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Friday, August 29, 2008

We Know Who Is Directing Voltron!!

By El Mayimbe on August 28, 2008




El Mayimbe here…

So last week we got the official word that VOLTRON was put into turnaround, that Relativity picked it up to make it on the cheap ala 300, and that a director was going to be announced within a week.

Well, guess what?

Here he is…

MAX MAKOWSKI

“Huh? Who the fuck is that?!” you just said? So did I.

Folks know that I’m very fond of Voltron. It’s a script I like very much regardless of THE ROAD post apocalyptic inspired creative license that some folks have issues with. My 25 year old diesel Voltron/Lionbot toy that I got in Chinatown back in the day, is on my desk looking right at me. I got all 5 tins of the re-mastered cartoon on dvd. It’s also worth mentioning that the two-volume GOLION dvd (the original 1981Voltron Japanese anime) was released recently and worth a look. I’m also checking out the origin story comic that Josh Blaylock got going on over at Devil’s Due.

Voltron fanboyness aside, sources tell me he's actually a great choice. I honestly hope so and I at least give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I’m told he's on every studio's hot list these days because of some Sundance movie he made a few years ago about warring assassins called ONE LAST DANCE. Anybody seen it or can get me a copy? Email me. mayimbe@latinoreview.com I was also told it's like having Zach Snyder do 300. Max is supposed to have a great visual style that's very specific and all his own.

We shall see.

max-voltron

Here is a little bio…

Max Makowski was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil but has lived all over the world in countries such as England, the Philippines, Peru, Bahrain, the U.S.A, Germany, Cuba, and Hong Kong where he became a director, producer, writer, editor, and cameraman for Salon Films as well as CNBC and NBC Asia - where he also produced the TODAY SHOW for the Asian market. Max's credits include the movies The Pigeon Egg Strategy (premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 1998), One Last Dance (premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in 2006 and went on to Cannes), and television series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003) and The Agency (2005). He is also working on writing and directing a Universal film based on the Japanese movie Shinobi, a Studio Canal film based on Le Professionnel, and he has rewritten the screenplay for the bigscreen version of Hawaii Five-O. Max also will direct the bigscreen adaptation of the 1970s TV series Kung Fu which revolved around a Shaolin monk forced to flee to the Wild West, where he used his martial arts skills to fend off various evildoers.

All I know is that he better not fuck it up because the jury is still out. Directing five diva style mavens on QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT is way different than directing five robot lion pilots. Different set of egos.

I’m just the messenger folks.

So there you have it, the secret of VOLTRON is now in the hands of Makowski.

Here's his IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0538733/

David Duchovny Enters Rehab For Sex Addiction




According to People, David Duchovny has entered rehab for sex addition.

"I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction," the actor says in an exclusive statement. "I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family."

Duchovny, 48, has been married to actress Téa Leoni since 1997. They have two children, daughter Madelaine West, 9, and son Kyd, 6.

Hopefully he was frisked and his lube was confiscated.



Dirty Sexy Money Is Dirtier Sexier And Monier




Sorry about the monier. An attempt at a little joke too early in the morning.

Did you catch Dirty Sexy Money last season? If not, you missed some of the most interesting (and far fetched) and fun family scenarios shown on network television. With Lucy Liu joining the show this fall, things will only get more delicious.



The Darlings of New York City, so absurdly wealthy they put the "upper" in Upper East Side. This preeminent family's five spoiled adult brats - one of them a Presidential candidate - are always getting mixed up with the wrong people, including freeloading spouses, illegal immigrants and transvestite characters. It will take a miracle to keep this Kennedy-esque clan out of the tabloids - and out of jail. Actually, they're less fucked up than many families that I know.

Dirty Sexy Money is back this coming October 1st on ABC.

Featured in the gallery: Peter Krause, Donald Sutherland, William Baldwin, Natalie Zea,
Seth Gabel, Jill Clayburgh, Glenn Fitzgerald, Lucy Liu, Zoe McLellan and Blair Underwood.

Click any photo to view all 15+ photos of the Dirty Sexy Money cast in the gallery!



Income and Poverty: Rank your State

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- It's a title Michigan likely doesn't want.

The Great Lake State was the only one in the union to see a drop in median household income and a jump in its poverty rate in 2007, according to Census Bureau figures released Tuesday. Much of the decline stems from the turmoil in the auto sector, which has shed tens of thousands of jobs in recent years.

"Michigan is really hurting," said Donald Grimes, senior research associate, Institute for Labor & Industrial Relations at the University of Michigan. "The Census report confirms the depth of employment loss. It's really driven by what's going on in the auto industry."

Michigan's poor showing bucks the trend of small economic gains for the typical American family last year. The national median income rose 1.3% to $50,233, while the country's poverty rate remained about the same at 12.5%, with 37.3 million people living in poverty - compared with 36.5 million in 2006.

(These statistics differ slightly from the national figures listed in chart because they are derived from two different surveys with different questionnaires and methodologies.)

Meanwhile, the number of people without health insurance fell to 45.7 million people, or 15.3%, down from 47 million, or 15.8%.

While Michigan residents were the only ones to lose ground, there was still a wide disparity among state fortunes. For instance, median income rose in 33 states, but stagnated in 16.

Among the more prosperous locales were Alaska, where the median income increased 5.2%, and Wyoming, which saw a 5.4% jump. Residents there can thank natural resources for the gains.

(See where your state ranks.)

Poverty and health insurance

A dozen states and the District of Columbia chipped away at their poverty rates, while the vast majority saw no significant change.

This year, it will prove tougher for states to keep their residents out of poverty as the weakening economy puts increased strain on their budgets. Many state programs, particularly Medicaid and employment assistance initiatives, will feel the pinch.

"You are less able to do anything at the state level that helps people get back to work," said Tim Smeeding, director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at University of Wisconsin.

Only six states saw declines in the number of those without health insurance in recent years, while 10 saw increases. Rates remained the same in the rest, including Michigan. The Census Bureau compared the average uninsured rates in 2004-05 with those of 2005-06.

States along the nation's southern border - including Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico - saw the largest increase in the uninsured, in part because they have high rates of undocumented immigrants who account for many of those without coverage, said Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute, a think tank that promotes free market ideas for health care reform.

States that have made increasing healthcare coverage a priority - both through public and private initiatives - saw declines in their uninsured populations. These include Massachusetts, which saw a 2.4% decline, and Indiana, which had a 2.7% drop.

What's driving Michigan?

Michigan, however, has had no such luck. The state has never recovered from the 2001 recession and has lost jobs annually ever since, said Rebecca Blank, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former dean of the University of Michigan's School of Public Policy.

