so really. The mangled, incoherent way in which so many families now say goodbye to their loved ones is a reflection of a deep spiritual malaise in our culture. But it is also, pathetically, a sign of the educational vacuum in which we are all in danger of being sucked down. Those who live by the shallow world of the X Factor will die by the X Factor. In the absence of the familiar religious words and rituals, and in the absence of any decent teaching of literature in our schools, is it any wonder that at the moments of most searing grief, or incoherent loss, families turn to Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli belting out that it is Time To Say Goodbye? Others songs in the top ten of British funeral favourites include Over The Rainbow, Nat King Cole’s Unforgettable and Celine Dion singing My Heart Will Go On. As a matter of sober fact — as opposed to Celine Dion’s sentimental twaddle — my heart will not go on, and nor will the heart of anyone reading this page. The most certain fact about any of us is our eventual death. Yet in the face of death today, both as individuals and as a society, we are all at sea. Our inability to hold decent funerals any more is symptomatic of the fact that we do not know how to face death. In the past, when we thought the end was near for someone we loved, we brought them home from hospital to die. Now, the very opposite happens. If there is any danger of someonedying in their own bed, surrounded by family and friends and thefamiliar objects of home, we ring for the ambulance and get them cartedoff. The thought of a corpse being in our midst is horrifying — unhygienic and creepy. But isn’t our fear really because we don’t want in our midst a stark reminder of the fact that we and our dearest family and friends are one day going to die? It is a terrible folly for society to cast out the ancient ceremonies that have helped so many of us through the ages come to terms with death. Making up such ceremonies and church services is a very specialised art. It so happened that in the reign of Henry VIII, and in the earliest days of the Church of England, there lived an Archbishop of Canterbury with that particular genius, and his name was Thomas Cranmer. ‘Almighty God, with Whom do live the spirits of them that depart hence in the Lord, and with Whom the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity; We give Thee hearty thanks, for that it hath pleased Thee to deliver this our brother out of the miseries of this sinful world. . .’ No beating about the bush there! The Cranmer service was used for centuries. But then the modern C of E and its ludicrous Synod came along and, as with so much of the rest of our liturgy, they ruined it by trying to make it more palatable. They hated Cranmer’s funeral rites — almost certainly because his words on death are so uncompromising — so they threw out the old service and supplied us with something much less memorable. Most people no longer go to church. The number of practising Anglicans has fallen for the first time in this country to less than one million. And when confronted with organising a funeral for their nearest and dearest, the secular majority find themselves in a quandary. Surely this is a moment when the Church should be offering guidance and leadership and the reassurance of a solemn tradition that has helped the bereaved for centuries. The great thing about the old funeral service was that it seemed entirely fitting, whether it was being held for a child or a nonagenarian, a clever person or a simpleton, a religious person or an agnostic. I remember having just this discussion with an agnostic friend. ‘Presumably you’ll want a humanist service?’ I asked him. ‘Lord no,’ he laughed. ‘You can’t beat the old funeral service and a few school hymns. We need a rite of passage.’ Precisely. For those whose family have a serious objection to a religious service, it is, of course, better to have a completely secular ceremony, or no ceremony at all. Just give your body to a teaching hospital. The majority, though, are in a muddle. They may never go to church, but the death of a loved one is such an unsettling and spiritual occasion that they want the vicar to help them through it. Yet in the absence of Cranmer’s old funeral service, and with vicars pussy-footing around with its modern replacement, they think they can improve on the traditions of the elders. So ‘I know that My Redeemer Liveth’ is discarded in favour of My Way and Handel is given the boot by Frank Sinatra. But only because the Church did not offer Handel, or the time-honoured words. Although My Way and other such examples of liturgical home brew give a Kentish vicar the pip, I am afraid I blame the Church more than I actually blame the people who, with the best of bewildered and often griefstricken intentions, devise these cringe-making events in crematoria and churches. English-speaking men and women for 400 years had the most beautiful church services in their own language. Our national Church chose, for the stupidest set of non-reasons, to discard the Prayer Book services. Vicars are not in a very strong position to object if people can think of nothing better to play, as the coffin goes down the chute, than You’ll Never Walk Alone (number nine in popularity). For most British people, the experience of church-going is limited to weddings and funerals. If, when they came to church on such an occasion, families were given the dignity of the old words, the old hymns and the old music, might they not derive some of the old strength which consoled our ancestors, and bring back to life some of the old, lost dignity with which human rites of passage were once honoured??Flame-haired Rihanna sets the stage alight at Academy of Country Music AwardsBy UPDATED:11:22 GMT, 4 April 2011Rihanna dispensed with her RnB roots last night as she took to the stage for a stunning duet at the Academy of Country Music Awards.The 22-year-old singer joined forces with Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and the pair brought the house down with their rendition of California King Bed. It came on a night of big performances, which also saw Taylor Swift take to the stage and former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood share the microphone with one of the show's current judges, Steven Tyler.Scroll down for a full list of winners and video... The big winner of the night was Miranda Lambert, who took home four awards. She was nominated in seven categories.Speaking ahead of her performance with Rihanna, Nettle said she was excited. 'It’s the first time that Lady Ri andI have ever sung together and the first time that this song will be performed live so we are thrilled,' she said. 'We’re just big fans of each other. We wanted to do something that was fun and different and fresh, and I reached out to her and said, "Hey, anything you want to do?" and she said, "I have this song that I specifically would love to do," and I said, "Yes ma’am, we will do it.”'It is such a moment. And I think what it shows us is that good music is good and good performance is good, and as long as you like it, who cares what you call it. Get out there and have fun with each other.'Lambert's track The House That Built Me helped the singer quickly match her win total from last year's ceremony while Lady Antebellum took home two trophies, including album of the year for Need You Now. What a show: The pair performed a series of songs including Walk This WayThe two acts, who are the best of friends, celebrated on stage after Lambert, winner of last year's album of the year award for Revolution, announced the winner.'Thank you, Miranda Lambert, for winning this last year and not being in the category this year,' Lady A's Charles Kelley said.They were named vocal group of the year a few moments later.The House That Built Me, written by Allen Shamblin and Tom Douglas, won song, single record and video of the year Sunday night. It mirrors a difficult time in Lambert's life, but those times are over and the song has helped Lambert's star rise to new heights. It helped her win the Grammy for bestfemale country performance and it also won Country Music Association's song of the year award as well.'Allen and Tom,' Lambert said after winning single record, 'thank you for writing the song of the year.'The Band Perry claimed the best new artist award moments after singing their hit 'If I Die Young.' It was the trio of two brothers and one sister's second win after taking home top new vocal duo or group before the awards. They were competing with Eric Church for top new artist. Zac Brown Band, up for five awards, took home vocal event of the year with Alan Jackson for their collaboration on 'As She's Walking Away.'Brad Paisley kicked off the ACMs witha little help from friends: Three members of the iconic group Alabama joined Paisley on his new song 'Old Alabama,' bringing the crowd at the MGM Grand to its feet Sunday night. It was one of several big collaborations scheduled for the night. Moments later, Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood rocked out to Undo It then segued to the Aerosmith classic Walk This Way.The show opened with co-host Blake Shelton singing a slow song to what appeared to Lambert, his fiancee. But as the camera panned in on a blonde draped over a couch, it revealed the show's other co-host, Reba McEntire in a blonde wig.'All right, Blake,' she said, 'that's enough rehearsing for your wedding night. We've got a show to do. Focus!' Lambert was the night's top solo nominee with seven. She was still up for entertainer of the year, the most prestigious award, and with fans voting for it, it's especially hard to predict. Neither Carrie Underwood nor Kenny Chesney - winners of the last six entertainer awards - were nominated this year. Swift received the entertainer of the year award from presenter Ryan Seacrest at the awards show. ?Revealed: The truth behind the Air France disaster that killed 228 peopleBy UPDATED:22:23 GMT, 28 May 2010As the jet flew through the dead of night, most passengers slept. They included a mother and her five-year-old son, and an 11-year-old boy returning to his boarding school in Bristol. Alexander Bjoroy had spent an idyllic half-term break with his expatriate family in Brazil. His parents, Robin and Jane, had seen him safely to the airport, then waved him off as he returned to Bristol's 5,970-a-term Clifton College. One couple on the flight, a young doctor and lawyer, had married only the day before. After a wedding reception in a Rio nightclub, they had boarded the plane to begin their honeymoon. It was June 1, 2009, and this was Air France Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris - a routine international flight. In the early hours of that fateful morning, however, something dreadful occurred. Air France Flight 447 made its final radio transmission - and then all contact was lost. The flight simply vanished. On the ground, French officials told desperate relatives: 'We wait, we pray, we will know more this afternoon.' So began one of the most catastrophic and troubling air disasters of modern times, a crash that killed 228 people from 32 nations. Five Britons, including 11-year-old Alexander, died. Fernando Schnabl was waiting for his wife, Christine, and their little son Philipe to land. Travelling separately in order to use up their Airmiles, he had kissed his wife goodbye in Rio de Janiero and then boarded a different plane to Paris with Celine, their three-year-old daughter. Landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris the next morning, Fernando was looking forward to seeing his wife and small son again. But, as his plane taxied towards its stand, a passenger in the next seat switched on his mobile phone and said that a flight from Rio was missing. 'Then he said it was Air France and I was very scared, ' says Fernando. 'And when the crew called my name, I knew something really bad had happened. The way they treated me with so much concern, but not wanting to tell me anything, left me with no hope at all.' Staff led Fernando and his daughter to an airport lounge, where other distraught relatives were gathering. Alexander Bjoroy's family learned of the crash at their home in Brazil, and broke the painful news to his younger sister, Charlotte. What had happened to their treasured child? Hampering the search was the fact that no one knew the precise spot where the jet had disappeared. It had left Brazilian airspace, but had not radioed its next position. In the hours and days after the crash, officials at Air France began to study a series of error messages sent by the plane's automatic communications system via satellite, which indicated that it had experienced 'multiple technical failures' in its last minutes in the air. What had gone wrong? An awful five days later, the shattered wreckage of Flight 447 was discovered, floating in the Atlantic 750 miles off the coast of Brazil. All 228 passengers and crew were dead. Despite a 24 million search operation, the all-important black boxes could not be recovered. No one was able to explain what had happened. To the anger of relatives, French investigators will not make a final report on the disaster until the black boxes are found. But now, for the first time, the story behind this devastating air disaster can be told. A BBC2 documentary, Lost: The Mystery Of Flight 447, to be screened tomorrow night, has brought together leading aviation experts to conduct a forensic investigation into the crash. Amazingly, they have been able to pinpoint exactly what happened on that fateful night, even though the aircraft left barely a trace when it crashed. Furthermore, they are able to answer the question: could it happen again? Tony Cable worked for the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for 32 years. He was the senior investigator on the fatal Concorde crash in Paris ten years ago, and on the Lockerbie bombing. 'The normal way of investigating an accident is to look at the crash site. In this case, though, there's only a small amount of floating wreckage,' he says. 'The flight data and cockpit voice recorders are clearly at the bottom of the ocean with the rest of the wreckage - a very, very big handicap to the investigation.' How, then, did the team begin? First, they eliminated the possibility of a terrorist attack. 'The possibilities that immediately come to mind would be a bomb or a structural break-up,' says Cable. He drafted in John Cox, one of the world's leading aviation safety consultants, and they pieced together the recovered aircraft parts to find out what forces acted on them in the last moments of flight. This method was used to solve the mystery of TWA flight 800, which crashed off the coast of New York in 1996. By examining fragments of that fuselage, experts determined that faulty wiring had caused a fuel explosion. Engineer Jim Wildey is a veteran of that investigation. Looking at the recovered parts from Flight 447, he made the first major breakthrough: the plane showed signs of a highspeed impact with the water. 'The nose cone has been flattened, crushed and torn,' he says. 'This is a very clear sign that this piece was on the airplane when it hit the water.' A floor section from the cargo compartment also revealed that the plane was level at the point of impact, and hit the water at speed. It appears, then, that flight 447 didn't explode in mid-air; it simply fell out of the sky. But if there was no explosion, what did happen? The A330 is a jewel in the crown of European aerospace giant, Airbus. It had previously been considered extremely safe, with 700 in service around the world and not a single passenger fatality before Flight 447. The plane uses a state-of-the-art fly-by-wire computerised control system, where mechanical levers are replaced by electronics. When the autopilot is switched on, the plane flies itself. 'Ninety-nine per cent of the time when you're sitting as a passenger flying at 35,000 feet, the autopilot is flying the aeroplane,' says Captain Martin Alder, former chairman of the British Airline Pilots' Flights Safety Group. Using Air Traffic Control transcripts, Cable has been able to piece together the last devastating moments in the cockpit. He believes that flight 447 would have been on autopilot as it headed out over the Atlantic, with Captain Marc Dubois, 58, and his co-pilot standing by. Three hours out from Rio de Janeiro, Flight 447 was still on track. The last crew conversation with on-ground controllers was routine. The co-pilot called out the plane's position using the internationally recognised phonic alphabet: 'Charlie Papa Hotel Quebec.' But at 1.35am, all radio communications ceased. But for another 35 minutes, Flight 447's computer continued to send out automatic position reports by satellite to the Air France base at Charles de Gaulle airport. A last reading showed a location at 2.10am, 70 miles from where the wreckage was discovered. So what brought down the plane? Looking through meteorological data, the team discovered that there was a thunderstorm in the area at the time. But why would experienced pilots fly into a storm? 'The idea that a pilot would fly through a thunderstorm - no, absolutely not,' says aviation safety expert John Cox. Several other flights that night took the same route as Flight 447, but the pilots made detours of up to 90 miles to avoid the storm system, which towered to an altitude of 50,000ft. The investigating team believes that a smaller storm in front of the larger weather front confused the flight's radar system, so that the crew did not see the thunderstorm coming. It meant they had no choice but to ride out the turbulence. The pilot would have slowed down the engines - the standard method for flying through such conditions. At 2.10am - the plane's last known position - it appears that Flight 447 entered a rapidly developing storm system that its radar detected too late. A little more than four minutes later, everyone on board was dead. So what happened in those critical intervening minutes? Just after 2.10am, the flight computer sent a torrent of automatic fault messages to Air France in Paris. Called by one pilot 'the last will and testament of the aircraft', these messages show that Flight 447 suffered 24 critical faults in just four minutes and 16 seconds. The first message showed that the autopilot had switched itself off, so the pilot had to take manual control. Then the systems controlling air speed and altitude failed. In the cockpit, instrumental display screens would have gone blank, and flight-control computers would have died. One by one, the most critical safety features in the cockpit failed. 'It must have been a very busy and confusing situation on the flight deck,' says Cable. It is a harrowing image, indeed. The cockpit would have filled with a multitude of audio and visual alarms, while the pilots desperately fought a losing battle to control the aircraft and keep it in the air as it was buffeted by a gigantic thunderstorm. A final, ominous warning was sent by the plane to Paris: the Advisory Cabin Vertical Speed message, which means that the aircraft was descending at a high rate. This last, terrifying message came just before Flight 447 and its passengers hit the water at hundreds of miles an hour. But what could have caused all the vital automatic systems to malfunction at once? It appears that the three pitot tubes (speed sensors) failed simultaneously. It could be that they were unable to cope with the storm conditions facing Flight 447. Accident investigators believe that super-cooled water in the clouds - well below freezing, but too pure to turn into ice - could have disabled the pitot probes. Cable has discovered that since 2003, there have been 36 incidents involving frozen pitot tube on A330s or the similar A340s. Indeed, in 2007, Airbus recommended a refit of all A330s with upgraded pitots. Flight 447 had not yet been refitted. With no airspeed data, Flight 447's automatic systems would have collapsed one by one - which is exactly what happened. It seems that in total darkness, and in the midst of a storm, the crew were forced to retake manual control of the plane. John Cox explains how the pilots would have been bombarded with confusing information, saying: 'That crew faced an almost unheard of series of failures, one right behind the other.' The most immediate danger was that the airplane would stall, which would lead to a sudden, uncontrollable descent (it had already slowed suddenly to cope with the turbulence). Cox says: 'There is a good possibility that at some point in the last four minutes, it did stall.' An unlucky series of events caused the accident, then, culminating in the automated systems failing and engines stalling. Used to flying with high levels of automation, it seems the pilots did not have the skills to recover the situation. Tragically, from the way the airline hit the water - nose up, with wings level - it appears that the crew may have come close to saving their passengers' lives. It is likely they were recovering the situation but ran out of time, and suffered a second, and this time terminal, stall. More than that, we will probably never know. The airplane's black boxes, recording the last moments in the cockpit, stopped transmitting location signals after one month. Efforts to find them using imaging sonar continue. So could such a tragedy happen again? Cable certainly believes that Flight 447 raises some vital issues for airlines. 'It has raised the question about whether the situation is actually being made worse by the increase in automation, whereby crews don't get a great deal of opportunity to manually fly the aircraft,' he says. Airbus has also been criticised for not yet replacing all pitot probes in its fleet. In the face of new evidence, it maintains that even if they fail, pilots should be able to operate the plane. A terrifying technical disaster, then, and one that led to a very human tragedy. Alexander Bjoroy's parents held a memorial service for him last year, paying tribute to their son, saying: 'The world was his home. Alexander embraced other cultures and respected them greatly. 'He loved to travel and see and experience new places and people. We were very fortunate to share so many marvellous experiences together in his short life.' The body of Swedish national Christine Schnabl was one of 51 recovered, but her five-year-old son Philipe was never found. She was not wearing a life jacket - it seems there was no time. Her husband, Fernando, is preparing an album of pictures and cuttings to give to their daughter Celine when she is old enough to understand. One day, he hopes, he will be able to give her more answers. For now, however, he simply tells her that her mother and brother have gone to a 'good place in the sky'.?American Idol: The boys impress on the first live show... but the girls lag behindBy UPDATED:10:58 GMT, 10 March 2011They had just a minute and a half to try and persuade America to vote for them, but even that was too long for some.The first 'live' America Idol show - recorded a day early to allow the new judges time to settle in - didn't go well for everyone, with lacklustre performances and dull song choices slowing things down.The boys were more on form, with Paul McDonald, Casey Abrams, Jacob Lusk and James Durbin all exciting the judges.Of the girls Pia Toscano lived up to last week's stunning performance, but many of her fellow females failed to deliver.NaimaAdedapo at least had some energy as she offered up an imitation of Rihanna, but Karen Rodriguez struggled todo justice to her choice of Selena's I Could Fall in Love and Haley Reinhart was simply labelled 'boring' by Randy Jackson.The finalists had paid tribute to their own Idols as they performed songs by their very favourite artists.Lauren Alaina kicked off the show, but her version of Shania Twain's Any Man of Mine was forgettably bland.Missing the mark: Naima Adedapo simply impersonated Rihanna, Lauren Alaina was bland and Haley Reinhart was told she was 'boring'Steven Tyler told her she needed more energy. 'You've gotta have a good song,' he said.' And I love that song, I just wish it had been a little bit more kick ass.'Jennifer Lopez felt the same: 'You don't have to try, you're that good. But I think you have to kick it into high gear.'But, touched by Alaina's sad face, she added: 'We love you!'Next up was Casey Abrams, who injected the night with the first burst of energy with his high octane performance of Joe Cocker’s With a Little Help From My Friends.Lopez said his singing 'blew me away.' And Tyler was even happier, telling him: 'You are a plethora of passion.'Following him onto the stage was Ashthon Jones, who was one of last week's wild cards.She played it safe with Diana Ross' When You Tell Me That You Love Me.Randy Jackson told her that while initially sceptical, he saw the benefits in her unoriginal choice. 'I tell you what, I liked it,' he said. 'I saw you grow a little bit more as a singer, when you were going a little bit sharp or flat you pulled it back with a little vibrato, so I liked it.'After her came Paul McDonald, whose unique dancing style kept everyone entertained as he performed Ryan Adams Tyler found fault with his voice, but loved the performance. 'A little pitchy, be careful next time,' he advised.Lopez was worried the audience 'wouldn't get it.' 'You're just so unique, there's just something about you. I hope America gets it. I do really think that you're great.'Jackson added: 'I'm sure it wasn't the most exciting thing for people but I love who you are. I get it and I hope America gets it.'The highly-anticipated performance from Pia Toscano came next, with the teen belted out Celine Dion's All By Myself at the top of her lungs.Lopez was almost lost speechless. 'We love you Pia, I mean... I think a lot of people were wondering what you were going to do to top last week, and that was it.'Jackson said normally he wouldn't advise a contestant to take on such a challenging song.'We always say don't tackle those songs if you can't do them,' he began, before admitting that Pia had nailed it. 'You have that quality, those notes that you hit, you hit them dead on without even thinking about it.'Tyler said simply: 'Pia, that was the sum total of all the work you've done until now.'But Pia's high standards were not lived Haley Reinhart performed Blue, a track released by LeAnn Rimes in 1996. And while Tyler and Lopez enjoyed it, Randy found it 'boring'.Randy: 'For me it was a little boring actually, if I'm, been honest. You're young, you've got so much energy. It was a little boring for me, that's all.'A change of pace from Jacob Lusk was next, with him performing R Kelly's I Believe I can Fly. And to emphasise the gospel sound of his voice a choir came onto the stage as backing singers.Jackson was delighted. 'You have such an original sound, and to me that's what singing's all about,' he said. 'You were unbelievable. I love you, I'm excited.'Thia Megia changed the pace once again with her version of Smile.She began the track alone, with simply a guitar accompanying her voice, before the bad kicked it. The judges preferred the start, but added: 'I think all in all it turned out to be good, I loved the beginning more than the end for me.'Tyler agreed, advising: 'A little pitchy in the middle there. But you gave it up, thank you.'Eager not to criticise, Lopez saw only the good. 'I thought the arrangement was interesting, but I liked see you move. It doesn't matter - you sing like an angel.' Karen Rodriguez's voice proved too small for her version of Selena's I Could Fall in Love.As always Lopez looked on the bright side, saying: 'You're one of our strongest girls, so I hope that you make it to next week.' But she did admit: 'I could tell you were uncomfortable with some of the notes, at the lower end, and the higher end also.' Scotty McCreery stuck to his winning country formula with Garth Brooks' The River, which was well received by the judges, with Jackson advising him: 'Don't change it!'Naima Adedapo reimagined Rihanna's Umbrella, but couldn't improve on the original.But her high-energy performance delighted the audience, who had just sat through 12 rather dull tracks.Tyler was appreciative: 'You brought flavour tonight, which no-one else has done.'Lopez added: 'I'm glad you came out there and did what you did.' ?Elton John says goodbye to Las Vegas after 241 shows...but says he may go backBy UPDATED:16:03 GMT, 23 April 2009After five years and a staggering 241 shows at Caesars Palace, last night Elton John bid farewell to Las Vegas to return to the UK - but assured fans he'll be back soon.Wearing a bright red shirt that matched his piano and a coat with 'Las Vegas Pirates' embazoned on the back , the music legend rolled through his famous hits and reflected on his time at the Colosseum - a stage he famously shared with Celine Dion, Bette Midler and Cher.As he reminisced, the 62-year-old told his audience of 4,300 fans: 'The ex-home of Celine Dion ... and now it's the ex-home of Elton John as well. 'Who are you going to get to fill in our shoes now?. You've got Bette Midler, you've got Cher. It's gonna be the Village People next.''I really have enjoyed every single moment of this engagement. One day I might even see you in Vegas, OK? But until then, I love you.'Many audience members seated close to the stage gavethe star a standing ovation after each hit he played, including 'Candle in the Wind', 'Rocket Man', and 'Tiny Dancer'.'I hope you don't mind that I put down in words,' he sang. 'How wonderful life is while you're in the world.'Several of thesongs were combined with complex video productions created by famedphotographer and director David LaChapelle. The offbeat music videosincluded appearances by singer Justin Timberlake, actress PamelaAnderson and actor Paul Reubens.The five-time Grammy winner ended the show with 'Your Song' before kissing anaudience member's hand as he exited the stage.Elton initially signed on for 75 shows over three years when his runbegan in February 2004, but casino officials say the deal was expandedbecause of demand.Histour with Billy Joel has the second-highest average gross box officerevenue with a ticket price of 79.50, according to Pollstar, theconcert industry trade publication. Each show averages around 1.5 million, behind only Britney Spears. ?Andrea Bocelli joins stars in celebrating 50th anniversary of Songs Of Praise By UPDATED:00:22 GMT, 23 September 2011Andrea Bocelli’s vivacious fiancee Veronica Berti greets me at the door of the singer’s luxury hotel villa in the Sicilian coastal town of Siracusa. In the lived-in lounge we walk past an open suitcase, his neatly lined-up white slip-on shoes on the carpet, and a white dress shirt from a performance the previous evening draped over an armchair. It’s a reminder of the day-to-day human side of this huge figure in opera.Once I am seated on the terrace, Veronica guides Bocelli out and sits him opposite me. He trained as a lawyer and there is an air of deliberation about him. I’m not sure he needs the interpreter hired for the occasion, because his English is surprisingly fluent. It’s said he lives in a rather cocooned world, and when I ask about another opera act, Il  Divo, I can see why. When I tell him that it was he who inspired Simon Cowell to form Il Divo, he is perplexed. There’s a quick discussion to find out who Simon Cowell is. How refreshing, though when I mention X Factor he has an inkling. ‘Yes, I’ve met Il Divo in a TV studio. They are very nice people,’ says Bocelli, non-committal about their art.Behind the considered, dignified air, there is no doubt a man of great passion. ‘Opera was always my passion. As a child I didn’t think about anything else, only music. ‘For me, opera is one of the highest forms of entertainment. It’s also one of the hardest art forms with the combination of many disciplines. There’s no reason why it can’t appeal to everyone.’Last week, he performed for 60,000 people willing to brave the rain to see him at a free concert in New York’s Central Park, where he was joined by Celine Dion and Tony Bennett. This weekend, he is at Alexandra Palace, North London, joining in the 50th anniversary celebrations for BBC1’s Songs Of Praise. A devout Catholic, he was taken as a child by his mother to Lourdes. Afterwards, she asked him if he had prayed for his sight. He said he had not, he had prayed for serenity.Bocelli was born partially sighted before an accident rendered him completely blind at the age of 12, and I’ve been told the subject upsets him. It’s his strength of will that has made Bocelli the most successful opera singer of his generation with album sales topping 70 million, even more than Pavarotti, who first recognised his greatness as a tenor. His phenomenal international success began in 1995, when Time To Say Goodbye topped the charts. He has upset the posh end of the opera world ever since, who believe his technique isflawed, though they fail to acknowledge his gift for making a connection between his audience and opera.As a child, Bocelli was energetic and impulsive, ignoring the fact he was blind. That didn’t stop him playing sports, riding his bicycle and the horse his father bought him. In adult life he took up boxing, skiing, windsurfing and surfing.Is he still a risk taker? ‘No, no, I don’t like to take risks now. When I was younger I liked to take risks, physically, with horses, riding my bicycle, everything. I skydived once.’ Bocelli, who celebrated his 53rd birthday yesterday, added: ‘Now I might break some bones. My passion for horses has come back as I have a beautiful new horse. Though I’m more careful.‘Yes, I was really lively, but now that I have sons I don’t want them to be like I used to be. I prefer them to be careful, so I have to set an example.’Is his example of cautious living working? ‘For now, yes. The boys are much calmer than me.’ Amos, 16, and Matteo, 14, are both piano students, though their father doesn’t expect them to become musicians.You get the sense he’s quite a disciplinarian. ‘Yes, of course I am a disciplinarian for their sake,’ he says. ‘I try not to impose discipline on them. I try to make them love discipline. I try to make them understand that there is only one way. You must teach discipline through dialogue. You must talk a lot with your children.’Bocelli is divorced from their mother, Enrica Cenzatti, who lives next door to him on his estate in the Tuscan seaside town of Forte dei Marmi.Are he and Veronica planning to wed? ‘Naturally, when two people feel like we do, they want to make it a permanent arrangement. I hope it will happen from the religious and spiritual point of view but it is a legal matter.’ By this I take it to mean that as a divorced Catholic he is not able to marry in church again. After our meeting, it was revealed that 28-year-old Veronica is pregnant and expecting her first child in the spring. There’s an unexpectedly touching moment between him and Veronica, who helps manage him, as a photographer takes pictures while we talk. She spots a smidgen of toothpaste by the side of his mouth and dashes over to rub it off with her fingers. He is not startled by this. Clearly it is a natural part of their world where she will come and tend to him.His success is so all conquering that he is treated like a modern day Roman emperor — how does he avoid becoming arrogant?‘If someone has received a lot in life, as in my case, they should be aware they owe a lot to other people for helping make it happen,’ he says. ‘I’m certainly aware that I should be giving something back, not only in terms of money but primarily in terms of love. Love is the most valuable thing I have received and am able to give back. I think of the body as a shell that can contain different things. ‘If you put things of value into it, then that will help you become a modest person. Everything else is just vanity. As a man, I have my strengths and weaknesses. It’s for others to judge what they are.’In February, he’s appearing in Romeo And Juliet in Genoa, Italy. I wonder what is his perfect woman like? ‘Wow,’ he smiles. I can hear Veronica laugh. ‘From the masculine point of view, what I primarily look for in a woman is femininity and then passion… and all the rest!’Despite his achievements in the world’s biggest cities, he says: ‘I don’t like big cities. I grew up in a village. And every time I go to London it’s raining, though I like the people.’ Andrea Bocelli will perform at the Songs Of Praise 50th anniversary at Alexandra Palace on Sunday, to be broadcast on BBC1 on October 2. Andrea Bocelli Live In Central Park will be released on CD and DVD on November 14.?Angelina Jolie turns her designer dress back to front... to show off her tattoos By UPDATED:17:41 GMT, 30 January 2009 Angelina Jolie has always sought to be different. And now it seems she's prepared to go even further by customising her designer wardrobe for her red carpet appearances.The Oscar nominated actress wore her $798 cornflower blue Max Azria dress to the Screen Actors Guild awards in Los Angeles back to front rather than exposing her chest in the plunging gown. And it seems her reason for doing so, was to show off her array of tattoos. Angelina's choice: Changeling actress Miss Jolie chose to wear her $798 Max Axria gown back to front Leading from the front: Angelina decided not to wear the plunging neckline gown the right way round her stylist said 'to make it more blouson' Angelina Jolie arriving at The 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium In Los Angeles California While some commentators dubbed it a fashion faux pas, clearly the mother of six children, who gave birth to twins Knox and Vivienne last year, was not keen to bare quite so much flesh. Her stylist Jen Rade told Usmagazine.com Angelina purposefully turned around the dress to make it 'more blouson.' Another theory was that it enabled the actress to show off her tattoos more. Although the v-shaped neckline actually covered up half of the artworks. Angelina made no mention of the fact that the stunning blue gown was on backwards during an interview with E! magazine on the red carpet, and said: 'I just like to be comfortable, I see what comfortable options are out there.'Los Angeles Times critic Booth Moore wrote: 'Angelina Jolie is one of the few celebrities who has developed a signature red carpet look: drapey, goddess-like dresses that show off her tattooed shoulders, natural hair, minimal make-up and jewellery. 'Some have criticised the look as dowdy, but I would call it self-aware'.However, Angelina might want to be careful, as the last person , Angelina appears to be following a long held show-business tradition for wearing clothing backwards. At the 1999 Oscars, Celine Dion famously wore a white Dior tuxedo, backwards. Her outfit came in for harsh criticism , and was described by keen red carpet watchers as 'bizarre' and 'unflattering'.Angelina and partner Brad Pitt are currently in Japan promoting their respective films The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Changeling. And fittingly for the showbiz world's most famous couple, they have both been nominated for Oscars. But down to earth Pitt said of the double honours: 'Man, we're too busy dealing with Kleenexes and diapers and getting everyone fed to really celebrate. 'We'll do that next year.'Angelina and partner Brad Pitt arriving at the Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles ?Animal print: The good, the mad and the ugly of this eye-catching trend By UPDATED:10:45 GMT, 8 September 2008 In this occasional column we look at the good, the mad and the just plain ugly. This week we check out animal print... THE GOODWhen it comes to any kind of animal print, less is most definitely more. This Asprey skirt takes a subtle approach to a difficult print. The delicate nature of the design makes it ever so feminine and essentially elegant. A well-tailored touch of luxury and style - what Asprey does best.Skirt, 550, Asprey, 020 7493 6767. THE MADWow! Christopher Kane went wild with the animal print this season. Taking inspiration for his spring collection from childhood memories of Crocodile Dundee, this biker jacket pays particular homage to the film. Accompanied with the right outfit, it could do wonders for your fashion cred - just don't go OTT.Jacket, 1,820, Christopher Kane, 020 7514 0000. THE UGLYPat Butcher, eat your heart out. This dress screams road kill - and East End road kill at that. Celine designer Ivana Omazic may have beautifully simplified the French fashion label and concentrated on cut and shape this season, but she seems to have let this one slip through the taste net. A case of overdone and difficult to wear; even supermodel Giselle wouldn't look good in this.Dress, 630, Celine, 020 7297 4999. ?Anna Wintour gives NeNe Leakes her seal of approval as Real Housewife is snapped for latest issue of Vogue By PUBLISHED:18:04 GMT, 21 September 2012 UPDATED:19:04 GMT, 21 September 2012Anna Wintour has apparently given NeNe Leakes her seal of approval, granting her a spot in the October edition of Vogue. The 44-year-old Real Housewives of Atlanta star was photographed alongside fellow cast members from The New Normal - a sitcom based on Glee creator Ryan Murphy's life.Also in the shot were actors Justin Bartha, Andrew Rannells, Georgia King, Bebe Wood and Ellen Barkin.The cast was snapped for by NormanJean Roy, and Ms Leakes was appropriately clad in designer garb of a Stella McCartney dress and Giuseppe Zanotti platform heels.In Ryan Murphy's new comedyseries, which airs on Tuesdays at 9.30pm on NBC, Ms Leakes plays Rocky, the self-described 'half-giraffe, half-drag queen' assistant to one half of the show's gay parents-to-be.She landed the role after receiving positive reviews as Coach Roz Washington over on the set of Glee. It is the first TV show to have two gay male leads and follows their experiences as they prepare to become parents with the help of a surrogate.The plot mirrors the life of Mr Murphy himself, who reveals in the accompanying article that he and husband David Miller are 'exploring surrogacy' themselves.Since finding fame on the small screen, Georgia-based NeNe Leakes has been attempting to carve a name for herself in the fashion world.In June it was announced that she will be launching a clothing collection after signing a deal with the global licensing company Beanstalk.It is said that the line will be affordable, with pieces 'designed to empower women to walk into a room and "own it" - like NeNe herself.'The one-time Celebrity Apprentice contestant also designed a $40 pair of black ankle boots with gold platform heels for ShoeDazzle this spring as part of itsCelebrity Shoe Design Program for Charity.Denise Richards, Perez Hilton and CarmenElectra also made contributions as part of the campaign.Some of her favourite dress designers include Emilio Pucci, Celine and Herve Leger, while on the footwear front she has stepped out in towering heels by the likes of Christian Louboutin and Giuseppe Zanotti.Sharing the news of her Vogue appearance with friends and fans, mother-of-two Ms Leakes Tweeted: 'Check me out n the October issue of Vogue wit my "New Normal" cast! That's my girl @EllenBarkin did I say Vogue?'In 2010 she revealed that she had plastic surgery so she could achieve a size 8 to 10 figure. She has since been snapped in a range of figure-flattering designs that aim at accentuating her curves.She previously told People magazine:'I didn’t want to change my looks. I wanted to look like the black woman I am, only a better version.'Vogue's October issue, available on newsstands nationwide from September 24. ?'Beast of the Ardennes' and his virgin-hunting wife go on trial for murder of seven womenLast updated at 4:14 PM on 27th March 2008The trial of the man said to be one of France's deadliest serial killers and the wife who helped lure his virgin prey has begun today.But Michel Fourniret - dubbed the "Beast of the Ardennes" - refused to speak at the opening of his trial today, despite allegedly confessing to the murders of seven young women.Instead he told the judge via a note that until the courtroom was closed, he was remaining silent.Scroll down for moreSilence: Fourniret holds up his sign declaring that until the courtroom is empty, he will not open his mouth Olivier sits behind bulletproof glass and surrounded by armed guards in the courtroom today On trial: Self-confessed serial killer Michel Fourniret and his wife Monique Olivier in 1992 (top) and after their arrests in 2004 Fourniret, 66, appeared in court behind a bullet-proof glass alongside his wife, Monique Olivier, 59, who is charged with complicity in five of the murders.He faces a trial at a later date for the murder of British teacher Joanna Parrish in 1990, whose naked body was found in a river in Burgundy.Fourniret has already admitted to prosecutors that he needed to go hunting for a virgin at least twice a year.According to letters seized by investigators, he and his wife forged a pact on his release from prison in 1987 that if he killed her first husband, she would help him find young virgins for him. The seven victims, as young as 12 and no older than 21, were strangled, shot or stabbed with a screwdriver. They were killed in France and Belgium between 1987 and 2003. Fourniret faces kidnapping, rape and murder charges in connection with their deaths.Investigators suspect he may have been involved in several other murders.Fourniret struck a defiant pose on day one of the trial. When the judge asked him to identify himself, he held up a piece of paper with the words "Without a closed courtroom, staying tightlipped."The judge did not appear to respond.Fourniret also passed to the judge a rolled paper tied in a red ribbon, which his lawyer said was a message to the victims' families. He asked that the judge read it, and the judge declined.Jean-Maurice Arnould, lawyer for the family of slain 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet, said the family was not expecting an apology from Fourniret. "He's a man without conscience," he said.Elisabeth's father said he did not want to hear Fourniret's account of his daughter's murder."We don't want new facts of the crimes; for us it's already hardly bearable," Francis Brichet said.The child's body was found along with that of 21-year-old Jeanne-Marie Desramault in the wooded grounds of Fourniret's former property in northern France.An array of exhibits sat in the courtroom including a shotgun, two revolvers, a screwdriver and various pieces of rope. Scroll down for moreRelatives of the victims watch the proceedings in court today Both Olivier and Fourniret face life imprisonment if they are convicted.Defence lawyer Pierre Blocquaux said that during questioning byinvestigators, Fourniret admitted to committing the crimes. Hedeclined to comment about how Fourniret might plead.He also told the court Fourniret did not want to be defended by him or his two other lawyers.French media reports said Olivier appeared to be co-operating andanswered the judge's opening questions about her identity.The reportsquoted her lawyers as saying she planned to apologise to the victims'families.Olivier looked for a long time at the families and did not react as crowds of photographers snapped her image as she entered.Belgian police detained Fourniret in June, 2003, after hisbungled kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl. She gave authorities hislicence plate number after she managed to unbind her hands and escapefrom the back of Fourniret's van.Police officials said the girl told Belgian investigators thatFourniret had bragged to her that he was "worse than" Belgium's mostnotorious criminal, paedophile Marc Dutroux, sentenced to life inprison in 2004 for a series of child kidnappings, rapes and murders. Scroll down for moreTragic: Henri Desramault, the father of Jeanne-Marie, one of Fourniret's victims, looks pained as he arrives at the courthouse today Francis Brichet, the father of Elisabeth, one of Fourniret's victims, makes his way through the media throng at court today Police officials say Olivier told Belgian investigators in 2004 that Fourniret had committed nine murders, and acknowledged her participation in several of them.Judicial and police officials say Fourniret admitted to seven murders, and that confession is cited in the indictment.During searches of Fourniret's home, in Sart-Custinne, Belgium, police discovered stolen revolvers, a hood and children's clothing.The bodies of two victims, 21-year-old Jeanne-Marie Desramault and 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet - both of whom went missing in 1989 - were found in the wooded grounds of Fourniret's former property in northern France.Belgium extradited Olivier to France in 2005 and Fourniret in 2006. Judicial officials in both countries decided the case should be tried in France because six of the dead women were French citizens.Fourniret, a former forest ranger, had a history of sex offences. In 1966, he was found guilty of molestation and in 1987, a French court sentenced him to five years in prison for a series of rapes. Scroll down for moreTwisted: Monique Olivier attends the 2006 re-enactment of the kidnapping and murder of Fabienne Leroy by her husband In prison, he began to correspond with Olivier - the mother of three children - promising her to kill her ex-husband, judicial officials have said.In the correspondence, seized by Belgian investigators, Olivier pledged to "back up" Fourniret in his endeavours.The trial is expected to end in May.The victimsScroll down for moreThe girls Fourniret is accused of killing: (L-R) Elisabeth Brichet, Isabelle Laville, Jeanne-Marie Desramault, Natacha Danais, Mananya Thumpong, Fabienne Leroy. Missing: Celine Sanais Isabelle Laville, 17: Kidnapped on her way home from school on December 11, 1987 in Auxerre, central France. Fourniret confessed to raping and killing her, then led investigators a well in north-eastern France where her bones and clothing were buried. Olivier is accused of complicity in her kidnap and rape.Fabienne Leroy, 20: Kidnapped from a supermarket car park in Chalons-en-Champagne, east of Paris, on July 8, 1988. Her body was discovered outside a military base the next day after she was killed by a shotgun wound to the chest. Fourniret has confessed to her murder, with Olivier charged as an accomplice.Jeanne-Marie Desramault, 22: The law student was kidnapped outside the railway station in Charleville-Mezieres on March 18, 1989. Fourniret took investigators to her body in the grounds of a chateau he once owned in Donchery in July 2004. He confessed to her murder and Olivier is charged as an accomplice.Elisabeth Brichet, 12: Kidnapped on her way home from a friend's house in Namur, Belgium, on December 20, 1989. Her remains were also found in July, 2004 at Fourniret's chateau. He confessed to the murder but denied rape, while Olivier is charged with complicity.Natacha Danais, 13: Kidnapped, assaulted, stabbed to death near Nantes, western France on November 21, 1990. Three days later her body was found on a beach. Fourniret confessed to murder and attempted rape, while Olivier is charged as an