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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

That is My Bro

In the Boston Globe, January 29, 2008 front page of the City & Region section.

House of Blues hits Lansdowne

Patrick Lyons sells clubs now under renovation as music chain returns to area

Boston entertainment prince Patrick T. Lyons, in the midst of a multimillion-dollar renovation of his Lansdowne Street clubs, has sold them to the House of Blues chain.

Lyons will concentrate on restaurants and other entertainment spots he has opened in Boston and elsewhere. He had closed the popular music venues Avalon and Axis, adjacent to Fenway Park, to turn them into a bigger, flashier complex called the Music Hall.

And the House of Blues, which started in 1992 in a small house on Winthrop Street in Harvard Square and closed a decade later, will return to its roots in the Boston area - though in a venue some 10 times the size of the original.

"We know a little bit about the DNA of the House of Blues," said Lyons, a cofounder of the first House of Blues club. "They have the ability to book shows and bring in talent. We feel very comfortable with them taking over this asset that's so near and dear to our hearts."

Going with the demographic flow, Lyons, 55, is moving out of the music club and show business, which he entered in Buffalo in the early 1970s. He moved to Boston as manager of 15 Lansdowne St. - later called Avalon - in 1978.

Lyons is selling his company, That's Entertainment Inc., which operates the clubs, to House of Blues Entertainment Inc. No price was disclosed.

House of Blues Entertainment is owned by Live Nation, which was spun out from media giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. in 2005. The company, in partnership with Boston and Dublin restaurant operator Joe Dunne, purchased the Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue from Lyons late last year.

Avalon and Axis closed in October and are scheduled to reopen by the end of the year as an expanded $14 million complex that will include a music venue to accommodate 2,500, a 350-seat lounge and function room, and a 125-seat restaurant.

Work is about to begin on the plan by Cambridge Seven Architects Inc. that Lyons and a partner commissioned, and Lyons will continue to oversee design and construction.

"The only thing that has changed is in place of a sign that says Lansdowne Music Hall, it will say House of Blues," Lyons said yesterday. He will continue to own the real estate and will be landlord under a long-term lease to the House of Blues, which will book and operate the club.

The House of Blues, with a larger capacity than Avalon and Axis (formerly known as Boston-Boston, Metro, Citi, and Spit), is expected to be able to attract bigger-name acts.

Aidan J. Scully, senior vice president of House of Blues development, said, "I'm a Boston boy. We're coming home - I'm very excited about it." Scully, raised in Malden, was general manager of the House of Blues in Cambridge for about 15 years. He also worked in other Boston clubs and knows Lyons.

"He understands the business well enough to put together a multifunctional facility," Scully said of Lyons. "What he envisioned wasn't that far off from what we would want."

Scully also said Boston's new House of Blues, with about 50,000 square feet, limited seating, and VIP boxes, would be unique. "Historically we have created these venues not to be cookie-cutter," he said.

But, he added: "When you walk in you're going to know it's the House of Blues."

The House of Blues has about a dozen locations that use the HOB name, and it operates other entertainment facilities as well. It also operates a nonprofit foundation that teaches public school students about the history of American music.

Lyons said he would focus on his restaurants and other establishments, including Game On with its three locations, including Fenway, Lucky's, also with three locations, and Summer Shack restaurants, with four locations co-owned with Jasper White.

Lyons will also soon open a 250-seat restaurant, as yet unnamed, under the bleachers at Fenway Park.

He is currently partnering with chef Lydia Shire in Scampo, an upscale restaurant to open at the new Liberty Hotel in the former jail on Charles Street. And Lyons operates restaurants in Atlantic City, plus a nightclub and two restaurants at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

Thomas C. Palmer Jr. can be reached at

Its No Pocket Burger.........

Cheeseburger in a Can is Both the Best and Worst Thing I've Ever Seen

canburger.jpgThis is a cheeseburger. In a can. It's a cheeseburger in a can.

I honestly can't figure out how I feel about this: is it the greatest achievement of mankind thus far, or is it an abomination of foodstuffs that deserves to be hucked back into the gaping maw of whatever food processing plant it was spewed from? I just don't know what to think anymore. Would you eat a cheeseburger in a can? Keep in mind that it'll look nowhere near as delicious as the example above when you pull it out of the can.

This is your reason to watch the Sarah Connor Chronicles

136 cats in a small apartment

A resident of Novosibirsk in northern Russia has been adopting unwanted and abandoned cats for the last fifteen years. Now, as a result, she shares a tiny three room apartment with 136 of them.