The housing bust has hit the state hard. Detroit and Ann Arbor are the only two areas in the country where home values have fallen back to pre-2002 levels, according to Zillow, a real estate Web site. Nationwide, home prices are where they were in late 2004.

In 2007, the state shed about 80,000 jobs, according to the state's Department of Labor and Economic Growth. The state's troubles lie in the fact that it's so heavily invested in the auto industry. While the state is attempting to build up new sectors, such as alternative energy and health care, any meaningful change is years away, experts said.

"Michigan has been talking about the need to diversify its economy for a long time, but it has not happened," Blank said.

11-year-old girl vs AR 15 Machine Gun

My parents used to be proud of me when I got good grades, did not get into trouble, won some sporting prizes and moved out of the house at 25. This 11-year-old girl’s daddy is proud of her for being able to take apart and put back together again an AR 15 machine gun in 53 seconds and that is with a functions check. If she keeps this up she’ll be going Demi Moore’s way in GI Jane. Without the breast implants obviously.

I’m guessing you don’t want to mess with her

Code Pink Bitch Gets PWNT By The Police

Never heard of Code Pink either? Well start reading. Or I can safe you the trouble and tell you that they are a bunch of women that are opposed to the Iraq War and and any other war. They have small demonstrations outside Marine recruitment offices and call Bush a fascist while they should be cooking their lesbian lover some dinner. Oops. During the recent Democratic Convention in Denver they held another demonstration and one of the pink ladies got her ass well and truelly owned, served and eaten by the police snatch team. Almost Gestapo like really.


Kid Headbutting A Ball ouch!

ouch!

A Moment Of Zen: Nereida Gallardo Topless

It’s the end of the week and let’s be honest, time for some titties. Fake titties, but titties none the less. Her name is Nereida Gallardo and she’s a professional nobody. And we don’t care. She’s got ‘em and she flaunts ‘em. Including her 5 inch ong nipples. CR must have loved sucking those. Slightly NSFW

The 5 Best Free File Hosting Services To Store Your Files!

People have a love and hate relationship with file hosting sites. Some file hosting sites are really handy and make sharing data even simpler than sending a file via email while other services spam you with countless pop ups and forced membership options to simply download a file.

Here is a list of some great file hosting sites that make uploading and sharing files a cakewalk.

You are welcome to share if you know more free file hosting services which our readers/viewers may like.

File Savr - Free File Hosting

File Savr

FileSavr.com makes file hosting easier with Web 2.0 technology and the use of Ajax and Flash. FileSavr has 10 GB upload size limit, currently the largest available on the internet. This allows users the flexibility to upload any large file of 10 GB or less.

File Factory - free and simple file hosting service

File Factory

FileFactory lets you host files up to 300MB for free. You don’t have to register and there is nothing to download. Your files can be downloaded an unlimited number of times! One thing we found very annoying and spammy about FileFactory was the number of ads they have on the page.

FileDen - Free file hosting and online storage

File Den

With File Den’s free file hosting and online storage service it’s easy to share files across the internet with friends, family, work associates or anyone else. They allow our users to direct link to their files also giving you the oppurtunity to embed your files into your webpages, myspace or other social networking profiles.

Fileqube - Free Online Storage

fileqube

Fileqube has an eye-pleasing design that shows its intentions well. When you upload a personal file it gives you a download link, a link to remove the file, and embed code to drop your file’s link on a website. The only downside is the 150MB file size, which is rather small with some of the other sites in comparison.

File Dropper - Free File Hosting for MP3, Videos, Documents

File dropper

FileDropper’s beauty is in its simplicity. It has one click file hosting where you simply click on the upload button and select your file. After the file is uploaded you are taken to the page where the file is hosted. If the file is an image, it shows the image directly on the page for easier sharing. Upload size is an impressive 5 GB.

Behind the Dude: Steve Buscemi on "The Big Lebowski"


His secrets to understanding Donny and learning to bowl

ANDY GREENE









How did you first hear about The Big Lebowski?

I only remember getting the script. Ethan probably called me and said, "We have a script and we're sending it. Tell us what you think." As simple as that. I do remember my impressions reading it, that it was funny and unpredictable. I couldn't tell where it was going. But also, specifically in looking at the Donny part, I kept thinking that there was gonna be more. I was feeling myself getting sort of upset on Donny's behalf, that Walter was treating him that way, and thinking, "This guy doesn't deserve this."

Ok, he's a little annoying, but why is Walter so over the top? You know, almost having a feeling like, "I'm not sure I wanna do this." And it was painful. Like, "How am I gonna tell the guys that I don't wanna do this?" Until I got to that last scene, where they're in the parking lot being confronted by the nihilists and Donny feels scared and turns to Walter — how sweet and protective Walter was of Donny really moved me after this whole movie of him constantly being annoyed and telling him to shut the fuck up. And then I understood their relationship. I thought that was really cool.

What really sold me further was the eulogy that Walter gives for Donny. I just loved that. And finding out for the first time that he's a surfer. Then I went back and re-read the script and really appreciated how those scenes were constructed. When Donny says something, it's like screwball comedy. And those scenes were really fun to do.

They got you a bowling instructor, right?
Yeah. John Turturro is another Brooklyn guy. We've known each other a long time and our kids are the same age, so we went to the Melody Lanes [in Brooklyn, New York]. I had my own custom ball made. I was getting into it, and I really thought, "Oh, wow. I'm gonna become a bowler now." Of course, after filming, I think I've gone bowling once or twice since then.

Did you think much about the back-story of your character to get into his head at all?
I didn't. The only moment that I remember that we specifically talked about is Donny's last set, when he doesn't get a strike and it disturbs him because it's almost like his intuitive feeling. Like, "This is not gonna be a good day." Of course, he dies later on down the road. That was the only time that they specifically talked to me about that moment, you know, something that relates to something that's happening later and that there could be a look on my face or just to be aware that something is not right. It wasn't just a missed strike, that he couldn't just go, "Oh well." Not getting that strike meant something bigger.

I don't know how big this is but there's this new theory that Donny is just a figment of Walter's imagination. Like he's an old army buddy that had died or something. It almost works. There's the "your phone is ringin', Dude" "thanks, Donny?" [exchange]. But that's the only acknowledgement that the Dude makes of Donny. If you watch those scenes, it's like Donny would come in, Walter gets so upset and it's like the Dude never hears it.


Do you wonder why these three characters are friends with each other, — they seem so different.
No, it seems like bowling was the common thread, and it probably evolved over the years that these three came together as a team and then became friends. Walter and the Dude, they're so different, but they respect each other's take on life. I'm not quite sure how Donny fits in there, but I do think that he's loved by these guys, and that Walter loves him like a brother, and that's why he's able to treat him so badly at times [laughs]. Because you do that to the people you love. So when I finally understood that I thought it was really cool, and that that's how Donny is able to sort of just take these insults. Because he loves Walter and he feels love by Walter.

