Monthly Archives: October 2008

Oprah’s Dog Solomon Dies at 14

Ophrah Winfrey’s dog Solomon has died at the age of 14.

This is Oprah’s third dog to die in the past 17 months.

Oprah Winfrey is in mourning after the death of her beloved pet cocker spaniel Solomon, RADAR has learned.

The 14-year-old dog – a Christmas present from boyfriend Stedman Graham in 1994 — died on October 27 from kidney failure after months of dialysis treatment.

Solomon is the third of Oprah’s dogs to die agonizing deaths in the last 17 months: In March, Sophie, another cocker spaniel died – also of kidney failure – and in May last year her 2-year-old golden retriever Gracie choked to death on a small plastic ball.

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Chicago Legend Studs Terkel Dies at 96

Pulitzer prize-winning author, broadcaster, and activist Studs Turkel has died in his Chicago home at the age of 96.

Known for his wide-ranging work in recording oral histories, as well as over half a decade working as a radio host in Chicago, Turkel also gifted the world with some excellent quotes.

After learning of his passing on Friday, one, in particular, seems best suited to his remembrance:

“With optimism, you look upon the sunny side of things. People say, ‘Studs, you’re an optimist.’ I never said I was an optimist. I have hope because what’s the alternative to hope? Despair? If you have despair, you might as well put your head in the oven.”

May he rest in peace.

Author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol Louis “Studs” Terkel died today at his Chicago home at age 96.

At his bedside was a copy of his latest book, “P.S. Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening,” scheduled for a November release.

The author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago symbol has died. “My epitaph? My epitaph will be ‘Curiosity did not kill this cat,'” he once said.

Turkel was dedicated to chronicling oral histories of America’s working class, for which he received numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize.

Terkel won a 1985 Pulitzer Prize for “The Good War,” remembrances of World War II; contrasted rich and poor along the same Chicago street in “Division Street: America,” 1966; limned the Depression in “Hard Times,” 1970; and chronicled how people feel about their jobs in “Working,” 1974.

For his oral histories, he interviewed his subjects on tape, then transcribed and sifted. “What first comes out of an interview are tons of ore; you have to get that gold dust in your hands,” he wrote in his memoir. “Now, how does it become a necklace or a ring or a gold watch? You have to get the form; you have to mold the gold dust.”

The New York Times heralded Terkel as a “chronicler of the American Everyman” and credited him with establishing the oral history as “an important historical genre”.

Although detractors derided him as a sentimental populist whose views were simplistic and occasionally maudlin, Mr. Terkel was widely credited with transforming oral history into a popular literary form. In 1985 a reviewer for The Financial Times of London characterized Mr. Terkel’s books as “completely free of sociological claptrap, armchair revisionism and academic moralizing.”

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BBC Ross and Brand Radio Prank Uproar Escalates

The fallout over BBC radio hosts Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand‘s controversial radio prank call to former Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs has been remarkably swift and unbelievably epic.

The scandal, alternately known as “Manuelgate” or “Sachsgate“, has left behind a trail of firings, fury, and financial destruction.

Russell Brand resigned, Jonathan Ross was suspended, Sachs’ granddaughter claimed Brand was a disappointment in bed, and the head of BBC Radio 2 resigned in a matter of days.

Then more than 37,500 people complained to the BBC, of whom about 0.001% seem to have actually heard the broadcast.

Then figures began flying over allegations that Ross’ suspension could cost the BBC more than £500,000.

Then Ross quit as host of the 2008 British Comedy Awards, while Brand packed his bags and headed for Hollywood.

Oh, and during all of this, supporters of Brand and Ross protested outside the BBC on Thursday, recruited 15,000 people to their Facebook support group and began planning an additional protest outside the Daily Mail’s London office, scheduled for Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Tories have called for “a full Commons debate on the BBC’s handling of the row“, while the BBC has remained incredibly silent on the issue, pending an internal investigation into the incident.

The BBC has refused to clarify the situation until it has completed its internal investigation into the incident. The corporation is due to report its findings to the BBC Trust by 20 November.

Crazy, isn’t it?

If you need a more visual representation of all of these events, check out The Guardian’s helpful Sachsgate Timeline.

But keep in mind that not everyone agrees this “scandal” is worthy of such a melodramatic, international uproar. Many have spoken up to say that the entire incident has been “blown out of all proportion”. 

