December 13th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Neil Gaiman helps fan propose to girlfriend through book inscription

Neil Gaiman helps fan propose to girlfriend through book inscription

Jason wanted to propose creatively to his girlfriend, Maui. So he conspired with comix legend, sf writer and all-round mensch Neil Gaiman: when Neil spoke in the Philippines, they would attend and Maui would queue up for a signature afterward. When she reached Neil, he would write "Will you marry Jason?" on the inside of her book and hand it back to her, and romance would ensue.

It worked flawlessly (see the video). Maui was delighted and surprised, Jason got down on one knee, the crowd applauded and Neil sat there, grinning like a maniac.

How lovely!

...and Maui actually failed to notice Neil's dedication because she was so starstruck. It took him about three times to actually get her to read the darn thing.

Maui (squealing, closing the book): Thanks!!!

Neil: Aren't you going to read what I wrote? You have to read it..

Maui (opening the book, shrugging, then closing it again): Thanks!!!

Me: You have to read the dedication...

And she bent over to give Neil a kiss, STILL not noticing what was going on.

Neil: You really have to read this...

When she did (FINALLY!)...

Link, Video Link
Chris Keeley

Kucinich Barred from Democratic Debate in Iowa

Kucinich Barred from Democratic Debate in Iowa

In campaign news, Congressmember and Democratic hopeful Dennis Kucinich has been excluded from today’s Democratic presidential debate in Iowa. Debate sponsor the Des Moines Register told Kucinich he isn’t eligible because he doesn’t meet local requirements on a local campaign office and paid staff. Kucinich’s Iowa field director works out of a home office. The most recent poll of likely Democratic voters shows Kucinich has one percent support in Iowa—the same as Senator Chris Dodd. Nationally, Kucinich has two percent support—the same as Bill Richardson and Senator Joe Biden. Dodd, Richardson and Biden are all taking part in today’s debate. In a statement, the Kuncinich campaign called the exclusion “arbitrary and unreasonable”, saying: “[If] the Register has decided to use hair-splitting technicalities to exclude the leading voice of the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party, the entire process is suspect.”

California Town Votes Out Pro-Blackwater Board Members

A rural California town has won a significant victory against the private military firm Blackwater. Residents of Potrero have voted out all five members of the local planning group who supported plans for a Blackwater training camp in their area. The incumbents were all replaced by five candidates opposing Blackwater. Plans for the new site include multiple firing ranges, training towers, an armory, a helipad, an urban simulation training area and a driving track.

Army Suicides in 2007 Reach All-Time High

In military news, new figures show a record 109 soldiers have killed themselves this year. The previous high came in 1992, when 102 soldiers took their own lives.

Chris Keeley

Picasso’s Rose period

Picasso’s Rose period

The Dancers,” an 1898 pastel by Degas

Three Free Circles,” a watercolor and ink by Kandinsky


The additions include three portraits of Dora Maar, with whom Picasso lived for a decade beginning in the mid-1930s, and “Head of a Woman,” a late Rose-period painting from the fall of 1906.

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Museum of Art announced Wednesday that it had been promised a gift of 130 mostly Modernist works, including 20 by Picasso, a group of 21 watercolors and paintings by Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky and sculptures by Alberto Giacometti. The museum described the gift as a “transformative addition” to its collection that “in many cases represents Lacma’s first major work by that artist.” 

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Rocket 88," a song that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and many historians credit as the first rock

Rocket 88," a song that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and many historians credit as the first rock 'n' roll record.

Turner's career spanned more than six decades and peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he and his wife, Tina, were an incendiary force in R&B and live music, with hits such as "Proud Mary," "I Want to Take You Higher," "Nutbush City Limits" and "River Deep-Mountain High." 

From the Los Angeles Times

Rock pioneer was known for abusing wife Tina Turner

By Geoff Boucher
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 13, 2007

Ike Turner, the musician who gave the world what many historians consider the first rock 'n' roll record -- "Rocket 88" in 1951 -- but bitterly acknowledged in his later years that he was most famous for being the abusive husband of Tina Turner, died Wednesday in suburban San Diego. He was 76.

Turner died at his home in San Marcos, said Scott M. Hanover of Thrill Entertainment Group, which managed Turner's musical career. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Turner's career spanned more than six decades and peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he and his wife, Tina, were an incendiary force in R&B and live music, with hits such as "Proud Mary," "I Want to Take You Higher," "Nutbush City Limits" and "River Deep-Mountain High."

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

St. John's doctor guilty Monday of 12 of 18 charges he supplied patients with prescription drugs in

(Thanks to Judy O. for the article)