Were you surprised the movie tanked at the box office?
No, it didn't surprise me. Even I thought it was a weird follow-up to Fargo, and I didn't expect anything from it. I just thought, "These guys made a really fun movie, a great character, kind of, genre, you know, weird genres that kind of mixed, and that it was really fun." It's probably the film that I've done that people have seen the most. I mean the number of times people have seen it. And I guess that started happening about five years ago, when people started to come up to me?usually it was like college guys that would tell me that they and their friends would watch it every weekend, or they had seen it five times. And at first, I didn't really believe it, you know they say five times? or seven times. But so many people would tell me that now I believe it.

So how do you explain that? How do you explain this radical cult following?
I don't know, my wife and I kind of joke that everybody really wants to be the Dude. It's somebody you go, "I like this guy. I like the way he operates." That's part of it. Jeff is the heart of Lebowski. It's just great writing and it goes in unexpected places. And each individual scene is like this brilliant short film. And then it all comes together? but I can't explain it. I think there's something unexplainable about it. There's some mystery to it that keeps people coming back, that they want to see it again and again.

The Disturbing Origins of 5 Common Nursery Rhymes

The Disturbing Origins of 5 Common Nursery Rhymes

article image

Let's face it: everything is a lot more horrifying than you thought when you were a kid. Pick even the most childlike, innocent thing you can think of, and the odds are that there's a deeply disturbing story behind it.

For instance, nursery rhymes. We grew up memorizing these seemingly nonsense lines of verse from Mother Goose, which seem to exist for no other reason than to keep toddlers entertained. There couldn't possibly be some kind of weird, twisted history to them, could there?

Well, guess what ...

#5.
Three Blind Mice

Three blind mice, three blind mice,

See how they run, see how they run,

They all ran after the farmer's wife,

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,

Did you ever see such a thing in your life,

As three blind mice?

We Thought it Meant...

A trio of unfortunate rodents on a mission to find out where the hell they are, eventually run into an old woman who just happens to be skilled in chopping small defenseless animals to pieces. So this one's actually already kind of disturbing on its own.

But Some Experts Say...

The farmer's wife in the poem is an allusion to the 16th Century Queen "Bloody" Mary I, and her enthusiasm for everything involving torture, death, and basically finding new ways to go down in textbooks as history's biggest bitch. The three mice supposedly represent three noblemen who got together and said, "Gee guys, maybe this Mary lady isn't all there." and were consequently prosecuted for conspiring against the queen.


Not afraid to cut a motherfucker.

If you're cringing at the thought of what the cutting off of their three "tails" symbolizes, don't worry. She didn't cut off their dongs. No, she proved she had some form of human empathy, and simply burning those suckers at the stake instead.

#4.
Georgie Porgie

Georgie Porgie pudding and pie

Kissed the girls and made them cry

When the boys came out to play

Georgie Porgie ran away

We Thought it Meant...

Some playground creep who seemed to lose his balls at the sight of young men.

But Some Experts Say...

The whole thing refers to a torrid gay sex scandal involving King Charles I.

Georgie Porgie is thought to be a caricature of George Villiers, the 1st Duke of Buckingham and hardcore pretty boy. He was rumored to be a lover to Anne of Austria, the Queen Consort of France who was notorious for just about everything except for being pretty. Or really looking like a woman at all.


Possibly a dude.

So after having a fling with the, er, somewhat masculine Anne, it was a pretty smooth transition for Villiers to switch teams. Not one to do anything half way, the man Villiers chose to woo just happened to be King Charles I. Through the king, Villiers was able to become very powerful and influential, and was even knighted as a--and we're not making this up--Gentleman of the Bedchamber, a title Georgie's parents were surely proud of.

Eventually, Parliament got sick of the bastard and cut off the relationship. As a man of love, Villiers fought for his darling Charles valiantly by pretty much screaming, "Well...okay!" Thus the reference "When the boys came out to play, Georgie Porgie ran away."

As for what exact innuendo "Pudding and pie" represents, we'll let you use your imagination.

#3.
Goosey Goosey Gander

Goosey Goosey Gander, whither shall I wander?

Upstairs and downstairs and in my Lady's chamber.

There I met an old man who wouldn't say his prayers,

So I took him by his left leg and threw him down the stairs.

We Thought it Meant...

The town hobo breaking in to various women's rooms and throwing their partners down stairs for being religiously inconsistent.

But Some Experts Say...

Back in 16th century Europe, most people were busy either fighting off plagues or killing off Catholics. Priests especially were in high demand as there was a reward for the Protestant who was able to find and execute one.

The method of execution was often tying him by the legs and throwing him down a flight of stairs (thus the last line in the rhyme). Unless he would begin to say his prayers in English rather than Latin, he would bounce down the steps faster than your childhood Slinky. If he did give in, he was spared by--oh wait, no. They threw him down the stairs regardless.

So that's all well and good, but what the hell does the phrase "Goosey Goosey Gander" have to do with anything?

Well, it's thought that "Goosey" is referencing an old slang term "goose" which was a nice but roundabout way of saying "voluptuous lady of the night" which in turn is a euphemism for "goddamn dirty hooker." In fact, the term "goose bumps" was originally slang for the red bumps caused by venereal diseases.

The more you know, kids!

#2.
Pop Goes the Weasel

All around the mulberry bush

The monkey chased the weasel;

The monkey thought 'twas all in good sport

Pop! goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread,

A penny for a needle-

That's the way the money goes,

Pop! goes the weasel.

We Thought it Meant...

Spontaneous combustion in the animal kingdom, along with an assertion that all monkeys are douchebags.

But Some Experts Say...

Pop goes the Weasel is a merry tune centered on an all too familiar children's theme: the cycle of poverty in society.

A good chunk of the poem is made up of plays on words that are themselves Cockney slang terms from the old days. So for instance, "Pop" is a slang term meaning to pawn something (that is, sell it at a pawn shop) while "weasel" translates to "coat". Does that help? No?

Well, the deal was that no matter how piss poor a London man was back in the day, he was expected to own a suit in order to dress nicely on Sunday. The trick to being able to do this was to pawn your suit ("Pop goes the weasel") on Monday and then purchase it back before Sunday.

One of the lesser-known, but more traditional verses states:

Up and down the City road,

In and out the Eagle,

That's the way the money goes,

Pop! goes the weasel.

The Eagle refers to The Eagle Tavern in northern London, reminding young ones about excessive poverty due to heavy drinking and depression--a lesson that every child should know by age 5.

