Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sex: The Bible Says Do It

And God Said, "Just Do It."

chapter 2 verse 24, says a man "shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh." But how liberally to define cleave? That was the very special Bible query the Rev. Stacy Spencer and his wife Rhonda took up last month with 252 married people at their New Direction Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn. And the Spencers' answer was ... encouraging. Does frequent sex have a place in marriage? Yep. Oral sex? Read the Song of Solomon 2: 3 for assurance. How about role-playing? One participant expressed a yearning to see her husband dressed as a police officer. The Good Book offers no specifics on that, so Stacy Spencer allowed that it was up to the woman, "as long as you're not lusting after a particular officer. Jesus talked about spiritual adultery, and that could be spiritual adultery. But if it's just a generic cop, go for it."

Superior sex can be difficult for some couples to discuss with each other, let alone with their pastor. But having taken on almost every other aspect of their congregants' lives, churches oriented toward young adults and Gen Xers have begun promoting not just better sex, but more of it. Well, not just promoting it but penciling it in. When New Direction launched its "40 Nights of Grrreat Sex" program, the Spencers gave participants daily planners. A typical week is marked "Sun: Worship together"; "Mon: Give your wife a full body massage"; "Tues: Quickie in any room besides the bedroom"; "Wed: Pleasure your partner"; "Thurs: Read 1 Corinthians 7--How can I please you more?"; and so on.

New Direction is not the only church promoting a frequent-sex regimen. In February, Paul Wirth, pastor of the Relevant Church in Tampa, Fla., issued what he called "The 30-Day Sex Challenge." The program featured an extensive questionnaire, a Bible verse a day and the assumption that participants would engage in some kind of sex each night. Wirth says he has received calls from eight pastors asking about his program's guidelines. A megachurch in Texas, the Fellowship of the Woodlands, holds semiannual Sacred Sex Weekends ("Learn how you can experience a fulfilling sex life with God's blessing").

Scheduling time for sex appears to be in vogue, and not just among believers. In June, couples in Colorado and North Carolina published books detailing their postnuptial attempts to have sex 101 and 365 days in a row, respectively. But the issue takes on added urgency among conservative Christians, who have just as high a divorce rate as the country at large but theoretically take the till-death-do-us-part aspect of marriage as a faith obligation. When it comes to sex, Wirth contends, many are thinking, "If this doesn't get better, it's gonna be a really sucky life."

"My own marriage was in trouble 10 years ago," he says, but it was reinvigorated with the help of His Needs, Her Needs by clinical psychologist Willard Harley. Wirth eventually contacted Harley and got permission to use the book for his church program. Meanwhile, at New Direction, Spencer discovered John Gray's Mars and Venus in the Bedroom and Getting the Sex You Want by Tammy Nelson.

Their congregations differ in some ways--New Direction, a Disciples of Christ church, is mostly African--American; Relevant is nondenominational and mostly white--but both flocks fall into the 20-to-40 age group, as do their pastors. Along with their wives, the preachers developed programs involving large-scale, coed seminars and a save-that-month schedule; the Spencers also set up a blog so users can post questions anonymously. Both couples emphasized the spiritual, emotional and, yes, practical aspects of having better sex more often. For instance, a husband can expect smoother sailing at night if he helps his wife clear her "to do" list that evening, Spencer said in a conference call with his wife, who added, "Otherwise he's just another thing on that list."

Protestant history has included periods of enthusiastic talk about sex, as well as chilly silence. A famous 1623 Puritan sermon made the case for "mutual [conjugal] dalliances for pleasure's sake," presumably as a distinction from Roman Catholicism's procreation-only rule. In the 1970s, several conservative Christian leaders responded to the popularity of Alex Comfort's classic how-to The Joy of Sex by reminding their flocks that whoopee for whoopee's sake was not doctrinally prohibited; Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Left Behind co-author Tim LaHaye each put out manuals for married couples.

Still, these new calendrical sexhortations have their critics. Lauren Sandler, feminist and author of Righteous: Dispatches from the Evangelical Youth Movement, suspects they are "another way of becoming the best Christian wife--to have tons of orgasms so their husbands can go to church the next day and tell people how they really made Jesus proud in the sack." Todd Friel, host of the syndicated radio show Way of the Master, says sexual intimacy was created as a taste of what it's like to be in a "right relationship" with God. "That's amazing, and it's a little different than 'Come and improve your sex life in a 30-day challenge,'" he says. But some participants find meaning in the programs. "After more than 20 yrs of marriage, this has been 'a shot in the arm,'" one New Direction congregant wrote on the Spencers' blog. "In the past month we have been to Victoria's Secret 4 times (the secret is out!!). Thanks Pastor and 1st Lady for your openness, and obediences to God."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Drumroll Please!!!!!!!!!!!

