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Friday, April 3, 2009

A Girl's Gotta Trim the Hedges: Hilarious Schick Commercial

U.K. Version

Every gardener loves the satisfaction of creating a well-crafted design on his front lawn with just a few pushes of the old John Deere. Wilkinson and JWT are apparently banking on this love-of-gardening frenzy to transfer to other lawns, those more, ahem, south of the border. Innuendo and subtlety do the trick nicely in this ad for the new Wilkinson Sword for women. Too bad this gardening technique will never make it to HGTV.

U.S. Version

Dumb Woman Locked in Her Car 911 Call

Dumb Woman Locked in Her Car 911 Call - Watch more Funny Videos

Wireless Carriers Are Wrong to Cripple Skype for iPhone

Jeff Bertolucci, PC World

Everybody loves the idea of cheap VoIP calls on cell phones. Everybody, that is, except for wireless carriers who charge usurious fees for voice and data plans. Cellular providers around the globe are placing restrictions on Skype for iPhone and other Internet phone services, and that’s bad news for consumers.

In the United States, AT&T limits Skype for iPhone calls to Wi-Fi connections. This means the VoIP app won’t work over AT&T’s 3G or EDGE data networks. (9to5 Mac says it got Skype to work on beta iPhone 3.0 software, but it’s likely that Apple and AT&T will close that loophole in a hurry.) In Germany, telecom giant Deutsche Telekom AG has prohibited the use of VoIP software for one and a half years. And in Canada, iPhone users won’t be allow to download Skype due to “vague restrictions” in technology licenses, according to Skype. According to a Toronto Star report, however, Canada’s cellular providers may be to blame:

“Some have speculated that the holdup is due to resistance from Canada's wireless carriers, which rely heavily on revenue from conventional voice calling.”

Wireless carriers have made it clear that they’re simply protecting their turf. Cellular voice plans are big moneymakers, and providers don’t intend to let low-cost VoIP upstarts like Skype take their business. But that argument doesn’t wash. ISPs that offer home Internet access -- including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon -- aren’t allowed to cripple Net phone services like Skype and Vonage, despite the fact that VoIP providers compete with the ISPs’ home phone plans.

The wireless carriers’ actions clearly violate Net neutrality principles too. As summarized by Brad Reed of Network World, the tenets of Net neutrality, as outlined by the Federal Communications Commission in 2005, clearly side with the consumer:

“These principles state that networks must allow users to access any lawful Internet content of their choice, to run any legal Web applications of their choice, and to connect to the network using any device that does not harm the network. Additionally, the principles state that consumers are ‘entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers and content providers.’ ”

This doesn’t mean that wireless carriers will unshackle VoIP anytime soon. But with enough consumer outcry and a little governmental assistance, they may be forced to.

Surprise! Adult Hearts Grow New Cells

By Clara Moskowitz, Staff Writer

It was long thought that the human heart, like the brain, was unable to grow new cells after birth. But today scientists announced the first evidence that new heart cells are made throughout a person's life.

Brain cells also grow and change well into adulthood, scientists announced a few years ago.

"If you cut your skin, your skin can heal. If you break your bone, bones can heal. But organs like the heart and brain, people thought, couldn’t make new cells," said Ratan Bhardwaj of the University of Toronto. "But now we've shown that the human heart does make new cells."

Bhardwaj and colleagues detail their discovery in the April 3 issue of the journal Science.

"We feel that this is a very fundamental breakthrough in basic science," Bhardwaj told LiveScience. "We totally open the door for future therapies."

For instance, the finding could help doctors design treatments for the damage caused by heart attacks, which was previously thought to be irreversible.

Overall, it is starting to look like the body has a lot more potential for regeneration than doctors had suspected.

Carbon-dating the body

The team used an innovative technique to uncover the self-healing potential in the blood-pumping organ — they carbon-dated human heart cells.

During the 1950s when scientists tested nuclear bombs above ground, the level of radioactive carbon-14 in the atmosphere rose. After 1963, when an anti-nuclear proliferation treaty stopped the tests, the isotope levels gradually dropped.