#1.
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Mary Mary quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells and cockleshells

And pretty maids all in a row.

We Thought it Meant...

A cute old woman with an interest in horticulture. Oh, and it has the word "cockleshell." We like that.


A dick bouquet of cockleshells. Weiner.

But Some Experts Say...

Queen "Bloody" Mary was popular enough to frequent a number of nursery rhymes, which is pretty impressive all these centuries later. How many nursery rhymes do you appear in? Yeah, that's what we thought. You need to start doing something with your life.

Anyway, in this delightful tune, Mary is addressed first-hand about all of the poor saps she's sent to the graveyard (her garden). The silver bells refer to instruments of torture that crushed the thumb with the tightening of a screw, and cockleshells (heh) were torture devices that were attached to the genitals. Come on, don't act surprised. They're called cockleshells for God's sake.

The maids in the final line allude to the newly invented guillotine, which was nicknamed The Maiden.

They called it "The Maiden" because the first moniker, "Captain Choppy," never caught on [citation needed].

If your childhood isn't sufficiently ruined check out The Gruesome Origins of 5 Popular Fairy Tales or take a look back at 8 Kids Movies That Lied to Us.

Now Hear This: Don't Remove Earwax

The gooey, golden stuff that builds up inside your ears should stay there, according to national guidelines on earwax removal released today.

"[Earwax] is not intrinsically evil stuff, and consequently does not have to be removed merely because it's present," said Peter Roland, an ear, nose and throat doctor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "In fact, it serves a function and so if you don't need to take it out, you should just leave it alone."

Roland chaired a panel of doctors in charge of the new guidelines for earwax removal issued by the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF). The guidelines are intended to serve two purposes: to determine under what circumstances earwax needs to be removed, and to give doctors the scoop on which removal methods work best.

They hope the guidelines won't fall on deaf ears: About 12 million people a year in the United States seek medical care for impacted or excessive earwax. Impaction, they say, can cause pain, pressure, itching, foul odor, ringing of the ears, ear discharge and, in extreme cases, hearing loss.

Good-for-you goo

So there's a reason for the goo. Earwax is a self-cleaning agent, with protective, lubricating and antibacterial properties, doctors say.

That's why tiny glands in the outer ear canal constantly pump out a watery substance, which gets mixed with bits of dead hair and skin and together is called earwax or cerumen. Excess earwax normally treks slowly out of the ear canal, with an extra boost from chewing and other jaw movements, carrying with it dirt, dust and other small particles from the ear canal. Then, dried-up clumps of the stuff fall out of the ear opening.

When this natural earwax train malfunctions, or when individuals poke around in their ears with cottons swabs or other foreign objects such as bobby pins or matchsticks, earwax can build up and block part of the ear canal.

"Then there are lots of people wearing earplugs for one reason or another, either because they've got hearing aids or they're transcriptionists at work or because they're addicted to their walkman," Roland told LiveScience, "and that can increase the likelihood that the wax doesn’t come out on its own."

Older adults are more prone to earwax buildup then younger individuals.

"The wax gets much thicker and drier, and plus you actually end up with more hair in your ear, when you're older, and so it traps it," Roland said.

He added, "Unfortunately, many people feel the need to manually 'remove' cerumen from the ears. This can result in further impaction and other complications to the ear canal." He said the saying, "Don't put anything smaller than your elbow in your ear," holds true.

Leave your ears alone

For the everyday individual, the new guidelines suggest you leave your ears alone unless you experience symptoms that you think are associated with too much earwax.

"If they're going to do something at home, they should probably use drops of some sort," Roland said. The panel found no evidence that one type of over-the-counter drops works better than another, or better than just plain sterile water or sterile saline, he said.

The drops help to loosen the earwax and then the ear often can do the rest, he added.

The guidelines also state that cotton-tipped swabs or other objects should not be used to remove earwax. Oral jet irrigators and the alternative medicine technique called ear candling are also strongly advised against.

Ear candling involves making a hollow tube from fabric and soaking that in warm beeswax, which is cooled and hardens. Once cooled and hardened, the beeswax cone is stuck into the ear. The outer end of the tube is lit and burns for about 15 minutes, a process that supposedly draws the wax out of the ear.

Studies have shown, however, that the drawn-out stuff is material from the candle itself. Doctors have also reported seeing patients who have burned the outer parts of their ears with this method.

If the drops don't relieve your symptoms, or if you dislike drops but still have symptoms, it's time to see a doctor, Roland said.

The panel found that three common techniques for earwax removal at the doctor's office work best, with no single method outshining the others. These include flushing the ear out with a water solution; manually removing the earwax under a microscope using medical instruments; and sending the patient home with ear drops.

While at the doctor's office, Roland urges patients not to be embarrassed by a little earwax.

"I get a lot of people in here who are horrified when I see a little wax in their ear, and then they start apologizing for being dirty and they're just very upset it's present at all," Roland said. "And I think the big message there is that it has a physiological function, and unless there's a reason to remove it, you should just leave it alone. It's OK."

Incredible Video: Drawing a 'Mona Lisa' in 80 Nanoseconds!



Adam and Jamie, hots of the known mythbusters show compared a CPU vs a GPU to explain parallel processing and the GPU drew an ACTUAL mona lisa drawing using paint balls in 80 milliseconds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this was for NVIDIA's NVISION Show

Cocaine and Ecstasy deaths up 1,200% since records began in 1993

By Charlotte Gill


Woman sniffing cocaine

Threat: Cocaine is becoming the middle-class narcotic of choice

Death from 'middle class' drugs glamorised by celebrities are at their highest level since records began, government figures revealed today.

Party drugs Ecstasy and cocaine now claim nearly 300 lives a year, an increase of over 1,200 per cent since figures were first recorded in 1993.

The statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics, also reveal that far more men than women are dying from drug abuse and are taking them later in life, often into their 40s.

Experts believe that cocaine's 'dinner party' image is masking its true dangers.

The high number of cocaine deaths are thought to be the result of mixing the drug with alcohol which produces a potentially-deadly compound called cocaine-ethynyl.

There have been a number of high-profile deaths involving the drug in recent years.

Actress Natasha Collins, 31, died in a scalding hot bath in January after taking large amounts of cocaine, wine, vodka and sleeping tablets.

Flamboyant German aristocrat Count Gottfried von Bismarck died last July after injecting cocaine every hour during the day and night before his death.

Yesterday drug charities warned of an 'epidemic' of recreational drug deaths as young Britons emulate stars such as Kate Moss, Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse.

Clare McNeil, of drug treatment charity Addaction, said: 'Cocaine is seen as a middle-class drug associated with success and money.