Super Smash Brothers Brawl - WII

Super Smash Brothers Brawl '300'
Online Videos by

Super Smash Bros Brawl Japanese Intro

The Complete Pirelli Calendars now available

An extremely sought after collectible in the sixties and seventies- You were somebody if you got one. Today, Some calendars auction in the thousands. The complete calendars now available as a coffee table book for $50.
Chismillionaire suggests 1970. Buy it here

Lakai Fully Flared Intro

This is what happens when you combine Skating and Fire

Inside the cockpit of the Airbus 380

Cockpit of a Airbus A380

this is amazing, full 3-d

Chismillionaire says know what you are doing and if you do it anyway-- DON'T Take anyone with you!

The Short, Deadly Story of a Kid and his M5

Date posted: 01-28-2008

He posted on the BMW M5 forum — — as "AmericanM5," the proud new owner of a 2008 BMW M5 painted Space Gray.

He had a problem. With "everything set to max" — and he changed gear with the shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel — "and I'm going pedal to the metal pushing 140 and upshifting, there tends to be a thud noise with the gear change." AmericanM5 wanted to know if this was normal.

And he added: "Let me say I am a beginner when it comes to high-performance cars as I am only 18, so take it easy on me."

Reality Check
The forum members told him that yes, the sensation of an abrupt gear engagement is normal with the M5's automated sequential manual transmission, but several also took the opportunity to express their concerns.

Wrote one: "It's just disturbing to know...that an 18-year-old who is asking these questions about a 500-horsepower car is driving the same streets I am. I don't have anything against young guys driving nice cars, but an 18-year-old being [behind] the wheel of an M5 is what accidents are made of."

AmericanM5 responded: "I completely understand where you are coming from, assuming that I am irresponsible...that is definitely understandable. I do sometimes make bad decisions but I am young and I do drive safe and I will not endanger the lives of others."

These posts were dated January 25, 2008.

Space Gray
At 3:30 a.m. on January 26, a 2008 BMW M5 painted Space Gray flew off the raised end of a runway at a private airport just outside Ocala, Florida, sailed 200 feet through the air and stuck a huge tree. The impact with the tree occurred 15 feet off the ground. Five young men, aged 18 to 20, were killed instantly.

Members of the M5Board began to put the pieces together. AmericanM5 said he was 18, had a 2008 M5 in Space Gray, and said he lived in the Ocala area. And he signed one of the posts, "Josh."

The driver of the crashed M5 had been Josh Ammirato.

Experience Counts
Apparently AmericanM5 had not been entirely truthful in his postings. The M5 belonged not to him, but instead to his father.

When members of the M5board forum had made this suggestion online, AmericanM5 bristled: "It's mine, buddy. I just traded in my 335i and paid the difference."

Another member suggested that AmericanM5's lack of knowledge about the BMW M5's transmission could be easily explained: "Maybe your two years' driving experience in your whole life is the problem."

AmericanM5 responded: "That could be a good assumption but the fact I never drive a manual car before may be true, but I've been driving for a lot longer than two years, buddy."

Reports indicate that Ammirato had received four traffic citations in the last two years.

Is This for Real?
The crash occurred at the Greystone Airport, which is bordered on one side by Jumbolair Estates, a fly-in community where actor and pilot John Travolta lives; he filed a suit in 2007 to compel the owners to allow him to land his Boeing 707 on the strip.

The fly-in community was built by the late Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus exercise equipment. The airstrip is 7,550 feet (1.5 miles) long and is 210 feet wide. Apparently it can be accessed through an unguarded gate.

The five occupants of the M5 had attended a basketball game, and then a party where they were celebrating the 19th birthday of Dustin "Smiley" Dawe, one of the men killed.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported that there was evidence of skid marks at the end of the runway, indicating the car had turned sideways before crossing a sloped embankment and sailing through the air and into the tree. Alcohol does not appear to have been involved. The accident made headlines in the Ocala Star-Banner.

A Final Word
The final exchange between AmericanM5 and the rest of the forum members came late on January 25.

Some members wondered if the 18-year-old M5 owner was for real, and suggested that he post some photos of his car. Others wondered why a teenager would opt for an expensive sedan instead of more conventional sports car like a Porsche.

A forum member from Queensland, Australia, applauded AmericanM5's decision to get a BMW: "I would much prefer an 18-year-old with brains to have an M5 rather than spend his money on some other piece of junk that could kill him and his mates in an accident," wrote M5DAL, a forum member since 2004. He continued: "If you crash in a big way, expect to be on the news."

"Thanks, guys, don't get me wrong," AmericanM5 wrote, "I never said I didn't respect your wisdom. Thanks for the welcome, and I am looking forward to getting to know you guys better...and I plan to have all the pics up tomorrow. Josh."

That was his last post.

Dude's Head Turned Into A Birthday Cake

Rule of thumb... if your hair looks like a set of birthday candles and you pass out at a party, expect to be set on fire.

Dude's Head Turned Into A Birthday Cake

50 Years of LEGO: Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon Time-Lapse Video

Here are several evenings of my life condensed into 3:38 of time lapse footage as I assemble the "Ultimate Collectors Millennium Falcon" LEGO set, the largest yet sold, with over five thousand individual elements.