Our dear friend Jon, foreign service officer extraordinaire, will be stationed in...
Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos Island as seen from the harbour near Victoria Island.
Lagos Island as seen from the harbour near Victoria Island.
Flag of Lagos, Nigeria
Official seal of Lagos, Nigeria
Nickname: Eko
City of Lagos showing main urban areas
City of Lagos showing main urban areas

Lagos (pron. IPA: /ˈleɪgɒs/ or /ˈlɑːgoʊs/ overseas) is the most populous conurbation in Nigeria with more than 8 million people[2]. It is the most populous in Africa, and currently estimated to be the second fastest growing city in Africa (7th fastest in the world)[3], immediately following Bamako. Formerly the capital of Nigeria, Lagos is a huge metropolis which originated on islands separated by creeks, such as Lagos Island, that fringe the southwest mouth of Lagos Lagoon, protected from the Atlantic Ocean by long sand spits such as Bar Beach which stretch up to 100 km east and west of the mouth. From the beginning, Lagos has spread on the mainland west of the lagoon and the conurbation, including Ikeja and Agege, now reaches more than 40 km north-west of Lagos Island. The city is the economic and financial capital of Nigeria.


Lagos was a Yoruba settlement of Awori people initially called Oko. The name was later changed to Eko (Edo: "cassava farm") or Eko ("war camp") during the Kingdom of Benin occupation. This is the name by which 'Lagos' is called by the Yoruba when they speak of 'Lagos', which never existed in Yoruba language. It is likely that the name 'Lagos' was given to the town by the first Portuguese settlers who navigated from a coastal town of the same name in Portugal. The present day Lagos state has a higher percent of Awori, who migrated to the area from Isheri along the Ogun river. Throughout history, it was home to a number of warring tribes who had settled in the area. During its early settlement, it also saw periods of rule by the Kingdom of Benin.[4]

Portuguese explorer Ruy de Sequeira visited the area in 1472, naming the area around the city Lago de Curamo; indeed the present name is Portuguese for "lakes". Another explanation is that Lagos was named for Lagos, Portugal - a maritime town which at the time was the main centre of the Portuguese expeditions down the African coast and whose own name is derived from the Latin word Lacobriga.

From 1404-1889 it served as a major centre of the slave trade, ruled over by Yoruba kings called the Oba of Lagos. In 1841 Oba Akitoye ascended to the throne of Lagos and tried to ban slave trading. Lagos merchants, most notably Madam Tinubu, resisted the ban, deposed the king and installed his brother Oba Kosoko.

While exiled, Oba Akitoye met with the British, who had banned slave trading in 1807, and got their support to regain his throne. In 1851 he was reinstalled as the Oba of Lagos

Lagos was formally annexed as a British colony in 1861. This had the dual effect of crushing the slave trade and establishing British control over palm and other trades.[5]

The remainder of modern-day Nigeria was seized in 1887, and when the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria was established in 1914, Lagos was declared its capital. It continued to be the capital when Nigeria gained its independence from Britain in 1960.

Lagos experienced rapid growth throughout the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Nigeria's economic boom prior to the Biafran War.

Lagos was the capital of Nigeria from 1914 up to 1991; it was stripped of this title when the Federal Capital Territory was established at the purpose-built city of Abuja. However, most government functions (especially the head of state) stayed in Lagos for a time since Abuja was still under construction. In 1991, the head of state and other government functions finally moved to the newly built capital in a mass exodus.

In 2002, an accidental detonation of military explosives killed more than 1000 people.


The city of Lagos lies in south-western Nigeria, on the Atlantic coast in the Gulf of Guinea, west of the Niger River delta, located on longitude 3° 24' E and latitude 6° 27' N. On this stretch of the high-rainfall West African coast, rivers flowing to the sea form swampy lagoons like Lagos Lagoon behind long coastal sand spits or sand bars. Some rivers, like Badagry Creek flow parallel to the coast for some distance before finding an exit through the sand bars to the sea.