'People think they can copy celebrities and do a quick line because it doesn't have the same stigma as other class As but it's actually just as destructive.

'People are often ignorant of the risks of combining alcohol with cocaine for example, which can increase the risk of liver and heart disease, strokes and epilepsy.

'The increase in deaths among men in their 30s and 40s is worrying. It suggests that more people are continuing to experiment with drugs well into adulthood.

'At one time young people would dabble then stop as they settled down but these kind of figures suggest an epidemic."

Deaths from all drugs rose by 2.7 per cent last year - the highest figure since 2002.

The figures show the total number of deaths in England and Wales from drugs poisoning in 2007 was 2,640, up 2.7 per cent from the 2,570 in 2006.

The majority of those were male - 1,914 last year compared with 1,782 in 2006.

Meanwhile, female drug poisoning deaths fell by eight per cent from 788 deaths in 2006 to 726 in 2007.

Cocaine claimed 196 lives in 2007 and Ecstasy 97, a combined total of 293.

This is a staggering 1,274 per cent increase since 1993, when just 23 people died after taking the drugs.

The highest number of drug deaths were among men aged between 30 and 39.

Deaths among 20 to 29-year-olds, which was previously the highest group, continued to increase but at a slower rate.

David Gilbert, chief executive of drugs charity D.A.R.E., called on families to become more involved in the war on drugs.

He said: 'Parents need to play a much bigger role in setting children on the straight and narrow when they are young.

'Childhood is when views of drugs are formed and it is the best time to educate people to avoid them.

'We obviously have a massive problem and the different agencies and charities need to pull together to tackle it.'

Class A drugs heroin and morphine caused 829 deaths in 2007, compared with 713 in 2006.

Methadone deaths also shot to their highest levels since 1999 with 326 deaths - an increase of 35 per cent compared with 2006.

Party towns Blackpool and Brighton top the list of black spots for drug deaths hitting 233 a year.

Blackpool topped the list with 120 people in every 100,000 being killed every year between 2000 and 2006.

The seaside town was closely followed by Brighton and Hove with 112 deaths and Camden, in London, with 83.

Deaths involving antidepressants, paracetamol and aspirin were all at their lowest levels since records began in 1993.


Promise Delivered!


Here's the thing most folks missed at this year's Detroit auto show: When Bob Lutz was standing on stage with the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V, he said it would be the quickest sedan in the world.

Really?

"You know," we immediately asked a GM contact, "An M5 will crank out a quarter-mile in like 12.7 seconds, right?"

"Yep," came the answer.

Even Lutz, with his notoriously loose lips, doesn't get up on stage in front of the world and beat his chest without some major-league assurances from the product guys. So we had to assume that there was some basis in reality for the claim — at least until we had a chance to test it.

Well, now we have. And guess what? It is the quickest production sedan we have ever tested, including a couple of hot cars that have arrived since Lutz's bit of bravado on the Cadillac stand in Detroit last January.

The Evidence
As it has since the model line's introduction in 2004, Cadillac pitches the CTS-V at the similar-size German sedans including the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, and then prices it like a BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class.

Such is the case with the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V. Cadillac names the M5 and E63 as its main targets, yet pricing should be closer to the M3 and C63. Figure somewhere around $65,000, although Cadillac won't announce a price until closer to the model's on-sale date this fall.

But none of this actually matters since the 556-horsepower supercharged-V8 CTS-V will out-power all four-door comers, size small, medium or large.

Equipped with the six-speed automatic, the CTS-V sprints to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds (4 seconds flat with 1 foot of rollout like on a drag strip). And then it powers on to a quarter-mile time of 12.4 seconds at 115 mph.

The CTS-V equipped with the Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual that we also tested did the deeds just a tick slower at 4.6 seconds to 60 mph (4.3 seconds with 1 foot of rollout) and then completed the quarter-mile in 12.5 seconds at 115.3 mph.

Yes, that takes down the CLS63's quarter-mile performance of 12.8 seconds at 111.8 mph, while the mighty V10-powered M5 goes down, too, with its run at 12.7 seconds at 113 mph. The M3? Nope — not as quick. The Audi RS4? Nuh-uh. The Lexus IS-F? Please. What about the C63 — that little bugger with the big lump? Well, now, this one's close, and makes a pass in 12.5 seconds at 113.7 mph. That's close — real close. But the CTS-V is still a hair quicker.

And for all this, Cadillac claims it can make the car do 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and then clock the quarter-mile in 12.0 seconds at 118 mph.

Creeper Weed
Listen, though, some dude could have slapped a fat turbo on the first-generation CTS-V's naturally aspirated V8 and thrown some sticky tires on the rear and maybe gotten a fast run or two off before the car tore its own ass off. Well, actually with the old CTS-V's legendary axle hop, we wouldn't have gotten any clean runs....

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V launches from a standstill and accelerates so smoothly and easily that the car is sneaky fast. While we took a break from driving from suburban New York City to the private country-club racetrack in Monticello, New York, for some laps, a colleague of ours sidled up close and whispered, "Did that feel like 556 horsepower to you? I mean, it felt fast, but not that fast."

Like the previous generation of AMG-massaged Mercedes cars, the perception of speed in the CTS-V is divorced from reality. Under hard acceleration, there isn't a blaring or shrieking exhaust note. Instead there is a barely perceptible whine from the supercharger (although the whine is more noticeable to bystanders). There are no power-induced histrionics from the rear suspension. At launch, you simply decide how much of those pricey Michelin PS2 summer tires you'd like to exfoliate and hit it. And then you're off. No big deal. No violence. Didn't feel that fast. But then you look at the speedometer and...Heavens to Betsy!

This is true of launching both the automatic and the manual, because these transmissions are as impressive as the engine. The automatic shifts firmly, but not like the kidney jabs BMW's SMG-equipped M5 is always delivering. And it's frankly quicker to let the transmission's brain (in Sport mode) command the shift points. There's no time to be had in using the shift buttons on the steering wheel.

Meanwhile, the manual transmission — a version of the same transmission found in the Camaro, Corvette, Challenger, Viper, etc. — has a nice firm action. The dual-plate clutch, similar to the one used in the Corvette ZR1, feels solid, intuitive and seems overall quite light in feel for the level of power going through it.

A smooth, powerful motor and solid, quick-shifting transmissions certainly get the bulk of the credit for the impressive performance. But the asymmetrical half-shafts (one is larger in diameter) help quell the rear suspension's tendency toward hop during a fast launch. In fact, it is as hard to generate axle hop on this version of the CTS-V as it was easy to generate it on the previous generation.