accomplice.Celine Saison, 18: Disappeared after taking an exam in Charleville-Mezieres on May 16, 2000. Two months later her body was found in a wood in Belgium. Fourniret confessed to kidnapping, raping and murdering her.Mananya Thumphong, 13: Disappeared from Sedan, north-east France, on May 5, 2001. Her remains were found the following year in the Nollevaux forest in Belgium. Fourniret admitted kidnap and murder but denied rape. ?'Beast of the Ardennes' and his 'virgin-hunting' wife go on trial for murder of seven womenLast updated at 14:37 27 March 2008The trial of the man said to be one of France's deadliestserial killers and the wife who helped lure his virgin prey hasbegun today.But Michel Fourniret - dubbed the 'Beast of theArdennes' - refused to speak at the opening of his trial today,despite allegedly confessing to the murders of seven youngwomen.Instead he told the judge via a note that until the courtroomwas closed, he was remaining silent.Scroll down for more ...Fourniret, 66, appeared in court behind a bullet-proof glassalongside his wife, Monique Olivier, 59, who is charged withcomplicity in five of the murders.He faces a trial at a later date for the murder of Britishteacher Joanna Parrish in 1990, whose naked body was found in ariver in Burgundy.Fourniret has already admitted to prosecutors that he needed togo hunting for a virgin at least twice a year.According to letters seized by investigators, he and his wifeforged a pact on his release from prison in 1987 that if he killedher first husband, she would help him find young virgins forhim.The seven victims, as young as 12 and no older than 21, werestrangled, shot or stabbed with a screwdriver. They were killed inFrance and Belgium between 1987 and 2003. Fourniret faceskidnapping, rape and murder charges in connection with theirdeaths.Investigators suspect he may have been involved in several othermurders, including that of Joanna Parrish.Fourniret struck a defiant pose on day one of the trial. Whenthe judge asked him to identify himself, he held up a piece ofpaper with the words "Without a closed courtroom, stayingtightlipped."The judge did not appear to respond.Fourniret also passed to the judge a rolled paper tied in a redribbon, which his lawyer said was a message to the victims'families. He asked that the judge read it, and the judgedeclined.Jean-Maurice Arnould, lawyer for the family of slain 12-year-oldElisabeth Brichet, said the family was not expecting an apologyfrom Fourniret. "He's a man without conscience," hesaid.Elisabeth's father said he did not want to hearFourniret's account of his daughter's murder."We don't want new facts of the crimes; for us it'salready hardly bearable," Francis Brichet said. Thechild's body was found along with that of 21-year-oldJeanne-Marie Desramault in the wooded grounds of Fourniret'sformer property in northern France.An array of exhibits sat in the courtroom including a shotgun,two revolvers, a screwdriver and various pieces of rope.Scroll down for more ...Both Olivier and Fourniret face life imprisonment if they areconvicted.Defence lawyer Pierre Blocquaux said that during questioning byinvestigators, Fourniret admitted to committing the crimes.Blocquaux declined to comment about how Fourniret might plead.He also told the court Fourniret did not want to be defended byhim or his two other lawyers.French media reports said Olivier appeared to be cooperating andanswered the judge's opening questions about her identity. Thereports quoted her lawyers as saying she planned to apologize tothe victims' families.Olivier looked for a long time at the families and did not reactas crowds of photographers snapped her image as she entered.Belgian police detained Fourniret in June, 2003, after hisbungled kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl. The girl gave authoritieshis license plate number after she managed to unbind her hands andescape from the back of Fourniret's van.Police officials said the girl told Belgian investigators thatFourniret had bragged to her that he was "worse than"Belgium's most notorious criminal, paedophile Marc Dutroux,sentenced to life in prison in 2004 for a series of childkidnappings, rapes and murders.Scroll down for more ...Police officials say Olivier told Belgian investigators in 2004that Fourniret had committed nine murders, and acknowledged herparticipation in several of them.Judicial and police officials say Fourniret admitted to sevenmurders, and that confession is cited in the indictment. The policeand judicial officials would not be identified by name because theywere not authorized to discuss the case publicly.During searches of Fourniret's home, in Sart-Custinne,Belgium, police discovered stolen revolvers, a hood andchildren's clothing.The bodies of two victims, 21-year-old Jeanne-Marie Desramaultand 12-year-old Elisabeth Brichet - both of whom went missing in1989 - were found in the wooded grounds of Fourniret's formerproperty in northern France.Belgium extradited Olivier to France in 2005 and Fourniret in2006. Judicial officials in both countries decided the case shouldbe tried in France because six of the dead women were Frenchcitizens.Fourniret, a former forest ranger, had a history of sexoffences. In 1966, he was found guilty of molestation and in 1987,a French court sentenced him to five years in prison for a seriesof rapes.Scroll down for more ...In prison, he began to correspond with Olivier - the mother ofthree children - promising her to kill her ex-husband, judicialofficials have said. In the correspondence, seized by Belgianinvestigators, Olivier pledged to "back up" Fourniret inhis endeavours.The trial is expected to wrap up in May.The victimsScroll down for more ...Isabelle Laville, 17: Kidnapped on her way homefrom school on December 11, 1987 in Auxerre, central France.Fourniret confessed to raping and killing her, then ledinvestigators a well in northeastern France where her bones andclothing were buried. Olivier is accused of complicity in herkidnap and rape.Fabienne Leroy, 20: Kidnapped from asupermarket car park in Chalons-en-Champagne, east of Paris, onJuly 8, 1988. Her body was discovered outside a military base thenext day after she was killed by a shotgun wound to the chest.Fourniret has confessed to her murder, with Olivier charged as anaccomplice.Jeanne-Marie Desramault, 22: The law studentwas kidnapped outside the railway station in Charleville-Meziereson March 18, 1989. Fourniret took investigators to her body in thegrounds of a chateau he once owned in Donchery in July 2004. Heconfessed to her murder and Olivier is charged as an accomplice.Elisabeth Brichet, 12: Kidnapped on her wayhome from a friend's house in Namur, Belgium, on December 20,1989. Her remains were also found in July, 2004 at Fourniret'schateau. He confessed to the murder but denied rape, while Olivieris charged with complicity.Natacha Danais, 13: Kidnapped, assaulted,stabbed to death near Nantes, western France on November 21, 1990.Three days later her body was found on a beach. Fourniret confessedto murder and attempted rape, while Olivier is charged as anaccomplice.Celine Saison, 18: Disappeared after taking anexam in Charleville-Mezieres on May 16, 2000. Two months later herbody was found in a wood in Belgium. Fourniret confessed tokidnapping, raping and murdering her.Mananya Thumphong, 13: Disappeared from Sedan,northeast France, on May 5, 2001. Her remains were found thefollowing year in the Nollevaux forest in Belgium. Fourniretadmitted kidnap and murder but denied rape.Share this article: ?Bizarre furry footwear on Celine catwalk gets style set's seal of approval - but is it the ugliest fashion trend ever? By PUBLISHED:22:37 GMT, 3 October 2012 UPDATED:06:58 GMT, 4 October 2012What Phoebe Philo designs, women usually want. And end up buying.The designer, now in her fourth year at the helm of Celine, sent out a spring collection of covetable, cool, loose-fitting clothes; which were paired with outlandish furry shoes. And there is nary a negative review in sight.But her mink-linedleather sandals, and pumps covered in red, lavender and Big Bird-yellow mink felt more like a 'the joke is on you' than a viable option for the shoe rack.And when fashion's top critics have nothing negative to say about your fur-lined slip-ons and hairy blue sandals, perhaps you severely underestimated the height of the pedestal you already knew you were sitting on. But then again, Ms Philo probably didn't.The 38-year-old designer also included flesh-toned heels with built-in toenails painted red, giving an illusion of clear-plastic stilettos showing off the model's perfectly pedicured feet.Meanwhile the fur-covered stilettos and their fuzzy flashes of colour encompassed the foot much like a furry tea-cozy might cover a teapot. The fur-lined flat sandals, designed in a Birkenstock vein, seemed to be a hit with The New York Times' Cathy Horyn She wrote of her collection: 'I guess Ms. Philo didn’t feel like getting dressed. Seriously, though, who wouldn’t be tempted to throw a big housewife yawn at all thenoir-satin looks on the runways? Who wouldn’t want to wear furry slippers all day?' While Jo-Ann Furniss, writing for Style.com, positively commented: 'The shoes were key to this collection: furry, witty, unhinged. In a mostly black and white offering, they disrupted any notion of sobriety. Predominantly flat - yet with some also rather remarkable fur-covered stilettos.'While it is true that comfort can sometimes be the most luxurious thing that fashion could offer, Ms Philo's fury-lined pool shoes and fuzzy pumps have most likely been decribed everything other than ugly because, well, love is blind.If the Philophiles, as they've been coined, wriggle their toes into the Mink and out the shop door, it will be the designer herself having the last laugh, no doubt.?Blooming Kimberly Stewart shows off her ever-growing bump as she spends the day with dad RodBy UPDATED:22:17 GMT, 10 May 2011He was said to have been less than pleased to hear his daughter Kimberly is pregnant with Benicio Del Toro's baby.But it seems Rod Stewart has put any negative feelings about the turn of events behind him to support Kimberly throughout her pregnancy.The 66-year-old rocker was seen with Kimberly in Los Angeles today, and enjoyed spending time with his 31-year-old daughter in a local cafe.And Kimberly has obviously adjusted to pregnancy well, as the model looked radiant in a tribal print vest top, jeans and white cardigan as she stepped out. Meanwhile, Rod went for the all-white look in a pair of white trousers, shirt and cricket jumper.Kimberly announced her surprise pregnancy earlier this year, when Oscar-winning actor Del Toro released a carefully-worded statement.His spokesperson told America's Life & Style magazine: 'Kimberly is pregnant. Benicio is the father and is very supportive. 'Although they are not a couple, they are looking forward to the arrival of the baby.'Kimberly and Del Toro, 44, are understood to have had a ‘no-strings fling' after meeting at the Chateau Marmont hotel earlier this year.Meanwhile, Rod certainly has reason to celebrate after it was confirmed today he will be starting a two-year Las Vegas residency in August.Rod Stewart: The Hits will kick off at Las Vegas' Colosseum at Caesars Palace on August 24, with tickets going on sale on May 15th.Talking about the residency, Stewart told Billboard.biz: 'It's a rock'n'roll show. We'll try to give the people what they want, which are the songs that made me famous, plus a few surprises. 'There won't be any magicians or midgets, just a good rock show.'Stewart, who recently welcomed his eighth child when wife Penny Lancaster gave birth to son Aiden, is following in the footsteps of Celine Dion and Elton John with the residency. ?Bond actress murdered after disturbing intruder at her luxury home By UPDATED:15:58 GMT, 16 December 2008 A former Bond girl has been bludgeoned to death after she disturbed an intruder at her home in an exclusive area of north Dublin.Celine Cawley, 46, who went on to become an award-winning advertising executive and film-maker, was found with serious head injuries on the patio of her multi-million pound family home yesterday morning. Her husband, Eamonn Lillis, had been out walking the dogs at the time. Celine Cawley was found with serious head injuries at her home in an exclusive area of north Dublin. She died less than an hour later in hospital He told police he arrived back at their home in Howth, one of Ireland's most exclusive areas, when he saw a masked raider fleeing. The mother of one received first aid but died an hour later in Beaumont Hospital. The couple have a 16-year-old daughter who was in school at the time of the killing. Ms Cawley played a party girl in the 1985 James Bond film A View To A Kill which starred Roger Moore. She was well known in media and advertising circles in Ireland after building her Toytown Films company into one of the country's most high profile production houses.The firm specialised in making television adverts in Ireland, Britain and across Europe. Her successes included an ad featuring Roy Keane as a leprechaun in a Walkers crisps promotion launched on St Patrick's Day, 2000. She also worked for Guinness, Carlsberg and McDonald's. Her husband is also involved in running the production company. Detectives said they were keeping a 'very open mind' on the investigation. There was no sign of a break-in and the murder weapon has not been recovered.Garda spokesman Superintendent John Gilligan said a full murder inquiry was under way. He said: 'We have a witness that states that a person ran from the back garden of the house into a back lane but we don't know after that where they went. 'The person who was seen running from the area may have discarded the balaclava immediately or kept it on them.' No one else witnessed the masked man who Mr Lillis said was in his late 20s or early 30s and of slight but strong build. Superintendent Gilligan said the Garda are fully examining 'all aspects in relation to the discovery of the body and piecing together what happened'.He said: 'We're keeping a very open mind on the whole situation. We're trying to gather as much information as possible about all the circumstance of this woman's death.' It is understood that she may have tried to fight off her attacker. The home remains sealed off as forensic teams examine the site Mr Lillis said the masked man ran from the back of the house down to the Carrickbrack Road area. Superintendent Gilligan said: 'There is no description of any car of any type. We know from what we heard, the person who we're looking for ran down the back garden of the house, out on to a laneway and made their way in any direction after that - but in particular in the Windgate Road area and the Carrickbrack Road area.' The area - known as The Summit - is a quiet residential area with a number of detached properties, many of which have electronic gates and CCTV systems. Investigators are analysing footage in the area as part of their murder inquiry. Locals in the quiet coastal village yesterday expressed their shock. One resident said: 'It's such a quiet place. It's very safe around here. Everyone is shocked at the news.' Local councillor Joan Maher said the 'disturbing' killing has shocked the normally quiet area. 'I'm absolutely shocked and stunned. It's horrendous coming up to Christmas. It's an area popular with walkers, around the hill but it's a seriously quiet area. On a Monday morning there would be nobody about.'The home remained sealed off last night as Garda carried out technical examinations. It is understood Mr Lillis and his daughter are staying with family. ?Bond actress's husband charged with bludgeoning her to death at their luxury home By UPDATED:13:30 GMT, 22 December 2008 The husband of a former Bond girl has been charged with her murder in their exclusive north Dublin home a week ago.Eamonn Lillis was remanded in custody today after being accused of killing his wife Celine Cawley.Ms Cawley went on from her stint as a Bond girl with Roger Moore to become one of Ireland's top advertising executives.The mother-of-one had been beaten about the head with a brick and was found lying on her back garden patio with severe injuries.She died an hour later in hospital.Lillis has claimed to have been walking the dogs at the time. He told police he arrived back at their home in Howth, one of Ireland's most exclusive areas, when he saw a masked raider fleeing.No other witnesses saw the intruder, who Lillis described as being in his late 20s or early 30s, and of slight but strong build. It was understood that Ms Cawley had tried to fight her attacker off.Lillis was arrested early on Saturday five days into the investigation.Celine Cawley was found with serious head injuries at her home in an exclusive area of north Dublin. She died less than an hour later in hospital After less than 24 hours questioning, he was charged yesterday with murdering his wife.Dressed in a grey tracksuit top and holding a book, Lillis did not speak during the minute long hearing at Dublin District Court today.Ms Cawley, 46, was a former model and actress who played a minor role in the James Bond film 'A View to a Kill'. She went on to carve out another successful career over the past 16 years as the founder of a film production company, Toytown Films. Her husband is a producer with the company. The couple lived in a luxury house, in Howth, Coounty Dublin, with their 16-year-old daughter, Georgia.Detectives detained Lillis at another address in Howth at around 7.30am on Saturday .While in custody, Lillis was questioned about his life with Celine and his movements last Monday morning. A series of questions relating to the results of a very detailed forensic examination of the house and the surrounds as well as the outcome of a post-mortem examination and subsequent tests on the body by Deputy State Pathologist Michael Curtis were also put to the suspect.Last night, detectives were refused to detail any of his responses to questions or detail his demeanour.Senior police officers kept in close contact with lawyers from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions throughout Saturday night and early yesterday morning. The DPP gave the go-ahead for a murder charge in the early hours and Lillis was released from his detention under the Criminal Justice Act at around 6am.Outside the police station, he was re-arrested, charged with murder and then placed in custody.Meanwhile, forensic officers continued their search of the house and grounds. Earlier in the week, police removed a number of items for further examination including a bloodstained garden brick, which gardai believe was used to hit Ms Cawley on the side and back of the head.Also taken away were items of clothing from the house while experts examined several doors and windows for fingerprints.?Brief encounters: Why does George Clooney never seem to stay with any woman for more than a few months? By UPDATED:00:23 GMT, 28 October 2011He is one of the world's biggest stars with a string of awards for his acting. But he is also well known for the number of different women on his arm over the years, and his inability to settle down. Alison Boshoff consider the many loves in the curious private life of George Clooney. KELLY PRESTONSTYLE: George met this permed Californian blonde in acting school. TIMELINE: 14 months between 1987 and 1989.A TRUE ROMANCE? He gave her a pot-bellied pig called Max for her birthday, but insisted on keeping it when they split.THEY SAID: George was apparently ‘devastated’ when she left him for actor Charlie Sheen. Kelly went on to marry John Travolta in 1991.PR RATING: 5/10. They made a cute couple, but marriage was never on the cards.TALIA BALSAMSTYLE: A sweet-faced brunette actress who romanced him in 1984 when he was only 23. They split in 1987, and then got back together two years later.TIMELINE: Six years in total.A TRUE ROMANCE? They were wed in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator in 1989, but split in 1992. Their rows over money are said to have put him off marriage for ever.HE SAID: ‘I married a terrific girl. That it didn’t work out was mostly my fault.’PR RATING: 8/10. Not a success, but at least George’s marriage to Balsam raised his profile.KIMBERLY RUSSELLSTYLE: A poised actress with tumbling raven hair. They met on the social scene in Los Angeles.TIMELINE: 10 monthsA TRUE ROMANCE? He dumped her in 1995 (by letter rather than face-to-face) allegedly because he wanted to see other women and take advantage of his blossoming fame after starring in TV drama ER. After the split Kimberley said: ‘You have to enjoy the ride while it lasts — he’s simply not the marrying kind. The guy is an absolute charmer, but just don’t mention the words “marriage, commitment or babies”.’HE SAID: ‘I’m sorry. I love you but marriage is not a trip I can take again.’ PR RATING: 8/10. He needed someone gorgeous on his arm — and she certainly fitted the bill.VENDELA KIRSEBOMSTYLE: A stunning Swedish supermodel, sometimes compared with Grace Kelly.TIMELINE: Three months.A TRUE ROMANCE? They met at an Oscars party and he was instantly smitten. Dated in 1996, although it was never serious because he was seeing other women at the time. THEY SAID: ‘George looked like he was in seventh heaven when they were together.’PR RATING: 10/10. She had va-va voom, perfect for the image of an emerging superstar.KAREN DUFFYSTYLE: Spookily similar to George’s ex-wife Talia, this ex-model was an MTV host when they found themselves moving in the same Hollywood circles. Heavy flirtation ensued.TIMELINE: One month. A TRUE ROMANCE? Just a handful of dates back in 1996, but they remain good friends — she went on holiday with him last year.SHE SAID: ‘I could never fall in love with a man with a pet pig, and George’s pig is disgusting.’PR RATING: 9/10. She helped his lady-killer reputation begin to take hold.CELINE BALITRANSTYLE: Publicity-shy Celine was a law student when they met in 1996.TIMELINE: Three years, four months. A TRUE ROMANCE? They met in a Paris caf where she was waitressing. In a few months, she’d moved into his LA house. There were problems, among them his preference for spending time with his male friends. They split in 1999. HE SAID: ‘Honey, it’s no picnic dating me.’PR RATING: 8/10. A serious young woman who polished his image as more than just beefcake.TRAYLOR HOWARDSTYLE: A blonde sweetheart who starred in the film comedy Me Myself and Irene.TIMELINE: One month.A TRUE ROMANCE? They zoomed round Hollywood on his Harley Davidson in 2000, but he was also linked to model Angie Everhart.THEY SAID: ‘Traylor knows about George’s way with women but she wants to be the one to make him settle down.’ PR RATING: 7/10. This relationship appeared to be another notch on his bedpost.MARIELLA FROSTRUPSTYLE: Husky-voiced British broadcaster, professional blonde and world-class flirt.TIMELINE: Not even a month. A TRUE ROMANCE? They reportedly met in a Cannes hotel bar in 1999 and were ‘inseparable’ for the next three days. Since their fling, which she’s denied, they’ve remained friends. He is godfather to her two children.SHE SAID: ‘I am so not George’s type. He goes for tall brunettes, I’m a blonde midget.’PR RATING: 10/10. She made George look fun, and he gave her a story to dine out on for the next 20 years.LISA SNOWDONSTYLE: A British model with impossibly long legs, a shiny sheet of brown hair, and a reputation as a party-loving ‘man’s woman’.TIMELINE: 5 years on and off.A TRUE ROMANCE? They met in Spain on the set of a Martini commercial in 2000, and an unconventional liaison ensued. There was never any discussion about her moving into his Los Angeles mansion, let alone becoming Mrs Clooney, and the final three years were angst-filled. She was seen sobbing at the Cannes film festival when rumours that she had been dumped reached her ears. In the end, though, she became fed up and chucked him herself.SHE SAID: ‘Work almost totally dried up. People saw me living a new life and thought I wouldn’t be interested in modelling again.’PR RATING: 10/10. The perfect consort, and someone to walk the red carpet with for hit films Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve.RENEE ZELLWEGERSTYLE: Shy, down-to-earth actress Renee has always tried to keep her private life as quiet as possible, so she’s not a typical George woman.TIMELINE: One month altogether, though they’ve been linked several times. A TRUE ROMANCE? They were first linked romantically at the end of 2001, and were supposed to be dating again in 2003, when they were spotted dining together. In 2006, the pair were seen having dinner in a Los Angeles hotel. Asked if they had dated, Clooney replied: ‘A little bit.’SHE SAID: ‘Actually, we are old friends.’PR RATING: 7/10. The speculation hurt nobody, but that still couldn’t turn their 2008 American football film Leatherheads into a hit.KRISTA ALLENSTYLE: A racy, brunette bombshell who starred in Baywatch and the U.S. soap, Days Of Our Lives. TIMELINE: Nine months. A TRUE ROMANCE? They were an item — on and off — between 2002 and 2004, when George was also dating Lisa Snowdon. Then they dated again in 2006 when he was between girlfriends, and there was yet another reunion in 2008. THEY SAY: ‘There’s something about Krista that brings him back.’PR RATING: 9/10. How better to assert his red-blooded credentials than a romance with a saucy star?SARAH LARSONSTYLE: A fun-loving Las Vegas cocktail waitress, she started dating him in 2007.TIMELINE: 11 months. A TRUE ROMANCE? Not really; it was over in June 2008 — just as she appeared on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. She had hoped for more — after all, he’d taken her to the Oscars.THEY SAID: ‘She thought they were getting married. Instead, she got dumped. She’s really upset. Devastated.’PR RATING: 5/10. Sarah was pretty enough to be a good match for George, but too optimistic about ‘changing’ him. ELISABETTA CANALISSTYLE: Yet another gorgeous, willowy brunette, she was a successful Italian model and MTV presenter before she met George in 2009.TIMELINE: 24 months.A TRUE ROMANCE? They dated until June 2011 when she gave an indiscreet interview about their future prospects. Said to have attended Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s bunga bunga parties, which she denies.SHE SAID: ‘I have always seen the end of my relationships as a personal failure. There is nothing ever pretty in saying goodbye.’PR RATING: 5/10. She was faintly bonkers, while he became worthier than ever, making arty films like The Men Who Stare at Goats. STACY KEIBLERSTYLE: Known as the Legs of WWE (an American professional wrestling organisation) in honour of her 42in pins, Stacy is a model-turned-wrestling star. TIMELINE: Two months and counting.A TRUE ROMANCE? Too soon to say. PR RATING: 7/10. She’s put his face in the news once more — just as his political thriller The Ides Of March hits the cinemas.?Secret heartbreak of Britain's Got Talent star Donelda, the grandma with the dancing dogsBy UPDATED:22:40 GMT, 16 April 2011The flamboyant dog-trainer who last night stole the first show in the new series of Britain’s Got Talent has revealed that her husband is battling cancer.While Donelda Guy, 66, delighted the nation with her dancing dogs, Mega and Biba, her appearance on the popular ITV1 show was in stark contrast to her home life while husband Alan is being given chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer.Mother-of-two Donelda delighted the audience by saying she was ‘66 going on 45’ and good-naturedly joked that her only failure in life was her husband.But off-camera she revealed: ‘One of the reasons why I am doing this is because of what has happened to Alan.‘Nine months ago he was diagnosed first with diabetes and then pancreatic cancer. I want there to be more research into the condition.’She added: ‘Taking part in a show like this gives me a platform to talk about it.’The grandmother-of-three, who has been working with dogs for more than 40 years, said she was hopeful her husband would make a full recovery. ‘He is a fighter and I think me taking part in the show has livened him up.’An estimated ten million viewers tuned into last night’s show. Donelda was voted through to the later rounds, along with nine-year-old comedian David Knight. Another favourite was unkempt singer Michael Collings, who performed a haunting rendition of Tracy Chapman’s song Fast Car. The computer engineer was delighted to be compared with Susan Boyle, who appeared on the show in 2009 and also impressed viewers with both her voice and idiosyncratic appearance.Michael said: ‘I think she was awesome on the show. But that is not the reason why I wore what I did. I looked like I did because that’s the way I dress.’One of the other big successes was husband-and-wife handbell-ringing duo Alan and Gay Cooper. The pair, whose eccentric manner initially provoked derision from some in the audience, brought the house down with a rendition of My Heart Will Go On, the Celine Dion classic from the film Titanic. Gay said: ‘By the time we got to our turn the audience was quite excitable. It was a bit off-putting but there was no way I was going to get off before we played our first note.’?Weird, wonderful and downright wacky: Britain's Got Talent gets off to a roaring start with nine-year-old comedian, male 'Susan Boyle' and odd-ball bellringers By UPDATED:10:55 GMT, 17 April 2011David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre made their debut as judges on Britain's Got Talent last night and, alongside old hand Amanda Holden, were blown away by a comedian - aged just nine years old. A host of weird, wonderful and wacky acts emerged on the return of the show, hoping to become the next Paul Potts, George Sampson, Diversity, Spelbound or Susan Boyle.Schoolboy David Knight blew them away with his assured delivery - although he had got off to a sticky start when he said that his favourite comedian was Harry Hill.Scroll down to see breathtaking singer Michael Collings perform Hallelujah backstage after last night's show...With mock affrontery, comedian Michael, 35, earned boos from the crowd after jokingly buzzing the youngster off before he had even started and quickly had to apologise: 'I'm joking, I'm joking. It's a joke. It wasn't one of my best.'David carried on unfazed, opening with the gag: 'I went to an open day at a fire station lately, a fireman he held a smoke detector and said, "does anyone know what it's for?" and I said, "it's what my dad uses to tell that the dinner's ready".'He had the audience at the Birmingham auditions in stitches, before he finished, saying: 'I'll leave you with this: What if the hokey cokey is what it's all about?'Michael was clearly impressed, telling the youngster: 'You are very very very talented, I know what it's like having to remember all those jokes and get genuine laughs. With Harry Hill, I hope we can go to the very top of comedy.'Chuffed David said afterwards: 'That was the best moment of my life!' as he put himself clearly in the frame as a favourite to win the 100,000 prize money and the chance to perform at the Royal Variety Performance. As Michael and fellow judges Amanda, 40, and David, 58, settled into their seats, other surprise hits on the night included Michael Collings, an 19-year-old IT consultant who lives with his mother and father on a caravan park near Plymouth. He had brought his pregnant fiance along for support, but both the judges and the audience appeared unimpressed when he took to the stage dressed down in an orange hoody.Amanda whispered to Michael dismissively: 'He looks like he's on a longhaul flight.' To which Michael giggled: 'On Easyjet!' as members of the audience grimaced.But as soon as he launched into an impassioned version of Tracy Chapman's hit Fast Car accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, the atmosphere changed - and the crowd realised they had something of a Susan Boyle moment on their hands.The camera showed clearly astonished show hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly watching in the wings, with Ant exclaiming: 'He's brilliant!' with Dec almost lost for words, and only being able to utter: 'Wow!'His performance earned a standing ovation from the crowd and with David exclaiming: 'That's the best reaction we've had all day. You sang it with heart and did a beautiful job.Amanda confessed: 'I don't know what I expected but I didn't expect much from you to be honest, but you've got an interesting quality to your voice and really delivered.'Michael gushed: 'You've got a great voice that instantly connected with the audience' to which David added: 'Michael, Britain's Got Talent and you are it, that's three yeses!'Afterwards, a gobsmacked Michael said: 'Best experience of my life, I've never played in front of that many people. It's like being slapped in the face basically.' There was another standing ovation at the Liverpool auditions for 53-year-old telecommunications engineer Steven Hall from Kendal.He drew smirks from the crowd as he appeared on stage as a straight-laced middle-aged man, but then launched into a brilliant megamix of the most famous dances of all time, ranging from Michael Jackson's thriller through to Flashdance with some Riverdance inbetween, knocking the judges and the crowd for six. He got an immediate standing ovation and even got the Hoff on his feet. A smiling Amanda enthused: 'Thank you for the surprise! That was brilliantly entertaining and we all loved you!' And Michael said: 'You were born to dance! I don't know if telecommunications is where you should be. Liverpool loves you!'Amanda however seemed to pick out 66-year-old Donelda Guy and her two sheepdogs Mega and Biba as her favourite act of the night.Donelda also got a standing ovation and three resounding 'yes' votes from the judges after her dance with her dogs, which culminated in a canine conga.Amanda was watching the show at home and Tweeting live and said of the dog trainer's freestyle act: 'I love this woman! The Mrs (Bucket) bouquet of the dog training world!'One of the most oddball acts of the night were husband and wife handbell-ringing duo Gay and Alan Cooper, who were in the best tradition of the British eccentrics that Britain's Got Talent manages to bring out of the woodwork.A discovery at the Birmingham auditions, they also drew guffaws from the crowd when they emerged from the wings - but got the audience waving their arms in the air and singing along to their rendition of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go. The Hoff enthused: 'You certainly have the audiences approval, that was breathtaking' before putting them through to the next round with three 'yeses'.However, the 'talent' aspect of the show was something of a misnomer for many of the entrants, and David appeared slightly baffled by many of the contestants.Opening the show however was Mary Sumah-Kay, who was in the show's grand tradition of completely bonkers auditions. The 45-year-old jumped up and down while blasting on a harmonica before doing a weird chicken dance by flapping her arms. She was buzzed off with three nos. There was also a terrible comedian who put David Knight's talent into perspective, a city worker who pretended to be a dolphin, numerous unimpressive dance acts, Steve Stevens, who sang a unique Katy Perry cover entitled I Kissed A Goat and John Hampson who painted himself gold and attempted to perform the Spandau Ballet song.However, no-one appears to have missed the judging services of either Piers Morgan or Simon Cowell.Piers jokingly Tweeted just before the show, saying: 'Good luck to @Amanda_Holden @DavidHasselhoff & @McInTweet on BGT tonight - hoping to hear chant of 'Bring Back Piers!' #wouldntracetobookies'The show is on next Saturday on ITV1 at 8pm. ?New exploitation fears over BGT singing sensation who says: Don't call me SuBoy By PUBLISHED:01:57 GMT, 25 March 2012 UPDATED:12:15 GMT, 26 March 2012It was almost a case of deja vu. An overweight, badly dressed contestant lumbers awkwardly on to the Britain’s Got Talent stage, prompting the judges to roll their eyes at the inevitable car-crash of a performance to follow . . . only to be wowed by the powerful, pitch-perfect voice of the unlikely star.But although producers might hope Jonathan Antoine becomes a global phenomenon in the mould of Susan Boyle, the painfully shy teenager was keen to distance himself from any such comparisons.‘What I don’t want is to be roped into a category with other people,’ he told The Mail on Sunday, before his performance aired on the first show of the new series last night.Scroll down for video...But he added: ‘I wasn’t too worried about appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, because I wanted to show people the singing.'If anything I was hoping that because I don’t look like a typical person who’d be in the limelight, it would help. I’d like to show that a person is more than a body.’It is a message the 17-year-old A-level student from Ilford, Essex, is keen to spread, as just three months before his audition, he suffered a nervous breakdown triggered by bullying over his weight.He said: ‘Back in October I had a nervous breakdown. At that point I left the school I was at; me and school just don’t get on.’ The revelation could raise questions about the ITV series, which has previously drawn criticism for failing to look after vulnerable acts, such as Ms Boyle who was admitted to the Priory clinic after suffering a breakdown when she came second in the series final three years ago. But for the moment, Jonathan says: ‘Britain’s Got Talent has been a fun experience to do and it’s been nice to be around all these people.‘But I’ve also been seeing a psychiatrist and so I’m just on a really good road to somewhere. Britain’s Got Talent have been very helpful.’Show sources said Jonathan passed all medical and psychological tests before appearing. While on the programme, Jonathan spoke of his difficulties with bullies, saying: ‘I’ve always had problems with my size ever since I can remember. 'When I was in primary school, I had the mick taken out of me and it kind of damaged my confidence quite a bit and when people would say something to me it would take a little piece out of me.’But his confidence would surely have been boosted by the standing ovation he won for his show-stopping performance of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli’s hit The Prayer with schoolfriend Charlotte Jaconelli.An estimated nine million viewers last night saw judge Alesha Dixon describe it as ‘world class’, and show guru Simon Cowell say: ‘Jonathan, you are unbelievable. I mean seriously you have an outstandingly good voice. You are a future star.’Incredibly, Jonathan says he only discovered his singing potential four years ago, after his voice broke and he began taking singing lessons. He now attends the Royal College of Music in London one day a week.He is also full of praise for his singing partner, a 16-year-old student at the Arts Educational school in Chiswick, West London. ‘Charlotte’s been a really big help to me in terms of confidence and becoming a better performer,’ he said. ‘I really don’t think I’d be on stage today if I didn’t have Charlotte by my side.’Discovering an unlikely new singing sensation will do nothing to harm Britain’s Got Talent’s chances in the ratings battle brewing with BBC1’s 22 million talent show, The Voice UK, which also launched last night. In an apparent dig at Cowell’s approach, The Voice presenter Reggie Yates said before the showdown: ‘I think that as a country of television fans we’re past that humiliation thing.’ His show’s twist is that the judges – Tom Jones, Jessie J, Danny O’Donoghue and Will.i.am – cannot see the singer perform, so make their decision based on vocal ability alone.VIDEO: Jonathan told he will be sticking with singing partner Charlotte ?Can a mole scanner predict skin cancer?by MARTYN HALLE, Daily MailAs many Britons risk skin cancer by sunbathing this summer,scientists have developed a scanner that could save hundreds oflives.The device - known as Mole Scan - probes beneath the skin tobuild up an accurate picture of changes that could lead to cancer,without the need for a biopsy.Every year, around 6,500 people are diagnosed with malignantmelanomas which, unless caught at an early stage, often go on to befatal.A changing mole is often the first sign that a patient has thedisease - moles are more likely to turn cancerous than other partsof the skin.Around 1,500 people a year die from malignant melanoma. Thenumber dying has been rising, with a 12 per cent increase over thepast six years.A large number of people developing the disease are middle-aged,having suffered over-exposure to the sun 20 to 30 years ago whenthere was little awareness that too much sunbathing might causecancer.Many people leave it until it is too late before going to adoctor. But even if a patient sees a skin specialist at an earlystage, there is a 20 per cent chance that the cancer will bemissed.The problem is that changes to the skin are so subtle that evenexperts can fail to detect cancerous changes visually. Unless askin biopsy is ordered, the cancer may be missed until its presenceis obvious. Then it could be too late.Mole Scan makes it very easy for dermatologists, plasticsurgeons and even GPs to survey what is going on below the skin'ssurface.It uses infra-red light to penetrate the skin, looking forchanges that would normally be found only with a biopsy - when partof a suspicious mole is removed for examination.'Mole Scan analyses the composition of the skin, allowingdoctors to see if there is anything unusual in the distribution ofelements such as collagen and melanin below the skin's surface,'says John Wilkinson, marketing director of Astron Clinica, theCambridge company that makes the apparatus.'It's a highly accurate device which has been in development forthe past ten years. But it has started to gain recognition amongthe medical profession only recently, following a series ofsuccessful trials.'We carried out a number of detailed trials of Mole Scan atAddenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, which were supervised byplastic surgeons specialising in treating melanomas.'The trial results, published in the British Journal ofDermatology, prove its effectiveness at detecting cancerous-typechanges in moles which ought to be further investigated.'The scanner - properly known as an SIAscope - is capable ofpicking up 94 per cent of malignancies in moles and changes thatcould turn cancerous.It detects tell-tale signs of potential cancer by finding holesin collagen, a redistribution of melanin in the dermis and unusualblood vessel formations that could be feeding a tumour.'Having a way of scanning a mole brings a lot of reassurance todoctors and patients,' says Professor John Celine, a leading Londonplastic surgeon who has acquired one of the first 30 Mole Scanssold in Britain.'There is a reluctance to biopsy every mole, and it can bedifficult to tell which ones need checking.'The difficulty is that while consultants can miss melanomas atan early stage, many biopsy referrals from GPs are notnecessary.'Many skin specialists find that three out of every four patientssent for biopsy are in the clear. Scanning moles first would sortout those patients who need a biopsy referral.Mole Scan is capable of scanning asuspect mole in just a few seconds. It then sends its results toa computer screen in less than a minute.A doctor is then able to look at the images recorded. He canalso compare what might be an abnormal reading with normal readingsstored in the computer.In a half-hour session, a consultant can look at several molesthat might be causing concern.Jan McDermott, a 56-yearold interior designer from Pangbourne,Berks, had a 20-minute consultation with Professor Celine, becauseshe is a 'moley person'. 'I come from a moley family. I've gotmoles and I've noticed they've been changing and even growing inthe past few years,' she says.'I was concerned there might be a problem. I'm from a generationwhich has used sunbeds liberally, as well as roasting ourselveswhen we were youngsters.'Even though I'm aware of my increased risk of skin cancer andtake great care not to spend too much time in the sun these days,it seemed sensible to have a check-up.'The scan itself was completely painless. Professor Celine wipedthe area around each mole with an antiseptic wipe before startingscanning.'Then he placed a handset the shape of a hair dryer over themole and held it there for six seconds.'During that time, images from beneath my skin were transferredto a computer screen for him to analyse. Then he saved the imagesfrom each scan in the computer for future reference.'Professor Celine was able to tell me while scanning that all ofmy moles were OK. The fact that I got such an instant result wasamazing.'It's not a lot of money for peace of mind. I'm quite happy tohave a check-up once a year to make sure I stay in good health.'If I come regularly, I know that any changes will be picked upat an early stage.'Some moles do alter with age and these changes are harmless,but unless you are a highly trained and experienced doctor, it isimpossible to tell.'A Mole Scan consultation costs £125. To find your nearestclinic, tel: 020 7724 2985.When to check a moleThere are definite signs that a mole is suspicious and should beseen by a doctor. These are:An increase in size.A change in shape, particularly getting an irregular edge.A change in colour - getting darker or becoming patchy.Itchiness or pain.Bleeding or scabbing.Looking inflamed.For more information, see the Cancer Research UK website atwww.cancerhelp.org.ukShare this article: ?Can Celine save Vegas?The curtain is about to rise on a £120million-plus gamblewhich could make or break Las Vegas.Casino bosses hope a spectacular, Broadway-style musicalstarring Celine Dion will pull in the crowds and save the gamingmetropolis.The Canadian diva, who has signed a £63million contract,will perform in a £60million, 4,000-seat Coliseum created atCaesars Palace.The show, which opens next Monday, cost £19million,including £4million for the world's largest LED screen.Vegas is failing to pull in the crowds because of the boom inbetting websites. Now, casino bosses need family audiences.Dion, whose hits include My Heart Will Go On, will perform fivetimes a week, 40 weeks a year, for at least three years.The 34-year-old, with album sales of 150million, said: 'Thisshow marks a turning point.'Tickets for the musical, A New Day..., cost up to £125each. More than 200,000 of 240,000 seats for the first 60 showshave already been sold.Share this article: ?Cannes 2010: Eva Herzigova plays the sultry lead role in lace dress and bondage heelsBy and UPDATED:11:17 GMT, 17 May 2010She may not have a role in the film (or even heard of it for that matter) - but that was no obstacle to Eva Herzigova being the main event on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival last night.The supermodel and actress arrived at the opening night of French romantic period film, The Princess of Montpensier, and turned heads in her revealing Dolce And Gabbana LBD.Statuesque Czech-born Eva, who stands tall at 5ft 11in, teamed her look with a pair of sky-high, strappy bondage heels and certainly looked more youthful than her 37 years. Other names of note at the event included Lost acterss Evangeline Lily, who layered up in a floor-length maxi dress.French actress, Melanie Thierry, 28, plays the title role in the movie, which is about a love triangle set in 1562 France.For her big night she slipped into a statement strapless pink gown as she posed with her co-stars.The film, by 'In the Electric Mist' director Bertrand Tavernier,sees Thierry play Marie de Montpensier, a young noblewoman determinedto pursue her romance with her childhood sweetheart - played by 'A VeryLong Engagement' star Gaspard Ulliel - even after her scheming fathermarries her off to someone else for political reasons.'At the beginning, I was a little scared,' Thierry said at a newsconference. 'When I read the script, I said to myself 'Oh God, I willnever make it, (the language) is much too complicated.''But it's so clear when you say it and so beautiful and so pure ...that once you master it, it becomes a real pleasure to act,' said the28-year-old actress, who's among the leading lights of the newgeneration of young French actresses. 'The Princess of Montpensier' is based on a 1662 novel of the samename by Madame de La Fayette - required reading at many schools inFrance.'When I read the book, I saw in it the possibility of making areally touching movie about love out of it,' said Tavernier, addingthat the characters' complexity and his own ignorance about thetumultuous period during which the story is set also caught hisattention.It takes place during the bloody wars of religion between Catholics and Protestants that raged for nearly four decades.'Each and every film I've made I made because I wanted to learnsomething,' said Tavernier, who has made many period movies over hisnearly half-century-long career.'The Princess of Montpensier' is his fourth film in the running forthe Palme d'Or, the top prize at the French Riviera festival's topprize. ?Carla Bruni saves convicted female drug mules from hellhole Caribbean prisonBy UPDATED:22:55 GMT, 30 December 2009Carla Bruni-Sarkozy was today credited with winning the controversial release of two convicted drug traffickers from a prison in the Dominican Republic.The French First Lady put pressure on the government of the Caribbean country to ensure that Celine Faye, 20, and Sarah Zaknoun, 19, both received a ‘Christmas pardon’ after being caught with six kgs of cocaine in their luggage.‘It’s thanks to her that we are here,’ said Faye, referring to Ms Bruni-Sarkozy soon after being released from her cell on Tuesday after serving just 18 months of an eight-year sentence. Faye and Zaknoun, who are both French, were caught trying to smuggle the drugs, which had a street value of around 150,000, onto a flight from the Dominican Republic to Paris in June 2008.Both insisted that a mystery third party had planted the cocaine in their luggage without them knowing, prompting Ms Bruni-Sarkozy to take up their case.She is said to have read a number of letters from them, and taken the matter up with the Dominican Republic’s government, before President Leonel Fernandez freed them.Welcoming Mr Fernandez’s decision to grant the pardon, President Nicolas Sarkozy said it was a ‘humanitarian gesture’.He said the women’s one-week holiday in the Dominican Republic had ‘turned their lives into a nightmare.’ He made it clear that they will not face further charges when they get back to France today. The Dominican Republic is at the centre of the trade in cocaine passing from Colombia to European countries like Britain and France, with tourists often persuaded to act as ‘mules’ for the drug cartels. French development minister Alain Joyandet said: ‘This nice Christmas tale must not make us forget that drug traffickers continue to destroy lives and abuse the naivete of our youngsters.’ Mr Joyanet confirmed that both women were due to telephone a delighted Ms Bruni-Sarkozy, who is currently on holiday in Morocco with her husband.Ms Bruni-Sarkozy’s foray into international diplomacy evoked the trip by Mr Sarkozy’s second wife, Cecilia, to Libya in 2007 where she secured the release of five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death for allegedly infecting children with HIV.Ceclia divorced Mr Sarkozy soon afterwards. She still describes the triumph in Libya as one of her proudest moments. Although Ms Bruni-Sarkozy continually claims that she has ‘no interest in politics’, the former supermodel-turned-pop singer is keen to portray herself as a serious person, with Elysee Palace sources saying she was ‘absolutely thrilled’ at getting the women freed. The latest French success follows the failure of Gordon Brown’s government to prevent China executing British heroine smuggler Akmal Shaikh.The Chinese authorities killed the 53-year-old father of five by lethal injection on Monday, ignoring last minute pleas from his family and officials in the UK.?Carol Vorderman: I'm nearly 50 - to hell with what people think of how I lookBy UPDATED:17:23 GMT, 3 June 2010Author, businesswoman and Countdown maths guru Carol Vorderman, 49,went from frump to fab when she hit her 40s, but still hates shopping.She lives in Bristol with her two children.As a teenager, I liked dressing dramatically. I used to make a lot of my own clothes, then dye them in a tub of Dylon. Then, when I was 32 and had Katie, I put on a lot of weight, going from a size 8 to a 14/16. Everything was ‘big’ back in those days — big hair, big shoulder pads, you name it. But I felt frumpy. I was always try-ing to cover my bum and thick waist. As a working mum, my overriding memory of the Nineties was exhaustion, and after I had Cameron in 1997, I knew things had to change. So I went on a detox and dropped back to size 8/10.I’m 50 later this year, and to hell with what other people think of how I look. The Alexander McQueen dress I wore recently to an awards ceremony was figure-hugging, but so what? I accept my figure now. I’m big up top and bottom, and go in at the middle. For a long time, I couldn’t find a store or designer that really catered for my curves, but then Roland Mouret came along. His stuff is timeless, unfussy and classy.I think Victoria Beckham’s range is one of the few making dresses and skirts that go below the knee, while still being fashionable. They’re not cheap, but I can still wear them years later without looking dated. It’s simple Forties styling. Above the knee is fine if you’re in your 20s, but I don’t feel it’s overly appropriate at my age.I don’t enjoy shopping, so I do most of it online at net-a-porter. I’ll maybe go to the shops twice a year. I love an equal dose of colour, like red, and neu-trals and nude shoes make your legs look longer.When I moved from Lon-don to Bristol almost four years ago, I had to rethink my wardrobe, as I’d look too ‘done’ walking around Clifton in one of my VB dresses. I aim for smart casual, with high-waisted jeans, black polo neck and cowboy boots.The epitome of chic is effortless style, and as you get older, you realise the time spent fretting over outfits is time better spent elsewhere. CAROL'S WARDROBE FAVOURITES ROLAND MOURET GALAXY DRESSThis dress hangs about 3in below my knee, which is why it’s so flattering.I bought it when it first came out, and years later I still make itinto the papers when I wear it. Having been on Count-down for so long,I learnt to gather classic pieces that could be mixed and matchedeasily. ABERCROMBIE & FITCH RIBBED VESTSThese are great now that we’re getting into summer. They’re verythin, so I wear two together. They flatter my shape and are chic andsimple — and, depending on the straps, can be quite sexy without beingtoo overt. I wear them with everything. Wardrobe favourites, from left: Carol's Roland Mouret Galaxy dress; one of her Abercrombie & Fitch ribbed vests; her Victoria Beckham grey peplum dress JITROIS LEATHER TROUSERSI’ve worn these for almost tenyears. They’re stretch leather with a little zip at the back, sothey’re more forgiving. If I want to go for a slightly dressier lookthan my jeans, I’ll put these on.CELINE BOOTSIlive in boots, especially those withheels. These black ankle boots have a big platform, with a zip down theside and false lace-up detailing. They go with eve-rything. A closesecond favourite are my beige platform wedges from Nine West, with asil-ver buckle. They cost only 19 and I always get compliments aboutthem.MONT BLANC SATCHELI don’t havea handbag fetish, like some people — I might buy one a year, if that.This satchel is a lovely fabric and I use it for business meetings. Itwas a chance purchase. I’ve learnt that if you see something you reallylike, get it there and then because it might be gone when you go back. TURQUOISE STRAPLESS BAFTA DRESSThestorm my dress cre-ated in 2000 was hysterical! Kilroy dedicated anentire show to it, and headlines screamed: ‘Thirty-nine and wearingthat dress!’ I thought it was fabulous. I felt like the devilper-sonified — how dare I wear something that short. But I was moreamused than upset at the reaction.Carol recently launched The Maths Factor, , an online maths school for children and their parents. ?Celebrity scents on trial - From Celine to J-Loby Alice SmellieLast updated at 00:02 12 March 2007From A-list to Z-list, celebrities are jumping on the lucrativefragrance bandwagon, with more than 20 famous people currentlyflogging a perfume version of their personalities.And considering the returns - celeb perfumes now constituteten per cent of the market - it's not surprising.Hilary Duff and Celine Dion are both launching perfumes thisweek and even Kate Moss is planning to get in on the action, with ascent coming out in the autumn. But are they any good?Lifestyle asked one man and two women to test a selectionand give their verdicts. Our panel consisted of Alex Bilmes,features director of GQ magazine; Roja Dove, one of the world'sleading fragrance experts and founder of the Roja Dove HauteParfumerie in Harrods and Roja Dove Parfumerie at House of Fraser;and TV presenter Hannah Sandling. ALICE SMELLIE reports.Paris Hilton by Paris Hilton PARIS SAYS: "Fragrance is magical, it creates amood. It's the last thing I put on before I step out - it's asignature, a style statement, it's memorable."From £24. Call 0845 688 3343.ALEX: Interestingly (well, not thatinterestingly, but anyway) this is the only one to feature aphotograph of its namesake on the box. And very fetching she looks,too, if you like that sort of thing. Which, being a man, I do."Also, Paris's perfume doesn't bother with a silly name. It'sjust called Paris Hilton. Which either shows commendable confidenceor lamentable lack of imagination. Could be either one. On the boxit says: 'Mysterious. Intriguing. Beautiful.' I'm not sure howaccurate a description of Paris those adjectives are. Theycertainly don't accurately represent the bottle, which is a grislypink and wavy-lined monstrosity. The smell itself: saccharinestrawberry lipbalm. Yeuchh!ROJA: I can taste this perfume in my mouth.What a ludicrous smell. It is reminiscent of detergent - sweet anda little fruity. It should be used as a cleaner, except that Iwouldn't want my house to smell like this.HANNAH: This looks like a sex toy. The onlything lacking is a battery. Perhaps it's a tongue-in-cheekreference to the video of her behaving badly. Or maybe she wasreally inspired by her own antics. When you spray it on, you wantto put on your high heels and sexy knickers and party till the suncomes up. It's really sexy and minxy. The score:2/5Glow After Dark by JLo JLO SAYS: "Inspired by the feeling you get whenyou're out at a nightclub with your friends, celebrating andenjoying the nightlife."Available nationwide. From £13.ALEX: Not sure about the name or the starrypackaging but if bling's your thing, JLo is your homegirl,presumably. As for the fragrance itself, quite pleasingly sensualand sexy. I like it.ROJA: This is a fragrance based utterly onnothing. It has a small floral heart, with a synthetic musk as itsbase. It is interesting that they have picked up on chypre - orwoody smells - as being a trend. For the past two years I have saidthat this is an area that will develop.HANNAH: So bling and cool that you feel it'sjust like JLo's character. The champagneshaped bottle is sassy andbootilicious. The perfume is fresh and sexy. When I put it on, Icould feel the music playing through my blood. The score:3/5Cat Deluxe by Naomi Campbell NAOMI SAYS: "You can't get closer to a womanthan through her perfume. It is the full expression of her personalstyle."From £19. Available at Superdrug.ALEX: My favourite by far. Naomi Campbell isproperly sexy and this fragrance capitalises on her considerableanimalistic appeal. It's witty, too, with its pink leopard printbottle. 'Feel the cat inside you,' says the gorgeous Naomi on thepackaging, like some 21st-century Eartha Kitt. Purr-fect.ROJA: I struggle to say much about thisperfume. It is warm and soft, and better than her last one. Herlast fragrance bottle looked like a phallus, which I foundstartling. This bottle was at least an improvement.HANNAH: I was surprised that the bottle didn'tfly out of the box and hit me when I opened it! If Naomi Campbellwere in my back garden mowing the lawn and drinking cherryade, thenthat would be the smell blowing in through my back door. It's a dayperfume - playful rather than elegant, and it kept changingthroughout the day. Lots of different personalities. Just likeNaomi. The score: 2/5Feminine by Cindy Crawford CINDY SAYS: "A personal statement to womeneverywhere."From £21. Available at Boots.ALEX: Cindy Crawford is very glamorous. I canimagine she smells pretty good, too. The packaging is mercifullyrestrained in comparison to most of these others, and the bottleitself has a pleasingly curvaceous shape, rather like an old Cokebottle. Despite the name, I think it smells refreshingly unisex butin a good way - it's more sophisticated than most of them.ROJA: This has a very fresh, almost green noteon the top, reminiscent of the beginning of Must de Cartier. Fartoo sweet as a perfume, although not badly put together. A fresh,warm scent.HANNAH: Her box is supposed to look likecrushed velvet, but is actually the colour of a hearing aid. Itlooks like Seventies decor gone wrong. There is a charity shop feelto it - which was presumably not the aim. Surprisingly, I thoughtthe scent was soft and expensive smelling. It made me think oforchids. Shame that she didn't have a to-die-for box with curveslike her own. The score: 3/5Darling by Kylie Minogue KYLIE SAYS: "The launch of my new fragrancecoincides with a new chapter of my life."From £19. Available nationwide.ALEX: I love this fragrance almost as much as Ilove Kylie, though we're not yet close enough for me to call herDarling. Chic, French, smells a bit like Chanel to me. Proves thatgood things come in small packages, just like its namesake.ROJA: This is mediocre. I read the bumph for theperfume, and it claimed to be a mixture of chypre, floral andoriental. This is interesting, as that means they would haveincluded part of every perfume family - feasible, but not I thinkthe reality of this fragrance. I thought it was just a smell, not aperfume. It is perhaps a little more sophisticated than the others- a little drier.HANNAH: Kylie is a minxy little disco queen.Her pink packaging is very girly and glamorous - like one of heroutfits. When the lid came off, all I could smell was car airfreshener - those Christmastree shaped ones. I might give it to a13-year-old as their first perfume, till they knew any better. Verydisappointing. The score: 3/5Midnight Fantasy by Britney Spears BRITNEY SAYS: "I could never find the perfectperfume for me so that's why I decided to create my own."From £22. Available nationwide.ALEX: Britney, Britney, Britney - where did itall go wonky? Presumably, when the manufacturer of this perfumesigned her up for an endorsement deal. Ms Spears was a freshfacedinternational pop star, now she's a shaven-headed basket case withtwo kids, two ex-husbands and no apparent career.While it's difficult not to feel sorry for her, it's easy not towant to smell like her. This fragrance is so bad it may make youwant to attack a paparazzo with an umbrella. Cool bottle,though.ROJA: If this is a fantasy, then let me have adreamless sleep. It is cloyingly sweet. The fruity accords combinedwith the flowers make it sickly. Without wanting to turn peopleagainst me - who do these scents appeal to? It's like tepid fruitcompote.HANNAH: I love the Britney box, and what anexplosion of girly fantasy greets you on opening it.I wanted to pick all the crystals off the bottle immediately.It's a bottle for young people. But a note of caution - never judgea book by its cover. It's so sugary that I felt as though I wasbeing suffocated with parma violets and dolly mixtures. If you meta man in a bar, you'd get chewed on, not kissed. The score:1/5Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker SARAH SAYS: "I want this fragrance to be forall women from 17 to 107."From £14. Available nationwide.ALEX: Surprisingly, this does just what it sayson the bottle. Lovely by name, lovely by pong - subtle, soft, sexy.Well done, SJP!ROJA: This is quite a lovely smell and nicelymade. It's a pretty fragrance, reminiscent of lily of the valley,and it has a very delicate and fresh accord. One of the very few Ilike. It should be made with better materials.HANNAH: I love SJP. Her packaging is verystylish, with an understated, vintage classy look. I can imaginethe bottle on the dressing table of a Parisian women, next topowder puffs and cut glass. The funny thing is, I can't decide if Ilove or hate the perfume. It gets better on your skin as it warmsup, but it made me think of sweet and sour Chinese, which I alwaysorder, but I'm not quite sure about once it turns up. Thescore: 4/5Intimately Beckham For Her by the Beckhams VICTORIA SAYS: This fragrance is "somethinglight, fresh, young and timeless".From £18.99. Available at the Perfume Shop.ALEX: This has a sexy name, sexy packaging,sexy scent. It smells, erm, expensive. It smells of money. Justlike its namesake, I'd imagine, sadly not having ever been in aposition to get a good noseful of her...ROJA: The spice note in this is over-amplified.They have tried to make it smell fresh with a synthetic materialthat is almost strident. It is nondescript, and lacks any realpersonality or depth.HANNAH: Victoria's perfume reminded me of adelicatessen. It's got something for everyone. Sexy, sophisticated,fresh, girly - possibly a hint of Spanish orange groves? I loved itthe most and I'll be wearing it. The score:4/5Spring in Paris by Celine Dion CELINE SAYS: "My favourite season in one of myfavourite cities."From £15.95. Available from mid-March at selectedBoots.ALEX: What does Celine Dion know of spring inParis? Wouldn't summer in Vegas be a more appropriate name? I thinkit's intended to smell floral but the effect is closer to weeks-oldpot pourri. Not nice.ROJA: When I first smelt this perfume there wasa leafy freshness to it. But it ends up very sweet after it warmsup. It has a very white floral heart and an almost childlikescent.HANNAH: If I were looking for an air freshener,I'd have gone for this - except that I think air fresheners aremore aesthetically-pleasing. She must have had a really bad coldwhen she okay-ed this. Wear it on a date, and leave him squirming -but not in a good way. The score: 1/5With Love by Hilary Duff HILARY SAYS: "With Love is meant to capture mytwo sides: my fun, spirited side, but also my more sensual,sophisticated side."From £22. Available nationwide from March 19.ALEX: Forgive me, but since when does HilaryDuff count as a celebrity in this country? I chip away at theawesome coalface of celebrity journalism every day, and even I'monly vaguely aware of her. Why should anyone want to smell like herwhen they don't know who she is?That said, some time and effort has clearly been put into thisfragrance - it's light and fruity and maybe a bit apple-y. Perhapsthat's not such a bad thing.ROJA: At least this doesn't have the sicklysweetness of so many of the others. It moves towards anoriental-style scent. Although quite warm, it has very little inthe way of personality.HANNAH: This perfume is a hidden gem. Get yourmitts on it as soon as you can. It's spiritual and Asian, with awarm twist of lemony zing. Wearing it made me feel more confidentand sent me into a dreamy state, as though I was in an exoticlocation. The score: 4/5Share this article: ?Celine: 'My baby comes first now'by TONY BONNICICeline Dion has revealed that she is putting her career on holdto spend precious time with the baby who has made her lifecomplete.She gave birth to son Rene-Charles five weeks ago afterfertility treatment ended six years of anguish for the singer andher husband Rene Angelil.'I want to be with him, doing things with him, nurturing him andhelping him grow,' she said during an interview with Hello!magazine.Miss Dion, 32, who sang the Titanic hit My Heart Will Go On andhas sold 125million albums worldwide, went on: 'I plan to stay athome for at least another year. I have to say I absolutely love mynew life.'I can't imagine being in showbusiness with babies. They haveteething problems, colds, earaches, they need security at home.'When I am on the road, I can't sleep straight after a showbecause of the adrenaline. I couldn't run around with him under myarm.'Last year, the couple finally over-came fears that they couldnot conceive, despite 59-year- old Angelil having chemotherapy forskin cancer.Share this article: ?'I'm glad she was not the one singing it': Celine Dion admits My Heart Will Go On could make her sick just like Kate Winslet By PUBLISHED:22:13 GMT, 4 June 2012 UPDATED:07:11 GMT, 5 June 2012A couple of months ago Kate Winslet admitted that the Celine Dion song from the movie that made her a household name, Titanic, left her wanting to throw up.But rather than harbour ill feelings towards the actress because of her cruel comments, Celine has admitted she understands where Kate is coming from.The 44-year-old diva said: ‘If I just count how many times I've sung it, maybe it'll get me sick. If she feels tired just hearing it, and, like, throwing up, I'm glad she was not the one singing it.’Scroll down for videoHowever the French-Canadian singer is also grateful to be attached to the popular song, which spent an astonishing 20 weeks in the UK charts and remains one of the best-selling singles of all time.She admitted: ‘My Heart Will Go On gave me the opportunity to be associated with a classic that will live forever.’Celine was speaking during an interview with MSNBC’s Today. The star also opened up about recently having to cancel her hit Las Vegas show for five weeks after contracting a virus that affected her vocal chords.She explained: ‘It was just choppy a little bit.‘It's hard to do a show, but it's much harder to cancel the show. We disappointed a lot of people. It was hard.’Back in March Kate admitted during an interview that every time she hears the emotional ballad, it makes her feel sick.She told MTV News: 'I feel like throwing up when I hear it. No, I shouldn't say that. No, actually, I do feel like throwing up. 'I wish I could say, "Oh listen, everybody! It's the Celine Dion song!" But I don't. 'I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll.'Despite its huge success in the charts, the power ballad has also received lots of criticism in the past and was voted one of the worst songs of all time by Rolling Stone.But talking about the effect starring in Titanic has had on her career, Kate said she would never have become so famous without the James Cameron movie.She told Magic 105.4: 'I'm fortunate enough to get to choose the roles I play these days, largely due to the success of Titanic actually, and so I do like choosing things that are risky and a little bit unexpected.'It was really Titanic that provided that creative freedom for me and actually then years later becoming a mother, it has been so brilliant the success of that film, because it has meant I haven't had to work as well and I can completely be a mum.'Visit msnbc.com for , , and ?At home with Celine Dion: Singer allows cameras to capture her new life with twinsBy UPDATED:01:56 GMT, 19 February 2011She is due to return to the stage in a few weeks, and Celine Dion is clearly making the most of her spell as a full-time mother.The 42-year-old has opened the doors of her home to and allowed cameras to capture some intimate moments with her husband and their four-month-old twin boys Eddy and Nelson.The clips were shot for an upcoming episode of Oprah Winfrey, where the singer is promoting her new documentary movie, Celine: Through The Eyes Of The World.The film documents a year of her life, including her performances and behind the scenes footage.Celine gave a sneak peek the footage to Oprah Winfrey during an upcoming appearance of the chat show. She also allowed Oprah's cameras into her home to introduce everyone to her twin baby boys. In the clips, a make-up free Celine is seen wearing pyjamas and a robe as she feeds and cuddles her babies.With her usually perfectly coiffed hair pulled back in a ponytail, the singer joins her husband of 16 years, Rene Angelil, for a group snuggle with the boys. The couple, who have been together since 1987, also have a ten-year-old son, Rene-Charles. Just this week the singer returned to Las Vegas in preparation to start her renewed three year stint at The Colosseum at Ceasars Palace. She is returning to the residency for seventy shows a year starting on March 15 and has moved her entire family to the Nevada city for the duration. ?Celine Dion debuts her 'miracle' twin baby boys, six weeks after giving birth By UPDATED:12:25 GMT, 9 December 2010She gave birth to her twin sons Nelson and Eddy six weeks ago after a long struggle to conceive via IVF.And now Celine Dion is sharing her joy at her miracle babies, appearing on the cover of Hello! Canada this week. The 42-year-old told the magazine that the babies had made her life 'extraordinary,' and that she 'doesn't know how women do it.' 'Every day Ren asks, "Did you sleep well?'" she said. 'I'm like, '"You must be kidding! There is no sleep!'"' she says. And the singer's babies are already showing some personality soon after their October 23 birth. 'Nelson is Angelil,' she said. 'Eddy is Dion!'Celine also talked to Larry King on his chat show last night, tellinghim she initially got confused about which of her sons was which.'The twins are not identical. We called them Baby A and Baby B. 'But wewere all confused. Aftera week we sat down and thought it would be our two heroes. 'We named Nelson after Nelson Mandela. We went to South Africa on the last tour and... it was such an impact to meet him, what a hero and we decided to name a son after him.' She said Eddy was named after the lyricist, Eddy Marnay, who worked on five of her French language albums, as well as songs by Barbra Streisand and Edith Piaf. 'We wanted our sons to be able to say they were named after two wonderful people.'Celine also talked about her battle to conceive.'We tried five times before I got pregnant. On the sixth try, it worked out. We were blessed twice. 'It's extraordinary to be parents again. Nelson and Eddy are doing well. They're six weeks old.' She also told how she was originally pregnant with three babies, but lost one during the pregnancy. 'One little baby decided to step back to help the other two survive. The doctors said to me if there's something wrong, natures takes it's course. 'I still think of the one who stepped back. I'm sure every woman has the feeling about the little one that's not there.' And she was honest about the pressures of motherhood: 'I have no sleep at all. "It's amazing how we can survive with no sleep. 'My littleboy, Ren-Charles, has a fever and I want to be there for him but I am breastfeeding the babies every two-and-a-half hours, then sometimes I have 25 minutes and I think, do I shower, eat or sleep? 'It's a great challenge and it's all amazing. All day I'm in my pyjamas and it's overwhelming but all good. 'Ren-Charles is looking at them like, 'Mom theonly thing they do is look around and cry.' Talking about preparing forher three year residence in Las Vegas, starting in March, she said: 'I hope I will return to my shape again but the health of the babies is more important.'?Celine Dion done so surreallyBy Last updated at 10:31 PM on 03rd April 2008 Bliss (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs) Fans of Celine Dion may prefer to look away now. This is perhaps the very opposite of a tribute show to their beloved Canadian singer-songwriter. It is a car crash of candy-floss fantasy that crushes any romance her devotees may want to preserve. It?s a safe bet that the Royal Court is not trying to cash in on the diva?s fan base with French- Canadian Olivier Choiniere?s play. More likely it?s been scheduled because it turns the world of trashy popular culture inside out and because it?s been translated by the revered Lady Bracknell of radical theatre, Caryl Churchill. Fantasy world: Brid Brennan, Neil Dudgeon and Justin Salinger in Bliss On the way in, we are all invited to wear Wal-Mart employee tabards marked ?cashier? inorder to enter into the spirit of a play set in the staff toilets of that well known supermarket. Here, three employees ? a cosmetic salesperson, a display assistant and a floor manager ? regale us with a series of yarns. First of Celine having a graphic miscarriage, then of a woman with an abdominal tumour and finally that of new girl Caro having a vivid psychotic breakdown as she imagines serving Celine at the checkout. The point of all this will not be obvious, but the play is at least more interesting than it is entertaining. It seeks to show how in the world of mass media consumption everyone is acting out everyone else?s glossy magazine fantasy of commercially administered bliss. And if that doesn?t make sense, don?t worry, because it is only a guess based on conflicting information issuing from the stage which is framed as though it was a widescreen TV. Equally, Joe Hill-Gibbins? production isn?t bad. It is diligently produced with dismal toilet cubicles recreated by Jeremy Herbert?s design. There are engaging performances from Brid Brennan, Justin Salinger and Neil Dudgeon as the three staff, together with Hayley Carmichael as the disturbed new girl. However, the production doesn?t shake the scoffing tone that usually comes when enlightened liberals fret over the fate of the benighted lower orders. For all its ingenuity, Bliss?s tone could do with unleashing more of the power of love. ?Celine Dion forced to pull out of Vegas gigs for next FOUR months due to inflamed vocal chords By UPDATED:08:42 GMT, 1 March 2012She is famous for singing her heart will go on.But it seems that the show will not be for Celine Dion, after doctors ordered her to cancel performing from now until June 9 after suffering a virus which causes inflammation of the vocal chords.It is bad news for the Caesar's Palace Casino in Las Vegas, where the powerhouse vocalist has been a massively popular draw.Celine, 43, said: '“I tried to sing at my sound check last week, and I had no control of my voice whatsoever.'We thought that after a few days’ rest I would improve, but it wasn’t getting any better.'Originally the singer had hoped she would only have to cancel performing until March 3, but she was dealt a hammer blow by doctors at the renowned UCLA Medical Centre in Los Angeles.On Monday she was diagnosed with a viral illness and weakness in her right vocal cord by Dr Gerald Burke, who is an authority in voice disorders.The Canadian star made a high-profile return to Caesars Palace a year ago for a three-year engagement.The casino spent an eye-watering $95 million building the special Colosseum venue for her in 2003. It was specially equipped with a humidifier to protect her voice. She had previously done a wildly successful five-year run at the casino from 2003 to 2007, before returning to the world stage with a tour.She also took time off to spend more time with her family, and gave birth to twin boys in 2010.Tickets for the in demand show in sell for up to $250 each, and it regularly sells out.According to Celine, Dr Burke assured her she will be back to '100 percent' after resting her voice, but she is still bitterly disappointed she is having to 'let down' her fans by withdrawing from the stage.She said: 'Obviously this is the worst thing for a singer, not being able to do your shows.'I feel worse knowing that I’m disappointing my fans. I’m so sorry. I hope they forgive me.' ?Celine Dion gives the front row much more of a show than they expected... in a very short dress By UPDATED:15:07 GMT, 30 January 2012Choosing such a short dress to wear on stage was always a risk. And veteran balladeer Celine Dion obviously didn't think twice about the eye level of the audience.The Canadian singer gave the front row a lot more than advertised when she performed at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in Trelawny, Jamaica last night.The 43-year-old mother of three accidentally flashed fans as she strutted across the stage in the dangerously short outfit. Celine, who has been in Jamaica for afew days, wore a gold and white Balmain dress that showed off her long legs and toned body.While she looked great in the eye-catching design, she clearly hadn't thought she on stage exertions through. She explained afterwards that the height of the stage was the real problem on the night and the length of her outfit was fine.She said: 'Because normally when people are level the length is fine. But people were like this (she looks up)... So it was like I didn't think of the people downstairs and me there.'Dion looked great in the daring outfit and has been showing her toned and tanned body a lot since being on the island for the festival.Two nights ago she wore a long black dress with a thigh high split and she has also been performing with local Jamaican artists including singer Diana who performed the duet Treat Her Like A Lady.Besides getting through her extensive song book the singer also managed to navigate through about five different stage costumes.Being a busy mother is clearly suiting her, with the singer looking particularly toned as she performed.She gave birth to twins Eddy and Nelson 14 months ago.The children's father is Celine's husband and manager, Rene Angelil and they have an older son, Ren-Charles, 10.Last year, Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network aired a primetime special featuring an intimate look at the musical icon's private life.The programme also revealed the artist tending to her twins, helping her eldest son with his homework and spending quality time with her husband.Dion returned to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in March last year with her new show Celine.The three-year residency promises demanding seventy performances a year and features Dion's greatest hits and a selection of music from classic Hollywood films. ?Celine Dion has a titanic makeup malfunction on her world tourBy UPDATED:15:41 GMT, 16 September 2008After years performing in Las Vegas, Celine Dion is travelling the world on a year-long tour entitled Taking Chances.And it seems the large-lunged Canadian singer certainly is taking chances in her real-life as she left her hotel without any make-up on yesterday.After enjoying a relatively paparazzi-free life in Nevada's Sin City over the past few years, it appeared the 40-year-old star did not anticipate the crowd of photographers outside her New York hotel. Bare faced: Celine's blemishes are in full view as she signs autographs in New York yesterdayAfter taking to the stage at Madison Square Garden last night as part of the North American leg of the tour, Celine looked a world away from her glamorous stage persona on Monday afternoon.Flanked by her manager husband Ren Anglil, Celine emerged from her Manhattan hotel looking red and blotchy - presumably a side effect from the heavy stage make-up she would have worn the night before.With her hair scrapped back and sunglasses shielding her eyes from the daylight glare, Celine looked tired after months of touring. On the face of things: Celine Dion (left) looks far from her usual glamorous persona (right) on Monday afternoon Since the tour started in Johannesberg, South Africa in February, Celine has embarked on a gruelling schedule covering 24 countries before starting the North American leg in Boston last month.When she wraps the tour in her native Canada next February, Celine would have performed over 100 shows.Despite a lack of new songs in her world tour, Celine has been wowing critics with her powerful renditions of her biggest hits, including Think Twice, The Power Of Love and My Heart Will Go On from the Titanic movie. Under the spotlight: Celine Dion basks in the spotlight on stage at Madison Square Garden last night Working it: Celine sings her heart out on stage ?Celine Dionhas another Titanic grooming disaster as she meets the French president By Last updated at 8:19 PM on 23rd May 2008It should have been the day that went off without a hitch.She was receiving a Legion d'Honneur, one of France's greatest accolades, and cementing her position as a cultural icon.But for unlucky Celine Dion it was also the setting of another grooming disaster.As she received the medal from President Sarkozy, the heavy orange make-up line round the 40-year-old's neck was unmistakable. Faux pas: Celine should have thought twice before putting on so much make-up Make-up aside, the singer was chic in a black fitted jacketHaving opted to go for thick foundation and eye makeup, the French Canadian star seemed determined to cover any blemishes. However, having forgotten to blend in the maquillage, this move ironically left poor Celine with another grooming embarrassment on her hands. Despite this the star looked chic in a form-fitting black jacket and racy lace dress. Celine with her husband and son are greeting by President Sarkozy She was accompanied by manager and husband Rene Angelil and their seven-year-old son Ren-Charles Dion Anglil to the ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris. This is not the first time Celine has made a grooming faux-pas. Before a performance in Tokyo, the singer forgot to shave her legs and the lighting throughout the concert revealed her fuzzy pins. Celine revealed hairy legs during a concert in Tokyo in March ?Celine Dion admitted to a Florida hospital to avoid premature birth of her twinsBy UPDATED:08:04 GMT, 19 October 2010Luckily It appears to be a precautionary visit.Singer Celine Dion has been rushed to hospital to prevent her from giving birth to her twins a month early.The 42-year-old Canadian born singer, who is expecting twin boys and is in the final month of her pregnancy, was admitted to a Palm Beach Hospital early this morning. A spokesman for the St Mary's Medical Centre confirmed Dion had been admitted as a precaution to avoid her giving birth too early.'Ms. Celine Dion has been admitted to St. Mary’s Medical Centre for observation at the recommendation of her doctors,' said hospital spokesman Ryan Lieber.'She has been admitted to prevent the early delivery of her babies which is a fairly common clinical practice for mothers of twins.'This is done to ensure the patient can be in close contact with their doctors and clinical resources, leading up to their birth.'Dion and her husband of 16 years, Ren Anglil, 68, have described the pregnancy as a miracle havingundergone at least seven IVF treatments in an attempt to fall pregnant again.The couple already have a 9-year-old son, Rene-Charles who was also concieved through in vitro. Last November, during an interview with Oprah, Celine revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage but in April of this year they discovered they were pregnant again. Dion, a five-time Grammy winner, lives on Jupiter Island, Florida, where golfer Tiger Woods will soon be a new near neighbour. ?Start painting the nursery blue: Celine Dion is expecting twin boysBy UPDATED:01:53 GMT, 10 July 2010Celine Dion and her husband Rene Angelil have officially announced they are expecting twin boys.The announcement was made on the Canadian singer's website today.A spokesman said: 'Celine first announced the upcoming new additions to the Angelil-Dion family back in May, and now she just revealed that she is expecting twin boys! Congratulations to the happy family! 'The new babies will be the second and third sons for Celine, 42, and Rene, 68. The couple already have a nine-year-old son, Rene-Charles. The age gap between Celine's oldest and youngest is not by choice. The star has been trying for years to get pregnant again.She endured six in-vitro fertilisation treatments and several rounds of acupuncture to help her conceive. In an interview last month with the French language newspaper Le Journal de Montreal, Celine said: 'I feel like I’ve been pregnant more than a year. I never gave up. But I can tell you that it was physically and emotionally exhausting.'Despite the upcoming birth, Celine is still scheduled to return to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2011.She'll perform a series of concerts there over the next three years. ?'One moment I feel tremendous happiness... then I cry for no reason': Celine Dion on the highs and lows of raising twinsBy UPDATED:18:21 GMT, 7 January 2011Being a mother of two baby twins is an emotional business, according to Celine Dion.The 42-year-old singer has admitted she suffered from mood swings soon after giving birth to Nelson and Eddy in October last year. 'One moment, tremendous happiness; the next, fatigue sets in, and I cried for no reason, and then that took care of itself,' the Canadian star tells French GALA magazine.'Some of the first days after I came home,I was a little outside myself,' she adds. 'I had no appetite and that bothered me. My mother remarked that she noticed I had moments of lifelessness, but reassured me that this was entirely normal. 'It's for things like that after having a baby that mothers really need emotional support.'Unsurprisingly, Celine finds looking after her brood, tiring but ultimately fulfilling.'I am changing diapers and breastfeeding and that's something where no one can take my place. It's tiring but an intense joy,' she says. 'I take things day by day. That's the secret to me. In any case, breastfeeding is more difficult if you are stressed.' 'I didn't have these children to not take care of them, to give myself to them 200 - 300 per cent.'The star and her husband Rene Angelil already have one son - nine year-old Rene-Charles.And Celine, who has discussed her struggle to conceive the twins, sometimes sees the funny side of being a mother second time round. 'Sometimes I find myself in comical situations I don't know how to get myself out of,' she admits. 'For example, when both are feeding and one hasgas while the other is burping, I don't know which position to adopt!' Fans can expect to see Celine back in action in Las Vegas in March, but the star says she isn't putting pressure on herself to get back inshape.'In reality, I've had almost no time getting a shower and feeding myself,' she says. 'My preoccupation has been eating sensibly. My only worryhas been to be able to open and close my tops quickly for breastfeeding. It's been out of the question to even wear a blouse!'?Near, far... wherever is my bra? Celine Dion's lingerie doesn't 'go on'... in racy topless photoshoot By PUBLISHED:18:57 GMT, 23 August 2012 UPDATED:06:42 GMT, 24 August 2012Celine Dion is really quite the 'show' girl in this new risqu photoshoot.The French-Canadian singer - currently in the midst of a three-year residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas - goes topless, preserving her modesty by clutching her chest, her hands clad in arm-length leather gloves.It's a certain departure from the mother-of-three's squeaky clean image, as she vamps it up in front of the camera in the September issue of .Scroll down to see the behind the scenes video! Making a splash: The French-Canadian singer opened the doors to her Florida home for photographer Sebastian FaenaCeline, famed for her Titanic hit My Heart Will Go On, invited photographer Sebastian Faena inside her Florida home for an intimate shoot.The 44-year-old wears an array of eye-catching outfits, posing topless in just a pair of leather trousers and gloves.In another shot she makes a splash in the pool, arms stretched seductively as she smoulders into the camera above.With Carlyne Cerf de Duzeele behind the styling, Celine also model a pair of tiny Daisy Dukes, thigh-high boots and an a tight black top. ?Picture perfect! Celine Dion poses up with husband, son Ren and twins Eddy and Nelson as she introduces them to Disney By UPDATED:15:27 GMT, 9 January 2012She's had a long relationship with Disney, after singing the theme tune from the animated movie Beauty And The Beast back in 1991.And it seems Celine Dion is keen to start her 14-month-old twins Eddy and Nelson's relationship with the studios early, taking the adorable duo to meet some of the most famous characters backstage at The Colosseum in Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.Dion, who was also accompanied by her husband Ren, looked incredible in a tight-fitting white dress as she clutched one of her twins while posing up next to people dressed up as Beast and Belle. The 43-year-old singer attended the studios to coincide with the theatrical release of the 3D version of Beauty and the Beast, set to hit cinemas in America on January 13th.Last year, Oprah Winfrey'sOWN Network aired a primetime special featuring an intimate look atthe musical icon's private life. Celine:3 Boys and a New Show took viewers behind-the-scenes as Celine worked on her Las Vegas comeback show, Celine, and balanced being an international superstar with her responsibilities to her family. The program also revealed the artist tending to her twins, helping her eldest son with his homework and spendingquality time with her husband.Dionreturned to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in March last year with hernew show Celine. The three-year residency promises demanding seventy performances a year and features Dion's greatest hits and a selection of music from classic Hollywood films.And husband Ren, who also acts as Dion's manager, said in a recent interview that the singer is in talks to extend her residency in Vegas.He told the Las Vegas Sun: 'We are in talks. It’s not finalized yet,but soon. We love it here in Vegas. Celine does here what she loves to do.'She loves theColosseum. It has the best conditions for a performer. We couldn’t ask for better. We are close to lots of people in Vegas, and we are here to stay.'?Celine Dion pregnant at 41 with second childBy UPDATED:17:26 GMT, 18 August 2009Singer Celine Dion is pregnant with her second child, it has been revealed.The Canadian singer, 41, and her husband Rene Angelil, 67, are already parents to son Rene-Charles, eight.Rene has three other children from his previous marriages.'We can confirm she is pregnant,' her spokesperson told US Magazinetoday, adding that the singer and her husband are 'very happy.'The 'My Heart Will Go On' singer has never made a secret of herdesire to extend her family, and was always planning to fall pregnantfollowing her run of shows in Las Vegas.But Rene's battle with cancer cast doubt over whether the couple would have more children of their own.She said: 'We'll give ita try after my tour. Hopefully we will be parents again. If not, that'sfine. We have our miracle baby.' Celine fell pregnant with Rene-Charles after having IVF treatment following six years of attempting to conceive.When asked last December about her plans to fall pregnant for a second time, she confirmed she and her husband had 'a frozen embryo' waiting.?'Ecstatic' Celine Dion pregnant with IVF twins at 42By UPDATED:23:15 GMT, 30 May 2010Singer Celine Dion is reportedly pregnant with twins after her sixth attempt at in-vitro fertilisation.The 42-year-old Canadian star's dream of expanding her family has come true, her spokesman has told U.S. media.Dion, who is married to her manager Rene Angelil, 68, is already mother to nine-year-old Rene-Carles.And after undergoing her sixth in-vitro fertilisation attempt and turning to acupuncture to improve her chances of conceiving, her spokesman Kim Jakwerth confirmed the happy news to People.com.Dion is said to be 14 weeks pregnant and will find out the babies' genders next month.'We're ecstatic,' her husband and manager Rene Angelil told the website.'Celine is just hoping for a healthy pregnancy.'She was hoping for one baby and the news that we are having two is a double blessing.'It was reported Celine was pregnant last August, but her spokeperson confirmed in November 2009 that the pregnancy had failed.The My Heart Will Go On singer has never made a secret of herdesire to extend her family, and was always planning to fall pregnantfollowing her run of shows in Las Vegas last year.But Rene's battle with cancer cast doubt over whether the couple would have more children of their own.She said: 'We'll give ita try after my tour. Hopefully we will be parents again. If not, that'sfine. We have our miracle baby.' Celine fell pregnant with Rene-Charles after having IVF treatment following six years of attempting to conceive.Whenasked last December about her plans to fall pregnant for a second time,she confirmed she and her husband had 'a frozen embryo' waiting.Last year, Rene said: 'We are living the reality of the majority of couples who have to use[IVF]. The process can be longand arduous. 'But we are full of confidence. Cline is more determined than ever.'In February, Celine told talk show host Oprah Winfrey that she andRene had started on their fifth pregnancy attempt, and were determinednot to give up.She said: 'It’s life. You know? A lot of people go through this, but it’s not beingtold because it’s not in newspaper. 'But with us, as you know, it’s like, sometimes news are like mercury.'Happy family: The couple already have a son Rene Charles, pictured, but have been trying for another baby for yearsCeline also said she didn't want to announce her miscarriagestraight away, explaining: 'They said that I was pregnant, and a coupleof days after, we were notpregnant again.'We didn’t want to feel like we were playing yo-yo - "I’m pregnant.I’m not pregnant. I’m pregnant. I’m not pregnant." So we didn’t want todo this thing. But we did have a miscarriage.'She added: 'I will be the happiest one to tell you when I’m pregnant. And if not,I’m the luckiest artist, especially wife and mother of a wonderful son.So I’m glad.'Meanwhile, construction on the couple's Florida dream home - a13million oceanfront Jupiter estate - is forging full steam ahead.?A castle fit for the Queen of Pop! Celine Dion puts her private island Quebec chateau on sale for a whopping $29.5 million By PUBLISHED:02:00 GMT, 18 May 2012 UPDATED:22:34 GMT, 19 May 2012She's sold over 200 million albums worldwide and is one of the highest-paid female performers in history.But apparently having homes on two private islands has become one too many for Canadian singer Celine Dion.The 44-year-old songstress has decided to unload her French Normandy-style, four-story chateau in Gagnon -- complete with furnishings and artwork -- for $29.5 million, which will make it one of the five most expensive residences in Canada. According to her 70-year-old husband Ren Angelil, the sale comes thanks to Celine's three-year residency at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, and their US-based children, 11-year-old Ren-Charles and 19-month-old twins, Nelson and Eddie.'We are mostly in Florida, Ren-Charles goes to school here,' Ren told TVNZ, referring to the pair's other island property, a mansion on Jupiter Island with a water park. 'And of course there are commitments in Vegas because of Celine.' The gated island, located roughly 15 minutes from downtown Montreal, boasts a private bridge, security station, outdoor swimming pool, game room, wine cellar with tasting room, three living rooms, a wood-paneled library, and double master suites. Located in the sleepy Mille ?les River, Gagnon is a former mining town in East-central Quebec just in the Laval region. Just under 20 acres, the towering castle has 24,000 square feet of living space. Dion and her family moved into the property in 2001 after 300 people refurbished and expanded the $8 million property over a three-year reconstruction period. During Christmas time, Celine would turn their mansion into a glittering winter wonderland, even placing two high toy soldiers at the gates. The water around the island is too shallow for boats to move through, which helps keep trespassers and tourists at bay as does the network of security cameras. Despite the precautions, a 41-year-old stalker was arrested outside the property in 2009 for pressing the intercom at the mansion's front gate. Sotheby's International Realty in Quebec broker Joseph Montanaro will handle the sale of the property. Celine and her husband aren't planning to leave Canada completely as they are keeping their more modest $2 million country chalet in Notre Dame de la Merci in Quebec. The best-selling Canadian artist with the five-octave vocal range grew up the youngest of 14 children in a poverty-stricken home in Quebec. Dion first met her husband and manager in 1980, when she was 12 and he was 38, after she and her mother sent him a demo tape of a song they had written. Ren mortgaged his home to finance Celine's first record. Celine's hit song 'It’s All Coming Back To Me Now' was prominently featured on an episode of Glee this past week. The brunette star had to postpone her Las Vegas shows from March to June when doctors diagnosed her with a viral illness and weakness in her right vocal cord. Her new show of hit songs, designed exclusively for The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, features 31 musicians in a full orchestra and band. The casino spent an eye-watering $95 million building the special Colosseum venue for her in 2003. It was specially equipped with a humidifier to protect the singing diva's voice. Tickets for the in-demand show in sell for up to $250 each, and it regularly sells out. ?'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas': Celine Dion reveals she wants another baby By UPDATED:03:00 GMT, 17 September 2011It looks like the power of love is still running strong with superstar singer Celine Dion.The multi-platinum selling vocalist has revealed she wants to have another baby, despite the fact she is now 43-years-old.She first gave clue in a new interview that is due to be aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network next month.The documentary Cline: 3 Boys and a New Show follows the My Heart Will Go On star from the birth of the twins Eddy and Nelson last autumn to her return to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.But it closes with the French-Canadian singer, who has sold more than 200 million albums, suggest she may be keen to rear another child, despite starting a new three-year residency at plush Sin City casino Caesers Palace in March. The mother-of-three said: 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. 