The three major urban islands of Lagos in Lagos Lagoon are Lagos Island, Ikoyi, and Victoria. These islands are separated from the mainland by the main channel draining the lagoon into the Atlantic, which forms Lagos Harbour. The islands are separated from each other by creeks of varying sizes and are connected to Lagos Island by bridges. However the smaller sections of some creeks have been sand filled and built over.

Lagos Island contains many of the largest markets in Lagos, its central business district, the central mosque, and the Oba's palace. Though largely derelict, Tinubu Square on Lagos Island is a site of historical importance; it was here that the Amalgamation ceremony that unified the North and South took place in 1914.

Ikoyi island, situated to the east of Lagos Island, housed the headquarters of the federal government and all other government buildings. It also has many hotels, and one of Africa's largest golf courses. Originally a middle class neighbourhood, in recent years, it has become a fashionable enclave for the upper middle class to the upper class.

Ikeja houses the state government buildings and state parliament.

The Victoria Island, situated to the south of Lagos Island. It boasts of several sizable commercial and shopping districts (including Nigeria's largest mall and movie theater) and several trendy beaches.

Across the main channel of the lagoon from Lagos Island, a smaller island called Iddo Island lay close to the mainland, and today is connected to the mainland like a peninsula. Three large bridges join Lagos Island to the mainland: Eko Bridge and Carter Bridge which start from Iddo Island, and the Third Mainland Bridge which by-passes congested mainland suburbs through the lagoon.

Most of the population of Lagos lives on the mainland, which is the site of industry and known for its music and nightlife, notably in areas around Yaba and Surulere, as well as the National Stadium Complex. Mainland districts include Ebute-Meta, Surulere, Yaba (Lagos) (site of the University of Lagos), Mushin, Maryland, Isolo, Ikotun, Ipaja, Ejigbo and Ikeja, site of Murtala Mohammed International Airport and the capital of Lagos State.


The climate in Lagos is similar to that of the rest of southern Nigeria. There are two rainy seasons, with the heaviest rains falling from April to July and a weaker rainy season in October and November. There is a brief relatively dry spell in August and September and a longer dry season from December to March. Monthly rainfall between May and July averages over 300 mm (12 in), while in August and September it is down to 75 mm (3 inches) and in January as low as 35 mm (1.5 inches). The main dry season is accompanied by harmattan winds from the Sahara Desert, which between December and early February can be quite strong. The average temperature in January is 27°C (79°F) and for July it is 25°C (77°F). On average the hottest month is March; with a mean temperature of 29°C (84°F); while July is the coolest month.[6]

Administration and demographics

In terms of administration, Lagos is not a municipality and has therefore no overall city administration. The Municipality of Lagos, which covered Lagos Island, Ikoyi and Victoria Island as well as some mainland territory, was managed by the Lagos City Council (LCC), but it was disbanded in 1976 and divided into several Local Government Areas (most notably Lagos Island LGA, Lagos Mainland LGA and Eti-Osa LGA). The mainland beyond the Municipality of Lagos, on the other hand, comprised several separate towns and settlements such as Mushin, Ikeja and Agege. In the wake of the 1970s Nigerian oil boom, Lagos experienced a population explosion, untamed economic growth, and unmitigated rural migration. This caused the outlying towns and settlements to develop rapidly, thus forming the greater Lagos metropolis seen today. The history of Lagos is still evidenced in the layout of the LGAs which display the unique identities of the cultures that established them.

Today, the word Lagos most often refers to the urban area, called "Metropolitan Lagos" in Nigeria, which includes both the islands of the former Municipality of Lagos and the mainland suburbs. All of these are part of Lagos State, which now comprises 20 LGAs. Lagos State is responsible for utilities including roads and transportation, power, water, health, and education.

Metropolitan Lagos (a statistical division, and not an administrative unit) extends over 16 of the 20 LGAs of Lagos State, and contains 88% of the population of Lagos State, and includes semi-rural areas.

Lagos was the former capital city of Nigeria but it has since been replaced by Abuja. Abuja officially gained its status as the capital of Nigeria on 12 December 1991, although the decision to move the federal capital had been made in decree no. 6 of 1976.