Any cell — either in a plant, animal or person — created during the time of above-ground testing should have an elevated level of carbon-14 in its DNA, the researchers reasoned. They used the carbon-dating method on people born before and after the nuclear testing, and found that people's hearts contained cells born at a variety of times. In fact, it appears that heart cells regenerate throughout a human lifetime, with a 1 percent annual turnover rate at age 25, falling to a 0.45 percent turnover rate at age 75.

Scientists had long thought organs such as the heart, brain and pancreas were unable to regenerate after being formed, though they obviously grow in size. They could create new cells but lacked stores of heart- or brain-specific stem cells, the thinking went. This theory was largely based on the fact that it is very difficult to recover lost function if those organs are damaged by illness or injury.

The researchers now postulate that the heart does in fact have stem cells, and that these may be harnessed for therapeutic treatments.

Adaptable bodies

The new discovery adds to a growing list of evidence that the body is much more adaptable than once thought.

"We're looking at the body in a very different way," Bhardwaj said. "It's very exciting to think of organs as dynamic tissues that you can change and modify."

A study published in the March 30 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that in cats, brain cells can be restored after neurological damage by adding more insulation called myelin to neurons.

Myelin, a fatty insulator of nerve fibers that degrades in many human central nervous system disorders such as multiple sclerosis, increases the speed at which neurons can function.
In the cats, if myelin was restored to cells that had lost it, they were able to regain their lost functions.

"The fundamental point of the study is that it proves unequivocally that extensive remyelination can lead to recovery from a severe neurological disorder," said Ian Duncan, a University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientist who led the research. "It indicates the profound ability of the central nervous system to repair itself."

Fox Refuses To Supply Movie Theaters with 3-D Glasses

by: Hilary Lewis

On Tuesday, Fox said that it wasn't going to pay the $1-million-per-movie cost to supply theaters with 3-D glasses for the studio's upcoming in-your-face films like this summer's Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Instead, Fox wants the movie theaters to pay for them. Understandably, multiplex owners aren't too happy about the extra cost, and many are considering revolting by only showing Ice Age 3 in 2-D, which could massively cut into the film's box-office revenues.

Regal Cinemas, the nation's largest theater chain, has reportedly already decided to only show Ice Age 3 in 2-D, sources close to the company tell Entertainment Weekly. Two sources also believe AMC Theaters and Cinemark will oppose Fox's demands, Entertainment Weekly reports:

Evidently, the glasses were part of a deal worked out long ago, when theater chains started installing the silver screens and digital projectors needed to view 3-D digital cinema, so to go back now and renegotiate after the equipment has been put in place is a difficult proposition.

One anonymous exhibitor outlined the reasons for his ire to the mag:

"I'm already paying fees to RealD for the systems. I'm paying to put in the silver screens and I'm paying to train employees to run the product. To come in at this point and say they aren't going to pay for the glasses, yet they want all the upside of the revenue, is ridiculous."

Sadly, both the theaters and the studios are paying hefty sums to usher in this 3-D revolution, with the budget on Fox's upcoming live-action 3-D pic Avatar already reported to be north of $200 million. So, it's no surprise each side wants the other one to foot the bill. While we're not surprised that cost-centric Fox, still recovering from a rough year at the box office in 2008, doesn't want to put up the dough, if this is what it takes to get the additional revenues that 3-D movies provide, Fox may have to give in. After all, that Avatar budget won't be easy to recoup.

For its part, Fox, via distribution president Bruce Snyder, denied that there was any problem. "No exhibitor has said they don't want to play Ice Age in 3-D," Snyder told EW. "All we are doing is working out the issues."

SETI Chief Astronomer: "Humans Predicted to Make Contact with an Extraterrestrial Civilization Within Two Decades"--A Galaxy Classic

610x_3 "That's 500 billion planets out there, and bear in mind there are 100 billion other galaxies. To think this [the Earth] is the only place where anything interesting is happening, you have got to be really audacious to take that point of view."