'So am I ready to be pregnant in Vegas and perform? Who knows? Stay tuned.'This is just after Celine has said that, 'I can’t believe I have three children. It’s the thing I’m most proud of.'Later she confirmed that is indeed the case in an interview today with the Montreal Gazette.She said: 'I would love that, For sure.'You never know. Never put an X on something that might happen again. We don’t know what the future holds for us.'And she seems to realise if she wants to fulfil her dream it wil have to happen sooner rather than later.She said: 'Well obviously women’s cycle of life for having children.'And she certainly seemed to be enjoying motherhood in New York today, where she was spotted carrying one of her twins while wearing a tasteful ensemble of blue jeans, blazer and high heels.The documentary focuses on how the singer and her husband Rene Angelil, 69, balance family life with her booming pop-star career.It airs on October 1 on the fledgling network, which has so far been struggling to attract viewers.It is averaging about 300,000 viewers in prime time and 150,000 in total day figures. ?Blooming Celine Dion shows off her huge baby bump as she dismisses claims of pregnancy complicationsBy UPDATED:09:41 GMT, 3 September 2010Celine Dion has shown off her huge baby bump for the first time after dismissing reports of pregnancy complications.The 42-year-old singer, who is thought to be six-months pregnant with twin boys, posed on the cover of Canadian magazine 7 Jours with husband Ren Angelil and their nine-year-old son Ren-Charles.Wearing a green maxi dress, Celine showed she definitely had that pregnancy glow, smiling widely as she posed alongside her family. Celine and husband Ren Angelil were quick to deny rumours that the My Heart Will Go On singer had been rushed to hospital earlier this month with complications.A representative for the star said: 'She's never been in the hospital -her pregnancy continues to be healthy and she feels fantastic.'As with most women expecting multiples, her doctor wants her to stayoff her feet as much as possible as she finishes her pregnancy. 'They've gotten calls from friends worried that something is wrong. Tobe so happy and then to get these calls, it's been upsetting for themwhen they are in such a good place.'Celine fell pregnant following her sixth in-vitro fertilisation attempt and turning to acupuncture to improve her chances of conceiving.And the singer said recently that her pregnancy has been pretty normal so far.She explained: 'The first two months I really felt the classical symptoms - the morning sickness, hot flashes, nausea.'In a certain way, that reassured me, like a sign that my pregnancy was progressing. Now, everything is falling into place. I have a little belly.'It was reported Celine was pregnant last August, but her spokeperson confirmed in November 2009 that the pregnancy had failed.The My Heart Will Go On singer has never made a secret of her desire to extend her family, and was always planning to fall pregnant following her run of shows in Las Vegas last year.But Ren's battle with cancer cast doubt over whether the couple would have more children of their own.Despite the upcoming birth, Celine is still scheduled to return to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 2011.She'll perform a series of concerts there over the next three years.?The thigh's the limit for Celine Dion who shows off her svelte legs in a daring slit gown for performance at Jazz festival By UPDATED:09:29 GMT, 30 January 2012She's known for her incredible vocals, but Celine Dion may have attracted just as much attention for her long slim legs last night. The 43-year-old Canadian singer showed off her perfect pins in a stunning silver gown with a daring split to the thigh as she performed in Trelawny, Jamaica.Teamed with tumbling brown curls, the clinging gown showed off her trim figure, 14 months after she gave birth to twins. The singer looked absolutely fabulous and far younger than her years as she rocked the stage at Greenfield Stadium. She clenched her fist and acknowledged the jazz band playing behind her as she put in her usual powerful performance. The children's father is Celine's husband and manager, Rene Angelil and they have an older son, Ren-Charles, 10.Last year, Oprah Winfrey'sOWN Network aired a primetime special featuring an intimate look atthe musical icon's private life. Celine:3 Boys and a New Show took viewers behind-the-scenes as Celine worked on her Las Vegas comeback show, Celine, and juggled being an international superstar with her responsibilities to her family. The programme also revealed the artist tending to her twins, helping her eldest son with his homework and spendingquality time with her husband.Dionreturned to Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in March last year with hernew show Celine. The three-year residency promises demanding seventy performances a year and features Dion's greatest hits and a selection of music from classic Hollywood films. ?Is that really the best colour for small children? Celine Dion shows off her miracle twins... in her big white homeBy UPDATED:11:04 GMT, 24 February 2011Any parent knows that curious toddlers and anything white are not the best combination.And while Celine Dion's babies are not at the walking and grabbing stage just yet, she may soon come to rethink her colour scheme in her home.During an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, the Canadian singer showed some candid footage of her and husband Rene Angelil with their four-month-old twin boys Eddy and Nelson.Filmed at her mansion on Jupiter Island in Florida, the video showed her walking round the brand new interiors ofthe $20million home.But what was glaringly obvious to observers was the white decor - on the walls, the floors, and even the furniture - not the most suitable colour for small children.Celine, 42, appeared on the queen of chat's show to promoting her new documentary movie, Celine: Through The Eyes Of The World. And she brought with her some home movies, as she opened the doors of her home to and allowed cameras to capture some of the most intimate moments of her life.The footage included shots of her house, the first time the public has been this close since work was completed last summer.At the time were were treated to some bird-eye views of the sprawling estate, but this time shots of the exteriors were shown closer up. Withher usually perfectly coiffed hair pulled back in a ponytail, the singer joins her husband of 16 years, Rene Angelil, for a group snuggle with the boys.The couple, who have been together since 1987, also have a ten-year-old son, Rene-Charles. Just this week the singer returned to Las Vegas in preparation to start her renewed three year stint at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. She is returning to the residency for seventy shows a year starting on March 15 and has moved her entire family to the Nevada city for the duration. ?The mother of all comebacks: Celine Dion shows off her four-month-old twins as she gets back to work in Las Vegas By UPDATED:19:49 GMT, 17 February 2011With her twin sons less than four months old, Celine Dion could be expected to be relaxing at home enjoying her maternity leave.But the mother-of-three got back to work today as she arrived in Las Vegas to begin rehearsals for her high-profile three-year residency at Caesars Palace. Joining her was her family, with the singer and husband and manager Rene Angelil showing off bouncing babies Eddy and Nelson as they received a gala welcome. The boys, wearing matching blue baby grows and white hats, were cradled in their parents arms as they posed on the steps of the casino.Their big brother, nine-year-old Rene Charles, was also with his family.French-Canadian star Celine will now begin rehearsals for her new show, set to debut on March 15 at The Colosseum.But despite her busy work schedule, Celine is not planning on taking a back seat in raising her sons. 'I am changing diapers and breastfeeding and that's something where no one can take my place,' she told French GALA magazine last month.'It's tiring but an intense joy,' shesaid. 'I take things day by day. That's the secret to me. In any case, breastfeeding is more difficult if you are stressed.'I didn't have these children to not take care of them, to give myself to them 200 - 300 per cent.' Celine and her husband fought for years to have a family. The singer underwent IVF to conceive her first son, then a further six failed attempts before finally falling pregnant with triplets.But one baby did not survive, dying early in pregnancy. ?Celine Dion takes to the stage in thigh-high bondage style shoes By UPDATED:11:40 GMT, 23 October 2008 She's certainly no rock rebel, but Celine Dion appeared to be paying just a little nod to bondage style fashion.The Quebec born singer took to the stage in a pair of high-heeled shoes with straps which criss-crossed right to the top of her thighs. Strapped up: Celine Dion goes for an outrageous bondage-style look in a pair of thigh-high buckled sandals at her concert in Vancouver last night It was a look which looked more suitable for the boudoir, as she paired the white strappy shoes with a thigh-skimming white minidress, and huge diamonds which gave the singer a rather racy look .The 40-year-old singer is the latest celebrity to embrace the trend for 'extreme heels', which was kick-started by actress Gwyneth Paltrow.But even she would most likely have baulked at Celine's outr footwear.Celine embraced the celebrity trend for extreme shoes with her bondage style footwearCeline performed in the outrageous outfit in her native Canada as part of her comeback Taking Chances World Tour.Clearly the singer was taking no chances herself, as last year she was pictured in Las Vegas with what looked like suspiciously hairy legs. Meanwhile, the five-time Grammy winner will join the Foo Fighters, and Jennifer Aniston's boyfriend John Mayer at the The Grammy Nominations Concert Live: Countdown To Music's Biggest Night' on December 3 in Los Angeles. ?The happiest twins on earth! Celine Dion treats her birthday boys to a lavish Disney party at her Florida mansion By UPDATED:20:08 GMT, 11 November 2011DisneyWorld is only a few hours up the road, but mega star Cline Dion‘s twins had their dreams come true when Disney came to them for their first birthday party. Nelson and Eddy Anglil, Dion‘s fraternal twin sons with husband and manager Ren Anglil, celebrated the milestone with a visit from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on Oct. 23 at their home on Jupiter Island, Florida.The boys looked adorable in their matching outfits and neck ties as they posed with their 10-year-old brother Ren-Charles and their proud, beaming parents.Diva Dion, 43, who wore a tuxedo-style blouse and black skirt, said of the party: 'I realised I had icing on my face, that my bun was a mess and that I hadno makeup on. I put a little concealer, a little mascara... I put on a short skirt anda shirt and on with the show!'Seventy guests were invited to the celebration at the sprawling, beach-side mansion. Invitees included close family and the doctors who helped Celine to conceive the twins. Dion told French Canadian magazine 7 Jours: 'We had all of the people who have helped us around us. We took the opportunity to say thank you and to be together.'The boys later changed into matching yellow Mickey Mouse T-shirts and each enjoyed their own cake in the shape of iconic cartoon character made by Dion herself. She made the same cake for Rene Charles on his first birthday. The event was catered, but Dion said to the chef: 'You can do the most beautiful cake in the world for the guests. But the two cakes for children, I will do that! '?Celine Dion finally whittles down list of '15,000 names' to just two for her twin boys By UPDATED:14:13 GMT, 29 October 2010 Five days after their arrival, Celine Dion has finally settled on names for her twin boys. The singer, who said earlier this week that she'd considered 'nearly 15,000 names and nothing has stuck', has called the newborns Nelson and Eddy.Celine and husband Ren Angelil took inspiration from Nelson Mandela, whom the 42-year-old met in 2008 while on tour in South Africa.'Ren said that in just the few minutes they were able to spend with him, they were impressed by thehuman being he is,' a spokesperson for the couple said.Eddy is named after Eddy Marnay, who produced the singer's first five records.'He was like a father to her,' the spokesperson adds. 'Eddy is a major influence in both Cline and Ren's lives.'Celine told French magazine Gala that the couple's 9-year-old son Ren-Charles had a say in the decision.'Because Ren-Charles goes to school in the United States, he’s suggested English first names,' she says. 'My mother, on the other hand, has been hinting about very French first names and we’re going a little bit crazy trying to decide.'The star, who is said to have been released from hospital, also said she is 'brimming with energy.''I don’t care about my figure,' she adds. 'I never have and I’m not worried. In any case, I’m not going on any diet because I want to breastfeed … Besides I have a really good stylist and if it’s a questionof going up a dress size or two - well, so be it.'So it was an emotional moment when Celine Dion gave birth to twin boys at the weekend.Celine gave birth to the fraternal twins on Saturday at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.The couple had been trying to conceive for years and underwent six attempts at IVF in 12 months. ?Celine Dion reveals she was carrying triplets before losing a baby early in pregnancyBy UPDATED:17:48 GMT, 30 October 2010Celine Dion, who gave birth to twins earlier this month, has revealed she was originally carrying triplets.The 42-year-old lost one of her babies early in the pregnancy before giving birth to premature but healthy fraternal boys Eddy and Nelson on Saturday.The singer and her husband Rene Angelil talked about their heartache in an interview with a French news station. 'He chose to let go to give space to his brothers to grow,' she explained.The couple have been open about their long struggle to conceive and underwent six attempts at IVF in 12 months. Meanwhile, Celine settled on names for her twins yesterday after considering 'nearly 15,000 names.The couple took inspiration from Nelson Mandela, whom the 42-year-old met in 2008 while on tour in South Africa.'Ren said that in just the few minutes they were able to spend with him, they were impressed by the human being he is,' a spokesperson for the couple said.Eddy is named after Eddy Marnay, who produced the singer's first five records.'He was like a father to her,' the spokesperson adds. 'Eddy is a major influence in both Cline and Ren's lives.'Celine told French magazine Gala that the couple's 9-year-old son Ren-Charles had a say in the decision.'Because Ren-Charles goes to school in the United States, he’s suggested English first names,' she says.'My mother, on the other hand, has been hinting about very French first names and we’re going a little bit crazy trying to decide.'The star, who is said to have been released from hospital, also said she is 'brimming with energy.' ?'Thrilled' Celine Dion welcomes healthy twin boys after Caesarean sectionBy UPDATED:07:59 GMT, 25 October 2010'Thrilled' Canadian singer Celine Dion is the proud mother of healthy twin baby boys after giving birth in Florida.The 42-year-old gave birth to her 5lbs4 and 5lbs10 sons via Caesarean section on Friday. They join nine-year-old Rene Charles who, like his twin brothers, was conceived via IVF.'Celine, Ren [her husband Angelil] and their son Ren-Charles are thrilled,' her spokesman said.After a week of bed rest Celine was wheeled into an operating room at St Mary's Medical Centre, West Palm Beach at about 12.30pm on Saturday to deliver the twins by Caesarean.The performer's presence at the hospital has sparked controversy after it emerged that another pregnant woman was moved from her room in order to make way for her early arrival. ?Celine Dion makes a triumphant return to the stage in shimmering mini-dress five months after giving birth to twinsBy UPDATED:09:25 GMT, 17 March 2011Celine Dion has returned to the Las Vegas stage in a parade of sparkly dresses that included a black number with a thigh-hit slits and gold sparkly mini-dress that looks like it was swiped from Beyonc's closet.The French-Canadian star, 42, who delivered twin sons Nelson and Eddy in October, sang the romantic opuses that made her an international star, including My Heart Will Go On and It's All Coming Back to Me Now, in her encore performance Tuesday at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. 'Was that neat or what?' Dion told the concert hall of more than 4,000 people as a hologram of Wonder faded from the stage. The new three-year production pays tribute to Old Hollywood, with a 31-person orchestra dressing the stage,including an entourage of guitarists, back-up singers, drummers and a pianist, all clad in black tuxedos and gowns.Gone are the Cirque du Soleil-style dancers and theatrics that saw Dion harnessed to a cable and flown in the air during her previous, five-year stint at the Colosseum that endedin 2007.'From Michael Jackson to James Bond to 'Mr. Paganini,' it's so different, and it's so classy, and it's fun,'Dion said before the show. 'Different flavor. Different colors of music.'She performed songs made famous by Jackson, Billy Joel and Ella Fitzgerald. There was also a mod homage to James Bond and a 'Smooth Criminal' jam session.A chandelier twinkled above the stageduring a performance of 'Because You Loved Me,' smoke licked at Dion's heels during 'All by Myself,' and in a haunting mid-concert rendition ofJacques Brel's 'Ne Me Quitte Pas,' Dion tearfully contemplated the lossof a lover in her native French.The concert hall swelled at the emotion. Women cried, cheered on their feet and wiped their eyes dry.Caesars Palace President Gary Selesner said executives initially questioned reopening the show amid Nevada's 14.2 percent unemployment, the highest in the nation. Caesars lost $831.1 million last year, or roughly $3.5 million more than its netincome in 2009.In comparison, the unemployment rate in Nevada was 5.2 percent in 2003, when Dion's first stint, 'A New Day,'opened in Las Vegas.Despite the recession since, 'people still want to see the big stars get on the stage and sing their hits,' Selesner said.For the opening performance, Dion wore a bedazzled white strapless gown and belted out Journey's 'Open Arms' on a stage dressed in sheer curtains. As she approaching the booming chorus, the curtains dropped to reveal rows of musicians across the stage.Later in the show, a video showed images of her oldest son blowing out his birthday candles, of the twins being baptized at a Las Vegas church, and performances by a young Dion at the dawn of her career.She donned seven outfits, most covered in glittery details, during the nearly two-hour journey through her greatest hits.Dion also performed 'Man in the Mirror' in a memorial to the belated Jackson, a longtime musical influence. She said he attended a performance of 'A New Day,' then probed her about the experience.'He was probably interested in cominghere and performing here,' Dion said. 'I really wanted to kind of sing afew of his songs to tell people how big of a loss that is for him to not be here any longer.'Dion was originally expected to starther new show at Caesars in June 2010, but five failed in-vitro fertilization attempts delayed those plans. She delivered twin sons Nelson and Eddy in October, and began rehearsing in January as she continued to breastfeed the babies and care for her 10-year-old son withthe help of her mother, sister and a nanny.In that time, Dion also squeezed in a performance at the 83rd Academy Awards last month.'I didn't think I would be ready after this pregnancy, but everything is smoother than I thought,' said Dion, who is living with her brood at Caesars while a nursery is added to her lakeside home outside Las Vegas.Before she left Caesars to launch a world tour in 2008, 'A New Day' grossed more than $400 million over five years.Caesars spent $95 million to build the Colosseum for Dion in 2003, complete with a humidifier to protect her voice. The show opened to bad reviews, but was a commercial triumph.The new show is poised to become another hit, Selesner said. Ticket purchases have so far exceeded the pace of sales for 'A New Day,' and executives expect Dion to drive convention business, room rentals, travel to Las Vegas, room rates and restaurant sales.Dion said she tries not to dwell on the tall expectations.'I want people to come and not feel disappointed. That's my most important job,' said Dion. 'I personally don't think I have anything to do with the economy.' ?Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Usher among stars confirmed for Whitney Houston tribute concert By PUBLISHED:13:02 GMT, 28 September 2012 UPDATED:15:18 GMT, 28 September 2012Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Usher are among the stars who have been confirmed for a Whitney Houston tribute concert.The trio will join other famous faces to honour the late singer, who passed away in February this year.The one-hour We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute To Whitney Houston concert will be taped in Los Angeles on October 11th and will alsofeature interviews and footage with the late singer, as well as artistssharing their memories of her.The televised special will coincide with the November 13th release of a compilation album, I Will Always Love You - The Best of Whitney Houston, featuring 16 of Houston's best-known hits and two previously unreleased songs, including a new duet of I Look To You with R. Kelly,her record label RCA said.In addition to the concert, it was announced yesterday that Lifetime television network would be airing a new series called The Houstons: On Our Own.The series, to start on October 17th, documents Houston's 19-year-olddaughter Bobbi Kristina Brown, sister-in-law and former manager Pat Houston and mother Cissy, as they deal with life after the singer's death.The concert won't be the first time that Jennifer has paid tribute to Whitney.She also performed a heartfelt song at the Grammy Awards shortly after Houston's tragic passing. And speaking previously about her love for Houston, Jennifer said: 'I admired her style, her look, and above all else, her voice and technique.'Meanwhile, Celine used Whitney's death as a warning to other young music stars in a recent interviews.She told W magazine: 'I’ve always been scared of the industry. Why? 'Because I think it’s a place here anything is possible. It’s a "yes" place. Especially if you have success.'l was just in shock when Whitney’s life had been taken because of drugs. 'It’s a big loss for all of us.'Showbiz Roundup. Reunions galore! RPatz & KStew + 'Spice Girls'?Celine Dion's a smooth operator again after ditching the hairy legs lookLast updated at 11:04 19 March 2008Singer Celine Dion has clearly recovered from her less thansmooth on-stage moment.Last night the singer appeared in Seoul, South Korea, with asmooth pair of fur-free legs, following last week's fur-pas,when she appeared on-stage looking decidedly hairy.Scroll down for more...Celine appeared to have taken care of all her grooming details,including waxing her thighs.And there was no repeat of the furry incident as thesmooth-skinned French-Canadian star took to the stage lookingcompletely fuzz-free.Celine's ultra-groomed look was in comparison to her recentappearance in Toyko, when the My Heart Will Go On singer took tothe stage having clearly forgotten to wax her her upper legs.Scroll down for more...The severe back lighting revealed their rather hairy state tothe world as she showed off her enviable pins in a mini-dress.But despite the grooming oversight, she succeeded in wowing thecrowd with a typically dazzling performance.The French Canadian star recently started out on an extensiveworld tour after wrapping her five-year stint at the CaesarsPalace, Las Vegas in December.During her time in Vegas, her show A New Day, which opened inMarch 2003, grossed more than £200million.But the star, who turns 40 later this month, hasn't tired ofperforming, and hit the road again with her husband Rene Angelil,and her 7-year-old son, Rene Charles, in tow.It follows the November release of her latest album TakingChances.Share this article: ?'Yes, I killed my babies': Mother who murdered six newborns sentenced to 15 years in jailBy UPDATED:11:30 GMT, 19 March 2010A ‘serial killer’ mother has been jailed for 15 years for murdering six of her newborn children in as many years and hiding their tiny corpses in a cellar.In one of the worst infanticide cases in history, 38-year-old Frenchwoman Celine Lesage strangled two of her children with a cord and choked four others by placing her finger in their mouths.‘Yes, I killed the babies,’ she said during cross examination at La Manche Correctional court in Cherbourg, Normandy, yesterday.With her voice quivering, and in floods of tears, she said: ‘I did it but I can't explain it why I did it.’Each of the babies had been delivered 'in secret' between August 2000 and September 2007, with Lesage 'putting the babies and their dirty clothes neatly in a sealed plastic bag and hiding them'.Prosecutors – who described her as a ‘serial killer’ - had sought a 16-year prison sentence for Lesage with no early release before half the term was served, but accepted 15. Lesage was arrested in 2007 after her partner at the time, Luc Margueritte, discovered the tiny corpses decomposing in plastic garbage bags in the basement of their apartment building in Valognes, south of Cherbourg. He was the father of the last newborn and a prosecution witness in the case.Veronique Carre, defending, said: 'The facts of the case are not in dispute, but there is medical and psychological evidence to consider.’Prosecutor Michel Garrandaux told the court: 'Her attitude waswholly ambivalent. On the one hand she expressed her desire to havechildren, and then she refused to keep them.'He said Lesage - a 'modest and otherwise ordinary housewife' who hasas surviving son aged 14 who was taken into care after her arrest - had'no idea' why she had effectively turned into a serial killer.Among those in the public gallery was Pascal Catherine, her39-year-old former boyfriend who fathered the first five murderedchildren.He was originally arrested for not reporting a crime and hiding thecorpses, before his lawyers successfully argued he had thought thebabies had been still born or had been aborted.Lesage and Mr Catherine split up in the spring of 2006 after 15 years living as common law man and wife.Her horrific secret was uncovered a year later, on October 19, 2007, when a new boyfriend was taken to the decaying corpses by Lesage's teenage son.Mr Garrandaux said: 'He was led to the cellar by the terrible smell of decomposing corpses and found them wrapped up in their bags.'Gendarmes were called and Lesage admitted killing all her newborn children, but claimed diminished responsibility.She told police that she had 'absolutely no explanation' for what she had done and was placed on remand in the nearby city of Caen, Normandy.Last year, another French mother Veronique Courjault was jailed for eight years for killing three babies.She was deemed to be suffering from severe psychological problems, which meant she was in denial about being pregnant.?Year of dental bling: Veneered, whiter-than-white teeth are everywhere, but they can leave a very bad taste in the mouth By UPDATED:17:04 GMT, 9 January 2012Something really strange took place in 2011. Out there on Planet Showbiz, on the wilder shores by the Land of Fame, something very, very weird happened to celebrity teeth. Like Pinocchio’s nose, Jack’s beanstalk and the euro crisis, they kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. From Christine Bleakley to Coleen Rooney; from the entire cast of The Only Way Is Essex, to Desperate Scousewives and any other reality show you care to mention. Just take a look. There’s also Sharon Osbourne, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Simon Cowell and Kate Beckinsale to the shiny pairs of Posh & Becks, X Factor judges Tulisa and Kelly Rowland, and reality stars Chantelle and Alex Reid and many more pictured here. Each and every one of them with the kind of pimped-up, piranha-toothed, white-out dazzler of a grin that is the stuff of nightmares. What is going on? Obviously, a little bit of cosmetic dentistry is nothing new. The pearlescent, day-glo delights of the average Hollywood smile have been with us for a while. A little tweak here, a little judicious filing there and ting! Starlets’ gnashers were shown at their very best.Yet when did it become de rigueur, even covetable, for celebrity teeth to become so downright huge? So white? Not to mention so uniform and unnatural-looking? We are now in the age of the molar ice cap, where great curves of snow-white plastic teeth are the order of the day.Today, slebs just love to have upper and lower horseshoes of monumental, blinging clackers packed so tightly into the gums that they can barely shut their mouths properly.In this, the year of the veneer, teeth have become over-bleached, over-laminated, oversized and have taken root over here.The slavish pursuit of a kind of highly unnatural dental flawlessness is what everyone — from reality wannabe to WAG to movie star — seems to want. That might be a worthwhile dental aim — if the end results weren’t quite so extreme and freakish.Any charming or natural little dental imperfections are bulldozed out, replaced by a barrage of crowns, caps, veneers — where they are literally laminated with porcelain or plastic covers — bleaches and holy molar bling. What in the name of horsey smiles has happened?‘I’ll tell you what has happened. They asked for a Hollywood smile — but they got a Goodwood smile instead,’ sighs dentist Harry Shiers, suggesting most of this crowd end up looking more like winners in the 3.15 handicap than elegant stars. And he should know.Mr Shiers has run an eponymous Central London dental clinic for 15 years, where he specialises in aesthetic implant and reconstructive dentistry. Over time, his work has involved reconstructive dental surgery for those suffering from mouth cancer or who have, for example, been in car accidents. With his more day-to-day patients he performs the kind of cosmetic procedures that have indeed become popular with celebrities — but with one big difference.‘Of course it is good to improve teeth and make them look better — but in a natural, not an unnatural way,’ says Harry Shiers. ‘My thing is to try to do cosmetic work that does not jump out at you.’Many experts like him despair of a new generation of opportunistic dentists who set up flashy websites promising white-out Hollywood smiles to clients — even if the laminating procedure that produces them might not be advisable.Yet so many people get swallowed up in celebrity culture — whether they are celebrities or not — and convince themselves that they need a particular look, that anyone with the most basic dental training can now find clients willing to pay for a royal flush of veneers.The problem, some experts believe, is that as cosmetic dentistry becomes more extreme and more people want it done, it will lead to dental problems in the future. For teeth are not designed for dentistry, intensive or otherwise. They are designed so that we can eat. Sometimes, with disease, dentists can do clever things. And sometimes dentists can do things minimally that are quite clever. However, trying to impose a totally new appearance to teeth without harming them in some way is impossible. If you want to make them bigger or whiter or brighter you have to file some of the tooth away in order to accommodate the veneer you are sticking on.As Harry Shiers says: ‘Underneath the hard stuff is living tissue. You can only drill a tooth so many times before you compromise its vitality. Eventually, they start breaking or cracking. You are asking them to do something they are not meant to do. And if you are being invasive, there might well be a price to pay later.’Well, try telling that to the cast of The Only Way Is Essex, who are among the worst offenders in the all-blinging tooth brigade. As they frequently tell each other on their show, looking nice costs money. But can anyone really afford to have a smile like this? Here, Harry inspects these celebrity photographs and gives them his tongue-in-cheek verdicts  ?Cold-blooded vanity as skins become en vogue againBy ANDREA THOMPSONLast updated at 00:22 25 June 2007You may not realise it yet, but the ultimate fashion backlash isunder way. While most of us are queuing up to buy M&S FairTrade T-shirts and Stella McCartney's latest "eco" range, a smallbut highly influential breed of shopper is determined to buck thetrend for all things ethical.According to fashion insiders, it was only a matter of time. Asone leading fashion editor puts it: "It no longer makes you uniqueto shop at People Tree. Wearing something highly controversial,verging on taboo, is what gets you noticed."The rare or exotic animal skin fits in perfectly with this newrationale and is having a serious fashion renaissance on catwalksand stores across Europe.At Paris Fashion Week this year, Christian Dior unveiled adazzling collection of python and ostrich skin coats with foxsleeves, while Calvin Klein's spring collection featured alligatorjackets, and Celine championed a white python skirt suit that wasmet with applause as it emerged on the runway.On the High Street, fashionistas are desperate to buy into thetrend. Jimmy Choo's snakeskin sandals and Ferragamo's spring/summercollection of alligator footwear have been a huge hit.Fashion bible Style.com has even made a pair of pythonplatforms, by designer Proenza Schouler, its top fashion pick,while Nike commemorated the 25th anniversary of its Air Force 1range this spring with a saltwater crocodile shoe - on sale in itsflagship stores around the world, including London - for£1,400. Made from one of the most expensive and sought afterexotic skins, it immediately became a collector's item on Ebay.'Exotic skins are hot right now, there's a real buzz, sayslegendary designer Roberto Cavalli, whose creations have graced thebodies of the most beautiful women on the planet from Kate Moss toSharon Stone."I love to use reptile skins because it excites me to take amaterial that is seen as 'wild' and mix it with a look that shoutsglamour and sophistication. Exotic skin - alligator, crocodile andsnake - also gives the impression of being superluxurious andexpensive, a look women are into at the moment."The steadily increasing divide between the middle-class shopperand the superrich is evident on High Streets across Europe. Neverbefore has there been such a transparently two-tiered systemdictated by the huge income gap between the "haves" and the "havemillions".We are now in an age where one-bedroom flats in London's premierstreets top the £2million mark and wives think nothing ofblowing £5,000 of their husbands' £1million City bonuson the latest "It-bag".Is it really a surprise then, that the Italian-made Zaglianicrocodile skin handbag - which comes injected with Botox to keep itsoft - is this year's fashion must have?Joanna Jeffreyes, fashion manager at Harvey Nichols says: "Manyof our customers are looking for something new and aren't afraid tospend money on things they feel are their little secret. They wantsomething they won't see on anyone else."Back in the Forties and Fifties, crocodile and snakeskin bagsand shoes were the ultimate in luxury for millionaires andHollywood starlets. But with many reptiles close to extinction bythe Seventies they became deeply unfashionable.Today, a surge in super-rich internationals, from Russianoligarchs to Middle-Eastern oil tycoons with homes in Europe, hasmeant the desire for "status accessories" has never beenhigher."For men it's cars. For women it's bags, shoes and belts now,"says Roberto Cavalli. "A rich woman wants her bag to do thetalking. It's the most sophisticated way to say you have money.Exotic skin is the ultimate. Everyone knows it is expensive."But last week conservationists decided enough was enough. Onehundred and seventy one member countries of the Convention onInternational Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) held a 12-dayconference in Holland to consider how to tackle Europe andAmerica's collective thirst for exotic and increasingly endangeredskins and furs.Animal rights campaigners were quick to point to a silentbacklash against "politically correct clothes" that has gatheredincreasing momentum.Fur made a huge return to the catwalk last winter, but whilemany women still find the idea of killing baby minks or rabbits fortheir fur distasteful, they think nothing of buying a clutch bagmade from the skin of less-than-cuddly pythons.Yet all these animals are commonly skinned alive to protecttheir skins and it can take a crocodile more than two hours to dieafter its skin has been ripped off.Environmentalists fear that while top designers use animalsfarmed from legal stocks, it fuels popular demand for similar itemsin those who cannot get their hands on a designer version. Instead,they inevitably turn to the internet where less reputable outletsare hungry for business.Last week, the Mail was able to place orders for a number ofendangered items online from ivory jewellery to rare breedalligator handbags. There was no guarantee they did not come frompoachers hunting in the wild."In today's market where status accessories are everything,there is a growing niche of wealthy customers willing to pay up to£15,000 for a single bag," says Yvonne Taylor, a campaignerfor PETA, (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) whichcounts Paul McCartney and Kim Basinger among its supporters."Many breeds of crocodile, alligator and other reptiles havebeen hunted to the brink of extinction. Sickeningly, the rarer theybecome as a result of poaching, the more desirable they are. Theknock-on effect is terrifying."Scroll down for more ...The International Foundation for Animal Welfare recently seizeda shipment containing thousands of handbags made from the skins ofthe endangered South American caiman reptile, bound for Europe.Between 2000 and 2005, it is estimated that 3.4 million lizard,2.9million crocodile and 3.4 million snake skins were imported intothe EU, mostly to make handbags and shoes.Billions of reptile skins are exported, imported, or smuggledevery year, and much of this trade is in contravention ofinternational agreements protecting endangered species.After weapons and drugs, traffic in live and dead exotic animalsis the third largest black market in the world. The animalsillegally hunted in the wild, and, increasingly legally farmed, arecoming from Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, New Zealand, Sri Lanka,India, China, and the Philippines. They are being shipped throughMexico, Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan on their way to the largemanufacturing markets of the U.S., EU, Canada, and China."Demand makes poaching for wild animals a highly lucrativeactivity," says Robbie Marsland, director of InternationalFoundation for Animal Welfare. "And the effects go even furtherthan the animals themselves. It has devastating effects on fragileeco-systems."Hunters kill the strongest, fittest individuals, but these arethe ones most important to the survival of the group in the wild.The loss of a dominant male in many species will result in thekilling of that male's offspring by his replacement, so his healthygenes disappear."While most of the leading designers follow strict codes ensuringthe animal skins and fur they use comes from reputable sources andare legally farmed, the past decade has seen Gucci, Chanel, Fendiand Saks Fifth Avenue all receive fines for trading in crocodileskins that have turned out to be from illegal sources.Experts explain that it is difficult to monitor all aspects of atrade that covers several continents. Italy and France are thehighest importers, with fashion houses hand-finishing crocodile,alligator, lizard and snakeskins imported from Asia and labellingthem as made in their own.CITES is currently revising the international list of 30,000endangered species, everything from reptiles to wild dogs and cats,in a desperate bid to extend its protection to thousands moreanimals in countries such as China, India and parts of Africa,where poaching is rife.Last week represented a huge breakthrough when Ebay, the primarymarket place for sales in ivory from elephants already endangered -declared that there would be no more trade in elephant tusks acrossits international sites. This followed an investigation by theInternational Fund for Animal Welfare which revealed that 94 percent of elephant ivory for sale on Ebay was potentiallyillegal.Most animal welfare groups agree it is almost impossible to tellwhether skins have been farmed or poached from the wild. Criticssay that the move doesn't go far enough and products from severalendangered species are still available on the site, such ascrocodile, elephant, ostrich, snake and stingray."Environment ministers who met at the convention in The Haguethis week, know its vital to have the legal controls in place tolimit trade in endangered species," says Barry Gardiner, thegovernment minister for biodiversity."But the best legislation is no use without proper enforcement,so we need to track down and prosecute the international criminalgangs that are profiting at the expense of some of the rarestspecies on earth."However, campaigners say it starts with the fashion industry."If animal skins cease to be status symbols, then demand willplummet and consumers need not worry about checking the label tomake sure their garment has been farmed legally," says YvonneTaylor of PETA.Share this article: ?'Titanic theme tune played in onboard restaurant as doomed cruise ship started to keel over', claim Swiss brothers By UPDATED:15:02 GMT, 18 January 2012Of all the stories to emerge from the Costa Concordia cruise ship disaster, it's possibly the hardest to believe.The human bridge created by British dancer James Thomas and the bizarre antics of captain Francesco Schettino pale in comparison to the claims of two Swiss brothers.For they have revealed how the theme tune from the film Titanic was playing onboard as it struck rocks and started to keel over. They said survivors of the disaster were 'astonished' by the eerie coincidence which saw them listening to Celine Dion's hit My Heart Will Go On as the cruise ship began to founder.The song was made internationally famous in 1997 as the theme of James Cameron’s epic movie about the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet.The men said they were listening to My Heart Will Go On with passengers in a restaurant on board the ship when the accident happened.Yannic Sgaga, who escaped from the Costa Concordia with his brother Keven, said: 'Images from the film Titanic are more realistic than one might imagine.'He said the tune was 'stuck in my head' as most crew members did absolutely nothing to help them.He added: 'Besides kitchen staff, who helped, there were no other crew members.'Georg Linsi, who is also Swiss, told the Geneva paper La Tribune: 'The evacuation was a catastrophe within a catastrophe.'Never in my life have I seen such a display of incompetence, lack of awareness and irresponsibility.'When the boat started to lean to the left, we held onto the right side. Besides one young sailor, there was not a single crew member near the life boats who was able to organise the evacuation.'As the ship began to bank, he said 'hundreds of people were inside without information, with no indication of what to do.'There was so much panic when the boat was so steeply inclined that we had to walk on the walls. We remained inside for three hours before managing to get out, and were able to leave the ship via a flexible ladder and reached the a coast guard vessel.'The Titanic sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. A total of 1,517 people died. ?Country house chicby NATALIE THEOLast updated at 12:09 26 October 2006Tweed, trilbys and touseled hair. Get the country house chiclook that's suitable for city haunts or country jauntsBell sleeve tweed jacket £299, skirt £169,Nanette Lepore at Fenwick as before. Green shoes£475, Jimmy Choo, 020 7823 1051. Purpletights £4.95, Aristoc at www.mytights.comBrown herringbone check dress £70, Rocha by JohnRocha for Debenhams, 020 7408 4444.Brown ruffle shirt £10, herringbone culottes £14,Matalan, 0845 330 3330. Felt hat with feathers£440, Philip Treacy for James Purdey &Sons, 020 7499 1801 or www.purdey.com. Brown boots£730, Celine, 020 7297 4999. Necklace£49, Fenwick, 020 7629 9161.Black tweed jacket £2,225, Chanel, 0207493 5040. Blue silk shirt £99, Gerard Darel,necklace £49, both Fenwick as before. Cravat£96, Celine as before. Tweed hat £190,Philip Treacy for James Purdey as before. Greytweed culottes, £99 Nanette Lepore asbefore.Brown check jacket £39.50, Marks &Spencer, 0845 302 1234. Prince of Wales check shorts£16, Jeff & Co @ Matalan as before.Tweed flatcap £59, Grevi at Fenwick asbefore. £99 Nanette Lepore as before.Brown tweed jacket and skirt suit £2,100,Valentino, 020 7235 5855. Green shoes £475,Jimmy Choo as before. Purple tights £4.95,Aristoc as before.Share this article: ?DOLLY PARTON 1978 'She's like a ruff led bedspread - too many yards of Dolly poured into too few inches of fabric' (left) PRINCESS DIANA 1982 'From a young, independent fresh look, to tacky, dowdy style' (above right) OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN 1983 'From toes to nose, a shredded tragedy' (left) CHER 1984 'A plucked cockatoo who has set femininity back at least 20 years' (above right) JOAN COLLINS 1985 'A Dynasty cartoon clone' SARAH FERGUSON 1988 'The palace milkmaid and a fashion frump' (left) SINEAD O'CONNOR 1990 'Nothing compares to the bald-headed banshee of MTV. A New Age nightmare!' (above right) MADONNA 1992 'The bare-bottomed bore of Babylon' (left) GLENN CLOSE 1996 'Forget the Dalmatians - Glenn should be starring in 101 Fashion Frustrations. It's doggone depressing' (above right) THE SPICE GIRLS 1997 'Five candy-coloured beauties trapped in fashion waste - the only spices on the planet that have no taste' ALEX KINGSTON 1998 ' 'She mixed, she matched . . . she missed' (left) BRITNEY SPEARS 1999 'This songbird is better heard than seen, wearing fashion flops unfit for even a bubblegum queen' (above right) KATE WINSLET 1998 'From gaudy gowns to creepy combat boots, Kate's a fashion panic. In fact, her whole wardrobe should have gone down with the Titanic' THE QUEEN 1999 'Was she the palace Christmas tree or just a royal clown?'(left) ELIZABETH HURLEY 2000 'Poor Liz, her barely-there fashion bombs have hit a sour note. A word of advice: Buy a coat!' (above right) THE DUCHESS OF CORNWALL 2006 'In feathered hats that were once the rage, she resembles a parakeet from the Jurassic age. A royal wreck' (left) EVA GREEN 2007 'Stuck in neon nightmares not fit for the sane. Fashion this loud could give Bond a migraine!' (above right) AMY WINEHOUSE 2007 'Exploding beehives above . . . tacky polka-dots below . . . she's part 50s car-hop horror' (left)VICTORIA BECKHAM 2007 'In one skinny-mini monstrosity after another, pouty Posh can really wreck-em' (above right)?Real lives: A writer reflects on years of guilt after accidentally killing a girlBy UPDATED:20:01 GMT, 12 February 2011 Nearly 23 years ago, Darin Strauss (right) experienced every driver’s worst nightmare when he accidentally killed a 16-year-old girl who swerved in front of his car on her bicycle. His guilt, and the thought of her life unlived, has haunted him ever since Half my life ago, I killed a girl. I had just turned 18, and when you drive in new post-adolescence, you drive with friends. It was May 1988. Up ahead, a pair of tiny cyclists bent over their handlebars. Bare legs pedalling under a long sky. I think I fiddled with the radio. Then one of the bike riders did something. After a wobble or two, the cyclist eased a wheel into the road. Dark blonde hair appeared very clearly in my windscreen. Celine, the girl on the bike, was 16 and always will be 16. And I knew her. She went to my school.My father arrived. Someone must have called him. It was the sight of my dad that day, the sadness on his face, that turned this real, finally. All this had happened to me; I had done this. He arrived, emotion could flow. In his hug I burst into tears, as I never had before and haven’t since. So few of our days contain actions that are irrevocable. The police, Celine’s biking companion, and the recollection of five cars’ worth of eyewitnesses all conspired to declare me blameless. But how could anyone be so certain? If I hadn’t been with my friends maybe I would have focused on Celine, or driven slower. Or honked sooner. Any of ten different actions on my part might have led to an alternative ending. Maybe I hadn’t felt the right amount of alarm, just before the girl jumped across two lanes.I returned to school a week after the accident. I remember my name being called in class, the feel of pause and hush in the room, like deer scenting something strange. Students in hallways passed looks back and forth, telling one another: hey, go on tiptoes around a griever like this. Or they just shunned me – quickened their pace, hid their heads in open lockers. My father and I went to the funeral alone. At the church door my heart was a live bird nailed to my chest. Selfishness was thrumming: don’t open the door, just take off! Maybe it only seems like the right thing to do. Mine is the last face her parents and friends want to see. I bowed and averted the crowd. This was – and remains – the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. An old man clamped his eyes on me as if he wanted to cut out my heart. Imagine outliving not only your children, but your grandchildren. Celine’s father, a big man, came to me with a surprisingly light step. He didn’t know what to do with his face. In the long moment before he found words, and as he took my hand, he settled on an expression, a hard-worn glint of: I will be friendlier than you have any right to expect me to be. Celine’s mother came to join us. I think she attempted a smile but not a single muscle obeyed.‘I know it was not your fault, Darin. They all tell me it was not your fault.’ She swallowed. ‘But I want you to remember something. Whatever you do in your life you have to do it twice as well now.’ Her voice went dim. ‘Because you are living it for two people. Can you promise me, Darin?’I nodded quickly. I looked away and then back again. She was still looking at me. Why are you the one who is still alive, her eyes seemed to be saying?