Lagos is also home to the High Court of the Lagos State Judiciary, housed in an old colonial building on Lagos Island.[7]

Census data for Lagos

According to the preliminary results of the 2006 census, there are 7,937,932 inhabitants in Metropolitan Lagos.[2] This figure is lower than what had been anticipated and has created a controversy in Nigeria. Lagos Island, the central LGA and historic centre of Metropolitan Lagos, had a population of 209,437 as of the 2006 Census.[8]

Authorities of Lagos State have attacked the results of the 2006 census, accusing the National Population Commission of having undercounted the population of Lagos State, an accusation strongly denied by the National Population Commission.[9] [10]

Lagos is, by most estimates, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. Lagos State is currently experiencing a population increase of about 275,000 persons per annum. In 1999 the United Nations predicted that the city's metropolitan area, which had only about 290,000 inhabitants in 1950, would exceed 20 million by 2010 and thus become one of the ten most populated cities in the world. This projection, however, must now be revised downward due to the results of the 2006 census.

Like most cities, there is a huge spectrum of wealth distribution among the people that reside in Lagos. It ranges from the very wealthy to the very poor. Lagos has attracted many young entrepreneurs and families seeking a better life from throughout Nigeria and beyond.


Lagos is Nigeria's most prosperous city, and much of the nation's wealth and economic activity are concentrated there. The commercial, financial and business centre of Lagos and of Nigeria remains the business district of Lagos Island, where most of the country's largest banks and financial institutions are located. More than half of Nigeria's industrial capacity is located in Lagos's mainland suburbs, particularly in the Ikeja industrial estate. A wide range of manufactured goods are produced in the city, including machinery, motor vehicles, electronic equipment, chemicals, beer, processed food, and textiles. The standard of living is higher in Lagos than in the rest of Nigeria.

The Port of Lagos is Nigeria's leading port and one of the largest in Africa. It is administered by the Nigerian Port Authority and is split into three main sections: Lagos port, in the main channel next to Lagos Island, no longer used much, Apapa Port (site of the container terminal) and Tin Can Port, both located in Badagry Creek which flows into the Lagos Harbour from the west.[11] The port features a railhead.

The port handles imports of consumer goods, foodstuffs, motor vehicles, machinery, and industrial raw materials. Its export trade in timber and agricultural products such as cacao and groundnuts has declined since the early 1970s, although the port has seen growing amounts of crude oil exported, with export figures rising between 1997 and 2000.[12] Oil and petroleum products provide 20% of GDP and 95% of foreign exchange earnings in Nigeria as a whole.[13]


Music & film industry

Lagos is famous throughout West Africa for its music scene. Lagos has given birth to a variety of styles such as highlife, juju, fuji, and Afrobeat. In recent years Lagos has been the fore-runner with African styled hip-hop branded Afrohip-hop.

Lagos is the centre of the Nigerian film industry, often referred to as 'Nollywood.' Idumota market on Lagos Island is the primary distribution centre. Also many films are shot in the Festac area of Lagos.

The cinemas are gradually losing their supporters to the movie industry. Yoruba films happen to be the most watched in the cinemas, followed by Indian films. Films are not premiered for a long period of time in the western sense, especially with Yoruba films. The English spoken films move directly from the studios to the market.

Iganmu is home to the National Arts Theatre — the primary centre for the performing arts in Nigeria.


As in the rest of Nigeria, football is the most popular sport. The Nigeria Football Association (NFA) and the Lagos State Football Association (LAFA) are both based in Lagos. A prominent Lagos soccer club Julius Berger FC (a member of the Nigerian Premier League) is set to close in 2008, potentially leaving Lagos without a Premier League team.[17]

The Nigerian national football team, also known as the Super Eagles, used to play almost all of their home games in Lagos; however, games are now split between the Surelere Stadium in Lagos and the larger, newer Abuja Stadium in Abuja, which may soon become the default home of the Super Eagles.[18][19]


Lagos is not a popular tourist destination, as it is primarily business-oriented and also has a reputation for been a fast paced community. Despite these visitors are still attracted to some of the culture, entertainment scenes and vitality that the city has to offer. Tourist attractions include the Oba's Palace, the National Museum, and the beach resorts.

External links

Lagos is at coordinates 6°27′09″N 3°24′49″E / 6.4524, 3.4136 are only $2063, but hey, that's what frequent flier miles (and friends) are for!

Friday, June 20, 2008

This Just In...