Seth Shostak, SETI senior astronomer

Some leading astronomers are quite confident that mankind will make contact with intelligent alien life within two decades. The search for extraterrestrial life will leap forward next year when NASA launches the Kepler space telescope. The instrument will be constantly scanning the same 100,000 stars over its four-year mission with the exciting objective of discovering Earth-sized planets in the habitable zones around suns.

This will allow SETI to home in on where the odds of life are possibly greatest. Currently, SETI’s mission to find life on other planets is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. But now, whenever Kepler identifies planets most likely to sustain life, the team at SETI will be able to focus in on those solar systems using deep-space listening equipment. This will be a huge upgrade from their present work of randomly scanning the outer reaches of space for some kind of sign or signal. Also, upping the ante, is the recent discovery of Earth-like planets outside our solar system, which has led astrophysicists to conclude that Earth-like planets are likely relatively common in our galaxy.

"Everything has caused us to become more optimistic," said American astrophysicist Dr Frank Drake in a recent BBC documentary. "We really believe that in the next 20 years or so, we are going to learn a great deal more about life beyond Earth and very likely we will have detected that life and perhaps even intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy."

However, some astrophysicists have warned that we humans may be blinded by our familiarity with carbon and Earthlike conditions. In other words, what we’re looking for may not even lie in our version of a “sweet spot”. After all, even here on Earth, one species “sweet spot” is another’s species worst nightmare. In any case, it is not beyond the realm of feasibility that our first encounter with extraterrestrial life will not be a solely carbon-based occasion.

Alternative biochemists speculate that there are several atoms and solvents that could potentially spawn life. Because carbon has worked for the conditions on Earth, we speculate that the same must be true throughout the universe. In reality, there are many elements that could potentially do the trick. Even counter-intuitive elements such as arsenic may be capable of supporting life under the right conditions. Even on Earth some marine algae incorporate arsenic into complex organic molecules such as arsenosugars and arsenobetaines. Several other small life forms use arsenic to generate energy and facilitate growth. Chlorine and sulfur are also possible elemental replacements for carbon. Sulfur is capably of forming long-chain molecules like carbon. Some terrestrial bacteria have already been discovered to survive on sulfur rather than oxygen, by reducing sulfur to hydrogen sulfide.

Nitrogen and phosphorus could also potentially form biochemical molecules. Phosphorus is similar to carbon in that it can form long chain molecules on its own, which would conceivably allow for formation of complex macromolecules. When combined with nitrogen, it can create quite a wide range of molecules, including rings.

So what about water? Isn’t at least water essential to life? Not necessarily. Ammonia, for example, has many of the same properties as water. An ammonia or ammonia-water mixture stays liquid at much colder temperatures than plain water. Such biochemistries may exist outside the conventional water-based "habitability zone". One example of such a location would be right here in our own solar system on Saturn's largest moon Titan.

Hydrogen fluoride methanol, hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen chloride, and formamide have all been suggested as suitable solvents that could theoretically support alternative biochemistry. All of these “water replacements” have pros and cons when considered in our terrestrial environment. What needs to be considered is that with a radically different environment, comes radically different reactions. Water and carbon might be the very last things capable of supporting life in some extreme planetary conditions.

At any rate, the odds of there being some type of life somewhere out there are good. As for intelligent life, well, that will depend on the definition of intelligence. There are a lot of other intelligent species here on Earth besides humans, that we don’t generally regard as such. In spite of many Star Trek episodes to the contrary, the odds of alien life forms having evolved to talk, look and act exactly like super hot humans are slim to none. If life is out there, it will have evolved according to it’s particular niche in the universe and will likely be quite foreign to us in the way it looks, communicates and thinks. We might not even be able to recognize hypothetical life forms as alive in the sense that we understand life. In fact, it would be more “miraculous” if we could effectively communicate with extraterrestrial life than to find that it exists. From that perspective, even if there are other life forms out there, we’d still be alone in the universe. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn't look for the answers.

Posted by Rebecca Sato.