My thanks to Matt Goodell for cutting me a great deal on this set. It was even better than new, since he even sorted out all the pieces for me. Thanks also to Judson "Cicada" Cowan for letting me use the track "Earth's Assault on the Enemy A.I.," one of my favorite tracks of 2007. (Available for free on his website on the album "Technology Crisis.") Finally, thanks to Brian Lam and Jesus Diaz of Gizmodo who had the idea first but were kind enough to give me permission to run my version before theirs to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Thanks, everyone!

I captured one frame out of every 150. It's a great set; much more fun to put together than the giant Star Destroyer. Far fewer repetitive sections. Now the ultimate question: keep it on my shelf to scare potential dates, sell it, or press its parts into service to build more ships of my own design?

(Don't miss: My snazzy sweatpants with the hole in the knee, then my realization that I have a hole in the knee after, like, a day of filming.)

Identified Flying Objects Over Phoenix

Jeff Topping for The New York Times

Airports in Phoenix will be jammed with corporate jets, like these at Sky Harbor airport, for Super Bowl weekend.

January 27, 2008
Travel Bug

PHOENIX — IT may be too late now, but if you moved quickly the other day you could have booked a three-night stay over Super Bowl weekend at the Ramada Limited Airport North in Phoenix for a cool $2,382.78.

You read that right. A Ramada wants $2,382.78 for three nights during the Super Bowl.

The swankier hotels and resorts in the Phoenix area, of course, have been booked for months, or even years, for next Sunday’s game. But the astonishing room rates that even roadside properties are demanding say something about the three-day spectacle the Super Bowl has become. Whatever it is to most of the 70,000 or so fans who will be there, it’s corporate America’s Mardi Gras, no expense spared, to the businesses that cater to them.

Consider the private jets. The Arizona skies will be full of them next weekend, as corporations and well-heeled individuals head to Phoenix with clients or colleagues in tow.

As of Friday, about 400 private jets had already made arrangements to fly in. Private-jet schedulers say that this is the most ever, and that an epic traffic jam could ensue in the skies.

“We’re getting booked like crazy,” said Steven M. Hankin, the chief executive of Sentient Jets, a big private-jet charter company that is booking Super Bowl weekend luxury packages. “We’re seeing a significant increase in demand for flights to Phoenix, more than we have for previous Super Bowls,” and a 50 percent increase from the event last year. A mere $9,399 gets you a 50-yard-line ticket, four nights in a four-star hotel, transportation to the stadium and other perks (private jet not included).

NetJets, the largest operator of fractional-share jet ownership programs, has a worldwide fleet of more than 700 private jets of all sizes. “We are forecasting 300 flights in and out of Phoenix," at Sky Harbor and six area general-aviation airports, said Richard T. Santulli, the NetJets chief executive.

Luxury packagers and private-jet companies were ecstatic last weekend when the New York Giants and the New England Patriots emerged as the two Super Bowl contestants.

“The Giants in particular have a huge corporate fan base,” said Robert Tuchman, the founder of TSE Sports and Entertainment, a company in New York that arranges high-end corporate hospitality packages to events like the Super Bowl, the U. S. Open and the Kentucky Derby. “And 99 percent of our clients are corporations that are looking to entertain clients at these events.”

Many of those companies already have their own jets, although event planners will also arrange charters. Mr. Tuchman’s company has a basic $6,000 package that includes four nights at a four-star hotel, a game ticket, ground transportation and a spot in a celebrity golf tournament.

But hotels, golf tournaments, ground transportation, celebrity-studded parties and the like are easy enough to arrange in a major resort area. The biggest Super Bowl challenge, some organizers say, will be getting all those private jets in and out.

Nathan McKelvey is the chief executive of, which has access to a fleet of 19 aircraft, mostly big ones like Gulfstream 4s. In general, he said, the cost for 10 hours of flying on a big private jet will run roughly $60,000, plus tax.

“The customers are mostly corporations entertaining clients,” he said.

In an interview last week, Marlene Purswell, senior vice president for operations at, a online subsidiary that arranges jet trips, said Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport and several smaller airports in the area were still tabulating just how many flights to expect.

Two days before the conference championship games last Sunday, one of two major private terminals at Sky Harbor, Swift Aviation, had already logged requests for 490 arrivals and departures.

“And I’m sure there’s going to be a big spike in that number,” Ms. Purswell said.

TO prepare for the biggest traffic jam — Sunday night, when all those private jets try to depart at once — NetJets, Swift Aviation and several others are planning to set up reception centers and lounges to entertain private-jet passengers experiencing long waits. “We already know we’ll get a whole bunch of people arriving at once, and it will take some time to get those airplanes out,” she said.