June 19, 2008

MEDIA CONTACT: Tracy Schario, (202) 994-3566,


Veteran Broadcast Journalist, Network Executive, and GW Administrator

Michael Freedman to Lead New Initiative

Institute to Serve as Focal Point for Research on Journalism and the Media in the 21st Century, GW Broadcast Productions and Partnerships, and New Media Endeavors

WASHINGTON -- George Washington University President Steven Knapp has tapped Vice President for Communications Michael Freedman to lead the university's new Global Media Institute. Freedman, the multi-award winning former general manager of CBS Radio Network News and managing editor for the Broadcast Division of United Press International, has been named executive director of the institute and a professor of media and public affairs.

The George Washington University Global Media Institute will serve as the focal point for research on journalism and the media in the 21st century, as well as GW's broadcast productions and partnerships and new media endeavors. Through GW's School of Media and Public Affairs, the institute also will offer fellowships and professional development, special seminars and symposia for GW students and faculty, and student internship and enrichment opportunities in the United States and abroad. In addition, the institute will serve as the administrative hub for the operations of the GW Media and Public Affairs Building, which includes the network-ready Jack Morton Auditorium and the universitys flash studio (equipped for radio, television, and Web casts). Through its programming, the institute will provide cultural and public affairs content for student, professional, and general audiences, as well as context to the media's roles and responsibilities in a time of unprecedented change.

"By launching this important new institute, GW will be in a position to study the transformation currently underway across the worlds of print and broadcast media," said Knapp. "The institute will also forge new partnerships for media programming and combine ongoing broadcast projects within a single entity. I can think of no better person than Mike Freedman, given his rich background both in broadcast journalism and in higher education, to lead this effort."

Freedman has served for eight years as GW's vice president for communications and a professorial lecturer in journalism. During his tenure, he negotiated and managed the university's unprecedented five-year partnership with CNN resulting in nearly 800 telecasts from the Foggy Bottom campus. He also created and serves as executive producer of the highly acclaimed GW/National Press Club partnership series, The Kalb Report, with journalist Marvin Kalb, and the university's three weekly cultural public affairs programs airing on XM Satellite Radio.

Freedman and his teams at GW, CBS News, and UPI have earned more than 85 honors for excellence in broadcast journalism including 14 Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA). Freedman also is a recipient of the RTNDA D.C. Area Chapter Peter Hackes Memorial Award for career contributions to broadcast journalism in the nation's capital. He is co-author of The Broadcast Voice Handbook and has contributed chapters to Broadcasting Through Crisis and Responsible Journalism.

"I am truly honored to be selected for this position by President Knapp and look forward to creating a premier institute for substantive programming, as well as research in areas including the historic transformation of the media," said Freedman. "This is an extraordinary opportunity to help prepare our students to become tomorrow's industry leaders while using multiple media platforms to present dialogues about the profession in transition."

"I am delighted to have Mike Freedman in this new faculty role," commented Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald R. Lehman. "I look forward to the whole new dimension he will bring to the program."

"Mike Freedman's new appointment is a wonderful development for the School of Media and Public Affairs," added GW School of Media and Public Affairs Director Lee Huebner. "For several years, Mike has taught one of our most successful classes, and we eagerly look forward now to working with him even more closely on an expanding range of exciting projects."

The George Washington University Global Media Institute initially will serve as home to:

  • The Kalb Report public television/radio series on journalism and public policy. This highly acclaimed series, moderated by journalist Marvin Kalb, is funded by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and is produced by GW in partnership with The National Press Club and Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. The Kalb Report currently airs on over 40 public television stations and statewide networks, New England Cable News, XM Satellite Radio, and 3WT Radio in Washington, D.C. It also is distributed nationally by CBS Radio Network.
  • Politics: From the Nation's Capital. This one-hour, weekly program, produced by GW in partnership with XM Satellite Radio, airs on XM's "POTUS" Channel 130 which is devoted to the 2008 presidential campaign. Hosted by network correspondent Sam Litzinger, the series features GW faculty experts and coverage of political/public policy events taking place on campus. The series also airs each weekend on 3WT Radio in Washington (1500 AM and 107.7 FM).
  • GW Presents American Jazz. This two-hour, weekly program, is produced by GW in partnership with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. Hosted by GW's Dick Golden, this popular series airs each Sunday from 11am-1pm E.T. on XM Satellite Radio's "Real Jazz" Channel 70.
  • GW Presents Beyond Category. This two-hour, weekly program is produced by GW in partnership with Tony Bennett's Exploring the Arts Foundation and XM Satellite Radio. Hosted by GW's Dick Golden, each themed program profiles an artist or entity that has made a difference in our world. This program airs on XM's "Fine Tuning" Channel.
  • WRGW, the university's student-run, Web-based radio station.
  • GW Television (GWTV), the university's student-run cable television channel.
  • National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences annual Network News and Documentary Emmy Awards judging. GW serves as the host site in Washington for judging.
  • American Women in Radio and Television annual Gracie Awards judging.