The Hottest Girls of the Final Four


The Final Four begins tomorrow, and I am sure all of the pundits will breakdown the game for you. At Gunaxin, we don’t really care about all of that crap, so we just go straight to the babes. Over the last several days we have prepared galleries of each of the teams competing. These aren’t just a collection of Cheerleaders from the schools, we go much further. We include fans, athletes, dancers, sorority girls, and even girls modeling bikinis and lingerie. 775 Photos await you in these galleries, making it the ultimate collection of Final Four Girls that you will see anywhere on the web. So while the games will be settled on the court, check out these young ladies and let us know who you think the real winning school is.


Connecticut Huskie Girls


Michigan State Spartan Girls

north_carolinaNorth Carolina Tar Heel Girls

villanovaVillanova Wildcat Girls

Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman


The Iowa Supreme Court this morning upheld a Polk County judge’s 2007 ruling that marriage should not be limited to one man and one woman.

The ruling, viewed nationally and at home as a victory for the gay rights movement and a setback for social conservatives, means Iowa’s 5,800 gay couples can legally marry in Iowa beginning April 24.

There are no residency rules for marriage in Iowa, so the rule would apply to any couple who wanted to travel to Iowa.

Shelly Wolfe and Melisa Keeton, who waited for word of the ruling outside the Polk County Recorder’s Office, immediately called their pastor anyway to make plans.

“We’re going to make it legal,” Keeton, 31, of Des Moines said.

Wolfe, 38, and Keeton, who is 21 weeks pregnant, went through a commitment ceremony two years ago. Their marriage certificate was among the 26 that were put on hold when Polk County Judge Robert Hanson’s decision to open the door for gay marriage was delayed until the high court could weigh in.

Third state to allow same-sex marriages

Today’s decision makes Iowa the first Midwestern state, and the third in the country, to allow same-sex marriages. Lambda Legal, a gay rights group, financed the court battle and represented six couples who challenged Iowa’s 10-year-old ban on gay marriage.

Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady, who wrote the unanimous decision, at one point invoked the court’s first-ever decision, in 1839, which struck down slavery laws 17 years before the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a slave owner to treat a person as property.

Iowa’s gay marriage ban “is unconstitutional, because the county has been unable to identify a constitutionally adequate justification for excluding plaintiffs from the institution of civil marriage,” Cady wrote in the 69-page opinion that seemed to dismiss the concept of civil unions as an option for gay couples.

“A new distinction based on sexual orientation would be equally suspect and difficult to square with the fundamental principles of equal protection embodied in our constitution,” Cady wrote.

The ruling, however, also addressed what it called the “religious undercurrent propelling the same-sex marriage debate,” and said judges must remain outside the fray.

Some Iowa religions are strongly opposed to same-sex marriages, the justices noted, while some support the notion.

“Our constitution does not permit any branch of government to resolve these types of religious debates and entrusts to courts the task of ensuring that government avoids them,” the opinion says.

The ruling explicitly does not affect “the freedom of a religious organization to define marriage it solemnizes as unions between a man and a woman,” the justices stressed.

The case, Varnum vs. Brien, involved couples who sued Polk County Recorder Timothy Brien in 2005 after his office denied them marriage licenses. Hanson sided with the couples last year but then suspended his decision pending a high court ruling.

Read the summary: Iowa Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage.
Read the full opinion: Iowa Supreme Court's decision on same-sex marriage.

“We won! It is unanimous!” Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal exclaimed when the ruling was announced. “Today the dream becomes reality … and Iowa constitution’s promise of equality is fulfilled. Iowans have never waited for others to do the right thing. Iowa took its place in the vanguard of the civil rights struggle, and we couldn’t be more proud to be part of this.”

Gov. Chet Culver e-mailed a response to reporters that said: “The decision released this morning by Supreme Court addresses a complicated and emotional issue, one on which Iowans have strong views and opinions on both sides. The next responsible step is to thoroughly review this decision, which I am doing with my legal counsel and the attorney general, before reacting to what it means for Iowa.”

Richard Socarides, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton on gay civil rights, said today’s decision could mean as much to gay couples outside Iowa.