The headlines about the BBC this week have been all about Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, and those prank phone calls.

Google News has almost 6,000 news articles on the story.

So far the outcry has resulted in the resignations of Brand and Radio 2 boss Lesley Douglas, and a three month suspension for Ross.

Much of the media coverage has focused of the 18,000 complaints (and counting) about the ill-advised prank.

Less reported is the reaction from BBC Radio One’s online forum which suggests that many young people take this less seriously. Comments on the BBC News website also suggest opinion is far more divided than might appear from the media coverage.

The BBC itself has noted that “there is an alternative view we are seeing strongly expressed by our young audience which is certainly worth wider consideration.”

Among the comments from these younger listeners; “Everybody needs to calm down”; “It was funny, a joke. People are so boring”; “Leave Russell alone”; “Hey, they are comedians – it’s their job”; and “It’s been blown out of all proportion.”

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Criticize Employer on Facebook, Get Fired

Further proof that privacy is a thing of the pre-internet past: 13 Virgin Airlines staff members were fired on Friday after the company discovered that they had been criticizing the airline and passengers on Facebook.

As Ice-T told us, ever so long ago: “freedom of speech, just watch what you say”.

Especially when it comes to your employer. Or your friends. Or your family. Or yourself.

Actually, maybe you shouldn’t be on the internet at all. Yeah, that’s probably safer.

Virgin Atlantic sacked 13 cabin crew staff on Friday after they criticised some of the British airline’s passengers on the social networking website Facebook.

The airline opened an investigation on October 23 following complaints from passengers and other Virgin staff members over the cabin crew’s Facebook discussion.

“It was found that all 13 staff participated in a discussion on the networking site Facebook, which brought the company into disrepute and insulted some of our passengers,” Virgin Atlantic’s director of communications Paul Charles told Reuters.

“There’s a time and a place for Facebook. But there’s no justification for it to be used as a sounding board for staff of any company to criticise the very passengers who ultimately pay their salaries.”

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John McCain to Appear on SNL This Weekend

John McCain is making a last ditch attempt at seeming youthful and relevant by scheduling an appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

With less than a week before the American presidential election, it’s funny to think that McCain believes he can shore up a few extra youth votes by appearing on SNL.

The jury’s still out on whether or not Palin‘s SNL stint has helped or hindered the McCain/Palin campaign.

So far, it seems that Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and the other satirists are benefiting more from the publicity than are the politicians.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain is taking one last opportunity to prove he’s the kind of good-humoured guy Americans want to lead their nation.

He’ll appear “live from New York” on Saturday as a special guest on Saturday Night Live.

His appearance falls just three days before the election and two weeks after running mate Sarah Palin made an SNL appearance.

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Bruce Springsteen Offers Free Halloween Song

The Boss is rockin’ out for Halloween and offering up a tasty audio treat for all of his fans.

Check out Bruce Springsteen’s free download of “A Night With The Jersey Devil”.

The rocker has posted a free download of a new song, A Night With the Jersey Devil, on his Web site, The song has a blues beat, and Springsteen sings about “16 witches casting 16 spells.”

Writes Springsteen: “If you grew up in central or south Jersey you grew up with the Jersey Devil. Here’s a little musical Halloween treat. Have fun!”

There’s also a video showing Springsteen as the legendary Jersey Devil.

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UK Zombies Attempt New ‘Thriller’ Dance World Record

British organizers of the GameCity festival in Nottingham are attempting to break the world record for most zombies performing Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance.

The current Guiness World Record is 1,028 set in Monroe, Pennsylvania on October 28th — but officials are hoping they can recruit a few extras zombies in time to set a new Thriller record.

Here’s a little backgrounder if you need to refresh your dance steps: Michael Jackson’s Halloween classic “Thriller”.

Willing and able zombies have been called upon to perform Michael Jackson’s Thriller dance in an attempt to break a world record.

Organisers of Nottingham’s annual games festival GameCity, want to teach more than 1,000 people the pop star’s moves.

Guinness World Records said the current record stands at 1,028 and was set in Monroeville, Pennsylvania on 28 October this year.

Costumes, make-up and choreography will be provided at the Old Market Square.

GameCity’s festival director Iain Simons said people needed to turn up by 1400 GMT on Friday to be transformed into a zombie.

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