✹✹✹At college I took solace in maths: you’re doing 40 and the girl with the bicycle cuts ten feet in front of you – impact will arrive in something like 700 milliseconds. Human perception time – not only to see a hazard, but to understand one as such – is generally accepted to saw off some 220 milliseconds. Next, the most neutral job of getting foot to brake demanded another 500 milliseconds. It seemed I was exculpated by 20 milliseconds.The moments before the crash became a kind of VHS tape, overplayed, the sound wobbly – until I didn’t try to remember at all. I’d be doing something mundane like taking a can out of the fridge and as my fingers closed around the damp, solid aluminium, I would think: Celine will never feel a can in her grip again.I took a Death and Dying course. The graduate student who ran this touchy-feely seminar urged me to ‘check out Celine’s side of things’. I wrote letters, rooted out old phone numbers. I learned that Celine had become a born-again Christian in the months before her death. I discovered that Celine had written in her diary, just before the crash: ‘Today I realised that I am going to die.’ They were just eight words but I had already grabbed them for dear life. Celine, I decided, had died on purpose. That’s why she had turned right in front of my car. For me, this hypothetically suicidal diary entry settled it.The moments before the crash became a kind of VHS tape, overplayed, the sound wobblyMy accident was the deepest part of my life, and the second deepest was hiding it. This meant certain extra steps. Never introducing school friends to new friends. Never taking anyone home. On dates, I’d have to wonder, ‘When do I tell her? Can I tell her?’ The answers were nearly always ‘never’ and ‘no’. I did spill the story to a few women – those who, judging by their own hesitations, seemed to have scraped through some trouble of their own. But then I hated the reaction. They grew tender. They forgave. I saw them really begin to watch me. The declaration always made me feel that I had used Celine’s death to obtain gentler treatment.As I moved into my late 20s, I realised I’d absorbed Celine’s mother’s request. When I thought about her now, it was about trying to live well enough for two, with enough achievements for us both. Celine herself started coming with me, on job interviews, dates, everywhere. I thought of her each time I drove past a cyclist. I’d later think of Celine at my wedding and when my wife told me she was pregnant. Name any experience and it’s a good bet that I’ve thought of Celine while experiencing it.During the worst of this I was alone. Then I met my wife. ‘I want to tell you something,’ I said to the woman I would ultimately marry. It’s probably a testament to how Susannah took the news that I can’t actually remember what she said. What I can picture is her look. The rational eyes, the quiet crimp to the brow, the sympathy flaming her cheek. She shook her head at moments of the story. I looked down when I came to parts I wasn’t sure I was expressing, or even feeling honestly. Every time I looked back, her you’re-doing-great eyes were still on mine.She said something like, ‘It must be with you all the time, even now,’ and because this was stress free, I could follow my thoughts on their own steady glide.‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘It’s pretty terrible.’‘I can’t even imagine,’ she replied, ‘and it’d probably be distasteful to pretend to try.’Then we just went on with our relationship. Another bridge: going from not telling someone to having that moment behind me. Until now, in every relationship, it had always been ahead of me. And then the relationship would vanish. This was the first time I had seen the other side of the bridge, and there was a person beside me.✹✹✹Four years later and I am awake, waiting for the next day to roll in. ‘What’s on your mind?’ she asked.We’d just moved in together. I’d climbed out of bed, walked to the kitchen. ‘How often do you think about it, the car crash?’‘Probably less than once a day,’ I said. ‘I don’t know.’ The accident still turned me shy. ‘Once a week maybe. That’s a lot less than I used to think about it.’‘I think,’ she said, dropping into a seat at the table, ‘we need to discuss it. Really honey, have you thought of therapy? It’s like survivor’s guilt. Darin, what about talking to someone?’I waved her off with a gesture that means phooey. She’d heard about my day with the shrink, that rough, wet afternoon after the accident.My accident was the deepest part of my life, and the second deepest was hiding it‘I really question your decision not to try,’ she added, in a darker voice. She lifted her eyebrows to say that she was looking for some sort of response. My brows frowned out an answer: I have no response because your idea’s unwelcome. I crumpled back in my chair, distractedly, rudely. ‘I don’t know,’ I said in a mock-tired voice. ‘Why would you push this?’ But I knew what she was saying: if you choose not to try therapy, I’ll still be here for you – but you have to recognise that this isn’t your issue alone any more. That’s why I began to write about Celine. I finally got my bravery up, I finally looked hard through the window of memory, a neat square cut into the years.✹✹✹‘Are you nervous?’ Susannah asked, dropping her eyes.My grip on the steering wheel tightened. ‘Yeah, a little.’I fixed my gaze on the windscreen. It was ice-crusted; this was February. I’d been trying to anticipate and then solemnise each brief hill as we climbed it, and all the grassy clearings we passed. This was a strip of road I hadn’t seen for more than half a life.Our twin sons were six months old and fuzzy-headed. They sat babbling to each other in the back of our Honda. There were cars everywhere, people who drove this road every day. The sad thing was not that they had no idea. It was that it wouldn’t have mattered to them if they had. Minutes later I was outside the car, putting my hand up to oncoming traffic and jogging across the pavement alone. And here I stood, folding my arms for warmth, on crunching grass – the spot where it had happened. Or my approximation of that spot. If Celine lived anywhere, it was here. I spent a long time looking around, taking shallow breaths. The wind lifted the slender grass shoots every so often, ruffling what seemed like a field of tiny bobbing heads. Why had Celine swerved all that way – over two lanes? Maybe she had been startled by a noise. Or a bee had gone after her hand.Maybe I could have done 50 things to avoid the accident. Left the car in the garage that day. Been alone, not talking to friends. But I did all those things, and Celine hadn’t done the many things she could have to avoid the accident either. Regret doesn’t budge things; it seems crazy that the force of all that human want can’t amend a moment, can’t even stir a pebble.There was nothing profound about feeling only sad. My eyes were dry. I couldn’t do what Celine’s mother had commanded me to do. I learned to see the accident the way a painter sees a picture – up close, dots of circumstance; step away, an image, stuck and clear. When Celine wrote, ‘Today I realised I am going to die,’ there’s a good chance she meant only that she’d come to understand that she would – in the future, when all of us are quietly smudged from the blackboard, one by one – die someday.This is an edited extract from Half a Life by Darin Strauss, which will be published on Thursday (Beautiful Books, 14.99). To order a copy for 13.59 with free p&p, contact the YOU Bookshop on 0845 155 0711, ?LIZ JONES MOANSThe planet can't cope with ANOTHER baby Beckham!By UPDATED:22:08 GMT, 12 January 2011Funny, outrageous and downright rude. Who's in Liz Jones' firing line this week? What has got on my nerves this week? Well, the fact that people don’t listen. I say, quite clearly, ‘A Coke please with no ice’. And it comes jam packed with ice! Why do they do that? I hate ice: it is usually made from tap water, and is a hundred years old. It’s dirty! I hate it when you just ring up someone to make a casual inquiry, such as: ‘Ooh, when are you going to collect my recycling because I havenow added Christmas cards to that enormous festering pile?’, and they say (when I’ve already given them the name of the -village): ‘What is your postcode?’ I don’t want to keep giving out my postcode, it’s exhausting! But what has really made me see red this week is the announcement that -Victoria Beckham is expecting a fourth child, because she wants a girl. I honestly do not understand this mania to unleash yet another human being on an already overcrowded planet. Does Victoria not realise that very soon the population of Planet Earth will be unsustainable, estimated to be 10 billion by the year 2050? Where will she park her stretched SUV then? What about the nappy mountain? Add to that the fact that we will have to endure decades of the dreadful Beckham infant wearing bug-eyed shades, and making friends withSuri Cruise, and coming out with her own tiny range of unaffordable clothes. I don’t think my nerves can stand it!CELEB BRAIN DEAD MOMENT OF THE WEEKBabies, babies, babies! All celebrities seem to talk about these days is having babies! This is Celine Dion: ‘Some of the first days after I came home, I was a little outside myself. I had no appetite and that bothered me. ‘My mother remarked that she noticed I had moments of lifelessness, but reassured me that this was entirely normal. ‘One moment, tremendous happiness; the next, fatigue sets in, and I cried for no reason, and then that took care of itself. ‘It’s for things like that after having a baby that mothers really need emotional support.’ Moments of lifelessness! Ye godfathers. Having a child is normal! It’s no big deal! The population of the Earth is 6,893,500,000! Do you think all those women had moments of lifelessness? No, they just got on with it.CRIME AGAINST FASHIONHere is Natalie Portman. She is beautiful. She is a vegan. She is young, and famous, and has integrity. She loves dogs. She clearly has taste, given the electric blue Jason Wu dress. She is pregnant, which seems to be a pre-requisite for being these days. But why the ostentatious exhibitionism? The sporting of the giant rock on her finger? The bigger the rock, the shorter the marriage, I say . . . ?David Cameron mistaken for gatecrasher in New York event and told to leave the stageBy JAMES TAPPERLast updated at 01:00 02 December 2007As leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron usuallyenjoys privileged access to high-profile events.But he faced an awkward moment when he was ordered off stage byan American TV producer after he was mistaken for a gatecrasher ata New York event last week.The Opposition leader was told bluntly "You're in my shot",after finding himself mingling with a group of celebrities who hadno idea who he was.They were attending the traditional ceremony to turn on theChristmas tree lights at the Rockefeller Centre.Mr Cameron had been invited on stage by the city's Mayor,Michael Bloomberg, for a photocall in front of the tree.The ceremony has been a major part of the Christmas tradition inthe US for the past 74 years and coverage of the event by TVnetwork NBC marks the start of the holiday season.This year's live extravaganza featured British pop star NatashaBedingfield, veteran crooner Tony Bennett and singer CelineDion.On Friday Mr Cameron had the rather less glamorous task ofswitching on the Christmas lights in his Oxfordshire constituencyof Witney, where he revealed his awkward episode with NBC.Scroll down for more...He told a group of constituents: "On Wednesday I was in New Yorkand was invited to see the Christmas lights being turned on in theRockefeller Centre."I felt slightly uncomfortable as there were severalhigh-profile American celebrities all stood around me but it wasobvious they didn't know who I was."Finally, after being stood there knowing no one for what seemedlike an eternity, someone from NBC asked me to leave the stage as Iwas in their shot. I don't think anyone from NBC had a clue who Iwas - probably thought I was gatecrashing."A constituent at the event said: "He seemed to think it was allvery funny. It's not surprising they didn't recognise him, as mostpeople here would have a hard time knowing who most Americanpoliticians are."Mr Cameron visited the US last week to meet President Bush in aneffort to re-establish the traditional ties between theConservatives and the Republican Party.Scroll down for more...Relations had been strained after former leader Michael Howardcriticised Tony Blair during the build-up to the Iraq war.A spokesman for Mr Cameron said: "He went for dinner with MayorBloomberg and the Mayor invited him to the light switching-onceremony. Mayor Bloomberg invited him on stage for a photocall andthen he stepped off the stage."Share this article: ?‘I don’t have the need for this type of space': Denise Rich puts Manhattan's most expensive co-op on the market for $65m By UPDATED:02:13 GMT, 28 January 2012It has seven bedrooms, eleven baths and a space so large it once housed its very own ice skating rink.But that has not stopped eyebrows being raised after songwriter Denise Rich put her apartment on the market - for a cool $65million.The property has become the most expensive co-op in New York - no mean feat in itself - thanks to its opulent luxury and sheer size.At 12,000 square feet it is big enough that she once converted one of the three terraces into a professional grade figure skating rink for a party.Stevie Wonder once serenaded her on her baby grand piano and Celine Dion has dropped by for a session at the apartment’s recording studio.But after many happy years taking in the grand views of Central Park from the stunning Fifth Avenue duplex, Rich, who used to be married to controversial financier Marc Rich, has decided to downsize.The 67-year-old feels that the formaldining room for 22, the media room, billiards room, gym, library with afireplace and grand salon - on top of everything else - is too much forone woman.Now that her two daughters have moved to Europe - she lost a third to leukemia - she is looking for something more manageable.Rich told the New York Post: ‘This apartment has been an incredible home.‘I don’t have the need for this type of space. My greatest hope is that the next family loves and enjoys thishome as much as we did.’Rich’sex-husband Marc was an international fugitive and was due to go on trial for alleged illegal oil deals before controversially being pardoned by former President Bill Clinton on his last day in office.Shehas a highly successful career in her own right and she has written lyrics for hits like Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, Dion, Jessica Simpson, MarcAnthony and the international hit ‘Candy’ by Mandy Moore.Theproperty listing for 785 Fifth Avenue details the three outdoor terraces including one on the rooftop with a capacity of 200.The property is designed by Emery Roth and has three kitchens, marble floors, 11' ceilings and custom mahogany doors.The dining room can seat 22 and is conveniently located next to the chef’s kitchen.Allin all there are 19 rooms including the the Master Suite which comes with gas fireplace, two full en-suite bathrooms, sitting room and closets ‘beyond imagination’.In addition to the enormous cost, the new buyer will have to find $25,000 a year in service fees for the building.Thelisting says the apartment is ‘the largest-ever offering of a Penthouseon Fifth Avenue is the epitome of luxury and grandeur.’It adds that the home is ‘truly incomparable’.Despite the $65million price tag, Rich’s apartment is not the most expensive in all of New York.Thathonour belongs to the penthouse owned by Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill’s at 15 Central Park West which went for $88million, the equivalent of $13,000 per square foot.Weill has bought the 6,744 triplex five years ago for $43.7million.?Dita Von Teese swaps the stage for the mesmerising MaldivesBy UPDATED:18:22 GMT, 10 November 2009Many countries treat the subject of global warming as simply an interesting topic for debate. In the Maldives, rising sea levels are a more pressing concern. This chain of 26 atolls some 450 miles south-west of Sri Lanka is made up of 1,200 small islands of which only 200 are inhabited, and most of these accommodate luxury resort hotels. On all of these tiny spits of land, the sea is never far from view.The Maldives may have a growing profile as a holiday destination butthe islands' topographic profile is almost non-existent: according toclimate-change experts, the islands are under serious threat ofextinction if sea levels continue to rise.You have only to set foot on one of the many dots of earth that makeup this sublime necklace of islands to see that their slim land-mass isincapable of offering serious resistance to rising ocean levels. Lastmonth, in order to make this point as graphically as possible inadvance of December's Copenhagen climatechange conference, thepresident and government of the Maldives donned sub-aqua gear and helda well-publicised cabinet meeting underwater. Their bold effort tohighlight the country's serious plight was harshly dismissed in somequarters as a silly stunt.Perhaps it is the very fragility of the islands that accentuatestheir extraordinary, gentle beauty. Equally lovely are the Maldivianpeople, who are every bit as gentle and delightful as their serenecountry. The Maldives certainly struck a chord with me.I had been very busy starring in my show at the famous Crazy Horserevue in Paris, which is a city I have come to love. As a burlesqueartist, there are some countries that 'get' what I do and some thatdon't. France is a place that definitely understands me. They embraceshowgirls. American-born Josephine Baker, who famously danced nude inParis in the Twenties, was received so warmly - she was showered withawards by the French government - that she became a French citizen.I love Paris so much that I've just bought an apartment there, in alovely 17th Century building right in the middle of the city. I'm veryexcited about the chance to live abroad for the first time in my life.I love being in Paris more than anywhere else. There is something aboutthe beauty of the city that can't compare to anywhere else for me. Ifeel at ease and that somehow I really belong there.Immediately after my Paris run came to an end, I decided I needed atropical beach holiday. I developed a taste for the tropics last yearwhen I spent a few weeks in Thailand, hitting the destination spas in Phuket. It was a great experience. I loved being able to eat healthily, get massages, enjoy spa treatments and take yoga classes. When I take a break, I'm not interested in going out to party - I'm looking to have some quiet time out during which I aim to spiritually gather myself together.A lot of my friends kept telling me that I would love the Maldives and its spectacular resorts. I saw the brochure for Kanuhura with its fantastic over-water villas and I was promptly hooked. I was told that it attracted an eclectic clientele. Previous guests, for example, have included Celine Dion and Axl Rose, lead singer of the band Guns N' Roses. (Celine and Axl were not staying as a couple, one presumes.)And so I made my first visit to the Maldives. Kanuhura is located on the eastern rim of Lhaviyani Atoll, on its own private island. Like most Maldivian resorts, it offers laidback luxury, all provided with wonderful Maldivian charm.Simply getting to the resort is a fun adventure. I loved the 40-minute seaplane ride from Male airport to the resort. It was so exciting - one of the highlights of the trip. You get this fabulous, bird's-eye view of all the islands as you fly over them. I felt just like Peter Pan flying off to do battle with Captain Hook and the pirates.And then, suddenly, we were touching down on the calm sea next to Kanuhura.I was immediately struck by how much effort had gone into trying to retain the natural beauty of the island. Wherever possible, they have used only natural materials in the resort's construction.Kanuhura is surprisingly compact, measuring less than twothirds of a mile in length and about 200 yards wide. I knew immediately that it would suit me perfectly.When I'm on holiday, I'm looking to relax. People know me for always being dressed up, in high heels and wearing red lipstick.So I love it when, once in a while, I go somewhere I don't have to do all that - where I can just bury my naked feet in the warm sand and relax. I really look forward to doing this at least once a year.Most of my life is spent under a pale pink spotlight in pasties and G-string so I'm very bodyaware - I need to keep my figure. However, I'm not a big dieter. I definitely love delicious food but I use common sense. I avoid junk food and where possible choose to eat healthy, well-prepared meals. This seems to surprise a lot of people who are amazed to tell me that I 'eat like a normal person'.So one of the first things I was looking forward to on Kanuhura was to sample the food. As everybody had told me, it really was delicious. The food and the wine were another highlight of my visit.The resort boasts that it serves 'cuisines of unimaginable variety --food for romance, for relaxation, for the sheer pleasure of company'. I was genuinely surprised at the number of restaurants available in such a relatively small resort but it was really great to dine at a different venue in a different setting every night. One night it would be Italian, the next, Thai...wonderful.Thin Rah, the main restaurant, serves buffets for breakfast and dinner. The buffets are a work of art, especially the breakfast. My one regret was that I tended to sleep in too late to enjoy the amazing spread that was on offer every morning.I did, however, enjoy a fantastic dinner by the pool at the Olive Tree restaurant, which serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes. I also highly recommend the Veli Cafe, which has a deservedly high reputation for light, fresh Asian cuisine. Its signature dish is the tuna carpaccio with chilli ice.Though I like to relax on holiday, I don't put away my watch or mobile phone: I like to stay connected to the world. I'm happy sitting under my beach umbrella with my BlackBerry handy. I love taking holiday snapshots, which I then send to my friends and family so they can have a picture of where I am and can see what I'm doing.Kanuhura's over-water villas - a feature of many Maldivian resorts - were as wonderful as I'd hoped. Set along sun-bleached wooden pontoons, the villas have private sundecks and steps leading down to the water. Stepping into the clear, blue, warm sea water, alive with shoals of brightly coloured tropical fish, was pure bliss. I also loved my villa's huge outdoor bathroom which was incredible.At night, I loved lazing in the tub staring up open-mouthed at the stars filling the black sky like necklaces of sparkling diamonds.My main indulgence in the resort was wonderful massages and superb body treatments at the spa, all supplied by the brilliant, ever-attentive staff.The four-hand massage performed by two people was particularly good.I'm a bit of a massage snob --I'm very particular about them. I don't go in for the light-fingered stuff you find in fancy ladies' spas; I want a serious massage with some serious muscle manipulation. I do a lot of pilates so I'm used to a heavy physical workout.When I wasn't being pummelled, I was happy as a cat, just hanging out on the beach sitting under an umbrella or at the beach bar where guests can happily pass the time watching the weather change every five minutes.The highlight was the excellent band who played at the bar every evening and seemed to know every pop song ever written. Anything I requested they knew - they even knew all the words. My George Michael requests were performed in impeccable style. I loved their interpretations.Recently have been spending any holiday time I had at home in LA. I do so much travelling for my work that sometimes just staying at home and cooking my own food is a real treat. But I enjoy the business-of travel, even if it's for work. I feel very fortunate to do what I do for a living: my hobby has turned into a career, so I would never complain about all the flights and the different hotel rooms.I left Michigan when I was about 11. I don't often get the chance to go back but when I do, one of my favourite trips is to go to Mackinac Island in Lake Huron, which has been a tourist destination since the 19th Century-It's popular with writers and has been the location for several Hollywood films.There's something really special about this island: no cars are allowed, there are lots of horses. The scenery is breathtaking and the grand hotels are amazing. I feel grateful for having had the chance through work to travel around so much of the States. Most Americans never realise what a big and extraordinary country we live in. There are so many different landscapes, most of which change a lot from season to season.There are many places I haven't been to which I would love to visit. Top of my list are Bali and Hawaii. What appeals to me is finding a quiet beach where I can be me without all the make-up - just wandering around barefoot and completely relaxed.But when I do this, I find that something funny happens to me. While at first I get really excited about not having to wear make-up, my resolution quickly wavers. Day One: no make-up. Day two: I slap on a little bit of something. By Day Five my red lips are back on and I'm living the tropical dream holiday in full make-up.I have a feeling that if I were cast away like Robinson Crusoe on a desert island I would quickly find a way to manufacture make-up. I suppose I ought to admit that I just really enjoy putting it on. At heart, I'm a showgirl - even when I'm on holiday.Travel factsBritish Airways () has just launched a new direct service to Male, the Maldives airport, operating three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.Luxury Holidays Direct (020 8774 7299, ) offers seven nights at Kanuhura from 2,289, including accommodation in a beach villa with breakfast, return flights on Qatar Airways from Heathrow and seaplane transfers. ?Dressed-down Jenna Lyons and Lauren Hutton prove you don't need a ballgown to wow the fashion elite at CFDA Awards By PUBLISHED:22:34 GMT, 5 June 2012 UPDATED:06:32 GMT, 6 June 2012Amongst the plunging necklines, thigh-high slits and razzle-dazzle of the best dressed stars at last night's CFDA Awards, two women stood out from the crowd. Lauren Hutton and Jenna Lyons opted for a dressed-down look as they both walked the red carpet in boyish trouser suits and masculine tailoring.Ms Hutton arrived with the stars of the evening, the Olsen twins, clad in an all-cream ensemble courtesy of their label The Row, while Ms Lyons sported a combination of prints and patterns in blue and white from J Crew and Celine.Though a majority of the night's star-studded guest list chose fun cocktail gowns bold colours and flirty shapes, neither Ms Hutton nor Ms Lyons disappointed their fans with their original style.Fashion blogs like could only gush about Ms Lyons chic ensemble while Twitter users called Ms Hutton's style 'glorious' and 'awesome'. Ms Hutton, slender as always and radiant at 68, paired her cream suit with a pristine white T-shirt, similarly immaculate sneakers and a square, beige shoulder bag. Ms Lyons wore her trademark thick-framed glasses with blue and white striped and sequined trousers that evoked a maritime theme paired with the navy blue cocktail jacket and a periwinkle silk shirt. On her feet, playful red pumps added a hint of femininity to the look as she posed for photographers with friend Solange Knowles. She told Fashionista of her choice of outfit: 'I didn't actually think about [it] until this morning and then I was like, "I probably need to think a little harder."'The last minute planner added: 'I had the pants tailored today because they were a little big on me. We have an in house tailor and I called and said, "You know I haven’t actually figured out what I’m wearing so can we have somebody standing by"… The pants were delivered to my house as I was finishing my hair and make up.'But if it seems a little too much of a close call for some, for the J Crew creative director, the less time she has to plan an outfit the better.'I'm not so good if I plan because then I think about it too much and I over think it,' she confessed. ?England 1 France 1: This time it's Powell's Lionesses who suffer penalty heartbreak By UPDATED:22:37 GMT, 9 July 2011England's women now know exactly how their male counterparts feel after they suffered penalty heartache at the World Cup in the quarter-final here. Hope Powell's team were three minutesaway from beating France in normal after taking the lead following a moment of brilliance from Jill Scott, who scored a superb lofted effort in the 58th minute. However, France were rewarded for incessant pressure when Elise Bussaglia curled home a fantastic effort. Extra time failed to separate the sides but penalty misses from Claire Rafferty and captain Faye White ended England's hopes of a first semi-final appearance. White, one of the great ambassadors for the women's game, had returned to the side after being rested against Japan. The 33-year-old crumpled to the turf after missing the decisive kick in what was probably her last World Cup game. England coach Powell said her players were 'out on their feet' by the end of extra-time. 'It was a gallant effort but there were too many tired legs out there. France were the better team in the second half and we took a few knocks. We did well to take the game to penalties.' Scott added: 'We had been practising penalties but you can't practise a real game situation in a World Cup quarter-final. 'Overall to make the quarter- finals and take France to penalties has been a good achievement.' France's reserve goalkeeper Celine Deville, starting as Berangere Sapowicz was suspended, showed her nervesas England almost scored in the opening 20 seconds. Kelly Smith met Karen Carney's superbthrough-ball and rounded Deville, only for her goalbound effort to be blocked by Sabrina Viguier. But France unleashed barrage upon barrage of attacks and England keeper Karen Bardsley saved well from Goetane Thiney's fierce 20-yard drive in the 25th minute. Four minutes later, Faye White blocked a Marie-Laure Delie effort before Louisa Necib hit the back stanchion with a curling right-footed shot from the resulting corner. Bardsley tipped over a floating free-kick from Necib as half-time approached and skipper Sandrine Soubeyrand hit a hopeful effort that snuck wide as the French upped the ante. The second half started in much the same vein, with Necib, Thiney and Delie going close, but England broke the deadlock against the run of play through Scott. French heads seemed to drop, althoughthey continued to pepper the England goal as Necib and Elodie Thomis went close and Ellen White headed a Laure Lepailleur effort off the line. However, France were not to be denied as Bussaglia curled home a left-foot shot off the inside of a post in the 87th minute. The equaliser took the match into extra-time, in which Smith was a passenger due to injury, England having already used their subs. Ellen White's shot into the sidenetting was the only moment of note in the first period, while the second was punctuated by further knocks to England players. As the match went to penalties, Bardsley saved Camille Abily's kick, Rafferty dragged her effort wide and Faye White hit the bar. French coach Bruno Bini, who has steered his side to their first semi-final, said: 'We couldn't score because England defended with their lives but naturally I am happy.' ?The tyrant whose bribes denied Cliff Eurovision glory... and everything else you didn't know about our favourite cheesefestBy UPDATED:22:01 GMT, 28 April 2011The usual suspects are getting ready to do battle in Dusseldorf on May 14 for the annual kitsch-fest that is the Eurovision Song Contest. Rehearsals begin this weekend and already there have been sightings of exotic dancers, acrobats and camp conductors.And, of course, among them will be the all-important singers representing each of the 53 countries taking part.As always, the show will be held together by excited hosts with cheesy smiles and there are sure to be complaints of jury rigging, bloc-voting and political expediency. But that’s to be expected of a pop spectacle watched by 125 million viewers worldwide.Now, as a fascinating TV documentary lifts the lid on more than half a century of Eurovision’s secrets, we’ve unearthed 20 things you didn’t know about TV’s most loved — and loathed — talent show.1 The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland, on May 24, 1956, with seven countries taking part. Audience and contestants wore black tie and ballgowns and the only result revealed was the winner, the Swiss Lys Assia.2 A transmission fault stopped some countries viewing the 1958 Italian entry Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, so it had to be performed again. While the French won, the Italian ditty — known as Volare — became the most successful song in Eurovision history, recorded by Frank Sinatra, David Bowie and The Gipsy Kings.3 Soviet authorities built hundreds of jamming stations to block Western TV signals from reaching the Iron Curtain in the Fifties. But that didn’t stop pictures from Finnish TV or societies, such as the Eurovision Fan Club of Estonia, gathering to watch the competition in secret.4 The UK’s first victory was in 1967 with Sandie Shaw’s Puppet On A String. She later said: ‘I hated the song from the first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum. I was repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune.’ The BBC nearly fired her before the competition, after she was named in a divorce case between a TV executive and his model wife.5 The Eastern bloc countries imitated Eurovision by creating a contest of their own — the Sopot Song Festival in Poland. Because few viewers had telephones, they voted by turning the lights on in their homes when they liked a song. The state energy company recorded the size of the power spikes — and passed the result on to the TV station.6 The Spanish dictator General Franco ditched Joan Manuel Serrat from the 1968 show, as he wanted to sing in Catalan. Teenager Massiel replaced him and had nine days to learn her song La La La. It was alleged that Franco bribed Eastern European countries into voting for his entry, which beat Cliff Richard’s Congratulations by one vote. Cliff later said he hid in the loo during voting: ‘There’s no way I’d let 100 million people see me weep.’7 In 1969, France, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, represented by Lulu, all won. It caused such uproar that the next year Norway, Sweden, Portugal and Finland pulled out of the contest and a tie-break rule was introduced.8 The inclusion of Israel in the 1973 contest in Luxembourg prompted fears of terrorist attacks. The audience was advised to remain seated while applauding, to avoid being shot by security forces. Amid the chaos,Terry Wogan made his TV Eurovision debut.9 In 1973, an unknown Swedish band failed to qualify in their national contest. But they re-entered the next year with a song called Waterloo, making ABBA one of the few Eurovision acts to achieve international stardom.10 France pulled out of the 1974 Eurovision contest after the death of their president, Georges Pompidou, whose funeral was on the same day. In the same year, Italy refused to screen the competition on state TV, as Italian politicians felt the lyrics to their entry, Si (Yes, in English), could have a subliminal effect on an impending referendum on divorce.11 In 1978, during the Israeli entry, Jordan’s JRTV screened pictures of flowers. When it became clear Israel was going to win, JRTV stopped the transmission. Afterwards, Jordan refused to accept Israel’s victory, claiming the Belgians, who came second, had won.12 In 1979, before they found fame with the infectious Agadoo, Black Lace represented the UK in Jerusalem. Their song, Mary Ann, came ninth. The winner was Israel. 13 1981 saw the success of UK act Bucks Fizz, who stunned viewers with their Velcro rip-away skirts. Within 48 hours, Velcro had sold out across the country. Singer Cheryl Baker said: ‘A strip of Velcro changed my life.’14 Bucks Fizz’s antics caught on. In 1985 presenter Lill Lindfors’ skirt was pulled away by a nail on the stage set. It was a planned stunt, but the European Broadcasting Union didn’t find it funny and banned any such future ‘mistakes’.15 One year later, Belgium’s Sandra Kim became the youngest ever winner, aged 13. But in her song, J’aime La Vie, she claimed to be 15. Second place Switzerland petitioned for her disqualification, to no avail.16 The 1988 Swiss entry, Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi, was sung by a 19-year-old French Canadian called Celine Dion. In her autobiography, Celine said: ‘They asked me to represent a country that’s not even mine. “Would you represent us at the Eurovision Song Contest?” No pressure!’17 In 2003, a record-breaking 26 countries took part in the Latvian-hosted final. UK act Jemini came second and were the first UK act to get nul points. Their rivals included Russian lesbian duo t.A.T.u, and Austria’s Alf Poier who performed with stuffed animals.18 When Ukrainian singer Rusiana won in 2004, she was rewarded with a seat in Parliament. But the show had been beset with problems. Turkey’s national broadcaster TRT took a commercial break just as the Slovenian entry was about to be performed, so no one in Turkey heard it. And Turkish pop star Sertab Erener got her shoe stuck in a grille as she presented the winning trophy. 19 Held in Athens, the 2006 contest caught up with hard rock music. The winning song, Hard Rock Hallelujah by Finnish band Lordi, was a heavy metal number. In 2007, the trend carried on in Helsinki, Finland, when most entries were rock songs.20 The 2009 event in Moscow was won by Norway’s Alexander Rybak with a record-breaking 387 points. The UK’s Jade Ewen came fifth with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s song It’s My Time. Sadly it wasn’t.The Secret History Of Eurovision is on More4 on Saturday, May 7 at 9pm.?Fairy tale ending... Military dad interrupts reading class to surprise fourth-grade daughter after returning from AfghanistanPUBLISHED:14:53 GMT, 25 April 2012 UPDATED:16:27 GMT, 25 April 2012An everyday fourth-grade reading class in New Jersey was interrupted on Monday by a real-life fairy tale ending.Ten-year-old Celine Gonzalez and her school-mates were working on a class assignment when her dad made a surprise visit, having just returned from a seven-month posting in Afghanistan.Celine’s eyes grew wide, her jaw dropped and she began to cry after U.S. Air Force senior airman, Jorge Gonzalez, walked up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder then scooped her up in a bear hug. The heart-warming reunion was organised by Mennies Elementary School fourth-grade teacher, Bielenda Torrence, and Celine's mother, Olga Gonzalez, and captured on video by the .The fourth-graders had been told the TV cameras were filming a story about elementary schools.In shock, Celine covers her mouth with her hands and simply says 'oh my god'.Visibly emotional at the reunion, Gonzalez just smiles and says ‘hi baby, how are you?’ as he takes his youngest daughter in a tight embrace. Describing how she felt about her dad's return, Celine said she was 'really, really, really happy'.According to the , Celine knew her dad was coming this week but her mother hadn't told her when.Gonzalez said he had decorated his living quarters in Afghanistan with pictures of his children.Celine had written about the anguish of having to say goodbye to her dad back in October.The airman was called up as a munitions specialist with the Air Force’s National Guard 177th Fighter Wing, headquartered in Pomona.'I was not happy when I dropped him off at the airport with my mom,' she wrote, describing the event.'I was crying the whole way home and did not even talk for a while. I did not even know what to do with my life anymore'.Gonzalez missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Celine’s 10th birthday, while he was away. But the family was able to stay connected through email, phone calls and Skype.Celine's parents have signed her out of school for some family bonding time.Visit msnbc.com for , , and ?Fashion for life: I think I'm falling in love…By UPDATED:16:32 GMT, 2 September 2010I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it, I’m about to lose control and I think…erm, do excuse me. Went all Pointer Sisters for a mo there – but the truth is I am excited. I always get like this at the tail end of August. It’s an annual fizz fest, and all because the autumn fashion season is in and we are away!Love the sun as I do, there’s something a bit wishy-washy about summer clothes. There’s not much to them. You don’t get a lot in the way of layering, the silhouette is spare, the options, when it’s 30 degrees and you’re off to the pool, are fairly limited. But the winter season – yay! – is rich with potential. All those textures and colours and delectable possibilities.This winter is, in my view, a classic – following on from a great summer stretch. Now it’s time to put away those foolish things and get serious about exactly what you’re going to invest in for the months ahead. Here then is my stick-to-the-fridge guide (Part 1) to get you from here to there in a trice.COLOUR Fashion folk are wont to bang on about ‘autumnal tones’, by which they really mean hedgerow colours (loden, peat, moss, hedgehog, snail) and berry shades (black, tay, logan, bil, rasp). These have long been the mainstay of winter dressing, but this season, you need to keep your eye firmly fixed on camel and navy. Or navy and camel. Either way is good. If you fancy flinging a splash of hot-orange at everything, feel free. Personally, I think an expensive camel coat could well be the buy of the season. Celine, obviously. But I might just settle for the gorgeous version at M&S (from time to time, as here, they get these classics on the nose).A camel coat is the buy of the season, and trousers have a developed a new kick in the hemFABRICS There is always a must-have material, and this season, it’s sheepskin, or ‘shearling’ if you want to sound knowledgeable and mildly pedantic. The best iteration of this is the aviator flying jacket, as seen on the catwalk at Burberry and as coveted by every second woman in the world right now. If you are going for it, go now, this instant, weather be damned, as this trend may well burn out fast through sheer over-exposure. They’ll be in every last store come mid-September, so you can pretty much plot your spend now. Burberry: . Wallis: .SHAPES Trousers, blissfully, have developed a new kick in the hem, which means we’re roughly back with the boot-cut pant. This is terrific news for anyone who has struggled with the skinny shape which made our legs look like organic root vegetables. Take inspiration from Balmain and Celine to get the shape in mind, then gallop off to hunt down a pair of kick flares in your own price zone. If this happens to be in Balmain or Celine, so much the better. You may want to debate the purchase of a double-breasted jacket to go with it. Up to you, but I doubt you’ll regret it, even if it looks odd-on-the-eye at the outset.Yes, yes, there are dresses too, of course (50s prom style) and skirts (maxi) – but we’ll come to these in Part 2, in the weeks ahead. For now, concentrate on those colours, those trousers, that coat. Exciting, eh?Kick of the cropJ Brand’s Gigis are the perfect jeans to take you from summer to autumn. A cropped kick-flare silhouette that was also seen looking fabulous on the autumn/winter catwalks at both Prada and 3.1 Phillip Lim, they cost 180, from Trilogy, tel: 020 7730 6515.RUSSE HOURInspired by the V&A’s autumn exhibition Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909-1929, fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu has created a silk scarf incorporating original costume designs for the ballet Narcisse in 1911.SCARF, 185, Erdem for the V&A Shop, tel: 020 7942 2696 They're darling!BOOTs, 330, Hogan, tel: 020 7245 6363?Fashion for life: Please do adjust the volumeBy UPDATED:20:00 GMT, 27 March 2010 Ah, what a tangled web we weave, we women obsessed by fashion. We know, as if by instinct, by the exertion of some visceral tug right there in the fist of our soul, when something looks right (good), when it looks ‘off’ (better) and when it looks plain wrong (very bad indeed). It’s as if our eye is constantly assessing, negotiating and recalibrating, taking in the taste of a trend, sniffing the air for a fabric, a texture, a top or a tux that suddenly looks fabulous. It might be Lily Allen’s fringe or Alexa Chung’s high-tops. It may be the way Suzette at the school gates wears her scarf or uses heavy kohl to get those flirty eyes. Either way, we’re hooked.Take a step back, as I always do, and you soon discover that any directional change is more often than not down to a shift in shape. It is our silhouette, the shadow we throw, that governs the way we dress. Think of the trends we’ve loved of late: skinny jeans, wicked platforms, shoulder pads, peplums. Or famous looks through the decades: miniskirts and neat bobs, voluminous loon pants and centre-partings, pencil skirts and backcombing, whatever. In the end, it all comes down to volume – exaggerated or rationed. This season is no different. If you want to get a handle on how to dress this spring, I’ll doodle a shape for you. First off, you need to know that the triangle you’ve been wearing of late has flipped. Where once you wanted substantial shoulders funnelling down into a skinny skirt, now you want the inverse. Bang goes the pencil skirt. Swap it for an A-line, as seen at Celine and Chanel, and you will look immediately du jour. Your shoulders, of course, need to perform a similar trick (wearing a bold shoulder with an A-line skirt will make you look like a chess queen, which is not advisable in any season).A bold shoulder with an A-line skirt will make you look like a chess queen, which is not advisable in any seasonNow you’ve got your torso in hand, let’s travel south and hit the floor. Here you will find a momentous shift, and one which you’d do well to heed if you want to look even vaguely on the money in the coming months. In short, your heels have to shrink. They need to be lower, slimmer, less boxy. All those porny cage shoes should be shoved into a dark corner and ignored for the foreseeable. Replace with wedges (yes), but low wedges, of the variety shown at Stella McCartney. Or a kitten heel, as seen at Missoni, Marni, Vuitton and Jimmy Choo. Newcomers may feel a bit First Lady to start with, given that this is the heel of choice for Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and anyone else with a tendency to loom over their husband like an Anglepoise lamp. There is one final shape shifter for spring, and something you may overlook: your belt. It should be slim. In tan leather. Perhaps from Jil Sander at Uniqlo. And we should all learn, suggests Vogue, ‘the new buckle, twist and knot technique’. Subtle? You bet. Silly? Quite probably. But I know how I’m going to be wearing my belt this season.OOH LA LAUREN!Uber-brand Ralph Lauren is opening its largest-ever store in the stylish Paris suburb of St Germain. With six floors, including one dedicated to watches and one to one-off vintage pieces, it’s set to be the label’s most impressive yet. If you don’t have time to pop across the channel to see it for yourself, you could console yourself with this Ralph Lauren saddle bag, created to mark the Continental opening (although a trip on Eurostar may be easier on the credit card).SUPER TROUPERS Jamaican-born designer Jessica Ogden has collaborated with quintessentially Britishfootwear brand F-Troupe to create a sweet, whimsical collection inspired by the seaside. The range includes rosette-adorned satin pumps and embellished gingham sandals.For stockists, tel: 020 7727 0946, f-troupe.com.They’re darling! TRAINERS, 120, Missoni for Converse, tel: 020 7823 1910 ?Fashion for life: Why we all look better in the fleshBy UPDATED:19:00 GMT, 17 April 2010I’m very excited. Apparently, there’s a ‘new neutral’ in town. To many, this may seem a mere trifle, but to a woman like me – wedded to the old neutrals of navy, grey, black and white – this is thrilling news indeed. A ‘neutral’, if you’re only at Key Stage One of your fashion studies, is a colour that sits well with pretty much anything you throw at it. As a rule, neutrals are impartial. Noncommittal. Like Switzerland. They’re the friend who only orders half a lager because they’re driving and always brushes their teeth between meals. Wearing neutrals is, by definition, a mid-range way of going about one’s day. It smacks of safety belts and not making a fuss if someone steps on your toe. While other colours are busy making chat-stopping entrances and grand gestures – the primaries, the neons, the florals and the impossibly rowdy tartans – black is quietly communing with tan, and grey with navy, to produce something altogether more sophisticated.And so, to all my neutral buddies out there, a moment: this season, the new neutral is nude. Flesh. Skin. At a push, blush. The idea takes its lead from lingerie – from all those pale, flattering silks in old gold, ros, honey, coffee, caramel and toffee which are currently doing the rounds. These are the prime tones of today, and the glory of them all is that they’ll love the skin you’re in. Such colours can butter up even the most sullen complexion – you simply need to play around until you hit upon the shade that suits you best. Old gold, ros, honey, coffee, caramel and toffee…these neutrals can butter up even the most sullen complexionThe mood is best distilled in Chanel’s nail varnish du jour – the quite delightful Particulire, which is presently gracing my toenails. It’s the shade you’d get if you whizzed together cement, cappuccino and a spoonful of hummus in a liquidiser. It is the neutral of neutrals, a taupe that is bang on the money for spring 2010. It’s also very hard to get your paws on. I bought mine on eBay, after a very dramatic last-ditch bid in the closing seconds of the auction – which was terrifically gripping for someone otherwise ensconced in neutral behaviour. A neutral can also, alas, be dispassionate and inert, which is not exactly sexy. You need, therefore, to think very carefully about shapes, fabrics and silhouettes, not just colours. Go for items with a kick in the tail, to propel you out of the dusty doldrums and into the dizzy heights. Something transparent. Something clingy. Something covetable and cultivated that your friends will crave. For an object lesson in how to go about it, start your quest at Celine, where Phoebe Philo executed the new neutrals with exceptional class and skill. Elsewhere, the mild khakis at Chlo performed a similar function, while the fairy tulles at Chanel, Fendi and Givenchy were the stuff of dreams. You’ll find these colours have filtered down to the high street now – to Jaeger and Wallis and Karen Millen and H&M. Look out for soft nude draping ( la Burberry), body-con lingerie dresses ( la Gaultier), suede in pale caf au lait (like D&G and Loewe)… All fab. All neutral. All very, very chic, without hoo-ha or hullabaloo.JOIN THE FOLDHigh-street hero Oasis has harnessed the talents of two textile students for its Paper Dolls capsule collection. Claire McInally (Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design) and Jenny Neill (Edinburgh College of Art) were inspired by architectural forms and fabric folding when devising this covetable cache. On sale 3 May. BRIGHT AND BEAZIECalling all jewellery junkies! Beazie Roberts is becoming one of the hottest names on the British fine jewellery scene, with her pineapple pendant (left) already adorning many an A-list neck. This gold and yellow-sapphire-studded bauble doesn’t come cheap, but we’re cheered at the news of a purse-friendly diffusion range in the pipeline. Watch this space!NECKLACE, 2,900, Beazie Roberts, beazieroberts.comIt’s darling!CARDIGAN, 319, Sonia Rykiel, from Fenwick, tel: 020 7629 9161?Fashion special: Coat check By UPDATED:19:00 GMT, 24 September 2011A hot pop of colour or a cape escape? Utility chic or uber-glam? Meet autumn’s four crucial cover-ups Celine (left) and Burberry Prorsum I will revive ...1940s haughty, 70s sass – revel in the retro romance 1970s at Chloe (left) and 1940s at Miu Miu ?By UPDATED:06:45 GMT, 4 May 2009ABOVE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Peachsilk vest top, 195, Emilia Wickstead, 020 7581 8051. Fuchsia silkorganza skirt, 475, Celine at www.netaporter.com Patent sandals withPerspex heels, 660, Jimmy Choo, as before Top,59, Banana Republic, 020 7758 3550. Trousers, 300, Matthew Williamson,020 7629 6200. Slingbacks, 545, Gina, 020 7409 7090. Bangles, 15,Freedom at Topshop, 01277 844 476 Turquoise and royal blue silk bubbledress, 229, Paul Smith at Fenwick, as before. Ribbon necklace, 45,Adele Marie at Fenwick, as before. Turquoise leather platforms 560,Gina, as beforeABOVE, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Lemon chiffon pleated dress, 95, Banana Republic, as before. Lime crop cardigan with corsage, 140, Nanette Lepore, 020 7221 8889. Yellow and green patent sandals, 660, Jimmy Choo, 020 7823 1051 Coraltiered maxi dress, 171, Theory and red patent wedges, 371, Terry deHavilland, www. mywardrobe.com Beads, 12, and bracelets, 15 each,Freedom at Topshop, as beforeJumper, 99, John Smedley at Fenwick, 020 7629 9161. Skirt with belt, 89, Reiss, 020 7473 9630. Peep-toes, 75, Jones, 0800 163 519 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Deputy Fashion Editor: Camilla Ridley-DayPictures: David VenniMakeup: Katie at www.slap.uk.com using Sisley Hair: Simon Izzard at DW Management ?First look at Celine Dion's $20m Florida waterpark mansion that boasts slides, bridges and even a lazy riverBy UPDATED:12:56 GMT, 8 June 2010After Titanic, you'd have thought that Celine Dion would be sick of the sight of water.But it seems she can't actually get enough of the stuff, as shown by these pictures of the aquatic additions to the multi-million dollar Florida mansion that goes on and on.The pregnant singer, 42, had the waterpark constructed on the $20million (13.9million) home, which she shares with husband Rene Angelil, 68, and their nine-year-old son Rene Charles.The lavish pool system uses 500,000 gallons of water and includes two swimming pools, two water slides and a lazy river, which has a slow current to carry bathers around the pool.Celine, whose signature song is My Heart Will Go On, the theme from the 1998 film Titanic, splashed out several million dollars on the aquatic wonderland at her home, which bought for $12.5million (8.6million) in 2005.And if it proves not to be enough water for the singer, who is expecting twins at the end of this year, she can always take a short walk down to the beach, as the house overlooks the Atlantic. The mansion is on Jupiter Island, which is where some of the wealthiest people in the US live, including disgraced golfer Tiger Woods.Celine's house, which is is a whopping 9,825 square feet, lies on 5.7acres that contains an underground garage.The mansion also boasts eight bedrooms splitup in two guest rooms, a 460-square feet wardrobe, and a gym in the beach-side cabana.And while she is probably thrilled to bits with her water-themed back garden, it's not exactly gone down well with her neighbours. According to reports in the States,Celine angered her local community when she used up all the fresh watersupply on the island, which led to a drought and water restrictions in thearea.Celine was fined for the massive use of water and in an attempt to appease her neighbours, had six wells constructed on the property to store enough water to keep the pipespumping the 6.5million gallons needed for the park each year.But even that hasn't pacified the locals who, according to the National Enquirer, are furious she was even granted permission to have thewells built.They are also concerned about the damage her actionswill have on the environment, with one angry neighbour saying: 'I don't know how she got the well permits.The government is usually pretty restrictive with stuff like that!' ?Happy Father's Day: A foray into France for wine and mustard in beautiful BurgundyBy UPDATED:08:46 GMT, 23 June 2010My father hasn't been on holiday for 15 years - so we have good reason to raise a celebratory glass. And it helps that we are in Burgundy, one of france's premier wine-producing regions, and that my father is marking his 71st birthday.We are on a day trip and the going has been remarkably easy. This great region of France is five hours from London St Pancras by Eurostar and TGV, with a short metro hop across Paris in between. No queues, no hassle and no volcanic ash-inspired delays.Burgundy is the taste capital of France, and everywhere is bursting with flavours. At our first tasting, we encounter, in quick succession, a blend with blackcurrants, hints of honey and balsamic vinegar and a spicy ginger punch. Marc Desarmenien, general manager of Fallot, explains how the terrain, natural resources and climate combine to affect the character of the products we are sampling. Yes, we are in the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producing heart of France's wine trade, but, for the moment, we're not talking vin with Monsieur Desarmenien. This tasting is dedicated to Burgundy's other culinary world-beater: mustard.'As a moutardier, I'm looking for a rich-yellow hue and a strong, not spicy, taste,' says Marc, resplendent in white lab coat. 