“I think it’s significant because Iowa is considered a Midwest state in the mainstream of American thought,” Socarides, a senior political assistant for Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin in the early 1990s, said Thursday. “Unlike states on the coasts, there’s nothing more American than Iowa. As they say during the presidential caucuses, ‘As Iowa goes, so goes the nation.’”

Opponents, supporters react

Opponents have long argued that allowing gay marriage would erode the institution. Some Iowa lawmakers, mostly Republicans, attempted last year to launch a constitutional amendment to specifically prohibit same-sex marriage.

Such a change would require approval in consecutive legislative sessions and a public vote, which means a ban could not be imposed until at least 2012, unless lawmakers take up the issue in the next few weeks. Leaders this week said they had no plans to do so.

Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley, R-Chariton, nonetheless called for an immediate move to amend the constitution.

“The decision made by the Iowa Supreme Court today to allow gay marriage in Iowa is disappointing on many levels,” he said. I believe marriage should only be between one man and one woman, and I am confident the majority of Iowans want traditional marriage to be legally recognized in this state.

“Though the court has made their decision, I believe every Iowan should have a voice on this matter and that is why the Iowa Legislature should immediately act to pass a constitutional amendment that protects traditional marriage, keeps it as a sacred bond only between one man and one woman and gives every Iowan a chance to have their say through a vote of the people.”

State Rep. Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant, said he would support a constitutional amendment. However, he also believes lawmakers would have to work on parallel legislation that would grant civil unions or some sort of way to grant legal rights to same-sex couples.

“I firmly believe marriage should be between a man and a women but at the same time, I believe we should address these issues,” Heaton said. “I would rather recognize a civil union than to have same-sex marriage.”

Diane Thacker’s eyes filled with tears as the ruling were read to an crowd opposed to gay marriage that had gathered on the north side of the judicial building.

“Sadness,” she whispered.. “But I’m prayerful and hopeful that God’s word will stand.”

Thacker said she joined to group “because I believe in the marriage vow. I can’t see it any other way.”

Democratic State Sen. Matt McCoy of Des Moines, saw the decision a different way.

“I’m off the wall. I’m very pleased to be an Iowan,” said McCoy, who is openly gay.

Voices from outside the state quickly took sides. The Iowa Supreme Court’s Web site was deluged with more than 1.5 million visitors as of 11 a.m., court spokesman Steve Davis said..

Doug Napier, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund in Arizona, said the Iowa Supreme Court “stepped out of its proper role in interpreting the law.”

Napier said the legislature should place a constitutional amendment on a statewide ballot to let Iowans decide.

The Defense of Marriage Act “was simple, it was settled, and overwhelming supported by Iowans,” Napier said. “There was simply no legitimate reason for the court to redefine marriage.”

Maggie Gallagher, president of the National Organization for Marriage, a New Jersey group, said “once again, the most undemocratic branch of government is being used to advance an agenda the majority of Americans reject.”

“Marriage means a husband and wife. That’s not discrimination, that’s common sense,” she said in a press release. “Even in states like Vermont, where they are pushing this issue through legislatures, gay marriage advocates are totally unwilling to let the people decide these issues directly.”

Mark Kende, a constitutional law professor at Drake University, described the ruling as narrowly written and “very well reasoned,” and predicted it will have national, possibly international, influence. But it also could create new, inter-state legal battles, he said. Couples who flock to Iowa to marry may not have their marriage recognized in other states that prohibit same-sex marriage, he said.

The decision also is limited to civil marriages performed in county buildings, he said.

Meanwhile, Kate and Trish Varnum, whose surname will forever be attached to the historic decision, called it “a great day for Iowa.”

At a press conference this morning, Kate Varnum said: “Good morning… and I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé. Today I am proud to be a lifelong Iowan.”

Trish Varnum added: “It’s been a wonderful adventure, and we’re looking forward to the next wonderful adventure — as a married couple in Iowa.”