The institute also will serve as liaison for the administration in establishing and managing media partnerships and will support the efforts of the School of Media and Public Affairs and related institutes within the university.

GW's School of Media and Public Affairs is a dynamic, interdisciplinary program based in the heart of Washington, D.C., where media, public affairs, and politics intersect. The school's undergraduate and graduate programs combine elements of strategic communication, journalism and political communication with contemporary issues in domestic and international politics.

Located four blocks from the White House, The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the nation's capital. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business, and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 countries.

For more news about GW, visit the GW News Center at


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Wizard Can Be Over Dressed, Never Over Elegant

Chanel Spritzes $6 Million on Potter's Hermione

Watson at a Chanel event
(Photo: Getty Images)

They grow up so fast. Emma Watson, who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter flicks, has cut a 2-year deal to be the new face of Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle for a cool $6 million. She'll replace current Coco girl Keira Knightley, whose contract ends this summer. No word yet if she'll show as much skin as Knightley did in her Chanel campaign, but it's not as though Harry Potter kids are shy about nudity (Daniel Radcliffe, we're talking to you). Watson turned 18 this past April, so hopefully we won't be treated to any Miley Cyrus-esque hoopla, although one of Knightley's Chanel ads is strikingly similar to the Cyrus pics, if you swap in a black bowler hat for the champagne duchess satin stole.

A source tells Britain's Daily Mail that "once it became clear she [Watson] is growing into a beautiful young woman and wears the Chanel brand so elegantly, they had to sign her up. Chanel realizes it is important to target a young audience." Indeed. There's probably a whole untapped tween Potter audience spritzing themselves with some cheap crap from Bath and Body Works, clueless to the fact that the should really be dropping $60 on 1.7 ounces of Coco Mademoiselle toilet water. Until now:

Chanel has been "slowly integrating" Watson into the brand, dressing her for recent premieres and parties to make sure she's the one. Apparently she is, although with her young, sweet, fresh face, Watson occasionally looks like she's playing dress-up with Mummy's clothes and makeup when done up in full Chanel garb. As the new Coco Mademoiselle girl, she follows not just in Knightley's steps but also Kate Moss's, who preceded Keira. Let's just hope little Emma hasn't turned into a cokehead and/or anorexic in a few years time. But, you know, in case she does, $6 million should come in handy.

BONY BODY SPRAY Keira for Chanel (Photo: Chanel)

YOU KNOW THIS ONE Cyrus (Photo: Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair)

Just Too Good To Forget!

Monday, June 16, 2008

He's Grrrrreat!

Tiger beats Mediate in U.S. Open thriller


SAN DIEGO (AP) -- With a throbbing knee and a pounding heart, Tiger Woods made one last improbable escape Monday and won the U.S. Open in a 19-hole playoff over Rocco Mediate, his 14th career major and maybe the most amazing of them all.

One shot behind on the 18th hole after a collapse no one saw coming, Woods birdied the 18th hole to force sudden death at Torrey Pines against a 45-year-old with a creaky back who simply wouldn't go away.

But that one extra hole was enough to doom Mediate, trying to become the oldest U.S. Open champion at 45 years, 6 months.

He put his tee shot in the bunker at No. 7, knocked his approach off a cart path and against the bleachers, chipped some 18 feet past the hole and missed the par putt.

On the verge of one of golf's greatest upsets, Mediate instead became another victim.

Woods, who delivered so many spectacular moments over four days along the Pacific bluffs, only needed a two-putt par at the end to win the U.S. Open for the third time, and the first since it last was held on a public course at Bethpage Black in 2002.