Hot Rods and Sports Cars
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V is quick, though. GM has developed its engine in tandem with the Corvette ZR1's lump of high explosives. No, the Cadillac does not have a track-worthy dry-sump oiling system, because, well it's not really intended to be a track car (despite its sub-8-minute lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife). Compared to the ZR1's supercharger, the CTS-V carries a smaller version of the Eaton TVS supercharger (1.9-liter displacement) and a single bricklike intercooler. Still, it's a hell of a piece, even though it's strapped to the CTS-V's portly 4,300 pounds.

What has been less sure is the Cadillac's zigging ability, but here it has proven to be a world beater as well. Thanks to Magnetic Ride Control shocks, the CTS-V has a wide spectrum of ride and handling capabilities. These quick-acting shocks can be set to Tour or Sport and have the capability to adjust almost instantaneously to changing demands. The system is not new; Cadillac has been using them since the SRX crossover introduced them. But the system has recently been significantly upgraded to be more heat-resistant (a plus for track days) and quicker-reacting (thanks both to refined shock fluid and system software updates) iteration of the technology.

They work. The CTS-V's body is well controlled, yet the ride does not transmit the impact harshness common to performance cars with tires that have stiff, narrow sidewalls. And goodness, the CTS-V absolutely flies through our slalom course at 71.1 mph.

The only sedan we can think of that can do it faster is the BMW M3, and the sport sedan icon does it less than 1 mph faster than a freakin' Cadillac. And the M3 is shorter by 11 inches and narrower by 1 inch (size matters in the slalom). Of the other similar luxury sport sedans, only the Lexus IS-F and Audi RS4 are close to the CTS-V with performances of 70.2 mph and 70.5 mph, respectively. The harsh-riding Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG gets through at 68.6 mph.

Anything else the CTS-V's size gets stomped. The M5 went through once at 69.2 mph and once at 68.4 mph. And the CLS63 trundles through at 64.4 mph.

Mind you, it wasn't always pretty ushering the Caddy around the cones. This is a heavyweight piece of machinery. It is not what you would call flingable, if that is even a word. But the suspension is well-tuned (we found Tour mode was the quicker way through the cones, as Sport made the rear end too lively) and the Michelins are sticky-delicious.

Stick With Me Now
The Caddy sucked the skid pad with an average of 0.92g of maximum lateral acceleration. The only other two sport sedans that can match or better it are the M3 sedan and the IS-F, and it is probably not a coincidence that both of those cars wear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires. Both these cars register 0.93g, while the Mercedes AMG sedans do about 0.88-0.89g. We've never seen an M5 do better than 0.84g. The RS4 could manage 0.90g when shod with PS2s and less when it was on different tires.

Those Michelins, which the company estimates will last owners 18,000-20,000 miles in "normal street driving," help generate pretty staggering braking distances, too. The car we brake-tested wore an optional "track" brake package, identifiable by the red calipers and non-slotted brake rotors. The combination of the tires and the brake package helped bring the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V to rest from 60 mph in 109 feet.

Only the M3 sedan can beat the Cadillac in this regard with its truly remarkable effort of 104 feet. Next best in the group for which we've listed other test data is the IS-F at 112 feet, and the longest is the CLS63 at 118 feet. For perspective, a Porsche 911 Carrera S — one of the world's best-stopping vehicles — will come to a halt from 60 mph in 103 feet.

Cadillac says the standard brakes — with six-piston Brembo calipers up front and four-piston units in back — should stop the CTS-V in about the same distance, but won't have quite the heat resistance that the track brakes do (which is the point of special brake packages, really). Indeed, the distances we measured actually shrank after repeated stops.

Matters of Style and Substance
To our eyes, the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V is one of the best-looking sport sedans going. It's better-looking than the weird-to-the-bone M5. It's less garish than the C63. And the IS-F — don't get us started. The CLS, RS4 and M3 are fine-looking automobiles, in our book.

But the CTS-V, with its bulging hood, flared front fenders and hungry-looking brake ducts, looks tough without crossing the boy-racer threshold. It looks uniquely American without being retro; uniquely Cadillac without being a parody of itself; uniquely, um, unique.

The interior execution of the V-spec CTS is pretty close to the well-received cabin of the standard CTS — although with more shiny black trim. Also, the gauges have little red LED segments along the perimeter (Cadillac calls them "tracers") that light up sequentially as the tachometer or speedometer needle sweeps past. All of the tach tracers blink as the needle approaches redline as a sort-of shift light.

It is our firm belief that when an automaker offers synthetic suede interior pieces, you should purchase them. Cadillac offers the stuff on the fat steering wheel rim and the shift knob. They're grippy and soft. What else could you want?

You must order the optional Recaro seats, partly because they are good but also because the standard seats are really not good. They remind us of Corvette seats, which our wheel man for the instrumented testing described as, "like sitting on Rosie O'Donnell's lap." Indeed, they are mushy, and the seat bottoms are also too short and they lack thigh bolsters. Get the Recaros, which incidentally have more adjustable bladders than Rosie, too.

What's all this cost? Cadillac isn't talking. But the last version started at a bit over $50,000. A well-equipped M3 runs more than $60,000, as do a C63 and a Lexus IS-F. The M5 is not far under $100,000. We're going to guess at about $65,000 to start.

Caddy, Baby!
So, what are we going to complain about? Wearing the wreath and crest makes us feel old? A perceived lack of pedigree? The interior quality?

Nope. With the 2009 Cadillac CTS-V, Cadillac has built what is easily the best American sedan for driving enthusiasts. And it's among the best in any regard for anything. All those years we had to endure Cadillac using the term "world-class" in its publicity without earning the credentials, and now Cadillac has finally done it.

When we saw GM's Bob Lutz at our office shortly after the Detroit show, he boasted about the CTS-V, "It'll put the M5 on the trailer." And while that's a bit of an overstatement, he isn't too far from the mark. The CTS-V does beat the target M5 both at the test track, and in terms of pure driving pleasure, on the street.

It's that good.

NFL fully reinstates Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones

by TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News
tarcher@dallasnews.com

IRVING – On the day his mother, Deborah, and daughter, Zaniyah, arrived in Dallas, Adam Jones had his best day in a long time.

Video

Seventeen months after he was suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy and 20 months after his last game, Jones was reinstated by the NFL, officially making him a Cowboy. It ended months of wondering and started what he and the Cowboys hope is a fruitful relationship, beginning with the Sept. 7 season opener at Cleveland.

"I always wanted to be part of the star," Jones said before Thursday's preseason finale against Minnesota. "Thank God now I'm reinstated and fully a Dallas Cowboy."

The move nearly finalizes the April 27 trade between the Cowboys and Tennessee.