A Des Moines Register poll in 2008 of Iowa lawmakers showed that a majority of Iowa’s lawmakers —123 of 150 — said they believed marriage should only be between a man and a woman. It was unclear whether those lawmakers had enough votes to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Iowans have mixed feelings on the issue

An Iowa Poll in February 2008 showed that most Iowans believed marriage should be only between one man and one woman. However, the poll also showed that a majority of Iowa adults supported the creation of civil unions that would grant benefits to gay couples similar to those offered to heterosexuals in marriage.

In the poll, 62 percent of Iowans said they believed marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Thirty-two percent said they believed same-sex marriages should be allowed, while 6 percent were unsure.

Iowans were split, however, on whether the state constitution should be changed to ban gay marriages. More than half of Iowans who responded to the poll supported civil unions for same-sex couples. About four in 10 Iowans opposed civil unions, and 4 percent were unsure.

More reaction from elected officials, religious leaders

Harkin, a Democrat, issued a written statement today that said: “my personal view has been that marriage is between a man and a woman, and I have voted in support of that concept. But I also fundamentally believe that same sex couples in a civil union should be entitled to all the basic legal protections and benefits of marriage.”

“I know that this decision will be very hard for many to accept,” he added. “But I also know that it will provide many committed same sex couples and families important rights, as well as an important sense of recognition and belonging.”

Religious leaders who support gay-marriage rights praised the ruling as an affirmation of equal rights for all Iowans.

“The court’s ruling shows Iowa is a place that celebrates fairness and equality for all Iowans,” said Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. “It upholds the spirit of Iowa’s constitution, which clearly states each of us has the right to equal protection and recognition under the law.”

The Rev. Mark Stringer said he cried when he heard of the decision. Stringer performed the only legal same-sex marriage in Iowa when he officiated a ceremony for Sean Fritz and Tim McQuillan in 2007.

“It was such a sense of relief to me as someone who has cared about marriage equality,” Stringer said, adding that he is happy gay couple will have the same rights as he and his wife.

“It’s really an astounding moment under our history,” he said. “What really excites me is that Iowa is the first in our area of the country. We are being a leader in civil rights, which will be part of our state’s history.”

Polk County Attorney John Sarcone, whose office represented Brien, said has no plan to seek a new hearing on the case or appeal to the federal courts. Sarcone said the case involved “a substantial time and monetary commitment” for the county, although he did not know the dollar amount. Assistant County Attorney Roger Kuhle, who argued the case to the high court, traveled to England and Canada at county expense to take sworn statements, he said.

“This was never anything personal,” Sarcone said. “We have a responsibility to defend the recorder. We defended the statute, and we had a fair and full hearing in the district court and the supreme court. Everything was done with dignity.”

Where there is a will , there is a way!

1 When someone tells you that you can’t do something…

2 Look around…

3 Consider all options..


4 Then GO for it!

5 Use all the things God gave you!

6 Be creative!

7 In the end, you will succeed and prove them wrong!

Always remember “Where there is a will , there is a way “

Tropicana Line's Sales Plunge 20% Post-Rebranding

OJ Rivals Posted Double-Digit Increases as Pure Premium Plummeted

NEW YORK ( -- Tropicana's rebranding debacle did more than create a customer-relations fiasco. It hit the brand in the wallet.

The new Tropicana Pure Premium packaging (right) had been on the market less than two months before the company scrapped the redesign.
The new Tropicana Pure Premium packaging (right) had been on the market less than two months before the company scrapped the redesign.

After its package redesign, sales of the Tropicana Pure Premium line plummeted 20% between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22, costing the brand tens of millions of dollars. On Feb. 23, the company announced it would bow to consumer demand and scrap the new packaging, designed by Peter Arnell. It had been on the market less than two months.

A swift reversal
Now that the numbers are out, it's clear why PepsiCo's Tropicana moved as fast as it did. According to Information Resources Inc., unit sales dropped 20%, while dollar sales decreased 19%, or roughly $33 million, to $137 million between Jan. 1 and Feb. 22. Moreover, several of Tropicana's competitors appear to have benefited from the misstep, notably Minute Maid, Florida's Natural and Tree Ripe. Varieties within each of those brands posted double-digit unit sales increases during the period. Private-label products also saw an increase during the period, in keeping with broader trends in the food and beverage space.