It capped off a remarkable week for the world's No. 1 player, who had not played since April 15 surgery on his left knee and looked as though every step was a burden. But it held up for 91 holes, and the payoff was worth the pain.

Woods joins Jack Nicklaus as the only players to capture the career Grand Slam three times over.

FINAL SCORE: (19 holes)
Tiger Woods: E
Rocco Mediate: +1

What's happened?

That was awesome. Golf at its absolute finest. It took him 91 holes to get it, but Tiger Woods has won his third U.S. Open and 14th major title. In an epic playoff, Tiger beat Rocco Mediate on the first sudden-death hole. Tiger parred the first hole of sudden death, while Mediate couldn't get a final, miracle par putt to drop.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Nothing Good Ever Happens After Midnight

As the old adage goes, nothing good ever happens after midnight... and last night was no exception.  You might have heard through the grapevine that when I arrived home yesterday evening (or this morning, however you want to call it) I discovered that I was sans apartment keys.  This obviously did not make Katie happy... and the gentleman at the front desk (yes, that same one who greeted me when I arrived home at 6am on Saturday) did not have access to the master key to let me in.  Oh boy, is right... I couldn't be let into my apartment until 7am.  As much as I appreciated the offer from Lindsey to sleep over, I was just too yuckied out to do that.  So what does Katie do?  Yeah, she breaks in.  It scares me how easy that was... but hey, I got in!

Anyway, just don't forget that NOTHING GOOD EVER HAPPENS AFTER MIDNIGHT!

Obviously Something We'd Never Do...

Woman brands thoughtless date with hot iron

  • Story Highlights
  • Kristina Caban forcibly branded an "R" on a former lover's body with a hot iron
  • State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus calls it a "bizarre" crime
  • Victim had sex with Caban once, never called her again
  • Defense lawyer says she's a good kid who got herself into a bad situation

NEW YORK (AP) -- A college student who branded a date's body with a scalding piece of metal as payback for never calling her after they had sex was sentenced to five years in prison Friday.

Kristina Caban, 23, had no comment as state Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus sentenced her for what he called a crime that was "not remotely justifiable."

Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg told Obus that Caban was the "mastermind behind the plan" to sear the torso of Samir "Sammy" Sara, then 23, for having sex with her once in 2004 and never calling her again.

Caban enlisted new boyfriend Robert Testagrossa to help brand a four-inch-high "R" on Samir's abdomen in October 2006, the prosecutor said. She said Caban lured the former lover to a hotel room, where Testagrossa and another man grabbed him.

Blumberg said the men used a Taser to immobilize Sara in a room at the Chelsea Inn while Caban laughed at his distress and kicked him while he was down.

The branding "iron" was actually a length of metal wire fashioned into a "R" -- heated, and applied to Samir's torso, said Tracy Golden of the Manhattan district attorney's office. She said prosecutors did not know what the "R" stood for.

Caban and Testagrossa, 27, pleaded guilty to assault in August 2007 in exchange for five-year sentences. Testagrossa was sentenced in February and Caban, a photography student, was allowed to graduate from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan before going to prison.

Blumberg said the third assailant remains at large.

He said Sara will have a permanent, tragic memento of his encounter with Caban.

Caban's lawyer, James Friedman said, "She's a good kid, despite the picture painted of her, who exercised poor judgment and got herself into a bad situation. She is not the monster the prosecution made her out to be."

Caban's father, Rafael Caban, 55, is a retired Correction Department captain.

Testagrossa is the son of two prosecutors. His father Charles is the executive assistant district attorney in Queens who prosecuted the Sean Bell police shooting case. His mother is a lawyer in the Nassau County district attorney's office.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hello Lover!

New I-Phone's Debut...Right into Jen's Bag!

Introducing iPhone 3G. With fast 3G wireless technology, GPS mapping, support for enterprise features like Microsoft Exchange, and the new App Store, iPhone 3G puts even more features at your fingertips. And like the original iPhone, it combines three products in one — a revolutionary phone, a widescreen iPod, and a breakthrough Internet device with rich HTML email and a desktop-class web browser. iPhone 3G. It redefines what a mobile phone can do — again. Katie -let's talk!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The Return of Cedric Diggory

You remember that hottie (Robert Pattinson from Harry Potter? Well, he's baaack... and a super sexy vampire to boot!

Check out this trailer for Twilight, also starring not-so-little Kristen Stewart (kick-ass daughter from Panic Room).