The Cowboys will owe the Titans a sixth-round pick next year provided Jones does not run afoul of the law during the season. The Titans would owe the Cowboys their fifth-rounder should Jones be sanctioned by the league again.

Jones will receive a $100,000 advance of the $700,000 base salary as part of the four-year, $13.3 million deal he signed this off-season.

"It's better than a baby step, but it's a first step," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "I'm glad we got this part done, but I'm reluctant to get too excited over, 'Well, look at what we've done.' That's not the attitude we have. I know it's day-by-day, week-by-week, and it all depends on him making good decisions."

Former Cowboys Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders have served as mentors to Jones. He also has a four-person security team on-call 24 hours a day. His teammates were happy the league made the decision.

"I'm proud of him, because it's hard to stay out of trouble when you're in trouble and trouble tends to find out," said nose tackle Tank Johnson, who served an eight-game suspension last year. "We're going to try and keep him on the straight and narrow, and he's going to make sure he's OK."

Given his history – six arrests since coming to the NFL in 2005 and 12 incidents – Jones will not make promises.

"Can I say I would never ever make a mistake? No, I can't say that," Jones said. "But I'll make sure I put myself in way better situations that I would have in the past."

On the field, Jones will serve as the Cowboys' third cornerback behind Anthony Henry and Terence Newman, plus he'll return punts.

Jones did not play against the Vikings – Wade Phillips decided to sit his regulars – but in three preseason games, he had eight tackles and a pass deflection. He also returned two punts for 42 yards.

"I've been waiting for this time for a long time, but it's not like we won the Super Bowl," he said. "I know my responsibility to play in the NFL, and I'm going to hold my own and do what I need to do to make sure I'm going to stay where I'm at right now, which is reinstated."

NOTABLE RECENT NFL SUSPENSIONS

Season Player, team(s) Reason Duration
2007 Adam Jones, Tenn./Cowboys personal conduct full season
2006 Ricky Williams, Miami substance abuse full season
2006 Koren Robinson, Seattle substance abuse full season
2004 Darrell Russell, Oak./Wash. substance abuse full season
2003 Josh Evans, NY Jets substance abuse indefinite
2007 Chris Henry, Cincinnati personal conduct 8 games
2007 Tank Johnson, Chi./Cowboys personal conduct 8 games
2006 Albert Haynesworth, Tennesee on-field incident 5 games

Porsche Direct Injection trickling down to Boxster, Cayman




By Paul Horrell

Porsche is advancing in its conversion to direct gas injection. Following the Cayennes last year and 911s recently, the Boxster S and Cayman S also get the system late this autumn. The Cayman S goes from 295 horsepower to 320 horsepower, even though engine size remains 3.4 liters. Torque rises from 251 pound-feet to about 275 pound-feet.

All Boxsters and Caymans, not just the S models, also get the option of seven-speed PDK double-clutch transmission, replacing the Tiptronic S. As with the 911s, this trans will mean the two-pedal Cayman will be quicker to 60 and about as economical as the manual. In fact the PDK Cayman S will crack 5 seconds to 60 mph, we hear, and will be available for the first time with a limited-slip diff, bringing its performance even closer to the 911's. The 997-generation 911 Carrera started life four years ago with just 5 horsepower more.

The Boxster S goes the same way: 3.4 liters and direct injection for the S, but with 310 horsepower. The manual S models see a 10 percent fuel economy gain over their predecessors, while the PDK models are 15 percent better at the gas pump than the old port injection Tiptronic S cars.

Base Boxster and Cayman stick with port injection, but do have a capacity increase, from 2.7 to 2.9 liters. Power is up from 245 to 265 horsepower (Cayman) and 255 (Boxster). Again, PDK will be available. There will be a slight economy gain with the bigger engine, even with the manual transmission.

There are cosmetic tweaks to go with the tech upgrades. The front lights are more deeply scooped into the bumper, and some models get LED running lights. At the tail, there's also a new lamp cluster that cuts a little more into the bumper. Inside, expect revised screen and ergonomics for the infotainment system.

10 Words That Will Help You Win at Scrabble

Stacy Conradt

q10

scrabble I’m not a champion Scrabble player by any means - I often resort to words like “at” and “it” just to use up a turn. But with this list, hopefully I’ll be a little more creative when using tiny little words. And if all else fails, there’s always “ZQFMGB”… a worm found in New Guinea, according to Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes.

1. Aa. And I don’t mean the acronym for Alcoholics Anonymous, either. Aa is “basaltic lava having a rough surface.”
2. Qat – a flowering plant native to East Africa and the Arabian peninsula.
3. Zax – a slater or slate mason, or the tool used to cut and punch nail holes in roofing slate.
4. Cwm – a valley, especially one created by glacial movement. Be warned: this one won’t get you many points, but it is good for using up pesky, low-score consonants taking up valuable space on your rack.
5. Xu – Vietnamese money
6. Qua – as or as being, or in the character of.
7. Suq – a market, or part of a market, in an Arab city.
8. Adz – an axe-like tool.
9. Jo – sweetheart or dear
10. Qadi – a judge in the Muslim community.

America's Best Handling Car - The Audi R8




By Kim Reynolds, Arthur St. Antoine, Frank Markus
Photography by Julia LaPalme, Brian Vance

VIDEO: CLICK HERE to see the conclusion video of the series featuring the Audi R8. And if you haven't already, be sure to read the instrument test and track testing portions of the series.

If handling were simply about lap times and lateral-g numbers, the awesome Dodge Viper ACR would have run away with this test. But as our data show, and as Randy Pobst confirmed, handling is about nuance and consistency. If you look closely at the graphs, the diagrams, and the computer traces from our objective testing, three cars consistently produced the smoothest curves, or the most closely grouped data points: Audi R8, BMW M3, and Nissan GT-R. And two of those three-the R8 and the M3-figured right at the top of Pobst's subjective rankings. Before we get to our winner, though, let's review the finishing order from 10th place on up.

Pobst loved his laps in the Ford Shelby GT500KR (10th place), exiting the car while whooping and hollering as if he'd just won the Daytona 500. "Man! That was fun!" he crowed. Yet after the adrenaline rush had subsided, Pobst admitted that, while the KR was a gas to hurl around Laguna Seca's curves, in terms of sheer handling performance it left much to be desired -- a view confirmed by our instrumented tests and on-road drives. The Shelby finished 9th in our lane-change runs, 6th in step-steer reaction time, and next to last in ride quality. One look at the KR's computer tracing in our figure-eight test sums up its overall handling flavor: messy. The Shelby team has massaged the old live-axle Mustang chassis well enough to bring out the boy racer even in a racing pro, but in this sophisticated field the GT500KR comes off as decidedly old-school.