Watch Peter Arnell Explain His Failed Tropicana Package Design

The entire refrigerated-orange-juice category posted flat unit sales and a 5% decline in dollar sales during the period. As the leader in the category, it makes little sense that Tropicana Pure Premium would see such a drastic sales decline while the category remained relatively flat, industry experts said. Through Feb. 22, Tropicana Pure Premium accounted for about a third of sales in the refrigerated-orange-juice category.

Tropicana: no connection
A spokeswoman for Tropicana in an e-mail said, "No dots to connect here." The company did not respond to further requests for comment.

"It surprises me that their performance is so different from the rest of the category," said Gary Hemphill, managing director-chief operating officer at Beverage Marketing Corp. "It's a little tough to draw conclusions over such a short period of time. But I would say that's unusual."

Mr. Hemphill said typically when a beverage brand undergoes a rebranding it signals increased marketing expenditures and leads to improved performance, at least in the short term. "It gets people to look at the brand again and brings some kind of news and excitement around the brand," he added.

Tropicana had certainly sought to create excitement around the Pure Premium rebrand, announcing Jan. 8 a "historic integrated-marketing and advertising campaign ... designed to reinforce the brand and product attributes, rejuvenate the category and help consumers rediscover the health benefits they get from drinking America's iconic orange-juice brand."

'Black eye'
Beverage experts were hard pressed to think of another major brand that had pulled the plug on such a sweeping redesign as swiftly as Tropicana. "It's a black eye when you have to backtrack that quickly," said Bob Goldin, exec VP at Technomic. "There must be [another example] but nothing comes to mind. [Tropicana] is a big brand, and it was a big restage. This is something that I'm sure they were not happy about."

While it's impossible to say whether Tropicana has permanently lost share, as a result of the blunder, competitors are likely taking note. "We think the Minute Maid brand has opportunity for growth, and we're working hard to make that happen," said Ray Crockett, a Coca-Cola spokesman.

Ueli Gegenschatz: Extreme wingsuit jumping

About this talk

Wingsuit jumping is the leading edge of extreme sports -- an exhilarating feat of almost unbelievable daring, where skydivers soar through canyons at over 100MPH. Ueli Gegenschatz talks about how (and why) he does it, and shows jawdropping film.

About Ueli Gegenschatz

Ueli Gegenschatz takes flight just about every way a human can: paragliding, skydiving, BASE jumping (from the Eiffel Tower), and most breathtakingly: by donning a wingsuit and soaring. Full bio and more links

Fairy-tale homes of Los Angeles

Though many fine storybook-style structures, which include places that appear to be hobbit houses, witches' dens, fairy-tale castles and village courts, have been destroyed (just three are designated landmarks in Los Angeles), others still sprinkle the town.

This Culver City home, known among devotees as a hobbit house, with its mock thatched roof, heavy rolled eaves and half-timbering and leaded glass windows, is a classic example of storybook style, a whimsical type of architecture that emerged in Los Angeles with the burgeoning movie industry in the 1920s.

The Spadena House


Outside gate

Ojai house

Stained-glass windows

Paul Henning estate


The amenities of the new Yankee Stadium were finally out for display yesterday, and perhaps nothing summed up the You Can’t Afford A Gaddamned Thing In This Place more than the $9 “Retro Beer” cooler, featuring 24 oz. Tall Boys of Pabst Blue Ribbon Horse Tinkle. Seriously? For nine bucks, they’d better send some Indonesian kid to my seat and pour it into my damn mouth. The beer , pervert. Pour the beer .

New Stadium Insider caught wind of this yesterday , but it’s still mind-blowing. Some people don’t understand that one of the drawbacks of having expensive beer is that it creates incentive for patrons to smuggle drinks of their own choosing into the stadium. And if 10 bucks can barely get you a can of PBR, it’s reasonable to believe that the new Yankee Stadium will see an uptick in smuggling compared to the old.