'A winemaker seeks subtlety, but I'm more concerned with the combination of flavours.' Marc's grandfather founded the Fallot mustard mill in 1928 and it now produces some 85,000 tons of the stuff per year.It is the only one left of 30 mills from Burgundy's mustard-producing peak. The honey and balsamic vinegar blend recently won him a contract with Waitrose.We had started our visit in the wine town of Beaune, indulging dad's interest in heritage with a guided tour of the 15th-century Hotel-Dieu.Built by Burgundian duke Nicolas Rolin as a perceived way to secure a place in heaven, the lavishly designed former hospice has been a place of healing since the Middle Ages. Part of the complex is still a working retirement home. I spy father eyeing up one of the attractive rooms with shuttered windows in the flower-strewn garden. Less appealing is a collection of ceramic jars of traditional cures in the old pharmacy.'Should I try the theriac?' That's a paste of herbs, snake skin and opium - a dose of which was traditionally given to every new arrival. ' No, Dad, I think not.'After a homely lunch of ham terrine, beef tongue and creme caramel at a local bistro, plus the obligatory glass of something fruity and fragrant, we make our way through the historic, cobbled streets of Beaune to Sensation Vin, a wine cellar-cum-classroom.The owners left the wine trade some four years ago to set up a cellar where anyone with an interest in Burgundy can do a one-hour course in wine appreciation. It includes a blind tasting of six local wines.'People are afraid of stuffy tastings at local wine cellars. It can be intimidating, so we try to demystify the process,' says co-owner Celine Dandelot. We take our seats at a lightbox-style tasting table and watch the introductory briefing on the wall-mounted TV as Celine uncorks the bottles.Burgundy's five wine-producing regions, we learn, produce 200 million bottles a year - one-third red, two-thirds white, split into four categories: grand cru, premier cru, village and region.'We simply look at colour, smell and taste, repeating the same three tests for each of the six wines,' says Celine. 'You can tell the age of a wine from its colour and aroma. By tasting, we identify its characteristics.''Do we drink it?' asks dad, eyeing the spittoons suspiciously. Non, papa. After only a few minutes, we're plotting the wines on a Venn diagram, ranging from young wines with a floral nose and high acidity to mature ones with cooked-fruit aromas and higher tannin levels.Best of all, the laid-back ambience takes the stiltedness out of the tasting. A summer breeze ruffles the sun-basking landscape as we head north to Dijon later that day, following the Route des Grands Crus that cuts a swathe through the heart of the Cotes de Nuits slopes.As we trundle along country lanes, battalions of vines stand to attention. Isolated stone worksheds spring from the hillsides. Plots of land, marked by weather-aged walls, are interspersed by proud stone crosses, standing sentinel by the roadside. Burgundy has around 70,000 acres under vine - the landscape is dripping with slow-maturing grapes. After a hearty dinner and a good night's sleep in the newly re-styled rooms at the Hotel La Cloche in Dijon, we set out next morning to explore the city.Catching the free, city-circling shuttle bus to the stately main square, Place de la Liberation, with its pavement cafes and dancing fountains, is a cinch.We spend a morning weaving through historic passageways, marvelling at the traditional produce for sale in the covered market and indulging in some people watching.There's time for souvenir hunting, too: tasty Burgundy gingerbread biscuits from the Rose de Vergy patisserie and a dainty, ceramic mustard pot from Boutique Maille, Dijon's celebrated shrine to mustard.Those of more adventurous palate can even try a chocolate and Belgian wafer-flavoured mustard. My father revels in the food, wine, culture and gently mooching around one of France's most attractive regions. Me, too. I think our Father's Day excursion should become an annual event.Travel FactsRail Europe (0844 848 4070, www.raileurope.co.uk) has return fares to Dijon from 89pp.Hotel Sofitel la Cloche, Dijon (00 33 3 80 30 12 32, www.hotellacloche.com) has double rooms from 185 in June.The Fallot Mustard Factory, Beaune (00 33 3 80 22 10 02, www.fallot.com) has guided tours from 8, including a tasting.Sensation Vin, Beaune (00 33 3 80 22 17 57, www.sensation-vin.com) offers wine-tasting courses from 9.More info from Burgundy Tourism (00 33 3 80 28 02 80, www.bourgogne-tourisme.com). ?Geri Halliwell has an underwear malfunction as she returns from Paris Fashion WeekBy UPDATED:08:04 GMT, 4 October 2010Sitting on the front row at Paris Fashion Week, Geri Halliwell had not a hair out of place.But as she rushed home to be with daughter Bluebell, it seemed the busy working mother suffered a wardrobe malfunction.Geri was seen hurriedly adjusting her underwear as she raced to catch the Eurostar at the Gare du Nord in Paris. Dressed down in denim shorts worn over woolly tights, with a simple vest top, she appeared to have trouble with her strapless bra slipping down.It was a different story the previous day when she attended the Viktor & Rolf Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2011 show in the Jardin des Tuileries. Geri was perfectly coiffed in a black and white off the shoulder dress, worn with laced boots.She watched as the designers showed their on-trend collection which centered on that perennial cool-girl staple - the boyfriend's oversized button-down shirt - and towering meringue-like shoulders big enough to make any eighties prom queen blush. Elsewhere at Jean Paul Gaultier proved punk is still alive and kicking as he sent out Joan Jetts in spiky wigs and rose-emblazoned jean jackets.Bunuel's classic film about the perversion of France's moneyed elite, The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie, was in the air at Azzaro, a Paris house that has made classy clothing with an undercurrent of perversion its trademark. Designer Vanessa Seward served up sweet little-girl frocks with oversized ruffles at the neck and hemlines. Worn on grown women, though, the abbreviated dresses lost a lot of their sweet innocence.Sonia Rykiel flaunted an overall Paris tendency toward neutrals and whites with a rainbow-hued collection of color-blocked sweaterdresses. A convincing, if not groundbreaking, collection from the label that earned the title of 'Queen of Knitwear' more than four decades ago.After the shows, the fashion elite flocked en masse to a party in honor of Chanel uber-designer Karl Lagerfeld's collaboration with sporty Italian shoemaker Hogan. Karl was in attendance, as were anyone who's anyone in the fashion world. The ponytailed designer regaled the well-heeled crown with a short black-and-white film about love and trust among models decked out in Hogan. ?Girl, 10, heartbroken after top grammar school offers her a place... then says it 'made a mistake' By UPDATED:19:40 GMT, 20 October 2008 Staff at a top grammar school left a ten-year-old girl heartbroken after mistakenly telling her she had passed their entrance exam.Celine Coffey spent four days 'on cloud nine', telling family and friends she was going to Loreto Grammar School for Girls in Altrincham, Cheshire.But her joy turned to despair when it emerged staff had wrongly posted a letter saying she had passed when she had actually failed. Celine Coffey, ten, with her parents David and Caroline. She is holding the letter which said she passed the entrance exam The error began to unravel when she told her teacher at St Hugh's Catholic primary in Timperley, near Altrincham, that she had been given a place at Loreto.When the teacher failed to respond, Celine suspected something was wrong.Celine's mum Caroline was called into school and told by staff her daughter was not on a list of pupils who had passed the entrance exam.Caroline rang Loreto and was told there had been an 'admin error'.The school, praised as outstanding by Ofsted in 2005, had posted the wrong letter.Instead of sending Celine a letter saying she 'had not reached the standard', she was sent one saying she had performed well and was eligible for a place.Celine, who had not expected to pass, was delighted when she received the original letter.She told all her family and friends, and by the following day had posted back the tear-off slip accepting the offer of a place at the school. Now she will go to Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham, where her 12-year-old brother Michael is a pupil.Celine said: 'It's terrible. I was really excited. I told all my friends I was going.' Celine's dad, David Coffey, 43, a building inspector, said: 'We were all on cloud nine. She would have been the first Coffey to go to grammar school for five generations.' Loreto head Jane Beever said: 'Our hearts go out to the child concerned and we have taken steps to ensure that such an unfortunate mistake cannot happen again.' ?Grammy Awards: The good, the bad and the frankly bizarre (yes Lady GaGa) on the red carpetBy UPDATED:19:30 GMT, 5 February 2010The Grammy Awards is the biggest night of the year on the music calendar when the A-listers pull out all the stops on the red carpet.And this year's star-studded bash in Los Angeles didn't disappoint with stars including Beyonce Knowles, Lady GaGa, Pink and Taylor Swift making an impression - both good and bad - as they arrived at the bash.Lady GaGa, who opened the awards with a performance of her mega-hit Poker Face, wore a jaw-dropping, celestial Armani Prive lilac gown with bejewelled platform heels.She completed her typically wacky ensemble with a spiked star sculpture made of metal and two tone blonde curls.Newly-engaged Katy Perry went for the dominant colour of the evening as she showed off her figure in a nude and gold floor-length Zac Posen gown.She accessorised her outfit with a jewelled Judith Leiber clutch bag and fianc Russell Brand on her arm. Like Lady GaGa and Beyonce, teenage country singer Taylor Swift sported several different looks last night.After arriving on the red carpet in an off-the-shoulder shimmeringKaufmanfranco blue gown, the 19-year-old changed into a simple nude gown to collect some of her awards during the pre-awards telecast.However former teen queen BritneySpears, who leaped to fame 10 years ago, committed a fashion no-no inher sheer, lace Dolce & Gabbana dress over a black bodysuit. Legging it: (L-R) Miley Cyrus in a panelled teal Herve Leger by Maz Azria dress, Britney Spears in a sheer Dolce & Gabbana gown and black bodysuit and Fergie looked sexy in a cobalt blue Emilio Pucci mini-dressThe singer jetted in from recording new album in Miami to attend the bash with her agent boyfriend Jason Trawick.While many stars were going for typicalfloor-length couture, some famous females crossed the red carpetboundaries with their extremely high hemlines.Jennifer Lopez managed to accomplishboth floor-length and a mini with her bizarre Versace gold dress with awhite panelled front and side, giving the photographers a glimpse ofonly one of her toned legs. Dazzling divas: (L-R) Heidi Klum in Gucci, newcomer Ke$ha went for a gold, fringed flapper girl dress, while Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton sizzled in silver and pinkAnd of course, given the title ofher latest single 'Louboutins', she was wearing a pair of whiteChristian Louboutin peep-toe heels.Miley Cyrus shrugged off her teen queen persona in teal panelled Herve Leger by Maz Azria dress and gladiator heels.After weeks of promoting her actingstints in the movie Nine, Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie was back whereshe belonged showing off her fabulous legs in a cobalt blue EmilioPucci dress. Going to the dark side: (L-R) Singer/actress Jennifer Hudson in a Victoria Beckham dress, soul singer India.Arie wore a shimmery floor-length gown while Glee actress Lea Michele kept it short and sexy in a feathered, asymmetrical Romona Keveza mini dress Floor-length and fabulous: (L-R) R&B singer Mya shimmered in a low cut silver dress, Pink wore a strapless fishtail number, while Keri Hilson wore a pink Dolce & Gabbana mermaid gown Pretty in pale: (L-R) Country singer Carrie Underwood in Georges Charka, Victoria's Secret model Marisa Miller in a vintage Gucci mini and actress Phoebe Price in a bizarre silvery shell dress ?Ladies' Night at the Grammys: Beyonc picks up record six awards (and Taylor Swift is the youngest ever winner with four)By UPDATED:19:28 GMT, 5 February 2010It was Ladies' Night at the Grammy Awards as Beyonc scooped six awards - a record for a female artist.The R & B superstar, who won five awards in 2004 for her debut album Dangerously In Love, went one better this year.And she would have won seven awards if her husband Jay-Z had not beaten her in the rap/sung category.SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH VIDEO OF BEYONCE PERFORMINGHe ended up with three Grammysoverall, taking his career haul to 10. While Beyonc's career tally rose to16, including three with her former group Destiny's Child.The Single Ladies singer had tennominations and walked away with trophies for Song Of The Year, BestFemale Pop Vocal Performance, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance,Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, Best R&B Song, and BestContemporary R&B Album.'This has been such an amazing night for me,' she said.'I'd like to thank my family including my husband, I love you,' she added, referring to rapper Jay-Z. Everyone'sa winner: Last year she was beaten up by her ex-boyfriend Chris Brownahead of the ceremony but last night, Rihanna returned to pick up anaward for Best Rap/Sung collaboration, Run This Town, with Jay-ZBeyonc later gave a typicallyenergetic performance as she hit the stage with her hit If I Were A Boy.But the 28-year-old missed out on the album of theyear, after Taylor Swift became the youngest artist to win the coveted Grammy.In doing so Taylorbroke a record held since 1996 by Alanis Morissette, who was 21 whenshe won for Jagged Little Pill, an album with decidedly more adultcontent.The 20-year-old was also the first solofemale country winner ever of the award, and the first female popwinner since Celine Dion won in 1997 for Falling Into You.We salute you: Beyonce won six Grammys at last night's awards Shealso won the Grammy for best country album, and a pair of awards forher song White Horse - female country vocal performance and bestcountry song.Backstage, Swift told reporters that despite her crossover success in the pop field, she still considered country music her first love.'Country music is absolutely going to be my home because of the stories that are told within country music,' she said.The televised ceremony was packedwith diverse performances, since 100 of the 109 categories wereannounced during a low-profile ceremony earlier in the day.Performance: Pink is suspended by a white sling as she sings her track Glitter in the Air at the Grammy AwardsBeyonc and Taylor's triumphs came on a nightdominated by pop's female stars, with Pink breaking all the boundarieswith a stunning performance.The singer descended from the ceiling wearing a skin-coloured catsuit to perform her song Glitter in the Air.She was suspended in a white sling underneath her dancers, who wore just gold bikinis and body paint. Skin-coloured: Pink wore a skin tone catsuit on stage with handily placed silver sequins BeforePink even took to the stage the PA at the ceremony at the StaplesCenter warned people in the audience to beware and Pink did notdisappoint as she sang and span at the same time.At one stage Pink turned into a giant sprinkler system as she showered people in the front row seats with water.Lady Gaga had earlier got the show off to a sizzling start with an eye-popping performance with Elton John.Show stopper: Lady Gaga in a green sequined outfit performs her hit Poker Face to kick off the awards Duel: The singer performs with Elton John on a pair of pianos covered in clawed handsThe singer, who won two awards afterbeing nominated for five, kicked off the night in a sequinned greenleotard with massive shoulder pads as she sang her hit Poker Faceduring an elaborate show including pyrotechnics and dramaticchoreography.Then EltonJohn appeared as they melded her song Speechless and his classic YourSong together in a performance that featured duelling pianos covered inclawed hands and glitter-painted faces. As usual, Lady Gaga didn'tdisappoint fans of her eclectic outfits as she enjoyed several costumechanges throughout her performance. Eclectic: GaGa delighted with several outfit changes on the night, and she took home two awardsHer debut album The Fame picked up best dance/electronic album and smash hit single Poker Face took best dance recording.The awards also saw a special effects-laden 3D tribute to the late Michael Jackson and a lifetime achievement award for the King of Pop.His children, Prince Michael, 12, and Paris, 11, appeared on stage after the tribute to accept a lifetime achievement award for the pop star, who died in June of a prescription drug overdose.Good glasses: Juelz Knowles, Beyonce and Jay-Z enjoy a 3D tribute to Michael JacksonCarrieUnderwood, Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson and Usherperformed in the tribute, mixing their voices with Michael Jackson'sagainst a backdrop of his 1995 track Earth Song.Tennessee rock band Kings of Leon, were the surprise winners of Record Of The Year for their pop-radio hit Use Somebody.The band, long more popularinternationally, finally achieved mainstream success in the UnitedStates last year with the hit. Brothers Caleb, Nathan and JaredFollowill and their cousin Matthew Followill also won a pair of Grammysin the rock field for the song, taking their career haul to four.Country combo the Zac Brown Band was named best new artist as expected.The Atlanta-based group becomes the first band to win the award since2005.The popular concert draw released its debut album in 2004, but did notachieve national prominence until 2008 when it released its major-labeldebut The Foundation, which peaked at No. 17 on the U.S. pop chart.Mary J. Blige and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli earned a standingovation for their version of Bridge Over Troubled Water, performed asa fundraising tribute to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. The song went on sale at iTunes immediately afterwards.Triumph: Kings of Leon hold up their awards, including Record Of The Year The winners:BEST NEW ARTIST - Zac Brown BandBEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE - Halo - BeyoncBEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE - If You Don't Know Me By Now - SealBEST POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCALS - I Gotta Feeling - The Black Eyed PeasBEST POP VOCAL ALBUM - The E.N.D. - The Black Eyed PeasBEST DANCE RECORDING - Poker Face - Lady GagaBEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM - Michael Buble Meets Madison Square Garden - Michael BubleBEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE - Working On A Dream - Bruce SpringsteenBEST ROCK ALBUM - 21st Century Breakdown - Green DayBEST RAP SONG - Run This Town - Jeff Bhasker, Shawn Carter, Robyn Fenty, Kanye West & Ernest Wilson, songwriters (Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West)BEST FEMALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE- White Horse - Taylor SwiftBEST MALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE - Sweet Thing - Keith Urban?Michael Jackson's children Prince and Paris steal the show at the Grammy Awards By UPDATED:19:32 GMT, 5 February 2010It was a stand-out moment that many considered to be the highlight of the Grammy Awards - and one that the rest of the night's performers were hard-pushed to top.Michael Jackson's children Prince Michael and Paris took to the stage at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles to accept the lifetime achievement award on their father's behalf. Although they've spent most of their brief lives shielded from the outside world, their performance in front of the star-studded audience showed the last thing they are lacking is confidence. Accompanied by three of their cousins, Prince Michael, 12, and11-year-old Paris wore black suits with red armbands and red stripesdown the seam of their trousers in tribute to their pop superstarfather.Theshow-stopping appearance was punctuated by a speech by his eldest childwho, looking remarkably mature, thanked Jackson's fans for theirsupport.Prince told the audience: 'We are proud to behere to accept this award on behalf of our father, Michael Jackson.First of all we'd like to thank God for watching over us these lastseven months and our grandma and grandpa for their love and support.'We'd also like to thank the fans, our father loved you so much because you were always there for him.'Our father was always concerned about the planet and humanity,through all his hard work and dedication he has helped through manycharities and donated to all of them.'Through all his songs, his message was simple: love. 'We will continue to spread his message and help the world.'Moments before the youngsters stepped on stage, Lionel Richieintroduced a tribute to Jackson, which began with a powerhousecollaboration, including Celine Dion and Smokey Robinson, who sangJackson's Earth Song.A special 3D video montage accompanied the rousing performance -the special film was made for the King Of Pop's This Is It series ofLondon concerts. Audience members, including the many celebrityguests, sported 3D glasses to watch scenes of nature and children asthe five singers sang the emotive Jackson hit. ?Hair-raising: Celine Dion takes to the stage with furry legsLast updated at 08:43 11 March 2008Her face had been carefully made up, nails polished and outfitprimped just so, but Celine Dion forgot one important thing beforeperforming in Toyko over the weekend.It appeared the My Heart Will Go On singer had forgotten to waxher legs, with severe back lighting revealing their rather hairystate as she strutted around the stage.But despite the grooming oversight, she succeeded in wowing thecrowd with a typically dazzling performance.Scroll down for more...The French Canadian star recently started out on an extensiveworld tour after wrapping her five-year stint at the CaesarsPalace, Las Vegas in December.During her time in Vegas, her show A New Day, which opened inMarch 2003, grossed more than £200million.But the star, who turns 40 later this month, hasn't tired ofperforming, and hit the road again with her husband Rene Angelil,and her 7-year-old son, Rene Charles, in tow.It follows the November release of her latest album TakingChances.Celine, whose tour kicked off on Valentine's Day in SouthAfrica, will play two more nights in Japan before moving on toChina.Share this article: ?A-listers Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus and Barbra Streisand gather in Hollywood to record We Are The World for HaitiBy UPDATED:12:17 GMT, 3 February 2010A host of stars gathered in a Hollywood recording studio on Monday to record a cover of We Are The World to raise money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.Legendary producer Quincy Jones and singer Lionel Richie invited stars including Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Hudson, Celine Dion, Miley Cyrus and Kanye West to participate in the new charity single.Proceeds of the song will go straight to the people of Haiti, who are recovering from the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake on January 12.Doing their bit: Singers, rappers, actors and producers gathered in the Jim Henson studios in Hollywood on Monday to record a charity cover of We Are The WorldIn just one afternoon, around 80 stars sang in unison at the famous Jim Henson Studios.The star-studded group also included Akon, Usher, Jeff Bridges, Harry Connick Jnr, Justin Bieber, Natalie Cole, Toni Braxton, Nicole Scherzinger, Brandy, Jason Mraz and Brian Wilson.The charity single comes 25 years after the song was originally released to raise money for Live Aid.Producer Jones said: 'It's the 25th anniversary and it's perfect timing. It'snot an accident, man. That's God. It will be We Are the World forHaiti.'Canadian singer Dion enthused: 'We have a special responsibility to help needy people and this is part of our world.Getting together: Stars including Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, Usher,Wyclef Jean, Will.I.Am, Barbra Striesand, LL Cool J, Toni Braxton,Harry Connick Jnr, Natalie Cole, Jeff Bridges and Vince Vaughn sing Singing for Haiti: American Idol judge Randy Jackson, Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger and Akon'We're all gathering here together to support people in need and to do whatever we can. We'll lend our voices and help however possible.'Also involved was Haiti-native Wyclef Jean, who has already visited the ravaged island.He said: 'This is a great thing... and it's giving us a lot of hope for Haiti.'Socialite Nicole Richie, whose father Lionel co-wrote the song, attended with her partner Joel Madden and their two-year-old daughter Harlow. Writing on her Twitter micro-blogging page, she joked: 'I hope Jennifer Hudson wasn't upset that I was out-singing her tonight. Helping out: Celine Dion (left), Miley Cyrus (centre) and Nicole Richie arrive at the studios'Brian Wilson stood next to me and I got to hear him sing right into my left ear. Can you say AWESOME?'Meanwhile, the British charity single for Haiti was debuted online yesterday.The song, a moving remake of REM's Everybody Hurts, is available from today and features some of the music world's biggest talents. Music mogul Simon Cowell helped to secure 21 of pop's biggest stars to take part in the recording.Opening with vocals from X Factor winner Leona Lewis, the singlealso includes a reunion between Robbie Williams and ex-Take Thatbandmates Gary Barlow and Mark Owen. Showcasing their singing skils: Actors Vince Vaughn (left) and Oscarnominee Jeff Bridges (centre) surprisingly offered their vocals to the track, as did rapper Kanye WestBehind the scenes: Producers Quincy Jones (left) and Rickey Minor (right) join singer/songwriter Lionel RichieStars such as RodStewart, Mariah Carey, Cheryl Cole, Jon Bon Jovi, Michael Buble, KylieMinogue, Susan Boyle and Westlife have also lent their time to thesingle. Everybody Hurts is not released until Sunday, but you can hear it right here. The track is available from hmv.com, play.com, or amazon.co.uk -with all the proceeds split between the Disasters Emergency Committee(DEC) and the Sun newspaper's Helping Haiti campaign.It was debuted yesterday on UK radio, with a positive reaction received from many of the listeners. Scroll down to listen to Everybody Hurts... OnJanuary 12 an 7.0 Mw earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scaledevastated the island displacing an estimated three million people.So far, some 170,000 bodies have been counted, with reports claimingthat 20,000 commercial buildings and 225,000 residences had collapsedor were severely damaged by the quake.Masses of emergency relief has been shipped in to help those affected by the disaster, and fundraising efforts have been put into effect around the globe, with many celebrities aiding the efforts. The new single is one of three songs to be released in aid of the Haiti appeal. To pre-order your copy of Everybody Hurts visit... ?Here I go again: Abba's Agnetha to record comeback album as she enters studio for first time since 1990s By PUBLISHED:03:58 GMT, 5 October 2012 UPDATED:06:53 GMT, 5 October 2012Reclusive former Abba star Agnetha Faltskog is launching a comeback.The blonde singer, now a 62-year-old grandmother, has returned to the recording studio to record an album of new songs for the first time since the 1990s.But, sadly for Abba fans, she is still rebuffing pleas to sing again with her old bandmates. She is said to be working with Swedish songwriter Jorgen Elofsson who has previously penned and produced tunes for megastars including Britney Spears, Celine Dion and Irish boy band Westlife.After ABBA split in the early 1980s, Miss Faltskog pursued a solo career for a few years, but then went into a music hiatus for most of the 1990s. Her last album, ‘My Colouring Book,’ contained cover songs and was released in 2004.Miss Faltskog has repeatedly resisted calls for the hugely popular group to reform, even after the success of the film ‘Mamma Mia!’ which was based around their songs.It’s understood that the other members of one of history’s most successful ever pop groups – Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – have all pushed at various times to reform for a world tour.Miss Faltskog was married to Bjorn after first meeting him at a caf when she was 19. They wed in 1971 and had two children before they divorced at the height of Abba’s fame. Abba won Eurovision in 1974 in Brighton. They went on to sell 350 million records, and their greatest hits compilation album, Abba Gold, stayed in the charts for more than 400 weeks. The success was so extreme that Miss Faltskog still has difficulty believing it. ‘It’s nice to look back on it and sometimes I can’t comprehend it,’ she says.She has two children and a 12-year-old granddaughter.In Sweden, the singer is known as ‘Garbo the second’ because she shies away from publicity.But she insisted in an interview: ‘They spread that I am hiding, that I am the new Greta Garbo. It’s not the way it is. I just want to live in peace and quiet.’ One of the reasons the singer gave for wanting a break from Abba was the rigours of touring around the world, especially after she had children.‘I sometimes suffered enormously from a bad conscience and longing for my children,’ she said in an interview. ‘There were many mixed feelings and contrasts with Abba. Such as tours when we lived a life of luxury, then came home to washing up and cooking.’ But she insisted the reason she never wanted to get back together with the group had nothing to do with her relationship with her fellow female singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad.‘We didn’t fight,’ she said. ‘But we have to live a whole lot of such misinterpretations. We supported one another. Say, if one of us had a cold or felt under the weather.’ ‘We feel incredibly proud that the music never seems to die. A new generation likes it and that gives you great hope,’ she added after being presented with a lifetime achievement award by a Swedish newspaper.In recent years, Miss Faltskog has appeared in public with the other three Abba stars at a number of premieres and promotional events for the film ‘Mamma Mia!’ But she still made it clear she had no plans to record with them.A spokesman for the singer said it wasn’t yet known when the album of new material will be released. ?How to haggle an upgradeBy UPDATED:09:38 GMT, 11 July 2005WHAT would you rather have - a dingy, below-decks, windowless cruise ship cabin, or a deluxe ocean view with private balcony? A two-bedroom cottage or three-bedroom villa? Goat class airline seat with dry bun or club class flatbed and champagne? Yes, of course - if you could only afford it, you'd go upmarket every time. But did you know thousands of holidaymakers every year get five-star service at three-star prices simply by wangling an upgrade? And - more important - did you know just how easy it is to achieve? To prove the point, our man rang several travel companies posing as an ordinary punter. First, he asked for rates for standard accommodation and then requested the next grade (or two) up for nothing. How many would go for it? We were amazed at the results. In every case, a free upgrade was offered. Read how he did it - and then find out how you can do it, too. We've even included a section on the best tips for getting upgraded on planes, which only ever get doled out on the day, so you can get to your upgraded villa in upgraded comfort . . . The palatial Paris hotelAT THE Crillon I asked for a double room for 26-27 August and was told the price for a superior room for two with breakfast was £399. What was the next category? A deluxe room priced £453, replied Celine, the reservations assistant. I asked for a free upgrade. She said she'd log the request, but could not guarantee one. I persisted: I wanted a guaranteed, free upgrade. 'Would you be happy with the superior price?' Celine suddenly asked. Yes, but only if I could get the deluxe room. 'Well, I'm happy to confirm the deluxe room for the superior price,' Celine concluded. Hotel de Crillon, Paris (00 33 1 44 71 15 00; ) The cruise to VeniceWANT to get almost £1,000 worth of upgrade free? Holland America listed a brochure price of £1,809 for a standard cabin on its 14-night Cultural Impression cruise between Rotterdam and Venice. But when I requested the best possible upgrade, the agent, Jo, told me she could offer me a special deal on an outside cabin. Although no cabin number would be issued until I got aboard, I would be guaranteed at least an obscured-view outside cabin - and might well end up with something considerably better. The price I was offered was £1,229, including flights and transfers - an incredible bit of upgrade wheeler-dealing when you consider that the brochure price for an outside cabin is listed at £2,079 to £3,199. Holland America Line (020 7940 4477; ) The Cotswolds getawayTHE Lygon Arms in Broadway is a classic upmarket country hotel with a flash chef and a spa. Its cheapest room, a standard double with breakfast for 26-27 August, was £240 per night. The next category up, a deluxe double, was £305 so I asked the reservation assistant, Mary-Anne, if she could provide the deluxe for £240. She said it was a busy time as my planned break coincided with a Bank Holiday. I said I could be flexible and come the weekend before. Mary Anne checked availability. She came back on the line to confirm she would provide the upgrade at the standard price.Lygon Arms (01386 852255; ) The Algarve villa PAUL, the agent, confirmed that the two-bedroom Colinas Verdes cottage in their brochure was available for the October half-term week at £716. It came with a private pool, and was located at Fazenda Caravela, eight miles from the Algarve coast in Portugal. There would be three children in our party, I said, and one could go on the Z-bed in the living room . . . but it would be better if we had more room. Would they let me have the three-bedroom Villa Luisa nearby at the same price? (The brochure said it had a pool and large grounds and cost £895). Paul agreed that the larger property would provide more room - and immediately complied with my request. Travel Club of Upminster (01708 225000; ) The London break BANG in the middle of theatreland, the Covent Garden Hotel is something of a celeb haunt. I requested a double room for 26-27 August and the booking clerk informed me of a special promotional offer of a superior double room for £230 per night which included breakfast and a 15-minute massage. But I wanted all that and a luxury room, which was £255 even without the frills. Would he give me a guaranteed upgrade? He agreed without hesitation. Covent Garden Hotel, London (020 7806 1000; ) The cruise to Canada THE reservations agent at Fred Olsen said only two inside cabins (grade H) were still available, priced £3,610, on its 21-night Canadian cruise from Southampton. They were probably real dungeons, I said. What I needed was an outside cabin for the same price. It wasn't looking great when it emerged that all the G category cabins (the next grade up) were already booked . . . but, following a speedy check, the agent offered an F class outside cabin (ie two categories up) for £3,735 instead of £4,150. Fred Olsen (01473 742424; ) Mallorca in September THE reservation assistant said that a one-week stay at the three-bedroom Casa Golf in Mallorca from 24 September would cost £1,045, while £1,119 would secure the four-bedroom Villa C'an Bauca. Could I upgrade and get the latter for the price of the former? She suggested a compromise price of £1,080 (ie £35 more than Casa Golf). I demurred - and amazingly, she then suggested that if I took a fortnight booking, she would be willing to offer it for £1,857 - £43 under the £1,900 asking price for Casa Golf. The Villa Collection (01753 853 737; ) +++HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR CHANCES. . . ... AND HOW TO ESCAPE GOAT CLASS THERE'S a lot of nonsense talked about the tricks that guarantee airline upgrades. Sorry - it's not that simple. But you can maximise your chances of being promoted from economy class, commonly described as 'goat' by disgruntled passengers. Here's how it works. To make their routes profitable, airlines need to fill their planes to the brim. Yet often people don't turn up for the flight - so the companies allow for 'no-shows' and double-book some seats. So when almost everyone does turn up, they have to bump a few of us into the class above, which is more likely to have spare seats. As the check-in queue dwindles, a picture emerges. Only then are complimentary upgrades handed out. At the front of the upgrades queue are the frequent flyers with the airline; followed by those who have paid most for their economy tickets; then, those brandishing doctors' letters requesting more comfort and leg room (such passengers can't take up the exit seats unless they're fully mobile and therefore the only other option is upgrading). If there are any upgrades left over it's a free-for-all. Always be polite and smartly dressed. Then make requests all the way down the line from time of booking to the departure gate. At check-in, report to the club class desk. Explain that a request for an upgrade you made at time of booking should be logged in the computer system - if they can't find it, the staff member will generally phone the supervisor for advice. Even if you fail, at least you'll have jumped the interminable economy class check in. A frequent flyer I know who switches airlines constantly and therefore doesn't qualify for loyalty upgrades, claims to have had most success by not requesting an upgrade until he reaches the departure gate airside where staff are less busy. Another friend claims to have met success three times by flirting with cabin staff ('The purser's best'). But when it comes to charter flights - forget it. You'll have to pay for any upgrades as the airline knows exactly how many passengers have been booked. ?Indiana Jones and the hunt for his specsLast updated at 23:13 02 May 2008As the summer blockbuster season kicks off at the cinema thisweekend with Iron Man - rather than Ironing Man; something we'dreally like to see - we thought you would like the Non DomesticGoddess's pick of the films to watch out for.You wouldn't? Tough. Here goes:Fast Cars, Big Explosions, Sexy LadiesAlthough the exact details of this film have yet to be released,it is expected to involve a fast car, a big explosion and then asexy lady. However, the sexiness of the sexy lady may not beapparent until she takes her glasses off. Previously, she may evenhave looked quite studious, disapproving and no fun whatsoever.This is a sequel to last summer's smash hit, Fast Cars, BigExplosions, but it's expected to do even better at the boxoffice now sexy ladies have been added.Demi Moore, who turned down the latest Charlie's Angels film- Charlie's Angels: Full Frontal - to appear in this has said:"I play a sexy lady who isn't sexy at all until she takesher glasses off."Scroll down for more ...The next film in the franchise, already in the works, isprovisionally titled: Fast Cars, Big Explosions, Sexy Ladies And AnUnconventional Man In A Vest Who Will Not Listen To Authority.The Incredible HulkAlthough Marvel's last attempt to film The Incredible Hulkresulted in the disastrous, unpopular Ang Lee movie of 2003, it isback again with this version starring Edward Norton. Apparently, itwas the Hulk himself that made Marvel do it."He came into the office one day," recalls anexecutive, "and said: 'Why no one make Hulk 2? It makeHulk mad. Make Hulk film or Hulk smash truck and then smashyou.'"The impressive cast also includes William Hurt, Tim Roth and, atthe Hulk's insistence, Liv Tyler: "She pretty. Hulk like.Hulk not smash. Hulk kiss." The film is being billed as theperfect summer movie, particularly by the Hulk. "It perfectsummer movie. You go see. Or hulk smash truck. And Hulk smash tree.Then Hulk smash you."The IcebergCompanion film to Titanic, told entirely from the iceberg'spoint of view. "No one ever talks about the iceberg's sideof this tragic saga," says director James Cameron."It's always about the boat, and, until now, I've beenas guilty as anyone."Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet will reprise their roles, butthis time will be seen as the iceberg would have seen them."We're nothing more than something in its way,"says Winslet. "At no point did the iceberg set out to get theboat; it was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It would bea mistake to blame it, which is why I think this film is soimportant."Asked if she still gets to wear a nice hat with a big ribbonaround it, Winslet says: "Yes. But I'm not going to tellyou any more than that!"The film, which opens when the iceberg first forms, is a millionyears long and features a theme tune sung by Celine Dion, whichwould make it seem as if it was anyway. "That's why Celineis so perfect," says Cameron.Ms Winslet also declined Charlie's Angels: Full Frontal."I don't take my hat off for anyone," she says.Indiana Jones And The Hunt For HisSpectaclesThe first Indiana Jones film in 19 years features Harrison Fordas an older Indy, Cate Blanchett as a Commie, Karen Allen reprisingher role from the first film, and Shia LaBeouf as, possibly,Indy's son. Anticipation for the film has been heightened byabsolute secrecy; so much so that neither George Lucas nor StevenSpielberg would confirm whether a hunt for something or other wasactually involved."Maybe it is," says Lucas, "and maybe itisn't." Spielberg added: "We don't want to ruinit for people either way" though the title does rather givethe game away.Can Harrison Ford still cut it as the world's greatestadventurer? We'll have to wait and see, though his co-star,Cate Blanchett, has no doubts. "He's hopeless," shesays, "much too old. Boy, was I pleased when it was allover."My Big Fat BarmitzvahMel Gibson wrote, directed and stars in this film as ReubenSchopenheimer-Goldfleb, a truly lovely Jew who is truly lovely toeveryone: calls his mother regularly; takes his sister-in-lawflowers when invited over for Seder night; thinks long and hardabout barmitzvah presents and doesn't just give money likeeveryone else."Sometimes it will be a fountain pen," says Gibson,"but even that shows more thought than a cheque."Gibson, who, in 2006, made anti-Semitic remarks - "Jews areresponsible for all the wars in the world; are you a Jew?" -to the officer who arrested him for drinkdriving, believes thismovie will fully restore his reputation in Hollywood."At no point do you ever see Reuben being responsible forall the wars in the world," he says. "Sending flowers,yes. But being responsible for all the wars in the world, no."The fact is, Jews, if they put their minds to it, can becapable of busying themselves with other things. Personally, I likeJews a lot, and some aren't even that mean with money. A bitmean, but not that mean."The film co-stars Adam Sandler as Reuben's nephew, SollySchopenheimer-Goldfleb, who can peel a banana with his toes which,says Gibson, "isn't particularly a Jewish thing to do,just as starting wars isn't."Although the Jewish community - who say they are awash withfountain pens and would prefer the cheque, every time - have yet tosee the film, they think it's looking good. As one leadingJewish thinker said: "It's looking good, and now I mustthink."The March Of The Kit-KatsThis will depict the arduous, one-time-only journey of a Kit-Katfrom shop shelf to almost certain death at the hands of a humanunless it is taken back to a house, put in a cupboard, andforgotten about. However, as there are very few people who can havea Kit-Kat in the house and not think about it, this is the leastlikely outcome.Director Teri O'Hanny, whose previous films include AProcession Of Bite-Size Mars Bars, filmed for a whole year outsidea local newsagent to get the footage."I think it will shock a lot of people," she says."I saw Kit-Kats being slain the moment they left the shop, andthey were the lucky ones. At least it was quick. Other Kit-Katswere subjected to torturous deaths, even being nibbled around theedges before the human aggressor went in for the kill."She hopes the film will make people more Kit-Kat aware. "IfI can save one Kit-Kat, I'll have done my job," she says."If I save two, I'll have more than done my job, and willprobably give one back."It's narrated, somnolently, by both Morgan Freemanand Samuel L. Jackson, who agreed to toss for it butthen lost the coin.Two Cute Little Dogs And A Talking Cat Go On AnIncredible Journey But Arrive Home SafeThe latest Pixar animation features two cute little dogs and atalking cat who go on an incredible adventure but then arrive homesafe."You'll laugh, you'll cry, and then they'llhave arrived back home safe," says a Pixar spokesman.Voices are provided by Cameron Diaz, Nicole Kidman and Morgan L.Jackson, as they never found the coin and decided to merge.Return of the stupid handbagsCarrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte return in the movieversion of the popular TV series Sex And The City in which Carrietyped a lot in her bra, asking questions like 'Are wesluts?' even though they so are.The focus of the movie is on Carrie's wedding to Mr Big andwill probably feature a number of stupid handbags which no one willclock as a stupid handbag even though if you met usomeone carryinga handbag like that you would say: "What's with the stupidhandbag? I've never seen anything so dumb in my life."Fans of the TV series hope the movie will stay true to its rootsand will show not only the dumb handbags, but also the four as suchbusy, professional women they only ever have time to meet forbreakfast, brunch, detoxifying bodywraps, lunch, manicures, anafternoon snack, six trips round Bloomingdales, massages,cocktails, pedicures, dinner and nightcaps ... and then breakfastagain, after being sh***ed silly all night. Perhaps, this time,they'll at least get to do something on their own.Share this article: ?Irresistible scents for summerby LIZ STOUT, femail.co.ukSummer has brought with it a new breed of deliciously femininefragrances that will keep you smelling fresh and alluring.Just arriving on counter is Oscar Tropical from Parfums Oscar deLa Renta (£28/100ml edt), a light fruity scent infused withthe floral tones of frangipani blossom, ylang ylang and orangeblossom.If you prefer to wear something very light once the sun startsshining, there's an alcohol-free Body Mist too(£25/100ml).Browse our picture gallery of fragrances to help you findthe perfect summer-time scent ... Click on the link,right.Both come in a gorgeous green and blue two-tone bottles thatevoke memories of lazy days spent in faraway tropical lands.If you can't resist the lure of a beautiful bottle, you'll alsolove Celine for women, which hits the shelves this month(£42/100ml edt).The slender rectangular bottle is wrapped in an open workedmetal shell, reavealing the silver 'Celine' signature on thetransparent glass.The fragrance is equally tempting - a light and ultra-feminineblend of fresh fruits and florals, intensified with richer tones ofmusk, amber and vanilla.Fendi have added a sensual summer twist to their rich fragrance,Theorema, once again this year (£29/50ml edp).The new scent is much lighter than the original, with zestylemon and bergamot but the rich mysterious base notes are stillthere - spicy sandalwood and irresistibly sensual musk.If fresh, green fragrances are more your cup of tea, check outMat; (£32.50/40ml edp - stockists: 08457 697072) theexclusive scent from Japanese fashion designer, MasakiMatsushima.It's fruity and floral without being sickly sweet oroverpowering - juniper berry, parsley and watermelon blendingbeautifully with the scent of fresh tea leaves, bamboo andmint.Another fresh, fragrance to try is Eau de Beaute by Frenchskincare company, Darphin (£30/100ml - stockists: 020 88471777).This fragrant mist made with the purest natural plant aromas,plant essences and essential oils not only leaves you smellingdelicious but helps to moisturise, firm and tone the skin too.Sweet-smelling rose hydrates while passionflower soothes anddecongests and ivy gentian and sage stimulate the production ofelastin and collagen for firmer, younger-looking skin all over.Share this article: ?Is it easier for men to survive in the fashion world than women? Why female designers struggle to get noticed in competitive industryPUBLISHED:21:50 GMT, 1 May 2012 UPDATED:21:50 GMT, 1 May 2012A host of major fashion industry names have spoken out about the favouritism towards male designers.Three-quarters of last year's Council Of Fashion Designers Of America Award winners, which included Marc Jacobs and Prabal Gurung, were made up of men.It is a curious figure considering that 85per cent of graduates from Parsons, one of the city's top fashion schools, are women.Now has questioned whether it is easier for men to survive in the fashion world than women.Sophie Buhai, of the label Vena Cava told the site that fashion industry success relies on the favoritism of magazine editors.She said: 'We see a lot of women who don't get as much attention as the male designers who are adored by editors.'The CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund, which brings together a panel of well-respected fashion personalities who voteon annual award winners, also found that men dominate the talent pool.Its top honours have only gone to two female recipients, Doo-Ri Chung and Sophie Theallet, in its eight-year history.There is no denying that designers such as Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang, Donna Karen, Carolina Herrera, The Row's Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen, Rodarte's Kate and Laura Mulleavy and Celine's Phoebe Philo have all built solid names for themselves.And while it is no secret that magazines wield a significant amount of power within the New York fashion industry, are women being intentionally excluded?It could come down to how some women prioritise their family life over their career, according to Norma Kamali.The designer of the iconic red swimsuit Farrah Fawcett wore in the 1976 Charlie's Angel promotional poster, said: 'There was a point in my life, I had to stop and think, do I want to have children or do I want to do this?'Butin March of this year, an eight-month-pregnant Ms Philo proved that a female designer is able to have the best of both worlds.Her decision to invite only a handful ofmagazine editors to her Fall 2012 show for Celine was well received. Infact, it added further exclusivity to the ultra-hip and somewhat elusive label.Maria Cornejo, the New York designer behind Zero and Maria Cornejo, said: 'Bless Phoebe. She's saying, "you know what, I'm having a kid and that takes priority".'Mrs Cornejo added that men work differently to women. She said they have a different 'business model.'DaniellaVitale, the chief women's merchant at Barney's, argued that a designer's gender plays no part in sales. It is all about the designs themselves.She said: '[Customers] respond to the design, quality, fit, and aesthetic. It's not gender-specific.'?Taking the plunge! Jenna Dewan displays plenty of decolletage in a revealing dress as she goes back to her brunette roots following blonde phase By PUBLISHED:05:14 GMT, 12 September 2012 UPDATED:08:18 GMT, 12 September 2012She went bottle blonde last month for a new film role.But actress Jenna Dewan-Tatum has gone back to her brunette roots and displayed her natural hair colour at New York Fashion Week today. The 31-year-old also showed off plenty of decolletage as she slipped into a plunging black and white beaded number to sit front row at the Naeem Khan Spring 2013 show. Channing Tatum wife's looked stunning in the form-fitting frock which displayed her trim and toned figure. She paired the look with some chic black accessories, including patent stilettos and a matching clutch handbag. Jenna has gone back to her dark hair colour after last month dying her tresses blonde for a film role. In August the actress posted a picture of herself with radical short blonde bob.Posting the photo on Twitter, the usually brunette star asked: 'Do blondes really have more fun?? About to find out :)'She added the next day: 'Oh, and the new hair is just for a role guys...started a new movie today:)'Jenna was recently cast as Adam Levine's love interest on the hit cable show American Horror Story.The second season of the show, which recently started shooting, focuses on an institution for the criminally insane during the 1960s.Levine and Dewan-Tatum will play The Lovers, a major couple on the series.'The second season is fun, sexy and baroque,' the show's creator, Ryan Murphy, told E! Online recently.'It has a lot of meat to it; it's a really gritty part,' said Murphy, who also created the hit show Nip/Tuck and is one of the co-creators of Glee.Jenna is currently said to be filming the TV movie She Made Them Do It. Prior to her acting career, the former prom queen was a background dancer for singers including 'N Sync, Sean Combs, Toni Braxton, Celine Dion, Pink, Missy Elliott and Ricky Martin. In 2001 she appeared in Janet Jackson's music video All for You and toured with Jackson on her All for You Tour.Jenna was also featured in Christina Aguilera's music video for the single Not Myself Tonight in 2010.In 2006, Dewan met Channing Tatum on the set of Step Up. They began dating shortly after filming had finished.The couple got engaged in early September 2008 and were married in July 2009 in Malibu, California.Also at the Naeem Khan show today was Top Chef host Padma Lakshi, who was in full bloom wearing a floral short-sleeve dress, and Fast And The Furious star Jordana Brewster, who displayed her curves in a tight-fitting black shift adorned with silver mini-stripes. ?Jennifer Aniston can't bear sharing a flat with all these 'friends' By UPDATED:00:12 GMT, 18 December 2011Jennifer Aniston shot to fame playing flatmate Rachel in the New York sitcom Friends. But now the 42-year-old is not finding Big Apple apartment life quite so funny – she is being hounded out of her Manhattan home by the fans.Only last April the actress, left, splashed out 3.8 million on two luxury flats in New York’s trendy West Village after deciding to quit Los Angeles. She planned to knock the two together to create a dream home with her new actor boyfriend, Justin Theroux, 40, a cousin of British documentary maker Louis Theroux. But after months of being besieged by photographers, she now wants to relocate to a more private neighbourhood.‘Jennifer is not dealing well with having the photographers loiter outside her building,’ says a spy. ‘There are also always lots of fans and she feels vulnerable every time she steps out. She’s finding she’s just too famous to live where she wanted.’Jennifer may now move to the city’s Upper East or Upper West Side, where Ben Affleck and Madonna live. ‘Jen wants a place with more anonymity, security and privacy,’ adds the source. ‘She and Justin will probably keep a small place in LA but the focus for them is living in New York.’ ..........................................................................................................Schoolgirl Celine Buckens is about to make her debut in Steven Spielberg’s eagerly awaited screen version of War Horse, but has vowed not to turn her back on her studies to pursue stardom.The 15-year-old, right, who stars alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Emily Watson in the First World War drama, spoke to me at a celebrity performance of The Nutcracker by the English National Ballet. She said: ‘It was hard to balance school work and filming but luckily the majority of my scenes were shot during the summer holidays. I have always wanted to be an actress and have appeared in lots of school productions. ‘After I have taken my GCSEs, I plan to stay on at school and take A-levels in history, maths, English literature and theatre studies.’ War Horse is released in Britain next month. ....................................................Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and husband Matthew Broderick have finally solved their lack of space problem, having been on the hunt for a larger house since the arrival of their twins two years ago. Taking a leaf out of her Sex And The City character Carrie Bradshaw’s book, Sarah, 46, has found a flat two blocks from the family townhouse in New York’s West Village to use as an office. ‘It’s life mirroring art, as Carrie did the same thing in the TV show,’ says a friend. ‘Sarah likes to write, and it’s impossible with her toddlers. She can afford the luxury of more than one home.’ Sex And The City’s Carrie kept two apartments in the show so that she could take time out of her marriage, but Sarah will be using the flat only for work, says her publicist. ............................................................................................................Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White claims he’s never watched Downton Abbey but he plans to name his latest gastro pub after the hit ITV show. He has acquired the Carnarvon Arms pub in Highclere Park, a stone’s thrown from Lord and Lady Carnarvon’s pile Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey is filmed. ‘We have renovated the pub and I thought a name change was a good idea, I’m thinking about the Downton Abbey Hotel,’ says Marco. The pub, has 23 bedrooms which have all been renovated and I’m told are more than fit for a Lord and Lady. .............................................................................................................Katy Perry will use the Christmas break from her mammoth 251-date California Dreams world tour to build some bridges with husband Russell Brand.‘She’s barely seen Russell since they were married in October last year, and there have been some rough times during her absence,’ says a friend. Katy, 27, left, is so relieved to get some time off, her management are concerned she may cancel her final two tour dates in the New Year. ‘Katy is really not looking forward to her final shows in Jakarta and Manila. Russell thinks she should call it a day.’ Katy’s spokesman was unavailable for comment.?Jim Carrey's daughter doesn't make the cut and one contestant takes a dangerous spill during American Idol's Hollywood Week By UPDATED:11:43 GMT, 9 February 2012There's never a dull moment on American Idol, and the season has barely even begun. The first night of Hollywood Week didn't reveal any clear frontrunners - yet - but there was a whole lot of drama occurring before judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson's eyes. Though celebrity offspring Jane Carrey made it through to Hollywood Week, she didn't make it through the first round. Jim Carrey's 24-year-old waitress daughter wanted to use the Idol stage as an opportunity to break away from her father's limelight. Aside from one calamity and one celebrity fail, there wasn't much in the way of overwhelming talent or crazy moments on the show from the remaining 308 contestants, all of whom sang a capella. Good-looking Fort Lauderdale waiter Johnny Keyser made it through to round two after singing Amos Lee's Dreamin.' Where Keyser was confident, his following act, Heejun Han, was beyond nervous. 'I don't know what these guys all eatout here, they're all so good-looking,' he told the camera, before haveyet another freakout. ?Kanye West sets Twitter tongues wagging as he mysteriously abandons his page... but says he will 'be back soon' By PUBLISHED:15:44 GMT, 5 October 2012 UPDATED:22:00 GMT, 5 October 2012He was once a big fan of Twitter but it seems Kanye West has tired of the social networking site – at least for now.The rapper has abandoned his page and mysteriously deleted all but one of his tweets. The remaining Twitter message reads simply: ‘BE BACK SOON’.It would seem that while the star is taking a time-out from micro-blogging, he is keen to let his 8million strong followers know it won’t be forever.Kanye is also following just one other Twitter user – his reality star girlfriend Kim Kardashian.At the top of Kanye’s page, which notably has a blank background, it says that he has posted 32 tweets.But only his message of absence is visible to users of the site.It is not a move his Twitter-obsessed girlfriend is likely to copy anytime soon.The pair have been spending some time apart while Kanye has been in France this week to hit the shows at Paris Fashion Week.He has rocked up to Chrstian Dior, Celine and Givenchy, as well as attending a handful of the glamorous parties.Meanwhile Kim is currently based in Florida for a three-month stint while filming spin-off show Kourtney and Kim Take Miami.However before heading to Paris Kanye squeezed in a trip to see his curvaceous other half.He was spotted leaving her hotel last Thursday following a fleeting visit.?From rap singer to runway star: Kanye West set to launch fashion collection for WOMEN (enlisting the help of Brit designers) By UPDATED:15:41 GMT, 13 July 2011Kanye West made headlines at Coachella when he wore a women's shirt by French label Celine.But it looks as though he has womenswear on the mind as he is rumoured to be debuting a collection at New York Fashion Week this year.And it appears the singer, who has design studios in New York and London, isn't leaving anything to chance.He has enlisted the help of British knitwear designer Louise Goldin and St Martins professor Louise Wilson to give him lessons, Grazia Daily today revealed.The Gold Digger singer is often pictured front row at Fashion Week and has already designed a range of scarves featuring his album artwork.The range included the cover of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which he eventually had to withdraw after it was deemed too graphic. He was also a fashion columnist for online magazine Complex.If his music videos are anything to go by however, Kanye's collection is sure to be controversial.The 33-year-old attracted criticism last month after featuring models hanging with nooses around their necks and a couple feasting on a human corpse for new single Monster. ?Belle of the ball: Kate Middleton lead the way at the War Horse premiere in Leicester Square with a stunning floor-length gown, as Prince William shielded her from the rain'I am delightedthat the UK Premiere of War Horse is in aid of ‘The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry’ and that this special occasion is attended by two of the patrons, Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.''War Horse encapsulates for me a timeless personal story of courage. The movie, which I am proud to say was filmed here in Great Britain, deals with the discovery of humanity against conflict, and celebrates bravery, loyalty, tenacity and hope.''Weare honoured to dedicate this event in aid of the Foundation which recognises the welfare of those who serve their country in the British Armed Forces.'Six hundred serving and ex-serving military personnel and their families are also attended the premiere, alongside beneficiaries of military charities, with which the Foundation of PrinceWilliam and Prince Harry has been working. Theservicemen and women have been invited from The Duke of Cambridge’s regiments, including RAF Search and Rescue, Household Cavalry, Irish Guards, Royal Air Force Coningsby, Scotland Royal Naval Command and Submarines Royal Naval Command. Meanwhile, Tom Hiddleston, who plays Captain Nicholls in the film, has admitted that he lied about how competent a horse rider he was when he signed up to the project.He said: 'I claimed to ride "competently" but in reality I looked more like Billy Crystal at the beginning of 'City Slickers' than a cavalry officer: heels out and sitting back like a sack of potatoes, as though I was riding some kind of living motorbike. Hopeless. 'The grooms and stuntsman, the best in the world, quickly disabused me of my bad habits: drill for four hours a day for five weeks, "Heels down! Elbows! Hands to you! Sit up straight! Shoulders back!" 'Always gracious: Kate looked delighted as she received a bunch of flowers from a young fan Time to celebrate: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were later seen arriving at the premiere afterparty, held at the Queen's Gallery?Kleenex for Kate as she sheds a tear at War Horse premiere (and director Steven Spielberg admits he cried too) By UPDATED:13:03 GMT, 10 January 2012As the story of an unlikely friendship between a boy and his horse, it is an unashamed weepy designed to tug on the heartstrings.And it certainly had the desired effect on the Duchess of Cambridge, who apparently cried from start to finish at last night’s royal premiere of Steven Spielberg’s new film, War Horse.In an interview with BBC Breakfast today, the legendary director revealed that his actress wife, Kate Capshaw, had even been passing tissues to sobbing Kate.‘I was sitting next to her and all I know is at one point my wife, who was sitting to my right, right in front of my face she passed a Kleenex ... I saw the Kleenex go across my face, arrive and stop but I didn't want to intrude on her experience watching War Horse so I never glanced over,’ he said. 'According to my peripheral vision her eyes were dabbed.' The director, who admitted he cried at the stage production of War Horse, said he did not know if Prince William also shed any tears.Kate, who celebrates her 30th birthday today was attending the premiere, in aid of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry, at London's Leicester Square last night.The stars of the film, including Emma Watson, Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch were also present.Themovie, which has been tipped for an Oscar, is an adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's classic novel, where a boy tries to track down his horse after it is shipped away to serve in World War One.And thanks to her well prepared husband and his trusty umbrella keeping her dry, Kate, who chose a full-length Alice Temperley gown for the occasion, triumphed at her first royal film premiere.The duchess’s co-star on the red carpet was the film’s equine leading man – a chestnut colt called Joey, who had his own PR and personal ‘manure scooper’ (with good reason).The Duchess is famously said to have an allergy to horses, an unfortunate affliction to have if you hope to marry into a family utterly obsessed by all things equestrian.Indeed, Prince Philip once famously said of his daughter, Princess Anne: 'If it doesn't fart or eat hay, she's not interested.' Spielberg, posing on the red carpet with actor Jeremy Irvine and horse Joey, admitted he cried during the stage production of War HorseWhen the pair are forcibly separated by the First World War, the film follows Joey’s extraordinary journey asan officer’s steed and Albert’s search for him.Like the original book, it also focuses on the atrocious conditions horses were forced to endure during the Great War. Somewhere between four and eight million perished on both sides - and at times as many as 1,000 a day were arriving in France from Britain to replace those who had been lost.Morpurgo’s book was turned into a phenomenally successfully stage show – seen by both William and his grandmother, the Queen - which is currently playing in London and New York, before Spielberg spotted its potential as a film.Last night Mr Morpurgo told the Mail:'Not in my wildest dreams did I ever expect something like this when I was sitting there writing my story all those years ago. It is such a wonderful, wonderful honour.'Steven Spielberg has made a masterpiece, a film that is both moving and dark, uplifting and one thattackles the true horrors of the first world war. It will last for generations.'I am so honoured that the Duke and Duchess have chosen this for their first royal film premiere. She is such a beautiful young woman, so full of dignity. I am going to send hera copy of the book for her birthday.’ Belle of the ball: Kate Middleton lead the way at the War Horse premiere in Leicester Square with a stunning floor-length gown, as Prince William shielded her from the rain?'I fear for William': Duchess tells military wife of her worries about Prince's risky helicopter rescue missions By UPDATED:10:59 GMT, 4 July 2011The Duchess of Cambridge fears that Prince William will have an accident on a risky helicopter rescue mission, it emerged today.She opened her heart about her concerns to a military wife on the couple's royal tour of Canada.Kate said: 'I always worry, but my job is to support my husband. You should always support your husband.'She revealed her worries after laying wreaths with William on the tomb of the unknown soldier at Ottawa's war memorial.The day before, the couple had slipped away for a romantic boat trip at Gatineau National Park on the outskirts of Quebec.They spent four hours in a remote log cabin at Harrington Lake, the hideaway used by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.Yesterday after paying respects to Canada's war dead, the 29-year-old Duchess spoke to former army private Celine Drapeau.Celine, 52, told her she worried for the safety of her husband, a military policeman, who was away for long periods.According to the Sunday Express, Kate responded:' I always worry when William goes off on a mission. I find it very difficult.'You always fear for them not knowing if something is going to happen and it can be very hard.'Celine said later that she thought it was 'very brave' of Kate to reveal her true feelings and it was a 'great comfort' to know she understood the fears of service families.William has carried out a number of rescue missions while working as a search and rescue pilot at RAF Valley in Anglesey, north Wales, where he lives with Kate in a rented farmhouse. He was part of a four-man team on an RAF Sea King who winched to safety a walker stuck 3,000ft up Mount Snowdon in stormy weather.His brother Prince Harry, 26, is expected to return to Afghanistan next Aprilafter qualifying to fly an Apache helicopter.Kate's concern for William were revealed just a day after the loving couple enjoyed a few hours away from the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have turned the tour into 'Katemania'.The couple rowed to the isolated log cabin where other members of the Royal Family have stayed, including the Queen. It is so basic it does not even have hot water.A senior aide to the couple said: They were completely alone for four hours. They went boating together in one of the most beautiful settings you could imagine.'It was a very welcome and impromptu period for them to spend some time alone.'The couple are planning more private time together with widespread speculation they will stay at the lavish Outlook Cabin in the Rocky Mountains at Jasper, Alberta.?Water, water, everywhere... Kate Winslet manages to dodge the rain with the help of an assistant on the set of Labor Day By PUBLISHED:06:10 GMT, 8 June 2012 UPDATED:09:01 GMT, 8 June 2012With water all around her she must have felt like she was back on the set of Titanic.Kate Winslet just about managed to dodge the rain as she filmed her new movie Labor Day, in Boston Massachusetts, yesterday afternoon.The 36-year-old took shelter under an umbrella as the heavens opened just as she finished filming a scene for the new project.The curvy actor was dressed rather conservatively in a long purple skirt that she teamed with a short sleeved cardigan and a floral blouse.The mother-of-two was escorted back to her trailer by a hair and make-up artist after having stood under a tree for a little while, waiting for the rain to stop.Once the grey clouds had passed she returned to set and continued filming but then was seen jumping into a car shortly afterwards to take a lunch break. In Labor Day, the British actor plays a depressed single mother who gives a male hitchhiker a ride through town.Gradually she finds out that the drifter is actually an escaped convict and the local police department are searching for him.The movie, which is due out on 2013, also stars Josh Brolin and Dawson's Creek actor James Van Der Beek.The often outspoken Kate recently caused controversy when she publicly criticised the Titanic theme, My Heart Will Go On.She told MTV News: 'I feel like throwing up when I hear it. No, I shouldn't say that. No, actually, I do feel like throwing up.'I wish I could say, "Oh listen, everybody! It's the Celine Dion song!" But I don't.'I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll.'Rather than harbour ill feelings towards the actress because of her cruel comments, Celine has admitted she understands where Kate is coming from.The 44-year-old diva said: ‘If I just count how many times I've sung it, maybe it'll get me sick. If she feels tired just hearing it, and, like, throwing up, I'm glad she was not the one singing it.’?'It makes me want to throw up!' Kate Winslet reveals her TRUE feelings about Celine Dion's Titanic song My Heart Will Go On By PUBLISHED:12:11 GMT, 30 March 2012 UPDATED:15:06 GMT, 30 March 2012It remains one of the best-selling singles of all time, spending an astonishing 20 weeks in the UK charts.But now Kate Winslet has spoken about Celine Dion's Titanic song My Heart Will Go On, admitting that the emotional song makes her feel sick.The 36-year-old actress added that while she attempts to control her emotions about the heart-wrenching song, she always does a 'massive internal eye roll'.Scroll down for videoShe told MTV News: 'I feel like throwing up when I hear it. No, I shouldn't say that. No, actually, I do feel like throwing up. 'I wish I could say, "Oh listen, everybody! It's the Celine Dion song!" But I don't. 'I just have to sit there, you know, kind of straight-faced with a massive internal eye roll.'While the track is much-loved by Titanic fans, it has attracted criticism in the past, with Rolling Stone even naming it one of the worst songs in the 90s in a poll.But talking about the song, Celine said: 'My Heart Will Go On is for me a classic. And to be part of a classic is something I feel very proud of.'Meanwhile, talking about the effect starring in Titanic has had on her career, Kate said she would never have become as famous as she has become without the James Cameron movie.She told Magic 105.4: 'I'm fortunate enough to get to choose the roles I play these days, largely due to the success of Titanic actually, and so I do like choosing things that are risky and a little bit unexpected.'It was really Titanic that provided that creative freedom for me and actually then years later becoming a mother, it has been so brilliant the success of that film, because it has meant I haven't had to work as well and I can completely be a mum.'?Travelling in style: Khloe Kardashian jets off to Miami toting a giant $3,000 designer handbag By PUBLISHED:23:10 GMT, 30 September 2012 UPDATED:06:51 GMT, 1 October 2012She's got the art of stylish travel down to to a tee and this weekend Khloe Kardashian arrived at LAX with an enviable new piece of carry on.The reality TV star proudly toted a new $3000 Celine handbag which she had teamed with an off-the-shoulder black jumper, cargo pants and a pair of black stiletto boots.Khloe was on her way to Miami to join her sisters as they have begun filming the newest season of Kourtney and Kim Take Miami.Khloe her husband basketball player Lamar Odom celebrated their three-year anniversary on Thursday, and the couple appears to be going strong.'Happy anniversary to my best friend, my partner in crime and the love of my life — my husband,' Khloe, 28, wrote on her website. 'Over the past three years, I have experienced happiness that I never dreamed possible.''Thank you for making me feel like a princess every single day. I love you forever!'Khloe also Tweeted photos of their wedding bands and the number three created using red rose petals on her bed. New mum Kourtney also chimed in, admitting she initially had doubts about Khloe and Lamar’s whirlwind romance.'I wasn't so sure about you when you proposed to Khlo after only a few weeks but now you won me over. got 2 love,' she Tweeted.Khloe and Lamar tied the knot in 2009, one month after the couple met at a party for Lamar’s former Los Angeles Lakers teammate, Ron Artest. ?'From far away it's okay': Kim Kardashian gives Harper's Bazaar editor makeover with her bronzer - but forgets she's fair-skinned By PUBLISHED:20:41 GMT, 12 July 2012 UPDATED:07:04 GMT, 13 July 2012She may have earned her fashion wings but Kim Kardashian's make-up lesson yesterday left Harper's Bazaar editor, Laura Brown, looking like a jungle cat drag queen. No stranger to looking camera ready at a moment's notice, the reality star gave the magazine chief a make-over during a playful interview while in London. But using her own make-up bag to demonstrate a few tricks of the trade, the olive-skinned reality star didn't achieve quite the results she intended with her fair-skinned model. Glancing at a mirror in the aftermath, the magazine editor observed the dramatic dark brown shades on her pale skin with good humour.'Part lion, part Kardashian, all the way beautiful,' she laughed.In the meeting, Kimdiscussed her fashion evolution, plastic surgery and revealed how to look skinnier by contouring with bronzer and positioning the head at just the right angle.Admitting how everyone assumes she has had work done on her face, Kim explained in the interview that her secret is not in cosmetic enhancement, but in the way she uses make-up to slim down her face.But she also added: 'Botox to me is not surgery.'Kim used her own palette of bronzers, blushers and eyeshadow colours to work her magic, starting at the hair line and working her way around the edge of the cheekbones and the jaw.Noting that the colours were far too dark for her Antipodean model, she chuckled at the results of her work.Aside from clever make-up, another clever trick, she revealed, giving a demonstration, is to jut your head 'out and down' in photographs to make the face look less full.Kim is in London currently to promote her new fragrance and took time out from her hectic schedule to sit down in a hotel room with the perky Australian editor.Clad in a black Celine top, a Valentino jacket, a pair of Louboutin heels and a metal Celine choker, the two women quickly got around to the subject of her traveling outfit.The chic black ensemble was further proof that since dating Kanye West, the reality maven's wardrobe has experienced something of an overhaul.But, as she detailed her wardrobe evolution she was reluctant to creditto her boyfriend in any such explicit terms.'Iused to be super trendy and totally sexy,' she acknowledged. 'But I look back now and I used to want everything short and low cut and you really can't do it all.'WhenMs Brown laughed that she still does try, Kim perhaps revealed nostalgia for her old self.She agreed: 'I've tried for years and I would keep that for years.'Kim continued: 'More recently my style's become a little bit sleeker.'I think, Celine and Givenchy and Lanvin are some of my favs right now. 'Butthen again I love mixing it with low price point stuff too. It's all about mixing and matching. You can't really have like high end designers for everything.'?She liked them so much, she bought them twice! Kim Kardashian splashes out on both black and cream pairs of $1,695 Givenchy boots By PUBLISHED:17:09 GMT, 4 September 2012 UPDATED:08:41 GMT, 5 September 2012She’s always been adventurous when it comes to footwear and it seems Kim Kardashian has definitely taken a shine to these rather unusual shark lock boots by Givenchy.The 31-year-old Keeping Up With The Kardashians star was spotted wearing the black version of the fold-over leather boots back in August, which cost an eye-watering $1,695, while stepping out with boyfriend Kanye West, and it seems she liked them so much she bought them twice.Just weeks after wearing the black pair with a matching leather skirt during a break in Honolulu, Kim was pictured wearing the cream version of the boots during a shopping trip in New York.This time around Kim opted to wear the boots with a tuxedo-style black dress, knee length dress.Unfortunately the dress’s hem line fell just above the top of the boot, giving her a less than flattering look.Kim has been upping the ante in the style department since she began dating Kanye and the rapper has been very vocal with her opinions about her outfits.During a recent episode of her reality show, Kanye was seen advising Kim to donate several clothes from her wardrobe, remarking that the items were too ‘ghetto’.He later told her that he would replace the clothes with new pieces, selected by his own personal stylist.Kim has since listed the items on auction site eBay and plans to donate all proceeds of the sales to the Life Change Community Church.‘I used to want everything short and low-cut and you really can't do it all...recently my style has become a little bit sleeker,’ she recently told Harper’s Bazaar magazine.She also revealed that her first major purchase was a Prada backpack when she was 16 and admitted that her current favourite designers are Celine, Givenchy and Lanvin. ‘But then again I love mixing it with low-price point stuff, too. 'It's all about mixing and matching. You can't really have high-end designers for everything,’ she added. ?Kris Jenner defends her parenting skills...and borrows daughter Kim Kardashian's necklace for TV appearance By PUBLISHED:00:10 GMT, 19 July 2012 UPDATED:06:48 GMT, 19 July 2012Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner was in the Big Apple today defending her parenting skills on Good Afternoon America.Wearing a figure hugging black dress and black stiletto shoes, Kris, 56, also sported a $3000 gold choker, by French fashion house Celine, identical to one that reality TV star daughter Kim as been seen wearing on numerous occasions.This is not the first time the motherand daughter have taken fashion cues from each other, earlier this yearthey both attended events in Stella McCartney's sheer 'Lucia' polka dot dress. The famous momager, who receives a 10% commission of all deals she does for her children, defended her parenting skills and claimed that being in the public eye and being on a reality show is not changing her youngest daughters, Kendall and Kylie Jenner.Only last week a former nanny for the Kardashians announced plans to reveal an untold story of America's most famous family in a tell-all book. PamBehan, who spent five years apparently watching over their daughters Kourtney, Kim and Khloe, claims their mother Kris 'groomed' the sisters for the spotlight in a desperate bid for fame in her unfinished tome Malibu Nanny: The True Adventures of the Former Kardashian Nanny. But, explaining why she is so involved in her childrens' lives, Kris said: 'I’ve spent many years of my life being pregnant. And for me to raise them and say goodbye to them when they are 18, just isn’t going to work for me. I’ve managed to have the best family dynamic that I can.'The discussion also centered around the argument that parents can’t also be a child’s best friend. 'My girls have all gone through that stage where they push back on their parents, but it’s all about the family dynamic,' Kris replied. 'That’s why I create these relationships and cherish them.''[Most of] my girls are in their 30s, 20s, I mean, they’re not going to take my discipline,' Kris said. 'I’m sure you’ve all seen the show, where I have no voice. Kendall and Kylie are still under my thumb and live in my house.''There’s no option, if you don’t give your kids an option. You are living in my house with my rules.'Kris has spoken before about how the show Keeping Up With The Kardashians has allowedher to be in constant contact with her children, even as adults - something she values.'I think I'd like to think that I would use any opportunity to its advantage. I doesn't get any better than this,' Jenner told Oprah Winfrey in an interview last month. 'If I wasn't doing this I would be lost.'Following several controversies, including Kim's 72-day marriage last year, Kris also revealed that the worst thing she has heard is that she's exploiting or pimping her kids.Claiming to have evaluated that criticism, Jenner said: 'I know in my heart that all I want for the girls is for them to be successful and follow their dreams.'?Lady Gaga changes song lyrics in support of fashion designers as they wage war with top style critic Cathy Horyn By PUBLISHED:19:56 GMT, 3 October 2012 UPDATED:21:21 GMT, 3 October 2012Lady Gaga has decided to add more fuel to a complicated and fierce fashion fight between The New York Times style critic Cathy Horyn and fashion designers Oscar de la Renta and Hedi Slimane.The music idol preformed a rap redux of her single 'Cake Like Lady Gaga' at Thierry Mugler’s recent spring 2013 show in Paris, using the opportunity to attack Ms Horyn and her longtime partner, Art Ortenberg.With her voice distorted to sound male, she rapped: 'Ortenberg you can suck my d**k, walk b***h you ain't Lady Gaga... Cathy Horyn your style ain't d**k. Walk a mile in these foot-high heels, I run in these you ain't running s**t. You chew beef, I wear meat- I'm getting fat and so is my bank. From a sold-out world tour, b***h.'The fight, which began last year but was revived during the current spring/summer 2013 shows in New York and Paris, first encompassed Dontella Versace, Gaga and Ms Horyn.It has since grown to include Oscar de la Renta and now, the new designer of Yves Saint Laurent, Hedi Slimane.In 2011, Ms Horyn criticized Versace for outfitting Gaga in archival vintage pieces for the singer's Edge of Glory video. 'Be choosier, Ms Versace,' she wrote in a piece for The New York Times, announcing she had 'unfollowed' the singer on Twitter.Gaga used her V magazine column to respond, writing: 'In the age of the internet, when collections and performances are so accessible to the public and anyone can post a review on Facebook or Twitter, shouldn't columnists and reviewers, such as Cathy Horyn, employ a more modern and forward approach to criticism, one that separates them from the average individual at home on their laptop?'The feud was reignited during New York Fashion Week in September when Oscar de la Renta misunderstood a line in Ms Horyn's largely positive review of his spring collection, specifically misinterpreting her use of the slang term 'hot dog,' which, as a verb, means showboater.Gaga took the designer's side on Twitter, after he bought a full page ad in Women’s Wear Daily voicing his dislike for her review, asking why he shouldn't in turn call Ms Horyn a 'stale, three-day-old hamburger.'Gaga then tweeted: 'Bravo Oscar. Only you would be so chic as to purchase an entire page in WWD, making statements like a good fashion citizen.'And from there, everything deteriorated.Mr Ortenberg, coming to the defense of his girlfriend, wrote a letter to the editor of , calling Gaga 'vacuous,' while advising her to 'grow up'.Referencing her earlier V magazine column against Ms Horyn, who critiques collections for a living, Mr Ortenberg wrote: 'I feel it necessary to cudgel Gaga for her... dumbing-down opinion that an uninformed opinion is as valid as that of a seasoned critic - as though Gaga and Bridget Foley of WWD or David Denby of The New Yorker or Ben Brantley of The New York Times or Brooks Atkinson or Pauline Kael or any professional critic is just another opinion and that Gaga's vacuous thoughts deserve the same status.'Now, after Gaga's last word in rap form at the Mugler show, and in the spirit of timeliness, designer Hedi Slimane has joined in the war of words and media go-betweens.After he barred the fashion critic from his Paris runway debut for Saint Laurent on Monday, Ms Horyn posted a review of the show based solely on digital images.In her review, written for The New York Times' blog, she concluded that the collection was 'a nicebut frozen vision of a bohemian chick at the Chateau Marmont. Or in St.Tropez.'Mr. Slimane’s clothes lacked a new fashion spirit,' she wrote of the former Dior Homme designer. 'Considering that Mr. Slimane was an avatar of youthful style, I expected more from this debut.'Meanwhile, its competitors - Balenciaga, Dior, Givenchy, Celine, Lanvin - are having a terrific season,' she added.She also revealed Mr Slimane's reasons for not inviting her. (Business of Fashion editor Imran Amed was also banned from the show, he was told, because Yves Saint Laurent was unhappy with his 'tone of voice' when writing about the brand.)Ms Horyn explained: '[He] objected bitterly to a review I wrote in 2004 - not about him but Raf Simons.'I wrote that without Mr. Simons’ template of slim tailoring and street casting, there would not have been a Hedi Slimane - just as there would never have been a Raf Simons without Helmut Lang. Fashion develops a bit like a genetic line.'Anyway,' she continued of the designer who hasn't spoken to her in five years, 'Mr. Slimane insisted that he was the first to show the skinny suit. It was a silly debate. Who cares? As time went on, he also felt (as best as I can tell) that I gave preference to Mr Simons in my coverage of the men’s shows'.Indeed, Ms Horyn has made no secret of her fandom for Mr Simons' designs, and after he spent seven years at the design helm of Jil Sander, her glowing review of his debut ready-to-wear collection for Dior just days earlier is a clear reference.However, it was, and has always been, a deserved opinion - and one in the same line of thinking as countless editors, stylists and women in general, who genuinely smiled as Mr Simons sent one Dior look out after another.However an unimpressed Mr Slimane thought otherwise. Later in the day, after her review had been uploaded, the designer posted a letter on Twitter in which he called Ms Horyn, 'a schoolyard bully and also a little bit of a stand-up comedian.''As far as I’m concerned, she will never get a seat at Saint Laurent, but might get 2-for-1 at Dior,' he continued, after attacking her physical appearance. 'I don’t mind critics, but they have to come from a fashion critic, not a publicist in disguise. I am quite mesmerized she did get away with it for so many years.'Yet to publicly address Mr Slimane's message or Gaga's attack, when she was reached for comment last night, Ms Horyn told , 'It’s just silly nonsense to me.'?Las Vegas celebrates 100 yearsBy Paul Oswell, This is TravelLast updated at 10:14 16 May 2005The anticipation of one of the world's biggest parties is finally over, and the gambling resort of Las Vegas has kicked off its 100th birthday celebrations.The build up to the centenary has been going on for some months, and the anniversary finally came around on Sunday 16th May, with a giant 'Helldorado' party.The occasion was graced by what organisers claim to be the world's largest birthday cake, some 31 metres long, 15 metres wide and 50 centimetres high.Elsewhere, rock music blared out from every bar, Presley, Sinatra and any number of other music impersonators crooned, the ubiquitous showgirls danced and the casinos went about their traditional business, albeit with even more razzmatazz than usual.It was a fittingly glam and glitzy tribute to the popularity of a town affectionately known as Sin City.To bring the show to a climax, dozens of 'Flying Elvi' descend into Cashman Field. Kool and the Gang continued the festivities with a free concert and the evening ended with a 6-minute fireworks show.Las Vegas became a city in 1905, though it only really began to attract visitors from 194, 10 years after Nevada legalised gambling in the state and when El Rancho Vegas Hotel-Casino became the first major hot spot on what is now The Strip.It was followed in 1946 by the Flamingo, built by Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel, the Los Angeles Mafia boss. Big business has now taken over, with gambling tycoons such as Steve Wynn spending $2.7 billion for his new mega-hotel, Wynn Las Vegas, which opened this month.Las Vegas now boasts 18 of America's 20 top hotels and has a total of more than 130,000 hotel rooms. Its quickie wedding chapels meanwhile also make it the country's nuptial capital, with around 120,000 marriages each year.About 87 percent of visitors to Vegas gamble during their stay, spending an average of $550. And more than $15 billion is spent gambling each year in Vegas. The kick-off for the celebrations was actually some months ago, on 31st December 2004, but the celebration will last for more than a year. The largest concentration of the festivities will take place from May - July 2005.Vegas has become all things to all people in a bid to attract as many visitors as possible. As many people are likely to come to enjoy one of the many shows as they are to spend all their time in the casinos these days, and events marked to celebrate the centenary are suitably diverse.As well as concerts from some of the biggest names in showbusiness such as Celine Dion, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Elton John, there are film festivals, photography exhibitions, golf tournaments and a succession of huge parades that bring together dancers, musicians and performers of every description under light shows that are set to look special even for the city of neon.For the full programme, visit the official Las Vegas Centennial website: www.lasvegas2005.orgShare this article: ?What a blow-out! LeAnn Rimes celebrates her 29th with yet ANOTHER birthday party By UPDATED:07:41 GMT, 30 August 2011She had already celebrated her 29th birthday with a Mexican dinner with friends, a beach party and a brunch, where she received a very expensive handbag.But LeAnn Rimes carried on the festivities with a an intimate dinner thrown for her by husband Eddie Cibrian on her actual birthday last night.With the help of her husband, the country music singer blew out the candles on her birthday cake and made a wish in front of close friends at her favourite restaurant Nobu Sushi in Malibu.The slim star slipped her tiny frame into a sheer leopard print maxi dress, which was split to the thigh showing off her toned legs.She paired the look with tanned bejewelled sandals, gold chandelier earrings and wore her hair swept up in a messy pony tail.LeAnn and Eddie, as always, could barely keep their hands off each other and shared an intimate kiss in front of their dinner guests. One thing LeAnn may not have been thrilled about was the message that her hubby of just months had written on her three-tiered cake.The 38-year-old actor reminded his lady love that the big 3-0 was fast approaching.'My Love - The countdown begins to thirty,' the message read. LeAnn was however thrilled with her birthday gifts.The blonde star was treated to a very limited edition designer handbag by her husband earlier in the day at brunch.The blue bag, by French fashion house Cline is estimated to have cost between $4,000 and $8,000 US and she happily showed it off in a snap on her Twitter account.'Omg....speechless!' tweeted the Grammy-winner. 'They made 13 of these Celine bags. My husband is amazing!'The lucky birthday girl was also given a designer scarf in a regal shade of purple from her close friend Mateo.'