I don't know about you, but I know what I'm getting Jen for her birthday...

Click here to watch the trailer!

*Get it? The movie comes out on 12/12/2008... PS, we're going to see this movie that weekend. Happy early birthday!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wait, We Have a BLOG?!?!

I obviously don't watch the show, but this is for my girls...

Nussbaum: Why ‘Lost’ Is the Best Game Show in TV History

lost the game

Photo illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Courtesy of ABC; iStockphoto

Elsewhere in Vulture's Lost finale coverage:
‘Lost’ Season-Finale Recap: A Real Humdinger!
Vulture’s Exclusive Season-Five Preview
Who Called Kate on the Phone?
What Is Octagon Global Recruiting?
Was That the Psychic?
See the Alternate Endings

Hasn't Lost been great this season? Thrilling, funny, sexy, shocking! After the crisis of last season, when the show risked losing an audience frustrated with all the unanswered questions, it's impressive to see its creators unfold its plot so skillfully. Just imagine facing the angry, sweaty, paranoiac pressure from Lost's vocal fan base: All those snarky recaps, all those wails of shark-jumping, all those slash montages of Sayid cheating on Michael with Desmond! It's got to feel a bit like brainstorming episodes naked, onstage, at a Trek convention.

And yet, the writers keep upping the ante. Their brassiest move came in the finale of last season, when they effectively blew out the front door of their own narrative spaceship, revealing — in that eerie final sequence when Kate and Jack met at an airplane hangar — that what we'd thought was a flashback was actually a flash-forward. It was the equivalent of a perfect arabesque; like they were showing off how much power they have over us.

The flash-forward was one of those splashy TV moments, like Kimberly pulling off her wig in Melrose Place. But it's paid off as more than just a gimmick.

That single shift flipped the Lost game board out fifteen squares in each direction. It expanded the show's setting from the island to the world. It raised the level of narrative difficulty, both for the writers and for the fans, pivoting elegantly away from "Will these people get off the island?" and complicating the whole notion of "What will happen next?" (And I'm not even getting into the whole time-travel thing.)

But best of all, it made the show's appeal weirdly clear: that this is as much a game as a story. It's no surprise I find myself talking about the level of difficulty; it feels very much like we're leveling up. My husband, who is a video-game critic, pointed out that Lost online commentary often feels less like a response to a story and more like the way fans deconstruct an ARG, an alternative reality game, participating in communal puzzle-solving and focusing obsessively on tiny details. Some of this is deliberate, of course. Lost has had its own video game and ARGs (The Lost Experience and Find 815); co-creator Damon Lindelof has talked about the influence of Myst. But it was a little bit of a shock to me, a traditional narrative nerd, to realize that what was kicking my ass was the game play, not the deep thoughts.

Because Lost is a brilliant TV show, but it's not brilliant the way our culture usually defines that quality — it's not "Dickensian." It's thought-provoking, but the themes are not always complex; with a few exceptions (for me, Locke and Ben), it has compelling characters, but they have motivations, not true inner lives. Yet if there's one thing this excellent season has demonstrated, it's that a TV show doesn't have to be like a literary novel to be genuinely ambitious. Lost feels a bit like a detective story and a lot like a comic book, but even more like a video game, with some of the pleasures of sci-fi, and definite aspects of a magic show. It's a new kind of tour de force.

Its tricks are tricks of puzzle and chronology — showman's tricks, rhythmic revelations that can lead to real emotional release (Penny and Desmond's phone call at last!) but are more centrally about the mathematical shock of watching two elements slip into unexpected relationship (like the realization that Desmond's "incident" is what caused the plane to crash). The series has always rewarded near-schizophrenic levels of pattern recognition, to such an extent that it can distort my other TV watching (does anyone else watch The Wire expecting license-plate numbers to reveal hidden clues?). But the most original aspect to Lost is the sure-handed way its creators have dovetailed the satisfactions of a story with the payoffs of a game.

And maybe this isn't just a coincidence. After all, board games have taken up a striking amount of space this season. There's Locke with his backgammon; there's Hurley's Connect Four; there was that suggestive, meta-conversation over a game of Risk. And Ben did complain mysteriously about Widmore's "changing the rules": Could the whole thing be a game? Excuse me, I'm off to consult Lostpedia and figure it all out before the finale… —Emily Nussbaum