More on the Yanks’ new digs after the jump.

Keith Olbermann compares the new Yankee Stadium to the old, in a way that only a smug, self-satisfying prick can. From NBC New York :

Related posts:

Mom drugged 13-year-old daughter so she’d get pregnant

By Associated Press

UNIONTOWN, Pa. - A western Pennsylvania mother has been charged with giving her 13-year-old daughter drugs and alcohol so the woman’s boyfriend could get the girl pregnant, police said Thursday.

Shana Brown, 32, is no longer able to have children but wanted to have a baby with her current boyfriend, Duane Calloway, said Uniontown Police Det. Donald Gmitter. The pair decided to drug the girl so Calloway, 40, could have sex with her without her knowledge, he added.

"There’s some sick people on this case," Gmitter said.

Brown has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child and was to turn herself into police later Thursday, Gmitter said. Brown’s attorney did not immediately return a call for comment.

Calloway faces several counts of attempted rape. He was arrested Wednesday and remains in Fayette County Jail. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney

The three incidents occurred in Brown’s home in Uniontown, about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh, according to the criminal complaint.

The girl told police the plot was apparently hatched sometime in December after she rejected her mother’s proposal that she allow Calloway to impregnate her and then marry him.

In the following months, Calloway attempted to rape the girl three times, Gmitter said.

The first time, in February, the girl was alone with Calloway while her mother went out to buy pizza, according to the criminal complaint. Calloway began groping her and she kicked him away, the documents stated.

A few weeks later, the girl believes her mother spiked her Pepsi with rum, according to police. The girl told them she felt ill after drinking the Pepsi, passed out and later threw up. She was also partially naked when she woke up and Calloway was in the room, according to the criminal complaint.

The third incident occurred in mid-March, when the girl told police she came home early from school because she was not feeling well. She said her mother forced her to drink tea, and then she immediately fell asleep.

The girl said she pretended she was asleep until Calloway made a move, at which point she bolted upright and he left the room.

In a search of the Brown residence, police said they found an empty rum bottle, Tylenol PM and a pill crusher.

© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

11 Extinct Animals That Have Been Photographed Alive

The current rate of extinction is 100 to 1000 times higher than the average, or background rate, making our current period the 6th major mass extinction in the planet’s history.Thus, what follows is a list of 11 extinct animals that were photographed while still alive.

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The New Yankee Stadium [360° View]

Three different 360° views of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx where the team will play its first game on April 3, an exhibition against the Chicago Cubs.

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Crazy genetics: Can chickens turn back into dinosaurs? — A look back at our own history, and a question about creating a really tiny dinosaur. Do you think this could be possible?

Tallest and most expensive Lightning rod in the World — Burj Dubai hit buy lightning bolt.

Google uncloaks once-secret server

Unusually, the search giant designs its own servers. For the first time, Google unveils one publicly, showing a surprise built-in battery.

read more | digg story

Happy Birthday Amanda Bynes

Published by MoonDog on April 3, 2009

Amanda Bynes, the owner of perhaps the two most spectacular legs in Hollywood, celebrates her 23rd birthday today.

Bynes got an early start to her acting career, beginning at the age of 10 while performing at a Laugh Factory kids’ comedy showcase. She was spotted by an executive from the Nickelodeon television network, and her rise to fame was put into motion.

Nickelodeon cast Bynes in a sketch-comedy series called All That, where she won acclaim for her performances.

In 2002, Bynes made her big screen debut in Big Fat Liar. Although Frankie Muniz from TV’s Malcolm in the Middle was the movie’s star attraction, audiences agree that Amanda’s character stole the show.
Later in 2002, the WB network began airing the sitcom What I Like About You.

In 2003, Bynes could be seen in her first leading role in the film What a Girl Wants. In 2006, she had a role in She’s The Man, perhaps her best acting job to date and the film that pushed her over the top.

For a person that is still very young, Bynes has achieved more than her share of success. Better yet, she’s pretty hot as the images below will prove.

Enjoy the gallery and here’s hoping Amanda Bynes has a very happy birthday.
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