Doctor guilty on sex, drugs charges

Published: Monday, December 10, 2007
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A jury found a St. John's doctor guilty Monday of 12 of 18 charges he supplied patients with prescription drugs in exchange for sex.
The court found Buckingham guilty of five counts of sexual assault and one count of assault and not guilty on four sexual assault charges. He was also convicted on six drug trafficking charges and acquitted of two other drug trafficking charges.
Buckingham showed no reaction when the verdict was handed down. Following the verdict, he was taken into custody. He will be sentenced Dec. 20. Nearly two dozen witnesses testified during the trial, including a number of complainants who alleged Dr. Sean Buckingham sexually assaulted them.
One woman testified Buckingham, 47, tied her to a tree, beat her with a branch and sodomized her. Another said he asked her for oral sex while her seven-month old daughter was on her lap. A witness also said Buckingham agreed to write her a prescription for painkillers, but only if he could have half.
Throughout the seven-week trial, witnesses told the court the incidents happened in Buckingham's office, his home and his vehicle, sometimes after he picked them up at narcotics anonymous meetings.
At the time of his arrest two years ago, Buckingham was under police surveillance "from dawn to dusk." Police recorded more than 3,000 phone calls during which the doctor occasionally spoke to people about "candy bars" and "cigarettes."
The Crown said the items were code for drugs, in particular the highly addictive drug OxyContin, known as "hillbilly heroin."
Buckingham denied the allegations, claiming that when he spoke in code on the phone it was because he knew police were listening in. However, he admitted trying to obtain some OxyContin for his drug-addicted fiancee.
"A drug trafficker isn't just someone selling drugs on a street corner," said prosecutor John Brooks. "It's someone who offers drugs in exchange for something else, like sex."
But in closing arguments, defence lawyer Randy Piercey said the accusations were simply untrue.
Piercey said many of the complainants in the case were drug abusers who had convinced more than one doctor to write them prescriptions.
"If you're capable of doing that kind of fooling, then you're pretty good at fooling people," he told the jury.
Piercey noted one of the witnesses testified Buckingham never hurt her, but earlier told police he had sexually assaulted her with a sex toy. "If you're telling the truth, that's not something you're going to forget," the lawyer said.
Piercey called Buckingham a "consistent and credible witness," and noted his client did not back down during testimony on the stand.
Police first arrested Buckingham in May 2005. But it took two years for the case to reach trial, with two previous attempts to prosecute Buckingham ending in mistrial.
Buckingham had faced 23 charges initially, but the number was reduced to 18 midway through the trial due to lack of evidence to back the counts.
The case was heard before Justice James Adams.
The jury began deliberations last Wednesday.
Deliberations were interrupted on Sunday when a juror became ill. The jury returned to work the next day with all members present.
With files from the St. John's Telegram
Chris Keeley

A Story About a Sinking Ship

This email is from Charlie Platt – our Grove Beach neighbor and an avid

The first hand account from the recent cruise ship sinking is second
hand from a friend we have sailed with. You never know what's gong to
sink you.

As many of you who have danced with us know Pete and I enjoy adventure
travel, and had planned to go to Antarctica. Well, we just had the
adventure of a life time. We were on the Explorer, the ship that sunk in
Antarctica. For Pete's account, see below. It is a great blessing to be
home warm and safe.

Yesterday (Tuesday 11/27/07) when we went through immigration in San
Francisco, the immigration agent asked us the usual question:
occupation, what did you like best/least about your trip? To the former
we replied retired/dietitian. To the latter we replied: the ship
sank/we’re alive. Suddenly this lethargic civil servant woke up. He
wanted to hear all about what happened.

Before I go on, you must understand one thing. While we went through the
same experience, shoulder to shoulder and often hand in hand, we have
different feelings about it. Indeed, everyone who went through it with
us has their own unique and personal feelings. While I was cold, wet,
shivering, and throwing up, it never occurred to me that I could die.
Lynne however was thinking about: what if the weather suddenly changed,
if we hit ice or took a big wave and were swamped, if we would capsize.
Therefore, in writing this I can only write for myself. Whatever I write
is filtered through my perceptions which could be quite different for Lynne.

Thursday night we were tired. Instead of watching the 9:15 movie we
showered and were in bed by 10:00. I fitfully tried to go to sleep. We
were going through brash ice – little pieces of ice. Since we were on
the third deck, as low as you could go, half our cabin was below the
waterline. I could hear the pieces of brash ice scraping against the
hull, which was only a single hull. Once and a while a more sold piece
would strike. I finally fell asleep.

About 12:30 I was roused by what sounded like the gang plank slapping
against the hull. Then I heard what sounded like water pouring down a
drain. In my sleep I was thinking to wake Lynne and ask her about the
sound. I didn’t remember hearing it before. I touched the bulkhead. It
was dry. I put my hand on the floor.

 From half asleep I went to full awake. I bolted up and pushed the
emergency button and woke Lynne. I threw on some clothes. We pulled the
suitcases out from under the bed; I took my laptop out from the low
drawer it was in. The water continued coming in. I decided I should move
things up to the second deck. I started with my laptop.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

Initial Post-Annapolis Talks

*Initial Post-Annapolis Talk*
/Tomorrow in /Jerusalem
Terry Walz
CNI Staff

The first formal follow-up of the Annapolis "peace conference" that
brought Israelis and Palestinians together to pledge a renewal of the
peace process will be held Wednesday, December 12, in Jerusalem in a
meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to begin
discussions on "core issues."   The skepticism expressed by so many
outside the conference confines continues unabated, and tomorrow will be
a test of whether or not that skepticism is merited.

The situation does not look good, for a number of reasons.    First of
all, the Gazans have been left out of the equation, and 1.4 million
Palestinians are being held hostage in what the Israelis call an "enemy
entity."  The blockade of Gaza has not been lifted; the Qassam rocket
attacks that mostly land harmlessly on Israeli towns built close to the
Gaza border have not ceased. And the Israeli air force continues to bomb
the Strip, killing two-three Palestinians (called "gunmen") almost every

But today they upped the ante, and sent in some 30 tanks, killing 8
"gunmen."  The IDF issued a statement to do that the raid was "nothing
unusual," but of course it was. In a patch of land only twice the size
of Washington, DC, raids of that size are highly disruptive, especially
coming on top of a fuel embargo that began three weeks ago.

Collapse )