The first car Pobst drove on the track, the Chevrolet Cobalt SS (9th Place) left the hot shoe nodding his head in admiration. "A really fine effort," said Pobst. And while the Chevy didn't produce any apex-rattling numbers, it proved composed and adroit at most handling chores. Check out it's figure-eight tracing: neat and tight, albeit with relatively low limits. Lane-change responsiveness finished just ahead of the Shelby, and ride quality proved far better than the Viper's or KR's. Given that it's an affordable, front-drive sedan, the Cobalt SS earned lots of thumbs-up for showing well against the big guys.

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In the Mini Cooper S (8th place), again we see an adeptly tuned, midpriced front-driver. Though slowest in lane-change responsiveness and step-steer reaction time, the Mini produced a tightly grouped figure-eight tracing and finished midpack in ride quality. Pobst loved its handling balance, noting that the tail will wag helpfully but controllably in turns. "Confidence-inspiring," was Pobst's summation.

Undoubtedly many of you are in shock: the mighty Dodge Viper ACR -- a race car drivable on the street -- in 7th place? Ah, but now the more enlightened among you realize there's much more to handling prowess than simply cranking out crushing g readings or scorching lap times. Driving the ACR is like riding in a centrifuge: It's awesome, intimidating, brutal. The numbers are there all right: highest lateral g, quickest lap time, quickest step-steer reaction time, second-best in the lane change. But now take a look at the Viper's figure-eight tracing. Rather than being a tight, smoothly arced group, it looks as if someone spilled a carton of ping-pong balls in a circle. The Viper is all over the place. Pobst commented that, while he enjoyed the experience, he was constantly working the ACR through transitions. Ride quality is simply terrible, akin to riding a dump truck down a dirt road. And out in the real world, on the twisty roads sports cars are truly intended for, the Viper darts and hammers where other machines flow and glide. Shock and awe: 10. Finesse: 0.

The lowest-scoring all-wheel-drive ride in our test, the Mitsubishi Evo MR (6th place) pleased Pobst with its fine cornering balance and its uncanny ability to put the power down everywhere -- even in the cliff-drop Corkscrew. The Mitsu produced a nice, smooth trace through the figure eight, finished 4th in the lane change, scored an impressive 3rd in step-steer reaction time, and landed 7th in ride quality. It's still a Lancer sedan, though, which means a relatively high center of gravity. Also, while the MR feels stable and composed up to nine tenths, when you step over the limit it lets go fast. Higher-finishing cars deliver more warning before they break loose.

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Pobst loves Porsches (he owns an old 911 Turbo), and while he thoroughly enjoyed hot-lapping the new 911 Turbo (5th place), in the end he could place it no higher than fourth on his personal scorecard. "Demands full attention from the driver," he noted-meaning, you've got to stay on top (and even ahead) of the 911 Turbo, or it's going to bite. Step-steer reaction time: midpack. Lane change: midpack. Ride quality: second best. Figure-eight trace: mostly tight with a few big wiggles. Porsche has taken the rear-engine layout further than most probably believed it could ever go, but even with all-wheel drive, there's still a lot of weight swinging around way out back. Both on the track and during our road drives, we observed a few lurid snaps of the tail. To win a best-handling test, a car has to be more predictable and stable than this 911 Turbo. Last year, the Porsche GT3 ran away from the field (try as we might, we could not obtain either a GT3 or its more potent GT2 sibling for this test). The 911 Turbo, however, finishes solidly in the middle.

There is perhaps no better proof of our "the numbers don't tell the whole story" mantra than the Mazda RX-8 (4th place). This isn't a fast car, as its lap time proves. It doesn't shine in the lane change or in ride quality. Steep-steer reaction time is third-best. Yet the Mazda is the very definition of "elegant." Pobst ranked it third on his finishing list. We practically had to yank a few of our exuberant test drivers out of the car, lest they drift the rear tires into smoky oblivion. The steering is alive in your hands, communicative and light. The RX-8 goes where you point it-no second-guesses, no hiccups. Out on public roads, it slips through turns like Hermes silk pulled through a scarf ring. It doesn't beat you up, take unexpected slide trips, or force you to work hard. This is handling hard-wired to your synapses. That three cars finished higher than the RX-8 only shows just how good they are.

We expected the new BMW M3 (3rd place) to finish strong; it's simply one of our all-around favorite cars. Pobst gushed over its sublime responsiveness and grace, scoring it second. On our instrumented tests, the BMW delivered a second-best step-steer time, midpack lane-change speed, a top-place finish in ride quality, and one of the smoothest, tightest traces (despite high performance limits) on our figure-eight test. Most important, the M3 delivers handling performance you can utilize fully on your favorite roads. Steering feel, balance, chassis feedback, grip-the M3 covers every important base as few other cars in the world today can.

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Pobst wasn't blown away by Godzilla, ranking it only fifth due to a tendency to snap into oversteer at the limit (a behavior easily mitigated by not switching off the various stability systems). The rest of us, though, came away from our handling test thoroughly bowled over by the Nissan GT-R (2nd place). A review of the numbers shows high finishes everywhere: third in ride quality, fastest lane change, fifth in step-steer reaction time, quickest off-center steering response, a near-textbook figure-eight trace. Nissan's computerized, all-wheel-drive superstar works wonders, delivering lofty performance numbers and the deft handling feel that enthusiasts crave. So why didn't it win? As noted, its limit behavior when its stability computers are sleeping can be tricky. And while the GT-R is undeniably majestic at full bore, at more routine chores its supercar breeding vanishes. "Almost boring when all the computers aren't firing away," said tech editor Reynolds. "On the cruise home it felt like a Sentra."

Which brings us to our winner, a near-unanimous choice from Pobst through our road-test staff. "In another world compared with the other cars here," said Pobst of the Audi R8 (1st place). "So sweet," said road-tester Scott Mortara. "Lots of steering feel, great grip, but a compliant ride, too," noted editor MacKenzie. Each driver was describing the same qualities: On track or road, the R8 is Baryshnikov-fluid yet controlled, graceful yet dynamic. The figure-eight tracing is smooth and tight, with high limits but gentle transitions. Step-steer reaction time is fourth, lane-change third, ride quality fourth. The numbers only hint at the overall handling excellence, though. At any speed, you feel the delicate transparency of the steering, the supple yet confident chassis control, the crisp turn-in. Offered a weekend off to exploit the twirls and twists of Southern California's beckoning hills, the Audi R8-a car we've experienced from the Corkscrew to the salt flats of Utah's Black Rock Desert-is the car we'd most want to pilot, the machine with magic in its mid-engine, quattro-fed chassis. Why, in just a turn or two, the R8 even makes second-thoughts disappear.



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