@mateoS201 got me the Hermes scarf. Lucky!' Rimes wrote in another tweet..Followinglast night's dinner, LeAnn looked a little weary as she emerged from the Japanese eatery and headed home on the arm of Eddie.Eddie and LeAnn spent several minutes outside talking to friends before heading home. It had been a big weekend for singing star. Earlierin the day, the singer enjoyed a family brunch a Moonshadows with Eddieand his two sons Mason and Jake, from his previous marriage to Brandi Glanville.LeAnn slipped into a white strapless frock paired with beige espadrille wedges for her family day out.And the day before, the swimsuit-loving country singer slipped into not one but THREE skimpy costumes, including a tiny red crochet wonder as she frolicked onMalibu beach with Eddie and stepson Mason.Bikini show: The day before the swimsuit-loving country singer slipped into not one but THREE skimpy costumes, as she frolicked onMalibu beach with Eddie and stepson MasonTheslender star showed off her tanned and toned figure in the attire, clearly impressing her man, whom she cuddled up to and shared a passionate smooch.First up, LeAnn slipped into a seventies-inspired pink tasseled number for her day at the beach.Husbandof four months Eddie, could not keep his hands nor his lips of his wife, wrapping his arms around her chiseled stomach muscles and treating her to passionate kiss.An equally loved-up LeAnn also got a handle on Eddie by latching on to his board shorts.Eddiehad gone topless, showing off his washboard abs under the searing heat by simply slipping into the swimming trunks and a white baseball cap worn backwards.LeAnn kept up with her retro feel by wearing her hair out with tiny plaits fixed atthe front, and slipping on a pair of aviator sunglasses to finish off the look.During the day, the singer slipped into yet another bikini as she playfully frolicked around the beach with little Mason.Thestylish star also switched up her hair, popping it into a high bun for apretty but practical beach look, perfect for running about in the sand.Theyoung boy chased his stepmother, who continued to show off her ripped body in a mismatched bikini consisting of a peach-colored top and floral bottoms with ties at the side.LeAnn and Mason had a ball as they splashed around the water and and ran around in the warm sand.Thepair had a giggle as indulged in some beach tennis and LeAnn showed offthe full effect of her super muscular figure as she bent over to reclaim a ball from the ocean.Ever the dutiful stepmother, she was also spotted doting over the little one, bending down to give him a cuddle.But of course husband Eddie was not forgotten.During the course of their playtime, LeAnn once again snuggled up to Eddie, who was happily chatting to friends who were sitting around on sun-loungers.As the day wore on, LeAnn slipped into her third and most daring bikini of the day- a tiny red crochet number which left very little to the imagination.Even her very discreet tattoo, saying 'Love' was visible above her extremely brief briefs at the bottom of her back.AppreciativeEddie could barely keep his hands off his super slim wife, as she leaned against him while they chatted with friends. She was probably in need of the support by that point, having been supping birthday beverages all day.At one point, LeAnn treated herself to what appeared to be a refreshing margaritas with salted rim.The night before LeAnn was spotted stepping out with friends to Mexican restaurant Red O in West Hollywood for a relaxing meal to kick off a full weekend of celebrations. ?Why does Twitter turn people into monsters? By PUBLISHED:22:11 GMT, 30 March 2012 UPDATED:00:09 GMT, 31 March 2012What does it say about our society when passers-by at a fatal road accident start taking pictures of the victim on their mobiles so they can put them on the internet?On Thursday a woman was killed when she was hit on a busy road by a 40-ton lorry.Instead of moving on quickly to allow emergency services to carry out their work, nearby builders gathered at the scene and reached for their phones, while commuters stopped in rush-hour traffic to take pictures of her corpse.I apologise in advance for describing what happened in detail, but it helps explain just how sick these ghouls are. The woman had been decapitated. A picture appeared on Twitter showing her severed leg, although it was laterdeleted.God alone knows what else these people have filmed and sent to their Twitter friends. One can’t even begin to imagine how violated and distressed the dead woman’s family must feel. It would be easy to dismiss this kind of repellent behaviour as that of a few warped minds. But it would also be wrong. The use of Twitter to outrage, bully and intimidate people has become an epidemic in this country.This week the unspeakable Speaker’s wife Sally Bercow tweeted that she was ‘tempted’ to try the latest legal high MXE — a drug sold online that apes the high of the banned horse tranquilliser ketamine — before it is banned. Did she care in the slightest that she was endorsing the drug in the very week that two mothers’ children had died after taking it or similar substances available online? Children who could have been influenced by the fatuous Twitter postings of ‘celebrities’ such as 42-year-old Mrs Bercow? Will Mrs Bercow still be salivating publicly over MXE when her own three young children are teenagers who might be inclined to take the drug?Twitter brings out the worst in human beings. Earlier this week, 21-year-old student Liam Stacey was jailed for tweeting hateful racist messages on the day Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed with a cardiac arrest while playing in a cup tie. ‘LOL [laugh out loud],’ read one of them ‘**** Muamba. He’s dead!!!’ Thankfully Muamba is now recovering following the match two weeks ago. Likewise, stars who made Twitter fashionable, such as Stephen Fry, Matt Lucas and Sinead O’Connor, have suffered the most appalling abuse, and some have understandably now closed down their Twitter accounts.Twitter started out as a social network to keep friends and followers informed of each other’s lives. It has turned into a platform for bullies, perverts, voyeurs and shameless self-publicists. Shouldn’t all right-minded people start giving it a very wide berth?Actress Donna Air’s defence in court over charges she fraudulently claimed parking permits in two London boroughs was that she’s stupid. ‘I suspect there’s not a lot going on in Ms Air’s head,’ her lawyer said, ‘other than hot air.’Ignorance of the law has never been a defence, so why should stupidity be one?Your choice, your problemA woman appeared on Radio 5 Live demanding her right to have her triple-D PIP breast implants removed and replaced on the NHS. She’d had her breasts enlarged because she had serious ‘issues’ with regard to her ‘self-esteem’. It’s bad enough that we taxpayers and the cash-strapped NHS paid for her enhanced cleavage in the first place, but now this bimbo expects us to foot the bill for getting rid of it so she can feel good about herself.What about the self-esteem of the elderly languishing on wards uncared for and unfed?Ageless Ice MaidenAttending the first screening of the Hollywood blockbuster Titanic’s 3D release, Kate Winslet says, 15 years on: ‘We were all so good-looking then.’ How intriguing that the 36-year-old actress has aged much better than co‑star Leonardo DiCaprio, who looks every moment of his 37years. Brandishing a fake pistol this week on the set of the Danish crime drama The Killing, Camilla screamed: ‘It was me all along!’ Diana would concur. Excess sympathyIt was all there in the title — the Riots Communities and Victims Panel report. We’re told the real victims of the summer riots were not those whose homes and businesses were destroyed, nor the five killed, but the young rioters. The report concludes that, since half the recorded offences were for looting high-value, designer products such as clothes, trainers, mobile phones and computers, the rioters were the victims of ‘excessive marketing’. When I was growing up, I had one new pair of shoes every year, no designer labels and I never nicked anything. If I had, I’d have suffered from what might now be called ‘excessive parenting’.Photographed with destitute kids in Manila, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton makes a film for Soccer Aid to highlight their plight. ‘They are living without the simple things like food, clean water and a safe place to sleep,’ he says. ‘It shouldn’t be like this.’ Perhaps Hamilton, a multi-millionaire tax exile, would have a bit more credibility if he actually paid his dues here and helped the poor kids of Britain.Having raised her adopted daughter Dexter alone, Diane Keaton now says she regrets being a single mother. ‘As a parent I provide all I can, but I think in the best possible scenario you need to have a man.’ Keaton was one of the great feminists, a woman millions admired for her portrayal of the liberated I-need-no-man Annie Hall and an actress who seemed to have it all — a fabulous career, endless glamorous lovers and single motherhood. She’s now 66 and her daughter is 16, but well done her — it’s never too late to tell the truth.A new low for Tulisa?After weeks protesting her innocence over an intimate sex tape posted on the internet, The X Factor’s Tulisa Contostavlos is said to be suing her former lover and the recipient of her favours on the video for 100,000 damages — accusing him of making the tape public.Now her ex, rapper MC Ultra (aka Justin Edwards), says the sex tape was actually her idea, suggested it had been filmed on her mobile and that he never even owned the tape. Some now wonder if there is nothing to which this woman will not stoop to grab the headlines. Perhaps she thinks the only way to keep her name in lights is to become her very own X‑rated Factor.Keen to connect with ‘ordinary women’, Victoria Beckham said when she won the fashion Brand of the Year award, that rather than attend the ceremony, ‘I would have felt much more comfortable in my pyjamas with the kids and David in a hotel watching TV’.Yes, darling, we ordinary women all spend our nights with the kids in five-star hotels. And she’s most proud of Becks’s undies range: ‘David created it, we own it and H&M does the distribution. It makes sense business-wise and it has integrity because David designed it all himself.’How hard is it to stuff a pair of socks down your undies, David? In my experience, only gay men give so much thought to their pants.Beyond the paleBorn in Barbados, singer Rihanna turns out in London to promote her new movie Battleship with a blonde wig and a seemingly paler complexion. She denies she’s done a Michael Jackson and lightened her skin. She has also denied rumours she’s dating Demi Moore’s soon-to-be-ex-husband Ashton Kutcher, despite being photographed entering his $10 million Hollywood home at midnight in a pair of miniscule hotpants and leaving at four in the morning. Rihanna says she was simply viewing the property as a potential buyer. How many little white lies can one woman tell?Westminster NoticeboardCabinet Office Minister Francis Maude sparked national chaos telling us to fill our tanks and stash a jerry can full of petrol in our garages.The Tory grandee owns two buy-to-let properties in London and France as well as his family estate in Sussex. No shortage of garages for Mr Maude. Saddam Hussein’s buddy George Galloway trounced all the main parties in the Bradford West by-election, ousting Labour after nearly 40 years. The Tories’ vote was down 37 per cent — no doubt due to the three weeks hopeless Baroness Warsi spent there trying to get the vote out.PASTYGATE: Rumour has it that posh boy George Osborne thought the pasty tax would hit the rich. It took one of his advisers to explain to him that pasties were not miniature Beef Wellingtons. Meanwhile, Sceptics say David Cameron’s photocall of him tucking into a pasty was a cheap stunt and he never actually eats them. I disagree. Given how porky he’s looking these days, I suspect he’s been eating all the pasties.?'She did it!' Emotional Lindsay Lohan can't hide her delight as judge revokes probation after four years By PUBLISHED:17:09 GMT, 29 March 2012 UPDATED:23:09 GMT, 29 March 2012Lindsay Lohan has been released from formal probation for the first time in four years. She was ruled to be in the clear at her final hearing today, but not without some blunt advice from Judge Stephanie Sautner. She told the actress: 'You need to live your life in a more mature way, stop clubbing and focus on work.'But Lindsay couldn't hide her delight and even Judge Sautner exclaimed excitedly: 'She did it!'The Mean Girls star seems to have listened to the authority figure - who she now genuinely seems to see as a mentor - as she told TMZ that she was planning to celebrate her freedom at a quiet dinner with her sister, Ali. And she told the judge: 'What you've done has really opened a lot of doors for me,' before adding: 'I hope I see you again soon.'Sautner explained that Lindsay had complied with all her requirements, and would now be free of official checks - if she stays out of trouble for two-and-a-half years. Lindsay's spokesperson, Steve Honig told the Mail Online: 'Lindsay has closed this chapter of her life and is looking forward to the next one, which has gotten off to a great start with Glee and Liz & Dick. She is focused on getting back to work and is ready to dive right into her next project.' Running the gamut of emotions: Lindsay went from nervous to tentatively relieved to full blown happiness as Judge Sautner spoke Lindsay herself called in to TMZ Live today to talk about her victory in court this morning. She had kind words for Holley and Sautner but vented anger towards those who still pigeonhole her as a party girl, she also told that 'she finally realised her life was falling apart.'Earlier this week it was reported how claims Lindsay ran into Hookah Lounge manager Thaer Kamal outside a Hollywood before driving off two weeks ago would not go against her.It's recorded that the alleged incident is under investigation by police, but Lohan's probation officer discounts the claim and gives it no weight, noting that no charges have been filed and that Lindsay has not been arrested.As such, the District Attorney did not object to Judge Stephanie Sautner terminating Lindsay's probation, stemming from her 2007 Beverly Hills DUI case.In relation to her necklace theft case from last year, the LA City Attorney changed her formal probation - which requires her to regularly report to her probation officer and a judge - to informal probation. The informal probation period will end after two-and-a-half years, so long as the actress does not break the law.A smiling Lindsay was pictured leaving her final probation meeting in Santa Monica last week - apparently after learning she was going to be in the clear.According to TMZ, her probation report reads in part: 'The probationer (Lindsay) is in compliance with the terms and conditions of probation.'The report recommends that probation continue the way it's been going, but that is standard for these reports.' In relation to the hit and run allegations, Kamal has claimed the actress grazed him with her black Porsche as she tried to leave the Sayers Club in Hollywood almost two week ago, which Lindsay strongly denies. Sheinsists that she was trying to attend a friend's party but didn't even make it into the venue thanks to throngs of photographers. Yet Radar claim to have watched surveillancetapes from the night in question which seem to demolish Lindsay's claims that she was 'freaked out by all the paparazzi'.They wrote: 'Kamal and Lohan clearly engage in conversation. There were absolutely no other paparazzi or photographers in the alley as Lohan claimed.' And a source told the website: 'When Lindsay got out of the car, he smelled alcohol on her breath. 'He didn't think she should be driving, and told her so, and she replied "f*ck you". 'Lindsay hit Thaer with her car as she was attempting to get out of the alley and also bumped his car.'However the definitive proof remains elusive as Kamal was standing out of range in the surveillance video when Lohan allegedly struck him with her car.'Thaerjust wants the truth to come out, that is all. He was injured and unable to work, since the incident. Thaer wants Lindsay to be held accountable for her actions,' their source said. Lindsay was confident that Sautner will see the alleged incident as nothing more than someone trying to make easy cash from her, and it wasn't even mentioned. Earlier this week it was reported that Lohan would be taking legal action against Kamal, should he file a civil lawsuit against her. According to Radar Online, the the actress 'will counter-sue and hold him responsible for the allegations he has made.'The website also claims today that Kamal has never been investigated for insurance fraud and has no criminal record, contrary to earlier reports.?LIZ JONES MOANSThe jellyfish women who want to sting me to death By UPDATED:10:26 GMT, 13 October 2011Funny, outrageous and downright rude. Who’s in Liz Jones’ firing line this week?Hmmm. What’s made me angry this week? The fact I was assured my Santander account was closed, and there would be no more charges — only to receive on Tuesday a statement saying I owe them 1.50.Like BT, they only sat up and took notice when I printed my complaint; I assume both institutions continue to be as chaotic as ever with mere members of the public. Or the fact that when making multiple purchases in Harrods I am asked, every single time: ‘Do you have a Harrods reward card?’ No! I do NOT!!!! And I don’t WANT ONE! Or, how about the fact that, having told West Somerset Council I do not want an unsightly, unhygienic wheelie bin, and they said I could be exempt, they delivered one to me on Monday. I phoned up to complain, and by the afternoon they had delivered three! Three!!!! And why do I have to put cardboard in a different box to white paper? And do (un-rinseable) cat food pouches count as rubbish, metal or plastic? But the thing that annoys me most is women who are blunt. Someone stayed with me last weekend, and I was so busy and exhausted running round buying her gin, I didn’t have time to eat. ‘Ooooooh,’ she said. ‘You’re starting to get that really drawn look in your face.’ At a fashion show the other week, a woman (a blogger; hate them! Hate them!) came up to me and said: ‘I think you should go blonde. That dark hair is so unflattering.’ People, even friends and relatives, deflate me all the time. Bridget Jones used to describe people who love making stinging comments as jellyfish — as in ‘jellyfish alert!’.This morning, in a cafe, a fashion writer said: ‘Ooh, I was only defending you the other day when I read what some columnist had said about you in the Guardian...’ Why are women so vile to each other? I would never say to my house guest: ‘Well, black rotten teeth aren’t all that flattering, either.’And, to be honest, when one columnist is writing about a rival, it shows they’ve run out of ideas and their career is over.I’m going to start lobbing a few jellyfish of my own.CELEB BRAIN-DEAD MOMENT OF THE WEEKThis is Vogue’s website, talking about why 19-year-old Karlie Kloss is the model of the moment, and was Paris fashion week’s top model: ‘Her accessibly pretty face — complete with signature smirk — and sporty rather than skinny figure has made her the girl causing us to swoon after every show.’ Sporty?! This model has a 22in waist!CRIME AGAINST FASHIONTheParis shows are now over. But for any of you hoping to be able to walk without holding on to passing strangers next spring, I’m afraid there isno good news. The shoes on the catwalk were the ugliest, clumpiest objects I have ever come across. Theorthopaedic shoes from Celine, and these salmon (salmon!) sandals, pictured, from McQueen (the model’s toes protrude obscenely) make me despair, mainly because both labels are helmed by women: Phoebe Philo and Sarah Burton respectively. Hereis how Style.com, the online home of Vogue, describes the Celine shoes:‘Platform ankle-strap pumps that women will find very necessary indeed next spring.’ Are they blind? The only reason for the hike in heels is a commensurate hike in prices. ?Would YOU sit next to Anna Wintour in an M&S jumper? One Prada addict rips up the Fashion Week rule book wearing only high street clobber...and survives! By PUBLISHED:09:23 GMT, 19 September 2012 UPDATED:17:42 GMT, 19 September 2012London Fashion Week. The five days of the year when the UK's best designers descend on the capital to showcase what we'll all be wearing next season.But when, like me, you work at – the world's biggest selling fashion magazine – LFW isn't just about reporting on the trends...it's about looking the part too.It would be against fashion law if I turned up looking anything less than immaculate and in head to toe designer; in fact it's probably in my job description.The first few days of the September shows are all about one thing; who's been shopping and where.It's not only the clothes that are on show during Fashion Week, it's the editors.Recently, our fashion challenge has been heightened by the explosion of bloggers standing outside the shows.They scrutinise our outfits and photograph our daily sartorial successes and blunders, instantly uploading them to Twitter and Instagram for interested onlookers to judge.Heaven forbid we try and sneak into a show wearing the same jacket twice!But then, two months ago, I had a revelation. I was asked to appear in the October issue of ELLE wearing solely high street.My brief was to find an outfit for each day of the week, the kind of outfits I would normally wear to work meetings, dinners or to walk the dog on a Sunday.Seven entirely different high street outfits - had I read this right? My Prada quivered, my Celine shook, my colleagues laughed!So I took to the streets and set about hunting my clothes down.The quality and fit were excellent; the range of prints exciting and the attention to detail was astonishing. I lookedgood and felt great in the clothes and they were inexpensive.This got me thinking, why not go to fashion week wearing my pick of clothes available to buy now on the high street - surely fashion should available to everyone – styled in a way I would usually wear designer pieces?Firstly, I knew my bank manager would thank me and, well, I love a challenge.Fashion Week has just ended. And readers, I will have you know, I didn't cheat.I didn't pull a pair of Prada shoes out of my Aldo bag as soon as I'd had my picture taken.I wore my high street wardrobe for fifteen hours a day and walked miles in shoes I would never normally buy.It took longer to put the outfits together because pulling on an expensive dress is a no brainer - you will almost always look good, and if you add a designer handbag to the mix you're good to go to the Valentino show.But I loved each and every outfit.Fellow editors and street style photographers stopped me in the street and I was proud to say I was sporting Next, not Celine, River Island, not Stella.The great thing about the high street, as well as the range and the price, is that they cater for all sizes and shapes.Looking good really doesn't get easier than this.If you want to buy any of the looks Stacey is wearing, click ?Stylish, smart and shocking– Bruce’s future looks a blast, judging by new film Looper By PUBLISHED:11:48 GMT, 1 October 2012 UPDATED:12:51 GMT, 1 October 2012LooperCertificate: 15 Time: 1hr 58mins Rating: Remember The Terminator? Well, it seems Rian Johnson, writer and director of Looper, clearly does, for as his new sci-fi thriller gets under way, the echoes of time-travelling Arnie and his faithful shotgun fairly echo down the space-time continuum.The introductory narration lays out the film’s complex set-up. It’s set in the future – in the Kansas of 2044 – when time travel does not yet exist. But when it is invented 30 years later, our narrator promises us, it will immediately be declared so dangerous as to be made illegal.The only people who then use it are crime syndicates. They send unfortunates who incur their displeasure 30 years back in time to a specified spot. As soon as they materialise, hooded and tied, they are blasted to death by a waiting ‘looper’ with a shotgun. Joe, the film’s central character and our narrator, is one of these hired assassins, and is paid handsomely in silver bars for his crimes.Almost instantly, I found myself wondering why the mobsters of 2074 would go to such extraordinary lengths. But within seconds, Joe provides the unlikely answer – individual tagging technology is so advanced in 2074 that disposing of a body has become almost impossible. I let out a silent groan and wondered how dismal the rest of Looper could possibly be.The best part of two hours later, I had an answer: Looper isn’t dismal at all. What it lacks in originality is more than made up for by Johnson’s supremely confident execution. The result is a film that manages to be clever, funny, sad and shocking; sometimes all at the same time. With flourishes of Hitchcock and complete with a timeless American icono-graphy of diners, cornfields and guns – lots of guns – it’s one of the most unexpectedly enjoyable films I’ve seen all year.My favourite line is delivered in a run-down diner, while we’re still struggling to come to terms with the concept of ‘closing the loop’: the looper as he is in 30 years’ time is sent back to 2044 to be executed by his younger self.When the Joe from the future (Bruce Willis) materialises in front of the Joe of the present (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), things don’t go entirely to plan. That prompts Willis’s Joe to put a wonderfully definitive stop to any nerdish conversations about the impossibility of two versions of the same person, let alone the same pocket watch, being in the same place in the same time. ‘I don’t want to sit here and talk about time-travel stuff,’ he says wearily, ‘it doesn’t matter.’In that one bound, Looper is free to travel its own path, which to some may make no sense at all while to others will be close to perfect (despite the resemblances to Terminator). For Joe from the future has come back to find and kill someone before they become very dangerous indeed. But who?There’s so much that hits the spot here – the production design for both bleak futures (2044 and 2074), the flashes of humour, the cleverness of the script. All this is more than matched by the quality of the acting. Jeff Daniels gives it all an early shot in the arm as the menacing Mr Big who’s been sent back from the future to take control of the ‘looper’ network. His cameo manages to be both funny and frightening.An hour in, Emily Blunt appears as an axe-wielding, gun-toting farming widow who’s doing the best to raise her son, and she’s more than good enough to compensate for a sudden slowing of the pace that comes with her.Worry not, Johnson is just pausing for breath before a superb climax that springs surprises right to the end. This is the sort of film we all hoped M. Night Shyamalan would make after The Sixth Sense but sadly never did. Johnson deserves great credit for Looper, but he has to share it with his two leading men. Gordon-Levitt, so good recently in 50/50, is a restrained delight as Joe from 2044. He hints at the Bruce Willis he is destined to become without lapsing into a lazy parody.As for Willis, this is one of the best films he’s made for ages. He exudes screen presence, backs that up with great technique and, in time-honoured tradition, gets to shoot an awful lot of people.A political satire that takes aim at some of the wilder excesses of US elections might not be expected to go down that well with British audiences, but The Campaign stars both the crowd-pleasing Will Ferrell and The Hangover’s Zach Galifianakis, so it’s unlikely to be ignored. It’s very funny at times, extremely rude at others, but feels too lightweight and contrived to deliver much in the way of box-office satisfaction. It will make you laugh but you certainly won’t want to have spent a lot of money to see it.Ferrell plays Cam Brady, a four-term Congressman who seems certain of making it five in a row when no opponent comes forward to stand against him in the North Carolina district he represents. Then the married but libidinous Washington politician makes a very big mistake, leaving a dirty message on the wrong answer machine for the cheerleader he’s just had sex with in a portable toilet.His crass infidelity is exposed, the polls turn against him and, more importantly, so do the billionaire Motch brothers, who fancy themselves as Washington power- brokers and want someone who will protect their business interests in China.All they need is a candidate – anyone: their money and political spin will do the rest. Then they remember one of their allies has a son: Marty Huggins (Galifianakis), a very naive tour guide from the small town of Hammond. He’s never made a political speech in his life: perfect.Covering similar ground to George Clooney’s The Ides Of March but in infinitely sillier style, The Campaign comes close to hitting the comic mark, helped by Brady’s undeniably funny encounters with, first, a baby, and, second, Uggie the Jack Russell terrier from Oscar winner The Artist.But though its stars are game, The Campaign never serves up quite enough laughs. Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses) is wasted in a supporting role, and the closing stages are too ridiculous to properly amuse.Those with long memories may remember a TV cartoon from the Seventies, Mr Benn, in which a bowler-hatted businessman would visit a magical costume shop, put on a new outfit and suddenly embark on an extraordinary adventure. I mention it because the new film from arty French film-maker Leos Carax, Holy Motors, is a lot like that, albeit in a more adult and absolutely barking-mad sort of way.Denis Lavant, star of Carax’s best-known film, The Lovers On The Bridge, plays a wealthy businessman who is driven around Paris all day in a stretch limo by the beautiful and devoted Celine (Edith Scob). Inside the car he changes costume, dons wigs and prosthetics, and gets out to play a succession of very odd characters: an elderly female tramp, an assassin, a monster from a horror film, a motion-capture artist, an impatient father  . . .It’s far from clear what’s going on. Is he an actor revisiting his past career, has the line between art and real life become blurred, or might he be representing some higher authority altogether (as the title and some later scenes suggest)?Eva Mendes pops up as a model, while Kylie Minogue arrives late to speak decent French and sing a quite terrible song, but neither can disguise the fact that Holy Motors is strictly for lovers of particularly demanding French cinema.The CampaignCertificate: 15 Time: 1hr 26mins Holy MotorsCertificate: 18 Time: 1hr 55mins ALSO SHOWINGAllies in the frozen wild and Cold War foesThere is life after Ron Weasley for Rupert Grint, but modest anti-war film Cross Of Honour (15) HHH will have a limited audience. Written and directed by Petter Naess, who made an international splash with his 2001 film Elling, it’s a survival tale inspired by true events.It’s 1940 in Norway. Survivors from two downed planes – three German, two British – are trapped in a snowy wilderness. Stuck with each other in a remote cabin, their mutual hostility gradually crumbles as they work together to survive.Grint plays a stroppy Liverpudlian gunner, and he’s quite fun and plucky in a strong five-man cast.The film feels like a short play and starts running out of steam after an hour, when it resorts to the ever-popular improvised amputation crisis, but it’s well acted and nicely done, with a touching postscript.Christian Petzgold’s superior German drama Barbara (12A) HHHH is an intelligent, slow-burning psychological thriller, set in East Germany in 1980. Barbara (Nina Hoss) is a doctor with a lover in West Germany. Her attempt to join him has seen her banished from a Berlin hospital to work in a poor medical facility in the countryside.There she plots her escape under constant surveillance and harassment from the not-so-secret police. An attractive new colleague, Andr (Ronald Zehrfeld), is drawn to her, but Barbara doesn’t want any more baggage.Hoss is outstanding, conveying Barbara’s fearfully cool detachment and her inability to trust anyone, while her deeper instincts are gradually revealed as compassionate and selfless. She and the film prove surprising and memorably moving.Director Jay Chandrasekhar has a lengthy comedy CV but his ill-conceived infertility comedy The Babymakers (15) HH doesn’t deliver.When happily married Tommy and Audrey (Paul Schneider and Olivia Munn) fail to reproduce, the whole world makes it their business. Cue endless conflabs between him and his buddies, her and her girlfriends, and the tiresome cliche of the broody wife turning into a controlling, belittling obsessive.It’s all downhill when Tommy decides to rob the sperm bank that has one of his old, healthy donations, recruiting his dopey pals and an unreliable thief (director Chandrasekhar, who should stick to the day job) for the heist.If you missed Saints And Soldiers, never mind, Saints And Soldiers 2: Airborne Creed (12A) HH is a stand-alone Second World War adventure. Three US soldiers lost in France make their way through German patrols, hook up with Resistance fighters, and have flashbacks to dead friends and the girl back home in a low-budget, unpolished, clunky but not disagreeable tale of comradeship and courage.Director Ryan Little is a prolific churner-out of fare that is adequate in its Movies For Men way.The late John Cassavetes followed up his masterpiece Faces with the 1970 exercise Husbands (12A) HH. The promising cast of Cassavetes, Ben Gazzara and Peter Falk are buddies thrown into mid-life crisis by a friend’s death. They fly to London impulsively to ponder and party. Reissued, it feels forced and at times unbearably self-indulgent.?Madonna tops 2008 box-office chart for live performers after raking in $280m on world tour UPDATED:16:30 GMT, 31 December 2008Madonna sold $281.6million worth of concert tickets this year - making her the world's most popular live performer.Her Sticky & Sweet world tour, which finished in Brazil last week, tallied $281.6 million from 17 countries. North American fans paid $105.3 million of this.The star, who is undergoing an multi-million pound divorce from Guy Ritchie, was yesterday revealed to have given away nearly $2million to Kabbalah charities in one year. The top draw:Madonna sold more than $260million worth of tickets to her Sticky and Sweet tour; she is pictured on the closing night in Brazil Following Madonna in ticket sales was Celine Dion. The French-Canadian's first world tour in more than eight years earned her $236.6 million from 24 countries, with North America contributing $94 million. Madonna's tour ranks No. 8 and Dion's at No. 12 as the biggest ever selling North American tours. The Rolling Stones hold the record with $162 million from their 2005 trek.Rounding out the top five of the list, put together by Pollstar, were Bon Jovi ($176.3 million), Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band ($165.8 million), and the Police ($120.6 million).Pollstar said fewer people went to concerts in North America this year, and despite the incipient recession those who went were prepared to sharply pay more for their tickets.'We've had a better year than we really should have expected given the economic environment,' said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of the Fresno, California-based publication.Ticket sales for the top 100 acts in North America rose 4.3 percent to $2.38 billion. The number of tickets sold fell three percent to 35.59 million, and the average ticket price rose nearly eight percent to a record $66.90.Ticket sales data do not include revenue from merchandise, such as T-shirts, which can make up a sizable chunk of tour earnings. ?Making the upgradeBy Paul Gogarty, Daily MailLast updated at 16:09 11 July 2005What would you rather have - a dingy, below-decks, windowless cruise ship cabin, or a deluxe ocean view with private balcony? A two-bedroom cottage or threebedroom villa? Goat class airline seat with dry bun or club class flatbed and champagne?Yes, of course - if you could only afford it, you'd go upmarket every time. But did you know thousands of holidaymakers every year get fivestar service at three-star prices simply by wangling an upgrade? And - more important - did you know just how easy it is to achieve?To prove the point, our man rang several travel companies posing as an ordinary punter. First, he asked for rates for standard accommodation and then requested the next grade (or two) up for nothing. How many would go for it? We were amazed at the results. In every case, a free upgrade was offered. Read how he did it - and then find out how you can do it, too. We've even included a section on the best tips for getting upgraded on planes, which only ever get doled out on the day, so you can get to your upgraded villa in upgraded comfort...The palatial Paris hotelAt the Crillon I asked for a double room for August 26-27 and was told the price for a superior room for two with breakfast was £399. What was the next category? A deluxe room priced £453, replied Celine, the reservations assistant. I asked for a free upgrade. She said she'd log the request,but could not guarantee one. I persisted: I wanted a guaranteed, free upgrade. 'Would you be happy with the superior price?' Celine suddenly asked. Yes, but only if I could get the deluxe room. 'Well, I'm happy to confirm the deluxe room for the superior price,' Celine concluded.Hotel de Crillon, Paris (00 33 1 44 71 15 00; www.crillon.com)The cruise to VeniceWant to get almost £1,000 worth of upgrade free? Holland America listed a brochure price of £1,809 for a standard cabin on its 14-night Cultural Impression cruise between Rotterdam and Venice. But when I requested the best possible upgrade, the agent, Jo, told me she could offer me a special deal on an outside cabin. Although no cabin number would be issued until I got aboard, I would be guaranteed at least an obscured-view outside cabin - and might well end up with something considerably better. The price I was offered was £1,229, including flights and transfers - an incredible bit of upgrade wheeler-dealing when you consider that the brochure price for an outside cabin is listed at £2,079 to £3,199.Holland America Line (020 7940 4477; www.hollandamerica.com)The Cotswolds getawayThe Lygon Arms in Broadway is a classic upmarket country hotel with a flash chef and a spa. Its cheapest room, a standard double with breakfast for August 26-27, was £240 per night. The next category up, a deluxe double, was £305 so I asked the reservation assistant, Mary-Anne, if she could provide the deluxe for £240. She said it was a busy time as my planned break coincided with a Bank Holiday. I said I could be flexible and come the weekend before. Mary Anne checked availability. She came back on the line to confirm she would provide the upgrade at the standard price.Lygon Arms (01386 852255; www.thelygonarms.co.uk)The Algarve villaPaul, the agent, confirmed that the two-bedroom Colinas Verdes cottage in their brochure was available for the October half-term week at £716. It came with a private pool, and was located at Fazenda Caravela, eight miles from the Algarve coast in Portugal. There would be three children in our party, I said, and one could go on the Z-bed in the living room... but it would be better if we had more room. Would they let me have the three-bedroom Villa Luisa nearby at the same price? (The brochure said it had a pool and large grounds and cost £895). Paul agreed that the larger property would provide more room - and immediately complied with my request.Travel Club of Upminster (01708 225000; www.travelclubofupminster.co.uk)The London breakBang in the middle of theatreland, the Covent Garden Hotel is something of a celeb haunt. I requested a double room for August 26-27 and the booking clerk informed me of a special promotional offer of a superior double room for £230 per night which included breakfast and a 15-minute massage. But I wanted all that and a luxury room, which was £255 even without the frills. Would he give me a guaranteed upgrade? He agreed without hesitation.Covent Garden Hotel, London (020 7806 1000; www.firmdale.com)The cruise to CanadaThe reservations agent at Fred Olsen said only two inside cabins (grade H) were still available, priced £3,610, on its 21-night Canadian cruise from Southampton. They were probably real dungeons, I said. What I needed was an outside cabin for the same price. It wasn't looking great when it emerged that all the G category cabins (the next grade up) were already booked . . . but, following a speedy check, the agent offered an F class outside cabin (ie two categories up) for £3,735 instead of £4,150.Fred Olsen (01473 742424; www.FredOlsenCruises.co.uk)Mallorca in SeptemberThe reservation assistant said that a one-week stay at the three-bedroom Casa Golf in Mallorca from September 24 would cost £1,045, while £1,119 would secure the fourbedroom Villa C'an Bauca. Could I upgrade and get the latter for the price of the former? She suggested a compromise price of £1,080 (ie £35 more than Casa Golf). I demurred - and amazingly, she then suggested that if I took a fortnight booking, she would be willing to offer it for £1,857 - £43 under the £1,900 asking price for Casa Golf.The Villa Collection (01753 853 737; www.thevilla-collection.co.uk)Share this article: ?Man arrested in Celine Dion's house after raiding the fridge and running himself a bath By UPDATED:15:53 GMT, 7 September 2011An audacious criminal has been arrested after allegedly breaking into Celine Dion’s home, raiding the fridge and running himself a bath.The intruder, 36, even found time to scoff some pasta at the luxury residence near Montreal.Fortunately, the My Heart Will Go on singer and husband Rene Angelil were not put in danger as they were absent from the property at the time. The burglar was caught by police yesterday afternoon in Canadian city Laval after the alarm system went off.Local police spokesman Franco Di Genova said the suspect was getting ready to take a nice hot bath when police arrived with a canine unit.Di Genova said: 'He opened the water taps, was pouringa nice warmish bath (and) he even managed to eat some pastry that was in the fridge.'The suspect was coming down the big staircase and was asking: "Hey, guys what are you doing here?"'So the officers replied: "What are you doing here?" and they proceeded to put him under arrest.'The man reportedly jumped over a fenceto access the property after pinching a garage door opener he found in an unlocked vehicle.Daniel Bedard, a Laval resident, was arraigned on charges including breaking and entering, car theft and causing property damage.Mr Di Genova said there was another incident at Dion's mansion in 2009 when another man jumped the fence, but was stopped by the security firm that was keeping an eye on the property before he could enter the home.Dion and Angelil usually live in Florida but use the Laval home when they return to Quebec - where the 43-year-old singer was born and raised.The Grammy-winner has a ten-year-old son and ten-month old fraternal twins with Angelil, who is 26 years her senior.?Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera lead the stars at the Grammy nominations... while Coldplay steal the show with seven nominations By UPDATED:12:49 GMT, 4 December 2008 It was the battle of the divas last night as Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera took to the stage at a special concert to announce the Grammy nominations.Carey – dressed in a red mini dress and white knee high boots– opening the show on a festive note by performing the Xmas classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).Aguilera also performed, opting for the jazz classic I Loves You Porgy from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. Showstopper: Christina Aguilera performs during the Grammy Nominations Concert Live! at the Nokia Theatre in New York Festive touch: Mariah Carey performed the Xmas classic Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – dressed in a red mini dress and white knee high boots Earlier the 27-year-old pop star – who gave birth to son Max ten months ago - admitted that she found it difficult being a working mother ‘I wasn't going to give up who I was before I had the baby," she said on the red carpet outside the Nokia Theatre.'It's important to stay true to that as an example - also for my son to find out what his goals are, what he's passionate about doing, so it's sort of leading by example in that sense,' she said. Christina Aguilera turns head in a floor length shimmering gown at the special concert to announce the Grammy nominations'It's a tough thing. I had a moment leaving him today to get ready for tonight of missing him, but every working mom goes through it. They know what it feels like."Meanwhile British talent dominated the nominations for record of the year.Coldplay, who earned a total of seven nominations, will compete with fellow Britons Adele, Leona Lewis, Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant and MIA for the major honour at the awards show next year. Striking a pose: US singer Taylor Swift and Jennifer Aniston's man John MayerThe British rock band, Radiohead, and Plant will also face each other in the album of the year category while Welsh singer Duffy, who shot to number one with her catchy single, Mercy, and fellow British soul singer Adele were among those nominated for best new artist.Coldplay were only outdone by Rap's most ubiquitous and successful artist Lil Wayne, who won a leading eight nominations.In the coveted record of the year category, Coldplay was nominated for Viva La Vida, or Death and All His Friends - its first album in three years and a huge hit.It will be up against Adele for Chasing Pavement, MIA for Paper Planes, Leona Lewis for Bleeding Love, and Plant and Alison Krauss for Please Read the Letter. Celine Dion also performed at the event in the Nokia Theatre For the album of the year honour, Grammy favourites Coldplay will take on Radiohead's groundbreaking album In Rainbows, which sold not in stores but on a pay-what-you-think-it-is-worth basis through the band's website.It was an instant viral sensation, and also shook up the already beleaguered recording industry, which is struggling with its traditional business model. But the band later released the album traditionally via a record label.Krauss and Plant's Raising Sand will also vie for the title. Plant linked up with Grammy darling and bluegrass artist Krauss for a CD that pushed both in different musical directions.Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III and Ne-Yo's Year of the Gentleman will also compete for best album.In the best new artist category, British singers Duffy and Adele will take on US teen sensations The Jonas Brothers, singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan, and breakout country act Lady Antebellum.US singer Katy Perry, who had one of the year's biggest hits with I Kissed a Girl, missed out of the top categories, including record of the year and best new artist.The top nominees were revealed live during a prime-time concert special on CBS which replaced the Recording Academy's traditional morning roll call of nominee names at a staid press conference ahead of the awards show on February 8The Foo Fighters covered Carly Simon's classic You're So Vain at the event.Last year's award ceremony drew 17.2 million viewers, making it one of the least-watched Grammys and continuing the trend of shrinking audiences for awards shows. ?Miranda Kerr shuns her girl-next-door image as she shows off her curves in risqu photoshootBy UPDATED:11:36 GMT, 26 October 2009Miranda Kerr has turned her back on her girl-next-door image for a striking new photoshoot.The Australian model, 26, looks unrecognisable with her dramatic make-up and risqu outfits for the high fashion spread.The photos for the new edition of American magazine V shows Orlando Bloom's girlfriend in a dramatically different light. As she poses in a series of skimpy outfits, Miranda hits back at recent critics of her slender figure by showing off her curves.In one black and white shot of her wearing a Miu Miu swimsuit, she flaunts the curves which won her a contract with American lingerie firm Victoria's Secret.In another photo, Miranda shows her cheeky side as she poses in nothing but a backless black Celine top.After years of starring in more mainstream fashion campaigns forVictoria's Secret and Maybelline cosmetics, Miranda is starting to moveher career towards more high fashion.While she is enjoying the change of setting, she has denied reports she has lost weight to fit into the super-skinny catwalk clothes. She said: 'I am the same weight and measurements I have maintained for more than three years.'I am conscious of not only maintaining but promoting a healthylifestyle and I wouldn’t be able to sustain the hectic nature of mymodelling commitments if I wasn’t 100 per cent committed to feeding mybody the food, vitamins and minerals it needs.'The theme of her latest photoshoot is billed as 'postmodern pin-up' and was styled by Olivier Rizzo.Photographedalongside fellow Victoria's Secret model Ana Beatriz, Miranda shows offher figure in clothing from Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Christian Dior, amongother top designers.Two years after become a Victoria's Secret Angel, Miranda's earning power has steadily risen.She came in at number nine in Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's top paid models.From July 2008 until June 2009, Miranda earned an impressive $3million.To see more from the shoot, visit ?More 2000 trends to keepCorsagesThese pretty floral adornments haven't really had a chance yet soif you did buy one at the end of last year hang onto it. Attach toa cashmere shell top or simple vest and look instantly feminine andfashionable.Pale denimThey may look slightly scruffy but you can wear in your denims evenmore as pale is interesting according to the fashionpress. To be even more fashionable scruff small holes in the seams(use sandpaper) or attach fake rhinestones to the back pockets.Big sunglassesThe likes of Meg Mathews and Anna Wintour were rarely seen withouttheir huge shades last year and the good news for shy girls is thatbig is still best. Up market designers like Celine promise arainbow of giant shades for Spring.CamelThe colour of Winter 2000 and still a strong contenderfor Spring. Hang onto camel leather boots (much easier to wear inSpring than clumpy black boots), lightweight camel jumpers andcamel wool trousers. Camel looks great with cream, tan anddenim.Cowl necksKeep all your polo and cowl necks. If you find your woollens toothick for milder weather, then stick to sleeveless or silk/cashmeremixes. Large necks are very flattering on most women as they drawthe eye away from your chest/tummy/hips.Share this article: ?Mother 'killed her six babies and hid bodies in the cellar'By Created 2:47 PM on 15th March 2010A mother appeared in court today accused of murdering six of her newbo